Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Meanwhile, I'm Knitting

Sweater News

The Rhinebeck sweater isn't done yet, but we're getting there.

The collar is finished and now fits over my pointy little head. The hem has been completely redone and doesn't flip or flare (I'll tell you what I did in another post).

Then two nights ago I sat down, slid another episode of the original Forsyte Saga into the player (Fleur Forsyte, you are a conniving bitch, but I cannot look away) and wove in all the ends.

Talk about maximum result for minimum effort. It only took me about an hour, but when I was finished the sweater seemed to have taken a giant leap towards completion.

Encouraged by this, I did what I should not have done. I tried something new, when I ought to have shut the lights out and gone to bed.

The underarm stitches had been patiently hanging around on waste yarn since I'd put them there weeks ago. I slid those on the right side onto two needles, propped up Knitting Without Tears on the work table and decided this would be the perfect time to learn stockinette weaving.

Do I even need to tell you what happened next? No, I didn't think so.

Happily, the Jo Sharp wool I'm using is quite soft, so the living room window didn't break when the sweater hit it.

There's no photo. I can't even draw you a picture. It's too painful to recall. Though not as painful as undoing the screwy weaving and putting 40 stitches back on the needles again, dropping two for every one that gave no trouble.

[Note to Kathy Merrick: at this point I am so grateful to my crochet hook just for being there that I think I may need to learn to crochet out of sheer gratitude.]

The sweater and I will reconvene tonight (early) to revisit the matter of underarm weaving. I shall be armed with the video demonstration of Elizabeth Zimmerman weaving (thanks, Greg!), Montse Stanley, the Vogue Knitting Reference, and Mary Thomas. And it is going to work, or this time I'm throwing the sweater at the window again, but this time the window is going to be open.

Lace Report

If you had told me back during the "Branching Out" era that I would some day knit lace to relax, I would have said you were nuts.

But that's what I'm doing. Granted, we're talking dreadfully simple lace, knitted with sock yarn (Nature Spun, I think) on US 2 3/4 Inox needles.

Here's a picture:

I know, I know. It's not much. There's no plan for it, even. I'm just making a sampler using stitch patterns I learned in my classes at Stitches Midwest. When I get tired of working a pattern, I knit a few plain rows and do a different one.

Perhaps I will call this the "Fear of Commitment" stole.

Along the bottom is the Estonian "Peacock" pattern, with the "Twig" pattern running up both sides above. In the middle is "Chain Hearts," which comes from Orenburg, in a field of garter stitch. Above all of that, in progress, is the Estonian "Leaf" pattern (no nupps).

This is what I've been doing on the train morning and evening, and loving it. I'll keep knitting it until I get sick of it or run out of yarn, then bind it off and use it to practice blocking. It's too wide to be a scarf, so I'm calling it a stole.

Stole, scarf, table runner, antimacassar–whatever. All I know is it has no neckline and no underarms, and right now that's enough for me, baby.


Anonymous said...


Try Lucy Neatby's solution to grafting/stockinette weaving with a sock toe chimney -

Enjoying your blog and I thought you were 6ft 3 inches from your photo until I read through your archives.

Anonymous said...

I recommend you spend some time just looking at the way the loops of yarn interconnect with each other. You could even take some waste stockinette and weave in a constrasting color on the top side, just following where the yarn is going. Do the same on the bottom side in a different spot.

Essentially, grafting (or weaving) is all about duplicating the pattern of those loops.

Anonymous said...

Grafting is one thing I CAN do well (at least sock toe grafting) and I owe it all to

My verification word - hwnem. I think I said that to my kids last night.

Anonymous said...

I love it when people use the word antimacassar in casual conversation.

Rebekah Ravenscroft-Scott said...

your lace is FANTABULOUS, I'm so proud for you :)

as for weaving, I must confess that is one knitting acrobatic that I have not mastered. Not for lack of trying either, but I just gave up on it. do share your secret with us when you finally do get it right (which I know will be tonight!)

Anonymous said...

I find sock yarn a very good weight for lace. and probably nice for learning because it is big enough to see what you are doing. A great idea to just try something until you get sick of it and then change patterns. Who cares what the finished product can be used for you got maximum learning and relaxation in the process.

I've never had a problem with grafting but I don't know why. It might be one of those things you have to convince yourself is not going to be difficult. Starting earlier in the evening should help though.

If it is too frustrating, I don't see why a 3 needle bind off wouldn't work there instead. I've done that on sock toes (turn sock inside out first) and it seems fine.

Anonymous said...

A dear knit friend of mine directed to your blog when you posted Man vs Sweater. I'm so glad she did! I've read you every post since and look forward to future posts.

goblinbox said...

