Monday, May 12, 2008

Saartje's Bootees

Don't'cha just hate it when all of a sudden you want to work on everything all at once? But can't because there's too much packing/job searching/final projects/final exams to take? Yeah, that's where I'm at. I want to finish my Cinderella's Castle cross stitch, but that's not going to happen. I want to finish my orange Blaze so I can wear it with my brown skirt and be all school spirit-like for end of year stuff, but I don't think there's enough time, even if I only work on that. And I need to finish the baby stuff so I can give it to Clyde while his baby still fits into it and I'm still in Rochester. Saartje's Bootees are a really quick knit. I cast on one evening, did a few rows, and completed them both the next day. Well, almost. They still need buttons, and then I have to make the button holes on the ends of the straps and weave in the extra yarn. But the knitting's done! See:

I HATE weaving in ends. Aside - I do believe that that is the reason why the little amigurumi that take almost no time at all are languishing; you need to make each part separate, then put it all together and weave in the ends, and that's just a bit more finishing than I like - /aside. This was the one thing that was really scaring me away from this pattern, and I think the reason that the first bootee was knit at a tighter gauge. Not really enough to re-do it, but enough for me at least to notice it. This little bootee calls for ten, count 'em, TEN ends to be woven in at the end. Per bootee. Now I don't mind finishing something correctly, in fact, I thoroughly enjoy seaming. Yes, sometimes it can be a pain and time consuming, but when done correctly, it just makes what you spent so long doing from some really awesome pieces of knitting into a real work of wearable craftsmanship. Some people find magic in the blocking process, I find mine in the seaming. Blocking's great and all, but seaming - now that's one of those finicky little details that I can thoroughly enjoy. Seaming and weaving in that yarn end to wonderfully complete a knitted piece, I enjoy. Weaving in ends after you've knit the item? That's just cruel and unusual punishment, in my book. So I do everything I can to avoid them. Russian join? Check. Spit splicing every yarn that's not synthetic or superwash (except when changing colors)? Check. Overcast method? My favorite. So I was not going to weave in TEN ends after knitting such small items.

Four of these ends are necessary for seaming and button loops, but the other six can definitely be woven in as you go along. I wasn't sure which ones, so the first bootee I made had five ends to be woven in later, and the second was down to the correct four. Which four? Well, when you start, you start with the long-tail cast on, which is what most knitters use I guess. I don't. So my first one looked a bit different from the pictures and had a much longer than necessary tail to sew up the bottom seam, but that's okay. When switching colors, the tails to both the old and new color can be held to the back and woven in using this technique. It's my favorite for changing colors or weaving in ends while knitting where you don't want the extra bulk in the stitches, but don't mind it in the back. Worsted to bulky weight yarns sometimes look bad with the double stitch, so I use it for those. When doing the long-tale cast on for the first strap, the tail from the thumb strand is unnecessary, so can be woven in using the same technique. For the second strap, you really don't need to use two strands since you're starting from the cut end of the working yarn, so I just did a normal long-tail cast on, cutting out two of the ends right there, and wove in the third unnecessary end (the tail) using the same technique, again. I also cut the yarn ends shorter than recommended for all but the initial long-tail cast on for the sole seam, leaving even less to deal with. I also hate throwing out bits of yarn, even if it's less than an inch. All these changes left me with just the four ends required for seaming and button loops, making me a very happy knitter.

The top one is the one with the "correct" number of ends.

I also realized while making these that I never cast off using sock needles. I pretty much always Kitchener. Binding off is kinda finicky with the splitty Wildfoote yarn I was using and such small needles (US1.5). I like the end result very much though! Now all I need is some buttons. I'll need buttons for the two dresses too, so I'm going to go button shopping once all three items are done. I should be finishing the crocheting of the first one in class today, and as long as I can keep away from Blaze or my cross stitch (or from casting on the three pairs of socks that are calling to me), I should be button shopping by Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Whew. I was just thinking about amigurumi today, but I feel the way you do about weaving in ends!


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