Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pink mint in Merino,

I have started Pink-Mint, thats the name I use to think about the latest jersey. And I have to make some decisons about how it will be. I had wanted to steek this one, just because I can, but feel the way the Merino Yarn washed up would not suit that at all, why, well it went very silky, very very slippery when washed. So I have a nagging doubt that even machine knitting could hold the cut edges safe and sound from unravelling. The edges on the washed swatch did fluff up nicely, and would make a fine edge for something with a fluffy fringe. I am however not going to tell my little wearer to be that, or that decision will be made for me - and this is my jersey design. This is intended to be a warm, intricate, my mother loves me jersey for my Josie-Poppy, who will be 5 and off to school next winter. Except all the adults assume she has a Nana who knits, they never assume it is the Mum. I guess they think working mums don't have time or the inclination.

This blog was set up for me to track my thinking progress as I plan and execute my knitting. So at this stage I am going into the details of what decisions I made in designing the new jersey and why. I am im part inspired by Wendy(see sidebar), although my knitting is no where as fast or productive. I ask my students to document the decision making processes on the designs and making they produce, so here I am using this to document the same in my work. Trying to be a reflective practioner, learning, improving through investigating my own work practice.

Ok so about a week ago I started the rib, having decided that corrugated rib in the round was quite attractive and unusual in a hand knit. I like to show off little clever technical aspects in my work. I do like the way the floats on the back push the purl bumps forward - making a nice textural contrast. I had a quick play with casting on in two colours, one stitch from each yarn, but was obviously having an uber dyslexic day and soon decided not to add to much learning to this curve. Turns out I as right - not so much a steep learning curve but a frustrting one this week. Gauge on my washed swatch is around 9.4 sts per inch, or 3.7 sts per cm, using 2.5 mm needles. Yarn is Naturally Haven 4 ply Merino in mint and pink, and Schoeller and Stahl Baby Merino in winter white. I am using a size chart which suggests a size four needs a finished chest of 27 inchs, and a size 6 28.5 inchs. I calculated I needed a 27.75 inch finished size for my 5 year old to be next year, making 252 stitches for the body. I rounded this up to 260 stitches, which is divisable by 4 so fits lots of the small fair isle repeats I want to use.

I first started the rib and had ribbed around 1 cm when i discovered the tube was twisted. All 260 stitches on 2.5mm needles. Bother, briefly wondered if about continuing on for a mobius scarf then I cut the yarns and cast on again, in tubular rib edging - and it went well, except I found I had switched yarn order over my fingers about 3 cm in, and the rib was flicking or curling up plus there was a very prominent switch in yarn floats on the back. I assumed that the switch in yarn cary so breaking float pattern had caused the flicking up - or curling. I frogged, and cast on 260 stitches again, this time on 2 mm needles, as I had also noticed a little flare in the lower edge. The tubular hem was a nice treatment, and looked great despite the curl, so I used smaller knitting pins to cast on to tighen it up. Again a few cm's into the rib and I realised this stitch, corrugated rib, curls, and curls and curls, despite how lovely the tubular rib looks the curling was bugging me. A whole week of knitting and nothing but a 4cm band of curled corrugated rib to show for it. You can see the curl in the close up on the right, and the lovely tubular rib edge.

I did a search on corrugated ribbing, as had little response to my querry on knitters review. In my search I found a link to rjconklin. who had researched curling corrugated rib. Apparently the solution is to have more purls than knits. Problem, I wanted 1x1 rib, not a chunky 2x3, or 1x2. What to do? A second search found a Wendyknits post, that women is amazing, who suggested using a long tail cast on, and steaming, but it does look like she used a 2 purl rib so who knows if that would fix it. Another cast on, at this stage I think I am up to my 5th?, and gosh darn it, only had enough tail for 210 stitches, so a little more frogging and up to cast on number 6, 260 stitches, and rib, keeping the purl yarn wound over the index, the knit yarn over the indes but wound on the 2nd finger, and we are now here -

I have completed a few repeats of the fair isle I am using on the lower body section, repeat over 4, with a plain or ground colour row between each pattern row. I am looking at Josie-Pop flit around my bedroom, and notice she is wearing a blue sknow flake sweater I knitted last year, which is shaped at the waist, now I wonder if I do this to this next one.

Long weekend in New Zealand, labour weekend, Monday off work, celebrating the introduction all those years ago of the 40 hour week, imagine working longer for less as our grandfathers and grandmothers did. Today is Monday, and I get to blog, photograph, fold washing, yesterday we had two little girls over for a play date, and the day before - Saturday, we had two swimming lessons, one princess party to go to, one boy visit and out for dinner. Today I am happy to do little, but knit, fold washing and think about the short week at work.

Take care.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bohus Blue shimmer pickies :-D, and whats next?

Well, here are the images of Blue shimmer, knit from a bohus museum kit, is finished and has been worn. She is light, beautifully warm and the sleeves start the day just over my knuckle and by end of day have shortened to a wrist length. I know this happens now, with elbow bending and wearing distortion sleeves 'shrink' so I knitted her with long monkey arms. I finished her a week or so ago and then it took two nights to seam up. i used matress stitch, in the same Bohus yarn. I had left live stitches at the sleeve and body hem, and these I kitchenered in place. I am quite proud of the result. I even remembered the hems had 10% fewer stitches so kitchenered up 9 stitches, and kitchenered the next hem stitch one stitch away.

I have worn her, had comments and been told I look like I am about to ski. We are having a wonderful run of sunny, clear warm spring weather. Far to hot to wear Blue shimmer, so she shimmered on the river stones under our washing line for these photos.

