Updates from June, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • knitting1105 4:19 pm on June 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    I am loving this shawl as it knits up.  It as addictive as a good Fair Isle pattern, where you want to keep going just one more row to see how it will look.  The color transitions keep me engaged.

    My second skein of this fiber was not plyed very tightly, so I put the hank on my swift and quickly sent it back though my wheel in the plying direction.  Then I used my ball winder to take it off the bobbin and wind it into a cake, and to even out the twist, I had the winder about 20 feet away from my wheel.  I choose not to set the replyed twist in this yarn, I think that it will be fine knitting it up just from the wound cake. I will be knitting from the opposite color end this time, starting with the blush color and the shawl will hopefully end in the green.

    I have almost finished with the first section of the Echo Flower Shawl, and I really want to maximize the length and use the most of my handspun possible. To achieve that I know that I need to save approximately 40% of the total yardage for the border (based on comments on a KAL thread for this shawl), so I am installing life lines at the end of my next 2-3 repeats so that if I do need to frog back, I will not be picking up 100’s of stitches willy-nilly.  I am going to try to finish with the first skein, and the pink section of the second skein, which is also a good transition point to the border.

    To install a lifeline:

    • It works best if you are putting the lifeline on a purl or non-pattern row (if not available, make the lifeline at the most logical place).  I am doing mine at the end of the pattern repeat, which happens to be a purl row.
    • Find a yarn that is thinner and a contrast color to your project.  It also helps if you use a cotton yarn if the project is in wool, and it will then slide out evenly without sticking to the stitches.
    • Do not cut the end of your lifeline until you have captured all of the working stitches.  Work directly off the skein or spool.
    • Thread a blunt end needle and run the thread through all of the stitches from left to right.  Do NOT include any stitch markers unless you want to take them off the needle on the next row and keep them with the lifeline.
    • When all stitches are threaded, make sure that the thread is longer than the garment and tie to the knitted fabric a couple of rows below at both ends.
    • Knit the rest of your project, and if you need to rip back for any reason, you have secured that row.  When ripping back, I like to pick up the last row by unknitting my stitches one at a time while I put them back on the needle.
    I wish that I had used a cotton crochet thread or a thin cotton knitting yarn instead of the heavy sewing thread.  It would have made it easier to not catch up the lifeline on the next knit row.

    This is a good video tutorial that I also found on YouTube.  I did try the tape method, and could not get it to work.  And I do not have the Knitpicks interchangeable needles to work her other method, but perhaps one of you does.

  • knitting1105 11:06 am on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    CookieA classes 

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday I spent the whole day taking classes with CookieA through the Windy City Knitting Guild.  The lessons were divided up among 3 1/2 day sessions, and originally I was going to piecemeal different classes together.  However, the drive out to Skokie is not a pleasant one, and I decided to stay the full-time each day.  I am glad that I did, as I learned something new in each class, and had a fabulous time.  I cannot say enough good things about what a great teacher she is, good sense of humor and genuinely nice.

    Friday Morning: Sock Innovation: Top Down Sock Design  Loved this class!!!  Taking this class has given me the confidence to tackle designing a sock, that is when I have the time, finish UFO’s and have some needles free.

    Friday Afternoon: Flat to In-The-Round and Back Again This was one of the classes that I was waffling on, and it turned out to be my favorite of all the weekend.  Sometimes the descriptions and titles do not really convey what you will get out of the class.  Cookie is fabulous with breaking down problems into manageable math solutions, and gives great handouts that clarify what she is talking about in the classes.  This was one of the classes that I was going to skip, and am happy that I did not, as it turned out to be one of my favorites.  Learning how to take a written pattern and chart it, how to take a pattern written in the round and transcribe it to flat and visa-versa. She had a great whiteboard to write on, and filled it up with very clear diagrams.

    Saturday Morning: The Perfect Rib  Another great class, and one that will help me to get that seamless rib into pattern look that Cookie is so well-known for on her sock design.  This was very well thought out and the handout, as usual, was superb.
    Saturday Afternoon: Cable Suckage Factor Don’t be turned off by this name.  The purpose of the class was to come up with our own personal cable “suckage factor”, so that we could both modify patterns for fit and design those that would fit.  We knit a plain sample swatch, and then knit 2 different cable pattern swatches to see how much pull-in we were getting as a percentage factor.  Then learned how to apply that suckage % to designs to make sure that our fit is good.  Suckage factors can be anywhere from 25-50%, mine was 42%.
    Sunday Morning: Toe-Up Socks with Gusset  I am not a fan of toe-up socks and while this was a good class, it did not change my mind.  We did, however, get good worksheets for figuring out the required widths and how to gauge when and how much to increase for the gusset.  This is always the part that poses problems for me with toe-up socks, and I do not like the short row heel with no gusset.  It just does not fit a person with a high instep like myself.
    Sunday Afternoon: Traveling Stitches.  This class did not give me much new information, as I had already completed many of Cookie’s socks and she loves to use traveling stitches.  This class combined with the cable suckage class really gave me lots of designing tools to use for socks and sweaters.

