Wintertrui 2014: fixing the pockets

The edge of the pockets was too ruffled, it had too many stitches and/or was knitted on too large a needle size. So I crocheted a line of chains on it. Crochet has minimum elasticity, contrary to knitting that’s very stretchy.

This one is too lose though.
I took out the crochet and started anew, this time putting in less crochet stitches. The next one is better:

Ohooo! Nice! No more ruffles:

Yes, yes. Very nice:

Now the second pocket.

Oops, too tight:

Did you notice my lucky cat’s foot? I always keep it close.

Preferably attached to snores and cuddles.

I redid the crochet on the second pocket more loosely. And now:


Next: knitting from the sleeve cuffs buttom up until I run out of blue (green?) yarn. And attach buttons. With the blue (green) yarn. Before I run out.

(How am I going to knit a sleeve buttom up into its sleeve hole? I’ve only down top down sleeves until now. I’m kind hoping I run out of blue/green yarn so I can knit the sleeves at the armhole with white and later graft them onto the blue parts. But at the mean time I’m hoping to have all blue sleeves because I think that would look nicer.)

Wintertrui 2014: button band finished.

I took up Pieknits on her tutorial about a double knitted button band and increased all my stitches and worked in double knitting for a while. Tedious work. Each row took an hour. Stitches didn’t really fit on my circular cable (80 cm). Lots of fiddling each time I rounded the corner to the pocket which had to be done on needle 4,5 mm while the double knitting is done on 4 mm.
Anyway, I got it done.

When it was time to put in the button holes I marked where they ought to go, with safety pins:

I chose seashell buttons I’ve had in my button box for years. I saved them from the store bought cardigan I wore on my first job as a city planner, long long ago in a place far far away. It was in a town called “Bright Mouth” and I was the youngest person in management ever. And female to boot. Most people had been working there for 20 years and didn’t know what to make of this young pup.
My clothes had to broadcast professionalism and I wore a hiplong cardigan in charcoal matt silk. I’m not sure it worked, I think my bright eyes and eager laugh negated the effect.

On top of being weird and out of place that whole town was suffering from an embarrassment about the name “Bright Mouth”, because the ancient word for “bright” nowadays means “hell” in my language. People, especially those working in City Development and City Maintainance who naturally feel a genuine love for the bricks, the streets, the spaces and the people, found it hard to be proud of a city named “Hell Mouth”. It was so weird. Their love and pride of the place was tangible. As was their embarrassment.
A strange place. Strange young professional.
Nice buttons though.

I bound off for the first button hole per Pieknits tutorial. This didn’t work for me as the live stitches were too tight to make an acceptable bind off. Instead I bound off in the usual way (with new knitted stitches) and planned to cast on new stitches in the next row:

I did do some reinforcing of the first and last stitch:

On the next row I cast on new stitches, with cable cast on:

I cast on one more stitch than I had bound off, knitting the last stitch together with the existing one. Btw, in double knitting you treat the two strands here as one:

In the next row I knit every strand apart, not together. This gave me the initial amount of stitches and I continued double knitting. I did do some fiddling about, dropping a stitch to reinforce a button hole edge some more here and there.

Hours and hours (aka two days) later:

Done! Nice!
What a beautiful edge:

Ahh… I like this button band. It’s sturdy. No curling. No stretching. No waves.

Except those pockets… they are kind of wavey.

Wintertrui 2014: on button bands

Right. I’ve knitted the collar, focusing on shortrowing in the neck and making those pockets.

Lots of short rows to give the neck just a little bit of blue (green) and the collar lots:

I’ve knitted merrily along and now it’s time to start the button band. This needs some pondering.

Putting button holes into plain stockinette stitch will stretch the fabric terrible because all the force of the button is put on just a few stitches. This happens also when you’ve got garter stitch instead of stockinette stitch (to prevent the curling).

Besides that the outer edge of the button hole ban will crumple up, making indentations as show by this baby cardigan F578 by Plymouth Yarn Design Studio. It has a button band of just garter stitch and it has non-reinforced button holes in it:

You see it has little waves where the buttons are.
The edge does have a nice amount of extra garter stitch rows so the button doesn’t stretch the hole straight out of its surrounding fabric.
But it’s the waves I don’t want.

If you want a button band to lie flat when buttoned up it ought to be reinforced.
Criollo cardigan by Justyna Lorkowska does this by ribbing the button band on a smaller needle and adding a sturdy i-cord to the edge. It lies flat even though the cardigan is form fitting:

That’s good knit-engineering because even when fully closed (with quite a bit of pull on the fabric and the button holes band) it’s fairly flat. Only minor waves going on.
And what a nice border!

