Cable Overload

It’s quite possible that knitting three cable sweaters at the same time was not the most brilliant idea I have ever had. Ya think?!

I’ve taken a couple of days off from the Saddle Up pullover. I am knitting a sock, in the basic cuff-down traditional style …

… and some of Cat Bordhi’s Family of Fingerless Mitts, worked in garter stitch. This is not mindless garter stitch – Cat Bordhi didn’t do mindless – but they did take my brain somewhere else. It helped to settle me down.

This is a photo from her book Family of Fingerless Mitts. I have already given the pair I knit away.

Now I’m up for more cabling.

I’ve joined this Saddle Up in the round. It’s for my son and I should probably try this on him. I may have to work some decreases for his hips. Definitely not what I have to do for my own pullover, sigh.

This is my pullover, also joined in the round now. You may notice that it is not as far along as my other two. What’s that all about?!

There is also nothing wrong with knitting this Saddle Up sweater flat. This is a little 2 year size. Knitting the sleeves means the finish line is close. All the edges are in garter stitch so it will be easy to sew up the sides.

I’m afraid there is no Christmas knitting going on here. How about you? What are you up to?

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cables, worked flat to in-the-round

A drop shoulder pullover can be knit in a combination of knit-in-the-round and knit flat, whether it’s knit from the top down or the bottom up. If you add cables to the pattern, like in the Saddle Up pullover, well, it gets a little trickier.

Cable patterns are almost always written to be worked flat, with a right side and a wrong side. The cable crossings are worked on the right side rows. This simplifies things a little bit. You know those right side rows are the ones to watch out for.

At some point, you may need to work in-the-round. Then, you have the right side facing you all the time. Figuring out when to cross cables can be a little more difficult.

Here is a 4-stitch cable, where two stitches are crossed over two stitches, every 4 rows. The lines in the photo indicate the outside stitch of this Left Cross. See that hole just to the left of the crossing stitches? That’s caused by the crossing. (On a right cross cable, the hole would be on the right of the cable.)

When this cable is worked flat, there is a Right Side Row where you worked the cable cross, followed by a wrong side row, right side row and one more wrong side row. On the next Right Side row you would work a new cable cross.

When you work in-the-round you only have the Right Side facing you. Then you have Round 1 where you cross the cable, followed by Rounds 2, 3 & 4. Then cross again.

If you put something straight into the hole created by the crossing and run it under the horizontal bars to the needle, you should see the 4 bars. I used a sewing up needle but your cable needle may be handy and it would work great.

When you can count 4 bars, you are ready to cross again on the next round. If you have a 6 stitch cable, crossing every 8 rows/rounds, you would work until you can count 8 bars from the hole created by the last crossing. It works.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Setting Up Cables

Designing your own garment? Maybe you are working on the Saddle Up pullover with me and it’s time to work the cables. Here’s what you need to know.

Cables pull your fabric in as soon as the first cable is crossed. You have to make sure you accommodate for this fact or … well, your sweater or project will be much smaller than you had anticipated.

Let’s say you want to work a 4-stitch Rope Cable (worked by crossing 2 stitches over 2 stitches). This cable is worked in stockinette stitch and is a pretty common cable to work.

Once you start crossing this cable, it is no longer the width of 4 stitches. It is closer to the width of 3 stockinette stitches.

If you have a sweater where you want to introduce a 4-stitch Rope Cable, set it up for 3 stockinette stitches to begin with. Then increase 1 stitch before you work the first cross. That’s it.

A basic rule of thumb: for every 3 stitches of the cable, set up 1 less stitch. Add them back in by working increases before the first cross.

Here’s another example: 6-stitch Rope Cable where you will cross 3 stitches over 3 stitches – set up 4 sts and before the first cross, increase 2 stitches (now you have 6 sts for the cable).

This is fairly straightforward, except … (you knew this was coming, right?), the more complex the cable, the harder it is to do this successfully. Do I have to say the S word? Yeah, I do. You have to swatch!

Elizabeth Zimmermann had some great advice. Her suggestion was to cast on 96 stitches and knit a hat with all the cables. It will fit someone.

That can work as your swatch. Measure across the cable once you have worked the cross several times. Use your stockinette stitch gauge to figure out how wide the cable is in stockinette stitches. That is the number of stitches to set up and how many stitches you need to increase before the first crossing.

Example: Let’s say you have a 12 stitch complex cable, repeated several times on your hat, measuring 1.75″ across. Your stockinette gauge is 20 sts = 4″ OR 5 sts = 1″. 1.75″ x 5 sts = 8.75 sts, rounded up to 9 sts. Set Up the cable with 9 stitches and increase 3 stitches in the first row to 12 stitches and cable away.

Norah Gaughan has coined the phrase SSE: Stockinette Stitch Equivalent. The SSE for the complex cable above is 9 sts, even though the chart for the cable is 12 sts wide. Yeah, I know, this can mess with your head.

