Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Yesterday, while working my way through the morning blog posts, I came across the news that this online yarn store was having a huge sale. I immediately abandoned my reading (I know you other bloggers will understand and forgive me) and clicked the link, digging for my credit card with one hand and scrolling with the other. Imagine my delight when I saw many, many, many yarns that I have lusted after, all on sale at half off, or better! I began frantically clicking "Add to Cart" while trying to keep my salivation in check and wondering how I could possibly hide the arrival of a truckload of yarn from my husband. But alas, my dreams of burying myself in a closet full of spun silk and cashmere were not to be: EVERYTHING was sold out!

I'm sure there are those of you out there who are reading this smugly while you finger your new Alpaca Silk in burgundy, but for those, like me, who learned of this great boon too late, you have my condolences.

However, there is no great loss that is not balanced by some small gain. This came in the mail today:

My photographic abilities are severely limited, I admit. But it is a truly lovely blue-green-cream sort of confection, shot through with thin gold threads. I own nothing like it. And just look how pretty it is with my hair!

I got it from this knitter, who has been destashing. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with it yet, but I have some ideas. I'll keep you posted!

After my frogging marathon the other day, I began to feel a bit sorry (okay, guilty) about those unfinished and now partially dismembered projects awaiting sleeves and yokes, so I picked up an unfinished project that started out as a summer jacket from a long-ago issue of Knitter's magazine. But after I switched the light silk yarn to a dark wool, changed the gauge, and altered the pattern, I decided I didn't like it. Add to that the two sleeves in different sizes, and it's been languishing on the UFO shelf for...a while.

I frogged the sleeves and originally intended to just re-knit them and finish the thing. But then, I decided I didn't like the ribbing on the new (and completed) sleeve. And I didn't like the ribbing on the old (and completed) body. But you know, you can't frog from the cast on end, and the ribbing was at the beginning, and really, I'd had enough frogging for one day. So I thought about it for a while. And a light went on. I'm sure many, many other knitters before me have figured this out, but I've never seen the technique anywhere. If you take a knitting needle, and you thread it through just one side of each stitch all the way across your piece, just above where you want to remove part of the beginning of your work, until you have each stitch secured on the needle, you can CUT OFF THE BEGINNING OF THE WORK, leaving live stitches which you can then work downward. It's like a provisional cast on after the fact!

Look, I'll show you:

First, you weave the needle through the work, picking up only one "leg" of each stitch. This puts the needle in the "loop" of the stitch. I believe, if you are planning to start on the right side and work down, you want to pick of the first leg of each stitch, and if you want to start on the wrong side and work down, you should pick up the second leg of each stitch, but don't quote me on that.

Once you have the needle woven through every stitch (Count them. Count them twice.), you take your scissors and cut ONE ROW BELOW where your needle is, being very, very careful not to cut any of the loops that are on the needle. Pick out any loose bits (there will be lots), and voila:

You have live stitches on the needle, ready to be knitted downward.

Just think of the implications: If you make a sleeve or body too long (or too short), or your kid's arms grow overnight, or you want to change the ribbing on a finished item, or...well, you get the idea. Now, as with the provisional cast on, you probably only want to do this if you are going to work the bottom part in a different stitch pattern, since this part of the work will be "upside down" compared to the rest of the piece. You would see the transition if you were working both sections in plain stockinette, for example. But in a pinch, where you can decide what sort of stitch to use, this could be a really useful technique.

As for the cardigan, it's almost done now, and completely unidentifiable as the summer jacket I originally had in mind.


Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne! I also went to that online knitting store and everything was sold out that I looked at! Big bummer!

I think it is finally spring up here but last night it was raining and for a few minutes it was snowing. That's depressing!

Faith said...

I had the same experience with the online yarn sale, except I hyped myself out for an hour beforehand thinking "No more yarn... But I want more yarn! No, don't do it..... You need to!" Good thing it was sold out!