Archive for March, 2013

Sea of Dreams KAL: Planning to Start

Mrs. Mommy's Crawling SOD-001

Wow, lots of people are joining us in the upcoming Sea of Dreams Baby Blanket KAL! Missed what it is all about, here is the post explain everything, Spring 2013: Sea of Dreams KAL.

If you have purchased your pattern, you will see that the directions of the lace portion of the blanket are both written out and charted. Written out instructions are fairly straight forward. Familiarizing yourself with all abbreviation before you start knitting  is always a good idea.

One main skill you can tackle while participating in this KAL is learning to read knitting charts . I know the Northman Mittens had charts too. However, colorwork charts are often about colors and not so much about stitches. But they read the same way.

When you look over the charted instructions, be sure to read all the notes about the charts!

  • When knitting flat, in general, charts are read from right to left for right side rows (RS) and left to right on the wrong side rows (WS). Also the RS rows are odd-numbered and the WS are the even-numbered rows.
  • The Sea of Dreams chart has NO wrong side (WS) rows because they are all worked in the same manner.
  • You will read all the right side (RS) rows shown on the chart by the black arrow.

SOD KAL chart w arrowI find color coding charts to be very helpful for me. I assign one color per stitch type (or cable type when cabling). Now that I am using my Ipad for pattern reading, I highlighted my chart using the GoodReader app.  Highlighting isn’t exclusive to tablet pdf reader apps, I know computer based pdf readers such as Adobe Reader have it as well. But you can go old school (or like me four months ago), print your chart and get coloring. I find coloring has a nice therapeutic effect anyway, so coloring a knitting chart is very relaxing. I use colored pencils, but have used crayons in a pinch. Can you tell I live with kids?

See the red arrow pointing to the little blue box on the chart? That is how I keep track of my row in GoodReader. When using paper, I use highlighter tape. Highlighter tape is one of my all time favorite knitting tools. Don’t have any? Get some!

Jamie’s helpful note for you before starting is to consider your needle tips. If possible, choose the needles with more pointy tips. Pointy tips make working multiple stitches together like a knit 3 together easier. However, needle tips are a very individual choice and certainly won’t make or break your Sea of Dreams knitting experience. The Addi Lace needles are Polkadotsheep’s most pointy tipped needles. We stock them in the brass tipped fixed circulars in 24″32″ and 40″ cable lengths. The interchangeable Addi Click Lace kit has nickel coated tips like the Addi Turbos but the point of the Lace. I will be using my Addi Turbos for my project. But Jamie says if “The k3tog stitches start driving you crazy, consider lace tipped needles.”

I really encourage you to read over the entire Sea of Dreams pattern before you start. Aimee has included some helpful notes at the beginning and in the cream-colored boxes. Feel free to ask questions in the blog comments or in the Ravelry thread.

I swatched my Malabrigo Arroyo, a sport weight yarn,  to determine the needle size I wanted to use and what size blanket I wanted to cast on. Based upon my previous knowledge of working with Malabrigo Arroyo, I started the swatch with an US 6 / 4mm needle and switched in middle to US 5 / 3.75mm needle.

SOD swatch w text

I knit one complete repeat of the pattern, then washed and blocked the swatch before measuring. You can get by without swatching for blankets (or scarves) if you don’t need to be sure of your finished size. But it is always a good idea. When I swatched, I worked the two outside parts of the chart skipping over the middle section in the red box. I knew from the start that my gauge was not going to match the specified gauge of the Sea of Dreams. I wanted to know the width of the repeat in each needle size and the feel of the fabric. My width with an US 6 needles is 4.5″ (it could be blocked a little more severely if I wanted to) and the US 5 needles’ width is 4.125″. The fabric using the US 5 needles is firmer, you can see it if you compare the triangles of stitches between the yarn over holes to the US 6 side of the swatch. But I want the blanket to be more of a cuddly blanket than a keep warm blanket so I am going to go with the US 6 needles. I am casting on the stroller size Sea of Dreams. So according to my calculations, 4.5″ x 6 repeats = 27″ + (2 x ~1″ of border on each side) = 29″ total width when blocked. That is approximately the width of the crib size blanket knit to gauge of Sea of Dreams.

Are you ready to cast on? Tell us about your yarn choice and intended recipient in the blog comments or in the Ravelry thread. The Ravelry thread is already rolling with questions and yarn ideas.

Thanks for joining us here at the Polkadotsheep blog. We really appreciate you reading and participating with our activities.

Happy Knitting!

~Angela M.

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March 30, 2013 at 10:00 am 9 comments

Spring Clean Along 2013 Wrap Up

Happy Spring FB TEXT

Spring Clean Along 2013 has been a success. In fact, I am thinking it should be an annual event. We all get struck with “startitis” as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has named that irresistible urge to start new projects even while knitting other projects.  We get really frustrated with a project and end up stuff into the bottom of our baskets or bags. Babies come into the world and must be knit for so everything else get put on hold, somehow we don’t make it back to those “on hold” projects and they languish. Whatever the reason, the vast majority of stitchers of all persuasions have WIPs. Ask a sewer or quilter and you will find they have them too. So a yearly clean up or at least a chance to rediscover those projects seems to be an excellent idea.

I made good progress on my WIPs although none are finished. I began planning our up coming Sea of Dreams Blanket KAL which really ends up taking my knitting time and attention in different direction. Such are the difficulties of my life as a blogger here at Polkadotsheep.com (don’t feel sorry for me, it is a great gig). I also began swatching my son’s birthday sweater, there will be more on that later in April. Plus a friend is having a baby next week, so a baby knit was in order.

My favorite project to be finished during the Spring Clean Along 2013 was Laurie’s (-schmoopy-) Even Flow. Laurie is a very monogamous knitter and had started the Even Flow in February. Laurie knit the gorgeous sweater in Madelinetosh Pashmina. It is a perfect marriage of pattern and yarn. Well done, Laurie!!

Schmoopy's Even Flow text

Aimee A. (getknitty) frogged a shawl that she had put aside because her dislike of the pattern’s chart. Even while she like the look of the finished project, it was just sitting around. The yarn has been returned to the her stash, it will likely end up as another shawl some day. Aimee said it felt really good to make a final decision on the WIP.

There was also some stash purge. I purged some of my stash myself.

When Jamie H. went hunting through her WIPs, she discovered she had seven (maybe eight) sweaters in progress. I showed you in a previous post. She also finished two others, the Belleuve Cardigan- Worsted worsted by Laura Chau and Irish Coffee by Thea Coleman. Both sweaters were knit in a yarn very similar to Madelinetosh DK. Obviously, she still has a few sweaters to finish up.

Jamie's Spring Clean sweaters text

So thanks to all who knit along with us during the Spring Clean Along 2013. Hopefully, it helped you re-discover project you love and decrease that occasional haunting feeling that there is a WIP lurking in every corner of your house.

If you like knitting along with us, please check out the details of our Sea of Dream blanket KAL starting on April 1st. Learn about lace, lace knitting charts, and blocking.

Happy Knitting and Happy Spring!!

~Angela M.

March 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

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