Sweater Blog – Day Seven

Another November day is done, and I’ve made progress on most of my knitting goals for the month. I made progress on four of my six projects. I also figured out that my previous estimate of the stitch count I achieved yesterday was low-balled. I actually managed over 9,000 stitches on Wednesday. Today was not quite as productive, which is understandable given that it’s choir rehearsal night. Plus, I was directing, so I had to be there early. I still managed a respectable completion of nearly 7,500 stitches.

With respect to the NaKni sweater, I split off the sleeve stitches and began working on the body. On the cardigan, I finished the left front; tomorrow I’ll be casting on the right front! There are fourteen loops on my Feelin’ Loopy shawl, and I need forty per the pattern. I did manage to work out an easier way to complete the i-cord sections, though – and that will make me more productive over the weekend.

The big “win” of the day, though, was being approached to do some commissioned projects for an indie dyer I met a few weeks ago. She has a pretty prolific business on Etsy, and I discovered her wares at the Ann Arbor Fiber Festival. I’d bought a skein from her there, then ordered a second skein which she dyed to order. I have a shawl planned for that yarn already. She is willing to ship me yarn to complete a project and yarn as compensation for my efforts and she will purchase a pattern if needed. How can I go wrong with this deal? She did point out that the challenge most often encountered in this type of arrangement is actually returning the commissioned item. I don’t think I’ll have any problem with that. If I really like a finished object, I can always earn the yarn to knit it a second time — and a repeated project would only be better (and generally faster) for the experience.

It’s late, and I need to get to bed. Tomorrow evening there is a knitting gathering I’ve been invited to. I’m still debating whether to attend or come home and have a solo knitting marathon. Saturday there’s a full-blown Knit in Public event planned with friends coming from out of town. We shall see where I end up…

Sweater Blog – Day 6

Well, I somehow managed not to blog on day 6, as I’m writing this in the morning on November 7th. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t knit on the 6th – that couldn’t be furthest from the truth. By my calculations I knit 7,680 stitches. And actually there really were a few more than that because one of my current projects is a little fiddly and occasionally requires me to back up and re-work stitches due to a counting error. In some instances that may not be a big deal, but in this case it makes all the difference. This is a scarf with a distinctive stitch pattern that defines the scarf, so a mistake would be abundantly obvious even to the untrained eye.

Scraf of Distinction

Scraf of Distinction

Thankfully I generally catch a mistake early, as the scarf is 452 stitches long; but issues usually happen when I’m knitting on the wrong side, so I do have to check my work periodically. All told the scarf will take 79,327 stitches, and I’m only 15% complete, so I’ve got a ways to go.

But this isn’t a scraf blog (that typo is intentional, by the way – inspired by a typo seen in a store in Michigan). This is a sweater blog. And you may recall that I’m working on three sweaters at the moment. The cable sweater has gotten no attention in the past couple days because I have so many other projects in the works. I’m okay with that for the time being.

Based on my knitting goals for the day, today I will be splitting out the NaKniSweMo sweater between the sleeve stitches and body. And while the pattern is written to work the sleeves first and then the body, I am modifying the work to knit the body and then go back and knit each sleeve in the round (directions indicate knitting it flat). Because I’m working from a cone of yarn, I can’t knit them two-at-a-time though, so it’s good that I have my spreadsheet to monitor the number of rows/rounds I knit so that the second sleeve can match the first. That does, of course, presume that my gauge remains constant; I’m hopeful on that score, and my past experience has indicated as such.

NaKniSweMo sweater

NaKniSweMo sweater

The third sweater I have on the needles now, being a cardigan worked in pieces, is steadily moving along as well. my knitting goals indicate that tomorrow I will finish the left front so that Saturday I can cast on the right front. For that project the major modification I’ve done is to work short rows for the shoulder shaping, rather than binding off successive rows. For the completed back, I have all the stitches being held on a cable so I can work the shoulder seams using live stitches. I’ll also be able to work the neck stitches directly from live stitches when I go to work the ribbed border.

The other two projects currently in the works are the shawl I shared yesterday, which now has eleven completed border sections (of 40 total), and my latest pair of socks. Cookie A’s uber-popular pattern called “Monkey” is a fun design. Fortunately the stitch pattern is very easy to remember, so I don’t need to reference the pattern until I get ready to knit the heel flap. Again, my experience in this area makes it easy for me to progress as time permits. Plus, the pattern works up interestingly with variegated yarns, so it’s fun to watch the pattern emerge with the changing colors.

Monkey socks

Monkey socks

And now I can get a little bit of knitting in before work…

Sweater Blog – Day 5

I have continued to make steady progress on my sweater o’the month, completing my minimum required stitch count on it. I also managed to complete 1,000+ stitches on my red sweater. Somehow I’ve managed to take on quite a few projects this month. A bad case of startitis, I guess. But, I’ve made progress!

