Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Ranting Steeker

First, here are my Stockbridge Rogue swatches which I adore. I am going forward with the coned yarn for now, to be true to my original intention of only using what was on hand. However, when it comes time for the CardyRogue From Someday Land, Stockbridge will be the yarn of choice. Though not to gauge, it is very soft, blocked out well, holds it's shape, knits easily though did split at times while cabling - so I ditched my cable (Thank You Annie!!) needle and proceeded without further problem. The gauge problem will be easily solved by needle size or adjusting size selection to correspond with gauge.
Then I blocked, since I was at it, my Midwest Moonlight scarflet in Silk Rhapsody, and my Stockingette Stitch version of a modular pattern available to Modular group members only (sorry). I love them both. They are now laid out on the kitchen floor. This shocked my father (dare I say "floored" him), to see my laying out silk and mohair on a linear surface not above pet level. But they know better. They are not stupid animals. Years of going around mommy's fabric cutting area has taught them well.
Dad stopped by to see our new Thomas the Tank Engine Big Loader in action. He is mechanically minded, and had bought a similar toy for my nephew and decided A. needed one. We set it up and let it rip, and after some false starts, all our own fault, and some discussion about not touching, only watching, the thing has become a huge hit around here. I MUST find a Thomas BigBig Loader (it has a crane and an elevator!!) for my dad for his birthday. VERY cool toy! I have seen reviews whine about it's being plastic, and crappy, and with poor directions, but I say for $14.99 it makes my grandson sit, with hands folded and watch, entranced, as Thomas, Percy and Terrence chug about with loads of coal, switching directions and performing various tasks, and if the kid is not making some critical engineering decisions in his little brain I will eat my hat. (Thank God my hats are all wool or silk.) As for the crappy directions, they are very Ikea-esque, and we all know how Melissa feels about Ikea..and if we don't, we'll find out next Tuesday when I get back from my little expidition to Mecca II (Mecca I being Webs, of course)
Also done (yester)today were four swatches for a new design, only one of which I loved. You tell me which I love, A,B,C or D. Of the remaining three, one I like, two I don't like at all because they remind me of my grandmother.
It is now 'tomorrow'. For a day and a half I have been trying to upload pics to this stinking blog without any stinking effect. I am sick to death of the dark ages of computing. I am sick of saving drafts like it's 1991 and I'm in the GCC Computer Lab at 4pm writing a case study that's due tomorrow morning while my kids play at my feet with paper plates and straws stolen from the cafe. Pop-up...loading...done...NO PIC! Lose connection....regain quick, connection bails again. Over and over and over again. All this so I can live in the woods three minutes from Vermont on a ridge overlooking two brooks, with neighbors who let their stinking dogs run loose all over my chickens (I'm buying a gun.)
I am heading to Webs this morning to drop off a steeked sweater for a woman who was concerned about the steeking process. I have a few things to say about this project. This woman spent hours following directions. The garment is beautifully knitted, the work is very concise. I would post a picture of it, but it is not my work and don't feel right publishing pictures of other people's work without their knowledge. The problem is that I don't agree with the directions. The pattern is Sirdal from Dale of Norway Soft Treasures for Little Ones, a beautiful book with rich photography and incredibly cute Scandanavian infants and toddlers in these amazingly beautiful garments. This is one of those books that anyone with a grandchild, niece, nephew, potential child, neighbors child, borrowed child, ANY child in their lives should have because it contains the most amazing heirloom quality classic garments. Sirdal is a classic Norwegian cardigan that Dale has drafted in all sizes from infant to adult male, with a front steek and sleeves that are steeked though no actual steek is knitted in; you simply knit, sew around your intended sleeve openings with a sewing machine and cut away. I love cutting my knitting. I think steeking is next to godliness, right after cleanliness and just before selflessness. However, from personal (read "near death") experience, I have learned a few things about steeks and I shall now share this knowledge with you, dear reader. First, if color stranding, as most steeked sweaters are, work your colors across your steeks. If your steek is, say, six stitches wide then work one st navy, one st white, etc across each steek row, alternating the colors on successive rows so that navy is over white (or whatever your chose colors are) Had I time I should knit an example! (And perhaps I will, under the guise of preparing for the petite unborn who should own one steeked sweater, or even perhaps for the grandson.) Working your colors into your steeks prevents floats. Floats are not good for steeks. They draw the width of the steek in, causing the steek to pucker which makes sewing it difficult at best, impossible at worst. In this case it was nearly impossible, but in the end it was accomplished (I should get hazard pay). They are also called floats for a reason and when you go to stitch your steeks, by machine or by hand, you're left with these loose, floating bits of color here and there down your garment. Second, while I adore this pattern and appreciate that the sleeve openings 'worked' without a "true" steek, I would have thrown in a four stitch steek anyway, just to be safe. A steek Ala Knitting in The Old Way (which has been released in paperback, and which every serious knitter should own). I would have figured out my sleeve depth, maybe even knitted the sleeves first and meaasured them, and at the point where I expected my sleeves to be insterted, I would have b.o. four sts at the bottom of each intended sleeve opening centered accordingly, and then reverse c.o. four to six sts to work as a steek for the arm, to give myself a little buffer. Third, when selecting yarn for these kinds of projects we naturally tend toward washable wools for babies. Having made that choice we need to consider the slippery surface of the superwash when steeking. Your steek should be a little wider than called for, two stitches at least, and once cut should be turned under and stitched down with a whip stitch to help prevent any slippage. The superwash wools can be very slick and not catch as traditional wools do. This means that your machine washable steeked garment may not stand up well to machine washing, and stitches that normally would be held fast by wool scales will slip and slide. We shall see. I have decided to buy yarn this morning to accomplish this garment for somebaby, either a boy toddler 24 months, or an unborn gender-free infant.
Now, I am completely late in getting out of here, must hustle girl through her toilette, grab diaper bag, run for errands before Webs and boy-fetching...this is a good thing. My hands were getting sore and they'll have a day off. And the weather is supposed to suck tomorrow, so today is good for erranding. And the worst that can happen is that I over do with all the racing around, I make myself sicker and have to stay home for a week and knit. (awww...tooo bad...)


