Proudly Presenting TD #2

Well, TD refers to “top down” and TD #2 indicates that it’s the second cardigan version of a pattern I originally designed last year (and knitted up), and that there are more versions of this to come. BECAUSE I LOVE IT and it fits so well…image

This second version of the pattern is simply a little shorter and the front lace has got an extra vertical row of a small pattern. It’s probably not that noticeable to the uninitiated eye… Or is it? Here is a shot of TD#1 in comparison.image

I think this is going to be my standard pattern for ‘a little knitted cardigan’ – it is so very light (380 gr) and comfortable, both relaxed and smart… and by now I have the pattern fairly well internalized, so it’s not hard to make another one.

I used Barbara Walker’s method of top down sweater knitting as outlined in her book Knitting from the Top. I refined her method by knitting short rows on the top sleeve to create a perfectly fitting sleeve cap.image

So, both cardigans are knitted in the round and then I steeked the centre front and added the button band. TD#2 is knitted on slightly smaller needles to keep the shape better!

For all edges I used a rib that features purl stitches and the lace knit that occurs in the lace pattern.image

And with this accomplishment under my belt, I sought out something small and quick for my next project. I have always intended to whip up this lovely little Henley.image

When I knitted up a sample for the waffle knit, the pattern was very unimpressive and I had saved something more bold on Pinterest which seemed to work really well!image

And look at the reverse side, it’s very pretty, too!image

Have I mentioned that I have started a 6 month contract on the costume’s for Disney’s Aladdin? The designs are amazing and I am thrilled to be on Australia’s A team of costume manufacturing to realize them. The hours are long, the production scope is epic, the organization/ coordination of a all the making, beading, hand painting and other embellishment is EPIC, but it’s so much fun! :).


Tutorial: Top Down Set in Sleeves Part 1

I hope this post will be for some lone knitting googlers the answer to their knitting prayers – an explanation and tutorial on those magic set in/ fitted sleeves that are being knitted from the top to the cuff! Disclaimer : I am entirely self taught by reading Barbara Walker’s “Knitting from the Top” and by working my way through a number of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s top down jumpers (but they did’ have the fitted sleeve).

So here I am starting: casting on 24 sts with invisible cast on for the first shoulder, then knitting 6 rows with short rows for the shoulder slant. See how I am increasing at the neck 2 sts to shape the back neck? image

At the end of the final row, I cast on 40 sts, the remaining neck sts.image

And then I cast on 24 sts for the other shoulder… image

After I have finished the slanted bit for the shoulder, I join the piece to the first one by knitting over the entire new neck stitches and the other shoulder. I knit another 16 rows of stocking stitch, without decreases or increases.image

Then I pick up the 24 sts from the first shoulder for the first shoulder front. Here, too I knit the shoulder slant with short rows. I also add some increases for the rounded deep neckline. I knit a total of 22 rows, just like on the back.image

And then I do the same on the other shoulder.image

Any questions so far?

In the next tutorial I will cover the magic bit – picking up the stitches for the sleeve head! BTW – I am using 3.75 mm needles and am knitting with Bendigo Woollen Mills ‘Classic’ wool. It’s going to be a jumper for my nephew Dominic, size 40″ chest… I would not be surprised if I had to re- work the thing more than once… That seems how it goes… But I never regret the frogging/ ripping… If that means the piece is going to worn and treasured, that’s ok…



Knitted in one piece: set in fitted sleeves, knitted from the top

So turned to my Pinterest knitting board and found this:


This is lovely, just what I am looking for. I don’t know who designed this garment – I would very much like to give them credit… Classic, beautifully shaped, timeless… male, beautiful simplicity with a twist. I love the broad shoulders flowing into a well fitting upper body and the well fitted sleeve heads.

