Make it up as you go along

Mindy’s sweater is done and off to her. I’ll get pictures eventually and I’ll share. I’m really pleased with that sweater. The length is what she wanted, the colors suit her coloring and the design was fun to execute. Plus plus plus! And because it’s off my needles, I’m onto something else.

Have you seen “Milk Money” with Melanie Griffith? She has a quintessential line in that movie . . . “and the rest of it we’ll make up as we go along.”  It’s a cute movie and that line stuck with me. It really defines my approach to sweater design. I really do make it up as I go along. I’ll start with a plan and before I know it, the project has jumped tracks and turned into something entirely different. I live in a world of “what if?”.

It’s fairly inevitable that when knit projects are done there will be scraps left over. Sometimes it’s skeins, sometimes it’s partial skeins and sometimes it’s little balls of yarn just a few yards long. I’m a penny pincher and I can’t throw out left over yarn. I don’t know a knitter who can. The challenge is to use up the disparate lengths of yarn, a far more interesting project than whatever the original yarn supply was used for.

Here’s my current project. I was going to do a reprise of my kangaroo pocket sweatshirt but the train completely jumped the tracks. It’s actually a really neat use of all the disparate lengths of yarn left over from four different sweater projects. Bear in mind, this is *after* I used up a lot of it in my kangaroo pocket sweatshirt. Just to be clear, this is sweater #2 from the same batch of left over yarn.

Unexpected direction!

There’s usually a penalty for haring off in a new direction. The penalty here is the enormous number of ends needing worked in. I think the end result is worth it. It will be interesting to see if I have enough yarn to create sleeves. I’m thinking I won’t and will have to buy more yarn. Oh darn.

The end is in sight!

I started this sweater over two years ago. I got it to this point and there it sat. I had no plan, just lots of lovely Lang Recycled Denim yarn. Because I couldn’t decide where it was going I put it away and worked on other things.

Turkey day, 2017

Then April rolled around and I had something I wanted to try that was going to fit with where I thought this sweater was headed. I got this far and put it back away.

April 2018

One of the projects I worked on was Bamboo Pop Banner which had lots of lovely color and beads on the front.

Bamboo Pop Banner

I loved the yarn, I loved what I did with it but the addition of the 3.0 glass beads upset the balance and caused the sweater to shift slightly forward on my body causing the back of the neck to come in contact with my neck. Nope, couldn’t do that and there was no way I was frogging all that lovely work so I gifted the sweater to my niece. She loves it and I didn’t have to frog it. Win win!

But that experience got me thinking. I wanted to make a kangaroo pocket sweat shirt with the left over yarn from knitting Swoop but the weight of the pocket would throw off the balance. If I lengthened the back at the hem using the same amount of yarn I used in the pocket, I would get a sweater that stayed in balance and I’d have the benefit of the pocket (which I couldn’t use without upsetting the sweater’s balance but it would look cool. Plus I could try some stuff I’d discovered when I knit the bolero cardi . . . which I frogged to get the yarn to knit the kangaroo pocket sweat shirt . . . yeah, you can see where this is going.

Goshen Kangaroo Pocket

Mindy tried my sweatshirt on and loved the pocket. I now had a plan for her Lang Recycled Denim sweater! Beauty! She came yesterday and tried it on and it’s right on the money! I’ll be squeeking on the yarn to get the body length she wants. I’m almost there! I finished one sleeve last night and got the other started.

Test fit!

Conti-raglan, green

I started this eons ago. It’s not my colors but the colors work beautifully for my sister. It’s not my neck shape (hugs the back of the neck) but it is right for my sister. I had set it aside because I couldn’t figure out where it was going. Now I know, kangaroo pocket Henley for my sister.
I am totally loving this project. Sometimes the *make it up as I go along* doesn’t go so well. This time, it’s totally rocking it!
 
The yarn is a combo of Lang’s Denim Cotton (recycled cotton) and Lion Brand Recycled Denim. The bit on the yarn holder (bluish yarn in the center) is the start of the kangaroo pocket.
 
Truly, I’m loving this. Plus I’m learning new stuff. Totally cannot beat that.WIP, conti-raglan, green

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye . . .

You’ve probably seen the brouhaha in the news regarding how conservatives were treated by the owners of Ravelry. It was bad. It was egregious. It was completely unnecessary. The bigotry and bullying have reached a point where conservatives no longer feel welcomed, and changing the meaning of hate speech to “any speech which offends” is truly offensive. And as a result, I’ve left Ravelry. My profile page is still there but by the end of the week, every other presence I have there (other than purchased patterns) will be history.

As a result of the Rav owners’ bigotry a lot of people have left Ravelry. Anyone who commented favorably on Trump or Kavanaugh was banned. Anyone who said anything negative about Blasey Ford was reviled. As a result of the changed atmosphere, conservative knitters no longer feel welcomed and are leaving Ravelry to congregate in other places on the web.

