Thursday, 18 May 2017

Stitch Panels in unexpected places

I've done this in several patterns now and really enjoy breaking up the stockinette stitch of the body with a stitch pattern worked down the sides. We very conveniently cast on a number of stitches at the underarm and these stitches lend themselves to being decorated with a pattern.

I, like lots of knitters, don't especially enjoy knitting sleeves. They are a little more fiddly than the body. They have to be done, although it does make vests a really good looking option. On my new sweater I decided to continue the stitch pattern down the underside of the sleeve.
I think it works. Sort of. What do you think?
I guess wearing it will tell the tale.

Friday, 12 May 2017


I knew I had a couple of days of sniffling and snuffling beside the kleenex box so I thought this is the perfect couple of days to knit sleeves. That smacks of the same attitude as "I'm in a bad mood so I might as well do some housework". But that's really not the case, although sleeves need to be done and are not the most interesting parts of the sweater. So I thought I would grab my 40cm (16") circular needle and get started. I would grab my circ and ...
Where is it? It should be right here. It's not as if I don't have a lot of needles.
There should have been at least three 4.0mm (US6) circular needles in the exact length I needed. But NOOOO. I searched in my shawl project bag, where the short circ shouldn't have been anyway but .. no needle. I checked the sweater project bag where I last used the needle for sleeves, no luck. I went through a couple of the discarded project bags and found a 4.0mm needle but too long. Now I'm stumped. There is no way that I have that many circular needles and don't have a 40cm (16") circ.

I finally found the correct combo in my interchangeable set and proceeded with a day in my pj's and a movie binge between naps.
But where the h*## are those needles?! Do you have them?

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Smaller Sleeve, Top Down

Yesterday, looking ahead, I realised that I have a couple of easy weeks in May without too much activity. That was a mistake. This morning I woke up with a sore ear and that feeling that a cold is imminent. Yuck. It's just like going on holiday and getting sick. So before I take a couple of days off to enjoy ill health (ha, ha) I wanted to show you something.

Many curvy women find that the sleeves of sweaters don't fit. One of the major finds for me when I was writing the Need A Plus Cardigan book was that bust measurement does not necessarily relate to arm measurements. Irregardless, the designer has to still come up with a set of sizes based on bust measurement. Lots of times the sleeves are too big.

If you measure your sweaters, including store-bought double knit jackets you wear, you will probably find that you do wear a large range of sleeve sizes. But you are probably trying to knit your new sweater with an inch to two inches of ease around the sleeve. The schematic is indicating that for your size you are going to get a certain size of sleeve. If you need the sleeve to be smaller, stop increasing on the sleeve about an inch from the bottom of the yoke (one inch less stitches on the sleeve than the pattern says you need at the bottom of the yoke). But what will happen? Won't it distort the raglan line. Yes it will.

I just happen to be knitting a sweater with this feature. I've stopped increasing on the sleeve. Here is a photo of one of the back raglan lines. Can you see where it changes?

Here it is with the black line indicating where the raglan line would have continued and the red line showing the deviation.

Here is a close up.
Doesn't this look remarkably like what your set-in sleeve armhole would look like at this juncture?
I think it's actually an advantage to have the raglan line swing in toward the armpit. I'm working it into the pattern I'm working on now.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Not the real world

I've been retreating for two weekends. Isn't calling a weekend away a retreat sort of odd? It makes me think of running backwards and burrowing into a hole which is not what a knitting retreat is at all.

It's a weekend away with people who get you. It's joyful anticipation for weeks before, arriving to find your people all around you. You can talk knitting at breakfast, in class, at lunch, in class and at dinner. Eye's do not glaze over. No one says their grandmother used to knit (when she had nothing important to do). Everyone is free to compliment total strangers on their sweater, pet it and ask for more details, making new friends. You can stare at people because of course you're thinking your way through their sweater. This can be a little off-putting in the real world.

I guess what makes knitting retreats special is that they are not the real world where we usually operate. We are not fluffed off with "isn't that cute", "wish I could knit but of course I am way to busy to learn". We are with people who think that making something is important. Wearing what you have made with pride is important. Modifications, adjustments and adding something to the pattern is an exploration of your creativity. In fact creativity rules!!

I've had two wonderful weekends and am inspired to start a new sweater vest for the spring just because I can make it and wear it. And that's something special!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Gauge, on about it again.

