Category Archives: Stockinette

Owls

Owls Sweater in Cascade 128

Owls Sweater in Cascade 128

I forgot to post the link to this pattern. You can find it here: http://needled.wordpress.com/designs/

I can’t wait to teach a class on how to make this sweater this October. This is a great sweater for beginners to sweater knitting.  Not only is the body and the yoke knit in one piece, it’s done in bulky weight so you could potentially finish your sweater in less than two weeks.  I’ve read of people doing it in a week, but I can’t imagine the strain on your hands after constant use of bulky gauge needles.

Again, I did both sleeves at once using the magic loop method.  I found it’s easier to keep my sleeves more uniform this way. One thing I adore about this sweater is how the waist shaping is done by a series of increases and decreases done on the back side of the sweater (see image below).

Waist Shaping of my Second Owls Sweater in Universal Classic Chunky

Waist Shaping of my Second Owls Sweater in Universal Classic Chunky

If you’re interested in taking the class (and live in the pdx area), it should fun. This is a great sweater for people who are starting to consider knitting  their first sweater. I’m excited to be able to share the experience for knitting this pattern with others. Here are the class details (you can also view an abbreviated version on the Naked Sheep’s website):

Owls Sweater Class:

Saturdays (October 3, 17 and 24)
10:30am-12:30pm

Have you always wanted to make that perfect sweater as a gift for a special friend or relative this holiday season, but you don’t have loads of time? Knit in bulky weight yarn this stylish sweater makes the perfect quick knit gift.  Also, this sweater requires very little sewing or seaming. Natalie will help students customize size dimensions for the pattern if needed. She can also convert the pullover pattern into a cardigan version if desired.  Students will learn how to make two sleeves at a time using the magic loop method.

Notions & Supplies Needed:

  • Large tapestry needle
  • Cable needles (if you are new to making cables)
  • 24” circular needle in appropriate size for yarn used
  • 32” or greater circular needle in appropriate size for yarn used. If you are using the Magic Loop 40″ circulars are highly recommended.
  • Optional: 40-50 buttons or large beads for owl eyes

Recommended Yarns:

Any bulky weight soft yarn.

  • Universal Yarns Chunky Classic
  • Cascade 128
  • Cascade Soft Spun
  • Eco Wool or Eco +

Not recommended: any boucle or fur yarns.

Prerequisite Skills:

Advanced beginner. Students must be able to Knit in the round as well as increase and decrease.

Once you get the sleeves done its smooth sailing all the way

Once you get the sleeves done it's smooth sailing all the way

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Filed under Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Patterns, Portland, Portland Knitters, Stockinette, Sweater, Teaching, Techniques, Wool, Yarn

More thoughts about the Sock Summit

I am very reflective… sometimes I will return to an event or idea that happened or occurred to me months or years back. Sometimes I wonder why I even blog… I’m a bit of a turtle when it comes down to documenting things. It took me a bit of time to really digest what happened to me at the Sock Summit 09. I’m going to post my discoveries or epiphanies here:

Discovery 1: Heather Ordover (of CraftLit) is a really nice lady.
I got to meet Heather Ordover in person… what a lovely person she is. I accidentally popped into her class early, but I just sat there listening to her voice. Because I love listening to her podcast and usually listen to it at night before I fall asleep, I found myself being lulled into a pleasant trance just listening to her talk. She was really the only person at the Summit whom I wanted to have my picture taken with… and here it is.

Okay it’s not the greatest photo of me… but she looks quite lovely in it.  Heather has done a lovely job discussing some of my favorite books including Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, & The Scarlet Letter (yes, I enjoyed reading the Scarlet Letter when I was in High School). If you are not familiar with Heather’s podcast and you love listening to classic audio books, her archive guarantees hours and hours of listening/knitting pleasure.

Discovery 2: I liked taking short classes.

