Decisions, decisions

What’s in your “knitting time out” corner? Do you know why it’s there?

My 3×3 Cardigan has been sitting in the corner for several weeks. I have found myself putting this new design down to work on something else that seemed more pressing. I look at it every day and pass it by. Nope, not today. Right now I am knitting Climb Every Mountain sweater for my daughter and socks for myself and telling myself I needed this break but It’s TOTAL DENIAL!!

I was just stalled and trying to ignore it. I thought I had made all the design decisions for the 3×3 Cardigan. That’s the idea right? Make all the design decisions at the start, think of everything you want to do and then just knit it up. Easy, peasy, right?  In hind sight, I realize now that I had to do a rethink on some of those decisions and didn’t want to admit it.

This cardigan has a square neck (which will eventually be filled in at the back of neck) and quite wide shoulders, as you can see.DSC_0047 (2)

That means that at the Great Divide many knitters will find that the sleeve size they need will be inside the Raglan Lines. The raglan lines are only used as a guide here, not the exact size of the sleeves. (The orange markers are the raglan lines and the green markers show where the width of my sleeve is going to be.)sleeve markers 3x3

The problem is … what to do with the raglan lines themselves. I used YO increases for the raglan lines and did’t want to leave the line of holes hanging, sort of dead ending at the underarm level.  I’m sure no one would notice that they just stop but it doesn’t seem right or finished.DSC_0068 (2)

Do I continue the lines down at the same angle to make a V under the arms? I did that on the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover which worked fine. The underarm V made nice clean lines and worked into the side seam line.DSC_0071 (2)

Not the case here. Way too much going on to see the V.20190722_100316

Soooo, there my latest 3×3 Cardigan sat in the corner through no fault of it’s own. Just my indecision causing a Big Stall.

I have taken myself in hand and made a decision. I had to take a good look at where I was now and think ahead to consider what kind of shaping I want for the body of this cardigan.

Decision: I’m taking the raglan lines in a straight line down the sides. I’m keeping the YO increases and working corresponding decreases to keep the stitch count even. I know, not exactly earth shaking stuff.DSC_0066 (2)

I think this will work fine. What to you think?

There is going to be A-line hip shaping in this cardigans future because I want to make it quite long. I have the wool. Now doing the A-line shaping should be easy to work. At the  side panel I will work the increases without the decreases every inch or so, and ta, da, it will be wider at the hip where I need some extra room. Now of course the decision is how often to work the shaping. Stop! One decision at a time please.dsc_0070-2.jpg

I have a plan. The sweater is out of the corner and I’m getting a better feeling about continuing. I might have a new spring cardi yet.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Sentimental Yarn

I’m back on my regularly scheduled project, the3×3 Cardigan, now that the holidays are over. I hope yours were joyful and have helped you prepare to face and conquer another winter.

Now that I’m back knitting this cardigan I’m looking at the wool I chose. Thanks everyone for helping me choose 3 colours.DSC_0047 (2)

Two of the colours are discontinued wool from my stash. The blue though, well that has a history.DSC_0059 (2)

I have had it in my stash for more than twenty+ years. Yes, a long time. It’s roughish rustic wool  and I believe was hand dyed. Many years ago we were driving along an isolated road in Scotland and came across a croft with a yarn sign outside. In the middle of no where (at least it seemed so to us).

croft bothy

Stop!! There was wool, local wool, from the sheep we had been looking at out of the window. I bought it because the croft was so amazing, the view beautiful and as a treat for myself. But it sat in my stash for all this time. There wasn’t enough for a sweater and it’s too rough for a hat.

I feel like I failed this wool. I’m sure it didn’t want to sit in the dark in my closet for all this time. I’m sure it wanted to be … something special. It wasn’t telling me what though. So now it’s going to be something, a cardigan. A big, cozy cardigan that I will associate with Scotland and an isolated croft in the middle of a purple field of heather.

I’m sure it’s sighing and asking what took me so long. Am I the only sentimental yarn collector?

Deb

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Panic knitting

How are you making out with your gift knitting for the holidays?

I was fine for a bit, enjoying myself, and then I started to feel the pressure of the big day closing in. I started to make mistakes and then … panic sets in and the enjoyment goes out the window.

I like to knit for my loved ones. I think about them as I knit which I’m sure you do too. That makes knitting a pleasure and the giving extra special.

I did gift knit many Any Gauge Mittens, Top Down.

But I had a much more ambitious plan in mind which … I am now abandoning. I’m Done.

My new plan is to go through the pile of my knitted garments that sit on a shelf, OK, OK, many shelves. Things I knit because they looked like fun or were interesting, with no one particular in mind or maybe even for myself. I’m going to throw all the hats, shawls, mittens and cowls into a large basket and offer them around and say pick anything you like. Enjoy.

Whew. No pressure. I’m looking forward to the holidays now.

How about you? Are you knitting gifts? Is it fun? What are you working on? I’d love to hear about it.

