Since my friend LouAnn got sick I’ve been knitting. I hadn’t knitted anything in 30 years and now I’m knitting all the time. I’m doing a lot of technical stuff which I share on Ravelry. I’ve got a YouTube channel for the videos I’ve done.
I’ve been making day dresses to wear around the house, loose, sleeveless knitted tops with commercially knitted jersey skirts. On cool mornings I can add a sweater and I’m comfy. To get the skirt for these dresses I’ve been diving into a bin of clothing I couldn’t part with . . . dresses I loved but no longer wear because the tops don’t fit quite right or have sleeves or the wrong cut neck opening or not big enough through the bust . . . ugh. So I cut the top off the dress, add a knitted yoke paired the skirt with a top that’s comfortable. Win win!
I had a crepe dress with glorious colors, pink, orange and blue on a light cream background, really pretty. So I made a day dress and it came out perfect . . . except the skirt was a bit tight over my bottom. Being crepe, I knew that wasn’t going to work. My sister’s a size smaller and she loves flowers and blue and it was a perfect match.
I gave two piles of stuff to Wadly, venerable spouse, one to mail off to Beth and one to drop at the local charity shop. Can you see where this is going? Yup, you guessed it. Beth’s day dress is now someone’s lovely comfortable find. Wadly felt very badly but I’m a huge believer in what will be will be. I still need to make Beth a day dress. I’ll get there. Eventually.
I haven’t been posting when I should be posting . . . apologies. That doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to change my ways, just that I acknowledge the lack.
I’ve done a lot of knitting since I posted last and learned lots of new things . . . which is always a good thing.
This is Amanda’s sweater. It was originally intended for someone else but she moved to the other side of the country so fitting wasn’t an option. The sweater is knit in superwash wool using Poem, Glazz, Paintbox and probably one other. Wool of the Andes? Yeah, maybe that.
The helix knitting was a lot of fun. The Truly jogless stripes technique worked brilliantly. This Helix knitting technique is a fabulous thing and works brilliantly. Paired with the jogless stripe technique for starting and finishing a helix section and it’s even better! The location of changes is truly invisible if you’re mindful of your tension. The easy way to keep it invisible is to knit to within two stitches of the change, bring your working yarn to the front, slip the two stitches and knit off with the new yarn. That keeps the tension right and because the changes are staggered by two stitches it’s truly invisible.
I also made Amanda a tank top. It hasn’t been blocked yet in the picture so doesn’t hang properly but I have a photo! Woot! She loves it, it’s her colors and it fits her perfectly. That’s the best tri-fecta!
I used Kitchener to close the icord into a single loop. I’m not a Kitchener expert. The way Carol Brunette describes it works best for me and that’s the tutorial I used. Even then it took three or four tries to get an acceptable join on the first icord caston (yoke for a day dress for my sister). Good quality yarn and perseverence saved the day!
I love this sweater! It’s SO simple, for all the apparent drama! It’s knit in stockinette, four rows of solid, four rows of matching variegated, four more rows of the same solid followed by mosaic in two rows of solid, two rows of contrast, two rows of the same solid. Take those two sets and repeat two more times! Truly, it was that simple! The sequence will work on any base, raglan, pieced, whatever.
I knit this sweater in all Bamboo Pop. The light blue on the yoke is Ocean, the dark blue is Ink with a matching variegated in Blueberry Swirl. The green is Clover with a matching variegated in Jungle Life. The purple is Royal with a matching variegated in Orchid Smash. The mosaic stripes are black and (top) Winter Blue, (middle) Coral, (bottom), Darling Pink.
The body is a helix knit of Graphite and Hot Spot.
This is top down conti-something, the base I use for my sweaters. If you’ve got a base you like, try it!
The first is a wool sweater for our mail lady. I started it as a vee neck and it wasn’t coming out to gauge. I’m going to frog it back and restart. Instead of a vee neck I’m going to do something different. I saw this sweater on one of my Facebook groups and I think it would be perfect for the yarn and the recipient and I can do it in conti-rag.
The second sweater is a scrappy one I find really appealing. I will use up the Bamboo Pop I have left over from a number of other projects. There are a number of people on the list who are interested in this sweater. I’ll see how much I can share to help their projects.
I had an epiphany this morning. Here’s where it started.
I had an excess of chicken. I cooked the last of it yesterday, frying two pieces for Wadly snacks and baking two pieces with leeks, halved russet potatoes and butter (really good stuff). Normally I break up the potatoes, pour the chicken/butter/leek juice over the potatoes, dice up the chicken to go on top and it’s an awesome meal, simple, filling and flavorful.
But at this point in the “what’s for dinner” cycle I’m running a little low on groceries. It turns out I’m out of potatoes. I didn’t realize that until I thought about using some of the fried chicken to make chicken pot pie for dinner . . . which can’t happen without potatoes. So . . . time to improvise.
That’s when the epiphany hit. I do the same thing with knitting as I do with cooking! I look at what I’ve got to work with and improvise. So tonight’s chicken pot pie will be sauteed carrots, frozen corn, leeks and the chicken and potatoes I baked with all the associated juices. I’ll dice the chicken and potatoes and add some bone broth for additional liquid. It will be awesome served with home make biscuits, a simple, fast and delicious result.
