Day 23-37: Knitting on Vacation

Wow, it is hard to know where do start with this much of a gap between posts.

I guess I’m just going to dive right in.

I finished the sleeves! I am completely and totally off of sleeve island. And I have to say, I will be accepting my return ticket graciously when I start my next sweater, because I really didn’t think it was that bad.

Wasn’t I just complaining about how awful the first sleeve was, though?

Well, yes, but you have to remember, that was my first sleeve ever. And it wouldn’t have been nearly so awful if I hadn’t been so anxious about how the cardigan was going to fit, as is evidenced by how quickly and easily I knit up the second sleeve!

Knitting this second sleeve, I did do it a little differently, just at the end.

On the cuff of the sleeve, which switches from reverse stockinette to plain stockinette, I simply suffered through the magic loop purling for several rows when I knit the first one. With the left sleeve, though, I thought I’d be clever and turn the work so that I was knitting in the opposite direction, thereby allowing me to knit instead of purling for all those rows.

What I didn’t realize was how difficult it would be to make this switch while doing magic loop. It’s easy enough to to this with dpns or straights, but with the magic loop I had to completely reorient myself to pull the right section at the right time.

So, it didn’t really save me any time because the magic looping was slower, and it made a small hole in the sleeve where I turned it (which, for the record, I knew would happen, but thought would be worth it). I couldn’t be asked to rip it back out and start over so there wasn’t a hole there, either. I can probably just sew up the hole later and it will be fine, right?

It’s really not that noticeable, I suppose, but I certainly notice it!

Ok, that’s that for the sleeves, what else did I accomplish?

Casting on the body, of course!

Picking up the stitches from the body felt like it took forever. And in fact, I think it ended up taking me about an hour and a half to pick up all the stitches and to knit the first row of the body.

What took the longest was picking up stitches under the arms. I knew this was going to be trying for me, I just don’t have the knack for recognizing which are the stitches I ought to be using. I assume that, like everything in knitting, I’ll get better at it with practice, but for now, it’s a pain in the rear end.

Anyway, I tried it once on the left underarm, took one look at what I’d done, and had to pull it back immediately. If I’d left it, I would definitely have had some ventilation under my arms when I’d finished.

I followed the instructions on how many stitches to pick up for the left sleeve, but once I got to the right one, I decided that it simply wasn’t enough. I grabbed an extra two stitches under the right arm, and knit the two on each side together so that I didn’t end up with too many stitches.

I wish that I had done this on the left side, as well. Even though it’s not as bad as my first attempt, I still have 2 rather large holes under the left arm. I’m just going to seam them closed when i’m done, though, because I refuse to take out the progress I’ve made so far on the body.

Now this hole is definitely noticeable, especially compared to the right side (below)

Another, very small change I made: The pattern called for me not to cut the yarn when I switched to the sleeves, to simply use another skein of yarn instead. But I was at work when I made it to the sleeves, and I hadn’t prepped a second skein, so I just snipped it and cast them on anyway.

What’s two more ends to weave in, after all? (Remind me that I’ve said this when I’m whining over how long it takes me to weave in my many, many ends for this project…)

This post is already my longest yet, but I just have two more things I wanted to mention.

The first is (yet another) mistake I’ve made on this cardigan, which hopefully won’t affect it too drastically.

The pattern calls for increases along the side seam, so that the bottom of the cardigan flares out. In making my increases, I misread the pattern and accidentally did twice as many as I was supposed to for the first five centimeters or so.

As ever, I could always just rip it back, but I feel like that kind of stunted progress would really derail me in this project.

And hey, maybe it will give me a bit of extra room on the back so that the arms don’t pull and upset my oh-so-delicate armpits (if this is the first post you’re reading of mine, you may want to go back to Day 17 for an explanation of that). Wouldn’t that be a helpful coincidence!

Now lastly, before I sign off, I wanted to thank all of you returning readers so much for joining me again, after such an extended absence. You’re truly amazing, and I so appreciate every single one of you!

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