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

20200628_131401

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

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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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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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A Boxy sweater detour

Do you always know what you’re really knitting as you’re knitting it? Somewhere in whatever you’re knitting there is probably a place where you can wander away from the instructions if you are so inclined. It doesn’t have to be a very big wander, but it is still a deviation from what’s written.

While I was knitting the Build a Bigger V I had the thought that since the body is knit towards the sleeve I could make the body any width I wanted. The pattern is written for a regular width of 4″- 8″ or even 10″ of ease (10-20cm or even 25cm of ease) added to your actual bust measurement. But I could make it a Boxy style, 10″- 20″ of ease (25-51cm of ease) added. I have never knit this style of sweater before and am sort of intrigued. So I knit one side of the body my regular width and the other side a Boxy style width.build a bigger V (3)Then I put it to my knitting guild members (via email), which one? Boxy width or Regular width?

The Regular width won. So I went with it because I was leaning that way myself. The Boxy style thought is still sitting somewhere at the back of my mind.

Have you knit a Boxy style sweater? Do you like it? Would you change anything if you  knit another one?

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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Start Small and Gauge-Free

This Gauge-Free Build a V sweater business is a new and exciting idea for me. Being able to dive into my stash and not worry about matching a specific gauge is wonderfully freeing.

I am going to begin with something small. It’s always easier to figure things out on a little sweater, no large time or yarn investment. I’m way ahead of this blog with my knitting and it’s looking great.

I am knitting a baby-sized Build a V sweater for a 12 month old. I have worked my Triangle Beginning to establish the width at the Back of Neck. That’s where it all starts, at the top of the Back. That’s an important measurement as you know but instead of working with a certain gauge we are going to use a ruler. Yes, a ruler with inches or centimeters on it. How simple and familiar is that?!

Dive into your stash, find some yarn and a pair of needles and knit along if you like. It’s a mystery baby knit. (There will be a published pattern soon.) Oh yeah, did I mention NO GAUGE SWATCH IS NEEDED!!!!

This Triangle Beginning took no time at all and measures 4″/10cm across the top finished edge. Yay. Step one completed. That was really quick.20200125_221643

Now to work a Back Panel. This piece of knitting is the anchor of the cardigan. It determines the total length of the garment.

Build a V back panel CHILD

We’ve established the Back of Neck measurement so now, keeping the stitch numbers the same and maintaining the V shaping that started with the triangle, knit a strip as follows:

Work a decrease at the beginning of the row, work the 2 increases at the centre marker as you did for the beginning triangle and then work a final decrease at the end of the row. Two decreases and two increases keeps the stitch count the same. Knit the wrong side row. Repeat the two rows. Work to the desired length for your cardigan. My 12 month size Back Panel measures 12″/30cm. It’s a l-o-n-g, narrow piece of knitting. Easy to knit once you get going.DSC_0105 (2) - Copy

Then, of course, since you know I get a trifle obsessed, I started 2 adult-sized sweaters because if it works for little people it could work for me too. The triangles are finished but there is more to come. I don’t want my sweaters to have a pointy Back Panel pointing towards my derriere, thank you very much. A change must be made to avoid that.20200205_090228 - Copy

DSC_0072 (2)

I may regret trying to knit three sweaters at the same time but here goes nothing…

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Gauge-Free Build A ‘V’ Triangle Beginning

We’re not going to make a swatch, YAY. I’m all for that. This is freedom from the tyranny of getting gauge. We are going to be the boss of our knitting!

You can dive into your stash and pick any yarn you like. But … this does change where and how we begin since there are no specific number of stitches in an inch to guide us.

This cardigan is knit in blocks. The first block of the Build a V is a Back Panel the width of the Back of Neck. The Back of Neck is an important measurement in a sweater.

The Specific Gauge pattern Baby J begins in the same way, with the neckband.baby-j-420-640x429-1

That would be my preferred place to begin most of the time too. Because this pattern is worked for DK weight yarn there can be a specific number of stitches to cast on for each size.neckband schematic

Then the Back of Neck number of stitches is determined.Back of Neck on neckband

And a Back Panel is knit with that number of stitches.

All that works a treat.

But when you want to knit it Gauge-Free there are no specific stitch counts. We can’t begin with the neckband because we don’t know how many stitches to cast on. We have to think of another way of determining the Back of Neck width.

We can begin with a triangle. It works just like a triangle shawl. Cast on a few stitches and work 4 increases by working one increase at the beginning of the row, one increase before and one after the centre marker and another increase at the end of the row, followed by a knit row. Work until the finished edge is the width you want for the Back of Neck.

back of neck triangle

20200201_180302 - Copy

The marker is there to indicate the Right Side of my fabric. This is a 12 month size with a Back of Neck measurement of 4″/10cm.
That’s not hard, right? And so it begins.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Decisions, decisions

What’s in your “knitting time out” corner? Do you know why it’s there?

My 3×3 Cardigan has been sitting in the corner for several weeks. I have found myself putting this new design down to work on something else that seemed more pressing. I look at it every day and pass it by. Nope, not today. Right now I am knitting Climb Every Mountain sweater for my daughter and socks for myself and telling myself I needed this break but It’s TOTAL DENIAL!!

I was just stalled and trying to ignore it. I thought I had made all the design decisions for the 3×3 Cardigan. That’s the idea right? Make all the design decisions at the start, think of everything you want to do and then just knit it up. Easy, peasy, right?  In hind sight, I realize now that I had to do a rethink on some of those decisions and didn’t want to admit it.

