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Gaugefy App

February 27

You may remember I’ve been working on the second level of the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program. I’m learning to be a stickler for gauge (oh dear, I’ve become one of those people). In Level 2, we have to write instructions for our swatches, including gauge.

A tool that I’m finding to be helpful is the Gaugefy app for Apple devices. It’s very easy to calculate gauge, since it lets you enter any measurement for your swatch – you’re not stuck with 4″ x 4″ for example. It then takes the stitches and rows in your swatch and calculates stitches per inch.

app, Gaugefy, gauge

You can then hit the “Create” button to go to a page that allows you to to use your stitches-per-inch calculation in a number of ways. I like using it to get the 4″ gauge to put into the gauge section of my patterns. Or you can you can estimate the measurements that you’ll get using a certain number of repeats. Or go the other way and figure out how many repeats you’ll get in a given measurement.

app, Gaugefy, gauge

This handy app has a free version which I use all the time. For $1.99 you can get a version with even more features. It will store your gauges for you for future reference.  As a designer, this is really handy. I can have at my fingertips the gauges for yarns I use in design work, or gauges for specific stitch patterns.

app, Gaugefy, gauge

Gaugefy seems like such a simple little app, yet is very handy!  You can check it out for free in iTunes and upgrade to the paid (but still really inexpensive) version if you’d like to be able to save the results of your swatches, including yarn and needle size.

Knitting Evenly App

February 21

If you read my blog, you know that I recently knit a February Lady Sweater in a ridiculously short amount of time. I garter stitched my way into bleary-eyed mental exhaustion. So when I got to the instruction that called for working 41 increases evenly over 239 stitches…well, I almost cried. The few brain cells that were left knew that I could pull off the math if I had to, but I might well end up with 41 mistakes instead.

Enter my favorite new sanity saver, the Knit Evenly Calculator app.

Knit Evenly Calculator, knitting app, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, knitting software

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and requiring iOS 4.0 or later, the app is an ingenious tool for figuring those tricky “knit evenly” instructions. It’s very simple to tell the calculator whether you’re working with increases or decreases, and whether you’re knitting in the round or flat. You type in the number of stitches you’re increasing/decreasing across, then tell it the number of increases/decreases you’ll need…

Knit Evenly Calculator, knitting app, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, knitting software

and it tells you the answer, in your choice of formats  – a simple spacing out between two given stitch counts to either side, or the more complicated but also more evenly distributed :

Knit Evenly Calculator, knitting app, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, knitting software

Being the stickler type, I favor Option 2, the more evenly distributed method. The calculator not only shows me the written instructions, but also gives me a way to keep track of which increase I’m on. I just set my iPhone or iPad next to me, and touch the little red squares each time I complete a step. See the little arrow above the third square? That indicates where I am in the instructions. As I finish a step, the little light turns red, and the pointer automatically advances to the next step. Very cool, and well worth the $1.99 price!

Resources:

Knit Evenly Calculator by JAKRO SOFT LLC

Springtime Socks

June 2

As you may know, we now have a part-time home near where I grew up in the Midwest. I’m not used to living in the suburbs where other people can see me. In California, the only people who might get weirded out by my photographing socks are the deer and foxes and newts. Well, and my husband at first, but he got over it after a while. Here in the suburbs, I can only guess at what my new neighbors might think as I diligently pose socks around the yard. They haven’t come over to introduce themselves yet. Maybe this is why. (“The lady who used to live here was so…. normal”, they lament to each other, peering into our yard.)

Nonetheless, here are the socks I created using Sockotta Sock yarn and some leftover Regia 4-ply. I adore knitting with jacquard-patterned yarn like the Sockotta. The ever-changing colors keep the knitting entertaining.

 

I find the Sock Wizard software a handy tool for making socks. Once I do a swatch, it’s easy to plug the gauge into the software and come up with a pattern that is exactly the size I’m looking for. I’ve used it often enough to know that I always need to make the heel length longer. And I always put some sort of ribbing into the leg. Even with a good cuff, the legs fall down when I knit straight stockinette.

