Relearning an old skill

This week I’m diving back into programming. It’s been so long much has changed. The latest iteration of PHP is so different much of what I knew before must be rediscovered. What fun!

For months I’ve had in mind a program to produce conti-something stitch and row counts based on the user’s gauge and measurements. Paired with a database in which the data resides, the program will make all the necessary calculation to produce a garment that fits the way the knitter envisions.

I got a good start yesterday. From the initial start a few months ago I polished up the database tables and got the program started. I now have an accurate caston calculation, something I hadn’t done in my spreadsheet. Woot! Let the good times roll!

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.