Updates from July, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • knitting1105 8:14 am on July 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Blocking a shawl 

    I finally finished my Irtfa’a shawl a couple of days ago.   Once I set my mind to it, I was able to complete the border in a few days.  I did have to read the directions for almost every row, it never became intuitive.  When I see it finished, it was definately needed, both for length and pattern.  Here it is pre-blocking:

    In the past, I have blocked sweaters and shawls on an empty bed.  Not the most ideal, as it is hard to reach over, the bed “gives” when you are trying to stretch out, and right now there are no empty beds in our household.  I had looked at the blocking boards in knitting catalogues, but they are not big enough for a shawl.  This shawl was about 72″ blocked at the top, not unusual for a Faroese shawl.  So, I decided to go to the toy store, and purchase the closed cell foam play mats that are 24″ square each, and hook together like large puzzle pieces.  I debated for a bit on whether to buy one or 2 packets, there were 4 squares per package.  I made the right choice in purchasing 2, as it took 6 squares to lay out this shawl.  Since these fit together in pieces, they are very flexible for different size projects.  They also store away nicely, right now beneath the couch in the basement.

    Next come the blocking wires, mainly used for shawls.  There are 3 thicknesses of wires, and 2 lengths.  They are flexible, to allow for the curves sometimes needed in a shawl such as this one.   When not in use, they are stored in a long thin cardboard tube with caps that they arrived in.

    Then it was threading the wires through the outside of the shawl and along the center back panel.

    And then, lots and lots of pinning, including each of the 114 points along the bottom edge.  The pins go into the foam board, and hold the wires in the gentle curves needed and stretch out the shawl to block it properly and show off the beautiful pattern.

    Finally, at least a full day of drying.  I wanted to speed this up, so put on the dehumidifier and fan.    Results tomorrow.

    • Cozy 10:34 pm on August 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      This is really helpful! Thanks so much for posting this.


  • knitting1105 11:58 am on June 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Illusion Knitting 

    I am busy working on the border to my shawl, which is interminably slow.  So, I decided to post a link that was on a knitting blog Re Knitting that I read.  The author, Barbara, was posting about her knitting guild, which I am totally jealous of, but that is another story.  In it she talks about Illusion knitting, and links to the website by Woolly Thoughts.  These people have really taken shadow knitting to a new level.

    Shadow knitting, or Illusion Knitting, is the use of 2 different colors of yarn (contrast is better).  “It is a process of knitting such that the finished piece has a hidden image only viewable from an angle. The effect is created by alternating rows of two colored yarns so that the raised stitches from one row block out the flat stitches of another row. The finished work looks like a simple striped pattern from the front, but when viewed from an angle, the “hidden” image appears.” In essence you always knit on the right side, and either knit or purl on the back side depending on if you want the stitch to stand out (knit) or recede (purl).  You work with 2 colors, but only one at a time, using that color for 2 rows.  The trick is to just really follow the pattern well.

    Vivian Hoxbro wrote a book on shadow knitting, and I made her large Wing Shawl using this technique, which I blogged abut earlier.  I get lots of compliments when I wear that shawl.  

    The people at Woolly Thoughts have taken it to an entire new level however, and really made it into art.   Some of the patterns are free, and others are available for a nominal fee.  I really want to tackle the tiger.

    • Barbara 4:36 pm on June 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I love your Wing Shawl – I must read the Shadow Knitting book. The technique is new to me and there is clearly a lot to explore


    • the Lady 6:29 am on June 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Geez, I don’t know what was wrong with my Bloglines account – it never showed that you were posting, and then all at once, 70+ new entries showed up. Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do! That is a BEAUTIFUL Ravolympics sweater by the way.


      • knitting1105 4:30 pm on June 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. Glad to have you back!


    • Kathy Anderson 7:33 pm on June 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, don’t show me another book that I want! I love this technique and want that book now! Beautiful shawl! Your work is so beautiful!


  • knitting1105 6:29 pm on May 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Zebra sweater neck 

    I finally figured out the neck edging for the Baby Zebra sweater.  The problem was that the directions are for the body to be knit up all the way in alternating 1 row stripes.  Works just fine when you are knitting in the round.  Doesn’t work at all when you are going back and forth, unless you want to start a new color each row, as you end up with the working yarn at the wrong end of the row to do the neck decreases.    I got some interesting thoughts on the problem from posting on Ravelry, but not a solution that I was happy with.

    My solution:  Bind off the same number of stitches that the pattern requested on the first 2 rows (7 each end), then do a single decrease (one stitch in from each end  of every row.  Going one stitch in from the edge makes the pick up for the neck band easier).  Then, after working 2 rows, slide the needle down and pick up the working yarn needed and start from the opposite end.  You will end up doing 2 knit rows, then 2 purl rows, and decreasing 2 stitches on every row (one at each end).

