The Center Pull Catastrophe

How does one get along with center pull? It has never played nice with me. And after my latest tangle disaster, I’m not in a hurry to re-experiment with it anytime soon.

I’d knit the body of my current textured cardigan project till the waist, and I decided to switch to the sleeves for a much-needed change. Instead of knitting them one at a time, I thought I’d try the center-pull method “one more time” and knit one sleeve with yarn from the outside like always, and another with yarn from the center.

Textured Cardigan - progress

This is where I was a few days ago.

I’d knit only a few rounds when I noticed I just couldn’t pull the yarn from the center anymore. It had gotten tangled on the inside! I thought I could try winding the yarn from the outside into another ball until I reach the tangle, but I was wrong…

Long story short, I spent an entire afternoon untangling a horrible mess, even after I’d snipped away the yarn from the knitting. I was so irritated that I thought of just dumping it in the trash, but no, there would be no wastage, not when I’d even bought an extra skein for this project because it looked like I’d need more yarn. (And lucky me, they were able to send the new skein from the same batch as the old ones.) So I persevered. At the end of it, I wasn’t even sure if it was worth it. I’m hoping it was. πŸ™‚

After a few days of break to get over the trauma, I’m back on the project. Next time I work on two sleeves at a time, I’m just going to use two balls of yarn, even split a skein in two if it’s the last skein. I’ve concluded that for me, a center pull is just not worth the risk of bald patches on my head from all the hair-pulling. πŸ˜‰

And if you prefer center pull, a tip of my hat to you. πŸ™‚

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Textures and Mistakes

I’ve reached the armholes of the textured cardigan, and wow, was this an engaging knit or what! The continuous change in textures between the body and the cables and the sleeves made sure there was never a dull moment so far.

Engaging or not, mistakes happen, and I had to rectify them. Usually, every few rows, I eyeball the past few rows as I knit the current row, just in case I need to fix something. In this sweater, however, one mistake got away from me, and I only noticed it after 20+ rows — I’d purled a stitch instead of slipping it. It was so visible that I wondered how I’d ever missed it. (Don’t mistakes always seem that way once noticed? πŸ˜‰ )

Texturilicious Cardigan - progress

Correcting mistakes — even I can’t find the fixed stitch in one of these ribs.

Mistakes in these simple textures are nowhere as painful as, say, those while knitting lace, but undoing a long column ofΒ  slipped stitches was something new for me. New, but still familiar; it’s essentially a longer stockinette stitch, isn’t it? Come to think of it, it was probably easier, since the float at the back of the slipped stitch nudges the undone stitch forward. It’s almost like it’s eagerly waiting for you to snag it with your hook and put it back where it belongs. πŸ™‚

As for the cardigan, I debated whether to continue with the sleeves now or with the body — keeping the sleeves for the end has traditionally resulted in boring latter half of projects for me. However, right now, I’m keen on continuing the slipped stitch texture, so the body won. πŸ™‚ I’ll probably get bored of the body soon, and then I can park it and come back to the sleeves. Love the convenience of having so many textures in a single project! πŸ˜›

A Texturilicious Start!

After a successful stripey top, it’s time for a new project! The project on my needles right now is a cardigan for my sis that I started this week.

Earlier, I mentioned a delicious orange yarn that we thought of working with, but I couldn’t really come up with something that would do justice to the yarn, so we put it aside. And, ahem, we bought some new yarn for her cardigan. πŸ˜€ This is Nako Pirlanta, the same yarn that I used for a shawl for my sis, so I guess she likes this one!

Texturilicious Cardigan

The color this time is Almond, though it doesn’t remind me of any almond I’ve seen. πŸ˜› It’s still a gorgeous color, though. I’ve abandoned the vertical stripes plan for this project, and have gone with a lot of dense textures instead. The cardigan is raglan style, with simple eyelet-infused cables running along the raglan. The sleeves are seed stitch, and the body comprises of seed stitches and slipped-stitch ribs. I think I’ll have a better picture to put up when I make actual progress on it. πŸ™‚

This is supposed to be a winter project, and I’m knitting it combination style to see if I notice an increase in my speed. Even so, I’m not sure how fast I can knit it so it’s ready to wear this winter — even late winter. I’ll just do my best!

Through Thick and Thin

Finally, I got to finish my stripey top, block it, and click a picture of it!

Through Thick and Thin Top

Through Thick and Thin Top

I completed knitting the top last week, and though Nako Comfort Stretch yarn doesn’t really need much blocking, I’d wanted to block the neckline to see if it would fix the distortion of the yellow stripe near the neck join. And our heating iron broke just in time! (I need to steam block since this is not wool.) I got to the blocking only after the weekend ended.

The yellow stripe is not really fixed from the blocking — but it does look better than it did before blocking. Or is it just that I’ve gotten used to it? I couldn’t find the time to click photos earlier in the week, but I wore it to work already, and… I got no compliments, because it “looked store-bought, not handmade.” I guess that’s a compliment? πŸ™‚

I’d thought earlier that I’ll need to knit jogless stripes for the sleeves, but I ended the sleeves soon after the armhole because that suited the top, and no jogless technique was needed. Maybe in a different project!

I’d also tried adding a little heart on the chest using duplicate stitch, but it didn’t look very good, so of course I removed it.

