Friday, June 3, 2011

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Here is a tale of a knit-fail.  It's almost embarrassing but I'm a believer in sharing the "ughs" along with the knitting love.  So here goes . . .

If you read my last WIP Wednesday post, you know that I was zipping along on my Cedar Leaf Shawlette

Knitting this particular pattern with some fingering weight and lace weight yarn held together on size US 5 knitting needles was a spur of the moment decision which I made during a long car ride last weekend.  The project was unplanned but, I thought, well-founded.  Even though the pattern sample is knit in DK yarn on US 7 needles, I was pretty confident in how my shawlette might turn out.  Recently, I saw a friend wearing her beautiful Cedar Leaf Shawlette which she had knit out of Malabrigo sock yarn.  Her fingering weight version was knit at a tighter gauge than the pattern called for, and therefore turned out smaller than the pattern sample.  But the fabric was nice and drapey, and the finished piece looked gorgeous wrapped around her neck as a scarf.

With seven years of knitting experience behind me, I thought I could get away with knitting a similar scarf-like object, and here's the key point of all of this if you haven't guessed already, without knitting a gauge swatch.  (Ugh, that was even painful to type the words.)  Excuse me while I go bang my head on my Susan Bates "Knit-Chek" for a minute . . .

Okay, I'm back.  So, to review, the Cedar Leaf Shawlette calls for @ 350 yds. of DK weight yarn to be knit on US 7 needles.  My fingering weight skein has 385 yds.  I assumed that by going down 2 needle sizes, my gauge would be smaller than the gauge of 18 sts. per 4" called for in the pattern, and therefore, I thought I would have plenty of yarn.  You can see where this is going . . .

Well, it's a good thing that I really enjoyed knitting the pattern because I'm going to be doing it all over again.  As I was knitting the last few leaves of the leafy border I realized I was going to be cutting it super close with my amount of yarn.  Knowing that I shouldn't run out if my gauge was right, I decided to measure:
19sts = 4"   Uh-oh!
Even though I had gone down 2 needle sizes, my gauge was looser than the pattern gauge.  I guess it made a big difference that I carried the lace weight yarn along.  It might have also been that most of this project was stockinette stitch knitting done when I was relaxed and knitting away, without paying much attention, in the car.

I could probably finish it as is, but I will probably frog and re-knit.  My first thought was to knit the last couple of leaves on a smaller needle to make my yarn last.  When I tried it I found that I like the look of the fabric knit at a tighter gauge much, much better.  I like this pattern and this yarn too much to leave it the way it is.

Here is a leaf knit on a US 5.

Here is a leaf knit on a US 3.  Much better, don't you think?
My knit-fail may just be the yarn gods messing with my yarn karma because I set gift knitting aside for this project.  So, I will be finishing some other projects before I redo this one.  The funny thing is that as I was knitting the Cedar Leaf Shawlette, I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want it to end.   I actually thought to myself, "I wouldn't mind knitting this again".  And that folks, is exactly what I'm going to do.  I'll be going on a family vacation this month and it will be perfect airplane knitting.

Even though this is more of a UFO, it is an FO for me for now, so I am going ahead and linking up with FO Friday at Tami's Amis.  Be sure to blog-hop on over there to view some more successful FO posts!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Enjoy a Walk in the Woods (Instead of Seaming Sweaters)

First, accept your teenager's eager invitation to the morel mushroom hunting trip, realizing that sweater finishing can always wait, whereas it may not be too much longer that the boy actually wants his mom to go along on his outings.

 Of course, this doesn't mean you can't use the driving time as an excuse to pack up some beautiful new yarn for a "more portable" knitting project:

Next, be sure to take Roxy along as well, so you will have a tired and happy dog at the end of the day:

Once on the highway, try to decide between casting on for those brown socks you've been wanting, or for a Damson in your new lace yarn.  Realize that the 2 new yarns would actually look really good together in a fingering weight Cedar Leaf Shawlette like the one you saw Betsy wearing at knitting night.

On the drive up the mountain, make your husband stop the car so that you can take pictures of the dogwood trees in bloom, as well as the other wildflowers growing in abundance:

Next, go ahead and put down your knitting long enough to enjoy a tromp through the woods.

Note that the cup fungus growing everywhere means there might be morels nearby:

As you continue to hunt, don't be fooled by the false morels:

When you do find some true morels, be sure to admire and photo document them before putting them in your basket:

And at the end of the hunt, get one last picture of the boy with his loot:

Upon arriving home, realize that you are now addicted to knitting your Cedar Leaf Shawlette, and your may even finish it in time for FO Friday.

Finally, stop knitting long enough to take a picture of it for the blog, and link up with the Work-In-Progress Wednesday party at Tami's Amis: