The Spring/Summer 2013 Clotheshorse went live yesterday, and two of my patterns were included. I'll post about Cherry Cheesecake, a really cool textured purse, tomorrow. Today's feature, Transverse, is a reversible cowl/vest which you can wear many different ways.
Transverse is a super-simple construction---a long and wide tube and a short and narrow tube connected by two pieces of medium length and width.
The model wears it with the short end on top, and boy is it cute that way on her! I prefer to wear it with the long end on top (below, left). You could probably even wear it as a hoodie that way.
The stitch pattern is Lynne Barr's Twist Pattern from Reversible Knitting. The yarn is Party from Crystal Palace, a nylon ribbon that not only lends variety to the dropped wraps sections but looks wonderful in the garter stitch intervals as well.
When I first started swatching Chatsworth, my slip stitch stripes were coming out funny. Instead of sitting level with the rest of my knitting, each stripe stuck out from the swatch, making a ridge. I went back and studied the instructions and found I was holding the yarn on the incorrect side of my work.
The instructions say to insert the crochet hook from the front, but they don't specify where the yarn should be. I just blithely put the yarn in front along with the hook. The instructions then go on to say to draw a loop of yarn through the fabric. Through the fabric.
I felt a little silly for not being able to put that together before, but it's all right now.
Two more swatches! What do you think?
Clotheshorse Magazine is hosting a cardigan knit-a-long. I thought I might participate because I've been admiring Chatsworth and Silvana and Valois. I just had to choose one and buy yarn.
I don't have a real stash to dive through---just lots of odds and ends which I thought might be good for the Chatsworth stripes. In fact, I had several combinations of colors which might have looked good. The problem was, when I got to Knits by Nana, only two stripe colors coordinated with any of the main color choices. I need four.
So against my better judgment I bought another two colors in my chosen yarn (Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool). When I tried the color combination in Swatch #1, I was dissatisfied with the vertical stripes. They look okay in the photo above, but in real life the orange stripe was way too bright next to the green.
So I duplicate stitched the orange over the top of the blue stripe, pulled the blue out, and slip stitched it next to the green.
The orange fits in better sandwiched between two slices of tomato. I like the variegated yarn when it runs horizontally, but I'm not so sure about the vertical stripes. The individual colors jump out at me more when lined up vertically.
Maybe a companion stripe would be a good idea. (Sorry for the blurry photos.)
But now the left stripe was too strong---same problem as in Swatch #1. Then I saw the solution.
Designer Amy Gunderson used 5 colors of tweedy yarn for the original Chatsworth. The colors were well chosen and the plaid chart worked. For her.
But my plaid is missing that over-and-underness common in tartan patterns. I can provide that!
Still, I found myself wishing for a little more strength in the green stripe. I went back to the odds-and-ends bag I had taken to Knits by Nana.
And I found a dark brown Shepherd's Wool that I had discounted previously. What a difference that makes!
Swatch #5 is my pick. What's your preference?
I'm trying something new: trading test knits with another designer. I'm not sure I'll reliably have time to do this as a usual thing, but it's an interesting experiment.
The designer is Virginia Newman (nonconformknits on Ravelry), and I approached her because of one of her posts on a test knitters group. I've gotten a start on her Hurricane Tie-Back Tunic, and I think (hope) it will go much faster now that I'm past the seed stitch and into the lace.
I think it's important for me as a new designer to knit patterns written by other new designers as well as those more established in the industry. If any of you would like to trade test knits, just let me know. I'd love to work with some other designers in this way.
Moon Mirrors in Tide Pool and Fire Thorn
My most recent tapestry knit design, Moon Mirrors, received a little bit of attention when I first posted about it, but I wanted to point you to this tutorial detailing one method of tapestry knitting.
There are several things I like about this technique. First of all, I love the look of strands! Worked in a pattern as in the upper portion of the scarf at left with just little sprinkles of raspberry peeking through, they're simply delightful. The purl side is also pretty cute.
But it's the ability to make large shapes that really excites me. Those long horizontal lines in the moons are done by stranding the moon color in front of the work instead of catching it on the back side. Watch the video! I still have some refining to do, but I'm enjoying the construction of designs that read well on both sides.
I have to admit, I was one of those people who assumed that everybody's head is the same size. I mean, I'd actually heard that head size varies very little after the age of 6. So when I used to try a hat on in the store and it didn't fit, I always put it back with a disgusted, "What were they thinking? This won't fit anybody!" It was only later, when I realized how big my head is in comparison to most people's, that I understood.
I suspect what was meant by "varies very little" was "in comparison to height" (or something of the sort). Normal adults can have head circumferences from 21" - 27" (53.5 - 68.5 cm) while normal heights range from around 4'8" - 6'3" (1.4 - 1.9 m). (These figures were culled from multiple websites and were surprisingly difficult to locate. Average height is a much more common statistic.) That means head circumference has a 6" (15cm) variance compared to 19" (~.5 m) for height.
That's a much smaller difference, but it's not exactly nothing. Knitting is stretchy, but 6" (or even 3 or 4") is a lot to ask. Those of us with above-average head size know better than to try to knit a 20" (51 cm) hat for ourselves, even taking negative ease into account. (Most hats should have about 2", or 3 cm, negative ease.)
