3×3 Cardigan Prototype Done

It’s time to get the cardigans out, at least in my neck of the woods it is. It’s also past time to finish a cardigan that I started in the spring. How about you? Are any of your sweaters begging for some attention?

My design process is really slow. I knit a prototype, this cardigan, and then I write the pattern. Now from my written pattern I knit another sample. That’s where I am now, so this is going to be a quick post because I need to get cracking on my second cardigan.

Ta, da, I pretty proud of myself for finally finishing my first 3×3 colour cardigan. I even sewed the buttons on yesterday. That usually takes me months to get around to. Oh, wait, it did take me months!!20191016_101606

The last bit of knitting I had to do was to raise the back of the neck. To get a lower front on this Top Down I made the shoulders quite wide when I cast on. That means the back of neck was low too. Whoo, that really is quite a dip in the back!20190723_145811

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I needed to fill in some of the back of neck dip for the cardigan to be comfortable. I picked up a stitch for every cast on stitch and worked short rows, making the first turn in the centre of the far shoulder, turned and work to the centre of the other shoulder and turned again. I worked 2 stitches further toward the front with each short row and turned again. The back of neck is over an inch deep now and the front is less than 1/2″.20191016_101746

Finished. I did it all in garter stitch using German Short Rows which I think work really, really well with garter stitch. You only have to learn how to do the short rows knitwise, bonus. Here’s a side view of the neck shaping. It’s all happening over the shoulder stitches.20191016_101812

Today I’m casting on another 3×3 colour cardigan in DK weight Cotton Tweed this time. My pencil is poised over my written instructions. Ready, set, go.20191018_102350

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Mosaic Shawl for retreat

We’re getting ready to Retreat. We are Elizabeth, Lyn and myself, all finishing up our shawl samples for our Cabin Fever Retreat. It’s coming up at the Fern Resort really soon. So this is my last shawl sample. I had a student in one of my classes say that there should be a sign on the wall by the classroom door saying, “This can be addictive, Beware”. Shawls have been that for me.

Here’s a snapshot of the shawls and samples going to the retreat:

Asymmetric Shawls by Elizabeth, don’t they look like fun? 

Lyn’s still working on her Crescent shawls. She has a really great crescent cast on edge to show everyone.CF retreat crescent shawl

My adventures into Triangle Shawls has taken me far and wide.

The last one is using Mosaic knitting. Mosaic knitting is worked with 1 colour (variegated) across 2 rows working knits or purls and slipped stitches. Another 2 rows are worked with a second colour (black) in stockinette stitch or garter stitch.

My first foray into mosaic shawl knitting was to work (RS) [K1, Slip 1] with the variegated colour and (WS) [K1 (variegated, Slip 1 (black)]. The black is worked in 2 rows of stockinette stitch. The variegated colour is bumpy against the black stockinette stitch.20191013_154400

Next I tried working the variegated as (RS) [K2, Slip 2] and (WS) [P2 (variegated), Slip 2] so that the coloured yarn is now in stockinette stitch. I worked the black in garter stitch this time (knit on RS and knit on WS). The colour becomes recessed and although it looks OK up close the colour seems to get lost against the black.20191013_154429

Onward. This time I worked the colour as [K2, Slip 2] again but on the WS I worked [K2 (variegated), Slip 2] making the colour bumpy against the garter stitch black. Much better don’t you think? I’m very happy with this and will continue until I run out of black, which is soon.20191013_154442

Can you see the changes?20191013_154655

We’re excited to get going. There are still spaces available if you want to join us at the Fern Resort on October 25.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Trying Brioche One More Time

Sometimes when you give a technique one more chance to win you over, it’s the charm.

I’m just back from a weekend knitting retreat in Sudbury, On called Sticks, String and Stewardship. I was the speaker at their first retreat and have gone back nearly every year since. This was number 12. Everyone pays to come and then several of us volunteer to teach. So I taught one class (Portuguese Purling) and took two more.

The technique that has bogged me down is the very popular Brioche stitch. I’ve been through it 3 times now and when I’m in class I can do it by following the instructions blindly. It is a technique that did not endear itself to me. I thought I was going to give it a miss altogether. I mean, 3 times is enough right?

But Sheila was giving a basic brioche class at this retreat and I thought, OK, ONE MORE TIME. Somehow this time it worked for me. It was only the knit stitch and maybe that makes the difference. Not tooooo much information. I thought this was a good video if you are unfamiliar with this technique: How to Knit the Brioche Stitch

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This is my second sample and as you can see Sheila and I didn’t stop there. After the class we continued to explore increases and decreases and had a whole lot of fun figuring that out together. I think that will be her class next year.

On my first sample I found a split stitch several rows below so I dropped the knitted stitch down and tried to hook it back up to the top. I totally mucked it up but that’s OK because a little bit of it worked and I was pretty happy with that. After all that’s what classes are for, making mistakes, ripping it out, trying again and learning, learning, learning. I am going to have to do that again and again until I have it down. Then … I will truly enjoy Brioche.

What I really learned is what I need to know in order to enjoy a technique. I need to understand how it works. Once I know how it works I can start to play with it. That had eluded me before.

How about you? What do you have to know to enjoy knitting a technique? What technique still has you boggled?

Deb

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One Little Change

I find it amazing that sometimes one little change, that you think is insignificant, can make a big impact.

I am still working on a triangle shawl system for the class I’m running at the Cabin Fever Retreat at the Fern Resort on Oct 25-27. We’re presenting 3 shawl shapes: crescent, asymmetric and triangle.

