Why don’t I wear this sweater?

Spring has sprung and it’s time to wash and then put away the heavy woollies. As I take out sweater after sweater, I wonder why certain ones never got worn. I liked it when I knit it. I like everything while I’m knitting. I thought at the time I would wear it.  Why didn’t I? Maybe it’s time to find out and do something about it.

Here is one of my Gauge-Free Raglan Pullovers. This was one of the last ones I knit as a sample for the pattern and I took a couple of short cuts or at lease didn’t give it the time and consideration I could have. I pick it up and put it down a lot. I even get as far as putting it on and then take it off. Hmm, I wonder why? It’s time to find out.gauge-free raglan (2)

I like the woolly feel of it. I like the big cable down the front and back and the little cable down the sleeves. It was fun to knit. The fit is fine. It’s totally worth the time and effort to get right. Time to investigate. I put it on one more time. What’s bothering me?IMG_3898

  1. I think it would be more attractive if it was shorter. It feels heavy when it’s on so making it shorter would make it feel lighter.
  2. I think the neck opening looks too wide for me. I would like to fill it in more.
  3. I wish the neckband was raised at the back of neck. I can feel the edge of it lower down on the back of my neck than I would like. Making the neckband wider will help but I think I’ll do some short rows to raise the back of the neck this time.

 

I’m feeling better already. I have a plan. It starts with ripping. I know ripping can be painful but this is in a good cause and seems right.gauge-free raglan (3) Mods

  1.  Rip back to a shorter length. This is knit top down so all I have to do is snip one stitch of the cast off and start ripping until the length seems best and then re-knit the bottom ribbed edge.
  2. Rip out the neckband. Since it was picked up around the neck opening and cast off at the top edge of the neckband, I have another easy rip back.
  3. Use the yarn I took off the bottom of the sweater to reknit the neckband to deeper length with short rows to raise the back of the neck.

Now I’m getting excited. This is sooo going to work.

Do you have some sweaters you need to rework? Have you done this before?

Cheers, Deb

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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?

Deb

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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,

Deb

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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 toes.build 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 done.build 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 here.build 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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Gauge-Free FREE beginner scarf

Does this idea of Gauge-Free really seem weird to you? What do you mean you can just pick out some yarn and start with no stitch counts and no idea of a gauge you need to get? How can you knit the correct size? Any yarn at all? Any needle I think is reasonable? How can that be?!

If you are knitting at home more than usual during this time and want a stash diving  project, give this a try: Gauge-Free Triangles Scarf/Shawl. This is one of the workshops I teach and I’m offering it Free here for the duration. Knit GAUGE-FREE or, as I call it, knitting without a safety net!

The trick to knitting Gauge-Free is getting started in the right spot. You need to start where you can get to the size you need, regardless of your gauge, and measure it with a ruler (tape measure).triangle workshop height measurement

 

Here’s a beginner project, the GAUGE-FREE TRIANGLES SCARF/Shawl that totally works because it starts at the corner of the first triangle.

gauge-free triangle scarf workshop

It’s a modular, join-as-you-go project. You can use any yarn with any needle you think is reasonable. You can knit a scarf with all your odd balls or have a more thought-out plan of two colours. You can knit every triangle a different colour or knit stripes (as soon as you work stripes you have a right side and wrong side, keep that in mind). You can knit this as a large rectangular shawl (or is it called a stole?) if you make ‘Triangle I’ about 12″-14″/30-36cm deep or even deeper and then go on from there for as long as you need it to be. Add a stitch pattern or two?

If you make many scarves you can sew them together into a blanket.triangle scarf blanket

The options are endless.

Enjoy,

Deb

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Wedges Shawl

It all began because I had an idea. I like shawls with long tails. A perfectly triangular shawl does not give me enough of a tail drape down in front of me to hold the shawl in place. I want to get the stapler out so that it doesn’t shift around.

I thought that adding wedges to a standard triangular shawl would do the trick.

Take a triangle shawl …triangle shawl

and add wedges to elongate the tails.triangle with wedges

Even after the first attempt I could see that it would work. So the Wedges Shawl soon became an obsession.DSC_0547

I moved the wedges closer to the centre line but otherwise the original concept was kept intact.20190801_094302Here is the worsted weight version. I used 100g of worsted weight wool by Twishandshoutfiberarts and 100g of Paton’s Classic Wool (purple).

