Sunday, January 21, 2007

Snow Day!

After a very strange December, it's finally looking like winter here in Wiscosin. We had about 5 inches of snow overnight and more is on the way. And it's not too cold out, so playing outside doesn't quickly lead to frostbitten cheeks. Of course, Owen left his winter boots in his locker at school on Friday, because he's a cool middle schooler now, and way too cool to wear his boots home. Now he's regretting it.

I've been puttering away on the Shetland Cardigan. Here's a progress pic, laid out on the hood of my husband's car:

Although I'm loving this sweater, I don't think I'll do really frequent progress pics, because it doesn't photograph well. A lot of sameness, just growing. In this photo, it's about 6.5 inches along.

While I was cropping and choosing a pic for this post, I noticed this:

One of those snowflakes has 5 spokes, not 6. What does it mean?

So about my friend Jim's machine knit sweater... you know, the one I talked myself in to tackling on Friday? Or was that Thursday? I got the machine all limbered up, found my notes which were less than helpful, and spent a while reading the actual knitting to figure out what I had done, which wasn't exactly what my notes said. Then I realized I really was not happy with the appearance of the increases along the selvedges of the sleeve. Since I'm working this in a Fisherman's Rib, it's a bit trickier than a standard fully fashioned increase would be. I spent some time googling for internet tutorials on machine knitting (no luck), ordered a bunch of books from the library, and then decided to try fiddling with my own ideas. Using some cheap acrylic, I was able to figure out a process that keeps the integrity of the pattern, does not lead to dropped edge stitches, and looks pretty good.

Yesterday, with great optimism, I set out to make the final sleeve. It was working really well. Then, I noticed that one strand of the yarn had broken at one point and the strand was not threading through the machine properly, but was instead bunching up in the carriage. Grr. Back up a row. No problem. Move forward. As I was getting up near the area where the raglan shaping starts, I was positivly glowing with anticipation of being done. Then, I looked under the machine at the work in progress and there were two holes in the knitting about halfway up the work. One might have come from the row where I found the broken strand. The other, a few rows below that, might have come from a small knot in the yarn. Back to the drawing board. In stockinette, I could easily fix this with a bit of yarn and a darning needle. In the fisherman's ribbing, it's a bit trickier to repair this invisibly. Still, I had such great luck with the edge stitches and the increases, that I'm optimistic that I reallyl can finish this week. Or I just tell Jim that I can't make the machine work and I hand knit him a bulky sweater in stockinette and call it done.


YarnThrower said...

Isn't this weather awesome! I'm loving it, though the boys and I will have to get out and shovel before the day is over -- dh is out of town today..... Anyway, as I was knitting away on a new project I started, I was thinking to myself, "Hey, Elizabeth ought to be posting a photo of her great winter cardigan soon!" I happened to walk by the computer, and voila', you have a fun photo of your progress. I really like your sketch for the sweater, and I think your stitch pattern is turning out nicely! (I say "your", because, after all, in the museum it was a "Morrison" pattern, right?)

Well, back to my knitting, with the Bears game on in the background....then, shovelling...

Zonda said...

The progress on the Shetland Sweater is looking good! I love that color combo. Yikes on the machine knitting though...hope you can fix it!

Terby said...

Fantastic sweater, Elizabeth! I love the color work you do. Maybe this year, maybe next. I keep being tempted. First I need to be able to knit continental with ease. And before I tackle a sweater, I want to get basic construction down and actually knit something simple that fits me properly, but a felted two color bag or a hat is really starting to call my name.

Bezzie said...

Woo! Snow!!!

Wait, I thought machine knit sweaters were supposed to be easier???

Elizabeth said...

What a knitting machine does really well is make lots of stocking st fabric with no shaping with smooth, strong yarn which has no little knots or other irregularities.

This double bed machine of mine is finicky anyway. And then, the yarn is Bartlett yarns 2 ply sport wt. Kind of woolen, not very strong, and it has some lanolin left in it. And it has little flaws and knotted breaks. If I just made straight lengths of Fisherman Ribbing and serged it together like a cheap factory made sweater, it would be fast and easy.

At its best, machine knitting can be faster than hand knitting, but I don't think I'd call it easier.

Batty said...

It's beautiful! I don't see anything wrong with the way it photographs. Red and black, one of my favorite color combinations, and it looks so even. I'm about to start my very first FI project when the Red Scarf Project scarf is finished, so I'm in serious awe of your skills.

Sarah said...

Yay! It's finally winter!

The Shetland is looking great...I love the red and black together.

Silly middle schoolers. I hear all the tales...with Nate teaching 7th grade!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks all. The color is actually very dark brown, called Cocoa. The red is actually a rust color called Topaz. Go figure. I think of topazes as yellow.

Ruinwen said...

Love the sweater! The colors really look great together!


Lisa P said...

Looking great!

And as for the five pointed snowflake... weird!

Cindy G said...

The cardigan looks yummy (and warm). I like the use of the corrugated ribbing. Looking forward to seeing how you do the patterning at the top of the arms and what you decide on for neckline treatment.

MiniLaura said...

five pointed snowflake..hmmm..

It's hard for me to see, but it doesn't look like a point broke off. I'd say that something must have interferred with the crystallization. (some sort of airborne pollution?) Or just a simple failure to crystallize in the most ideal form because it crystallized too quickly. If you see frost on a window, it's not entirely made of hexagon shapes.

My word is:

I see you have an x-rated blog today :)