Tag Archives: knitting

Gauge wins again

I should have seen it sooner; that my poor sweater back was falling victim to that old baddie GAUGE. The classic symptoms of denial were present: tugging at the length, stretching out the bottom edge and telling myself it would relax with a good blocking. Then I woke up and decided to face the truth.

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First I laid it out and gave it a steamy once over to relax it just a bit. Then I grabbed my measuring tape and assessed the damage. My sweater back was measuring 14″ wide and the schematic was telling me it should be more like 20″.

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In my defense, I did do a gauge swatch. But it was pretty teensy, and it was in stockinette, which is how the pattern gauge was given. I think I would have been better off swatching in the cable pattern so I could account for how much the cables pull in on the overall fabric. I think the only positive I can pull outta this one is that now I have a really big gauge swatch. Off I go to start over again and mark this one a big fail.

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Aidez Check In

One of my favorite things about knitting cabled pieces is that you soon find a rhythm to the cable patterns.  Now that I’ve gotten two and a half repeats into the trellis chart of my Aidez cardigan, part of the #fringeandfriendsknitalong,  I can knit through most rows without checking the chart.  (Though I make sure to double check each time I’m doing a cable cross just to make sure I’m doing the right one!)  I modified the two rope cables that are alongside the center trellis pattern, as the pattern calls for double wrapping the purls on the row before you complete the cable cross so that the stitches are elongated.  I felt like mine were coming out kind of sloppy and so I just switched to a simple 2/2 left/right cross which doesn’t change the look all that much.

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I think as soon as I get tired of working these particular cables on the back piece, it will be time to start the fronts and sleeves, which are comprised of entirely new cable patterns.  Score another one for Team Seam because if I was working this as one seamless piece, I would probably be getting tired of all of the cables about now and still have a LOT of sweater left to knit.

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Aidez Progress

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It’s been just over a week since I started swatching my Aidez cardigan as part of the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, and I’ve worked my way through one repeat of the trellis pattern on the back piece; about 10”.  I’m knitting for Team Seam and will be knitting the pattern as written; in pieces and seaming later.   I always think that I prefer seamless sweaters because I dread seaming, but in all honesty this will be my first seamed sweater so it’s really too soon to tell.  I decided to work this one with seams because I like the idea of seams helping a heavily cabled garment keep its structure, and I also didn’t feel like converting the pattern to seamless!  I think that working smaller pieces will show progress more quickly and encourage me to keep on knitting.  I’ve found myself putting my knitting down every few rows to admire the way a few cable crosses change the look of the whole piece.  Did I mention I LOVE cabled knits?

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Summer Knittng: 3 Essential Project Requirements

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I’ve been knitting at a snail’s pace lately. Lots of knitters blame summer for the natural slowdown of knitting that happens this time of year, and I’m generally in agreement with that line of thinking. Especially here in Texas, where its already hot as heck and the thermometers are inching nearer and nearer to that triple digit marker as each blazing afternoon passes by. Warm fuzzy wool and sweaty sticky hands do not make a good combination and fun summer outdoor activities don’t leave a lot of free time for your latest knitting project. I could blame summer for the approximately two and a half rounds of knitting that have commenced here as of late, but I won’t. I blame the knitting.

I know, I know. How on earth could it be the knitting’s fault? Well, my friends, I am knitting a hat, a very basic hat that is 1×1 ribbing throughout, and it is an absolute bore to work on. When faced with options on how to spend my spare time: knitting 1×1 ribbing in the round or going to the beach for the day, it’s really a tough sell to choose the knitting.

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I think I have devised a plan to combat the summer knitting slump and it all boils down to this: pick your project wisely. Admittedly, I decided upon the 1×1 ribbed bore of a hat way back in March, so it wasn’t technically my pick for “summer” knitting, but it turned out that I was so not interested in working on it, that it’s still languishing on my needles now that summer is in full swing. I think the 3 essentials for a summer project are that they have to be:

Something SMALL. You really don’t need heavy blankets or bulky sweaters overheating your lap. You want something light and portable, so you can even bring it along for that beach day on the off chance that you do spend more than 5 minutes outside of the water.

