Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I know that I am not supposed to love the yarn from the craft store, but I have been knitting some zany striped legwarmers with Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation Full o' Sheep, and I love it very much.

In fact, I love it so much that I was thinking about knitting a sweater with it. And I spent much of the afternoon fussing with ideas of patterns. I used the gauge from the legwarmers to guesstimate how I was going to shape the crewneck (most sweater "circular" sweater patterns have really terrible neck shaping), as a multi-tasking / in-between task as I was tackling the laundry problem.

And then it dawned on me: The laundry I was doing? Involved running many, many (store-bought) sweaters with "HAND WASH ONLY" and "DRY CLEAN ONLY" tags through the washing machine. I never hand wash sweaters. I have ruined some very nice sweaters (cashmere!) by washing them in the washing machine.

No matter how much I love this yarn, I should not knit myself a sweater out of it (HAND WASH ONLY) if I am going to continue to wash my sweaters in the washing machine.

On the bright side (as if the colors weren't bright enough!), after finishing enough sweater-washing to have every flat surface in my sewing room / closet / guest room covered with a damp sweater (at least I don't dry them in the dryer), I went to Starbucks to make sure that I didn't miss out on my favorite ridiculous holiday flavored lattes, as we have moved to a Very Serious Coffee phase in this household (the Breville espresso maker -- where you have to tamp the grounds to a specific pressure -- and the $200 burr grinder have been banished to an upper cabinet in favor of the scientific precision of Nespresso), and I brought my knitting with me. Some stranger talked to me and wanted to know if I knew of any knitting groups. I don't, as every knitting group that I've been a part of fails for a good reason. (Group #1 failed because the de facto leader was a crazy Palin-ite. Group #2 failed because everyone defended their dissertations and then embarked on a period of nomadic penitence.) But I gave her my email address and told her that if she found any leads (or wanted to start a group) that she should be in touch.

Legwarmer pattern:

These used one skein each of two colors. I'm using Passionfruit (Color A) and Honeycomb (Color B).

I used a #8 needle, 12" long. The yarn claims that it is meant for a #9 needle, but close enough, y'know? I mean it's just legwarmers. The important part is that the needle needs to be short or else you will be sad about the stitches being too spread out. I had a 12" #8 needle and a set of #8 dpns (as a backup, just in case) and only icky needles in #9, so I was going to use #8. My gauge is pretty close to 5 sts in 1".

Cast on 44 sts and join for knitting in the round.

If I had it to do over again, I would have started and ended with 4 rounds of 2x2 ribbing to keep the edges from rolling, but I was being lazy.

Knit 10 rounds of Color A.

Strip pattern:
Knit 8 rounds of Color B.
Knit 8 rounds of Color A.

Continue alternating eight-round stripes of Colors A and B until they are nearly long enough, ending with a stripe of Color B. Then knit the last stripe as 10 rounds of Color A. (I have seven pink stripes and six yellow ones.) Bind off. Weave in the loose ends, finish, etc.

I did one with "jogless" stripes and one with just changing color at the beginning of the round. Both have their flaws. I'll let you know which one I think is better once I deal with all the loose ends (literally).

Variation: Use Clementine as Color A and Passionfruit as Color B, and knit the Passionfruit stripes in reverse stockinette. Then you can look like Big Bird.