Monday, December 11, 2006

Knitting for the weekend

The basketweave scarf is finished!

In one way, it couldn't have happened a moment too soon. It's not like I hated knitting it or that I had a lot of trouble making it. I didn't. The scarf came together with relatively few headaches, especially considering that I learned to purl as I knitted it. Last week's hectic schedule had me wiped out earlier in the evening than usual, so maybe that's why I don't feel as attached to the basketweave scarf. I was tired most of the time I worked on it.

Saturday I couldn't sit for one extended period of time and knit this scarf. The day went like this: knit a little, do something else for awhile, knit some more, take a longer break. I couldn't sit in one spot for very long without fidgeting. Is it the purling? I didn't hate it, but it was kind of irritating having to switch the position of the yarn and the needles every four stitches. My purling was faster by the time I finished the scarf, but I didn't like the constant interruption of the flow it caused.

I'll chalk up my restlessness to feeling like I've been on the go for a week. This scarf required patience that I usually have but was temporarily in short supply. (I can feel the same impatience and aggravation with some people right now, so I'm definitely in need of a break one of these days.) I think the scarf turned out well, and I ended up knitting a couple inches more in length than was supposed to be possible from two balls.

If I believed in a Sunday knitting curse, I'd say it got me again. I finished the basketweave scarf on what one would consider Saturday night, even if it was after midnight and thus Sunday. I was ready to bind off my last stitch when I slipped up and accidentally frogged the stitch before it. I think I got everything corrected, but I don't like how that last bound off stitch looks. Oh well. It's done. Now I can move on to a purling-free project.

Next up was a scarf for my friend who moved to Seattle a week ago. His striped scarf might have been a good way to break in the circular needles, but I nixed the idea because I don't know how to use them and am running out of time before Christmas. I found a pattern that was close to what I had in mind. It calls for bulky weight yarn as opposed to the double-wrapped worsted weight yarn I'm using, but that shouldn't matter much. I knew I could modify the number of stitches if necessary. At six inches wide and ninety inches long, the pattern is wider and longer than I wanted to make it, but again, I didn't think it would be a problem.

It wasn't a problem, so to speak, but I started and restarted the scarf more than I would have preferred. I cast on fifteen stitches to US 11s and knitted a few rows. I noticed a mistake. Rather than fix it right away, I figured I'd check the gauge and see if I needed to start over. The measurement showed it as being six inches wide, about an inch more than I wanted it to be. I frogged it and began again, this time casting on twelve stitches. I dropped a stitch somewhere along the line, although it wasn't a big deal since the scarf wasn't wide enough.

I frogged it again and cast on fourteen stitches. I knitted a few rows and measured the width at four inches, five if I spread out the stitches farther on the needle. For some reason my measurements aren't always consistent. If fifteen stitches produced six inches, which I'm now convinced they didn't, then fourteen inches shouldn't produce four inches. There was more frogging because of a dropped stitch or some other error I don't recall, but I decided to stick with fourteen stitches because the width would work itself out, right?

When I'd actually knitted a 4"x4" swatch, I could see that fourteen stitches equalled four inches. I was not about to start over again, so it would have to be four inches wide. I started with the Bernat Satin in admiral, a fancy name for navy blue, knitted until I had six inches, and noted that it took 34 rows. I cut the yarn, joined the ends to the Bernat Satin in silk (white), and resumed knitting.

After knitting my second row of the white yarn, I saw that the first row of white was below my last row of blue on one side. I'm assuming that this is normal, but honestly, I have no idea. I've included the above photo to illustrate. (I must need better lighting in my apartment because the flash always goes off when taking pictures here. It also changes the color, thus another blurry photo due to the flash being turned off. Sorry, I can't hold it that steady.)

A funny thing happened as I got to six inches with the white stripe. It only took 32 rows. Hmm. It's possible I miscounted with the blue or white. It's also possible I can't measure correctly. Whatever the case, 32 rows was good enough for me. I cut the yarn, joined the blue yarn again, and got back to work.

Having knitted the last two scarves on smaller needles, using 11s and double-wrapped worsted weight yarn felt like the difference between using a No. 2 pencil and one of those fat pencils younger students use in elementary school. It wasn't hard, but there was a brief period of readjustment. The last two scarves were also navy blue. It was really nice to knit with the white yarn, if just to give me a different color to look at.

I had hoped to get a lot of writing done over the weekend, but all I did was a game review for Kristin's site. I got into knitting this striped scarf and worked on it almost all day. I knitted during the Bengals and Blue Jackets games. I took an hour break with the idea of stopping for the night, but I went back to it and knitted for a couple more hours.

It must be a sign of my growth as a knitter that I can make mistakes and fix them. I had to unknit a few rows during the course of the day. While I got a little confused at times, I was able to repair my errors. I also had a serendipitous moment when I must have miscounted rows. This time I joined skeins on the edge opposite of where I connected the others. Because of that, my single line of yarn breaking up the colors switched to the scarf's other side. I realized that I could make it look more like a creative choice than a mistake, though. There were four of these lines on one side of the scarf. I did three on the other side and could finish by putting the other four back on the original side.

When all was said and done, I had knitted five feet. I thought about staying up late and finishing it. I'm aiming for 78 inches, not the 90 in the pattern, so I could have done it if I burned the midnight oil. Wisely, I chose to sleep, but I'm eager to finish it today.

Next...finishing the striped scarf.


At 10:11 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

wow - u r a knitting machine! and i totally know where u r coming from w/ the restless basketweave knitting...i haven't been able to make myself work on the gift i'm making lately. one reason is because i spent all day sunday knitting two hats for my grandma who's losing her hair from chemo and needed some head huggers. i was so proud to knit two full hats in one day and for such a good reason. mailed them today as an early xmas surprise...can't wait til she gets them : )

i love how weird it feels to go from knitting w/ chunky yarn on 13's to using worsted weight on, say, size 7' knitting w/ hair and toothpicks using the latter ;)

At 1:29 AM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

I think I was stressing out over the upcoming week and what I hadn't finished from the previous week, so knitting was about all I was good for. It feels great to know I'm down to two scarves that I want to finish before Christmas. One of them is for me!

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The basketweave looks great, I also find basket weave tiresome, I was foolish enough to knit a baby blanket in basketweave as a gift this year...

The little blue line in the white is entirely normal and can be turned into a design feature


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