Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping track

A quiet blog means a busy life!

This week I had a failed Ravellenic project, which I dropped like a hot potato. You see, next week I leave for Norway. I really wanted to knit a selbu mitten in Norway, but the yarn from my stash and the pattern I picked out weren't playing nicely. So, after checking to see what the weather in Norway will be like, I decided to cast on for a sweater.  Pretty reasonable to knit a sweater in two weeks for the Ravellenics, right?

Except, I leave for Norway on SUNDAY. I cast on for this sweater LAST Sunday night. And promptly had to rip out 4 inches because I can't read. So, can I actually knit a sweater and finish it so I can wear it in Norway? Hmmmm. I kinda doubt it, but I am going to give it a go.

The Sakasama Jacket is a really fun, simple knit, and I can't wait to wear the finished garment. Olga is a genius, and her clean, modern designs highlight unusual yarns, often Habu. (Although she is doing more and more designs for Shibui which means my queue is getting longer and longer. Witness the fantastic styling video she did for her Sanagi Transformer Dress.)

Olga Buraya-Kefelian's Sakasama Jacket

I thought I would do a quick pictorial of how I keep track of my increases and decreases when I am knitting. Everyone has a different method that works for them - my method is fairly low-tech.  I used to use those little dial row-counters, but the dial would get turned in my bag, or something would happen and I would KNOW the counter was off.  Below is my tried-and-true method.

Selectively photoshopped - the pattern makes much more sense than this!

For my size in the Sakasama Jacket, I am supposed to make increases every 5th row. Even rows are a little easier to remember - you will always be knitting your increase on the same side of the fabric, and will almost always be using the exact same technique to make your increase. 

Odd rows, on the other hand, will switch back and forth with which side of the fabric will be facing you when you do your increase (or decrease), and if you want your increases to all lean the same direction, you may have to do some fiddling.  From my little hash marks above you can see that I started with a knit increase (on a RS), then my next increase was a purl (on a WS). You can see that I have four hash marks to signify the plain knitting or purling rows, then I wrote down my increase row with how I had to make my increase - knitwise or purlwise. By doing this I can easily see the rhythm of the pattern, and it is easier to read my knitting. 

On my knitting I do this:

Each of those locking stitch markers is hanging on an increase stitch - they march up the side of my jacket neatly, and I have one marker in each increase. Yes, this method uses A LOT of markers (I also love the small coil-less safety pins, but for some reason I couldn't find a single one even though I know I have purchased at least 3 packs full of them. Where are they? In my vacuum cleaner?) With this method it is easy to count off your increases or decreases, and in my case I know the first increase stitch (denoted by the marker at the top of the picture) was a knit stitch, so even when I did lose my place, I was able to orient myself very quickly.

I also like the physical act of mark-making.  I don't like turning row counters or clicking them off on my iPad or iPod touch (yes, I have both) because those little actions do not seem to make a memory for me - the physical act of writing is much more satisfying!

I am not a particularly fast knitter. I get several hours at night when I can knit uninterrupted as P is always busy with reports or law school reading. I think one of my advantages is that I spend very little time ripping out what I knit. (the other day truly was a aberration, I swear!)  My method of keep track of shaping is one of the reasons why I can keep forging ahead.

(btw, I am now almost halfway through the jacket!)

1 comment:

  1. I suspect your safety pins are on vacation with my T-pins. I have four boxes supposedly, but haven't seen them since October 2011.

    The sweater looks like it is coming along well, I love the yarns you've chosen. Hope you have a great trip to Norway!