Shawl knitting time

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.

Cheers,  Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

And miles to knit before I sleep, and miles to knit …

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:

Garter stitch with 2 centre stockinette stitches to break it up. Railroad Top Down.
A panel of 2×2 rib: P2 and [K2, P2] repeat.

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.

A twisted lattice stitch pattern.
Another twisted stitch pattern where a stitch travels across 4 stockinette stitches from side to side. This could be worked on any number of stockinette stitches. There is a purl stitch before and after the 4 stockinette stitches.

Cables are great too but you have to watch how much they pull the fabric in. Two stitch cables work really well.

Two stitch cables, crossed every 4 rows.

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.

Your stitch dictionary has lots of lace patterns that would fit your underarm stitch count.
Side Pattern Vest

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?

Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Tunisian Crochet – have you tried it?

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

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by deb

Snip, Snip

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.

Would you ever try this?   Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb