Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cable Swatch

Of course I couldn't resist. :)  I took a ball of yarn, needles, and a cable needle with me on errands and knit here and there while my fellow shopper was browsing.  Oh, yes, I knit this standing up.  Ha!  

It was a tricky and I did drop the cable needle, but other than that, super awesome.  Cables are actually quite simple once you understand the "crossing of the stitches" bit.  

The fancy looking cables are just interesting combinations of crossing.  It's easy once you break it down.  You can only knit one stitch at a time.  You can do that, right?

It's a very elegant stitch, but I also I love that this looks vaguely insect-oid.  I wish I had the time to play around with it.  I'd love to see if I could add creepy, spindly cable legs or strange, twitchy antennae.


Friday, March 08, 2013

Cables To Die For

When I saw this photo on ravelry, my insides turned to goo.  That cable pattern is sublime.  So beautiful!
Photo © Pelykh Natalie (used with permission)
I bought this stitch pattern right away.  I love how it changes from a layered pinecone-like texture into a tiny twist.  I will definitely use this on something in the future.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

YouTube Automatic Captions

I was responding to a comment on my Foundation Single Crochet video on YouTube when I noticed they had a "captions" button.

Hilarious!  Starting at the one minute mark, I start repeating "chain, grab, single crochet" and they don't get any of the 5 times I say it wrong in quite the same way.  And, apparently, I crochet with my foot. ;)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Hemlock Update

I'm getting very close to the bottom hem.  I tried it on recently and I onlyhad a couple of inches left to knit.  Then I try it on again and I still have a couple of inches left to knit.  This has happened a couple times.  It's like Groundhog Day.

You know what else is like Groundhog Day?  The sleeves ... because I'm going to have to knit them again.  It'll be the third time.  

I never told you this, but the first time I knit the sleeves I used 4.5mm dpns because I mis-remembered what size needles I'm using (should have been 4.75mm).  The sleeves were (and still are) crazy tight.

Luckily, they are super tiny-short sleeves because the shoulder is actually part of the yoke, so I only have to reknit the bottom half of the sleeves.  The shoulder cap is room, which is why the tight sleeves are a problem.  The combo of roomy shoulder cap and tight sleeve creates a slight leg o'mutton sleeve effect.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Green Update

Hmm, I wish I had a name for this sweater.  "Green" is such a boring thing to call it.  Any suggestions?

Although I haven't officially started this sweater (officially-officially) I saw this pattern with it's promise of "seamless set-in sleeves" and had to find out what that meant!

I just happened to see the pattern when the designer was having a giveaway and I got Serra for free.  I love the ingeniousness of this method and I hope it actually work to create a nice shoulder.  So far, it's totally cool.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Blocking Again

I'd hoped that once I blocked this sweater, it would stay that way.  But after I washed it the first time, I just laid it out on a towel and let it dry.  That didn't work.

The Knit Picks Comfy Fingering yarn (75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic) I made this with is super light and springy.  The lace scrunches up when it's washed.  I'm going to have to block this sweater every time I wash it to keep the lace open.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Golden Update

Knitting away on the second set of short rows on Golden.  Just about ready to start some exciting increase rows!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can't. Stop. Myself.

I didn't work on any of my three sweaters this weekend.  But I did (pretty much) figure out the the mint sweater's stitch pattern.  I just couldn't get it out of my mind after starting that super long swatch.  I woke up Saturday morning with a couple of ideas about how to do it.

I've almost used a whole skein of yarn swatching!  But I've satisfied my curiosity for now so I can get back to my sweaters.

Here's how my weekend unfolded ...

First I found a pattern with a woven diamond trellis.  I used that as the basis to do my first swatch.  I omitted all the lacy bits you see here.

I wanted to get familiar with the parts of a diamond grid.

Next I charted my own stitch pattern to make a 2-stitch cable.  On the second go-around, I did the little trick I was hoping would work for the inner hole, and it worked!

As you can see in my chart, I decrease and then yarn over twice in the middle of the diamond.  Four rows above, I drop all the stitches in the box and "knit, purl" into all of the dropped stitches to pull them up.  Note that I'm decreasing and yarning over on the same "purl" row.

At this point I felt like I'd nailed it.  But it wasn't exactly-exactly like the mint sweater because it had an even number of stitches in the hole, so I kept going.

Plus, the 2-stitch cable makes a pretty dense fabric, so I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of making a sweater out of it ... so I kept swatching.

I drew a stitch pattern with a 1-stitch cable and a smaller square.  I could cross my cables over a stitch in the middle, that way my hole could be one-stitch wide.  Here I'm still decreasing and yarning over on the same purl row.

I liked it, but I felt like the non-cable stitches were blending in with my cables, so the last row of diamonds, I purled all the non-cable stitches (chart below).

Honestly, I didn't see much difference with the purling.

