No Math and Gauge-freedom

Can you make a Gauge-free sweater Math-free too? No gauge swatch needed and no calculator?

What if throughout a sweater you only had8 to refer to one number, call this the primary number. Then you might need 2 times that number and then later, half that number. Does that count as doing math? You can do it in your head. No calculator needed.

I seem to be drawn to what I call Magic Numbers. It happens without me knowing it. When I wrote the Need A Hat book by Cabin Fever, it became clear, very quickly, that the entire book is based on the number 8. It’s one of my favourites. The idea for the book came when I was giving a talk about knitting hats. You take someone into a yarn store to choose yarn and they immediately go to a colour they love. Now you have to find a pattern for that yarn weight and size and with a style the recipient would like. What if we wrote a book where every hat could be worked in any weight of yarn? That got it started.

Now I’m working on this Gauge-Free cardigan idea, Build a V, without stitch gauge numbers in it at all.

The entire sweater is based on one number. That number is the number of Ridges it takes to make the Beginning Triangle for the Back of Neck measurement. It’s a different number for everyone.

build a V count R on triangle

I called this measurement D, for the only reason that it’s the 4th thing you do in the cardigan.

So now we have ‘D’ number of Ridges. For my little person cardigan in worsted weight yarn, ‘D’ = 6 Ridges. That number ‘6’ is going to be used over and over in the making of this sweater.

Make the Fronts ‘D’ number of ridges shorter than the Back. You got it, 6 Ridges shorter.

Publication1

That makes two more pieces of the puzzle that is this cardigan.

Build a V child blank schematic - shaded back panel and front panels

Now join it up to make a half a sweater. Pick up & knit along the sides of the Front. For the shoulder, which is going to link up the Front and Back, Cast On 2 x ‘D’ number of stitches. Pick up & knit along the Back. There it is again, that Magic Number: if ‘D’= 6 Ridges then 2 x ‘D’= 12 sts for the side of the neck opening.

Now knit for the width I want.

Publication2

Half the cardigan is done. YAY. Build a V cardigan is now published.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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Gauge-Free Back of Neck

The Back of Neck is an important measurement. I’m sure you know what your favourite Back of Neck width is, No? Go and measure some sweaters. I’ll wait here ….. well, what did you find?

I bet you found that you wear not one but several different neck styles with different widths for the Back of Neck. Me too. Wider for the summer and narrower and cozier for the winter. I’m sure you like to wear some better than others. Maybe the neck width has something to do with that.

To knit this Gauge-Free sweater you get to choose. You are the boss of this knitting.20200120_164454 - Copy

The Beginning Triangle sets up your Back of Neck measurement to whatever you feel like making it for yourself. Then you knit a long strip the length of the cardigan.

Build a V child blank schematic - shaded back panel

But I can’t seem to leave it alone. So for the adult versions I added a 2 stitch I-cord to each side edge. That gives you 2 stitches of stockinette stitch at the edges of the garter stitch. I  think the I-Cord edging looks so neat and tidy. It also holds the garter stitch from stretching when you have a narrow strip of knitting that is at least 20″/51cm long. 

The other change I made from the child version,Build a V, to the adult version is to give the bottom of the Back Panel strip a rounded bottom. The child version has a nice pointy bottom edge, fine for kids, not so wonderful for adults. I didn’t want an arrow pointing to my butt.   

I made it rounded by working the centre increases further and further apart as the strip is knit. It makes the knitting go quickly when there is something to concentrate on. That seemed like a good idea at the time too. 20200128_092409 - Copy

So now the Back Panels are done for all three of my cardigans. Now onto the Front Panels. My testknitters are also hard at work. But that’s another story.

Thanks for reading. I have to get back to my knitting so see you next time,

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

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by 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

Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever NO-SEW patterns and BOOKS

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