First time knitting a Contiguous cardigan

After finishing Deco Cardi the left over yarn was laying about the house.
The cat showed her appreciation and head butted the cake a couple of times. I petted it whenever I walked by. I may have bounced it of someones head once in a playful show of spousal love.

Anyway. Short story short:

That’s a fresh cast on for a second Donegal cardigan. This time with round accents such as leafs or flowers. And round cables at the edges.

I’m trying out the contiguous technique. Contiguous is a way of increasing stitches while you knit top down and everything happens at the same time but in a logical, easy to comprehend way. Shoulders, back and front panels and sleeves come into existence all at the same time. It’s a flattering fit for people who have squarish shoulders or broad upper torso, just as set in sleeves are (and raglan sleeves are not).

Contiguous as a principle was developed by Susie Meyers. She explains the “recipe” for free.

I found a pattern that uses the same gauge that I get with this Donegal Irish Heather yarn: 14 stitches per 10 cm on needles 4,5 mm. The pattern is Ecological Wool® Manly Henley C243 by Vera Sanon:

pic by cascade yarns

It’s a men’s sweater and it’s free.
I made some modifications to the pattern since I want it to be a cardigan and I want a V-neck. I also want a cable on the shoulder, continuing onto the sleeve and opening up there in some sort of flower.

After only a few rows the shaping is already visible:

That’s the top of a cardigan all right. Back panel is at the top, left and right are the shoulder pads with their cable and at the front two front panels are growing.

But this is as far as this one grows. I’m going to frog it and I’m going to start over.
There are two things I want changed. One is that I want to attach the button band or neck band right from the start. As is I would have to pick up stitches after finishing the body and then knit a band sideways. Pretty much like you do with a standard cardigan pattern.

I like a cabled edging for this cardi, to match the cable on the shoulder. It would be a nuisance to knit that as an afterthought. And I’m not sure if I’m going to make it with the yarn I’ve got left. I used exactly half a kilo for Deco Cardi which means I should have 500 grams left, enough for just one more cardigan.
But cables eat yarn…

Knitting top down and everything at once I can just knit on until I run out of yarn. No worries that a button band is missing.

To learn how to incorporate a neck band from the get go I’ve looked at another contiguous pattern. It’s the wonderful cardigan Danshui by yellowcosmo:

Such a friendly lace pattern! And Oh! What great colours! With that necklace and lipstick and wonderfully careless hair!
One day I hope to knit a Danshui for myself, in a thin yarn. In a great colour and a worsted spun yarn (Wollmeise, Malabrigo, Hedgehog) and be careless and sun kissed like this knitter is.

Danshui has a gauge of 22 st per 10 cm so it’s perfect for another fingering weight. But not now, I’ve got many fingering weight projects going on at the moment. I want quick result aran weight.

The other thing I want to change in my blue cardi is the increases. Increases occur in every row, both Right Side and Wrong Side. I chose to increase with Left Leaning Increases (LLincr) where you knit the stitch and then add a stitch using the stitch under the just knitted stitch.
But it’s leaving holes (they are horizontal in this picture):

Here’s the same piece held up against the light, at the bottom are the stitches from the previous photo. At the top I’m trying out different ways of increasing:

One way to increase is knitting through the front and the back loop of a stitch (Kfb), which is the way the pattern asked me to do right from the start…
Only I do not like Kfb particular because it leaves little bumps. And it does nothing for my holes, I’m such a lose knitter!

There’s a Raveler named Mwaa who has studied various ways of increasing in this method and how they turn out visually. Wonderful study!

Her best sample uses LLincr twice on any Right Side. No increases on a Wrong Side at all. Just place two increases next to each other on a Right Side Row. Looks good.

On Ravelry there’s the Contiguous Group. A whole group dedicated to this way of knitting sweaters, pullovers and cardigans. They have given some serious thought to this whole increase thing.

