#70 Two at a Time Sleeves

I knit my socks two at a time on magic loop needles because I want to make sure the left sock and the right sock match. If I make a mistake, too many rows in the cable, I want to be sure to make the matching mistake on the other sock. Trying to record any deviation and then repeating on the second sock is too stressful. But I’ve never done two at a time with sweater sleeves even though I find trying to match my decreases similarly stressful.

My knitting friends recently suggested I consider doing my sleeves two at a time. I’d never considered this since all my sweaters are raglan. I know you could do two at a time when knitting a sweater in pieces that need to be seamed. But knitting sleeves two at a time with the yoke/body hanging between the sleeves??? I was particularly motivated with the sweater I’m working on, Amrum, because I plan to put a little of the pattern at the bottom of the sleeve just prior to the cuff. Thus it would be especially helpful to knit both sleeves at the same time to make sure I start on the same row.

It’s hard enough juggling two balls of yarn when knitting two at a time but the yarn I’m using for my sweater is on cones. No big deal but I use a yarn butler to make it easier to pull the yarn off the cone as I knit. It’s taking a while but I’m starting to get the hang of moving the cones back and forth from left to right as I change sleeves and putting the active yarn cone on the yarn butler so that it unwinds easily. Typically when I make a raglan sweater, I finish the body before starting the sleeves. With doing two at a time sleeves, I did about half the body before starting the sleeves. In the future I’d probably do even less of the body, maybe 2″, so that I don’t have so much weight in the center. Arguably, instead of putting the sleeves on waste yarn and knitting the body, it makes sense to put the body stitches on waste yarn and knit the sleeves. Things to try in the future. I’ll let you know in a future blog what works best.

TRAVEL KNITTING

I’ll be heading to the Smoky Mountains for a long weekend this week so I have to plan my knitting. We are meeting friends at their cabin. There is no TV and not a lot to do so I’m hoping to have lots of knitting time. I do recall last year we managed to talk a lot just catching up with each other. It’s also a 6+ hr drive so I’m hoping to get in at least a few hours of knitting on the drive. My husband’s health frequently makes me the driver so I may not get much car knitting done. The pair of Fixation socks that I started last week will be my car knitting. The yarn is large making it easier on the eyes and less likely to fall off the needle while in a moving car, especially since I’m using square Addi rocket needles.

Then I’ve just cast-on a pair of Christmas socks for my daughter with Lollipop self striping yarn. I’m using the “brain dead” pattern of alternating rows of K1P1, K3P3. Thus I should be able to knit while enjoying a cup of coffee around the firepit each morning. I would have loved to cast-on some fall colors sock yarn I have from Redbird Yarn studio, a local dyer, but I know me and how long it takes me to get even socks knitted up. If I want these Christmas socks done by Thanksgiving, they need to get started now. With 3 WIPs, I still need to focus just to get my Fixation socks done by the end of October, Christmas socks by the end of November, and hopefully my sweater done in there as well.

We will be a little early in the season but I’m hoping for a bit of fall color in the mountains. I do have to laugh at myself in that my knitting projects are always the first thing that I think about when planning a trip. Well….. I have downloaded some audio books to listen to so maybe knitting isn’t the only thing on my travel mind.

#69 Grafting

Well, I had to learn about grafting. I was so excited Thursday evening when I finished a pair of socks I’m planning as a gift. It wasn’t until I put them on blockers and went to take a photo that I noticed one sock had a stripe around the ankle. Seems about a 30″ (3/4 m) section didn’t get dyed so it was simply the yarn’s base color. Thus I had 4 rows of bland yarn instead of the speckles of all the other yarn. Grrrr. I have made many pairs of socks with Cascade Fixation yarn and this was a first. I’ve certainly been disappointed with Cascade Fixation for having knots in the ball, which these did as well, but never an undyed patch.

Finally I realized that I could cut the yarn and rip out the 4 rows. Fortunately I had 1.4 gr of yarn left which was just barely enough to replace the 4 rows. Cutting yarn within a project was also a first for me. After replacing the rows, I had to figure out how to get the leg reattached to the sock!! Searching on YouTube, I found a video for a modified Kitchner. I definitely should have followed the advice of making a swatch of large size yarn (worsted) to practice the grafting but of course I didn’t. I only had to restart twice. Turns out I did need to put lifelines in the stitches just so I could better find the stitches as I was weaving them back together. It’s not perfect but it is good enough, especially for a sock.

So now it’s knit the third and final pair of socks for this family. I am so ready to be done with these especially since my Amrum sweater keeps calling me. More on that next week.

#68 Charms for Stitch Markers

I love stitch markers!! I have written several blogs about various stitch markers I have found that are helpful to my knitting. But recently on a trip to Hobby Lobby to get machine oil for my sewing machine, I happened to think that charms would make beautiful and fun stitch markers. I might have been motivated by my current project where I’m using lots of stitch markers to track where I’m at in the ever growing lace pattern. I have various purple markers on the ssk side of the pattern and various green and white markers on the k2tog side. So I have a purple sheep marker on one side of the pattern and a green sheep marker on the other side. Same for yarn ball markers, flower markers, etc. I’m running out of pairs of markers as the pattern keeps expanding as I knit down the body.

So I checked out the jewelry section at Hobby Lobby. They really do have quite the collection of charms to my surprise. Plus as typical of Hobby Lobby, they were all 50% off. I finally could not resist a set of markers that were a colorful stack of books. Indeed I am happily using them on my sweater.

Last year my knitting friends did a small gift exchange at Christmas. Creating a set of markers from charms that fit their different personal interests would be so fun. Unfortunately it is likely that Covid-19 will continue to keep us from meeting in person this Christmas. We will have to do Christmas in July!! I’m also hoping my children might see my Instagram post of the book stack charms so that they get an idea of an inexpensive gift to give me for Christmas. Is that a passive-aggressive thing to do??