I recently read an article that said head size is increasing (albeit incrementally). Adding multiple sizes to a hat pattern doesn't usually require a huge amount of thought or space. (Of course, there are always exceptions. Still, a pattern or book that acknowledges the big-headed minority just may entice us into a purchase.
It seems like ages since I finished this, but it's taken awhile for me to set up the tripod and get photos. I did manage a few today, but it was hard to get my hair and the collar where I wanted them at the same time. Maybe I'll take more photos later. I just wanted to get some while the irises were still here.
I truly love this jacket, but the sleeves fit a little tight in the upper arm. I didn't fix that when I tried it on before I knit the rest of the body because I wasn't sure I would have enough yarn. Well, it turns out I do---so here's my plan.
I'm going to undo the sleeves, holding the picked-up stitches on needles as I get to them. Then I'll redo the body, starting with the sleeves. I find myself wanting more yellow on the coat, so I'm going to do the cuffs in yellow, then knit the sleeve with more room in the bicep, then do the back, then reverse the process. I might see whether I can figure out a different way to shape the cuff while I'm at it. I love the shape, but not the little panel of stockinette stitch that comes before the end of the cuff (outlined in red below). It makes a flat place that sticks out ever so slightly from the ribbing below it, and I'd like to either extend it so it starts at the beginning of the cuff, or find an increase method that does away with it.
But this isn't going to happen right now. I have enough on my plate for the next few months. You'll be hearing more soon.
My daughter goes to a great school. But the bussing situation stinks, so I have to pick her up from school. Their parking lot is small, so I could sit in line with the other cars wasting gas and holding up traffic on Acadian Thruway, or I can park in the parking lot which the folks next door graciously let us use, walk up to the bench she walks by on the way to the bit of sidewalk car riders wait on, and sit down to knit while I wait.
Guess which one I choose.
Well, it just so happens that other people notice me knitting on that bench. Like the kindergarteners, first graders, second graders . . . you get the idea. Last year an extremely precocious preschooler befriended me out of fascination, so I taught him to finger knit. He spent most of his nap times for the remainder of the year in a corner working quietly with yarn.
His mother is a biologist, and when she saw the March-April 2013 edition of American Scientist magazine, she immediately thought of me. She passed it along, and I'm so glad she did.
In the cover article, "Adventures in Mathematical Knitting," sarah-marie belcastro (smbelcas on Ravelry) discusses the thinking behind knitted mathematical object design, beginning with the why. Turns out she's thought about this quite a bit. Like, published a journal article and two books about it. That much.
And it's fascinating.
She takes care to make objects whose inner and outer skins are continuous in identically reversible fabric, so both sides look the same. Conversely, she makes sure to knit objects whose sides are mathematically distinct in stitch patterns which have non-identical sides. She knits graphs into her shapes, or works stripes highlighting certain of their aspects. And there's more.
Cowls inspired by diagrams in textbooks (page 52). Hats inspired by Klein bottles (that one's still in the works). Oh yes, you can wear these mathematical objects!
I find this exciting in the same way that Lynne Barr's books thrill me. No surprise that smbelcas is a member of the Ravelry group for fans of Lynne Barr. They both challenge the limitations of a single strand of yarn.
Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters by Lori Ihnen, photography by Corean Komarec, pub. Creative Publishing international, Inc., 2012.
When my daughter saw the title of this book, she exclaimed, "Mama, that's you!" But the title doesn't refer to knitters like me, rather to knitters who only have experience with single-color knitting and are wanting to go beyond. My first project was a striped baby blanket, so this mindset is alien to me, but I understand it exists, and this book is a valuable resource for such people.
Actually, it's a valuable resource for anyone---even fearful knitters---who would like to try a more controlled use of color than is available with variegated yarns. Ihnen starts slowly, with stripes, offering stitch patterns with a more complex appearance than plain straight-across stripes, tips for working stripes in rib or in the round, and three easy projects to whet the appetite for what's to come.
Photography is clear, though faces tend to be better lit than the knitted item and there are some dubious styling choices. But I would not buy this book for the projects (though some are truly fetching). I would buy it for the colorwork instruction.
This book is loaded with clear photos of techniques as they are being worked and after they have been finished---right side and wrong side---and tips to straighten them up if they look a little wonky.
It covers stripes, slip-stitch colorwork ("mosaic knitting"), stranding (including fair isle and steeking), intarsia (including intarsia mixed with stranded knitting), and embellishments such as embroidery.
Ihnen lays out the different techniques in a straightforward way, explaining various methods of working each one and including bonus material (like spit splicing!) along the way.
She covers the pros and cons of using various methods and suggests instances where one might be appropriate and others when another might work better.
If she seems to oversimplify in a couple of cases, or if her wording is less than felicitous at times, this book is still the best resource I have found for beginning colorwork.
The Child's Cardigan at left and the Intarsia Owl Hat above are two projects out of the 16 in this book that I would consider making. Since these are supposed to be introductions to each technique (as opposed to lengthy and involved conversations), the projects tend to be small: coasters, bags, and pillows which do not call for much in the way of sizing options.
Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters is also spiral bound, so it will lay flat without coaxing. Congratulations to Lori Ihnen and Creative Publishing for turning out a well-thought-out book!
Disclosure: This copy of Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters is from Kangath's library. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Creative Publishing international or Lori Ihnen.
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