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Archive for the ‘Design’


Do I sound like Ross Perot?

Best wishes to all on the east coast for a quick and safe storm recovery.  I encourage all to donate to your favorite relief agency.  Ravelry members may want to participate in the Subway Knitter fund raising event found here. The Subway Knitter podcasts from Brooklyn, where Jan’s daughter and her wife live and , and where my daughter lived before moving to Manhattan.  Said daughter is in upper Manhattan and stayed dry through the storm and feels very fortunate.

Dear Jan,

I know you’ve heard it, that giant sucking sound when you are knitting.  It happens all the time when you are knitting cables - they really suck up the fabric.  I have just added a cabled panel to the plain stockinette back of a cardigan, so I have data to back this up (no flip charts, sorry).

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I knit up two swatches - one in the specified stockinette gauge and one in the cable pattern I wanted to add.  In this photo I’ve marked off 16 stitches on each.  Quite a difference, eh?

To convert the pattern,  I counted the stitches in my cable pattern and calculated how many inches that would convert to, based on my cable gauge.  I then calculated how many inches that would have been if I’d stuck with stockinette stitch.  The difference is the amount of stockinette stitch I need to add back to keep the width of the garment as designed.

For an example (I made these numbers up for ease of demonstration):

  • Cable gauge is 3.5 sts/inch.  Stockinette gauge is 5 sts/inch.
  • Cable panel is 28 stitches wide.  28 sts divided by 3.5 sts/inch = 8 inches.
  • 8 inches of stockinette would have been 8 inches times 5 sts/inch = 40 sts.
  • 40 sts minus 28 sts = 12 additional sts need to be cast on to keep the same width.

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My actual pattern specified casting on 114 sts.  Based on my actual numbers, I cast on 134.  The cable sucked up 20 extra stitches!  (Did you hear it?)

If you were doing this for a full garment panel, you could just multiply the cable gauge times the width of the panel and get the proper number of stitches for the garment.

Row gauge can change, too so if your pattern specifies how many rows to knit before executing some maneuver, you will want to convert those in a similar manner.  In my case, I am knitting to specified lengths so can blissfully ignore row gauge.*

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While I was occupied knitting swatches, the season seems to be sneaking up on me.  The Thanksgiving cactus prepares to bloom!

And I prepare to go to bed!  I hope you’re having a wonderful retreat out in Washington.

Love,

Ellen

*Can one ever blissfully ignore any gauge?  I may regret being so bold.

Don’t forget that cables also use a lot more yarn.  Plan accordingly.

Knitting and Spinning Catch Up

Dear Ellen,

My needles have been a clickin’ and my spindle and wheel have been a spinnin’ — one reason my blog posts had fallen behind.  Here’s a quick run down of the fiber activities from the summer.

1-4-star-scarf.jpgI knit a scarf that I called my Four Star Scarf as an appreciation gift for Chief of Naval Operations Greenert’s willingness to preside and speak at my retirement.  Navy blue and gold, of course.

1-fooling-around1.jpgFooling Around is almost complete.  You can see some of my mattress stitching mastery in this collage.  The sweater is fully pieced now, but I need to attach the hook and eye closure and get some modeled shots.  Soon.

1-dsc05665.JPGHiya, Brooke! is named for a grad school classmate of mine.   It’s the Hyla Brook shawl pattern by Paula Emons-Fuessle, Prairiepiper of the Knitting Pipeline podcast.  A very relaxing and enjoyable pattern that turns out a most wearable shawlette.  I really like Paula’s patterns, having also knitted Piper’s Journey and admitting I just bought her newest pattern, Ellison Bay.  One thing I love is the background she gives about her inspiration for each.  Hyla Brook is inspired by the hyla, the European tree frog, and a brook named for it’s population thereof.  The lace pattern is called hyla lace and you can just imagine the little peepers all in a row.  I modified mine slightly from Paula’s pattern so that the lace would be symmetrical mirror images from the spine. It’s not blocked yet in this pattern, but will be soon.  You can see an end waiting to be woven in…you wouldn’t have any experience in loose ends would you?  (Heh!)

