Category Archives: Garment Design

Raglan Sweater Episode 4 – Sleeves

Raglan Sweater Made from Custom Yarnia Yarn :)

Raglan Sweater Made from Custom Yarnia Yarn 🙂

My most humblest apologies for being excessively tardy with posting this. I’ve been obsessed (obviously) with other things.  I still want to help more people make their own sweaters before the end of the year. For me it’s helping us deal with the downturn one sweater at a time. Also, it’s wonderful to see the pride in people’s faces after they’ve made their first sweater.

Today. I”m going to review how to get those sleeves done! You can view the earlier episodes for my Raglan Sweater instructions here:

Raglan Sweater 1: Selecting your Fiber

Raglan Sweater 2: Calculating Stitches and Casting On

Raglan Sweater 3: Working up the Body and Arm Pit Gussets

I use the “Magic Loop” method for making sleeves all the time. You can knit a sleeve in the round and gradually increase the circumference of the  sleeve from the cuff to the upper arm; therefore, you can knit it using the magic loop method to knit both sleeves at once. I absolutely love doing this for three reasons:

  1. You get both sleeves done at the same time
  2. When you knit both sleeves at the same time it helps guarantee that both sleeves will be knit at the same guage
  3. As your doing increases or creating features on the sleeve at the same time this gives you the opportunity to keep these design features as uniform as possible between the two sleeves

Here’s how I calculate the increases for the sleeves:

Measure around your cuff (Measurement A), and measure around the thickest part of your upper arm (Measurement B). The calculate the number of stitches you need to begin the sleeve based on your gauge with the yarn. For example:

I want to do the cuffs and hem in garter stitch using a smaller pair of needles. I know my gauge is 16 stitches for a 4″ swatch or 4 stitches an inch using these needles. The circumference around my wrist or “A” is 6.  I’m going to multiply 4 x 6 and I get: 24 stitches.  But I like my cuff a little bit loose so I’ll add 2 more stitches to make it 26 stitches for the cast on.

Measurement “B” is 11″  (4 stitches x 11 = 44 stitches). There for I have to increase the circumference of the sleeve by 46 stitches. I usually increase a both the beginning and the end of a round of stitches (a total increase of 2 stitches per increase row). So this would mean I would have to increase a total of  23 times over the length of each sleeve. You can calculate the number of rows you would need to achieve the length based on your gauge. Take a brief look at the example illustrated below:

Slide1

Slide2 - Sleeves

Slide3 - Sleeves

Using “Magic Loop” to knit two sleeves at a time:

I usually start the first few rows of each cuff separately (sometimes on double points) then I put both cuffs with the yarn tails on the same sides onto the circular needles. Knit both sleeves at a time. Make sure to do your increase rows on both sleeves as you knit up the sleeve.

If you haven’t seen or tried the “Magic Loop” method there are a number of helpful tutorials on Youtube that can help walk you through the process. I’ve embedded one of my favorites here:

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Craft, Garment Design, Garter stitch, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Stockinette, Wool, Yarn

Offering classes this summer at the Naked Sheep

Summer’s here and I’m teaching a few classes at the Naked Sheep in lovely North Portland. I’m pretty excited about the crocheted cardigan class as I’ve discovered myself that you can make pretty and stylish garments in crochet. It’s not just about granny squares, afghans and toilet roll cozies (not that those are bad things).

You can check the class schedule at the Naked Sheep’s website, but I’m also posting my classes here with some added description. I’ll be taking photos this weekend of the swatches, samplers and garment in the classes below.  Please note, I also offer additional individual help for students on Thursday nights during “Knit Night” at the Naked Sheep.

Learn to Crochet
with Natalie
$55
If you want to learn to crochet or just need a refresher course, this class is for you! You’ll learn the basics in just 3 classes and get started on the project of your choice! You will learn the four basic stitches in crochet as well as how to shape flat and round objects in crochet. You will also learn how to read and interpret basic crochet instructions and schematics.  Finally, you’ll pick your own crochet project and start it during the class.

Mondays ( July 20, 27 and August 3)

6:30-8:30pm

Crocheted Embellishments
with Natalie
$25

Want to perfect your sweater edge with a crochet edge? In this course we will discuss techniques for making a crochet edge on hems and necklines. We will also cover techniques for establishing the correct number of crochet stitches on stockinette and garter stitch knitting. Students will learn how to do a basic crochet edge as well as a picot and scalloped stitch edge. They will also learn how to make a crochet button band and button placket.

