I am definitely behind with posting my projects, yikes. I finished this lovely little Henley many weeks ago! It is great to wear for many reasons: it is fine wool, so not too warm. It is well fitted, so it’s ok to wear under jackets. It is figure- hugging and simply makes me feel a bit sophisticated :).
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.
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 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…
It’s been a great start of the school year, especially for Esther, who is now a fully independent high school kid! She seems to know all the bus routes and has gathered all sorts of relevant intelligence pertaining to her new life in no time at all…
Patrick is about to change jobs, it was a serendipity type of situation and he grabbed it – we will not know whether it really is a good move until he moves, but a change was sort of waiting to happen and this came along and he grabbed it! (What seemed to have persuaded him was that it is a ‘nice ride along the river to Paramatta’, let me translate to you without the local knowledge: it’s 1 1/2 hours by bicycle – and Patrick simply likes to stay fit!).
I have slipped into my new role as TAFE teacher, academic and event manager fairly seamlessly… so I am co- authoring a paper on consent in context of innovative surgery (job 1), organise the 2015 AAP conference in July (5 days and 12 streams, FYI a that means 12 philosophers talking simultaneously, but THANK GOD in different rooms!) (job 2) and teaching textiles (JOB 3).
Despite having taken heaps of reading home on Friday for job 1, I barely got any done. UHhh quelle surprise… I enjoyed plenty of culture this weekend… It all started with watching ‘Still Alice‘ on Friday with a bunch of girlfriends and afterwards enjoying a hot Thai meal, washed down with a fair amount of cold beer.
Then yesterday we went to the museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay (enjoying the classic Sydney vista!) to check out the Chuck Close exhibition. It was really wonderful!
In the evening Patrick and I went to the Theater, we saw Radiance at the Belvoir. Moving, beautiful, authentic… A story about the unraveling of ‘the given, the assumed’, a tragic revelation of the real. We happened to sit in the front row and saw every tear, flinch, emotion of the 3 actresses (FYI a Leah Purcell was one of them, one of the most celebrated Aboriginal actresses of our time).
Today… well… action man had to cycle many km at Akuna Bay before sunrise (nah, was probably later, but just felt like it…) with fellow action man Craig, whilst I walked puppies in the wild and then had lot’s of coffee and (ripped and re-) knitted amazing poncho.
When middle child awoke (and I thus gained access to textileshed) I made lot’s of relevant samples for job 3.
When I got too hot (hours later…), I then dipped into the cool water of our pool and felt like a Hollywood movie star :).
After lunch, I also gave both dogs haircuts, which took forever, but seems to have knocked ‘years off them’. Just compare the old and the new hair style on Jasper…
It’s just because of the tics around here… they can kill dogs. So with short hair we can spot them easier, but they are less likely to stick in the first place…
And (YIKES….) I have got an iPad!!!! Patrick just got me one… So I think I am now truly in the 21st century… I am a bit technologically challenged, so it’s a learning curve… But that’s ok… I am looking forward to taking so many more photos! I also downloaded a yoga app… Uhhh…. So exiting!!!
So – somehow it’s after 8pm and we had to recruit some children to cook some veg and bbq some meat… where has the time gone??? Hope you had a good weekend, I feel well rested and energized for the next week.
A quick post is better than no post – eh?
Patrick has only just unpacked his and Jo’s hiking gear after (what sounds) an amazing hike to Pantoni’s Crown… and I have started to set out all our ski stuff on the newly refurbished dining table – I don’t think we have had a single dinner on it yet!!! We will be skiing and snow boarding in Thredbo for 3 days.
I don’t think the kids will remember the terrain, so it will be interesting how we will manage to coordinate… And here is an update on the cardigan hoot hoot:
I have finished front and back, grafted the shoulders, added the shawl collar and knitted a 3 sts i-cord all around! Looks very neat, I dare say. Not sure if I have got time to rummage through the button box before we leave. And I have made a go of the sleeve heads… sigh… I have tried and tried – my calculations for the pattern is spot on, I found as I knitted at at least twice – BUT the short rows are not pretty because it’s the purl side of the stocking stitch that will feature as the right side! So I have tried Wrap and Twist, Japanese and German short rows, and now I have devised my own and it seems to look pretty… (mental note to myself: take pictures of this new short row technique!)
Other news: we are all set for term 3 (I hope…). We bought Lena’s school uniform yesterday and she looked splendid in it! Today was her first day at school and she set off with Esther to the bus in the early dark and rainy hours of the morning. I am looking forward to hearing about her experiences! In the meantime I went back to work (yes, I could find my office and work the computer), but on the way home, I did stop off at the supermarket for MORE food and MORE exercise books… We love being a big family. The entire dynamic has changed, it’s all fun and games, even though there have been some stomach bugs and skin hives running through the family… all part and parcel…
I have been obsessed with sleeve heads and the whole idea of knitting sleeves simultaneously with the body – or in some other interesting way. So there was a lot of rambling as I knitted the Red Rag, a lot of bad language as I mastered ( and adapted…) Barbara Walker’s Kangaroo Pouch Jumper, joy as I discovered top down with the Shellseeker and great curiosity as I knitted the Silken Scabbard…
But this is the ultimate: Susie M’s Contiguous Method was mentioned on Kate Davies’ blog a few months weeks back, but I didn’t put two and two together that this was something I had come across (and marveled at) last year when somebody showed me their Driftwood by Isabell Kraemer.