On a side note: so lovely to wear a fitted cardigan with a happy skirt. Makes me go all summery in the head and wanting to twirl. (However, I don’t see the point of woolen cardigans that fit close around the body when said body is kinda hot and sweaty from Summer and twirling. I’d keep washing my knits. I’m too lazy for that. I mean efficient)

Anyway, back to thinking about the button band for my winter sweater.
My preference would be a Double Knitted button band with an i-cord edging. No curling, no flipping, no stretching, no waves.

I found this tutorial by Pieknits helpful.

On the next row you double all the stitches (k, ktbl) and then work the rows *k1,p1* with two separate yarns. One for the k stitches and one for the p stitches. Pieknits works them at the same time, bringing two strands along. When I did the double knitting at the borders of my pockets I worked with one strand, bringing it up working the k stitches and slipping the p’s. And then down working the p stitches (which were k stitches seen from the WS) and slipping the others.

Pieknits also explains double knitting should be done on needles two sizes smaller than the main knitting. This makes sense since basically you are knitting ribbing. And with two yarns at that, which adds extra bulk.
It explains why the borders of my pockets are so ruffled, I did not go down in needle size. (I will tighten them in the back with a row of crochet I think)

Yes, a double knit button band will give excellent button holes.
Pieknits shows in her excellent tutorial how to make the actual holes. She lets you cast on new stitches with the two yarns while at the same time you bind off existing stitches. It’s a nice trick, without breaking yarns or having to sew in threads.

I’m partial to Tulips button holes by Techknitter because it reinforces the short sides of the hole. I’ll see what I’ll do. Perhaps only incorporate the wrapping of the stitches on the side…

I leave you with cardigan pattern Lewenwick from Gudrun Johnston who uses the tendency for button holes to make waves as a design element:

Emphasized by using a wavy lace pattern for the button hole.
Smart engineering :)

Weird Wool Wednesday: not wearing mittens #2

The octopus mittens have made something clear: I adore mittens. Yet I want to wear wristwarmers all the time. Not mittens.

But there are so many lovely mitten designs out there! I want to knit them all. Own them all!
For example these lovely dandelion mittens I yearn for every Spring:

Dandelion Mittens by Natalia Moreva

But who needs mittens in Spring? I don’t. Not even dandelion mittens.
But I do need dandelions in wool on my hands!

So here’s my solution:
Dandelion handwraps. Mitts. Wristwarmers.

Dandelion mitts

It’s the same pattern as the mittens but without the thumb gusset or the decreases in the top.

They are knitted by the lovely Yarncontaminated with Evilla like yarn from Wool & Yarn that I provided. The greens are fabric dyed colours, the yellow is white that I dyed myself. The purple is another shetland type yarn I tripped over in the stash and it’s combined with a strand of Lang Yarn Alpaca Superlight, for fluffiness. To resemble the dandelion fluff. The fluff doesn’t show yet.

These mitt(en)s are knit at a very tight gauge and the alpaca halo didn’t get a chance to wriggle free yet. But perhaps with use it will.
A tight gauge is good, it will prevent wear (which is the reverse of the halo showing, I could have guessed)

Dandelion mitts

It’s stranded knitting which means a double layer of warmth. They’re lovely to wear when my hands are resting on the cold metal of the Apple laptop ( = a MacBook I think. It’s silver.)
There’s no thumb because frankly I don’t particular like the restraint around my finger.
They wear like superlong sleeves. Which is comfortable. My hands hide in them and are warm.

Dandelion mitts

I think I’ve found a way to wear ALL THE MITTENS

Update finished Februari Sweater 2013

Oooooh, it’s blocked!

Guess who made time yesterday to weave in all the ends?
Guess who made soup yesterday and afterwards had a bucket of warm water in which the pot cooled, begging to be used?

Guess who remembered she’s tired of keeping her hydrocortisone pills in her bra?

That would be the knitter with an all finished sweater and a snoring cat. I’m going to wear it now, the heating in the cabin is out.

Finished: Februari sweater 2013

It’s not blocked yet. Blocking will make the stitches look more even.
Hopefully it’ll also smooth out the difference in gauge between the yoke and the white body. Right now you’d think I increased too much when I went from the blue into the white. But that will smooth out with blocking. Probably.

I could have done with more decreases in the back, making it follow the curve of my lower back more. But this is meant to be a comfortable sweater. A slouch sweater. So that’s ok.

I finally learned to put in wearing ease!

The second bind off of the body took less yarn than the first one… still it’s stretchy enough so I’m not worried.

Also…. ends not sewn in yet. If I don’t do them today probability rises that I’ll never do them.