I knew that I didn’t have the stomach to take an all or even half day class about sock knitting. I could do a sweater workshop, but not a sock class. Don’t get me wrong. I love making socks but I adore making sweaters even more. I would give my eye teeth to go to a sweater design conference actually.  I took mainly 1 hour classes from folks like Cookie A & Chrissy Gardiner, and I also made sure that these were classes on techniques that I could use in making sweaters. Overall my learning experience at the Sock Summit was very productive.

Discovery 3: “It’s not about the time… it’s about what you are making.”

That’s a quote from one of the Luminary Panel members. My memory is fading so I cannot remember who said it.  Obviously, as knitters we’re in it for the ‘process’ since none of us can compete with the speed at which ‘manufactured’ knits are produced. Knitters knit because of their devotion to their craft and the love that goes into producing the knitted object. Many of use knit to give our products to others, and we often internalize the experience that went into the making of the object… thus imbuing it with additional meaning.

Discovery 4: Quote from Anna Zilboorg, “Exams are Stupid!”

I wish I’d written more about this in my notes or even remember the context in which it was said. I think she was getting to the point that the formal world can be such a trial full of trifles that we really don’t need to deal with. Some of the hoops we have to jump through are ridiculous, but the creative part is figuring out how to get around or under them 🙂

Discovery #5: I want to attend a Sweater Summit or a Lace Summit or both.

Socks are great and I make several pair a year, but I would really love to attend a knitting conference focused on either sweaters or lace knitting.  Wouldn’t it be great to attend a fair isle design class or a steeking workshop? How about learning how to create the perfect sleeve cap. After knitting several stockinette based sweaters this year… I really want to focus on improving my technical skills in knitting and that includes knitting lace.

Discovery #6: I have more reserve than I thought

I actually didn’t buy too much yarn… two skeins of sock yarn and enough Blue Moon Fiberarts Twisted to make a bolero… oh and some roving. After viewing the ‘flashed’ Sock Summit stashes on Ravelry… I actually don’t feel that bad about how disciplined I was in not buying too much sock yarn.

Regret… I have but only one:

I wish I had talked to or said hello and thank you to Lucy Neatby. I wish I had her sign my DVD. Thanks to her I now know how to create gorgeous button bands. I really love her knitting videos and she seems to have the kind of dry wit I do love.

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Filed under Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Sock Summit, Socks, Stockinette

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:

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

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

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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:

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Raglan Sweater Episode 2: Calculating Stitches & Casting On

I interupt this post to bring you more on swatching….

We interrupt this programming to...

We interrupt this programming to...

So I’m assuming you’ve selected your yarn and swatched it right? You’ve also washed the swatch in woolite or some other delicate laundry soap, and blocked it to see what the fabric (you’ve knitted) looks like and wears like after it’s been washed. Also if you plan to use different stitches like moss stitch and garter stitch with your sweater, you have blocked those pieces too. You know how old people begin some didactic story or lecture with the words ,”Let me tell you a story about…”? I’m not quite old yet but I’ve been leathered by more than a few knitting mistakes or disasters and I’ll tell you a story about a sweater I knit two years ago. This was my first raglan sweater. I used a ‘super-wash’ yarn and happily knit the sweater to the required measurements, but I skipped the blocking process. The sweater had a nice garter stitch hem at the waist and on the cuffs. It looked quite gorgeous and held it’s shape before washing. After washing the garter stitch hem stretched out, and despite my efforts to dry the sweater flat. The yarn stretched and the sweater turned into a tunic. How could I have saved this by swatching and blocking? If i’d swatched properly, I would have discovered that I needed to go down a few needle sizes for the hem and cuffs. I might have also see that my knitted fabric my stretch after washing.

If you want to keep a knitted garment for a long time and have it look fabulous through most of it’s lifetime, you really need to swatch and block. If you don’t care and you’re just knitting to make a sweater, then don’t block.

