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:


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!

Progress on Deco Cardi: a better diamond

I redesigned the way the diamonds stack together:

There’s a purl in there and the dominant line doesn’t cross over to the diamond below. In the next stack the other line will be dominant so as to alternate in each individual diamond.
It kind of works. It’s a bit hard to see by now because I’ve frogged this piece for 15 times now and the yarn at the purl stitch is getting a bit fuzzy. Fuzzy yarns conceal things.
But I’m ok with this, I’m working downwards now, I want to get this cardi in progress.

The hip increases have already been put in. I’m back at the total stitch count of 108 stitches now, the same that will go into the lower border.
I’ve also started two other stacks of diamonds. They will be two diamonds high. The one in the picture will be four high.

I’ve spend some days grubling about. (to gruble = Norwegian for pondering and I personally insert some muttering as well)
Because I was rather dumb when I positioned that first stack of diamonds. Its centre stitch is in line with the border I want to knit, it is at stitch number 39. Which is actually number 41 once the hip increases are in place. The border is *1k,3p* with extra k at the end. (and two edge stitches which I forgot and have to fudge once I approach the border.

But as I want the diamonds at the bottom in a particular rhythm of high and low diamonds I needed this stack to be anywhere but #41. At the moment it forces one side to have a high diamond and the other half a low one.
The two sides of the front panels will never mirror each other when it’s at #41. I tried and sketched and thought about other sizes diamonds and magically increasing some parts and end up with 112 stitches or even 120, just to make things work.

I could bore you with the mathematics but the summary is that I did it wrong and it’s never going to be right.
I don’t understand, I spend hours designing it and counting out stitches in the first place. How can I’ve made this mistake?

In terms of solving this mistake I spend the last few days trying to make the numbers work nonetheless, but they won’t. Along the way I’ve given up on putting a pocket in there. That would require my last brain cell to overheat, I’m sure.
I seriously contemplated frogging it all and starting all over, placing the first diamond at a more appropriate number.
But having knit that part sixteen times already and having no guarantee my head will be good this time I decided against frogging. There we are. My left front panel won’t match my right and that’s the end of it. If the cardigan-police comes by and dares to comment I’ll refer them to my off-kilter Minty handspun Wintertrui 2014. It’s a design feature, darling!

But the head not working has me rather annoyed. It’s a real nuisance when you unexpectedly encounter bad mental capabilities.
I guess I better get used to it because it’ll probably progress with age. And I better be on alert whenever I’m under stress or relapse in ME because that’s when the head goes too. I’m still muttering a bit, all this reknitting and redesigning has cost me so much knitting time.

While grubling and grumbling and getting my head to work I did get a lot done on the Spring Brioche shawl though. Because once the thinking is out of the way the actual knitting is smooth sailing. Especially in quality yarns.

Picking up Deco Cardi

The last thing I showed you on Deco Cardi was back on January 6th, about designing the diamond shape. Later that week I took this picture which showed something important. Then I ripped back a few rows and then I had to leave the project because my shoulder really hurt. Then the cat fell ill and I followed suit and my brain went mush. Since then I’ve looked at this picture a couple of times and all I remember is that it shows something important but I’ve not been able to decipher what.


Last Wednesday I remembered!
Yes, Weird Wool Wednesday did turn out to be a good day for knitting, once I got out of bed. It seems after all these weeks of ME I finally got my knitting brain back and on Wednesday I understood knitting again!
There are particular things in the diamonds that do not please me.
The diamond shape is now defined by overlapping diagonal lines. Instead of just being outer lines of the shape it’s now all about the lines themselves. I don’t like the look of that.

Also I had employed some tricks to try and make the shape stand more apart from the background of plain stockinette stitch that were not working. All line stitches are knitted through the back loop and the shape itself has an extra border of purl stitches around it.
This doesn’t work well. Not all twisted stitches contribute. And the purl stitches have an issue with tension. That’s solvable but requires knitter compliance. Hmm. Not this month, thank you.

