Thursday, November 30, 2006

Miss April 13th & Miss June 11th!

This is the 2007 "Knitting Pattern a Day" calendar. And I'm in it! Twice!

The last two years I've bought this calendar -- this year I had one shipped to me by the publisher.

I feel like I've hit the big time!

Monday, November 27, 2006

1970s Acrylic, or a Spanking?

A great story shared by R., in one of my classes.

Her grandmother was a knitter... a knitter of the "saving money" school. She used to buy only the bargain yarn.

R. tells me of a fight that her sister had with their mother... "We're going to visit Nana, you should wear that sweater she made for you."

The showdown resulted in an ultimatum being issued -- wear the sweater, or get a spanking.

She chose the spanking.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New And Improved! The Even-More-Perfect Recipe for the Perfect Tension Swatch

Revised in response to questions and feedback in my classes.

The Perfect Stocking Stitch Tension Swatch

Look at the tension indicator in the pattern. It will typically be a number of stitches and rows over a 10cm/4 inch square, in stocking stitch. If it’s stated over a smaller area – for example, 1 or 2 inches, calculate the number of stitches over 4 inches. If it's given in something other than stocking stitch, these instructions don't apply.

____ stitches x _____ rows over 4 inches/10 cm square using ________ size needles.

Using the needles specified, cast on twice that many stitches. For example, if it states 18 stitches, cast on 36.

Bottom border:
Work 6 rows in garter stitch – that is, knitting every row.

Main body:
Right side: knit entire row.
Wrong side: k3, purl to last 3 stitches, k3.
Repeat these two rows until the main body portion measures 15 cm/6 inches.

Top border:
Work 6 rows garter stitch – knitting every row.
Cast off.

Steam or launder the swatch according to the instructions on the yarn ball band.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It Runs in the Family, This Kureyon Obssession

Mum's working on this...

well, ok, she's done her bit, I have to finish up the neckline, graft the underarms and weave in the ends.

It's Kureyon colourway 147, FYI.

The pattern is Amy Swenson's Rosedale, from Knitty. We made a couple of adjustments -- plain k2 p1 ribbing rather than corrugated, and no constrasting intarsia rectangle. The second decision was more for my sake than the design... I just didn't want to have to field the support calls...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

And Another One!

And I found a 24th colourway on Saturday -- very exciting! I have 24 different colours, and I've already got 6 of these squares knit. It's incredibly painless and quick going. I got half a square done in the car ride to and from Oakville Saturday.

For the record, the colours I've chosen are:

40, 90, 92, 95, 102, 134, 138, 139, 147, 148, 150, 153, 154, 159, 164, 165, 170, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 188, 194

Just don't ask me which is which. The flaw in my plan is that I haven't been keeping track.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Ok, I admit it. I gave up on the F&F shawl. The yarn is in a puffy envelope, winging its way across the ocean in that yarn-for-coffee trade I suggested a few days back. May it behave better for T. than it did for me.

I've been eyeing the Pimlico Shrug from Knit2Together since I first saw the book. I'm not really a shapless cardi kind of girl (that I'm aware of, anyway), but I love the innovative construction. It's a big square folded over to make holes for attached sleeves, and a ribbed edging all the way around the outside.

So I grabbed myself a ball of Lamb's Pride, in black, and swatched away. The eyelet is very odd, but as Tracey says in the book, once you get the hang of it, it goes swimmingly.

I found the yarn/tension in the book a hair confusing... it calls for Koigu Kersti which claims to be a DK but looks for all the world like a worsted. And the tension of the actual swatch is closer to aran...

So I threw caution to the wind and picked a yarn I love instead. The good news is that for this design, it really doesn't matter. You knit a big rectangle -- so it was easy enough to calculate the tension of my swatch (18 sts) vs. what the pattern calls for (19 sts), and reduce the number of cast-on stitches appropriately.

And then you knit tubes for the sleeves in k2p2, so I figure I'll cut out a repeat, since I have little arms anyway... and then the edging all around is k2p2 again, so I'll just eyeball it. Easy peasy!

Looking good so far...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lizardy Progress

5 done! The sixth is underway! Loving this project! Over-punctuating!

Oh, and the cat seems to like it, too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Currently on the Needles/Thoughts On A Difficult Project

The second Xmas sock is two thirds done (Yes! Gasp! I wrote up a pattern for a pair of socks when I only had one completed!). I've turned the heel, but it's on hold to use as an example in my next sock class, next weekend.

My current portable project is Lizard Ridge squares. Ideal streetcar knitting, on a short circular. Not a lot to carry around, it can easily be stuffed in the corner of my bag. And I've memorized the pattern so I can knit it on autopilot (although not in the dark, sadly, as I figured out at the movie last night).

For home knitting, I haven't settled on what I want to do. I've been trying in earnest to make progress on the Country Wool Feather & Fan shawl. It's not been going well, though. This project is resisting me at every turn.

The yarn was going to be a poncho-thing, at first; although the knitting went well, I wasn't pleased with the results, and there was too much variation in the hand-dyed colourways. So I ripped it back. It sat for a while, waiting for inspiration. A while later, while researching lace knitting, I found this pattern for a feather & fan shawl. I thought this would be a more interesting project, something to test my lace skills, and possibly a good gift for someone I know who's hard to buy for. Not so. I have been struggling. Lots of ripping back. I make mistakes. I mess up the stitch count. I fail to pay attention and work the pattern in areas that should be plain. I just can't seem to make this one stick in my brain. I think I'm actually trying to make it harder than it needs to be....

