Oh, No You Didn’t!

Oh, yes I did. On Wednesday, I decided that Emily’s Electric Blue Cassidy hoodie needed a pair of matching mitts, and the mitts had to be done (including washing and blocking) by Saturday morning so that they could be delivered along with Cassidy by my DH Saturday evening.

So, I sat down and did a rough design. I started with 4 mm dpns and 40 stitches. I knitted the first mitt through the thumb gusset, tried it on, and decided it was a little too tight.

I went to the frog pond (rip-it, rip-it) and started over with a cast-on of 44 stitches. Much better.

So, without further ado, I present for your viewing pleasure, Emily’s Electric Blue Cassidy Mitts.

The mitts in the hood.

The mitts are pictured before washing and blocking.

As you can see, I decided to use the 3 x 1 rib pattern on the cuff and palm, and the sleeve/hood/center back pattern on the back of the hand. I think the mitts would look lovely using the cable pattern from cast on to cast off, but I wanted to repeat the ribbing of the sweater. Just because.

Here’s how I knitted the mitts:

On 4mm dpns,  cast on 44 stitches

Knit 24 rounds of K3, P1 ribbing

Begin cable pattern and thumb gusset increases:

For left mitt, K1, pm, m1R, K1, m1L, pm, K1, P1, K3, work Cassidy Chart C, (K3, P1) x 5

For the right mitt, K3, work Cassidy Chart C, K3, P1, K1, pm, m1R, K1, m1L, pm, K1, P1, (K3, P1) x 4

Knit one round in pattern (knit the knit stitches, purl the purl stitches, cross cables on cable rounds).

Continue increasing every other round. I worked the K3, P1 ribbing into the thumb gusset as the stitches allowed. Note that the number of stitches between the m1R and m1L will increase by 2 after each increase round. Keep increasing until you have 21 stitches between the markers.

Knit one more plain round, and place the gusset stitches on waste yarn.

Join to continue knitting the hand in the round, adding one stitch where that first thumb gusset stitch would have been, and knit in pattern until the mitt is the length you desire. I knitted 7 full Chart C repeats and 3 rows of an 8th repeat (8 cable crossing total), then cast off using the sewn cast off.

Put the gusset stitches on dpns and pick up 5 stitches along the thumb hole. (I knit the picked-up stitches through the back loop to close up any holes.) Move the first 2 knit stitches and the last two knit stitches of the gusset onto the needle with the picked-up stitches.  The last to knit stitches that you move to the “picked-up” needle will become the beginning of the round.

Work thumb decreases as follows:

Rnd 1: SSK, K2, P1, K2, K2tog, work needles 2 and 3 in pattern

Rnd 2: SSK, K1, P1, K1, K2tog, work needles 2 and 3 in pattern

Rnd 3: Knit the knits, purl the purls

Rnd 4: SSK, P1, K2tog, work needles 2 and 3 in pattern

Rnd 4: Knit the knits, purl the purls

Rnd 5: P3tog, work needles 2 and 3 in pattern

Rnd 6: Knit the knits, purl the purls

Cast off. Weave in ends.

K = knit

P = purl

pm = place marker

SSK= slip, slip, knit (slip one stitch knit-wise, slip the next stitch knit-wise, put the stitches back on the left-hand needle and knit them together through the back loop)

K2tog = knit two stitches together as one

P3tog = purl three stitches together as one

m1R = pick up the working thread between the stitch on the right-hand needle and the stitch on the left-hand needle from back to front and knit through the front of the loop. This makes a right-leaning increase.

m1L = pick up the working thread between the stitch on the right-hand needle and the stitch on the left-hand needle from front to back and knit through the back of the loop. This makes a left-leaning increase.

Hello, Cassidy!

Howdy, strangers. Long time, no post. I’ve been a bit distracted taking care of some medical stuff (all is well), so I haven’t posted anything for a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy knitting and spinning. I’ll try to get caught up before the year is over, but for now, let’s just do the happy dance for a finished object, Emily’s Electric Blue Cassidy.

