Knitting Friends

I am always glad I’m a knitter but never so much as this weekend when I contemplate the wonderful people I have met through the clicking of needles.

This weekend I sat and knit in a hospice where a knitting friend is living out her last days. I have been to 11 knitting retreats that Sharon and her friends ran and she has been to 4 or 5 of the retreats that I run. Double the retreat fun. We are retreating buddies.

At the Sudbury retreat Sharon baked a cake every year as a treat after the Friday evening entertainment. It was always the first thing I wanted to check out when I arrived.

001One particular year we wondered if she had lost her baking mojo since the cake was decidedly lopsided. Not her usual perfection. She told us it took her three cakes to get it to look like that.

 

Sharon had become obsessed with the moebius or more like moebii (is this the plural?) because from her Mary Poppins carpet bag she pulled out moebius, after moebius, after moebius, after moebius.

This is the moebius cowl I knit in her class the year before.

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In profile it looks like this. Thus the lop-sided cake. (If you want to bake one, the secret is to put something under one side of the cake pan as you bake it to get the correct shape. I’m sure you’re running off to do that right now!)

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A moebius cowl would have been called a dickie in earlier times. As Sharon was baking these cakes she kept reciting “moebius dickie, moebius dickie, moebius dickie”. Which became … a lopsided cake with blue icing and whale cookies circling the outside. I’m sure you’ve caught the reference.

My rendition since I don’t have a photo.

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Have a piece of cake and toast your knitting friends with me. Yum.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

My patterns on Ravelry

Double Decreases, which one to use

Lace knitting involves lots of awkwardness and sometimes you have to work to make it as pleasant as you can. There is a chart to read and if you screw up there you’re in deep trouble, yarn overs which can be easy to miss and decreases where the slant is important and needs to be kept track of. Lace knitting is beautiful, the more complex, the more beautiful. It’s hard to resist.

 

 

 

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The lace dress that I almost didn’t wear. My wedding glitch.

Can we remove some of the pitfalls? Knitting Techy Talk begins here.

First of all you need Markers. In the body of this lace sweater I was working 20 repeats of the pattern.  Without markers I could make a mistake in the second repeat and not realize until I didn’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of the round. That would be the end of lace knitting for me, right there, that round. The knitting would be winging it’s way across the room as the air turned blue. I did that with my first lace project. I have learned a few things since then: Use Markers.

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With markers after every 10 stitch repeat, how far wrong could I go? Believe me I corrected quite a few errors within those 10 stitch repeats as I was knitting this top but I didn’t have to rip rounds back. (OK, I admit there was that one section I had to rip back but I was already so far down that I didn’t mind doing it.)

Unfortunately, for this stitch pattern the markers created a problem. Sometimes you just can’t win.

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double decrease blog post, 123

 

The Double Decreases (the inverted V) at the end of the repeats are the problem. Once the markers are placed the Double Decreases used in this pattern are awkward to work. The 3 stitches involved in this decrease are numbered on the chart and you can see that the Marker is between stitch #2 & stitch#3. There lies the problem.

This pattern uses this Double Decrease: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass slipped stitch over. Easy enough until … you add in markers for each repeat.

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double decrease blog post, 123

This is really how it works: slip stitch#1 knitwise, slip stitch#2 purlwise, Remove the Marker, Replace slipped stitch#2 back onto the Left needle, knit 2 sts together (sts #2 & #3), pass first slipped stitch over and Replace the Marker. AWKWARD.

I decided there needed to be a change. You’re allowed, I’m allowed, we’re all allowed to mess with patterns. I changed that Double Decrease to a Center Post Double Decrease.

Center Post Double Decrease:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise (sts #1 & #2), knit 1 stitch (st#3), pass 2 slipped stitches over.

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With the markers in place this really works as:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise, Remove Marker, knit 1 stitch, pass 2 slipped stitches over, Replace Marker. DONE.

Yes, it looks different but the ease of knitting made it totally worth the change.

I like the result.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

My patterns on Ravelry

My wedding glitch

It’s been a busy holiday season. We had Christmas, New Years and our daughter’s wedding. If you’ve been through the wedding roller coaster you’ll know it’s a wonderful and joyous occasion, with many small glitches and ultimately, an amazing celebration. These young people can really throw a party!

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I did finish my wedding top and then almost didn’t get to wear it.

My lace top turned out longer than anticipated and yes, I was sewing the ends in the day before leaving. I had made a dress. What should I wear with it now? I had anticipated wearing slacks so I had to scramble to put together some alternatives. I asked two of the bridesmaids to accompany me to my hotel room to help make the final fashion decision: slacks vs different legging options. I took everything out of my case and … no dress. OMG. I was sooo careful to put everything in the same bag when I packed. How could I have left it at home?! I swore the girls to secrecy and sent them back to the bridal prep room. Paul and I quickly decided we would go shopping for a new top and when I opened the closet to get my coat, you guessed it, there it was. I had no recollection of putting it there. None. I know, the wedding is not about me, but my dress IS.

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More on the process of knitting it in the next couple of posts. And more photos I hope since I didn’t take any, not one. Now it’s back to my regularly scheduled life. It’s hard to adjust but I’m sure it will click back into place in the next week or so.

Do you have a wedding glitch story? It would make me feel better since I felt like an idiot.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

FOLLOW ME, more lace knitting coming up.

My patterns on Ravelry

Sock Mojo Gone

I lost my sock knitting mojo several months back. How does this happen to a devoted sock knitter? What could have caused it? How can I get it back?