The sock i was knitting,... well i lived up to the blog name and frogged it. The yarn has been skeined and washed and dried, and needs to be wound into a ball again. I just plain lost my place, I had tried to knit a those socks from a brank new and untested for me pattern, a toe up with a full heel gusset, and in cables, from Wildershins, but I like a firmer gauge. So .. I tried to size it up, and lost my way mid heel flap, and couldn't be bothered deciphering a fix so, frog, frog, frogged it. I am not sure i was fussed completely on the cable and varigated mix anyways. Its here if you care. Brooke - I aplogiese, I love the idea of Wildershins and will make them in a much more suitable yarn to do them real justice.

So, whats on the needles now, we i really want to knit Poppy something for next Autumn and Winter, in fine yarn. I have Bohus Rose collar in kit form to knit, but wanted something nwhere i could be a little more creative. A visit to my LYS and i picked up a merino 4 ply, thats fingering to the rest of the world, in smooth merino mink, pink and soft white. And I have been having a play. I decided to play with a corrugated two colour ribb - two images here, one of hte front and one of the reverse. This is what happened when I knit it flat. For some reason , knit flat the floats for the back row are 'hidden' and the stitches larger on the front, yet on the right side row the opposite happens. It is cute and texturally interesting but I coundn't understand why people would use this kind of effect on traditional jerseys.

So this is my sampler so far, i am just picking odd and probably not connected graphs for small motifs from PGR Knitting the old way. Small motifs as Poppy is only 4, and next year she will be 5, but she has tiny fingers that will catch long floats and snag them. As i worked Switched to knitting the sample as if in the round, that is i knit all rows, and to avoid the tangle of threads across the back I cut and knitted the yarns together in twos at both ends. Reatively easy as each row usually has two yarns. As I neared the finsh I tried a simple 2x2 ribb, as I decided the corrugated rib was not right for this project, to bulky, to textureal. Then I began to wonder if knitting corrugated ribb required knitting in the round (I posted a question to KR here) so maybe some one will tell me. I like the final knit in the round version and thats what i will use (again two images, front and reverse sides shown).

Now i just have to cast off, in alternate or in pink - still deciding, wash, dry, determine gauge, measure girl, add on ease and growing room and make my maths work. I love the planning and sorting stage, so fullof hope and promise.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

purl with colours/colors & yarn in left hand

This post was suposed to be a celebration of finishing Blue Shimmer (which I have done) and details of how I blocked and stitched but .... today on Knitters Review Forum I noticed a request for details or info on how people purl with two colors. Much earlier in my blog I provided details and images of how I knit with two colors in the left hand. This is a companian piece to that. I don't know if there would be any value in visiting that post as well. Blue shimmer details - update and the next project very soon - we have fast broadband now and it is sooooo much easier.

These are images I took ages ago when I was working on the colour yoke of Blue Shimmer. It is way overdue and time to dig out the images and write the how-to details. I have also got images of using the finish or norwegien purl in a rib - which i find easier so that comming soon to a blog near you. In the process I think I have also got smarter about uploading and preparing images. These images were saved for web as .gif and the size reduced to 300 across, with an upload time of 11 seconds each on dial up - so I hope they load quickly.

Before I start I do need to point out that to get even colour work (I live in NZ which uses the English spelling so for me colour has a u! - I can spell - sort of) I make sure the stitches are spread out flat not scrunched up on the right needle as I knit. That way the floats are made long enough and my finished work is very flat and dosn't pucker - a trick I learned reading Wendy's blog. That woman is amazing, she seemed to knit Bohus Blue shimmer in less than a month - it took me 9 months.

I used to knit a more 'conventional' purl but since finding the finish purl have used only this way for colour work. I find it almost impossible to knit a more 'conventional' contintal where the right forfinger sweeps the yarn into place when I have two colours in the left hand - some people probably can, but I have not mastered that yet. Notice the yet, I have realised that in time nearly all things are possible. I think I do ok for some-one who is self taught from books and the internet.

Step one, Purling with two colors carried in the left hand,I arrange the yarns so both are over my first finger. I find the yarn wound around that finger has the 'evenest' tension, the one wound around the next finger also comes over that finger but gets slightly looser after 10 or 20 cm's of knitting, so I use that for the yarn which has the longest floats. I could wind it around my pinky and have tried but ... that seems to snag and upset the fore-finger wound yarn so i leave it as is.

I lift the yarn you are wanting to make the purl stitch in so it sits over the left hand needle, to do that i scoop the left hand needle tip under it.

Slide the right needle into the next stitch on the left needle purlwise, then I twist the right needle up and over then down under the purl yarn to pick it up. I bring the needle tip down and scoop or hook the yarn thru the stitch on the left needle.

This takes me to a point where I have nearly completed the stitch, I used to have problems keeping my purls stitches as firm as my knits but realise i need to make sure the needle is pushed all the way thru for both the knit and purls. I did have a bad habit of knitting on the tips of the needles so the knit stitches were smaller, and purling on the fullest part of the needle. Now I have worked that out it is much easier to notice when I am making that error and correct myself.
I push the right needle against the left needle and keeping the two in contact swing it around to the back of the work. I make sure the needle is right thru the stitch, that is not just the needle tip, but the widest part of the needle and then I slip the new stitch off and drop the old stitch.

make sure you tug your finger away slighlty to seat the purl stitch in place and remove any slack in the yarns before the next stitch.

To work with the other colour is very simillar, just pick up the yarn colour that i required and lift it over the needle to start.