July 24, 2007

Lessons Learned

Lesson 1: Wash your Trachtenwolle before you knit!

While knitting my swatches I found that I absolutely didn't enjoy working with my yarn -- it was far too coarse and not flexible enough for smooth and even knitting.

So after just a few moments of hesitation I wound all my beautiful balls of yarn back into skeins and threw them into the sink together with some wool detergent. Several rinses later this is what it looked like:

Some spaghetti, anyone?

You don't think I'd ever be able to untangle this mess? To be honest, I wasn't so sure myself... But here are my skeins, all safely laid out to dry:

I was not happy about all the extra work (and rather nervous about the outcome, too!), but I am very glad I took the time to do this. The yarn feels so much softer now and is so much more fun to knit with!

Lesson 2: Do your maths before you cast on!

I am very particular about the ribbing matching the pattern in Aran knitting (or in any kind of knitting, for a matter of fact). I hate it if the ribbing doesn't continue smoothly into all the "vital" parts of the pattern, and I think this is a detail that is absolutely essential for a well-designed piece of knitting.

And I can't understand why most knitting instructions simply tell you to "increase stitches evenly" after the ribbing, either. In my opinion it is very important to put the increases in exactly the right places -- like at the beginning of a tight cable that pulls the stitches together a lot.

Thus, I am usually spending quite some time calculating my stitches before casting on.

You may have noted I said "usually"...

It might have been the heat wave stopping my brain from working properly, or it might just have been my impatience to get started -- but here I was with a finished ribbing and no way to match up the stitches with my cables. How dumb. And no matter how much I was thinking and thinking over and calcualting and re-calculating, in the end the only solution was to rip and start over again. This time with the correct number of stitches and the knit and purl stitches all in the right places. Yay!


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