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.


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.

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.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Red Fingering weight pullover has begun

I'm thinking of spring as the snow flies here. We've had a couple of days of spring-like weather and now it's cold again and seems colder somehow. Spring is coming so I've decided it's time to start spring knitting. I'm taking the plunge and finally knitting a fingering weight pullover. So far so good.
It's a circular yoke pullover in Saucon Fingering (cotton/acrylic blend). Should be nice and cool to wear in the warm weather. See, so optimistic, it will get warm soon. I'm quite surprised that I'm almost at the great divide. It hasn't been too much knitting yet. I've given myself an interesting set up of increases to keep me busy and I'm looking forward to dividing off the sleeves. That's the moment when it looks more like a sweater. I'm intending to keep the increase pattern working down the front. I think I'll need the distraction.

Reading this over I see I have convinced myself that this is a lot of knitting. Preconceived ideas can stop this before it gets very far so I'm going to try to keep an open mind.

Have you knit a fingering weight garment? Did you like wearing it? Would you do another one?

Thursday 2 March 2017

Cables in-the-round made easier with "tells"

I'm not going to tell you how to make crossing your cables easier, with or without a cable needle. I'm not going to tell you how make your cable stitches neater.

What I want to talk about is how you can make some changes to a cable pattern to make working your cable crossings easier to keep track of. You can put cable "tells" in your pattern so that it can't keep it's poker face on.

Some cable patterns, especially wide ones, are very busy. There might be cable crossings happening somewhere on every right side row. If you're working in the round, you then have a working round where you cross and a comfort round where you knit the knits and purl the purls.

But some patterns have several rounds where no crossings take place. The simple rope cable is a prime example, *work 2 rounds with purls and knits, work a crossing round, work 5 rounds with purls and knits as set; repeat from *. The cable crossing is actually every 8th round.
How can you keep track? You can make ticks on the side of the page but did you make a tick this time or were you distracted as you worked the cable and did you forget? Are you sure?

Since you might be adding this to your top down sweater as a design feature, you get to be the boss of this pattern. So be the boss and make this easier to work. How about making the side stitches in garter stitch instead of all purl stitches. You can now count the garter ridges: 3 ridges showing above the last crossing (Rounds 5, 7 and 1), time to cross again (Round 3).
 A more complicated pattern could be added to. Give yourself something to "tell" you when to cross. Take this double crossed rope cable pattern with purl stitches in between the cables.
What if you added one stitch in the centre and knit it through the back loop every other round (K1tbl).
Now as you approach the pattern panel you can look over to see if that centre stitch is twisted or not. Count the twisted stitches and you know when to cross your cables again. Maybe make the side stitches in garter stitch too? How could you go wrong?!

One more idea. How about adding the "tell" on either side of your cable panel as a border. It won't interfere with the pattern itself but it will give you the needed information. Here I've added the garter stitches outside of the single rope cable pattern.
You are in the designer chair now so swatch and see what you like the look of. Adding "tells" makes your cable knitting experience much more enjoyable. No ticks on the page, no guessing about when to cross your cables. With a little bit of additional designing you can have relaxed, enjoyable cable knit.