Any Gauge Raglan, it’s done

Maybe you wake up one morning and decide today is the day you’re going to cast on for a pullover for yourself. It’s time. You go to your stash and pick out some yarn that has been calling to you. You check through your library of patterns at home or on ravelry to see if you have one that matches the pullover you want to make. Time passes, more time passes and you haven’t cast on yet.

What if you could get right to it. Cast on now. That’s what this Any Gauge Raglan pattern is all about.

Any Gauge Raglan Adult front page

I am a problem solving designer. One of my problems and maybe yours too, is that I don’t get gauge with the recommended needle size. I’m a loose knitter so usually go down one needle size to get close to gauge. With this pattern I am going to get to use the unique gauge I get with this particular yarn. One problem solved.

You can Cast On using the gauge information on the ball band if you usually get close to gauge with this yarn (I get close enough with the needle change) or you could do a swatch. Figure out the number of stitches you get in 1″ and you’re ready to Cast On for the neck opening.

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Yes, there is some math, more properly called Arithmetic. Nothing more than taking measurements in inches and multiplying by your Gauge (number of stitches in 1″). You can do this.

I’m really excited to present the Any Gauge Raglan Adult.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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A weekend of knitting

I had the weekend to myself. I thought I would clean up my knitting office, make some cookies, make some stew, go through my suitcase of knitted samples and sort them, edit my pattern, go to the gym. It was an ambitious agenda.

I knit. The whole weekend. That was it. It was wonderful.

As I watched a season of Vera (I’m hooked on BBC mysteries) I ripped out the ribbed neckband, cuffs and bottom border of my fingering weight sweater and redid them all in garter stitch. I had been thinking of doing this for some time and just never got around to it. This was the weekend to do it.

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I decided to finish up one of the pink sweaters with long sleeves since I didn’t have one like that. Two sleeves finished.

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I also had some fun experimenting on a shawl for a class I’m running. We’re knitting this basic side-to-side shawl pattern

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Estelle, Rainbow Autumn Triangle Shawl

with a repeating stitch pattern. (The yarn is Rainbow Autumn by Estelle and it’s doing all the colour gradient work, cotton/wool blend.)

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Then we’re going to play with different stitch patterns to substitute in for the one in the pattern. Some of these stitch pattern experiments are working quite well.

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These are newer knitters and I don’t know if any of them will try this but … I want to show them that patterns aren’t written in stone and no one is checking that they worked it exactly as written. It might be a hard sell.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Win while Procrastinating

I am heavily into procrastination this week. Argh, I don’t like this aspect of designing at all. I have the Adult version of the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover pattern almost ready to put out so I am editing but then I’m editing and editing again, and not in a good way but as a way of putting off publishing. Sometimes I don’t want to let my baby go.

Instead of continuing brow beat myself I decided to make it work for me. So I said to myself, “Self, just work on another project for a little while first”. Ha, it was more than a little while. Does this sound familiar? But guess what, I’m getting that other one finished. I think this is a win, sort of. Let’s not waffle, I’m calling it a win.

I’m working on a plainish shawl and wanted to tart it up at the bottom edge. That’s what really shows after all. With a new colour I am borrowing the Lace Border from the Jane Austen Shawl (a quick thicker yarn shawl).

Jane Austen
Jane Austen Shawl by Cabin Fever

I love double yarn over holes and this edging has them. It’s working out really well.

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I used the Shawl Trick to loosening the top edge of the shawl which will let me stretch out the garter edge nicely when I block it. Look how much stretch it has when it’s dry! It’s going to stretch even more when I wet block it.

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I also am using 2 different needles to work the perpendicular edging. It’s a small thing but having two different needles (one metal and one plastic) in two different colours is really helping me to keep the rows straight. Sometimes it’s these little things that make the knitting go so much smoother.

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Done. I won and just in time too. I was playing yarn chicken at the end.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Neckband Boss

Finishing up. Do you love it or hate it? The sewing in of the ends, the picking up of the neckband, washing and blocking, all of it.

I procrastinate. The time between finishing the actually knitting and finishing it up is usually a long time. I started this sweater in September, blush. But look at me now, I am finishing it up.

This was one of the early prototypes for the Any Gauge Raglan Adult and the drop at the shoulders was not as deep as I might like it. I lengthened it on the next sweater but right now I certainly don’t want the shoulder drop to be any shorter than it is.

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The pattern calls for me to use a smaller sized needle, pick up for the neckband and then, since the neck opening is quite wide, to work an even decrease around the entire neckband, taking the whole thing in.

Who is in charge of this neckband? ME. That’s right, I’m the boss here. So, smaller needle, check. Pick up and knit stitches, check. Decrease Round, hmmm.

The neckband does need to be smaller so I decided that I need to decrease across the Front and Back only and leave the shoulder stitches as they are. Across the Front and Back I decreased 20% of the stitches and knit across the shoulders.

DSC_0392 - Copy (2) Yes, that brought my neckband in for a smaller neck opening and left my shoulder drop as long as I could. Finish knitting the ribbing and I’m done.

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The boss was right. I’m counting this as a success!!

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Aftermarket Neckband

The Any Gauge Raglans begin with the cast on of a large neck opening. It will seem really big. For the Baby sizes it’s 18″ around. For the Kid’s sizes it’s 24″ and for the Adult sizes the neck opening is 30″ around. The Neckband is knit last. There are a couple of good reasons for this. At least I think they’re good reasons.