The newest item is a shawl that is intriguing in its design. The border is knit up first, including segments of i-cord interwoven into a cabled design. Once the border is done it’ll be fairly easy to finish up the short-row bead-bordered body. This is about what it looks like now though…

Loopy Shawl in Progress

Loopy Shawl in Progress

I had a fair amount of stuff going on today, in addition to the knitting. And on top of it all, it was Dapper’s birthday. My first dog was born on this day, twenty-four years ago. He was such a trusty, lovable beast. I still miss him, and I think of him every time I visit my basement — his choke chain collar hangs on the door. Today I toast to his memory, and that dog-shaped hole in my heart.

Dapper

Dapper

 

Sweater Blog – Day 4

And the progress¬† continues. I’ve busted out the spreadsheet and confirmed that I was right on track. The yoke is more than half complete, and I’m twelve rows away from starting the first sleeve. Here’s what the piece looked like before I started this morning:

Second day's progress

Second day’s progress

This is certainly an easy knit from the perspective of simple stockinette, but each row is long, and each repeat makes it longer. I’m up to 282 stitches per row. And it can’t be a totally mindless knit since there are 19 stitch markers to slip as I go. It’ll be worth it, though.

This past weekend I also had some fun with digital scrapbooking, in honor of National Digital Scrapbooking Day (first Saturday in November). I got to play a bit with some of my vacation photos. Here are a couple of my layouts…

Playing with textures

Playing with textures

Photo Manipulation

Photo Manipulation

And now I can return to my knitting – so many projects, so little time!

Sweater Blog – Day 3

At last, I have a progress photograph to share!

 

Progress photo 1

Progress photo 1

And as soon as I snapped this photo I started struggling with the increases. There are a total of twenty sections in the yoke, but only four are set off by markers. I found I started having trouble keeping track of where my increases were. My solution was to add more stitch markers.

I’m also not entirely thrilled with how the increases look, but I think they will full up when I wash the sweater to block it. I managed to get through the seventh repeat of the yoke increase section. I still haven’t returned to the spreadsheet to confirm where I should be at this point, but I’m comfortable just knowing that I’ve worked over 4200 stitches.

I am dividing my time among a number of different projects though, so I have to factor that in to all my crafting time. The two other sweaters that I’m working on are at varying stages of completion. My short-sleeved cardigan is about 65% complete as I’m nearly to the point of casting on the sleeve stitches for the left front, and the back is finished. The long-sleeved cabled pullover, which will surely be my most prized possession for a while, is more than 80% complete. I figured out today that I only need to knit three rounds a day on it to be done with the project by November 23. Because I can, I’ll show off a picture of that SIP (sweater in progress):

Staghorn Aran Sweater (progress)

Staghorn Aran Sweater (progress)

Once again, I’d best get back to my knitting. I’ve managed to catch up on a lot of my missed TV shows, too. That included two episodes each of Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods plus the most recent episodes of Criminal Minds and CSI. That leaves this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the past couple weeks of The Crazy Ones. Oh, and I cast on a pair of socks today, so I can have portable knitting.

Back to the sticks…

 

 

 

 

Sweater Blog – Day 2

Well, I did cast on for the new sweater.¬† That’s progress. I also met my daily stitch count quota for sweater #2 in my current WIPs. Given that Daylight Savings Time ends in a few hours, I get an extra hour to work with as I choose. My plan now is to work on the new sweater for the next hour before going to bed. Hopefully that can get me to my daily stitch requirement. Tomorrow I’ll revisit the spreadsheet to confirm this.

Right now, it’s back to knitting for me…

Sweater Blog – Day 1

Well, I have not been as productive with this Sweater Plan as I’d hoped. I did manage to knit up a swatch to check my gauge. But then I haven’t taken the time to block it and actually check the gauge. The only true preparation I’ve done is to create a spreadsheet. These simple little devices provide me with so much motivation. It helps me to have an approximation of the work needed to complete a thing (in this case, the number of stitches); then, I can break down the total amount of work over the allotted time. Somehow, this documentation motivates me to exceed the expectations. I don’t want to only knit the minimum. Rather, I want to do extra. It’s like paying down your mortgage ahead of time. It means there’s less work to do in the future.

And yet, if all I can manage on a given day is the minimum, then that’s okay, too. The extra work I’ve done in the past gives me that cushion. Heck, if I did enough extra work previously, I may even be able to skip a day. But that can only go on for so long before it catches up with you.

So no, I am not ready to cast on the NaKniSweMo sweater today, but I’ve got a plan. And tomorrow I can execute that plan and hit the ground running. Stay tuned for progress and photos…