Don’s expect to find any of my projects on Ravelry. I will neither participate in nor support a group whose leaders practice studied and blatant intolerance. In deleting my posts and projects I am removing all the help I ever gave anyone. All the tips, tricks, advice, work-around, new stuff I discovered . . . all of it. And I don’t feel bad. If people had stepped forward and said “this is wrong” instead of staying silent, my help/advice/tips/tutorials would still be available to all therein. And if my deleted content means there are gaping holes where my contributions used to reside, tough cookies. For those who failed to step up and confront injustice when it lifted its ugly head, don’t bitch when the fallout bites your backside.

Actions have consequences. The blowback for Ravelry may be a punch they can take. Their membership is truly global. Whether they suffer from their bigotry is inconsequential. I’m gone because I can’t support something I don’t believe in. Intolerance and bigotry have no place in the knitting world.

Too much sunset

I learn by doing. Each project has lessons for me and I embrace them with joy. Each less than perfect spot in a project means the next project will be just that much better because I’ve learned something.

Each sweater I’ve knit has taught me a lot. I can lay a sweater out and show you where I learned something, like how to do intarsia in the round, how to improve the back neck shaping, tweak the shoulder shaping for a flawless fit, perfect faux sleeves . . . the list goes on. I can’t conceive of working a project and not learning something new, not *trying* something new. It’s how I’m wired.

I had a lot of yarn left over from the Sunset sweater. The sun took less than a yard of two different colors. Each block of color used up only a portion of the supply I bought. What I had left over was *almost* enough for a sweater . . . almost. So I bought a couple more skeins of purple and waited for inspiration to strike. And it did!

I saw a sweatshirt on Pinterest that spoke to me. *This* color blocking was what I wanted to knit. Ooo, the challenge!

You can pop this off in raglan . . . it would look great! If you’re interested in trying this, here are the skills you’ll need beyond basic top-down sweater knitting.

Using up the yarn left over from Sunset at the Farm

What? You thought this was hard? Nope. Tedious? Yes. Hard? Not even. The result . . . yeah, that’s pretty spectacular.

The tips on what I will do next time (assuming there is such a thing) are at the bottom of this post. The following instructions are for what I did on *this* sweater.

The angle is created by working a short row turn every fourth stitch starting six stitches from the point at which you want the angle to start. For this sweater it was right under the arm after working the underarm caston.

Place a marker where you want the center top of your angle to start. Work six stitches and then work a SRT (short row turn). Turn your work and work in the opposite direction past the marker and six more stitches, then work a SRT. This completes your angle setup. This next bit is the repeat. Turn and work to the previous SRT. Work the SRT and three more stitches before working another SRT. Repeat until you have ~12 stitches remaining. This is the low side of your angle.

Now work three rows of the background stripe color in the round working all the stitches. Knit the first row, purl the second, knit the third. That’s the separation border between body and striped section.This will be repeated at the end of the horizontal color stripe section before the vertical stripe section.

Now work the horizontal stripes doing the same SRT sequence changing color every second row. Once all the horizontal stripes are complete, work the separation border.

To prep the bobbins for the vertical stripe portion, knit a two-stitch swatch. Do *not* slip any edge stitches. The goal is to get a good estimate of the yarn required for each vertical stripe of color. Knit to the length you want the vertical stripe. Put a temporary knot in the yarn and frog it. Measure from the start of the yarn to the temporary knot. Multiply by 2. Add 10%. If you’ve lots of yarn to spare and are worried that you won’t have enough, add another 10%. That’s the length of yarn you will need for each *pair* of stripes.

Use the *carrying yarn without floats* technique to connect the bobbins to the live stitches. I need to do a video on this. It’s super easy to do but really tough to explain. I’ll add it to my *to do* list. Soon. Maybe.

I worked six rows of seed stitch at the bottom edge of the sleeves and used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Castoff in the stripe colors. I used an invisible closure and worked the ends in. This, too, needs a video. It’s a tiny bit fussy but the join where the start and end of the castoff occurs truly does vanish, like it was never there.

If I were to do this color blocking sweater again I would make the following adjustments. I would . . .

  • extend the angle up/down onto the sleeves for a more harmonious color break. I would start the SRTs on the upper sleeve prior to the separation of the sleeve. This would require a bit of calculation. It would go something like this. Count the sleeve stitches at the underarm caston point. Subtract 12 (for my measurements – it should be about 1/3 the total count) stitches for the top of the angle. Divide that number by 3 (working with the new numbers – see below). That’s the number of SRTs/rows before the underarm caston where the angle must start.
  • make the SRTs every third stitch to give the angle just a little more heft.
  • start the color change under the arm with a jogless stripe connection at the center of the start of the angle so the end of each stripe on back and front matches exactly in technique.
  • knit three rows of horizontal color so the width of the color bands more closely matches the width of the vertical stripes.

So, there you have it. What I did, what I would do in the future . . . it’s a thing.