Friday, February 16, 2007

Things I Know Now and Things I Need to Figure Out

Bear with me. I'm still living in Perfect Sweaterland while I try to transition to whatever. And there are several whatevers to choose from. For one thing (two things?) I need to justify my membership in Stranded (must resurrect Endpaper Mitts) and Zimmermania (must cast on John's Saddle Shoulder Variation).

This, by the way, is the yarn John chose. Cascade The Heathers in 9411, Olympic Rainforest.

In addition, I need to figure out a sweater for Marco. After all, Clare has a sweater. (She finally got it yesterday. Stupid blizzard.) John will have one before the end of winter (I hope). Obviously, Marco needs one, too.

While I ponder, things I learned from the Perfect Sweater keep drifting in and out of the space between my ears.

Did you know that if, after the first few increases, you place stitch markers at the point where you started, that is, inside the increases, you can keep track of the number of repeats you've done by counting the stitches outside the stitch markers? And that it is much easier to keep your place in the pattern, especially if you have short-term memory lapses involving clicking the row counter or making your little tally marks? If you did, why didn't you tell me?

My habit of using a stitch marker of a different color to mark the right side of the work is now ingrained. I feel disproportionate levels of anxiety when I am lacking my little, friendly mnemonic, never mind that I can tell the right side of stockinette fabric from the wrong side.

Thick, ugly yarn is a great stitch holder. Also cheaper and less likely to disappear with the tape measures.

Working the front and back at the same time was brilliant. So was working both sleeves simultaneously. (In fact, taking a break from sleeve 1 at about the 13th increase to cast on sleeve 2 may have saved the sweater from finishing out its days in the most bottomless black-hole of knitting I could throw it into.) I just wish it was my brilliance. Diane reminded me that Elizabeth Zimmermann recommends casting on the sleeve at the same time you cast on for the body and working between the two. I couldn't find it in Knitting Without Tears, so I think it may be in The Opinionated Knitter? (Here's another ambition: how to underline in Blogger.)

Okay, digression here. Did you know we are so good at appropriating other people ideas and thinking that they're our own, that there's actually a term of art in psychological science for it? It's cryptomnesia.

The two-at-once trick worked so well to keep the knitting fun and engaging that I've incorporated it into the Mitered Square project. I have finished two, have two more going, and if I can find another set of US-7 circulars, I may start a third.

As an additional bonus, it justifies those extra sets of needles I keep buying instead of taking them from projects that are on vacation, as it were.

With all this new (for me) insight, I think I'll go finish swatching for John's Sweater.

While I do that I can figure out Marco's. I'm thinking about a boyish Perfect Sweater - crew neck rather than jewel or v, ribbing at the waist, cuffs and neck, no shaping through the body. I thought about this color, but Marco prefers this one. I admit, how to adjust for the crew neck has me rather stumped at the moment, but I have a fair bit of knitting I can do while I solve that problem.

And while I do that, maybe I'll figure out how to do it in the round.

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