Tuesday, May 11, 2010

some times I'm a slow learner ...

really I am, there is this thing, a process that I some times come across in knitting and every time I strike the same problem, and it always takes me three or four variations of process before I come to a solution .. and its the same solution every time. Now you would think a reasonably intelligent adult, with more than a few years adult life experience would remember the solution to a recurring problem a little faster .. but no, every time I have to solve the problem as if it was a new problem. Today I describe my new-found, yet tried and tested solution for rowing out, and show progress on two projects, Toby's new Gansey 'little brown possum' and Nightingale.

So this problem, the one that I come across again and again, and have to physically work out the solution to each time? It is rowing out (described here and here), and I only experiencing rowing out in my knitting when I knit flat - which is why I probably like to knit in the round. Technically its caused by a difference in tension in forming purl and knit stitchs, in my case my purls are fimer than my knits, oddly for most knitters its the other way around - the knits are firmer. A few rows into the front yoke of Toby's new sweater and I noticed the rowing out - no problem I thought I know my purls are firmer so I'll just work them looser. A few rows latter and my work was still rowing out, no problem I thought - I'll knit firmer - that is how I solved this last time. A few rows latter - still rowing out, now I know I can switch needles and work with a smaller size tip to even out the stitches .. but for some reason that seems far too drastic a fix, so I thought ok, I'll purl looser and knit firmer - that will surely fix it. Nope ... about then I realised that the solution is always for me, to knit combined when knitting flat. It works, it always has, in fact when I switched form carrying my yarn in my right hand to carrying it in my left - it was to knit combined, the result were speed and perfectly even flat knitting. then with a particular yarn and a heavily cabled pattern with lots of rib - I switched to continental, having all the stitches mounted the same way is easier in cabled rib patterns, but then when I knit flat I now get rowing out. I tried to ignore it, but even though its hard to see the rowing out in the possum fuzz of this yarn - it can be felt, as little horizontal bumps, this image shows a section knit in the round and then a section with rowing out knit flat. So I'm knitting the back yoke with a combination purl technique, its perfectly smooth and I'm about to frog the front yoke and re-knit it. In this I am a slow learner ... maybe one day I'll just know I have to knit flat using a combined purl technique.

I'm a habitual slipper of first stitches, I always always knit the last stitch and slip the first stitch purlwise, always. Slipping the first stitch gives a nice even chain stitch edge, which I love. Except I've learned that on edges where you want to pick up close to the edge .. some times that slipping isn't the easiest to pick up along - so here on the yoke I'm knitting the first and last stitch on every row. See? Lots of little edge bumps, that gives nice stitch points to pick up along when I pick up for the sleeves. Why is it I can remember I need to do this - and not the remember the combination solution for rowing out? I think I know why, knitting combination means I have to look at my knitting more often, to check the stitch mount ... before I insert my needle tip to work the next stitch, and when I turn a row. I would rather work on autopilot - so forget the solution until its unavoidable.

Still I'm churning thru the yarn, this is ball number 5 of 10, being rewound into a nice cake on my nostephine. I could knit from the ball but I like my own center wound cakes - they sit and behave them selves with no tangles. And when I hand wind I do have a feeling for how many knots are in the ball, some balls none, some balls several.

And at long last some progress on Nightingale, I've worked another bird, thats three birds so far. I'm hoping to squeese another bird in and then have enough yarn left for the cuff. I've already split my yarn into two 50g cakes .. so I'll know soon if I can work another bird or not. I want to make these as long as possible, maybe even knee highs? I don't know if my yarn will be enough for knee highs, but one can but hope.

I'm working the gusset increases every 4th round, and in stripes. So far so good, except I think every 4th round was a little fast on the increase for my legs, I've put one last increase a good 12 rounds after the previous increase, I didn't really need it for fit but rather to even out the 1x1 stripe pattern.

There has also been some spinning, more of the cashmere, and the blue Romney has finished but is not yet plied. I've sent away a swap box for the NZFS 4.0, and await news of its arrival. I find the sending of swap boxes far more exciting than getting one, not sure what that says about me, but I enjoy the idea of trying to surprise and delight some one.

take care
na Stella


CraftyGryphon said...

Rowing Out is one of my "despairs" as well. It tends to happen when I'm daydream knitting (you know, staring at anything but the yarn and thinking happily while your hands move on autopilot and you look down and you've got half a sleeve done somehow). Paying better attention is the only cure I've found for myself... but that's HARD!!

Knitting Linguist said...

I think I don't know what "rowing out" means (I feel like I should, and like I'm going to feel like an idiot for saying I don't know, but I'd rather ask and be enlightened than labor on in confusion), but I'm glad that you re-remembered the solution to the problem! (I, too, have problems like that, which arise again and again, and to which each time I re-discover the solution anew. Sigh.)

The Nightengale socks are stunning! I can't wait to see them modelled :)