A Mystery

I’m fascinated when I see a traditional garment worked in an entirely different way. How did they come up with this idea? Was there a process the designer has gone through to make this breakthrough? Is it a breakthrough at all? I mean do we need to work this garment in some strange way? Was it just the whim of a designer with too much time on their hands?

I know, they are just there to mess with my head.

This is the beginning of a mitten. “Yeah, right”, you say.

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How does this turn into a mitten?

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It’s a mitten cast on in the oddest place. I have no idea how this came to be. You might have guessed that this is a design by Elizabeth Zimmermann. She called them  Sideways Mystery Mittens .

When you fold this weird garter stitch thing you get a mitten. I was truly amazed the first time I knit these.

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But after knitting several pairs it was “ho, hum, so what”, ha, ha, NOT.  They are still amazing no matter how many pairs I’ve knit.

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Then I modified them of course because I just can’t let well enough alone. I added short rows to the back of the hands, I felted a pair, added stripes to another and then made them in different weights of yarn and sizes. I never figured out how she came up with the idea in the first place. A mystery still.

Share if you enjoyed reading this. Leave a comment if you’ve knit these or would like to. Thanks for reading,

Deb

Vertical Darts Top Down

The holidays are over. Is it time for you now? Are you knitting a sweater for yourself? It’s a long winter. I’ve got a couple started because, as you know, that’s the most exciting part.

If it’s a sweater for yourself how much bust shaping would you like to add to a pattern that doesn’t include any?

Adding a couple of inches to the bust on a Top Down sweater is fairly straight forward. But what if you wanted to add more than 2″ in total across the bustline? Could you start your bust increases in the Yoke while still working the raglan increases and then continue them down into the body? Vertical Darts work from the Bottom Up, why not from the Top Down?

Since I raised this question I decided I had to try it out. I started working the bust shaping increases when I still had 8 rounds left to work in the Yoke. This is the same strategy as the Top Down Easy Bust Darts but this time the bust increases are worked in a vertical line away from the raglan line. The vertical line of increases will allow me to continue to work bust increases until I have reached the largest point of my bust. (This schematic is an approximation – the raglan and bust increases are worked in the same round – dots on the schematic make it look like the bust increases are worked more often, they are not.)

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing high bust

I worked a raglan increase and a bust increase on each side of the Front for the last 4 Increase Rounds before I divided for the underarm. After the Divide I continued to work the bust increases 4 more times for a total of 8 increases on each side of the front giving me 3″ of extra width.

bust shaping in yoke

My main concern was what would show.

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While the increase line is visible it is not so noticeable when I’m wearing the sweater (or when my best girl is wearing it) and the extra room is well worth the effort.

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This was easier to do than I expected. It shows but only as a dart which is acceptable. I got quite a bit more bust room because of it. I’m really happy with the result.

How about you? Could you add this into a Top Down raglan?

Thanks for reading. Cheers,

Deb

More reading on Top Down Bust Shaping:

Do I Need Bust Darts?

7 Reasons to Double Up the Increases for Bust Shaping

How Do You Want Your Sweater to Fit?

Bust Dart, Top Down

Plain Sock, Striped Sock, New Heel

Christmas is coming soon and I can’t do much else now but work on finishing up the projects that I planned to make. This year it’s socks. I wanted to make 4 pair. I started quite a while ago, I’m not crazy enough to think I could get these done quickly because that would take all the fun out of them and I intended to have some fun. Why not?!

In September I made my first pair in my regular sock way: Toe Up with a Star Toe and a short row heel. That’s my standard, no-thinking sock method.

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Next, I had a second ball of the same self-striping wool and thought to add in another colour and work stripes-on-stripes to see what would happen. What could go wrong? They would still be wearable socks, right?

I worked Spiral stripes (check out the link for my other diary-type blog where you’ll see I knit Spiral Striped socks for Christmas 2015 using 3 colours). This time I worked them with two colours and picked one spot at the side of the foot to change colour every round. The trick here is not to twist the yarn but to pick up the new colour from the round below and continue to knit the next round without twisted the colours around each other.

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These two socks are worked using the same Toe-Up knitting method and the same main colour self-striping yarn but the second pair has a navy contrast colour added (different size for a different person).

I’m so pleased with how these striped socks turned out. I have several 50g balls of sock yarn to use up and this works wonderfully well.

Next pair, same stripes because now I’m smitten. Cuff down this time just to mix it up.

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Confession time, I’m getting a little bored. Time to try a new-to-me heel.

