Weird Wool Wednesday: the real conclusion about the cuffs

Two days of knitting all these cuffs, trying them on for size, for looks. And what do I realize?

They are too scratchy to wear.

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I cannot stand this handspun next to the skin of my inner wrist all day.

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Oh no! What will this mean for the collar?!
That’s supposed to be in handspun too! Will that too be too scratchy?

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Weird Wool Wednesday.
The day I wear a cardigan in progress tied around my neck, to check its scratchiness. Needles dangling.

Good day to you too.

Wintertrui 2014: more borders and cuffs

Having decided upon 2×2 ribbing for the borders I casted on for the cuff of a sleeve:

I chose a cuff for a sleeve instead of continuing the bottom border of the cardigan because I want some part of the sleeves to be blue and cuffs are small pieces of garment to try out things. The stitches of bottom of the cardigan are safely parked. This is a new ball of yarn.

I’m also keeping an eye out for how much yarn will be left: wether I can do the sleeves in all blue or not.

The blue part of the body up until now used 137 grams of yarn. I can wrap this part around my arm easily so I learned that a sleeve will take a little less then 137 grams to knit in blue.

I’ve got 335 grams of blue yarn left. Out of this needs to come the bottom band and the collar and whatever’s left after that can go into the sleeves. Two hole blue sleeves would demand about 260 grams and that would leave only 75 grams for the border and collar. That won’t be enough. I think the collar will take about as much yarn as a sleeve would, 130 grams.

So Wintertrui 2104 won’t get two solid blue sleeves, they will have white shoulder caps.

That’s ok because white sleeve tops will go best with the white shrug part. This way the colour blocks are lumped together and won’t start a rythm of alternate white and blue. The contrary of lumped colours would be: white body, blue sleeves with white cuffs. That would be not very easy on the eye but instead draw its attention.

So, cast on for a sleeve cuff in 2 x 2 ribbing:

For the cast on I used the Double Start cast on. It gives a nice little flow to each pair of stitches and that flow catches the two k stitches in 2 x 2 ribbing. Can you see it, on the right side? Each pair of k2 end in a little loop that catches them both. Very nice looking.
I only learned this cast on last weekend. It’s very stretchy and it springs back. And looks good. This will be my go-to cast on for 2 x 2 ribbing from now on. Cuffs, socks, wrist warmers, mittens.

Unfortunately the 2 x 2 itself doesn’t look very appetizing in my handspun. Too much purls going on. Too much irregularity in the knit stithes. The cuff is also a bit tight, stretching the fabric even more. I really don’t like the look.

That’s why this cuff has two parts. One part 2 x 2 ribbing and one part 3 x 1. To see if I like the look of it better. I do.

To complete my study, because I knew I had to restart it anyway, with more stitches, I bound off temporarily to see wether this kind of 3 x 1 ribbing still prevents flipping of the border. If it does I can use it at the bottom band of the cardigan.

Temporarily bind off in the easiest way:

Hmm, this is not a very pretty look. A bit coarse. But lets look at the flipping. There’s still a bit of tendency to curl. But it doesn’t show when I wear it:

Looking at the right part of this picture I like the look of this 3 x 1 cuff. I prefer it to the 2 x 2 ribbing. (I will have to think about the actual bind off for the bottom border of the cardigan. This is not the one I’ll use. But at least it won’t flip.)

Having decided on 3 x 1 ribbing I cast on for the cuff for real (again): 3 x 1 ribbing, Tillybuddy’s Stretchy Cast On (no use for the Double Start cast on when there’s no 2 x 2 rythm) and 36 stitches in total.

If the sleeve cuffs work I will continue the bottom band in 3 x 1 ribbing and bind off.

I knit away for a while and then was able to test my cuff:

Regular Tillybuddy’s cast on, 3 knits, one purl.

It looks allright…. but mediocre. Still the handspun makes things look very homemade. It makes things look so… coarse. I don’t like this. It’s not “light flowing snow dress”. Am I trying something an irregular aran handspun just cannot give? Do I need to get white commercial spun cuffs?

That will alternate a lot of blue and white going from the shrug to the shoulder cap to the sleeve to the cuff…. do I need to knit all white sleeves? I’ll have a lot of blue left. That might mean a calf length cardigan…

Pfff. What now?

Well, looking at the pictures above I realized I had one more trick up my sleeve: add a row of *k2tog, YO* and knit a few rows.

Since this cuff has become another study swatch I knitted it. Do you see where this is going?

Picot edge baby! Just fold the fabric double at the k2tog, YO row:

Best look yet, I feel.

Will look good at the bottom of the cardigan too. And I’m sure I can think of something to make this work in the collar too. (Sideways? But what about the buttonholes!?)

Something coming to mind rightaway are the Reading Mitts. Those have picots and a row of YO. (I want to have YO’s in a continous row for button holes, so the position of the holes does not have to be fixed precisely.)

These have picot bind off, not picot hem, but I’m sure I can solve that problem. And the purl rows will echo the purl and knit stitch Flourish Design on the back panel. I like that.

At least this pattern shows me it looks good in irregular handspun:

Wintertrui 2014: thoughts on bottom band and edges.


I knit with the blue. Made some decreases to suggest a waist. Made some increases to fit my hips. And now it’s time to think about the border at the bottom of my cardigan.

For this I dove back into the Ravelry database.
Looking only at cardigans in aran thickness.

I feel the border at the bottom should somehow relate to the cuffs of the sleeves and to the collar. The plan is a blue border and a blue collar but the sleeves in white.

The main function of the border will be to prevent flipping or curling from the knitting.
Could do in traditional ribbing, 2×2

Here are some inspirational borders from my Pinterest:

simple ribbing. But what nice to have it on the cuffs of the sleeve, longer! I could have it there, when it’s going from blue to white.

But transferring this idea to the collar (sideways) would end up something like DROPS 91-12:

meh… Even in my minty handspun I doubt this collar would whisper: “Ice and Snow and Inner Glow”
or might this look better in a 2 x 2 ribbing? This is a 4 x 4.

This next pattern has aran yarn in 2×2 ribbed sideways collar:

Portland Tweed Fair Isle Jacket by Robin Melanson

hm. hm. hm. I’m scratching my chin.

There’s always i-cord. But that won’t prevent curling of the edge.
There’s seed stitch. That will prevent.
There’s knitting few rows of garter stitch (but this will flip under my hands, it always does.)
Let’s look at what the database offers up:

This one’s nice:
Bambasala by Åsa Tricosa

A rolled hem, one of the sturdiest around, which is allowed to only roll a little bit as one row of garter stitch keeps it in its place. Nice and elegant. And functional.
For me it’d better suited to thinner yarns as I have happened to knit a bit of a stiff fabric and that tends to flip much more (in my knits).

Seed stitch collar:

Wellfleet by Cecily Glowik MacDonald
Perhaps the best solution…. will look good in my textured handspun, allows for a column of YO that can be button holes…
it’s just I really dislike knitting seed stitch. With all the changing of the yarn to the front and the back. (True, I don’t like 1 x 1 ribbing either. Or any ribbing, for that matter.)

I may dislike knitting seed stitch but it does get the job done. And incorporating the button holes will be nice to look at.
Nicer then buttonhole in sideways ribbing.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike the look of sideways ribbing. Sorry Tabetha.

Adrian Cardigan by Tabetha Hedrick
gives a pretty good idea how the front of my cardigan would look. With stockinette stitch panels pretty much stopping mid bust and sideways ribbing taking over, swooping across the torso.

No, no sideways ribbing for my collar. Or my cuffs.

That leaves garter stitch, seed stitch or building up the collar vertically (picking up stitches as you go). That last one is a bit of a nuiscance as you cannot get into the flow of knitting as the rows are so short you have to change direction every 3 minutes.

