Tuesday, September 06, 2005

In other, other news...

I finished the sweater. Yes, I did finish the sweater. I had about, oh, three yards of yarn left. Wow! That was a close one, there! Whew! Heh-heh, I’m going to have to pull out the swatch to do the seaming, because I’m going to need all that to do the neck finishing!

So I pulled out the swatch and used it to seam up the sweater. I was so distracted while doing so that I went in this order: back, sleeve, sleeve, fron-…wait, uh, hm. That ain’t right, why aren’t these lining up ri-…um, why am I trying to seam the front and the back together, without a sleeve between them?! Ripped out my seams, calling myself stupid the whole time, then redid the work.

In my defense, there was a particularly fascinating show on Discovery at the time…

At this point, I called Eldest over and slipped the semi-finished sweater over her head – not that there were many adjustments I could make due to not having much yarn left over, but if she only needed another half inch or so on the sleeves or something…

Well, I slipped it over her head. But her head did not emerge from within, because…the damned neck opening was too small.

Words best left unrecorded were muttered when I realized this. It was a raglan sweater, similar to this – which means that the neck size is…uh…a touch hard to change once you’re all done with the sweater.

Especially if you’ve only got three yards of the yarn left.

More words were muttered.

Sleeve length: perfect. Length from shoulder to hip: perfect. Width: perfect.

Neck opening: suitable only for a mutant. Well, actually, it was almost wide enough. But “almost wide enough” and “head opening” really don’t go well together.

I rushed back to my pattern to double check things. I used Sweater Wizard to generate the pattern, and guess what? Based on the chest size (skinny child!), it had defaulted to a neck opening of 4”. I had manually adjusted the length of the sleeves and the overall length, but it hadn’t occurred to me to worry about the neck opening.

Eldest’s head is just under 5” around. I know this now, because I checked. This is, BTW, the first time in my LIFE that I have ever measured my own kid’s head. The pediatrician does it regularly, but me? Nope. I’ve measured waist, length from shoulder to hip, and arms from shoulder to wrist. See, those are the things you generally have to worry about.

Not how big around their heads are.

Sure enough, I can alter the neck opening size and the pattern will adjust in Sweater Wizard. I can put in, say, 5” into that little slot, and it changes the decreases accordingly for me.

Or, would have done, if I had thought about that little wrinkle before I was done with the knitting and finishing.

So, I finished it anyway. Then I tried it on both Danger Mouse (who, like Eldest, is a little tiny skinny thing) and Boo Bug (who is a bigger kid – she’s a hair taller than Danger Mouse in spite of being almost two years younger, and bigger around to boot) and we decided that Boo Bug better take it due to it fitting her better around the middle and lengthwise, and only requiring a little bit of pushing-up on the sleeves.

Eldest was understandably upset. So was I. Memo to me: when using Sweater Wizard (which program I am still not at peace with, due to it always seeming to do little things like this to me) to make your pattern instructions, check the damned neck opening and adjust if necessary.

There was only one thing to do under the circumstances: I threw open my stash closet and turned her loose in there to pick another yarn for another sweater. She and I went through bag after bag, box after box, pulling out yarns I had forgotten I even bought.

Now, I have several bags of brightly colored “kid” yarn in there. Pinks, purples, blues, oranges, all in kid-friendly cotton blends. I expected her to emerge with one of those.

Nope. Oh, no. No, no, no.

She came out with…mist gray Superfine alpaca. About the last thing I ever would have expected her to pick out. She’s a girl who tends to like “girl” colors – pinks, light blues, purples, the very soft and feminine.

This is a cold gray. A very “San Francisco Foggy” gray, gray like wet granite in a Sierra river. I love it, but I never expected it to draw her. But then I watched her rubbing it between her fingers and lifting the skein to her face and I realized it wasn’t the color at all. It was the softness, the sweet, milky, warm smoothness that appealed to her. The color was secondary.

I understand completely.

So we discussed the balance between color, texture, and pattern. After a great deal of conversation, we settled on some Lane Monterosa Morbidone yarn (half wool, half acrylic – it breathes, drapes and wears nicely) in a beautiful green (which suits her blue-green-brown eyes perfectly), and a “fancy” cable pattern surrounded by moss stitch (sigh – one of the most irritating stitches to work, with a constant back and forth between knit and purl. Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one…).

But Eldest likes it. She came over a few days into the knitting of her new, improved sweater and hung on the arm of my rocking chair to observe the progress. “Oooh!” she cried, grabbing it and peering at the moss stitch, the cable pattern, the simple ropes on the sides and the more intricate center pattern. “Danger Mouse, c’mere, you have to see this – mommy’s doing magic knitting for me!”

Cables and texture are, apparently, ‘magic’ knitting. Knitting in two or five or forty different colors at the same time (which I find impossibly hard unless using a variegated yarn) is ‘eh’. Single color textures and cables (which I find laughably easy and relaxing), are ‘magic.’

Well, I'm not proud. I'll take any kudos I can get. Now, if only they could consider my cooking magic, I'd be set...TA DA! It's MAGIC meatloaf! See, how it's got the mashed potatoes like, uh, frosting? Yum! Magic, get it? Magic meatl-...oh, never mind...

1 comment:

PipneyJane said...

Hi Tama

Poor Eldest! All those days of anticipation and then it doesn't fit. She's a gem for accepting the situation so well.

Do you mind providing a review for me of Sweater Wizard? I've been wondering whether design programs are worth the money.

So what is the good, the bad and the ugly of using Sweater Wizard? Is it worth the money? Can it handle detailed shaping?

- Pam (knitware designer in my head - uses the trial and error method)