3-Act Play Scarf is published, gulp.

I did it. I pressed the Publish button on the 3-Act Play Scarf. This is hard to do while my fingers are crossed as well as my toes. Pressing that button is … boy it’s hard to explain, it’s pushing something out into the world and letting it sink or swim, all on it’s own. It’s like taking your child to school on the first day. They know their name and their address, they can count to ten and are hopefully, fairly well behaved. Then you have to watch them walk in that door, turn your back and walk back home.

I have to confess that once this vague and unformed idea for a scarf became a little more concrete, I got totally carried away. The scarf and I started running off in all directions and it was hard to harness it into something I could write down clearly.

The main pattern is worked in garter stitch and is 6 pages long. That includes photos and a title page and all that you expect in a written pattern. The actual instructions are 3 pages.

Then there is a separate download that has lots of modifications (variations) that you can work on this scarf. That document is 7 pages long and that’s the cut down version. Ha, ha, ha, I know, I know, crazy, eh? There are instructions for stripes, 3 eyelet patterns, 4 slip stitch patterns and 3 lace patterns. It is certainly an adventure and not for the weak of heart, as my testknitters found out.

I am making videos for the first 3 Triangles. It’s amateur hour but here is a video about Triangle I to make sure you end it at the right point. 3-Act Play scarf: Triangle 1 This is my little sample.

If you want to follow along with me, I am going to blog about one Triangle a week as I make more videos. I just wrote this down. Now that it’s in writing, I must do it. You can keep me accountable on this.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Did you get value from your pattern?

Did you ever buy a pattern and wondered what you paid for? What makes this pattern special?

I’m knitting the Lanterns shawl by Softsweater (Sylvia McFadden).

The leaf pattern is gorgeous. I worked it with the twisted knits and twisted purls (don’t worry, there is an untwisted version). This was a challenge. The trick, I found, is to work the twisted knit row on the loose side so the twisted purls on the next row are easier to work. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of this. The final blocking will really show this off.

The leaf section is done. But that’s not the special part for me.

The edge stitches are really well thought out and charted. I’m quite sure the beginning and end of the rows took time to develop. She even did a video of a different stitch she used. That’s customer service. But that’s still not ‘it’ for me either.

What I paid for, and it was a very small amount of $ but I won’t go into how much patterns are undervalued in our industry, was the 10 or so rows right here.

This is the transition from the leaf pattern to the chevron pattern. It’s elegant, don’t you think? It’s a thing of beauty. I’ve stopped knitting here so I can just appreciate how she made these patterns flow, one into the other.

As far as I’m concerned this is what I paid for. A little bit of knitting elegance. When I pick it up tomorrow I am starting with a smile of appreciation on my face. Thanks Sylvia.

Cheers and happy knitting, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

Working row+Comfort row

Working row + comfort row OR work on every row. Where do you stand on this important question? Do you like a comfort row, worked quite often in purl, where you don’t have to think about a stitch pattern? I do but sometimes it’s not the best way to go.

Right now I’m knitting lace and boy, I am really appreciating the comfort row. I have to concentrate and count as I work across the row, glancing at the chart over and over again since I don’t seem to be able to hold too much in my small brain these days. Since I’m working garter lace my comfort row is a knit row and I sigh in gratitude every time.

But when I was working the Bias Centre in garter stitch I was happy to do a little bit on every row. It gives the garter stitch, not structure exactly, but some way to tell where I was. I especially, in the case of garter stitch, like to work the decreases or increases at the beginning of the row as opposed to the end.

I don’t know if you find this but garter stitch sort of numbs me out, especially on long rows of it. About 5 stitches in my mind is off on another tangent and not paying any attention to what I’m doing. I find myself turning and starting the next row, paying close attention to whatever is required, before I realize that maybe I was supposed to do something at the end of that last row. Wait, did I miss something?? Tink back and finish up correctly. This is where a strategically placed marker comes in very handy. A very large marker that you can’t miss is a must, just like tying a string on your finger. Hmm I wonder why that string is there? I know there was something I was trying not to forget!