At the bottom of my cardigan I made a swatch of the three viable options and bind off temporarily to see about the curling. Then I went to bed.
The next morning I looked at my swatch:

There’s seed stitch, a piece of reversed stockinette stitch (rolling downwards) and a piece of stockinette stitch (rolling upwards). Both rolled hems have one row of garter stitch to stop the rolling.

Now some close up looks.

seed stitch:

rolled hem downwards:

rolled hem upwards:

I don’t like any of them. Seed stitch is too much work while knitting (I got ready to gnaw my needles, that’s how frustrating I find seed stitch).
And both rolled hems look too homemade.

If that’s my problem then this is my solution: time to let go of the idea that the bottom edge, sleeve cuffs and collar need to be the same.
Looking at the knitted fabric I see I like the bottom and the cuffs to be ribbed. 2 x 2. With some columns of purls leading into it, to prevent flipping of the whole ribbing band (as it’s prone to do in my knitwear, don’t know why).

Also: pockets!
I forgot about them as I knitted the body downwards. But now I’m thinking I could insert them with a vertical slit between the body and the collar. I’m putting stitch markers in as we speak, so I won’t forget once I start attaching the collar (wether is be vertical or horizontal)

I’m inspired by this beauty:

pattern: Harvest Moon by Heidi Kirrmaier Project and photo by larisa.

Wintertrui 2014: knitting the back panel

I knitted the Tulip dishcloth as the center piece of the back panel:

I estimated I need about 6 cm on each side. Here I’m knitting a strip of 6 cm from the top downwards, picking up stitches as I go:

I arrived at the bottom and I’m now picking up stitches:

When I reach the left side I will cast on eight stitches and then I will knit downwards until I reach half of the desired height of the back panel. Then I will park my stitches.

The stitches I casted on at the left side will be a base for the other strip of 6 cm that needs to grow upwards at the left of the panel. I will attach new yarn for this strip.
Once I reach the top I won’t break yarn but will knit across and start knitting to and from until I reach the desired height of the centre of the back panel.
This way I can make the whole Shrug with only two balls of yarn and no ends to weave in.

Once I’ve completed the centre part of the back panel I can start the increases both at the top and the bottom until I’ve made the shape that DROPS Eskimo Shrug is: two trapeziums with a square between them.

But there’s a problem with my Tulip… the centre petal is wonky. It has too much fabric, it won’t lay flat. It has more increases than decreases.

So I ripped out all the knitting you saw above and reknit the Tulip with fewer increases in the middle petal:

But still I’m not satisfied. I do not love this middle petal. It ripples.
I do not want to reknit the Tulip. By now I’ve gone off the idea of a square in Seed Stitch on the middle of my back.
I’d rather have some other kind of design on my back. Not a square.

Meet my new back panel:

I chose a swirly design containing only knits and purls. Because I’m now knitting with the fabric made white yarn instead of the handspun mint I’d thought a design like this would show.

It’s Flourish Design Dishcloth by Rachel van Schie:

Because I’d made Tulip design twice I now knew my gauge in this yarn exactly. I no longer needed a centre square that would be filled up around the edges until I got to the Shrug dimensions.

So I casted for the bottom of the shrug, knit the trapezium shape, knit the square with the design in it and then increased for the second trapezium.

The Flourish Design in just knits and purls worked well in the round white yarn. But it’s not as clear as the designer’s dishcloth in pink cotton. So halfway through the panel I changed the design a bit to make it more distinguishable from the stockinette stitch plane that surrounds it. It needed some alteration anyway because the design turned out too high for the backpanel.

I think it worked.
Now I’ll close the four corners and make armholes. Then fit it and make sure.
Then pick up stitches at the bottom and knit down wards, in minty blue.

Wintertrui 2014: can I start knitting already?

The choosing of the pattern for the Wintertrui 2014 has to begin from scratch. Luckily the Ravelry pattern database is a very nifty tool for this. I’ve restricted myself to looking at aran patterns only.
And with any pattern I like I look at the projects people made from it, to get a feel for how aran knits look like in real life. How they drape on real people.

