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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yarn Along: Of Sweater Challenges and Yarn Clubs

It was a little crazy to try to finish a sweater for myself in a short month that has a major holiday in it. However, I was trucking right along on Driftwood, and had some hope. I've only made minimal changes, such as reversing the decreases on the sleeves to make them look better, working the sleeves before doing the bulk of the body, reducing the number of rows before beginning the waist decreases, and working those decreases much more aggressively to nip in at the waist (there was much hilarity from Rich when considering aggressive knitting), then I reduced the number of rows after the decreases so the welt would hit me exactly at my waist. I went one row past where I wanted, just so I wouldn't have to pick up sts from a row with decreases on it. Until this weekend, I was actually on track to be ahead, so I wouldn't have to worry so much about this week eating up my knitting time. Eating up. Ha! Then I got to the so-called pleat. First off, by calling it a pleat, there was confusion, as a pleat is at a 90 degree angle to what this actually is: A welt. And calling it a pleat means that it took a little extra work to find instructions on how to achieve it, since if I had done it as written, it would have been inside out, and I am a pretty good knitter. I know how to interpret instructions that are somewhat vague, and how to use many techniques to get the same results I want in knitting. This is not a common stitch pattern, and now I know why. It is a pain in the rear. I hate working the welt. I love how it looks, but I seriously worked on this one row - ONE ROW - from Saturday to now. It is simple to do. It isn't hard at all. But it is so fiddly and slow, and with my limited knitting time right now, I just couldn't get it to finish. Until today. And it took me all of seven minutes to purl back on the following row. I am so far behind now, and my only hope will be to be able to knit for many, many, many hours over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is with two road trips in which I could knit in the car for long stretches, and one of which I had hours to myself alone in a hotel room while Rich was busy elsewhere. I need some sort of knitting miracle to finish this by the 30th. This whole pleat/welt thing, the way she titled it and barely described the technique, and how the photographs all show the sweater with a closure and there is nothing in the supply list and no mention in the finishing instructions about it at all. So, I'm knitting the bands (when I get to them, sometime in February) with a button hole on one side to use my sand dollar button. Those were things I think could have been better dealt with in the pattern. There was only one technical error in it (the number of sts decreased on the decrease rows was wrong, but the numbers shown for the following rows were correct), though, which didn't bother me. Anyway, I'm close to 70% through my NaKniSweMo project, and praying I'll be able to finish in time.

As I said, we had two road trips. And you know what that means: Yarn Souvenirs! I picked up two more skeins of the Abracadabra, color changing yarn, this time from cream to blue, nine skeins of a royal blue wool, and another skein of red mink laceweight on our first trip. On the second trip, I restrained myself. I picked up only two, instead of five, of the pomegranate silk and wool from Alchemy Yarns, it was half off, but even at that price, it was quite a lot, and I secretly wish I had picked it all up, anyway. I also grabbed two of the gradient packs in a worsted weight from Frabjous Fibers' Wonderland Yarns that will become an accessory for me or a garment for one of the girls. And only one of the laceweight yak and silk in the gorgeous poppy color. I had two in my pile, along with the three other skeins of the pomegranate, and heroically put four skeins back. Evidently, the weather has me looking for bright colors.

When we got home, the folks who had been staying with our kids and watching our house and animals had a pile of yarn goodness on my rocking chair. Two Magnolia Society sweater club shipments, one of my Magnolia Society yarn club shipments, and my Paradise Fibers' yarn club shipment, which included prize pack of a needle case, a tape measure, 12 labels for knits, and an interchangeable needle which I won for having the most adorable daughter ever. Really. I made Amira's ballet sweater out of club yarn, and I posted the photos and won for having the most adorable child/pet along with my club points for finishing. I was kind of relieved that Amira won over someone's dog. Anyway, since Amira was happy with her cropped hoodie as it was, I didn't undo the bind off and add any more rows. She has been happily wearing it to ballet over her leotard.

There was one more package that came yesterday, my second Magnolia Society yarn club shipment. There had been some dyeing problems so they had to redye and send them later than the other club packages. So here it all is. 47 skeins of yarn in two weeks!

Rich said he'd wear socks made out of the Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot (the muted rainbow yarn), so as soon as I am finished with this sweater, I think I will cast on a pair for him. I still have a sweater to seam, a blanket to finish crocheting, a sleeveless top to knit, and a design to get ready to photograph, not to mention a few smaller items I'd like to make, but I want to make him something. It's been a while since he has had hand knits, and since he doesn't really wear sweaters, only wears hats in frigid temperatures and I made him a hat a couple years ago that he still wears, never wears mittens, and rarely wears knit gloves, socks are really the best option for him.

Swatch for Amira, which needs testers in about a month.

I only have a couple testers for this design, and I know that Christmas knitting might be getting in the way of this. I'm still looking for testers so I can get the KAL/Test started in December. This is a woman's, sleeveless shell that requires seaming, but only two seams, one on each side. As you can see from the swatch, it involves texture and simple lace. The pattern requires standard chart reading skills, ability to increase and decrease, make yos, knit in the round, and pick up stitches. Right now, I'm working on my own top in a deep red. There are no specific brand requirements for the yarn, simply a DK weight yarn that knits up at 5.5 stitches per in in stockinette (the gauge for the top will be about 5.25 spi, but I want a yarn that will drape well at that gauge). I'd like to have at least two testers per size: 29", 34", 39", 44", 49" finished bust. Yardage requirements are calculated for each size, respectively, as: 790, 900, 1000, 1100, 1225 yds. This is still an estimate, however, so I recommend getting an extra skein of whatever you buy, or if you are using stash, making sure that you have an extra ball's worth of the yarn. I'll want you to join a Facebook group for testers, if you are able, but will strongly request a Ravelry entry, tagging me in it, and a link up when the pattern is released. The specific details will be given if you take this on for me. I will give the finished copy of the pattern to testers when the pattern is released, a percentage/amount off coupon to my Ravelry Store for those who complete the test, and a coupon for a free pattern for those who provide photos and link up to the pattern page. If you are able to do this, please contact me. Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

Amira and I finished The Sanctuary Tree, and we started A Mustard Seed of Magic. We're almost finished reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 25th Anniversary Edition to the kids. I have been reading the most recent issue of Touchstone, and I think magazine articles are about the length I can handle right now. It's an excellent magazine that always makes me think.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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