I've never used so many pins in my life. If I were blocking a sweater, I don't think I'd use this many pins. Getting the edges flat and not rolling in on themselves was a challenge. Also, because of the pins I am using and the surface and thickness of the blocking mats, I can't shove them all the way down for the heads to hold down the fabric, hence the amount of pins.
I'm thinking I should start putting my binder together now. I have all the materials, but all my written work is in digital format at the moment. I am guessing I should wait to put my swatches in the binder until its time to mail it - I'm thinking they'll get squished and flattened over time.
The most difficult part I am finding is answers to things I know ... but at least 2 sources have to be cited for each question and swatch. So far I've used this as a good excuse to add some books to my library. One that I am actually finding quite useful for the "simple" questions is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting & Crocheting by Gail Diven, sounds silly, I know, but its got all the fundamentals that are PERFECT if you were just learning to knit. Also, I want to get back into crochet, so I figured this would be a good place to start.
I have found that I really prefer "reference" books in traditional book form ... I have The Principles of Knitting as the kindle edition and I find it very difficult to work with like that. Although it does have an index and hyperlinks, it just doesn't feel right, I know the platform also has bookmarks, but I prefer good old sticky notes ...
These are swatches 2 and 3, both I knit a second time. The original seed stitch came out too lose, which I think weird because typically I am a VERY tight knitter, but I think I tried to knit "nicely" and not in my usual aggressive fashion where I practically cut the circulation off in my yarn tensioning finger. Apparently you SHOULD do that for seed stitch ... this swatch is a whopping 1/2" less in width than the original.
I have also knit up swatches 4, 5 and 6 - Increases. I haven't blocked them yet. I only have so many pins and so much patience for blocking swatches. Those can sit while these ones dry.
I did learn an interesting tip while doing research. Elizabeth Zimmerman says to avoid that HUGE stitch at the end of the bind off row, knit the last two stitches together and bind then off. Works like a charm.
I am chipping away at the questions as they relate to each swatch I knit. I have also finished the first draft of my blocking report and done all the research, I just need to polish it up and add my insights and observations I have come to while blocking my swatches.
I am participating in The Knitting Guild Association Master Hand Knitting Program. I am on Level 1. The program requires completion of 17 Swatches ranging from ribbing, stockinette, garter stitch, increases and decreases, cables, lace and colorwork. There are 22 questions to answer, including measuring gauge (markers in the photo below are depicting measurements), cast ons, yarn overs, increases and decreases and a range of other topics. Writing instructions and pattern and a final project of a colorwork mitten. There is also a 2-4 page report on Blocking and Care of Handknits. References must be included and cited on all work.
Its quite a program. The above photo was taken at an angle because of lighting - my swatch isn't that wonky looking in real life :o) Once all of the work is completed, a binder is mailed off to TKGA and reviewed by several committee members, if anything needs to be re-worked, they let you know and you can resubmit. There's no time limit.
I'm curious how long it will take. I am up to swatch 4 right now.
I am now successfully past the heel flap and gusset on the Two Socks-In-One. The very nice Kate Atherly even contacted me to see if I needed help or had questions about the pattern. To answer the question of why the heel flap called for making 10 selvage stitches, but picking up more, she's got a blog post on how to pick up additional stitches to avoid the dreaded hole that typically appears where the heel flap and held stitches meet to re-form the round. It works very nicely!
So, after the last post, where I was past the gusset and onto the foot ... it got ripped out again. At some point I had wrapped the two yarns around each other and they were twined. Dropping stitches down did not correct the issue because the two yarns were twined around one another connecting the two socks together with the two strands of yarn.
Once I ripped back, I then used Kate's method to pick up additional stitches to close the gap, and its pretty awesome!
Now I am on to the foot, with socks not connected to each other, and a smile on my face.
OK my sock knitting friends, help me be rational here ... because I am beyond irritated at this point. I am knitting Two-Socks-In-One and all was going just fine. I completed the heel flap as specified in the pattern. Repeat rows 3 & 4 9 times - 10 slipped stitches.
I completed the heel turn - THREE TIMES - my fault. First I didn't look at the notes on the front page about decreases and I was intertwining stitches from each sock - OK. Then for some reason I can't count because the second go round I had way more stitches left to work on one side vs the other - OK. Third time's a charm - worked fine.
Then I get to picking up gusset stitches. I am told to pick up 15 stitches per side ... remember it only told me to make 10 selvage stitches?!?! I understand picking up and extra 1 or 2 stitches, but 5?!?! I refer back to the special notes - there is nothing about inventing spots to pick up stitches ...
Now, I didn't realize this until AFTER I did the heel turn three times. There are two socks on the needles 1st stitch first sock, 2nd stitch second sock, 3rd stitch first sock and so on ... I REALLY do not want to rip back past the heel and make the flap longer right now.
They appear to fit fine, but I like to have delusions about these kind of things and I am worried that if I just knit on, its going to be really snug around the instep later.
I looked up another top down pattern by this designer and the gusset was similar = x heel flap stitches, but picking up way more.
I looked up other top down socks = x heel flap stitches = x selvage (maybe one more that you pick up in the corner to close the gap).