Monday 27 February 2017

Place Cable in a Top Down Sweater

You can place a cable panel into a Top Down garment fairly easily. Here are a couple things to consider:

1.  Because cables pull in your fabric you will have to work a set of increase stitches in the round before setting up your pattern or in the first pattern row itself, before the first cable crossing. The rule is approximately 1 stitch increased for every 3 sts of a cable. A 6 stitch cable would need 2 sts increased. A 4 stitch cable would still require an increase of 2 sts. (See previous post: Cables, from Flat to in-the-round.)

2.  This is a Top Down garment. You are knitting this garment upside down.
That means that following the directions for your cable, starting with Row 1 and going to Row 8 say, will mean that Row 1 is just under your neck opening and Row 8 is a ways down the front of your sweater.

A terrific looking Horseshoe cable as you knit it looks like this.

But when you wear it, it appears like this.
Oops, all of the good luck from your horseshoes is leaking out because now your horseshoes are upside down.

So although it will baffle anyone watching you, you need to look through your stitch dictionary with it turned UPSIDE DOWN. In that position you will see what the cable will look like when the sweater is worn. It's fun to do, especially in public.

3.  Of course all the stitches in the cable are also turned upside down. This recent discussion prompted this response from LaurieofNepean: 
"We are all so used to looking at a cable one way (as we knit it) and don’t always consider how different it looks when we turn it upside down. For example, the “v”s are not structured the way our eyes want them to look.
I have come to the conclusion that it’s the symmetry issue that affects many cable patterns when they are worked upside down. Even a 3x3 cable looks different upside down and right side up. So I always swatch before I put any pattern into my top-downs. Then I turn the swatch upside down and look at it carefully to decide if I like the look. This is a fairly recent development in my knitting career. It comes from seeing so many publications where the swatches are obviously photographed upside down and so look funny."

Thanks Laurie. Swatching, yes, great advice. You should definitely take a look at how the cable is going to appear upside down before embarking on a sweater.

Stay tuned for the next post for a couple of tips on "tells" so that your cable can't maintain it's poker face.
Previous Post: Cables, from Flat to in-the-round

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Cables, from Flat to Knit in-the-round

Let's jazz up a knit-in-the-round stockinette sweater by adding a Cable panel. There are many stitch dictionaries to check out various cables.
Here are a couple of things to consider before working in-the-round with a cable pattern:

1.  Most stitch dictionaries are written for flat knitting. There is a right side row where the cable crossing action is and a wrong side row worked back in knits and purls which amounts to "knit the knits and purl the purls".

2.  The symbols used in charts are meant to convey what the pattern will look like on the Right Side of the work. This is a bonus to in-the-round knitting since you are always looking at the Right Side.

A Simple Rope Cable written for flat knitting.

Worked Flat
Row 1, 5 & 7: (RS) P2, K4, P2.
Rows 2, 4, 6 & 8: (WS) K2, P4, K2. (You can see the chart is awkward to read on the wrong side rows. "-" is a knit stitch and the white box is now a purl stitch.)
Row 3:  P2, 2x2cross right, P2.

Worked in-the-round (all rounds read from Right to Left)
Rounds 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8: P2, K4, P2.
Round 3:  P2, 2x2cross right, P2.

How easy is that. The in-the-round version has every round exactly the same, except for the cable cross Round 3. You can see how the pattern is going to look on your sweater with those purl stitches at the side. Your knitting will look exactly like the chart.

3.  Cables pull in your fabric. If you are going to do your own designing and place a cable in a stockinette fabric garment you need to compensate for the pull-in or your garment will end up smaller than you want and with a ruffle effect at the top of a panel of cables and again at the bottom.
The rule is to increase 1 stitch for every 3 sts of a cable. This cable is a crossing of 2 over 2, total of 4 sts. I would increase 2 sts for this cable to compensate for the pull-in.

Now, when to work the increases and where?
You have to work the increases before the first cable crossing takes place*. This cable crossing is close to the beginning so I would work the increases as follows:
1.  You can work 2 increases in the knit round before you begin your cable panel. Say you are placing this cable down the centre front of your sweater, over the centre 6 sts work K2, M1(make one stitch), K2, M1, K2. Now you have 8 centre stitches and on the next round you can begin with Round 1 of the cable panel.
2.  You can work the 2 increases into the first round of the Cable Panel itself. This is what I would do. If you are working this cable down the centre front of your garment, work to the centre 6 sts, then I might work P2, M1(make one stitch), K2, M1, P2. Now I have 8 sts and Round 1 completed.
M1: With left needle lift the horizontal bar between the stitch just knit and the next stitch, from front to back, knit into the back of the resulting loop.