But I’m wearing it now, it’s so comfy! Squishy and warm and nice smell.
Let’s see if I can sew in ends while wearing it.

Wintertrui 2014: collar and pockets.

Right. This is where Wintertrui 2014 is at:

Back and front knitted. Hem done. Collar with inbuilt pockets in progress. And two loose sleeve cuffs not in the picture.

The collar was done with the live stitches on the white fabric and picking up stitches from the blue (green?) at 3 stitches for every 4 rows.

The pockets were done while I knitted the collar. I hocuspocused them, I didn’t really know what I was doing.
To prevent curling I decided upon Double Knitting which I’d never done before.

The collar has lots of short rows in it because the back of the neck is high enough already. The pockets were started at the same time when I knitted the first row of picked up stitches: when I came at the lower edge of the cardigan I cast on about 43 stitches. 40 stitches for a double knit border of the pocket and 3 stitches for an i-cord at the bottom of the cardigan/pocket.

I worked the collar downwards, then the i-cord, went up the pocket outer side, wrapped and turned and went down, to the i-cord and then up the collar again (starting with the inside of the pocket).

There’s an i-cord at the bottom…

I didn’t particularly know what I was doing with the double knitting. All I knew was: twice as many stitches, knit ribbing, *knit2tog* when long enough.
What I did was: knit upwards *slip 1, k1*.
Then Wrap & Turn
downwards: *k1, sl1*

After a while I realized this meant I was only knitting the outer pocket fabric effectively once while the rest of the collar got two turns: one RS row k all, one WS row k all.
So that’s when I started to make it up to the pocket front and working it extra, turning when I came down at the i-cord point and knitting up the pocket once more.
And again.
Until I got about 7 RS rows in. Then I halved the stitches and hurried along to the other side of the collar to knit that and its pocket while I still remembered what I’d been doing.

It’s all kind of hazy now…
And ruffled:

Because I didn’t cast on 43 stitches but 46 or possibly more. Can’t tell you why. Probably chocolate interfering with brain functions.
I did notice the ruffling while working the pocket and started to decrease a bit here and there. Not enough.
The second pocket got 40 (+3) stitches and not one more.
It still ruffled.

Now that I’ve read a tutorial on Double Knitting I have learned this can best be done on needles two sizes smaller than the ones used for plain stockinette stitch.
Makes sense since you’re basically doing ribbing, with double threads.
Hence ruffles.

Anyway. I’m not reknitting the pockets, because that would mean ripping out the collar entirely.
I’ll try and tighten up the pocket entrances by adding a crochet chain on the inside. Or a woven ribbon.

But first finish the collar.
It now reaches halfway my body so this would be the ideal placement for button holes.

I want the button band to be double knit. It’s sturdy, it won’t curl and it goes with the pockets. I’ll use smaller needles.

At the end I will knit together the two sides of the pockets and they will be nice and cosy to put my hands in.

nice edge on an aran sweater

Februari Sweater has got a new body and one sleeve. I did bust darts and waist shaping. And then some extra short rows in the back because appearantely I did too much short rows in the front because the bottom was not hanging level.
Oh well. That’s knitting for you: add a bit here, add a bit there.

It’s a lovely knit. Nice yarn and mindless rounds.
By now I know how to proceed with mint blue handspun Wintertrui 2014 but in these busy days I enjoy the mindless knitting on this one and will finish this first.

Only one sleeve to go and I’ve made note of the numbers I used in the first sleeve. For this sleeve I used this pattern as a reference:

Endless Stashbuster by Vera Sanon

It’s a “principle pattern” where the principle of a top down sweater is explained and you have to tailor it to your own gauge. Vera Sanon gave it as a free pattern with the numbers for gauge 14 st/10 cm as an example.

That’s exactly the gauge I’m knitting this aran weight with and it’s so nice to compare notes. It stopped me from knitting too tight a sleeve before I reached the elbow. That’s a first.

(I don’t understand how people get this gauge with chunky weight yarn… or get an aran yarn to squeeze into 18 stitches per 10 cm.)

Here’s the border I chose for Februari Sweater:

Neat eh?
It combines knit and purl stitches with slipped stitches.

For the border and cuffs I had to solve the same problems I had for Wintertrui 2014: prevent flipping, prevent curling, have a nice edging to my sweater. And, as a bonus, think about a cardigan in the blue Donegal aran that arrived on Saint Nicholas’ day. (it’s burning in the stash!)

Usually ribbing (a combination of knit and purl stitches) takes up more space than plain stockinette stitch and you have to reduce the number of stitches (by about 10% when k1,p1) or knit the border in a smaller needle.

