Archive for the ‘knitting techniques’ Category

Need to have a quick knit on your needles for this Thanksgiving weekend? Check out these possibilities for a cowl scarf.

About three weeks ago Phyllis came to our Thursday night knitting group with the best looking cowl…simple, good looking and a quick knit. Her pattern called for a larger yarn on a size 17 needle.

The following week Debbie H. came with her three renditions of this cowl scarf. She had a wonderful knitting week! Notice the buttons…a lovely addition/embellisment! You can take any stitch pattern that pleases your eye…using the needles appropriate for your yarn cast on the number of stitches needed (gauge: number of stitches per inch x width) to create width of 5 to 5 1/2 inch….knit your pattern for 30 inches. You can end by including buttonholes, or not, join and add the buttons for embellishment. Phyllis used 1 skein of Malibrigo Rasta, Susanne used Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece, Debbie used various yarns from her stash and I’ve made several with Maggi’s Merino Chunky and another one with Rosarios 4 (both types available at Skein Lane Studio….used 3 balls for each one.)

To see the styles up and close you either click through the photo to the larger image or scroll to the slide show which is in larger image. Enjoy!

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Jean wearing her Taygete Shawl

While it’s only been a few days since I posted about Jean and her stealth knitting, this post is about more of her work. The same day that we saw the ribbon sweater she was wearing a new shawl/scarf – Taygete – a design by local artisan Rosemary (Romi) Hill. I loved the design and the colors. I asked Jean more about her yarn choice and here’s what she had to say.

Taygete Shawl close up

“Probably the best thing to say is that I had a skein of her (Lisa Souza’s hand-dyed sock) solid colored yarn that I bought at Stitches and decided to add another color for the scarf.  I asked Lisa Souza if she would select a variegated color to coordinate with it.  She sent me one that I just loved!”

I’ve had a skein of Lisa Souza’s sock yarn in my yarn collection  for at least a couple of years that I too bought at Stitches. Jean’s creation has caused me to act. I now have the pattern, I’ve contacted Lisa for a solid yarn to match my variegated Paprikash. I couldn’t find a solid to match…I contacted Lisa…of course she knew which red was used in the variegated….it wasn’t listed as one of the colors on her web-site…she is hand-dyeing a skein for me tomorrow. I am so excited….is that the best customer service?!

Jean - Trinity Stitch Cowl/Scarf

One more thing! Jean was inspired by a cowl scarf that she recently saw. We were able to recreate the pattern…I knew it was a trinity stitch pattern (a multiple of 4 sts)… and Jean knew the size – 5 inches x 56 inches. I love this pattern stitch…..for little effort it creates a beautiful textured fabric.

The pattern:

Row 1 (right side): Purl.

Row 2: *(Knit 1, purl 1, knit 1) all in the same stitch, purl 3 together. Repeat from * across.

Row 3: Purl.

Row 4: *Purl 3 together, (knit 1, purl 1, knit 1) all in the same stitch. Repeat from * across.

Repeat these four rows for pattern.

Any yarn can be used for this lovely design. Simply work a swatch and determine your stitches to the inch, multiply that number by the width that you want…and round to nearest multiple of four stitches.

You can finish the project with a kitchner stitch or a 3-needle bind off. While I don’t particularly love doing the kitchner stitch join I do think it’s the best for this project.

There’s still time to knit gifts for this magical spiritual season! Tomorrow I will post about a simple, quick cowl that many of us have on….and in some cases…off our needles.

Happy clicking!!!

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Lucy, me and the "Fan" Bolero

…oh you must click through on this link of the Fan Bolero to see the many views of this delightful garment that some of us are knitting. We were inspired by Terry…..several of us tried hers on and it looks wonderful on so many of us.  I’ve started mine and I am on row 5 of 34 for the fan shell edge….the foundation is now set and I should “fly” through the next 30 rows of the edging…after that it is basic knits and purls and some shaping.

Join us if you can for this knitting journey (call Skein Lane @ 510.525.9276)

We did indeed have a lot of knitting fun this past Saturday…more to follow.

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Can it be a week has gone by since our last highly energized Saturday knitting workshop? Last week it was an explosion of energy…..tales to share, work-in-progress to share, and in some cases finished garments. Each tale was delivered with its unique sense of glee.

Susanne and her latest Moderne Blanket

Susanne showed her latest Moderne Blanket (featured in Mason-Dixon Knitting) that is on her needles. Both of her sons have married in the last year or so and each has received this lovely blanket as a gift….well this latest one is to be delivered soon. You can check out the first one here. Once again she is knitting with Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece…..and finds this blanket to be great “comfort” knitting…..garter stitch that can be knit without a lot of effort…simply the joy of knitting and watching the blanket grow and the colors unfold.

Check out this silly moment…. Susanne modeling this creative teapot cosy.

Susanne in teapot cosy knit by Debbie H.!

The Sock Showing

The Sock

Then there was Diane….feet in the air….showing her sock…gathering looks of awe.

PJ - Happy Knitter!

