so far, no sweater

Last Friday (the date of my last post) I did work on my Flugel.

This is the beginning of grafting the underarms (lower sleeve edge from cuff to armpit).  Since the cast-on method was to use the backwards-loop co, I had an invisible row of loops waiting for me to use.  I slid half of each loop of the front’s underarm sts onto a needle, pretending it was one leg of a live stitch.  I did the same thing on the back’s underarm, then used matching yarn to graft the fake “live” sts together.

Just as I’d stopped the stripe pattern on the shoulders and changed to white once I was at the full length, so none of my stripes would wrap around the body and/or be involved in the grafting, here I’d made sure that even though my first row of knitting would be in the gold ribbon, I did the cast-on for the sleeves in the navy.  That continued the line from the body and left me with the ability to use the more “normal” yarn for the grafting.

This is the complete underarm after being grafted; cuff-edge to the right, and the join to the body stripes on the left.

It worked really well, and I was able to get both sides done.

On Saturday I picked up sts around the neckline and started knitting the neckband.

I’ll admit, I got distracted.

I put it aside Saturday afternoon because I had to pack up all our school stuff to bring up north with us.  As per our usual tradition, on the weekend before our final (or midterm) exam, Yannick and I leave the kids at home with my inlaws or parents, and we go up north to peace and quiet to study.

We spent the weekend up there and got a lot of work done.  I only brought a sock-in-progress with me for easy car knitting, and truly didn’t knit at all beyond the car rides.

Last night I finished the neckband (I’d added a few extra rows) and bound off.  Technically that means that Flugel is finished (but for weaving in ends) but I don’t like the unfinished cuff edges and will be adding some ribbing.

But not yet.  A) I have to concentrate on studying for Sunday morning’s exam, and B) I have a new knitting priority.


Jakob is turning 5 in May, and we’re having his party before his birthday so I can have my surgery and know everything is done (exam, school, party, etc).  He’s NUTS for How To Train Your Dragon and since last year has been telling me that he wants a Hiccup & Toothless cake.  (The main viking kid and dragon).  The only problem is that we’re having his party at a location that doesn’t allow ANY outside food being brought in, which means I can’t make his cake.  (And we’re not doing a separate family party to make baking one worthwhile).

They DO have themed cakes, and have a HTTYD one, so he’ll be getting Toothless & Hiccup on his cake after all, but I wanted to make him something.


This (above) is Toothless.  This (below) is the Toothless knitting pattern, plus pipe cleaners and craft eyes to make the “spruced up” version of the pattern.

So knitting a dragon and studying for a final exam, that’s how my week will look.  How about yours?


almost a sweater

Last night I sat down to start putting my sweater pieces together.

The original pattern has the body (a tube with waist shaping) knit in the round to where the batwing sleeves start, then you work flat, increasing on both sides every row.  Finally the left and right shoulders are worked separately, with stair-step bind-offs worked from the sleeve’s cuff edge to the neckline.

First of all, I didn’t want a seam at the neck-to-cuff line above or below the arm.  Therefore when I was doing the knitting, instead of binding off 9 sts at the beginning of each rs (or ws) row, I worked the row in short rows, finishing with one row back across, picking up the wrapped stitches.  That left me live sts all the way from the neck to the cuff edge of each arm.

Usually when I’m doing a sweater, I’ll work a 3-needle Bind-Off on those live sts because I like the stability it gives the structure of the sweater.   In this case I really didn’t want a thick ridge down the whole length of the sleeve, so I grafted it closed.

Here you can see the sleeve graft in progress.  Instead of fighting to keep an even tension as I went, I used a long strand of yarn and worked the Kitchener stitch loosely on a few inches’ worth of stitches, then used my darning needle tip to catch the new stitches and snug them up to match the surrounding tension.  Then I’d work another few inches, and snug it up…etc.

The next step in the pattern would be to seam the underneath of the sleeves.  But in my case, because my sides were open, I wanted to close those first so I’d have a clear end point when seaming the sleeves.

It took me 2 tries until I got the stripes lining up perfectly, but now they’re right on track.  Lookit that seam!  (Your answer should be, “what seam”?)  😛

I stopped mid-mattress stitch to go to bed, so tonight I hope to get more done, if my school work allows.  I’ll try to seam both sides, then graft the underside of the sleeves, even those they aren’t live.  The backwards-loop cast-on used to increase at the underarm should be flexible enough to disappear into the grafting without too much bulk underneath.

Here’s a view of one completely grafted shoulder.  That’s the top (with the lower neckline) at the top, and the back at the bottom.  This would be the left sleeve, and the wide white area has my grafted seam down the middle; so that white part would sit atop my shoulders and run down to the end of the sleeve.

