Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Few Tips

Read this article about women and sleep in the Huffington Post. It is so true. When I was working, the alarm went off at 4:30. In the years that we had baby watch (our #1 grandson) we sometimes didn't get to sleep until 11:00pm. We were trying to do it all on 5 1/2 hours of sleep. No wonder I am still trying to catch up!

I feel so much better when I force myself to get 7 and a half or 8 hours of sleep. And yes, it does take a push. There is so much to keep you from your bed. And I love getting up extra early in the morning, before anyone else, even the the sun. No demands, time to myself, quiet thinking time or reading time or surfing the Web time. Although, the winter with its dark days and nights, make me want to snuggle in.

I am working on my Blue Cabled Cardigan again. It was pushed to the side by Christmas. And I am now completing the sleeves. The yarn is a heathery blue Brunswick Germantown wool. It is a very smooth workhorse yarn that shows detail beautifully. Yes, it has been in my stash forever and is another one of those yarns that I absolutely love and is not made any more and was waiting for the exact right pattern before it became something other than wool I took out once a year and admired.

The thing about this particular group of eight skeins (more than enough for a sweater) was that three of the skeins were a different dye lot. I knew it when I bought it but I figured I would MAKE it work. There are a few tricks that can help hide differences in dye lots if you accidentally get wrong lots or like me, know that you are taking a chance.

A very general rule of thumb for yarn amounts for sweaters is thirds. One third of the yarn for the back, one third for the front and one third for the sleeves. So I put the three skeins of different dye lot aside for the sleeves and looked for a pattern that would have a lot of texture. This also can hide differences in dye lots.

Now, what you should always do is make a good size swatch staring with dye lot A. After a few inches, change to dye lot B and knit for another few inches. Wash the swatch and let it dry.

Take the swatch outside and look at it very carefully in full sun. Take a very critical look and don't try to kid yourself. Some dye lots are as different as night and day, some are just a tiny bit different and some are so similar as to make no difference.

If there is a very distinct color change, never knit these two dye lots together. No matter what you do, you will spot the changing colors and be unhappy about the outcome.

If there is a slight difference you can do several things.

Knit one or two rows with one dye lot and the next 2 rows with the other, alternating like this through the garment. This is way too much work for me, but it may work for you, especially if you have a goodly amount to incorporate.

If it is just one skein, use it in the ribbings. The different texture hides the color well.

In my case the dye lots are very similar so I am knitting both the sleeves in the different dye lot.

In any case keep it symmetric. Do both sleeves or the back or the front or both fronts, if it is a cardigan. This can fool the eye and won't be noticed.

Even if the colors look the same, I would take care and use the yarn as I mentioned. Sometimes yarns wear a little differently and what is not noticeable at first, can show over time.

Everyone seems to be having a Buffalo kind of January. Cold and snowier than usual. We are in the deep freeze, too. But that is usually our winter.

A couple of Winter tips. If you see a drift of snow on the roof with icicles hanging down and your granddaughter asks you to pull one off for her, make sure you are not standing under it when you do. The whole shebang came down when I touched this. They've been known to put your eye out.

Take out your wool sweaters, socks, whatever you have and put them on. That's what you knit them for.

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