I’m not sure I’m crazy about the afterthought heel. What is your favorite heel?

Holey Procrastination

January 28

I’ve learned a lot from my first big lace project. It all started a couple of years ago. (Yep – this is my longest-running UFO ever.) For my birthday, my friend gave me the fabulous book “Victorian Lace Today” by Jane Sowerby. I took a lace class at my LYS, made about a dozen swatches (and you wonder where I get the nickname Swatch Queen), and settled on a yarn I liked. I commenced to knit the Leaf and Trellis design… some would say obsessively. I was really getting the hang of this lace knitting thing! I completed the center and got a good start on the border.

Then I put it down for about a year, as I allowed Life and other projects to divert my attention. Big mistake.

When I picked the project up again, it was as if I’d never laid eyes on it, let alone contributed countless hours to its existence already. I studied the diagrams. I looked at my previous work. Still, the squiggles on the charts meant nothing to me. I previously thought that after knitting about 16,000 of the same stitch, I would never have to look it up again. But no. And I kept forgetting the silliest things, like doing the “pass over” part of “psso”.

I discovered some nifty techniques along the way that I thought I’d share with you. Maybe you’ll find them handy too!

One thing that helped me get back on track was my own chart I had created (and even saved – yay!) right in the beginning. I used Stitch & Motif Maker to replicate the chart from the book. As you can see in the photo below, I put little numbers in the stitch squares before a long-ish series of knit stitches. I did this because I found that when I’m following a chart and run into a series of blank squares representing knit stitches, I get hung up having to think about how many stitches are coming up. I can glance at any chart and my brain immediately registers seeing one, two, or three stitches in a row. But any more than that and I have to mentally pause, especially when it gets to be six or seven. Which is it? Six? Seven? Four?  The little numbers I put in the squares tell me “knit four” or “knit seven” – whatever the case may be. One glance and I can chug along without pause.

Another thing that made it well worth the charting effort is that Stitch & Motif Maker puts the stitch numbers along the bottom of the chart. Unfortunately, the charts in Victorian Lace Today do not include the stitch numbers. To me, it makes it cumbersome to keep track of how many stitches I should have on the needles at any given point. Making my own charts allows me to quickly see the stitches I should have; considering how frequently I make mistakes, this is a very good thing!

By making my own chart I could also make it plenty big enough to see easily. I print it on cardstock paper so it doesn’t slide around in my lap. The post-its I use to mark my place stick better, too.

To keep track of which stitches are to receive double and triple joins, I put two different colors of  removeable stitch markers in the stitches. I used turquoise to indicate a double join, and orange to indicate a triple join.

I’m determined to get this shawl completed before my next birthday, which is right around the corner. (Honestly, without deadlines I’d atrophy altogether.) With luck, I’ll be wearing this to my birthday dinner!

Mary’s Garden Sock

October 30

This is where it all started. I suppose I could have put an end to it at the first hint that I was going to get obsessed. Again. But I ignored that inner voice which cried “Stop while you can!”

Three skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. That’s all it took. (Plus a visit from my friend Mary, who has so much creativity that apparently she left some behind for me when she went back to Ohio.)

I didn’t mean to design a sock. I certainly didn’t mean to design anything in fair isle. But the shmooey yarn with bright spring colors drew me in and demanded I grab some needles. A design snuck into my mind as if it were a gremlin….  

With the help of the Stitch & Motif Maker software, here’s how the swatching process evolved for Mary’s Garden Socks.

A lot of trail and error, ripping out, starting over, and here is the final product:

 At a later date I’ll post more on the Stitch & Motif Maker, but you can imagine how helpful it is to be able to plan this sort of design out on a just-the-right-proportion grid.

 

If you like this sock you can find it my Original Designs in my Pattern Store. I find knitting it to be a nice dose of fair isle fun, and I hope you do to!

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