Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Cutaway Techniques 

I've been working hard and fast on my Cutaway Cardi. I was pleased to find that the more I knit of her, the faster the process seemed to be going - I finished the right front in about 3 days! This was gratifying, not just because I'm excited to be nearing the finished product, but because it makes me feel like I'm gaining proficiency with the yarn and the pattern, and finding the stockinette to be fluid (My friend Susanne made a comment at Stich n Bitch the other night about how I'm a very productive knitter, which made me wonder if I'm too product-focused...or if I need to read Margene more often...I'll have to address that later).

This sense of new skills came because I've done some techniques with this sweater that I've never done before. Cable cast-on, which I've practiced in the past but not really used, is called for to make the curves on the fronts. My attempts at it on the left front went badly - I kept thinking that I cast on the right amount, but the numbers never matched. Finally, I ripped and used the single cast-on. I decided to use the proper technique for the right front, and when I looked closely at my directions, I saw that I was supposed to turn my work to do it correctly on the other side. Woops. At least the second one came out perfectly.

Both of the cast-ons provided a challenge for my next technique - picking up a button band. I've successfully picked up stitches before, but the cast-on's created little holes in the fabric that made it more difficult.

hole

When I tried to pick up straight through the cast-on loop, it simply pulled the hole, ensuring that even the tight ribbing that would be knitting on it wouldn't pull it in.

pickupin hole

So, I picked up two stitches for each hole, pulling the yarn through the two stitches at its top and bottom.

pickupright

Clearly, it makes a much cleaner line.

pickedup

The holes could still be seen a bit when the picking up was finished, but are fairly invisible in the finished piece. That said, it's not the neatest job ever, but I'm hoping it will even out with blocking and time and, you know, wishing.

front

Close-up, yo!

As I'm finishing up, I'm also pondering the best blocking method for this sweater. It will need a fairly thorough blocking to make the fronts lay flat around the curves. I also want the fabric to bloom and grow a bit since I made the sweater at a size smaller than I would have preferred. This would naturally make me thing a wet block would be the way to go. After reading Loop-d-loop and the goddess Teva's unequivocal words against wet-blocking, however, I started to reconsider. The cotton content of the yarn, need for the fronts to be shaped pretty intensely, and short timeline I'm working under (see below) make me lean towards a good steaming. Should I do a preliminary steam, then wet-block later? Should I wait and see?

Now, I'm working on the final sleeve, yay! I'm hoping to finish it, do all of the seaming and block it so that I can wear it to the Knit Out tomorrow on the Mall (BTW, I'm pretty sure that's a picture of Lolly on the Knit Out page - top right. I'm sad that she's too busy being in Hawaii to come and celebrate our real life meeting anniversary :)). Is this a realistic goal? Will I be able to rock my new cardi downtown? Stayed tuned and find out...