Monday, January 25, 2010

A More Carefree Carefree and Other Assorted Stuff

There's only so much plain stockinette I can knit (maybe anyone can knit) before going absolutely bored bonkers. So I put aside Milkshake (more on that later) and started Carefree. This lovely pattern is a bit deceptive. It begins with the ominous words "Cast on 300+ stitches and join without twisting." I mulled over the implications of this for a bit, looked at the pattern chart, then decided to do a bit of reverse engineering (to call it unventing would be something of which I suspect EZ might not approve). I decided to knit it in the flat, casting on a mere 150+ stitches plus 2 selvedge stitches. And to make counting easier on the circular needle (something I find tough to do on a circular needle, for some reason), I placed markers to set off the ribbed sections and each 18 stitch repeat of the staggered cable section. Counting was a snap. I should have been doing this all along but now I know. The pattern itself is a cinch, 2x2 ribbing and the staggered cable, 16 row repeat to the pattern. Here's a macro shot of 1 pattern repeat:
Carefree start
The second reason that knitting Carefree in the flat may be better than knitting in the round is: biasing. Biasing happens when the twisted plies of the yarn are constrained by knitting in the round (it can also happen when knitting in the flat but since you are not knitting in a spiral, it's less severe). The JaggerSpun Zephyr is pretty well twisted, enough so that biasing is a real possiblity. Add to that the cable and rib pattern means that only gentle blocking should be used (so that biasing would not be blocked out). The upshot of this is that knitting in the flat may help this pattern realize its most beautiful potential, at least in my hands and with this yarn.
And how do I like this yarn? Oh, it's so lovely to work with, though a bit thicker than I thought it would be. DH is jealous he can't have a vest of it (if it came in a worsted weight, I'd make him a dressy vest of it). It's more slippery than pure wool but not so slippery I can't cable without a cable needle. The heathery color glows, guess that's the silk. At $44 per 1040 yard cone (1 pound) from Weaving Rainbow, it's a good price too.

Milkshake was 2/3 finished (front and back). I say "was" because as I was finishing up the front I decided to change the bateau neckline to one that would require no picking up stitches afterward. A self-finishing neckline, as it were. So that meant that the blocked back had to be frogged to the correct place for the new neckline to be reknit. That's where the back is: live stitches on smaller needles just waiting for me to knit those last inches. Well here's the completed back before I frogged:
Blocking Milkshake back
Doesn't look like much, does it? When the back's redone and the front is blocked, and the pieces joined, then it should look like a garment. With a finished neckline!

We went for fittings last week, the bride and I. My dress is nice, though the skirt is way big and the top way small. The dressmaker is altering it. The bride's gown is nearly perfect. See for yourself:
Send me my pages
Her train I fear will be in the next zip code:
Train needs its own zip code
It's not nearly extended in the photo, there's not enough room in the shop for it! We need to rent a few pages now.

Last evening DH and I saw Crazy Heart. If you haven't seen it, do. It won Golden Globe and SAG awards for Best Actor (Drama) and Best Song. Jeff Bridges was amazing. Those awards were well-earned.

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