Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Long and Winding Road

Well, so much for speeding through the decreases...Soon enough I was at the underarm (last decrease), and was just congratulating myself on getting to move on to the increase portion. At last, the front of the jacket! Where my intense scrutiny of previous jackets made and photographed by others told me I'd have to be on my toes, and make careful color selections. I'd need to think really hard before I placed some bold color stripe that would visually add inches in places I already had plenty of inches. Now was my time to be 'arts-y', now I knew what I was doing, and was rolling merrily along. (Quite literally, since I took it with me as we drove up to Racine for a wedding last Saturday, with plenty of time to make some serious progress.)

But the knitting gods were not pleased. Afterward, when it was very quiet, I could hear them snickering at my presumption that I knew what I was doing. You see, I could see very easily where the double decreases were made on each garter ridge, at the beginning of the project, and only moved up the stitch marker for the center stitch every 4 or 5 ridges, just to prove that I was doing it correctly. But the increases....well, it wasn't quite as easy to tell which one was the center stitch. Using my same m.o. of moving the marker every 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5!) increase rows, I thought I was keeping the center stitch constant as I went on my merry knitting way. Spreading it out to admire my handiwork, I noticed that my 45-degree line of increases had veered off in a few places. (That's the point in my knitting that I get really quiet, just staring at it, willing it to look different than it really is. ) My straight line had turned into a long and (slightly) winding road.... which makes for a interesting car ride in the country, but in knitting, not so much. The stitch markers are being carefully carried up each and every row this time. I think I'm pretty much back to where I left off originally. ::sigh::

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Daydreaming in color

I have to laugh at myself for how I'm obsessing about the stripe placement on this jacket! I've been back to the long list of Ravelry projects to see what other people have done. I think I'm on the right track, and the way the pattern starts at the back (and sleeves) is letting me try out a few combinations before they appear front and center on this jacket. But first, let me say, God bless Ravelry and its many users.... many have written very helpful comments about their projects that have really started the creative juices flowing.

I'm still happy about my color choices for this project (I'd better be, because I have a long way to go yet ::grin::), but one or two other ASJs are already taking shape in my mind. I'm fascinated at the way Rav's jrhutch has combined a bright Noro Kureyon colorway with solid black. The colors really dance against the dark neutral without being overly bright. I'd like to try single garter ridge stripes of the Kureyon and black to tone down the bright colors even a little more. (I think using a nice squooshy merino with the Noro would be nice, too!) Or....I have 2 colorways of Kureyon that are neutral beiges and browns (#55 and #146 -- probably long discontinued by now) that could be paired with a deep black-brown. Hmmmm.....

Then there's Ravelry's Braizyn, who's softened the effect of color changes by double stranding the yarn -- the link on Ravelry to the "Spectrum Scarf" isn't working, but I'm guessing the colors are offset slightly to achieve the more subtle color progression. Definitely something to consider for those Noro colorways I have that look terrific in the skein but could be a little (maybe a lot ::grin::) clown-like when stitched up in a larger size garment!

Back to the stripes in my ASJ....

Monday, March 9, 2009


Happy to report that I finally figured out where the ASJ jacket starts when it's cast on! (Once you "see it", it's hard to imagine why you couldn't see it earlier.) Finally finding a project photo on Ravelry that showed the earliest rows after the cast on, and a clear photo of both the back and a front view of the sleeves, worked wonders. It really helps having some idea of where the striping occurs to avoid a less than flattering bold stripe appearing where it's not especially wanted ::smile::

The process of selecting colors for the stripes, how they relate to each other, and relative widths of each color change is proving to be an amazing workshop in color theory. With so many small size stripes, no one decision seems critical -- if it doesn't look perfectly fabulous after one row, just complete the garter ridge and change color on the next! And it's allowing a freedom in color choice that I tend not to experience often. I'm one of those "plan everything in advance" kind of people, and will agonize over almost imperceptible differences in hue or saturation in selecting color. But in this project I'm trusting that the overall combination will be....well, if not perfect, then at least very interesting! Note to self: Changes in value are so much more important than changes in hue, in avoiding bold-stripe-surprises!

Monday, March 2, 2009

EZ's Adult Surprise Jacket

Joining the Ravelry KAL for EZ's Adult Suprise Jacket is going to be fun, but I think I may be working on this forever! Larger size, smaller gauge to get the firmer fabric I want for an outdoor garment, and having a couple of other projects on the needles doesn't add up to this being a quick project.

I'm knitting this from stash...Somehow I managed to collect a lot of Cascade 220 in sort-of-go-together-colors, but not bought with anything particular in mind. Of course, there's not enough of any one color to make anything more than a shrug (how many shrugs do I want?!?) so a striped jacket is looking like my best option. So I started by swatching, for gauge of course, but also to get an idea of how the colors play off of each other. That's when I realized that Cascade 220 is a light worsted, with emphasis on the "light". In order to get a firm enough garter stitch fabric that won't be too flimsy to wear as a jacket, I'm down to size 5 needles. Size 5! I'll be knitting this into 2010.... Plugging in my size and gauge (5 sts/1"), I need to cast on about a zillion stitches LOL!

Once I got over the shock of that, I keep changing my mind about what colors I'll be using (there's a little Noro Kureyon, Malabrigo, worsted weight alpaca, Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, and Reynold's Odyssey thown into the mix). Swatching the stripes has made for some pleasant surprises....and a few that I rejected. (Yikes!) Of course, I'm sure I'll change my mind at least a dozen times once I start working on this... I've studied the projects posted on Ravelry, trying to see where this jacket actually starts at the cast-on. I truly can't figure it out! ::sigh:: This will be interesting.

So....just cast on already!!