The last I did before I put this knitting project in time out was rip back to the beginning of the diamond. I did design something that addresses the two issues I mentioned and then I knit six rows anew. I noted the new diamond on a piece of paper. Did not take additional notes.
Then I put away the project. Lost my head.
I did carried it with me, to and from the city, in those weeks, but couldn’t understand it. Until two days ago!

On glorious, sunny Wednesday I sat down with the knitting. Couldn’t find the paper with the notes. Didn’t understand one word of the staccato blurbs I put on my Ravelry project page.
But I had the knitting and knitting I can read.
And boy, did I feel clever! Because I slowly started to understand what I saw. I understood the cabling, the twisting, the wideness of the diamond. It all made sense and it all fitted together.
My brain really functions again, yay!

The six rows I did knit way back in January had the start of a new shape and it’s a nice diamond, with clear defined edges but not too much “lineliness”. I was able to complete it.
The top is nice and crisp:

It’s a very clever top too. It looks like two lines start the shape but that’s actually a three stitch cable. The third stitch ends up in the middle, as a purl stitch. But there’s not one stitch crossing both its companions, because that would leave a hole somewhere. No, this is some sort of “braid cable”. Very clever, if I do say so myself. And I do.
Also: some of the stitches are twisted but some are not, to employ their “direction” to the maximum. At the bottom some change direction in twist.
I was able to knit the shape it a bit further, into the whole diamand you see above, trying to get a feel for the desired width and length.

I now had to make decisions: how large do I want these diamonde to grow? How and where should it meet the others? Should there be extra lines for emphasize? Interior decorations? How will they grow stems that are knitting all the way down and dissolve into the border of *k1,p3*?

I knitted a little swatch to figure out the exact shaping of the diamonds:

One is as large as the one on top, it’s a bit long, almost leave like, it also has a little detail inside. Meh. The right one is smaller, with clearer edges. More diamond shape. That’s the one. It cannot have interior decorations.

It is 7 stitches wide (5 centre stitches, 2 outline stitches). My border at the bottom will have a four stitch repeat: k1, p3 (with some k stitches slipped). I have 108 stitches on the needles and I remembered that this was significant. Further waist decreases will be nulled by hip increases, this 108 number was important…
108 is 27 repeats of *k1,p3*. (remember to account for edge stitches once you reach the bottom)

This will fit 13 diamonds. Next to each other or in a syncopate pattern. From each diamond and from the stitch between them a column of k stitches will descend.
I like these diamonds all to have the same width and same height. 13 is not a lot. Better use vertical stacking as the only design play. Use sparsely.
I scribbled a bit on a checkered notepad to get a feel for them. I really had a good time on Wednesday!

Since then I’ve ripped back to the top of the first diamond a few times. Because my tension is now different from when I knitted the top. It was more tense. Riprip. The second time around it was too loose. Riprip.
Now it’s acceptable. It still differs from before but it’s okay. It’s at the waist where the cardigan can be more fitted. And blocking might produce magic?

By now I’ve got this new diamond shape design down to a T. I love it!

But looking at the picture I see I’ve missed the bigger picture: the diamonds do not stack up correctly. The line from the top one goes straight on to form a line in the bottom one. That’s not what I want. I want individual diamonds stacked on top of each other. Not some trellis thing.

Back to the drawing board for me.
But I’m having fun! Glad to have my brain back in gear. And lovely to knit with this yarn again! It’s so soft and round and fast and its smell is so friendly!

I’m not sure… did you know that I like Donegal yarn?

Being good, doing the homework

I’m good, I’m good. I’m doing my homework.

The detail on my Deco Cardi is now designed and in progress:

The shawl for Wollmeise is also designed. And by this I mean I know where to start and in which direction to knit. I’ll wing it from there.

And this morning I went to the doctor and he says I have shoulder impingement. So addressing that is in progress now too. First stop is the hospital, to see wether I’m growing calcium marbles in the inflamed tissue. Then they can be zapped.

Oh, and I finished that yarn!