 

I worked all of the Wedge Shawl Variations: (left to right on the photo below) Garter Wedge, Stockinette Wedge, Garter Ridges Wedge and Eyelet Wedge. It certainly made things interesting.20190806_152607.jpg

Then I progressed to double check with Fingering weight yarn out of my stash. The purple is Estelle Alpaca Merino Fine and the variegated is by Richard Devries. I worked the Garter Wedge, Garter Ridges, Garter Wedge again, Stockinette Wedge, Garter Wedge once more and Eyelet Wedge. I was running out of yarn by the end and my Eyelet Wedge was only 4 rows deep, sigh.DSC_0549

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Next I needed to work out the Eyelet Wedges to my satisfaction since they were not matchy, matchy ( Symmetrical or Not). This one is Eyelets all the way. I love it and not only because of the orange in all the wedges (although it is a factor).20190824_141054 - Copy

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And look at those tails … nice and long.

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So now you can give it a try:  Wedges Shawl is now on ravelry. I hope you enjoy knitting them. I sure did.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Shawl Wedges Improved

The shawl Wedges won’t leave me alone. I’m dreaming about them. It’s the first thing I want to do in the morning, not before my coffee of course, that would just be silliness, but before my breakfast which had to wait an hour while I started a new shawl.

I want to see if I can refine a process to get longer tails. I’ve started with a standard Isosceles Triangle Shawl shape. I find these shawls difficult to wear because the tails aren’t long enough to hang down the front and keep it anchored in place. This will be the true test of the Wedges for Longer Tails idea.

triangle shawl

I started with a garter stitch tab in the usual manner and worked in garter stitch until I was ready to do the first wedge. This time I’m working the Shawl Tip so that when I block it I will be able to stretch the top edge nicely.

Then I got a little a lot ahead of myself and thought I would add a mosaic pattern to the wedge. I was feeling very smug. I knew exactly what I was doing. The first wedge with mosaic patterning went really well.

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Although I tried and tried, I couldn’t get the second wedge on the other side to work well. Out it all came. Time for a break.

wedges-shawl-start.jpg

Note to Self:  Remember K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid!).

Keeping my own advice in mind I worked garter stitch wedges. Ahh, much better. Whew, I’m getting somewhere.

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Can I feel smug now? I’m trying not to.

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Writing out the pattern and moving on to my next wedge. Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Shawl wedges

In my search for a better fitting shawl I have found that I like long tails. The triangle shawl I like then is no longer a true triangle. With long tails I can wrap it around my neck and have two long tails hanging down. This gives me styling options which if you knew me you would be laughing right now, style, ha!! Ahem, to continue, I could leave the tails hanging (I’m sure this vertical makes me look taller, at least 5’1″). I could also tie the tails under my chin to keep my neck nice and snug.

So long tails … here the standard triangle shawl which starts at the top and has a spine down the centre with increases.

triangle shawl

You can make the tails longer by working increases every row along the top edge. That’s the shawl I was knitting as a sample for our Cabin Fever Retreat in October where we are diving into 3 different shawl shapes, the triangle being one of these.

long tail triangle shawl

Then, just as I was getting into it, I had a thought (this is not always good). Here is my thought. What if I put short row wedges in the shawl. Wouldn’t that make it wider than it is tall and produce longer tails?

triangle shawl w wedges.png

I think this is what is going to happen to the shawl I’m knitting.

triangle with wedges

Here is the first wedge knit in purple. The wedge is only 2 rows deep near the spine of increases and 4 rows deep at the outside. It seems to be rounding the top edge already.

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So I tried a couple more.

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The second wedge was shorted rows over 6 rows and the third was over 8 rows. Obviously more rows would make more of a difference.

20190726_145908

I think there is something I could do with this idea. More wedges or just wider wedges? What do you think? Wider wedges would allow space for some patterning which would be cool don’t you think?

I was also definitely sorry I didn’t work the Shawl Tip. Next time.

