Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twinkle biker vest

Well, all of my bragging last week about how I was going to crank out all these posts/projects quickly dwindled to nothing when I was stricken with strep. Literally, I was too weak to even pick up the needles. This is god smiting me for also bragging a couple weeks ago about how I hadn't really been sick this year. Stupid ironic backlash. I partly blame this massage I had a couple weeks ago--she spent a lot of time working on my neck. Is that possible, or am I paranoid? I use the term "massage" loosely. She basically likes to just beat the shit out of me. See Rolfing for a better idea of what I'm talking about. Mostly you just get trampled by your RMT's fists and elbows and then can't move for two days. Why must all the horrible things in life work so well?

But I digress. So with anti-biotics in hand, and some energy returning I finally feel T-U-F-F enough (yeah I spelled it like that) to talk about the "biker" vest:

The deets:
pattern: Biker Vest from Twinkle's Big City Knits
yarn: elann Seta Lana (50% wool, 50% silk) in black. Knit double-stranded, aprox. 4 balls for the medium.
needles: Denise interchangeables US size 13 (?) sorry I can't remember now--whatever the pattern prescribed.

I was seriously at the height of sickness when these photos were taken and my hair is SO dirty --but I do it all for you...heh)

Ok, well now that it's done I absolutely love it. As anyone who has attempted this pattern already knows, it's the getting there that was the issue. If I made it again I'd be tempted to actually only knit it single-stranded. Seems like it would be a lot lighter/airy and better for the summer. As it is I didn't knit it in the prescribed cotton anyway, so it's pretty much going to have to be shelved until the fall --or some cool summer nights. Except we don't have those here. Did I mention that after all our recent snowstorms it is now FULL ON summer, and impossibly hot to sleep at night. No Spring. But I will save weather talk for the office, sorry --this is going to be a long enough post as it is.

And in an effort to save someone else all of the “ripping back” anguish that I (and it seems many others…) got to experience on this project, I thought I’d write out for anyone stumbling upon this how I worked out some of the instructions. Fortunately most of the ripping out seemed to happen after row 2 so at least I wasn’t getting half way in each time and forced to start over.

Getting past the first 7 rows of increases were the most annoying part…my suggestion is follow the CHART, not the written pattern instructions provided in the book.

I made the medium size so I cast on 47 stitches…you will have to adjust this accordingly in another size within the chart pattern. This might throw off my instructions a bit because i think the difference in each size is 3 sts, which puts you at a different place in the chart.

Here’s how I worked those first 7 rows (NB, each row begins and ends with one stitch outside of the chart, making a stockinette border):

Row 1 (WS): P1, *P3, K3; rep from * to last 4 sts, P3, P1, CO 3 sts (I used the backward loop method) to the end of this row, then turn and start row 2.

(Your first three stitches will always be the 3 that you just cast on at the end of the previous row)

Row 2 (RS): K1, *YO, S2KP, YO, K3; rep from * to last st, K1, CO 3 sts

Row 3 (WS): P1, *P3, K3; rep. from * to last 4 sts, P3, P1, CO 3 sts

Row 4 (RS): K1, *YO, S2KP , YO, K3, rep from * to last st, K1, CO 3 sts

Row 5: P1, *P3, K3; rep from * to last 4 sts, P3, P1, CO 3 sts

Row 6: K1, *YO, S2KP, YO, K3; rep from * to last st, K1, CO 3 sts

Row 7: P1, *K3, P3; rep from * to last 4 sts, K3, P1

You should now have 65 stitches on your needle

Row 8 (which is row 4 of the chart pattern…): K1, *YO, S2KP, YO, K3; rep from * to last 4 sts, YO, S2KP, YO, K1

You will now be repeating rows 1-4 of the chart pattern until your piece measures 6.5 inches (with one ST st at each edge). Essentially on the RS rows you will knit the knit stitches and do the “lace” (the YO, S2KP, YO part) on the purl stitches. I actually found it helpful to jot the K's and P's directly into the boxes of the chart itself. Mostly because I kept confusing myself on the WS and RS rows.

When you get to your 6.5 inches in length and have to divide for the body, end on a WS row (not row 4…). When the pattern says things like “K” in a more general way (i.e. “knit the back, or knit the front side…” what she really means here is work in chart pattern).

The other thing I found wonky in this pattern was in the knitting of the left and right front sides. Once I had decreased to my needed 6 stitches and had to work in pattern until those sides were as long as the back I was a bit stumped on what to do for the chart pattern.

What I basically did for that part was repeat the first four stitches of each row only (plus my two edge stitches equals six sts total) until those sides were long enough.

Here’s what I did for that part:

Row 1: P1, P3, K1, P1

Row 2: K1, K3, YO, K1, Pass the YO over the K1, K1

Row 3: P1, K3, P1

Row 4: K1, YO, S2KP, YO, K1, K1

Repeat those 4 rows until your front sides are the same length as the back.

Ok, well hopefully I haven’t screwed something up there in the “re-writing” and just made things worse for someone else!

The pattern was a bit of a nightmare, but given that it was such a fast knit, at least it was blissfully short nightmare. I think it took me one evening of knitting, and then a couple episodes of coronation street the next morning to finish up.

SO, good luck if you plan to attempt this --sorry for the novel --I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead!

What do you think the odds are that my cats would wear one of these?

International Cat Hat: France, Le Mieux by Stacy Mar

How could I not attempt it, really?


Julia said...

I had a horrible time with my biker vest but yes, LOVE the finished project. I could have really used your notes!

That picture of the back? With the hair and all? Looks eerily like me. Are you turning into me, or am I turning into you?

Reckless Glue said...

hah--I think it's cuz my hair is on such a slope now--it's MUCH shorter in the back then the front, so I could totally see that. I'm going to go buy some blue contacts or something next so that the transformation will be complete. Then I will kill you off and move in with Austen and see if he notices.

Anonymous said...

Ah, weather in traffic. What would you have to say to your co-workers without them?

I go to an RMT here on Maclaren - probably very close to your place. I like her a whole lot.

The vest is cute and so are you!

shopgirl said...

The biker vest looks awesome and I really like your necklace. Thanks for posting the instructions- I might have to give mine another go.

lauren said...

hi, i'm SO thankful for the notes that you've posted! but i'm confused...i've gotten to where you say "repeat rows 1-4 in lace pattern" but i just want to know if the three sts (k3 between the two YO's) are always done in st st? like, for row 9, would i do P1 (to keep the first in row St st), P3, K3 rep to the end?
thanks for your help!!

Reckless Glue said...

Honestly it's been a couple of years since I knit that vest so my memory of it is a bit vague now! If you are repeating rows 1-4 then you are definitely keeping in pattern (St st) for that part, so I would probably do it that way. (knit one side purl the opposite side as you did previously). Hope it turns out!