This V at the back of the heel takes the place of a gusset. Work increases on either side of the centre two back of leg stitches every other round until you have doubled the number of back of leg stitches minus 4 sts.  Work the increases into a stitch pattern if you wish just like I did. I learned of this method from the Vanilla is the new Black pattern.

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Now work the regular V-heel turning. Knit to the centre of back of leg stitches, K2, SSK, K1, Turn. Slip first stitch, P5, P2tog, P1, turn. If you are a sock knitter you can take it from here and finish your heel turning when you have reached the original number of stitches.

This gives you a deeper heel turning which I think is a real advantage.

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I’m in love. I think I can have some more fun with this heel. Maybe cables or twisted stitches on the back of the heel worked in with the increases or … maybe work the increases radiating out in a V instead of on either side of those centre sts.  Or maybe …

Stop, stop, stop! I have to finish these socks first. Now I have the carrot of trying something else dangling in front of my needles. Good incentive to finish.

If you are knitting for Christmas, good luck. May the knitting fairies favour your efforts.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thanks for reading,

Deb

https://www.ravelry.com/stores/cabin-fever-patterns

http://cabinfeverknittingdesigns.blogspot.ca

 

 

Gauge Free Playing

I am in the middle of must-get-finished Christmas knitting. In spite of this schedule, I’m taking some time to play with a Gauge-Free triangle. I have no one in mind for this, maybe it’s for me?!

That’s not really it. The real reason I’m taking a break is because we are in Ottawa watching our daughter play in the Roar of the Rings (curling playdowns to decide who gets to be Team Canada at the Olympics) which is a roller coaster of emotions and not so good for my knitting. As you may imagine it’s a little tight in places, ha, ha.

This triangle will become an asymmetric shawl. I dived into my stash and found a ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock which is colourful and will make a lovely summer wrap. It’s only 300m, not enough, so I also found a ball of Louett Linen which should go well with it.

So here goes. I started with the Silk Garden, working an increase at the beginning of one row and knitting back. That’s it. The yarn is doing all the work.

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Then I started working stripes with the Linen.

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The problem is carrying the yarn you’re not using for those two rows. I have decided to knit the last stitch of the second knit row with both colours. It makes that edge a little thicker but I don’t have any yarn looping on this edge.

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Now I’m adding in a purl row. I really like the look of this. It makes one colour the background which is effective.

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With the Linen I’m working one knit row and a purl row then 2 knit rows of Silk Garden. This should take me through today’s game. Then I think some “K2tog, YO” yeylets are in my shawl’s future.

There is nothing I can do wrong here. This shawl let’s you play with stitch patterns and colour. It’s freeing. Maybe this is for you too.

Thanks for reading.

Knit to Fit: Bust Dart, Top Down

Let’s get back to my first love, Top Down knitting. One of the things I like best about knitting from the top is that everything does not have to be planned ahead of time. I will decide that I am going to add bust shaping to widen the front of my sweater. As I approach the bottom of the Yoke I can think about how I might do the bust shaping since it can be done in several different ways.

One method to use is Easy Bust Shaping , working the bust shaping into the last couple of inches of the Yoke, above the underarm.

Here is a second method, a Bust Dart. The bust shaping occurs just where you need it, in the couple of inches between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

NAPC Bust shaping (559x640)

I introduced this method in the Need A Plus Cardigan book where the Front of the cardigans are set up to be 3″ wider than the back. Two inches were added through the bust darts and the third inch in the buttonbands. The extra width is incorporated into the final sizing of all the cardigans.

NAPC Cover

Set up a Bust Marker on each side of the Front and work increases every other round.

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing

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Could you add more than 1″ worth of stitches? It depends on how much vertical room you have between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

Bust shaping Top Down vertical

Your bra matters here! Put on your best figure enhancing bra and measure. Since you are working an increase every other row you need to check the number of rows you can fit into this vertical distance. You may be able to sneak in a couple more increases. I usually do.

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Me, wearing a Lace Panel cardigan from Need A Plus Cardigan book.

Could this method work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever books and patterns

Knitting Boredom

I’m working on a new project made up of triangles that join together as you work. You’ll be seeing some of it soon but I have to tell you that I’m bored.

This is a good sign. To me it means that I have the fundamental parts of the construction figured out. Once I’ve figured things out I get bored.

When do you get bored? Maybe there is too much stockinette stitch in your pattern. I can hear my friend Jen saying “that’s what a knitting machine is good for, all that stockinette stitch”. You may or may not agree with her but it does free her up to do all the interesting bits. What do you do when you get bored?

