Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Here’s some cheerfulness from Alexander – the Glasgow where he was born.

Another good day on the Christmas front – six or seven cards written, three presents wrapped. I begin to feel like the old horse when its head is turned towards the stable – a fortnight from today will be a little bit lighter than the day before. And the day before will have been lighter than the day before that. Unless the world ends on the solstice as the Mayans predict.

And I got to the post office and dispatched a heavy package to Greece. Expensive, but not as expensive as EasyJet excess baggage. And it’s done.

I tidied up the brioche scarf – there was less to do than I thought.

And I swatched for Ed’s Gardening Sweater. Goodness, this stuff is beautiful. I had a moment almost of panic – what am I going to do when I finish the swatch? I can’t knit the hat until those needles come. The scarves are finished. I can’t just sit here.

The answer would have been the perennial lurking sock, but I didn’t think of that. I just went ahead and opened Knitter’s for Spring 2000 and got started on Meg’s instructions for the EPS.

She wants a circular swatch, or a flat one where you loop the yarn across the back and start again at the other side, so as to knit every row. I didn’t do that. But then she very engagingly says that, even after doing it right, she measured 4.25 stitches to the inch and in fact got a gauge of 4. Try it and you may, I say, in the immortal words of Sam-I-am.

So I measured and did the arithmetic and attempted to cast on 238 stitches. It’s been a while since I did anything like that – I didn’t leave enough yarn in the Long Tail, and  had to start again. That gave me time to reflect that if I want a 2x2 rib, it’ll have to be 236 or 240. So that’s where I am at the moment – casting on.

This first article gives the proportions for the body, and instructions for knitting up to the underarm, and some suggested embellishments. I don’t think I’ll need short rows to avoid it riding up in the back, as I’m knitting for a fit rectangular man. Phoney seams are an interesting idea – drop a stitch at the underarm, run it back, and then crochet up, alternately taking in two ladders and then one. I’ve never tried that.

She also includes a brilliant arithmetical trick from Cheryl Brunette for spacing the increases in the ribbing-to-body round. It’s from her Sweater 101 which is still out there.

I’ve knit two other sweaters recently for Ogden men: Thomas-the-Elder’s “Brownstone” is a bit too generous. 

Joe’s Grandson Sweater is just about perfect. 

Hope for the best.

Change of subject: Queer Joe remarks on Facebook that he google’d “Knitting blogs” and found himself third and felt terribly pleased. I tried it – I was 8th, I think, but Joe was 10th on my list. Maybe Google knows. Then I tried “knitting blogs UK” and that moved me down to the second page, 14th or so. Jared was top of the first list, my neighbour Kate Davies of the second.


  1. Hi Jean,

    I do have the same issue with casting on with long tail and I'm using the this trick:

    use 1 strand from 2 different balls (or the inside and the outside of a ball) to cast on (tie them together with a slip knot before you start), no more issues with the tail. Drop the extra ball when you are done casting on. This will give you 2 more tails to weave in, but I prefer that while having control over the length of the tail.

    I'm new to reading you blog and I love it!


  2. Here's a different trick for the Long Tail. Wrap the tail around your needle 10 times. Unwrap. That's 10 sts. If you need 238 sts, make the tail 23.8 (OK, 24) times as long as the 10-st tail. Add a bit for fudge factor, and be sure you use the tail as the part of the CO that goes over the needle. (This is much easier to do than to put into words!)

  3. I always use two ends as Anne suggests when casting on lots od sts. Otherwise I figure an inch of yarn in the tail for every stitch cast on. If you are using very thick yarn, it's not quite enough, and it's too much for fine yarn, but it is a starting point. I expect the Brownstone will be grown into at some point. It is quite handsome.

  4. Gerri2:53 PM

    I like to add short rows to raise the back neck just to have that little bit of extra warmth. I didn't think of it as having anything to do with fitness/lack-there-of in the wearer. I do it that way on youth-sized sweaters, too.

  5. I am wondering about the short rows, Jean. I have two EPS sweaters and I did a few short rows on both. Of course the fit will be different on a man, but still I don't think the short rows can hurt and might possibly help the way the sweater fits.

  6. Sarah JS6:04 PM

    Another vote for just a few short rows ...
    I did an EZ-based cardigan for my dad a couple years ago & did just 4 short rows a inch or so down from the neck on the back. I think it helps the neck (of the sweater) sit more smoothly on the back of the neck (of the person) without any tugging. You can check it out on Ravelry should you like: SarahJS's "DJJ cardigan" -- there's a decent photo of the back. It's been a while so I don't remember, but I believe the short rows went across the central back panel (cable - faggoting - cable) but not as far as the "trees of life" figure on either side of the back.

    I don't have nearly the darkness that you cope with, but I, too, am looking forward to the days getting longer sunlit hours. Almost there!

  7. Short rows on a man's sweater are a very good idea - it's the way they put them on, and I believe the majority of men do it. They don't settle the shoulder seam onto their shoulders, but leave it where it lands - a bit forward. Then they pull the bottom down at the front and as far around as the side seams. This makes the back stick out and curve upwards at the hem. A little bit of people watching will show you how common this is, and I believe it is because they didn't want to do it the way their mummies told them!