Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ma's Knittin' Misadventure

A few months ago, I decided it was time to move on from squares and rectangles, and try my hand at knitting a garment. Seein' as I have two young-un's at home, I couldn't very well knit for one and not for the other, so I ended up working on two at the same time. Oddly enough, the one I figured would be the most difficult ended up being the easiest, although they both had their challenges (at least for me)

My daughter wanted something soft and fuzzy, and I knew just the yarn to fit the bill, "Homespun". We took a trip to Joaan's and she picked out the color she wanted. We were all surprised when she chose a lovely lilac color, rather than the bright pink. Turned out it was an excellent choice. In the end, it was the weight of the yarn, and Ma's lack of skills and patience that was the problem.

The pattern Lindsay chose seemed simple enough. The yarn it called for was not the yarn we had chosen though, so I went online and checked the stats for each yarn. They seemed comparable enough. I think there was only 1 stitch differnce between the two. I had already made it most of the way through Nathan's sweater and it seemed to be sizing up nicely, so I figured why bother with a swatch.

Lesson 1: Always listen to Bev, and always swatch!

I set to knitting and was having a grand time with it, until I got to the second half of the front top. The pattern instructed me to slip 6(6.6,8) stitches to the stitch holder, then work as for the other side, reversing shapings. Okay. I could do that! I proceeded to slip 6, joined the new yarn and did my decrease. I got about halfway through the row when something didn't feel right... I reread the instructions. The way the pattern had printed, the "slip 6" was on one line, while the other options (for larger sizes) was on the next line. I should've slipped 8 to the holder! Oh No!

Lesson 2: Always read ahead! It's not a novel. You won't spoil the ending.

Froggy and I went to work, and were doing fine til we reached the dreaded decrease/yarn joining. I discovered the slip/pass technique works very well for locking the joining yarn in. I think it took me a full 30 minutes to get past that last stitch! I fiinally got it figured out and was off knitting again. Was doing fine 'til I got to the last decrease, the shoulder shaping. I was so excited to be almost finished that I forgot to reverse the shaping! Uggh!!! The shoulder was shaped, halfway bound off, and sloping into the neckline! I was so disgusted with myself, I just put it down, went in and decided to fix myself a comfort meal for dinner. To heck with the salad I'd been planning. It was good ol' Macaroni and Cheese to the rescue!

Lesson 3: Always have comfort food on hand, just in case.

I finished my comfort meal, returned to the couch, set myself down and called froggy over. Fortunately, we had become well acquainted on that joining/decrease row, and I was surprised when it all went quite well. I bid froggy a fond farewell (until next time) and was happily knitting, purling, and decreasing my way through the rows. Got to the last 7 stitches and realized I couldn't bind off there. If I bound off there, what would I use to purl the next (and last) row? No way was I going to join another piece of yarn to purl 6 stitches then bind them off! Thought about it a minute and decided to just bind off at the beginning of the next row. Once I was finished, and was thinking about how the shaping of the pattern ran throughout the rest of the front, I decided I had done the right thing.

I think it took me another week to finish the sleeves, knit the collar, and sew everything together. I finished the sweater in the evening, after the kids had gone to bed. The next morning, I finished Nathan's sweater and presented both at the same time.

Nathan slipped his over his head and we were both thrilled with the almost perfect fit. Then it was Lindsay's turn. I helped her pull it over her head, and place her arms through. It was HUGE! That thing was so big on my 9 year old daughter that I decided to try it on. It fit perfectly! A little short for my tastes, but other than that...She loves it, and has worn it several times. If it lasts that long, we figure she'll be able to wear it when she's a Mom!

Lesson 4: See Lesson 1

I have since managed to knit her a new top. I started by knitting a swatch. It fits! (Her, not me. LOL)


Kim said...

Nice job on the link!!! Only one question. I have had a few glasses of wine, but what is the "froggy" reference? Instruction book? Web page? Nickname for the hubby??

~Kim's Mom's Daughter!

Kim's Mom said...

Thank you so much for yoour tutorial on the link! I couldn't beleive how easy it was!

"Froggy" No, it's not a nickname for my dear husband LOL. Okay, Think, "Rip-it, rip-it" :o)

Enjoy your wine!