Monday, September 29, 2008

How did I screw up? Let me count the ways...

I did my usual "deviate from the pattern without thinking it through completely" thing with the Placket-Neck Pullover, and unlike many of you who happily modify patterns at will, I NEVER seem to learn that I don't have the skills to do this with complete success. Either major headaches or a yucky FO result. This was a Learning Experience for me. We'll have to see if I actually apply the lessons to future projects or not :)

Pattern: Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, size 2-3 years
Needles: Size 6 16" (Couldn't find my 24", but it squished onto the 16" just fine) and dpns
Yarn: Rowan Wool-Cotton in white (EXACTLY one ball), Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton in light blue (less than one ball) and in navy (almost two balls)
Notes: I wish I could remember that knitting is not something for which I have natural talent. I am much better off following the pattern exactly (or doing modifications outlined by other knitters more skilled than I) and not substituting yarn unless I check that someone else has successfully used my chosen yarn. Deciding to stripe in this pattern was not the best idea I've had, but overall, I'm pleased with the sweater. Here are things that are completely obvious that I had to learn the hard way:

Lesson #1: Color changes make the jog on a seamless sweater extra wonky. Consider saving striping for seamed garments.

Lesson #2: Intarsia is yucky and tedious. But I really was pleased with how well I did. I think overall the placket looks nice.

Lesson #3: Chart out the striping sequence for the ENTIRE sweater, not just enough to make the body and sleeves match. This was a tough one. I mapped out the increases on the sleeves to make sure they would match the body, but I didn't even consider the yoke striping until I had joined both sleeves. Duh! So the first blue stripe below the neckband is dark blue, when it should have been light blue to match the pattern I'd set. Knitting even wasn't an option because it would have made the yoke over an inch too long, and skipping the last dark blue stripe would have caused the opposite problem. I lucked out at least that the last decrease row was on the white stripe so I didn't have to work even at all (although another two rows would have been okay). I also went on the short side of the measurements for the body and sleeves to make the striping work. I'll have to see if the toddler who receives this has too much wrist and tummy showing--I can rip out the seed stitch trim and knit down another stripe (since the top stripe in the yoke is dark blue).

Lesson #4: If you loathe weaving in ends, DO THEM AS YOU GO. Or skip striping all together. Oh, the humanity!

Lesson #5: Do some actual calculation about the amount of yarn you need for each color. That way, your "stash-busting sweater" won't leave you with one full ball of light blue yarn, and cause you to ADD a ball of white unnecessarily to your stash when you panic and think there's no way you can finish the sweater with the white you have left (and really, it was a squeaker). White yarn left, with sheet of paper for reference:

Lesson #6: Don't do seed stitch on the wrong side row when it's the first row in a new color. (At least I caught this one after a couple of stitches of weirdness, and did a stockinette row in the new color before beginning the seed stitch row.)

Reading: I read the first book in The 39 Clues series. Review at On My Bookshelf. I thought it was fun, if wildly improbable, and I'm really intrigued by the multimedia aspect.

Writing: Writing time has been very scarce lately. We had visitors, and I've been preparing for selling jam. Still at 12,294 words.

Cooking: Hmm. I made the Pasta with Lemon, Beans, and Greens from Cooking Light. The whole family just loves this recipe. So much flavor. I made Hedonistic Fudgies again. Man, those are good. After calculating the points, I was inspired to make them much, much smaller. I ended up with 66 teaspoon-sized drops of batter, making them about 1.5 points each. I have a stew in mind to make with an array of produce, but we're having a warm spell, so it's too hot for stew.

Weight Watchers update: 3 weeks, 6.5 pounds. Hmmm. I know there are slower weeks and faster weeks, but the half-pound loss is tough to see. I'm soldiering on, though!


KnitPastis said...

It looks great! I tend to really dislike weaving in the ends so I do them as I go along. Oh no, don't be so hard on yourself at all. It's so much better looking then my sweaters turn out. This is cool looking.

YarnThrower said...

When I have projects which turn out to be major "learning experiences," I sometimes wonder why I enjoy knitting at all. Then, when I see a great finished product like the one you showed today, I remember...

Kudos on the weight watchers! I've been trying to drop a pound a week since school started, and four weeks into it, so far I've gained one pound...

Holly said...

I LOVE the sweater! It's is so adorable. And the ABC buttons, too cute! I think you're a little hard on yourself. Looking at it in the pictures I would never have guessed you did anything wrong. But I do admit, those ends to weave in do look immensely daunting. :-)

Knittypants said...

Well, it's a sweet little sweater in spite of all the trouble it gave you. Those ends look a bit discouraging, but you'll get through them in no time.

Mary said...

The sweater really does look great. But I think that amount of ends to weave in would make me cry :)

Amy said...

Very nice! I love the blues. You sell your knit-talent short...perhaps other activities feel more natural to you than this, but you're pretty darn good at knitting.

Cracks me up that lesson #2 is "Intarsia is yucky and tedious" - not so much an action point on this one...just something to remember, right?

Let us know which items you've decided to sell at the local fair. Maybe...whatever gets made in time? :)

Inspired by your Cooking Light-ness. Are most of the recipes you use from the magazine, or are these online? Do I need a subscription?

Good for you on the weight loss front. I finally had success a few years back getting rid of unhealthy pounds that had been hanging around since - gasp! -college. Mine was not on a structured plan - it was the old-fashioned eat good things, eat (much, much) less of what you do eat, and get to the gym. It did help that Bidie went with me most days to the gym. A buddy helps.

The eating habits have stayed (pretty much) healthy with nutrition-rich foods and normal, non-tiny portions, but I've slipped on the gym. When I think about it, it was only about 6 weeks of really really hard work at the gym before I downgraded to just being more active in general. I made the effort every single day during that time; I think my body got the message after even 2 weeks of working out, and then the pounds surrendered and started melting off.

Perhaps lack of gym is why some of those pounds have reappeared! Must get back to the old elliptical.

Anyway - keep up the good work. You can do it!

String Bean said...

Lesson #7: Don't be so picky! The sweater looks great.

Mm, home made jam... drool

Stefaneener said...

It looks just great. Maybe the ends will turn into some kind of meditative time -- just surrendering and flowing. This time I bookmarked the cookie recipe, thank you. I have a friend who needs these.

The pasta sounds great, and the sweater really is fantastic. Don't be so haaaaarrrd on yourself!