Kitchener Stitch

Original yarn choice with magazine.

This little project started with a car repair. I needed something to entertain me while I waited for the repair to be completed, so I picked up the Fall 2012 Creative Knitting Magazine, NO-SEW CIRCULAR & SEAMLESS KNITS magazine.  Inside I found a button-up shurg that I decided to make. 

It had been a while since I knitted something to wear so I wanted a simple project I could make with yarn I had on hand. As it turned out the two partial skeins I had on hand were not the same dye lot and did not match, although I did not realized that when I got started. See two previous posts. So I purchased yarn to make this project and started over.

Second attempt, this time with new yarn.

I really like the yarn and the color and it is an easy project that knits fast. I have both sections complete to the point where I need to put them together. I read the instructions, sounds simple enough, use a darning needle, weaving the yarn knit wise and purl wise through the loops on both needles. It seemed like it would be kind of a centralized cast off process as the two pieces are woven/sewed/attached together.  

Ready to finish sections of the shrug.

What I did not realize is now I have no way to make sure the stitches are the right size. The first try was too loose and very sloppy, then the second try somehow I pulled several unfinished stitches off of the needle before I meant to and had to recreate a few stitches that I managed to unravel. I wonder if it would not be easier to just use three needles, making the knit/purl wise loops between the two pieces through the loops and around a double pointed needle. I would have the needle as a guage to keep the tension and loop size even. 

I found out that this Kitchener stitch is considered to be an "Expert" level stitch and is usually used at the toes on socks, so maybe over a dozen stitches. This shrug has 88 stitches across on each side. The skill level for this project is listed in the magazine as easy. Up to this point it has been, but now not only is this final step an expert level skill, it also feels like sewing and it is included in a NO SEW edition.  I am confident to be able to do advanced level stitches, so getting practice at an expert level may be the best way to learn a new skill. What better place to have it too, at the very end. Hope I can master this soon so I can wear my new shrug.


Project planning and progress report

Last week I planned the projects I wanted to work on by placing them on my table to prioritize and review. Dot hopped right up to make an inspection and help me decide. Now you can see why I use plastic bags to organize sewing and knitting projects. It keeps her out of the yarn and other supplies.

Dot inspecting the possibilities

In this picture I can see a purple unfinished object (ufo), top left, then beside it the nearly completed button-up shrug that I made with mismatched dyelot yarn that I am going to rip out and turn in to something else, three skeins of red yarn, which is the replacement yarn for the button-up shrug, a pair of socks work in progress (wip), a pair of baby booties to finish, patterns to consider and two sewing projects that I may make for my kiddos.

So how did I do? 
The baby booties were a gift and I finished them.

The purple unfinished object is still unfinished.  I did decide that I need to purchase a scale so I will know when I reach half way on the yarn for the project that it will become. This project will have to remain unfinished until I weigh the yarn. I am not in any danger of running out of things to do so that probably will not move to the front of the project to-do-list right away.

I did knit on the socks. This is a very small, easy to take along project so it travels with me and I knit a row or two when I find myself waiting for something or have a few minutes extra during lunch times. It is on very small needles and in the round so while I can see progress it seems slow.  I am nearly finished with the first sock.

Once I decided I could not live with the mismatched dyelot on the original button-up shrug, I purchased the kind of yarn suggested in the pattern and got started on the replacement.

Original mixed dylot
Progress with new yarn
Nearly completed right side
Pattern Photo with both yarns

This brings us up to the sewing portion of the week.  I did not sew this week, but I do have several patterns I would like to sew soon. Here are four that I am considering. It will just depend on when I find the desired fabric.

Deciding on fabrics for these.

When I did look at a pattern to decide if I really wanted to work with it or make my own, Dot took the opportunity to play with the tape measure. Then she sat down right in the middle of the project.

She usually likes to nestle among the yarn projects in a favorite basket.


Progress... or not.

Large needle knitting and fast progress
When I found these two skeins in the end pieces and project leftovers I was excited that there was enough to use for a quick useful project. The cooler evenings have been wonderful for knitting and this little project on large needles has grown fast enough to provide a little warmth while I work on it. I have been looking forward to having it finished and put together soon.

But look again. Although very similar in color and even probably had the same name, it looks like they cannot possibly be from the same dye lot. The second piece is slightly brighter, I may be the only one who can see that, but it is enough to render this little project no longer a work in progress, but two pieces of knitted yarn that will be better suited as trim for something else. 

Unmatched dye lot results
I believe I will use the rest of this project, to finish out the length of yarn. On my way to the end of this I am going to re-learn how to knit continental style. I know that is how I learned to knit when I was young. Later when I picked up knitting again I had to review the process and have been knitting the style that loops the yarn over the needle less gracefully. I knew it did not feel the same at the time, but could not remember exactly why it was different. It seems slower and less effecient but feels more comfortable now because I have been knitting this way longer. This will give me a large stretch of knitted area to compare while I practice to regain the feel of holding the needls and yarn differently. It certainly will not ruin the already lost project. Hopefully it will not take long for me to change knitting styles and improve speed.

On a more positivie note, I purchased some Deborah Norville sock yarn that knits into wonderful stripes. This little project fits in a purse and goes with me for those times when I have just a few minutes to wait. It helps me pass the time patiently and I am encouraging to see how just a few minutes well spent help create something instead of being wasted.

Deborah Norville Sock yarn and partially knitted sock - nice stripes.
The whole project fits in a little zipper plastic bag and is readily availble when waiting.


Knit W.I.P. (Knit Work in Progress)

After a blistering hot summer with no rain to speak of and temps in the 100s starting in June through July and the high 90s through most of August and into September, even mid 80s in October, snow on Friday and Saturday was a welcome cool down. I took the opportunity to start a knitting project inspired by a shrug in the Fall 2012 Creative Knitting Magazine NO-SEW CIRCULAR & SEAMLESS KNITS Publication . I have never been one to be able to knit when it is warm. The yarn gets sticky and quits sliding nicely on the needles. This messes up the gauge and complicates the whole process. Cotton yarns will work better in the hotter weather but I just don't knit when it is hot.  
Current Knit WIP - Shrug
I have been trying to match some yarn I have to a simple but useful project. I purchased this yarn to complement another project I was working on but it turned out not to be enough for that project. It really is not quite enough for this project either, but by giving up just a little length so that the sleeves will be just below the elbows it should make the perfect shrug to have around for those days when just a little extra on the shoulders is all I need. Plus with all of these colors it should look good with almost any solid color. It is knitted on larger needles so it goes pretty fast. I am using the circular needle in the photo as a stitch holder. 

Creative Knitting Fall 2012 Inspiration
 October is Knit Something Month. I'll be back to sewing soon.