Your head doesn't look pointy in the pictures!

ivyleaves said...

This video is the one that worked for me. Another caveat: the bottom row will be 1/2 stich offset from the top row as you work the graft.

Anonymous said...

So that's what you were working on! Gorgeous. Can't wait to hear tales of blocking. :-) I'm horrible, I know.

Congrats on every small sweater conquest. But leave the stockinette grafting for a time when you've got 2 hours of uninterrupted at work. :-)

dragon knitter said...

i second all the advise given. if it's any consolation, it took me through 3 hats to figure it out, and now i can graft stocking & garter. which is good, since i ahve rogue on the needles, and the hood is grafted cables on a garter background. whew. good luck to ya! (my verification word was ydisy, which to me comes out as why, dizzy? go figure)

Anonymous said...

Franklin, the sweater will turn out. When all else fails, use the stapler to finish off those nasty seams. Works on pant cuffs, too. Just remember to do it from the inside so only the littlest prongs will show. (A friend of mibe calls it Lesbian Hemming.)
The lace is wonderful. It makes me hot. I think I love you. Will you marry me?

Yvonne said...

The lace looks great! I haven't tried lace yet...heck, I just started knitting a sweater, after having graduated from scarves (many) to hats (1) to a bag (in progress). It's a small sweater, too, for my small child (skin and bones, and like 1 percent body fat. Lucky thing.)

BTW I wanted to let you know I had stolen a quote from your blog and put it on mine as one of the funniest things I've heard (or read) recently. I have given credit.

Anonymous said...

Have you watched The Pallisers? if not, run - don't walk - to the nearest library or DVD store and get all of them.

Kelly said...

if none of your other helps help with your grafting send me an email I'll send you the only directions that have ever helped me...

Anonymous said...

The Forsyte Saga just rolls my socks up and down - and for his being the bad guy, I really like Soames (and how Damian Lewis brings such life to the character I had only read about). Nice to find another knitter who likes the saga as much as I do =)

BTW, Sorry we missed one another at the Harlot's signing. It would have been nice to tell you in person how much I admire your lace work.

Anonymous said...

I second (third) the online video suggestions already given. Until I actually saw it being done I couldn't quite understand. Now I sit there saying to myself (after the set up stitches) - knit, off, purl - purl, off, knit. Nobody better interrupt me... Also - the section in the back of any IK magazine has a good explaination.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I came to read the Harlot adventure from a few posts back and I'm so glad I did! (The note to God? Priceless.)

Grafting is such a stumbling block for me. More power to you.

Nik said...

I have a lace dishcloth pattern that I'm going to use as my intro to lace knitting. you've done a nice job with your lace project.

birdfarm said...

Words from today that I love and cherish:

1) antimacassar
2) lesbian hemming

god you're popular these days! Reading all your comments has gotten to be more time-consuming than reading your blog! I don't know if I can keep up! But your commenters are so witty! Whatever shall I do! Enough with the exclamation points!

Hope you're well
your original fan

Anonymous said...

I think your lace is doing fine. And as far as working a "sampler" of patterns, don't worry about it. There's lots of historic examples of them; perhaps the knitters were working a "catalog" of patterns for future reference. It's a great way to learn basic lace-knitting skills, to see how patterns have developed, and to learn the basics of how lace is structured and constructed. If you keep your eyes open and pay attention to what is happening, it's all valuable leanring for future projects. (And future lace-knitting troubleshooting.)

Amy said...

Found you by way of the Harlot's latest post. Just wanted to say "hi" and that I love the cartoons!

Anonymous said...

Video Schmideo. Bring something to graft and I'll show you at Rhinebeck while we're drinking coffee and schmoozing. One week. Can ya stand it????
Selma, whose verification word for the day is Xfedy, which sounds like the latest designer drug.

Anonymous said...

Hi Franklin -

Don't fuss too much over the underarm grafting. It's like sock toes; who's ever going to see it??

If you're knitting your sampler stole on the train, shouldn't it be "Fear of Commuting"?

Have fun

Catherine (alias xyzenaj ... Jane Xyz - my porn star alias?

Anonymous said...

Franklin, if you can make that, you make my lover tank. It's only a six-stitch, four row repeat.

And someone WE KNOW said you have the body for it. I believe him.

Tallguy said...

Everyone has already mentioned using Lucy's technique for grafting, and it does work very well. (and she is such a neat lady!) Grafting is really duplicate stitching 'in the air', so to speak. Once you do this, you will see what I mean.

And when things aren't working, just put it away. It will wait for you!

muebles en madrid said...

What namely you're saying is a terrible blunder.

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