This little guy is our comfort these days. His family made it up to the camp (called a cottage if you’re in the south but here in the north it’s called a camp). Max is the 7th generation to come here. Right now we have 4 generations of my own family in residence, plus cousins and aunts and uncles too, over 6 camp properties (all social distancing but pretty easy since we spend all our time outside).

My daughter (who is feeling pretty good right now) and her little boy.
Max and daddy, ready for bed, at least Max is.

I’ll stop now with the Nana pics. We are overjoyed that they made it up. Another baby that can grow up here, just like Morgan and her brother did, me and my sisters did and my father before me. Makes me feel hopeful for the future.

Cheers, and I hope you are working some magic with your knitting whether you have a comfort row or not,

Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

Test knitting the 3-Act Play

I don’t know how many times I need to knit this scarf to get the pattern written but I’m now on scarf #3. I am calling it the 3-Act PLAY. I have included different stitch patterns so I hope knitters will have some fun playing with them. I have had lots of fun with them.

It starts with Act I and 3 triangles. Act II is the central straight bias section and Act III is the scalloped tail end.

3-Act Play scarf schematic Aug.9

It’s going to be written as a simple garter stitch scarf. Ok, not exactly simple but there will be lots of garter stitch knitting. I unraveled another shawl and knit right off of it, changing colours as I came to them in the shawl. The knitting is a little kinky (not that way!!) but I like it anyway.

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I’m test knitting now and getting more of the details into the pattern. I am working the first 3 triangles, each in different Eyelet pattern and in one colour.

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Here’s a close up. Right Side: knit. Wrong Side: [YO, P2tog]. I love how different these eyelets look.

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Next up … eyelets worked knitwise in the usual manner just to see how they differ. So far so good. Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

Lace is just holes

Lace, it’s just holes, right? So how hard would it be to come up with my own set of lace patterns. No problem, right? Ahem, maybe and maybe not.

The last section of this 3 part scarf is worked in garter stitch which makes the lace patterns in garter stitch too. I thought I would come up with 3 different lace patterns you could work in any order and each would morph seamlessly into the next one.

The garter stitch ridges worked every other row renders a complicated lace pattern very difficult to see. You can’t see the lines of decreases at all. The design depends on hole placement only and needs to be fairly obvious. Oh dear, this is already harder than I thought.

First I tried this. Fairly easy to work and the double row of holes makes a design you can see. It moves on the diagonal which is pleasing but …

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when this scarf is worn this tail will fall down the front of the wearer and then the nice diagonals look like vertical lines. Sigh. Not exactly what I was looking for.

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Wait a minute, if I work this double row of holes as a straight line they will look like a diagonal when worn, right? (photo on the right). OK, that will work. One done.

Now to modify it for a couple different looks. Do you like this? I’m not sure the pattern is clear enough. It’s supposed to look like the line of holes crossing. I don’t know that it’s clear enough.

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Try again. I like this one much better. How about you? A little more tweeking and I think this one’s a keeper.

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Does it need a diagonal in the other direction?Maybe.

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Time to sleep on it.

Stay safe and knit happy,

Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

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Eyelets 4 ways

I’m working on the beginning triangles of a new scarf pattern. The triangles get larger and larger until you have the depth of scarf you desire. These triangles will form one of the tails which will hang down the front of the body. I don’t like to have a colour pattern on the tails of a scarf because then I am always fussing to keep the right side of the pattern showing. I decided to try different ways of working eyelets since they look good on both sides.

I put my scarf in the sink while still on the needle and hung it out with my laundry. I wanted to see how deep the scarf was going to be. The white hand-spun really bloomed. Good to know that as I go forward. 20200707_132839

Triangle One (on the far left) has eyelets worked on the wrong side of the fabric. This is a 4 row pattern more or less based on a stockinette stitch background:

Right Side Row 1: Knit.  Wrong Side Row 2: [YO, P2tog] repeat.  Right Side Row 3:  Knit.   Wrong Side Row 4:  Knit. This last row creates a ridge on the Right Side.  I really like that the eyelet holes sit between 2 Right Side knit rows. I think the holes look bigger and more defined.   