What is great about this design is that it allows me to try out Barbara Walker’s top down fitted sleeves – knitted all in one, her method has intrigued me for some time. This is how it works – have a look at the picture before you read on. The red bits are the yarn ends I used for the invisible cast on. I leave them in for now, as reference to indicate where  my ‘shoulder’ down fitted sleeves - yoke

  1. cast on (invisible cast on) first shoulder (left), work short rows to shape the shoulder and at the same time, increase stitches for the roundness of the neck, cast on remaining neck stitches, cut yarn
  2. cast on (invisible cast on) second shoulder (right), work short rows and increase stitches for the roundness of the neck, work all neck stitches (across to the left shoulder) and start working the entire back piece, completing all short rows and work about 6 cm.
  3. pick up stitches at the right shoulder, work short rows and increase stitches for the front neck, work about 6 cm
  4. pick up st at left shoulder, work short rows and increase st for neck, work about 6 cm
  5. THEN wow, here it comes, the exiting bit: start at the left front neck (RS) and knit across to the right front piece to the armhole, then pick up stitches for the sleeve head  (through 2 out of 3 rows), knit across the back, pick up stitches across the right armhole, knit across the right front.
  6. Then merrily knit back and forth… increase at the front neck and at the armholes to shape the set in sleeve.

So far so good… that’s how far I have made it. I have learned a lot (and unraveled the lot already twice), but I think I am on to a winner.

This version of top down jumper appears in Barbara Walker’s book Knitting from the Top as a mere variation in her chapter about seamless set-in sleeves where she explains two ways of knitting set in sleeves from the top:

(1) body – first method: here, the sleeveless sweater is worked first, and the sleeves are set in by picking up stitches around the armhole later

(2) sleeve-first method: here, front and back of sweater are worked up to the underarm (more or less what I have described I have done, but here the jumper is knitted all the way to the underarm, not just 6 cm), then the underarm stitches are cast on to a separate needle (all stitches required for a seamless sleeve, or 2 x ½ the stitches required for a seamed sleeve), then all the remaining sleeve stitches are picked up around the armhole edge and the sleeve cap stitches are worked in short rows. Finally, the underarm stitches are worked and the sleeve is completed. Only then, the underarm stitches are picked up (increases mirroring the amount picked up for the sleeve at the underarm) to complete the body.

Here is a close up of one shoulder.

In addition to following Barbara Walker’s instructions to the dot, I have added a wee twist, too! As you can see here, I have decreased stitches at the armhole (5 in total on each shoulder, over 40 or so rows) to create a fitted sleeve that sits in a broad shouldered garment. In fact, my armhole resembles very much the shape of an armhole in a tailored suit jacket. Fingers crossed that it will work!right shoulder front and back

Proudly Presentling: The cable knit hot water bottle cover

hot water bottle coverHere, finally, one month late for Vicky’s birthday – the hot water bottle cover! I just love it! I hope she will!

I picked the Ornate Lattice cable stitch pattern from Barbara Walker’s vast selection of patterns and knit this very tightly (ouch, poor hands…) to make the pattern show up really well. I knitted a tube and finished the bottom with an i-cord and incorporated two buttons and buttonholes.

Sue and I discussed this wonderful idea of how to manage multiple knitting projects while we were sailing on the harbour. Sue is a firm believer in having 3 categories of projects on the go at any time: one for the handbag (little), one for chatting and TV (straightforward) and one that is a challenge (sh, don’t talk to me I am in focus mode). My problem is that most of my projects fall into the latter category. Currently I have the Japanese top on the go (sh!), which I still need to blog about.

Happy knitting and categorizing!

Ready for the Nippy Mornings!

DSCN6532I am ready for those nippy April mornings… we are getting the woolly socks out and I am casting on a beanie and … there are just not enough hours in the day to put all ideas into action, so bit by bit I am clicking away.DSCN6533

I know, it’s sunny now, when my resident photographer took these shots, but mornings and evenings are really another story! I am really pleased with Heidi Kirrmaier’s Shellseeker! It fits like a glove and is very warm. The proportions are wonderful and I am pleased with my alterations on the pattern (see details one or two posts ago).

