Symmetry vs Asymmetry

How attached are you to symmetry? When I try to work asymmetry into my own designs they seem to work hard to revert to something symmetrical. I’m trying to work against this tendency. Sometimes it works.

The other factor in favour of asymmetry is that my mind and maybe yours, is restless and easily distracted. The thought of working too much of the same thing is not appealing right now.

So I’m working on a scarf or shawl in 3 sections where I, and eventually you, will be able to change it up.

It starts with triangles that begin small and get larger and larger, worked join-as-you-go to your desired depth of scarf, in this case about 8″/20cm deep.20200517_091914

Then there is a straight centre section worked on the bias. This is a simple 2 row repeat so you will be able to play. I tried 3 different stitch patterns: stripes, eyelets and the daisy stitch. Do you have some other favourite stitch patterns that could work?

I didn’t do this for long as you can see. I made the first section very long. I was afraid if I kept going I would have to wind this scarf around my neck several times as if I was a giraffe. But hey, if that’s a good look for you, go for it. I took the scissors to my prototype, snip, snip, first two triangles are gone and now it’s a much better shape for me.

Then for the final section I worked a scalloped edge which can go on forever, OK not forever but certainly until you run out of yarn, stitches or patience.20200517_092104

 After surgery, my scarf is 66″/168cm long and weighs 125g.20200517_110131

What do you think? Would you like the option to make both ends match? Where do you stand on the symmetry/asymmetry question?


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Why is THIS project sticky?

As a diet leads to binging, so does the reverse happen: knitting startitis leads to dumping projects in the UFO pile. Back where I started with two projects after starting 5 and a larger pile of whatever-made-me-start-that. Do you have this pile too?

Why do you keep going on certain projects and not on others? What makes a project stick?

I’m trying to stay with my design projects but it’s harder than usual to concentrate. Two, no three, ideas are running around my head and I’m trying not to jump in without thinking them through first.

It makes for a lot of work to start a half-baked idea. It goes like this: try this, nope no good huh really thought that would work, frustrated walk, walk, walk, *try a variation, optimistic, got it this time, knit way too far along with denial denial denial working overtime, not working, frustrated walk, walk, walk; repeat from * as many times as I can stand.

One scarf/shawl project is in the middle of this spiral and since I’ve started might as well keep going. I like the triangles but it’s not getting large enough, fast enough so I need to redo it from the beginning but … I have a different idea for the other end so I’m carrying on to try that out. If nothing else I will have a nicely coloured piece of knitting to throw around my neck. I can’t really lose here but it’s still not quite right so … walking, walking, walking.20200508_095757

Two other sweater projects are spinning around. One is based on this idea. I’m still looking for a boxy sweater.20200414_154655

I’m going to try something different. After this one prototype I’m going to think, think, think before I begin another one. Novel idea which might work, you never know.

Cheers, Deb

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How Many Projects is TOOO Many?

The jittery knitter has landed with not one, not two but 4 new projects. This seems to be working for me, sort of. Are you a monogamous knitter? Why? What does that do for you? I truly have no idea how that works.

As I look around me I see:

A shawl I am re-purposing into a new shawl. I loved knitting the first shawl last summer but I just don’t wear it (probably because I never sewed the ends in, duh) so I decided since I really like the colours, to knit a second shawl. More triangles because I am obsessed.20200426_102540

I was knitting a plain toe-up sock and saw a photo on instagram of the Coriolis sock by Cat Bordhi. I have the New Pathways for Sock Knitters book so that’s what I’m going to knit. I just happened to be at the exact spot to jump right in. A good sign? I love the swirling pattern it’s going to make.20200426_102650

I’ve started my All You Need scarf pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier which I’m going to make into a blanket. Three letters done, almost. They are fun to see form up. I don’t know whether to make two sets of letters or just one for a blanket.What do you think?20200426_102929

I knit half a sleeve of the Nurtured pattern and … not working for me. The pattern is lovely but the wool I’m using is too thick and the slip stitch pattern ends up very stiff. It would be lovely in a thinner worsted yarn. For another time perhaps. The wool I have is the perfect colour, dark emerald green, so after looking around I decided to knit the Carbeth by Kate Davies. Oh my, the wool is loving this. It’s soft and easy and I just love knitting round and round.20200426_102831

The second Build a Bigger V is unfortunately stalled right at the finish line. All these new projects have pushed it to be back of the queue (which may be one of the reasons this startitis is going on). I’m feeling very guilty so that’s on my schedule for next week. Get it done (not my best thing, LOL). All I have to do is sew in ends, work the neckband and then find some buttons and sew them on with as little bloodshed as possible. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

How about you? One project or many? Where are you on the spectrum?