It’s been a rainy weekend. I had been doing the weekly shopping on Friday, Patrick took Esther to basketball on Saturday and Sunday there was not soccer because the season has not started yet!
So I decided to start my own Driftwood… which required a bit of rocket science, since my yarn has got a different gauge and I wanted an in-between size from what the Driftwood pattern had to offer…
This is how far I got
It is just a superb way to knit a stripy pattern – the stripes are carried to the sleeve head (just think how much time you save on not sewing in ends!). Above you see the beautiful set in sleeve. And how nice is the back? I think it is insanely amazing, actually. Only when I am finished I will be able to make a judgement about the back neck – it is not as rounded as with the Barbara Walker top down method.
So you cast on the back neck and then add one stitch each row (in knit AND purl row) to shape the shoulder (instead of the traditional short row shaping). When the shoulder is long enough, you change the point at which you increase sts, because now you increase on the sleeve side. NOTE: here the top of the sleeve head starts with 4 sts and then increases every 2nd row one st each side – personally I think one needs at least 8 – 10 sts at the top of the sleeve head in order to achieve enough width across the top arm… so next time I will add 4 rows to the shoulder and use the extra length created for at wider sleeve head. So this is weekend’s knitting frenzy is not a stroke of a genius… I spent a few weeks mucking around sampling my new donated yarns to the point that my sample folder is nearly bursting at the seams. I saw a nice pattern for a Henley (traditional type of underwear top) in the latest issue of Interweave and sampled the required Waffle Stitch a bit.
Then I thought that actually, my donated blue goes well with the donated grey, so hey – why don’t I do something interesting using the wonderful stranded colorwork pattern from Kate Davies’ Funchal Mobius?
Anyway, after starting something entirely different in brown (and knitting and ripping out 1/2 back panel) … I got back to the Henley idea and got stuck into it this weekend! So never mind it was a rainy weekend, there were people making nice food
Hope you had a great weekend!
Fast forward 6 weeks since the last post: we are too happy for words in our new home. Dogs go walking in the morning, sweaty owner jumps in the pool to cool off… we are making bread when we run out of toast, we play snooker, read, talk… Endless streams of visitors have come through our home and shared our new place and we have loved socializing, cooking and catching up with friends and family. Well, I am – we all are – on holiday, so this is not exactly going to be the day to day routine for the rest of the year…
Rewind and reflection of what 2013 has been like. Incredibly stressful comes to mind immediately. The move, a huge work project – those two things combined made it impossible to get a routine going for any of us as individuals, as well as as a family or a well run household. But alas, that’s all done and dusted.
It is a great joy to share this news with you: I have received a gift from heaven! A generous amount of knitting yarns… donated to me from Sue. My first thought was immediately that anything knitted of these yarns are going to be for me. I have been knitting 5 jumpers/ cardigans in the last 18 months for other precious people, now I need to look after my own wardrobe. My second thought was that I am just going to knit up other people’s designs. There is plenty of nice stuff out there and I have already downloaded and printed… allocated to the new and old stash. Just have to finish Patrick’s jumper and then – presto – get on with it.
Why? Well, it’s all very well that I have fun designing my own stuff, but I have never really knitted other people’s designs, so I think it will be a great learning curve to ‘just do it’ and learn a thing or two about knitting that way and speed up production for next winter’s wardrobe.
I have started. In this heat! I have started on Jennifer Hansen’s Silken Scabbard, and what a learning curve to knit with someone else’s pattern!
First of all, this photo documents the insanity of knitting in this heat. But I am suffering from withdrawal in the last busy year, so I just have to do it.
Here is a detail of the collar hem. The hem stitches are cast on with a provisional cast on, the inside of the hem is knitted in pattern, in the turning row the stitches are knitted through the back (this gives a really neat edge!) and then the knit stitches of the hem are joined in a row of 3 Needle Knitting and the cable stitches are left on the waste yarn to be firmly sewn in later.
I am re-surfacing from a number of major adventures… life has been like a roller coaster and there has been little time to come up for air. Recovering from the latest adventure – skiing in New Zealand – I feel faint and sore and a cold coming on. I have the luxury of flexible work arrangements, so whilst I am not feeling focused to answer the endless work emails that have accumulated in the last week, I am doing the laundry, re-stoking the fridge, slow cooking a casserole and preparing for the ‘how to knit cables’ class I will be teaching next Sunday at the Bronte Sewing Room. Sigh.
First things first.
