Sweater Time

It’s definitely fall here. Although the weather is still warm, there are intermittent cool days which are causing my needles to twitch. It’s time to get back to sweater knitting. I’m ready to go. One navy, cabled, drop shoulder pullover coming up.

Meanwhile, my testknitters are knitting away on the Crescent FAN Shawl and giving me terrific feedback. I’ve finished my 3 colour version with all the stitch patterns and it’s blocking, waiting for a good photo day.

I’m knitting a garter stitch version in DK weight now. It’s terrific TV knitting. You might recognize the colours. They are leftover 50g balls from the Family Crew Neck striped version. I did have to buy one more colour to use these up. Doesn’t it always go that way?

And just to keep those twitchy needles working, I’ve picked up the V-neck cardigan that I was working on in the spring. Oops, I don’t think I told you about that one. It’s been languishing all summer but now it’s time to get going on it too.

Isn’t it satisfying to have lots of knitting to do?!

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Shawl knitting time

I have been thinking about knitted shawls for about a month but had projects to finish first. Knitting a shawl was the carrot in front of my nose, to keep going. Now that they are done I can indulge myself and start a shawl.

I have been teaching knitting for decades and thought I would take one of my shawl workshops and move it a little sideways. I need a challenge and taking something that is working and pushing it in a slightly different direction is fun, as well as frustrating when it doesn’t work out as expected, but that is still fun, believe it or not.

So here I go, a crescent shaped shawl beginning with a garter tab.

This shawl is worked in 2 or 3 parts. The first part is easy to work in garter stitch.

The experimenting starts with the second part of the shawl. I am working  different textured patterns. You can’t see them, of course, since the needle is too short to spread it out. You’ll have to take my word for it for now.

I’m not sure about the general shape. My concern at the moment is that it might be too curvy. I need to block it even though it’s only half done. When the needle comes out, all will be revealed. Yikes, this makes me kinda nervous.

Cheers,  Deb

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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

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3-Act Play, Triangle 3

The 3-Act Play scarf begins with 3 Triangles joined-as-you-go. Why make a point of talking about any one Triangle over the other two? It’s because Triangle 3 has some differences the other two triangle don’t have. It can be knit in garter stitch but here I knit it with eyelets and colour stripes. Yes, it was an adventure.

This was the second 3-Act Play scarf I knit. I decided to add Triangle 3 to the centre colour section by knitting it in two colours, plus the eyelets just to keep the eyelet thing going over all three triangles. I wanted to see how that would play out.

I really like how it looks but it is tricky. This is the 4-Row Eyelet pattern in the Mods pages: 2 rows for the eyelets and 2 rows in garter stitch. The colour of the garter stitch rows are the most obvious when it’s done. That’s a bit of a shame since the eyelets are more decorative but that’s the way it is.

It’s tricky because the beginning of the right side rows, where each new stripe is going to begin, is in the centre at the join between Triangle 2 and Triangle 3. I did a video.

3-Act Play scarf: Triangle 3 with stripes

Moving foward, I’ve ordered wool to make a couple more sweaters. I wish it was here already because I want to knit 2 more sweaters before the summer comes. Wait here, I’ll just go look on the porch to see if it’s come, nope, not today.

In the meantime I’m knitting my little grandson a mini-me sweater. It’s a great way to use up all the left-over odd balls and a testknit for my pattern. Daddy’s sweater and little Max’s sweater.

Cheers, Deb

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Mid-sweater Block

I’m knitting a sweater for my son-in-law (Family Crew Neck) at his request. I was so very pleased to be asked. I have measurements and am ready to go. But this has turned out to be a challenge.

I’m trying out a new-to-me yarn and to be a good little knitter, I knit a swatch. I changed needle sizes twice and now have gauge. I even washed it. Pat on the back, I am being very, very good! I cast on.

Part way through I started to panic. It’s small. I did all the math again and then three more times and as far as I could tell the body is around 2″ smaller than it should be. I kept measuring it over and over, hoping it would be a little bigger each time. Ha, ha, I bet you’ve never done this.

Then the light bulb went on. I have a swatch. I find them somewhat unreliable at the best of times but this time I had one to blame. I measured my gauge on it and then on my sweater and … I had tightened up. This never happens to me. I am a really loose knitter. I was working with needles 2 sizes smaller than recommended to get gauge on my swatch and now I was telling myself that that was a mistake.

Hmmm, I washed my swatch just like I’m supposed to. Ah, ha. Another light bulb moment.

I dumped the whole sweater in the sink, needles attached and all, spun it out in my washing machine and laid it out (nice and neatly, not like this photo) and let it dry.

Voila, it relaxed and although it’s still 1/2″ smaller than I would like, it’s going to be fine. Phew.

