Cabled Cuffs

Sometimes it’s best to let your knitting do what it’s best at. That’s what I did with my cuffs.

Cables pull in the fabric. More than you might think. When you add cables into a sweater you need to compensate for this. At the top of my Any Gauge Raglan Pullover sweater I increased 2 stitches for every cable column: 5 columns, 10 stitches increased. I was told a rule at one time which said to increase 1 stitch for every 3 stitches of the cable. These are 8 stitch cables so a 2 (or 3) stitch increase seemed about right.

For the tight cuffs, why not just let the cables do their thing? I worked 5 cables around the cuff with the same needle I used for the sleeve. So, here it is with the same needle, same number of stitches as at the end of the sleeve. The cables pulled my cuff in quite a lot. Sometimes what the knitting wants to do is the way to go.

Apparently it’s time to reboot. My phone earphones wouldn’t work today. Reboot. My computer wouldn’t show any of my typing. Reboot. Now I just need to finish rebooting myself. I’m not quite there yet.

I think the week between Christmas and New Years is that time. I read 5 books. Knit a little less. I baked bread and cookies, my two essential life-giving foods. Have you rebooted yet? Are you ready for 2021?

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

I hope you are going to get outside in the snow, knit, read and drink lots of coffee. That’s my plan.

My Any Gauge Raglan Pullover is progressing. There are some interesting things I want to tell you about this sweater. The sleeve separation is special to this pattern and may solve some arm size problems you might have. I also added more bust room on the front of this pullover. Would this be a technique that would be helpful to you?

It’s all going to have to wait until the big day is over because I’ve fallen down the holiday reading rabbit hole. It won’t last.

I hope you enjoy the holiday break. See you on the other side,

Deb

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Playing with a chart

I’m not going to apologize. I love charts!! I think most knitters need to learn how to read them and use them. Once you can do that, a whole world of modification is open to you. Charts can be played with. Charts can be changed to suit you and your project.

I’m knitting the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover. One of the great things about this top down pattern is that it has a wide Front and Back neck opening. This gives you lots of room to place a pattern. In this one I put a large cable down the front and back (the cable is included as a variation in the pattern).

This time I wanted to work a wider panel of cables down the front and back. This is the pattern I started with. Cable #15 out of the Knitted Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan. An excellent book.

To figure out how I might work multiple strands of cabling, I photocopied the chart to see what I could do with it.

I could do several strands of the same cable.

But then I thought it would be more effective if I off-set them somehow. First I had to find the centre of the round circle of the cable and the centre of the little straight section. Row 10 is the centre row of the 7 rows in the round circle and Row 2 is the centre of the 3 rows between the small crosses.

Now to line the centres up.

Oh my, this is perfect. Look at that. The big cable crosses of the circles on both strands line up. On the right cable Row 6 opening the circle and on the left cable Row 14 closing the circle. This is totally going to work.

Here’s my pattern. I’ll repeat these two cables twice and work the Right cable once more for 5 cable strands. Odd numbers rule in this case. Throw in a couple of purl stitches at the beginning, between each cable and at the end and I have a terrific cable panel.

Charts, are they the coolest or what?!

Stay safe. We’re in the covid Red zone as of today so lots of time to sit at home and knit.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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Raglan, No Pooling

Here we go. I’ve taken apart a sweater I don’t wear, reconditioned the wool and now I’m going to get started on a new pullover. I hope to avoid colour pooling this time.

I’m working my Any Gauge Raglan Pullover pattern with a gauge of 5 sts = 1″. This wool has a lot of colour variation in every ball so … I’m going to knit it with 5 balls at the same time!!!

Yes, 5 balls, count ’em.

OK, OK, I didn’t start with 5. I started with one. I cast on all the stitches for the raglan neck opening with ball#1, placing markers as I went.

Then I got 3 more balls out and, working the raglan increases according to the pattern, I knit the Back with ball#1, knit the first shoulder with ball#2, knit the Front with ball#3, knit the second shoulder with ball#4. That takes me back to the beginning of the round. Each section of my raglan is knit with a different ball of wool and my first set of increases have been worked.

Here is where the Helix knitting (in this case, changing the yarn in the same place each time) comes into play. With one more ball, ball#5, I knit the Back to the marker, dropped that wool and slipped the marker. With the next ball, the wool that is sitting right there, I knit across the shoulder to the next marker. Dropped that wool and slipped the marker. Knit across the Front using the wool from the next ball that is sitting there. Slipped the marker and again with the wool that is sitting there, knit the second shoulder to the end of the round.

I know this sounds complicated but the wool you need to use is right there at each marker. You drop the wool you are knitting with, slip the marker and pick up the new wool and knit.

There is, of course, a TRICK. Do Not Twist the wool at each marker. When you approach a marker, take the wool strand you were just using and hold it to the right, slip the marker and pick up the new strand of wool from underneath. It’s not twisted.

Why bother with all this?

