Thursday, November 05, 2009

'morning all!

Just a quick, "Hi!" since I haven't updated in an age and seem to have forgotten that Geocities is no more so my free patterns aren't being hosted anywhere right now. If you are in need, please post in the comment for the particular pattern and I'll get one sent off to you until I can get things set up over on Ravelry.

The Knot Cap and Neck Warmer pattern pages have been updated and the PDF's are available through Ravelry. As soon as I track down (or more likely redo) a copy of Elegant Eggs, I'll post another update.

Thanks so much for your patience!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Design-a-long: Lacy Tank

One of my Maryland Sheep and Wool purchases was four skeins of I Love Yarn's Sport/DK weight 100% Rayon in a lovely green/blue/gray colorway with the intention of making myself a nice tank top or shell.



I did swatches on US Size 6 (4.0mm) and 7 (4.5mm) and blocked both of them. Even though the swatches are on the small size, the one done on 7's definitely has a better drape than the one done on 6's and since drape is something that I really want for this project I'm definitely going to stick with the 7's for my project.

Usually one starts with a specific pattern in mind before swatching, but I have quite a few obstacles in place. The first, is that I had no suggested needle size for this specific yarn and since they really only sell it online and at Maryland Sheep and Wool, there is next to no info out there on it. My next obstacle is my size - not only am I plus-sized, but I also have a very large bust so there are very few (if any) patterns out there written for women my size. So what's a gal to do? Design her own!

I had a decent idea of what I wanted to do - a solid portion over the bust with a lacy bottom that gently flared out. My swatches reflect that - I did a stockinette portion on the top with a simple lace pattern on the bottom and worked an increase row on the lace as well to see how it would act. I mentioned above that I really should have made the swatches larger to get a better feel of the drape, but I was impatient so I have smallish ones (these were done the night I got home from MDS&W).

Swatching can be a real PITA, but it's vitally important if you want your hours and hours of work to result in a garment that fits. Another thing you may be tempted to do is skimp on the size of your swatch, but you really should be aiming for at least a 6" square to get the best feel for your yarn and the resulting fabric. There will be lots of times where you can get away with a smaller swatch, but when you are making significant alterations to a pattern or starting from scratch you'll need that swatch to have the best idea of how the knit fabric is going to act.

In the next post, I'll talk about measurements and the chesty girl's best friend - bust darts!

Wooly Goodness

I was able to make it down to Maryland Sheep and Wool this year and here are long overdue pictures of my haul this year!

Zeilinger Wool Co.

Brown Wool/Alpaca

Fingering weight wool/alpaca mix


Light Fingering Wool/Alpaca
(this picture does not do justice to the depth of color on these skeins)

Brooks Farm Yarn


Solo, Sport/DK weight 100% Wool

I Love Yarn


DK Weight 100% Rayon
(another where the picture doesn't do the yarn justice)

Koigu Wool Designs


Lots and lots of KPPM mill-ends


subdued grouping



Not a bad haul. Everything has a specific project in place for it. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that the KPPM was just bought willy-nilly, but since it's fingering weight it doesn't count ;).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hooking It

One of the side projects I've been working on for the past month or so is a bunch of patches for an afghan. Afghan patches are a great little side project - you can have lots of fun playing around with stitch patterns and get a nice break from your main project without having a million WIP's (ask me how I know this).

Oddly shaped patches aren't an issue if it's a crazy quilt style afghan but for a group project they can pose a problem since it's much easier to deal with uniform squares and we always should be nice to the person actually willing to seam-up 200+ squares. Yes, you can always pick-up some stitches and add a few rows of garter stitch border to even out your squares, but that can be a bit on the tedious side with matching gauge and I can't be the only one who thinks garter stitch in the round is a total PITA.

This where a couple of rounds of crochet can help - you get almost instant gratification, it's much easier to frog back a row of single-crochets because the gauge is off rather than realizing it after a few rounds of garter, and crochet in the round has a uniform look to it so you don't have to deal with the jogs in garter stitch.


I was playing around with a mitred square and slipped stitches in this patch, but the slipped stitches affected my gauge and the square didn't turn out to be the 10" I needed it to be so I decided to add a mitered garter strip to make up the difference on realizing after it was done that my gauge was still way off and no amount of blocking would make it lay flat.

I put it aside to knock out a few granny squares and then had the idea to try a crocheted edging.


I had a few false starts where I had to play around with the spacing of some decreases to get my crochet gauge to match the square but I am very happy with the results.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wrap it up

I saw entrelac knitting when I was first learning to knit and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. After a little bit of reading about it, I was put off by all of the hassle it entailed - picking up stitches and short rows looked like way too much work no matter how neat it looked. After the Quant pattern was published in the Winter '07 Knitty and then Eunny Jang's Entrelac Socks appeared in the Spring '07 Interweave Knits I wasn't quite as intimidated any more.

My knitting group did a Quant-a-long and I joined in. After lots of frustration in the beginning, I did finally fall into a groove with it but was still annoyed that my knitting looked so sloppy. I never did finish that Quant (my son's birth happened in the middle of it and I never picked it back up), but this past winter I made fingerless mitts with entrelac cuffs.


The beauty of Noro covers a multitude of sins, but I was still very unhappy with the finished look. Some more playing yielded slightly better results, but I was still unhappy with the look of the ssk's and p2tog's at the end of the short-rows.

Detail - Entrelac worked without wrapping

You can see the line of different colored stitches running beside the short-row decreases. I tried several different ways to get rid of it, but it was still there until I decided to try wrapping the next unworked stitch like I did after picking up the stitches at the start of each rectangle to close the gap between each building block.

Wrapping short-rows, yarn forward
At the end of the row, before turning, bring your yarn forward. (see note)

Wrapping short-rows, slip stitch
Slip the next unworked stitch

Wrapping short-rows, yarn back
Bring your yarn back

Wrapping short-rows, slip wrapped stitch
Slip the wrapped stitch back onto the right needle

Wrapping short-rows, slip decrease stitch
Slip the next stitch as written

This is the result...
Detail - Entrelac worked with wrapping

Instead of the decreases at the end of each short-row turning to the side and showing the stitches from the block below, everything now lays nice and flat. The wraps are just for structure and are not picked up and worked, the same way you don't work the wraps in a garter stitch short-row heel on a sock.

A little bit of extra work in an already fussy technique, but oh so worth it.

Knitting Daily has "Entrelac - Beyond the Basics" by Eunny Jang available as a free download right now and it's definitely worth snatching up since she has directions for both working entrelac flat and in the round. You have to register for Knitting Daily, but it's free and a wonderful source for patterns and techniques.

I don't purl normally when doing entrelac, but instead knit "backwards" so I don't have to turn my work. For those who turn their work at the end of each row, execute the wrap as follows:

After a p2tog
Bring your yarn backwards, slip next unworked stitch from your left needle to your right needle, bring yarn forward, slip wrapped stitch back onto left needle, turn work and work next row as written.

After an ssk
Bring your yarn forward, slip next unworked stitch from your left needle to your right needle, bring yarn backwards, slip wrapped stitch back onto left needle, turn work and work next row as written.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I give you...



With a bit of luck, the pattern will be going live this weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Long time, no see

It has definitely been a year. Much designing has been going on but unfortunately, time to actually write and test patterns is still at a huge premium (dyeing is right out unfortunately). Slowly but surely, I will be waking Knitty Keen up from its slumber so keep your eyes peeled - there are some really exciting patterns in the works.

In the interrim - I've finally added my Neck Warmer pattern to Ravelry, so if you are over there, all three of my patterns are finally listed.