Nearly Done

This is my Neck Down Summer Cardigan by Knitting Pure and Simple. It is nearly done! I’ll be excited to get it off the needles when I complete the button band and front band. Which I am determined to do today!

I am knitting this sweater with a stashed yarn. A deeply stashed yarn that I have been carrying around with me for almost ten years. It may, in truth, be more than ten years. I don’t really remember. Anyway … the yarn is Elsebeth Lavold’s Tweedy Wool. It’s a (light) worsted weight yarn in wool with a bit of acrylic and viscose (the flecks). I’ve liked knitting with this yarn and the sweater is ok … I’m not sure I love the color any more but I’ll wear it … I think. 🙂

My swatch came out a bit off from the gauge recommended for the pattern. I decided to make the x-large rather than the large to compensate for my swatch rather than to change the needle size because I liked the way the fabric was when I knitted it on a US 7 needle. I wouldn’t have liked the fabric had I knitted with a larger needle.

The front bands shouldn’t use any more than the rest of one ball of yarn so I’m going to go out on a limb and say I used seven balls (50g, 136 yards each) of yarn to finish this sweater. It’s really cute and I’ll make it again. Initially, I just needed a good travel project … now I have a spring sweater. I think it’d be a fun one to knit in a solid yarn and embellish with some embroidery.

Knitting tip: When knitting the sleeve of this sweater, I wanted it to be around elbow length or just a touch shorter. Touching the top of the elbow. I alternated decreases, knitting two rounds, decrease a round and then knitting one round until I had 80 stitches. I did six rounds of ribbing so it wouldn’t roll and then bound off … but I bound off with the larger needle so I had some stretch! I don’t like it one little bit when the edge of knitted garments aren’t stretchy! This worked like a charm. Typically, when I am knitting garments, socks, etc. I bind off with a needle that is one or, in this case, two sizes larger than the one I was knitting with. I used a US7 for the body of the sweater and a US5 for the ribbing. I bound off with the US7.

My new favorite needles are the Chaio Goo Red Lace needles. I have three circulars. I used them all for this sweater and they make me happy. The tips are wonderful but the best part is the cords that have no memory and don’t get all tangled up in themselves. I’ll be buying more!

Gone knitting!

Jogless Joins … say that three times fast!

So, I’ve been wanting to knit one of the beer can mittens that I have seen a couple of on Facebook. Thinking that they must be a pretty normal mitten that is somehow connected back to the base of the mitten (by the cuff). Today is the day!

I pulled out my trusty Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn from my stash in two colors: Onyx and Limeade (not sure where to find my purple shade but that’s already off topic!) and cast on 24 stitches on my size 7US DPNs. Ribbing for a few inches and then switched up to my size 10US needles and added four stitches in the first row of stockinette stitch.

After a few rounds, I decided that the black needed to be broken up with a few stripes. But every time I’ve worked in the round with stripes, I have had that awkward “jog” where the stripes don’t quite match up. Which makes sense because knitting in the round is more like knitting a spiral than stacks of rows that line up (as in straight knitting).

So, to fix the jog, all we need to do is pick up a stitch and knit two together … and this is done very easily in the first stitch of the second round. When you’re ready to change colors, just change colors. Knit one round in your new color. At the beginning of the second round, pick up the right leg of the stitch under (in the old color) your first new color stitch and pull it up and slip it onto your left needle. Then you simply knit the two stitches together and knit to the end of your round. Here is a photo of my knitting … I am going to change from green to black …

First … knit one round with the new color (if you’re using a marker to mark the start of a new round, slip the marker) you are now back to the first stitch.

I’ve finished my first row of my new color (black)

Second … Pick up the right leg of the stitch below with your extra needle and slip it onto your left needle.

The stitch (green) right in front of my thumb is the stitch below. The black stitch above it is the first stitch of my first new color row. (Hope that makes sense!)

I’m picking up the right leg of the stitch below (purl-wise)

and slipping the stitch onto my left-hand needle

And now you can just knit the first two stitches together and then knit to the end of your round.

Knitting the two stitches together (one is the stitch from below and the other is the first stitch with the new color.)

That’s all there is to this method. And as you can see, there is no awkward “jog” now on my stripes.

No jog! 🙂

Note that this works for stripes of at least two rounds. I haven’t figured out if there is a way to do this with one row stripes. I saw one video (on my search for the answers) where Euny Jang alternated where the stripes started rather than stacking them up but starting in the exact same place at the start of the row. But that tutorial will come later. For now you’re all set to knit stripes in the round … with two or more rows per stripe!

Have fun!

Gone knitting!

 

 

Annie says … On slipping and decreasing

I “promised” way back when (I took the weekend courses with the wonderful, beautiful, talented, Annie Modesitt) to post some tips that I gleaned from the classes. There were so many wonderful bits that she offered and, today, I’d like to share a couple of those with you!

Tip 1

When asked to slip a stitch, the default is always to slip the stitch purl-wise by inserting the right needle into the stitch to be slipped from the right to the left in front of the left needle.

Insert right needle as if to purl (from right to left in front of left needle) ... OMG, my thumb has dry skin!

Tip 1.1

Annie attributes the following tip to her friend Sally Melville (I have all of her books. Now, it’s time to actually read them rather than looking at the pretty pictures and reading snippets!)

When slipping stitches: if you’re going to use the stitch again in the same row, slip the stitch knit-wise. If not, slip the stitch purl-wise (the default, see tip 1).