Two reasons. Because you don’t twist the wool when changing balls, there is no pull at the raglan lines where the markers are. It’s a smooth transition. Reason Two: THE BALLS DO NOT TANGLE.

How is this possible?

When you knit you are moving the yarn from the left needle to the right needle so the circle of knitting is moving clockwise. That twists the wool like this.

Every couple of rounds, grab your circle of knitting like a steering wheel and turn it counter-clockwise, like you’re making a left turn.

This really works!! I’m a little further along now. This is how the colour is coming out on my knit shoulder. An even distribution of uneven colour.

I’m pretty happy.

Cheers, Deb

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Reconditioning Wool

Have I mentioned that I’m somewhat impatient when it comes to getting started? I probably have. I want to jump in right NOW. Before I jump though, I’m going to unravel a sweater I don’t wear so I can make one I will wear. If I could, I would undo the cast off edge of this sweater and use it to cast on the new one.

But … that’s not a great idea if I want a smooth finish to my new sweater. So I spent an afternoon getting this wool in some sort of shape to reknit.

This is my quick method. It’s probably not the best way but, did I mention it’s quick?

I unravelled and wound the wool around a large book. Any hardcover book will do, as long as it’s a large one. Tie one end around the skein and pull it off the book (this is the hard part because it’s probably wound quite tightly). Since I am using objects found around the house, I slip the skein onto a broom handle, which is sitting on the counter and weighed down at the broom end with something heavy. Keep winding. Three skeins are ready.

Whoa, a krinkly mess. Now for the secret weapon, the steamer.

This is it. My Little Steamer. It’s small, it heats up really fast and it has a plastic end which you can put really close to the wool. The only problem I have with this little machine is that it leaks like crazy. A towel on the floor fixes that. Now I steam and rotate the skein around the broom handle. Be careful handling the wool. You do not want to squish it while it’s wet and hot, really hot.

One done. It only takes minutes. A few more minutes and …

… done. I readily admit that they are not perfectly unkinked (is that a word?) but they are relaxed and only slightly damp.

I hang them on a hanger and tomorrow they will be ready to wind up so that I can, at last, cast on. Oh boy, I can’t wait.

Cheers, Deb

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Rescue: Rip and Reuse

I’m antsy and can’t settle, so it’s obviously time to demolish something. I’m frogging (rip, rip, ripping) a sweater that I don’t wear even though I love the colour. Let’s call it rescuing the wool. I want an orange sweater, just not this one.

I can’t stand the colour pooling. I worked this as a gradient between the different balls of yarn, working a couple stripes with the old ball and the new ball. But that didn’t really work, did it? The pooling is not good, especially across the chest. So here I go.

It’s actually strangely satisfying.

Now that I have Helical Knitting down pat, I’m going to use this technique to mix up the balls of yarn throughout. It has to work better than what I had.

I don’t know whether to use 3 balls or four. It’s so hard to tell which balls match each other. The colour saturation is different in each skein. I think these first two balls are similar with more light colour.

I think these last two balls might be slightly more uniform in colour but … I’m not too sure.

So I’m thinking 3 balls at a time should do it. One of the balls is smaller which is great. I don’t want to switch out 3 balls for 3 different balls. It might cause a line across the sweater, so having to sub in a new ball when this small one is used up will be a good move.

I’m off to cast on. I hope this works.

Are you working on any challenges lately?

Deb

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Helical knitting to the rescue

Sometimes, a technique that is used for one application can be used somewhere else to solve a different problem. It might be nothing the original technique was ever set up for. That is the case with Helical Knitting.

Helical Knitting is working coloured stripes in the round without a jog at the beginning of the round. In this sock, one stripe was a solid colour and one stripe was variegated.

If you haven’t heard of this or haven’t given it a try, this video is from the book Something New to Learn about Helical Knitting:

Basic 1×1 Helical Stripe video by Jen and Jim of Arnall-Culliford Knitwear.

Once you have mastered 1×1 stripes you can work 3 or more coloured stripes: Multi-round Helical Knitting. This hat has 4 colours.

All that’s great but where is the alternative application? Right here.

I am knitting with kettle dyed yarn. The general rule for knitting with yarn that’s not commercially dyed is to work with two balls of wool, alternating rounds. I am always afraid there might still be some pooling so I used 3 skeins and the Multi-Round Helical Knitting method.

I set it up for 3 stripes. I’m calling them stripes even though all the stripes are the same colour. It seems silly but it ties into the Helical technique video above. It means I have 3 balls coming from my project and yes, they do tangle but … I have very smooth colour with some colour variation but no pooling.

I will certainly be doing this again. This might be a terrific technique for you too.

Keep on, keeping on. Cheers, Deb

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Knitting with a different gauge of yarn

I was looking to knit something light weight, cheerful and easy to pop on. I also wanted a garment with a colourful pattern. A fairisle patterned poncho seemed like the perfect garment.

