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The Big Four-Oh Pattern Notes


Also known as "Curses Foiled Again".
This is the second sweater I've knit for Leo and neither have, yet, resulted in the end of our relationship. I will spare you my diatribe on the boyfriend sweater myth, because I'm simply too pleased to have this off the needles

I hope to have a properly modeled version of this for you soon. For now, you'll have to settle for it on me (and slightly rumpled).

Pattern notes after the bump.

The ugliest little swatches ever


This is really the first time I've done test swatches for a design for someone else's book. I've had pieces in books and I've had sketches accepted for publication in magazines, but normally I self publish so my swatch is always in the color and yarn that I intend to use. There was a part of me that felt it would be good to run out and buy the "right" colors of yarn, but there is no guarantee that it will actually be the yarn I use, so I decided to stick to stash yarn, almost exclusively. The result is swatches so horrible to the eye, that I feel I'm giving nothing away by sharing them.

They are sitting atop the stitch by stitch chart I've done up for my Silky Wool yarn. As insane as it sounds, even for my own use, I generally chart every stitch of the piece I plan to make.

I wanted to get everything in sunlight, last night, and while the days are long here, there's only really one little spot by the window that gets direct sunlight. Guess who gave me a hand with the photo shoot:

She was checking the lighting for me.

And no, I haven't been neglecting my girlfriendly duties, Leo's turtleneck is nearly done.

On the commute home, a couple days ago, I asked Leo "Hey, do you prefer your turtlenecks on the long side or on the short side."
"Oooh, I don't know, kind of medium. Helpful, huh?"
So this piece will probably be done before my next blog post, but getting Leo in front of a camera, may still be days away. From what I've seen of it on him, though, I think it'll be worth the wait...hubba hubba.

Some people give me way too much credit, and Julia is one of those people. I wish it were true that Leo's sweater were finished and blocking, as she suggested, but it's not quite the case. However, it is terribly close to being done.

I'm just working on the neck now.
Leo looks amazingly good in turtlenecks, however, with sweaters, he finds that his stubble is always tearing the turtleneck apart, wearing out the sweater long before it's truly ready to be retired. This sweater will have a mock turtleneck and several separate full turtleneck pieces to tuck in and switch out as necessary. If that just doesn't work, I have the yarn and can simply remove the bind off on the mock turtleneck and knit a full turtleneck each time one wears out.

Leo has tried on the sweater up to the point you saw it in the last post. He has declared that the fit, fabric and look are all up to his standards, so I'm feeling pretty good about the endeavor.

For those of you who knit a lot of raglans, you may have noticed that the shoulder shaping is a bit different than one might expect. Instead of a steady slope, there is a true shoulder shape at the top. Do you see what I mean?

Here's a little sneak peek of how I did that.

There is an extra "raglan" running along the top of the shoulder that extends from the neckline to about the end of the shoulder (I actually stopped about a half inch short of the final shoulder length). Calculating it was an interesting challenge and I did it by printing out gauge sized charts and origami folding it to the right shape. This is not quite so mathematical as one might hope. Eventually, I plan to work out a pattern and will have to use my experience with this piece to write up a more useful explanation for determining the correct ratio.

Oh, and the sweater has been named. It's now "The Big Four-Oh" in honor of Leo's birthday. And I agree with any of you who share the sentiment that Leo doesn't look at all like he is 40.

I love long weekends


Given my druthers, I'd gladly work 3 - 13 hour days a week to have 4 day weekends. Alas, that probably isn't going to happen for me so I'll just have to enjoy the long weekends bestowed upon us by federal holidays.

Leo's sweater is nearing the finish line. All the big pieces are done and assembled. It's still damp here and in need of some final blocking. The wash was just to get all the commuter grime off of it, but I'll do a proper steam block when it's dry. It'd probably be better to wet block it, since it's already wet and all, but I'm a strange girl.

This is the back view. The front is largely the same but the neck is a little lower.

While I'm waiting for the sweater to dry so I can start the neck, I've been knitting some socks. I'm one of those people who is more than happy to knit on DPNs. I have absolutely no aversion to them and find that socks zip along just merrily on them. However, I have some concern that I may not be able to take metal DPNs on the plane with me to India (nationally, it's not a problem, but internationally, there may be some issues). So I'm attempting the socks on two circulars method.

I have to admit, I don't care for it. To me, this method is slow and clumsy. I've improved the process for myself by clipping the two socks together, which resolves some of the issues I had with the socks constantly migrating away from each other and increasing the time it takes to go from knitting one sock to the other.

Even though I really do not like this method, now, I feel obligated to try to knit a whole pair in this manner. It may simply be a matter of acclimating to the technique. Even so, I'm not sure why this method is so popular amongst the DPN averse. In truth, the circulars simply act as two very long DPNs, so I'd think anyone who could master this technique, could certainly master the use of DPNs.

Ok, I'm off my soapbox here. It's true that there are merits to being able to knit two socks at once, and the circulars fold up more compactly than DPNs, so I still feel this endeavor is worthwhile.

I'm not sure what the yarn is, I've long lost the label. It looks a lot like Opal but it's not, it's some other, less known, self striping sock yarn.

You may have noticed that the underside is slightly different than the top, at least down at the toes. This is because I worked a short row toe, so I started from the ball of the foot, working flat to the toe then back down to the top of the foot before joining in the round. Personally, I prefer the idea of a bright red toe, so that's going to be the top.

Because he's worth every stitch


Since my post on Friday, I've done about 80 rows on Leo's sleeves. I am finally at the sleeve cap, which means no more increases. Not a moment too soon, I say. There were a few moments when I mentally psyched myself out and I wasn't sure I'd ever see the end of them.

There is actually a likely possibility that the sleeves are a little bit long. Personally, I'd rather have to shorten a ribbed sleeve than have to lengthen one. Ribbing is unidirectional. If you pickup and knit from the other direction, all stitches will be half a stitch offset from the point you picked them up. This means that lengthening a ribbed sleeve is best done by knitting a new cuff and grafting, in ribbing, to the base of the sleeve. I'm very comfortable with grafting in stockinette but ribbing is a whole other beast.

But you know, it's easy to find motivation when knitting for Leo. It's not all about eating dog cookies at our place. On Friday, Leo treated me to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant.

He said he loved me so much, even the stains he leaves on his placemat are heart shaped.

After dinner, we made an attempt to go out and tear up the town, but having both gotten up around 6 am, we were pretty beat by 11pm and the bars still all seemed empty. Leo did take this cool picture of us reflected off the mirror behind the bar.

You can see his camera peaking through the bottles, if you look carefully.

It ended up being an early night, and a quiet weekend. On Saturday, I knit sleeves while I watched Memoirs of Geisha. It may not be as good as the book, but it's been quite a few years since I read the book and the cinematography alone was captivating enough to hold my interest. There were a few things I remembered well enough to feel like I could pick apart the movie a bit, but it never stopped me from enjoying it.

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