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My personal (but public) notes about my homebrewing, knitting and other random stuff

Monday, February 13, 2006

Not so much round as pear shaped

Perhaps unsurprisingly, once I finished typing my last blog entry I didn't do the sensible thing and go to bed but I picked up my double needles and had a go at my wristband project. I read somewhere that ribbed stitches should be knitted on slightly smaller needles than stocking stitch, to make them a bit tighter, so I decided to use 4mm needles instead of 5mm ones. Having cast on 42 stitches (and then scrapped them and started again as the tension was haywire) I decided that it didn't look like it would be big enough to fit round my wrist, so I cast on an extra 6 stitches for a grand total of 48. I then proceede to attempt to knit 4x2 rib (starting with 2 knits).

Suffice it to say that my attempt was not an unqualified success, but I did learn a few valuable things from it:

  1. Starting a new project after midnight is not a brilliant idea, especially when it requires a new technique such as circular knitting.

  2. If a project gets off to a bad start it's better to stop, rethink, and start again than to just plough on regardless.

  3. If a project has gone wrong and needs to be prematurely terminated, it's not necessarily a good idea to unravel it and reuse the yarn - you can learn a lot from examining your flawed work.

  4. 48 stitches (of DK yarn on 4mm needles) made the band too loose - in fact the original plan for 42 would probably be about right at the gauge I was achieving (or even slightly fewer stitches).

I decided that rather than starting again straightaway with the same project again (this being Sunday afternoon by now) I'd have a go at an even simpler project first to get the hang of knitting in the round on double pointed needles. I'm now working on a simple stocking stitch tube on 4 needles (4mm again), with only 30 stitches. The reason for the reduced stitch count is to maximise (or at least, increase) the proportion of "corners" (i.e. places where I change needles) compared to stitches from the middle of a needle. That's because the latter are effectively like flat knitting and it's the former which are giving me more trouble, and require more practice. Also, I'd like to be able to get it up to a reasonable length fairly quickly. I'll probably try a couple of colour changes while I'm at it.

The only other project I currently have on the needles is my scarf. I've done another 8 rows on that tonight and will probably do at least 8 more before bedtime (together with some more work on my tube). It seems that my either my knitting is loosening up or the stitches pull together as they settle, because the 16 row pattern blocks measure about 2 1/2" near the start of the scarf but 3" closer to where I'm now working. Interestingly the width has stayed more or less constant (and yes, I have just about mastered the art of keeping my stitch count constant - I must do some more work on deliberate increases and decreases soon).
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