Urban Aran Cardi redux

The double stranded Cascade Eco Wool did not work at all.  It was really chunky and stiff.  I didn’t even measure because I hated how it felt and looked.  Riiiiiip.

I took a big gulp and ordered more yarn.  I don’t have spare cash to throw at a sweater’s worth of yarn whenever fancy strikes but this had to happen because it was Matt’s birthday present and I want it done sooner rather than later.  If it were for myself, I would have probably just picked a different pattern and got on with life.  Those of you who have knit for loved ones, especially for those who don’t like their garments to look too knitterly, you understand that buying more yarn was waaaay easier than picking another pattern.

I went for the crowd favorite (per Ravelry), Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky in Chocolate Truffle.  The Chocolate Truffle was for me.  I love that color and it fit his color specifications.

The upside of the new yarn is that the old yarn, Cascade Ecological Wool, is ALL MINE.  Yum!  What will it become?  But that’s a dream for later this year…

I’ve been working on the Urban Aran Cardigan redux for two days now and it is totally working.

I haven’t measured the width yet but it’s definitely more than 18″.  Whew.

Gauge Bites. Hard.

Well.

Let’s get the big news out of the way: The Urban Aran Cardi isn’t done.  Besides having some fantastic excuses mostly related to late-pregnancy mental and physical health, there now appears to be a gauge problem.  Nothing quite kills the knitting mojo like second-guessing the finished product.  This came up Thursday evening.  Although I got gauge per the pattern in stockinette stitch, I’ve found that in pattern, my back piece is measuring 18″ instead of 23.5″.  Don’t strain yourself, I will do the math for you: that’s a 5.5″ difference.   Sheeeeet.

Pro: The yarn is a bit on the thin side for the what the pattern calls for so even though I am supposedly getting gauge, it is also producing a VERY stretchable fabric with a gentle cling.

Con: It clings.  Matt is not a negative ease kind of guy.  At 18″, which would theoretically be about 36″ around, we’re looking at about 5-6″ negative ease.

Pro: I already have this yarn and enough of it if I continue as I am.

Con: It’s a loose fabric (ie, you can see through it a little when you hold it up) which concerns Matt as not being warm enough.  I’ve tried to allay these fears with high and mighty talk of the virtues of wool, which he knows very well himself.

I tried all weekend to talk myself into not restarting.  The reality is that I have to do something different.  My first move will be to knit a double-stranded gauge swatch with the Ecological Wool and see how that works up.  I don’t know for sure how to measure gauge this time around but I will probably try some of the pattern components and not just stockinette.  I just need 116 CO stitches to come to close to 23″ wide so that Matt’s cardigan is a fit he likes.  I’m not aiming for some sort of pattern perfection purity here (reminder to perfectionist self).

Then it’s time for math and calling WEBS for more yarn, which is still in stock right now.  Hopefully they have my dye lot but all I really need is the same color since I am double stranding and can easily meld different dye lots.  I considered just going with the Shetland Chunky the pattern calls for but it’s 75/25 acrylic/wool–not wool/acrylic so blah.  I get enough of that making kid things out of Wool-Ease.

Here’s something more fun:

I started myself a pair of Jaywalkers using the sock flat Matt & Zander gave me for Christmas.  I’m actually much farther along and the pattern and striping look great together.  Stay tuned for more pictures.  I am looking for my camera battery charger.  Damn pregnant brain.

Larger than a breadbox…

That would be 250g (take a few grams for the swatch which is under the blue sticky notes in the background) of bulky weight minimally processed wool.  It’s not scratchy but it’s not soft, y’know?

See all those stitches?  I am still casting on.  I started yesterday morning.  It’s only 232 sts and one might think I have a short attention span but really I kept changing my mind about how this is going to be knit.  I thought I would do steeks, like one gal on Ravelry did but as I looked deeper into that, I discovered some folks, who knit the sweater body in one piece flat, adding selvage stitches to the front for the zipper and slipping the edge stitches for a tidy finish.  I like that!  It will make for some crazy pattern reading at first because my rows will all start in the middle where the cardi opens…but that can’t be harder than a steek, right? 😉

Took me a while to do the math of subtracting 4 unnecessary seaming stitches from the sides (mostly because you would then have P2 and P2 right next to each other, so it’s also aesthetic) and adding 4 selvage stitches to the front.  Turns out that 116+116-4+4=232.  Wow.

Also there is the hurdle of a certain someone being home from vacation.  Which means he’s ALWAYS around!  Sheesh.  I’ve been sneaking in working on this while I hide in my office to work.  Jenny asked in the comments:

Wait a minute. You’re casting on today for a sweater that has to be done in three or four weeks? Can you do that?

Hahaha!  Did I say 3-4 weeks?  Try… two weeks!  January 14.  But vacation is almost over and so is my work…  I will actually have the “luxury” of forsaking all else for those two weeks.  And it’s bulky yarn!

Let’s not lose photo momentum… here’s Z’s blue sock yesterday at a terrible diner (but at least they had hot dogs – why did we let the 3 yr old choose?  Must be some lingering Christmas spirit… bah humbug!):

60 sts on US1 – 1×1 rib followed by 4×2 rib.  Not pictured here: almost done with the heel flap.

