Knitting

Make it easy on yourself

During the past week I’ve made a couple of changes to how I was working the Slope Rib Sweater, with an eye to making the process more enjoyable. You can see both of them in the above photo – wooden needles and a bit of scrap wool. I like to live at the cutting edge of knitting technology!

I started the Slope Rib Sweater using my KnitPro Zing metal needles and completed the sleeves using those. These particular needles are lovely, but they are quite weighty and I find my hands ache by the end of a knitting session. I think the weight also contributes to the tendency for the needle to slide out of the first couple of stitches of each row which makes each turn a bit of a tussle.

Completing the Lace Panel Sweater freed up my KnitPro Symfonie wooden needles and I was able to switch to these halfway through the ribbing for the back of this Heather sweater. I’m finding them much more comfortable and, as a result, my progress has picked up. I currently have just over 9″ of the back knitted. The pattern calls for the piece to measure 15″ when you start the armhole shaping, so I’m more than halfway to that point.

This isn’t the first time that my preference for wooden knitting needles has raised its head, although when I look at my needle tin I realise I still have a lot of work to do before I’m completely on top of my knitting needle game. Of all the knitting needles I’ve used over the years, I keep on coming back to pale wood as being my favourites, so even these Symfonie versions aren’t completely perfect. One place where wood loses out to metal is for the very slimmest needle sizes, such as those used for sock knitting.

Before the change of needles came the realisation that I was making things hard on myself as I worked the sleeves because I didn’t have the centre marked. The way the ribbing forms a chevron means that it is easy to spot the mid-point where you need to take care to get the stitch count right. That’s what I told myself, anyway. It both is and isn’t true. It certainly makes it easier to know where you are and, to a certain extent, it worked okay on the main portion of the sleeves, but when it came to shaping the sleeve head it was a bit irritating and I accepted, almost at the end of the second sleeve, that a stitch marker was needed. You can buy stitch markers. They are like jewellery, fantastic beaded charms that make you drool. Yet I have never found anything that works for me other than knotting a bit of contrasting wool into a loop as you see in my photos. As soon as I try to use any kind of metal ring I get confused with how it is sitting between the stitches. It’s crazy, but I’ve ended up with an awful lot of metal rings knitted into the stitch instead of slipped from one needle to the other, yet I have never done that with a loop of yarn. The moral of this story is: stick with what you know, make it easy on yourself.

As well as working on the Slope Rib Sweater, every so often I pick up this sock and add a row or two. Speaking of my needle game, these ones are destined for the charity shop when, one day, I manage to pick up a set of 2.25mm double-point 8″ needles in a basic pale grey aluminium. I find the transition from the metal tips to the carbon shafts to be less smooth than I’d like and I prefer the cheaper sets I have which are manufactured all in one piece.

So that’s what I’ve achieved in the past week and a half. Shall we pretend to be in charge of our knitting and set a goal for next week? That might be fun! Let’s say, by next Friday night, I’ll have the back of the Slope Rib Sweater up to the point where I start the armhole shaping. I’m not putting any money on it, mind you, because the possibility of failure is almost as high as the possibility of success.

3 thoughts on “Make it easy on yourself

  1. While I have pretty stitch markers, I tend to stick with the light bulb shaped pins. I have a tendency to lose stitch markers and it is hard for me to put a lot of money into something that I can’t really keep track of! I will use one to mark the beginning of the round, though. I have those dpns and have the same complaint about the join. I also learned that I don’t like working with black needles. The sweater is coming along nicely.

    1. I find with the Carbonz dpns that the join problem is so slight that I can almost convince myself it doesn’t exist and funnily enough that makes it worse. If they were really bad I’d abandon them, but they are just marginally not alright. I was just watching AnnaKnitter’s latest video and she was saying she can’t use stitch markers with dangly bits because she ends up knitting the dangle into her stitches, so clearly it’s not unusual to suffer from stitch marker issues.

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