    Here are my weekend swatches.  Starting at the upper left and going clockwise:

    • (gold) perfect ribbing sample
    • (gold) flat to in the round and back again
    • (pink) traveling stitches
    • (purple) top down sock design
    • (green) 2 samples of cable suckage factor, plus gauge swatch
    • (white in center) toe-up sock design

     And some of my classmates:
    Including cute Mimi who for some unknown reason does not like her photo taken:
    I had my photo taken with Cookie, but it is not press worthy (totally on my part).  I will post it on my refrigerator for inspiration…
    • kathytny 12:46 pm on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, your blog made me feel like I was right there! I have never gone to any kind of class for knitting etc. though I have dreamed of it. I would love to take a Cat Bordhi class! Everyone looks like they are having so much fun!


    • Stefanie 9:08 pm on April 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Oh wow, I’m so jealous you got to take all of the classes! Thanks for sharing – She really was a fantastic teacher! I only got to take the toe-up socks class on Sunday, but totally would have taken a few more if time and money hadn’t been an issue. Also your swatches from all of the classes are gorgeous!


      • knitting1105 9:11 pm on April 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much. I enjoyed all of the classes, and you can attest to what a great teacher she was!


  • knitting1105 2:42 pm on January 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Clue #2 Mystery shawl 

    I finished the second clue in the mystery shawl project.  The 3rd clue comes out on Wednesday.   I had to rip sections back a few times, as I would miss an increase or decrease, or not have the correct number of loops.  Luckily for the second clue I had ordered these row counters from twiceshearedsheep.com, they proved to be the perfect thing for keeping track of my place in this pattern.  It looks simple, but there are several different sections with short rows and increasing and decreasing.  When I decided to order these row keepers, I got a medium (up to size 8 needles) and a small, and the smart lady who makes them sends along a handy little box to keep them in with her website on it.  Good marketing.

     In the progress photo you can see blue ribbons tied to the side, that indicates the end of a particular section.  Each row starts with a YO, and the correct number is important I am assuming for the next clue, as the number of rows and YO’s was stipulated at the end of each section.  It also helped me if I needed to rip back to the beginning of a section and restart it.  Most sections had several repeats, so I used stitch markers that I moved to keep track of those, and the row counter to keep track of the rows within a repeat.  Confusing?  It was for me at times, but with these tools I finally got a system down and my rhythm.
    On a non-knitting note, here is my name in Chinese (supposedly), from a Chinese New Years party last night.  I was the most characters of anyone.  Very pretty.
  • knitting1105 8:57 am on January 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    I finally finished this sweater for baby Stella.  She is a few months old, but still petite, so this will be big even now.  It is a Dale of Norway fair isle, knit in the round starting at the bottom with a front steek.  I got up the nerve to sew and cut the steek last week.  I started by steaming the sweater flat, and sewing a double line of stitches down each side, carefully pulling the yarn ends to the opposite side while stitching.

    Then, I cut away all the yarn ends

    And, bravely cut down the middle between my sewing lines.  No matter how many times I do this, it still makes me a bit nervous:

    Next came picking up stitches, knitting the band with a fold-over flap to conceal my cut edge line, and finding the right buttons.  I am very happy with the results.  I hope that the baby gets lots of wear out of it.

    I wrapped it up and delivered it today.


    Project Specs

    Pattern: 14206 Yoked Cardigan
    Pattern Source: Dale of Norway Book #142
    Yarn: Baby Ull by Dale of Norway
    Needles: US 1 and US 2
    Date Started: 1/5/12
    Date Finished: 1/24/12
    Finished Dimensions: 12 Month old

    • Diane Hamilton 2:01 pm on January 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That is so pretty–I love the colors! Stella is a lucky little girl and will be styling. I finished my hat, however, I don’t like the colors. Decided to start a pair a socks and see how I do.


    • Andi 7:53 pm on January 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      As I said before, this is gorgeous. I’m impressed with your will to steek. It scares me!!


