2014: The Seven Year Stitch

Finished Objects, Sweaters

Swirl pulloverSorting projects, then packing them prior to moving reminded me just how long some have been languishing partly done. The sampler blanket I first started working on in 2007 remains two-thirds complete. Some of my mystery objects were given as gifts rather than being photographed and the patterns written up as I’d originally planned.

One of the items I have finished is a swirl pullover. I first saw the pattern on ravelry. I was fascinated by the construction, and the different modifications people had made in their versions. After getting the pdf from patternfish I set to work figuring out my own alterations:

  • v-neck
  • closer fitting
  • sleeves knit in the round
  • add 2-3 inches to the length

Cue several months of *winding balls, knitting, staring at the pattern, staring at my calculations, knitting a bit more*. And repeat from *. My friends and the knitting group who saw me working on it at various stages thought I did more looking at the pattern than anything else!

I’m pretty pleased with the end result. It fits without being too baggy, skimming over curves and is perfect for spring through to early autumn. My version used around 800g of Rowan Summer Tweed, ‘sprig’ colorway.  Sprig is no longer available, but there are very similar shades and it’s now supplied in balls rather than skeins.

The impending move is a new beginning. It will encourage an healthier lifestyle (more walking) and I’m looking forward to spending more time with friends. I have a new job too, so there’s a lot happening!

Next time: I’ll share some photos of all the socks I’ve been making.

Not Calorimetry

Finished Objects, Hats, Scarves

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  • Pattern: none, I just cast on 86 sts and went for it.
  • Yarn: mystery leftovers from stash, high wool content, aran/worsted weight.
  • Needles: 1 x 80cm 4mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 21in long or thereabouts.

I had a load of leftover bits of yarn, about 20g worth, from different projects that I just couldn’t bear to part with. Calorimetry was a pattern that I’d looked at in the past and never got round to trying. Guess what? I still haven’t tried it 🙂

I cast on 86 st (I think), worked 6 to 8 rows of 2×2 rib, then did several short rows til I had maybe 46 ‘live’ stitches. Rather than than working the short rows on the way back out again, I just knit straight across the lot and worked the rib across all 86 sts for another 6 to 8 rows – until I ran out of yarn. 

The piece ended up with an assymetric shape, which works well. The tighter cast on edge holds the band in place when it’s used as an earwarmer and the looser edge allows it to ‘flare’ up under the chin when it’s worn as a neck warmer.  It fits perfectly just inside the collar of the fleece I wear to work  most of the time.

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Snowboarder Hat

Finished Objects, Hats

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  • Pattern: Snowboarder Hat that Rocks, by Irishgirlieknits.
  • Yarn: mystery yarn from stash.
  • Needles: 1 x 80cm 6.5mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 21in circumference, 8.5in from mid-crown to edge excluding ear-flaps etc.
  • Gauge attained: 3st and 5 rows to 4in/10cm in stockinette

Finished waaay back in January, this was an emergency replacement for the hat I lost. The pattern was easy to follow, and accurate in saying that the hat comes out quite large.  I ran out of the ‘mystery’ 3 tone red yarn, which was 3 strands plied together – one each of bright red, wine red and black. To finish the hat and make the plaits, I ended up using 3 strands of random dk together to get a similar weight yarn (1 orange, 1 wine and 1 black).

Bellatrix (FO Monday Week 1)

Finished Objects, Socks

Here’s the thing – I have a fair number of finished items/objects sitting that I haven’t written up, photographed or posted about. I’m going to try and present one of these projects each Monday over the next few weeks – hence ‘FO Monday’. This week is for the Bellatrix socks I completed in May (I think).

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  • Pattern: Bellatrix, by Gigi Silva/Monkey Toes.
  • Yarn: Elle Jeans dk (2 balls) cotton/acrylic dk, lavender.
  • Needles: 2 x 80cm 2.5mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 10.25in foot length.
  • Gauge attained: 8st to 4in/10cm in stockinette

Gauge challenge

The pattern specified a gauge of 8st per inch and suggests going down a needle size or so to get this if you can’t quite manage it. I’m assuming this means that the desired gauge should be achieved in the patterned stitch.
I only managed to get 8st per inch in the stockinette parts of the sock. In the drop-stitch pattern sections, the gauge turned out much looser overall, maybe about 6-7 st per inch. I was happy with the result for this pair of socks, as they’re intended for schlepping about the house or sleeping in.

For future pairs to be worn out-and-about, a sportweight (or lower yardage fingering) yarn on 2.5mm needles would (for me) probably result in the correct pattern gauge, but a finer gauge in stockinette. So, would need to add a couple of stitches to the base of the sock to balance things.

