Monday, May 19, 2008

Masters Monday - 2.18

Just when you thought I had been reduced to a crawl with the TKGA Master Knitter program, I rallied this week with a sudden burst of speed.

Frustrated with last week's yarn purchase I did some checking and returned to my original yarn choice for the Masters Level II vest. I had abandoned it before, thinking that it was too thick for the program's requirement of double knitting to worsted weight yarn. I considered the yarn I had to be more like an Aran weight. I went back and double checked the TKGA directions and then went to the Yarn Standards website and discovered that there are two weight classes that are considered to be "worsted weight". The one I normally associate with worsted weight is actually "#3, DK Light Worsted", but there is a second category "#4, Worsted, Afghan, Aran" and I am well within the stitch gauge range for the #4 class. The definitions at the Yarn Standards website are accepted by TKGA so this yarn will be fine.

The yarn still doesn't work for my selected pattern though so I had more than a little additional work ahead of me. First off I had to do a large amount of sampling. I started with the attempt to find a nice gauge for this yarn. On the left in the above picture I started with small needles and worked my way up (the swatch is actually upside down....the pattern stitch section should be at the top) to larger needles until I found a gauge that gave good stitch formation and the required fluidity in the knitted fabric. I then made sure that needle size also looked good in the pattern stitch.

The second rather sloppy looking swatch is a variety of tests I needed to make before rewriting the pattern to suit the yarn. I checked that the yarn looked okay for my planned tubular cast on and that I was able to neatly seam tubular cast on. I also experimented with various selvedge treatments and with moving the stitch repeat to different sections to find my best seaming options. These swatches are for my own benefit and don't have to be handed in so I placed some seams on one side and some on the other because I was also checking to see which side of the pattern stitch I liked best.

Then I came to my next hurdle when I wound the skeins into balls.

This WAS 5 skeins of yarn. EVERY single skein had at least 3 knots.....meaning for each skein I ended up with 4 mini balls rather than the one large, 4 ounce ball I expected. Some of the knots were only a few inches apart! VERY unacceptable. I will be writing a letter of complaint.

Despite fears that I may run out of yarn (all those extra yarn joins are going to really eat up the yardage) I have decided to get started. What I can't show here is all the hours I spent rewriting my chosen pattern to reflect my change in gauge, centering of the pattern, cast on, and personal sizing. My new custom pattern is a reflection of the design elements in the original pattern reworked with Sweater Wizard software, and then copied into a word program where I redid and expanded upon the wording for clarity.

I will likely be finished the back piece today.


CTJen said...

very nice! You are one speedy knitter! :-)

lookinout said...

I think that's going to be really sharp.

Ruinwen said...

I'm so glad it is all coming together for you! It is a lovely pattern. :)

Jena said...

I like seeing your process. So much to consider! I like that pattern. Thanks for showing it all.

Marlene said...

Thanks Jen. Although I'm not a slow knitter, neither am I what I would consider truly "speedy". Persistence is just paying off. I also had a couple of days when it was too hot to do much other than sit outside in the shade knitting.

I hope it will look good Gillian and Ruinwen It is a style of vest that I will get some use out of at least. I'm always cold in the winter.

Yes, Jena, it is a lot of work designing a pattern....even when you get the basic idea from elsewhere and "only" have to adjust for a different gauge (and better seaming, which is important for the Masters vest). This is one of the reasons I was hoping to find a ready made pattern that just needed to be knit "as is".