Furthermore I’ve restricted myself to patterns that are free or already in my library. Just to make things easy and cheaper for me.

Since I have to supplement my handspun with extra yarn and I chose Donegal Heather for this I had a look at my Bluebird Cardigan which took me 1000 m of Donegal Heather yarn. On needles 5,5 mm. With cables.

I’ve got 700 m of the minty handspun so I can guestimate that I’ll at least get a set of front panels and sleeves out of it.

Which means I could make Snowdrift cardigan, one of the patterns in my restricted list and a long time favourite of mine. I could make it with a white collar and cuffs and a white back.

pattern: Snowdrift Cardigan by Michele Rose Orne
This has plenty of Snow Winter Queen feel to it. And the white Donegal would really work for those cables. Albeit it’s not soft enough to cuddle into properly, with your cheeks for instance. But a small shawl worn around the neck would fix that.
Snowdrift Cardigan would be well warm, too!

It’s in the first book I ever bought for its patterns. (And I have yet to knit something from it.)

Another inspiration comes from the second book I bought for its patterns (and have yet to knit from): Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague.

Pattern: Skelf by Ysolda Teague. Could do neckline in white. Would do the body in stockinette stitch. But I don’t like the placement of the bust darts in this book.
And how would I distribute the two colours? Blue body, white arms?

There’s also Collonade Jacket by Amy Miller:

This is in aran thickness! But it’s too etherial to my taste. And I’d want it closed at the front. Could work well with the colours though: blue body, white collar and cuffs (fudge it at the sleeves).

How about Leitmotif Cardigan by Carrol Feller:

Closing at the front. Enough panels to play around with the colours. Could do the cable panel in white and the collar in blue… The handcuffs and bottom edge in white (nice cables in round yarn!), the rest in blue. I like it.

But it’s knit sideways…
And quite holey with the lace:

I wouldn’t need to do the whole thing sideways. Then I wouldn’t have to know the gauge upfront.
A sideways knit back panel would have the advantage of beging able to knit-till-it-fits. No gauge neccessary. I’d pick up stitches at the bottom of the cabled panel and knit downwards.
I could diminish the holes. And those cables would look really good in the white Donegal.
I’d knit downwards in blue then.

And that collar is proper knit-till-it-fits: just pick up stitches and knit until you think it’s wide enough. Add some buttons.
hmm. I like. :)

There’s also another fairy tale knit in aran: Bella Paquita by Marnie MacLean:

A darling pattern, in aran weight yarn. The ribbing will make it fit all my tummy rolls and make it comfortable to wear. The V-shape flatters my body shape.
I could do clear colour blocks: top in blue, ribbed bottom in white. Or vice versa.
Or I could do the top in blue, the neck band in white, change midway in the sleeves.
It’s a free pattern :)

Ah. The gauge is 18 stitches to 10 cm. How do they get that? I’m at 12,5 stitches. So mine would look more butch than this lovely. Also I’d have to recalculate the pattern. That’s two times meh.

hmm. Most aran sweater patterns in de Ravelry database have a gauge of 18 stitches to 10 cm. Guess I better do a quick search on bulky yarns to see where it gets me.
—————————————————————
a few hours later:

Right.
I’ve looked at things. Thought about things. With my gauge being so different from gauge in aran patterns I think I should definitely go with “frankenstein” patterns.

I’ve brought it down to

  1. the Eskimo Shrug with a nice panel on the back and frankensteining it as I go.
  2. Snowdrift Cardigan
  3. Leitmotiv Cardigan

After a walk outside I came back in and looked at these three patterns while holding a ball of mint yarn and a ball of white yarn in my hands For looking but also for feeling. Snowdrift Cardigan I’d rather have with a softer white collar so that one’s out.

Remains Eskimo Shrug and Leitmotiv Cardigan.

