Wednesday, December 05, 2007

British Checks and Minty Stripes

I finally got started on Jeff's sweater last weekend. The yarn AND the needles had all arrived. I swatched madly most of Saturday. I had to go down a needle size, which contradicts my belief that I knit too tightly. But I got the gauge spot-on. I actually knitted a little mini-version of the sweater through a pattern repeat. I'm going to be glad I did, because this sweater is going to be a bear to un-do if circumstances call for it (i.e., I screw up). It's a little weird, because right now everything is bunched up on the circular needle and it's going to be a while before I'll be able to reconfirm that I'm getting the right number of stitches per inch.

In the meantime, I'm having fun. I'm slowly getting the hang of knitting with both hands for the stranded part. And I'm finally getting what is meant by one yarn traveling beneath the other. I couldn't get it before, but somehow a light bulb went off. It's very important to decide which color will travel above and which one will travel below -- and then not to switch them. The lower color (in this case, the lighter one) will "pop" more than the other. I did the opposite in the swatch, and I can really tell a difference. In this picture, I wanted the lighter color to be emphasized, so it's carried below the darker. This post at nonaKnits has an excellent photo that shows what a difference yarn dominance can make. I don't pretend to have a firm grasp of the physics involved here, but I believe it occurs because the stitches from the yarn carried below have tendency to be slightly larger than the stitches from the yarn carried above. If I think about it, I'll try and get a picture from the back of the sweater to illustrate.

This yarn is a dream to knit with. Very soft and easy on the hands. It has little fly-away strands that pop up every now and then. It kind of makes the fabric look likes it's covered in cat hair. Jeff said he doesn't mind, as long as it isn't actual cat hair. Achoo.

I also cast on for some socks late last week. As mentioned, I ditched the navy socks I was working on. This new pair is made from Sknitches Syncopation self-striping sock yarn. The color? Mocha Mint Latte, which is a combination that sounds great at first, but kind of makes me queasy after a while. The latte, not the yarn. I really like the wide stripes and I really really like that while the latte part is quite solid, the mocha and mint parts are semi-solid, color-wise. Great stitch definition. Like all self-striping yarn in a cuff-down pattern, weird things will happen around the heel, but overall I'm pleased.

I worked like crazy on these for two days, but since the sweater came in to my life, I haven't touched them.


  1. Can't wait to see this sweater come to life. And I love that sock yarn. Where did you get it?!

  2. You could do an afterthought heel... that would leave the striping pattern undisurbed from the cuff to instep area.... and the latte part is big enough that I bet you could do the heel entirely in latte. Yes?