Finished: Willow Trace Cowl

It’s not extra long…

but it’s extra luscious!

It’s the Willow Trace that I mentioned earlier.
I used up all the handspun Pimmie spun, in lovely BFL. 319 m on needles 3 mm.

It’s both a cowl and a wimple. The two items I wear the most because I’m often cold. No scratch that, I’m often cool. Chill. That’s me. The cool need cowls.


Contiguous: separating for the sleeves

I’m already separating for the sleeves on my Donegal Heather Contiguous Cardi:

This is a wonderful way of creating a garment, knitting up all the yarn without worry you have to go back and attach a sleeve or a neck band. It’s all there already.
I am a bit sceptic whether I’ll make a full body and two sleeves out of this because there IS a finite amount of yarn here… but I can’t say anything until I’m further down the body. I’ve already thought about adding a grey strip but continuing the cabled edge in blue.

I’m also eyeing the “ruffles” that have occurred at the shoulder seam. I’ve seen it in other contiguous projects too. Not in this particular pattern but in other garments using the contiguous technique.
I’m hoping it’ll block out but I’ve seen that not happening in other projects… However, it’s done and I’m keeping it this way. I don’t feel like tinking back and trying to fix it. And I KNOW that shoulder line and sleeve caps will relax with blocking and fit with more ease.

The cable detail on the shoulder holds beautifully. I kept remembering to pull the purl tight and there are no holes now. I continue it on the sleeve that I’m making out of reverse stockinette stitch.

Seeing this photo’s I think I know how to pick up that long parked lovely sweater: little dragon cardigan.

Made from the wool I bought on my last holidays: Ireland 2013. Also a Donegal yarn, bought at Springwools in Dublin. A lovely green.
The design is inspired by a cardigan I had ten years ago and that made some guy whisper lovingly every time I passed him at the Art Academy: “little dragonnn…. little dragonnn…”.

I had to put away the wip when I ran into a shoulder inflammation. But by now I’ve changed my posture and the way I knit and it doesn’t flare up so much any more. I’ve been knitting socks again after all!

The thing is: my gauge changed. I’m much looser now. And I was loose to begin with! By now I knit Wollmeise Lace on 1,5 mm needles to get a 21 st per 10 cm gauge…
normal people pick a 3,25 mm for that.

Anyway. Different gauge means I’d have to restart Dragon Cardi, I couldn’t just pick up where I left it. (I’ve been longing for it many times. The same with the stranded woodland sweater I’ve been designing.)

Looking at these blue top down pictures I now know exactly how to knit Little Dragon Cardi. Contiguous, with cables on the shoulders from which the spikes emerge.
And I get to avoid that mistake that bothered me back then: when columns of k and p stitches run too wide. I now know to “pull the purl”.

Back then I pointed to that wide column with my darning needle:

the miracle of blocking: Sprig and Wolgelukkig mitts and bunting.

Well what do you know, blocking made the Sprig pullover fit!

Lovely neck detail:

Here now some pictures showing me, my Sprig and my living room in all our disorganized mess. I could claim that an outward disarray merely points towards an organized mind?

But the truth is that I’ve spend a whole week on the couch, recuperating from three weeks in the city, and that I just cannot do any better than this. I haven’t washed, I haven’t cooked and I certainly haven’t tidied up. But I have rested, I remembered to take all my pills and I have recovered to an acceptable level of functionality in just one week.

Today I’m up and about for the first time. I stuck my nose outside and smelled the Spring. Lovely!
I was also well enough to block Sprig. And well enough to have some pictures taken. Not well enough to remember to stand in the light. Ah well!

Sprig is not too tight at all. It rides up a bit, but handknit Long Draw handspun tends to do that with me. No idea why.

The asymmetrical neck sits good:

Not too tight at the bust either. I can breathe comfortably. Gauge did turn out to be as advertised. I’m shocked.

The sleeves have a nice detail too. Not visible here. I attached a button. Barely visible here. I think I’ll change it for something else, it’s so obscure. Having a button at the inside of the forearm is not too pleasant so I might take it off altogether.

Blocking also worked well for the Wolgelukkig wristwarmers.

Unfortunately my camera didn’t want to play. I’ll have to redo these pictures but I cannot muster that today so I’m showing you these in the mean time:

The bind off at the wrist still curls a bit and is too wide. But the handspun Shetland is a dream to process and wear. I cannot wait to spin the colour assorted combed top I have.

The third approved blocking experience was with these two little flags I crocheted:

They both feature my handspun. They are meant for bunting for a knitting in public picknick we’re doing with the Dutch Karma Swap Group. It’s also our anniversary. We’ll be going to a park, somewhere in June, when it’s international Knit in Public Day and we’ll have cake and we’ll knit.

Weird Wool Wednesday: body issues

I just finished Sprig pullover!
Just 5 minutes off the needles:

nice details on the sleeves. They’ll get some buttons too.

