I know the transition to Daylight Savings Time is hard on a lot of people, but springing ahead one hour has always felt like a gift to me. Since I’m an incorrigible night owl, during the winter months I turn into a nearsighted burrowing animal who never sees the sun. The doctor starts muttering about my Vitamin D levels, and I feel pretty downhearted when I run an errand at 4:00 p.m. in streets already hung with gloom. So, in March, when all of a sudden I’m walking home at 6:30 and the sky still has a bit of a glow, I feel absolutely frisky about it. I get a surge of renewed energy, and a seasonal condition I call CAT.
Not this CAT. This CAT is a blessing and not even remotely a seasonal condition.
My CAT is Cast on All the Things.
The flames of my case of CAT have been helped along enormously by the gasoline of Field Guide No. 10: Downtown. Unlike some people (ahem: you), I didn’t knit anything privately in advance of launch day.
So this past weekend, with Field Guide No. 10 out in the world at last, I was not satisfied with getting started on just one project. If’ I’d had the yarn, I’d have started all three.
Instead, I was reasonable, or at least reasonable for someone in the first flush of CAT.
First, I wound the yarn for the first of what I anticipate will be many X Factor Cowls.
one skein of Jill Draper’s Kingston, shade Wiltwyck. In real life, wiltwyck is a tiny bit murkier than in this sunlit photo.
This minimalist-chic accessory has Holiday Gift written all over it. Plus I get to use my Loome Tool to make the groovy drawstring cord! I’m packing my wound yarn and a set of needles for the trip to the UK next week, as my emergency easy knitting. Since Jill Draper will be vending at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I can procure more cowl fixings if need be.
Next, I cast on my very own Bottom Line Pullover, in Jill Draper Mohonk Light, in the color called Dark Roast.
This may be one of the best-named yarn shades in the history of naming yarn shades. It goes from mocha to espresso, and all the shades of coffee in between. I’m knitting the size large, in the hopes of getting the right fit—loose but not all the way to oversized—for popping on over a pencil skirt when I want to dress up a little.
Here’s where I was yesterday afternoon.
So far I’ve got one tip for this project: when it comes time to work the first row of the 8-row openwork pattern, turn off the podcast.
The stitch repeat is 12 stitches. There’s a right side of the repeat, and a left side of the repeat, and it’s super helpful if you only work one of each per repeat.
If (hypothetically) you work two right sides of one of those suckers, you are going to end up unable to work a complete repeat at the end of the round, as intended by Isabell Kraemer.
It’s a real slow stitch motif to unpick, stitch by stitch, for a hundred or more stitches. Hypothetically.
I repeat: turn off the podcast.
Needle Size Is Only a Number
The Bottom Line pullover calls for a gauge of 26 stitches over 4 inches. The pattern suggests achieving that gauge with a size 3 (3.25 mm) needle.
I’m a loose knitter, so that ain’t happening. I must go down a needle size, or I must knit a smaller size, or I must be prepared for a larger sweater than the measurements in the pattern.
I wanted to knit my Bottom Line to gauge, because I wanted a nice firm fabric for my sweater.
I didn’t have a size 2 circular in the right length, so I picked one up at my friendly local, Knitty City. When I told them it was for a sweater, there was a polite gasp. Really? A sweater on size 2s? Yes, really.
Here’s how I talked myself down from panicking about the prospect of knitting a rather large sweater on such a small needle.
The stitches are the same size, regardless of what needle the knitter is using. If you’re a tight knitter, you might need a 4 or even a 5 to get that sweet 26 stitches over 4 inches. If you’re a loose knitter like me, you might need a 2, or even [shriek] a 1.
But all these knitters, regardless of needle size, are knitting the same number of stitches per inch over the course of this sweater.
Ponder this truth. Take a few slow, deep breaths. I’m right, aren’t I?
Needle size is only a number.
So stop gasping at me, people!