Jacob’s Gauche

Scrap yarn bonanza!

I’ve used up all but a small amount of scrap yarn. I’m really pleased with the result. I learned lots of stuff, I had a good time and I’m glorying in the result. The pockets are fabulous. I love all the colors. I discovered a new way to secure the ends of cotton yarn when working in the tails. I’m really going to enjoy wearing this one. Okay, that’s not fair . . . I enjoy them all!

Make it up as you go along

Mindy’s sweater is done and off to her. I’ll get pictures eventually and I’ll share. I’m really pleased with that sweater. The length is what she wanted, the colors suit her coloring and the design was fun to execute. Plus plus plus! And because it’s off my needles, I’m onto something else.

Have you seen “Milk Money” with Melanie Griffith? She has a quintessential line in that movie . . . “and the rest of it we’ll make up as we go along.”  It’s a cute movie and that line stuck with me. It really defines my approach to sweater design. I really do make it up as I go along. I’ll start with a plan and before I know it, the project has jumped tracks and turned into something entirely different. I live in a world of “what if?”.

It’s fairly inevitable that when knit projects are done there will be scraps left over. Sometimes it’s skeins, sometimes it’s partial skeins and sometimes it’s little balls of yarn just a few yards long. I’m a penny pincher and I can’t throw out left over yarn. I don’t know a knitter who can. The challenge is to use up the disparate lengths of yarn, a far more interesting project than whatever the original yarn supply was used for.

Here’s my current project. I was going to do a reprise of my kangaroo pocket sweatshirt but the train completely jumped the tracks. It’s actually a really neat use of all the disparate lengths of yarn left over from four different sweater projects. Bear in mind, this is *after* I used up a lot of it in my kangaroo pocket sweatshirt. Just to be clear, this is sweater #2 from the same batch of left over yarn.

Unexpected direction!

There’s usually a penalty for haring off in a new direction. The penalty here is the enormous number of ends needing worked in. I think the end result is worth it. It will be interesting to see if I have enough yarn to create sleeves. I’m thinking I won’t and will have to buy more yarn. Oh darn.

The end is in sight!

I started this sweater over two years ago. I got it to this point and there it sat. I had no plan, just lots of lovely Lang Recycled Denim yarn. Because I couldn’t decide where it was going I put it away and worked on other things.

Turkey day, 2017

Then April rolled around and I had something I wanted to try that was going to fit with where I thought this sweater was headed. I got this far and put it back away.

April 2018

One of the projects I worked on was Bamboo Pop Banner which had lots of lovely color and beads on the front.

Bamboo Pop Banner

I loved the yarn, I loved what I did with it but the addition of the 3.0 glass beads upset the balance and caused the sweater to shift slightly forward on my body causing the back of the neck to come in contact with my neck. Nope, couldn’t do that and there was no way I was frogging all that lovely work so I gifted the sweater to my niece. She loves it and I didn’t have to frog it. Win win!

But that experience got me thinking. I wanted to make a kangaroo pocket sweat shirt with the left over yarn from knitting Swoop but the weight of the pocket would throw off the balance. If I lengthened the back at the hem using the same amount of yarn I used in the pocket, I would get a sweater that stayed in balance and I’d have the benefit of the pocket (which I couldn’t use without upsetting the sweater’s balance but it would look cool. Plus I could try some stuff I’d discovered when I knit the bolero cardi . . . which I frogged to get the yarn to knit the kangaroo pocket sweat shirt . . . yeah, you can see where this is going.

Goshen Kangaroo Pocket

Mindy tried my sweatshirt on and loved the pocket. I now had a plan for her Lang Recycled Denim sweater! Beauty! She came yesterday and tried it on and it’s right on the money! I’ll be squeeking on the yarn to get the body length she wants. I’m almost there! I finished one sleeve last night and got the other started.

Test fit!

Conti-raglan, green

I started this eons ago. It’s not my colors but the colors work beautifully for my sister. It’s not my neck shape (hugs the back of the neck) but it is right for my sister. I had set it aside because I couldn’t figure out where it was going. Now I know, kangaroo pocket Henley for my sister.
I am totally loving this project. Sometimes the *make it up as I go along* doesn’t go so well. This time, it’s totally rocking it!
 
The yarn is a combo of Lang’s Denim Cotton (recycled cotton) and Lion Brand Recycled Denim. The bit on the yarn holder (bluish yarn in the center) is the start of the kangaroo pocket.
 
Truly, I’m loving this. Plus I’m learning new stuff. Totally cannot beat that.WIP, conti-raglan, green

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye . . .

You’ve probably seen the brouhaha in the news regarding how conservatives were treated by the owners of Ravelry. It was bad. It was egregious. It was completely unnecessary. The bigotry and bullying have reached a point where conservatives no longer feel welcomed, and changing the meaning of hate speech to “any speech which offends” is truly offensive. And as a result, I’ve left Ravelry. My profile page is still there but by the end of the week, every other presence I have there (other than purchased patterns) will be history.

As a result of the Rav owners’ bigotry a lot of people have left Ravelry. Anyone who commented favorably on Trump or Kavanaugh was banned. Anyone who said anything negative about Blasey Ford was reviled. As a result of the changed atmosphere, conservative knitters no longer feel welcomed and are leaving Ravelry to congregate in other places on the web.

