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So in my last update I said I would talk about the sweater I’ve been designing. Well since then I have completely knitted the sweater and all I have left is to sew up the armholes. Well I don’t like it, the sweater that is. In the beginning I had an idea; so I made a plan (more or less), made some swatches, took some measurements, did a bit of math, and then just started knitting. I made the sweater in the round with raglan ¾ sleeves. I think if I had planned better and knew more of what I was doing then I probably would be happy with the sweater and not thinking about ripping the entire thing and using the yarn for something else.

I decided to design a sweater that I could wear to work. Since I live in Florida the sweater had to be cotton or cotton blend and lacy. So I started with choosing a stitch pattern. Since most of my stitch-pattern books are still packed away, I went to the internet for inspiration. I found a great website called KnittingFool.com, which has loads of stitch patterns. The patterns are listed not only alphabetically, but by type and count. This is where I should have thought it though more and maybe sketched it out. I found a pattern I really liked for the bottom of the sweater, Feather and Fan 2, which had 17 stitches to the pattern. There was also another pattern, Passion Flower, with the same number of stitches that would go perfect. However, this stitch count poised some problems with shaping when I got to the raglan part. So from the armpits up I just did basic stockinette stitch.

The real problem came at the neck line. I didn’t do any shaping and ended up with a boat neck which droops. I know I could go back and do some shaping, but I’m not sure how I want the neck. What I really wanted to do was work the Passion Flower stitch pattern all the way up to the neck, but the stitch count was off because of the sleeves. But the other reason was I would have to alter the stitch pattern to incorporate the decreases of the raglan. And let’s just face it (and I’m wining here) it got too hard. So below is what it looks like right now. I’ve put in a few life lines so I could fix this. I’m just not sure I want to.

Here is the bottom of the sweater. I really like the scalloped edge of the Feather n Fan stitch pattern.

This is the top part. I didn’t do anything decorative with the raglan decreases. I think it would have looked better with maybe a lace decrease. And the neck is really floppy. I only put a few rows of garter.

Well it’s been three years since I started this blog and a lot has happened. First the wrist is doing great. I’ve got a lot of hardware in it so it should last. It took a lot of physical therapy and healing, but that was expected considering that I didn’t just break it, shattered it. For some reason I can’t doing anything simple.

Now on to what’s new. We moved to Florida, specifically the Tampa area. Love it. We found a house on two acres with a pool and lots of oak trees. It’s just what we needed. Of course during the move to the house I fell and hurt my knees, so had to have surgery for that. I just finished my second surgery a few weeks ago. Next step, according to the doctor, is knee replacement. Oh yay!!

Enough of that sad sap stuff, now on to the knitting. I have been knitting a lot since I got to Florida. Part of that is because I discovered the best knitting shop around, Knit n Knibble. It’s a great place to just hang out, knit, get inspired, and have a cup of coffee at the same time. It also happens to only be a few miles from where I work so that makes it easy on the days I don’t carpool to stop by, (which has been very seldom lately). In the past three years I’ve knitted about 18 projects, mostly baby stuff because a lot of people at work were having babies when I first got there and then our granddaughter had a son last year (yes, makes me a great-grandma). But I’ve also gotten in other projects such as a few socks, shawls, some toys, and I am designing a sweater for myself. For anyone interested in seeing pictures of most of these items you can find them on my Ravelry projects page under the user name of Martha1958. With all of this there were three projects that were really big challenges, two of the shawls and a toy cow.

The first challenge, which took a year to do, was the Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman. I made this for my Sister-in-Law and after I gave it to her she decided to learn to knit (great inspiration). Knitting the shawl wasn’t the challenge, it was the seed beads and then the blocking. I had never worked with beads this small before. I’m not even sure how many I used; I just know I went through almost two tubes. I used a crochet hook to put them on the stitches and had to make sure I had a lot of light to see what I was doing. There other part of this challenging shawl was the blocking. This is where I made my biggest mistake. I got in a hurry and really didn’t block it correctly. You’ll see in the picture that I should have spent more time on the edge. So the lesson learned here is to take your time in the blocking process and do it right.

Blocking gone bad

Blocking gone bad

The next challenge was the other shawl I made, but it was a challenge for a different reason. This was the 105-3 knitted shawl in “Alpaca” with various lace patterns by DROPS. This was a challenge because the pattern was so poorly written and it seemed to go on forever. Had I read through the pattern I would have seen the confusing bits and either graphed it out or just not taken the project on. The shawl itself came out huge. I ended up breaking a set of circulars and bending another set on this project. I still haven’t blocked it, because I don’t have the room. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. So I guess the lesson learned on this project is to read through the instructions before you start to know and to really look at the pictures that people have posted on Ravelry. Had I looked at some of the pictures I would have seen how big the shawl was going to be.

The last challenge, which is still in progress, is the Sonia Cow by Janice Anderson. The knitting, which is done, was somewhat challenging on a couple of sections, but the sewing up is a bear. I am still working on it. This was something my Mom wanted and every so often she will ask me about it. When she first came to Florida for a visit I took her to Knit n Knibble and that’s where she saw the cow and decided she wanted me to make it for her. Maybe I’ll get it done by Christmas. Lesson learned – don’t take your non-crafting Mother to a yarn shop and if you do, don’t tell her “sure I can knit that.”

Next time I want to talk about the sweater I am trying to design and all of the issues that come with designing a sweater around a specific stitch pattern.

Mostly Knits, but……

Since I currently can’t knit due to a broken wrist, I decided I would start a blog about my knitting odyssey. It all really started at age nine, when my Mom taught me to crochet to get me out of her hair. After crocheting a lot of granny squares and making some obnoxious 70’s clothing, I decided to try my hand at knitting. Since I didn’t know anyone who knitted I got a book and taught myself. Of course the first thing I made was a sweater, well more or less a sweater. I knitted 2 large and 2 small squares in a basket weave pattern. sewed them together and then crocheted a long chain for a draw string at the bottom to make it fit. Luckily Mom had made us learn to sew, so I understood clothing construction. After that I continued to knit more than crochet, though every once and a while I would go back to exclusively crocheting. Through the years I learned to spin and weave, but my passion is still knitting.

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