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Blog2019-12-20T09:06:52-05:00

Stranding the Dewlap Cowl

I have struggled for years with stranding, the colorwork technique which uses two or more colors in a single row of knitting. Despite my best efforts my stitches tend to be uneven and puckery. I envy friends whose stranded projects fly off the needles with such perfect tension it seems they’ve already been blocked!

I hate to admit defeat, so once in a while I make another stab at a stranded project. That’s how I ended up knitting the cute Dewlap Cowl designed by Ann Kingstone.

While I’ve gotten a little bit better, it’s clear that I’m going to need more practice.

I was nearly done with the cowl when I discovered a YouTube video which really clicked for me. It’s a simple tutorial for stranded knitting and made me realize I need to pay more attention to the stitches on my right needle. It made all the difference for the last few rows of my cowl! Maybe you’d like it too:

 

I think I’ll try one more dk weight pattern. Then if I get the hang of it, my goal is to try any of the beautiful sweater patterns worked in a smaller gauge. That’d be one way to make pandemic-time productive!

Resources:

Ann Kingston The designer’s website is a real treat! Her blog offers fascinating looks into history, she offers her books and patterns for sale, and has several useful tutorials.

Kelbourne Woolens Scout  A 100% wool, dk weight yarn. The heathered colors give lovely dimension.

The Clubkidknitters channel is a colorful playground of all sorts of fun colorwork techniques.

July 24th, 2020|Colorwork, Cowls, Stranded|0 Comments

French Cancan Shawl

I’m always looking for a good travel project. Cassie, the owner of the wonderful Ply Yarn in Wimberley Texas, had the perfect suggestion. The French Cancan shawl by Mademoiselle C starts out with a simple garter crescent. A braided cable edging is then worked perpendicularly to the body, attaching with a k2tog from one edge stitch and one body stitch as you go.

French Cancan shawl 1

Anzula Cricket is a super yummy yarn that was just right for this little shawl. It’s mostly superwash wool, but has a bit of nylon that lends good stitch definition to the cables. Best of all is the touch of cashmere which makes the shawl comfy around my neck, and warm enough to be cozy on a chilly evening.

February 16th, 2020|Cables, Shawls, Yarn Shop|0 Comments

Acer Cardigan

 

Acer Cardigan on Me

I thoroughly enjoyed making the Acer Cardigan designed by Amy Christoffers. With lovely yarnover and cable motifs, it kept my interest. As I learn nifty little tricks to add polish to my knitting, I love to incorporate them into knitting sweaters.

“Acer” knit up fairly quickly using worsted weight yarn. I chose Rowan’s Hemp Tweed in the teal color. The yarn’s tweedy-ness is subtle enough to enhance, rather than detract from, the stitch pattern. And while some tweed yarns feel like a bale of hay, Hemp Tweed has a nice hand and the sweater is just soft enough that I can wear it next to skin.

Acer Cardigan Front shaping

 

Since I’ve become so enamored with my fusion of Custom Fit and the kind of shaping used by Ysolda Teague in her Blank Canvas sweater pattern, I used my “hippy shaping” to create just the right fit for my Acer Cardigan. I created hourglass shaping on the front and back of the sweater, to give the illusion of an hourglass figure which my actual body certainly does not have. Then I forced the extra hip shaping to the sides of the sweater. It makes the hip shaping appear less severe.

Acer Back shaping

I also altered the sweater by adding some length and adding short rows to the upper back. I used decreases in the corners where the back shoulder stitches meet the bound-off back to make the neck band lie flat. I explained this technique in detail in my blog post for the Drumlin sweater.

A new-to-me idea that I tried in setting in the sleeve was to very loosely sew the underarm seam with dental floss as a guide. It’s much easier to pull out errant dental floss than it is yarn if the sleeve stitches don’t line up with the body stitches. It was so easy to follow the floss with the seaming yarn – the columns of stitches lined up perfectly with each other!

Typically, when I wear my hand-knit sweaters buttoned up, the buttons pull out toward the outer edge of the buttonhole band, making them look off-center. A little trick I used on this sweater was to cheat the buttonhole one stitch toward the body of the sweater. If you look closely, you can see that the buttonhole is just a bit closer to the inside edge of the band. When buttoned, the button appears perfectly centered.

I just love to learn little techniques that add up to a sweater that I enjoy wearing!

Resources:

If you’re not already a member of TKGA, I highly recommend it. I love Arenda Holladay’s articles on seaming, in the members-only section. I use her “Seams Part 3” article as a reminder every time I seam a sweater.

 

December 19th, 2019|Projects, Sweaters, Techniques|0 Comments

A Simple Little Shawl

If you’re like me, you sometimes yearn for a very simple project to knit. Such was the case with the Antarktis shawl by Janina Kallio.

Antarktis 2

 

Taking a number of flights over a few weeks’ time, I was glad to have this very easy shawl to bring with me. I am easily entertained by color, so using some lovely variegated Madelinetosh Twist Light made the knitting fun. A small project like this is just right for air travel. The pattern is all garter stitch and eyelets, so it was also just right to work on while knitting in a group of friends – our joyous laughter didn’t cause me to lose my place.

Antarktis eyelets detail

While I have enough shawls to last a lifetime, I still enjoy making new ones. This will be just right for cool days when I want a bit of warmth around my neck and a little splash of color.

Antarktis shawl 1I wanted to make a bigger shawl than the pattern’s finished dimensions so I added extra rows to some of the sections and used about half an additional skein.

 

November 14th, 2019|Shawls|0 Comments

Another Yummy Reversible Linen Stitch Scarf

Linen Stitch Scarf Detail 2

When I see some luscious variegated yarn, I love to make the Linen Stitch scarf from my book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues . One side ends up with a woven texture and the other bumpy, with tiny pops of color. Either side is pretty, no matter how the scarf is worn.

Knit Side

One of my favorite yarns to use with this pattern is Malabrigo Rios, this time in the Diana colorway. Like many hand-dyed yarns, different skeins of the same color can be vastly different. Here are the two balls of the Diana colorway that I used. You can see that one is predominantly green, while the other is predominantly red.

Color Differences

There are a couple of ways to handle the different colors. One is to carry both colors up the length of the scarf, alternating balls of yarn every two rows. That gives a homogeneous blend. For this scarf, though, I wanted each color to shine so I alternated balls about every 3″, giving a subtle striped effect.

Alternating Yarn

Sure there were a bunch of tails to weave in, but it was easy to run them down the edge and was well worth the effort.

Scarf Wrapped

Rios is a great choice for scarves since it’s soft.

Linen Stitch Detail 1

This scarf measures 7.5″ x 60″ and used two full skeins. I used US #10 needles, which gave a nice drape.

November 5th, 2019|Book, Scarf|0 Comments
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