Thursday, December 11, 2014


As a knitter, I suffer from a disease called "startitis" also know as "cast-onitis".  It is the desire to start a new project, even though there are several languishing on the needles already.

I am still stewing on the poncho.  I bought a class yesterday about designing a custom-fit cable sweater.  I am hoping to take the information I learn there and transfer it to the design of the poncho.  I have not knit anymore on it, though.

I started a sweater with the bulky yarn that I just recently purchased.  I bought it with a very specific project in mind, but I cannot get gauge on that to save my life.  It calls for a size 11 needle, which (totally unbelievably!) I don't have, so I tried it with a 10.5.  Nope.  I was WAY off.  Then, I tried with a 13 and still wasn't coming close.  I refuse to go any higher because knitting with broomsticks tends to make my hands really sore.  So, I found a different sweater to use the yarn on.  I swatched, and had to go down three needle sizes, but that's okay.  I'm getting a nice fabric, and I'm looking forward to finishing it.  Of course, I have only done 1/3 of a sleeve. 

I also started a balaclava for my daughter.  This is also using yarn that I recently purchased.  Actually, we were at the drugstore in our little town the other day, and she said, "Oh, I like that yarn.  Could you make me one of those face mask thingies?"  Sure.  When your almost-13 year old daughter asks you to knit something, you do it.

I also have to swatch for a hat for my little guy.  I am making a beanie with frogs on it for him.  I thought about making it for Christmas, but I nixed that idea.  I kind of gave up on Christmas knitting a while ago.  I live in a house with six other people, and there is very little privacy or secrecy.  I just knit stuff that people ask me for and they appreciate it.  It's a good system.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Birth of a Poncho

This kind of counts as stash knit-down because I am using yarn that I bought last year, intending to make a sweater.  I didn't like how that sweater was turning out, so I started making another sweater.  When I split that one for the front and back and tried it on, I knew I was never going to like it.  It was baggy on the top and too form fitting on the bottom.  My tummy does not need anything form fitting.  Soooo.....

I want to make a poncho.  It has to have lots of cables, saddle shoulders (for interesting construction) and a turtleneck.  I have not found a pattern to satisfy these desires.  Therefore, I must design something.  Famous. Last. Words.

The first thing that one needs to know when designing anything is gauge.  My particular gauge with this yarn and with the needle I want to use is seven stitches per inch.  That's the fairly easy part.

The second thing one needs to know is body measurements.  I measured around the top of my body, with my arms at my side and got 42 inches.  I don't want my poncho to cling to my body, so I figured in four inches of positive ease to start, with it increasing to a yet undetermined circumference later.

Now comes the fun part - the math!  It's fairly straightforward.  I need to have 23 inches per side, at seven stitches per inch. That means I need to multiply 7X23 to get 161 stitches.  I need to divide the stitches up between two saddles of still-unknown size and design, plus the stitches I will cast on for the neck opening.  I need to figure out which cable and filler designs I will use and I need to figure out how to make slits for my hands to go through.  I'm wondering if an afterthought sort of thing would work?

I really want this to work.  I can see it so clearly in my head.  I just need to make it come out of my hands.

 This is the yarn.  It's Wool of the Andes in Firecracker Heather.
 This is the book I'm using to get ideas for the cables.
This is an idea for the saddles.