Tripple Top Down

Have not talked about knitting for a bit, right? Only mentioned tangentially that is has occurred. So this post is about knitting. Some weeks ago I posted two tutorials about top down jumpers – easy – peasy and no seams! And what a fit! Let me rephrase – easy when you know what you are doing (especially once you have finished the yoke) and when you have the right measurements and yeah – peasy and no seams!

So the reason the jumper tutorial ended where it did was because I probably re- did that section, the yoke, about uhm FIVE times. Yepp. And that is because each time I knitted it, I described in more detail to myself (and for the crowds following this blog 😜), I improved it, clarified it, tweaked and twisted… I am very happy with what came out of the exercise.

Show and Tell Time? So what do you think is in these bags?image

It’s hardly any shopping,  Ok, since I really hate shopping… another clue, here:image

Yesssss, my knitting projects! All top down jumpers/ cardigans! Let’s start with the first one, which is for myself!image

So I promised my nephew to knit him a jumper, and I started (said tutorial) and waited to fit him… And as I was waiting and waiting to get together with him I got very impatient to explore the whole top down thing, and what better way would there be anyway than using up this delightful yarn? So this is what I made – naturally knitted the whole thing FIVE times until it got to this stage! I will steek it and turn it into a cardigan, and then I will knit this over and over and over again, in different colours and with different detail – it is such an amazing fit and nice thin yarn!

So, next in line comes that said jumper for my nephew and I can’t help but sneak some photos in from our rendezvous that we eventually managed to organise.image

image But back to the jumper for Dominic. I have improved the sleevehead since the said tutorial by adding about 12 short row shaping rows, I think it looks so great!image

So the body is crunched up and looks super slim  – but that’s just because I didn’t unload all the stitches on a 2nd needle for the photo shoot… Sorry… One set on thee stripes on one sleeve only… Cool cat. More photos upon completion.

So, the last bag contains something for my colleague who scored a job at Monash University, and it will be cold in Melbourne when she gets there in July. She is leaving her old job (with me, sob, sob…) in May, so I thought I better slot this project in pronto! Of course I was going to design something special, but then, considering my rate of re- knits of every section, I thought it was prudent to opt for a commercial pattern. I looked for something feminine, yet feminist and decided on this one – Reverb – by Brooklyn Tweed. To be honest, I fell in love with that old truck just as much as with the cardigan!

I saw, I downloaded, I cast on…

And have sped ahead with this top down raglan ( in Bendigo wool, needless to say, found it in the stash)  – it’s a miracle how fast a project grows without being unpicked all the time!image

Sample workshop: asymetrical cables

I have been umming and aaahing about making a jumper for Patrick, one that should be glorious, fitting for the most attractive man around… classic, challenging my creativity AND fun to knit, phew… no pressure.

So I flicked through Ravelry for inspiration, and inspiration I did find. I like the Urban Aran Cardigan, adapted by Jared Flood’s uh, it’s soft – but definitely male, sophisticated – yet not too fancy. Here are some samples, which I am very pleased with, needless to say this is yarn from Bendigo again (yarn ‘Luxury’, shade ‘Blue Denim’). diagonal cable stripesfancy asymetrical cable

I knitted this 8 ply with 3.75mm needles. Alas – the project was discarded… these nice cables need to have a 2:2 background, this, AND the color, are just too similar to David’s cable jumper I knitted last spring… let’s do something new!

Proudly Presenting the Joey

DSCN6771Fits like a glove, itches like hell (gotta find a skivvy and quick!) and looks spectacular!

I am very pleased with this one, let alone with whats on the inside :)!DSCN6767

We had a great morning walk with the dogs, Patrick discovered a baby eel in a little waterfall, and I enjoyed the moss graffiti on the rocks.DSCN6772

DSCN6567For the record:   The Joey

  • inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Kangaroo Pouch Jumper
  • turned hem with name and date
  • knitted with 500gr left over yarn (assorted Bendigo Woollen Mills) on 3.5mm needles
  • steeked armholes
  • top down fitted sleeves
  • to fit child (approx age 10 – 12 yrs)

Cliffhanger Knitting

You all know the feeling – ‘who dunnit?’, ‘what next?’, ‘how on earth?’, ‘can’t wait to see how this will have a happy ending?’. That’s about summing up what this project has been about…

I have started such a project last Saturday. Since I am really keen to explore sleeve heads, once and for all I want to understand the rationale behind a well fitting and nicely knitted top down sleeve head AND I want to explore all of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s patterns  in which she just gives the idea and the principles (and percentages!) to work it out for yourself – her Kangaroo-Pouch Sweater (it’s in her book Knitting without Tears) had been on my list of ‘must knits’ for some time. Added to that – I have accumulated a number of leftover yarns from all my Bendigo Woollen Mills projects, all 8 ply and somehow the colors work together well.

DSCN6565Knitting the hem was an adventure in itself, look at this. As I knitted during Esther’s soccer game, all the mums were wondering why I had knitted the name and date on the inside of the hem… I wonder now myself, this is a great feature to include in a future project (to leave it on the outside!).DSCN6567

For the lining of the hem, I chose a slightly thinner yarn, so it wouldn’t be such a thick hem, and I also chose 1/2 needle size smaller for this section. I worked the lining of the hem back and forth, so I could knit the name and date in. After the name section was completed, I skipped one return (purl) row and knitted it, to achieve the ‘ridge’ for the turn. Then I changed to my actual needle size and started working the body in the round until I completed as many rows as the hem lining was deep. (This might have been a row or so more than the hem lining, since that was knitted in a thinner yarn and a thinner needle, remember?) In the following row, I picked up every second cast on stitch from the hem and knitted it together with every second stitch of that row – bingo!

And the best is yet to come (working the shoulders, steeking the armhole, knitting the sleeve heads and the collar)! Talk about ‘adrenalin rush knitting’!

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
DSCN6303

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 http://www.basixknitting.com/, 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.