20190727_112914

It works. I knit it in 100g of worsted weight wool by Twist and Shout Fiber Arts and 75g of Patons Classic Wool.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Stashbust a Shawl

Every conversation I have with knitters seems to include the word Stashbusting. You, too? Maybe it’s you who gets that conversation started. It usually comes up around opportunities for buying more yarn. Who can resist? But what can you do with some of the stash you already have?

I’m on the same mission. All those odd 50g balls, single 100g skeins, left-over sock bits need to become something wearable.

I had 2 partial skeins of Durasport by Briggs and Little in natural. This one I dyed with food colouring and the other one with tea.

dye guild (2)

Then onto the needles to knit a shawl with both colours. But not just any shawl, I have specific criteria for shawls.

  1. I like my triangular shawls to be wider than they are deep.
  2. I like my shawls to have long tails (equal or close in length) so they are easy to wrap around my neck and stay in place. I’m trying to stifle the urge to staple shawls to my clothes.
  3. I need it to be easy to knit so I can carry it around. Garter stitch is perfect for knitting a stitch or two wherever I am.

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The Magic Symmetry Shawl starts at one point and works like many shawls do by adding one stitch to the shawl every 2 rows. Nothing new there. To get the tails to be of similar length so you don’t need a shawl pin (or staples), takes some magic.

To make it easy to know when to knit these Magic Rows they need to be different than the other rows. So I made the Magic Rows in the second colour.

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I knit most of the rows in the beige tea wool with the Magic rows in turquoise until the beige ball got small then I switched it up using the turquoise as the main and stripes in beige until I ran out of yarn.

20190627_100333 - Copy

Any gauge will work for this new pattern Magic Symmetry Shawl. This is the first one I knit. I have a couple more shawls to show you since how can you knit just one?

Cheers and happy summer knitting,

Deb

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Retreat with knitters

The Yarn Over Sleep Over knitting retreat is over for another year. I am still so jazzed I can hardly sit still. Spending time with so many enthusiastic knitters is energizing and so inspiring.

After this weekend there will be several more Any Gauge sweaters in the world. My students were the first to go through the instructions for an Any Gauge Cardigan worked from the Top Down.  They worked on a 1/5 scale model using their personal measurements. I will be teaching this again next week for Knit Night group. Now I have to get a couple sweaters knit myself so that I can put it out there so you can knit one too.

DSC_0468

In Sunday’s class we tackled a big topic. We took the Nimbus pattern by Berroco Design Team, a bottom-up pattern worked in 6 pieces to be sewn together, and worked out how to knit it without any seams.

Nimbus

We went through the process of knitting it from the Top Down with a Simultaneous Set-In Sleeve, based on Barbara G. Walker’s book Knitting from the Top Down.

Barbara Walker Knitting from the Top Down

The Set-In Sleeve is worked as part of the Yoke. No seams. Here’s the Top Down version of the Nimbus that I knit as a sample.

DSC_0475

I still have some fine tuning to do on this idea but the Set-In Sleeve worked really, really  well. I am very excited about this whole idea. I will never, ever, sew in a set-in sleeve again. It was a terrific class and my students hung in there with me to the end. This was a very new and challenging concept to take in over a 2 1/2 hour class.

DSC_0472

Now I have a couple more ideas for my classes next year. I can hardly wait.

But first, I get to teach at a couple more retreats. If you are a Northern knitter I am running a retreat in Algoma Mills, half way between Sudbury and  Sault Ste. Marie, ON on May 3-5, 2019. At “Knitting at Lake Lauzon” we are going to knit a sweater for ourselves using our very own measurements. After two full days of knitting we will all have a sweater starting at the Top and worked down past the underarms and will be on our way to a great fitting sweater.

On the last weekend in October, 2019 at the Cabin Fever Retreat we will be working on shawls. We will be presenting the basic concepts for 3 different shapes: the triangle shawl, the crescent-shaped shawl and the asymmetric shawl. Each student will pick one shape and get started. We will be tackling that mysterious sentence “incorporate the increases into your stitch pattern”. The students will go home with a firm understanding and some practice adding stitch patterns to their shawls. We’re going DEEP.

Lots of exciting classes coming up.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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