Sometimes a project catches you and you just can’t put it down. The V Plus Cardigan has a hold on me. Not just because I need a couple of new cardigans but because I’m back to sweater knitting, my first love. I can’t wait to get this published so you can get started too.
I finished the body of my first prototype. You might catch that the body wool is left over from the Salt & Pepper version of the Family Crew Neck pattern. I added the green stripes in the yoke to make the wool go a little farther since I didn’t have quite enough for a second sweater. (Briggs and Little, Heritage)
I’ve wet blocked the body just to make sure it’s all that it should be. Do you ever block part way through?
Before I embark on the last sprint, the sleeves, I wanted to be sure.
I’m so enamored with this cardigan that I started a second one. (Patons Classic Wool worsted) It’s interfering with the sleeve knitting but it doesn’t take much to do that.
Two, two, two cardigans on the needles. I am welcoming winter. Come and get me, I’ll be ready!
It’s definitely fall here. Although the weather is still warm, there are intermittent cool days which are causing my needles to twitch. It’s time to get back to sweater knitting. I’m ready to go. One navy, cabled, drop shoulder pullover coming up.
Meanwhile, my testknitters are knitting away on the Crescent FAN Shawl and giving me terrific feedback. I’ve finished my 3 colour version with all the stitch patterns and it’s blocking, waiting for a good photo day.
I’m knitting a garter stitch version in DK weight now. It’s terrific TV knitting. You might recognize the colours. They are leftover 50g balls from the Family Crew Neck striped version. I did have to buy one more colour to use these up. Doesn’t it always go that way?
And just to keep those twitchy needles working, I’ve picked up the V-neck cardigan that I was working on in the spring. Oops, I don’t think I told you about that one. It’s been languishing all summer but now it’s time to get going on it too.
Isn’t it satisfying to have lots of knitting to do?!
Designs sometimes have a forward/backward two-step dance to them. First step forward was knitting the blue and then gold bands for the shawl. When I realized that this crescent shawl shape was too curly, I ripped back. Yes, a large step backwards. Moving forward, I fixed it and I really like the overall shape.
Once I had it this far along, I decided that the V shapes where too small. I wanted to knit more texture stitches across the rows.
So I ripped the gold out one more time. Yes, one more time stepping back. I made the texture stitch shapes larger at the base. Now, after knitting this section again, I finally have it just like I want it. The shapes are like FANs so I changed the name of the pattern. Why not? Nothing is written in stone yet.
The gold yarn is 80/20 fingering by Shelridge.com and stood up really well to three knits. Yay.
I’m knitting the last band of colour as you read this. There is no stopping me now!
The pattern is off to the testknitters and I’m contemplating knitting another one. Hmm, what to choose this time? DK weight? Yeah, that would work.
I didn’t block my shawl, I just put it on a really long cable and … it’s definitely too curvy.
So here we go. Rip, rip, rip. Turn away if this is too painful!
While I was merrily ripping away, I decided to take the stripes out too. More ripping but now it’s done.
I thought about the adjustment and here we go again. It’s so difficult to knit with your fingers crossed!
I’m liking the sharp colour change and I’m happy with the curve now. Totally worth the frogging. But … I would like wider wedges. I’d like more texture knitting and a little less garter stitch. So back to ripping again. Let’s see if this yarn can take it. Onward.
I have been thinking about knitted shawls for about a month but had projects to finish first. Knitting a shawl was the carrot in front of my nose, to keep going. Now that they are done I can indulge myself and start a shawl.
I have been teaching knitting for decades and thought I would take one of my shawl workshops and move it a little sideways. I need a challenge and taking something that is working and pushing it in a slightly different direction is fun, as well as frustrating when it doesn’t work out as expected, but that is still fun, believe it or not.
So here I go, a crescent shaped shawl beginning with a garter tab.
This shawl is worked in 2 or 3 parts. The first part is easy to work in garter stitch.
The experimenting starts with the second part of the shawl. I am working different textured patterns. You can’t see them, of course, since the needle is too short to spread it out. You’ll have to take my word for it for now.
I’m not sure about the general shape. My concern at the moment is that it might be too curvy. I need to block it even though it’s only half done. When the needle comes out, all will be revealed. Yikes, this makes me kinda nervous.
I knit top down sweaters all the time and I love it. But after the excitement of knitting the yoke, there are all those rounds/rows of knitting to go for the body. Miles to knit, to paraphrase from Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. What is a knitter to do?
Here is one solution. You are in luck if your top down pattern has a set of stitches cast on at the underarm during the Divide Round/Row. These cast on stitches are a gift to you. They are the perfect place to add a stitch pattern to break up all that stockinette stitch.
You must have a couple of stitch patterns that you love that you could work in here. You can also search through your stitch dictionaries for patterns you can use as a panel of stitches.
Let’s start with some easy stitch patterns:
Then you could move on to working twisted stitches. Why twisted stitches? They don’t change the gauge of your knitting so you can just pop them in.
Cables are great too but you have to watch how much they pull the fabric in. Two stitch cables work really well.
And the last suggestion is to find a lace pattern to work down the side of the body. This is always a very attractive option.
So what do you think? Could you do this on your next top down? Have you taken a step away from a pattern and given this a try?
