Behind the design

When I was designing this Saddle Up

… I had a vague picture in my head, of another sweater. I knew it was an Elizabeth Zimmermann design and every once in a while I would wonder where I had seen it. I didn’t look for it, I just kept it there in my head. Yesterday I rooted around in my book library and I found it here.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/knitting-workshop-updated-edition

It was the Gaffer’s Gansey.

Now that I’m looking at this sweater, I’m chuckling to myself as I see that it doesn’t really resemble my finished pattern. But the starting point was there. It was the sideways garter stitch saddle that caught my attention years ago and recently popped into my head again. The saddle idea would not go away. It needed to be knit.

The gansey above is knit bottom up with the saddles worked last. My Saddle Up is turned on its head. It’s worked mostly top down, for any gauge of yarn, and for any size. The saddle is worked first, from one shoulder to the other. The width of the saddle is used to determine the final size of the pullover. Then stitches are picked up off of the edges of the saddle and the rest of the pullover is knit down.

It’s curious how the mind works. I started with a very vague idea about that garter stitch saddle and then wondered how I could make it Gauge-Free and for any size. There we have it, two sweaters with similar saddles but each worked with a different style of construction.

I hope you are also enjoying your knitting through this cold winter. Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

I-Cords, Built-In

Do you know how I-cords work? They are a little bit of knitting magic. When paired with Garter Stitch they do all sorts of good things.

First, 2 or 3 stitches of I-Cord on the outside edges of garter stitch give it a tidy finish. This is sometimes called a Built-in I-cord because you work the I-cord edge as you knit the garter stitch fabric.

Secondly, because these outside stitches are slipped every other row, they give the edge stability. They are a tiny bit shorter because they are not worked every row. These I-cord stitches hold the edges firmly so the edge won’t stretch.

A small sample showing 2-stitch built-in I-cord. It looks the same on both the right side and the wrong side.

Garter Stitch with 2-stitch I-Cord edge: Knit to last 2 sts, bring yarn forward, slip the last 2 sts. This row is worked over and over, on both the right side and wrong side of the fabric.

When you slip the last 2 sts, your yarn is attached to the 3rd stitch in from the tip of the needle because that was the last stitch you knit. So what happens in the next row? You need to pull the wool across the back of your work, from the third stitch to the first stitch so you can knit the row. This pulls the first stitch around towards the back of your work, as you knit it.

On one edge the second I-cord stitch rolls to the back. On the other edge the second I-cord stitch rolls to the front.

Because these two stitches are slipped every other row they look like stockinette stitch. A 2-stitch I-cord is the tiniest tube you can knit around the edge of your garter stitch fabric.

The Saddle Up pullover begins with a Garter Stitch Saddle with I-cord edges, of course.

The Saddle begins at the left shoulder and is worked across to the the right shoulder, with a hole for your head in the middle. Pretty straight forward, right?

But that’s not all there is to it, of course. That would be way too easy. There is another way of working the 2-stitch I-cord.

There are occasions when you would like both the I-cord stitches to be rolling to the wrong side of your work. This can be done, too. The Saddle uses this technique for the Back of Neck stitches.

On both edges the second I-cord stitch rolls to the wrong side of the fabric.

2-Stitch I-Cord rolling to the wrong side: Right Side Row: Knit to last 2 sts, leave yarn in the back, slip last 2 sts. Wrong Side Row: Purl 2 sts, knit to last 2 sts, yarn forward, slip last 2 sts.

What is that line down the middle of the Saddle? The shoulders of the Saddle for this pullover need a lot of extra stability since the sleeve will be trying to pull it down. So I added some non-stretchy stitches right down the centre. It looks like an I-Cord but it isn’t. The middle 2 stitches are slipped every other row and work the same way, in that these 2 stitches are a tiny bit shorter and won’t stretch. Thanks L for pointing this out.

There is one more reason for all this I-Cord business. A 2-stitch I-Cord gives you a sideways stockinette stitch for every garter ridge. In the Saddle Up pullover, stitches are picked up & knit along the bottom edge of the Saddle to form the Front which is worked flat, down to the bottom of the armhole. If you pick up & knit into the I-Cord stitch that has rolled to the back the Saddle, you get a very lovely line of stitches running between the Saddle and the Front. It will never stretch and it’s so very neat and tidy. Don’t you think?

