April 26, 2011

A New Sweater and A New CO Technique

Cast On #1:  Finishing the Traveling Woman Shawl was quite the accomplishment; but it took so long that I started to itch for something new.  So, on Saturday, I cast on for not one, but TWO new patterns.  The first is Rocket's short-sleeved sweater. This pattern is coming together so nicely that I am sure it will be available by the beginning of summer (well, summer that is if you have a spring--here in Georgia we have about two weeks of spring and then it's summer until about Halloween!)  Although it's coming along very nicely, Rocket insists that she absolutely has to have three colors of striping.  I'm knitting the button band intarsia style rather than separately; so now I've reached the point where I am going to have to work from two separate skeins of blue, and that means I had to order another one.  With gas prices so high lately, it turns out that it is about 1/2 of a tank of gas cheaper to just order the one skein online and pay shipping than to drive to the only LYS that I actually like and buy one skein.  So, waiting on the postman to go any further.  You're probably wondering which yarn I am using.  Rocket picked out a rather scratchy, but hopefully very soft after a few washings Ella Rae "Marls" combo.

I'll even give you the site where I got a fantastic deal by comparison to places like Yarnmarket.com:  Webs.com has Ella Rae "Marls" on sale for $3.99 a skein.  With shipping, it cost me about $1 more to order it than if I had bought it at the LYS--40 miles of gas excluded.  Let me tell you, the colors are three variations of the same basic color (light, dark, darkest), and the "strawberry" and "tangerine" are just gorgeous!

Besides, I can use the break because I have vowed to use what I learned at Stitches South and knit the entire sweater using the Russian knitting techniques (great for purling, not so comfortable for knitting) from the class that I took.  I have discovered that my fingers are suffering because my woolen stitches are so much tighter and more difficult to move along the needles.  Flip side:  the back of the sweater is not a series of groups of pearled rows, but one solid pearled fabric.  It's rather lovely.

Cast On #2:  I started the Autumn Vines Beret for the YOTH KAL.  I'd show you my progress except that three rows of ribbing isn't very impressive.  I discovered that the silk/wool/nylon Knoro that I had in my stash for this project was not the right weight once I purchased the pattern.  I ended up dying my own yarn for this pattern with some sport weight superwash merino.  I am calling it "Spinster", and it is a rather lovely--even if the pictures don't show it--variation of gradations of greys and lavenders.  See?

Now the pattern for this endeavor is where the "learn-a-new-CO-technique" comes in.  The directions begin with instructions to use a long-tail CO, purl-wise.  Purl-wise?  I didn't even know there was a purl-wise option!  This is kind of a pain to master, but quick to pick up if you are already pretty adept with the regular long-tail CO method.  Turns out, I no longer have to have a row of knitted stitches before I can begin a top-down sock or the neck ribbing of a sweater. HMMM!  I can just cast on in the ribbing pattern and go!  So, thank goodness for Youtube.com, right?  Here's a little video that I used and have pilfered (lawyers should think of this as "free Youtube contributor promotion") that taught me how to do this nifty little CO technique.  Watch it, try it, learn something new!

And as always, happy knitting!


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