April 08 2011 – thisisknit
In this post a couple of weeks back, we promised you sparkling support for the Spring KAL. We're as good as our word: that's what we bring you today. As of now, there's a good number of people (seventeen, according to the count in the dedicated Ravelry post) taking part in the KAL, with both Clam and Breaker underway. Most people are using the recommended yarn, Ondine, but there's a couple who are substituting Ianthe, a 50% merino/50% cotton mix in plain colours. The yardage on a ball of Ianthe is a little shorter, so they needed to be careful to buy the yardage required rather than the number of balls. There has been swatching. The needle sizes recommended in the pattern are a little smaller than usual for DK, but some people are finding that they need to change them (either up or down) to match the specified stitch size. Once we decided on the size we wanted to make, the next thing was to mark up the pattern to avoid confusion between sizes. Since there's six sizes given for both patterns, it's easy for your eye to fall on the wrong number. You can highlight them with a marker as Jacqui's doing in that picture, or circle them with a pencil, or even cross out all the ones that don't apply to you. Clam is knitted in one piece to the armholes, so you need needles that will accommodate a large number of stitches. You could use long straights and squish the stitches together, but a circular needle is recommended and makes a lot of sense. If this is the first time that you've used a circular needle to work a flat piece to and fro, Lisa posted a fantastic tutorial in this Ravelry thread. In a long cast on like this, using stitch markers to mark off units of 10, 20, or 30 stitches can save your sanity. In fact, even though Breaker is designed to be knit in pieces, at least two knitters are working it in one piece too. This involves subtracting four stitches from the total for the back and fronts, because they won't be needed for the seam selvedge. To give the garment back the stability the seam would give it, you could add two stitches back in and work one of Elizabeth Zimmermann's false seams (before casting off, drop a stitch all the way down at the underarm and then use a crochet hook to hook the stitch up again, alternately hooking one strand and two strands up the ladder). As long as you buy a little more yarn (and doing this at the start avoids the dyelot problem), lengthening the sleeves is also an option. Sleeves divide people sharply: some people love three quarter length sleeves, others don't. We suspect that we have representatives of both constituencies in the KAL, and we can't wait to see how different interpretations turn out.