I’m going to present a recipe for working triangles with long tails. There will be lots of room for knitters to add in their own ideas. No two will look alike. Here is one with lots of texture changes throughout: garter stitch, stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch and floating seed stitch.20190930_091752

If you are a shawl knitter you know that the picture you have of the finished shawl doesn’t always look like that on the needles. Actually shawls usually look like a great big mess, even to knitters. So once again I pinned out the current colour block shawl I’m working on to have a peek.20190927_104537

These two shawls follow exactly the same recipe. You might notice that something went wonky with the centre line in the Colour Block one. It’s definitely leaning.

The shawl on the left has an increase before and after the centre marker in the usual way. The only change I made to the Colour Block was to work only one increase at the centre, before the centre marker. That’s it. Only one increase instead of two. It changed the shape of the shawl. It is no longer a triangle!

One absent increase has made this a totally different shape. Makes you think doesn’t it? What if you added an extra increase somewhere else, what would that do? What if you switched which side the centre increase was worked on, what would that do? What if …

Gotta go, my fingers are itching to cast on a new one. How about you?

Deb

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Colour Blocking a shawl

Intarsia knitting? Are you on board with it? I usually don’t work with blocks of colour where you drop a colour, pick up a new one twisting the colours around each other and then continue on with the new colour. It doesn’t lend itself to knitting in the round but knitting flat, well that’s a whole different story. And shawls are knit flat right? Hmm, yes, there’s an idea.

I have a couple of odd balls, ha, ha. OK, I have lots and lots of odd balls. Not enough to knit anything large with but 100g of this and 100g of that. They are perfect for stripes but also, it finally occurred to me, for blocks of colour.

I can use the centre increase line of the shawl to change colours for blocks of colour on the different sides of the shawl. That’s pretty straight forward and as you can see that  only lasted a couple of rows. Then I thought, why not add stripes? I wound a small ball of purple from the outside of the purple ball I was already using, and started using the gold and small ball for the stripes on the one side and the large ball of purple for the other side.20190922_143834

I can’t stop picking it up. This will be another sample for my Triangle Shawl class at the Cabin Fever Retreat in October.

I’m going for a big pop of colour to wear against my mostly navy wardrobe. Do you think this will do it?!

What are you doing with your odd balls?

Deb

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Knit Stripes 3×3

I think 3×3 is the best way to stripe a cardigan or any piece of flat knitting. You may not consider a Top Down Cardigan flat knitting but it is done working back and forth with Right and Wrong Side rows which is where this works. Check it out.

Three colours, 3 rows each. Here are three reasons why you might want to give it a try:

  1. You use all the colours equally throughout.
  2. You carry the yarn up both front edges of the cardigan (or edge of your flat knitting). Both front edges will then be equal in length. If carrying yarn up only one front edge, it may be pulled tighter and then be shorter than the other front edge.
  3. The colour you need for the next stripe is exactly in the right place when you need it.

Reason Number 2 is how I started using the 3×3 stripes on a cardigan. Method Number 3 is why I love to work it. This cardigan which will become a New Any Gauge Top Down pattern some day. It’s early days yet.

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The 3×3 Stripes work like this:

Work 3 rows in Gold, drop that yarn and work 3 rows in Blue, drop yarn and work another 3 rows in Purple, drop yarn.

3x3 stripe start

Now you want to work the next Gold stripe. The Gold yarn is hanging right there on the front edge you just finished working the Purple on. Pick up the Gold and work 3 more rows finishing on the other Front edge.

3x3 stripes number 4

Hello, there is the Blue yarn hanging out there ready to work the next Blue stripe. Pick up the Blue and work 3 more rows finishing on the other Front edge …

3x3 stripes number 5

where the Purple is waiting. Pick up the Purple and work another stripe. Then pick up the Gold and continue on working 3 row stripes with a big smile on your face.

3x3 stripes continue

Is this a perfect set up or what?!

20190717_105907 - Copy

Not ready to jump in? Try a little person cardigan: Neapolitan (named after the ice cream) where I’ve written out all the rows for you, line by line. Knit in DK weight in Cotton Tweed by Cabin Fever.

Neapolitan P1040395 (2) - Copy

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Back to … school?

Does September seem like the beginning of the year to you too? I must admit that January 1st always seems oddly placed in the middle of winter when everything is moving along already.

So here we are beginning again. I’m jumping right in.

1. This is the school part, writing this blog on my phone. Whoo. The World Curling Tour has started and we’re away most weekend watching the new Team Kaitlyn Jones, our daughter’s team. Knitting at the curling rink has begun in earnest. I will knit many more garments behind the glass again this year.

2. CabinFever is a vendor next Saturday at the KW Knitters Fair in Kitchener, On. Drop in and say hi if you’re there.

3. I’m working on new classes: Felted bags at Twist Yarn in Midland will be scheduled soon.

The Striped Cowls and Hats class at the Ramara Community Centre starts on September 18.

4. The Drop In on Thursday afternoons at Twist Yarn starts this week. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.

5. Plans are coming together for our Cabin Fever Retreat October 25-27 at the Fern Resort. Still a couple of spots open. Shawls are the topic so I’m working on playing with more triangle shawls. Can’t seem to stop. This one has lots of opportunities for different textures. It gets changed up regularly, no boredom allowed.

4. Yarn Over Sleep Over retreat classes are under discussion. We are thinking of doing something new, a repair/upcycle open studio at the April retreat. More on this idea later.

Yup, busy. Is this called hitting the ground running?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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