With everything I'd learned so far, I decided to try a 2-stitch cable.  Changes are:

-- my 2-stitch cable crosses over a stitch in the middle

-- the stitch that gets crossed-over is SIMULTANEOUSLY decreased into the middle-most of the back cable's stitches

-- there is no yarn over on the decrease row - the yarn over is on the next row (which is a purl row)

- I used a bigger needle to see if the fabric was less dense.

I drew the chart first.  My chart was messy and crazy, not the clean one above. :)  In fact, all of the charts in this post are drawn just for you.

This part of the swatch is a hot mess, but I think it gets 90% of the way to duplicating the mint sweater stitch.  Woo hoo!  

On the bottom left I forgot to drop the hole stitches ... see the yarn over hole?  That would have been the bottom of the drop stitch hole.

Top left diamond is where I experimented by doing a decrease and yarn over on the same row (#3).  That doesn't work at all because there's too many strands in the hole.

I used standard notation on the knitting charts, so if you google knit symbols, you should be able to find what the heck I mean.  But I've been pretty light on the nitty gritty details, so feel free to ask questions if you have them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crochet Heart Scarf

Last year CRAFT Magazine commissioned me to design a Valentine's Day crochet pattern.  I designed the Crochet Heart Scarf for them.  If you want the free pattern, click on over.

What I didn't have a chance to show you last year, were all the rejected crochet heart scarf designs.  I shot these photos as I was designing on the couch, so the photos are sort of crap, but I think they prove that I put everything I have into making sure the scarf was everything I wanted it to be ... soft, light-weight, supple (not stiff), and with a recognizable heart motif.

Some of these are sort of cute, but too bulky or stiff.  Some just suck.  All of them were a part of the path for getting to my final design.  I couldn't have skipped any of them.  Not even when I almost gave up and thought, "Hey, why not just surface crochet the damn hearts on single crochet."  Ha!  

In the last photo, you can see in the swatch on the right that at the end I was messing around with the connector thread placement to get them exactly where I wanted them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Planning The Next Sweater

I worked a bunch on Hemlock this weekend and I realized I was going to finish it pretty soon, and I haven't picked out the next sweater I want to start (I want three going at all times).  I'm excited about using the chartreuse linen yarn I bought, so I went to Ravelry.

The color is pretty bold, so I couldn't find anything in my queue that looked like it would be right.  I got it into my head that I wanted to do something with lots of holes ... sort of digital looking ... pixel lace.  After failing to find what I wanted in the Ravelry pattern search, I tried a yarn search to see what people were making with Knit Picks' Cotlin.

That's when I saw elisadallomo's cha-cha-ccepted / Framboise (account needed to view link) in chartreuse.  Perfect!  Erm, well, sort of.  It's two squares sewn together.  I tried to convince myself that it would look good on me, but I couldn't.  But now I'd seen something that I really liked, so I knew it was possible.

Next up, the internets.  To keep up on fashion trends, I occasionally visit the websites for Anthropologie and Mod Cloth.  I also look at Urban Outfitters, though I've been loathing their clothes lately.  It's good to know what the kids are wearing, though, to be in the loop, sort of. ;)  During this virtual stroll through the mall I hit the jackpot.

I totally love Anthropologie's Stitched Medley Sweater.  Holes and more holes.  And woven trellis cables.  I was surprised that I liked the mint sweater with those blue jeans, but I do.

I'm pretty sure the small hole pattern is a basic honeycomb stitch.  But the big fancy one, boy howdy, I have nothing like that in any of my stitch books.  Nor in any of the magazines or pamphlets I have.  And I looked through a bazillion and half knit patterns on Ravelry looking for something like that.  I was prepared to buy any pattern that would teach me that stitch pattern.  Nada.

It looks like a woven trellis cable/travelling stitches with dropped knit stitches in the middle that are then all knit into at once.  Beautiful, structural, and complicated.  Swatch time!

The first bit is a small honeycomb.  I think I need a medium one for the front of the sweater.  This was close enough to validate my thought, though.  Then I tried just winging a woven trellis with holes in the middle.  Close-ish, but not very structural.  Next I did a double yarn over mesh.  Big holes!

Here are the big holes with more stockinette between them.

Playing around with cables.

Oh, my!  I tried forever to do a swatch of lacy diamonds and I just wasn't getting it.  I knit and frogged this section 3 or 4 times before I just purled a row and ...

... finally figured out where I was going wrong.  Yay!  I stuck some random, centered purls in the diamonds to see if they looked nice.  I was considering using this instead of the fancy woven trellis.  Maybe.

Later, I found  Urban Outfitter's Pins and Needles Open Stitch Sweater.  Woohoo!  It looks like brightly-colored, multi-mesh panel sweaters are a thing.

I couldn't find any patterns like this on Ravelry, so I'll be Frankenstein-ing this together once I find the stitches I want to use.  Oh!  If you have any source for learning the stitch up there, please let me know.  I found some fantastic Barbara Walker stitches in her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Stitch Treasuries, but not that exact stitch.  In related news, I now need to psyche myself up to spend $90 on stitch treasuries.