Selbu Modern Beret

Quick post for a quick project:

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I planned this to stashbust leftovers from my Natsumi and Arabella sweaters, and I still have some leftover yarn! What to do?

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I knit this exactly as written except for adding 10 extra rows (half a repeat) before beginning with decreases. I find that to get the kind of slouch I like,  I need to knit the hat straight till it is the length of my palm, from base to fingertips, before the decreases.

Details
Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light; Pecan Pie and Dusk
Needles: 2.5mm for ribbing; 2.75mm for colourwork
Ravelled: here

In Colourwork this Time…

… Yes, I proudly present another pair of socks:

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But! This is the first time I’ve participated in the Ravellenic games. After the series of socks I’ve been churning out, this project might not be considered enough of a personal challenge; but I decided that all the travelling and meetings I had to do added a time challenge. And so they did, except that I was stuck in a metal tube for 12 hours; a metal tube, moreover, with an outdated and limited section of videos, and the long stretches of ribbing went very fast.

I also like how the eye of partridge stitch on the heels and balls of the foot look like jute sacking in this colour:

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I think I have one more pair in me for this year. And then back to sweaters!

Details
Pattern: Border Socks
Yarn: Too many to list, see project page on Ravelry. I tried to make this a stashbusting project, but I still have some yarn left in each colour.
Needles: 2.5mm dpns for the colourwork, 2.25mm for everything else
Ravelled: here

Counting Sheep

Aah the sleep sack!

Client’s Brief to Knitter: should last baby till 18 months at least; should have his name on it; should be adorable; shouldn’t allow baby to wriggle out; should keep his arms warm; shouldn’t allow baby to crawl inside; no hood.

Knitter’s Brief to Client: should be fun to knit; need freedom to throw in bunch of fun, crazy stuff; should be adorable.

Happy Result:

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Here’s the best thing about baby knits that don’t need to fit — you can do anything! I started with a magic CO, worked in the round till the sheep were done, then changed to back and forth (to allow for deep slits along the side so the squiggly creature could be inserted easily), decreased to shoulder width, stranded back and forth (not difficult, simple ‘lice’ pattern), threw in a bit of intarsia, shaped a neck and shoulders, and trimmed the front with a couple of rows in a contrast colour!

Wait, did I tell you that the trim also incorporates buttonholes, so that the sack can hold the baby’s arms inside or outside? And they’re sparkly!

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After all that was going on in the front, I didn’t have much energy left for the back, so it’s much simpler — the stranded pattern occurs less frequently and there is no neck shaping, only sloped shoulders to match with the front. To tell the truth, I got super bored doing the back, ignored it for a couple of weeks, then finished it in a day and a half, spurred by fears that the baby would grow too large to fit (totally unfounded).

Then it struck me that the baby’s fat little toes could get caught in the floats, so I also lined it with a cut up t-shirt. It sounds like a lot of work, but was really, really fun!

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If you would like to replicate it, my Ravelry notes are quite detailed, and you’ll have to use the free Baa-ble Hat pattern, making sure that your total stitch count where you want the sheep is a multiple of 60.

Details
Pattern: my own, with Baa-ble Hat
YarnCascade 220 Heathers, Filatura di Crosa Principessa, Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted, Sirdar Snuggly DK (2 colours)
Needles: 5.5mm square (=5.0mm round)
Ravelled: here

Shocked and Random

I’ve been knitting dedicatedly for a while now, and have never feared to try anything. So I was shocked — shocked, I tell you! — to realise I’ve never done any intarsia! Of course I knew the theory. But looking back at projects all the way from 2008, I couldn’t find a single intarsia’d stitch.

Well, that’s been remedied now:

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I’m still chugging away at the sleep sack. I’ll write about all the design decisions in the FO post, but at least now it looks like what I imagined. There was a point where I was worried it would be weirdly long and lumpy.

In other random news, I jumped on the adult colouring book bandwagon:

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And ordered even more sock yarn:

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Thyme, Nectar and Ginger from Madelinetosh. Very botanical, no?

 

Done and Done!

Not one FO but two!

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Burrard fits just as I like it this time round. I’ve written all about the various elements before, so this is just pretty pictures. It was totally worth it to unravel and redo this one instead of giving it away. Look at the fresh, petal-like colour!

The older version (left, below) was quite tight and pulled up every time I wore it. I hated the way the cables were distorted, and it was also kind of useless since I couldn’t wear any layers inside. The new one (right, below) still fits perfectly because of all the shaping, but has plenty of ease for inner layers. And the length is correct for an outerwear sweater! Ravelled here.

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And also, an Epistropheid, using leftovers from my Dusseldorf pullover. I’m a bit bummed, though, that I still have a quarter of a skein left. I hate hanging on to leftovers!

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I was going to make a ginormous pompom, but that would have hidden the extremely pretty crown shaping, so there it is. I started this without a gauge swatch or anything, and it was a quick two-day knit, so am very pleased with how it worked out!

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Ravelled here.

Yoked!

I tried out an experiment, and am quite excited it worked!

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See, I’ve always wanted to do a proper yoked sweater with tons of stranding. But being top-heavy already, the last thing I needed was a heavy horizontal pattern band across my shoulders. Yoked sweaters are also unflattering on top heavy people since they visually turn the neck and chest area into one giant swathe of fabric.

And then I remembered reading, in this post, that it was possible to make a circular yoked sweater with set in sleeves. Perfect answer! I modified it slightly to make it easier, and solved some problems:

  • By raising the ‘circular’ part of the yoke from across the shoulders to above the shoulders, there is no broad horizontal stroke stretching from shoulder to shoulder.
  • Also, the modified yoke acts as a visual scoop neck, which is really flattering on top-heavy bodies.
  • Finally, the back scoop is raised quite significantly, making the pattern ‘hang’ lower in front than the back, which is quite visually pleasing.

