Sunday, January 01, 2017

Frog me once, frog me twice, and frog a third time lucky?

Ok, so the knit knit frog bit in the title - it's happening again, only this time it seems more like knit frog, frog. I'm knitting a cardigan, a simple one - or at least I'm trying to knit one. The yarn is linen - which has its own challenges, crisper with no elastic, so trickier to work lace in. The colour is lovely, my favorite soft blue grey green, the pattern is Rippled by Kirsten Singer. The yarn is 100%linen, Quince&Co, a fingering weight (4ply in 'old money') called Sparrow, in Blue Spruce, I'm knitting this in the round rather than flat, because I don't want seams where there need no be any. The cardigan is knit hem up, so I cast on enough stitches for both fronts and the back and worked the rib. The lace is a simple one - worked on right side and wrong side rows. So simple that it threw me, I thought I had the rhythm, but appers I did not.

Christmas Day I set out the freshly knit work and admired it, but something wasn't right, the lace didn't quite line up. I didn't take close up photos because I was embarrassed. The lace is a simple *k2 yo k2tog*, it to work required careful lining up. I didn't take too much care of the alignment of the right side and wrong side rows, and I was mashing up the instructions for the right, back and left sides all at once. The it that I didn't think through was the selvedge stiches, and the way the lace was spaced 2 stiches in from each side seam. So I frogged for the first time, well the first official time as I had several goes at knitting the ribbing, I've not knit much with linen and seemed to need a bit of practice to get the hang of it.

Just as I nearly finished the first skein of yarn, one side looked good, each column of lace had nice single yarn threads twisted into ladder type bars.

The other side didn't look so good, there were lumpy bits in my lace. Frog time, frog number two.

So while away on our post Christmas holiday in Invercargil - I frogged, not all the way but back to the ribbing and began again. I counted carefully and placed side seam markers to guide me in where the lace should go. And ...

This time the lace is perfect, each column is a nice neat row of twisted ladders. But ...

Somewhere, somehow it seems I can't count to 44 reliably twice as the number is stitches spare on the right and left sides between the lace and the front edge is different. Frog number three....

I will frog tonight and try try again. Counting and re counting as I set the side seam stitch markers. Or maybe I will spin and put this project in time out for a wee while.

Na Stella


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Two steps forward and one step back

Gauge - the most common advice given by knitters to other knitters is to check gauge. When something doesn't fit as it should - knitters mention gauge, and discuss if the swatch was big enough, if it was washed, blocked or maybe even not washed or kept. A swatch is meant to save knitters a lot of bother. Mostly it is good advice but sometimes gauge swatches lie. Gauge swatches are by nature smaller than the garments they are knit for, and can't predict how the weight of a garment will pull and distort the swatch.

Last time I posted I was well on the way to finishing my saddle shouldered cardigan. This post - the cardigan has been frogged, the maths reworked and the cardigan has begun again with fewer stitches. I had both sleeves worked and was 10 centimeters into the body below the underarm when I decided to steam block the work to open up the cable. The steam blocking relaxed the knitting and when I tried on the cardigan the sleeves hung mid knuckle, and more worrying the shoulder slumped off my shoulders and the armhole hung low - unflatteringly low.

So Thursday, at knit night I wrapped the cardigan around my chest - and found that it overlapped by 5 cm. That was a problem as I had calculated it to be an exact fit with 5cm for button bands. By overlapping 5cm the bust was 10cm or 4 inches too big. So I frogged, I pulled out the needle and wound back the yarn into balls. Annoyingly I had woven in the ends - but luckily the silky wool ends pulled out easily. Then Friday I sat down and did some calculations, and measured a cardigan that fits well to determine the across back measurment for a hand knit - this time I did the math for a bust 10 cm smaller than mine - seems I am working on negative ease here, it can stretch over the bumpy bits and fit without stretching over the smaller bits.

