I'm here...just not blogging. I haven't been sewing but I have been knitting.
I finished the back of Liv and last night I finished the cabling at the bottom of the left side. I'm contemplating working the right side up to the same spot and then joining the two and knitting the rest of the front as one piece instead of knitting each separately and then stitching the two together down the center front. It just seems easier to me to knit it as one piece and I'm afraid of having different tensions by the time I stitch the right side. Of course I would have to interpret the pattern a little differently at the neck edge but then I'm already having to do a lot of interpreting due to being a lefty knitter. The back was easy since it was just reverse stockinette and when I got to the decreases I just had to swap the SSKs for the K2TOGs. The increases were a bit trickier. The author uses lifted increases, which I'd never done before. I thought the example in Viking Knits Collection didn't tell me everything so I looked in the other book I have by her, which helped but also was confusing. I sort of followed the instructions and sort of improvised and somehow got it to look just fine.
The cable pattern is knitted from a chart with one chart for the left side and one for the right. I knitted up a sample first and quickly realized that rather than read the chart backwards, as a lefty would normally have to do, I needed to knit the right side as the left and vice versa. And no swapping of SSKs and K2TOGs - just follow the chart. It worked. Though I'm sure glad this pattern doesn't continue for the whole sweater! I've knitted from charts before and after a while the pattern becomes a rhythm. This pattern requires a bit more concentration. The WS row was easy - it made sense when I needed to knit and when I needed to purl, but each RS row was different and it was very easy to confuse the cabling until I got the feel for where the cables were going. This was my very first time doing cables and I only frogged two entire rows twice, so I think that's pretty good. Of course I have three more visits with these charts.
Another thing I learned is that it's nice to knit with nice yarn and not so nice to knit with cheap stuff. If you're going to spend a long time handling the yarn, as you do when you knit a sweater, then I think the yarn should feel really good. Also, if it doesn't feel good to knit then it's probably not going to feel good to wear. I've decided that the acrylic/wool stuff I used for the sample will never be used for anything except samples. I couldn't wait to pick up the Cashcotton again. Very nice stuff.
Just because I've been knitting (while watching TV) doesn't mean I've forgotten about sewing. My Fall/Winter 2005 Marfy catalog arrived and I'm drooling over every page. Gorgeous clothes. I'm anxious to make the free patterns too: a short cape, a loose blouse, and a straight skirt for anyone curious about the free patterns. This is the first time I've ordered any Marfy but since Vogue is now selling some of the patterns, I thought I'd give them a try. I'd heard they were excellent patterns but not for the faint of heart. This is true as they don't provide instructions and the patterns have a lot of detail like darts, pleats, pockets, and ruffles...and the details are often used very creatively. But as I sew more and more, often using the very sparse instructions in the Burda magazines, I'm getting more confident and knowledgeable in my sewing. So why not? At the very least I have a cool catalog of Italian fashion to browse.
On my sewing table are the beginnings of my Month of Softies entry. The very beginnings. Not a stitch has been stitched and scissors have not yet been applied, but hopefully I'll get there.
Tonight I'm going to a sewing guild neighborhood meeting. One just started up in the evening for all of us sewers who have to work to support our fabric habits and can't attend during one of the many daytime meetings. Should be fun.