I’m on the sleeves right now. I took out 1 round of knitting and started with new yarn. Here’s the difference in gauge. You can see that already the new section of the sleeve has a tighter gauge. I’m trying not to look at it.

Ignore the marker. That was for counting rounds so the sleeve stripe will be the same length as the body stripe.

I’m hoping to get this done this week. I don’t know if that’s possible but I’m giving it my best shot. Audio books, short walks and lots of knitting.

Cheers, Deb

Family Crew Neck raglan pullover

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Helical knitting to the rescue

Sometimes, a technique that is used for one application can be used somewhere else to solve a different problem. It might be nothing the original technique was ever set up for. That is the case with Helical Knitting.

Helical Knitting is working coloured stripes in the round without a jog at the beginning of the round. In this sock, one stripe was a solid colour and one stripe was variegated.

If you haven’t heard of this or haven’t given it a try, this video is from the book Something New to Learn about Helical Knitting:

Basic 1×1 Helical Stripe video by Jen and Jim of Arnall-Culliford Knitwear.

Once you have mastered 1×1 stripes you can work 3 or more coloured stripes: Multi-round Helical Knitting. This hat has 4 colours.

All that’s great but where is the alternative application? Right here.

I am knitting with kettle dyed yarn. The general rule for knitting with yarn that’s not commercially dyed is to work with two balls of wool, alternating rounds. I am always afraid there might still be some pooling so I used 3 skeins and the Multi-Round Helical Knitting method.

I set it up for 3 stripes. I’m calling them stripes even though all the stripes are the same colour. It seems silly but it ties into the Helical technique video above. It means I have 3 balls coming from my project and yes, they do tangle but … I have very smooth colour with some colour variation but no pooling.

I will certainly be doing this again. This might be a terrific technique for you too.

Keep on, keeping on. Cheers, Deb

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Slip Stitches, different effects

Slip stitches are easy to work. You’ve probably done them to work decreases and maybe a selvage or two. Have you used them to work a decorative 2 colour pattern? If you haven’t here’s how it works on a garter stitch scarf.

Tech notes: Slip stitches are always worked purlwise. That means insert your needle into the stitch as if you were going to purl the stitch and transfer it over to the right needle without working it. It’s simply a transfer of a stitch from left needle to right needle. The yarn, while working the slip stitch, is always carried across on the Wrong Side of the fabric. OK, that’s it.

When using 2 colours in a standard garter stitch stripe (2 rows in colour 1 and 2 rows in colour 2), slipping one stitch pulls the colour of the stitch you slipped up into the row you are now working. So working [K1, Slip 1] makes every other stitch a different colour. In this first pattern the white yarn works K1 and the blue yarn is slipped. The blue yarn from the previous row is pulled up into the white row. On the wrong side row the white yarn is knit and the blue yarn is slipped again (with the yarn in front – the wrong side of the fabric). The working yarn (white) moves back and forth between knitting and slipping, much like when you work a 1×1 rib. A bit of a pain but I think it’s worth it.

Rows 1 & 2: With blue, knit. Row 3 (RS): With white, work [K1, with yarn in back SL1]. Row 4: (WS) Work [with yarn in front SL1 (the blue stitch), K1 (the white stitch)]. The white stitches are in garter stitch (knit on both the RS and WS). The blue stitches look like stockinette stitches but they aren’t, they have been slipped over two rows.

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If we can work this as [K1, SL1] we could also work it as [K2, SL2]. Why not? That’s easy enough, right?

This time the first two knit rows are white and the slipped stitch rows are worked in blue. Rows 1 & 2: With white, knit. Row 3 (RS): Work [K2, SL2]. Row 4 (WS): Work [with yarn in front SL2, K2]. You can see the difference from the 1×1 pattern below it. Cool, eh? Just a little change and it looks quite different. Switching which colour works the first 2 knit rows also makes it look different.

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Why stop here. What if on Row 4 (WS) we purled instead of knit. What would that do? This is the first 1×1 stitch pattern worked as: 2 knit rows in blue, Row 3: With white [K1, SL1]. Row 4: (WS) Work [with yarn in front SL1, P1]. On this wrong side row you are keeping the yarn to the front of your work, on the purl row side, all the time which makes this quite a lot easier to work. None of that back and forth business, yay. But a little harder to see clearly. Can you see that it now looks like there are 2 stockinette rows worked between the blue garter ridges?

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Now that we’re on a roll let’s do the 2×2 stockinette version. Work 2 knit rows in white. Row 3: (RS) With blue, work [K2, SL2]. Row 4: (WS) Work [with yarn in front SL2, P2]. It’s easier here to see the blue stitches are knit on the right side and purled on the wrong side. It looks like the white garter stitch rows are floating on top of a blue stockinette stitch fabric or maybe I’m being a bit fanciful here, ha, ha.

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One, two, three, four. Here’s the total affect.

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Stay safe and happily knitting,

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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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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