Thursday, January 26, 2006

Playing Catch-Up

Hey y'all. Remember me?

Thank heaven this knitalong attracted good and helpful people right out of the starting gate, as I certainly have not been much of a co-host. Our numbers continue to grow, though. I think I have the full list now in the sidebar. If you're missing, do please let me know.

I decided from the outset that an Aran sweater in a month, particularly this month, was not going to happen. So, in order to learn something of the technique while being realistic about the project, I decided to do a hat composed mainly of the "fishtrap" pattern.

Like many of you, I'd never done right or left twists (or any sort of Aran knitting) before. And also like many of you, I confess Elizabeth's perhaps too-pithy directions on how to perform the right twist drove me to alternate sources of information. In my case, the Vogue Knitting Reference (which is illustrated) was just the ticket.

As it turned out, this was my favorite knitting learning experience since last year's lace class with Nancy Bush at Stitches Midwest. I love the process of knitting lace. And I've found I love the process of knitting these twisting stitch patterns.

But there's one big difference.

I get to wear this.

Here it is last night. This morning on the train, I made it to the final row of the pattern. Happily, the size of the pattern has yielded a perfect hat for my head. I'll begin the decreases tonight to finish it up.

Jo Sharp DK Aran, Addi Turbo US6 circular

Mind you, this hat is not going to win any prizes at a county fair. I wouldn't even give it as a gift. There are oodles of mistakes all over the place in it. But I've enjoyed the process–in fact, I may knit the hat again in a different yarn–and right and left twist are now readily at my command. I'm not afraid of them, so I suppose that's a decent accomplishment for the first month.

Meanwhile, Over at Wyvern's Blog
You'll find a far more accomplished piece of work. She very kindly sent along a picture, and here it is:

You can see more at her blog.

Looking Ahead

Now that my shoulder is back in business and my affairs are, in general, more in order, I look forward to being more participatory in February. Not to mention that I'm terribly excited to knit baby things. I've just had my first taste of it, and want more.

No babies of my own to knit for, mind you, but one of my coworkers just had a beautiful baby boy. Let's see how much wool I can cover him in.


Blogger sep said...

I'm working my way up the hat, almost at the top of the chart now... but it doesn't look nearly as neat as Franklin's! Drats! Well, I'll send in the pic anyway... I found my own way of doing the right twist because I could not figure out what the heck EZ was talking about, at all. I'm still debating the sweater idea. Really, how do I figure out the width of the sweater when it needs to be 3X the width of the hat and not 2X as she says? Any ideas? I posted this question on Jan 10th's post but no answers yet.

January 26, 2006  
Blogger Liz said...

Franklin, your hat looks great! Mine, alas, still looks like crap. I'm really stubborn, though, so on with it.

Sep - to answer your question about how to figure out from the hat how big to make your sweater: (putting on my designer hat) (which is not the aran hat that's still on needles and, as previously mentioned, looks like crap)
Measure the circumference of the hat (let's pretend it's 22.5 inches). Figure out the circumference you want the sweater to be (hm...say 63 inches, just to be a pain)(because that's close to 3X but not exactly and thus inconvenient enough to illustrate the math). You already know how many stitches per round are in the hat, yes? Of course you do (but I forget. I think you said 120?). And you're using the hat as a swatch because you're going to do the same stitch patterns, only more of them.

The messy way that does not require a chalkboard for me to explain: Get a calculator. Take the number of stitches (120) and divide by the hat measurement (22.5) - I get 5.33 (5 and a third). This is how many stitches you get per inch over the whole shebang. You need to now multiply the inches you want in the sweater by the stithces per inch - so in my example, this is 63 x 5.33, which gives me 335.99, which we can safely round to 336. Eyeballing, roughly, this is about what I'd expect, given a hat that's about a hundred and wanting to make something about 3 times bigger than that.

Any problems, feel free to email me, okay? Hang in there.

January 26, 2006  
Blogger Dory said...

After wet-blocking my fishtrap (on the needles) I realized my sweater would be a little too wide. So I decreased my four fishtraps by eliminating the two stitches on either side of the central twisted "rib". I cut the photocopy of the chart up either side of the central "B" column and retaped together hiding one stitch underneath on either side of the "B".

