February 2008

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March MagKnits is up, including my Josephine:

Josephine

Note: Since Magknits is unfortunately no more, I have posted this pattern as a free pdf download here.

I have been having problems with my knitting machine see here and here). It hasn’t really given me any indication up till now that it wanted to do anything I directed.

I don’t know anyone who knows how to do this, so I have to learn with these:

km-1.jpg

Which is of course very hard. Finally last Sunday, I threaded the machine and tried to knit.

km-2.jpg

It was so hard and I actually had to cut it loose (no pictures – painful memory I want to forget).

I then thought maybe I should try cleaning and oiling it – who could anticipate that old machinery that hasn’t been used in years might need to be cleaned and lubricated? – I never said I was good at this part.

After that the knitting machine and I had a time out for a few days.

Then today I got home from work and tried one more time and I was able to . . . wait for it . . . you guessed it . . . cast on!

I made a weird little bit of too tight ribbing with waste yarn, which I will one day throw in the garbage, but not today, because I made the knitting machine work.

Please pause a moment to consider my creation:

km-4.jpg

km-3.jpg

See it can be done.

I have ordered a Japanese craft book off Ebay, well knitting/crochet book, the sewing book will be tackled later. I am not exactly sure how this will work, but they have graphs, so I should be able to make this happen.

Ponder this for a moment:

japanesecraftbook1.jpg

I especially want these:

japanesecraftbook2.jpg

Here is a selection from the instructions page:

japanesecraftbook4.jpg

I will try to make these, all as part of the cause of improving my crochet. It may be a little difficult to figure out, but I have checked Google and this (ウール) means wool, so there you go. I am practically there!

japanesecraftbook5.jpg

If you read enough Japanese to do it, or you want to live dangerously, you could buy it from Amazon Japan.

Bookbinding

Last night I went to a bookmaking class. It was the second of two and I made two whole books.

Here are some pictures of the first one:

bookbinding2.jpg

bookbinding3.jpg

It is very handy as the book contents are instructions on how to make more books.

The next one was much more involved. Here are some pictures of it too:

bookbinding1.jpg

This one has two spines and opens from the middle.

It has an accordion fold on the left with separate signatures for notes — you could categorize your thoughts and an envelope for little bits of stuff:

bookbinding6.jpg

It also has a separate signature on the right with a selection of fancy papers. Apparently, this is so that there are always supplies for collage on hand. I confess I can’t imagine the desire ever striking me, but the idea that there are people in the world who are occasionally struck by the desire to collage immediately and always carry a supply of paper and presumably some kind of paste greatly appeals to me. I am usually only ever struck by the desire to knit, which is much less likely to lead to sticky fingers and a gummy table in cafés etc.

bookbinding4.jpg

The world must be a more interesting place with such people in it.

A glove by any other name - 1$5.00

Of course you could just knit gloves on double pointed needles. Life would be more simple if everyone did things the same way, but not everyone likes dpn, and sometimes you want to try something different, just because you can.

These gloves are knit on straight needles in double knitting, so there are no seams either. They require the same amount of making up that gloves on dpn: just weave in ends.

Difficulty

Average

Size

One size

Finished measurements

11 inches [28cm] long (with cuff, without cuff 8 inches [20cm])

8 inches [20cm] around palm

Materials

Filatura Di Crosa New Malizioso [100% wool; 55yd/50m per 50g skein]; color: 4; 2 skeins

1 set US #9/5.5mm straight needles

Gauge

10 sts / 15 rows over 4 inches [10cm]

A glove by any other name - 2 A glove by any other name - 3 Double knit gloves

 

I want to knit everything on straight needles — absolutely everything.

I knit gloves on straight needles, see here and here. I also knit sweaters on straight needles, see here and the new issue of Magknits coming out in March. I also knit hats on straight needles, but that is a little less extraordinary, see here and here.

Double knit gloves

I partly dislike circulars and partly it just seems fun to do it that way.

I am so excited about my next pattern, which I will be posting this weekend if all goes well. I have a new (though perhaps unvented as opposed invented) way of making gloves on two needles, so I hope you will check back.

Here is a sneak preview.

Gloves on two needles never look like anything special when you are knitting them, then the metamorphose into something right.