Something INTERESTING. Your project should be fun enough that it lures you to it despite summer’s distractions. It needs to be able to hold its own in the war between an evening picnic in the park or a few hours spent on an intriguing cable and lace project with a nice gin and tonic.

Something COTTON or LINEN. I usually don’t enjoy working with cotton because it doesn’t have any “give”, but it has to be said that something with a summery fiber content is much more appropriate for the season than trying to slog through a project with that alpaca or angora blend that keeps sending up downy fluffs that get stuck to your face. I’ve been seeing some very nice patterns out lately from Quince & Co., heralding their new Kestrel linen yarn. It is spun in a way so that the yarn has some sproingy-ness to it, which may be enough to rectify my misgivings towards the usually non-giving fiber.

So what will you be knitting this summer? I will be continuing on with the 1×1 bore, but only because it is small and dangit, I just want it finished. I do have plans for something less boring next- something small and portable and with lots of interesting cables.

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Knitterly Goodies from Fringe Supply Co.

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I recently decided to treat myself to a couple of small goodies from Fringe Supply Co. for my birthday. I snagged one of the ebony repair hooks (a double-ended crochet hook, really) because it is so much prettier than the silly pink steel one that’s always lounging in the bottom of my knitting bag. Speaking of knitting bags, I snagged a super cute bento bag in tan ticking stripe. I carry my knitting with me to work every day and having a small knitting bag that can be thrown into my purse or any other bag at a moment’s notice is what I’m looking for.

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I also grabbed a set of the ebony cable needles. I’ve wanted some of these for quite a while because I love that they are short and straight and have little notches in them to help keep the stitches secure. I recently finished knitting a project with SO MANY CABLES and decided that my old bent steel cable needle that I bought when I first started knitting was just too annoying to use for something with lots of cabling going on. I got so tired of it that I switched to a random 4″ DPN which was much nicer to use, but HELLO? These ebony cable needles are beauts. Had to have ’em.

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If you haven’t checked out Karen’s shop or even her blog, you should definitely do both.

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Free Pattern: Hill Country Hat

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Originally published in Pom Pom Quarterly 4: Verdant Stitches, I’m happy to now offer the Hill Country Hat knitting pattern as a free Ravelry Download. The Hill Country hat knits up quickly in a bulky weight yarn and has a good amount of slouch. The finished size is 20.5 inches in circumference by 9.25 inches long, brim to crown.

Materials

Bulky weight yarn- approximately 142 yards/130 meters

Sample shown in Queensland Collection Kathmandu Chunky Tweed (85% merino, 10% silk, 5% cashmere; 142 yards/130 meters/100 g) in the colorway Oatmeal (108)

US 10.5/6.5 mm 16”/40 cm circular needles

US 10.5/6.5 mm double pointed needles (DPNs) or size needed to obtain gauge below

Tapestry needle for weaving ends

Stitch marker

Gauge

14 stitches and 20 rounds = 4”/10 cm in stockinette stitch, after blocking

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New Knitting Pattern: Wayfinder Mitts

photo by Nikki Mann

photo by Nikki Mann

I’m excited to announce that my Wayfinder Mitts knitting pattern is now available as a Ravelry download. Worked in Madelinetosh DK, each Wayfinder Mitt is cast on at the bottom edge and knit in the round. The top and bottom cuffs are worked in 2×2 rib, which stretches nicely to fit the wearer. The directional cables flow out of the ribbed cuff and are mirrored on the back of each hand. Thumb gussets are created by increases placed at the side of each mitt; after increasing, thumb stitches are placed on waste yarn and later picked up and worked in the round. Instructions are provided as both charted and written.

photo by Nikki Mann

photo by Nikki Mann

MATERIALS

DK weight wool yarn – approximately 115 yards/106 meters

Sample shown in Madelinetosh Tosh DK (100% superwash merino wool; 225 yards/206 meters/100 g) in the Antique Lace colorway on hands measuring 7.5″/19 cm in circumference.