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  1.  You can use ANY YARN for these Any Gauge Raglans. You can cast on with your best guess at gauge. Use the gauge indicated on the ball band if you know you’re usually close to gauge, close is good enough to get started. This large neck opening gives you lots of space to be a little tight or a little loose. No swatch, No problem. The adjustment for the final neck size is done later.
  2.  The Neckband is worked with a much smaller needle. The smaller needle will make the neck opening about 2″ smaller right away. Then, depending on how much smaller you need the opening to be, you can work a decrease round to pull the Neckband in an extra 5%, 10% or 20%. You can make the Neckband the size you desire.

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BONUS –  You can delay having to decide which stitch pattern you’re going to use to finish your sweater Neckband, Bottom Border and Cuffs. You may have a solid idea of what you want your final sweater to look like when you begin but when you see the Body finished you may have a new idea. Delaying the decision also gives you something to look forward to which I especially like. No need to decide everything all at once at the beginning.

I had a bag of chunky yarn, only 2 balls of each colour. No problem. I can work out something as I go so let’s cast on right now. As I progressed down the yoke I made decisions for when to start the second colour. This is a 6 year old size using 300g of yarn.

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Any Gauge Raglan Kid’s, size 6 years

The Any Gauge Raglan Kid’s pattern is now available on ravelry. Do you have someone between the ages of 4 and 12 who could use a pullover? Dive into your stash now.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Place Sleeves for Any Gauge Raglans

When you knit a Top Down sweater, you choose the size using your bust measurement. Do the sleeves always fit? They quite often don’t for me.

I think I have solved this problem in the Any Gauge Raglan sweater series. I’m very excited to present the first one. This is a recipe style pattern where you do some math and work according to your own gauge. Tight knitter, loose knitter, it doesn’t matter. Your particular gauge matters.

I’ve started the Any Gauge Raglan series with a baby sizes, Newborn to 4 year old size:  Any Gauge Raglan Baby

What prompted this idea? As a designer, I would usually choose a set of sizes for the Body and Sleeves for each pattern. I would look at the set of sizes and work out the number of stitches needed for the Front, Back and Sleeves at the Bottom of the Yoke. Then I would work backwards up to the neckline to decide on the number of stitches for the neckline for all the sizes. The finished sleeve size dictates how wide the top of the shoulder is at the neckline.

But what if I want a particular shape of neckline? In this case I wanted a rectangular neck opening with a wide shoulder.

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The size of the shoulders on these neck openings is wide so that there is a drop down the front and back of the neck. After working all the yoke increases the sleeve may not be the proper size for the sleeve you need.  Oh, no, what to do?

What if … we used the Raglan lines as a guide only? What if … your actual sleeve needed could be wider or narrower than the Raglan Markers indicate? I mean, really, are the Raglan Markers set in stone?

I made a video to explain:  Place Sleeves on Any Gauge Raglans

This takes a particular set up which I am working on in the Any Gauge Raglan sweater series. I’m very excited to present the Any Gauge Raglan Baby/Toddler Pullover.

Use ANY YARN you want. Go ahead, dive into your stash and pick the perfect colour in any weight of yarn you have. Cast On and knit any size up to 4 years old.

What do you think of this idea? All comments, questions and photos are welcome. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Star Toe Up Socks

Have you tried Toe Up Socks? They are my go-to method. But maybe getting started has you hesitating. The popular way to get started is with Judy’s Magic Cast On, by Judy Becker, which mimics the Cuff Down grafting of the toe, in reverse. I find it challenging to work well. If you have it down terrific. If not, I have an alternative that is easy and totally works.

It’s called the Star Toe (I did a video, have a look) which begins with a cast on of 8 stitches, in your usual cast on method, Phew. Divide the stitches onto 2 double pointed needles or the 2 tips of your circular needle for Magic Loop and start increasing.

star toe 2 needle start

Double point users: I only divide my 8 sts onto two double points for the first round because putting 2 sts on each of 4 double pointed needles leads to much dropping of needles and cursing. As soon as I have enough stitches I add in more double pointed needles.

The toe is divided into 4 sections. Right now there are 2 sts in each of the 4 sections and 2 sections are on each of the needles. As soon as you start the Increase Rounds below the 4 sections become obvious.

star toe 4 sections

The star toe works by increasing into the first stitch of each section. I use the Kfb increase (knit into the front and back of same stitch).

Round 1:  *Kfb, K1; repeat from * to end of round. – increase of 4 sts (12 sts on needles)

Now you have enough stitches to add in more double pointed needles. Magic Loopers just continue as set up.

Round 2:  *Kfb, K2; repeat from * to end of round.

Round 3:  *Kfb, K3; repeat from * to end of round.

You get the general idea here. Continue to work increases into the first stitch of each of the 4 sections until you have approximately 1/2 your total sock stitches.

 

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Now introduce a Knit Round, alternating a knit round and an increase round.

Next Round:  Knit.

Increase Round:  *Kfb, knit to end of section; repeat from * 3 more times.

Repeat these last 2 rounds until the Star Toe is the correct size.

How do you know it’s the correct size? Measure across the width of the toe OR stick your toes into it. Note: the sock toe is slightly bigger than it appears! That’s because it’s stuck on straight needles so stop increasing when it’s a little tight and it will be correct.

I just finished a sock for my husband. I don’t worry about the exact number of stitches when I start, I just work the toe until it’s the correct width across (4 1/2″) for a 9″ circumference sock for his foot. Then I knit and knit and knit for his size 11 foot.

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It turned out perfectly. Onto sock number two.

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And the toe fits!!

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Hope that encourages you to get started on a Toe Up sock. Thanks for reading,

Deb

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