Saturday ( July 25) 10:30am – 12:30pm

Cropped Crochet Cardigan
with Natalie
$55
Crochet Cardigan
Tired of being restricted to crocheting hats and scarves? You can branch out to crocheted garments by learning to make this smart-looking spring and summer cardigan. During this class, we will discuss sizing and adapting patterns to fit your size. You will also learn how to create simple embellishments like a button band and crocheted edging. This pattern can also be adjusted for longer sleeve and body length!

Saturdays ( August 15, 22 and 29)
10:30am-12:30pm

Additional Information for the Cropped Crochet Cardigan:

Prerequisites: Advanced Beginner Crochet

Must be able to do the following:

  • Make a foundation chain
  • Stitches: Single (sc), Half-Double (hdc), and Double (dc) Crochet

Materials needed:

  • 1200 – 1800 yards dk or heavy sport weight yarn (details for amounts per size available below). Recommended yarns: Hempathy, Silky Wool, Glacier del Cielo, Cotton Rich. No novelty or boucle yarns please.
  • Size D, E, F crochet needles. Needle size needed depends on your gauge
  • Removable stitch markers
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 small plain buttons or ( 3-4 sets of hooks and eyes)
  • 3-4 large decorative buttons

Homework:

Make a 4”x4” swatch with the yarn you chose in half-double crochet (hdc)

Size/Yarn Estimations:

Size (Bust)

Yardage

35

1188

39

1296

43

1404

47

1512

51

1620

1 Comment

Filed under Crochet, Garment Design, Knit, Knitting

My Fiber Ed at the Knit and Crochet Show

I attended the Knit and Crochet Show this week and was fortunate enough to take two classes.

Fine shaping in crochet with Lily Chin. I recommend taking this class to anyone who has felt frustrated or limited with construction and design options in crochet. Lily’s excellent class helped open doorways to understanding how to shape garments in crochet.

Part of our homework including making an eight inch swatch of a crochet stitch pattern of our choice and making several Xerox copies of the stitch. She showed us how to create a graph template using inch grid chart paper from any garment. She also demonstrated that we could carefully lay out the Xerox copies of our stitch pattern and estimate or plan out our design on the template.

Lily truly is a talented instructor and a storehouse of knowledge about her craft. She shared some of her design stories and swatches.  She told the story of her adventure of crafting a beautiful metallic thread crochet dress and the trial and error process she went through to make a stunning evening dress worn by Cindy Crawford. I scoured the Internet looking for an image of the dress but I could not find it. I honestly think this was one of the most helpful classes in fiber craft I’ve ever taken and I recommend this for anyone who’s itching to boost their skills in crochet and garment design. I can only imagine that her knitting classes are just as enlightening.

I went home and ordered a copy of Couture Crochet as soon as I got home.

Click the image to view the book at Interweave Press

Click the image to view the book at Interweave Press

Designer Day with Janet Szabo. I got a lot of important and useful information and insights on launching one’s own career in the world of fiber design. It was a really valuable class for anyone who is interested in becoming a designer of knit or crochet.

She was able to dispell some of the myths lodged in my brain about getting started as a designer and self-publishing. One of the most important lessons I learned: if you want to insure that your patterns are the best and secure a good reputation as a designer, hire a tech editor to check your patterns.

This class was a good start to understanding what it takes to launch a business as a designer but I would also encourage those who are interested to check SCORE or the SBA (Small Business Association) for classes. I took a class a year or so ago on writing business plans that was very helpful.

On another note, Janet has written two books that I’ve found indispensable:

I Hate to Finish Sweaters &

Aran Sweater Design

Click the image to view the book at Janets site.

Click the image to view the book at Janet's site.

Leave a comment

Filed under Aran, Challenge, Creativity, Crochet, Fashion, Garment Design, Knit

Recuperation and waiting projects

I’ve been pretty sick for the past two weeks. Actually the last three or four days or so I’ve been on the mend.  Earlier this week I came down with a bad bout of bronchitis. Which had me laid up in bed resting, taking antibiotics and drinking lots of “Breathe Easy” tea. I honestly think I can’t stomach the stuff anymore, and the smell of it makes me gag.