US 6/4.0 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge) dpns, two circulars, or long circular for magic loop

Cable needle

3 Stitch markers

Tapestry needle for weaving ends

Waste yarn

GAUGE

22 sts by 30 rounds = 4”/10 cm in stockinette stitch

FINISHED SIZE

8”/20.5 cm long by 7”/17.75 cm in circumference (unstretched) to fit hands measuring 6.5″/16.5 cm to 8″/20.25 cm in circumference.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here or buy now.

photo by Nikki Mann

photo by Nikki Mann

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Grey Day

When Joey and I were first dating, he told me his favorite color was grey and I thought he was mad.  (My favorite color at the time was cobalt blue).  “How can your favorite color be grey?  Grey isn’t really even a color.”

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Fast forward 17 (!!) years later and things have changed yet not changed.  Joey’s wardrobe consists of mostly greys, with some black and navy thrown in for good measure.  If you ask him his favorite color I am positive he would still answer with grey.  Me, I have nary a bit of cobalt blue around anymore, save for a set of baking dishes that were a wedding gift; a throwback to our early days.  Over the years I’ve most certainly come around to grey as a color.  Without even knowing it was happening, it might have just become my favorite color too.  I was yarn shopping with a friend the other day and she commented that when it comes to yarn, I almost always go for greys and I realized she was absolutely right.

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Today the sky is grey as grey can be and although I am a bit tired of cold grey weather, I’m not tired of grey the color.  Not even a little bit.

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Coming Soon: Wayfinder Mitts

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A while back I started playing around with arrow motifs and incorporating them into my knitting. The Wayfinder Mitts were originally envisioned as a pair of grey stockinette fingerless mitts with an orangey-red arrow down the back of the hands, either knit using intarsia or possibly duplicate stitched on afterwards. After a while that idea started to feel too plain and I tried to think of a way to make them more interesting. I came up with an interesting stitch pattern for the cuffs that also featured directional arrows, but then I fell in love with the cuff idea more than the original idea and decided to file that particular stitch pattern away for something bigger and better. Another issue I had with the idea of doing a stockinette mitt is the fit. I wanted something that was fitted– not slouchy, so I knit a prototype that decreased towards the wrist and increased for the hand. Unfortunately when wearing the mitts, they would bunch awkwardly when you rotated your hands at the wrist, so I went back to the drawing board. Some of the best-fitting fingerless mitts I’ve ever worn have had ribbing on the wrist portion, so I went with a 2×2 rib for the arm and wrist and stockinette for the hand and added a two stitch traveling cable to the back of each hand for the visual interest. I really like the way these mitts turned out and the ribbing makes them easily stretch to fit most ladies’ hands nicely. This pair was knit in Madelinetosh Tosh DK, but they could also be knit in a heavy worsted or aran weight in a more rustic wool for a pair of manlier mitts. The pattern is being tech edited now and I’ll be releasing it very soon!

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Back in the Saddle

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I’m a lazy knitter. Not the kind of lazy knitter that makes mistakes and doesn’t bother to fix them— (I may be lazy, but I’m still a perfectionist). No, I mean the lazy kind of knitter that will set a project aside if there’s a section coming up that I need to devote my full attention to like calculating increases or looking up a particularly stretchy bind off. That is exactly what happened to me recently and it spiraled into an entire month of no knitting.

I’m slowly slogging away at a design idea (perfecting it, actually) and I was getting near the end of a ribbed edge where I wanted to try out a tubular bind off. I set the project aside, planning to research the best method of doing the tubular bind off, and then a crazy insane December happened and I kept thinking I didn’t have time to do it properly so it just sat there. For a whole month. Not a stitch knit.

Fortunately, my knitting mojo has returned post-holidays and I found some time to pick it back up over the weekend. The first thing I noticed was that all the ribbing I had knitted back in the insane days of December was worked in the wrong needle size. (What kind of burnout makes mistakes knitting their own pattern? Further proof that December was just a crazy month that I’m glad to see the end of). So instead of spending a nice hour or so knitting a beautiful tubular bind off and feeling the satisfaction of completing something that’s been on my mind for a month, I had to rip back quite a bit of ribbing and then start over with the correct needle size. All of that and I’m still not ready to tackle that dang tubular bind off.

The good news is that even though this design is taking me FOREVER (I’m not even going to talk about how I’ve got a whole second piece to REKNIT after this one….) it’s going to be a really killer design so it will be worth all the trouble. AND I’ve recently brushed off another design that has been waiting in the wings since summer time and all it needs is a quick tech edit and some photos, so I should have something to release fairly soon.

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