Plodding slowly

We’re having a very out-of-routine few weeks at the moment, so very little is getting done on the knitting front.  As I’d already picked up the stitches for an armhole for the Virgo Vest one evening, I managed to knit the armhole band in the car yesterday. So, as you can see, I have the neck band and one armhole band completed.  Don’t hold your breath, but I’ll get there in the end.

Virgo Vest

Virgo Vest

 

I’m already thinking about what I’m going to design when this vest is completed.  The plan is for a small lace bag (what is it with me and lace?) worked in a cotton/linen blend.  When on a trip into town on Monday, I visited Clegs on the off chance that I’d find the sort of thing I was after.  Having failed in my search on their website, due no doubt to my lack of skills, while wandering the shelves I managed to find some Katia Linen.  “Ooooh!”, I exclaimed, and purchased it at once.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Alpaca Lace Vest nearly there

My alpaca lace vest is nearing completion.  The front an back are both finished and are currently blocking.  Here is a picture of the back before blocking.  It looks rather crumpled here, but the blocking is doing it wonders.

Virgo Vest

Virgo Vest

 

Tonight, I’ll be able to sew it together and measure up to calculate the required stitches for the neck band and armhole bands.  Now to see if I have the right sized circular needle for the bands! The yarn is a little fuzzy, so I wasn’t sure how well the pattern would be visible, but it looks fine in this photo.

It’s great that it’ll be ready for Southern Hemisphere Spring wear, and Northern Hemisphere Autumn/Fall wear.  A win for everybody!!

Beatles Pullover is go.

The Beatles Pullover I referred to in my last post is now complete.  Here it is!  It turned out really well and is well liked.  There’s just a line visible between the L and the E where I’ve caught the floats.  I’ve obviously got some learning to do on how to avoid that happening.  Suggestions?  Comments?

Beatles Pullover

Beatles Pullover

The lace vest I’m working on is coming along nicely.  I’ve just finished the back and have started on the front.

I’ve also had a design appear in Issue 30 of Yarn Magazine. Yay!  It’s my Hayley Ear Flap Hat.  It’s a quick and cute big needle knit.  Keep your head warm this winter!🙂

 

Hayley Ear Flap Hat

Hayley Ear Flap Hat

 

How many pattern multiples to fit ……

I’ve had ideas to design an alpaca lace vest.  I’ve knitted up my swatch in Heirloom Alpaca using a Falling Leaf lace pattern.  My thought was to have a button up vest, but the size of the multiples doesn’t make that easy.  It’s working out to 5.3cm per pattern multiple. For the five sizes I’m planning, that would give 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 multiples at the waist, and this stitch pattern doesn’t halve very well.  For the odd numbers (7 and 9), I could drop one repeat and have 3 or 4 repeats for the left and right front, then make up the dropped repeat with a 5.3cm button band.  That’s a pretty wide button band in anyone’s language.  For the odd numbers it just wouldn’t work, and I don’t want to limit it to two sizes.  That’s just not enough. But I love this stitch pattern in this yarn.  What to do?  Well, instead of making it a button up vest, I’ve decided it will be a pullover vest, with a scoop neck.  I can design another button up vest later on.

Alpaca Lace Vest swatch

Alpaca Lace Vest swatch

However, the vest will have to wait for the moment.  In the meantime, I’ve had a request for a Beatles pullover from my youngest.  I’ve found a pattern for a Beatles Needle Case on Ravelry. In my collection of magazines I have the pattern for the Quilting a la Knitting pullover, by Norah Gaughan.  This pullover is in the shape and yarn weight requested, so I’m just making it in one colour, plonking in the Beatles design at the front and changing the neckline as requested.  I find this much stocking stitch pretty boring, but I’ve found a lot of pluses.  It’s a lot faster than using a stitch pattern and I can knit for cms without having to refer to the pattern.  I’m making great headway.  At this rate I should be finished a lot sooner than I estimated, so it will hopefully get plenty of winter wear. (Southern hemisphere). :)  The yarn I’m using is Cleckheaton Country Aran, which is the same yarn that I used for the Kinematics Scarf, but this time in the cream colourway.

