Friday, March 18, 2016

Knitting Queries, Quandaries, and Quiescence

I am knitting a letter-jacket style sweater for my grandson in Oklahoma. The tri-color scheme I chose is made up of very rich colors in a fine weight yarns by Ewe So Sporty merino yarn in the saturated tones teal, saffron, and orange peel. Thank goodness my local knit shoppe Knit This Purl That allows for an even exchange of yarns, because I changed my mind on the color assignment not once, but twice. The pattern I am using is Debbie Bliss's Baseball Jacket.

Next, I needed to decide what size to make. I had my daughter measure my grandson. She sent his measurements along with this picture of the process. I texted back, "Does a tape measure give an accurate value when it is saturated with drool?"

Originally the sweater-jacket was to have a teal body (3 skeins) with saffron sleeves (2 skeins) and orange peel accents (1 skein). Then I found some buttons that were not only a masculine style but also a perfect match to the saffron. They would look better on saffron than teal so I decided to reverse the colors for the main body and sleeves. I exchanged a teal skein for a saffron one so I'd have the correct yarn proportions to make the main body saffron, still keeping orange peel an accent color only. I planned to avoid orange as the dominant color for the body or sleeves out of rivalry sensitivity. Although a graduate of OSU (Oklahoma State University - loyalty color ORANGE) my son-in-law currently works for their arch sports rival, OU (Oklahoma University - loyalty color RED). I did not want my daughter to bring their son on campus dressed in the wrong color to support his daddy.

Casting on 165 stitches in the luscious teal, I began knitting the body of the two fronts and the back all at once so there would be no side seams. With a gauge of 25 stitches and 34 rows = 4"  and knitting needles US size 2, it was slow going but I made steady progress. The hand of the yarn worked up nicely and, after two evening sessions in front of the TV, I'd completed the 2" of deep, K1, P1 ribbing at the waist. I loved the contrast of the orange peel accent stripe midway up within the teal. An orange peel stripe within the saffron would not have been nearly as crisp. I began the stockinette stitch body in saffron and liked the color combination and contrast; but then, as I was admiring my handiwork, it dawned in on me. The accent color in the ribbing would become the main color of the sleeves. I certainly wanted the ribbing on the sleeves to match the waistline ribbing so, unless I ripped out all my work and started again, I would be stuck with orange sleeves. Plus I'd really grown to like the teal with an inserted orange peel stripe. An orange waistband or wristband with a teal stripe insert did not appeal as much to me.

I phoned my daughter in dismay. She assured me, "Mom, Isaiah will wear the sweater other places than on campus. Plus we are a house divided anyway. Jeremy may have switched his allegiance to OU But I am remaining a fan of OSU since he was there before we were married. In fact, we just went to an on-campus basketball game at OU and I rooted for OSU. Jeremy has told his boss that we are a house divided. It is OK! Knit what looks good to you." I was glad of her reassurance. I'd been sensitized to that orange color. I remember how chagrined I'd felt when I'd attended his December graduation from OSU several years ago. It had been the holiday season and I'd wore a bright red coat. I remember taking one glance around the gymnasium at the sea of orange. I'd quickly taken off my coat, so I could fold it and sit on it! Despite my faux pas back then, I decided to stick with the color scheme that would entail orange sleeves. Back to my knit shop I went, this time to exchange a teal for an orange. I wanted to have all my ducks in a row and all my supplies ready to knit on the plane flight from California to Oklahoma.

While I was at my knit shop exchanging yarn, I asked to buy a circular needle in size 2. Circular needles are much more conducive to knitting in the restricted seat space of an airplane. The shop clerk asked me if I wanted 2.5 mm size 2 needles or 2.75 mm size 2 needles. I gave her a blank stare. How can size 2 have a choice for the diameter? According to the needle portion of the Knit Picks website

"The metric sizing system is more precise than the US sizing system. We offer two US size 1 - equivalent to 2.25mm and 2.50mm and two US size 2 - equivalent to 2.75mm and 3.00mm".

I guess you learn something new every day. I wanted whatever was closest to the needles I had been using and so bought one of each size 2 to measure them with my husband's micrometer once I got home. The 2.75 mm was closer to my straight needles and I switched with no noticeable gauge change. This package is labeled for US 2 (3.0 mm)

My straight  knitting needles were from a Bernat Aero set my mom bought for me at the time of my college graduation in 1975. She and my sister and I were all together then for a few days in my college town of Cambridge, MA. My mom also bought a set for my sister and herself at the same time. I cherish this set of needles and the fond memory their purchase stirs up. We three also looked at fabric and went down in the bargain basement of the shop to paw through bins of sale buttons. This set of needles is over 40 years old but that little snippet of shopping camaraderie among my sister, my mom, and me still lingers.

Before leaving on my trip to Oklahoma I wanted to get the knitting to a stage where it would travel better on the plane. I knitted the ribbed cuffs with my straight needles and put them on stitch holder so I would not need to take those long needles from my set with me. Usually the person in the adjacent airline seat does not like needles invaded their space and waving under their nose. Once I'd reached the armholes on the sweater body, I put the back on a stitch holder and knitted up the two fronts. I wanted to be sure to knit them at the same time so they would be even with each other and did not want to deal with two active balls of yarn while on the plane or in the airport. On the flight out I finished knitting up the back and had only the stockinette stitch portion of the sleeves remaining to work on during my visit.

While in Oklahoma I completed each of the sleeves. Yes, they are very definitely ORANGE.

I was very close to finishing the second sleeve, progressing in the raglan shaping where a decrease is made near each edge on every other row, when I noticed I had an odd number of stitches instead of the even number I should have had. I checked and re-checked and could not find where I had forgotten an edge decrease. Puzzled I knitted on a bit more. After all what does one stitch matter on a gauge so fine? Unless it is dropped of course... I inspected again. Nope no dropped stitch. Then I spotted IT about 2" inches down, smack dab in the middle of the upper part of the sleeve. I'd knitted two stitches together leaving a visible tiny stitch overlap. I knit a couple more rows trying to ignore the inadvertent decrease but that little, overlapping, centrally-located, inverted V kept glaring at me. I conceded defeat and ripped back to the spot, immediately wishing thereafter that I'd taken a picture of the glitch first for the blog. Oh, well I did not, but here is the yarn from the progress I undid.

Despite the setback, I finished the knitting part on both sleeves while in Oklahoma. I need to block all the components and add the front band in saffron.

The neck band will be ribbed in teal with an orange accent like the waist band and wrist band. All that could wait until I got back home. While there it was more fun holding the intended recipient.

Knitting reminded me of this Fraggle Rock song about the Doozers knitting instead of building. You knitters out there might enjoy it. Here is a sneak peak of the lyrics to the chorus.

Well it's knit one pearl two
What's a Doozer gonna do
With a gol-darn
Ball of yarn?
It's stitch three drop four
Pitch that knittin' out the door right now

On that note ♪, I am linking up now to this week's Let's Bee Social...

1 comment:

  1. Heh- Isaiah's green outfit will go with that sweater! That is super cute and I cannot wait to see it finished and try it on. And, what a story to tell!