Crescent FAN Shawl update

Designs sometimes have a forward/backward two-step dance to them. First step forward was knitting the blue and then gold bands for the shawl. When I realized that this crescent shawl shape was too curly, I ripped back. Yes, a large step backwards. Moving forward, I fixed it and I really like the overall shape.

Once I had it this far along, I decided that the V shapes where too small. I wanted to knit more texture stitches across the rows.

So I ripped the gold out one more time. Yes, one more time stepping back. I made the texture stitch shapes larger at the base. Now, after knitting this section again, I finally have it just like I want it. The shapes are like FANs so I changed the name of the pattern. Why not? Nothing is written in stone yet.

The gold yarn is 80/20 fingering by Shelridge.com and stood up really well to three knits. Yay.

I’m knitting the last band of colour as you read this. There is no stopping me now!

The pattern is off to the testknitters and I’m contemplating knitting another one. Hmm, what to choose this time? DK weight? Yeah, that would work.

Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Sometimes frogging has to be done

I didn’t block my shawl, I just put it on a really long cable and … it’s definitely too curvy.

So here we go. Rip, rip, rip. Turn away if this is too painful!

While I was merrily ripping away, I decided to take the stripes out too. More ripping but now it’s done.

I thought about the adjustment and here we go again. It’s so difficult to knit with your fingers crossed!

I’m liking the sharp colour change and I’m happy with the curve now. Totally worth the frogging. But … I would like wider wedges. I’d like more texture knitting and a little less garter stitch. So back to ripping again. Let’s see if this yarn can take it. Onward.

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

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

And miles to knit before I sleep, and miles to knit …

I knit top down sweaters all the time and I love it. But after the excitement of knitting the yoke, there are all those rounds/rows of knitting to go for the body. Miles to knit, to paraphrase from Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. What is a knitter to do?

Here is one solution. You are in luck if your top down pattern has a set of stitches cast on at the underarm during the Divide Round/Row. These cast on stitches are a gift to you. They are the perfect place to add a stitch pattern to break up all that stockinette stitch.

You must have a couple of stitch patterns that you love that you could work in here. You can also search through your stitch dictionaries for patterns you can use as a panel of stitches.

Let’s start with some easy stitch patterns:

Garter stitch with 2 centre stockinette stitches to break it up. Railroad Top Down.
A panel of 2×2 rib: P2 and [K2, P2] repeat.

Then you could move on to working twisted stitches. Why twisted stitches? They don’t change the gauge of your knitting so you can just pop them in.

A twisted lattice stitch pattern.
Another twisted stitch pattern where a stitch travels across 4 stockinette stitches from side to side. This could be worked on any number of stockinette stitches. There is a purl stitch before and after the 4 stockinette stitches.

Cables are great too but you have to watch how much they pull the fabric in. Two stitch cables work really well.

Two stitch cables, crossed every 4 rows.

And the last suggestion is to find a lace pattern to work down the side of the body. This is always a very attractive option.

Your stitch dictionary has lots of lace patterns that would fit your underarm stitch count.
Side Pattern Vest

So what do you think? Could you do this on your next top down? Have you taken a step away from a pattern and given this a try?

Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Snip, Snip

I need to correct that, this only involves one snip. The scissors are out and ready to go.

I can’t live with this ruffle-effect on my top down neckband.

It was my own error in calculation but sometimes I don’t know what will happen until I actually knit it up. Then denial, denial. It’s not so bad. It will block out. Does this sound familiar?

Unfortunately, it is not going to block out. So now to fix it.

Yes, scissors to the rescue. I cast on this cardigan at the neckband so I can’t rip it back. That only works with a cast off edge.

I’m ready to take the plunge. This is the centre back of the garter stitch neckband. I want to cut so that this row of stitches ends on up my needle.

I must admit to chickening out a bit and going up one more row to be sure to get a good set of stitches. I’ve turned my neckband around. The line at the top is there to show you the base of the neckband.

Here goes. Snip a leg of one stitch. That’s it, only one snip.

By pulling the cut yarn through one leg of a stitch at a time, you are taking out one row of stitches and leaving open stitches above and below. One row I’m putting on my needle. The other row belongs to the neckband I will be discarding.

