Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pine Tree Raglan

Another exercise to practice stranded knitting. 



This one is my own design and knit for my middle grandson, Gavin, who is 4 years old.  Intended for his 2015 Christmas sweater and hoping he won't grow too much before December.  But, if he does, his little brother will have it and I will knit another one bigger for the G-Man.

Using a simple top down raglan design, I added a band of trees near the bottom and added a third color in purl stitches above and below the design. 

This came out to be about a child size 6-8 and is worked top down.

Needles: Size 6     Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch

Cast on 76 joining to work in round. Knit K1 P1 rib for about 3 inches. Fold over and knit cast on stitch with working row to create double thick fisherman neck. Begin increasing for raglan with stitch marker dividers as 14 for each sleeve and 33 each for front and back.  Keep increasing to measure 7 inches from top of neck to under arm. I had 66 stitches for each front and back and 46 for each sleeve.

Place sleeves on holder, cast on 6 stitches underarm, continue to work in round about 5 inches.  Knit one row alternate color, then 2 rows purl and then knit one more row. Change to white for the back ground and knit one row.  Knit the tree pattern and one more row white at the end.  Do the alternate color purl 4 row combo again (knit one row, purl two rows, knit one row).

I also did a second purl bump 4 row combo in green underneath the tan one.  Knit a few rows, then switch to K2, P2 rib and bind off. 

Knit each sleeve separately by picking up the stitches on the needle and pick up 6 stitches from the under arm.  Knit straight to about 3 inches prior to end. Knit an alternate color purl bump 4 row combo. Knit 2 rounds, decreasing 10 stitches to 36.  K2, P2 rib for about 2.5 inches, bind off. 

Block if needed.

Super easy if you like working top down raglans!

I still need to get the tension right with my right hand.  You can see there is discrepancy between the trees when tucking the floats. But in this case, it almost enhances the design and actually looks like snow falling within the tree line.  And for a boy who will be playing in the snow I think it came out just fine and will serve the purpose of keeping him warm.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Zuni Cardigan

I learn something new with nearly every project I knit, which is something that I think is amazing, since knitting really is only 2 stitches... Knit and Purl.

But there are so many, many ways to put them together that the end results are endless.  And the techniques in putting them together seam endless as well.
I knew when I started the Zuni Cardigan (pattern is in the 2015 Winter Issue of Interweave Knits) that I would learn a lot during this one.  Mainly seaming.  This sweater is knit in pieces, then knit together using the mattress stitch.  Now, this mattress stitch is not so hard, in fact it is quite easy to do and creates a nearly invisible join in pieces.  Well, that is true when sewing straight up the sides.  I had a bit of fiddling along the shoulders and arm openings.  I guess I need more practice at these points! But overall, it came out well and it won't be falling apart at the seams.

So, I've never done pockets before and I'm pretty sure that with this project I've learned how not to do them.  These are picked up along the bottom, knit straight up, then sewn on the top.  I think there is a way to do them from the inside, which I think would have been a lot neater.  I will definitely try a different method with my next project that requires pockets.

And of course, I am trying to master fair isle or stranded knitting.  This project was great for that as it just has some here and there. The trick is keeping track of every row so they line up properly.  (another reason I am determined to try STEEKING in the future, but that is another story altogether)

The shawl collar was fun with over 400 stitches to pick up.  This was not hard, just took along time.  I would put a stitch marker every 20 stitches so I didn't have to recount each time I lost track.

Anyway, it came out acceptable, could have been better, but I'm sure Sara will love it.  And I love the fact that I have 3 Christmas gifts done and it is only March!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fleegle Socks

I've always knit socks top down on double pointed needles with a heel flap, but I thought I would try something new.

Toe up with 2 at a time (definitely not the magic loop - no matter how many attempts I make, my brain just cannot set these up!), using 3 16 inch circular needles.

I was looking for a good heel and tried the short rows, which are ok, but then I ran across the Fleegle Heel design and I am definitely sold.  If you are on ravely, just search for Fleegle Heel socks. And here is a link to a free pattern!

