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! :).


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

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