And of course we cannot forget my lovely Lisa beret:

This was taken on the 26th, the day before I discovered it would need to be reknit.  (The color is rather washed out; the dark green is a very intense emerald…and sheds dye all over my hands so this will need a good soak before wearing).  In the meantime, I have been in touch with the designer, who hooked me up with an updated pattern, complete with bulky gauge, yey.  I just need to go get a circular needle to reknit with.  You can see the broken Denise cord in the first photo in this post.  Sigh.  Denise will replace it but I have to do all the work of finding an envelope and mailing it, blah blah, whine whine.  (The day I win a millions dollars, I am totally hiring a personal assistant.  I would love to have someone else go to the post office and get my oil changed for me.  I would pay them well, if only I had the extra $).

…in which I complain a lot but end on a somewhat crazy up note.

I had a great post prepared for Christmas in which I showed off my beret in progress.  Using my new camera (brown)!

And then a few things happened.

First, I couldn’t get the pictures off the camera.  I’m no techno-boob but turns out my card reader doesn’t handle SDHC (high capacity) so I need a new card reader (I know I can get to my pictures other ways but I am a big fan of the card reader).  Matt and I eventually gave up and downloaded the proprietary camera software we love to hate, hooked up the camera directly for downloading, and, a day late, I prepared to finish off my post yet again.

But wait!

The photo was too large for WordPress to upload.  $&@*#&$^!  Again with this issue!  What a cute problem to have, eh?  The equipment is too sophisticated for my end use needs.  Gah.  This time I could not intuit how to change the file size on the camera – maybe I am a techno-boob? – Matt to the rescue.  Now my photos will be under 1 MG each.

Then my Christmas Day green Lisa beret progress photo was a bit washed out and I was unenthusiastic at that point about fiddling with a sub-standard photo, blah blah blah.

But it doesn’t end there.  Sometime between the first and second problem, I broke my Denise cable trying to scoot my stitches along.  I don’t think they were too tight but they may have been a bit tight and a bit crammed.  I hear Denise has a lifetime warranty so I will look into getting my cable replaced.

Meanwhile I still had a beret to finish!  At 96 stitches around of bulky yarn, it was a close fit on double points but I only had a few more rows to go before decreasing.  Merrily we move along…

And then yesterday.  On our third hour-plus (one way) car trip of the holiday season, I finished my beret.  Tried it on.  And it was…not very beret-like.  More like a regular hat with some odd decreasing at the top.  It needs to be deeper.  I should probably go up a needle size since my gauge was a bit tight (this didn’t seem like a bad idea when I started – and the gauge seemed to be right for the pattern).  Alas.  Let me say it again: ALAS!  I cannot start to think my beret series is cursed from the start because I am superstitious enough to let that eat away at me.  I wrote to the designer to ask for clarification on the bulky version gauge since that was not listed in the pattern.  I will get back on this horse.  I may need to break down and buy a new cable needle to do it with, however.

Meanwhile: I am knitting on the third restart of my son’s socks.  Turns out that even with measuring repeatedly and with all my experience making adult sized socks, I cannot grasp the fatness of my skinny boy’s feet.  This time around, I went from 48 sts around to 60 (4×2 rib) which seem too big but better that than too small (yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shephard Sock leftovers from Conwy).  Many people have suggested the size doesn’t matter because, with another squeaker on the way, the socks will fit someone, but I made the horrible mistake of letting Mr Z pick the yarn so these are HIS socks.  No matter what.

While I’m whinging, let me just add that it occured to me over the last couple of days that all my daily aches and pains aren’t actually going away.  That I wasn’t having “good days” and “bad days” because I ache all the time and, at best, it’s a matter of degree.  I cannot take ibuprofen so Matt is under orders to make me sit down with a heating pad when I get truly evil.  This will be my reality for the next  two and a half months.  I shall be insufferable to live with since pain makes me bitchy.  You have been warned.  Although I am going to try very hard to take a prenatal yoga class which I have much faith will help my aches and mood.

Speaking of nurse Matt, I am planning to cast on for this today.  It’s for his birthday in mid-January.  I’m trying to keep it a secret; he’s not hyper-observant.  But he might be reading here.  I can’t ask him if he reads the blog or he will come look at what’s going on.  The larger issue is that I don’t have a lot of time to knit it up and I think he would agree that finishing the cardigan is more important than surprising him.  Right now, I am pretty sure he doesn’t know.  He asked me two days ago when was I going to make him a sweater – in that slightly despairing tone because even he can see how many projects I am doing simultaneously.  But he is also not stupid and knows his WINTER birthday is imminent.

My long US 10 circular needle is ready and the yarn, Cascade Ecological (economical and beautiful) Wool is wound.  Do I cast on 232+ sts and knit the whole thing in the round with steeks like a super brave confident knitter?  Or do I do lots of pieces that need sewing up and facings and make me curse my earlier cowardice?  I think I am going to go with the first option (EEK!  Or maybe that should be STEEK!) because I am currently seaming Z’s sweater and gods I hate seaming.  If the only sewing I have to do is on the zipper then maybe it will be done–all the way done–not just the knitting–before spring.