3-hoof-jam.JPGHoof Jam is my own pattern made from the Alisha Goes Around Marmalade (of Ponies) fingering weight in the Landscape colorway that you gifted me at Christmas.  The pattern is toe up with ribbed horseshoe cables along the outside of the cuffs and eye of partridge heels.  (How could I not use horseshoe cables when knitting with Marmalade of Ponies???)  A sock pattern like this, that has a nice stretch of stockinette with only a short stretch of patterning each round is a nice balance between challenging and boring.  It’s very knittable during social settings and even with adult beverages!  After the wedding this will be one of the patterns that makes it up onto Ravelry for sale.

1-dsc05240.JPGLazy Sunrise, knit from Kauni Effektgarn is a cleverly assymetric shawl in the Lazy Katy pattern by Birgit Freyer that really shows this yarn off well.  It was a pretty darned fast knit too.  Either that or I just couldn’t put it down as watching the colorway work through it’s gradients was so much fun.

2-dsc05562.JPGI finished up a few mitts — the Mrs. Beeton mitts by Brenda Dayne.  (Mine are called Fancy Pants for my Wrists.)

3-dsc05567.JPGAnd I finished the my Beady Ayes mitts based on the Opposites Attract Heavily Beaded Cuff Pattern by Susanna Hansson that I started in the class we took from Susanna at Yarnover.  I couldn’t leave well enough alone and felt compelled to add a bit of ruffle and some eyelet edging to Susanna’s basic pattern.  I still have other mitts in the works — those Bohus mitts for which you gave me the yarn and pattern several years ago.

dsc04139.JPGOri-mommy has been in the works.  I’ve finished my piece — the large rectangle, and Marie is making good progress on her piece — the smaller rectangle.  She hopes to be done by the wedding so she can leave it with me for seaming together and blocking.

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1-dsc05647.JPGIteration number two of the Sunny Day at Sea Hat, Mittens and Stripey Neck Gaiter is complete.  A few more modifications and I’ll work on getting this set put together as a pattern.

1-twinboybunting.jpg Twin Boy Bunting was sent off to you for your use in completing your Twin Girl Bunting.  I’m so glad to hear from you that you finished yours (despite my efforts to sabotage my accidental mistake in not providing notes on the color chart) and that Julie loved them!

6-dsc05496.JPG  Summer Skies Tank was finished in time for autumn to kick in.  That’s okay as I need to lose a few more pounds before it would look great on me.  Right now it looks good, but great would be so much better!

1-file0_medium21.jpg Sitting and waiting for me to return to it is Death Spiral.  It will be some great travel knitting for post-wedding events.  Right now it needs to be patient while I finish up the wedding knitting!

1-dsc05792.JPGCountry Gentlewoman is done except for closures and sleeves.  Here it’s drying, having just soaked for about 15 minutes in, well, Soak, of course.  I wanted to wet block the body so I’d be extremely confident about closure placement and sleeve length.   I still have 12 days, so I feel like I’m in good shape.  It fits well, and looks great with the palazzo pants I’ll be wearing…no mother-of-the-groom dress for me!

1-file0_medium22.jpgAnd finally, the Valentine Ring Bearer’s Pillow still has half a backing and the side edging to complete.  I am going to have it done this week so Libby can help add the blue and gold ribbons (her colors) to make it more festive for the wedding.  Those will come right off after the big day and the pillow will be a nice addition to their bedroom decor.

1-dsc05492-001.JPGAs for spinning, my big summer achievement is 1900 yards of DK weight Wensleydale 2 ply.  I love, love, love it.  And have plans for it to become the Larch cardigan.  You’ll see it at Rhinebeck (in process!) for sure!  I also have a nice little yurt of natural colored finn on my lark spindle.  I’m going to chain ply it — hopefully about 100 yards worth for dyeing in my natural dyeing class at Rhinebeck.

That’s all I’m covering right now — believe it or not, there are a few other projects for which I have yet to create Ravelry pages.  At least this clears my backlog of posting, so now maybe I can keep up a bit better.  I’ll try!

Love, Jan

True Colors

Dear Ellen,

dsc04599.JPGDale convinced me that I should have a hand knit thank you gift for the Chief of Naval Operations when he does my retirement.  And he told me it should be a scarf.  And it had to be in navy blue and gold colors for the Navy.  And it needed to be cool looking.  He is convinced that the CNO will never have had anything knit for him by an admiral before.  He is probably right.  So, I agreed.  Then I spent several days searching for a reversible pattern stitch that worked with two colors.  I decided to do slip stitch diagonal stripes.  And I found the yarn at a fantastic little shop in the northern part of Lancaster County.  Since then I’ve been busy on it, but it still has about 40% to go.  I should come in under the deadline without too much fuss.  And I like it well enough that I may modify it and knit another for Dale and to work for a pattern to publish.  I’ll put up a photo of the back side when I think of it.  It is not identical, but is very nice so although the scarf is not truly reversible, it works.

dsc04600-001.JPGHere are some other colors I saw this weekend.  Our ferns are just gorgeous right now.

dsc04603.JPGAnd so are our table scraps.