The sleeves aren’t supposed to have cuffs but I’m 99% sure I will be adding 1×1 ribbing in white, just like the neckband and lower band.  I’m going to try it on first, though, the only thing that would stop me would be if the sleeves were already too long.

And then my sweater will be complete!

And that’s a good thing!


not wearable yet

I was really hoping to wear my new sweater to Guild tonight.  I knit on it during the boys’ nap on Friday (we were home ‘cus the daycare was closed).  I knit on it on Saturday while hanging out at Colette’s while Maaike learned how to use her new loom.  I knit on it on Sunday while watching No Strings Attached with Yannick, and I knit on it all day yesterday while catching up on Alcatraz, Once Upon A Time, CSI and New Girl.  At 11:30pm I was forced to admit that unless I were to take today off from work (not an option), I would not be wearing a new sweater (or at least, one that *I* knit) tonight.

The front is complete.  It’s got the live sts from the whole sleeve length, front neck, and other sleeve all on one needle which is why it looks all bunched.

The back is about 17 rows away from starting to finish the sleeves.

I’m keeping the arm/shoulder sts live instead of binding them off, stair-step fashion, as per the pattern.  Instead I will graft them later.  I’m also going to graft the underside of the sleeves after I seam the body (which was supposed to be seamless).

Then I’ll have the neck ribbing to do, and I’ll probably add at least an inch of ribbed cuff to the sleeves to give them a more finished look.

I would have had an extra hour of knitting time last night, but I took a break and after Yannick installed them, together we filled in:

My Nail Polish Racks!  😀

They arrived!  They were my Valentine’s Day/upcoming birthday present from Yannick, and I’m so happy!  The racks are clear but he bought some white…um…stuff (a hard non-porous material they make cutting boards out of) and had it cut to size to put behind them, partially to make the polish stand out, and also for support, ‘cus the pre-drilled holes in the racks didn’t align with where our studs are, and I’m not putting glass bottles on the wall if they’re not secure!  😛


i think i like it

What do you think?  I’m kind of annoyed that the navy yarn is reading so black vs the blue-toned ribbon, but I have no other yarn to swap and I’m just going with it.  If it fades at all in the wash it’ll be fine, and if it doesn’t, well, it’s my sweater and it’s staying this way.

ps No more zombie hands!

Since I change polish about every 2 days there have been a few manicures in between, but they were boring.  Look- bright and sparkly!  Also, my fingerless mitts are making an appearance!  (Edgewood?  Something or other, from Knitty, about 3 years ago).



I almost had a minor meltdown, knitting-related, the other night.

I cast on for my adjusted-to-work-flat version of Flugel, written out by rows with the color scheme I’d planned (6 rows white, 1 navy, 1 ribbon).   I didn’t do any fancy calculations (ie: basic math) to see if I’d have enough yarn to work the sweater, because in my head ribbon yarn alone did not equal enough yarn, but ribbon yarn used sparingly with lots of white yarn and some navy of which I have a bagful must equal enough yarn.  I didn’t even look at how much yarn the pattern required because, after all, I had a bagful.

(Let’s ignore that there was never enough white yarn for a whole sweater which is why I’d bought the navy with it, and that my new plan only used the navy for 1 row out of every 7).

So the other night I finished the ribbing, and did the first 6 rows of the sweater, and cut my yarn.  Whee!  I worked a row of navy, and cut the yarn.  Whee!  I worked a row of ribbon, and cut the yarn.  Whee!  I knit a row of white, turned, purled back…and ran out of yarn about 15 sts before the end of the row.

That was my first ball of white.  Hmm.

I checked the yardage for the 1X size of the sweater (I’m knitting the L but with the length of the 1X) and it’s roughly 1080.  I added up the yardage of the 14 balls of white that I have, and it’s 868.  Hmm.

I didn’t bother doing the precise math to see if removing the stitch count for the 2 rows of 8 that are in other yarns, and just let myself assume I don’t have enough.


But yesterday I came up with a plan.

Ok, I won’t have my mostly-white, kinda Parisian sweater, but I will have a sweater.

I stash-dove and found that I have another ribbon, a gold and white mix, that sorta matched.  I also had 100% cotton (dishcloth yarn) in the same gauge.  So I swatched.

First I tried using the dishcloth cotton for the middle 2 rows of every 6.

I know you can’t see a difference, but in person the white 100% cotton looks slightly yellower than the 50% cotton/50% acrylic Summer yarn.  It also looks duller and has more of a halo.  It’s passable, but I think I like the other version better.


This is, from the bottom, an alternating 10 row repeat.  6 rows white, 1 navy, 1 blue ribbon, 2 white, then 6 navy, 1 white, 1 white/gold ribbon, 2 navy.

