Thursday, 16 November 2017

Change the Angle

T_a asked me what the difference was between the Spring Breeze neckline and the new ideas I have had for shaping the neck.

The Spring Breeze has the shaping system I have used in the Baby V, Button Your Top Down and Hoodies and Pullovers books. It works really well. I love using it.

Once the neckband is knit, the neck shaping is achieved by using short rows. On one side of the front the short rows end with SSK, K1 and Turn. The SSK is a decrease but it also attaches the front to the side of the neckband. The K1 kicks it over a stitch giving the neckband a 45 degree angle.

         SSK, K1
                  SSK, K1
                           SSK, K1
I want to try to push this a bit and see if I can get a deeper neckline while still leaving myself some open stitches at the centre of the neckband to work a stitch panel down the front. What I've done is add extra rows that do not have a K1 at the end of the short row so do not bump the neckband over one stitch. It means that the angle is no longer 45 degrees. The extra rows add a short vertical section to the angle at the side of the neckband. One one side of the front the short rows end like this:
SSK, K1   attaches and adds to V shaping
         SSK,         attaches only, vertical
         SSK, K1,
If I was working a Top Down where the neckband is picked up afterwards, this is the equivalent of working an increase every 4th row. Of course I'm doing this the hard way but ... there you go, it's more fun.
I wonder what it would look like if I used P2tog instead of the SSK? That might work great. OK one more swatch just to see.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

I'm There

I think I've got it. My experiments seem to have come to a successful system I can use.

I have a system where the neckband is worked first and then short rows are worked to lower the front by working more rows across the back of the neck.
I've used this neck shaping system in several books: Button Up Your Top Down, Baby V, Hoodies and Pullovers and any "Kid's" pattern leaflets from these books. It totally works and I have several sweaters that I wear using this system. It's straight forward and easy to work once you get your head around short rows in general. You may have worked with it already.
It looks great along the edge of the neckband.

It makes a lovely dropped front of neck.

I want to take it one step further and lower the front of neck a little further, to a full 3"/7.5cm, and still have stitches left open on the Front to work a stitch pattern.

My first experiment was to work an extra SSK row. It lowered the front sufficiently but is messy.
Next I tried using German Short Rows and took out the SSK decrease which didn't work so well. The short rows turns are worked on every stitch: work short row treatment from last row, work short row turn on next stitch. This leaves slight holes along the neckband.

But I like the general idea of using the short rows. So this time I separated the short row turns by one stitch: work short row treatment from previous row, K1, work short row turn. I used Short Rows with Twin Stitches which are easy to work and look great.
This is working very well. Nice smooth raglan line and the short rows look good against the neckband.
Yahoo. I'm excited. Now to get down to crunching numbers. I really need a new sweater so am anxious to get started on the real thing.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Almost There

I think I'm a little closer to what I have in my head. I want to start with the neckband and then work short rows to build up the back and lower the front. I am looking for a lower front of neck for more comfort. My last try at this works but it's messy.
I think this new trial is closer. It's smoother at the edges of the neckband and it's still nice and deep.
I used German Short Rows. I really like them. If you haven't tried them it's worth doing a little sample and giving them a shot. They are a great substitute for Wrap & Turn Short Rows.
But I'm taking another stab at it since I think this one is almost there.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Must be a better way

I can't stop thinking about the new problem I have set myself. They become an obsession but a good one. I am trying to make a raglan pullover with a lower crewneck than I have been able to acheive before.
I'm using short rows that raise the back of the neck ...
which in turn lowers the front of neck. You can see that the whole time I'm working more rows across the back of neck, I have yet to work across the entire front of neck.
I like the resulting lower front of neck.
Can you hear the BUT? It's messy.
I'm sure there is a better way to do this. I may have a couple of middle of the night revelations. I hope so.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Did not work

It didn't work. I looked at everything I had to finish up in an attempt to convince myself to get one project done before beginning another. Abject failure.

I started a new pullover. I have to tell you, it felt terrific!

I am a little further on my Westward guild project. This shawl is definitely at that blob stage where it's outgrown the needle I have it on and looks like ... a blob.
I'm feeling a little ashamed but also happily knitting on my new sweater.

Thursday, 12 October 2017


I'm taking inventory. I suspect I have way too much on my knitting plate and I want to start something new of course.