    The pattern directions called for 14 rows of decreases after the initial 7, for a total of 14 stitches decreased at each end (4 sts 2x, 3sts 2x, 2sts 4 x, 1 sts 6 times).  My plan called for 2 stitches decreased each row for 14 rows, same result, just with a more curved boat neck.  BUT, no extra ends to weave in, no fussing around  with elaborate methods to decrease, and much easier all round.

    Now I just have to put a contrast color waste yarn where the sleeves will be set in later (so I don’t have to count after the fact), and I am ready to sew and cut the steek.  That is going to wait, however, for there to be at least one other project at the same time.  It takes such courage, or leap of faith, that I like to do multiple ones at the same time.

    I am glad that I don’t have to weave all of these ends in.  I am very happy with the colors, I love the subtle stripes:

  • knitting1105 5:33 pm on May 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Second Sock Secret 

    I hear tell of many who have a problem completing the second sock and consequently have lots of singles.  Thankfully that has never been a problem with me, I have enough unfinished sweaters for my share.  I just finished this pair of socks for Dan.  Just a pair of everyday, but wonderfully handknit wool socks.

    I learned early on the one major problem for me with the second sock, as they sometimes occur a few weeks to a few months later, and I forget exactly how many rows of ribbing, what the heel method I used was, how many picked up stitches, etc.  I very quickly came up with this “method”.  I have a small piece of paper that I keep tucked in the leg of the first sock that I make:

    I add notes, simple as they may seem, such as the number of stitches cast on, rib method, rows of ribbing, heel information, and length of foot.  I am planning on making a sheet, which I will post here, that you just fill in.  This way, I always carry the first sock along with me, and refer to this paper.

    These notes are not a pattern, but pertinent to me so that I understand what I did without recounting,  This is a very simple version, I don’t think that you can be too detailed however.  I will post my sheet that you fill out later this week.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms!

  • knitting1105 10:57 am on March 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Steeking help 

    I found these instructions online, published by Dale of Norway.  This is the best description that I have seen.  The only difference that I do, is when I am starting during the sleeve area, I take a contrast color of yarn (usually a cotton so it will glide out easily), and have a long string attached to a stitch marker.  I then let the tread be woven into the sweater as I knit it.  Saves going back and trying to find those center stitches, especially on a dark yarn, or very fine gauge.  I also have traditionally done 2 rows of straight stitch.  I think that the next sweater, I will do the outer rows in straight stitch, and the second sewn row in a tight zig-zag.  I often find that I can remove the contrasting yarn at the center once the contrasting color rows have been sewn,  easier to cut that way.

  • knitting1105 6:47 pm on February 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Fair Isle on a sleeve 

    The directions for this sweater clearly state the sleeve increases—where to place them (separated by 2 stitches), how many, and how frequent.  What they leave out however, is how to best do this.  My preferred method is to have the 2 stitches between the increases always be in the main color.  This accomplishes several things.

    • Because you are knitting a tube, one end of the row lines up with the beginning of the next row, and the pattern appears askew under the arm unless you have a separation between the start and end of a row.
    • If you try to carry the pattern around the entire row, when you do the increases, the pattern can get a bit funky, and not flow well.  If the increases are separated by stitches (2 in this case), then the pattern flows well, and each increase just takes the next stitch in the pattern repeat.
    • This also gives the illusion of a seam down the back of the sleeve,and has a very neat appearance.

    Here is a detail of the sleeve fair isle portion:

    • Bets 8:47 am on February 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for this great tip! I will try to do this when I get to my Trondheim sleeves.


  • knitting1105 12:13 pm on January 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Second chance socks 

    This is the first pair of socks that I made for my husband, probably the 3rd ever.  I have been trying to figure out how long ago that was, I think 10-12 years.  He now has lots of pairs that he uses regularly, so the wear gets distributed.  Even so, they all will eventually succumb:

    So, I decided to rework the toe.  It was not as simple as just pulling the yarn out, as ends had been woven in, the yarn had felted a bit (even though it was sock yarn with some nylon in for wear).  I started by cutting the toe portion down, then had to pull out the yarn:

    When I got that done (I had to go one row into the body of the sock because the ends had been woven in), I had to pick a new toe color.  I read about this knitter one time who put really fun bright toes on her husband’s socks, as nobody saw them except at home.  In his office is a knitter, who when she notices a new pair of hand-knit socks, has him take off his shoes so that she can see the toes.  A little bit of a wild side.  That said, I picked the pink color in the sock, and went from there.  The toes are now so soft, and I cleaned up the rest of the socks and mended one other hole.  Hopefully, there will be several more wears to this pair.  It was not a zip quick project, but definitely easier than knitting a whole new pair.  And green too!