Here’s what I did:

I generated a tunic length pullover in CustomFit. It doesn’t matter what neckline type you choose since that part of the instructions will be ignored.

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I CO provisionally at underbust since I didn’t want the whole sweater flopping around as I worked the yoke. After all bust shaping was over, I worked till the underarm, then BO underarm stitches as usual. At this point, it is a tube (with some bust shaping, not shown) with the green lines denoting the BO underarm stitches.

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Then I worked short rows on the back, in wedges at the sides (black lines), to raise the sides. On the diagram there is room only to show a couple of turning points, but I actually had 10. While doing these short rows I also did underarm shaping decreases, denoted by blue circles.

Next, I worked the back straight. The white line shows the path of knitting – although I knitted straight rows, I was actually knitting along a scoop since the wedges had raised the outer edges. I continued till the outer edges (yellow line) were as deep as the armhole depth I would need for a regular set in sleeve in my size.

I repeated the wedge shaping on the front. At this point, the back and front were equally scooped (thanks to the short row wedges), but the back had been raised to the correct level. To connect it all into a circular yoke, I counted how many rows I had worked after the back wedges were done (yellow line), converted that into inches, and converted that into stitches using my stitch gauge.

I CO that many stitches between the tops of the front and back, so that all live stitches were in a large circle – back scoop, CO sts, front scoop, CO sts. Then I started my colourwork and finished the neck. I’m pretty pleased by how the yoke worked out, but haven’t yet decided on how to finish the collar. I think I’ll finish the body and at least one sleeve before deciding upon the collar!

April Debutantes

Spending all of last year on sweaters has given me a raving appetite for small items: caps, gloves, cowls and more! But there were still sweaters I dreamed of knitting, queued forever, which I couldn’t bring myself to remove during my occasional queue purges. So I took some time to plan for them, thought of modifications to make them fit into my winter wardrobe gaps, even down to suitable colours.

Next up:

1. Snapping Turtle Skirt: I’m planning this as the brainless filler. Whenever I’m zombied out  from work, I’ll work on a hexagon. That’s the plan, anyway! In Katia Azteca, a palette of purples, greys, lilacs and pink.

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2. Boticelli: You’ve already met this one.

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3. Opposite Pole: exactly as written, perhaps with pockets. I may reduce the width of the collar section, so that it doesn’t need to be folded so many times behind the neck. This soft squishy yarn is Cascade Eco Highland Duo in “Toffee”, undyed alpaca and merino. See why I make L-shaped swatches. 

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4. Drops Blah Blah: who can remember the long alphanumeric strings of Drops pattern names?! This will be a tunic, with very subtle colourwork: I deliberately chose a brown with strong reddish undertones. Both are Cascade 220, in “Red Wine Heather” and “Cordovan”. Most of the colourwork will be near the hem, fading to dots by the waist. A very toned down interpretation of the pattern will lie along a scooped neckline, ending with a cowl or folded funnel neck with crisp twisted ribbing.

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Undergrowth

Undergrowth grew like a weed (har har) on my needles and I finished it within days.

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I used the pink as MC and the tan as CC, because I wanted dramatic blocks of pink where the leaves unfurl. I really like the result, although it’s a bit of a dissonance to read the chart since the CC there is a darker square.

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Now for the braid: I read the instructions too literally, and moved the yarns to the front to purl them one at a time resulting in total failure. Finally I hunted on the internet, read a couple of blogs, and then understood: the braids are basically stranded knitting worked inside out. You are purling, and carrying the floats in front, so both strands have to be brought to the front and kept there throughout. The floats become slanted because they are consistently twisted before each stitch. The direction of the twist determines the slant of the float. Two rows of stacked floats (twisted in opposite directions) give the impression of a braid. After that, it was easy.

I made a single braid since I wasn’t sure if my yarn would last. Of course it did, so I picked up stitches in alternate colours from the CO edge, worked a corrugated rib, then ended with another braid. I couldn’t find a suitable CO – all the stretchy ones made the bottom look sloppy – so I just stitched the live stitches down on the inside, one by one.

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There was another reason for the ribbing: I loathe beanies, but the colourwork on this one was just to gorgeous to resist. With the extra length added by the ribbing, I blocked the hat over a plat to force it into a beret shape. It’s still not as slouchy as I’d love, but a definite improvement on the space helmet innerwear shape!

If there is a next time, I might keep the ribbing the same but increase enough stitches immediately before the colourwork starts for six pattern repeats (instead of the pattern’s five) to get a true slouchy beret. Or knit it with DK yarn, reducing needle size for the ribbing.

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Details
Pattern: Undergrowth from Knitty Winter 2011
Yarn: Nikke-Victor Neo Middle; 100% wool; 108m = 40g; sport weight; 1 skein each in MC and CC. I had small amounts left. Excellent quality yarn!
Needles: 3.5mm circular and dpn
Mods: Added ribbing, separated braids.

Pumpkin Set

A couple of quick projects, gifts for a dear friend:

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Also, the realization that  sometimes you have to join the herd because the herd knows what it’s doing. The Berry Baby Hat has 5747 projects on Ravelry so far. And Saartje’s Booties has 13406.

I had to make some pattern changes to the hat since I used a yarn only half as thick as the one specified. That’s why I ended up with so many leaves. The booties are adorable, but have ELEVENTY MILLION loose ends, so I’m going to look for a more seamless construction if I make them again.

Details
Pattern: Berry Baby Hat and Saartje’s Booties.
Yarn: Lanas Stop York Merino; 100 merino; sport weight; 122m = 50g; Orange and Green colours. I used most of the orange and about half of the green.
Needles: 2.75mm dpn.