Why I hate raglan

Fabric folds and bunches and point of shoulder pressure are raglan’s biggest sins.
Contiguous armscye crawl

I started knitting when I was very young. I made a sweater for my son when he was a toddler. It was raglan, but that’s not why I hate raglan. I hate raglan because it can never fit properly unless the body wearing it is very slope shouldered and the wearer keeps their arms out at a 45 degree angle to match the hang of the sleeves. Raglan is always loose at the neckline and tight at the shoulder with bunched fabric under the armscye. Sure it’s easy to knit/sew but it’s always a bad fit.

But here’s the thing. It is SO easy to knit it gets used all the time by knitwear pattern designers because they know people buying their pattern can mindlessly knit the result. Dolled up with attractive patterns or yarn and it has so much appeal people don’t notice the horrible fit or choose to ignore the horrible fit. Too many years of couture sewing has ruined me. I just can’t do it.

What brought on this rant? For the last two weeks I’ve been wearing good fitting sweaters in blissful comfort. Yesterday I washed them and while I’m waiting for them to dry I am wearing a poorly fitting commercial sweatshirt that bunches under my arms and is damned uncomfortable. Spending time trying to adjust my clothes to be more comfortable just pisses me off. It is wasted time. Ugh.

Contiguous is a great shoulder technique but to my eye it has two problems. Because the shoulder line on a top down contiguous garment cramps (effect of the series of increases in very close proximity), and the narrowness at the top of the sleeve causes the armscye to crawl onto the top of arm at the shoulder, it isn’t an appealing fit. It fits better than raglan but the aesthetics are still problematic.

No gaping, no pulling, no fabric folding, no discomfort.

The shoulder I like is a marriage between raglan and contiguous, separating out the increases between shoulder line and raglan. This solves the cramping caused by clustered increases, solves the problem of the raglan fit, and when paired with short rows on the sleeve cap completely eliminates any fabric folding under the armscye. The problem . . . it’s more complicated to knit. It’s more of a shoulder master class, unsuited to beginning or basic knitters. The technique has a lot going for it, it’s just not simple enough for everyone.

I ordered more yarn yesterday. I clearly don’t have enough sweaters if I have none to wear while they are being washed. Four sweaters is clearly not enough. Not nearly.

Back neck shaping with preknit collar join

My goal is to have a sweater I can knit without seams or picked up stitches.  I truly think I’m there with my latest iteration using an icord caston and icord edge to form the neck.  There’s a lot going on here, and there will probably never be a pattern for this, but regardless, here it is.

Contiguous/saddle with icord neck.

Here’s a video of one of the testing steps that got me to this result.

Continental knitting

I knit in a style that’s just a bit unique.  I knit continental style, which refers to how the yarn in held (opposite hand from the needle making the stitches).  I don’t “pick” the yarn to form stitches I throw, which is unusual for continental knitters.  I also knit so stitches to be knitted have the leading leg in back and stitches to be purled have the leading leg in front.  This is called combined knitting and refers to how the stitches are mounted on the needle.  And I don’t turn my work, which is called mirrored knitting.  So, to someone who knows about knitting style I can just say I knit thrown continental combined mirrored.   There’s a lot of extra stuff going on but for those of you who do not knit, you now know way more than you ever wanted to know about knitting . . . or you’re scratching your head and wondering what in the heck I just said.

So, here it is, thrown continental combined mirrored.

Anatomy of a heel

Separation of intent
Separation of intent

It’s sock knitting season again.  I need a couple more pair to fill out my wardrobe and I’m revisiting the sock heel.  Because my feet are so short I can make a whole pair of crew socks out of a single skein of Paton Stretch Sock if I use a contrasting color for toes, heels and cuffs.

This particular heel is build from knit-into-the-bump-below short rows and a strange combination of k2tog-pick up short row wrap stitch-drop the next stitch over it and knit.  The decrease series nearest the back of the heel is a k3tog which includes the picked up short row wrap.  This morphed into the decrease mentioned above which produces a more smooth decrease.

The bit I want to document is what happens between the series of increases and decrease, that lovely set of rows that separate the two.  This short row section incorporates an additional 4 stitches toward the front of the sock with each row end knit in the bump below and slipped to the other needle.

New yarn

I bought some on-sale yarn.  I am so tight I have a really hard time paying full price for anything.  It’s just not the way I’m made, I guess.  Reuse, recycle, re-purpose . . . and buy on sale or at a discount.  Maybe that’s why we have no consumer debt other than our almost-paid-off mortgage.  We still do all the stuff we want to do, we just squeak a lot while doing it.