I think boredom can improve your knitting. Let’s say you intend to knit a dozen hats for charity or for everyone on your Christmas list. You start with your favourite hat pattern. Now knit another, maybe in a different colour. Cast on for the next and the next. Are you bored yet? Where would this take you? You still have 9 hats to go. Would you buckle down and just get them knit, grinding your teeth? Would you cruise through ravelry and buy a new pattern for each hat? Would you buy variegated yarn to jazz things up so you have something pretty to look at? What are you going to do?

Now let’s pretend you only have one pattern. The desert island scenario. Your internet is not working, your car is in the shop, you are stranded with your yarn stash and one hat pattern. Now what do you do?

  1.  Work some colour blocks or stripes into the hat. Not too hard and kind of fun.
  2.  Introduce some cables, lace or textured stitches into your hat. More of a challenge. Remember that cables will pull your work in and make the hat a smaller size. Lace will stretch and make a larger size. You can adjust for this by working increases for the cables or decreases for the lace work above the brim treatment and then adjust back to the original number of stitches before working the crown.
  3.  Knit the hat in the opposite direction. You might have guessed that this is where I would go. I love playing with the construction of garments. Knit a standard brim-up hat from the top down. Read the directions for the cast off backwards to the beginning. Cast on the number of stitches you previously cast off. Increase for the crown instead of decreasing. Here is a stretchy bind off for the brim of your top down hat . It’s important that it is stretchy: Knit 2 sts, *insert your Left needle into the fronts of the 2 knit sts on the Right needle, from left to right, and knit these 2 sts together (just like an SSK), K1 so there are 2 sts on Right needle; repeat from *.
  4.  Knit the same pattern in a different weight of yarn. You do have your stash with you. This is a challenge and if you know my Cabin Fever books you know I’ve already done this in the Need A Hat book where all the hat patterns are written for all gauges. Here are two ways you can do it yourself. Decide on the size of hat you want, say a 21″ hat, and multiply it by your new gauge (#sts = 1″) for a new number of stitches to cast on, example: 21″ x 5 sts = 105 sts. Feel free to adjust to an even number if needed and knit your hat from there.  OR since your desert island hat pattern probably comes in several sizes, take the stitch count for each size and divide it by your new yarn gauge (#sts = 1″) for a new set of sizes. Follow the instructions and stitch count for the new size you need, examples: 104 sts in worsted weight yarn makes a 21″ hat (104 sts divided by 5 sts = 1″),  104 sts in DK weight yarn makes a 19″ hat (104 sts divided by 5.5 sts = 1″).

NAH hat P1020855Snowshoe Hat in Aran & Fingering weight yarn, Need A Hat book

If you have done any of this, you are designing. Yes, you. Did you enjoy the excitement of experimenting?

There is always uncertainty about the results. Was that difficult?

I can’t wait to hear about your adventures and experiments. Thanks for reading,

Deb

Knit to Fit: Vertical Darts II (for Bottom Up sweaters)

Let’s say you have a pattern for a sweater with a straight body. You’ve worked your sweater from the bottom up and to accommodate your figure, you have worked increases between your waist and your bust, making Vertical Darts to add extra width at the bust.

Now things get interesting. You have to work decreases to get back to the correct number of stitches for the upper chest and the shoulders on your pattern. How and where can you do this? Here are three ways.

OPTION 1:  You can continue the princess lines straight up to the shoulder.

princess line blouse drawing

Keep the markers used in your Vertical Darts in place and work a decrease before the first marker and after the second marker as your work up to the shoulder.

Vertical Darts body schematic II

If I was doing this option I might consider making the princess lines prominent. They would form strong vertical lines from the bottom edge to the top. A couple of stitches beside the markers could be worked with twisted stitches or with a purl stitch on either side to delineate them. This shaping could also be worked along the outside edges of a centre panel of textured or lace stitches. As a short person, I think any vertical line is a good design feature.

OPTION 2:  For a sportier model you can work the decreases quickly on an angle toward the body-sleeve edge.

Vertical Darts body schematic II Sports look

You have seen this idea many times in sports clothes where the side panel is in a different colour, usually darker or brighter so your eye moves along the curved line adding visual shape to you and your garment.

flaxey_team1280 curling morgan sports wear

Another benefit of this model is that the decreases are done quickly (every other row) making the upper chest smaller for a better fit.

princess line blouse sporty look drawing

OPTION 3:  If you are working in pieces, you could decrease the extra bust stitches away as you work the shaping for the armhole.

sweater schematic decr bust sts

Work the darts, adding extra width to the body at the bust and work straight up to the armhole. Work the armhole shaping as written and then continue to work the decrease shaping, extending the angled line until the number of stitches across the upper chest matches your pattern.

DONE. You will have a nicely shaped sweater which fits your unique figure.

Thanks for reading,

Deb