Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Steeking on an Airplane

After some avoidance I finally steeked.  On the airplane from Portland to London this poor sweater mostly sat in my bag.  I played around with some Alpaca Laceweight in preparation for a double sided hat pattern rolling around in my head.  I knit up a fingerless mitt out of some Hollywood yarn.  Grace picked it out and wants me to knit a pair for her and her 12 year old cousin Kate.  Finally in my sleep deprived state right about over Scotland I took out the sweater and…moved the needles and holding cables in the readying position.  I chickened out and put the thing back in my bag.

We arrived in London, hopped on a series of two trains up to Wales and discovered our telephones didn't work at all!  We expected expensive but not non-functioning.  In this state we could not call Jean, David's mum to pick us up from the train station.  at 2pm the three of us in a sleep deprived stupor walked around Newport, Wales looking for a cell phone store.  we found one and Starbucks too!!  While Grace and I got a much deserved coffee David sorted out our telephone problem.  Newport is not the most civilized town in the world.  It is a bit rough and tumble but they have done a wonderful job of decorating their main street area.  I just ignored the youths yelling obscenities at each other and drank my coffee.

By 3pm UK time we had our ride up to Jean's house visited a brief while and then fell into bed.  I am not an airplane sleeper and only slept on the train as we came up from London.  In all I was probably awake for 22 hours straight.  

The next morning we got up at a decent hour and prepared to board an airplane for Ireland.  David and I were on our own.  On the airplane guess what I did? :)  yup I crocheted the steek securing edge and cracked out the scissors.

 chop chop chop chop chop chop chop..well actually it was snip, take a deep breath, snip…this had better be OK, snip...

 I started to pick up stitches along the front and knit the four rows needed for what Kate Davies calls a 'Steek Sandwich".  but because I did not actually re-read the instructions I picked up my stitches incorrectly and mucked it up.  After a re-read at the airport on the way back from Ireland I ripped these rows out and corrected my mistake.  So far my review on steeking the front of a sweater is…not so positive.  The key is to pick up stitches in a stabby way so that loops form in both the front and back of your knitting.  you pull one side and knit on the front and then go back and slide your needle into the loops left on the back to knit matching rows int he back.  these back to back rows of knitting form a facing/placket for your cardigan.  The problems I am having (as the sweater is now back in my bag being avoided) is that it is really difficult to pick up all of the stitches in the back.  They are just basically sewing stitches positioned horizontally in the crack of a column of stitches and since they are mostly the same shade as the rest of the sweater is is very difficult to see them.

After you knit your two flaps to form the front placket you use a three needle bind off technique to join them for a nice edge.  The problem with this plan is that 1.  If you do not have the same number of stitches on each bit of facing (and I didn't) your bind off  runs short and you have a flappy bit of extra at the end (5 stitches for me).  I also dropped 3 stitches on my path to a bind off and the are all running down the placket..gah!!

my Christmas plans are to again rip out my work and using a darning needle and two sets of circular needles sew over and under both cables so that my cast on is even on both sides of the placket.  Oh did I tell you I have to do this all again on the other side of the cardigan?  I keep telling myself it will get easier but I am in the frustrated hiding the sweater in my bag stage of this game.  by the way-the sweater has unravelled a little bit but not so much that I am crumpling in fear.

An update on the trip-and what you are really waiting for I imagine!

We have been to Ireland and taken photos of the Donegal Tweed mill and Studio Donegal.  We have also been to Cornwall and Blacker Yarns.  Those posts are coming next as soon as I transfer the photos to the computer!
A selfie at the hotel bar in Athlone Ireland. If you look closely you can see the word shamrock on the beer tap.

To get to Athlone we flew into Cork Airport and then headed north.  This trip was fine but not a freeway drive at all.  Mostly through villages and on two-lane roads.  Because we arrived after dark we did not see any of the countryside but interestingly there was a lovely smell in the air in every village we passed through.  David and I suspected this was from peat fires.  They sell peat at the gas station in piles like our pressed sawdust logs.  The difference is peat smells nice!  After we returned to Cork I discussed this with a friend and he confirmed our suspicions and said that there are even better sources of peat than the pellets we saw that smell even nicer.

I hope you are all having a great December!  Julianne is sending me reports and says the shop has been bustling while I have been gone.  Make sure and check the calendar for upcoming events.  I do want to make sure and let you know that Black Sheep at Orenco will be closed the week after Christmas.  I made a mistake in the newsletter but have fixed it on the online calendar.  We will be open again bright and early on January 2.  Of course there will be a sale and new yarn fro my trip to come look at!

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