I would like to recommend her book, Knitted Cable Sourcebook for this information. There are tons of cables in this book and they all have an SSE. She’s done it for you. No swatching necessary. I don’t receive anything if you buy this book. I’m so happy I bought it. You might know that I am not a happy swatcher.

The latest section of the Saddle Up pattern is in your ravelry library. Update the pattern and set up your cables. Have fun.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

DebgemmellMods ravelry group

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

A Knit A Long, sort of

While I was walking this last week, I had an idea. It just shows that walking can be hazardous to your blog.

I was strolling along, wondering what I would talk about on this blog post, well not really wondering, because it was going to be about cables, but there seems to be a problem. Cables aren’t the problem. The problem is I’m always going to rattle on about what I’m knitting at the moment. Since I’m designing and writing the pattern as I progress, that’s what you’re reading about.

That’s not going to stop. I almost always have some new idea on the needles in my hands. Right now it’s a drop shoulder, top down pullover with cables. This is my first prototype, for my son.

What I find frustrating is the delay between designing something and the pattern publication date. Maybe you find this too. I go on and on for months about a sweater I’m knitting. Then the pattern goes to test knitters and needs photographs and edits. Procrastination kicks in just about here, especially around photos. It won’t come out for several months after I’m done talking about it and definitely onto something new.

So, here goes. This is the idea. I will publish the pattern in stages. I’ll post the beginning of the pattern on ravelry for a small fee. We can call it a Knit-A-Long, sort of like a mystery sweater. I’ll talk about some aspect of it on the blog every week and send you an pattern update every week or so. We can knit the sweater together. This gives me the chance to write my blog as if I was teaching a class where I give you the instructions one page at a time over several weeks. I can tell you so much more about techniques and sizing in the blog than I can in a pattern.

The pattern is the Family Saddle Up pullover with cables. All sizes from 1 year old to large adult in any yarn (my suggestion would be for worsted, heavy worsted/aran weight or chunky weight yarn). The pullover will knit top down with saddle shoulders and drop sleeves. The saddle shoulders and the yoke will be knit flat to the bottom of the armholes, then joined in the round to the bottom. We’ll pick up the sleeves and knit down to the wrists.

I’ve cast on for a second sweater so I’m ready to go.

I’ll knit both the navy and white pullovers as we go along. While I’m at it, I’ll probably do a 2 year old size because I have a little guy to knit for.

I’m going to start next week. If you’ve got some sweater yarn and some free time, I hope you’ll join me. Stay tuned.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Choosing Cables

How do you choose cables that go together on a sweater when the choice is yours? It’s not so hard. Here is how I get started. Maybe this will be helpful to you.

I am knitting a Top Down, drop shoulder sweater. Beware, any pattern in a stitch dictionary is meant to be knit bottom up. If knitting Top Down, turn the book upside down when you’re looking at the photos because that’s what they will look like when they are knit. If you do this on the subway you may get some interesting looks.

I chose two different centre patterns that were both 32 rows deep.

On the left is Tangled Ropes, pg.80 in Charted Knitting Designs, A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker. On the right is #119 Crosshatch Bias from Knitted Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan.

Now I chart them. This is swatching with a pencil. Even if they are charted in the stitch dictionary I do it again.

Is it hard to chart?

I love the Tangled Ropes but … I wore out an eraser charting this.

I found it hard to chart and I think it would be a little too complicated to knit for this project.

Look at this one, the Crosshatch Bias. Even though there are many cable crossings, they all cross the same way on each line. It doesn’t get any better than this.

OK, decision made. The centre pattern is settled. I’ve started knitting and it looks complicated even though it’s quite straight forward to knit. Gotta love that.

Then do the same for some side patterns. This time I need them to work with the 32 rows of the centre pattern, meaning that the repeats of the side patterns must add up to 32 rows.

I want one more wide pattern and found a couple I liked. One that was 8 rows deep and a second one that was 16 rows. I’m going with this one.

Then I need a small pattern to take up some space. A 4 stitch cable worked over 4 rows goes into 32 rows quite nicely.

Next, setting them up. Yes, still some work to do before the knitting can start.

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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

Sleeves that fit

I’ve asked a lot of knitters “why don’t you knit sweaters for yourself?” Quite often the answer was that the sleeves don’t fit.

It’s easy enough to work out which size to knit according to your bust measurement but it is another thing to also have the correct sleeve size you need, in the same pattern. So …

My “Any Gauge” sweater patterns have a correction for this common problem: the raglan lines are used as a guide only. They indicate the general placement of the sleeves but do not necessarily give the exact width of the sleeve.

In my latest Family Crew Neck, the sleeve size I want, indicated by the orange markers, is a little wider than the raglan lines.

The pattern is set up to do this. Just before The Great Divide, you place the removable markers (orange) on the circular needle at the exact width you need for your sleeves. They can be inside the raglan lines for a narrower sleeve than the raglan lines indicate, exactly at the raglan lines in the usual way, or outside the raglan lines, like this pullover. The stitches between the orange markers are now the sleeve. Here’s a close-up.

