I hope everybody had a nice christmas, or whatever you do at this time of year. Personally I like to use my time to do all the crafting! I finished a dress yesterday, and made an effort to do some knitting. According to Ravelry, I cast on my Chuck jumper on 14th January this year; the yarn is Cascade 220, the colour is Burgundy. It stalled completely in about February/March with one sleeve and the neckband to do. There was a reason for this.
I was taught to knit using the "throwing" method, where you hold the working yarn in your right hand, and use your thumb and first finger to wrap the yarn around the needles. Now, this is an easy way to learn, but turns out to be pretty sore on the arms after a while! My mum-in-law always boggled when she saw me knitting and showed me her way, which is tensioning the yarn around the fingers on the left hand - this is how I hold my yarn when I'm crocheting. I just about managed the knit stitch, but couldn't get the hang of purling at all.
Then in March, when I was visiting my friend in England, friend's mum was knitting and tensioning the yarn around the fingers on her right hand. Well, the scales fell from my eyes people! This made perfect sense! I tried it out on a sock I'd brought with me, and it was easy peasy. So much easier on the arms, and smaller and neater stitches - which left me with a problem. My basic sock pattern had to be re-worked to get the right fit, but that has been done and new socks have been made.
The bigger problem was my Chuck jumper (I just can't bring myself to call it a sweater!). With my new knitting technique, my gauge would be different, therefore the second sleeve would be the wrong size. About two weeks' ago I swatched with different sized needles, and got the gauge I wanted. After three attempts - all because I had lost the ability to count - I got the sleeve head finished, but now I'm going to frog it.
It's not too apparent in these photos, but in real life I can see a big difference between the new and old sleeves, and I'm not happy with the looseness of the stitches on the cable on the front. I left it aside to mull it over, and cast on a sock, and now I know I'll be much happier with it if I start it again. The yarn and the pattern are too lovely, and I know I'll not be happy with it the way it is now.
So wish me luck! I'll need to soak the yarn to get the creases out, but I'm pretty excited about starting this again.
I'll leave you with a photo of the sock I'm working on. The pattern is called Lace And Cable Socks and is from a book called Socks From The Toe-Up by Wendy D Johnson. Trust me to pick the pattern with three separate charts to follow!