    • thecrazysheeplady 8:21 pm on February 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, this is too cute!!! Beautifully done and wrapped!


  • knitting1105 12:18 pm on January 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Pink Baby 

    I have finished all of the main knitting for my newest baby sweater.  I love the colors, and this was very fun to knit.  The lower part of the body and the sleeves consist of lots of plain stockinette, all done in the round so just knit, knit, knit.  It was a good project when I did not want to focus on details.

    The yoke went quickly, in spite of a couple of decrease mistakes and color mistakes that I had to rip out.   Whenever you attach the sleeves in this manner, the first few rows at the junctions are tight.  I prefer a yoked cardigan for babies, as there is not the bulk at the shoulders, and seem to fit better.  The beauty of knitting this way is that I only now have to sew and cut the steek (still a bit of a frightening process), and knit the front band.  The neck ribbing was called for with a double over material.  I felt that would be too thick, so chose to do a 1×1 ribbing with a tubular cast-off.   The front band is doubled over, but that serves to also cover up the cut steek.

    When knitting the yoke, the first couple of major rounds of decreases divided nice and evenly around the body.  then it started to get more complicated.  I am a bit of a nut, in that everything needs to be balanced out nicely.  Decreases starting and ending equal number of stitches from the front band, and being spread out evenly throughout the body.  Here are the patterns that I had to use to get my decreases, I tried to find a mathematical program that would solve this, but it is beyond me.  I have given that task to my son, these I did by writing out the pattern.  I found how many even number of stitches went into a decrease row, and how many remaining stitches there were.  Then, I balanced out the extra decreases over a pattern in the yoke.  Here are my last 4 decrease patterns (each number includes the number of stitches knit + the 2 that are knit together; i.e 7= K5, K2tog — in effect 1 st less).

    (7,7,6) 12 times

    (5,4,5,5,4,5,5,4,5,5,4) 4 times

    (4,4,4,3,4,4,4,4,3,4,4,4,4,3,4,4,4,4,3,4,4) 2 times

    (3,3,2,3,3,3,3,2,3,3,3,3,2,3,3,3,3,2,3,3,3) 2 times

    I am writing these down here for posterity so that I do not have to recalculate these again.  Hoping for that program Ethan…

    • Karen 1:21 pm on January 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I have that pattern but wasn’t wild about the orange. However, I LOVE your chosen colors! What size did you make and will the decreases work for only one size? Thanks. It’s adorable!


      • knitting1105 2:50 pm on January 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, I am happy with the colors also, it took a bit of playing around with options. I made the 12 month size. The decreases as shown will only work for that. Hopefully my son will write the computer program that I need.


    • Kimberly (aka Melanthe on Rav) 12:52 am on January 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Absolutely beautiful!


  • knitting1105 10:49 am on January 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The Perfect Rib 

    The difference between something that is home-made and hand-crafted lays in the small details and finishing.  Years ago I took a class where we used a self-published book by Janet Szabo called  The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters.  A quick Amazon search showed that this is still available.  My favorite chapter is #1, Finishing Before You Start.  I think that is the key to a really well-crafted article.  Read the pattern, and look where improvements can be made, how it is seamed up, how increases are done.  Most patterns lend themselves to some type of improvement, it simply requires reading the pattern through and thinking about the construction.

    My favorite improvement to make is to do a tubular cast-on for the ribbing at the bottom and the cuffs (or a tubular bind-off if working top down).  It gives a very elastic, smooth edge.  I remember the first time that I saw this used on a finished garment, I was biting at the bit to learn the technique, as it looked like the ribbing on a commercial garment, with a smooth rounded over edge.  To learn how I do my tubular cast-on, read this previous post.

    This is a new baby sweater that I am making, using one of my Dale of Norway patterns, and my favorite baby yarn, Baby Ull by Dale of Norway.  I have the bottom of the body and one sleeve started.  The interesting color-work comes at the yoke, so it is a lot of plain knitting right now, which works great for playing Scrabble, watching my new Modern Family DVD’s that my daughter got me for Christmas, or late night after-wine knitting.

  • knitting1105 2:59 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Tubular Cast-on for Socks 

    I love the tubular cast-on.  It makes a garment look really finished and professional.  Years ago, when I saw a sweater knit with the tubular cast-on, I asked the owner how to do it.  She was teaching at the LYS, and I had taken many classes from her.  Her response was that I needed to just take that class.  I taught myself instead.  Well, I don’t teach knitting, and feel that the more we share the better.  So, here is my version of a tubular cast-on for socks.  This works for a 1×1 rib.  If you wanted to convert to a 2×2 rib, that is possible, I have done it on sweaters, but that is for a different post.