There’s a wonderful instruction video from who thought of an ingenious way of increasing without holes. You use the stitch one stitch away for making a new stitch from.
It’s a bit confusing that at one place you use the stitch TWO stitches below but at the other side you work in the stitch ONE stitch below. Until I realized in the first instance you had already worked that stitch and in the second not, they are stitches in the same row.

Anyway, I studied some ways of increasing, including the one from the video. Still a bit “holey” but less then the others. I’ll study some more with eliminating the p-stitches around the cable and work from k-stitches only.

ohooo, ElfN likes to study increasings too! I love how technical this craft can get.
ElfN uses the same cleverness as the video: work in a stitch one stitch removed from where you are. But she uses the stitch in the other direction. I like it!
She has an example with a cable too. Then the p-stitches could return. Making the cable more pronounced and even making it possible to work the whole sleeve in reversed stockinette stitch.

I tried out the various variations:

same piece held up against the light:

No, most of this doesn’t work for me. Either too much holes or too tight to work comfortably. It’s like I’m a knitting Goldilocks!

But I can help myself. I like the video-increases-two-stitches-over best and they’ll probably look good if I tension up the p-stitches up a bit.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Just remember to “pull the purls”.


I did it! A top down beginning with neck band simultaneously knitted!

I’m slowly remembering to pull the purls, the p stitches on the shoulders are still a bit holey and loose but I’m getting there. Overall I’m knitting fairly tight, I guess I’m a bit nervous to see this developing under my hands. Will drape it around my neck now, to make sure I’m not knitting too small a size.

And I’m so pleased with how the collar turns out!

It’s a simple 2 x 2 cable with 2 edge stitches. But I made it turn in different directions at the Center Back.
And I made sure it attaches beautifully to the back panel. And I just reworked some stitches at the front panels so it has a p-stitch ridge between the cabled edge and the front panel. Look so good! Really pleased!

PS I just put it on my shoulders and O BOY! The shoulder pads sit smack in the middle of my shoulder (seam). The neck band doesn’t rise so high up my neck that it might itch. The neck lies beautifully flat. It flows to the front naturally.

O boy, o boy, if I can keep it up and do everything right this too will be a fine cardigan!

Weird Wool Wednesday: nutty knitter PR

This picture is currently being used for PR for the Farm- and Countryfair in IJzerlo:

countryfair eerste ooit

that’s me!
I’m knitting! I’m wearing hand knits! I’m using an impractical yarn bowl!

The picture was taken on my very first Countryfair, a few years back.
2011 perhaps?
Let’s see, I’m knitting a cap to go with the shawl I’m wearing and it’s not finished and not dyed purple yet. A bit of Ravelry project sleuthing… ah yes, 2011!

The PR people from the Countryfair also use another picture of our knitting table, this one’s from last year:

breitafel 2014

I’m famous! I wear that green pixie hat way too often! I’m reversing in age!

Do come and visit during the fair. It’s great fun and I’ll bring cookies to go with my “yarn bowl”:

a collar on Sprig

It was indeed one full day of knitting to get the collar right. I made 160 rows onto the 120 stitches of the bodice. I changed the leaf pattern on the collar so it would fit my gauge.

I’ll have to wear it a bit to see if it’s good. It still feels a bit tight… Without the collar the bodice hangs off the shoulder, well onto my upper arm. This is where I based the bustdarts on.
I’ll have to see if, after blocking, this pullover wears with ease or makes me a bit propped up instead. If it is the latter I might frog the collar and knit a new one, using more rows (200? 240?) and shaping the top part with some short rows.

thinking around the WIPs

Besides Willow Trace in the previous post, these are the WIPs that I’m actively working on at the moment. These are the ones that require some thinking…

I finished the bodice and now the sideways collar needs to be attached. I started it, after I recalculated the pattern for my gauge.
But something is not right… it’s too tight. That collar needs to be at a right angle from the bodice.

The pattern attached to the bodice with one stitch for each row. (stitches run vertical, rows go from right to left).
Normally these two relate as 3 stitches for every 4 rows. When you attach a buttonband to a cardigan, this is what you do: you take up 3 stitches for every 4 rows.