A small but helpful thing that I do these days (as I did for this top too) is weaving in ends as I go. It makes a huge difference for me — my brain is done with sweater projects when the body is done, and even knitting sleeves is an effort of will, so I absolutely hate weaving in ends after I’m ‘officially’ done with the project. Tackling it then and there makes it so much easier! (Now, if only I tackle other things in my life then and there… πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜› )

Textured Blouse

Can you believe it, my mom’s blouse is ready! I think this is the quickest I’ve ever produced a garment. πŸ™‚

While the knit itself was pretty boring because (a) simple pattern and (b) this project occupied every free moment I had, I’m satisfied with how it turned out. The texture is just awesome!

Seed Stitch Textured Blouse

I used a slipped seed stitch variation for the body and sleeves, and garter stitch for all the borders. The slipped stitches give some denseness to the fabric, and I think that works well for the frogged yarn. The yarn obviously doesn’t feel the same as before, but it’s still soft and maintains a slight sheen, so that’s good.

The original seed stitch pattern is worked on the wrong side to avoid purling, but I changed it to right side since I was trying out combination knitting anyway. (I think I like combination knitting. I’ll probably use that in my next project as well.) So my 4-row pattern repeat is:

  1. [p1, sl1 wyib] to end of row. (RS)
  2. Purl.
  3. [sl1 wyib, p1] to end of row.
  4. Purl.

At the raglan seam, I used a (k1, p1, k1) on the RS and purls on the WS.

My mom has already worn it, and this time, I can tell she really likes it. Phew! (And hurrah! πŸ™‚ ) As for the design, however, I think the neck, again, needs to be even smaller for her next blouse — a tighter crew-neck, that is.

Seed Stitch Textured Blouse

I need a short break from the incessant knitting, and then, it’s time to finish those sleeves for my top!

Some Progress, and a Restart

The Progress — Through Thick and Thin

I completed the front of my stripey top, and joined the two pieces too. So technically, it’s now wearable. πŸ˜‰ I can’t wait to complete the sleeves so I can actually wear it.

Through Thick and Thin - body

This is the easiest project ever when it comes to seaming the sides. No pins, no markers required — just align the stripes from the two pieces while seaming, and voila, before you know it, there’s an almost seamless-looking join! πŸ˜€

But… However well this project is going, I’m going to put it aside for a while so I can redo another project.

The Restart — A Textured Blouse

Remember the wavy cabled cardigan that I knit for my mom? Though she was happy with it, quite a few things differed from her expectations, apparently. Throughout the project, I’d made adjustments here and there to fit her not-always-clear requirements, but her final list now comprises a smaller neck and a shorter body. Sigh! It’s so not fun seeing her in a sweater that doesn’t quite fit her needs. So I offered to redo it — with the same yarn, since she likes the feel and color of it.

This time, however, I’m knitting a raglan-style top-down blouse so (a) there’s less fiddling around with pieces, and smaller chance of playing yarn chicken, and (b) my mom can evaluate the size of the neck and the length of the body as early as possible. Also, I’m not using the earlier wavy pattern — it takes ages to work the frequently occurring tiny cables. I made some swatches of other stitches and patterns, and my mom liked a variation of the slip stitch. The stitch does look different here because of the gauge and the top-down knit; but my mom considers it suitable for her blouse. (I hope she doesn’t change her mind about it later.)

Slip/Seed Stitch Squared Blouse

I’ll work exclusively on this project until it’s done. It’s already cold here due to incessant rains, and winter is coming not far behind; it’d be so gratifying if my mom gets to use this blouse for the purpose she’d intended — to get through chilly mornings without wearing a full-fledged sweater.

Oh, by the way, I’ve been knitting continental, but with this project, I’m trying out combination knitting! It’s keeping me on my toes, and I like it so far. It reminds me of the time I learned to knit — I used to purl the ‘wrong’ way, and it was indeed wrong, because I would end up twisting those stitches and wondering why the row was so tight. πŸ™‚

Through Thick and Thin; The Difficult Yarn

Uh oh, the neck seemed to be coming along nicely, but when I join the left and right segments, the stripe at the join distorts. My sis and I remember owning a striped top a long time ago that distorted similarly, but I’m not really keen to have it remain distorted like this.

Through Thick and Thin top - neck stripe distortion
Is the tension at the edges of the neck too tight, making the fabric scrunch up at the join? I’ve tried to keep the edges as loose as I possibly can without the slack propagating to adjacent stitches. Is there some trick or tip that can straighten it right now, or will it get fixed when blocked? I hope it becomes undistorted. And if it doesn’t despite my best efforts, well, then I’ll just wear it anyway! πŸ˜›

Through Thick and Thin top - ribbing
Meanwhile, this is how the junction of stockinette and ribbing looks with TECHknitter’s tip. The knit stitches have consistently appeared pretty seamless, and the texture doesn’t do a visible ‘step up’ at the ribbing, so that officially makes this tip a staple in all my ribbing transitions! πŸ™‚

The difficult yarn :-)
As for a design for my sister’s cardigan, I’ve tried samples of a few vertical striping ideas that I had, and none seem to look that good. The color of this yarn is just gorgeous, but it doesn’t seem to lend itself well to stripey looks. πŸ™‚ My usual sources of inspiration, Ravelry and Pinterest, don’t have much that we liked either. If I don’t come up with a viable design soon, we’ll probably change our preference to something else. Wish me luck!