    • Do a provisional cast on using a crocheted chain in a different color of yarn, and preferably something like cotton that will pull out easily, and a fairly loose chain (i.e. larger crochet hook).  Chain a few more stitches than 1/2 of the desired finished number.  For example, here I want to end up with 80 stitches, so I did a chain of 45+ sts.
    • Next pick up one stitch in end of the purl bumps on the reverse side of the chain.  I start a couple of stitches in from the end of the chain (hence the additional chain stitches).  Use a needle 2-3 sizes larger than what you will knit your socks with.  I used a size 4 needle here.  Pick up 1/2 the number of finished stitches desired + 1.  I wanted to end up with 80 sts for my socks, so I picked up 40 + 1 =41 sts.
    • Join in a circle (with the forever mentioned note:  be careful not to twist your stitches), and knit 3-4 rows.
    • Using the needle size that you will be knitting the socks with:  *Knit the first stitch.  For the second stitch, reach over the top of the knitting into the cast-on edge, and pick up the first “purl bump” of your sock yarn (not the chain stitch yarn), this is where using a clearly contrasting color such as I did really helps.  Put it onto the left hand needle and purl that stitch.**
    • Repeat from * to **, ending with a K1.  You will now have your desired number of stitches plus one extra on your finished needle size, the first and last stitches will be knit stitches.
    • Do 2-3 rows of 1×1 ribbing.  On the first row knit the first and last stitch together.  The stitch count will now match your pattern requirements.
    • Go back and unzip the crochet chain, and you will have a beautifully stretchy edge that looks like it rolls over on itself.
    I am using this technique to start the Janel Laidman Granada socks that I am making.  These are a high sock, and I wanted a good stretchy edge to help them stay up. And here is the bounty from yesterday’s canning session.
    I made Strawberry-Rhubarb jam (used to be my favorite ever), and Raspberry-Rhubarb jam (my new all-time favorite).  I did not want to use Pectin, but tried oranges and lemons instead.  It is not as firm as I would like, but oh so tasty.  Next is a multi-berry jam, and I think that I will use Pectin this time.
    • stormarela 5:12 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the tubular cast on instructions. I have been wanting to try it, and now I can. 😉 …. and.. strawberry rhubarb is my favourite jam. raspberry rhubarb? I will have to try that sometime.


      • knitting1105 6:20 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the feedback. Let me know if you have any issues with the tubular cast-on, and I will try to “talk you through it”. Definitely, Raspberry-Rhubarb jam rocks!


  • knitting1105 8:20 pm on February 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Poetry Sleeves 

    I received a question yesterday on Ravelry asking how I knit the pattern on the cuff of my “Poetry Cardigan”, the Brocade Leaves Cardigan, which is the cover photo, from the book Poetry in Stitches.

    The paperback version of this book is still available here, and I would highly recommend purchasing it.  This is a book that is not only beautiful, but a great inspiration.  It should be on the library shelf of every knitter who is interested, or thinks that they might ever be, in Fair Isle knitting.  In my opinion, that should really include all knitters.  It is not as hard as you think (okay, perhaps these patterns are not for beginners), and so rewarding to see the pattern evolve.  At times, I can’t put my knitting down when an intricate pattern is involved, as each row gives me another peak into the final design.

    The question on the cuff was how to balance the large flower pattern on the cuff.  There is enough room for 2 full and a partial flower, and the pattern increases as the cuff widens.  The directions call for centering a flower on the front and adding partial flowers to the left and right.  This works very well, and by the time the flower pattern is finished you have increased enough to have almost 3 full flowers.  The change that I made here, and tend to do on most of my Fair Isle sleeves, is to knit the first and last stitch in each round in the background color.  This allows for easy increases that are in pattern, and you do not see the jog in the knitting that is apparent when you try to carry the fair isle around each and every stitch.  To me, it gives a nice “seam” effect to the sleeve.  I have done it the other way, and would not repeat that.

    This photo is of  the Peony Cardigan from the same book.  On first glance, the sleeve undersides (where the increase are) looks fine, but it was a juggling act to get them to work properly.  By the way, I made this sweater when the pattern was first published in Interweave Knits.  I fell in love immediately, and ordered the kit to have the proper yarn and colors.  I think that this was my second Fair Isle project.  When I saw the book a couple of years later, I snatched it up immediately, even though money was very tight, as I love, love, love, Solveig Hisdal’s patterns and use of color.