Persnickety Knitter said...

Thanks for the great tips about steeking -- will have to remember that for my first steeking attempt (at some distant future time). I'm sure I will be picking your brain then.

Love those Stockbridge swatches -- which color do you prefer? That reminds me that I haven't washed MY swatch yet and then rechecked gauge -- bad me.

About your lace patterns -- that's hard to pick, especially not knowing what they are for (scarf, sweater, ??). That said, I think I prefer D, but I also like C for a sleeve edging or something. A is alright, but is looking a little squashed where the eyelets meet the scalloping part. And B is kind of cut off in the pic and so it's hard to get the full effect. However, I think I like B, but need a more detailed pic (not sure if there's a ridge in the middle or not??).

Was I close?

Melissa said...

You are a freaking genius!! Dead on, D is my favorite for this project, C is a soon to happen project tho' more fall than spring/summer.

Stockbridge color...I really don't know. I've been tending to go for more drama lately, but think the cable do better in the brown. I would probably want the terra cotta, but end with the brown to be neutral and match more t'shirts.

You are forbidden from liking B. Yes it has a ridge. I hate A and B.

tikru said...

Hello from Finland..

I'm tagging you! In the spirit of the KO... Post it on your blog ;D

Four jobs you have had in your life... I'm a princess, so I've mostly done volunteer work...

Four movies you could watch over and over

Four places you have lived.

Four TV shows you love to watch:

Four places you have been on vacation

Four websites you visit daily

Four places you'd rather be right now

Four bloggers you are tagging. In the of the Knitting Olympics...

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