I love these as there is basically no keeping track of rows, no picking up stitches and no sewing up the toes with Kitchner stitch.

The math is easy.  Just increase the toes to the stitch count you need to the start of the heel (top of the foot to where the ankle starts).  Start increasing for the heel (one  half of the stitches) one stitch on each side every other row until the heel stitch count equals the total number of sock stitches.  Then turn the heel until the heel stitch count is back to one half the total sock stitches.   Then knit up the leg.

Easy peasy!

My first pair of socks are knit with Deborah Norville premier yarn on size 0 needles.  Total Stitch count to 72 and very pointy toes (needed for Mom)

The formula works so well, and by working them toe up, it is very easy to try them on as you go to ensure a perfect fit!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fair Isle Hat

I've been trying my hand at fair isle or stranded knitting, but really had no instruction or visual aids to go by.  I was going by something I heard years ago about always having the yarn go under the color change so there won't be a hole.

By putting the yarn under each other, it required physically changing the position of the yarn after each stitch, which not only slows down the knitting process, but gets old very fast.

So I did some research on line and came across this wonderful video showing how to knit stranded work without tangling or changing position!  I feel like a silly goat that the items I've knit with color change so far have been knit completely wrong, not to mention the hard way.

If you are new to stranded work, take a moment to view this video from the Philosopher's Wool Company.  She calmingly walks you through the two handed technique.

This brings us to right or left handed knitting.  I have always held the yarn in my left hand.  This technique requires holding yarn in both, one color in the left, one color in the right.

I have found that I am completely uncoordinated using the right, but I'm sure with some practice I can master this. 

I started out with a simple hat, using scraps that I had laying around. 

Knitting this was SO MUCH FUN!  I love working with colors and using the technique from the video, it goes super fast. 

I'll send this hat out to my grandson, Warren who loves skiing and sledding.  With the stranded work, it is like a double knit and sure to be an extra warm hat!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stranded: Fair Isle Knitting

One of the new techniques I have on my 2015 list to learn and master is stranded fair isle knitting.

I don't mean just changing colors, I mean mastering it with consistent tension, great color combos and no holes!   I've spent a lot of years avoiding this and just knitting solid colors and simple stripes, simply because, frankly, color changes scared me. But in 2015, I plan to tackle my fears and work hard to master fair isle.

My first project is a sweet little sweater for my youngest grandson.  (He is the tester because, well, he is the smallest!).   So I picked this lovely pattern that is available on Ravelry, titled Anders  by Sorren Kerr. I fell in love with the pattern and it is extremely well written.  Easy to follow, top down, in the round, no seaming, and easy charts for the color work.

The project came out lovely and the sweater is tucked away for Christmas.  Not to mention little Nolan's birthday is Christmas Eve, so this sweater is just perfect for him!

As you can see, the tension is pretty good for the snow fall near the top, but I have some work to do to get the tension better near the bottom of the trees.  For my first one, I'm ok with that for now, but will definitely work on improvements with future projects.
 I found that when changing colors, each change requires me to 'flip' my incoming yarn so that with each change the new yarn goes under the old yarn.  Unless I flipped the yarn, I would end up with a tangled mess.  This slows the knitting process down, quite a bit, but I just love the end result.

I've already cast on an adult sweater for my daughter Sara that has some fair isle work. So far it is coming out well, so stay tuned for that update in another month or so.. (it is a big sweater that requires SEAMING.. another technique on my 2015 list!.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 Challenge: Finding New Techniques

I've spent 2014 knitting up a storm.  I have gotten pretty darn good at top down raglans, basic top down socks and various shawls.  For 2015 I have decided to choose projects that would incorporate learning new techniques to expand my knitting knowledge.

My first project in 2015 was to design a pull over sweater for my grandson without using a pattern that was full of cables.  My thought was to have a fisherman type sweater for warmth, durability and wash ability for an 8 year old boy who loves to play outside.

I decided to do  a bottom up so I could have more control over the cabling designs.  I used Lion Brand Wool Ease so it could be washable without any shrinkage.

