Archive | October 2013

A more satisfying method of measuring

Have you ever been knitting something very long (a scarf, sweater, sock, whatever), and been irritated by how often you have to stretch the darn thing out to measure it?

Have you ever been trapped in the knitting black hole – you measure something, knit for ages, measure again, and make no apparent progress?

I have a solution for you!

Use a locking stitch marker or piece of scrap yarn to keep a closer eye on your progress!

locking stitch marker

  1. Measure your piece so far.
  2. Go down to the nearest round inch, and put the locking stitch marker or scrap of yarn around a stitch there. (For example, if my sweater body measures 16 1/4 inches, I put the stitch marker at the 16 inch point)
  3. Write down the length marked by the stitch marker (in the example: 16″), and how much longer you need to go (for an 18″ sweater body – 2″ left to go).
  4. Observe your MUCH more visible progress from the stitch marker.
  5. Measure length from the marker much more easily than from the cast-on edge.
  6. Repeat as necessary

It is much more satisfying (and encouraging!) to say “my sweater needs to only be 2 inches longer than it is at this marker right here” than “my sweater needs to be 18 inches long.”


I have 8 days (not including today) left in the 30 Day Sweater Challenge. If I keep up my current pace (3 knitting hours per day),  I think I should be able to finish by the end of the month.

/Knocks on wood/

In other news: the heat on my house is not going to be turned on until Thursday. It’s supposed to be in the low fifties tonight and tomorrow. If I never blog again, it will be because I have died of cold before I had time to knit myself another sweater.


Progress, etc.

I am slowly but surely making progress on my Sweater That Never Ends:

larger sweater body


14 inches

Just 3.5 inches to go before I can start setting up the armhole steeks and doing the fancy chest colorwork. Huzzah!

Other stuff going on chez Malika:

  1. I had a delightful weekend, with lots of knitting time and some friends visiting from out of town. Nashville got a weird cold front, though, and the heat in my house isn’t turned on for the winter yet, so it has been really rather chilly here. Lots and lots of sweaters.
  2. My knees are totally mutinying from my last few weeks’ attempts at jogging regularly. I’ve been resting them and icing them and they still aren’t happy. However, this means MORE KNITTING TIME!
  3. I am absolutely obsessed with CraftLit. It’s a podcast by the lovely Heather Ordover, an English teacher and writer. She spends the beginning of each podcast talking about crafty stuff (interviews, book reviews, casual chatting), and then she plays chapters of audiobooks from Librivox (free, on the public domain) and talks about them. It is absolutely delightful. I listened to Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion by Jane Austen, and just started Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I love the idea (crafters love listening to audiobooks/podcasts while they knit!) and the execution. She does such a great job of walking you through the books! Check it out!

I hope everyone else has had a fantastic weekend!


My gauge is perfect, the sweater is perfectly sweater-sized, I’m on my way to a perfect sweater. Praise the wool!

perfect gauge

And now, nothing remains but to knit feverishly for another 14 inches.

Ugh Ugh Ugh

We all know that denial is not just a river in Egypt, but the universe knocked me down a peg last night with a reminder of this fact. I’d been worrying for a while that my sweater was getting too big. The last time I’d measured, it was only 2 inches bigger around than it should have been. Which is not a big deal. I had been noticing for a while that it looked like a lot of sweater, and also I saw that I was running out of yarn. However I, like many knitters, figured that not thinking about it and also knitting faster would make the problem go away.

It didn’t.

I finally put the sweater on a longer cable needle so I could measure it properly, and I discovered this:


That’s 23 and a half inches of sweater, which means that the circumference of that sweater body is 47 inches. I’m aiming for 38 inches, and the sweater kit only has enough yarn for a 42″ bust. 47 INCHES IS TOO MUCH SWEATER.

The fault, it seems, is my own silliness. I saw that the way I was carrying yarn behind my sweater was pulling at the fabric just a teensy bit, and instead of just trusting to the magic of blocking to settle the fabric, I changed my gauge mid-sweater to adjust for it. By the end I was knitting 6 stitches to the inch, instead of the target 7.

So the sweater that looked like this:


(see how it gets bigger near the top? Stupid stupid Malika)

Now looks like this:




P.S. This might mean that I might not finish this sweater by the end of October for the 30 day sweater challenge as intended.