    • Andrew 2:09 pm on January 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I am judging by the age of the cherry in the first photo that this was taken atop of your dining table? Was the second taken on a newer piece? Maybe a Georgetown pedestal table? Or maybe on the dining table with different lighting. And the final, obviously on the kitchen floor.

      By the way I love the new toes.


      • knitting1105 2:03 pm on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        You are very astute. Moser tables make the best backdrop.


    • MRsP 3:44 pm on January 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I was doing THE EXACT SAME THING THIS WEEKEND. I haven’t been in a hurry to mend them, as I want my husband to understand fully the importance and consequences of not trimming his toenails.


      • knitting1105 2:04 pm on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, cutting toenails is a prerequisite to wearing hand-knit socks. That is one male trait I cannot comprehend.


    • Liesl 11:35 am on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Well done!


  • knitting1105 1:41 pm on December 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Henry Scarf and Tubular Cast-on 

    I thought that I could do it.  After all, it is only a scarf, and I gave myself 2 weeks to knit it up.  But I should have heeded the comments on Ravelry.  It was the Henry after all.  I read about people who have been knitting on this scarf for a year.  That seems a bit excessive to me.  I am about 1/2 way through it.  It was an uncompleted Christmas gift for my husband.  I used Malabrigo sock yarn in the colorway Impressionist Sky.  It is very dense.  After conversing with someone making the same scarf in the same type and color of yarn, I decided to go up a needle size to #2.  I probably could have even done a size 3.  This is a very dense knit, and has the look of a woven scarf.  It will definitely be warm when finished.

    For the tubular cast on I did not follow the directions in the pattern.  I usually do a crochet chain stitch cast-on (of 1/2 of the desired stitches plus one), and pick up a stitch in each chain.  Then knit 4 rows on a needle 2 sizes up from what the garment will be knit on, before picking up the alternate stitches.  If this is done correctly, you just unzip the crocheted chain, and Voila! it is done.  The only problem is that I have a hard time keeping the chain straight, and end up having to fiddle a lot with it, especially when the rows are long.

    This time I used a different variation:

    • Cast on 1/2 +1 the desired number of stitches in a contrasting color.  I used a cotton yarn of approximately the same weight, so that it would be easier to separate the yarns apart.  You need to use a needle approximately 2 sizes larger than what you will knit the garment with.
    • Knit 4 rows or so in the contrasting color.  The number of rows does not really matter much, as these will be cut away later.  You just need enough of a bite so that when you do cut the yarn, you do not damage the edge of your knitted garment.
    • Change to the yarn that you are knitting your project with.  Knit 3-4 rows in stockinette stitch, ending with a knit row.
    • Now, the tricky part.  Using the smaller needles that you will knit the finished project with, Purl the first stitch.  *Take your left needle and reach down into bump that you will see at the front of the knitting, and pick up that bump (highlighted, as it stands out against the contrasting knitted fabric), and knit that stitch.  Purl the next stitch.*  Repeat from * to * until you have completed the entire row.  This gives you a K1, P1 rib starting and ending with a Purl stitch.  You can then continue in ribbing, or, as in the case of the Henry, changing over to the pattern.
    • After you have completed a few rows, take out the contrasting yarn by simply cutting it, and pulling the left-over remnants of yarn away from the edge. You will have a very smooth elastic edge.

    Very important that you use a needle 2 sizes larger for the contrast knitting, and the set-up rows.  The down side to this technique is that you are knitting 3-4 rows more than you would with the crochet chain.  That said, I think it is a bit easier to start, and easier to unzip.  Here are photos of the method with the crochet chain used for the cast-on (note I was doing a K2, P2 rib here) :

  • knitting1105 1:58 pm on September 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Dutch Heel 

    I finished up Clue #3 on the Nancy Bush mystery socks.  She uses a honeycomb slip stitch back for the heel (which I used on the orange socks that I made of hers).  I really like this heel, and had been thinking about doing something along this line when I knit up the Ilga’s socks and it was used there.  I also incorporated it in my Maraschino Cherry socks.  It has a better look, doesn’t seem to bunch as much, and spreads the extra wear coverage out over the heel.  Then she used a Dutch heel.  I am knitting her Madder ribbed socks for my husband, and she uses the same heel there.  It does seem to hug the heel better.  Not sure if there is a good/bad way to do the heel.  The one issue that I see with this heel is that you don’t have as many instep stitches.  So, if the fabric is not stretchy, or you have  a very high instep (me), it might become problematic.  It is interesting to see the complaints on the Ravelry thread.  Either knit the way the pattern was designed and try something new, or change it the way you like.  Not sure why people feel the need to complain.

    Here is my heel, (I had 17 picked up stitched on the instep, so finished 2 full repeats.  I seem to always get 2 more than the number of slip stitch ends—like to close the gap) now waiting for clue #4 on Tuesday:



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