Thursday, December 2

The Yarn of Froggage

So I think I mentioned that I would be making a Lopi sweater out of yarn frogged from a poorly-conceived sweater started in, um, 1989?

Well, I frogged the offending garment, and started my Lopi sweater, destined to be a Yule gift for my step brother-in-law, the (arguably) lucky winner of my gift in the sibling gift lottery this year.

I knitted away, watching with satisfaction as the thing grew swiftly, having only 128 stitches on the needle for the entire body.

Wait a minute....that looks a little small....

Let's try to explain my thinking here. Bear with me, this promises to be convoluted.

When it comes to ribbing, I almost always use the same size needles for the ribbing as I do for the body. Only the more traditional (or outdated) patterns tend to have that kind of drawn-in ribbing these days anyway, but when I encounter them, I typically rib with the larger needles, figuring it will draw in a bit because it's ribbing, but it won't have that dreadful boofy look that really tight ribbing can produce (we've already discussed my desire not to draw attention to that particular area).

But this time, since it's for a man with broad shoulders who will probably look good with a tighter waist, and since I figured I'd be traditional for once, I used smaller needles for the ribbing. This was a conscious choice. I remember deciding to do it. Well, now I do.

So, when it came time to change to the body stitches, I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:

Reading: "Hmm, change to larger needles and k 1 row in MC, increasing, blah blah."

"Change needles? I don't change needles. Those instructions are for people who follow instructions. Not me, no siree. I remain, immutably, a person who, as a matter of identity, does not change needles. Keep knitting there mama, and pity those poor pathetic souls who have to change needles at the top of the ribbing."

"Hey, colors! Fun. Keep that tension right. Follow that chart. Loop de loop, in and out, front and back, lalalalalala...pretty geometric forms....lalala..."

"Wait a minute. This fabric feels kind of thick. And you know, the body hasn't really started to expand below the needles as I knit. It's looking, well, like it's not much bigger than the circ needle circumference of 29". That's weird, I'm knitting a 40" sweater. My gauge can't be THAT far off. Let's measure."

"FOUR stitches to the inch? Must be wrong. Oh, definitely. Let's measure again. No, there really isn't any way I can claim this to be 3.25 sts/in, even in some sort of denial-fueled fantasy world."

"Hey. Wait a minute. These are SIZE SEVEN NEEDLES. Now it's not altogether unusual for me to go down 3 needle sizes to get gauge, but I have a vague recollection of only going down one needle size for this project. Now that I think about it.....ack! I *did* rib with smaller needles.....Hello, frogpile."

Sigh. This is not a brain with great powers of observation, is it? No, I don't think so either.

So I put the project in time out before frogging it (and not the positive, take a break time out my kids get, no, this was the shaming, you've been a bad, bad knitting project kind of time out), during which time I shared my tale of woe with Thanksgiving guest Sara, and drowned my sorrows in Eloise, who has met her own bump in the road, though at least it doesn't involve frogging, just waiting for yarn.

This past weekend, I refrogged it (this is the yarn that had already been frogged--should I just throw this stuff away and figure it's a bad omen? I think it has one more chance--you know, 1-2-3 Magic).

Luckily, frogging is not so painful when you're knitting with rope. By Monday evening I had this:

The whole thing is now on the backburner, however, as I frantically try to complete a Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf for Rhys, who is out of town with her sister, supporting her through chemo #4. BTW, solo parenting twin toddlers is TIRING and I have been doing it far too much the last few months. I'm glad she's helping her sister, but I'm also relieved Rhys won't be traveling much (except her one day per week in NJ) after this. The upside is I can (probably) knit her a scarf without her knowing, and that will be cool when I surprise her. (Well, that is if she continues her impeccable record of not reading my blog, despite having been given the address. Rhys, if you're reading this, tell me so I can stop sneaking around.)

I'm using some Kureyon in color 128 that Alison RAOK'd me a few weeks back. I think in order to make a respectable scarf, I'm going to need a 3rd skein. Webs' website claims they have that color. I want to put it in the middle of the scarf so any dyelot differences won't be too noticeable, so off to buy yarn with the kids tonight on the way home. Should be interesting. I'll look forward to being laughed at again...


Anonymous said...

ROFL - it's still a highly enjoyable story, even though I got it in person too :) I'm sure you'll be able to finish the Lopi sweater in time to mail. And having a knitting-with-rope project around is in fact pretty satisfying.

and WHAT are you using to make Rhys' scarf? I adore that pattern. Toby would say: "Wh-what, are you doing?".


Mommio said...

I never use the "recommended" needle size so I have to be very good about writing my needles sizes down too. I've been caught by the same mistake many a time. And it sucks!