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Cassidy Continues

There have been moments when I just wanted to chuck Cassidy into the wheelie bin. She started out smoothly enough, but then there was that whole sleeve debacle in which I knitted three sleeves and ripped back and reknit one of them a couple of times. Then, after finishing the sleeves and having two of the three be the same size, I sewed them into the sweater and sewed up the side seams.

At that point I realized that, although I had measured carefully (or so I thought) while knitting the sleeves, the sleeves must have had a mind of their own because they were in fact about 2.5 inches too long.

My original plan was to simply snip of the bottom of the cuff, pick out the stitches, and finish with a sewn cast-off. But after a little thought, I nixed this idea because the ribbing on the cuff matches the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater, and I didn’t want to screw up the look because the design of Cassidy is pretty much perfect from a design standpoint.

So I bit the bullet and removed the sleeves from the armhole. Then I undid about 3/4s of the sleeve seaming, ripped back the sleeve cap and a couple of inches of the sleeve, then redid the sleeve decreases. Then I sewed the sleeves back in. Of course, I also had to undo about 3/4s of the side seems, too, so that I could easily sew the sleeve cap into the armhole. It was a lot of work, but it kept the design intact, and the end result is that the sleeves are now the perfect length. I know this because I was able to try the sweater on Emily last Thursday.

Since then, I have finished the hood, which was an adventure unto itself, completed the left button band, determined the button placement, and started the right button band.

Electric Blue Cassidy nearing completion

Electric Blue Cassidy nearing completion

The hood gave me fits. It’s mostly a straightforward  knit, but one part is tricky. Hoods are formed by knitting a rectangle, then folding it along one long edge and sewing it together. The other long edge is attached to the body of the hoodie.

On this sweater, the center cable panel is continued from the back of the sweater up the middle of the hood, so when you have knitted the hood to a certain length, you bind off all the plain knit stitches on each side of the hood and continue knitting just the center panel. When the center panel is long enough, you bind it off and then sew the plain-knitted edges to either side of the center panel. The trick is getting the center panel the proper length so that when you sew the sides to the center panel, the hood doesn’t pucker.

I ended up doing a lot of knitting, sewing, picking out seams, knitting some more, sewing some more, picking some more, cussing a lot, threatening Cassidy with the wheelie bin, cussing some more, threatening Cassidy with replacing the hood with a crew neck, and finally finding a good ratio between the bound of stitches of the sides of the hood and the rows of center panel. The seam is neat on both the public side and private side, and there is no puckering whatsoever. Once again, there was a lot of aggravation and frustration, but it was worth it to get the final results.

Fortunately, the left button band went a lot more smoothly than the hood. The “polka pickup” (pick up 3 stitches, skip one, just like dancing a polka) worked really well. I ended up with too many stitches, but I just evenly decreased down to the correct number of stitches on the first row of the button band. There’s no puckering and no holes along the picked-up edge.

I repeated the process for the right button band and will knit it the same as the left only with the addition of the button holes.  I love the fact that Bonne Marie Burns knows how to place buttonholes on a knitted sweater. Hint: they do not go in the middle of the button band, but rather toward the sweater body. On an inch-and-a-half wide button band, the buttonholes go half-an-inch from the body edge of the button band. When the sweater is buttoned, the buttons will be in the middle of the button band and the two button bands will line up outside edge (on top) to inside edge (on the bottom). If the buttonholes are placed in the middle of the button band, the outside edge of the band on top will fall short of the inside edge of the band on the bottom and the button bands gap, pull out of shape, and look terrible.

