Knit Stripes 3×3

I think 3×3 is the best way to stripe a cardigan or any piece of flat knitting. You may not consider a Top Down Cardigan flat knitting but it is done working back and forth with Right and Wrong Side rows which is where this works. Check it out.

Three colours, 3 rows each. Here are three reasons why you might want to give it a try:

  1. You use all the colours equally throughout.
  2. You carry the yarn up both front edges of the cardigan (or edge of your flat knitting). Both front edges will then be equal in length. If carrying yarn up only one front edge, it may be pulled tighter and then be shorter than the other front edge.
  3. The colour you need for the next stripe is exactly in the right place when you need it.

Reason Number 2 is how I started using the 3×3 stripes on a cardigan. Method Number 3 is why I love to work it. This cardigan which will become a New Any Gauge Top Down pattern some day. It’s early days yet.

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The 3×3 Stripes work like this:

Work 3 rows in Gold, drop that yarn and work 3 rows in Blue, drop yarn and work another 3 rows in Purple, drop yarn.

3x3 stripe start

Now you want to work the next Gold stripe. The Gold yarn is hanging right there on the front edge you just finished working the Purple on. Pick up the Gold and work 3 more rows finishing on the other Front edge.

3x3 stripes number 4

Hello, there is the Blue yarn hanging out there ready to work the next Blue stripe. Pick up the Blue and work 3 more rows finishing on the other Front edge …

3x3 stripes number 5

where the Purple is waiting. Pick up the Purple and work another stripe. Then pick up the Gold and continue on working 3 row stripes with a big smile on your face.

3x3 stripes continue

Is this a perfect set up or what?!

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Not ready to jump in? Try a little person cardigan: Neapolitan (named after the ice cream) where I’ve written out all the rows for you, line by line. Knit in DK weight in Cotton Tweed by Cabin Fever.

Neapolitan P1040395 (2) - Copy

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns on ravelry

Double increase with YO

Where do your “oops” happen? When I make mistakes it’s almost always at the end of the row. The longer the row, the more chance there is that I will completely loose the plot. I spend a lot of time unpicking stitches at the ends of rows to redo what I should have done as I approached the end, frustrating.

That is the explanation for the increase I used on the Magic Symmetry Shawl pattern. I thought it best to do a 2-stitch increase right at the beginning when it’s fresh, instead of a single increase at the beginning and end of the row. Then you can work all those knit stitches with no worries, letting your mind drift to wherever it wants to go.

Double Increase with YO: work [K1, YO, K1] all in the same stitch – increase of 2 stitches. Here is an excellent video by Suzanne Bryan on How to work KYOK.

It makes little consistent holes along the edge.

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This is my favourite of the three Magic Symmetry Shawls I knit.

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I dove into my stash and collected these bits. The greeny-blue ball on the left was left-over from a cowl. The middle and right balls are small balls of sock yarn (I have small feet so have lots of these little balls). They together weighed 117g. Perfect for a scarf.

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Greeny-blue background with Striped Magic Rows in the darker colourful wool.

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When I ran out of the one greeny-blue I just started with the next one. You might be able to catch where the change is.

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Then I thought it could be a little longer so dove into my odd ball stash again and found a tiny sock ball with a little of that same green in it along with those little black and white blips. You know the kind of sock yarn I mean? The blips add a certain something to the outside edge. I ran out of greeny-blue so finished up with the last of the variegated and had only a couple feet of yarn left, that’s all. Whoohoo.

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Thanks for reading. Hope you’re having fun shawl-knitting,

Deb

Any Gauge patterns by Deb, Magic Symmetry Shawl

Cabin Fever patterns and Books on ravelry

Star Toe Up Socks

Have you tried Toe Up Socks? They are my go-to method. But maybe getting started has you hesitating. The popular way to get started is with Judy’s Magic Cast On, by Judy Becker, which mimics the Cuff Down grafting of the toe, in reverse. I find it challenging to work well. If you have it down terrific. If not, I have an alternative that is easy and totally works.