It’s what I did with Deco Cardi: 3 stitches going from right to left for every row of the bodice:

Sprig runs the other way: the stitches are in place and now I’m adding the rows. It’s as if the button band is already knit.
So for every 3 bodice stitches there need …. to … be … 4 rows … in the collar ..

I think I now know where I went wrong.

I’ve got 120 stitches coming from the bodice, that’s 120 vertical columns of knit stitches.
So these should mount to (120/3)x4 = 160 rows for the collar, running from one shoulder all the way around. I calculated the other way around, (120/4)x3, thinking I needed 90 rows. I generously aimed for 108 rows because my row gauge in the bodice said that’s what I needed for that circumference. And then I went with 120 rows because that’s easier with keeping the sssk to the body nice and even. I smugly decided on some short rows to get from 120 back down to 108.

Never mind. I figured it out. I’ll be frogging all of this en starting anew.

things to decide on before I can resume knitting:

  • how narrow do I want the top edge to be? this will require some short rows. But beware of the i-cord at the edge, that one draws in (might even need some short rows for itself, to give it more room)
  • in what rhythm will I attach the collar to the bodice? how do I get from 120 to 160 in a visually pleasing way?


I worked on Spring Brioche shawl for hours. I’m slowly getting to the end of the strip. I estimate it takes another full day of knitting to get there. It really is a very slow knit!
Circular needle is already waiting.

I have nearly knitted a left Flax Skew to go with the right one:

These Skews are weird. They ripple in the most unexpected places:

The pattern keeps eluding me, I keep misunderstanding the mechanics.
My whole idea is to increase stitch count all around to accommodate for high instep. But clearly I’ve increased too much here!
Second modification is to keep on knitting at the heel until the band closes comfortably. I miscalculated in this one because the 6 stitch wide band misses its partner all together and I had to decrease like crazy to get to the 72 stitch count needed for the leg.

Oh well. A sock is a sock. And this one has a great colour.

Willow Trees Cowl

I’ve got a new WIP on the needles, Willow Trace cowl:

It’s a free pattern by Puk Vossen, named Trees, which is a Dutch women’s name derived from Therèse and I like how the written word refers to trees. In Dutch, Trees is pronounced like the English “trace”.

Trees by Puk Vossen

It’s originally meant for lace weight yarn and it’s a long narrow tube that you can drape in various ways. As a cowl, a shawl, a hat. Or a wimple. I love wimples. They are long cowls that you can pull up until they cover your head.

I’m knitting it in handspun fingering weight in that lovely BFL that Pimmie gave me last year and that I’ve been wearing as is around my neck:

sorry for the tired look, I feel better today

I’m combining the construction of pattern Trees with a lace pattern from another cowl pattern: Willow Cowl by Amelia Lyon:

 pic by Amelia Lyon

This gives the ridges. As a design Willow Cowl starts fairly wide at the bottom and narrows to the top but it doesn’t sit high up the neck like Trees does, so I’m not doing that, I’m just knitting straight ahead.

This is my current project for when I want my hands to be busy but my mind absented. All the other WIPs require some degree of thinking or decision making at the moment so Willow Trees is very welcome.

Weird Wool Wednesday: flossing is good

We went to the dentist yesterday and everything was fine. I was relieved if not giddy when paying for the appointment afterwards.

The receptionist had seen me knitting in the waiting area and got very enthousiastic about it.
I then got very enthousiastic too.

She asked if I knew how to knit socks.
I do. I do! I DO!
pic by Daria Mana
I kicked off my shoe and swung my leg as high as I good, placing a Skew right onto the receptionist’s balie. Right next to the card reader. Right in her face. A warm, damp Skew.

I was so ashamed when we drove home.
At home I discovered there was even a bunch of cat hair stuck to the sole.
It must have looked so gross!

I’ll have to change dentists now.

Or floss so much I’ll never have to go back there.