Love, Jan

Hot Feet and Cold Nights

Dear Ellen,

dsc03770.JPGBrr!  The weather is chilling off here.  We’re consistently in the 30s at night.  Okay, okay, I realize you are likely consistently in the 30s in the day, but for us this is nippy.  We’ve woken to frost and all the other signs of imminent winter are around us.  Leaves are falling and give a nice crunchy accompaniment to walks in the woods.  I got the bulbs into the ground — all 275 of them.  And the corn has been harvested leaving behind the big rolls of silage that remind Dale of Easter Island.

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In knitting news I’ve finished my Eternal Flames socks.  I sought out a colorway that would play up the idea I had to use the flame rib stitch in a sock pattern.  I found Lancaster Yarn Shop’s Kettle-Dyed Sock Yarn in the Amish Broomcorn colorway.  You don’t even have to put these socks on to start feeling warmer!  Gorgeous colors in this yarn.  I was a bit worried when the soak for blocking leeched a lot of dye (and took lots of rinses) from the socks, but they still look just as intense as the yarn when it was still in the skein.  The flame rib makes socks that are nice and snug — they hug your foot nicely, not too tight, but snug enough to stay up and stay put.  The heels are done with an eye of partridge stitch and the yarn is perfect for it…the short repeat of the orange and yellow against the long repeat of the dark mahogany red really makes the eye of partridge pop.  I’ll get the pattern together one of these days — I did keep notes!

foggy-coast.jpgI’m also joining in on the Knitting Pipeline’s Rip Van Winkle KAL and the Knitmore Girls’ Coastal Knits KAL and the Stash ‘n’ Burn NaKniSweMo KAl all with the same project. The Rip Van Winkle KAL challenges you to use something that’s been sleeping in your stash or queue for a very long time.  I dug up some skeins of Manos del Uruguay that I was gifted from a friend’s mother’s stash when her mother died.  She asked her daughter to give it all to someone who would use it.  I’ve had it for almost 6 years — it’s about time.  The yarn itself is so old that it’s on old tags, and is simply listed as 100% wool in size D.  It’s a misty colorway — pale pinks and greys and slate blues and creams.  Makes me think of morning fog at sea.  The Coastal Knits KAL is for any of the projects from that book.  I’ve picked out the Rocky Coast Cardigan.  So, for National Knit a Sweater Month (NaKniSweMo), I’m knitting a cardigan.  I’m calling it Foggy Coastline at Dawn.  I only have 1100 yards or so of the yarn, so am not sure it will fit me when I’m done.  Not too worried though.  Dale’s mom has been hinting for a handmade and the colors would look very good on her.  She’s enough narrower than me that it’ll work.  I think I’ll go put in a few stitches now.

Love, Jan

 

A smattering…

Dear Jan,

Work is keeping me quite busy, unable to buckle down and get much of anything in particular accomplished.  Hence, you get some dribs and drabs of knitting related things in this post.

I’m working on a new design, the sweater pattern I was seeking to use up the worsted weight yarn from Nora.  I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I’m designing it myself.  As I may submit it for publication somewhere, I’m not able to post photos of the work in progress (about 8 inches of the body so far), but here is a swatch to give you an idea of the rustic nature of the yarn and sweater.

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I did spend a Saturday last month testing a new wheel at StevenBe’s.  I gave a Schacht Matchless a good work out spinning up 5 oz of singles from Lorna’s Laces Zombie Barbeque colorway.  I’ll likely chain ply these to maintain the clear colors - one wouldn’t want to lose a bit of this gory goodness by blending it together.  (No purchase planned yet, just test drives.)

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And finally, a recent Ikea find - the Socktopus.  I don’t think that is what they called him as it doesn’t sound Swedish enough, but how could he be called anything else?  (What is octopus in Swedish, anyway?)

