Catching up is what you do that is very productive, but does not have much to “show” for it. I was making progress in the yard, winterizing the garden (4 acres is a lot of yard) when Mother Nature saved me from myself. She sent snow a bit early (this has been around for about a week) and even though it’s thin, wet, and sloppy, bleak has officially arrived – but it’s a good excuse to come inside and work on indoor stuff; namely fiber 🙂
I have a new fiber toy! A knitting machine (Singer 155 Chunky Punch Card Knitter). As a devoted hand knitter, I swore I would never own a knitting machine. They are not portable and I have enough things that I cannot take with me to work on because they are tied to a machine (weaving, spinning, sewing). I have alas, succumbed. It does not have any of the fancy optional attachments; like a ribber or contour thingy (what ever that is) but I’m having a ball so far.
I’m whipping up blanks to dye and then I started thinking that maybe it could knit something more than just blanks. I’ve done a ton of swatches to see what my limitations are as far as yarn weights. I’ve successfully knitted a DK weight, up through a chunky weight. This thing does a beautiful job too. I am convinced.
Next sampling marathon will be to try out some of the patterns I can knit with the punch card thingy (technical term). There are just so many toys to play with! 🙂
Speaking of swatches: I took the swatch for my next hand knit project to work with me to consult with my fellow knitting gurus. I always do a thorough swatching before embarking on a project and some were amazed at my forbearance and patience to do this. I’m personally amazed at anyone who doesn’t. I am a dye-hard (pun intended) swatcher. Why? The sample shown does several things; it allows me to see what the yarn will look like knitted up very quickly. It allows me to handle the yarn and see how it will behave on my needles without having to jump into a project immediately. I knit because I love to, not to just make a finished project (process knitter as opposed to product knitter). But most of all, it tells me things about the project that will save me from ripping it out twice as much as I already do. It tells me the best size needles and gauge for the fabric I want. I can then do the math and adjust the pattern if needed. I always do the swatch the way the item will be knitted. Will it be knit int he round? Knit the swatch in the round. Do I think I want it on size 4 needles? knit the swatch on size 3, 4, and 5 needles to be sure. I also, always mark the swatch section with the needle size by putting holes in the swatch (YO, K2T) to tell me the needle size. I never cut the yarn from my swatch either, I use that ball last and then if I think I will need the yarn to finish the project, I can rip the swatch out and use it without a break or cut in the yarn. I don’t look at swatching as a chore, I think of it as an excuse to play with the yarn before I spend the time to plan the project. The bonus is enough information to plan the project right.
Speaking of a well planned project. I have the Hanne Falkenberg sweater, the Mermaid Jacket all but finished. I’m very nervous about the sleeves though – do they look like the shoulders are a pit too pointy to you? None of my sewing patterns have shoulders this pointy.
Now, my first instinct is to rip them out and rework them to look like I think they should. I’m going to try to learn from past experiences though. I’m going to TRUST the designer and forge ahead. I usually discover, after I have redone something the way I think it should be, that the designer did know exactly what they were doing and I screwed it up. I’ll let you know next post if it all works or not.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!