In the summer I usually use the time to experiment or try new things. My experiment this summer is working a top down V-neck and you know how that has been going if you have been reading this blog: Snip, Snip and Evaluating a WIP that’s not working. It’s an experiment and this is exactly how it goes. I’m not discouraged at all.
I also like to work patterns by other designers. For the last year I have been learning about Tunisian Crochet. It’s enough like knitting to make the transition fairly easy and new enough to make it fun. Have you ever considered trying this?
My first project was from 7 Free Tunisian Crochet Patterns by Interweave. I made the cowl by Sheryl Thies. It has several stitches you’ll recognize: work 3 together and yarn overs. They are easy enough to figure out with the odd check for YouTube tutorials.
Next, I made a big jump to the Pax by Aoibhe Ni. It had really interesting charts.
I love charts and these are sooo different. I found them fascinating to work.
In the spring I finished the Escalera Wrap by Aklori. I worked it with many balls of left over sock yarn. It’s a little history of my sock knitting in a wrap.
Can you tell I’m hooked?!
This summer I worked the Refraction Shawl by Aklori designs which I will wear with my butterscotch coloured winter coat. I learned a lot with this one: different increases and decreases and a clever way to change colours for the stripes.
I can’t believe there’s even more!
I also started the Schmetterwurm, a free pattern, with short rows.
Yes, they work the same way as knitting. I’m on my fourth short row section and I’m starting to see the pattern emerging (gold sections). I seem to be doing it correctly. Yay.
It’s a free pattern so it’s a little short on the details. I did have to check some instructions with YouTube tutorials but there are lots out there, so no problem.
This is craziness. I may be obsessed. What else would cause me to test crochet a lace shawl? I can’t show you but I’m finding Tunisian lace really fun. Lace work in knitting or crocheting is similar, in that you have to pay attention and count all the time. It keeps me right there in the project. If my mind wonders off, well, you know what happens. I’m getting fairly good at ripping back and figuring out where I am.
Still knitting too. Phew, I hope you’re enjoying your needle projects, whatever they might be. Deb
I need to correct that, this only involves one snip. The scissors are out and ready to go.
I can’t live with this ruffle-effect on my top down neckband.
It was my own error in calculation but sometimes I don’t know what will happen until I actually knit it up. Then denial, denial. It’s not so bad. It will block out. Does this sound familiar?
Unfortunately, it is not going to block out. So now to fix it.
Yes, scissors to the rescue. I cast on this cardigan at the neckband so I can’t rip it back. That only works with a cast off edge.
I’m ready to take the plunge. This is the centre back of the garter stitch neckband. I want to cut so that this row of stitches ends on up my needle.
I must admit to chickening out a bit and going up one more row to be sure to get a good set of stitches. I’ve turned my neckband around. The line at the top is there to show you the base of the neckband.
Here goes. Snip a leg of one stitch. That’s it, only one snip.
By pulling the cut yarn through one leg of a stitch at a time, you are taking out one row of stitches and leaving open stitches above and below. One row I’m putting on my needle. The other row belongs to the neckband I will be discarding.
It’s a slow process. One stitch at a time from the centre back around to the front. Half way done now.
I can think of worst places to do a slow and somewhat tedious job. Not so bad when I’m sitting here. Now to go from the centre back in the other direction.
There, finished. Now I just have to reknit my neckband. Just give me a minute or two … decrease about an inch of stitches along the front … knitting around … do the same on the other front … straight knitting now … taking a break … knitting … knitting … casting off. Done.
Here’s the before and after. There is a little bit of ruffling on one side but that will definitely block out. Yay. A win.
You might notice a tiny ruffle effect in the neckband. Here’s a really good look at it.
Whoops. I was working really, really hard to ignore this. I know that garter stitch has a different row gauge. I know this, really I do. Apparently working garter stitch short rows is a whole different thing. LOL.
I will cut the neckband and redo it, later. Then I will know the trick to getting the correct stitch count for the neckband. I’ll start my next one and everything will go amazingly well!!! Ha, ha, fingers crossed.
Are you having as much knitting fun as I am? Cheers, Deb
The construction for working the Family Crew Neck raglan begins with the neckband. This makes it different from a lot of other Top Down patterns. Once the neckband is knit, short rows are worked to create a neckline where the front is lower than the back.
Because the neckband is worked first it’s important that your cast on is especially stretchy. Quite often the neck opening of a crewneck is smaller than your head circumference. It’s not a great feeling to rip your ears off as you pull your sweater over your head. Especially if you’re working a sweater for a child.
I’ve looked for some videos for stretchy cast ons. Here are the ones I use regularly.
Many stretchy cast ons are based on the long-tail cast on and I found the third one mentioned in this video to be the best (found at 5:10 into the video). Three Wasy to Make A Stretchy Cast On I used it here and since I use the long-tail cast on all the time, I found the third method really easy to work. I think it looks great with K1,P1 ribbing and it is indeed, very stretchy.
Another great cast on is the Crocodile Cast On by Cat Bordhi which is also based on the long-tail cast on. This is my usual cast on. It is stretchy too.
The beauty of starting with the neckband is there is no picking up afterwards. I count this as a big advantage.
Would you rather pick up the neckband? Are you good with starting with a stretchy cast on and going on from there?