This time I planned my shoulder increases a little bit better, so the increases align better with the armsye line. The first time around I didn't think the placement of the increases through. With fewer stitches progress seems to be faster. I'm nearly up to the underarm, just working a few increases to help the sleeve and body curve into place better.


The other knitting this week was Hearts for Humanities - Otago University, like many educational institutions is suffering as the lower number of school levers results in fewer enrollements. That means less funding, fewer enrollements, and so fewer staff required. One of the faculties facing cuts is the Humanities - and while I am a science graduate i know in many places my area of study falls within the humanities divisions. I understand the economics - and the reality, but I don't like it, protesting might not change anything but it does make the decisions more visible.

So ... the Thursday night knit group meets weekly on university grounds, and was approached to knit red hearts that would be used to highlight the funding cuts. Most of the knitters have some connection with the university, as staff or alumni, and several were happy to help. Here are my 6 hearts, knit in Four Seasons, 8ply, 100% Acrylic. Acrylic to withstand the weather outside where they will be used. The tassels were my way to use up all the Acrylic, the pattern is Heart wash cloth revised, by Tricotine on I made several minor modifications as I knit, improving each one slightly, eventually slipping the last stitch and knitting the first to give a neat chain edge, and working the triple increase as a K, yo, k into the center stitch. I shifted the increases and decreases one stitch into the body, It's a neat pattern and only 40 rows. This was one of the few heart patterns that didn't require knitting each 'lobe' separately - for quick things like this I dislike cutting and joining and weaving in more than the beginning and ending ends.

Na Stella.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Look a blog post!

Hello, yes it has been a while, but today there is an update. I've been knitting, and doing other things. But this place is about the knitting. So today, there are three washcloths, knit with a Shetland belt, my colourwork project stalls (but I think I know why) and a developing design for a cardigan.

First the washcloths, three, knit in a blend of cotton and something man made, I didn't actively buy this - being a bit of a fibre snob about things synthetic, but it was a swap shop score. Sadly I've found that wash cloths with some synthetic fibre might actually be easier to use than pure cotton. They hold less water, so feel nicer, not all clammy and cold when picked up.

The wash clothes were a two-for project, knit to continue my practice with the the knitting belt and because some of our wash clothes have developed holes. An unnamed child used them to clean a craft knife of plastic scrapings and sliced the yarns in places, words have been said and replacements were required. I still have the colour work scarf ... As knitting belt practice, but felt the need for some plain practice. Plain as in one yarn, because a mix of knits and purls is not strictly speaking plain. First one is my standard go to checkerboard cloth - thin, flat and supple. Second is a garter rib - for knit purl practice and third is stocking stitch with a garter edge. Needles were 4mm stainless and 35-36cm long, which I think is a tad long for me. There seems to be a few more offerings for needles online - than when I first looked, I have some shorter, 30cm ones coming from POK, which should feel easier to use than the longer ones I have now.

The colour work scarf project langishes - I think becasue the longer needles are just a bit to much of a stretch for my arms - but it has grown since last I posted about it. And I'm happy with the way the colours are working out, at first the darker brown was very murky against the blue background, but the pink is much clearer. I can see why the default is a white background - but that seemed to predictable. I think I am on my second of five repeats - and might have to buy more yarn ... We shall see.


Finally there is a cardigan on the needles, this time circulars so knit in my usual way. This is a top down saddle shouldered cardigan, with a cable running down the saddle and sleeve into the cuff. I'm knitting the sleeves first while I think about the body. I know I want hip length, and I like the ribbing at the backwaist of Slanted Sleeven - so I am thinking of using the cables to do the the same kind of shaping. For now I am near the end of the second sleeve.

I am rather liking the way the shoulders have worked, it is a saddle as I mentioned but with some increases along the armsye/body line. I was inspired by EZ's saddle shaping but hers is bottom up not top down. I've also tweaked the underarm shaping to better mimic the curves found in flat patternmaking - it just helps the sleeve and body better wrap around the complex curves there. Or at least I think so.

The yarn is half silk half wool - and project notes as always on Ravelry.