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The Knitting Jitters

There has been lots of knitting going on but I’ve also had a major bout of startitis. I’d decide this is THE perfect next project, cast on, knit two rows, put it aside, oh wait, this is the one, cast on, put aside, again and again. Am I the only one with the knitting jitters? Are you solid on your knitting? How do you do that?

My second Build a Bigger V sides have been attached and my sleeves are sewn up. I found out, to my surprise, I like garter stitch seaming, it’s rhythmic and somehow satisfying.

I decided on 3/4 sleeves for a summer sweater. Not as much knitting which might have been the clincher. Next a very shallow neckband and then, dive into the button jar.


But now I’m thinking I need a break from designing so I’m going to knit someone else’s design. I’m leaning towards Nurture by Andrea Mowry for my daughter. I have some dark green wool she would like.

Short and sweet, don’t you think? Has anyone knit this?

And because it’s always good to have a garter stitch project on hand, and I’m sure that I can convert the All You Need scarf by Heidi Kirrmaier into a baby blanket/wrap for the little guy coming in the summer, I’m winding wool today. Whoo, commitment. I have those colours, it’s modular, my favorite, and I’ve been looking at the pattern for months and months. It’s time!

Or maybe … oh, no, STOP ME.

How are you doing? How is your knitting going?

I hope you and yours are all well,


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Second V

Second one, same as the first. A little bit longer and a little bit A-lined.

Just a short blurb to say hello. I hope you and yours are doing well and that you are finding your knitting a comfort.

Today I clothes-pinned my Build a Bigger V together to see if the A-line shaping was going to be roomy  enough in the hips. Yup. It measures 47″ around at the underarm and 52″ around the bottom. The A-line has done its thing really well.

This is a Back view, one sleeve done.

Build a Bigger V

Now to finish that last sleeve. I’m so close to finishing. I can’t wait. Just in time for spring.

I have another test knit from BjH to show you of Build a V for little people. Cute, eh?build a v

Buttons are a problem here too. I’m have my fingers crossed that there is something in my button jar that’s going to work with all that orange.

Do you have a button jar?

Thanks for reading,


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What Have You Learned?

These are unusual times and because of that you have probably learned a few things: about how to keep your spirits up, about more practical everyday things, about yourself as a knitter. What have you learned?

20200408_121102(0)  at work

I have learned:

  1. I need to go outside everyday, no matter the weather or how I’m feeling. Even walking in the rain is better than sitting inside all day. These days this takes an effort because I don’t have anywhere specific to go to but I’m always glad when I open the door and step outside.door

2. I don’t need a lot of social contact. I know there is a push to get together online in groups but I am not inclined to join in. I’m quite happy in my own company, big ‘I’ introvert here. The surprise was that I didn’t realize how much I like to go places where there are other people, Apple Annie’s Cafe or the public library are my regular haunts. I don’t actually want to talk a lot, just hello and how ya’ doin’ and no I don’t want to join you but thanks anyway, I just want to read my book over here at this table by myself and nice to see annies

3. I also, besides knitting every day, need to read every day. I probably knew this already but it’s definitely been reinforced. I am alternating between “dead tree” books and reading on my phone. The phone reading is new (I don’t own an ipad). I find it gets old pretty quickly.


