The start date for the Knit a Norwegian KAL was last Friday, and here is where I am now.
I took some time to read the Sirdal pattern carefully on December 31 and found some ambiguities that are destined to cause problems. The sleeves seem rather like a minefield. For starters, there is a Chart V that looks as if it belongs on the sleeve cuff, but there is no written instruction to tell you when to knit it. Ravellers have noted difficulties with the sleeve instructions, and there are varying interpretations of how the sleeves should look. I know that some fun and games are in store for me down the road. I will probably follow the photo (which doesn’t match the instructions) and wing it.
I also gasped when I saw that I had to cast on 269 stitches. Then I took a deep breath and realized that this would be a mere 134 or 135 stitches if knitted flat, and I’ve done that sort of thing before. But screwing up on a row of 269 stitches will have some rather unhappy consequences (not to mention additions to the English language that probably cannot be reprinted in my family-friendly blog). So last night, when I finally decided to cast on, I expected perfection. And, indeed, I did not screw up where I usually screw up. I counted the cast-on stitches four times and was absolutely certain that I had 269, not 268 or 270. Then I proceeded to knit the first row. In the middle, I read the instruction “begin on the WS”. So I carefully tinked back what must have been 175 stitches and began to purl, only to find that I wasn’t picking up the same leg of the stitch consistently. Yes, I know this is the hem and no one will see it, but it is a bad precedent to start out with a row that is incorrect. So tonight I’ll try again.
Another reason that I didn’t cast on at the stroke of Midnight 2010, or on the following morning as I had intended, is that my socks were “nearly done”. Just one more evening or two, I thought, and I’d have my first FO of the year. Well, I do have my first FO, but it was done yesterday:
I used a pattern from one of my newly-acquired Japanese knitting dictionaries and substituted it into Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks, the 4-stitch repeat version. This pattern has an 8-stitch repeat, but it worked, and I like the socks. I was not happy about the way the Shibui yarn striped when I used just plain ribbing, but it looks ok in this stitch motif. Still, I would have preferred more subtle color changes. The socks feel good and look good on, and they stay up and do not bag around my ankles. I wanted to train myself to knit 8 stitches to an inch on size 0 needles, and I managed to do that. This isn’t easy for a loose knitter.
I had some issues learning to twist the stitches that I’ll save for a different post. I got truly engrossed in the numerous ways one can make left and right twists, finding help in some unexpected places. Patricia Gibson-Roberts’ Ethnic Socks and Stockings was a huge help (and will be a huge help again when I have to secure my long floats in Sirdal). I have many books in my knitting library that I’ve not looked at closely for some time, and I will be revisiting them in 2010. So expect a series of posts about some of these classic, and not so classic, books. It will be a way for me to refresh my memory about their contents and a way to share what information they contain.
Aside from that, I am not going to make any pronouncements about resolutions—2009 proved to me that grand plans don’t work for me. I’m happy to have finished 4 well-fitting sweaters, even though I fell very short of the 12 I hoped to knit. So for now, it is on to Sirdal and a simpler project as a back up…and another pair of socks.