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.

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?

DSCN6090

(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…