Beatles pullover

Beatles pullover

 

Kinematics Scarf pattern now available

The free pattern for my Kinematics Scarf is now available. The Kinematics Scarf is a warm, woollen scarf in a very simple, but awesome Cable stitch.

The yarn used is Cleckheaton Country Aran in Copper. It’s a 100% wool yarn in Aran/10 ply weight.  It’s a lovely soft, warm yarn, even more so in this Cable stitch.

Kinematics Scarf free knitting pattern

Kinematics Scarf free knitting pattern

Kinematics Scarf

Knitting Pattern

Yarn Suggested: Cleckheaton Country Aranor any other 10 ply / Aran yarn. 50gm balls, 87 meters (95 yards)
Gauge:36 sts = 10cm(4 in) in Simple Cable Stitch
Needle Size: 5.5mm
Meterage: 340 m (372 yards)
Sizes Available: 11.5cm (4½ in) x 171cm (67¼ in)

This pattern is available to download free from Ravelry

download now

Remember, this pattern is so easy, you could design something similar yourself.  See my previous post for instructions on how to do so. Have fun!!!

Design your own cabled scarf. Yes, you can!

I’m more than halfway through knitting a very simple cabled scarf for one of the progeny.

Simple Cable Scarf in progress

Simple Cable Scarf in progress

It’s so simple, you could design your own variation, even if you’ve only ever followed patterns before.

“How?”, you may ask?  Well, follow along these simple steps!

Step 1:   Choose your yarn.  Wool, or some sort of wool blend is nice, because it keeps it’s shape very well, but any yarn will do. Any weight you like, 4ply, 8ply, 10ply, whatever.

Step 2:   Inspect the label from you yarn to find out the recommended needle size and the standard guage/tension.  I’ve chosen Cleckheaton Country Aran, a fairly new aran weight/10ply yarn.  The label informs me that the recommended needle size is 5.00mm (UK 6, US 8), and that the guage/tension is 19 stitches and 25 rows to 10cm.  The stitch guage is more interesting to us than the row guage, for the moment anyway.

Ball Band

Ball Band

Step 3:   Choose a cable pattern.  If you have a good knitting book like “Vogue Knitting – The Ultimate Knitting Book” you will find a Stitch Dictionary included which has a cable section.  You can use a cable pattern from a pattern book or magazine in your collection. Lion Brand yarn have a good online stitch dictionary, including cables.  Borrow a stitch dictionary from your local library.  Ours has Knitting Handbook by Viv Foster, The Knitting Book by Frederica Patmore and The Encyclopedia of Knitting by Lesley Standfield.  Your library will probably have a couple.

The pattern you choose should describe the number of stitches as multiple of x stitches plus y stitches.  The simple cable I’m using is a multiple of 9 stitches plus 3 stitches.  The cable is 6 stitches with 3 stitches between each cable, which adds up to 9 stitches.  The plus 3 stitches is so that you have the same 3 stitches (or however many “plus” stitches yours specifies) at the start and end of each row to balance things up.

My chosen cable stitch pattern

My chosen cable stitch pattern

Step 4:   Knit a tension/gauge square.  It won’t take long, I promise!!!  To knit your square, use needles one size up from the ball band recommendation.  It’s nice to have a bit of give and flexibility in your scarf; it doesn’t need a firm fabric like a pullover would.  So in my case the needles size will be 5.5mm (US 5, UK 9).

If you wanted a 10cm wide square you could use the ball band stitches x 1. Aiming to have a square of about 15cm (6 in) we’ll need about 1.5 times the number of stitches specified on the ball band.  1.5 x 19 in my case is 28.5 stitches.  Well, I’m not going to have half a stitch.  I need this number to cater for my multiple of 9 sts plus 3 sts as well.

If I take the 3 sts from my 28.5 sts I get 25.5 stitches.  Does 9 go into this? No.  We’ll round up to something divisible by 9.  27 stitches will do the trick, plus my extra 3 stitches gives me 30 stitches.  Even though I’ve gone up a needle size and rounded up for my stitch number, the cables will pull everything in, so I’ll add one more multiple of 9 to give me 39 sts, that’s four cables wide plus 3 extra stitches.