Don’s expect to find any of my projects on Ravelry. I will neither participate in nor support a group whose leaders practice studied and blatant intolerance. In deleting my posts and projects I am removing all the help I ever gave anyone. All the tips, tricks, advice, work-around, new stuff I discovered . . . all of it. And I don’t feel bad. If people had stepped forward and said “this is wrong” instead of staying silent, my help/advice/tips/tutorials would still be available to all therein. And if my deleted content means there are gaping holes where my contributions used to reside, tough cookies. For those who failed to step up and confront injustice when it lifted its ugly head, don’t bitch when the fallout bites your backside.

Actions have consequences. The blowback for Ravelry may be a punch they can take. Their membership is truly global. Whether they suffer from their bigotry is inconsequential. I’m gone because I can’t support something I don’t believe in. Intolerance and bigotry have no place in the knitting world.

Too much sunset

I learn by doing. Each project has lessons for me and I embrace them with joy. Each less than perfect spot in a project means the next project will be just that much better because I’ve learned something.

Each sweater I’ve knit has taught me a lot. I can lay a sweater out and show you where I learned something, like how to do intarsia in the round, how to improve the back neck shaping, tweak the shoulder shaping for a flawless fit, perfect faux sleeves . . . the list goes on. I can’t conceive of working a project and not learning something new, not *trying* something new. It’s how I’m wired.

I had a lot of yarn left over from the Sunset sweater. The sun took less than a yard of two different colors. Each block of color used up only a portion of the supply I bought. What I had left over was *almost* enough for a sweater . . . almost. So I bought a couple more skeins of purple and waited for inspiration to strike. And it did!

I saw a sweatshirt on Pinterest that spoke to me. *This* color blocking was what I wanted to knit. Ooo, the challenge!

You can pop this off in raglan . . . it would look great! If you’re interested in trying this, here are the skills you’ll need beyond basic top-down sweater knitting.

Using up the yarn left over from Sunset at the Farm

What? You thought this was hard? Nope. Tedious? Yes. Hard? Not even. The result . . . yeah, that’s pretty spectacular.

The tips on what I will do next time (assuming there is such a thing) are at the bottom of this post. The following instructions are for what I did on *this* sweater.

The angle is created by working a short row turn every fourth stitch starting six stitches from the point at which you want the angle to start. For this sweater it was right under the arm after working the underarm caston.

Place a marker where you want the center top of your angle to start. Work six stitches and then work a SRT (short row turn). Turn your work and work in the opposite direction past the marker and six more stitches, then work a SRT. This completes your angle setup. This next bit is the repeat. Turn and work to the previous SRT. Work the SRT and three more stitches before working another SRT. Repeat until you have ~12 stitches remaining. This is the low side of your angle.

Now work three rows of the background stripe color in the round working all the stitches. Knit the first row, purl the second, knit the third. That’s the separation border between body and striped section.This will be repeated at the end of the horizontal color stripe section before the vertical stripe section.

Now work the horizontal stripes doing the same SRT sequence changing color every second row. Once all the horizontal stripes are complete, work the separation border.

To prep the bobbins for the vertical stripe portion, knit a two-stitch swatch. Do *not* slip any edge stitches. The goal is to get a good estimate of the yarn required for each vertical stripe of color. Knit to the length you want the vertical stripe. Put a temporary knot in the yarn and frog it. Measure from the start of the yarn to the temporary knot. Multiply by 2. Add 10%. If you’ve lots of yarn to spare and are worried that you won’t have enough, add another 10%. That’s the length of yarn you will need for each *pair* of stripes.

Use the *carrying yarn without floats* technique to connect the bobbins to the live stitches. I need to do a video on this. It’s super easy to do but really tough to explain. I’ll add it to my *to do* list. Soon. Maybe.

I worked six rows of seed stitch at the bottom edge of the sleeves and used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Castoff in the stripe colors. I used an invisible closure and worked the ends in. This, too, needs a video. It’s a tiny bit fussy but the join where the start and end of the castoff occurs truly does vanish, like it was never there.

If I were to do this color blocking sweater again I would make the following adjustments. I would . . .

  • extend the angle up/down onto the sleeves for a more harmonious color break. I would start the SRTs on the upper sleeve prior to the separation of the sleeve. This would require a bit of calculation. It would go something like this. Count the sleeve stitches at the underarm caston point. Subtract 12 (for my measurements – it should be about 1/3 the total count) stitches for the top of the angle. Divide that number by 3 (working with the new numbers – see below). That’s the number of SRTs/rows before the underarm caston where the angle must start.
  • make the SRTs every third stitch to give the angle just a little more heft.
  • start the color change under the arm with a jogless stripe connection at the center of the start of the angle so the end of each stripe on back and front matches exactly in technique.
  • knit three rows of horizontal color so the width of the color bands more closely matches the width of the vertical stripes.

So, there you have it. What I did, what I would do in the future . . . it’s a thing.

The downside of inventiveness

So . . . I come up with this ingenious thing and before the ink dries on the “how to”, I come up with something better. Such is the life. What has gone before now needs and update . . . before anyone can even assimilate what I’ve done. *sigh*

Here are the videos on Conti-something. Updates to follow. Watch these videos in order and while you watch,  pause the videos as you work. As always, email me if you have any questions.

1. Overview

2. Caston Math

3. Back neck shaping markers

4. Shoulder row calculations and prep rows

5. Working the drop

6. Fading saddle front

7. Second shoulder

8. Finishing the shoulders

9. Setup for faux set-in sleeves

10. Knitting the faux set-in sleeve cap

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.

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.