What else is on the needles now? Dare I say… I am not sticking to the 3 project rule (that there are only ever 3 projects on the go at any time…)! This is what is going on:

  1. The Japanese Story (A)
  2. The Japanese Story (B)
  3. beanie for Patrick
  4. finish stripy baby jumpsuit – baby is now 2 weeks old, get a move on!!!
  5. green/ multicolor lace scarf (I hope you have all forgotten about that, started last year)
  6. finish last few rows of Guild jumper (started 2 years ago…)

Here is the beginning of the Japanese Story (A) – will dedicate an entire post to this project, but this is the beginning:DSCN6543

and this is what it is going to be part of (the underneath bit).DSCN6285

The top, The Japanese Story (B), so I have decided, will have to be plain stocking stitch. It’s just too busy otherwise. First I thought I work lace sleeves into a plain stocking stitch jacket… well, I can still change my mind about that. I thought I could try to knit the jacket From the Top, all in one hit, a la Barbara Walker, which is an entire re-write of the pattern. If I go for that, lace sleeves would be tricky: getting my head around the new technique as well as knitting a complicated lace upside down – no, it doesn’t seem to be relaxing at all.

A perfect location for the Shellseeker

I have been working on Heidi Kirrmaier’s Shellseeker (call this part of my pattern writing research…) and now that I am in the final throws of knitting the sleeves, I had the longing to smell the sea! Nobody wanted to come with me to one of our lovely surf beaches… so this is where we ended up, for more than one reason…

Call it serenity…DSCN6513DSCN6515

Call it safe…DSCN6517DSCN6522

Call it heavenly for dogs… who were not sure which part of the beach they were allowed to roam off-leash and had fun trying to score some of the fishermen’s bait…DSCN6521

But let’s look at my Shellseeker… here it is. It is such a wonderful classic shape! DSCN6526

I have performed a few changes: first of all, I used different yarn, some lovely natural stuff I bought in Tasmania in January. I had 450gr of light, 250 gr of dark – and thus I changed the stripe pattern (it is supposed to be 2 rows light, 2 rows dark – I have 4 rows light, 2 rows dark). I added a rib at the neck and at the edge of the pocket, I felt that gives it a bit more of a finished look. I also used a stripy rib (k2 dark, p2 light) – so the interplay of different stripes adds another dimension to the jumper. Finally, I shaped the waist, though I am a tomboy who lives is jeans and doc martins throughout the year… I start to discover a feeble feminine side in my personality and thought this may help to bring it out.
As part of my serious research into knitting set- in top down sleeves I had ordered Barbara Walker’s ‘Knitting from the Top’ which now has arrived.DSCN6527

Oh what a wonderful book! Just like Elizabeth Zimmermann and Maggie Righetti – she talks about principles, proportions and relations, it all makes sense to me. Now what?
Well, I have started something very feminine for myself – I firmly believe of starting a new project before finishing and existing one… Why? Well, because that gives me time to carefully swatch, plan, design a new project. If I wait until the old one is finished, I am too tempted to rush to get something new on the needles.

Here is a sneaky preview, this is a Japanese adventure which warrants a lot more explanation another day…DSCN6285DSCN6287

Proudly Presenting: My Red Rag

Before presenting (proudly presenting… ) my new design, I must give a thanks to every blogger who has shared their designs and ideas on the www. Many thanks!
Not that I don’t want to share my stuff – I didn’t even realize that I had lot’s to share… until I randomly checked my stats the other day and saw people had searched for ‘free intarsia chart for Chicago Bull’ or ‘point of knitted V-neck’ and the like! Oh no, I am so sorry!!! Usually I intend to put details of what I have done up in the post… just as I intend to write up every pattern I knit… and grade it… and make it available in different gauges… but I always run out of time or get stuck into the next project. So, how about you tell me if you want to know something – I’ll reply asap!

And now … ta ta tat taaaaaaa… The Red Rag:DSCN6321

This has taken me some time – not the actual knitting of the Red Rag – allowing myself to finish this (stopping myself from unraveling it over and over, in the search of perfection). The sleeve heads were knitted probably 5 times, the collar at least twice… all new territory for me, a steep learning curve.DSCN6302
Here are the technical bits:
pattern source: Textileshed!
size 38″
yarn: 550gr Bendigo Woollen Mills “Duet” (30% Mohair, 70% Wool), shade 149 “Wildberry”
gauge: 20st/ 26 rows on 3.5mm
method: The body was knitted bottom up, casting on first the entire hem and knitting 6 rows in garter st, then using short rows, I shaped the scalloped hem. The waist and bust are shaped by decreasing/ increasing stitches at the side seam, as well as within the front and back piece. The sleeves are set in, knitted from the top. The front edges and the collar stand are knitted in garter stitch (I had 3 circular needles in operation at the same time to do this, thus I achieved mitered corners where collar stand and front edges converge); the buttonholes on the right front are worked plainly as yo; kn2tog. The collar has got very sharp points – see details below.

