Saturday, 15 November 2008

Short Row Slough of Despond

The positive side of this week's knitting is that, thanks to Lucy Neatby's DVD, I now understand that I was mixing up all the many kinds of short row. I'd got all the techniques hopelessly confused. There are three main kinds of short row:
1. yarn over
2. wrap
3. Japanese
And, you have to keep in mind that the neatening process (when you work back and do a manoeuvre to hide the place where you turned) is different for all the techniques and for knitting or purling, so in fact there are about 7 kinds of stitch manipulation in total. Now that I know this, my head is a lot, lot clearer! I was using a pin and wrapping the stitch. Don't laugh. It isn't funny!

This vintage jacket has sleeves that are knit sideways and shaped at the cap with short rows. I watched the section on short rows a couple of times, light bulb moments pinging and blazing while I did, and then picked up the sleeve for the 'simple' Garter Stitch Jacket. I couldn't follow the instructions. They are so sketchy! I read them slowly out loud to Andy, which sometimes helps. He's very good at spatial things, and then sometimes as I explain it to him, I get it, but we were both baffled.

There is no schemata, so I can't measure the width of the sleeve to see if I'm on track. It's a vintage pattern, so I can't ask anyone else who is making it. I went to Ravelry and checked the boards. Nada. So I just launched in. I've gone wrong, of course, and will have to undo two thirds of the sleeve that 's in the picture, but I think I understand how to make it now. BUT...there's another little wrinkle. As I was knitting away I suddenly thought: Lucy's DVD shows how to graft garter stitch. Why didn't I use a provisional cast on and then I could have grafted the two sleeves sides together? The seam on the 80s photograph looks ugly. I didn't have the moral fibre to undo so much knitting, but now I have to pull most of it back...oh, I don't know! I might go back to finishing the yoke while I think about it.

I found a pattern for a Aran cabled shrug in Kaya wool by Crystal Palace Yarns on the Internet last night. It is EXACTLY the kind of garment I like - so far as one can tell from looking at a picture. I'm mad to cast on for it now! Or at least start swatching and see if I've got enough Aran in my stash to make a test garment with. The trouble is that I watched a programme on the BBC about time management (do you remember it? Garner and someone, was it? Two chaps in suits) and they strongly made the point that it was about 30% faster to start one project and stick with it. 30% faster I like. Not casting on for this wonderful garment I don't like! I might just make a swatch, just to see.

I don't know if you can buy Crystal Palace Yarns over here. I'll look out for it. The pattern is so clearly written. Maybe I could do this one. Maybe I should leave the 'Simple' jacket until I'm an expert knitter. I definitely should have been more influenced by the two stars for 'knitters with some expereince' and less carried away by the word simple!

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