Why bother working the eyelets on the wrong side row? I find that the needle position for working P2tog makes more sense to me and is easier to work than the K2tog. But I get that P2tog may not be your favourite stitch.

So I made Triangle Two with the regular eyelet pattern worked on the Right Side rows with several garter rows in between.

RS Row 1: [YO, K2tog] repeat.  Rows 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6:  Knit.  This pattern places the eyelet holes between two garter ridges.

Just to try that again I worked Triangle 3 with Eyelets worked on the Right Side, every other row. This is one you are probably quite familiar with.

RS Row 1: [YO, K2tog] repeat.  WS Row 2: Knit. 

One more triangle, Triangle Four, and back to the beginning with the P2tog eyelets because, well I’d had enough of the other ones. This time I added a second colour. Same 4 row pattern though.

With Main Colour, work  RS Row 1: Knit.  WS Row 2: [YO, P2tog] repeat.

With Contrast Colour, work  RS Row 3: Knit.  WS Row 4:  Knit. 

I have to say I loved this last one and was sorry when the triangle was finished. I’m going to have to use this again somewhere soon. Do you want another look at my laundry?

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There are many ways to use eyelets. These were a couple of easy combinations. Enjoy.

Stay safe and happy knitting,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

 

A Counter for a 3 row repeat

How would you handle a stitch pattern with a 4 round repeat with increases worked every 3 rounds. Whoa, working a 4 round/3 round combo is very complicated. How would you keep track? Do you have a system? I found one that worked perfectly for me.

The Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Socks from the New Pathways for Sock Knitters has just this set up for the gusset shaping. Do not fear, Cat Bordhi has written out every row for her knitters. But as I seem unable to follow line-by-line instructions faithfully I had to find another solution. Could I keep track with a counter on my phone, put little ticks on a page, write out a long list of row numbers and cross them off? If you’ve been in a class with me you might be laughing here.  I hate the tick method. I urge knitters to look at their knitting and use it to keep track. But in this case the stitch pattern makes it really hard to see the increases. So the laughs on me.

During one of my walks a solution came to me. My friend Dana had, many years ago, told me how she keeps track of sleeve increases. Now was the perfect time to try her system out. Are you ready? It’s really high tech.

Take a piece of yarn and tie 3 knots in it so that you have 3 loops.20200702_104438

Put loop 1 on your needle somewhere convenient. I put it one stitch before the marker where I will work the first increase and start the stitch pattern. Loop 1 means work an increase at the beginning and at the end of the stitch pattern on this round.20200629_085444

Next round insert your needle into loop 2 and work stitch pattern. Next round pick up loop 3 and work stitch pattern. Next round pick up loop 1 and work increases again along with the stitch pattern. Repeat.20200703_093234

I found the stitch pattern easy to keep track of. It was getting the increases in the right place that was difficult. You could also make another 4 loop string for the 4 row stitch pattern if you needed it.

I have a couple of suggestions for improvements.

  1. A smooth yarn would have worked better. The loops would have been easier to find quickly. I grabbed a piece of  yarn that was within reach but it would have been better to get up off my chair and find some smooth cotton to make my looped string.
  2. Tie a bead or button to the bottom of the string. This will make it hang like a fancy stitch marker on the needle since the bottom would be weighted. I’m going to try this next time. I’m sure I have a bead or two in my button jar. If you use this for more than 3 loops this would help to keep track of the last loop in the sequence.
  3. A high contrast colour would have helped too.

This is a game changer for me. You’re never too old to learn a new trick.

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

 

Contrast colour angst

Are you a good colourist? I find choosing a contrast colour difficult. I’m learning, I hope, but not without lots of confusion, doubt and in the end, much ripping back and starting over.