And that’s when I saw it: if you start the Shrug with a panel in white cabling and place it sideways, you’ve got Leitmotiv Cardigan.
And if you start Leitmotive Cardigan with just a panel at the top back then you’re basically knitting DROPS Shrug.

Man…
I could have started knitting Wintertrui two days ago!

PS
pockets! Love me some pockets. These are brilliant:

pattern: Buds and Blooms by Alana Dakos

Rethinking basic pattern Wintertrui 2014

Woke up this morning not wanting to wear a cardigan/pullover with all the handspun at the back.
Woke up dreaming of minty handspun at the front.

Woke up dreaming of girlygirl patterns like these:

Cromarty by Heather Dixon; Astoria by Marnie MacLean and assymmetric Sugarmaple by Carina Spencer

(That Astoria in the middle may not look very girlygirl on the pattern picture but when you see it in a solid colour like Izamights rendition I get all squealy. The shaping in that sweater is really good! And the pattern seems to be well written, judging by its knitters.)

Imagine a little lace border in there somewhere.
Or make a change to the border at the neck.
Squee!

Look how Sorella Robina by Crystal Guistinello enhances and “fairytales” a deepcut neckline:

Now that’s wielding knitting designer’s magic!

The pattern itself looks good too. Top down. With a round neckline. And inset sleeves instead of raglans. I like it!

But I guess these kind of patterns involve knowing your gauge… which I don’t, in the handspun. And a swatch will lie to me.

There’s another thing: looking at them I now realize all these patterns are knit on small needles, in thin yarns!
Thin yarns give a supple fabric. It often flatters. Especially on these young, petite shaped girls.
I must remember that my handspun will be aran thickness. Not much flutter and suppleness going on there. Neither am I particular petite. Nor standing in the Summer sunshine in some meadow…

Gotta think more in terms of real girls’ Irish cabled sweaters, fit for gloomy winter days, when you’ve gotta get stuf done and at the end of your day you just want to loosen your bra and take a deep breath and flop on the couch and enjoy the cat and some chocolate and do some constructive critizing of things on TV or the internet.

It’s no good thinking I’m Little Red Riding Hood.
Time to wake up and get real!

art by Lora Zombie, grunge artist. Prints for sale here.

Yes, I’ve got to stop imagining things. Start working with what I have:

  1. aran thickness = comfy thickish sweater or cardigan. Not tight.
  2. not enough handspun for a sweater = colour blocks with white aran is needed.
  3. textured handspun = not much details needed, will look good in plain stockinette stitch.
  4. solid colour and round yarns = stitch definition. Cables well possible.
  5. pullover or cardigan? cardigan = buttons (fun!) and buttonholes (not so fun).
  6. worked with both yarns before: the Donegal pills. And so does my handspun = looks homemade fast. = Not a sophisticated look = not a refined pattern needed. (can still wear in city when depill regularly.)
  7. worked with Donegal before: can guess its gauge. 12,5 st per 10 cm on needles 5,5 mm. Will probably work for handspun as well.
  8. don’t know exact gauge and won’t know till I finish the sweater = choose not an exact pattern but rather add as you go. Less stressfull.
  9. well, do I want the handspun in the front or not??? (cardigan or pullover, cardigan or pullover)

or…. I could… do Brioche?

Haarlem Jacket by Nancy Marchant

Oh STOP IT Harry! That would require serious gauge knowledge! You can’t “frankenstein” this design as you go! And this pattern is in DK. It would turn out thick and humongous in aran! And although I may not be petite I am small enough to drown in overly thick sweaters!

Really.
I should just make a decision and stick to it. I’m getting really tired of my wavering!

Designing the Backpanel for Wintertrui 2014

Right. Wintertrui 2014 take off. Pattern Drops Shrug in minty handspun. Starting with making the backpanel more interesting. I’m looking at options. As I see it there are two routes:

  1. start in the middle and knit outwards until you’ve got a square of the desired dimensions. Or:
  2. make a square bottom up and later on add to the sides of it to get to the desired dimensions. A sort of embellished swatch, if you will.