Emily’s Electric Blue Cassidy will be finished in a few days, and I will be very happy to mark this project as finished on Ravelry. It’s not because I haven’t enjoyed knitting this sweater. I have. The design is brilliant, the directions are clear, there are no errors in the pattern, and the cables and shaping are fun and keep the project interesting. My only complaint with the design is that it is knitted in pieces, then seamed. I don’t like seaming and avoid it as much as possible. When I knit this sweater again (and I will probably knit one for myself someday, but as a cardigan, not a hoodie), I will knit it in one piece up to the armholes and knit the sleeves in the round. Then the only sewing I will have to do is setting in the sleeves and maybe the shoulder seams (unless I do a 3-needle bind-off, which is what I did for Emily’s Cassidy). Oh, yeah, and sewing on the buttons. 🙂

The other thing I would do differently is use a different yarn. I am knitting Cassidy with stash yarn, Québécoise from Schoolhouse Press. I’ve really grown to hate this yarn as I have knitted with it. It is very rough, although it does soften a bit when washed, and is suitable only for outer wear, for sure. I would not want this stuff against my skin. And it doesn’t hold up very well to being ripped out and reknitted, and when I was seaming the sweater, the yarn wore out from the abrasion and broke. I learned quickly to keep an eye on the length of yarn in my tapestry needle and to replace it when it started looking tatty. I’m really afraid this sweater is going to fuzz, pill, and otherwise look awful after only a few wearings. If Emily finds this sweater eminently wearable, I might have to knit her another one in a better quality yarn.

That’s it for today. I do have some other projects OTN and OTW, and I even have a FO, but I think this entry is borderline too long already, so I’ll shut my yap.

Please visit Tami’s WIP Wednesday to see what creative activities other folks are up to.

Cassidy

I know it’s been a while since I last blogged. The DH and I have been busy painting the family room, getting new carpet installed (which you can see in the picture, although the color isn’t even close to accurate), and trying to get the family room put back together. It’s been a slow go because I’m kind of lazy. In between moving stuff, painting, and moving stuff back, I’ve been doing some spinning and knitting, but on this WIP Wednesday, I’m focusing on Emily’s Cassidy hoodie.

DSC03546_2

Cassidy is starting to look like a sweater!

As you can see, it is going together nicely. The shoulders were seamed using a three-needle bind-off, and I’m pleased with the how the shoulder shaping turned out. I did short rows instead of binding off stitches to shape the shoulders, and it looks great.

I also managed to get one sleeve is sewn in, and then I seamed the sleeve and side seams. I’m using mattress stitch to seam the sweater, and it is like magic. The seaming is done from the public side of the sweater and disappears automagically, leaving an invisible seam. Mattress stitch is easy to do, but that doesn’t make it fun.

I do not enjoy seaming sweaters (or anything else). But I shall persevere and get the seaming done so that I can start knitting the hood and button band. I love the knitting part. 🙂

Cassidy is a well-designed sweater. Bonne Marie Burns knows just where to place the shaping, and she chose cables that are easy to do but look complex, and the pattern is well-written and free of mistakes. The only concern I have at the moment is that the sleeves are going to be too long. That won’t be the end of the world. If the sleeves are too long, I can remedy that pretty easily by cutting off a few rows at the cast-on edge, unworking a row, and then finishing with a sewn cast-off. No one will ever know.

There was a time when the thought of taking scissors to my knitting would have horrified me, but no more. I am Knitter, hear me roar! I’m totally fearless when it comes to cutting off naughty ribbing and teaching it to behave properly. 🙂

Be sure to visit Tami’s WIP Wednesday to see more wonderful hand-crafted projects.

Works In Progress on a WIP Wednesday

Thanks to lots of playoff hockey, I’ve been getting a lot of knitting done. My most recent cast-on, Hitchhiker, is progressing rapidly even as the rows get longer. It’s totally autopilot knitting, but with a potato chip element. I cannot knit just one row. 🙂

We're making progress!

We’re making progress!

This 2-ply handspun is lovely to knit with. I love the effect of the color changes. Dana of Unwind Yarn Company is a brilliant dyer.

On the sweater front, Cassidy now has a back and two fronts,

She's starting to look like a sweater.

She’s starting to look like a sweater.

and the first sleeve is underway. If I were a monogamous knitter, Cassidy would probably be finished already. But I simply cannot bring myself to stick to one project at a time, and there’s no rush to finish Cassidy because she’s definitely a winter sweater, and winter is still a long way off here in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the spinning front, I’m spinning some lovely red Falkland wool on a drop spindle.