Do I persevere, or put it down and find something I'm happier with? Will it ever be done, this shawl? And more to the point, do I really care? I'm not sure it has a role in my life anymore, given that I have the really rather magnificent Highland shawl completed, and the possible giftee seems to have gone off green. (Don't ask. She's a bit odd about colours.)

I advise my students in my class to only work with yarns they like touching, and to pick projects they'll enjoy. A project that you don't enjoy knitting will never get done -- or you'll have to force yourself to work on it. And god knows there's enough in life that you have to force yourself to do, I don't believe knitting should fit into this category.

Perhaps I should take my own advice and give the damn thing up entirely? It's great yarn, maybe it needs to find another home?

Anyone want 5 or 6 100gm skeins of an aran weight variegated green hand-dyed 100% wool? Will trade for a double espresso...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Xmas Sock pattern

Festive Sock (After Vogue Knitting's Holly Leaf Socks)

Ladies' one size fits all.

1 50gm ball green sock yarn (pick your favourite, I used Paton's Kroy 4 ply)
1 50gm ball red sock yarn (pick your favourite, I used Paton's Kroy 4 ply)
1 pair 2.5mm needles

approximately 40 sts and 40 rows over 10cm/4 inch square in mock cable rib pattern

Using red, and 2.5mm needles, cast on 64 stitches. Join, being careful not to twist the round.

First round: *Skip first stitch(leaving it in place on the needle) and k into second stitch, then k into first and slip both off the needle at the same time, p2; repeat from * to end of round.

Change to green and work leg in mock cable rib pattern as follows, until leg measures 6 inches/15 cm.

Mock Cable Rib (over a multiple of 4 stitches)
Rounds 1, 2 and 4: *K2, p2; repeat from * to end of round.
Round 3: *Skip first stitch(leaving it in place on the needle) and k into second stitch, then k into first and slip both off the needle at the same time, p2; repeat from * to end of round.

Set up for heel: work 34 stitches of next round in pattern (these are the instep stitches), attach red yarn, and work remaining 30 stitches of round in pattern. The 30 heel stitches should start and end with 2 knit stitches... if it's doesn't, fudge it by working 2 extra green stitches before you change to the red.

If it's easier to handle, slip the 34 instep stitches to a holder. Turn and work an additional 21 rows on heel stitches with red yarn, as follows:

WS: Slip 1, p1, *k2, p2; repeat from * to end of row.
RS: Slip 1, k1, work mock cable rib until last 2 stitches, k2.
You'll end with a WS row.

Foundation row for heel turn, RS facing: Knit 20, skp, turn.
Heel row 1, WS facing: Slip 1, p10, p2tog.
Heel row 2, RS facing: Slip 1, k10, skp.

Repeat the above two rows until all heel stitches have been worked. You'll end on a WS row, and there will be 12 stitches remaining. At this stage, you can cut the red yarn, leaving a tail to be woven in.

Go back to the green yarn tail position, at the end of the instep stitches. With the green yarn, pick up and knit 15 stitches along the left side of the heel, work the 12 heel stitches, and pick up and knit 15 stitches along the right side of the heel. Work across the instep stitches in pattern.

The start of the round is between the instep stitches and the left side of the heel. From here, you'll work the 34 stitches in the mock cable rib pattern, and the rest of the stitches will be in stotcking stitch.

Work one round even, twisting all picked-up sts.

Next round: K1, ssk, knit to last three stitches before instep stitches, k2tog, k1, work across instep stitches in mock cable rib pattern.
Work a round even.

Repeat these last two rounds until you're back to 64 stitches.

Work until foot measures required length -- 2 inches/5 cm shorter than total foot length. Your stitches will be arranged as follows: needle 1 has 15, needle 2 has 15, needle 3 has 34.

You'll finish the toe in plain stocking stitch.

Decrease for toe:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, knit to end. Needle 2: Knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle 3: k1, ssk, knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k1.

Knit three rounds even.
Work a decrease round followed by two even rounds, twice. (6 rounds total)
Work a decrease round followed by one even round, three times. (6 rounds total)
Work decrease rounds until 8 stitches remain.

Cut yarn and thread through remaining stitches to close. To finish, weave in ends.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

FO: The Highland Triangle Shawl


What do you think? I'm pretty pleased, and have worn it a couple of times already, to many compliments.

For those who asked, it's the Highland Triangle Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls.

It was a challenge, but I learnt a lot about lace knitting, and feel confident that I could go further next time.

The bit that tripped me up the most was the applied edging. It was fiddly and time-consuming to work. And I discovered at the end that I'd dropped a couple of stitches.

Which, of course, only became evident during the blocking process. Argh. There was much debate about what to do to solve the problem (not to mention the cursing). I ultimately did the repairs in situ, with some careful weaving. And you can barely tell.

Mock Cable Rib

For those of you who were asking, here's the instructions for the ribbing I used on the Xmas sock.

Mock Cable Rib:
Worked flat, over a multiple of 4 stitches +2.
Row 1: P2, *k2, p2; repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2 & 4: K2, *p2, k2; repeat from * to end of row.
Row 3: P2, *skip first st and k into second stitch, then k into first and slip both off the needle, p2; repeat from * to end of row.

Worked in the round, over a multiple of 4 stitches.
Rounds 1, 2 and 4: *K2, p2; repeat from * to end of round.
Round 3: *Skip first stitch(leaving it in place on the needle) and k into second stitch, then k into first and slip both off the needle at the same time, p2; repeat from * to end of round.

It's sophisticated yet easy to work. Good for socks, mitten cuffs, or a flourish on the edging of a cabled sweater.