To start with the latter:

2. a square knitted from the bottom up does give lots of options for embellishing it with something snow like. All existing patterns for afghan blocks and dish cloths are available!

Of course I have doubts about a lot of them. Nupps and intarsia and stranded colourwork are right out the door.
But there are other options.

If I concede that simple k2tog and ssk will not result in bumpyness this is a possibility. But these holes are big!

They could be made smaller. Don’t do a Yarn Over but Lift a Strand instead. Twist the stitch in the next round. Work with subtle increases instead of holes.

I really like this one:

Pattern: Margaret Tulip 9″ Dishcloth Afghan Block Square by Margaret MacInnis

She says it’s a tulip. But Ctrl-R suggests it also might be a snowdrop! Add a little stem at the top, perhaps a little leaf and Bob’s your uncle:
tulipdisha_medium

Oh how I have to restrain my inner Jugendstil minded Fairy loving girlygirl! There could be a whole back full of lacy blooms and stems intertwining!

Remember Anna, you want to have a fairly neutral cardigan. A cardigan in sturdy yarns that you can wear for years to come without people thinking: “that same thing again.”
You don’t want something too eccentric or too ephemeral. (that’s right, I found a word I never knew. “Ephemeral” is a fancy word for “short-lived”. Short-lived because time and fashion have progressed, just like nowadays boxy sweaters with intarsia bears are very ’80s and Arne & Carlos knitted snowballs are sooo 2011.
“Ephemeral” doesn’t suggest that the short-livedness of the sweater is caused by material decay. Because those could be moths. Aargh! Moths!)

let’s look at that other option:
1. A panel that starts from the center and works outwards. Plenty of examples are in the Ravelry database!

I foraged through the database and skipped the traditional four leafed flower and also crocheted patterns (bulky) and patterns that did not look very Snow Magic to me. I found:

  • POP blanket! One of my favourite blocks to knit:

    I could make a white circle in a blue square!

But that wouldn’t be much of a snowflake now would it? More like a snowball. Hmm. Wearing a white dot on my back doesn’t sound much Snowy Princess Gletsjer Magic to me. I’d be tempted to add a little black dot.

But there are other squares.

That says Snowy Magic to me! But alas, it’s knitted from the outside inward.

  • knit lace outwards:

pattern: Snowflake Peacock by MMario, picture by Darlene Reed
Oo, I like this one! I’d have to add the techniques from POP blanket block to get a round design into a square shape though.

Besides knitting from the inside out or knitting bottom up there are options 3 and on to embellish the back panel of DROPS Shrug:

I guess I could embroider something in white upon a blue square. The square being knitted outwards. It could even be an all blue POP blanket block. Or I could design some sort of added details to the circle of POP…

I could even do colourwork. Duplicate stitch that traditional snow flake from North Europe.

pattern: Snowflake Chart by Andrea Juhasz
But it’s too stylish to my liking. Not girly magic enough.

In conclusion I’m leaning towards that Tulip Gone Snowdrop square… add a little stem to the top… perhaps a leaf…
that border of seed stitch really gives it a nice finishing.
Although I try to avoid seed stitch because it doesn’t knit fast or mindless it would be a nice border for all the edges of the cardigan. It doesn’t flip. It doesn’t require additional stitches or decreases to play well with stockinette stitch. And it wears very well. And the round 3 ply Donegal yarn will make nice ploppy seeds.

Yes. Start Tulip/Snowdrop square as the main feature of the back panel. Casting on, first thing tomorrow!

Finished: Modular Cape Happy Go Lucky

Another shawl/cape with overlapping fronts and enough dept to keep my upper back well warm!

It’s made of virtually one continuous thread. I just added “house shapes” one after the other. Sometimes starting at the base, sometimes starting at the top of the roof. Increasing and decreasing and picking up stitches from the other shapes.
In the end I added a neck piece and then an i-cord all the way round. All in one thread.

