Posts tagged ‘guage’

Work in Progress: The Perfect Cardi

Ever since I’ve gotten into knitting , I’ve wanted a perfect, basic, black cardigan. When I first started working with Liberty Wool by Classic Elite last year, I knew I had to make myself a cardi out of it. A couple months ago, I started this…

The picture makes the black a tad washed out, but the yarn is a beautiful jet black with incredible stitch definition.

I put it down for a while to work on a couple other projects, but then just picked it up again. I’ve wanted this sweater for a couple years and with babies coming in March or April, it’s probably the last big thing I’ll knit for me in a while.

I’m loving the stitch pattern, it’s a slip stitch pattern that resembles a cable, but has a much more squishy texture than most cable patterns.

I am having a bit of difficulty in designing the sleeve caps. I feel like a set-in sleeve is the most flattering sleeve design on women’s garments, especially if you like a more tailored look, like I do. But in my opinion, it happens to be the most finicky to calculate compared with raglan and yoke shaping, especially since these can be done top down and seamlessly. Yes, I know there are ways to do a set in sleeve top down and seamlessly, but from the last two sweaters I’ve used those methods on, I’ve found you can’t really get the exact same effect as when it’s done in pieces. As I get more experience, I may change my mind. But this sweater definitely required the structure and precision that you get when working in pieces. I spent most of the weekend wrestling with math and trying to get my sleeve caps to make sense, but that math I normally use to design a sleeve cap just wasn’t working for me. I finally figured out the problem. Gauge. Isn’t that always the way? This time it wasn’t really an error, so much as realizing once again why gauge matters. This ribbed “cable” stitch had completely different stitch to row proportions than normal stockinette, making the math I normally use completely useless. I could have messed around and figured something else out, but I decided to call in an expert.

Shirley Paden’s Knitwear Design Workshop.

The cheapskate in me rarely, rarely buys knitting books. If it isn’t yarn or needles, or maybe a pattern, I feel like I’m being extravagant, because I’m not directly contributing to a final project. Which is just a silly perspective. But I actually did it, I put in an order to amazon right then. I hope to get it sometime this week. I’m really excited about getting a bit more educated on the ins and outs of how to design a garments structure from scratch. I’ve learned a lot from experience, blogs and podcasts, and patterns. But it’s just been a little here and a little there. I feel like this will be a much more comprehensive approach that will add quite a bit of polish to my designs.

Well, I’ll give a more complete review when I’ve actually gotten a chance to dig into the book a bit more.

In the mean time it’s back to knitting, I haven’t even started the sleeves yet!

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January 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm 3 comments

Perspectives on Swatching

I’ve been swatching for days. As much as designing a new sweater can sound all exciting. There is a reality after that first completed sketch that sets in when you reallize how much thought needs to go into getting that sweater from the back of a napkin to cozily wrapped around you. The biggest hurdle is the one all knitters dread. Swatching.

The controversy over swatching is up there with continental vs. english and magic loop vs. DPNs, There is a lot of articles, books, chapters of books, and blog posts written on this topic. Many knitters argue that it’s one of the most important techniques of knitting. Others avoid it like a plauge.

Now, personally I don’t hate swatching categorically. Sometimes I love it. But sometimes it seems downright unnecessary. So as I’ve spent hours and hours working on little bits of knitting that will never turn into anything besides good math, I’ve been thinking a lot about my position on swatching.

When I Love it:

  1. When I’m feeling noncommittal. It’s an excellent way to feel if I like certain yarn or stitch pattern without feeling like I’m getting married to it for the next chunk of time. Sometimes if I’m really nervous about starting, I’ll do two or three swatches before actually casting on. I heard someone call it the dating phase of the knitting relationship
  2. It’s the one your knitting teacher/tudor will whack you over the head with every time you have a sweater that doesn’t fit, but it’s absolutely true. If you have a good swatch, your sweater will fit. I love sweaters that fit, therefore I love swatching. A good gauge swatch really is the magic that makes all the math that goes into a design work. If you’re thinking about investing a few weeks or months of your life into something, a few extra hours really is worth it.
  3. This kinda goes with number 1, but when I’m bored, and don’t have any big knitting to sink my teeth into. A swatch makes me feel like I might start a sweater, or I might come up with something I like better, in either case, my hands were busy, and all I lost was a few yards of yarn.
  4. As a designer, I LOVE getting to touch the fabric that will make up my next creation, it’s very inspiring. 🙂
Why I don’t always do it:
  1. If size doesn’t matter, like a blanket or shawl, no reason to swatch.
  2. If I’m knitting something small like socks or mittens, it’s just as easy to rip out my work as it is to do a swatch. So why bother knitting a little swatch when the sock or mitten itself could be your swatch. AND you just might get lucky and not need to rip out, in that case a swatch would have actually been a waste of time.
  3. If I’ve knit with the exact same yarn and needles. Yes, I know stress levels is a big factor in getting gauge, but I like to think I’m relatively predictable. (Full disclosure, I have been burned by this before, but it was a pair of socks, see #2).
  4. Hats are ambiguous, due to how little time they take, I tend to use the yarn and needles suggested and hope for the best. I do check my gauge along the way.
So there you have it, just one more knitter’s view on the topic. What are your opinions on swatching? A waste of time? Swatch Nazi? I’m curious.

October 27, 2011 at 9:35 am 1 comment

This is how it always goes

What’s wrong with this picture?? Yeah, my guage from the 1st sock is way smaller than the guage on my attempt at a second sock. It might have something to do with the fact that I started this sock about two years ago, and come to think of it, that was before I had figured out that I make my knit stitches backwards, so I’m betting I had tighter guage. I could have sworn I did the whole thing on 2.25mm. But this bit of knitting mismatch would suggest otherwise.

So I’m sitting at gate C1 in laguardia airport waiting to board my flight, and in spite of a mad desire to crank through a good chunk of this sock, I’m reckoning with the fact that it’s just not going to be right. I need to wait and cast on with the 1.75mm when I get home.The worst part of all this was that I thought about throwing my 1.75mm needles in the bag with my knitting. But being the light packer that I am on flights, I decided to check the pattern and pack accordingly. You’d think that checking the pattern would have kept me out of this sort of trouble…. Oh well, guess I’ll be reading my nook on the flight instead.

 

October 29, 2010 at 6:45 am Leave a comment

This is what I do…

So I’m designing a sweater. My yarn has arrived. I’ve swatched not once or twice, but three times. And I’ve been spending the last two weeks researching the structure of a set in sleeve sweater. Facinating stuff.

This whole project is representing quite well the reality I deal with all the time. I have two modes, distracted and obsessed. And my knitting follows suit. No guage swatching, no blocking, flying be the seat of my pants and this…

January 22, 2010 at 11:10 am Leave a comment


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