So the beauty of the yarn is it’s recycled denim jeans AND on sale. How could I pass that up?  Yeah, I agree, there’s just no way.  It was a must buy.

Lattice pattern
Lattice pattern

So, on to my story . . . I bought this yarn.  And then I saw a picture of a sweater in a print ‘zine where the top was done in a lattice pattern.  And I have a jacket pattern I really like.  Can you see where this is going?  The plan is to knit a sweater using the jacket pattern as my inspiration.  I’m ‘hemming’ it in the lattice pattern.  Up the front, around the neck, around the bottom of sleeves and body.  The trick will be to get the stitch pattern to curve around the neck.

If you like this stitch and want to try it, it’s fairly easy.  There are few and fairly simple repeats and mine is just a tiny bit different than the mag pattern.

Cast on multiples of 8 stitches then add 6 more.  For four rows (this is your first repeat), purl 6 and knit 2 for the right side row, then knit 6, purl 2 for the wrong side row.  Click and the image above so you can see how those first four rows look.  On the right side you’ll see two knit then six purl repeated across the work.

Next create the holes where the lattice cross.  This is a two row repeat and it’s done between every set of lattice repeats.  The idea is to use knit two together and a yarn over to create the hole.  Every stitch except those two are knit.  So, for the first set of lattice, knit 4, *k2tog (knit 2 stitches together), yo (yarn over), k2 (knit 2), yo, k2tog, k2, repeat from * until last 4 which are knit.  Just so I’m really clear, each side of the column of knit stitches has a yarn over.  The next stitch outside that is knit two together.  All other stitches are knit.  The reverse of the row is purl all the way across.  I’m explaining this rather than just telling you what to do so you can look at the work and see that, other than the number of knit stitches at the beginning of the row, this “make a hole” row just has to match where the lattice knit rows are placed.

Now we do the shifted lattice.  Purl 2, *k2, p6 (purl 6), repeat from * until the last 2 which are purl.  Once you’ve done four rows of the shifted lattice, do your two rows that make the holes and start with the first set again.  Chart it like this.

oooooovvoooooovvoooooovvoooooovvoooooo (do this four times)
vvvvx/vv\xvvx/vv\xvvx/vv\xvvx/vv\xvvvv (do this once)
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv (do this once)
oovvoooooovvoooooovvoooooovvoooooovvoo (do this four times)

Then repeat from the top.  No, you may not throw rocks at me.  This is the way my brain works!

The lattice on my hem will be two sets of lattice for a total of 4 horizontal bands.  That’s the plan.  It may never gain a grip in reality, but it’s a plan.

Slippered

Slippers, warm and comfy
Slippers, warm and comfy
13-03Slippers2
Bottom in perl, seed stitch cuff, hole-less decrease at heel.

 

I’ve been wearing my slippers for a while but it wasn’t until a week ago I got the laces added.  I couldn’t share them without the laces in place!

The bottom (part I stand on) has the perl out so they’re comfortable to stand on.  I used my standard toe up sock with afterthought heel and revised heel decrease that produces zero holes.  The yarn is worsted weight Red Heart Black Fleck.  I got a super saver skein to use for testing stuff.  I have no idea where the slipper idea came from.   It must have been an aberrant moment.

The next step is to add waterproof leather soles and a felt cushion.

i-cord me

Bamboo/cotton with copper lined beads
Bamboo/cotton with copper lined beads
Duster Scarf
Duster Scarf

I finished my scarf for Jennifer and it’s inspired me to do a repeat with a twist.  Jennifer’s scarf is a pull-on no fuss no fasten designed to keep the neck warm tucked inside a jacket or heavy shirt.  It’s got a natural rolled edge out of which beads peak.  The beads are #6 copper lined crystal seed beads and the whole feel is casual elegance.

This next scarf is going to be a bit bigger half-square triangle (240+16+8 stitches instead of 160) with an i-cord edge at the top ending in tassels or dingle balls.

I’ve used my own version of provisional cast on (Artisan square 2.5s paired with a long interchangeable needles cable with the yarn wound around both until the stitch count is met) and am using small DPNs (double pointed needles) to work the i-cord.  I’ve got stitch markers set to mark the decrease and the first row of bead work.  When those two markers meet, I work my first row of beads.  The decrease occurs at the start of each row 4 stitches off the edge.  This gives a lovely bound effect to the scarf.