After 26 rows I decreased another 8 stitches all around by eliminating rows 27-28 and 1-2. That made the fish trap skinier, too.

So, now 200 instead of 216 stitches around for the waist. I'll probably increase back to 216 for a slightly hourglass shape. Ha! Not the sexiest pattern, eh?

I'm the only fool trying to do the whole aran sweater w/fishtraps?

January 28, 2006  
Blogger sep said...

ah thanks, yes! But, that only gives me the the stitch count - very useful, by the way, - but not how I'm going to place the patterns. Should I try and put in another fishtrap? If I do, I'll have to put in two, right? I might just give up and end the whole shebang at the hat. There's just so much you can fudge with the background stitches - you've got to start adding bigger patterns when you're increasing as much as I am.

January 29, 2006  
Blogger sep said...

finished the aran hat. see it here.

As I say on the blog, it's not perfect but it's in a yarn that I have lots of colors of and maybe some day I'll actually do the sweater! Not now, however :)

January 29, 2006  
Blogger Ann said...


I ventured over to your blog to check out your, I wish I had a clue--your hat looked great to me mistakes or not, I sure didn't notice them.


January 29, 2006  
Blogger Liz said...

Sep, I think you can add at least two fishtraps, depending on what you want to do... unfortunately here I degenerate into "well, what would you like it to be" kinds of questions, which are not necessarily helpful. Ok, not helpful at all.

I finished my hat, too - visible at ze bloggg.

It is not a very good hat, but it is complete.

Onward to more projects! Whee!

January 30, 2006  
Blogger CPAknit said...

OK- Well I got to read the January and February chapters last night- but since I am so far behind- I think I will start with the baby sweater. Am I the only one so far behind?

January 30, 2006  
Blogger Dory said...

I only started the sweater about a week ago and have it up to the armpits. So, no, you are not the only one behind. I'll probably finish this aran sweater in July.

That baby blanket for Feb. is lookin' pretty good right now...

January 30, 2006  
Blogger Ann said...

I had to go with a plan B for January and didn't quite make it through the left and the right twist. I did learn to knit cables--shoot, they weren't hard at all. I managed to complete a scarf and I was ok with that.

I am hoping for better luck with the February baby blanket.


January 30, 2006  
Blogger Liz said...

Franklin, your hat is way better than mine. You are not allowed to commit harikiri until you've finished your Orenburg.

So there.

January 31, 2006  
Blogger BigAlice said...

I'm so behind. So I look really awful in drop-shoulder sweaters so I decided to moidfy the pattern to child-size. Taking out 2 fishtraps ended up with a sweater too small for anything but a baby, so I fudged with the pattern a bit. I've got about 3 inches up the body but I don't like how it's going so I might rip the whole thing.

Sep, what I did is figure out just how wide a single fishtrap was and how wide the twisted rib was. I think the fishtraps worked out to be about 9" wide for me, and the twisted rib + surrounding purls were about 1" wide (I'm doing 5 st/in in stockinette). Then I got out paper and figured out how many to put in to get the final sweater diameter I wanted.

For me, I wanted an even number of fishtraps. 2 fishtraps + 4 twisted ribs were too small (that was about 22" diameter), so I
1) increased the numbers of purls surrounding the fishtraps to 8 on each side - gives me 8" more (2 fishtraps x 2 sides x 8 = 40 st)
2) added another twisted rib on each side of the fishtrap.

But I'm not happy with how it's looking.. maybe it's the yarn.
I've been so snowed with work and life this month that I haven't spent much time on it.

Left twist and right twist can be combined to make awesome little cables and braids for socks - once you get the hang of them they go fast. The Conwy socks in "Knitting on the Road" by Nancy Bush (guess what I was working on before I joined) use left and right twists to make braids down the body of the sock. All those twists keep me sane while working on dark solid navy blue socks. Here's a good picture (no affiliation):

February 01, 2006  
Blogger BigAlice said...

Oh, I wanted to say: the hats are great! I have nothing so pretty to show :( Actually it'd be a miracle if I could make a hat that would actually fit my head bah.

Dory, you might be the only one doing the full size sweater <grin>, but I'm going to do this child-size one because I really want to try the steeks.

February 01, 2006  
Blogger sep said...

thanks bigalice! I knew it was going to come down to charting but I'd hoped there was an easier way!

February 06, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home