I've had this post in my head for ages, since just after crarf camp, but I've been too busy knitting in front of youtube to you know, actually write it. I've been able to knit plain and purl for a while and have a basketful of scarves to prove it. However the goal I set myself this winter has been to knit a wearable article of clothing from a pattern. A vest seemed like a good idea and after a chance purchase of three skeins of dark green wool from savers at a very good price I joined ravelry and started cruising for patterns that were a) free to download, b) might look OK on me and c) I might actually be able to knit. So I chose this one. It's called "Very Cherry" and for those who aren't on ravelry, it's basically a tube with ribbing at the top and bottom and holes for the arms. Simple one would think.
Well, let the lessons commence! First because I am a size bigger than the biggest size in the pattern. I did some maths and worked out how many stitches I needed. Easy enough. But wait, I'm using different yarn! My wool is 4ply and the pattern is for something much chunkier. I decide to mix the green with some black and I knit my first swatch. With circular needles, which tangle. Then another on a different sized set of circulars, which also tangle. But I get through it and measure my swatches. So now I have to adjust for gauge. Gulp. Maths is not my strong point. G helps out by giving me a formula to use and I work it out. It takes me a few goes to cast on without twisting the stitches and then success. I keep following the pattern - all through crarf camp and when I get home, I thread the work onto some wool and try it on. It sort of fits. But the arms are rather tight. And the neck sits funny. I go back to ravelry and notice that there are a few tight arms around. So I start looking for stretchy cast off methods and google leads me to youtube. At which point I fall down the rabbit hole. My desk ends up covered in tiny swatches as I try out different methods of casting on and off. A whole lot of light bulbs go off and I feel myself heading towards a dark obsession. Mum and I even spend some time watching knitting on youtube together - I'm trying to entice her into the computer age - flickr hasn't worked - maybe ravelry and youtube might.
Anyway, I decide to start again and leave the original piece of knitting as it is for the moment. I used this method to cast on. It is easy enough to do - the hard bit is knitting the first row, you really do need keep the knitting right on the points of your needles. I use another method by the same knitter, Tillybuddy, to cast off. It took me a while and much knitting in front of the computer to get the hang of this, but it really is a beautiful cast off for rib and well worth learning. One trick I have learnt is that I need to use a non-circular needle to do this cast off. I also cast on on to normal needle and then knit it onto a circular. Although I imagine that you could cast on to the circular using a normal needle in your left hand. Less tangling. Tangling still seems to be a big issue for me.
I knit the vest up using the new method and the underarms were still too tight. So I ripped it back to the safety line of threaded yarn I am now inserting at crucial points in the work and began again. Took it off and tried it on again. Armholes too big. Hopefully next time them will be just right and I can just knit and knit and knit. And finish the damn thing. Because I have some more projects in mind. But this knitting, she is a hard task mistress. A whole new world of craft.