Edited to add the link to the Ikea item HERE.

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I hope your weekend is filled with more than a smattering of fun.

Love,

Ellen

Socktober

Dear Ellen,

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I am sitting here typing with chilly fingers thinking I should have been knitting gloves this month instead of socks.  It has been snowing or sleeting all day.   We’ve only gotten a few inches of accumulation, but it is wet and heavy — and the trees are straining under the weight.  From my vantage point in my studio I am hearing the cracks and pops of a limb falling every half hour or so…several are kinda near the house, so enough to get nerves on edge!

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I did accomplish a good bit in the aforementioned sock knitting.  I’m almost done with my Hot Feet socks.  They’re based on the flame rib pattern and they are hug the foot very nicely as a result.  I knit them from this flame-like colorway to add to the thought of nice warm feet.  The heals are in eye of partridge — I love how it works so nicely with this colorway that has longer dark repeats and shorter bright repeats.

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I also got started on a pair of socks in Neighborhood Fiber Company’s Eastern Market colorway.  They’ll be for a young lady who lived in that neighborhood for a few years.  I don’t think she reads our blog that much, so I believe I’m safe to mention it here.  The pattern is the candle flame lace pattern.  I hope that’s not foreshadowing a need for candles if a tree limb takes out our power!

dsc03680.JPGFinally, I blocked the  Spring Lace socks that I cast on during Sock Summit…oh, the memories! The lace pattern is supposedly a floral design and if you look closely you can imagine the stacked rosettes working their way up the leg.  Let me offer that it is not worth it — It is one of those little lace patterns with many centered decreases and a really evil way of making you think you are on a row other than the one you’re supposed to be knitting.  I spent the entire first sock getting it into my head solidly enough to make the second sock easy.  Of course, the fact that I kept putting it down and working on something else may have had something to do with it.

best-of-knitscene.jpgI proved once again that I am a shameless book whore strong supporter of the publishing industry and our fellow designers and picked up both Coastal Knits  and The Best of KnitsceneAs there are many reviews out there right now for the former, I thought I’d offer a quick review on the latter.  This is a really nice little book!  Not only does it have 20 patterns, all of which I’d be willing to knit (and several which I feel I must knit), but it also includes extra articles on the designers and on a number of very useful tips and descriptions to help even the seasoned knitter be more successful.  Two of the patterns have been in my mental queue forever — Connie Chang Chinchio’s Geodesic Cardigan and Cecily Glowik Macdonald’s Michaelmas Mitts.  The first is an open front cardi with a lovely horizontal pleat detail on the front vertical bands and the second are long mitts trimmed with buttons and knit in some wonderful fuzziness.  It’s nice to know that the book includes updates to these (and all 20) to correct all errata found since their original publication in the original magazines.  At least three other patterns are shouting at me to dig out yarn and cast on.  Get this book and I guarantee a case of startitis!

I’m looking forward to drawing our winners from our birthday party celebration.  Till then,

Love, Jan

October Colorways

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Dear Ellen,

Fair Winds is full of colorway inspirations this time of year.  This time next year, I hope I’ll be trying to recreate some of them!

Love, Jan

Farewell Summer!

Dear Ellen,

dsc03367.JPGToday started cool enough to wear a sweater for most of the morning, but by about 11:00 AM, I had to change to a T-shirt.  It wants to be fall, but it just isn’t quite there.  We are seeing lots of pumpkins and the corn is drying out in the fields, so I know it will be here for real soon.  Allen and Libby arrived on Saturday so he could drop off his car for storage and say his goodbyes before he executes his new orders to Bahrain.  He’ll be gone for five or six months at least before coming back for some leave.  dsc03370.JPGWe had the best time with them, Libby is very low maintenance so it is a real pleasure to have them here.  We dropped them off at the Lancaster Amtrak station this morning — only 25 minutes from here and on the Keystone line to New York City.  We’re looking at running into New York to visit the girls one weekend too.  It’s day-trip doable.  You should tell Jenny!

dsc03390.JPGdsc03388.JPGI finished some stuff for Warm Hats, Warm Hearts — the third of the trio of maroon hats in graduated sizes and a few baby knits.  I’m settling in on a pattern for easy worsted weight baby dsc03385.JPGbooties that are toe up and feature a few innovations in the toe and heel to make them faster knits.  I can knock out a pair in less than 2 hours.  Add a cap in 2 hours and you’ve got a nice gift for a longer evenings worth of work.  Preemie sizes would be even faster.

