The importance of dye lots – My Myrna cardigan

You may remember a passing reference to my Myrna here.

This is where we last left it….

Myrna-in-progress

Unfortunately, it has been frogged three times since then and is well, now a collection of balls of yarn hibernating at the bottom of my knitting bag. Rarely have I had such misfortune with a knitting project.

First off, Andi released some amendments to her pattern as the row gauge had been shown incorrectly. These things happen and it was  clearly explained and a number of versions of the pattern with various row gauges are now available.

I fished out my tape measure and checked my Myrna against the measurements that I should have at that point and realised that I did need to undo the fronts as the revised pattern was every so slightly different.

I quickly re-knitted the fronts – perhaps too quickly? Once again I came to joining the back and front to knit the rest of the body and…….. arrrrgggghhhh……

I’d managed to twist one of the fronts when I picked up the stitches along the shoulder of the back and I had one front facing one way and another in a completely different direction – this was NOT going to make a cardigan!!

Cue unraveling number two….

Following the correct pattern, making sure I checked that the fronts were both facing the right way, I started again and reached the point where I needed to join under the arms. I held my handiwork up to admire the pattern…….

Hmmmpphh – what more could go wrong you ask?

All I could see was a stripe across one of the fronts where I had changed balls of yarn.

Now I’m sure many a knitter out there knows that you need to buy your yarn all from the same dye lot. Occasionally I flout this rule (*gasp*) and so far I have been lucky. Some yarns are obviously better at hiding any slight variation in colour.

Drops Paris is NOT one of those yarns.

I was all too aware that I was using different dye lots. I was trying to use two part balls from a previous project and I had compared them both in natural light and couldn’t see any difference but well, trust me when I say that knitted up there was a significant difference!

In almost disbelief I started unraveling again and this time flung the balls into my knitting bag consigning them to the ‘another day’ pile in what was probably close to a teenage strop!

The next day though, I revisited the pattern, looked at the yardage I had (in the same die lot) and decided that I probably did have just enough to make my Myrna.

But those balls of Drop Paris are still in the bottom of my knitting bag as I really couldn’t face another installment of the dreaded frogging.

So instead, I’m plodding my way through a second school cardigan (I’m quite bored of it now!) whilst dabbling in a spot of crochet (from the self-confessed non-crocheter!!).

Please do share your knitting disasters because I’m really hoping that it isn’t just me!

A ‘Miette’ of knitting

Miette cardigan

I am really taken with this cardigan – I only wish it were mine!

But “how come?”, you ask. Well here’s the tale…

Over winter, I knitted myself a long-sleeved version of Sirdar 2286 in some nondescript yarn from Hobbycraft (not my LYS (Local Yarn Store) of choice, but I was there, I loved the colour and I had a discount voucher… you get the picture, right?). I knitted the 12-13 age size and just added a little bit of extra length to the body and the sleeves. It has been a fantastic knit, came together really quickly and the wool (if only I could remember what it was sigh…) is incredibly warm and toasty, a fantastic colour, can be washed at 40°C and it can be tumble dried!!

Anyway, I was round a friend’s house, in my cardigan and she asked me if I’d make her one. Knowing it wouldn’t take long I agreed. We then got chatting about colours and yarns and she said she’d really like one in cream for Spring/Summer and another in a red colour for autumn/winter.

I hesitated and took some time out.

Now it’s a great cardigan but in wool it’s not a Spring/Summer item. I had a look around for the bulky weight cotton but didn’t turn up anything inspiring and then….

I was browsing Twitter and spotted Amanda from Bimble and Pimble’s tweet about Miettes and pink yarn. I looked it up on Ravelry (as you do!) and did a bit of checking out of the previous makes (including Lauren’s from LLadybird) and I was sold. I knew it would look just perfect on my friend (although I’m not sure she’s convinced about the length just yet – but she will be). I sent her the links to the pattern and some ideas for yarn. Budget was a bit tight so we settled on DROPS Paris in Off White. I confess I was rather worried when the yarn arrived. It looked just like dishcloth yarn!!

But that said, I think it knits up really nicely with great stitch definition that you’d expect from cotton. It does have a slight tendency to split but apart from that it works well as a budget yarn.

Miette caridgan

Andi’s pattern is really easy to follow. Although I had a real ‘durr’ moment when it came to row 25 and you have to break the yarn. I looked up the pattern notes and understood the reasoning perfectly but it still took me about 20 minutes of turning my knitting backwards and forwards to work out just what I had to do – my tip – just follow the instructions, they work!

I went wrong a few times (quite a few actually!) completely due to my own lack of concentration and forgetting my raglan increases. Please, check  your stitches at the end of each row. It may seem a faff but, honestly how much time is it going to save you when 7 rows later  you realise you’re a stitch short?

I had to redo my first cuff. I downsized to the needle suggested in the pattern but it came out so much bigger than the rib on the bottom of the cardigan. I guess my knitting in the round just isn’t the same tension. I ripped back (using this method) and knit it on smaller needles.

As always, I cast off using a larger needle, otherwise I find that those cast off edges just don’t have enough stretch.

Look no twisting - block your knits!

Look no twisting – block your knits!

It also needed some serious blocking. Not sure if it was the yarn, my knitting, the weight of the cardigan or a combination of them all, but the back was really twisted and off to one side. I had a few horrifying moments counting stitches, measuring to check if I’d done something wrong – fortunately I hadn’t. Blocking however was a real ‘fingers-crossed’ moment. Logic told me it should work, but I just wasn’t certain. I used the method described in Knitty.com for cotton and it worked really well and blocked out to the exact measurements that I needed. Phew!!!

So what do you think? The big ‘handover’ is on Friday. Here’s hoping my friend likes it – if not I love it!

Miette cardigan

Wish it were mine…