Thursday, November 30, 2017

Casting on - with a Braid of two colours

The final video in the serries, is for the decorative two colour cast on. I have seen lots of these - and this is the one I particuarly like. There is a three colour version - but it gets both bulkier and more fiddly.
This cast on isn't very stretchy - and it is a little messy with all the ends. I suggest working this one at a place and time where you can focus without distractions. This cast on is especailly nice as an edge to corrugated ribbing, or small checkerboard colour work.
Again enjoy

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Looks hard but isn't

Left and Right leaning braids are really cool and effective on small knitting projects, I love the way the braids break up bands of colourwork and provide a structural  firm element. I've seen these braids worked to demarkate a sock toe from a patterned instep, a sweater or cardigan hem from the body and like here to pull in and constrain a cuff on a mitten. Here are two videos that I made earlier in the year to teach at Unwind 2017. Udate is I am also teaching and presenting at Unwind 2018.  I am teaching Praxis - where the class will explore colourwork, taking Speed dating, a really fun class to explore a huge variety of yarns, and presenting a talk - I stashed a yarn and I liked it, on Stashing. that last one is an update of a paper I presented at a conference way back in 2011.

As long as you can work colourwork, that is knit with two colours these braids are not that hard. The most important thing is the set up round - working one round of checkerboard stitches so the braid comes out clean.  I know every one knits differently - I usuallly hold both yarns in my left hand, but started my knit life holding the yarn in my right. Some people - cleverer than I  - hold one yarn in each hand. My mind just can't do that for to long unless there is a simple rhythm to the work. Knowing people knit differently - I have made these two videos demonstrating several methods of 'yarn carry' so they should make sense to lots of knitters.
Here is the Right pointing braid - with the set up row already worked, one round of knits in alternalting colours.  The braid can be worked in a single colour but looses its drama.
And here is the matching left braid - if stacking them above each other like I have - I suggest two rounds of plain and a set up round between each braid.
na Stella

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Re group and forgotten things

Hello - its been a long time, this year, and perhaps the last one has seen me blog less, but not knit less. I realised that i had never linked to my most recent knitting videos,
I have a small serries on braids - and in the words of Elizabeth Zimmerman 'unvented' a improved way to knit a Vikkel braid. This variation eliminates the elongated stitches that always occur with this braid.
I taught a class at Unwind 2017, on knitting braids and became completely frustrated with the elongated stitch that working a Vikkel braid produced. I tried knitting into the back to twist and tighten the stitch, i tried using a smaller needle and then an even smaller needle. In the end I wondered what it was about the braid that caused the elongated stitch. I realised the physical act of working the stitch -  of stretching around the working stitches drew more yarn into the work than needed and this created the elongated stitch. This techniqueworks the braid seperately from the  row after the braid and effectively eliminates  the loose elongated stitch. This technique may not be authentic - but it is effective.
The Vikkel video is part of a serries demonstrating braids - I hope to link these here over the next week or so.
Na Stella

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Think it

It's tinking time, not great news just me being a knitting adult and sorting my mistakes in an adult knitter way. I'm knitting a shawl, a lovley lace shawl, in a beautiful cashmere and silk blend hand died and gifted as a present by M of Vintage Purls. I'm up to chart 4c - the last row section of lace before the boarder. And like any contemporary knitter I'm modifying the pattern in a small way - first by using smaller needles so the lace is a little denser - and secondly by replacing the nups with beads.

So far so good, until I realised that one of these things was not like the other, yes I had an'seasame street' moment. This is the lace pattern with beads instead of nupps, it's subtle but clear - each beaded row results in the bead sitting just a little out from the bead on the row two rows down.

It subtle - but there, the yellow oval has two beads sitting diagonal and slightly offset - the green oval shows two beads sitting on top of each other. Clear as day when compared to all the other bead spacing. When I worked that row - I discovered I had missed placing a bead two rows down and tried to repair the mistake - but I failed. Failed miserably - more so knowing that in a single nights knitting - with between 300 and 400 or so stitches I might only do one row of beading and the plain wrong side row.... I dropped down and tried to rework up with the bead in place but I got lost amidst the yarn goers and s1 k2 tog psso's.

This is the yarn from one row of 350 or so stitches after they were frogged, I have two more rows to go .... and then I can begin again making sure all the beads are in the right place.