The rest of the yarn is not so eyewatering. I purposefully plied the colours against each other so it would be toned down a bit:

Finished: Bluebird Cardigan!

I’m proud!
And a little tilted.

Can’t tell if it’s me or wether the cardigan has hung on the chair askew but it sits right when I stand up straight and pull it a bit down on one side. As it was knitted in the round it has exactly the same rows left and right. Must’ve been the chair then.

It sits perfect! The cables gather exactly at my waist. The collar is nice and high. Sleeves are long enough.

It only used 1000m of yarn, 2,5 skeins of that wonderful Donegal Yarns Irish Heather 1.16 nm
I used needles 5,5 mm

Weird Wool Wednesday: one, two, SURPRISE!

In knitting, there are basically only two stitches. There’s the knit stitch. And there’s the purl stitch. Everything else is a variation on one of these two.

Today I discovered I still mix them up, even in their simplest form… and I’m surprised at that.

I am working on the second version of Donegal cardi, after I so painfully knitted half a sweater before discovering I had done the math wrong. This time everything is going well! I did the math right. Made the cables fall in my waist, providing extra waist shaping. I crossed all the cables right. Placed increases and decreases at their proper places. Invented a collar while I was at it. Things were going well and I had a bodice with a collar on it.
hard work was done!
Only two sleeves left to knit.

I know how I like my sleeves: knit shortrows at the shoulder cap, picking up one stitch from the armhole with each turn. Add a little room in the back, gather a little at the front.

I even remembered to knit the first sleeve with enough ease as I have a tendency to knit my sleeves too tight.

Smooth sailing! Look: no holes where I picked up the stitches.  Even tension. No bulk at the front (that’s no bulk, that’s me not laying the cardi flat properly. Trust me, there’s no bulk.)

It wasn’t until I had to think about the cuff that I noticed I had forgot to count to two. There are TWO basic stitches of knitting. This cardigan relies on the PURL stitch.

That should be a sleeve in PURL stitches. Reversed stockinette stitch. Just like the body, where it gives a nice stage for the cables to shine on.

I can’t believe I knitted 3 days worth of sleeve without noticing this. Or even thinking about it. I must have used up all my thinking capacity with the body!
I’m so surprised I made this mistake. Are you? Or have you come to expect this of me? nowaitdon’tanwerthat

Well. The sleeve has to be reknit. As it is it distracts too much from the body, there is not enough uniformity.

here is the projectpage

Cardigan knitted bottom-up, set in sleeves knitted top down

Weird Wool Wednesday: prepare for winter

Here’s my Donegal cardigan mark 1 and mark 2:

On the right is Mark 1: the wrong cardigan, it is halfway frogged and I am using its yarn for one of my buttonbands. It is now connected to the new cardigan via this small umbilical thread….
It came in handy not having frogged this all the way. I could study this piece of knitting for gauge, buttonbands, button holes and amount of stitches between the cables.

On the left is Mark 2: the now rightly calculated cardigan in progress. It is knitted on needles 5,5 mm in stead of 5 mm, for just a bit more souple fabric. Besides, I’m knitting on my new ChiaGoo Red Lace needles and I love those!
I recalculated the numbers (gauge is 12,5 st per 10 cm while the pattern is 21 st) and I even put in some ease, for optimum wearability. I am gaining smartness every day that I knit!

There is a cat buried under all that wool.
No, it is not trying to escape.

I was offered this paw and some mumbling by way of protest against me moving around and getting the iPad to take these pictures.

We’ve had a bout of cold weather and the cat is convinced it is time to hibernate. Or at least take a few days rest while her winter pelt is growing. Either way it is very important to lay under thick layers of wool and THAT NOBODY MOVES.

And yes, that’s the felted fleece I got as a heartwarming present! I have it wrapped around the cat my legs because when my ankles get cold I have to sneeze 14 times.
Wut?! I operate to my own logic I’ll have you know!
I also ate all the Gorgonzola blue cheese yesterday. Because I had to pee.

Busy growing fur:

Will all this movement and sunlight have consequences?

No, all remains well:

Send cheese.