First off: Shadow and I thank you all for your sharing of experience and triumph. He is now eating a different line of food and enjoying it with a soupcon of fish oil. I'm going to try an "ick" factor of some sort to keep him from licking off the scabs on his leg--with any luck, he will be collar free soon! Even more important, I hope that he won't have a repeat of these episodes. He's scheduled for a long-overdue haircut tomorrow--insult upon injury, in his book.
Spit Yet Again
Wow, this issue of the spit splice is much more interesting than I would have thought. Let me summarize what we know so far: spit works just fine for splicing; plain cold water works just fine for splicing; plain hot water works just fine for splicing; you don't need to obsess about getting your plies to align perfectly when splicing; if you are worried that CSI agents or archeologists of the future might learn your identity through DNA testing of the spit residues, well, I just don't know what to say--my knitting is shot through with my hair so I won't leave it behind at the murder scene, plus I do wash my sweaters, and I have a hard time coping with tomorrow much less 100 years from now.
I will add something that my weaving teacher once said: "Never CUT the wool! Always break it." When splicing, break the yarn and let the natural ends help blend the pieces together.
I forgot to report that last Thursday I shipped of a large box of knitted items for the Dulaan Project, thanks to Bay Area knitters Nathania, Lolly, Joy, Rachael, and me. Have you seen the totals??? Looks like more than 4,000 items will be sent to Mongolia this year. Lordy, just when I'm ready to give up on humanity people do something to change my mind! Thank you Ryan and Cuzzin Tom for giving us this opportunity to expand our world.
I think I also forgot to mention what I did with my "free" Thursday: I went to a show of tapestries (Tapestry Weavers West Twentieth Anniversary show) at a local gallery! Although I work for myself and have a relatively un-set schedule, it seems as though my days fill with the not-onerous but spirit-deadening-nonetheless chores that we all have to deal with: dishes, clothing, floors, bathrooms, chauffeuring, food shopping, cooking, scheduling. I don't know why I don't get out more often--it was so enjoyable, hopping in the car and trying to find a gallery down in the artists' lofts area of town, viewing the results of creativity and experience, checking out the work of student weavers. A simple hour really perked me up! I felt really jazzed and motivated. Vowed: To take the time to get out more.
OK, on to the technical stuff. Here's how you calculate shoulder shaping:
1. You need to know your row gauge. In my case, it is 7.5 rows per inch.
2. You need to know how many stitches are in the shoulder (not including the steek stitches or the knitting-up edge stitches). In my case, 41 stitches.
3. You need to know how high you want the shoulder rise to be. I think 1" will be perfect (J is fairly straight across the shoulders but they are a little thick). A 1" rise translates into an additional 2 inches of fabric at the neck edge.
4. Now, divide the number of shoulder stitches by the number of rows in the desired shoulder rise (1" @ 7.5 rows per inch = 8) plus 1.
You need the number of times it fits in plus the remainder, so do the math longhand. That's right--don't be afraid, you remember how! Think of this as Survivalist Math, training on how to divide in a world without calculator batteries.
You can see the calculation for the Curry Sweater below:
As you can see, after I get the numbers I draw a simple sketch to make sure I haven't gotten off base somewhere along the way (I don't seem to have an intuitive understanding of numbers!). In reality, the neck opening at this point is misshapen by the steek. The actual knitting can get sort of fussy, so I check off the shaping steps on the drawing as I go.
5. Start the knitting. Knit across to the armhole, but stop short of the steek by the number of stitches you've calculated. In my case, 5. Put the 5 shoulder stitches, the 9 steek stitches (including the edge stitches) and the 5 shoulder stitches from the other side of the sweater onto a long piece of yarn.
Note: I did not cast off the steek stitches because I like to take the raw steek stitches and incorporate them into the shoulder bind off. If you prefer to cast them off, you need to take care of this on the round before you begin shoulder shaping.
6. Pull the working yarns across the shoulder and begin knitting the other side of the body. That's right--you are closing off the shoulder.
NOTE: I strongly recommend that you use the two-circular-needle method here, one for the front and one for the back. This makes life much easier, because the knitting rapidly devolves into something unrecognizable and, at times, seemingly malevolent.
7. Continue to the other armhole and do the same thing.
8 and on. Repeat, keeping track of your short row numbers as you go.
Think about it this way: you are making an ever-decreasing spiral up to the neck hole.
Here's what the finished shoulder looks like from above. See the yarns that cross from one side to the other? Try to pull these as tightly as you can, but don't be obsessed by this.
There you go: After all this effort, your lovely sweater now looks like a cobbled-together laundry bag.
Next on the agenda: I will crochet the steeks, cut open the armholes and neck opening, and bind off the shoulders. My ambition knows no bounds.