Knitty Gritty Bits:
Collar: Here are some close-ups for the collar. I started by knitting a collar stand (6 rows in garter st) as I knitted the front edges. You cannot see the collar stand here in the finished garment at all, but you can see it in the picture with the knitting needles in it.DSCN6304

DSCN6272The collar’s right side is the body’s wrong side, as the collar is folded on itself! The photo above illustrates the existence of the collar stand fairly well, eh? Here are approximate instructions:

  1. Knit 6 rows in garter st (collar stand) as you knit the front edges
  2. cast off 3 st of the collar stand (as you cast off the front edges)
  3. put the next 4 st on hold to be picked up as you knit the edge of the collar in garter st later.
  4. increase 11 stitches for the collar (after finishing the collar stand), 5 st at the back neck, and 3 st at each front neck in order to make it big enough to fold nicely on itself
  5. knit 15 rows of garter st, increasing 1st each side – after the first and  before the last st (row 3, 7, 11, 15)
  6.  pick up 12 st alongside both short edges of the collar with dp needles and knit 6 rows in garter st along all three edges of the collar. In these 6 rows you need to (1) incorporate the 4 st on each side that were put on hold and (2) work the mitre/ point of the collar.
    (1) In rows 2, 3, 5, and in the cast off row one st of the ones on hold are pulled over the first and last st of the row before working that first/ last stitch.
    (2) Collar point: chose one st at corner to be knitted in stocking st, to form a clear ‘mitre’, either side of that stitch increase one st in row 1, 2, 3, 5, 6.

Sleeve heads:DSCN6316 knitted from the top down. I picked up as many stitches as were required for the size of the armhole, then decreased enough stitches so I got the amount needed for the top of the sleeve in row 2, knitted row 3 plain and then knitted the sleeve head with short rows. But actually – this is not too bad…
I am not going to give instructions here… since I think there is room for improvement to how I have ended up knitting them on the Red Rag… but this is what I have learned: There are 3 successful ways of knitting fitted sleeves from the top down.

  1. Pick up stitches around the armhole before you shape the sleeve head with short rows. You have to pick up the amount of st that you will need at the widest part of the sleeve, so think carefully about the sleeve width, the armhole depth and the sleeve head height. (This is an entire blog post…!) This is brilliantly explained on, and may I also add, Sue took the time to give me an incredibly detailed explanation when I contacted her with my queries. Unfortunately, I had knitted the sleeve heads ‘my way’ one time too many… and decided to leave it all. But next time, I will follow her advice to the dot!
  2. Pick up stitches as you knit your sleeve heads with short rows – personally I would advise against this, unless you clearly mark at what point you pick up the st as you go…
  3. knit your sleeve heads as you knit your front and back pieces top down… that means you start on your shoulders (front and back), then as you work further down and work your neckline, you also add sts as required to shape the sleeve head – this was ‘invented’/ published by Barbara Walker and I have ordered her book on Amazon – this would be the most sophisticated way ever… and I really want to learn this.

Mysterious Miraculous Mobius

Another lovely avatar I found this morning. Boy, I hear a lot of clacking of knitting needles on the web, eh?

But let’s turn to the finished Mobius, hot off the needles this morning!

Here is the front… the back… and the side

… and then we have here a folded up version and a detail of the neck with the new label!!!

And now a picture or two to document the process. I used my “standard” mobius pattern (no picture), which will get a severe make-over to make the shoulder cables match the body shape better next time.

So here we have a picture of how I documented how I actually knitted the cable… because for some reason I couldn’t follow the charts I carefully worked out (hands up for those who are surprised)

I really like it! There is room for refining the pattern in more than one way, but let’s just enjoy it for now!

The big cable came from one off the Barbara Walker books, it was not easy to decide, since there were so many wonderful ones to choose from. My criteria was that it had to accommodate short rows, without distorting the cable and it had to accommodate widening/ narrowing of the band. It works!

Have a great week end!