Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't Be Afraid to Let 'er Rip

Thanks everybody, for your well wishes on my anniversary post. Mr HalfSoledBoots even read it, after I told him his anniversary card was online and he'd have to go to the blog to see it.

These photos are very dark - I took them outside hoping for some natural light, but there was just enough to disable the flash and not enough to show the colours.

Drifting is coming along beautifully. I've finished the sleeves and the front, which means I would be completely done the knitting except that I need to knit another back since I ripped out the first one.

When you're knitting fair-isle, as everyone knows, you have to be careful to keep your floats loose or the knitting pulls in and ripples the surface of the work. To make tensioning easier, the designer calls for a needle change just for the colourwork band - you move up to a 4.5mm from a 4mm. The problem was, I usually handle the tension issues myself, by pulling the stitches along the right hand needle as I work. This, combined with the larger needle, made the colourwork band simply too loose and sloppy-looking. You couldn't tell from the picture, but it just wasn't good enough for Ruby.

So I ripped and I'm now one inch into The Back, Part II. I should be done it by this weekend, and then I can block, seam, and knit the button bands.

The pattern itself is a good one - these vivid colours really keep my interest. I also like the natural sections of the pieces - it keeps you knitting to the end of that section. You knit merrily along, enjoying the feeling of the wool, then suddenly the purple is over. So you start the colourwork, and then you feel like you really should carry on just until that's over, but then the beautiful blue starts and the decreases begin, and you think "Well, it's only a few inches, it would really be a shame to stop now." Then it's 1:00 AM and you bind off in triumph.

The front.

I do have two criticisms, though. One is for the book in general - I really do feel that "Fair Isle" should be done in finer yarn. It looks pixelated and clunky when it's in anything above a sport weight.

The second is that this pattern (and, probably, other patterns in this book) should really be knit in the round. A steek would not be necessary - you could knit in the round from the hem to the underarm, then divide. That way, you do the colourwork band in the round and save yourself the torture of the purl rows, not to mention the abhorrent looseness at the edge of each piece, when your yarn ends are dangling there looking pointless and sloppy. I think no matter how carefully I block, steam, and seam, there is going to be some rippling at the side seams. AND THAT BOTHERS ME.

This shows the colour better.


Piper is six months old now.

And after putting up a 6+ foot fence to keep the hateful deer at bay, I have blooms on my hydrangea for the first time in three years.

So altogether the world is spinning nicely today.


clumsy ox said...

Sweater's coming along nicely, Shan. You're helping just fine.

Anything Fair Isle is just plain cool.

Shan said...

I really agree.

Ames said...

Wish I could see the sweater in real life. It looks really cute.

I, myself, love Fair Isle, but had been to afraid to try it until the hat. Now, I think I am hooked.

kate said...

Woo hoo, hydrangeas!!

Sweater is lovely, of course.

Ames said...

BTW, your blog post titles have been cracking me up.

Shan said...

Hey Ames, thanks for that.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Ruby is going to look like a gem in this! I promise to send a picture for your blog buddies to see. We are going to visit her and her family tomorrow on a wee bit of a holiday. Thanks for your care and effort in making this. Ta,

Kristine said...

This is the Inspired Fair Isle book, yeah? I agree on both points. I detest purling fair isle. It's just pointless and aggravating.

Of course, I f*cked up a steek tonight, so who am I to talk? Sigh.

lizbon said...

Sweater looks gorgeous. I love the colours.

If Piper gets any cuter, I am going to have to grow a new limb.

Shan said...

Yeah, isn't he cute, the smiley thing? I love his little face. My homeopath says "He has an old soul". Which cracks me up.

Tabatha said...

The sweater is beautiful. Hey, your hydrangeas match your sweater. Cool.

What a good looking dog Piper is!

mel said...

Lovely sweater! And Piper is adorable - they grow so fast!

knititch said...

is it a bordercollie?? the sweater looks great but it is a hassle to knit fair isle knitting flat.

theknapper said...

I found your blog thru your uncle Dave's.
I've recently gotten hooked on audiobooks as I drive the Malahat 4 days/week. I escape into stories and the drive goes by quickly. I picked up "At Knits end....meditations of women who knit too much.' you may have heard of it as you seem like something you could have writen.

Shan said...

knapper...thank you for the suggestion! I have looked through "At Knit's End" but have never actually read the whole thing. An audiobook would be a great way to hear the whole thing, while knitting!