Other Modifications

I worked the socks toe-up, two at a time, with a modified ‘square’ heel. I used Judy’s magic cast-on, and a sewn bind-off. 1 ball of yarn lasted until the heel was ‘turned’ on both socks. The second ball was used for the heel flap and leg of each sock. Only 3 feet of yarn was left after I finished the sewn bind-off.

Working both socks at once is the only way I actually finish a pair, expecially working at finer gauges. I’ve had a pair of 10/11 st per inch spiral boot socks languishing at part-way up the 2nd sock for months!

Currently on the needles

Toe-up pomatomus – arch increases, gusset and heel completed. Working on the leg slooowly over a 16 st repeat (96 st total).

Toe-up spiral boot socks – 1st sock complete, 2nd sock half way up the foot before the gusset increases.

‘Ziggy-back’ (New) – started off as the ‘Ziggy’ pattern from Knitty using the kureyon sock yarn from my sp. Has changed into an experiment inspired by the ‘Back to basics’ pattern in Knitty.

Kaylee Anklets

Finished Objects, Socks

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My first attempt at tabi socks, albeit accidentally! The anklets are pretty sturdy, so they’ll stand up well to the abuse they’ll get from me walking around outside in them with no shoes.

  • Pattern: Kaylee, by Gigi Silva/Monkey Toes.
  • Yarn: about 50g (1/2 ball) generic acrylic dk, blues/greens.
  • Needles: 2 x 80cm 2.5mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 10.25in foot length.
  • Gauge: 7.5 to 8st to 4in/10cm in stockinette.

The socks started out as normal toe-up socks.  In order to stick to the specified st count I used dk yarn on 2.5mm needles. I started with a normal wedge toe, 2 at a time; when I’d finished the foot, I realised I’d goofed and made ‘em at least an inch too short. aargh!

Cue an experiment: I finished the ankles shorter than planned with 10 rounds stockinette to produce a rolled cuff. Went back to the toes and unravelled em to a couple of rows before the main pattern started. I added the extra length in stockinette – was not going to figure out how to do the st pattern upside down! Once I was reasonably certain they were long enough, I started the pre-shaping for tabi socks (guesswork). Then, I put the big toe stitches onto waste yarn, worked the four-toe section as an asymmetric wedge toe, then worked the big toes.

To cap it all, I had a complete brain-fuzz moment and forgot how to kitchener. I looked up the info for knit grafting in the ‘knitters handbook’, followed montse stanley’s instructions and ended up with a perl graft instead. I did look at the right section too.

Next time:

  • I’ll check the length of the foot more often and my gauge before doing the heel!
  • Will also write out the toe shaping, so it can be repeated.
  • Will add stitches into the pattern so that it isn’t pulled so tight horizontally.

Tallinn Scarf

Finished Objects, Scarves

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  • Pattern: Tallinn Scarf, by Ziina plus my mistakes/alterations – see below.
  • Yarn: 200g (1 ball) Marble chunky by James C Brett, shade MC8 lot 790.
  • Needles: 1 x 80cm 6.5mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 159cm length, 44cm width (widest point just before split).
  • Gauge attained: 13st and 14 rows to 4in/10cm in pattern

This was a fun project and quick to make up. I’ll freely admit that I messed up somewhere along the line. This is what I did or if you want to hop straight to what I think of the yarn I used, go for it 🙂

What I did for the scarf

I would stress – use Ziina’s pattern, not my meanderings. Her version will work. I just jumped in with both feet (well, needles anyway) and this is just me trying to figure out everywhere where I goofed.

  1. I cast on 3 st and knit a row as per the original pattern, but placing a st marker immediately before and after the centre st.
  2. I then followed this repeat which incorporates the increases and pattern instructions, until the scarf measured roughly 41cm wide (55 st). The scarf later turned out to be nearer 44cm wide, but hey – this is a stretchy pattern! The other thing is, I think that there should have been 3 increase rows per pattern repeat, but I only included two. oops.

    row 1: K to 1st st marker, sm, m1 (twisted as per pattern), k1, m1, sm, k to end.
    row 2: k
    row 3 + 4: rep rows 1 and 2 again.
    row 5 (yo row): (k, yo twice) to last st, k1.
    row 6: knit knitted st from previous row, dropping yo as you go.