It’s called the Star Toe (I did a video, have a look) which begins with a cast on of 8 stitches, in your usual cast on method, Phew. Divide the stitches onto 2 double pointed needles or the 2 tips of your circular needle for Magic Loop and start increasing.

star toe 2 needle start

Double point users: I only divide my 8 sts onto two double points for the first round because putting 2 sts on each of 4 double pointed needles leads to much dropping of needles and cursing. As soon as I have enough stitches I add in more double pointed needles.

The toe is divided into 4 sections. Right now there are 2 sts in each of the 4 sections and 2 sections are on each of the needles. As soon as you start the Increase Rounds below the 4 sections become obvious.

star toe 4 sections

The star toe works by increasing into the first stitch of each section. I use the Kfb increase (knit into the front and back of same stitch).

Round 1:  *Kfb, K1; repeat from * to end of round. – increase of 4 sts (12 sts on needles)

Now you have enough stitches to add in more double pointed needles. Magic Loopers just continue as set up.

Round 2:  *Kfb, K2; repeat from * to end of round.

Round 3:  *Kfb, K3; repeat from * to end of round.

You get the general idea here. Continue to work increases into the first stitch of each of the 4 sections until you have approximately 1/2 your total sock stitches.

 

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Now introduce a Knit Round, alternating a knit round and an increase round.

Next Round:  Knit.

Increase Round:  *Kfb, knit to end of section; repeat from * 3 more times.

Repeat these last 2 rounds until the Star Toe is the correct size.

How do you know it’s the correct size? Measure across the width of the toe OR stick your toes into it. Note: the sock toe is slightly bigger than it appears! That’s because it’s stuck on straight needles so stop increasing when it’s a little tight and it will be correct.

I just finished a sock for my husband. I don’t worry about the exact number of stitches when I start, I just work the toe until it’s the correct width across (4 1/2″) for a 9″ circumference sock for his foot. Then I knit and knit and knit for his size 11 foot.

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It turned out perfectly. Onto sock number two.

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And the toe fits!!

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Hope that encourages you to get started on a Toe Up sock. Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry.

Deb Gemmell patterns

Double Decreases, which one to use

Lace knitting involves lots of awkwardness and sometimes you have to work to make it as pleasant as you can. There is a chart to read and if you screw up there you’re in deep trouble, yarn overs which can be easy to miss and decreases where the slant is important and needs to be kept track of. Lace knitting is beautiful, the more complex, the more beautiful. It’s hard to resist.

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The lace dress that I almost didn’t wear. My wedding glitch.

Can we remove some of the pitfalls? Knitting Techy Talk begins here.

First of all you need Markers. In the body of this lace sweater I was working 20 repeats of the pattern.  Without markers I could make a mistake in the second repeat and not realize until I didn’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of the round. That would be the end of lace knitting for me, right there, that round. The knitting would be winging it’s way across the room as the air turned blue. I did that with my first lace project. I have learned a few things since then: Use Markers.

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With markers after every 10 stitch repeat, how far wrong could I go? Believe me I corrected quite a few errors within those 10 stitch repeats as I was knitting this top but I didn’t have to rip rounds back. (OK, I admit there was that one section I had to rip back but I was already so far down that I didn’t mind doing it.)

Unfortunately, for this stitch pattern the markers created a problem. Sometimes you just can’t win.

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double decrease blog post, 123

 

The Double Decreases (the inverted V) at the end of the repeats are the problem. Once the markers are placed the Double Decreases used in this pattern are awkward to work. The 3 stitches involved in this decrease are numbered on the chart and you can see that the Marker is between stitch #2 & stitch#3. There lies the problem.

This pattern uses this Double Decrease: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass slipped stitch over. Easy enough until … you add in markers for each repeat.

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double decrease blog post, 123

This is really how it works: slip stitch#1 knitwise, slip stitch#2 purlwise, Remove the Marker, Replace slipped stitch#2 back onto the Left needle, knit 2 sts together (sts #2 & #3), pass first slipped stitch over and Replace the Marker. AWKWARD.