PJ wore her No Yoke Ribbed  Sweater. It was knit in Queensland Collection’s Kathmandu Aran. Her sweater is a perfect fit and she enjoys wearing it now.

We had a bit of “technical” grafting under the armhole that turned out just fine.

PJ - The details

Another knitalong can be set up for this sweater….let me know and it can be scheduled to start in January.

There was more show and tell of items on the needles…and a welcome back to Carol C who has been absent for this last year raising dogs and caring for grandchildren. Imagine her surprise when she found that the sleeve to her top-down cardigan was safely here at Skein Lane Studio.

Rohan with his show and tell

And through all the tales, show and tell, and laughter young Rohan kept on knitting.

…..now onto other  Saturday of knitting. Today it’s the Saturday morning workshop – noontime mini-top down series – and the Fan Bolero workshop.

Let the knitting day begin!

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Yeah! I’ve completed several of my UFO’s (can hardly wait to tell you about one of them in my next post)and now I’ve treated myself to a new knit….a sweater that I have been wanting to knit for a long time. The yarn I chose for this new project is Queensland Collection Kathmandu – 85% Merino Wool, 10% Silk, 5% Cashmere.

The Body of the Tunic Style Sweater

The body is done and now it’s time to knit the sleeves. Whenever I knit I always customize the fit….and then sometimes as I knit through the garment I forget about the rest of the math and startle myself along the way. In this case it’s the sleeves.

The designer’s vision of this drop-sleeve sweater was for it be more oversized than I like…..so I customized the size of the pattern to a fit that is good for me. The shoulders have a slight drop which affects the length of the sleeve. The pattern calls for the sleeve length to be 17″ but my rework of the pattern requires the sleeve length to be 22″. Big difference! The top of the sleeve remains the same – 19″ to fit a sleeve opening of 9 1/2″ depth. But I will knit more rows to reach the desired length so I must adjust the interval of increasing from the wrist to the top of the sweater. How does one do that? I calculated the following:

  • Stitches (sts) to the inch (wanted to test to be sure that the top of the sleeve would indeed fit the armhole) = 4 sts to the inch. The pattern called for increasing from a cast on of 41 sts to 83 sts. The math = 83 sts divided by 4 sts to the inch = 20.75…..this won’t do. I want 19 1/2 stitches across the top so let’s do the math again a different way. 19 1/2 stitches times 4 stitches to the inch = 78 sts. Now you might say….it’s only 5 sts! But it means that you have an inch+ to squeeze into that armhole. Do the math! I need to increase 37 sts from cast on of 41 sts to cast off of 78 sts…..to make the increases symmetrical I will increase 38 sts to a total of 79 sts. How will I know how often to do my increase? I need more information to answer that question.
  • Rows to the inch = 6. How many rows does it take to knit 22 inches? (22 x 6 = 132 rows). But I want to start the increases 1 inch above the cast on and stop 2 inches from the top of the sleeve. You might wonder how I chose 2 inches…..I have slender arms that taper from the wrist to the top of my arm….so I want a gradual increase with no “blousing” anywhere along the sleeve. More math! 22 – 3 =19…..this means that I want to increase 38 sts over 19 inches ( 19 x 6 = 114 rows).  I will increase twice on a row – at the beginning and at the end – so I will need to increase on 19 rows (19 x 2 = 38). So….how many rows will I knit between increase rows? The last of the math.  114 rows divided by 19 rows of increases = increase on every 6th row. I know….it’s a bit mind boggling that this number of 6 is also the row gauge…a fluke…don’t get caught up in it.
The Neckline

The Neckline

A couple more thoughts about customizing this pattern. It was written so that the front and back were knit as two flat pieces and then seamed together. I avoid seams where I can so I knit this sweater in the round to the armholes and then converted to flat knitting for the tops of the front and the back. I then joined the shoulders with a 3-needle bind-off. I don’t like high necklines….my knitting groups reminded me of that when I was discussing the neckline…so I changed the neckline. And I love the result. I toyed with the idea of knitting the sleeves from top down but knew that I didn’t want the weight of the whole sweater on my hands as I knit the sleeve. But what I will do is pick up stitches around the armhole (that number should be 78) and knit those together with a 3-needle bind-off with the top of the sleeve…no hand-sewn seams!

Hurray! My sweater will be done and ready to wear whenever it “freezes” over. Now onto baby booties for a new baby arriving any day in Bill’s family and an afghan for an upcoming wedding also in Bill’s family.

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Carson's Tomten Sweater

Yeah! I finally got the buttons on the Tomten hoodie, a Elizabeth Zimmerman classic design, for Carson….wrapped the present….popped it in the mail along with bracelet presents for Carson’s three sisters aka my nieces. How much fun to receive an instant message from my sister today….thought I’d saved it….but no! In the package was LaBerta’s Rudolph the Raindeer golden book from when she was a wee one her self, a baby sweater for Carson, and bracelets for Isabella, Jade, and Abygail.

The instant message…..

