Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Math and Swatches; Two Scary Words

Have I scared you off yet?

Now I'll admit, I -despise- swatching. I can't stand it.  It seems like a waste of time and yarn.

But I've also discovered that I kind of have to swatch.

Now, there are some things, that, as a knitter, you may not have to swatch for.  Anything that isn't fitted, for example (scarves and shawls),  gauge is less important; because being a bit tighter or looser isn't going to result in something that is unwearable.

But even then:  yardages for scarves and shawls is calculated by whoever designed it with the assumption of the same gauge.  Alter your gauge and you need more or less yarn. I have, in fact, run out of yarn on a shawl, because I was knitting at quite a different gauge.

So where does the other hated concept (math) play into this?

Math is useful if you want to alter patterns, or if you want to design your own. But to use the math, you need your swatch.

Then, it's not that hard (I promise).

Take your swatch, measure out how many stitches and how many rows you have per inch (I find it helpful to use the blunt end of a needle to help me count stitches, but you might not need that)  If you don't want to work by inches, you can also work by pattern repeats.

Then divide, multiply, and estimate.  That's it.   No algebra, calculus, or trigonometry, I promise. :)

For example:  I just finished up the swatch for a new pattern of mine over the weekend.  My swatch told me that each pattern repeat (9 stitches), was 2.75 inches wide.  So, to get my plans for the cowl I wanted, (24 inches, approximately),    24 inches, divided by 2.75 inches, gives me the ugly number of 8.72 (repeating infinitely.  Ugh).  But it still gets me close to where I need to be.

Ok, so 8 times 2.75 inches is 22 inches, while 9 times 2.75 inches is 24.75 inches.  I'd like the cowl to be a bit bigger rather then a bit smaller, so 24.75 inches it is!

So, 9 times 9 is 81.  There's my cast on.

See, I promise.  Not that hard.

But what does it matter if you're not ever going to design a knitting pattern?

Well, knowing how to do this lets you do things like make a knitted object wider or thinner, or to add length to something knitted sideways.  It's actually really useful to be able to use math to adjust your knitting, and the satisfaction of having something perfectly knit to your exact body is incredibly comfortable.

So while swatches may seem like a waste of time, they're not. I promise.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Yarn Harlot on How to Salvage Cables

Yes, there's a blog called the Yarn Harlot; and her work is amazing. You can find her work cited in a lot of discussions on Ravelry and other knitting online communities.  If you have the opportunity, I strongly suggest a read-through of her work.

And, she saved a project of mine.

See, I'd done this on a sweater I was working on (I'm making this one from a DROPS design; and I've yet to finish the full sweater yet):

The picture shows a few inches of sweater sleeve, still on the needles.  The sleeve shows a cabled celtic knot pattern, and the centre cable is obviously wrongly crossed.
And not noticed until much further down the sleeve.  Needless to say, I didn't want to ladder down to fix it. 

So as I sat there agonizing about what to do, I came across the Yarn Harlot's post about darning over wrongly-crossed cables. 

And  huzzah, the cables look right now!  I haven't yet finished this sleeve, so there's no celebratory picture yet, but there will be whenever I finish this sweater.  It's been in and out of hibernation for the past four years(!) so there are no promises to whenever I finish it!

But, I thought I would share with you one of the best tools in my arsenal for dealing with cable mistakes.  It really is helpful when you just can't ladder down to fix a wrongly-crossed cable.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Mailing List Beta!

Hello all!

So; at the suggestion of a college from the Business Development Class, I've been looking for a way to create a mailing list; so that people can be notified of, well, stuff, when it happens, instead of finding out about it here, or on Ravelry.

And, now I have a Mailing List in testing!  Yeay!

If people are interested in signing up; the sign up link is here.  Please let me know if you run into any glitches/problems/things not working as they should. 

Right now, the Mailing List is a work-in-progress, so also please let me know if there's any features you'd like to see in it, as well!

That's it for the moment, and thank you!