I decided there needed to be a change. You’re allowed, I’m allowed, we’re all allowed to mess with patterns. I changed that Double Decrease to a Center Post Double Decrease.

Center Post Double Decrease:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise (sts #1 & #2), knit 1 stitch (st#3), pass 2 slipped stitches over.

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With the markers in place this really works as:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise, Remove Marker, knit 1 stitch, pass 2 slipped stitches over, Replace Marker. DONE.

Yes, it looks different but the ease of knitting made it totally worth the change.

I like the result.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

My patterns on Ravelry

Shawl Tip

I’m always excited to learn of a new tip. I first heard about this at a knitting guild meeting but sometimes it takes me running into something a couple of times to finally give it a try. I tried this one and it totally works.

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Continue reading “Shawl Tip”

Vertical Darts Top Down

The holidays are over. Is it time for you now? Are you knitting a sweater for yourself? It’s a long winter. I’ve got a couple started because, as you know, that’s the most exciting part.

If it’s a sweater for yourself how much bust shaping would you like to add to a pattern that doesn’t include any?

Adding a couple of inches to the bust on a Top Down sweater is fairly straight forward. But what if you wanted to add more than 2″ in total across the bustline? Could you start your bust increases in the Yoke while still working the raglan increases and then continue them down into the body? Vertical Darts work from the Bottom Up, why not from the Top Down?

Since I raised this question I decided I had to try it out. I started working the bust shaping increases when I still had 8 rounds left to work in the Yoke. This is the same strategy as the Top Down Easy Bust Darts but this time the bust increases are worked in a vertical line away from the raglan line. The vertical line of increases will allow me to continue to work bust increases until I have reached the largest point of my bust. (This schematic is an approximation – the raglan and bust increases are worked in the same round – dots on the schematic make it look like the bust increases are worked more often, they are not.)

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing high bust

I worked a raglan increase and a bust increase on each side of the Front for the last 4 Increase Rounds before I divided for the underarm. After the Divide I continued to work the bust increases 4 more times for a total of 8 increases on each side of the front giving me 3″ of extra width.

bust shaping in yoke

My main concern was what would show.

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While the increase line is visible it is not so noticeable when I’m wearing the sweater (or when my best girl is wearing it) and the extra room is well worth the effort.

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This was easier to do than I expected. It shows but only as a dart which is acceptable. I got quite a bit more bust room because of it. I’m really happy with the result.

How about you? Could you add this into a Top Down raglan?

Thanks for reading. Cheers,

Deb

More reading on Top Down Bust Shaping:

Do I Need Bust Darts?

7 Reasons to Double Up the Increases for Bust Shaping

How Do You Want Your Sweater to Fit?

Bust Dart, Top Down

Knit to Fit: Bust Dart, Top Down

Let’s get back to my first love, Top Down knitting. One of the things I like best about knitting from the top is that everything does not have to be planned ahead of time. I will decide that I am going to add bust shaping to widen the front of my sweater. As I approach the bottom of the Yoke I can think about how I might do the bust shaping since it can be done in several different ways.

One method to use is Easy Bust Shaping , working the bust shaping into the last couple of inches of the Yoke, above the underarm.

Here is a second method, a Bust Dart. The bust shaping occurs just where you need it, in the couple of inches between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

NAPC Bust shaping (559x640)

I introduced this method in the Need A Plus Cardigan book where the Front of the cardigans are set up to be 3″ wider than the back. Two inches were added through the bust darts and the third inch in the buttonbands. The extra width is incorporated into the final sizing of all the cardigans.

NAPC Cover

Set up a Bust Marker on each side of the Front and work increases every other round.

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing

bust shaping

Could you add more than 1″ worth of stitches? It depends on how much vertical room you have between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

Bust shaping Top Down vertical

Your bra matters here! Put on your best figure enhancing bra and measure. Since you are working an increase every other row you need to check the number of rows you can fit into this vertical distance. You may be able to sneak in a couple more increases. I usually do.

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Me, wearing a Lace Panel cardigan from Need A Plus Cardigan book.

Could this method work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever books and patterns