Here’s the “step back and punt” half as it relates to knitting.
I bought two balls of Sublime Evie Prints in blue for socks. When it arrived I realized it was totally unsuited for that and let it set while my brain worked out how to use it.
I’ve always thought there should be an adult version of those cute little girl dresses where the top is knitted to an empire waist and a cloth skirt is added. One of those for running around at home would be perfect on cold February days. So now I’m playing with a knitted yoke for a navy sweatshirt fabric skirt. I bought the sweatshirt fabric on EBay to make a run-around-the-house full length sweatshirt. If I knit a yoke, extend the sleeves and create the skirt I bet I can get two or possibly three out of the fabric I bought. Because of the way my conti-something base fits, the softness of the yarn and the coziness of the sweater shirt fabric, this could be a really good thing!
My first attempt didn’t go so well. The neck was smaller than I wanted and I ran out of yarn before I got anywhere near having the real estate I needed to match my plan. Digging through my meager stash I came across a navy bamboo cotton of the same weight to use for neck edge and sleeves. At this point I am most of the way through what looks like a varsity (sleeves and trim one color, body another) themed yoke. I don’t think I’m going to make it to anything resembling an empire waist. I may get to the bottom of the armscye which would be great. I can work with that. Stay tuned. I’ll post pictures soon.
I finished my Bamboo Pop Cables today and I love it. I learned new things, did new stuff and the result is lovely. I’m wearing it. I’ll get Wadly to take pics when he’s up (he’s running late today).
So, I’ve been working on plans for my next sweater. I have lots of Bamboo Pop left over from various projects. This lot includes Blueberry Swirl, Orchid Smash, On Parade, Brilliant Blues, Graphite, a small amount of Nightshade and a microscopic amount of Ink Blue. I want to meld all those into a sweater (waste not, want not) so today I’m looking at color blocking.
There was a terrific sale on Bamboo Pop a couple months ago. I bought enough yarn for three sweaters plus balls of variegated accent yarn. I love this yarn for a number of reasons. It has terrific drape, it’s lovely to work up, it comes in 40 colors and it comes in balls that are twice the size, almost 300 yards of yarn. The regular price is somewhere in the $8.50 range. When it’s on sale it’s a huge steal. So . . . yeah, three sweaters worth plus. I’ve got Ink Blue on the needles. Once the cable threads connect I’ll take a pic and post it. I’m only ~25 rows out from that event. And while I’m knitting I’m thinking about the next sweater in Graphite.
I had an “aha” moment for the Graphite Bamboo Pop. Latvian braid has been enticing me for a while. I’m still testing . . . and pondering but this might be just the thing. Here’s my current sampler. It’s going to get bigger as I try different things.
The bottom two tests are the same thing, just different colors. Nope, this method is both overly complicated and messy.
The top right is doubled yarn. It’s too heavy, though it may have been alright if I had matched the colors in the strands . . . uh . . . maybe.
The top left is really really nice, smooth, clean, even . . . but a slightly heavier yarn might be that perfect middle ground. I’ll keep adding yarn to my test to see what I like best. I’m pulling scraps out of my stash and trying them. I may want to do random weights and colors, each row one accent yarn. I’m liking how it’s working up. I’ll have to find the happy middle for spacing of accent stitches, background stitches and rows.
This will be an awesome way to use up short pieces of yarn. I have a bunch of those. I think most of us do.
Wadly (venerable spouse) noticed I wasn’t spending much time knitting. This is why. It’s boring. I’m not doing a single thing interesting. It’s stockinette in the round which, by its very definition, is boring. The end result will be nice but for now . . . yeah, pretty darned boring. There’s nothing here to catch my interest. I’ll put it away until the new audiobook on my pre-purchase list comes out. I *will* finish it as it’s a sweater I’ll want to wear . . . I just need to power through the week of boring, boring, boring. A new audiobook by one of my favorite authors should do the trick. Shattered Bonds comes out on the 29th.
I bought a couple cakes of Lion Brand Ombre Life. It did not go well. While this yarn is a lovely color, it’s made up of four strands of what is basically heavy cotton/acrylic thread. The changes in color are achieved by knotting two colors together with the joins staggered over the four strands to achieve the overall color change. Not a big thing unless . . . yup, you guessed it, multiple breaks in one or more strands. Ugh. If it had been a single break it would have been okay. Multiples? Yeah, not so much. So, I asked for replacement. I was working on something else when it came so I set it aside.
I started the gradient sweater this morning. So far so good! I’ve got the first shoulder done and I’m ready to start the second. I’m pairing the ombre with a 4-ply bamboo navy that matches the dark bits of the gradient. Because of the way the gradient is not spun (yup, a flat ribbon of four strands of heavy thread) I’m having to knit carefully. Missing a strand in the stitch is a thing with this one. This should be a fun knit.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the projects I worked on was Bamboo Pop Banner which had lots of lovely color and beads on the front.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I finished this a couple days ago and I’ve learned so much knitting it. I’m really pleased with how it came out. The front image is a picture I took of a sunset here on the farm. I’ve used that image for a quilt and now a sweater.
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.