I chose this Scheepjes Our Tribe sock wool (Cypress Textiles colour) to knit a pair of socks. It’s a blue/green in a light shade and I though a stitch pattern would show well. After getting my socks started I decided that, although it says it’s superwash, it was not spun tight enough to stand up to my rigorous wearing and washing.cypress textiles wool

When I knit socks I have fun with the colours. I knit orange socks, yellow socks, purple socks, green socks and many muli-coloured socks. But this colour, although fine for socks, would not have been my usual colour choice for any other garment.

This then was a learning challenge. My new scarf starts with triangles which, this time, I’m working in different Eyelet patterns. The first two triangles are made with this wool. You can see the slow colour change happening.(It’s greener than this photo shows.)20200628_203305

Now I need to choose a contrast colour. How do I bring the green out? It’s rather pale so any strong colour didn’t look right. Any of the blue yarn I tried didn’t look right either. I tried a taupe colour since there is some in the shading of this yarn.20200627_114135

The overall result is very dark and on this gloomy day I just couldn’t take it. 20200627_110255 - Copy (2)

It didn’t last long. Rip, rip, rip. Back to my stash and more head scratching. When stumped, go the other extreme. I chose the creamiest winter white I had. It lightens the scarf and at this point it seems like the best I can do since my needles are itching to continue.20200627_133338

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Better? It’s not gloomy anyway. This may or may not turn out as I expected, probably not, but …  I won’t know unless I carry on.

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

 

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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Cabin Fever Patterns and Books

 

Double Decreases, which one to use

Lace knitting involves lots of awkwardness and sometimes you have to work to make it as pleasant as you can. There is a chart to read and if you screw up there you’re in deep trouble, yarn overs which can be easy to miss and decreases where the slant is important and needs to be kept track of. Lace knitting is beautiful, the more complex, the more beautiful. It’s hard to resist.

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The lace dress that I almost didn’t wear. My wedding glitch.

Can we remove some of the pitfalls? Knitting Techy Talk begins here.

First of all you need Markers. In the body of this lace sweater I was working 20 repeats of the pattern.  Without markers I could make a mistake in the second repeat and not realize until I didn’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of the round. That would be the end of lace knitting for me, right there, that round. The knitting would be winging it’s way across the room as the air turned blue. I did that with my first lace project. I have learned a few things since then: Use Markers.

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With markers after every 10 stitch repeat, how far wrong could I go? Believe me I corrected quite a few errors within those 10 stitch repeats as I was knitting this top but I didn’t have to rip rounds back. (OK, I admit there was that one section I had to rip back but I was already so far down that I didn’t mind doing it.)

Unfortunately, for this stitch pattern the markers created a problem. Sometimes you just can’t win.

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double decrease blog post, 123

 

The Double Decreases (the inverted V) at the end of the repeats are the problem. Once the markers are placed the Double Decreases used in this pattern are awkward to work. The 3 stitches involved in this decrease are numbered on the chart and you can see that the Marker is between stitch #2 & stitch#3. There lies the problem.

This pattern uses this Double Decrease: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass slipped stitch over. Easy enough until … you add in markers for each repeat.

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double decrease blog post, 123

This is really how it works: slip stitch#1 knitwise, slip stitch#2 purlwise, Remove the Marker, Replace slipped stitch#2 back onto the Left needle, knit 2 sts together (sts #2 & #3), pass first slipped stitch over and Replace the Marker. AWKWARD.

I decided there needed to be a change. You’re allowed, I’m allowed, we’re all allowed to mess with patterns. I changed that Double Decrease to a Center Post Double Decrease.

Center Post Double Decrease:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise (sts #1 & #2), knit 1 stitch (st#3), pass 2 slipped stitches over.

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With the markers in place this really works as:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise, Remove Marker, knit 1 stitch, pass 2 slipped stitches over, Replace Marker. DONE.

Yes, it looks different but the ease of knitting made it totally worth the change.

I like the result.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

My patterns on Ravelry