Progress and Gender-non-conformity

Hello darling readers!

I have had a delightfully busy week and weekend, and have gotten a surprising amount of stuff done. Lots of cleaning, visiting with cool friends (my alma mater’s homecoming weekend was this weekend – so many friends!), applying for jobs, and knitting. My sweater body now looks like this:


It measures 12″ from the hem, with only 6″ of the lice pattern to go before I start preparing for armholes and doing fancier colorwork and stuff. Huzzah!

I’m still loving the 30 day sweater challenge! They hosted a 2.5 hour live hangout tonight, where they had a live webcam in their studio with a simultaneous chat, so we could all talk while we knit. I got an extra inchish done on my sweater, and got to chat with some awesome knitters. But the best part about this particular sweater knitting show?


It was hosted by three dudes.

Day 3

In spite of yesterday’s panic attack, I’m making good time on this here sweater:


I’m about 3.5 inches above the bottom hem edge.

I’ve been toying with the idea of attaching an i-chord in the deep purple contrasting color along the bottom and cuff hems. The Sleeves are attached and the shoulders are seamed with an i-chord in the deep purple, so I figured it might be more uniform. Plus I just freakin love the purple. Your thoughts?

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m having a lot of fun with the 30 day sweater challenge! In fact, it’s way more fun than I thought it would be. I’m not just knitting a sweater alone in my living room. I’m watching the Sweater Knitting Show, and seeing pictures of other people’s sweaters on Ravelry, and hearing everyone talk about their sweater progress. It’s awesome, and really inspiring! There’s so much creativity out there. There are 4,391 people taking the challenge (as of when I checked), and they’re aiming to get 5,000! That’s a lot of sweaters!

If you want to join, you can totally still sign up to take the challenge! It’s free, all they need is your email address, and you get access to a bunch of really great resources, like a sweater planning guide, the Sweater Knitting Show, and the online chat hangouts. Plus, they do lots of giveaways (including a chance to win a year’s worth of yarn. A year’s worth of yarn. FOR THE LOVE OF WOOL THAT’S A LOT OF FREE YARN). And you get a finished sweater out of the bargain. Pretty cool, no?

Check it out! And let me know if you decide to do it so I can creep on your sweater progress 🙂

My name is Malika, and I’m an idiot

I was happily knitting along on the never-ending 2″ of corrugated ribbing on the bottom hem of my sweater when I decided to check my gauge again to see what I should do when I’m done with the ribbing. The target gauge for this sweater is 7 stitches per inch, and I’ve been coming in at a pretty steady 7.5 stitches per inch. I figured this was a little loose, making for a bigger sweater than I planned, but I wasn’t too worried. I often knit quite loosely, and am used to figuring that sort of thing out.

(If you see my problem, you have my blessing to laugh at me heartily)

So I did some math on how much I should decrease the stitch count by to get a 38″ body circumference. Then I did the math again. Then I re-checked my gauge and the pattern and did my math a third time. Then it hit me.


I had a moment of panic when I realized that I don’t have a size 3 needle, and the size 4 was too big, and wool-be-damned I was gonna have to re-knit the sleeves and oh no oh no OH NO OH NO


Thankfully, I stopped running around like a headless chicken, calmed down, and realized I can just increase the stitch count all around to make a normal-sized sweater. I re-did all the calculations in the pattern to account for a 7.5 stitch per inch gauge instead of 7, and it looks like everything’s going to be fine. Except for that the sweater body is now 288 stitches around (instead of 264 like I thought), and THAT means that this sweater is going to take a loooooooooot of knitting.

Also, I have to add an extra 2 inches and 8 stitches to the sleeves.

Ugh ugh ugh.


I hereby relinquish my Halfway Decent Knitter credentials. I apparently couldn’t knit my way out of a paper bag with both hands and a road map.


In spite of all of this, I’m really enjoying the 30 day sweater challenge. The people who run it are also doing a Sweater Knitting Show, which is really fun and also helps motivate me to knit. You should go check it out! The show comes in at around 1 hr per episode, and episodes are every weekday, and I knit while I watch. Even with this new knitting setback, I think the goal of finishing the thing in 30 days is still in the realm of possibility. Maybe. Yay!