Cheers, Deb

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Mittens Galore

I went on a mitten knitting jag. Yup, lots and lots of mittens using the Any Gauge Mittens, Top Down pattern. I think I’m done now. Here’s a long post to tell you all about it.Any Gauge Mittens group

Yes, lots of black. I had quite a few balls of black chunky weight Northern Lights in my stash and well, can you go wrong with black for young people and men?

These are for me because they match my new butterscotch coloured winter coat. The colour block pair (Navy and Apricot) will go inside my striped pair. I knit the stripes first, a little bit big. Then with a smaller needle and the same stitch and row counts, knit the second pair. One pair fits nicely inside the other. I used almost all of the two balls of wool.DSC_0030 (2)

I did the same for this pair for my daughter, who is a mitten wearer. I noticed she had a very bedraggled pair of mittens that I knit her several years ago. Long overdue for a new doubled up pair.DSC_0032 (2)

We have a new member of our family, my son’s partner, so I knit her a pair too (worsted weight). She liked the fingerless mitts I knit her so maybe she’s a mitten wearer too. I put a pattern down the back of the hand to keep me amused.DSC_0031 (2)Here’s a tip: For the Right Hand you work the Palm first and the Back of Hand second. For the Left Hand you knit across the Back of Hand first and then the Palm. Now you can add any pattern you like to the Back of Hand. I’m sure you have a couple of favourites that would fit nicely.

Once I had done all these mittens I started to get the second mitten syndrome. Oh, no, I wasn’t finished yet. I had a couple more pairs to go. So I took on a new to me technique, two-at-a-time. And it was a synch, ha, ha, ha, ha!!

It took me 3 times to get the cast on done and redone and redone again. Then I was on my way, except for the two times I joined up the two mittens. If you’ve done the two-at-a-time thing you probably know what I’m talking about.20191207_121250.jpg

The correct tools do help when you’re trying something new and I didn’t have them. I don’t own a long circular needle in size 5.5mm/US9 with a flexible cable. I have older needles with cables that don’t bend too well. So … I thought I would try using 3 circular needles along the lines of those flexi sock needles. The ones that are 3 very short circular needles with half your sock on one needle, the second half of your sock on a second circular and knit across with a third circular needle. I haven’t tried them. Have you? Did you like them?flexiflipsIt sort of worked. There was a lot of clacking of needle tips above my knees but that’s sort of music to my ears.20191207_153336 The next pair I knit I had a correct circular needle for Magic Loop method (still rather new to me) but no problems this time (worsted weight). 20191208_1132140.jpg

You Can teach an old dog knitter new tricks. This pair is for our friends who we see this weekend. DONE with the mitten thing, at least I think so.

Are you knitting for the big holiday? How’s it going?

Deb

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Any Gauge Mittens, Top Down

Mittens, they’re a small, a portable project and quick to knit. Do you have a pattern you knit over and over? It works. You know exactly how to do it because you’ve done it so many times before. Or do you download different mitten patterns to try something new? A new stitch pattern, a different yarn or a different way of doing them? It can make knitting mittens an adventure.

These are mine. A new pattern: Any Gauge Mittens, Top DownDSC_0012 (2) - Copy

They start at the top, yes, the top. That way you can dive into your stash and pick up any ball of yarn and get started right away. NO SWATCH. I love that.

Work increases until they are the correct size. GAUGE DOESN’T MATTER. In fact, nowhere in this Top Down Mitten pattern is it referred to. Not once.

If they’re for you, knit until you can fit your finger tips into the mitten top.DSC_0018 (2)

You also get to knit the thumbs from the top too. That’s the exciting part. It’s knit as a giant I-Cord on two double pointed needles. Quick, really quick.

Check out the Video: Any Gauge Mitten, ThumbMitten thumb

What do you do with all those ladders? You hook them up with a crochet hook, just like a dropped stitch. It’s magic!

Video: Hooking Up the Thumb LaddersNAA mitten P1020890

I’m experimenting with videos as you can see. Ha, it’s a learning curve for sure. I’ve made videos to go with each section of the mitten knitting. You’re getting all the info you would get in an Any Gauge Mitten, Top Down workshop. Let me know if this works for you.

Deb

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3×3 Cardigan and Mittens coming along

I have been working on my Any Gauge 3×3 Cardigan. Thanks for all your help. If you didn’t read the post last week, I needed some help in choosing colours. I’m really happy with the Blue/Brown/Purple combo.DSC_0571

I’m at the Great Divide and am taking a moment to admire how the colours have come out. There are many garter ridges along with the stockinette rows which give it quite a bit of texture. It also means there is more knitting than purling, Bonus!DSC_0566

Next is to place the sleeves (video). They will sit inside the Raglan Lines which you can see are very wide apart at the shoulders. I would like to do something to extend the lines down the body. Hmm. Still thinking.

Once the Divide is done it will really look like a sweater. I can’t wait.