I like this, but think I want to break it up even more.  I just finished retyping out the pattern to be a) flat and b) with my colors written out row-by-row so I don’t have to think while knitting.  I’ve decided to go with the following repeat of colors:

That’s a 13 row repeat of 4 rows white, 1 gold ribbon, 4 white, 1 navy, 1 blue ribbon, 2 white, then the dark version 4 rows navy, 1 gold ribbon, 4 navy, 1 white, 1 gold ribbon, 2 navy, then repeat from the beginning.



Apparently nothing I said last time came true.  Not only did I not tell you about Henri the next day, but I didn’t do the swatches I’d said either.  That night.  So here goes.

You might remember that  few weeks ago Henri had a horrible cough.  Then it turned into bronchitis and an ear infection.  He was ok for about 5 days (while I was home sick), then he had a fever, but no other real symptoms other than a cold, while Jakob had strep.  Then he was ok again for about a week.

Saturday the 17th we went out for dinner to Steak Frites with Yannick’s family, and were in the “party room” in the back.  I thought Henri’s cheeks looked flush and he felt a bit warm, but I attributed it to the closed-in room.  He was acting fine, so I didn’t think he was sick.  Sunday he was fine, but a bit flushed in the evening too.  Same thing Monday and Tuesday- fine in the morning, but reddish cheeks and a bit warm to the touch at bedtime.  On Wednesday the daycare was going to the cabane à sucre (sugar shack), both boys’ classes were going, and Yannick was going too, along with some other parents we know.  Wednesdays are my morning to sleep in, so Yannick got up with the kids to get them ready, and even though I was in bed all I could hear was Henri coughing.  Non-stop.  I got up and went to check on him- he didn’t feel warm, but his cheeks were still flushed and he couldn’t get through a few words without coughing.  But his attitude was great.  I gave him his blue puffer (Ventolin) and we decided he’d be ok to go on the trip since Yannick would be with him, but he’d keep in touch with me, and if needed they’d be back by 3:00pm and I could book an evening appointment at the doctor to get him checked out.

The only texts I received all day were “feverish”, “lethargic and can’t stop coughing”, and “he’s not good”.  I got him a 5:30 appointment at our clinic, and left work in time to go meet Yannick and the kids at the daycare and switch the kids into my car so Yannick could get to work.  I brought them home for a bit to play then we went to the doctor.  By this point Henri had 101.8 F fever, was very lethargic and LOOKED like he was having trouble breathing.  His breaths were coming fast and quick, the hollows in his neck were sucking crazy deep with his breathing, and he couldn’t talk and breathe at the same time, so every time he tried to talk he sounded like he was drowning.  It was kinda scary, except that his attitude was amazing- smiling, happy and silly.

At the doctor he was put on a Ventolin mask right away, which was the first time that’s ever happened.  He’s always been ok with just the puffer/chamber “as needed”, and the orange puffer (Flo-vent) only when the doctors told us to use it.  He was checked again after 10 minutes after the mask, and he sounded a bit better, but his lungs didn’t sound the same, and she thought he might have pneumonia but she couldn’t tell.  She suggested that I bring him to the Children’s Hospital for an xray.  (It was 6:15pm and all local clinics with xray machines were closed).  Before going to the hospital, though, she wanted me to fill an rx for Prednisolone that would work faster than his orange puffer.  Luckily my mom was free to come watch Jakob, so I brought the kids home, changed into something more comfortable, gave Henri a light supper, put him in his pjs, then drove down to the pharmacy then hospital.  We got there around 8pm.

With kids and breathing they don’t play around, and it wasn’t long before we were seated in the asthma wing.  I’d heard about it from Yannick (his first girlfriend had bad asthma and they’d often gone to the Children’s for her) and from a friend whose son has asthma, but had never been there myself.  Every doctor could see just from glancing at Henri’s neck that he was really struggling to breathe.  They took xrays and said he showed a light pneumonia on one side, and listening to his chest showed wheezing.

It was a long night, but to sum up: we were in the asthma wing reclining chairs until 4:30am.  They’d kept checking his oxygen levels with the finger monitor, and he wasn’t getting enough in.  You’re supposed to have over 100 saturation (or something), but when you’re sick they will accept it between 92-100.  When we got there he was at 96, then he went to 94, then 92.  At that point they kept checking and when he got down to 87 they said he’d need oxygen.  They put the tube in his nose then checked again and he was back to 92, but after removing it he dropped again right away.  After another attempt at removing the O2 they decided we’d need to be admitted.  Plus he was still wheezing this whole time, and getting Ventolin masks every 45 minutes.

At 4:30am they finally got us a bed in the short-stay unit, oh- and Henri was STILL up.  It was nuts- he didn’t ask for food or drink, he just lay in my arms watching Dora on the bedside dvd player, just lying there, occasionally talking back to answer Dora.  He slept for about an hour in the bed, I got about 2 hours in 10 minute bursts while holding him.  He was finally able to get the O2 tubes taken out at 11am, and by 3pm, after having received 1 dose of Prednisolone, 2 doses of antibiotics (in case the pneumonia was bacterial) and 8 Ventolin masks, he FINALLY stopped wheezing and I was allowed to bring him home.