  3. Next came splitting the scarf into two legs, so I knitted to 1st st marker, remove marker, bind off centre st, remove 2nd st marker, k to end. Slip 1st half of stitches before bound off centre st to waste yarn.
  4. Straight section (first leg):
    *Completing 1st straight pattern repeat: Working on remaining half of st only, knit another 3 rows, followed by yo row, finishing with another knit row.
    Rest of straight section: I repeated the following another 19 times – knit 4 rows, yo row, knit another row.
  5. Decreases (first leg): Ziina’s pattern calls for a double decrease in the centre of a row, which only works if there’s a central stitch. Luckily, I had 27 stitches on each leg. If I hadn’t, I’d have worked the 1st decrease row as ‘k to centre 2 stitches, k2tog, k to end’ – basically as per “1. decrease:” from the pattern.
    As it was, I went straight into the double decreases, and because I didn’t have a lot of yarn left, I incorporated 3 decreases into each pattern repeat. It took 3 pattern repeats to decrease to 9 st. This produced quite a sharp angle, so maybe there should have only been two decrease rows per repeat. Some of the decreases ended up on the yo rows, which isn’t what the pattern called for. I can see why – you end up with long ‘floats’ depending on how the scarf stretches, which don’t look so great.
  6. I then departed from the pattern even more – I knit 4 rows, a yo row, 2 more decrease rows, another knit row, and a final two decrease rows. These rows gave me a slightly sharper point
  7. For the second leg, I slipped the stitches from the waste yarn back onto the needles and repeated from (4)*.  There was only 4m of yarn left after I finished.  It would have been perfectly possible to work both legs of the scarf at the same time, using both ends of the ball of yarn. In fact I did try, but I got in such a tangle that I reverted to working one at a time.

Once I’d woven in the ends, I stretched the yarnovers into place by pulling the scarf taut. I couldn’t block it because the yarn was acrylic.

What I think of the yarn

The yarn was actually a pleasant surprise. I bought it because of the vibrant colours. I walked away from the stand several times, but kept finding myself going back. In the end, I gave in and ended up with 2 balls. One went to a friend for christmas, and the other became this scarf.

Ok, James C Brett Marble Chunky is acrylic, but it is soft, springy and very touchable – none of that horrid synthetic feel I normally associate with cheap stuff. The price was good too, at £2.99 to £3.50 a ball, and the colour stripes are fairly long, so it could be used in a lizard ridge blanket square or for the hat… I know, I know – suggesting something other than Noro for lizard ridge is heresy to some folk. I certainly think of Noro yarns before any other when considering a new project. But seriously, give this yarn go.

Facecloth II

Finished Objects

Experiment II

  • Pattern: ‘Laura’ doily, designer verlag otto beyer, plus my alterations – see below.
  • Yarn: Jaeger Aqua cotton dk, shae 304 lot 2915079.
  • Needles: 1 x 40cm 4mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 14in diameter.

I seem to be getting interested in all things circular… No sooner had I finished the last facecloth, than I found this pattern and started thinking ‘what if’ again. After just under 2 evenings, the finished article was pinned out to within an inch of its life.

The original pattern was fairly easy to follow, even though it is slightly more complex than the last one. It called for a crochet edging, which I ignored. I wanted to try for a knitted eyelet-ish edge. Almost got it right 🙂 I also added a hanging loop, with the thought that the item would be a facecloth.

Then I realised that the two cloths had turned out the same diameter, so now I’m thinking about bag panels or cushion covers. Who knows?

Facecloth

About, Finished Objects

Experiment

  • Pattern: ‘Doily style dishcloth’, designer unknown, plus my alterations – see below.
  • Yarn: Jaeger Aqua cotton dk, shae 304 lot 2915079.
  • Needles: 1 x 40cm 4mm metal circular.
  • Finished measurements: 14in diameter.

The ‘nesting’ instinct has taken over. I know I’m going to have to move soon, whether it’s to my new house (if everything goes ok) or to a temporary place. Part of me wants to make stuff just for the new place, which I can pack up with the rest of the things going in boxes. And actually packing some boxes might be a good plan – I kinda stopped when the buying process seemed to have stalled…

Anyway, I convinced myself not to make curtains, ‘cos I don’t know the ‘drop’ measurements. That left me with a pattern I’ve been eyeing up for a while – a doily style dishcloth. I liked the simplicity of the pattern.

I tinkered with the instructions, once I was part way through. I thought it was going to end up too small, so I added 2 rounds to each of the 2 main pattern sections, and about 8 rounds of netting after the main pattern ended and before the purl round. Finally, I added a crochet hanging loop. Blocked, it’s 14 inches across, but when it’s been through the wash it’s a perfect size for a facecloth.