  • I’ve just gotten home and there is a package on my door step….
  • oh…there is a book for me….now I’ll open Carson’s package
  • oh auntie it is lovely and I love it….thank you
  • thank you xoxox Sis
  • the girls will be home from school soon and they can open their presents.

This sequence of messages made me smile…..and made me really happy that I’d knit the sweater….thanks to my knitting friend Cathy for crocheting the beaded bracelets for the girls.

The children!

As I was thinking about this post tonight, I googled “Tomten Jacket” and got many links. It was fascinating to see how many different ways that this modular sweater has been knit. I think Elizabeth must be looking down upon us and thinking “What a joy to see such creativity from my simple design.” Many different edges have been used to finish the garment…Elizabeth’s vision was I-cord…and I used that on Carson’s sweater. I then crocheted loops for the buttonholes and added the buttons on the opposite front. I even made an effort to have the buttons on the “man’s side”. Mothers tell me if this helpful or an annoyance. Some of the other choices for bands that I saw were: garter band with button holes, zipper, a rufffled edge, a crocheted edge…and as always the possibilities are endless. My choice for Carson had to do with wanting to work an I-cord edge for this garment….and then I fussed about the edging for the button holes. I knit this sweater jacket in Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece trimmed with Brown Sheep’s Superwash Lamb’s Pride…..both of these being two of my favorite yarns.

Tomten Sweater Jacket - the buttons!

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For those of you who may not be receiving email info from Berroco, I would like to share this morning’s “How To Video“. It’s a good video on how to work right and left twisted stitches. The method has been updated to include Barbara Walker’s method from Barbara Walker’s 2nd Treasury, it is quite tidy and is one of Norah Gaughan’s favorites. The video shows the results of the stitches being worked in a slant line. This particular twisted stitch is one of my favorite in column form. We used it recently to create darts in Shari’s sweater.

Thank you Berroco for this video.

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Cathy was inspired by a Rowan pattern designed by Kim Hargreaves. It’s a lovely design …and she chose a different yarn, Silky Wool (65% wool and 35% silk) by Elsbeth Lavold. Cathy did all her prep work…knit her swatch…liked the knitted fabric that she produced…adapted the pattern and her size to this information. What she didn’t do was wash the swatch (or clean it in the way in which it would be cleaned throughout the life of the garment). Many of us don’t do that (including myself) even though we should.

For several reasons Cathy was not having a love affair with her finished sweater jacket… she didn’t like the way it fit; she didn’t think it was flattering and the color turned out to be not as flattering for her as she thought it would be. I tried it on….I liked the style, the fit, and the color. We worked out a trade…I now own this sweater jacket. I chose my buttons…and thought I would block/wash the garment first. I block my knitted garments/items with the wash method – wash on the gentle cycle in cold/tepid water. I let the water spin out and then take the garment from the washer to a towel. The garment is rolled in the towel to remove any excess moisture. The next and final step on the way to drying is to lay the garment on a towel that is laid out on the table (could be a bed if you don’t have a large enough table). Then I pat the garment into shape. For this one I made sure that the bust measurement of the sweater was right….I had a momentary thought that the neck looked a little large…oh well, it was late…my brain was tired…and what did I know at that point.

What I learned a few days later when I tried the sweater jacket on for our Saturday morning workshop was a major surprise….the sweater grew! And I don’t mean slightly. The above-the-wrist arm length had changed to the middle of my hand. It grew at least 4-5 inches. In all my years of knitting I had not encountered this. I shared this dilemna with each of the Skein Lane Knitting Workshop Groups…a few days later I got a call from Dee…she pointed me to the book “Big Book of Knitting” by Katharina Buss. And the magic answer on page 14 is: “Silk keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. It is also very comfortable. But it is not easy to knit. Silk has to be knit very tightly because finished pieces stretch the first time they are washed. Don’t check the gauge until after you have washed your sample piece.”

Who knew that silk grows? Clearly I didn’t. What probably compounded this growing situation was the Silk Wool was knit only moderately tight.

Oh, what to do!? I washed the sweater again in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in warm water and let the water spin out. The next step…the sweater jacket went to the dryer on the ultra care cycle for 10 minutes or so. I checked it and let it dry another 10 minutes. Then it was back to the “drying” table for 24 hours. It was still slightly damp after the 24 hours, so back to the dryer for a few minutes more. The result – SUCCESS! The sweater sleeves came back to original length. I am going to “tighten” up the neckline and shoulders by crocheting a stablizing chain in each of those areas. Now back to the buttons and then a new garment to wear. Stay tuned for the photo of the finished garment.

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Debbie’s presentation was followed by Margaret’s latest works. She has been inspired by the book One Stitch Below by Elise Duvekot – knitting lap blankets. s She then showed us her Modular Garter-Stitch Vest which she knit in Noro’s Kureyon. The pattern came from Top-Down Sweaters by Doreen L. Marquart. As always, Margaret did a wonderful job and it’s a stunning modular work of art.

…..Kureyon available through Skein Lane Studio

Coming next: Terry’s Botanica Medallion Cardian

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