For those of you who knit one project at a time, this is how the other half lives. At least I seem to.

I am knitting the Westward shawlette. Sort of. I am taking a tiny step away from this pattern.

In our knitting guild we decided to pick out 2 or 3 colours of fingering weight yarn to knit a shawl this year. The Westward consists of 3 different Tiers where the stitch patterns change. No boredom allowed.

I have 3 colours (150g in total) so each of the Tiers of the Westward are going to be in a different colour. Tier One is a variegated yarn (Queensland Collection, Rainbow Beach). Tier Two is the coral colour (Juniper Moon, Herriot Fine). Tier Three is still up for grabs. I have a navy yarn which I think is going to be too dark. I am knitting each Tier to any size I want depending on the amount of yarn I have. Maybe this is running away with the pattern but the instructions for each Tier are still good to follow no matter what size or stitch count I have.

I have a really good rational for starting this new shawl. It is really, really necessary that I knit along with a shawl class I'm teaching. It's an 8 week class with 6 weeks left so lots of knitting time yet. I think I'm justified on this one. I am working with 100g of one colour (Misti Alpaca) and 50g of second colour (Gems, Louet). I'm curious to see how large it gets. I'm liking the contrast between the two teal colours.

Another knit along with a class I'm teaching on Ergonomic Mittens (Rowan Pure). This week we are knitting thumbs so I have to get that second mitten ready!

Our Cabin Fever Retreat is in a couple of weeks (last weekend in October) and these are the wristers that will be knit as the knitters play with stitch patterns and work colourwork with two hands. I should probably do some mates for them.

OMG, there is still more. I'm writing the pattern for this classic top down cardigan. I'm calling it the Everyday Cardigan (Rowan Pure worsted wool). I've knit a second one which I have worn quite a bit so my own experience is that it is a sweater to grab any time you walk out the door. It needs buttons but the writing is almost done.

Yup, one more. The ever constant socks I always have on my needles (Comfort by Sockenwolle). No deadline on these because I'll just cast on another pair when I'm done.
 Phew, my knitting plate is overflowing. Something has to get finished!!!! I'm not alone here right? Please tell me I'm not,

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Knitting behind the glass

It's fall now. The season is marked off for us by the beginning of the competitive curling tour. Since our daughter has been competing I have knit many, many garments sitting behind the glass. I began again on Labour Day weekend, a couple of weekends back, knitting the first of the many garments I will knit this year at curling rinks watching Team Flaxey play.

My husband is holding up the Top Down Ridges sweater in a new Cotton Tweed colour, Rose. It's very pretty but not tooo, tooo pink.
Just back from a second weekend of curling spectating. I have a sock in Comfort Sockenwoole going.
and started a hat and scarf in Red, White and Black Norspun. Garter Stitch is easiest in a crowd sitting on bleachers.
Go Team Flaxey.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Neatening Cast Off GAP

I'm sewing in ends and I have a method to show you that I learned a long time ago which seems to work for me. There is always a gap your cast off edge (and cast on edge too) between the beginning and the end.
It can be closed nicely as you sew in the end.

Begin with the yarn on a needle and held to the back of your work. You can see that my yarn is attached to the Right Side of the gap. Bring the needle through the first stitch on the other side of the gap, from Back to Front.
Now bring the yarn to the back of the work again. Thread the needle through the first side of the gap (in my case the Right side of the gap), from Back to Front. That "Back to Front" part is important.
Now take the yarn and needle to the back of the work again and repeat threading the needle through the stitch on the far side again. Pull the thread snug and see how it looks. I hope it looks great. Mine does.

Thread the end through the wrong side to finish.
By threading the end through from the Back to Front on one side and then from Back to Front on the other side you are making the yarn do a figure 8 with the crossing going into the gap and filling it up. Let me know if you try this. It totally works for me.

Sewing, ugh.

Not my favourite job - sewing buttons on. But here I am set up with my handy sewing kit ...
which I probably bought in high school, hence the happy face. Although why I don't take it off is question that I can't answer. Maybe it has significance that I have long forgotten.

I'm always amazed when I get to the button sewing part. Can you thread a needle easily? I wear reading glasses, strong ones, and mostly I wave my thread at the needle where I think the hole is because I can't actually see it and it always astonishes me that the thread actually goes through the hole. Not the first time, ha, or the second either but eventually with patience, lots of patience, it all works and I can sew on the buttons.
Success. This is the Top Down Ridges pattern in a lovely new Cotton Tweed colour, Rose.

Would you like to see this as an adult pattern? Would you wear a garter stitch cardigan in DK weight yarn? I'm think that I would.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Getting Ready

It's going to be a busy week. The Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair is a week Saturday and I'm already awake in the middle of the night trying to think of a good way to do the show. It's one day so set up is critical and needs to be fast. I'm also working the booth solo so I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for people to choose a kit and cash out quickly so I can service everyone as best I can. I also like to have a chance to talk to knitters but there are a couple hours in the middle of the day where this is hard to do.

This year I'm doing a Cabin Fever Kid's booth. All children, all the time.
I'm sorting and kitting up some of the little sweaters now. I feel like I have some sort of handle on this.

My new thought for the knitters is to have a section where you can choose a pattern and then pick up a package of your favourite colour of Cotton Tweed. Pick and choose. These are the sweaters I have choosen to take so far. Have I missed any of your favourites?

I have lots of packages of 2 & 3 balls in a wide assortment of colours. As a shopper I would enjoy doing this. What do you think? A good idea? Would you like to shop this way?

I'd be happy to hear your comments. Setting these shows up is always tricky and I'm thinking this might be a fun way to do it.

Friday, 25 August 2017

First of the Compass sweaters

I'm back from 3 weeks at our camp which was a wonderful time. Some knitting done but not too much. Lots of rain so lots of reading. It was that kind of summer. Now I'm playing catch-up so this is short.

I did get this little sweater done. It's knit in 4 directions of the compass by my dearly departed friend, Bernice Vollick (check out her patterns here). She did several sweaters in 4 directions which are fun to do and No Finishing. Pick up off of each of the sections to begin the next one. Garter stitch sections are worked flat and the lower body and the sleeves are done in the round.

Now I'm reknitting it in turquoise and purple.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Preparing for Retreats

I'm getting ready for a couple of retreats coming up. Two in September and another in October. Nice to get ahead with samples and class notes.

First up is two days of knitting at Lauzon Lodge in Algoma Mills, Northern Ontario on September 23 & 24. We're going to knit Gauge Free mittens. No swatches, no checking gauge, use any yarn and any needle to knit any size. It's magic! Knitting from 9:30am to 4:30pm for two days should result in at least one pair of fully finished mittens. Lunch, and it will be delicious, is included for the $90. Accommodation is extra if you're not local. Sharon has 3 B&B rooms open and there is a motel in Blind River. September isn't too early to think about getting some winter knitting done and maybe a couple pairs of mittens for Christmas presents.
Here is one happy student with her mittens from the Eastern Needlers Retreat made.

Next is a retreat the weekend after in Sudbury, Ontario (yes it's the northern ontario tour). I'm teaching Two Triangles Make A Hat. Another Gauge Free workshop. Again no swatches, no gauge to check, use any yarn with any needles for any size. Yup, it definitely works. It's a great group of women and we are going to have fun!
Fall Knitting Retreat
September 29 to October 1, 2017

Prices include meals, workshops, snacks, door prizes etc.
from Friday night till Sunday afternoon
Single Room $270 Shared double Room $240 per person
Here is one sample I've finished and another in progress.
Now for a striped version, almost done but not quite.
Perfect for all the odd bits of yarn you have around. It's done with 2 50g balls of yarn.

Next, still time to get samples done, is our Cabin Fever Retreat at the end of October 27-29. Our design theme is Small Changes. Three classes where you will knit one wrister using the same 3 colours. You can go home with a set of 3 fraternal wristers which gives you 3 different looking pairs. Cool, eh? Here are a couple of samples for my class which is based on 2x2 rib pattern with small changes which result in a different pattern every time you change colours.
Lyn and Elizabeth Fallone are working on their samples so I can show you the fraternal wristers. I like to set up classes where at the end of the weekend you go home with something you can actually wear and 3 wristers is a pretty good bit of knitting over the weekend.

So far a little ahead of the game. I did finish my 4 directions of the compass sweater but the photos are on my phone and I'm at Tim's using their internet and forgot my cable to transfer the pics. Next time.

How is your knitting going? I'm knitting outside between rain showers, it's one soggy summer.