That night and all of Friday were complete blurs as both of us tried to sleep as much as possible.  Last Monday (the 26th, 5 days after we were at the hospital) we had a follow-up with his pediatrician to see how he was doing.  Well, his fever was gone, but he was still wheezing.  We had to put him back on the Flo-vent puffer for the whole following week and go back in a week…which was today.  He was fine all week, though OBNOXIOUSLY hyper thanks to all the Ventolin.  Oh. My. God. is the kid hyper.  It’s insane.  Anyways, he’s no longer wheezing, so that’s good.  I still have to keep him on the puffer for 1 more week to make sure he stays clear, but at least this seems to be over.

If you needed proof that he’s fine, here’s a quick pic from last week.  Two happy, mostly-healthy brothers.  🙂

And here’s another one of my little music man, just hanging out, strumming his guitar and feeling the groove.

(I love this photo- he looks like a little hippie, or garage-rocker!)

So the first week I didn’t post was just ‘cus I had nothing to share, either home or knitting wise, then the last two weeks were just spent taking care of the kids.  At night I was too tired to do anything, even watch tv.  I didn’t get those swatches done any night last week at all.

But they are done!

Saturday night Jakob had a birthday party at McDonald’s for a kid in his class, so I dropped Henri off at my parents’ house for some one-on-one time and took Jakob to the party.  I stayed, and chatted with the other moms while he ran around and played and ate.  And while I chatted, my hands were busy under the table knitting on the swatch.  (I swear, I don’t even think anyone else noticed, not a single person asked what I was doing).

I finished the stockinette stitch part but didn’t have my sock yarn with me to cast on for my March/April socks so instead I just kept going on the swatch.  I switched to garter stitch and did a chunk in that so I could see how it blocks out.

That afternoon I’d swatched the blue ribbon yarn, but found it too crunchy to have on its own.  Mixing it with other yarns, though, worked perfectly.  A few years ago my LYS had a bulky yarn called Summer on sale.  There wasn’t enough of either white or navy to make myself a sweater, so I bought all they had of both colors and planned to use it together sometime.  That time is now.  (LOL).  Now that I have more yardage to account for, a new Ravelry search found me the PERFECT pattern, Flugel from the Knitty Deep Fall 2011.  Unfortunately I ripped my swatch back so I could cast on, so I can’t show it to you.

We spent the day up north yesterday, which meant I had 1.75 hours of drive time each way.  On the way up I cast on for my March/April socks, using the Regia Canadian colors from my stash.  My best quick-Google attempt found that this yarn is apparently called “Admiral”…so either we’ve got a new Canadian province, or it just refers to something Maritime-y.  Either way, blue is my favorite color and I love blue and cream together, so these will be for me.  I did the toe just so I can have it ready at the mindless-stockinette-stitch-can-knit-in-the-dark part.

I didn’t knit on the way home, because the roads sucked and I was too nervous to not watch.  Call me crazy, but if we’re going to get into an accident, god forbid, I want to see it coming- not be blindsided.  I don’t know how that makes sense though…but I get too uncomfortable to not watch the roads, not like as a passenger I can do anything though!

I had made Flugel progress that afternoon watching the big golf game with my inlaws while Henri napped, but I’m going to rip it out today and start fresh.

First of all, it’s too big.  I’m using a 5.5mm for the body to get the pattern gauge with my yarn.  I should have used a 4.5mm for the ribbing but couldn’t find one before I left so grabbed a 5mm.  I don’t like it- it’s too floppy.  And since I’m starting over, I’m going to modify the pattern.

The sweater is supposed to be knit in the round until the underarms, then flat for the fronts and the back, then seamed at the top and bottom of the sleeves (kind of like the Einstein jacket).  I’d already decided to change that and graft them to avoid the bulky seams.  Instead of doing the stair-step bind-offs on the tops of the arms I’m going to use short rows to keep all the stitches live and graft them shut.  I’ll have to pick up stitches to graft the underarms, but I still think that will be less bulky than seaming.

My biggest mod is that I am now going to knit the body flat instead of in the round.  My plan for my 3 yarns is to knit 6 rows white, 1 row navy, 1 row ribbon.  I can use the “slip-first-stitch” method for the white to avoid a jog where the colors change, but with only 1 row of navy and ribbon, it’s harder to avoid a jog when beginning each round.  I’m going to avoid it altogether by working flat and having all my yarn ends be at the sides, to be hidden in the seams.  By seaming the sides it gives it a bit more stability and structure which is good when knitting with a heavy yarn, plus I can control matching up the sides so the stripes match with no jog.  Win-win!