Monday, May 13, 2013


Thank you for all of the comments and feedback on my sweater conundrum.  My final conclusion was that the whole thing was trouble (very precise and technically-oriented, I know), so I ripped out both halves of the edging and started again.  Slowly.  I picked up for the outside facing, and then ran a lifeline through the stitches (which wasn't easy, as these are small stitches, knitted relatively tightly on small needles), so that I'd be able to find them again easily when I went back.  Then I knitted the front facing, put it evenly onto two needles (to keep from squishing all the stitches and making them unmanageable when I went back for the inside facing), and went back to pick up the purl bumps just above the legs of the original stitches (the legs being easy easier to spot now that they were on a lifeline).  That took eons, but it worked.  I should mention that there was also some very careful (and time-consuming) counting (and re-counting) of the 497 stitches on both sets of needles prior to the knitting of the inside facing.  Then I knitted them all together for the three needle bind-off.  That took the better part of all the knitting time I could devote to it last week (about 15 minutes to rip out everything I'd done, and then hours and hours - literally, though I wish I were exaggerating - to get it all done again).  I had that pretty much done by latelate Saturday night, when Older Daughter got home from this:
(Some of you may recognize the signs of prom.)  In fact, much of Saturday was spent on the getting-ready part of prom (getting nails done, for example).  There was even hair-doing.  I'm not much of a girl, really, and you've all seen how short my hair is these days, so that involved going out to actually purchase a hair-dryer and curling iron (!!).  I think Older Daughter was deeply concerned that the curling iron part of things might end up like this, but I finally let her know that I did, in fact, once upon a time own (and even use!) such a thing on myself, and it all turned out OK in the end.

Sunday morning (after coffee and croissants, my requested mother's day treat), Rick and I headed out (leaving prom-exhausted girls behind) to this:
The start of the Amgen Tour of California.  In downtown Escondido.  Where it topped 100 degrees before the race even started at 11:15.  After a quick lunch at home, we went out to the last King of the Mountain points banner to watch the riders come up their last big hill (they'd already climbed Mt. Palomar in the heat, poor guys); it was still over 100 degrees, under 25% humidity, and they looked pretty beat.  We stood in the shade and cheered (we even showed up on the TV coverage, heh).  I love a good stage race - we'll see how this one turns out.

Then home we went, where I finally (finally!!) picked up stitches around the bottom of the sweater, completed an i-cord cast-off around all of those stitches plus the ones still on the needles around the front and hood (it felt amazingly like a walk in the park after the facing debacle), and then did the same thing for the sleeves.  And wove in the ends.  And then this morning, knowing that we were in for another scorcher, I soaked and blocked the sweater before leaving for work.  The sweater is now, of course, quite dry.  All that remains is to put in the zipper.
(Bad picture, but it was that or nothing.)

That, my friends, is a sweater.  Ends woven in, i-cord edging complete.  Ends woven in (have I mentioned how many ends there were in this sweater?).  And double-sided front/hood edging?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

At a total loss

I was going to write a post today about all of the projects that have required re-dos in the last week or so, with the good news that things generally seem to be back on track. But my mental composition came too soon, apparently.

I have been struggling with the finishing work on the Northmavine Hoody, which requires, let me tell you, a LOT of finishing work. Mostly, I have been doing it with good cheer. There was the hood, which required unkitchenering and further knitting (because it was too small), but I did that. And then there were the endless ends to be woven in (four for every eight rows of knitting for the entire sweater, arms, and hood), but last weekend I put many hours into that job and got it done. I kitchenered the underarms. I knitted the pockets. And then it was time to pick up stitches to knit the facing around the fronts and hood edges. I did that. All 500+ stitches, then six rows of knitting. So far so good.

Then it was time to turn to the wrong side and pick up stitches in the purl bumps left by the first round of pick-up-stitch. That was not easy. It was so not-easy, in fact, that I resorted to another option: I turned to the right side, picked up one leg of every knit stitch in the original pick-up row, and then turned everything back around and worked from there. That seemed to work, but knitting the five rows for the inside facing was fiddly, fiddly, fiddly. Partly because it's just long row after long row, and partly because each of those long rows had to be completed while working around the needle that was holding the front facing stitches. And (it must be admitted), partly because I was working with stitches squeezed tightly onto several shorter-than-optimal needles, because I just cannot see buying yet another pair of needles for this project, just to do this one thing (believe me when I say I have, one way or another, already bought an unconscionable number of needles for this project).

But I persevered. Through knitting the two facings, and then through the endless three-needle bind-off to attach them, leaving live stitches that now, in the almost-final stage of finishing, should be available for an i-cord bind-off. Except not.

Because something just is not right, and I haven't a clue why not, and I could really use some help here.

If you look at that first picture, you might be able to see what I'm talking about. See how the stitches look all lovely and straight on the left, and then start biasing increasingly as you go right? The biasing continues about halfway around, and then the stitches mysteriously line up neatly again.

The second photo shows the neatly lined up stitches. And the third, the neatly lined up inside facing stitches. But then, presto chango: bias.

And I don't know why. All the stitches were picked up the same way. And they line up, no biasing at all, along both fronts, biasing increasingly along the tops of the fronts and the hood. If I'd misaligned the stitches, I'd expect the biasing to continue all the way around once it starts, but it doesn't. At this point, the only option I can see is to rip this all out (a week of work!), and start again, but I hate to do that when I don't know what I did wrong in the first place - because how will I avoid doing it again? Any thoughts? I could use some advice here...