On cake and set in top down sleeves

There is a lot to catch up on – I have not written a post in ages! I am totally out of the habit of  taking photos of what happens around me, I hope that is not going to be a problem for you… I will have to use my words.

Let’s first talk about cake. DSCN6072Sunday before last I had my department for morning tea, this was a cake eating event instead of a baby shower for one of my colleagues. This looks pretty impressive, eh? I made a German marble cake (far back on the big blue plate) and this time I iced it with lemon icing. I also made the German plum tart on the red cake stand. I gave my colleague the little knitted baby jump suit – and my colleague just loved it.

Well, Sunday cake is engrained in our family’s week now, I made some more this Sunday: a honey cheese cake and three banana cakes (only one in this picture).DSCN6085 Pretty yummy. With the cake news covered, let’s get into the knitting news.

Well the next brief item covers cake and knitting – we went to Timothy’s birthday and had cake and delivered the knitted Bull jumper… and it fits!!! I made the sleeves 10 cm and the body 15cm longer than the original Bull jumper, and this was just based on his brother’s estimate, well BINGO. (Sadly no photo – please imagine a handsome, blond young man with a beautiful smile, pleased to take the woolen jumper off on a hot day).

Now knitting pure: I have been busy knitting the second jump suit for my brother’s baby, realizing that the baby is due in 2 weeks time! So this one is stripy, but has got just as many stitches than the first one (he he he) – these tiny garments on 2.25mm needles take just as long as an item for an adult on 4mm needles, seriously!

Knitting away on the 2nd jump suit gives me the opportunity to check my pattern for accuracy, but also to revise my entire idea of how to set out to represent instructions, the notation of good knitwear design. And though it’s all very accurate what I have put on paper – I realized that it is terribly long-winded and off-putting, even for the keenest of knitters… Somehow I thought of Japanese knitting instructions, no idea where I read that they are really easy to understand. I googled, I found, I read, I understood – this subject deserves it’s very own post one day (though there is already lot’s written about it) so I will only say that it’s the Japanese style I will be aiming for in my own writing – simple and clear, everything is set out on one page, no words are wasted… a drawing and a few numbers, I love it!!!

I have started something myself! A knitted shirt. I actually documented the process diligently (and the pics got deleted from the camera by another user, so much for shared gadgets), but they are no longer available… This project has been exiting in more than one way:

  1. It is for me, myself, I!!!
  2. it is bright red, not grey – I am getting bold with my colors, hurraaaa!
  3. I took the pattern of a shirt I love wearing… there is a bit of shaping involved here to get a good fit, so fingers crossed it all turns out as planned
  4. I am making fitted sleeves! Fitted sleeves knitted from the top!!!!!! I was tempted to buy a book on the subject – but then I figured that I have a brain and that I am paid to think (something I still am getting used to…) – so I do have the capacity to work this one out myself and funnily enough, I think I did!
  5. I will make cuffs and a collar, all edged with garter stitch

Here are some pearls of wisdom re: set in/ fitted sleeves knitted from the top. All I knew when I started this, was that the cap of the sleeve is knitted with short rows, increasing stitches either side from the shoulder seam.

First of all one needs to pick up the stitches around the armhole. Two decisions are to be made: (1) How to pick them up neatly? (2) how many stitches?


(1) DSCN6091I divided the armhole into three sections and dealt with each section slightly differently.  My decreases for the armhole were as follows:  3, 2, 2, 4 x 1, 0, 1 stitches and then 32 rows no decreases.

  1. section 1: at the bottom of the armhole where I had cast off  3, 2, 2 stitches, so I went into the 7 stitches to pick up the new ones, I ignored the gaps between the rows, so the scye turned out nice and tight.
  2. section 2: where I decreased 4 x 1 stitch I went into the stitches to pick up new ones, but also picked up extra stitches under each decrease, by going into the stitches as before.
  3. section 3: along the 32 rows of no increases, I picked up 3 stitches every 4 rows by going into the space next to the selvage stitch.

(2) It was hard to thing to get my head around the issue of how many stitches to pick up… for the top down fitted sleeves you pick up stitches to fit the armhole (armhole measurement x 1/10 stitch gauge; 46 cm x 2 in my case = 92 st) – this is the ‘first row’ of the sleeve cap, the foundation for all the short rows – but then the sleeve width is measured across the armhole; 36 cm x 2 in my case = 72 st). What about the 20 stitches difference???? Me and my brain, we figured that because my cap is 38 rows high (18 increases either side from the shoulder seam), we need to divide my stitches across the armhole (72) by 18 rows, ensuring that the first increases (at the cap) start flat (around 4 st each side), then steep (1 increase every side) and that the last increases (at the bottom of the armhole) match my armhole decreases. As for the extra stitches, 20 of them – I will have to decrease them evenly around the armhole as I knit my short rows… but not at the scye, that needs to stay tight. So everything fell nicely into place…

I will keep you posted… and not leave any unpublished photos in the camera for too long…

New Inspiration

I have been lying low, and since this blog is a MFZ (moan free zone), I have been thinking whilst doing the hoovering this afternoon what positive there is in being so busy like I am right now (and now I surrender to the idea that it will not change) – see, not that I am unhappy with life at all, but the work – knit balance has been totally out of whack since this year kicked off. I came out of my little reflection thinking that if this is my only problem, then I am doing really well.

What is really positive about being so busy is that I get a nice paycheck, have lovely colleagues, interesting and stimulating work that I am largely in charge of and that I am being very organized fitting all manner of things into a tight schedule. Another really good thing is that everybody around me is picking up tasks that I am too busy to do… the kids are very much pulling their weight with chores and dog walking. So – what problem???
DSCN5881This arrived in the post this week – lovely yarns from Zigo Zago… and I guess that’s when it hit me that I have not knitted anything for myself in ages, even though this year was going to be all about me in the knitting department. And all I wanted to do is take to my bed for 3 weeks and knit something amazing for myself. But there are projects in the cue…

As I tidied the house, I thought that meeting my frustration head on would help coping. So I got all my yarns that I have accumulated (against all good intentions) over the last year in a vacuum bag – to look at, to acknowledge that they will really just be on hold until further notice (until I have finished my current 3 projects).DSCN5886 Not bad, eh? From left to right, let me introduce you: Merino yarn from Zigo Zago, I am dying to make a Twin Set (yesss!!!) or a lovely longish tunic, then gorgeous Shetland yarns for a wonderful Fair Isle jumper, then cream and dark brown yarn I bought in Tasmania, then bright red for a nice something or other and a lovely charcoal for another something or other… And then look at this, I sucked the air out of the bag to keep the yarns nice and clean and moth free!DSCN5887 I also thought I should put a photo of ‘the other’ baby jump suit on this post, just to realize that even though I have not been able to dedicate as much time to knitting as I would have loved lately, I am still getting somewhere, if but slowly… this one is of the stripy variety, and it is actually great to do another one to really check the pattern details!DSCN5888 And then I just got on with it. Knittathon galore. I watched 3 movies straight: one with my daughters, one with my son, one on my own – and the Bull Jumpers’ intarsia is just about done, I cannot believe it myself! What was all that agro about?!?!?! Another thing I have done over the last few months, being short of time, I have relocated the shed into a wonderful trunk that serves as a coffee table in our lounge room. It has all I need, right there, no need to even leave the armchair (once I am in it…), tough I will need to lift the wine glass for access…DSCN5885DSCN5884Uh, with all this under my belt for achievements on a Friday night, I am ready to take on house hunting, basketball matches, weekly food shopping, soccer trials and the rest of it for the weekend. No worries.