Lyras Coat with Sleeves

Cast on stitches at underarms and work body of sweater:

This is about what your sweater coat should look like at this stage.

The sleeves are completed and it is now time to put the live stitches from the body back on your needles and cast on some stitches for the underarms.

The first thing you need to do is measure how large your sweater is without casting on for underarms. This means you should measure your two front halves and the back. These numbers combined are how large the sweater is now.

Next, you will need to work out how big it should be. I think I want 6 inches [15cm] ease. This is because I want the sweater to drape like a coat, and coats tend to be bigger, and because the fabric is so thick the inside will be smaller than the outside. (thank you Elizabeth Zimmermann, see Knitter’s Almanac, unfortunately out of print). If your sweater is much smaller, i.e. child’s size, you may want to have slightly less ease (4-5 inches [10-12cm], but that is up to you.

Subtract how big your sweater is from how big you want it to be, this will give you how much you need to cast on for. Divide this amount by two for each underarm and multiply it my your gauge, this will give you the number of stitches to cast on under each arm.

Put all the live stitches onto a long needle (I think you will need a circular needle for this), which will fold the sleeves in half. If you find that you didn’t end one end in the right direction and you will not start your garter stitch on the same (right side or wrong side) row, work one row to make it even.

Starting at the beginning of the row of the stitches you have on your needle, work to the first sleeve, cast on the number of stitches you worked out in the previous step; repeat for the second underarm. You will now have enough stitches on your needle for the complete body of the sweater.

At this point you can decide to work straight until the end of the garment, in which case, you can bid farewell to my instructions, such as they are. Just keep going until you are happy, bind off, sew on your preferred method of closure, sew the sleeve seams, wash the sweater (if you are using old stash yarn and your sweater smells a little fusty), block/dry it, and enjoy.

I however, have decided that I want pockets, I know the original didn’t have any, but I want them and it’s my sweater. I also plan to add a few stitches for a little increased room for my hips and walking stride. If you want either of these things, work to the point at which these things would be appropriate and I will try to catch up to you as soon as I can.

My version:

My sweater without casting on at underarms is as follows:

(11 inches [28cm] x 2 fronts) + 23 inches [58cm] = 45 inches [114cm]

If you think back to the measurement stage, my bust with clothes is 38 inches [97cm]

45 inches [114cm] – (38 inches [97cm] + 6 inches [15cm]) = -1 inch [-2cm]

My sweater turned out to be big enough already, so I will just start knitting the body, but if you need any added under the arms, follow the directions here.

This is what my sweater looked like before I joined for and started working body:

ready to work body

This is what my sweater looked like after I worked a few rows and sewed the sleeve seams with mattress stitch:

sleevessewn.jpg

I found that sewing the sleeve seams made the knitting easier, so I did that now, but that is a matter of preference.

If you added stitches under the arms, sew the beginnings of the sleeves to the underarm stitches, then sew the rest of the sleeve seam straight.

It is so cold in Saskatchewan this weekend, and I just couldn’t resist putting in a plug for my Russian Princess in Exile, it is the warmest, best winter hat I have ever had, and I think it looks cute too.

Frosty

This is how cold it is, and yes, that is frost in my hair, but my head is warm.

On crochet

I think I learned to crochet and knit at the same time, which was probably more than 20 years ago now. I remember I was about 8 and after knitting a few Barbie scarves I started making a mitten. I made it half way through the first one.

The only thing I remember crocheting as a child was an afghan, but surely I didn’t learn to crochet on an afghan — if for no other reason, who would give a child who had never crocheted anything before that much yarn? I afghan was not a great success — the edges were kind of ripply.

But though I started the two crafts so equally, I only started knitting again about 6 years ago, but I didn’t crochet as much.

Now I find that because I have done it so much more, I think in knitting. I can look at yarn and see a finished object — a finished knitted object, but every time I want to crochet something still I need to look up exactly what they mean by dc — I never have to look up what k2tog means. I can’t see what something crocheted will look like before it is done or without a pattern with a picture.

I just don’t think in crochet, but I wish I had the facility to do it. Here is a picture of the first thing I ever made in crochet without seeing a picture or model of first, the motifs are from Norah Gaughan:

crochetpillow.jpg

Here is my original post on it: Other uses I have put my stash to.

In crochet I am reduced to salvaging my results when I try to make a rug as cushion appliqués.