So cast on your 39 (or whatever number you’ve come up with), and start knitting using your chosen cable stitch pattern.  I played around with mine.  After a few rows, I started doing p1, k1, p1 between each cable because I thought I might like the look of it.  I didn’t. So, after about 6 rows of this, I went back to the pattern as written.  My cable pattern actually specifies to do a cable every 4th row, but that’s a more compact look than I wanted, so I did them every 6th row.  Continue until you’ve got roughly a square. Cast/bind off.

Tension Square/Gauge Swatch

Tension Square/Gauge Swatch

Yay, you’ve got a tension/gauge square!  Go you!  Now, hopefully you’ve got some sensitive digital kitchen scales.  Weigh you’re square to find out how much yarn you used.  Write it down.

Step 5:   Soak your square in water, remove it from the water, squeeze out any excess water, roll it in a towel and press out more water.  Now lay your square on a fresh, dry towel, stretching it out a bit.  It’ll spring back a bit, but don’t pin it; you’re scarf’s going to squish up when you wear it anyway.  Allow it to dry overnight.

Step 6:   Inspect your square, ruler in hand.  How wide is it? How tall is it?  Is this a good width for a scarf?  If you added or subtracted a cable would that make it the width that you want?  From this information calculate how many stitches you’ll need to cast on for your actual scarf.

Step 7:   How much yarn are you going to need?  If your square is 15cm x 15cm it is 225 square cm.  (Thank you calculator!).  If you want your scarf to be 140cm x 20cm that will be 2800 square cm.  If I divide 2800 by 225, I find out that my scarf is the equivalent of 12.44 tension/guage squares.  My square weighed 17g.  If I multiply 17g x 12.44 squares, I get 211.5 grams required for my scarf.  Each ball is 50g, so I need 5 balls, and there’ll be plenty left over.

Step 8:  Obtain your yarn, cast on your calculated number of stitches and start knitting!  Cast off when you’ve reached your desired length.

Let me know how you go, and I’d love to see some results!  Good luck and happy designing.🙂

Janine Scarf pattern now available

The pattern for my new Janine Scarf is now available.The Janine Scarf is a mid-season cotton scarf in the Vandyke lace stitch.  There is a cute, double line of bobbles at each end.

So that the “v”s are pointing down at both ends, the scarf is worked in two pieces which are joined using a three-needle bind/cast off.

The yarn used is Sirdar Calico, and the colour I’ve used is 727 (green).  It’s a cotton acrylic blend in DK 8ply.  The perfect yarn for a mid-season scarf.

Janine Scarf

Janine Scarf

Bobbles

Bobbles

Janine Scarf

Knitting Pattern

Yarn Suggested: Sirdar Calico or any other 8 ply / DK yarn. 50gm balls, 157 meters (172 yards)
Gauge:20 stitches and 31 rows = 4 inches in Vandyke Stitch
Needle Size: 4.5mm
Meterage: 340 m (372 yards)
Sizes Available: 140cm x 16cm (55 in x 6 in)
This pattern is available to buy from Ravelry for $US 5.40

A new project

I’ve been working on a new scarf design.  It’s the Janine Scarf.  It has a double row of bobbles at each end and is knitted in the Vandyke lace stitch.  It’s worked in two peices so that the v’s are both pointing in the same direction when the scarf is worn.  The two pieces are joined by using the three needle cast off. The yarn I’ve used for this is Sirdar Calico.  It’s a DK yarn which is 60% cotton and 40% acrylic.  It seems like a good yarn for a mid-season scarf.  Since these photos were take, I’ve completed the scarf and it’s now blocking.  There was the slight hurdle of first doing the three needle bind off with the wrong sides together instead of right sides together.  Now I’ve had practice tinking a three needle bind off.  It did take a bit of care and concentration.   I found the double bobble edging in Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge.  I think it’s a really cute addition for a lacy scarf like this.  There’s just a little pattern typing to do and I’ll be there.  When I did my tension square, it seemed like the edges weren’t going curl.  Now that the whole thing’s done I’m not so sure.  If only tension squares behaved like a mini version of the finished product.