The sizing came out a bit big for him, but if I hang on to it for Christmas, he may grow by then for a perfect fit.

I started at the bottom, Cast on 200 stitches on size 5 needles. (This ended up being a bit large for his narrow body, but I think it is nice for boys to have roomy sweaters to allow play!)
100 stitches for front, and 100 stitches for the back.  2X2 rib for a couple inches.
Centering the cable design and separating each design with purl 2, I used honeycomb for the center, surrounded by claw on each side and then surrounded by a chain design on each side of that.
Knitting up to the length desired to under arms, I did a stockinette stitch sleeves, casting on 36 stitches increasing 6 stitches on the first row after the 2 x 2 rib, then increasing 2 stitches every 6 rounds.
I then added the sleeves to the body and began the raglan decrease to the neck, keeping as best I could to the cable patterns as they decreased.
The neck is 2 x 2 rib for about 4 inches, then folded over and sewn down on the inside, to make a double thick collar.
Cable Patterns:
Chain: (7 stitches worked over 8 rows)
1) Sl 1 PW, K5, S1 PW
2) Sl 1 PW, K5, S1 PW
3) C3L, K1, C3R
4) Knit
5) K2, S1 PW, K1, S1 PW, K2
6) K2, S1 PW, K1, S1 PW, K2
7) C3R, K1, C3L
8) Knit
Claw: (9 stitches worked over 4 rows)
1) Knit
2) Knit
3) C4R, K1, C4L
4) Knit
Honeycomb: (32 stitches worked over 8 rows)
1) C4B, C4F
2) Knit
3) Knit
4) Knit
5) C4F, C4B
6) Knit
7) Knit
8) Knit
Sl 1 PW (slip one stitch Purl Wise)
C3L: (Cable 3 left: slip next stitch onto cable needle and hold in FRONT of work. Knit next 2 stitches from left needle, then knit stitch from cable needle)
C3R: Cable 3 right: slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle and hold in BACK of work. Knit next  stitch from left needle, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle)
C4R: (Cross 4 Right: slip next 3 stitches onto cable needle and leave at BACK of work, knit next stitch from left needle, then knit 3 stitches from cable needle)
C4L: (Cross 4 Left:  slip next stitch onto cable needle and leave at FRONT of work, knit next 3 stitches from left needle, then knit stitch from cable needle)
C4B: (Cable 4 Back: slip next 2 stitches  onto a cable needle and hold in BACK of work, knit next 2 stitches from left needled, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle)
C4F: (Cable 4 Front: slip next 2 stitches  onto a cable needle and hold in FRONT of work, knit next 2 stitches from left needled, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle)
For my first sweater knit without using a pattern, I think it came out pretty good.  Warren loves my hand made sweaters and wears them all the time.  This one, though, is an original and made especially for him!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cardigan Sweater, Boot Slippers, Pinwheel Pouch and an Owl

Christmas is coming FAST and projects are everywhere in my house.

Right now I have a poncho, a sweater, a pair of socks and a shawl all on the needles.

This week I was able to finish up a few, including this great cardigan sweater.  I originally intended this one was for my Mom, but the sizing came out a bit small.  I will need to order yarn and start over 2 sizes bigger, but the pattern is super easy and it is a quick knit. This pattern is available on ravelry here for $5.00 by Megan Goodacre.  The pattern is well written and a very quick knit, well worth $5..
Just make sure you check your gauge and select the right size.
This one will go to my very petite friend!

These house boot slippers were super fun to make and are for daughter Erin.  In lieu of chunky yarn, I used double strands of worsted.  The pattern can be found here and is FREE!
I did some modifications to the pattern itself, but mine came out very similar:

This cute, cute mini pouch is perfect for my neighbor girl.. Plan to put a bit of cash in there for her!
The pattern can be found here and is also FREE

And lastly, another free pattern for this fun fun fun owl.  Knit up with scraps and left over buttons, this is for my son's girlfriend who really likes owls... Total project time for this one was about an hour.  Can't beat that!

Hoping you all have your holiday projects going in full swing and are closer to completion that I am!
Happy Knitting