Sunday, October 09, 2016

Two steps forward and one step back

Gauge - the most common advice given by knitters to other knitters is to check gauge. When something doesn't fit as it should - knitters mention gauge, and discuss if the swatch was big enough, if it was washed, blocked or maybe even not washed or kept. A swatch is meant to save knitters a lot of bother. Mostly it is good advice but sometimes gauge swatches lie. Gauge swatches are by nature smaller than the garments they are knit for, and can't predict how the weight of a garment will pull and distort the swatch.

Last time I posted I was well on the way to finishing my saddle shouldered cardigan. This post - the cardigan has been frogged, the maths reworked and the cardigan has begun again with fewer stitches. I had both sleeves worked and was 10 centimeters into the body below the underarm when I decided to steam block the work to open up the cable. The steam blocking relaxed the knitting and when I tried on the cardigan the sleeves hung mid knuckle, and more worrying the shoulder slumped off my shoulders and the armhole hung low - unflatteringly low.

So Thursday, at knit night I wrapped the cardigan around my chest - and found that it overlapped by 5 cm. That was a problem as I had calculated it to be an exact fit with 5cm for button bands. By overlapping 5cm the bust was 10cm or 4 inches too big. So I frogged, I pulled out the needle and wound back the yarn into balls. Annoyingly I had woven in the ends - but luckily the silky wool ends pulled out easily. Then Friday I sat down and did some calculations, and measured a cardigan that fits well to determine the across back measurment for a hand knit - this time I did the math for a bust 10 cm smaller than mine - seems I am working on negative ease here, it can stretch over the bumpy bits and fit without stretching over the smaller bits.

This time I planned my shoulder increases a little bit better, so the increases align better with the armsye line. The first time around I didn't think the placement of the increases through. With fewer stitches progress seems to be faster. I'm nearly up to the underarm, just working a few increases to help the sleeve and body curve into place better.


The other knitting this week was Hearts for Humanities - Otago University, like many educational institutions is suffering as the lower number of school levers results in fewer enrollements. That means less funding, fewer enrollements, and so fewer staff required. One of the faculties facing cuts is the Humanities - and while I am a science graduate i know in many places my area of study falls within the humanities divisions. I understand the economics - and the reality, but I don't like it, protesting might not change anything but it does make the decisions more visible.

So ... the Thursday night knit group meets weekly on university grounds, and was approached to knit red hearts that would be used to highlight the funding cuts. Most of the knitters have some connection with the university, as staff or alumni, and several were happy to help. Here are my 6 hearts, knit in Four Seasons, 8ply, 100% Acrylic. Acrylic to withstand the weather outside where they will be used. The tassels were my way to use up all the Acrylic, the pattern is Heart wash cloth revised, by Tricotine on I made several minor modifications as I knit, improving each one slightly, eventually slipping the last stitch and knitting the first to give a neat chain edge, and working the triple increase as a K, yo, k into the center stitch. I shifted the increases and decreases one stitch into the body, It's a neat pattern and only 40 rows. This was one of the few heart patterns that didn't require knitting each 'lobe' separately - for quick things like this I dislike cutting and joining and weaving in more than the beginning and ending ends.

Na Stella.