Unwind Yarn Company Falkland in O-Neg on one of my Goldings

Unwind Yarn Company Falkland in O-Neg on one of my Goldings

My progress is slow, but I try to spin on it at least a little every day.

I spend a lot more time spinning on my wheel, so my progress there is a lot faster. I’m currently working on some lovely “swirl” BFL, a blend of black and white BFL that is then dyed to create colors that spin up into a beautifully heathered yarn. I love the way this particular colorway spins up.

Sunset Fibers BFL on the Ladybug

Sunset Fibers BFL on the Ladybug

I divided the roving into thirds and plan to spin 3 bobbins of singles, then make a 3-ply yarn. I’m kind of in love with 3-ply handspun. 🙂

Be sure to check out other works in progress on Tami’s WIP Wednesday.

Still Knitting

Yes, I’m still knitting, and spinning, too, but you wouldn’t know it from reading this blog because, well, there just hasn’t been any blog to read. I’m trying to get back in the swing of things.

If you don’t believe me when I say I have been knitting and spinning up a storm, here’s the proof. First, the FOs:

The Bayside Pullover is completed and fits its recipient perfectly.

The Bayside Pullover is completed and fits its recipient perfectly.

Reversible Rib Mitts (Ravelry pattern) in Lang Jawoll sport weight sock yarn in Spice colorway

Reversible Rib Mitts (Ravelry pattern) in Lang Jawoll sport weight sock yarn in Spice colorway

My recently completed handspun yarn

My recently completed handspun yarn

And the WIP:

Greg's 3 x 2 ribbed socks (the heel of the second sock was turned last night, but I'm too lazy to take another picture.)

Greg’s 3 x 2 ribbed socks (The heel of the second sock was turned last night, but I’m too lazy to take another picture.)

James's top-down raglan

James’s top-down raglan

Emily's Cassidy, back and left front

Emily’s Cassidy, back and left front

Trekking 2 x 2 ribbed sock

Trekking 2 x 2 ribbed sock

Next week I will write about these projects in more detail. I promise. 🙂

And don’t forget to check out Tami’s FO Friday.

Catching Up

It’s official. I’m an old lady. There’s no doubt about it. And here’s the proof.

My new dining room curtains

My new dining room curtains

Yep, I put up ruffled sheer priscilla curtains in my dining room. Old lady curtains. 🙂

I know that it’s been a while since I’ve published a blog post. The DH and  I have been busy recently doing some super-serious spring cleaning which has been taking up a lot of my time. We are almost finished now; there are just a few odds and ends to finish up, but here is a recap of all the work we have done.

We moved a lot of the furniture out of two bedrooms and emptied the closets, one of which is a fairly large walk-in, and painted both bedrooms and both closets.

We also moved most of the furniture and other stuff out of the dining room, removed the wallpaper border from the walls, and painted.

We also moved the bookcases and some of the other furniture from the living room, and had Stanley Steemer clean the carpets in the bedrooms, dining room, and living room, as well as the stairs and hallway.

Almost everything is back in place now, but there are still a few odds and ends to take care of. A lot of work and a fair amount of inconvenience were involved, but, trust me, it was worth it. Our 30-year-old carpeting looks much better now, and nothing brightens up a room quite like fresh paint. We also did some decluttering, and I did some destashing, too. I think that clear plastic storage bins are the greatest invention ever. They are a boon to organizing and storing all the stuff one accumulates in a lifetime that one just cannot yet bear to part with.

Although all the painting, cleaning, and organizing has kept me busy recently, I have still found time for watching hockey and knitting. I’ll sum it all up with pictures.

James's top-down raglan sweater

James’s top-down raglan sweater

The back of Emily's Cassidy almost to the underarms

The back of Emily’s Cassidy almost to the underarms

Greg's second 3 x 2 ribbed sock is well under way.

Greg’s second 3 x 2 ribbed sock is well under way.

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Trekking 2 x 2 ribbed socks

Please check out Tami’s WIP Wednesday.