I chose the Ninilchik Swoncho pattern which is knit in double knitting weight yarn. I wanted to knit it in fingering weight wool even though it meant I would be knitting in an entirely different weight of yarn than the pattern calls for.

80/20 Fingering wool by Shelridge Yarns

Have you worked a pattern with a different weight of yarn? Did it work? It’s a skill you need if you’re serious about stash busting.

So, here we go. This is one way to do this. Are you ready for some math?

First steps are to convert the Pattern Gauge and my New Yarn Gauge to the number of stitches in 1″/2.5cm.

  1. The pattern calls for double knitting weight yarn with a gauge of 20 sts = 4″/10cm. I’m going convert this to #sts = 1″/2.5cm and call this the Pattern Gauge. Pattern Gauge: 20 sts divided by 4 = 5 sts = 1″/2.5cm.
  2. My New Yarn Gauge for my fingering weight wool is 28 sts = 4″/10cm. New Yarn Gauge: 28 sts divided by 4 = 7 sts = 1″/2.5cm

Next up is to choose which size in the pattern will give you the Finished Size you want. You’re not working to the pattern’s gauge so you’re going to have to follow the stitch numbers for a different size to get the Finished size you want. I know, it seems weird.

Read through the pattern and find the number of stitches in the pattern for the Body. That’s the finished size that matters. Divide the Body number of stitches by the New Yarn Gauge. This will give you the finished size, in inches or cm, that knitting in your new yarn will give you. Do this for every pattern size.

3. This Swoncho pattern only has 2 Finished Body sizes: 69 (83)”/175 (211)cm. I want to make the small size but because I’m knitting with finer yarn I am going to have to follow the stitch numbers for the larger size. The larger size has 416 sts for the Body. So, 416 sts divided by New Yarn Gauge of 7 sts = 59″ . In my finer yarn the Body of the poncho is going to be 59″ around after dividing for the sleeves, even using the stitch numbers for the larger size. It’s a pretty big poncho so I’m fine with a slightly smaller version.

I worked the stitch numbers for the larger size with the finer yarn. It is a light, swishy poncho and plenty big enough for my daughter.

Now I have lots and lots of plain knitting but more on that next time.

Keep on, keeping on. Cheers, Deb

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Fairisle: a fan or not?

I decided to dust off my fairisle knitting skills and knit the Ninilchik Swoncho by Caitlin Hunter. It’s a lovely design with terrific charts, and you know I love a chart or three.

My daughter liked this pattern. Do you think looking outside affected her colour choices?

80/20 fingering by Shelridge Yarns

The first couple of inches were a bit painful. I was very rusty. After working 8 inches, with a colour in each hand, it felt like my hands were beginning to know what to do.

I did learn a couple things about myself:

  1. I need to work on knitting with my right hand. It needs a lot of work. I’m a continental knitter (yarn in my left hand) even though I am right-handed. Knitting with the right hand looks so easy when I see other people doing it but they probably – OK they do – say the same about me.
  2. Long floats cause great anxiety. Are the floats loose enough? Is it going to pucker? Should I catch a stitch? Ooops, too late, next time?
  3. I like to make quick colour changes. So I dropped a few extra stitches into the last pattern. It changes the pattern but who’s the boss of this knitting anyway!

The colourwork is beautiful but now that I’m done, I must admit, I’m a little relieved.

It turns out that I’m not a fairisle knitter after all.

Now I can enjoy all those beautiful colourwork sweaters I’m seeing everywhere and know that I am not going to knit them. Phew, good to know.

Hope you’re knitting something you love.

Cheers, Deb

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Knitting like crazy, is it good?

I just listened to a podcast interview by Brene Brown which explains why I, and maybe you too, are knitting like a crazy person.

A small, very small, pile of my finished knitting.

She interviewed two sisters who wrote the book Burnout, Emily and Amelia Nagoski. What I found really interesting is that they said that stress (irregardless of the cause) has a beginning, middle and end. Getting to the end, on a daily basis, is the trick to dealing with stress. Getting stuck in the middle causes emotional exhaustion. You may be familiar with this feeling?!

To end the stress they suggested some solutions you could practice every day to bring an end to that wound-up or maybe more like unwound, feeling:

  1. Physical exercise. Walk, yoga, whatever.
  2. Breath. Deep breaths with long exhales.
  3. Positive Social Connection. Talk to someone, anyone. It could be a nice comment to a shop person.
  4. Laughter. The belly shaking kind.
  5. Affection. A warm hug with someone in your bubble. The feeling of being safe. This is the difficult one these days.
  6. Cry. Pay attention to the crying. Don’t keep thinking about the stressor (cause of stress).
  7. CREATIVE EXPRESSION. OK, this is where I’m at. Knitting, knitting, knitting.

Turns out that KNITTING IS TOTALLY GOOD FOR YOU so keep knitting, knitting, knitting.

You may recognize this? Ninilchik Swoncho by Caitlin Hunter

Cheers, Deb

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