We now return to our usual program…

So if you’ve figured out how many stitches per inch or per length of four inches you get when knitting this yarn in stockinette stitch. Measure your chest and and take the number of inches from this measurement and multiply it by the number of stitches per inch.

knitnotes1

Using a cable cast on, I cast on 160 stitches on a needles that were two sizes smaller than the needles I would use to knit the body and sleeves. You can use a long tail or regular cast on if you feel more comfortable.  I knit garter stitch in the round for 6 rows. Remember garter stitch in the rounds is knit one round, purl the next and repeat.  I placed a marker at the beginning of the round, and another at exactly 80 stitches. After knitting the hem, I switched to the larger needles. At the beginning of the row I increased one stitch by creating a purl stitch at the first marker. I would create another purl stitch at the next marker.  I purled these two stitches instead of knitting them as I knit the length of the body in order to create a ‘false’ seam. I would also use these purl stitches to mark the beginning of the gussets I would create for the sweater’s armpits, but I’ll cover that in more detail later in the story.

Essentially, most of the sweater is knit as a stockinette tube. This is the most mindless part of knitting the sweater, and in some ways the most fun. I look forward to watching countless movies with subtitles as I knit this part of the sweater. I can put my mind in a sort of knit on auto-pilot.

Garter stitch hem and stockinette body

Garter stitch hem and stockinette body

Now, if you’re interested in learning how to calculate the yarn and dimensions of your own raglan sweater, I suggest you visit this site:  The Incredible, Custom-fit Raglan Sweater.

The Knitting Fool also has a wonderful Raglan Sweater Calculator. Fill out the stats and create your own pattern as a .pdf document. Please note the needle sizes refer to US sizes and you must knit a 4″ x 4″  swatch to estimate your gauge before running this program.

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Swatch Day and Blueberry Socks

I know I said I was going to write about swatching as part of my process in the whole “Raglan Sweater Series” of posts. I lied.

I know a lot of knitters don’t like hearing the “Sermon on the Swatch.”  Maybe it’s just part of the lesson. Knitting a whole sweater that doesn’t look or fit right. I’ll be honest. I have had this happen to me… more than once. As a result, I now swatch.

That’s all I’ll say on this subject for now.

I did have time today to swatch a few yarns I’ve been wanting to try… some yarns for spring: a cotton/hemp blend, Silky wool, and a mystery yarn from Yarnia that I purchased at last years Knit & Crochet Show (Fall). It’s a mystery because I lost the tag.

I’m a little worried that the Coto Canapone (cotton/hemp) is a bit heavy and stiff, but I think it will soften up after washing and blocking.  I’ve heard some really great things about using hemp and I’ve swatched some pure hemp before. It was a bit too harsh for my liking, and I realized that it would take many washings before I could get it to the softness I wanted. Though perhaps I should think of this as a trade off for the fact that hemp takes a lot longer to wear thin than cotton.  Apparently hemp had quite a history as a much used textile until recent times.  Perhaps with the economy being as it is… more people will turn to having durable clothing items rather than disposable ones they replace or trash every year.

I’m quite charmed by the Yarnia yarn.  Unfortunately the photo of the swatch I took doesn’t reflect the different greens\ and purple shades in this gorgeous yarn. Some people have noted that they find the loosely spun plies difficult and splitty to work with, but I’ve always felt that if you take proper care, even splitty yarn can make nice fabric as long as your knitting on the ‘snug’ side.

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

I was also able to finish my pair of Heritage Paint socks for the shop model for my “Toe up Socks” class coming up.  I have to say, this yarn is pretty fantastic. I think it’s pretty durable and still fairly soft with no itch. Plus it’s pretty inexpensive and the yardage is huge… 437 yards a skein. I found that the solid colors of this yarn are quite a bargain at around $12-13 dollars a skein. That’s a good price for yarn for handknit socks that should last quite some time.

My Blueberry socks in Heritage Paints

My "Blueberry" socks in Heritage Paints

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