We had a great time at the retreat. Both my Make It Fit classes went very well. Several sweaters that don't fit were checked out. By the end of class I didn't even have to explain what wasn't working. The knitters did it themselves. Guess what the #1 reason for an incorrect fit is? I bet you know.
GAUGE. Argghh. I know, it's a constant companion. Here's an excerpt from the YarnOver SleepOver Retreat booklet. I know knitting teachers do bang on about this!! Maybe this will help explain why it's so important.


Here is a common knitters lament: “I knit it exactly as the pattern said and it still didn’t turn out the right size”. Frustrating indeed. Did you check your gauge? Can I say the “S” word? Did you make a Swatch? A nice big one?

The reason many garments don’t fit when completed is because the knitter’s gauge did not match the pattern gauge. Garments are built on a certain size of stitch. Imagine each stitch as a little box. For example, let’s say your particular pattern calls for a stitch gauge of 20 sts = 4”/10cm. Break it down to 5 stitches = 1 inch.

Below are 5 boxes representing 5 stitches and 1” width, knit at different gauges. If you were knitting a 40” sweater you can see the difference gauge makes.

Do not despair. This can be fixed. I am also a knitter who does not usually knit to gauge. It’s perfectly normal.

Do’s & Don’t’s
Do Not try to change how you knit. Saying you’ll knit tighter or looser will last about 5 minutes!! Then you will be knitting in your normal manner. There is a better way.

Adjust your gauge by adjusting your needles.
· If the pattern calls for the gauge of 5 sts = 1” on a 4.5mm needle and you are getting 5½ sts = 1” then your stitches are a little smaller. You are getting more stitches in every inch. Bump your needle size up to 5.0mm and see if you are closer to the pattern gauge.

· If you are getting 4½ sts = 1” your stitches are a little big (fewer stitches in every inch). Try again with a 4.0mm needle which will make your stitches smaller.

Understanding if you are a tight knitter or a loose knitter helps you get started on adjusting your knitting for better fitting garments.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Style first

Our Yarn Over Sleep Over Retreat is this weekend. I kept thinking it was a little further away but here it is already. I'm teaching two classes. One of which is a Make It Fit class.

We are discussing bust, waist and hip shaping. But before we get to that I'm going to discuss a little bit about style. I have to read up on this topic since I'm not sure I have much, style that is. It's all about what to wear for your figure. Here is the jist of it which I found on a Knitting Daily blog which sums up Amy Herzog's style notes:

Amy Herzog, master of knitting fit, has adapted these guidelines for knitters, spelling out four basic rules for understanding and creating visual balance:
1. Add horizontal elements to widen a body part.
2. Add vertical elements to narrow a body part.
3. Use one color or texture to lengthen a body part.
4. Use multiple colors or textures to shorten a body part.
Balancing your visual is all about making your figure appear more hourglass shaped. You can use your sweater to widen parts that need widening and make some parts narrower.

If you are bottom heavy, you want to make your shoulders look wider. Then the idea is that you look balanced. You want to make the top of your yoke draw the eye across. You can make a wide scoop neckline so that your shoulders draw the eye across. You can use cap sleeves which widen the shoulders. You can wear Icelandic style sweaters with lots of patterning across the top of the yoke.

If you are top heavy, the opposite is true. You can put lots of patterning at the bottom edge of your sweater. Lucky you gets to knit nice deep patterned borders.

The vertical and horizontal elements are pretty easy. A cardigan has a vertical when it's left open and also when it's buttoned up with lots of snazzy buttons. Cables and texture work in panels are a wonderful vertical. Horizontal colour changes across the top or bottom are effective.

Do you check the style of a sweater pattern to see if it would look good on your figure? Do you check out the model to see if she is top or bottom heavy. Forget that, most of them are just thin! Do you have sweaters that you get compliments on? Does it have to do with the style of it?


Thursday, 13 April 2017

taking a Break with Shawlettes

I'm resting my Lightening pullover for the moment and knitting shawlettes. Have you knit many? I'm on #3. I'm following simple shawl rules and seeing how elastic they are. It's the What If I ... school of knitting. I like this one a lot.
Then I added some colour. Not entirely happy with this one but this is still wearable but not good enough to write up.
A short post. Almost on my way down to the Players Grand Slam of curling to watch my daughter
 (the dark one) curl in this event. They came out champs in Scotland a couple of weeks ago.
It's nail biting time which I'm trying to avoid by knitting. Sometimes it works. My shawlette may have a couple of very tight rows in it!!