Measuring it, this seems a little small…

I did have a limited amount of yarn. Only 490 m. Sprig took 442 m. It looks a little small to me. Does this look small to you?

next to a regular longsleeve of mine:

yes. Definitely small….
Short too.
I’ll be pulling on the hem all day when I wear it.

If I wear it…. because wearing a sweater that’s too tight is just uncomfortable.

The thing is: I knew it all along while I was knitting. Every time I tried it on.
But I kept thinking: “Nahh, gauge is correct.”
“It still needs blocking anyway.”

“I’ll sit up straight when wearing this. A good reminder to maintain good posture.”

“I can block this ferociously.”

Well, I better. Because this handknit sweater is too small. And I already have two of those. Which I never wear because of that.

When am I going to learn that I am NOT a petite, frail little thing? That wearing ease is a friend to be welcomed. Contrary to mr. Gauge who is a lying piece of moth who should be vetted by a herd of hautain alpacas!

(hey, do you reckon the word “hoity-toity” comes from the word “hautain”? They mean the same. And camelids are good in it.)

Finished: Wolgelukkig Shetland Wristwarmers

right:

used 14 grams of my handspun Shetland. You get the whole package from Wolgelukkig: roving to spin and the pattern.
I had to swatch with various needles to find a gauge that would work with my hand. I ended up knitting the whole mitt with needle 2,5 mm. The pattern says 3,5 or 3 mm.

It has a picot edge but that’s not visible because it’s flipped straight up. I think due to two rows of stockinette stitch right before the bind off. Will change those two to reverse stockinette stitch in the left one. And blocking might be of help too.

Knitting the left one. It will be shorter than the right one, I’m running out of yarn:

Binding off the left one. The two rows of rev.st.st. indeed counter the flipping.
But I’ve hit a snag: I’ve measured out the tail of the yarn in fours and am meeting the knot indicating a fourth when I have not yet bind off one fourth of all stitches:

I ripped out a few rows and started again. This time I’ve got enough yarn but I have changed the picots towards the end because I am running out of yarn fast and I still need to sew up the sides:

Sewn shut. That’s all the yarn that’s left. I do not like these kind of games.

Ack, I forgot to decrease six stitches at the wrist. It’s now pretty wide and loose. And it took up precious yarn. But the picot edge does not flip up, that’s good. Blocked pictures soon to come!

Contiguous Continued

 pic by SusieM, the developer

Contiguous is a really interesting technique, also because developer and students still haven’t unravelled all its secrets. There are still mysteries to be explained.

For example: in finer yarn weights, the neck tends to rise up en the shoulders have a distinctive slope downwards that’s bothering people who have squarish shoulders. This slope is even more pronounced when there are only one or two stitches in the centre of the shoulder.

pic by Raveler Mwaa, who studies this technique thoroughly.

It is caused because at the shoulder length is determined by the height of a stitch whereas at all the panels you’re dealing with the width of stitches. The sharper the turn in direction is (only 1 of 2 shoulder stitches) of the longer the dissimilarity is continued (with thin yarns you make more rows before reaching the shoulder tip) the more pronounced the slope is.

That’s why in some patterns increases are made in the middle of the back panel, to make the neck come down a bit. But where to increase? And how many? And why does this work?
It’s one of the continuous topics of conversation over in the Continuous Group.

Luckily I’m working with thickish yarn and I’ll have reached the tip of the shoulder before the difference gets too pronounced to bother my squarish shoulders.

I have started anew though. I was not happy with how loose the purl stitches were next to the shoulder strip. I hadn’t remembered to pull them tight.
Better start over:

These look good now. No gaping holes.
The increases form a rigid stacked … erm… ridge. This may not be to a knitter’s liking. Too harsh in wearing or too rigid in drape. A solution to this that the people in the Contiguous group have found is to increase one stitch out on the RS (it’s a sort of 1 st cable. It tugs at my purl stitch and that’s really convenient).
But on the WS they increase in the stitch just knitted or about to be knit. Not it’s neighbour.

I tried this too but that wouldn’t pull my p-stitch tight so I opted for the stacked ridge by making every increase one stitch over.

Looking at my newly started cardigan I’ve now found something else I want to fix. I’m dissatisfied with how the cables look. They are too tight and knitting them hurts my hands.

At the neck back I turned the cables every 4rd Right Side Row (RS) I thought.
But knitting the body in the first attempt it seemed they were too loose. You cannot see it clearly in the pictures from last Friday but I could see it very clear in the knitted fabric.
As I was restarting from the neck band anyway I decided to turn the cables more often. On every 2nd RS

I now think this is way too tight. And hurting hands is not good.
I did a bit of swatching and turning every 3rd RS is the golden ticket:

So what will I do? Rip everything out for a second time and start again? Or try and do some “sweater surgery” and unravel only the cables and build them up again. We are talking about four instances with each 3 turned cables.
Two instances are edges, a special nuisance to reknit.
I have a feeling there’s not much time to win by rebuilding the cables instead of reknitting the whole thing. Rebuilding does have the advantage that I don’t have to think about anything else such as placing increases and tugging at the purl-stitches.

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”.

A FEW HOURS LATER:

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.