I’m not stealing stitches from the body. The body will still be exactly what I need it to be. The pattern is written in a way to allow for all this variation, to fit both your bust and your arms. It’s working for all the pullovers I’ve knit so far, so I’m quite confident it will also work for you.

One more bit of weird knitting just for you. Enjoy.

Deb

Family Crew Neck pullover

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

The Family Crew Neck

The Family Crew Neck pullover is ready to leave home. I’ve hit the publish button so if you’re interested in knitting top down pullovers for every person you know in different weights of yarn, it’s ready to go.

I’m knitting #5 right now. I’ve knit a striped one for my son-in-law, a matching mini-me one for my grandson, a salt & pepper pullover for my son’s girlfriend, a twisted stitch patterned version for my daughter and now, of course, one just one more for my grandson (it’s a grandma thing).

This pattern is a framework for you to play with. There is MATH. Yes, sorry but no getting away from it since it’s for ANY GAUGE of yarn and I don’t know what you’re knitting with. All the body measurements are in inches, which you then multiply by your stitch gauge and voila, stitch numbers, just like that. It’s not hard, really it’s not.

I thought I’d take you on a tour. There may be some weird and wonderful things that are a bit different from top down sweaters you’ve done before. This is a system I’ve devised and used for years.

Here’s the Family Crew Neck . I don’t like picking up stitches, so this pullover begins with the ribbed neckband. It’s all one piece from the beginning. You’ll need a nice stretchy cast on because most neckbands on crew necks are slightly smaller than your head. Do you see me using the magic loop method here? I can learn! It allows for better photos so I’m figuring it out.

Now, work short rows and raglan increases, two things at once. I’m hoping you’re enthusiastic to get going. I always am.

The short rows produce a drop at the front of the neck. The raglan increases are … well, raglan increases. I always think of them in pairs, one before the raglan line marker and one after.

Every Increase Row starts one stitch before the Beginning of Round Marker (yellow) so you can do the pair of increases, one before and one after the marker.

The short rows get longer and longer as they creep down the Front on both sides. The Beginning of Round Marker is at the left front shoulder. A weird place but the short rows work this way.

Still creeping further down the front. Note that the centre front stitches do not get worked until the very end.

And done. Look at that front drop. I love this moment. Do you have moments when you sit back and say ‘just look at that, I did it’?

The tour continues next week with The Great Divide. Another exciting moment, ha, ha, can you stand it?!

Hope you’re having as much fun as I am,

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram: deb.gemmell

Dividing yarn for body and sleeve stripes

Working a sweater with big stripes is a great look. If you have tons of yarn available it’s not a problem to get equal sized stripes on the body and the sleeves. I made sure I bought enough. Knitting this prototype for the Any Gauge Family Crew Neck Raglan sweater for my SNL was really fun.

Then I decided to knit a mini-me sweater for my grandson with all the odd balls I had left over. Now I have a limited amount of yarn to work the body and sleeve stripes.

How do you divide your yarn so you’re sure to have enough for the sleeve stripes while you’re working the body? I didn’t want to knit the body sweating about the sleeve stripes. I wanted a nice relaxing knit.

If you have a scale to weigh your yarn and you have decided on the finished size of the sweater, you can follow along. Here is how I did it for my sweater sized for a 1 year old:

Formula: weight of yarn available = body circumference + sleeve circumference + second sleeve circumference.

Now the calculator comes out: Divide the grams of yarn by the total circumference of body and sleeves. This will give you the number of grams of yarn needed to knit once around the body and two sleeves.

Here are the numbers I used with my left-over balls of yarn:

35g of rust colour = 22″ body + 9″ sleeve + 9″ sleeve (1 year size)

35g = 40″ circumference

Divide as follows: 35 divided by 40 = number of grams to knit one round of the body and two sleeves

0.875g of yarn needed for every round of stripes knit

Separate Yarn to use for body and sleeve stripes : OK, now that I have this weird number from the formula I can divide my yarn into enough for the body stripe and 2 equal sized balls for each sleeve stripe:

22″ body x 0.875g = 19.25g of yarn for a body stripe

9″ sleeve x 0.875g = 7.87g of yarn for each sleeve stripe

Weigh out your yarn. Give yourself a safety margin. I wound a ball weighing 18g for the Body stripe. Now I’m sure to have more than enough left for the sleeve stripes.

Once I knew I would have enough for the sleeves I could make a decision on the actual size of the rust stripe, knowing I could mimic it in the sleeves. I didn’t need all 18g for the body stripe I wanted so I ended up with a little left over. Then I knit the sleeve stripes, counting rows so they were the same as the body stripe. This worked out perfectly. At least I think it did.

I am so pleased with the results.

I hope this is helpful, Cheers, Deb

Family Crew Neck

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free knitting patterns by Deb

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