How many knitting books is too many?

Do you have enough knitting books yet? I have a huge stack even after I went through them and discarded quite a few. Heartbreaking but necessary. Some books served their purpose at one time but now I will not be going back to them so they got donated to my public library. Hopefully a knitter new to them will pick them up.

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What are your favourite books?

Some excellent knitting books that survived:

Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Knitting Around Elizabeth Zimmermann

Check out the Knitting Around patterns in the book. If you are looking for books where you will learn about the basics of knitting, you can’t go wrong with any of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. I counted today and I have knit 11 different garments out of this one book alone (the Mystery Mittens are the best!). I would highly recommend the Moccasin Socks for something different and we all seem to be trying out new ways to knit socks.

Thockie EZ

It’s still mitten weather. I have knit all of the mittens in this book. Aren’t these Norwegian Mittens beautiful?

Norwegian Mittens EZ

Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog

Knit to Flatter Amy Herzog

This is not a book I own but I have read it a couple of times and can recommend it. I have also never knit anything out of it but lots of knitters have posted projects on Ravelry. I think she appeals to a younger crowd than I. The most important part of this book for me was the section on picking the correct style for your figure. Sweater success starts with picking the neckline and shape of sweater which will flatter your figure. She also points out that how you look in the mirror, head on, may not entirely tally with your measurements. I am much less hippy when looking in the mirror than is indicated by my measurements. Choose a style according to the mirror and then work with your measurements to make it fit. Great advice.

Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn A. Clark

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This book is based on a workshop for knitting triangular shawls. I have knit from this book several times. It’s wonderful. What I love about it is the freedom of choosing different stitch patterns and the wonderful way she has set up transitioning from one stitch pattern to the next. Amazing. Mix and match the patterns, every shawl is different. Work them in stockinette stitch and then in garter stitch and see the difference the wrong side row makes.

Do you have some recommendations? I love to hear about books I haven’t seen yet.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Easy eh?

I am working on the Easy A by Kat Riddell, a garter stitch sweater with a KAL (knit along) on ravelry. I love garter stitch and this looked like it would be a perfect spring sweater.

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I had some Heritage by Briggs and Little and one ball of hand dyed by Essence of Autumn in my stash. Well, not exactly in my stash. It was masquerading as a partially knit sweater in the time-out corner. The sweater had severe gauge problems and sitting in the corner did not seem to be solving them so I undid the sweater, steamed the wool and decided to rework it here. I knew I didn’t have enough green so I thought I would add stripes on the body since I had a ball of these two other colours.

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Then as I was thinking about stripes, I just happened to see a women wearing a top where the stripes on each side of the front were different widths. Perfect.

To my mind the stripes started as Maroon and Green, Maroon and Green. Then I started on the pink stripes. My first attempt did not work. Even I could see that the last green stripe did not appear as a stripe.

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Second time lucky. I am quite happy with the results.

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I am seriously running out of the green. Oh, no, was my first reaction but I still had lots of the other  two colours. Working the sleeves in one colour of pink did not look good. I ripped them back and now I’m on a roll with striped sleeves. At least the first one.

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Stayed tuned as I play yarn chicken.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

 

Bust Shaping with Twin Stitches

The best part of writing a book for me, is discovery. There is always something that I learn that makes the book special. It may be a small detail that you, the knitter, might  never notice. It might be one pattern that was especially interesting to develop that is the highlight. It won’t necessarily be the most popular pattern in the book but it will be special to me.

In the Need A Circular Yoke book I had an “aha” moment. We, Elizabeth Fallone and I, discovered that the short row system using Twin Stitches which is usually used to turn the heel of a sock, could be used to raise the back of the neck. That’s not the moment though. I also discovered that it could be used in a different way to shape the bust. Short Rows can be used for bust shaping to make the Front longer to compensate for a larger bust, that’s not new. We didn’t do that. We didn’t use the short rows themselves. We used the Twin Stitches from the short row system to widen the Front so there would be less pull-up on the sweater.

NACY bust dart w arrow

Imagine if you could accurately position the bust shaping. You want to work increases to  widen the Front of your sweater so that the fabric is at its widest just above the widest line across your bust. I work from the Top Down so I am always trying to position the beginning point of the bust dart the correct distance from the underarm of my sweater. Not too high above my bust line and I definitely do not want to start the dart too low and run out of room.

Bust shaping w twin stitches

The twin stitches allow you to work an increase every round. In knitting, we don’t have very many increases that work well when worked every round so this was a find. When you can work an increase every round you can know accurately how much vertical room these increases will need.

Working with worsted weight yarn (because the math is easy) let’s say you want to add 3″/7.5cm to the front of your sweater. That would be about 8 stitches on each side of the Front for a total of 16 sts added to the front. Your row count for worsted weight yarn is 7 rows = 1″/2.5cm so working 8 increases over 8 rounds would take just a smidge over 1″/2.5cm (1.14″/3cm to be exact). Ta, da. Start your twin stitch increases just an inch and a bit above the widest part of your bust.

NACY bust dart

What is a Twin Stitch? It’s a “Knit in the Row Below” stitch where you hold onto the loop you made in the row below and use it as an increase. You do not pull off the original stitch on your left needle (the stitch you knit into the row below of). Wow, that’s really confusing. It’s much clearer on my video. Check it out.

Here’s the link for  Twin Stitches for Bust Shaping on a Top Down Pullover  as used in the Need A Circular Yoke book by Cabin Fever where we made the Front of these pullovers 2″/5cm wider than the back.

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Have you used this system? Did it work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns on Ravelry

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.