Friday, February 03, 2006


When I worked in Opera, I worked with a lot of characters. The one that sticks out in my mind was is this odd little Jewish French man (born in Tunisia, no less) named Bernard. He's a director and I have worked with him on two operas with two different companies. He has a rather thick accent and can come off rather insulting. It's because he puts all his feelings out there. It's especially entertaining (after you know him, that is) when he choreographs a scene and the singers haven't the faintest idea what they are doing. He will sit there with an annoyed look on his face and say "ooooouuufff you are a mess! Do eet again, theeze time wiff talent." For the people that had never worked with him before it was utterly insulting that he could dare to come out and say that something they had done was awful. But that was Bernard. Take him or leave him.
Whenever I do something particularly stupid I hear his words echoing in my head. Bernard has pretty much been living with me today. I heard him when I spilt coffee all over my desk and my white shirt before I even got a sip of it, I listened as I realized that I had gotten strawberry jam on the same white shirt, and I sighed as he ringed in my ears as I noticed that I had enough orange cat hair on my pants to spin up, and knit into a cabled sweater for your favorite barrel chested lumber jack, this despite having attacked my pants with the lint roller before leaving the house. It's been that kind of a day, folks, and I mean that in the last-24-hour-period sort of way. I'm hoping it wears off 2pm, which is when it all hit the fan yesterday. I have a feeling I'm not going to be so lucky.

So, in today's theme of a mess I bring you this:

This is my attempt with the Olympic yarn to get 6 sts/inch. It's on my size 5s. I get roughly 5.5 sts an inch, but it's sort of hard to tell . If I squish a little it's six, if I press a little it's 5.5. I don't really know how to be more precise. I'm sure knitting more would help, but I still don't like this swatch, so I figured, why bother?
In the picture it looks pretty dense, but it still feels a little see through, drapey to me. I like the drapey, but would be willing to give it up to get not see through. So, in that vein, I bought size US4 needles yesterday, but that's only .25mm smaller than the 5s. I feel like that would get me gauge for sure, but here we go for the issue with getting gauge. I would like to be ever so slightly, either bigger or smaller than gauge and here's why: The specs for the pattern are for 36" bust or 40" and I'm a 37". I don't want the tank to be tight, but it's already low, low cut and 40" seems like it would be hanging off me. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't have much experience with this. So, in light of this here's the plan. PLEASE tell me if I'm being retarded, or if this is backwards or wrong:
I'm hoping to get slightly more than 6 sts per inch by using the US4 (and really, if necessary, go down to 3s. I promise to swatch if the plan makes sense), also this will make a denser fabric which makes me happy, and I plan to knit the 40" size. In theory it would come out slightly smaller than the 40" and it would be denser than if I had gotten gauge and knit the 36". Is there logic in this plan? Do I have it backwards? Am I asking too many questions?
Don't answer that last one. =)

And because I have the blasted pictures, and because it's the only place where my knitting is making any progress whatsoever, I give you pictures of another continental practice hat.

Last night was really busy so I only got one hour of knitting time. So, this is what one hour of 2x2 continental looks like, progress wise. Honestly, I don't know if it's fast or slow, but I do like knowing what an hour of work on something looks like. I might do this more in the future for my own reference - especially considering I'm so bad at gauging how long something will take.

Obviously I'm still trying to work out this whole purling thing. I think it's harder to learn the second time because you have to fight your urge to try to do it the way you're used too. It's also harder to manage the difference in tension with my knits and my purls in continental because I'm not able to constantly tug the working yarn with out stopping, tugging, and going at it again. I'm trying to figure out how to keep even tension and not have to re-situate myself every freaking stitch. It's a process, for sure, but at least - despite it's splitiness - Wool-ease is really, really visually forgiving. You have no idea how many mistakes are in there that you can't see. "Oooouufff it eeze a mess!" But you can't tell!
Perfect. =)


  • Here's my advice for what it's worth. I don't have the pattern to look at so I'm doing some guessing. First, I would knit a swatch on size 4s and see how it is (and make it bigger, you can't really tell guage that soon). That sounds about right for that type of yarn since that's what's recommended for Picovoli, but you probably wouldn't want to knit it on 3s since it would take forever and cotton is heavy. So lets just say you get 6 stitches an inch on 4s, you would want around 210 stitches around the bust (6 x 35" which includes 2" negative ease). See if you can tell how many stitches they have around the bust in the pattern. 40" is 3" more than what you want so I would try to work with the 36" size unless you are getting a much smaller guage. So at 5.5 stitches an inch you would want around 193 stitches an 1". I'm calculating these for a 35" finished size considering you would want some ease. 2" may sound like a lot because I know you don't want it too tight but really it's not.

    I have no idea if I'm making any sense at all. Call me later when have a swatch and pattern in front of you!

    By Blogger Heather, at 5:24 PM  

  • I agree with what Heather said but I'll add this...take the time to make a "proper" swatch! If you REALLY want to take the guess work out of knit a proper swatch: cast on 40 or so stitches, work rows 1-3 in garter, then work 5 inches or so in stockinette with a 3 stitch garter border on either side, end with 3 rows of garter, bind off. Then WASH your swatch exactly as you want to wash the finished tank, THEN measure your gauge! I know it seems like a lot of bother but who wants to knit a garment that you hate because it doesn't fit?

    By Blogger Debi, at 5:49 PM  

  • Don't have much advice on the gauging....I've made two full garments and they were both too that's wearable...the other one is not! :) But I do sympathize with you on Bernard!!!! I work with a couple of "Bernards" who are French Canadian. :)

    By Blogger traveling knitter, at 5:15 PM  

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