Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Tonsils and garter

I have tonsilitis. Again. Early last year I got it once, went back to work too soon and got it again. So this year I am determined to be sensible and stay home until I am well.
This bout is particularly unfair because I took Friday off as annual leave so that I would have 3 days off in a row, only to wake up feeling awful on Friday and have one of my worst nights on Friday night: a shivering, feverish, lungs hurting, can't sleep kind of night. Around 5 am I did think dying might be preferable, but I got over that eventually.

On Sunday I picked up knitting needles and made a swatch:
a) I have never knitted in cotton, and wanted to give it a go
b) I wanted to swatch to see if this yarn and needle combination would work for EZ's baby surprise jacket
c) I have always had what amounts to a phobia of picking up stitches, but if I want to make this jacket there is no escaping it
d) it seemed like a good idea to finally learn that long-tail cast-on that everyone else uses.

Yarn: Texere Yarn's Kilsney soft cotton in Leaf and Bottle
Needles: Susanne's ebony 4.5 mm
This cotton needs metal needles, the wooden ones don't feel safe.
I like the long-tail cast-on, but I need to work out how much of a tail to leave before I will feel happy using it on somethinig real.
I'm still wary of picking up stitches, but I don't feel the need to actually run screaming at the thought any more. I'm not 100% happy with the results I got, but they will do.
Can anyone tell me which is the 'right' side of a long-tail cast-on? The one that looks as if you don't have a cast on at all, or the one with the pretty diagonal stitches?
I learned that you have to be careful when changing colours in garter stitch (which I already knew, but had illustrated to me very clearly).
I now feel a little more confident about the anatomy of garter stitch.
Gauge ended up at approx 4 stitches per inch. I am going to need smaller needles and finer yarn if I want to knit the baby surprise jacket: it's supposed to be 6 stitches per inch, and knitting this any tighter, while giving me a great fabric for oven gloves, would not not be suitable for baby wear.

Kilnsey swatch rs

Kilnsey swatch ws

Instead, I moved on to 4 ply merino, little needles and some pattern variation to make a tiny version of Tychus from Knitty. How tiny? Small enough to fit a small child? A baby? A doll? No. An egg.
A couple of years ago, issue 14 of the Australian magazine Donna Hay featured little egg-cosies on the cover. I wasn't actually in a knitting phase at the time, but I looked at them a bit and realised how easy they would be to knit. If you don't mind the 'wrestling with a hedgehog' feeling of knitting objects of small diameter on dpns, they really are quick and easy.

blue fluff egg cosy
spiral purl egg cosy

Admittedly the egg cosies I knit actually spend most of their lives acting as hats or horn-covers for the resident population of dragons (function depends on dragon size), but they do occasionally fulfill their original function.

I liked the look of the pattern and thought it might also be a way to try grafting in garter stitch. Because I am a masochist with sore tonsils. That's why.
garter grafting in progress
garter grafting complete
I did a test run from the base up (bad idea: conical objects get narrower at the top) in sewing thread with the provisional cast-on still attached and a thread running through the live stitches. I had started at the second row of the pattern in my burgundy yarn, with a very long tail at the top of the hat. I then used this to graft: the grafted row is both the first row (after cast-on) of the original patt and the last row.

I'm not sure that I'd really want to make this pattern full size. Maybe it was the yarn and scale I was using, but the turning without wrapping did seem to leave some sizeable holes.

There's not really one thing that is wrong with this grafting. Not one. But it annoys me immensely. It is so much neater than my actual knitting.

presenting mini tychus complete

mini tychus abstract

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