Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Gauge, on about it again.

We had a great time at the retreat. Both my Make It Fit classes went very well. Several sweaters that don't fit were checked out. By the end of class I didn't even have to explain what wasn't working. The knitters did it themselves. Guess what the #1 reason for an incorrect fit is? I bet you know.
GAUGE. Argghh. I know, it's a constant companion. Here's an excerpt from the YarnOver SleepOver Retreat booklet. I know knitting teachers do bang on about this!! Maybe this will help explain why it's so important.

MAKE IT FIT

Here is a common knitters lament: “I knit it exactly as the pattern said and it still didn’t turn out the right size”. Frustrating indeed. Did you check your gauge? Can I say the “S” word? Did you make a Swatch? A nice big one?

The reason many garments don’t fit when completed is because the knitter’s gauge did not match the pattern gauge. Garments are built on a certain size of stitch. Imagine each stitch as a little box. For example, let’s say your particular pattern calls for a stitch gauge of 20 sts = 4”/10cm. Break it down to 5 stitches = 1 inch.

Below are 5 boxes representing 5 stitches and 1” width, knit at different gauges. If you were knitting a 40” sweater you can see the difference gauge makes.





Do not despair. This can be fixed. I am also a knitter who does not usually knit to gauge. It’s perfectly normal.


Do’s & Don’t’s
Do Not try to change how you knit. Saying you’ll knit tighter or looser will last about 5 minutes!! Then you will be knitting in your normal manner. There is a better way.

Adjust your gauge by adjusting your needles.
· If the pattern calls for the gauge of 5 sts = 1” on a 4.5mm needle and you are getting 5½ sts = 1” then your stitches are a little smaller. You are getting more stitches in every inch. Bump your needle size up to 5.0mm and see if you are closer to the pattern gauge.

· If you are getting 4½ sts = 1” your stitches are a little big (fewer stitches in every inch). Try again with a 4.0mm needle which will make your stitches smaller.

Understanding if you are a tight knitter or a loose knitter helps you get started on adjusting your knitting for better fitting garments.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Style first

Our Yarn Over Sleep Over Retreat is this weekend. I kept thinking it was a little further away but here it is already. I'm teaching two classes. One of which is a Make It Fit class.

We are discussing bust, waist and hip shaping. But before we get to that I'm going to discuss a little bit about style. I have to read up on this topic since I'm not sure I have much, style that is. It's all about what to wear for your figure. Here is the jist of it which I found on a Knitting Daily blog which sums up Amy Herzog's style notes:

Amy Herzog, master of knitting fit, has adapted these guidelines for knitters, spelling out four basic rules for understanding and creating visual balance:
1. Add horizontal elements to widen a body part.
2. Add vertical elements to narrow a body part.
3. Use one color or texture to lengthen a body part.
4. Use multiple colors or textures to shorten a body part.
Balancing your visual is all about making your figure appear more hourglass shaped. You can use your sweater to widen parts that need widening and make some parts narrower.

If you are bottom heavy, you want to make your shoulders look wider. Then the idea is that you look balanced. You want to make the top of your yoke draw the eye across. You can make a wide scoop neckline so that your shoulders draw the eye across. You can use cap sleeves which widen the shoulders. You can wear Icelandic style sweaters with lots of patterning across the top of the yoke.

If you are top heavy, the opposite is true. You can put lots of patterning at the bottom edge of your sweater. Lucky you gets to knit nice deep patterned borders.

The vertical and horizontal elements are pretty easy. A cardigan has a vertical when it's left open and also when it's buttoned up with lots of snazzy buttons. Cables and texture work in panels are a wonderful vertical. Horizontal colour changes across the top or bottom are effective.

Do you check the style of a sweater pattern to see if it would look good on your figure? Do you check out the model to see if she is top or bottom heavy. Forget that, most of them are just thin! Do you have sweaters that you get compliments on? Does it have to do with the style of it?

deb


Thursday, 13 April 2017

taking a Break with Shawlettes

I'm resting my Lightening pullover for the moment and knitting shawlettes. Have you knit many? I'm on #3. I'm following simple shawl rules and seeing how elastic they are. It's the What If I ... school of knitting. I like this one a lot.
Then I added some colour. Not entirely happy with this one but this is still wearable but not good enough to write up.
A short post. Almost on my way down to the Players Grand Slam of curling to watch my daughter
 (the dark one) curl in this event. They came out champs in Scotland a couple of weeks ago.
It's nail biting time which I'm trying to avoid by knitting. Sometimes it works. My shawlette may have a couple of very tight rows in it!!
Deb

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Progress and some Questions

I'm trying to get ahead of the season and get a summer top knit before summer is here. You know what that's like. It's summer and I wish I had a cotton top to wear. No problem, ever the optimist, I'll start knitting now and guess what?! It's fall already!

So I'm patting myself on the back (hard to do but I'm practicing). I've almost got my Lightening design finished.
I solved my chart issue. I'm learning to just let things go for a couple of days knowing that one morning it will be very clear that I've made a decision. Isn't it incredible that your brain can do this without you even knowing that it's happening?

I'm going to go with chart option#1 since it is the easiest one to read and I can imagine the knitter putting a little tick in every "0" (increase) on the chart as it's worked to keep track. One of the wonderful things about charts is that they are a visual representation of the knitting. In this case it isn't but making it easy to knit is my first priority. I'm happy with the results.

I used the openM1 to work all the increases for my Lightening Bolts. If you haven't tried this increase yet I'd give it a go. It's surprisingly easy.

I also have the pattern written. Pat on the back again (I could get used to this). Now I have to read it over and give some serious thought to making it really easy for the knitter (that's you) to knit up (or down as it were, tee, hee).

