Category Archives: MHK

Did I do this crap?!

After some (a lot) of procrastinating, I’ve washed and blocked the swatches that were ready yesterday.  It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least.  I found out a huge number of little sins on them and am leaning towards knitting most, if not all of them one more time.
One of the most interesting findings was that my worse swatches are the ones with the simpler stitches.  Some of the things I didn’t like I can explain, others I can’t (and so, I’m blaming the needle size).  Last night I did two new gauge swatches using 4.5mm needles, which are soaking as I write.  I’m hoping to get the proper gauge with those needles, as I like the fabric I get with them better.
I had a few d’oh moments while blocking, the first of which was when I realized that a gauge swatch has more than one use – as in: I know how many sts/rows I should get on an inch, so why am I not stretching the swatches to the expected measurement?  I figured that my simpler swatches (ST and garter st) have the most flaws because I go into automatic mode and don’t pay them the proper attention.  Speaking of the garter swatch, I might need to knit it by turning my work (sigh) as I got a somewhat irregular edge on the right side (can you say tension issues?).  Another example of not paying enough attention?  My YO swatch had the wrong number of YOs…
I’m torn between using a reverse long tail cast on or a normal cast on (normal for right handed people, not so much for me).  The reason being, when I do the cast on using my right hand, I get an uneven cast on, with some bumps being longer than others.  This issue can be somewhat fixed with proper blocking (which I also didn’t do), but my reverse cast on looks better.
The more I read the sanctioned group on Ravelry, the more confused I get about the expectations.  At some point, we’re told we need to show we can follow directions (so doing a reverse cast on would be a no – no), then someone else will say we have to show skills adapting the way we knit to come to the exact same result as everyone else ( read: right handed continental knitters).  How much of the first and the latter is acceptable is unclear to me, hence my doubt about which cast on to use.  I’ll keep on trying to do it using my right hand, but if I’m not satisfied with the results, I’ll just switch to the reversed long tail one.

Now, from what I’ve seen of the approved swatches, the ones I have right now are ok.  I’d probably pass level one with them, but (and a big one for me), these swatches are in no way, shape or form, my best work and this is why I’ll re-do them.  It’s a matter of pride ;P.

Something else that I found quite interesting is that the increases and decreases I like best (because I thought they were the best option) aren’t as nice as the ones I wrote off as not so good.  The swatches aren’t bad, all the increases and decreases are as they should be and the result is what is expected.  The thing is, by knitting them using larger needles (and thicker yarn) I could see more clearly which ones work better (as in, how much they show).  I’d heard of most, if not all, increases and decreases we have to do and have done all of them except for one decrease,  and still I learned from the process.

On an ending note, I have to say I’ve lost a lot of steam on this project as I got side-tracked by discussions that didn’t apply to me and doubts and worries that were silly to say the least.  Last night it finally hit me, I was too hung up on “but that’s not the way I knit” to realize that it isn’t about how I knit, but about my ability to do what I’m told.  My standards are different from others and looking at the swatches I can say, for sure, they are below my standards.


I’ve started knitting new swatches yesterday.  At first I thought about doing the ribbing by turning my work around for each row (which I don’t care for, as it slows me down).  Then, as I got bored with all the turning, I began stretching what I’d already knit and to my surprise the ribbing began to look much better. 😀
I’m thinking about weaving in the ends on the two swatches with ribbing that I’d done some time back, washing and blocking to see how they look after a spa treatment.  After I’m done with the blocking, I’ll measure the swatches again, as I have a sinking feeling that my measurements were off.  If that’s the case, I have no other choice but to re-do them.

Speaking of re-doing, at least one of the cable swatches has to be re-done for sure, as the bind-off is flaring and I found out a way to eliminate/minimize that.  This process is, after all, about learning, right?

Over all, I’m quite pleased with the swatches I’ve knit so far.  I haven’t done any of the color work ones, so my feelings about my progress might change (I hate color work).

It’s been a few days (weeks?) since I touched anything having to do with the program.  I had some books lined up with ILL and thought that maybe a good reading would make me understand (and fix) some of the little details I wasn’t pleased with on my swatches.
Due to The Move TM lots of our things are still misplaced and I couldn’t find copy paper nor ink when I first wanted to print the documents (because the printer will run out of ink/paper every.single.time. you need to print something).  The ink cartridges were, of course, hiding in plain sight and I walk by them every morning when I get downstairs.  The paper is still MIA, but I solved it by buying more.
The plan for this week is to start answering a few questions and putting the binder together, since I finally got the books I requested through ILL.  There are a few more books I still want to borrow from libraries and I might go back and edit my answers, if I find the information on other sources relevant.  On a side note, I found reference to horizontal knitting on Principles of Knitting :D.

I’m thinking I’ll block the different swatches using different techniques to help me with the blocking report I have to write.  So far I’ve only pin blocked my knitting and I think trying different methods might help me understand them better.  Other plans include knitting the ribbing by turning my work (sigh…) to make the ribbing part more even and going through my Barbara Walker books to find references to blocking and care (I know there are some, as I remember reading about them before, but last time I checked, I couldn’t find anything) and also to choose a cable pattern.
I’m a bit worried about the cable pattern I have to choose, as I read that someone had to redo it – the co-chairs said it wasn’t really a cable, but a traveling stitch pattern.  I do have a good collection of books on cables, so there are plenty of choices – even if I have to adjust/adapt/mod a pattern I like.

I read it’s possible to customize Microsoft’s Word for footnotes and book references and will check out if it’s possible to do the something similar to that using Open Office’s Writer.