Yoke Sweater in Araucania Nature Wool

Yoke Sweater in Araucania Nature Wool

The Tweedy Aran cardigan was abandoned… and the project I remained anonymous to was a top down yoke cardigan out of Araucania Nature Wool (languishing in my stash) from Wendy Bernard’s wonderful book Custom Knits.  I really adore this book. Aside from the sweater I just finished I’ve already cued three patterns from it.  The instructions are very easy to follow and I like the fact that she give you permission and even instructions on how to adapt the patterns to your desires and needs. This is the kind of Knitting Designer I adore.

I was probably monogamous to this pattern during my illness because it was easy to knit, requiring very little mental strain. Eric joked that a week of sickbed time and I end up with a sweater.

I meant to post my latest raglan earlier but never got around to it. Here it is:

I made the yarn at Yarnia. It’s actually a blend of bamboo and wool.  I really did enjoy knitting this sweater. The think about stranded yarns is that you have to be very carful with your tension while your knitting. Adding a strand of sticky wool boucle to this yarn blend actually gave it more of a grip. Also, I have enough of the stuff left over to make a nice scarf or cowl for someone.

Yarnia Raglan Sweater - Wool & Bamboo

Yarnia Raglan Sweater - Wool & Bamboo

Close up of stockinette

Close up of stockinette

1 Comment

Filed under Garment Design, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Patterns, Stockinette, Stuff I made, Sweater, Wool, Yarn

Raglan Sweater Episode 3: Working up the body & armpit gussets

I’m sorry I’m extremely tardy in posting this. I’ve been incredibly distracted by among other things Norah Gaughn’s Tweedy Aran Cardigan. I swore I would do my best to avoid knitting sweaters that I would have to seam, but looks like I broke my oath :).

In the sweater I knit for Eric I didn’t do any waist shaping or decreasing. The body of the sweater was knit up as a straight tube. He likes his sweater hems to ride just below his hip, so I would make him try on the tube periodically to see how I was doing. Once I got about two inches from his armpits I started to knit the armpit or underarm gussets.

Now one might ask why even knit these gussets? Doesn’t it just create a strange little pouch near the armpit. Apparently the gussets are a feature designed for fishermen who wore their ganseys or guernseys (sweaters) while they were out at sea. All the work on a boat requires you to swing your arms around; therefore it makes a lot of sense that these folks would want their sweaters to have a bit of ‘give’ in that area.

Remember how I added those two purl stitches at each end of my sweater tube? I start building my armpit gusset on each side at these purl stitches.

Gussets:

Row 1: at the purl stitch knit front and back (kfb) twice so you have three stitches total in the gusset. Knit to the next purl stitch on the left side of your sweater and repeat the steps to create three stitches for the left gusset. Knit until the end of the round.

Row 2: and every even row purl the first and the last stitch in the gusset while you knit the rest. For example,row 2 you would p1, k1, p1. In row 4 you would p1, k3, p1 with five stitches total. As you can see after each odd row the gusset increases with 2 stitches. Knit to the purl stitch on the left side and repeat the steps for the gusset. Knit until the end of the round.

Row 3: At the gusset kfb1, k1 kfb1 (5 stitches). Knit to the left gusset and repeat. Knit to the end of the round.

Repeat rows 2 & 3. Until you have enough stitches on your gusset. For bulky weight yarn like the Cascade 109 I used in Eric’s raglan, I stopped at 11 stitches. For a worsted weight yarn I might stop at 15. For a DK weight yarn I’d stop at 17 stitches on each gusset.

Remember, you will repeat the gusset steps when you create your sleeve. In the next episode, I will review how to start and ‘execute’ the sleeves. Better yet, I’ll show you how to knit the sleeves two at a time using the “Magic Loop” method.