Nearly one thread. The backside shows how:

I started at the left and knitted all the blocks, except one, and finished at the top of the little teal triangle in the bottom right.

I started with this one, when I had no idea what I was going to do:

It’s started from the tip and it’s positioned on its side on tje right side of the shawl, with its tip touching the tip of the all blue coloured house.

From there on you can pretty much follow the colours and wander through the blocks.
Let’s take a stroll!

I knitted that first house from the tip down to its base. I didn’t break yarn but turned it a bit and picked up stitches from its side. I knitted another house shape onto it, pointing upwards in the picture. From the tip of this house I started another tip and picked up stitches from the side of its “roof” as I increased. This house is 90 degrees angle with its “mother” but its not visible in the picture, it got cropped out.
It has a purple tip and a blue base.

From its side I picked up stitches and knitted the house downwards that’s visible on the photo, it ends in an orange tip. I started another orange tip and both these orange tips are connected to the roof of the very first house shape.

We are now at the bottom of the shawl as I just described the house with the orange tip and the blue base, standing up right there on the left. I picked up stitches from its side and worked to the right, a house that lies down, at the bottom of the shawl.

At the dark tip of that house I again “crossed the intersection” and started another tip. This one is not attached to any other house yet and it lies on its side.

This house ends with a pink base at the bottom right corner of the picture.
Picked up stitches and knitted upwards. Started a new tip to the left. This house is the top most right one.
From its side I picked up stitches and worked downwards, attaching both houses that were floating free with their tips on the “intersection”.
Then I cut yarn. It dangles there, on top of the little teal triangle.

I added the all blue house to tie things together. Added two triangles to make it more of a solid shape: the teal one in the bottom right and the larger one in the bottom left.

In some of the knitwear you see knots mid shape. This is because I had to frog the test knits, to keep the colours flowing.
These testknits:

All in all I’m very happy with my Modular Cape!

I love the colours. The spinning was such a freeing experience, to just go for it. That’s where the skein got its name: Happy Go Lucky.

And then to play around with modular knitting, to find the right shapes and meterage to go with the colour reports. That was fun to do, a fun puzzle to solve. That it actually worked and became a wearable garment has me chuffed to bits.

Now I have this soft shawl around my shoulders. In colours that do not particular flatter my face (although the blue and the overall darkness of them do work) but colours I love nonetheless. And my pin goes so well with it!

It’s the oak leaf pin I made and never wear because all my knits are cool colours. It’s from aluminium and I shaped and hammered it carefully, as not to break the copper coloured surface.

narrowing down for Wintertrui 2014

I made some choices:

  1. It’s going to be the minty smurf blue handspun and I don’t have enough of it to make something with sleeves so it’ll be accompagnied by the white Donegal Heather. (I can buy new. I can buy new.)
  2. I want it to be winterfairytaley. Gletsjer magic.
  3. I don’t want it frilly. It needs to be a bit plain because this garment will be supporting other focus points such as a shawl or jewellery.
  4. good wearability by choosing wearing ease. Must be wearable over a longsleev.

I’ve looked at patterns and zoomed in on these:

  • Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier, to be knitted with long sleeves and less bell shaping. I made this one before, it’s a good pattern.
  • Drops’ Eskimo Shrug. To be knitted with stockinette stitch back panel and elongated into a hip long vest. I’ve done this before and love the result. Could do that again, with the blue in the main body and the white in a big collar. And add sleeves.
  • Askew by Cheryl Kemp. This would be nice in blue with thin white stripes in garter stitch. Fairy tale ahoy!

All three have their challenges.

Buttercup demands a bit of lace knitting and I’m not very fond of lace knitting in big needles. It often looks bumpy and unsophisticated.

But I love that neckline! It’s so feminine and fairy tale. I made it before and took care to position the neckline lace precisely, making it into some sort of a sweet heart neckline:

I’ve made it before and it looks smashing on me. I don’t have a picture of me wearing it but this picture gives some idea of the shaping I’d put into it again, both at the bust and at the waist. and you can imagine how it would look. Smashing!

