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

Swatching in the Round – Humulus

I’ve been eyeing the sweet Humulus sweater by Isabell Kraemer for the longest time. Here’s the pattern photo:

 

I’ve been practicing my stranding skills and think I might finally be able to tackle this. The first order of business, of course, is a swatch.

If this looks like a crazy mess, let me explain….This sweater is worked in the round, so I made a swatch in the round. Some people call it “speed swatching” because instead of making the entire swatch in the round, forming a big tube, you work a row, then slide the stitches to other end of your circular needle, bring the working yarn very loosely across the back, and then start a new row. This is a much faster method, since you’re only working about half the number of stitches. If you’ve never done it that way before, I recommend this tutorial by Webs:

When the knitting is complete you cut the long yarns that travel around the back, forming the sort of “fringe” at either end. Mine is sloppy, but a neatly made swatch looks like an adorable little rug. A nifty trick I learned from a friend is to knit the first and last stitch through the back loop on every row. Otherwise when you cut the long strands in half the edge stitches will be very loose. The twisted stitches hold the cut ends in place.

Now that I’ve got gauge, I’m ready to cast on!

August 26th, 2020|Colorwork, Projects, Stranded, Sweaters, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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
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