Armpit Gusset

Previous Raglan Sweater Episodes:

Leave a comment

Filed under Garment Design, Knit, Knitting, Stockinette, Stuff I made, Sweater

Deciphering Japanese Patterns: an Adventure

My husband has this habit (a bit irritating to me) of watching foreign movies without the subtitles. He’s perfectly happy enjoying the movie by watching and interpreting facial impressions and physical gestures. Sometimes he just likes to sit back and enjoy the cinematography or art direction. I realized the other day that I should be a little more tolerant and sypathetic of this habit of his because I’ve been known to buy books and magazines in foreign language because I simply enjoy the designs, the artwork and photography. Any item that has clearly drawn and organized symbolic instructions just leaves me in awe and appreciation. Perhaps it because these instructions effectively transgress any language barriers and effectively present the task or material in a truly universal language.  Even though Japanese knitting patterns have elements that are indecipherable to me, I still think that a non-Japanese speaking individual can glean more from the design of the object than one could from patterns written in English.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought a few knitting pattern books as well as a stitch dictionary (for both knitting and crochet) in San Francisco’s Japantown a two weeks ago. I am planning to attempt one of the hat patterns soon with the help of some of the translation resources (see below) and the stitch dictionary. If I attempt to work on any of the garments in these books, I’ll have to strategically place darts or increases in the patterns to accommodate the ‘curviness’ of my figure. 🙂

The cute little hat, I’d love to make (it’s crochet)

Resources for using Japanese Patterns:

A helpful PDF guide that walks you through the process of understanding and using Japanese Patterns. There are also several web resources on the subject listed at the end of this document.

http://www.needleartsbookshop.com/InterpretingJapaneseKnittingPatterns.pdf

Wonderful Guide including translations of needle sizes and common terms:

http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/japanese/e-index.html

Legend for Stitches:

http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/stitches/e-index.html

3 Comments

Filed under Crochet, Fashion, Garment Design, Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Techniques

Weekend in San Francisco

I went to SF to attend a wedding, unfortunately, I drank some chai tea drink this morning that had bad milk in it. I spent a good part of the afternoon being ‘sick.’ I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drink chai again. So I was too sick to attend the wedding, and I’m sitting in the Hotel room recuperating, watching BBC comedies and drinking Genmai-cha (green tea with brown rice).

Though I did have a great time yesterday. I’ve scored yarn, books, and a few Samurai videos. We’re staying in Japan Town at the Kabuki Hotel, and it’s quite a lovely spot. I highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to stay in SF and be pampered at a reasonable price. Each hotel room has a traditional Japanese bath. I was able to scrub up and relax in the tub before curled up and fell asleep yesterday… complete heaven – near Nirvana. The Hotel also has a lovely little garden to sit and knit in for a moment or two.

The hotel is part of the Japan Town complex that includes a mall complete with several Japanese restaurants, a huge bookstore and a number shops with Japanese goods. On Thursday night, I spent a few hours pouring over the books in the Kinokuniya bookstore. There are so many wonderful inspirations and designs in these books.  I wanted to pull out my notebook and jot some of them down, but I felt a little self-conscious. I do think that I’ve noticed that many Japanese styles featured in some of the books didn’t seem fitted. It must be a style adaption that comes from Japanese fashion history. Clothing in Japanese culture wasn’t really fitted until they adopted styles from Westerners.

I did buy a knitting stitch pattern book which was a little spendy, but well worth it because all the stitches were diagrammed in charts. I absolutely hate reading instructions to lace and cables line by line. The Japanese really understand how to explain things visually and with symbols. The only thing I get more joy from is the instructions for some IKEA products. There’s something comforting about not having to use too many words to explain things.

Yesterday I visited Art Fibers for the first time. What a joy! They have the most wondrous array of fibers and yarns. I bought a few things including a silk and mohair blend yarn called Tsuki that knits into an absolutely dreamy cloud. I’ve never knit a mohair lace shawl before, so I opted for something very simple: a triangular shawl with daisies. I started it yesterday and I’m about a third of the way done. I’m really quite pleased with the look and feel of this yarn. The silk catches the light beautifully.

Artfibers is a wonderful place, they actually allow you to ‘taste’ the yarns in house by swatching them yourself. Also, Kira Dulaney was there to offer advice and guidance on the yarns. She even helped me design a custom pattern for a tank top. If you have a chance, do check out her pattern site as her work is absolutely gorgeous. My only regret is that I don’t live close enough to frequent the shop regularly. Here are a few of my scores from the store: Mozambique, more Tsuki (in bright teal), Baccarat, and Golden Chai …

Addendum 4/1 – the scarf/shawl in Tsuki is nearly finished. It took only 40 grams and at $14 for a shawlette, that’s quite a bargain.

2 Comments

Filed under Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fashion, Fibers, Garment Design, Knitting, Travels, Yarn