It’s a slow process. One stitch at a time from the centre back around to the front. Half way done now.

I can think of worst places to do a slow and somewhat tedious job. Not so bad when I’m sitting here. Now to go from the centre back in the other direction.

There, finished. Now I just have to reknit my neckband. Just give me a minute or two … decrease about an inch of stitches along the front  … knitting around … do the same on the other front … straight knitting now … taking a break … knitting … knitting … casting off. Done.

Here’s the before and after. There is a little bit of ruffling on one side but that will definitely block out. Yay. A win.

Would you ever try this?   Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Evaluating a WIP that’s not working

I started working on a top down V-neck design earlier in the year. It sort of worked but needed some more thought. It got put aside in favour of the Family Crew Neck pattern.

It’s time to really take a look at this idea again. Summer is perfect for contemplating, don’t you think?

I brought one of my experiments with me and now that time has passed I can look at it with some objectivity (instead of having a little snit and ripping it all out).

It’s a V-neck cardigan in garter stitch. I’m using a cone of sports/fingering weight wool from https://www.revolutionwoolco.com/

You might notice a tiny ruffle effect in the neckband. Here’s a really good look at it.

Whoops. I was working really, really hard to ignore this. I know that garter stitch has a different row gauge. I know this, really I do. Apparently working garter stitch short rows is a whole different thing. LOL.

I will cut the neckband and redo it, later. Then I will know the trick to getting the correct stitch count for the neckband. I’ll start my next one and everything will go amazingly well!!! Ha, ha, fingers crossed.

Are you having as much knitting fun as I am?   Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-free knitting patterns by Deb

Stretchy Cast On

The construction for working the Family Crew Neck raglan begins with the neckband. This makes it different from a lot of other Top Down patterns. Once the neckband is knit, short rows are worked to create a neckline where the front is lower than the back.

Because the neckband is worked first it’s important that your cast on is especially stretchy. Quite often the neck opening of a crewneck is smaller than your head circumference. It’s not a great feeling to rip your ears off as you pull your sweater over your head. Especially if you’re working a sweater for a child.

I’ve looked for some videos for stretchy cast ons. Here are the ones I use regularly.

Many stretchy cast ons are based on the long-tail cast on and I found the third one mentioned in this video to be the best (found at 5:10 into the video). Three Wasy to Make A Stretchy Cast On I used it here and since I use the long-tail cast on all the time, I found the third method really easy to work. I think it looks great with K1,P1 ribbing and it is indeed, very stretchy.

Another great cast on is the Crocodile Cast On by Cat Bordhi which is also based on the long-tail cast on. This is my usual cast on. It is stretchy too.

The beauty of starting with the neckband is there is no picking up afterwards. I count this as a big advantage.

Would you rather pick up the neckband? Are you good with starting with a stretchy cast on and going on from there?

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

Working a Panel of Stitches

My Family Crew Neck, a pattern-in-progress, is a Top Down pullover which lends itself to working a stitch pattern down the front. The panel can be as wide as that short flat section at the bottom of the crewneck shaping. I’ve been playing with a twisted stitch pattern that makes a diamond. Because I usually use a chart, and the chart is square, I’m thinking of it as a diamond in a box. Only the diamond actually shows but … well my mind won’t make the adjustment.

The little stitch pattern I’ve included in the pattern is 6 stitches wide and 15 rounds high for one diamond.

The easy way to work this as a panel across the 18 stitches I had available on my adult pullover would be to work 3 boxes across and repeat them down the front. Like this:

This is two diamonds high.

Logical and it would look good. But … did I do that?

Three guesses. If the first guess was NO, then you know me pretty well. I decided to do this:

Sometimes I complicate things (are you laughing?!) and live to regret it. Not this time. I had a great time doing this weird zigzag. It was not without the occasional rip back but having to concentrate was not a bad thing.

Now I am contemplating doing a little kid size in a thicker wool. I won’t have many stitches in the centre of the crewneck to work with so I’m contemplating doing this:

What do you think?

Hope you are also having fun with your knitting,

Deb

Family Crew Neck pullover

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free knitting patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram: deb.gemmell