It was disconcerting not have a small project in my purse at all times. Everything else I was working on, being the sweater knitter that I am, was too large to carry around. What to do? What is happening here? I’m so close to this pair of socks being done and can’t pick them up to finish.

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Heel is based on “Vanilla is the New Black” sock pattern.

After a couple months of fretting thinking, no blinding flash of insight here, it occurred to me that I had made myself a rule for socks that was getting in my way: I would knit all my socks in a different style of knitting than my usual method. For me that was knitting in the English, throwing method. I learned the continental method of knitting from Ruth, a girl in my university residence, who learned it from her German neighbour and have always knit this way.

Apparently knitting in a different style can help with the pain and strain of knitting. Any change to your knitting changes your posture. Your head, shoulders and hands are in different positions so that you are not always sitting exactly the same way for the many hours you knit. I thought that knitting socks with my other hand would be a good rule. I would always have one project on the go that was worked in the throwing method.

It worked for a while and then it didn’t. I never got really good at it. I never felt comfortable and I don’t know how you purl easily in the throwing method because to me it continues to be so very, very awkward. My sock mojo left. Not good.

Last week I decided to buy some new sock yarn. No rules this time. I started knitting  on Thursday, in my usual continental, double pointed needles fashion and, guess what, it’s  fun again. I’m most of the way down the leg already and anxious to get going today to do some more.

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Maybe the lay-off was needed. A couple months of no-sock-knitting has shown me that I still love knitting socks. I will have a project in my bag at all times. Back at it and happy to be here.

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Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns and Books on ravelry

No Jog Garter Stitch

I like Garter Stitch. I like that it’s cushy. I like to work it in the round with no seams. Yes  you have to purl every other round but I still like it.

What I don’t like is this.

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That line you get when garter stitch is worked in the round. It’s a jog that looks like a seam where you change the knit round to a purl round. Since there is going to be a line anyway, you might as well knit it flat and sew it up. Sewing is NOT my first choice, ever.

I have found a solution. It’s in the book Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting. I knit this hat from the top down and worked the body of the hat in Helical Garter Stitch.

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There is no seam line anywhere in the garter stitch. Nowhere. I’m doing the happy dance in my new hat. I knit the crown of this hat like The Blizzard (Top Down) in the Need A Hat book by Cabin Fever (that’s me).

The trick is to use two balls of yarn in the same colour (or two different colours if you want). With ball #1 work one knit round and with ball #2 work the next round in purl. DO NOT TWIST the yarns when you change balls. That’s it. No Seam! Check out the Helical Garter Stitch Tutorial where Jen Arnall-Culliford gives you some extra tips.

Is this great or what?!

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Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns and books on Ravelry

Shawl to Sweater

Do you have a favourite shawl stitch pattern that you love? Have you ever wondered if it could be used to jazz up a raglan pullover? Could you work with a plain sweater pattern and make it your very own design? That is just what I’m trying now.

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I have a reliable Top Down straight-necked Raglan pattern which I will be publishing in the new year. I’m knitting a lace version to wear to the upcoming wedding.

I’m using a couple of triangle shawl stitch patterns from the Knitting Lace Triangles book by Evelyn A. Clark. I have knit the pattern for the Leaf Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark several times already and I know it is perfect for this.

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A triangle shawl knit from the top down is actually two triangles with a centre stitch between them.

triangle shawl direction of knitting schematic

Each triangle has two increases worked every other row. One increase at the beginning edge and another increase at the far side of the triangle.

triangle shawl increases schematic

Does this sound familiar? Yes, a raglan Front for instance, has an increase worked at the beginning and outside edge, every other round. The sleeve works the same way. Could this work?

shawl to raglan schematic

Start your shawl pattern part way down the chart so that the stitch count fits into the stitch numbers for the section of the raglan pullover where you wish to place it. You may have to adjust your stitch numbers to accommodate the stitch pattern.

shawl to raglan begins schematic

Here is my sleeve at the divide. I’m working the Leaf pattern from the Knitting Lace Triangles book by Evelyn A. Clark.

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I also worked it on the Front and Back with two more repeats of the pattern.

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OK, call me a knitting overachiever, I then transitioned into the Medallion pattern which will continue to the bottom of the sweater. It’s an exciting knit.

Do you have a favourite shawl stitch pattern? Would you like to be using it in a sweater?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns on Ravelry

Wedding Wrap Done

It’s done and the bride-to-be likes it. She really likes it.

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This was a project from the heart. I was thrilled to be asked to make a wrap and then I, of course, worried about it from beginning to end. I’m really good at that. It’s good to go with your strengths.

I designed a smaller project, the Three Cable Reversible Scarf, as a prototype to make sure my daughter liked it. I got the OK on that and cast on triple the scarf plus a few more stitches between the sets of cables, for a large blanket style wrap.

I think doubled over like this it should be warm enough for a couple of outdoor photos for a January wedding. Brrrr.

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Lyn, my sister and owner of Shelridge Yarns, contributed her Classic Worsted W4 wool (colour Fog) which she had dyed. It shows the cables really well and was a delight to knit with.

Now that my one big project is finished I have cast on two fingering weight pullovers for myself and 3 hats. One of these sweaters is to be my lace tunic for the wedding.

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I got so excited to start something new I was at the Great Divide before I knew it. I’m giving myself enough time to knit it and see how it turns out. Again knitting without a formal plan, with my fingers crossed the whole time (tricky but I’m getting pretty good at it). Maybe I need a knitting meditation program!

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever Patterns on ravelry