Because the work is lace with 's1 k2tog,psso' and because there are beads - well it can't be slipped off the needled and ripped back - it's tink tink tink one stitch at a time and tug gently at each beaded stitch to release the bead and retain the stitch. Those beads make tinking slightly more tricky.

My night just got longer - my heart sinks that tonight will be tinking one stitch stitch looking at each one carefully to make sure I pick it up without splitting the yarn and orientate it on the needles correctly. Still it needs doing. Tonight is knit night - but a twist of fate means dinner will be later than usual and this frogging will take place at home ....with good lighting and no knitbased conversation to distract me.

If I don't fix the mistake - when blocked the two beads without a space between will stand out among the rest of the even spaced beads ...or at least at is my fear.

It is supposed to be a fun relaxing hobby - isn't it? In other news the yarn is scrummy- and I finally found a teeny tiny vintage crochet hook in my tool stash to use for beading - one that fits into all the beads.

Na Stella


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Hello ...remember me

So it's been a while, stuff happened, earlier this year my dad ended up in hospital, again and again. It's been a rough few months ending with a short stay in a hospice and a funeral. Life goes on without dad - and it's ok, but there is a dad shaped hole that is very very slowely softening.

There has been knitting, a few small items that I just can't find photos of right now. Simple knitting that was portable and did good, a DK version of Hope He Never each for my brother Andy and his son, a possum alpaca cowl for bear. And a lace edged shawl with beads that had languished in the wip pile for far too long ( 2 years!).

This is the current work, a lace shawl knit in a yak silk blend. Details Baltic blossom shawl by Evelyn Clark - there should be knupps, but taking a cue from M at Vintage Purls I've gone for beads instead. I've also chosen slightly smaller needles wanting a denser lace not an open loopy one.

It's slow progress - each beaded row clocks in at an entire night to work. And until it's blocked then it will look like this a soft scrunched rag.

The goal this year was to return to regular blogging - so I'm planning a weekly update to start and see how that goes. Thank you for hanging in with me.

Na stella


Friday, March 17, 2017

Look a blog post!

So blocking linen is apparently different to blocking wool based yarns, everything thing I know about line says it softens with washing and aging. So when I read on multiple places to block linen by throwing it into the washing machine and then the drier I thought that was the way to block linen. I suppose it is .... but only if the ends are very very secure.



Here is my blocked rippled linen cardigan, lovely and soft rather than crisp. Although I feel it will crisp up with a little steam press. I'm rather pleased with the entire thing, the pattern was written to work flat but I rejigged it to be worked seamlessly. My first top down picked up and knit sleeves, kinda short row as per Barbara Walker, with ideas adapted from my knowledge of flat pattern drafting for cut and sewn garments, and around the internet. Photos of it being worn will be posted soon. Pattern is Rippled, by Kirsten Singer. Yarn is Quince and Co Sparrow in 100% linen.

This is were the blocking went awry. One lower corner of the front band ravelled a teeny tiny bit. Nothing to dramatic except it needs fixing beyond the temporary holding fix of a stitch marker.

I thought, like other delicate garments, it would be best to do up the buttons and wash / dry it inside out. Turns out that created stress points, and a rather nice drawn out front hem as well as the ravelling.


I am liking the simple lace either side of the front - after dithering about what would work in linen I'm pleased with this. The buttons are hand made by Benji. I have several other sets all coordinated to match cardigan batches of yarn. These buttons are based on a William Morris design.


The set in sleeves, seamless worked well, I used twin stitches as detailed in the FLH pattern, aka Fish Lips Heel. They have become my favourite short row solution. I also added some increases to shape the sleeves a little more like a sewn set in sleeve. I like these, and will work more sleeves this way.


The v-neck shaping is also a great surprise, the v is pretty much perfect with a dress or tee shirt, and sits nicely on the body. Of course a good press and it will be even better.



With the linen cardigan out of the way - I have begun the next one, a sweater in ALB Lino, 85% wool and 15% linen, by Schoppel. The pattern is Holstein by Annestrick. I've admired her style of patterns for years - and finally found a yarn and pattern combo that I like. The pattern swatch is 22 stitches in 10 cm - my unwashed gauge was 25.25 so I am waiting to see if the swatch relaxed with blocking.

Na Stella - or look a blog post.


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