Bobble Lace Scarf

Bobble Lace Scarf

In Progress

I’ve also had a pattern appear in the March issue of Yarn Magazine.  That’s issue 29 of the magazine.  The pattern, which I proposed as the Cancerian Vest has appeared in the magazine as the Blue and Green Must Never Be Seen Vest.  It’s a Fair Isle Vest in, who would have guessed, blue and green. I like their name choice!  I’d like to also publish it as the Cancerian Vest when the rights return to me.  It’s worked in Patons Classic Bluebell in the Avocado and Denim.  Added to my Gemini Vest, I’m on my way to an astrological set of vests!

Blue and Green ....

Blue and Green ….

It’s the first time I’ve calculated a neck band for a v-neck pullover.  It worked really well!

My model has requested a scarf for this winter.  I’m looking at using a textured stitch pattern with the new yarn by Cleckheaton, Country Aran.  She likes the look of the Copper colour, so I’ll grab some ASAP to for the tension square and get going.  Can’t have empty needles!

 

In The Sky With Diamonds Pullover pattern now available

The pattern for my new In The Sky With Diamonds Pullover is now available.
It’s a fitted, textured pullover with cabled and bobble sleeves and a Cowl collar, in alpaca and merino.
The length is to around the hip bone. The pullover is shaped from the waist to the bust.
The yarn used is Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted.  The colour I’ve used here is Impossiblue – TW12.  It’s a gorgeous soft warm yarn.  I’m so looking forward to wearing this pullover.  My aim of designing a pullover with a cowl collar has been acheived.  I love collars.

In The Sky With Diamonds

In The Sky With Diamonds

In The Sky With Diamonds Pullover

Knitting Pattern

Yarn Suggested: Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted or any other 10ply/Worsted yarn. 100gm balls, 199m (218 yds)
Gauge:22.5 stitches and 30.5 rows = 4 inches in Raspberry Stitch
Needle Size: 4.5mm
Meterage: 1367 – 3565 yards (1250 – 3260 m)
Sizes Available: 74 (84, 94, 104, 114)cm  29¼  (33, 37, 41, 45) in
This pattern is available to buy from Ravelry for $US 6.25

It worked!!!

My first effort at designing a cowl collar for a pullover has worked.  On the circular needle, I couldn’t tell if it would sit wide like I wanted it to.  It was all cramped up on the needle.  But it worked!!!  It’s looking just the way I want it to, spreading out beautifully over the shoulders. :)  Sadly, you’ll have to wait a little while to see a modelled photo of it, as the weather (indicated by the photo below) cools down a little.  It’s just too hot and humid to bear the thought of wearing such a warm pullover for more than a minute.

I’m using the time to type up the pattern ready for publishing.  The name suggested in this house has been In The Sky With Diamonds, due to the colour and the body pattern, which does look quite diamond shaped.  It was first suggested as Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, but I’ve discovered that there’s a hat pattern by that name, so I’ll try to avoid clashing with that. Technically, summer is over in less than a week, but as is fairly normal in Melbourne, we’re getting hot and humid weather in late February, although more of it than usual.  As published in the Australian Meterology website

Melbourne is set to break a February heat record for the most 30-degree days in the month. The city has already had 12 days of 30-degrees or hotter this month, only two short of the record. On average there are seven days this hot in February. The record is likely to be equalled on Sunday and broken on Monday or Tuesday with low-to-mid 30s forecast for the next few days. There has been a lack of strong cold fronts and a blocking high pressure system over the Tasman Sea has directed north or northeasterly winds over state for much of the time. As a result of the high number of very warm days the city is having one of its hottest Februarys on record. The average maximum so far is 29.2 degrees, about 3.5 degrees above the long-term norm and one degree short of the hottest February on record. The hottest February in the 157 years of records was in 1898 when the average maximum was 30.2 degrees.- Weatherzone© Weatherzone 2013

Hot summer

Hot summer

Not great weather for modelling woollens.🙂