4. I am learning to make vegetable soup. I’m not good in the kitchen and this has been hit and miss so far. I am forcing myself to eat the results irregardless of it’s tastiness or lack therof.Homemade-Vegetable-Soup-Recipe-2-1200

5. I am not as much of a sock knitter as I had thought. This was a surprise. I had a sock on the go before all this started and have not had any inclination to pick it up. Not one moment of thinking I should do some sock knitting, despite wearing wool socks every day. Maybe next fall it will come back.No Socks

6. A problem I struggle with constantly is how to finish (anything) but right now it’s my Build A Bigger V, A-line version. Once all the design problems are solved I’m ready to put it aside. But no can do. I need a finished project to photograph so I’m watching old videos on my computer to get to the finish line. Guess where I’m at? You got it, sleeves!! What do you do?20200404_145923

7. To keep my mind engaged, so I’m not checking instagram and facebook every 2 minutes, I have given myself another knitting problem: contiguous knitting. I am going to knit a Gauge-Free version. I’ve started several swatches which have not worked.20200408_120949

After each failure I go for a walk. This has been my routine for the last 4 days. It will come, I keep telling myself. Don’t force it. I am nearing something that’s going to work. This keeps my mind busy at 4am.20200408_120807

What are you knitting? What have you learned?



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Build a Bigger V

I have been staying at home and working hard, OK not really working hard since how hard can knitting a whole lot be, but my Build a Bigger V is finished, buttons and all. I love it.

build a bigger V (10)
Knit with Hempwol by Hemp For Knitting

I hit the publish button. It’s official, it’s a done deal, the Build a Bigger V is out there. Always a big moment. Now I need to take a walk because hitting that button always gives me the jitters.

If you’re looking for an adventure during these precarious times this cardigan might fill the bill. It starts with stash diving for yarn and needles. Remember that garter stitch takes 1/4 to 1/3 more yarn. Then work the Back and 2 Fronts separately. There is lots of garter stitch knitting which is comforting but not tooooo comforting because you have to work some increases and decreases and work the I-cord edging. Just enough to keep you on your a bigger V

Pick up and knit along the sides of the Back and one Front. Knit, knit, knit. Separate for the sleeves and knit down to the wrist. Fold it over to see half of your cardigan a bigger V (8)

As I was knitting I kept thinking of different things I might do with this pattern. I couldn’t knit them all but maybe you can. I’ve added Hacker Pages with more options to add to the cardigan. I added the Boxy style where you would add much more ease to the cardigan so that the width of the body reaches your elbow.Build a Bigger V regular width

Build a Bigger V Boxy

How about A-line shaping? I’m knitting this one right now. The Back and Fronts gradually widen toward the bottom.20200222_125900 - Copy

You can also knit it as a Pullover. I love this. Thanks LK. She also worked the Boxy Sloped Shoulder option of working body and sleeve decreases along the top of the sleeve instead of along the underarm seamline. It gives you a sloped shoulder line and really works a bigger V pullover (2)

Build a Bigger V slopped shoulder
Boxy style with shoulder slope

I haven’t included stripes as another option for the Build a Bigger V or 3/4 sleeves which could also be done (my orange version might get these) or colour blocking the different sections or … well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

I’m really excited about this cardigan (can you tell?) and I hope you enjoy it.

Stay well, Deb

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A Boxy sweater detour

Do you always know what you’re really knitting as you’re knitting it? Somewhere in whatever you’re knitting there is probably a place where you can wander away from the instructions if you are so inclined. It doesn’t have to be a very big wander, but it is still a deviation from what’s written.

While I was knitting the Build a Bigger V I had the thought that since the body is knit towards the sleeve I could make the body any width I wanted. The pattern is written for a regular width of 4″- 8″ or even 10″ of ease (10-20cm or even 25cm of ease) added to your actual bust measurement. But I could make it a Boxy style, 10″- 20″ of ease (25-51cm of ease) added. I have never knit this style of sweater before and am sort of intrigued. So I knit one side of the body my regular width and the other side a Boxy style a bigger V (3)Then I put it to my knitting guild members (via email), which one? Boxy width or Regular width?

The Regular width won. So I went with it because I was leaning that way myself. The Boxy style thought is still sitting somewhere at the back of my mind.

Have you knit a Boxy style sweater? Do you like it? Would you change anything if you  knit another one?

Stay well, Deb

Build a Bigger V pattern

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Why We Testknit

Sending your brand new pattern to a testknitter is a lot like sending your baby to a new daycare. The phone rings, “your baby is misbehaving”. Your reply, “Oh, no, no, no, not MY baby.”