The yarn is bamboo/cotton I bought from a vendor on Ebay.  He sells yarn from Asian manufacturers where the labels have been misprinted (my guess based on how the labels look).  It’s very good quality yarn and lovely to work with.  Bamboo/cotton makes it wash and wear.

Since I started this scarf I’ve found a video for an i-cord cast on.  Duh.  That would have been SO much faster.

Busy work knitting

Self-striping merino blend mobius
Self-striping merino blend mobius
Caron Simply Soft - mobius with 3/9 silver lined seed beads
Caron Simply Soft – mobius with 3/9 silver lined seed beads
Caron Simply Soft - mobius with 1/0 silver lined seed beads.
Caron Simply Soft – mobius with 1/0 silver lined seed beads.
Nascent mobius, Lion Amazing
Lion Amazing – nascent mobius with amethyst 1/0 seed beads

 

Life’s been fairly busy for me the last four months.  I’m caring for a bed-bound family member and haven’t had a lot of time for the crafty stuff that feeds my soul.  Because I’ve been sitting bound to one spot I’ve been doing a lot of knitting.  Most of the knitting I’ve done is fairly mindless stuff I can do while watching and thinking.

I finally finished the knitting on a pair of sock slippers out of Red Heart acrylic worsted.  I’m intending to put soles on them but that’s a future project.  Until then, I’ll wear them without.  They do keep my feet toasty.

I’ve knitted two cowls, a bunch of mobius scarves and a few hats.

I knit a cowl in Caron Simply Soft Oceana to try out reversible cables on a seed stitch background.  That was lovely.  My sister-in-law got that one for Christmas and loves it.  I knitted a cowl for myself out of pink and green self-striping merino wool blend but it was a bit girly for me (cute ruffly edges and beads).  My SIL coveted it so I passed it on.

I got a gimmee skein of KnitPicks Biggo which I knit into a hat for my bed-bound friend.  That’s some wonderful yarn!

Close fitting cowls and hats are quick and fairly boring, but mobius scarves are interesting.  To knit a mobius scarf, you either have to join the ends (fairly obvious) or use a provisional cast on which is significantly less obvious.  Any time you can knit something without having to sew it together saves time.

Provisional cast on produces a shift in the columns of stitches at the point of cast on.  Because I like mobius in 2×2 rib, the provisional cast on is really obvious to me.  Seed stitch would hide the point of cast on but the stitch isn’t as stretchy and the point of this scarf is to stay close and keep the neck warm.  Because I’m fairly anal, I find the cast on shift unattractive.  By incorporating beads at the point of cast on, I minimize the obviousness of the shift.

The green and purple mobius is the first I made and is being worn by my niece.  It’s bright and smart and so is she.

The brown/gray/emerald/navy mobius is off to a friend in California.  She wanted me to make her a mobius when she was here visiting but I’m really bad at reading hints.  Once she got more pointed and said “I want a mobius”, I got it.  This color combo is perfect for her. Because she likes touches of sparkle, I added the beads.  This was my second knitted project with beads.

The blue mobius is for my friend and sister of my heart.  I originally made the striped one for her but she’s too sensitive to the merino wool.  She’ll have no problem with the Caron Simply Soft acrylic.  I used the beads to mask the cast on, adding beads at the edge to give it that ultimate “girly” touch.  Can we ever get enough sparkle?  I ran short of beads to finish the cast off so it’s on hold until I get more beads.

The blue/pink one might be for me.  The challenge will be to see if I can resist the temptation to give it away if someone admires it.  This mobius is smaller around than the others I’ve done.  I only have a partial skein of Lion Amazing left.  Of the three matching dye lot skeins I bought, I’ve already made two hats and a mobius.  This mobius gets what’s left.  Beads prevent it from being the ugly step child.

Broken promise

Harmony wood needle tips, size six.

I ordered a Try It pack of needle tips from KnitPicks.  I really like the concept, one set of cables and one set of needle tips.  Sadly, the Harmony wood needle tips didn’t hold up.  I had just started another mobius scarf and the wood separated where it entered the metal portion of the tip.  If I’d bent the needle, it would make sense, but I was pulling the stitches along the cable while holding the tip.

I think the wood needles would be fine in a bigger diameter, but in something as small as a six, they just aren’t going to hold up.  I’ve switched to size seven nickel plated tips.  I’m fairly confident they’ll hold up to the task at hand.