Tip 2

Annie has her way of decreasing down to a science. When you want to decrease with stitches leaning to the left, you would “typically” be told to “SSK” or “slip, slip, knit”. To do this you slip one stitch from the left to right needle knit-wise as if you were going to knit it (see tip 1.1), slip another stitch from the left to right needle knit-wise and then knit the two together (bring the left needle through the front of both stitches on the right needle, wrap the yarn as if you were knitting, slide the new stitch on the right needle and slip the two old stitches off the left needle.)

Slip - Insert right needle into stitch from left to right as if to knit

Knit - Insert left needle left to right into the front of the 2 slipped stitches

An easier way …

SSK is very manipulative (to the stitches, anyway!) The more you manipulate the stitches, the more likely they are to get stretched out. So, you end up with the same thing if you K2togTBL (knit two together through the back loop) or as Annie writes it K2togL (knit two together left). To K2togTBL, insert the right needle through the back loop of two stitches, wrap the yarn as if to knit, slip new stitch onto the right needle and the two old stitches off the left needle. One stitch decreased. The decreased stitch leans to the left.

Insert right needle through the back loop of two stitches

Another way to think about this (decreasing to lean either left or right) is to watch your needles.

A K2tog (Annie would write this K2togR) will lean to the right (in the direction of the direction of your left hand needle) …

K2tog - right needle points to right ... decrease will lean right

SSK or K2togTBL or T2togL will lean to the left … again, watch your needles!

K2togTBL - Right hand needle is pointing to the left, decrease will lean left

The final result … whichever way you choose to make a decreased stitch … is the same. Look at the first two (on left side of needle) stitches. One is a SSK and one is a T2togTBL.

After ... two left leaning decreases (one on l. is K2togTBL, on r. SSK)

Tip 3 and Tip 4

Totally unrelated to knitting except for the fact that it’s about a knitter.

Annie uses Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals make up. I’m going to look into it because I love the idea of sunblock being in the makeup!

She also loves to knit on Signature needles. I’m coveting my first pair and will report on their beauty when the gift fairy brings me some.

But for now, I’ve gone knitting!

Finished Objects

I’ve been wrapping up a few UFOs again and thought you might like to see some photos of them and hear what I thought about the yarn and patterns, etc.

Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits first order is ready to go out. I’ve finished two sweaters for Jan’s fur family (they live out in the San Francisco area). Jan has two Japanese Chins and these sweaters are for her little girl.

First, my original design, “Señorita Lolita”

"Senorita Lolita" - custom knit for Jan

I originally bought some wool fingering weight yarn in a peachy pink. Jan had asked for a pink color for this sweater but left the shade to my discretion. I started knitting and decided I really didn’t like the yarn and ordered some Koigu KPPM in their solids color way. I love the way this sweater turned out. It’s pretty and feminine and the ruffle is just right. I also knitted the flower in various “scraps” of fingering yarn in KPPM and wools that I have in my stash. The first flower I knitted was way too dull but this one – I especially like the way the green leaf turned out – I think is just perfect!

"Boyfriend" a PrimaDogma by Queen Bee Knits design

Lola was kind enough to model twice – she is not the dog who loves to wear clothing – and this is the “Boyfriend” sweater knit for Jan’s Japanese Chin. I love the colors of this sweater. I knit it with Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky and it was a pleasure to knit. The yarn is so soft and will be so warm on those Northern California wintery days! This pattern is a seriously altered version of the sweater in “Dress Your Dog” by Sys Fredens. It’s designed to be bulky and loose like a boyfriend’s sweater would be. I think it looks adorable on Lola and can’t wait to see Jan’s photos.

Fingerless Mittens - I'll be knitting until the cows come home!

Three pairs of fingerless mittens that I’ve knit for my SIL, Annie, who will be gifting them to some lucky ladies! The grey pair on the left is knit with pure alpaca DK weight yarn from Maine. I bought it at an alpaca farm in Washington, Maine. It’s so soft and will be warm … but alpaca is well-known to also be very light weight. This one pair took approximately 8 hours to complete but I love the way they turned out. Needless to say, however, I had to find another pattern that didn’t take quite so long if I am going to get the rest of the 15 pairs finished and delivered before Christmas (or sometime next year!) The two pairs on the right are simpler construction and knitted in a DK weight wool from Maine, too. This is a hand-dyed wool from French Hill Farm in Solon, ME that I bought at a farmer’s market. I loved the rich ocean colors that go from purple to turquoise to limey green and then to yellow. I also love this pattern – it’s simple and lets the yarn be the focus.

And last but not least, the most recent threesome. More fingerless mittens. (I haven’t even woven in the ends of the left-most pair yet).

On the left, grey wool fingerless mittens that are about as simple as they come but I really like this pattern and will be making more of these. They knit up quickly in worsted weight wool and I will be embroidering a snowflake on the back of the hand to give it a little bit of character. The two green pairs are knitted in a more “Aran” cabled pattern – and I love, love, love cables. It must be my Irish heritage that comes out through my fingertips when I get sticks and string together. The yarn is a 50-50 alpaca/wool blend and it’s lovely yarn. Also worsted weight, this pattern knitted up in about 3 hours per glove … not too bad. I seem unable to knit up a glove in much less than that and 6 hours each pair isn’t an awful lot of time to spend. Wish I knitted a bit faster but I don’t.

I’ve discovered a great knitting in the round tip, though for knitters. If you criss-cross the first and last stitches (pass the last stitch to the left needle to knit first and pass the first stitch to the right needle to knit last – here’s a youtube video that shows you how to do this a bit better than my explanation. Love it! And she’s absolutely right, the little divot at the beginning (I always just started knitting) is gone! Woo! Hoo!

Gone knitting!