So there I was knitting away on my adult-sized sweater and thinking I was doing pretty well and then the email pinged and Yup, misbehaving big time.

My first thought was no, no, no (denial). Then cursing (anger at myself for missing this). Saying, “it will block out” over and over, was probably my first clue. After kicking myself black and blue, I had to finally accept that there was, indeed, a problem. Problem solving is my thing, right? I can do this. Hands rubbing together gleefully, it’s time to solve this puppy.

The problem? The myth that you can pick up 1 stitch for every ridge along the side of a garter stitch piece and it will always, but always, allow you to knit in a perpendicular direction with a smooth edge.

If this wasn’t embedded in your brain from your first garter stitch project, here it is. For garter stitch, if your row gauge is 5 Ridges = 1″/2.5cm (black arrow) and you pick up & knit along the side (red arrow), your stitch gauge will be 5 Stitches = 1″/2.5cm, always. Doesn’t that look lovely and smooth?

garter stitch ridge vs sts

Not so smooth on my adult sample.20200306_110448

See all that puffiness? The pick up & knit is not smooth and the Side panel is much shorter than it should be, that’s the real problem. Apparently working decreases at that outside edge of the Front piece so that the Front stitches go in a diagonal direction causes enough distortion that the myth of picking up 1 stitch for each ridge Does Not Work!

It was much worse on the Back. I had been trying not to look.20200306_110526

I know what you’re thinking. How could she miss that?!

Denial is an amazing thing. In the back of my mind I did think something was just a little  wonky but the rule of stitches to ridges thing works every time, doesn’t it? I’m sure of it. I’ve been sure of it for decades.

Nothing for it but to rip back. There might have been a little cursing. OK, more than a little.20200306_174728

I did mention the denial thing, right? Two x 100g balls, plus a bit more, worth of denial. I was into it big time.20200307_093247

And so the midnight awakenings begin until I finally came up with a workable solution. It was actually the second solution that worked but who’s counting. Solution: Work some increases as you pick up and knit.

Ta, da, look at that! Smooth along the pick up edge and a Side Panel that is the correct length. Worth every sleepless night.20200309_172742

I’m sure you’ve never done this. But if you have I feel your pain.

My child-sized Build a V is published and has the correction in it. Yay.

Hope you’re keeping well and happily knitting. Tell me what you’re knitting on my NEW ravelry group: Debgemmellmods.

Stay well.


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Build a ‘V’ for children

I would like to introduce the Build a V cardigan for your favourite child. Maybe right now is the time to be adventurous and try a Gauge-Free sweater pattern. That’s right, there is no mention of gauge throughout the whole pattern, ever.  NO SWATCH needed,  YAY. Grab any yarn you love, needles and a trusty tape measure and cast on.20200320_103518 - Copy

20200320_103718 - Copy

It’s knit flat in garter stitch and then folded at the top of the shoulder line to make a cardigan.

Here’s an overview. The Back Panel  and then 2 Front Panels are knit as separate blocks.

Then … pick up along the sides of the Back and one of the Fronts (along the black line in the schematic) to knit sideways for half the Body.


Here are some photos of the Build a V testknits.

Is this beautiful for a little boy? Done in Lion Brand Ferris Wheel, a variegated yarn with a long colour change. Pretty cool a V baby R

Once the Side Panel for the Body is knit you put side seam stitches on spare yarn so that all you are left with on your needle are the sleeve stitches. Knit your sleeve and voila … half your sweater is done.

Build a V child blank schematic - shaded sleeve

Work the other side, fold, sew the sleeve seam and it’s a garter stitch cardigan for your special little one.


Is this cute or what?! One of my testknitters did the stash dive and worked in 3 colours. Stash diving at it’s best. Build a V 1 - Copy

Since there are many distinct blocks of knitting you can play with them and have some fun with colours or maybe even knit the Side Panels with stripes (I wish I had thought of this when I knit my sample).

Thanks testknitters for your work.

I’ve started a NEW Ravelry Group: DebGemmellMods   I’m handy there for answering questions. I’d love to see your Build a V photos. Join me.


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