Sweater Blanket completed

I finished it last night while watching the Home Run Derby! I was rooting for Philly’s Own, Ryan Howard. Alas, he was eliminated in the first round.

It is a nice length. For reference, I am 5 feet tall when I’m not holding my hands over my head.

It’s been brutal to work on these past few days. It is so warm, which will be nice come winter, but is unbearable now with the temperature not dipping to the mid-seventies at night. I can’t wait for the rains this afternoon to break the heat. Plus, I am feeling lazy and don’t want to water my garden. The rains will do my job for me.

Sweater Progress

Well, I decided to stop fighting with my sewing machine over the double bias tape on the sweater afghan. Every night during the Phillies baseball game, I have been handstiching the tape down using a slipstitch. Amazingly, it is going quicker than I had hoped for. My estimate was 1 month. If I keep up my current pace, it will be completed within 2 weeks. Here it is laid out on my couch. It is a perfect afghan size … even if it wasn’t actually designed for it.

The striped sweater I have been working on took 2 steps backward yesterday. The stitches I picked up for the collar and swore I would not rip out … have been ripped out. Well, I learned something here. Never measure a v-neck collar on the diagonal and use this measurement to figure out how many stitches to pick up. Who knew? With this problem realized and easily solved, I am almost ready to reattempt picking up the stitches for the collar. However, I still need to figure out how many stitches should be picked up on the length from the top of the v-neck to the shoulder. It measures 5 inches. I had assumed that I would need to pick up 7 stitches per inch (as that is my gauge), but the most I could locate during my last attempt was 6 stitches per inch. Yet, if my calculations are correct, I’ll be missing 10 stitches. I could just roll with the puches. The very next row has me decreasing 1/3 of the stitches anyway. Then, I’ll only be out 3 stitches. Right? 3 stitches won’t make or break the collar (at least I hope not).

So, here is my sweater again. To make up for the lack of the collar, I snuck Jake into the picture. He always makes my knitted garments look better!

A Little Frustration

Well, I have tried to complete my sweater afghan several times now, but to no avail. I finished hand basting the tape around the edges, which I might add did a lovely job of hiding the not-so-stellar cutting job and zigzag stitching. I am now at the point where I should topstitch the tape in place. I’ve tried twice to do this step with my trusty straight stitch foot. Twice now I’ve ripped the stitching out. The 3 layers of fabric kept shifting so my stitching line was anything but straight.

Certain that an edging foot would be the answer to my problem, I biked over to my favorite sewing store (Pottstown Sewing and Craft). I bought the only edging foot they had available that looked like it would fit my not-so-fancy sewing machine. It didn’t fit. So, I am back where I started with just a straight stitch foot. I’ve considered hand stitching the tape in place using a slipstitch. The only thing stopping me for jumping in and testing the water is that I would have to hand stitch the tape to both sides of the afghan. I might get it done in a month. To stitch by machine, I could have a finished afghan in 10 minutes. One month vs. 10 minutes. Call me lazy, but I won’t give up on the 10-minute option until I’ve exhausted all avenues.

To add to my frustration, I decided to tackle the collar on my striped sweater yesterday. The collar measures ten inches on each side. Based on my gauge, I needed to pick up 70 stitches on each side. I sat and struggled with the sweater for at least two hours yesterday. I only managed to pick up 6 stitches per inch. Thus, I am 20 stitches short. Do I just ignore my shortfall and carry on in normal fashion? Or do I K2P2 ribbing for one row, increasing 20 stitches along the way. This latter option seems slightly silly to me for the next row requires me to decrease one-third of the stitches in order to achieve a K2P1 ribbing. Maybe what I’ll do is just decrease fewer stitches. Hmmm, I’ll have to ponder on this problem. But just to state the obvious, dropping all the stitches and retrying to pick up 7 stitches per inch is NOT an option. I think I would cry if I had to do that.

Now for some good news, I am further along with my Angled Nesting Squares block.

I just have the triangles left to join.

Unfortunately, I am not sure when this block will be posted. The viewing is tonight and I still have much to do, such as finish cooking the fried stuffed mushrooms. (My own recipe! If they taste as good as I hope, I’ll post the recipe along with the block). The funeral is tomorrow and I imagine we’ll be busy all day with family. Thankfully, our dear friends have volunteered to watch Jake. They love to spoil him. I’m sure he will get plenty of treats and pets.

A special thank you to everybody who left their comments to “A Memorium”. I was very touched by each one.

Because I couldn’t kill him

It’s wrong to kill your husband.

It doesn’t matter that you spent months knitting him a sweater he’ll never wear. Time you could have spent knitting yourself a sweater. A sweater that you would wear everyday.
The only thing saving him right now is that he swears he would love to wear the sweater, but every time he puts it on he starts with the sneezing and the watery eyes.
So, I can’t kill him. And I can’t wear the sweater I made him. He’s 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. I’m 5 feet tall and well, …. slightly smaller. And I refuse to let the sweater sit in the cedar closet another year unused.
What to do?
I came up with this idea.

A sweater afghan!

I cut the sleeves off. (It felt so good to do harm to the sweater!) Next, I cut straight up the seams on the sides of the sweater, leaving it only bound together at the shoulder seams. Next, I hand-stitched the neck hole closed using a slipstitch. Afterwards, I machine-stitched along the edges of the sweater using a zigzag stitch. This step was to ensure no unraveling occurred.

Finally, to hide the ratty edges, I started to hand-baste a double fold bias tape around the entire length of it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish this step while watching the Phillies game tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to topstitch the tape in place. I’ll probably use a zigzag stitch. All that will be left to do is to remove my hand-basting. You’ll note that I am using a white thread now to aid me in locating the basting thread later.

I will be the proud owner of a wool afghan that only I can use. Plus, I get to live the rest of my life on the right side of prison bars.

I was reminded of something these past two days: how much I hate to seam sweaters closed. I had become spoiled by my Ode to Quilting afghan blocks. Those pieces are so simple to seam together. All the seams are straight … and very small. The seams of a sweater have to contend with increases and decreases. I can’t remember how many times I had to back up, rip out my seams, and start over because the diagonal of the increases didn’t match up.

Despite my struggles, I managed to get half of the sweater seamed together. I’m pretty pleased with the way it looks.

Oh, and better news, I slipped the sweater over my head and it fits …. perfectly! I’m so excited. **Dancing**

I just need to hurry. My model is gaining weight every week. (She’s pregnant with their first child.)