Thursday, August 26, 2010


I did it! I finally made a sweater that I like so much that I would buy it if I saw it in a store. And it fits perfectly! Drumroll please....
Bliss by Samia Buchan
Cascade 220 Heathers, in colorway Birch
US 7, 8, and 10

Not only do I love this object so much that I never want to take it off, but also, it gave a chance to employ three techniques I LOVE -- and to preach about them here!

  1. Magic Loop Knitting. For the uninitiated, magic loop is a method that allows you to knit small tubes or things that are composed thereof (e.g. sweater sleeves, socks, hats ... ) in the round using only one long circular needle. This method totally obviates the need for dpn's, which were sent to this earth by Satan many years ago in an unfortunate turn of events. Magic loop is wonderful for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it places a very reasonable upper bound on the number of needles you need in your collection. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Here's a video that demonstrates the technique.
  2. Italian Tubular Cast-On. This is a method of creating a stretchy cast-on edge that is also aesthetically pleasing (or at least inoffensive). I like to use it for mitts and sweaters -- anything that needs to have a little extra give. It's got a fancy name that can make it seem intimidating, but it's actually quite easy and definitely worth having in your bag of tricks. Here's a great link. (One thing that can trip you up: when you're holding the yarn and needle as shown in the pictures, the working yarn should be on your left. Otherwise, your cast-on edge will not be stretchy. Obvious point, maybe, but I've messed it up by being careless!)
  3. Cabling without a cable needle. This is probably the second most valuable trick (behind magic loop!) that I've learned in my short 8 months as a compulsive knitter. It saves me so much time, especially in projects like this sweater, where there are several cable twists in every other row. It might seem fiddly, because there are times when stitches are hanging in midair, but I find it less fiddly than repeatedly picking up and putting down a silly piece of curved plastic (and, inevitably, losing it, blaming the cat, and wasting 10 minutes tearing the cushions off the couch, only to find it lodged somewhere in your knitting). Here's a link.
I also got around to doing a bit of spinning in the time since my last post. Most notably, I spun up the handpainted roving (of colorway still to be named -- help, please!) I featured in my last post. Since I'm so new to spinning, and I don't have the good fortune of having real-life friends who spin, it's been hard for me to determine how much twist to put in my singles -- and how to tell if my plying twist is balancing the twist in my singles. With the last 2 oz of this roving (someone correct me, please. it's actually combed top. meh. whatevs.), I finally managed to spin a well-balanced yarn. It came out to about 130 yds and 15 wpi.  The key for me was to put less twist in my singles than I thought I needed, and to ply more than I thought I should.

Look! It hangs in an open loop! Maybe I'm not completely hopeless after all!

It's already in the process of being knit into something, but that will be kept secret for now. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I've already said I love the sweater, but I'll say it again. I love the sweater, and it looks so nice on you.

    The three techniques you describe mean absolutely nothing to me, so I'll have to take time to watch the videos. I need a visual. I couldn't possibly do without a cable needle for the Sea Tangles sweater, though, because the strands are already "fiddly"—great word.

    And the hand-painted roving is beautiful! Looks like something you'd buy in a good yarn shop.