This cardigan has a square neck (which will eventually be filled in at the back of neck) and quite wide shoulders, as you can see.DSC_0047 (2)

That means that at the Great Divide many knitters will find that the sleeve size they need will be inside the Raglan Lines. The raglan lines are only used as a guide here, not the exact size of the sleeves. (The orange markers are the raglan lines and the green markers show where the width of my sleeve is going to be.)sleeve markers 3x3

The problem is … what to do with the raglan lines themselves. I used YO increases for the raglan lines and did’t want to leave the line of holes hanging, sort of dead ending at the underarm level.  I’m sure no one would notice that they just stop but it doesn’t seem right or finished.DSC_0068 (2)

Do I continue the lines down at the same angle to make a V under the arms? I did that on the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover which worked fine. The underarm V made nice clean lines and worked into the side seam line.DSC_0071 (2)

Not the case here. Way too much going on to see the V.20190722_100316

Soooo, there my latest 3×3 Cardigan sat in the corner through no fault of it’s own. Just my indecision causing a Big Stall.

I have taken myself in hand and made a decision. I had to take a good look at where I was now and think ahead to consider what kind of shaping I want for the body of this cardigan.

Decision: I’m taking the raglan lines in a straight line down the sides. I’m keeping the YO increases and working corresponding decreases to keep the stitch count even. I know, not exactly earth shaking stuff.DSC_0066 (2)

I think this will work fine. What to you think?

There is going to be A-line hip shaping in this cardigans future because I want to make it quite long. I have the wool. Now doing the A-line shaping should be easy to work. At the  side panel I will work the increases without the decreases every inch or so, and ta, da, it will be wider at the hip where I need some extra room. Now of course the decision is how often to work the shaping. Stop! One decision at a time please.dsc_0070-2.jpg

I have a plan. The sweater is out of the corner and I’m getting a better feeling about continuing. I might have a new spring cardi yet.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Sentimental Yarn

I’m back on my regularly scheduled project, the3×3 Cardigan, now that the holidays are over. I hope yours were joyful and have helped you prepare to face and conquer another winter.

Now that I’m back knitting this cardigan I’m looking at the wool I chose. Thanks everyone for helping me choose 3 colours.DSC_0047 (2)

Two of the colours are discontinued wool from my stash. The blue though, well that has a history.DSC_0059 (2)

I have had it in my stash for more than twenty+ years. Yes, a long time. It’s roughish rustic wool  and I believe was hand dyed. Many years ago we were driving along an isolated road in Scotland and came across a croft with a yarn sign outside. In the middle of no where (at least it seemed so to us).

croft bothy

Stop!! There was wool, local wool, from the sheep we had been looking at out of the window. I bought it because the croft was so amazing, the view beautiful and as a treat for myself. But it sat in my stash for all this time. There wasn’t enough for a sweater and it’s too rough for a hat.

I feel like I failed this wool. I’m sure it didn’t want to sit in the dark in my closet for all this time. I’m sure it wanted to be … something special. It wasn’t telling me what though. So now it’s going to be something, a cardigan. A big, cozy cardigan that I will associate with Scotland and an isolated croft in the middle of a purple field of heather.

I’m sure it’s sighing and asking what took me so long. Am I the only sentimental yarn collector?

Deb

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Mittens Galore

I went on a mitten knitting jag. Yup, lots and lots of mittens using the Any Gauge Mittens, Top Down pattern. I think I’m done now. Here’s a long post to tell you all about it.Any Gauge Mittens group

Yes, lots of black. I had quite a few balls of black chunky weight Northern Lights in my stash and well, can you go wrong with black for young people and men?

These are for me because they match my new butterscotch coloured winter coat. The colour block pair (Navy and Apricot) will go inside my striped pair. I knit the stripes first, a little bit big. Then with a smaller needle and the same stitch and row counts, knit the second pair. One pair fits nicely inside the other. I used almost all of the two balls of wool.DSC_0030 (2)

I did the same for this pair for my daughter, who is a mitten wearer. I noticed she had a very bedraggled pair of mittens that I knit her several years ago. Long overdue for a new doubled up pair.DSC_0032 (2)

We have a new member of our family, my son’s partner, so I knit her a pair too (worsted weight). She liked the fingerless mitts I knit her so maybe she’s a mitten wearer too. I put a pattern down the back of the hand to keep me amused.DSC_0031 (2)Here’s a tip: For the Right Hand you work the Palm first and the Back of Hand second. For the Left Hand you knit across the Back of Hand first and then the Palm. Now you can add any pattern you like to the Back of Hand. I’m sure you have a couple of favourites that would fit nicely.

Once I had done all these mittens I started to get the second mitten syndrome. Oh, no, I wasn’t finished yet. I had a couple more pairs to go. So I took on a new to me technique, two-at-a-time. And it was a synch, ha, ha, ha, ha!!

It took me 3 times to get the cast on done and redone and redone again. Then I was on my way, except for the two times I joined up the two mittens. If you’ve done the two-at-a-time thing you probably know what I’m talking about.20191207_121250.jpg

The correct tools do help when you’re trying something new and I didn’t have them. I don’t own a long circular needle in size 5.5mm/US9 with a flexible cable. I have older needles with cables that don’t bend too well. So … I thought I would try using 3 circular needles along the lines of those flexi sock needles. The ones that are 3 very short circular needles with half your sock on one needle, the second half of your sock on a second circular and knit across with a third circular needle. I haven’t tried them. Have you? Did you like them?flexiflipsIt sort of worked. There was a lot of clacking of needle tips above my knees but that’s sort of music to my ears.20191207_153336 The next pair I knit I had a correct circular needle for Magic Loop method (still rather new to me) but no problems this time (worsted weight). 20191208_1132140.jpg

You Can teach an old dog knitter new tricks. This pair is for our friends who we see this weekend. DONE with the mitten thing, at least I think so.

Are you knitting for the big holiday? How’s it going?

Deb

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