Monday, July 27, 2009

Successful Decreasing

Hooray! A post that is not about failures!
Or mistakes! Yay!

Successfully finished my first set of decreases - the train now contains 7 repetitions of the pattern instead of 9. Didn't end up following the swatches/charts I'd made exactly. Had a couple of ideas on the fly and am now trying to chart out what I actually did... we shall see. Each set of decreases MIGHT be a little different and that's okay.

The whole thing is still huge. I attempted to photograph it on the ironing board. It didn't work. The apartment is too narrow for me to get a shot!

Here it is spread out across a green dress for some contrast. Of course eventually the lace will be green and the dress will be ivory... and it won't be this shade of green, but whatever. Yes, that is more of the dress hanging off the ironing board in the back of the picture. It's still extremely wide.

The decreases came out pretty well - I think they blend really well... hopefully will continue to do so as I do more of them! This is the left side decrease section.

And this is the right side of it. Hopefully when all the decreases are done I'll have two nice diagonal lines of yarn overs tracing the boundaries of the train.

Although it looks huge all spread out - okay, it actually is huge when it's all stretched out - when it hangs it has a nice drape. I'll be making the "muslin" of the fabric portion of the dress sometime in August and I'm thinking I'll start with the pattern with the more gathered, as opposed to the A line skirt. I don't envision that the fabric/knitted pieces will be exactly the same size, but I figure they should be in the same ballpark at least.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tragedy narrowly averted.

Of course all of my postings seem to deal with mistakes - otherwise at this point it's just a lot of blah blah, it's so pretty blah blah.

(Although I am almost to the point where I can do the lace pattern without checking the chart! Just need to do a quick peak at the beginning of each new row to make sure I'm on the right track. Very exciting as I rarely get to this point. Of course, now I'm nearly at the point where I need to use my decrease charts, so soon I'll be chart bound again.)

So yeah, found another mistake; couldn't figure out how to fix it on the fly and pulling back would have taken me down to the pink lifeline which I frankly found depressing. Since the mistake was limited to one repeat of the chart and was so close to the lifeline, I decided to try something kind of radical.
Using my KnitPicks Options Needles (product placement) I sectioned off the damaged section - took off the actual needle tips and then used the caps they give you to secure either end of the rest of the work. Then I unraveled all the affected stitches in the repeat down to the lifeline.

I picked them all back up using an extra needle. From there I reknitted each row using the loose yarn. Aside from the fact that I picked up and started knitting with a size 8 needle, forgetting that the section was on 10's, it wasn't too hard. That first row I was sitting there thinking "Why do I have all this yarn left over?" but once I realized the whole sizing issue, it went fairly smoothly.

I put my extra cable on to my size 10 tips and knitted away.

Six rows later I was able to disconnect the caps, reattach the points and continue on as if nothing had happened!

I think one or two of the yarnovers in this section might be twisted a little funny, but it's nothing that leaps out at you. I've now knitted almost the whole rest of this repetition of the pattern and I can no longer find the mistake.

The repetition I'm finishing up right now is the full length of the piece, no increases, decreases or short rows, on Size 10 needles. My original plan had been to immediately start decreasing for the trains, but I did some math and realized that that would make the train end below my butt (or possible in the middle of my butt) and I'd like it to end above my butt. So I threw in this extra repetition, which will hopefully move it into the higher butt area.

On the not actively knitting related front - I'm thinking more and more about adding something to the border/Size 13 section to stabilize it. This section will be the part dragging on the ground, both as the train and as the hem of the dress and as I think I've said before, those cast on loops (and all the other loops) are biiiig. The fabric portion of the dress will give it some protection, but since we're getting married outdoors on a pier, I'm walking over a brick deck and our site has a whole lot of heavy machinery all over the place, I want to help this dress out all I can. I'd prefer to keep the knitted and fabric portions as two separate entities, so I don't want to baste the hems together, but I'm still thinking of crocheting around the bottom edge of the border or possibly adding some kind of tulle backing to the border section only. This would be tacked on at both the top and bottom of the section and maybe at a few other places in between and would hopefully give it some extra stability. This is an idea that won't be acted on for quite awhile, but it's something I'm giving more and more thought to lately.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Who knew we'd be seeing swatches again at this late stage of the game???

But once I finished all those short rows I realized that I'd never come up with a left decreasing swatch that I liked. So I set about making some new ones.

Really loved my first one, but went off the reservation a little bit and made it with four too many rows. Too bad, as it was very pretty.
It's the one on the right and actually doesn't look too pretty here. After I blocked it I had stuffed it in my tote bag and I did a less than stellar job of smoothing it out again before taking this photo.

Anyway, went back to make one with the appropriate number of rows. Took a bit of charting and a bit of winging it, but finally came up with something that I like - the swatch on the left above.

Only to pick up the dress again and realize that I was on about row 6 of the 16 line chart, and starting to decrease part way through the chart would be confusing at best, since I made it to start decreasing on row 1.

So I'm going once through the chart plain - no decreases or anything. Should take another night hopefully. I'll try not to rush...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Very Pretty!

Managed to finish up those short rows, put in another lifeline and do some more steam blocking.

Laid out a clean sheet on the floor and laid this baby down.

With the flash
And without (slightly blurry, but the colors are nicer)

The section in the middle is what will be the train; the narrow pieces going off to either side will be the sides & side-backs of the skirt. I'm now going to start slowly decreasing out the train section, which is about 1/3 of the total length, so eventually it will come to an end in an inverted V, hopefully somewhere in my middle/lower back area. The whole thing is on size 10 needles now and will be for some time until I do the final switch down to size 8's for the last 10" or so.

I'm pretty excited.

PS When I showed this to Justin, he did not mention cobwebs. He just said "very pretty". He's a smart man.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Eh crap - take 2

Just go back and reread any of my screw up posts. B/c really, I do not learn. Did I not say, I should not rush and set arbitrary goals? I think I did. But on the night of July 1st, being very excited about being SOOOO close to being done the short rows, but also being very hungry and wanting to make my dinner, I rushed through the last couple of rows, got to the very last lace repeat (why is it always the last one?) and realized that I was a few stitches short. Realized actually, that the problem was in the second to last repeat, where I'd forgotten to make a couple of yarnovers a couple of rows back, which would now be a couple more stitches and as a result in a place where I should have had 3 stitches, I only had 1.

Just 1 lonely stitch. I tried to kind of pick up and create the stitches. It didn't work.

I turned to Justin and said "It's very frustrated when you get close to the end of something and so you rush a bit to finish it and then you make mistakes." He agreed "That is very frustrating."

I put it down and decided it was time for dinner.

After dinner, feeling much calmer, I pulled back two full rows and the final row just back to the mistake. Fixed it. Re-knitted the two frogged rows and then was able to continue on out of the short row section!

Realized an earlier error, where I'd run the lifeline through my stitch markers. Fortunately, my cheap habit of not buying stitch markers but instead using loops of yarn paid off, as I was just able to untie and retie each loop.

Sighed happily, looking at the fruits of my labor. Turned to Justin and said "Look how pretty!" He said "Very pretty! (pause) It still looks like cobwebs."


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Actually kind of looks like a train

Have about 5 more rows to go til the short row section is completed and I do another off the needles steam blocking.

Took this picture this morning on the couch.

Looks awfully pretty to me.