  • knitting1105 12:27 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Knitting Helper 

    My sister Jill spent the past week with us at the beautiful Lake Michigan house in Montague.  She brought along 2 sweaters that she had started over a year earlier, and were nearing completion.  I admired her perseverance on these projects.  With my guidance, she was almost complete with both.  I had convinced her about 18 months ago that she needed to move beyond scarves, and she took the challenge.

    Jill tells me that I do not put mistake projects on my blog, although I would have to disagree on that front.  So, we decided to post photos of her second sweater, a beautiful soft purple silk/wool blend.  The shrug is knit starting at one sleeve, knit across the back, and down the second sleeve.  Then the lacier border is picked up all around and knit in the round on larger needles.  Jill has long arms like me, and has never had many store-bought clothes that fit well in arm length.  I think that she might have over-compensated on this sweater.

    It is not as easy to shorten the arms when they are both knit from a different direction, and we had to take several inches off.  The sleeve that was cast off was fairly easy, but we had to do a lot of decreases right away to get the cuff to be snug enough.  It gave the end of the sleeve a nice billowy appearance.  The sleeve that started it all was not quite as easy.  You cannot just rip back the same way.  So, when we got back to my house in the evening, we sat up and finished it.  Jill had marked off how short she wanted it, and I threaded a circular needle through at that point.  Then I cut the sleeve a couple of rows shy of that and pulled back the remainder of the yarn.  She then did a decrease row, and the cuff in reverse stockinette stitch.

    Jill’s comment was that she’s glad I did that, as I had experience.  I had to inform her that it was my first time! I am glad that it worked.

    Now we need finished photos of both sweaters Jill.

  • knitting1105 9:21 pm on August 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    EZ’s Birthday 

    Today is Elizabeth Zimmerman’s 100th birthday.  For the non-knitters who occasionally read this blog, let me give you a bit of a background on Elizabeth. She was born in England, and migrated with her husband to the US.  EZ is credited with revolutionizing and analyzing knitting starting in the 1950’s.  She wrote many books, had TV shows, eventually her own press and knitting retreats.  Elizabeth analyzed the craft of knitting, researched how old sweaters were crafted and constructed, and popularized the Aran and Fair Isle sweaters in the United Sates.  She broke a sweater construction down into easily manageable parts that could be manipulated to fit any body type.  My first introduction to EZ was with the book Knitting without Tears, which I read cover to cover immediately and loved.  It was there that I understood why I knit different than most other knitters I knew, and why it was so much faster.  The book The Opinionated Knitter is one I just recently acquired, and it will definitely be my vacation knitting.

    I must have Elizabeth mojo today.  I was in the bookstore, and stopped to look at the knitting magazines.  I have given up all of my subscriptions, as I found them to have less and less of the types of projects that I like to knit.  Today I decided to purchase the current issue of Interweave Knits, as it had a nice article on Elizabeth Zimmerman, and another on Barbara Walker.  Two women who changed the face of knitting in America, and people I wish I had known about at a younger age.  I knit in such isolation for many many years, and knew nothing about the books that were available to me.  Now there are too many influences.  Barbara Walker also wrote 4 definitive stitch guides for knitters.  I had the fortune to take a class with her about 10 years ago on slip stitch knitting.  It was very fun to meet her, and she told the owner of the knit shop that I was the fastest knitter that she had seen.  What a great compliment.

    So, today while trolling artound on the Ravelry site, I found a shawl that was a free download and a tribute to the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi shawl.  And then 2 others on the same page!  I saved all 3.  I have been looking to a new project, and this might be the ticket.  Now to decide which I like the best.

    The Gull Wings:

    Or Hearts

    Or Camping

    My favorite so far is the last one, Camping.  I have some beautiful natural wool, Inari from Habu Textiles, that I think might work nice for this one.

    • Andrew 10:42 pm on August 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      All three are gorgeous. There is something about the scalloped edge of the first two that I love, but the leaf pattern in the third feels very arts & crafts. What color are you using?


    • Debbie S 7:20 am on August 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I love the last one but the first two are pretty, too. Have you ever made EZ’s Pi Shawl?

      KYFarmgirl (Rav)


      • knitting1105 8:25 am on August 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I have never made the Pi shawl. I think this is a good time. All of the 3 patterns have a repeat of 8-9-10 in honor of her birthday.


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