I’ve done the pick up & knit into the I-cord across the bottom edge of the Saddle and have started my cables down the Front.
I picked up & knit along the I-cord stitches on bottom edge of the Back of the Saddle and worked stockinette stitch down the Back.

You can add I-cord stitches to any garter stitch project. You may get to love them as much as I do.

Are you are interested in knitting this Saddle Up, drop shoulder pullover with me? I’m publishing each section as I get it done and tested. I’ll update the pattern with each new section as we go along. The Saddle section is up for sale.

I’m interested in any comments, corrections or problems you have with this pattern. I’ve included lots of photos and my blog posts will be featuring this pullover for the next month. Happy to have you join me.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Debgemmellmods group on ravelry

Saddle Up for a new sweater

If you can’t think of anything else to do, start a new project. That’s a good motto, don’t you think?
I’m trying to convince myself to sew in the ends of the two V-Neck Cardigans I have finished. And that’s the trouble, right there. I think they’re finished. They are not. They require some after-knitting care and I struggle to do this with every single project I do. Every. Single. Project.

So of course, I started something new. A new sweater. It’s an idea I’ve been thinking about: a saddle shoulder, drop sleeve pullover with cables. Worked from the top down, of course.

So here we go. I started with a provisional cast on for an 8″ saddle which will be 4″deep on the front and 4″ deep on the back. I worked the shoulder in garter stitch to the width I wanted to the neck opening edge. Then I put the Front Stitches on hold and knit across the Back of Neck first.

Next I worked a small number of stitches for the bottom of the Front neck opening. This is going to give me a 3″ deep neck opening. I will pick up for the neckband later. Then I cast on for the other side of the neck opening and knit the other shoulder.

When it’s folded at the top of the shoulder it will work like this.

I hope this works because I’m quite captivated by this idea. Cables are coming up next.  What do you think?

Cheers,  Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Re-working Knits Works

All that knitting and there it sits, a sweater I never wear. After looking at it and putting it on it seemed obvious that with some changes it just might become a sweater I would enjoy wearing. Why not try it? I’m not wearing it anyway so …

This is the one of my Gauge-Free Raglan Pullover samples. I wanted to show it in a heavy wool with a big cable down the centre front and back. It also has a smaller cable down the centre sleeves. So all in all it’s a good design which I never wore.

I made a plan: shorten this pullover and add some more height to the neckband.

gauge-free raglan (3) Mods

Getting started required a bit of cursing. This is mandatory before going into the kitchen to get the scissors. I sewed the tail end in at the bottom of this sweater too well!! Ha, that will teach me. One little snip and a big rip back, around 4 1/2″, with my fingers crossed. It worked. It feels much lighter. I hope it looks cute and jaunty now instead of a big heavy pullover.

gauge-free raglan (4)

Next the neckband. Because it was picked up around the neck opening and worked up, I think this will be a fairly easy fix. I undid the cast off, put the stitches on a smaller needle and worked 3 sets of short rows to raise the back of neck. Because I was only doing a few short rows with big chunky wool, I worked the short row Turns on the Front itself starting just past the Front raglan line. Usually I might start the short row turns at the centre sleeve and work them towards the Front and down into it a little way. But, hey, I’m taking risks anyway so why not up the ante. (That big cable you can see on the right is the centre front.) Thick wool really makes the short rows do their work quickly.

short row gauge-free raglan

Ta, da, here it is. I’m so happy with it now. I had it on yesterday and it feels light and fun.

gauge-free raglan (6)

Now I’m rummaging around my pile of knits to see what other magic I can work. How about you?

Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge Patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

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

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sewpatterns

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

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

Debgemmellmods ravelry group

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

Any Gauge and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

Debgemmellmods ravelry group

Deb on instagram

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.

Deb

Any Gauge and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

ravelry group: Debgemmellmods

Deb on instagram

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

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: