Friday 27 February 2009


It is totally me who needs the structure to get some idea of this booklet. I could throw all the hats up in the air and set up the order as they randomly fall and it would work as a book. But I need some sort of order, it makes me happy to see progress through the book. I looked at starting from the easiest to the more complicated but it didn't make as much sense to me as grouping them in sections did.
Starting on the far right, from bottom to top is the traditional section made up of a pillbox, a toque and a ribbed watch cap. Next are the 5 hats in the textured section, progressing on to the 5 multi-coloured hats and the final 2 are the flap caps. There will be changes but this definitely gives me something to get started with. I can also emphasize that the patterns are interchangeable. The fairisle hat could be knit with the coloured dots pattern and the cabled hat could be worked in the basketweave pattern (they have different brims and crowns).

We are not even close to being finished. I no longer wonder why books take 2 years for big publishers to release. This 40 page booklet is going to take a full 6 months from the initial idea to publication. We started in November and have to be finished by the end of April. But now I have a plan!


Thursday 26 February 2009

time off

I have no solution to 'hitting the wall' except taking a couple of days off. I don't put the project away because I do need to get back to it but I ruminate on it. It's a relief not to have to work on it when I allow myself time off and it seems to give me some distance so I can think more objectively. Usually something is not working right (but I guess that's the problem for everyone when they set a project aside). This hat book is not coming together for me. Too many variations and no structure to hang them on. Today, after thinking about this for several days, I talked it over with Sophy (our shipping goddess). Talking out loud really helps. We came up with several ways to structure the booklet - by experience levels of beginner, intermediate, advanced; by style of hat - plain, textured, colour patterned, top down, flap caps; or a 1, 2, 3 approach with a simple hat + variations. I am going to label each of the hats so we can try some of these combinations and see which seems to work the best. OK, moving forward.

I finished the first Pine Cone sock. I'm not sure about the colour. I think I need something golden rather than purple.And I think I will rework the toe to a more standard wedge shape.But other than that I think it's perfect. Ha, ha.


Tuesday 24 February 2009

hit the wall

Do these look like hats to you? Do they know I have set myself a deadline for the end of the week? The 4 hats I have left to edit and test knit are supposed to get done by then, but no . . .
Even knitting gi-normous socks for my husband does not faze me, but hats? No way! Does this happen to you? I have been merrily knitting hat, after hat, after hat and then, smack, into the wall. I cannot knit another hat. Not today, not tomorrow. There is another flap cap in the waiting line (with the flap you like, Samm) but I can't make myself do it right now. I think I am going to have to officially extend the deadline to at least the end of the weekend. I cannot face another hat.

Friday 20 February 2009


It's up on, the Squiggle Sock pattern.
I know, I know, it takes us a while but there it is, finally. Do my toes look blue because it was really cold that day standing outside on the porch steps. Maybe models have a tougher life than it looks.
Meanwhile back at the ranch I have been, you guessed it, still knitting hats. I'm up to the Flap Caps now - there will be two of them. These are more complicated patterns because of the need to situate the flaps but they knit up very well and fit great. Ya gotta love the warm flaps.I found that the green didn't work so well here. Not enough definition between the green and the blue. So I substituted white instead. Which lifts the whole colourway and gives the hat a lighter look somehow. This is the very biggest size - 25" around, yikes it's big. But my son could wear this with his winter (big) hair.

Now I am into the colourwork hats. There are 3 more to do and they will be coming up next week because I have set myself a deadline of the end of the month to have everything edited and test knit. We'll see if I make it.



Hey, Jed, I don't think you were sitting by me at the back of the class in Relations and Functions math class. That's where all the action was.

Samm, the orange sweater is going nowhere at present. Probably headed for frogging. I don't think you want that one. I'm starting over in blue this time with lots of changes and we'll see how far I get this time.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

a thought

Why are the front and back of a sweater usually the same size? Is this one more thing based on a man's body instead of my own? Knitting stretches so most of the time this idea works. It definitely makes the math easier but it doesn't take into account any kind of bust line. Could we accommodate a bosom in a fitted top down sweater? I started to cast on as I was thinking of all these questions.
I decided to make the Front measure 1" smaller than the Back (no point in being excessive here). My bust measures 38" around. You have to begin somewhere so let's begin with the idea of making this sweater my exact size of 38" around. Which means the Back of my pullover is going to be 19" wide. And I'm going to make the Front 1" smaller so it will have 18" across (this gives me negative ease, meaning it would end up smaller than me and way, way too tight). But what if I worked some double increases just on the Front to add on an extra 3" to the width.The larger holes are where I increased 2 sts instead of 1. It makes the Front want to dive under the arm, in a good way. So now I have a pullover with a Back of 19" and a Front of 21". I think now I could knit down about 3-4" to below my bust and then decrease back to 19" across the Front. I measure about 35" around under my bust so a 38" sweater is still a close fit. Then I would increase at the sides for my shapely hips. Hey, it's worth trying. I think this sort of mimics darts in a blouse without any short rows involved. This could work, I'm almost sure of it. I have some fine tuning to do so back to the beginning I go, this time I'm making it in blue I think. Was that fun or what?!
Commenters: None of you can have the green hat (but I'm glad you like it). I like it too and I think it will belongs on my head since the white stuff is coming down again.

Monday 16 February 2009

1 or 2 colours

I tried another version of one of the hats I've already done. How would it look if we made this hat in 1 colour when it calls for 2?
One of my knitting students was asking for a hat for her guy. I thought this one in a dark colour would be it.
I really liked working the cable border. . .
which is worked back and forth around the bottom. It went quickly because in no time at all it's time to cross another cable.

I like it in one colour. I think K. is going to make it in dark gray. That will look terrific.



It's stopped raining here. But then on Friday I had to crawl in across the drivers seat to get to the passenger seat because all the car doors were frozen shut except for that one. Luckily there was one we could get open because the trunk was going to be the last resort.

Valerie, congrats on finishing your first sock. Welcome to the cult.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Rain, rain go away.

It has been raining for the last 2 days. I keep checking the calendar, it's still February right? Unfortunately it's been raining outside and inside too. One part of the roof has apparently become a sieve so many buckets are in use. The pitter patter does give one an uneasy feeling even though I know it's just water. But I knit through it and I have one more hat done.Test knit in Shelridge Farm's W4 ( and knit in a boy' style. The crown is cool.And here is the original hat knit for Mary's brand new grandchild. Aah. This one has a rolled brim which will be optional but lovely for babies and girls.


No snowballs here but more in the forecast.

Monday 9 February 2009

M1 vs Kf/b

Samm (from the comments) asked for an explanation as to why you cannot use a M1 and a Kf/b interchangeably. So here we go.

A M1 is an increase which uses the horizontal bar or running thread between 2 stitches to make a new stitch.
M1– Make 1 stitch: With Left needle, lift the running thread between the stitch just worked and the next stitch, from front to back, and knit into the back of the resulting loop.
And a Kf/b (see below) uses 1 knit stitch to make a new knit stitch so that this 1 stitch becomes 2 stitches.
Kf/b: Increase of 1 stitch: Knit into the front of the next stitch as usual and without taking the stitch off the left needle, knit into the back of the same stitch.
They are both excellent increases. The Kf/b is easier to work and has a ton of applications. The problem with it is that it is not symmetrical. When you make the second stitch by knitting into the back of the stitch you produce a knit stitch and then a stitch with a bar across it. It's terrific if you are fitting it into ribbing because the second stitch mimics a purl stitch. This barred stitch is always to the left of the knit stitch. When doing increases for a top down garment I prefer the M1 because I don't get that second barred stitch. You can make the M1 stitch symmetrical so that it leans to the right or left.

My favourite is what I call the Open M1 which has no lean and doesn't make you stop in your tracks while you are knitting.
OPEN M1: (makes a small hole) Insert Right needle under the running thread between the stitch just worked and next stitch without lifting or twisting it, wrap wool around needle and complete as a normal knit stitch (similar to a pick up & knit).
It makes a small hole but it's not fiddly because it's just another knit stitch except under the horizontal bar instead of into a stitch on the needle.

Now, all that said I like all of these increases. The problem arises if you try to use a Kf/b when the instructions say to use a M1 increase. Example: If you have a section of 4 stitches and you are to work 2 increases written as: K1, M1, K2, M1, K1. You would knit 1 stitch, work the M1 increase between stitch#1 and stitch#2, knit stitch#2 and stitch#3, work the M1 increase after stitch#3, Knit stitch#4. Now you have 6 sts.
Here it is with the Open M1 with the little holes.
If you work the Kf/b increase instead of the M1 then you would knit 1 stitch, work into the front and back of stitch#2, knit 2 more sts (stitch#3 & stitch#4) and now you have run out of stitches and only increased 1 stitch. The increase is after stitch#3 instead of after stitch#2.

If you are very familiar with how these 2 increases work and want to use the Kf/b instead of the M1, you would write it as: Kf/b, K1, Kf/b, K1. Looks really different written down but gives you exactly the same result because the Kf part is a knit stitch and the b is the increase. I have NO problem if you can do the rewrite, none, nada. The problem is substituting one for the other without giving it some thought.Ahh, correct and lovely.
School is over. Was that a lecture or what?! Do you feel like you were sitting in a little tiny desk? You may all go out for recess now. No throwing snowballs and look out for the little kids on the playground. The knitting club will meet in the lunch room. You know where I'll be, out throwing snowballs, ha, ha.

Saturday 7 February 2009


Made some progress on the Hat booklet. Mary, my pattern checker and I have now worked out a system which I am very happy with. I mail her hardcopies of the patterns I want her to look at. She marks them all up with her corrections and then we arrange for a phone call and go over them. This gives me the opportunity to ask her opinion on certain aspects of the work and it also gives me a chance to talk out loud about anything I'm not sure of. I can usually decide then on what I'm going to do.

We discussed whether the brims of the hats should be done with a size smaller needle. Quite often this is done on hats so that the brim hugs the head tightly which is good. But ... it involves another circular needle or set of double points which is another investment for a newish knitter. And hats are quite often a project that a new knitter will tackle. So I decided to go without the smaller needle.

In some of the patterns there is a spot where it might say "work 3 garter stitch ridges". All the hats in this booklet are written so that any yarn can be used. So we looked at these patterns and thought about what it would look like if you knit 6 rounds in sock yarn or 6 rounds in chunky yarn. What if you knit 6 rounds on a Newborn hat or a Large Adult hat? How would this affect the look of the hat? Sometimes it did and we changed it to x number of inches measurement, and sometimes it didn't and we left it alone.
We will have an abbreviation section at the front of the booklet but we discussed which abbreviations should go with each of the patterns so that anything unusual is there when you need it. We decided that any pattern with an I-Cord needs the explanation there at hand.

The question I'm still pondering is whether to put the M1 increase abbreviation on the patterns which use it. I have had several calls lately where knitters have used the Kf/b increase (knit into front and back of the same stitch) in the place of the M1 and this throws your stitch count out if it's set up for the M1. Maybe it's not as well known as I had thought.

Quite a good conversation and I will have another list of questions to discuss after the next set of patterns go off to Mary. That's half of the patterns checked. Hooray. I have some more editing to do next week and more test knitting of hats. No more progress on the sock yet but I'll be knitting on it tomorrow.

P.S. Commenters: And yes Samm, I am really glad it's not the other way around (see comments on last post).

I think that Valerie, from the comments, is hooked folks. Unless she runs into a real roadblock we have another sock knitter. Yes! It's all part of our plan for knitters to take over the world. Hee, hee.

MommaBear, I am trying to decide which of these samples (with the weird increases) to make into a garment. Or which to do first maybe because I would love to try all of them. Time, where does it go?

Tuesday 3 February 2009

back to sox

Back to our regularly scheduled program, socks. Samm named them 'pinecones' which is a great name. I am loving the little holes.I was going to do a traditional heel but now that I am ready to start I think I'm going to work the short row heel. I made these a little longer than I generally do, so to accommodate my calves I went up a needle size for the ribbing and the first 3 tiers of the pattern. I think you can see where it comes in on the sock. They fit really nicely. I will try this on more of my socks in future because these hug my ankles (which are narrow) but sit well on my calves (which are not). It's much easier to change the socks then it is to change me. Ha.


Monday 2 February 2009

messing with your brain

I taught a class on Saturday which was really fun. We messed with the raglan increases on a top down cardigan.
This is a standard set up for the raglan increases. Four shapelines (the diagonal lines of increases) where a pair of increases are worked, one increase before the shapeline and one after. In total there are 8 lines of increases. So what would happen if we took the column of increases on either side of the sleeve and shoved them together?Now we have a double line of increases on the top of the shoulder with one line of increases on either side of the the Front and Back.The single line of increases at the edge of the Fronts and Back keep the raglan diagonal line in place. But it seems to widen the neckline. The line of increases on top of the shoulder helps the sweater sit really well.

Now, could we push those single lines of increases into the centre of the Back and Fronts?
We would have a diamond shaped neckline where all the increase lines are an equal distance apart. I have gone one step further and separated the double line of increases on the top of the shoulder.Now I think it mimics a saddle-shoulder (imagine it without the YO increases).

And what if we turned it 90 degrees and imagined the opening of the cardigan between the parallel lines of increases?I could rotate the diamond neckline so that it's square again.This gives me a neckline that drops quite a bit at the front because the sleeves start with a lot more stitches at the top of the shoulder.OK, enough? I'm stopping now but there are lots more possibilities. In all of these examples I am still working 8 increases every other row, the same as the first standard raglan set up. So theoretically you could plug any of these into a standard raglan pattern. We talked about sleeve adjustments too.The easiest thing to do is to work the increases in the patterns that are set up and when you have enough sleeve stitches just stop increasing on the sleeves and continue on the Body. Here I sped up the Body increasing, after I had stopped the sleeve increases, to increasing 1 stitch on every row (instead of every other row). It wants to dip under the arm. I like that.

We had a blast moving things around and thinking up as many changes as we could. Then knitting the one which was most appealing (or strange). I'm glad the class is finished because I keep thinking up more and I haven't shown you my favourite yet because I started it on Friday and have some more work to do on it. This is the kind of stuff which wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Sweet knitting dreams,