I think I will persevere, maybe I will make something Loop-d-Loop Crochet by Teva Durham. She makes it look so . . . so . . . fresh/exciting/fashionable/quirky/elegant/fun — I just don’t think I can come up with a better word for it than that. I also have Crochet Me by Kim Werker, which is also fabulous.

One day crochet will speak to me too.

I have come up with another method for swatchless knitting.

Debbie New has a few in her book Unexpected Knitting. They include knitting on the bias and adding stitches each side, like knitted dishcloths. At this point, I should say that I am only talking in a theoretical way at this point as I have never knit anything as practical as a dishcloth. This way you knit a piece with a right angle and then when your sides are as long as the shortest side, you start decreasing at the same rate, if you want it to be rectangular, you continue increasing on one side and decrease on the other.

She calls her other method log cabin knitting, and she casts on a few stitches knit a few rows, binds off, and picks up more stitches off one of the sides, knits a few rows, binds off, repeats. This can make a square or I suppose whatever rectangular shape you want, like a log cabin quilt.

I imagine Debbie New as the most fun person in the whole world to have in a knitting group.

Her ideas are great, but I have formulated another way, though it really only works when you design your own patterns.

My method was inspired by Norah Gaughan’s Roundabout Leaf Tank from Knitting Nature. In it, you start with a strip of knitting and knit long enough to go around your hips then you start knitting it together with the beginning of the strip in a spiral making up the body of the sweater.

Morse code vest - stitch closeup

What I figured, was that you could just cast on some stitches and start knitting without making a swatch, because you could measure your gauge from your first piece and work out your pattern for the whole garment. Then you cast on enough to make the other side of the front or back or enough to do the whole rest of whatever you are are knitting and at the end of your first row, start knitting your new piece together with your first piece.

The stitch I use to knit the two pieces together is as follows: work in pattern to last stitch of RS row, slip 1 with yarn in back, pick up and knit 1 stitch from the first row of other piece, pass slipped stitch over, turn, slip 1 stitch with yarn in front, knit to end.  This stitch works when picking up from the left edge of the right side of knitting; I have figured out how to do it on the left edge of the wrong side, but it is more convoluted.

If you would like to knit a design I knit this way, please see my Morse code vest.

Morse code tank$5.00

A series of dots and dashes that form a meaningful whole . . .

This close fitting vest or tank is knit in four pieces each with different stitch patterns, but they come together to form a coherent garment, which is knit together as you go, so there is no making up at the end. This makes a nice lacy tank, but if you are too modest or chilly to wear it as one, it makes a wonderful vest as well. I fantasize about making myself another in something soft and fuzzy for the winter.

I think that buttons going up the back of clothes are wonderful. They give you a nice stretch if you do them up yourself, but they are more fun if you have someone to do them up for you – so keep everyone guessing about who is helping you on with your clothes in the morning.

Difficulty

Average

Size

XS [S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X] (shown in size M)

Finished measurements

Chest: 28[32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52] inches

Length: 22.5[22.5, 23, 23.5, 23.5, 24, 24] inches

Materials

[MC] Rowan Summer Tweed [70% silk, 30% cotton; 118 yd/108 m per 50g skein]; color: 535 shark; 4 [4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7] skeins

1 set US #9/5.5mm straight needles

notions required: stitch holder, stitch markers, 6 three-quarter inch (2cm) buttons

Gauge

14 sts/20 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch

Morse code vest - 3 Morse code vest - 2

Slouch Hat

When I was a child I always wanted asymmetrical things. I remember my mother explaining to me that one braid and one ponytail was not what people do; she may have been right, but I made this hat slightly asymmetrical anyway.

Slouch Hat

Difficulty: Easy

Size: M[L] (shown in size L)

Finished measurements: 20 inches (50cm) [24 inches (61cm)] slightly stretched
slouchhat-yarn.jpg
Materials: 122 yards [112m] Bouclé yarn

Note: I used 2 skeins of Emu Florentine [51% Wool, 44% Acrylic, 5% Nylon]; 61 yards [56 m] per skein. The ribs may show much more if knit with a different yarn.

1 set US #9/5.5mm straight needles

Gauge: 12 sts / 14 rows to 4 inches [10cm]

For complete pattern see: Slouch Hat Pattern

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