*If the first cable crossing is several rounds down the panel you can work the increases in the round before the first crossing takes place.

When you are finished working the desired length for your Cable panel, you have to decrease away the added stitches to get back to your original number of stitches. For this cable decrease 2 sts evenly across the panel so it's back to 6 sts again.

Next: Cables from the Top Down.
Stay tuned,

Thursday 16 February 2017

Westward from Stephen West

I have been distracted away from my UFOs. Work towards finishing some garments deserves a reward.
I've labelled this year, a year of learning. I actually started late last fall. This has included knitting other designer's patterns if I see something really interesting that I would like to try. I am really interested in shawlettes or scarves to wrap around my neck. Not the big ones which would swallow me whole but the smaller ones I can roll up and keep in my purse.

I find it works best to learn by doing so I signed up for the Shawlscapes class by Stephen West which I really enjoyed. This class is based on his older shawls, which are still very popular as they should be, but I see from Ravelry that he has definitely moved on from this material into brioche and other things. I am working on my own rendition of a shawl according to his rules. He begins in a fairly standard manner with a garter stitch tab and increases at the edges and centre.
Then he shifts to, what I am calling a second tier with added increases. He has several ways of proceeding at this point and it's all great fun. It means before you have a chance to get really bored and wondering how long this flippin' shawl is going to take, you get to shift into something else. Fun, fun, fun.
 Since I am really fond of reversible scarves, so much less twiddling when you get dressed, I chose a  1x1 rib based pattern that looks different when it's knit across the side or purled.This side of the shawl is the rib where it's ribbed on one side and purled on the other.
 This side of the shawl is the same 1x1 rib which is knit across on the return row.
I've also worked it out so that the RS and WS rows are exactly the same. I loved working out this little knitting nerdy idea.
Stay tuned I've started a 3rd Tier with two more wings on the sides just to see what would happen.
T_a, thanks for the suggestion for a tutorial on Cables from the Top Down. I'm working on it.

Monday 13 February 2017

2 circular needles

Knitting on my UFO from the summer. I might just get it finished for this spring. That's a long time for a project to sit and still generate any interest but every time I work on it someone says they love the colour, that keeps me on track. I'm working down my second, that's right the second sleeve! I'm using 2 circular needles. The first sleeve was knit with double pointed needles and I thought this would be easier and ... it is. The sleeve has a wide pattern panel which with 2 circs I can keep it all on one needle.
It's helpful to have 2 circular needles that look different. The red wired needle has my entire 32 stitch pattern on it.
The bamboo tipped needle has the plain back of the sleeve on it where I'm working the decreases to taper the sleeve.
Have you used 2 circs before? It works by knitting half of the sleeve onto it's own needle. So the front stitch panel stitches are always on the red wired needle. All you do is push the stitches onto the needle tip and grab the other end of the same needle and knit. Really that simple. Drop that needle and pick up the other circ and work the other set of stitches with it.

The other circ not in use just swings away as you knit.

I can do this right down to the cuffs which I intend to get done this week. You heard it first here.
How are your UFOs going? Progress?
P.S. Yes t_a I think top down is really popular. YAY. The no sewing aspect seems to tip people over to it.
Hi Sharon, I was really glad I took my long circ needle and worked my sock with magic loop method. I can't imagine how many times I would have been chasing my needles since they do seem to want to jump away.

Monday 6 February 2017

Knitting in public

I was away last week watching my daughter curl in the Ontario Provincial play downs where they made it as far as a tie-breaker to the playoffs and then lost so they didn't make it through. It's a roller coaster ride for parents and knitting helps.
All those people there for 5 days and I was the only knitter except for one afternoon where there was one young man sitting by himself knitting with big needles. That was it. It always surprises me to be the only knitter in a large crowd. Do you knit at public events?

This year I'm trying to learn some new things so I knit a sock using a 40" circular needle. Magic Loop is new to me and I found out that I like it for socks.
 It did mean that I didn't have to worry about that little tinkling sound a falling double pointed needle makes as it bounces on a cement floor. My ball of wool did jump out of my bag once and roll under the seats in front of me. One of the hazards of knitting in public and slightly embarrassing.
 I can't tell you which pattern I used for this sock because I just read several patterns and took what I wanted out of them. This is a new heel for me. You start with the cuff and just above the heel begin to work increases on either side of two central stitches.
 Then you work a very standard V shaped short row heel. I will add this method to my sock knitting repertoire.
I liked what the stripes did. I don't know if this heel has a name. Do you?
P.S. Thanks Sharon. I do love a red sweater and recently found another one partly done so hopefully soon I will have 2 red sweaters to brighten my days.