But this one evens out beautifully. No decreases necessary.
I very much like the look it gives, especially when the slipped lines are sometimes brought upwards into the stockinette stitch section and get a little decoration.

Like the little decoration in pattern Lauriel, by Ysolda Teague:

Ideas, ideas. Just finish this sweater. Finish the Wintertrui cardigan. And realize that idea in yarn!

When I finished the body of Februari Sweater I bound off going the right way. But I noticed the nicest edge of the bind off was situated on the inside.
So when I came at the edge of the sleeve I bound off the cuff the other way around, going the wrong way, and it now has its nice edge now showing.

(I hope the photo below shows it, it’s raining heavily here and I don’t have good light.)

I like this look very much and I’ll undo the bind off of the body and redo it, counter wise.

morphing mittens into wristwarmers

Last year I purchased these wonderful mittens:

They were sold when knitters and divers supported a good cause and I had intended them for a dear friend.

The pattern is Octopus Mittens by Emily Peters.

Unfortunately the mittens were too tight. For her and also for me, especially the left one:

See how the fabric stretches around my hand? It’s too close a fit, it will make the hand cold. Here, let me point out my protruding little hand bone (“connected to the yarn bone connected to the knit stick connected to …“:

Too tight :(
cold hands :(

But these mittens are so darling! With the octopus and the cause and the colours! And the yarns! Let me tell you about the yarns.

The green one is Unicolours from Dutch brand Handdyed Wool. Colour Golf Green. Beautiful dreamy green!

The brown is Cephalopod Skinny Bugga!, colour Ghost Moth. Skinny Bugga! is a darling yarn amongst knitters for years. When the two-woman company traversed into two one-woman companies they both took Skinny Bugga! with them. That’s how great the yarn is.
This one is from Cephalopod Yarns which has stopped dyeing only last July but check out their logo:

Cephalopod yarn and a misty green for octopus mittens? Yeah baby!
You understand I wanted to keep these for myself and was adamant to adjust them into something wearable.

Nelleke, please prepare yourself, because I took scissors to these mittens…

I opened the top of the left one and unravelled it. At the straight part I then bound off. This mitten was so tight I was going to wear it upside down, so the narrowest part would be around my wrist.
Mittens to mitts

I also opened the thumb, it had to go.
The cuff has a double layer and that makes the mitten too narrow to wear it as the top around my hand.
Mittens to mitts

So I undid it and folded the hem back out again. Instantly more give.
Mittens to mitts

This is how I’m going to wear it. It sits nice and comfortably around my hand, no tightness whatsoever.
Mittens to mitts

I do have to fix the thumb gussets. But as of yet did not have any idea how.

First the second mitten: I opened up the top and unravelled. This one is loose enough to wear around my hand as is. That’s good because I’ll have at least one octopus facing me the right way up.
Mittens to mitts

Because I want to match the mitts I decided to knit a border on top of this one in the brown that came from the unravelling of the tops.

Now I turned my attention to the thumb gussets. For a moment I thought about making them into little pockets, to carry my ear plugs and Hydrocortisone pills in (the two things I need to take everywhere. Which is why I’m talking about pockets when talking sweaters. And why my bra is often bulky. Not in a good way)

Deciding against little “wristpockets” because I’ll drag them through soup and tea I now knew the extra fabric had to go. So I unravelled all the stitches that made up the gusset and stared at it for a bit.
Then I cut through a lot of them. Just not the bottom three or four rows. They could be long floats on the inside.
Mittens to mitts

The rest now were long enough floats to cut through the middle and weave them in, closing the gap in the mean time.

Some chapters of audio book Harry Potter (read by Stephen Fry!) later and the surgery was done. Only need to snip away the remaining bits from the woven in ends.
Mittens to mitts

Look on the inside before snipping away the excesses:
Mittens to mitts

Finished. Here shown how they were knitted, bottom up mittens:
Mittens to mitts

And here’s how I wear them, wristwarmers. The left one got two rows of green and one row of green purls before I started on the brown border. I used every cm of brown I had. It’s still a bit shorter than its brother but that’s fine:
Mittens to mitts

Celapholod wristwarmers.
One has a double layered cuff, one just a simple bind off. But they are long and will usually live inside the sleeves of my sweater/shirt.

The fabric is lovely and souple, being of fingering thickness yarns. The yarns are both soft, the Skinny Bugga! especially. I’ve been wearing the while typing this and I just can’t stop. Can’t stop wearing them, can’t stop typing.

They can do with a blocking, it will even out the stitches I added, especially the brown top on the left one.
But we’ll see if I ever get around to doing that. I think we can all be proud that I wove in all the ends!

Love my mitts! Loved this adventure. Loved this dyer.