Neckband Fix

Yes, the neck openings for the Any Gauge Raglans are BIG. That was the answer for my internet friend who has started on her raglan pullover and was just checking in to make sure she was doing OK. Thanks for the question. You’re on the right track. Later, the neckband is going to make the opening much smaller.

If you cast on loosely, like I do, the neck opening is going to seem very wide. It might even stretch wider as you knit down the yoke. I made the neck opening large so that if you are winging it with your gauge it’s still going to work out. If your gauge is a little tighter than you thought or if you cast on tightly that’s no problem because the neck opening will still be a good size. If you knit loosely or cast on loosely, working the neckband with a decrease round is going to give you the neckband size you want.

Here is my current prototype for a V-neck Raglan with a very large neck opening. With my loose cast on the back of neck causes it to sit way past my bra straps but I proceeded with the yoke knitting anyway.


I suggested to my friend that she knit a couple of inches on the yoke and then with another ball of yarn pick up the stitches around the neck opening with a needle around 2 sizes smaller than the body-sized needle and work a decrease round as needed. So that’s what I did here even though I’m not finished knitting my sleeves.


Ahh, I think that’s a big improvement don’t you? It needs blocking but the neckband is good, around 7″ across the back of neck.

This is what I did.

I picked up a stitch for every cast on stitch all the way around the neck with a 3.25mm/US3 circular needle (body-size needle is 4.0mm/US6). Oops you might notice that the pick up needle is 3 needle sizes smaller. I knew I had to bring it in a lot. For this V-neck I worked a 1×1 rib up the front edge, worked a 20% decrease from the centre of one shoulder, across the back of neck to the centre of the other shoulder [K2tog, P1, K1, P1] repeat, and then worked the ribbing as usual to the end of the row. Work the ribbing as set for the desired depth of neckband and Cast Off, Done.


I’m excited to get this finished now I have the neckband done. It makes it seem so much closer to being finished even though I still have more sleeve knitting to do.

Thanks for reading,


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A Cautionary Tale

The May long weekend is here. Does it take you away from knitting and guide your thinking toward your home and surrounds? Maybe the weekend urges you to do a little outside work in the garden or to look at long neglected tasks that could be done now that it’s spring.

I decided to paint my front door. It’s time. Off we went to the paint store to choose colours. That’s lots of fun right there. All those paint chips. How about this colour? Or wait, what about that one?

I got right to it, sanded the door and put on the first coat. Then rewarded myself with some knitting because, hey, I deserved it. And what did I find? It seems that I didn’t leave my knitting behind even when thinking about painting.


Have I mentioned that I love this burnt orange colour of Mineville DK? Just love, love, love it. And I’m going to love my new door colour once it’s got a couple more coats of paint on it.


Learn from my story. Check what you are knitting before you choose colours for your home!!

Do you have a story too? Put it in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not the only one.


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What to do with All That Stockinette Stitch

“All that stockinette stitch!” Yes I’m afraid so. Knitting Top Down can involve a lot of stockinette stitch once the excitement of the Yoke is done. What do you do to amuse yourself while you get all that knitting done?

Here is what I’m doing right now. I’m working a stitch pattern down the sides of the body across the underarm cast on stitches.


These are Right Twist stitches which are 2 stitch cables worked without a cable needle.  Every 4th round I’m working: P1, work [P1, Twist Right] repeating to last 2 sts, P2. (Twist Right: K2tog and then without taking the stitches off the needle, knit into the first stitch, remove stitches.) This is keeping me engaged as I work down the body.

You could add anything here. Whatever it takes to give you something to keep track of and look forward to knitting. Knit, knit, knit, oh boy it’s the pattern, knit, knit, knit. Yeah, OK, it’s a little hokey but it does make all that body knitting move along quickly.

I realized, as I looked through my Cabin Fever designs, that I have been doing this for some time. The Side Pattern Vest (top down) was the first. There is a lovely lace panel down each side. That will keep you on your toes.

Side Panel Vest V-neck (2) - Copy

You could add a 2×2 rib down the sides. That works for this Child’s Ribbed Sleeve pullover.

Child's Ribbed Sleeve

I put one of my favourite stitch patterns in the Squiggle Lace Top . The Squiggle Lace pattern is based on a 2×2 rib where every other round you alternate between [P2tog, YO] and [YO, P2tog] worked in the P2 section of the rib. I’ve used variations of this pattern several times. Here I worked it over the underarm cast on stitches and even worked all the A-line shaping increases into the stitch pattern. Now that definitely gives you something to concentrate on.

Squiggle Lace Top

squiggle lace side

You are the boss of your knitting. Make it fun.

Thanks for reading,


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Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry

Knitting at Lake Lauzon

Just home last night from a lovely northern retreat at Lake Lauzon Resort in Algoma Mills, ON (close to Blind River). Sharon Provencher, owner and wonderful host, fed us amazing lunches and fantastic baked snacks.


We couldn’t have asked for better weather. We walked along the lakefront and had longer walks along the highway loop over to Lake Huron.


There was lots and lots of knitting. Here is our merry crew. Wonderful knitters who took on starting an Any Gauge Raglan with gusto.


