Doing the knitting
I have finally started to make some progress with my jumper. My first attempt at cable stitching left me somewhat bemused. Holding the stitch behind or in front, stitching the next stitch and then going back to it made me feel all fingers and thumbs. I fear I twisted some of the stitches, and the tension got lost. It does look a bit amateur. But that is what I am! While I think I got all the stitches in the right place, some are twice the size of the others.
It’s a funny process, knitting, isn’t it? Mainly it is just repetitive hand movements. With the occasional break to avidly study detailed instructions on how to stitch every stitch to create the pattern or shape. This is where counting comes in. I just mark a little stick on a post it note, and cross through the fifth ones, like I am a lifer in captivity. But no – knitting is nice!
But different from my dressmaking. I have to concentrate all the time when sewing, mainly because I have made my own patterns, and have no instructions, or because I am trying something new like boning or translucent fabrics. But with knitting, once you have established what you are doing, you can do it with your eyes shut! Literally. I have found it easy to knit and watch television at the same time. As we are watching Fargo, followed by Stranger Things, actually doing something other than being scared to death is a good thing. My husband doesn’t like the lights on (not spooky enough) but I have found I really can knit without looking.
Maths and measurements
When making the pattern in the jumper (chevrons, outlined with stitches) I really enjoyed the maths of it – how with twelve stitches 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 went into the shaping. It was a lovely palindromic and slightly magical process. It is remarkable how an increase every 8th row for six rounds can shape a sleeve. Knitters will surely know what I mean.
Stephanie had warned me that you need to measure all the time. I was confused by this as we seemed to be working in stitches, not centimetres. To create the body of the jumper I had to knit 74 rows. Of course, I had not read the instructions through from top to bottom, mainly as it appeared to be written in another language or code. If you don’t know what you are doing there seems little point in reading the instructions through. But of course I discovered, on p3 of the instructions, there was a diagram showing the dimensions of the jumper and I saw that the 74 rows, on top of the patterning and everything else (down to the ribbing area, that is not ribbing in this case), should measure 44.5cms – slightly shorter than the smaller version for some reason (not sure why – is it because the sleeves start lower in the progressively larger versions?). And, hey presto it did. Although I am not sure I am measuring it right. Will it be longer when it is lightly steamed at the end (sounds like a delicate vegetable or small portion of invalid-ready fish).
Getting to the sleeves
I managed to knit up the torso section of the jumper, and decreased a few stitches for the underarm, which effectively divides the jumper into two. I then wondered how to proceed. How does one set aside and store knitting?
I used my traditional size 5mm needles to put the knitting to one side.
Then I had to start on the sleeves. How?? The sleeves are tubes too, but much narrower. I couldn’t see how I could use the big 80cm circular knitting needles to create a sleeve with a circumference of just 20cms. Clearly the sleeves wouldn’t fit on the big needles. I asked for advice from Stephanie and Natalie, and from Instagram friends.
Stephanie said “your pattern should have some instructions” (no) but said she would use four double-pointed needles, converting to small circular needles when the sleeve was big enough. She also warned me about ladders – “gaps where you move from one needle to the next”.
I was quite enjoying the circular needles so searched for ones with a smaller circumference (there are some with 30cms). Unfortunately the size I want (5mm) doesn’t seem to come with less than 80cms of cable between. On YouTube I discovered “Magic Loop” – always a sucker for anything magic (unicorns, for example) I gave it a try. My serious knitter friends Nat and Steph had never tried it, so I was full of trepidation, but it worked for me.
I was delighted as I had already spent enough on equipment that I may never use again, and I could avoid the ladder problem by dividing the knitting at different places so as not to stretch the stitches too much. I know I don’t have the most beautiful and consistent tension throughout but this is my learning jumper.
In other news
Nick makes sour dough bread, which we love. Here is a nice one that came out of the oven on Saturday. And then Esme came round with a bunch of sweet peas she had grown on her balcony. And some potatoes. Which were delicious.