dsc03383.JPGI also got moving on Vanessa’s Royal wedding couple and queen (and corgie).  I’ve gotten through about half of the bride’s body and have totally reworked the pattern to the point where I really could call it my own.  The orginal is knit in flat pieces all of which have to be seamed and sewn together.  I don’t mind seaming, but at this scale it would cause a ridiculous amount of bulk!  I adapted to knit in the round up each leg, attach them together with additional stitches in the crotch and some shaping in the body to give a little tush and a waist.  We’ll see what I do with the torso — I won’t get too risque!

dsc03380.JPGI finished these Spring Lace socks last week, but I haven’t found my sock blockers yet.  I figured I’d at least provide you with a peak at them.  The feet should  block out longer than they appear here.  These feel great on.  They’re the ones I cast on out of the Sweet Georgia yarn while we were at Sock Summit.  I’ll put up another picture once they’re blocked.

dsc03391.JPGdsc03397.JPGdsc03393.JPGThe dogs and I did some galivanting about the property.  Found some pretty butterflies and admired the sky through the corn stalks.  The dogs agree with me — coming here is like going on vacation.  I know we’ll love it when every day is vacation!dsc03411.JPGdsc03408.JPG

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Love, Jan

A hard start…

20110715_230849-1.jpgHi, Jan,You are working hard at your move; W & I had a bit of ahard start to our week of ease.  No complaints, really, though our lovely seafood dinner turned into a stop at Mickey D’s and a convenience store for refreshing beverages.Tomorrow we make it to the beach - like I said no complaints.Don’t work too hard!Love,Ellen

A Prize Winning Week

Dear Ellen,

dsc03046.JPGWell, the Parade of Homes is wrapping up today.  Over the course of the week we had about 4,500+ visitors come through our home.  Reports are that there were many nice comments and our builders are very happy with the number of leads that the Parade has generated.  We’re all a bit glad that it’s coming to a close.  The builders will get some of their lives back — and next weekend we’ll actually get possession of our home!

dsc03049.JPGI finished up my Global Connections socks.  I called these Global Connections because I knit them (mostly) on two 13 hour flights to and from the Middle East and the colorway is “Global”…perfect.  The original pattern inspiration is from the   Faceted Rib Socks in the Little Box of Socks by Charlene Schurch and beth Parrott.  I modified it to be knit toe up.  The stitch pattern yields a very cushy fabric, but it wants to be a tighter gauge than the stockinette of the sole.  Wet blocking resolved the difference, but in the future I think I’d knit the sole on a smaller needle.

dsc03051.JPGThese used my basic recipe for toe-up socks which normally involves a set of wrapped turns as part of the turning of the heel.  (K across to the turn point, Kfb, K1, w/t.)  I came up with an alternative with which I’m rather pleased.  Instead I knit right up to the turn point, make a lifted left leaning increase and then turn without wrapping.  I slip the first stitch (the lifted increase) and continue knitting to the next turn.  The effect is smooth uninterrupted stockinette stitch, accomplished without having to wrap or pick up wraps later.  Because the pivot point is that lifted increase stitch, which is not stitched on the return, it provides a nice smooth transition point.  And the stitch count is increased without the unsightly bump of a Kfb…a win on all counts!

dsc03052.JPGdsc03054.JPGdsc03053.JPG  I also got moving on a simple little scarf which is a minor variation on Anne Hanson of Knitspot’s Campanula Scarf, so I’m just calling it my Campanula Scarf Variation. The yarn is 90% Suri Alpaca and 10% Merino.  It feels incredibly luxurious as it slides through my fingers.  I’m enjoying the knitting a lot.  When I got tired of following the lace pattern I grabbed some leftover yarn from my Einstein bathrobe and cast on Another Purple Hat.  I’ll figure out who needs this Warm Hats Not Hot Heads project later.  I also wound the yarn for a project that I hope will be at the standard for submission to Knitty.  I plan on bringing swatches, design notes, pattern and product to Sock Summit for my class on “Making the Next Monkey.”  I expect to get started tonight!

I’ve got to run…we have a neighborhood pot luck dinner tonight, so I’ve got to get moving.  (Remember pot lucks?  They’re a lot like hot dish suppers in case you forgot!)

Love, Jan