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!