Here’s a link to a short gif about a cat being very surprised at voluntary tooth brushing. I’m still so ashamed.

Skirt for my Skew

I made a skirt to go with my Snake Skews:

The fabric started life as a curtain from IKEA but as soon as I saw the colours I wrapped a rectangle of it around myself and measured how wide it needed to be to fit me instead of the window sill. One meter x 70 cm.

Prewashed and put on the floor it’s already nearly a skirt, as you can clearly see. There’s the top and there’s the bottom and there’s even a thingy for a vent at the bottom right:

I sewed it closed and put a zipper in and then started to shape the top with darts until it fit. Put a waist band on it and call it your new skirt!

I put in a pocket, so I can have pills and ear plugs with me at all times. Here you can see the side seam only runs just a little below the pocket, it doesn’t run to the hem.

I love it! It looks great with my Snake Skews and the eco printed shirt Sinterklaas gave me!


I wear this with the green Polwarth handspun shawl I traded with a friend and then I’m a pretty picture of couture!

(I’m making believe sewing a skirt is simple but it isn’t really. Putting in a vent or a zipper or a pocket is fiddly as fudge. Luckily there are tutorials on the net.)

(Making a waist band that’s more narrow at the top than at the bottom requires some real thinking. I started out with a long small strip but that doesn’t work. It needs to be shaped. Shaped like a trapezoid or otherwise a round shape.
Stuck with only a long narrow strip and no more fabric I did “a nasty hack” that turned out well. By accident. Not by design or smarts.)(I hope to employ those next time, design and smarts.)

(A nasty hack to make a rectangle waist band into a shaped one:

where the WIPs at?

Let me check the state of all the WIPs I have going on at the moment.

Nothing was done at Spring Brioche Shawl. I know where it is though.
For Deco Cardi I did the necessary research. It’s now time to apply theory to the wool.
All of the socks are pretty much where they were when I photographed them on Wednesday.

Pumpkin Ale saw some serious progress in two days:

I’m knitting in Fingering weight while the pattern states Worsted. (There are two sizes between those: Sport and DK. It’s absolute ridiculous that I get a worsted gauge (21 st/10 cm) in a fingering yarn. On sock needles.)

My row gauge differs from the pattern though, so I’ll probably work way more rows than the pattern says. This is 12 cm long and twice as dense as the examples of others.

This week I’m spending many hours lying flat on the couch, (I’m having a relapse in health), and knitting on an interesting project prevents me from going out of my mind with boredom. This Ale Cardi is perfect.

Lots of strange things happening this week. Somehow the mirror in the cabin refused to function any longer unless I did something about the WIPs that I’ve been claiming to love so much. I couldn’t look myself in the eye anymore!

So I picked up Sprig pullover and within a few hours had completed the body:

Ahh, knitting with handspun is such a nice craft to perform.

When ill it’s also good to have a project that does not require attention, where you can just knit in the round and the round, while your brain marinates in whatever juices this stupid illness produces. (ME/CFS/SEID)
But now the marinating is done because the next step is working on the yoke, which is done sideways and features a branch:

detail from pattern Sprig by Alana Dakos

Here too I’m working at a different gauge so I have to understand the pattern thoroughly before knitting it in my yarn and on these needles.
For the numb brain knitting I have my various Skews.

When I was able to sit upright for a while I did some further spinning. I’ve now spun away two of the three boxes of Hollands Spotted Sheep:

This is one half of the white on the bobbin. There’s already a skein of half white/half brown and two smaller skeins.

This needs a few more hours of spinning white and then I can attach a new leader to an empty bobbin for the dark brown. The dark brown will take longer than the white because its staple is shorter. That means I have to do much more hand gestures per inch than with the white. And it’s way more fiddly to make the fleece grab onto the thread and cover it completely. I’m not looking forward to it, to be honest.

The next picture gives some clues of how much I’m not looking forward to starting the brown fleece… (or for how often I got to sit up and spin this week). That’s all the Skews and the Coexist sock right there. Conveniently at reaching distance from the couch.