We had 3 teenage ballerinas from Southern California staying with us for a week at the end of May. The poor things – we had torrential rains for the entire week they were staying with us and I kept driving them everywhere because I didn’t want them to be sick for their big performance at the Sydney Opera House. Lot’s of cooking, food shopping, taxi driving, drying towels… and lot’s of fun to have Olivia, Meghan and Grace with us!
Then there was a MASSIVE week at work, so not much opportunity to recover after the super mum thing, and at the same time we tried to get our act together to get off to NZ. During our last travel preparations we got news that there had been 3m of snow at Porters (the place where we were going to stay and ski), so they had blown up the snow (dropping dynamite from a helicopter) to cause an almighty avalanche to make the place safe. However, in the process, some of the equipment got badly damaged, which could not be repaired due to gale force winds… we were offered to opt for cancellation and a refund but we went anyway.
We stayed at the Porters Alpine Lodge – and were the only guests, since everybody else had cancelled due to aforementioned circumstances! Ha! We skied at Mount Cheesemann instead, which was sunny and suitable for all our different skiing abilities. Vincent got on a snowboard and he looks so natural, like he has never done anything else. Wow. Patrick hurt his leg (knee) badly on day one, so there was no skiing for him on day 2 (trip to the medical centre in Christchurch)… but he came good and enjoyed the rest of the week on the slopes with us.
And of course there was some serious knitting going on. I made a cushion cover out of samples for the upcoming workshop and once that was finished, Lynne (who is sporting the marvelous beanie at the beginning of this post) inspired me to make the Porter beanie. It was done in two days, despite Lynne and Jana (our fabulous chalet girls) adding increasingly complex design challenges, like “put the date on, yes, the date”, “what about a guy skiing?”, “no, wait, how about a snowboarder?” and finally, just as I had the pleasure to cast off… “what about a little bobble, yes, a black and red bobble! THAT would be nice!”.
I have worked out all the issues… and I think now I can anticipate a calm and quiet weekend! I jumped out of bed early this morning and felt like screaming Eureka! In my sweet half slumber, while the birds were tuning up, it came to me how the sleeve heads are done! Much unraveling has occurred to get to this stage of this project and there are two things I’d really like to go on record: (1) I am not one for easily giving myself credit, but I am almighty proud of this jumper, having solved all the issues and problems with the design, matching the stripes to the size and design and so forth… (2) Even when the going got tough and I was in states of frustration, exultation, passion or flow – I did write a comprehensive pattern of those sections, this is a first! I usually get carried away and just get it done somehow and then cannot remember how on earth I did it.
Neckline challenge: I wasn’t sure if the neck really was going to sit nicely, being so square… I altered the Kangaroo Pouch Jumper pattern by starting the neckline of the front a stripe lower than the beginning of the shoulder.
Shoulder challenge: Uh, I didn’t take a picture of the back shoulder, hm. Well, in the above picture you can see a red stripe finishing the back piece. That stripe has got short rows on the side to shape the shoulder – and it was tricky to match the short rows with the stripes.
Armhole challenge 1: This picture illustrates the name Kangaroo Pouch Jumper fairly well – an unusually big amount of stitches is put on hold (they look like kangaroo pouches, eh?); then one knits around the entire armhole (picking up stitches along the steek and along the ‘pouch stitches’) and then the top down set in sleeves are worked, starting up at the shoulder. A steek, YIKES! I did have a good look on google for steek information, but then decided to take Elizabeth Zimmermann’s instructions on face value: I stitched two rows of short zig zag along the opening, which I had basted carefully and then….
… I cut it open!
Armhole challenge 2: I followed EZ’s instructions to the dot here, picking up the ‘pouch’ stitches that were on hold and then picking up around the armhole 2 stitches to every 3 rows, which resulted in a really nice and smooth finish.
Sleeve head challenge: I tried and tried, followed the instruction to the dot but couldn’t get it to work. EZ’s method is starting the sleeve head at the shoulder seam and then increasing the one st at the end of each row (short row shaping) as well as decreasing the armhole stitches. I couldn’t get the decrease to look neat with the stripes and all… so I hoped for the best that a solution may come to me.
Collar challenge: I wasn’t sure if the collar was going to sit nicely, being so square – but hey – looks good to me! I used the same method as for the hem, just in reverse (knitting lining last and then hand sewing it down.
I saved the best for last – the Eureka Moment. Instead of decreasing the armhole stitches, I decreased stitches within the sleeve cap! I thus had no issues with stripe colors from the sleeve head colliding with the light grey stripe of the armhole and making a mess. And an additional bonus was (which I didn’t know until I did it!) that my sleeve head stripes match the ones on the body!
Have a great weekend!
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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
Here are the technical bits:
pattern source: Textileshed!
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.
- Knit 6 rows in garter st (collar stand) as you knit the front edges
- cast off 3 st of the collar stand (as you cast off the front edges)
- put the next 4 st on hold to be picked up as you knit the edge of the collar in garter st later.
- 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
- knit 15 rows of garter st, increasing 1st each side – after the first and before the last st (row 3, 7, 11, 15)
- 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: 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.
- 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!
- 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…
- 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.