Tag Archives: The Birdwatcher

Signs of Spring: Birdwatcher and Cherry Blossoms

The Birdwatcher (pattern by Casapinka) is underway. I moved up to a US5 needle, knit for a while, and steamed it to get an idea how wide this will be. It’s approximately 39” and I’m aiming for 40”. I’m hoping that the stockinette portion will be just a tad wider than the chevroned edge, and I think it will be. Or not! Again, do as I say, not as I do. I like the fabric I’m getting, and it may just have a little less ease than I was planning. I don’t want to go up another needle size, and I don’t have enough yarn to go up another size in the pattern.

There are supposed to be 4 repeats of that chevron pattern, but I stopped at three. The bottom of the sweater is supposed to be 12” to the armhole, and I want it to be 9. I don’t want chevrons halfway to the armhole; I want it to be more of an edging. I think three repeats will be enough! Also, I was ready to stop paying attention. Now it’s just stockinette to the armhole, which is gives me room to think about other things. I’m glad I’m alternating skeins every 2 rounds; I can definitely see a bit of stripeyness as I’m knitting the stockinette section.

My log cabin wrap is done and blocked! I took some pictures in the back yard, but the modeled pictures are coming soon. My sister modeled for me, and we were lucky to catch the last of the cherry blossoms on a neighborhood street. We went downtown, too, but the trees there were no longer very pink!

Just not the right look for the photo shoot. I really have had cherry blossoms on my mind, so I think this pattern will probably be called Cherry Blossom Wrap. Look for it at the end of the week! For now, let me share pictures from a couple weeks ago downtown. This was the hoped for backdrop for our photo shoot, but I wasn’t ready when it was ready.

What are you knitting this spring?

Adventures in knitting math

I finally sat down and finished my second Katie’s Kep. This is the free (for now, until the next Shetland Wool Week pattern is released later this month) pattern by Wilma Malcomsen for Shetland Wool Week. I reduced the stitch count by 15%, one 24 stitch repeat, and it came out to 19.75” unblocked (above). After wet blocking, it’s a perfect 20”, or 85% the width of my first hat. My first hat was a great big gauge swatch!

The first one was 23” after blocking. I gave it to a friend for her birthday, so that worked out perfectly. The second one is the lower one in the picture. On to the next project!

And what was that blue swatch in the first picture? I had a ball of Juniper Farms Zooey, and I wanted to see if it would work for Casapinka’s The Birdwatcher sweater that I posted before. Yes, it could knit to gauge. No, I didn’t like the fabric; it was going to be denser than I wanted for this easy breezy top.

So Rio Calina did get frogged. I had knit about 12” before losing interest. Frogging 2 strands held together and rewinding is a bit of a pain, but it got done.

After frogging, I have 2 100g balls that are 357 yards each. The Birdwatcher pattern calls for 2 400 yard balls. Hmmm. The pattern calls for knitting 12” to the armhole, and it’s about 20” tall overall. My cropped sweaters are usually 9” to the armhole. The missing 3” would be about 15% of the total sweater; backwards that means that my sweater would be 85% of the required yardage. 85% of 400 is 340; my skens are 357…so close. Should I?

Well, it would be an adventure. Adding to the adventure is that the two balls are slightly different in color, so I want to alternate balls every other round. Why not every round? Because it’s worked in the round bottom up to the armhole, and then splits to work flat. I’d be changing every other row at that point, not every row, so it makes sense. I think.

One more piece of adventure: I didn’t really swatch. I cast on to see how I’d feel about that every other round change, knit 10 rounds, and found that I had twisted at the join. Even though I checked 3 times! Ugh. When I took it off the needles, I found that it was a little small (pretty lazy gauge swatch) so I cast on again with a larger needle, and metal instead of wood to make it even looser. We’ll see what size that ends up being in a bit. As you know, I don’t mind ripping things out.

Do as I say, not as I do! A sweater should really have a reasonable gauge swatch, if fit is an issue. But this sweater is meant to be worn with 4-6” of ease, so fit isn’t too critical. As long as it’s not too small, it should be okay. The complicating factor is my limited yardage. But I’ll keep playing with this until I figure out what my next design project is. I think better when my hands are busy!

I say I don’t do math, but it appears that I do…

Knit on!

Spring cast on aka Finish or Frog

I’m nearing the end of my log cabin wrap (pattern soon), and that means I’m daydreaming of what’s next on the needles. I’m tempted by cute little sweaters that I see in my Instagram feed, so I’ll probably cast on for one, to increase my teaching wardrobe. You know we have to look good from the waist up on Zoom! I want to knit from my accidental stash (yarn that didn’t work out for something else, usually). Here are two contenders.

photo by Kay Hopkins

This is the Leaves Shell by Kay Hopkins, Knit for the Soul (Ravelry link). It’s a linen knit, and it will be swingy and drapey. It’s knit top down, and it has a leaf motif going down each side “seam” which is very pretty. I have a good amount of Quince fingering weight linen, back when I was deciding between fingering and Aran for what eventually became my Kittiwake (Ravelry link), Aran weight.

Kittiwake, by me
photo by Casapinka

This is The Birdwatcher by Casapinka (Ravelry link). It’s knit from the bottom up. I have to go poking into my fingering weight stash; I’m not sure I have two skeins of any color! Well, I do have this…

I don’t think I’m ever going to finish my Rio Calina; the moment has passed. I was using 2 skeins of fingering to approximate a worsted weight yarn. I’ll probably frog it no matter what. The yardage is a little short for The Birdwatcher (two 357 yard skeins instead of two 400 yard skeins). On the other hand, I’m a little short, too, and would knit this to 9” to the underarm, instead of the 12” called for. Is that enough to offset the difference? I’d hate to run out of yarn before finishing the neck.

Of course, I could get creative and begin with a provisional cast on at the underarm, work the top, and then pick up and work downwards and knit until I’m out of yarn. Oh, but wait. The lace, how would I know when to begin the lace?

I could begin with that provisional cast on, work the top, and then work from the bottom up until I’m almost out of yarn. And then KITCHENER STITCH/GRAFT the two parts together. Would that be just too much excitement?

Actually, a better plan would be to begin with the provisional cast on, work the top. Then work the lace. Then work stockinette down from the provisional cast on until almost out of yarn. And finally graft the two parts together, so if my grafting isn’t perfect, it will be at a natural transition point to the lace, and it won’t be as obvious.

Or, I could just use a different yarn. Maybe even the linen. But that has a much different look and feel.

This is what runs through my head while I’m working on something else…

Are you dreaming of spring knits?