Meanwhile I have been working on a new pattern: Any Gauge Mittens. It’s based on a workshop I have given several times. This is actually a Gauge-Free mitten. Gauge does not come into it at all. We don’t measure it, we don’t even think about it. It doesn’t matter. So you’ll be able to dive into your stash and cast on with whatever wool and needles you like. Whoopee.

To do this you have to begin the mittens in a different place, the top, and work the mittens down to the cuff. These are my new pair for this winter (knit in Northern Lights chunky weight wool by Cabin Fever).DSC_0559

These are the very worn out pair that needed replacing. They have served me well.dsc_0563.jpg

Converting from a workshop where I am there to guide the knitters, to a pattern where the knitter has to read it and work it on their own, has been a challenge. I am finding I can’t write in everything I would tell you if you were in my class. So this week I’m working on some videos so that you’ll be able to take me home with you. I don’t eat too much, I’m happy to talk knitting any time and I’ll even sleep in your wool room where the yarn fumes will lull me to sleep!

Deb

Any Gauge patterns by Deb

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How much Ease?

That’s what I’m asking myself as I knit the Top Down yoke of my 3×3 cardigan. How much ease do I want to add to this one? I’m working on an Any Gauge Raglan Cardigan where I get to make the decision for how much ease to add to the body of my sweater. All my decision. When I work the Divide Row I’m going to add the ease (extra stitches added at the underarm to make the sweater several inches bigger than my actual body at the bust). But how much?

Have you ever measured all your sweaters to see what size you really love to wear? Try this. Get out your measuring tape and measure around your bust, then around the chest of different garments. Look at the difference in the measurements. I bet you regularly wear garments with a wide range of ease: positive ease ( garment is larger than your actual bust measurement) and negative ease (smaller than your bust measurement).

There are charts for this. Here is one from the Craft Yarn Council.

Standard Ease

I usually knit to the Classic Fit with 3″ of ease. But … I’m starting to rethink this.

Here are some sweaters with various amounts of positive ease. Sweaters worn by me and my daughter who is several sizes smaller. Here we go.

A wool sweater from the Need A Cicular Yoke book by Cabin Fever, in Tuffy wool by Briggs and Little. It’s an Aran weight (Heavy Worsted) knit at a gauge of 16 sts = 4″.

Left: My sweater with +3″ of ease.  Right:  Morgan with +7.5″ of ease. I love this sweater and wear it all the time. Morgan liked the fit of this one, really comfortable. The waist shaping really makes this sweater work for both of us. On Morgan the sleeves are too big and it is 2-3″ too short but we would both happily wear this.

Now let’s go to a heavier weight of yarn. Any Gauge Raglan Pullover in Rowan Chunky Tweed knit to a gauge of 12 sts = 4″. 

Left: Me with +5″ of ease. Right: Morgan with +9.5″ of ease. I find this sweater really comfy and could even have gone with more hip ease but Morgan said it was too sloppy for her. If I was knitting this for her I would fill in the neck to make it smaller which would make it look and feel like a better fit. This one is long enough, with nice long sleeves.

Three more to go. Any Gauge Raglan Pullover for a vest in Worsted Weight wool by Dragon Strings, knit at a gauge of 20 sts = 4″.

Left: Me with +1″ of positive ease. Left: Morgan +5.5″ positive ease. I have always found this vest slightly uncomfortable and now I know why. One inch of ease feels a little tight, especially over a top. I can block it slightly bigger so I will wear it more often. Morgan thought this fit nicely on both of us.

My favourite. Any Gauge Raglan Pullover in Solid Sock by Mineville Wool Project. knit at a gauge of 24 sts = 4″.

Left: Me with +1″ of ease. Right: Morgan with +5.5″ of ease. I think this one works for both of us. I might block mine slightly bigger for comfort. Because it’s a light weight sweater with A-line shaping and a tunic length it works for two different sizes and figures.

Last One. Any Gauge Cardigan in various canadian wools knit at 18 sts = 4″.

Left: Me with +5″ of ease. Right: Morgan with +9.5″ of ease. This is a really comfortable  amount of ease for me but is huge on Morgan. It’s a stiffish fabric that doesn’t mold to a smaller frame.

My conclusions are:

  1. For a firm knits with heavier yarns 3-6″ of ease seems to work really well. The sweater is going to hold it’s own shape. I would make sure there is waist and hip shaping to give the sweater a curvy look.
  2. For a sweater knit in medium weights of yarn producing a nice soft fabric, the Classic Fit of 2-4″ of ease works really well. More ease coupled with a longer length would also work.
  3. A finer fingering (sock) weight sweater can look great with any amount of ease from 1″ to as much as 7″ or maybe more. A sweater with a nice drape and A-line shaping in a longer tunic length can be knit with lots of ease and still not look over-sized.

What has your experience of ease been? Do you have a favourite amount of ease that works for you? Were you astonished by the range of ease in the garments you regularly wear?

I can’t wait to hear from you,

Deb

Any Gauge and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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