They made beautiful sweaters adding in their own creative variations. The red one was getting finished up from a previous Any Gauge class where J added stripes to her raglan pullover. R got started on a child’s cardigan with a seed stitch collar which provided space for a quick tutorial on how to get a good fold on your flipped-over collar. The blue variegated cardigan (top of photo) is a first sweater for herself by M where she worked her borders in seed stitch instead of garter stitch. It’s going to fit her beautifully. And missing from the photo, already packed away, is a pullover for S who is also knitting her first, very own sweater. My burnt orange version also gained several inches.


Next year I hope to see them being worn. Wouldn’t that be fantastic! I can’t wait.

Same time next year. It’s a date.


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I had a great idea and then …

You are knitting along and everything seems to be fine but … there is this nagging little feeling that something is not quite as it should be. You were excited to cast on and for a while, in fact, quite a while, your project was moving along quite well, except for the little voice. The little voice that becomes a louder voice and finally can’t be ignored.

I thought this cardigan would be great. There is nothing wrong with the pattern, the yarn is fun but something is nagging at me. This isn’t quite IT.


Then … I had a great idea. This yarn would be great, just fantastic, for a terrific sweater that I could see in my mind’s eye in all it’s glory. There it was. The perfect project for this yarn. And then it was gone.  I can’t remember what this great idea was. It’s gone. Will it come back? I sure hope so because I was excited and SO SURE.

In the meantime, while I was knitting the cardigan, a burnt orange V-neck pullover kept popping into my head. Obviously that’s the sweater I need to knit. So I am.


Thanks for reading,


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Casting On, Yippee

Today I’m starting a couple new projects. YES.  I love the excitement of casting on, don’t you?

I’m working on the Any Gauge Cardigan since it seems like the next step in my any gauge project. I’m also experimenting again with working gradients with several colours of yarn.

DSC_0485 (2)

This is Fairy Wrap Worsted by Dragon Strings. I have 2 skeins of the colour on the left, 2 skeins of the centre colour and only 1 skein of the purple on the right. I think I will need one more skein. I need to bridge between the 2 colours on the right.


I’m working with 2 colours at the same time, 2 rows in the first colour and 2 rows in the second colour. Because they are both speckled and have a good amount of white in them you can’t really see any stripes. Early days since I’ve just done a couple of inches.



Then I have to figure out how to work into the second set of skeins since they both have more colour. The transition is the really interesting part. I have a dim idea of how to do this. It gives me something to contemplate in the middle of the night. Maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up with the problem solved.

My second project is a new shawl in Saucon Fingering by Cabin Fever (a cotton/acrylic blend). I will have it ready for its first outing at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto next Saturday.


It starts at one side and is done in the asymmetric style but it will, hopefully, be symmetrical (both tails being the same length) when it’s done. So far so good. This triangle will be wider than it is tall which is, in my humble opinion, the best shape for wearing. Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to wear a shawl for that little bit of extra warmth around your neck since the winter coat and scarf have been stowed away. Yay, that’s a happy moment isn’t it.

Thanks for reading,


Deb Gemmell Any Gauge patterns on ravelry

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry


Retreat with knitters

The Yarn Over Sleep Over knitting retreat is over for another year. I am still so jazzed I can hardly sit still. Spending time with so many enthusiastic knitters is energizing and so inspiring.

After this weekend there will be several more Any Gauge sweaters in the world. My students were the first to go through the instructions for an Any Gauge Cardigan worked from the Top Down.  They worked on a 1/5 scale model using their personal measurements. I will be teaching this again next week for Knit Night group. Now I have to get a couple sweaters knit myself so that I can put it out there so you can knit one too.


In Sunday’s class we tackled a big topic. We took the Nimbus pattern by Berroco Design Team, a bottom-up pattern worked in 6 pieces to be sewn together, and worked out how to knit it without any seams.


We went through the process of knitting it from the Top Down with a Simultaneous Set-In Sleeve, based on Barbara G. Walker’s book Knitting from the Top Down.

Barbara Walker Knitting from the Top Down

The Set-In Sleeve is worked as part of the Yoke. No seams. Here’s the Top Down version of the Nimbus that I knit as a sample.


I still have some fine tuning to do on this idea but the Set-In Sleeve worked really, really  well. I am very excited about this whole idea. I will never, ever, sew in a set-in sleeve again. It was a terrific class and my students hung in there with me to the end. This was a very new and challenging concept to take in over a 2 1/2 hour class.


Now I have a couple more ideas for my classes next year. I can hardly wait.

But first, I get to teach at a couple more retreats. If you are a Northern knitter I am running a retreat in Algoma Mills, half way between Sudbury and  Sault Ste. Marie, ON on May 3-5, 2019. At “Knitting at Lake Lauzon” we are going to knit a sweater for ourselves using our very own measurements. After two full days of knitting we will all have a sweater starting at the Top and worked down past the underarms and will be on our way to a great fitting sweater.

On the last weekend in October, 2019 at the Cabin Fever Retreat we will be working on shawls. We will be presenting the basic concepts for 3 different shapes: the triangle shawl, the crescent-shaped shawl and the asymmetric shawl. Each student will pick one shape and get started. We will be tackling that mysterious sentence “incorporate the increases into your stitch pattern”. The students will go home with a firm understanding and some practice adding stitch patterns to their shawls. We’re going DEEP.

Lots of exciting classes coming up.

Thanks for reading,


DebGemmellMods Any Gauge patterns on ravelry

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry