Sweater Design – CYC Certification, Knit Level 2

My Primitive Drawing!

My Primitive Drawing!

The last step in the certification process (or at least the knitting part of the process) is to design and knit a simple sweater with sleeves for a beginning knitter.

Since I’m already “late” in the process, I decided to knit a tiny sweater for a baby niece who is four months old. She’s small and with the yarn I chose out of my stash, it should be a relatively quick knit and I’ve kept it really simple. All a new knitter would need to know to knit this sweater is cast on, join in the round, knit, increase, decrease and bind off.

I decided to start at the bottom of the body of the sweater and make it a rolled edge (no ribbing). And then to make the sleeves short since my yarn is cotton & could be worn in warmer weather or in cooler weather with a long-sleeve t-shirt underneath.

I’ll write the pattern (it’s required for the last step) and will post in on my Ravelry page (have you checked out Ravelry? I’m Lindar) for free when the certification is finalized and I can publish the pattern!

Here’s what I have knit so far …

Sleeve

Sleeve (one of two)
… like you hadn’t already figured that out!)

 

Body (bottom to top, knit in the round)

Body (bottom to top, knit in the round) with a rolled edge.
Simple enough for a beginning knitter!

The yarn is Araucania (hand dyed in Chile) Tolhuaca Solid in Color 1202. It’s 100% pima cotton, 120 yards per skein. I love the hand on this cotton yarn and it’s denim-y color is something that I thought would match everything my niece wears.

I love rolled necks and bottoms of sweaters but I didn’t want the sleeve to roll (it would feel funny on her little arms and against her little body) so I knit a row, purled a row a couple of times so the sleeves would lay flat against her arms.

Now it’s time to figure out how to get it to all go together. I’ve done one sweater before in this method and I’m trying to use my memory of that to get my pieces to attach to each other!

Gone knitting!

 

Happy New Year! Welcome 2013

It was a low key New Year’s Eve at our house last night. We welcomed in the New Year with a couple of friends, some food, drinks, games and lots of laughs.

2012 was a full year – a mixture of blessings and sorrow but without the sorrow, how can you appreciate the blessings. We said farewell to a beloved mother and an adored Cocker Spaniel. We welcomed a new great-nephew and a new niece. Celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. Entertained guests and family in Florida and Maine. Watched two children graduate from college and enter the “grown-up” world with new jobs. Joyously celebrated my big brother’s new liver and improving health. Enjoyed comfort and good health.

And now ahead to 2013! We entered the new year with a clean house, clean sheets, clean laundry and (most) projects finished. “Out with the old and in with the new!” I am looking forward to growing my business this year. To teaching more. To improving my website. To designing … or publishing some designs that I’ve created. To reaching a second level of certification.

Gone knitting!

Leg Warmers in Process

My daughter the actor wants a pair of leg warmers for Christmas. I love that she asked me to make them for her! Love it! And so, I got on Ravelry and found several patterns for her to give me an idea of what she had in her mind. This child knows what she wants!

The pattern that she liked is by Drops Designs and can be found here. They’re considered leg warmers or yoga socks. Yoga socks don’t have toes or heels. Leg warmers are over the knee length. So, when I was in New York visiting her (and seeing her show on Broadway) we went to Soho and visited Purl Soho. Oh. My. God! Talk about a little piece of heaven! I didn’t get nearly enough time to browse adequately … and I probably could have spent a couple of hours in the store. The colors, the fibers, the light wood and tea and it was so busy!

The Queen Bee at Purl Soho

I was so enthralled with the shop that I forgot to take photos inside! Sorry!

She picked a Madeline Tosh yarn in two colors and wants me to do the pattern design. (The Drops pattern was in a self-patterning yarn and much more .) The yarn is Madeline Tosh’s Tosh Sport (100% superwash merino wool; 270 yards; 5-6 sts = 1 inch) The colors that she chose are warm mushroom, a lovely neutral that is warm and the color of mushrooms – aptly named. The second color is fig. A deep, rich, reddish-brown that is a lovely contrast with the warm mushroom.

My swatch (yes, I made a swatch for this project!) was perfect! On the money – 26 stitches and 13 rows!

Swatched Stitches!

The yarn is yummy to knit with – and I am moving right along! As I’m knitting and designing at the same time, I am never sure if I’ll love the pattern. But I am pleased with it. The sample shown in the pattern is much more pattern-y so I had to make sure she was liking the direction I was taking. (I texted Kate a picture today for the stamp of approval and she liked it.) This is the picture that I texted to her …

Leg Warmer #1 … is on the needles!

So far, so good! Only about 36 inches left to knit. (Oh, yeah, and did I mention that I still have to knit two Christmas stockings?) Did I tell you before that I love knitting? Well, I do! I just hope that they fit her legs!

Gone Knitting!

Provisional Cast-On … Easy Method

Three Shades Mohair Cowl – Color Choices

Years ago, when I entered what we were allowed to call the Ravelympics, I had decided to  try to make my first lace scarf. I hit a road block when I read the patter for the first time and saw that there was a provisional cast on required. Since this was before the Internet really took off in my house, it was really difficult to find instructions that were clear and well-written (and illustrated) for this very visual knitter. Needless to say, I fell on my needles and was injured enough to totally back out of the challenge. (I also had kids at home and was working … not a lot of time to spend on doing something for myself back then!)

Fast forward a few years and I have learned how to do a couple of provisional cast ons. One with a crocheted chain that you then pick up stitches in the little bumps on the back (do not try this with black “waste” yarn) and another where you use an extra needle and let it hang at the bottom of your piece. Since I’m not an adept crocheter, my bumps are never consistent. The extra needle hanging at the bottom is a little bit cumbersome. So, I was looking for another option and this morning I found it!

Wendy Bernard over at Knit and Tonic has a great illustrative article on this long-tail provisional cast on where, in essence, you make a slip knot with your working yarn and your “waste” yarn (preferably something that is slippery) and then with your waste yarn over your thumb (toward you) and your working yarn over your index finger/pointer finger (away from you) you cast on just as you would normally. When you’ve gotten to your desired number of stitches (don’t count the slip knot/first stitch) cut your waste yarn and start your project.

The waste yarn is sitting nice and neatly down at the bottom of your work and can be easily unwound when you need to put your stitches back on your needles at the end of the project. Cool, yes?

I’ve just cast on 80 stitches in no time! Thanks, Wendy! I love it when you can learn something new and apply it to your day to cut off a few hours of tedious work!

My new project is another mohair cowl. It’s knitted a bit on the bias which makes it a little bit more interesting. This one is a custom order from a client in New York. After I made the first one, I thought about making one in three shades and she liked the idea, too. So we’re using a silver, a charcoal and a denim color – I think it’s going to be lovely! Kind of like the ombre garments and home furnishings that you’re seeing everywhere! The yarn that I’m using is called DK weight (but I’d say it’s more a fingering weight) and it’s Rowan’s kidsilk haze in charcoal #639, Debbie Bliss Angel in denim #15008 and kid seta Madil in a silver (#408) colorway. I will start with the charcoal, then head into denim and last, add the silver. I’m pretty excited to see what it looks like – I’m sure we’ll all be delighted at the results!

So, there you go! Learn something new today!

Gone knitting!

This Little … pppppProject!

Ya know … some days this blogging stuff is for the birds. I had a whole (yes, WHOLE) post typed and the front half of it just disappeared. Vanished. Gone. Perhaps stolen by the Blogging Gods?

Anyway …

I just cut off the piggy’s snout.

Don’t feel badly. It was only the second version.

The ears have been frogged and cut off multiple times. Note to self, don’t weave in the ends until you’re absolutely sure that all the parts are placed JUST where you want them to be!

While I’m not ready to show you the whole hat (yet!) … here are some sneak peeks at the porcine pieces!

First, the tail …

This Little Piggy … curly tail
(In the design process.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And secondly, one of the little ears …

This Little Piggie … one little ear

I think this ear looks authentic. The first ones were way too tiny. They looked more like a cat’s ear. That’s the problem that I see when I look at patterns online. Cat’s ears. Not pig’s ears. Think about Piglet!!!

 

 

 

 

 

So, now I have a bit more work to do … but there’s your little sneak peek at my “This Little Piggy”.

Gone knitting!

1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something. 2. new; fresh; inventive; novel

I’ve been working on designing a line of original dog sweaters and coats for a year or so now. I just came across the notes I took from a teleconference with a friend who has been in the garment industry (for people) for her entire career and whose wisdom and experience I truly value. We had talked about having twelve (TWELVE!?) designs and changing out the fabrics for the seasons. Well, the seasons may be do-able but no (freaking) way I’ll have twelve designs any time soon! A girl’s got to make a living and without taking my little business all the way to an Andean village where women can knit for me, I need to get these patterns written, tested and knit up a few samples.

I have four designs at this point in time that I can use as my base.

The Señorita Lolita, a sassy dress with a ruffled skirt and a big colorful flower on the shoulder. Fingering weight yarn makes it more time-consuming to knit but makes the little dress flow-y and light. I just sent my first iteration of this sweater off to the Central Florida Fair as my submission to the “Other” category. Submitted with this photograph of my little Lola (“Whatever Lola Wants…”) who is my inspiration for the design.

The Boyfriend is a classic turtleneck sweater knit in bulky yarn which makes it pretty quick to knit up unlike it’s sibling above. The design is based on the women’s sweaters with the same name that are bulky and loose and snuggly … hoping that the feeling of wearing a boyfriend’s sweater will translate to the feeling of caring for your fur baby.

The MacTire. Irish knit-style cabled sweater with a turtle neck collar. Right out of the pages of GQ! (Is that still in print?) I love this sweater with the “hugs and kisses” cable down the back. Also a relatively quick knit as it’s in a bulky wool, it’s simply classic and appeals to my Irish roots.

MacTire (mock teerah)

Last but certainly not least is the Nor’Easter Coat. Seed stitch is one of my favorite textural stitches and with this bulky or super-bulky wool, it is a visual thrill. The stitches are tightly knit and make a really warm coat for chilly days. I’m working on the finishing touches to the pattern. This may be my current favorite!

Patterns to come!

Gone knitting!

Fun and Games – Random Stripe Generator

I found this wonderful knitting tool on a blog. (Does anyone else get lost following from one blog to another around the Internet?) Anyway, I digress …

I found this wonderful knitting tool on Caitlin’s blog (biscuitsandjam dot com) and it helps you create a random stripe pattern for your knits. If, for example you’re knitting a striped scarf, you can click on the colors of yarn you want to use and the number/numbers of rows in each stripe that you want to have in your scarf and the random generator shows you what your scarf will look like.

Better yet, if you don’t like the first pattern, refresh your screen and it will show you another and another and another until you love one. Scroll down and there’s your pattern! Marvelous!

Here’s the link to take you (magically) to biscuitsandjam dot com’s random stripe generator … have fun playing with stripes! And a big thank you to Caitlin (in Portland, OR) for the tool. And the fun blog!