Saturday, October 22, 2011


I knew that this fibre lark was addictive, really I did, but sometimes it takes a particular project to remind me just how addictive working out how to do something can be. Today I have significant progress on Toad, one sock is done and the other languishes. I've also managed to manipulate littlest cub into knitting a top down raglan for Curley Bear.

Addictive, defined at the FreeDictionary as

ad·dict (-dkt)
tr.v. ad·dict·ed, ad·dict·ing, ad·dicts
1. To cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance: The thief was addicted to cocaine.
2. To occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively: The child was addicted to video games.
I think that the second meaning is the one that is most applicable here, that I found myself both occupied and involved in something that was compulsive. With the hem of Toad completed I found myself ready to finish the neck edge. Originally I had planned to knit a plain band in 2x rib, then I wondered about a cable worked around the neck ... and then I started to think about a Henley style neck with a zip. That seemed the best for this jersey, a thicker and more robust yarn seemed to be a good match for a zippered and collared finish. I could see this was heading towards a warm outdoorsy sweater. First stop was the local big box craft supply store for a nice zip.I found one, it could have been longer but then again maybe shorter is better.

Then I steeked the front, and considering I had not planned to steek the front that was probably a brave move. But sometimes I'm not the kind of knitter to let a lack of planning get in the way. Having steeked I picked up and worked a short facing either size of the cut edge - this would be the outside facing for the zip. Once I got this far I had to keep going, unable to work on anything else in-case I lost the plot and didn't remember what I was doing (don't laugh - it has happened when I've parked a project and returned to it) .

Then I picked up and knit a collar around the neck edge in 2x2 rib. When the collar seemed long enough to fit the zip I switched to a softer yarn and knit the inside of the collar. I worked a knit transition row at the colour change. For the inside collar I used Vintage Purls Vintage Sock, the left overs from Double+1. I worked a mock i-cord edge at both ends of the collar, slipping the first 3 stitches of each row, and purling the last three.

I Grafted the centre section of the collar down to the neck edge, working from the centre out and using pins to keep the ribs lined up. I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

I left the last inch or so of the collar not grafted, and picked these up and worked a narrow band in rib that could cover the inside of the zip tape. At this stage the project looked very messy and I hoped that my loose plan would turn into something that worked and looked presentable.

Last night was family movie night, mostly as one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was screening on TV, and we all like Johnny Depp at his most outrageous. So I finished the collar and stitched in the zip. I was secretly quite surprised that something that had looked so messy finished up looking quite planned and almost 'like a bought one' as my Nana would say. She was a child of the early 20th Century and completely converted to making life easier by buying rather than making. If I had five kids and my washing machine had a mangle roller maybe I would love the convenience of modernity as well.

This is where I am at now, with a finished zippered collar, faced with soft sock yarn, and the first sleeve is well on its way to the elbow.

The Bubble socks are now done. All done, and I'm pleased with them. This was my first completed hand spun sock and I was pleasantly surprised at how even it knit up. Next time I would try and make the yarn a little firmer in the twist - this seemed very low twist compared to commercial yarns. Then again unlike commercial yarns the stripe pattern is one that would only occur in a hand dyed skein of pencil roving.

And the littlest cub is working her first seamless garment, a top down raglan for her teddy. She was very good and followed instructions to cast on and work the raglan increases without really understanding how it would all work. Until now she has planed and executed a variety of bags and pillows with seams all on her own but I was keen to get her understanding the advantages of seamless. Once she got to the sleeves she saw how it would all work - and I was quietly impressed that she recognized the need for casting on stitches at the underarm to make the body fit nicely. Right now we have just transferred over to circulars - she has her own, and she is working out if she needs to increase as the body gets longer. Bears have quite cute shapes - this one is pear shaped, a pear shaped bear, so some increases might be judicious.

Take care


KathyR said...

I am really enjoying reading about Toad's evolution. Very interesting. Good to know that, once you know how, you can insert a steek without forward planning. In certain circumstances, of course. Littlest Cub is progressing in leaps and bounds with her knitting! Many adults wouldn't have a clue about the why's and wherefore's of raglan increasing and shaping etc. Good mind and good teaching!

On another note, I did find it amusing to realise that, for once, a Kiwi term seems to have come more from the American language than the British according to the link you provided. When I was a little girl my mother used a wringer washing machine (I "inherited" it when I got married) with the wringer attached. I think the word "mangle", for some reason, was also used but it was a separate tool often attached to the laundry tub and on older implement than the wringer machine. Weird language!

adriene said...

I am intensely impressed with that collar job. I has such a beautiful finish, and I never dreamed that a double-sided collar in a different colour would look so amazing!

I am loving how the littlest cub is figuring things out on her own and that she has the freedom to do so. So many adults snatch the work away from children to "help them" through the tough bits, but you are creating a great thinker by letting her discover on her own. Wonderful!

Suzanne said...

There you are, happily spinning and knitting along just like the rest of us and then, quite suddenly, the garment architect of your professional life takes over and 'BAM!' there are haute couture details in a boy's henley. Very nicely conceived and executed! Your time at home has been very well employed. Pops is also doing a great job of following in your footsteps. It is wonderful that she has the interest at an age at which she can both sop it up like a sponge and reason out the next steps. Should she continue knitting, she will be a force to be reckoned with.

Lovely package arrived from you this week. Many thanks! I am still savouring the letter: cannot bear to disturb the owls to see inside the wrap. Should I perhaps save it for my B'day?

Knitting Linguist said...

Amazing. The collar of that sweater is a thing of joy and beauty, and I am so impressed that it was done on the fly! Thank you for writing out your process - it is really interesting to read about the evolution. I love the colors together, as well - it's a gorgeous finishing touch, and I bet the extra weight of the two layers makes it lie nicely when it's open.

I'm also loving the teddy sweater - can't wait to see the finished project! Maybe someone needs her own Rav page? :)