Na Stella


Friday, July 29, 2016

Still knitting

But for some reason not blogging, but today - an update. There has been progress on many knitted things, a secret swap shawl (gifted already), a cardigan (done but not photographed on the body), and a sweater remade (again worn but no photo evidence). These things I will endevor to photograph and post sometime soon. But in the spirit of keeping it current - today it is about the 'on the needles' stuff.

This is my Fifty-Me cowl, knit in an indulgent cashmere-camel-silk-and baby alpaca blend. (Road to China silken Jewels). I know merino is soft, and silk is soft but this is S O F T - so soft it takes my breath away every time I squish it. The project feels like a total indulgence, comparatively to other things I've knit the yarn is not cheap, but I turned 50 earlier this month and it is my present to myself. Pattern modifications are few - a tubular cast on and faced hem, turmeric colour way to replace the lime shock in the original. Pattern is the three color cashmere cowl by Joji Locatelli. I've seen a few in real life - and recently one was gifted at the local mid-winter swap, which just tipped the scales and inspired me to do one myself.

The other current project makes use of rainbow or EQ Kauni, some how I acquired two 160gram balls (in separate shopping incidents) of this with no clue of what to use it for. My only thought at the time was ohhh what wonderful colours. Anyway - the balls are too tall to fit into my yarn storage drawers easily and the ball bands were getting ripped and torn. The simple solution was to find a way to use them and prevent further storage issues.

The answer was Mon Petit gilet rayƩ by Isabelle Milleret. Only issue was the Original gauge is 22stiches in 4", my gauge is 23, and I didn't want to go looser or more open, so I've adjusted the stitch count and plunged in. I used a simple adjustment, divided the pattern stitch counts by 22(original gauge) and added the result to the stitch count - effectively adding the right amount of extra stitches to accommodate a 23 stitch gauge. My swatch was generous - and slightly worrying was all Orange stripes on my dark green background. Two colours I wouldn't have picked - but I trusted the yarn and by one third of the way down the yoke the colour run shifted to deep blood red, then into purple, then blue, then lilac. Like most colour work it is slightly addictive seeing the pattern emerge - I've now split the yoke into sleeves and body and had to decide what I was going to do with the colour shifts across the body and sleeves. Some knitters work the body and then knit the sleeves letting the colours fall where they fall - other manipulate the colour shifts so the sleeves match the body. You can see some of the 800 variations posted on here. I took inspiration from Marikorose's variation posted on Ravelry, she had a photo showing the mini-balls she split off to keep the sleeve stripes consistent with the body.

I calculated the that I needed enough yarn to knit 140 stiches for each sleeve stripe - to make the sleeves match I need enough for two sleeve stripes. I marked out 140 stiches, and put a slip knot in my working yarn at a distance of 1m from the needles, and knit, when that meter was used, I marked a second meter, and then a third. I calculated I needed 2.25m of yarn to work one sleeve stripe of two rounds and weave in ends. Double that for both sleeves and I need to set aside 4.5 meters of yarn for each body stripe. I measured of 4.25m of lime green yarn, my measure-stick, and I've cut the working yarn and set aside my first sleeve stripe. This method means many ends to weave in - I plan to weave in as a knit where possible - but will keep the sleeves and body matching. Many of the variations finish the stripes at the waist or elbow - and I am leaning that way. I suspect it will get messy when I get to the sleeves - and there are questions around two at a time or one first then the other - but I have a body to work first.

Kauni is not a soft yarn but the colour shifts are amazing - the dark green solid Kauni I've used as the background felt like a brave choice - but I want to step away from the predictable gray and cream. I have played safe and bought enough off white plain Kauni to knit a second one in - remember I have two balls of 160g of the EQ rainbow. Pattern modifications other than gauge were tubular neck edge to replace ribbing, I just like the polished look.

It's getting dark now, and evening food needs thinking about if not cooking, curtains need drawing and both knitting projects call me.

Na Stella