But how to incorporate both yarns? I don’t like stripes very much. I think I’d go for colour blocks. The top in blue. The bottom half in white.

Or the top in white since the lace will look good in the round 3 ply Donegal Heather.

Eskimo Shrug wants you to know the gauge up front. And I don’t know it. But I guess I could find my way around this. It starts with a panel for the back and I could make that to size by starting in the middle and just knitting until I reach the desired width, just like Concrete Shrug does:

pattern: Concrete by Nicole Feller-Johnson

But not exactly like Concrete does because these squares don’t say “Snow Princess Fairy Tale knitted pullover” to me. More “Urban chick”.
There are other options though, to knit a panel to size, such as a flower. Or even a snowflake design:

A hat with a crocheted snow flake that I made for my brother. The pattern is Let it Snow Snowflake Hat by Alison Shuman

But here you see my objection to lace in big needles illustrated. It’s bumpy. And not very warm with all those big holes. (Oh! I could make it a double layer of fabric: one snow flake on one plain block. That would be warm! Would it be too bumpy? would I still sit comfortably against a chair with snow flake bumps on my back?)

Askew has been made by quite a few people who report problems with the sizing. It runs too small and relies too heavy on severe blocking. So I need to swatch and find out my gauge and then interpret the pattern so I can guess which size is best…

But you’ve got to be careful. You can’t just go and enlarge a design in bias. It will result in a big flappy point in the front and still not enough fabric in the back to cover the top and the bottom (which is where I feel the cold). I’ve experienced this in Petra, which I do not wear for warmth (or pleasure). Bias knitwear keeps creeping up. You can’t block it to shape.

pattern: Petra by Julie Weisenberger

Askew relies heavily on blocking as negative ease is needed for a form hugging shape. The design itself also relies on certain proportions. The front piece has vertical on the sides: these are sideseams. But at the top it curves to the front to make for the arm hole (without shaping I’m guessing). If you enlarge it without planning these points will come higher, throwing off the overall design. You’d have too high side seams in your arm pits and too much fabric folding over the breasts.

And I’d need adjustments at the back to make sure that’s wide enough and meets the side seams at both ends. And high enough because people wearing it show it doesn’t cover the back very much.

Besides, the efficiënt knitter in me would want to knit the front in one piece. Preferably with the back attached immediately. That’s a lot of knitting gamble in one chunk. Chances of having to frog and restart are high. And I’d have to know gauge for that one…. gauge is tricky in bias design… Chances of frogging increased.

I love bias. I love the point at the front and the neckline it brings at the top. It would make a marvellous fairy tale like garment. But I’m a bit weary of all the variables… I just want to knit, I don’t want to knit and learn and frog and reknit.

Conclusion:

* Eskimo Shrug would knit the easiest, as you can add fabric as you go.
The vest I made from this pattern before is very much a Frankenstein-knit-as-you-go garment. The armholes were too big in the back and I had to “shortrow” them closed. The vest didn’t close in the front so I just kept adding borders to the collar. In elongated stitches because I was running out of yarn. In the end these big yarny holes turned out to be very good button holes so that was nice.

It’s a great vest. I wear it with pleasure.

Knitting Police haven’t bonked on my door, demanding answers. I could do this again I guess.

Issues to ponder:

  • how to insure a Princess Snowy image in this vest? (embellish the white collar with cable thingies? Snowdrops perhaps?)
  • how to make that back panel? (snowflake?)
  • is the Donegal soft enough to be made into the collar and be worn next to the skin in the neck?  (not really…)
  • how to colour the sleeves? will there be enough yarn left from the body to have some mint in the sleeves?
  • what border to choose at the bottom, to prevent flipping up? (it should be in accordance with the border of the collar)
  • button holes?

I’m sitting here writing, with one of the balls of Donegar tucked into the neckband of the sweater I’m wearing at the moment. To check for next-to-skin-softness.

It’s not. Not really.

  • give the collar a soft lining?