There's quite a lot happening around the Great Divide (putting the sleeves on spare yarn and leaving the body on the needles). These are the question I have to ask:
1. Is this, as written, too much to work in one round? Can I make it any clearer?
2. Can I split it up into a couple of rounds and work the Divide in the first round and make the changes to the stitch pattern in the next round?
3. Do I need to put in exact stitch counts or can I use the Marker placements? Use both?

Do you have some thoughts for me? Do you like to work one thing at a time? Do you like one big round with lots going one so that it's done?

I only have the border of one sleeve to finish today. I'm really looking forward to wearing my new top at the Yarn Over Sleep Over retreat in a couple of weeks.
-Deb

Thursday, 30 March 2017

open M1 increase

Make one increases (M1) are very popular increases. They are worked using the horizontal bar between stitches to create an extra stitch.

My favourite one is what I call an openMake1 (oM1). I use it for raglan increases on my Top Down sweaters for several reasons:
1.  It makes a small hole (smaller than a YO).
2.  It doesn't lean to the right or left which means I can use the same increase before and after my raglan markers.
3.  Working it doesn't interrupt my knitting flow.
4.  You can read whether you have worked the increase or not.

Work an OpenM1 by inserting your Right needle from front to back, under the horizontal bar between the stitch just knit and the next stitch,
 wrap the yarn as usual to knit a stitch and pull back through. This is just like a pick up and knit.

The beauty of it is that it is just one more knit stitch in your round which you work under the horizontal bar instead of in a stitch on your needle. There's nothing more to it than that. Can you wonder that it's a favourite increase?

The trick when knitting a Top Down Pullover is to recognize, as you approach the raglan marker, whether you have worked an increase or not. A in-the-round pullover is worked with one round where the increases are worked and the next round where you usually knit. If your mind wonders like mine does, you can't always remember what round you are working on when you come to a marker. Do I need to increase or is this a knit round?

When you work the oM1 you use up the horizontal bar between stitches. It's now a stitch. So if you see this, you have worked the increase in the last round. There is no horizontal bar there.

This indicates that you are on a Knit Round. You would knit past this spot and continue knitting your round. Next time you come to this marker (in the next round), you will see a horizontal bar.
Then you work the oM1 under that horizontal bar because it's there.

In a nutshell, if the horizontal bar is there, you work a oM1, if it's not there you knit.

Enjoy,
Deb

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

My Designer Puzzle

I haven't thrown away my red yoke yet and I did wake up early several mornings knowing what to do next. BEWARE this is a long post. It's been a long week. I'm not despairing, just wrestling with a puzzle.

The first morning's thought was to change from fingering weight yarn to DK weight yarn. And so I did. I got the yoke done and it was a breeze. I'm calling this Lightening.
I did sort of, maybe, think that there was a sticky problem somewhere. Not to be held up though, since I was having such a lovely time, I worked the Divide (putting sleeve stitches on spare yarn) and continued down the body. The whole time that niggling little voice was wondering how The Knitter (that's you) was going to work the Divide and then continue to knit the lightening bolt down the Front & Back. It's a small thing but it seems to hinge on where I put the Beginning of Round marker and how I explained how to work the Lightening Bolt itself. When I started to write the Divide Round out I ran into trouble. I couldn't go on. I ripped back to the Divide Round, put it aside and went to bed.

Here's the problem. I have a good idea of how I want this design to work and I know exactly where I am as I'm knitting. Good thing, right? I knit my Lightening Bolts with the Markers in the centre of each one. Then I wrote it out in the pattern: work starting from this marker to that marker and repeat. That makes sense, right? Work from one pink marker to the next pink marker.

Then I realized that I was not knitting from marker to marker at all. What I was actually doing was knitting toward the Marker and then deciding which side of the Marker to work the increase on. AH, HA. That was a big moment.

Charting helps me think things through so with paper and pencil I created a chart. Imagine the Marker is right on the centre line of the chart. Increase holes are worked on the right of the Marker and then on the left and then again on the right, etc.

Unfortunately that chart does not show how the lightening bolt is going to shift from side to side as they are knit.
Would this make more sense? It's a good visual. Again, marker set in the middle of the lightening bolt.

But then it's not clear that the stitches (B's on the chart) of the lightening bolt itself line up above each other. AARRGGH.
More thought needed. Maybe tomorrow morning will do it. Maybe I'll be struck by lightening and my brain will fire at an accelerated rate and then I will know.
Deb




Thursday, 16 March 2017

Something here is not working

I am convinced by the comments (thanks t_a and Sharon) that fingering and sports weight yarn (DK included here?) work best for plus sized sweaters. But we all know that fingering weight yarn does make knitting a sweater a substantial time investment. Especially, as stated, when ripping back occasionally to make modifications. That's where I am right now.

I got the yoke finished on a new top down circular yoke pullover in fingering weight cotton/acrylic. Then I started to work out my grading for the different sizes ...
and yeah, it went like that. Not well. All the different scenarios I tried didn't work out in any logical manner without very big jumps in the sizes. So I'm putting this aside for the moment, aside meaning stashed behind my computer where I can't see it until I can face throwing it in the garbage because that's where it's headed. Yoke, did you hear that?!

I'm starting a new one with a more logical approach to the increases and sizing. The new one will be in DK weight Cotton Tweed. Blue, of course. A faster knit, cotton for summer, bigger holes for the increases in the design. Fingers crossed, it should work out better all around. Some other day I will knit a fingering weight sweater, Today I'm thinking that 2018 sounds like a good time.
Deb