Natsumi

Or, fitting straight lines on non-straight figures.

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So pretty!! There’s something so light and refined about this colour, which perfectly complements the restrained cable, delicate lace and elegant lines of Natsumi. I won’t spend too much time describing how perfect this pattern is, over 200 people have done so already. However, let’s talk about my mods.

First, I knew I had to change it to a scoop neck. The boat neck, although elegant, would have been really unflattering on me. So I calculated the BO, CO and decrease rates (since this is worked side to side), and threw in a 1×1 ribbed trim to match the cuffs and hem.

I also lowered the pattern strip so that the bottom lies a little above the underbust, which I thought would be the most flattering position. This means that the sleeves come only halfway through the pattern strip …

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… but structurally, this makes no difference.

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Then I did some thing clever, which I’m quite proud of. I added a line of shaping along the top of the pattern strip on the front only. This gave me more fabric to accommodate my scoop neck, and, crucially, pushed the strip down in a very gentle U shape. On a flat garment it looks distorted, but on the body…

 

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… straight!! I had nine extra stitches in the centre of the garment thanks to the shaping, without which the strip would have curved upwards and made me an unwitting model for that elegantly named phenomenon, waist boobz. 

Apart from that: reduced overall ease to 7inches at upper bust (= 4 inches at full bust), made full length sleeves, and threw in 1×1 ribbing everywhere, finishing those with tubular bind-offs. Oh and added about an inch of short rows to each side bottom, to create a more swingy, a-line shape.

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I think that’s all; I love the design, the colour and the yarn.

Details
Pattern: Natsumi by Yoko Hatta
Needles: 4.0mm for all (lever style); 3.5mm for ribbing.
Yarn: TML “Dusk”; 2.5 skeins
Ravelled: here

Chainlinked

Whew, done! It’s a lovely garment…

02 front

But the knitting was quite exhausting. Just when you finish one thing, there’s another little bit left to do. I used 1430m of sport weight yarn. That’s the height of China’s Glass Trail of Terror, in case you’re into these things. And remember, I’m a smallish human.

All said and done, I’m glad I worked this one seamlessly. As written, the pattern has over 15 components, which means at least 32 ends to weave in, not including any ends from joining yarns. And also, a few of my pet hates like dropped shoulders and an identical front and back – I absolutely do not have the straight-shouldered flattish physique required to carry off a garment where the back is the same as the front! But it was too gorgeous not to attempt, and I’m happy with my mods.

I’ve written a fairly detailed how-to on its Ravelry project page, so will not bore you with all the details here. Essentially, I knit the front and back triangles then joined them in the round with strips of vertical ribbing in between. After that, it was just a seamless raglan. The vertical ribbing consumed the diagonal in the hip area, and spewed it out again at the chest; the picture below shows the side ribbing in the middle with the Front and Back on either side.

sides

Soon after the arms were joined, I started short-rowing to create a scoop neck, wrapping every alternate stitch for a steep rise. Then, a few inches of ribbing flowing out of all the diagonals, worked to double the required height and folded down for a three-needle-bind-off with loops picked up from the base of the ribbing on the inside – giving a firm, non-stretchy neckline, sorely needed in a garment with no other seams in the crucial shoulder/yoke area (because of my mods – the original has a shoulder seam).

I neatened the dangly flaps with an  i-cord BO…

icord

continuing the i-cord into the crotch and butt gaps, for a smooth, continuous outline around the bottom of the garment.

front gap

One other divergence from the pattern: I didn’t do the decreases along the edges of the chainlink sections of the bottom triangles, because I wanted broader and shallower triangles. The decreases keep the cable diamonds and the large diamond (formed by the whole chainlink fabric) the same proportions.  But mine are different, and so ghostly partial chainlinks appear and fade along the edges. I think I can live with that!

partials

Overall, I’m reasonably happy with this one, despite the endless knitting! That is totally my fault, as I think I could have made it shorter. And I think I’ll re-block the sides to be more clingy, as despite the ribbing it still feels too large and hangs down rather unflatteringly straight.

01 front

I used Brown Sheep Nature Sport and 3.5mm needles for most of the work. Ravelled here.

Golden Dusseldorf

I really like this one, even though it has much more ease than I usually wear. I generated a relaxed fit with CustomFit, and since I’ve lost a bit of weight it appears looser than usual. But I think that goes very well with its intended cosy, slouchy-yet-shaped deep winter intent.

Full 1

Lots of people over on Ravelry asked how to generate this with CustomFit so I’ll list the details here. It’s reasonably simple, although you do need to do a few calculations for the front.

Generate a relaxed fit, long-sleeved, narrow V-necked pullover. Work the back as written, making sure that the CO number is 4x+2. That way you’ll start with kk,pp,kk,pp,…,kk and you’ll get a smooth kkpp multiple once the pieces are sewn up and two k stitches consumed at each seam. Work the sleeves as detailed here. Remember to go through the pattern and change all the milestone stitch counts to reflect your additional stitches. Increase a few BOs at the top of the sleeve cap to remove the additional stitches.

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The front requires a bit more thought. First, make sure you start with not just 4x + 2 stiches, but specifically 4x(odd number) + 2 stitches. This will ensure you get a pp column between the cable panels. If you start with a 4x(even number) + 2 stitch CO, then you’ll end up with a ppkkpp column in the middle. Add or subtract up to 4 stitches to get a 4xodd+2 stitch count, noting how many stitches you added or subtracted.

On the penultimate ribbing row (which will be a WS) add 10% to whatever had been your CustomFit suggested stitch count, in order to compensate for cable compression. (Remember, you are aiming to start the stockinette section with 110% of the initial CustomFit stitch count, not 110% of the number you actually cast on to get the correct stitch multiple.) Make two of these increases in the central ‘rope’ of each panel, and distribute the rest equally in the stockinette sections.

Eg: Say your CustomFit CO stitch count was 92. So 110% of that is approximately 102 stitches – this is the number of stitches you want at the start of the stockinette section. However, at your CO, your ribbing needs to be 4xodd+2. So you start with 94 (= 4×23 +2) and work 2×2 ribbing as long as you need to. When you start the stockinette section you want 102 stitches (which is ~ 110% of 92, not 94). So you need to increase 102 (intended stitch count) – 94 (actual stitch count) = 8 stitches evenly. Make two of these increases in what will become the central ‘rope’ of each cable panel (as explained in the sleeve post) and the remaining four stitches as two increases per side in what will become stockinette in the following row.

Then go through the pattern, changing milestone stitch counts as per your changed counts.

Work in pattern till the neck. Before starting the neck do the following calculations.

Number of stitches on each side of neck split = A
Number of stitches removed at each armscye = B
Number of shoulder stitches on back piece = C
Number of stitches in cable panel = D
Ie, number of decreases needed = E = A – (B+C+D) -1
(The last -1 is so that you end up with one more stitch on the back shoulder than the front shoulder (not including the collar). The extra stitch on the back is used for seaming the collar which continues to the nape).

Number of rows available for neck decreases = F (add row counts from CustomFit pattern, neck to armhole + armhole to shoulder shaping)
Distribute the total number of decreases (E) over the number of available rows (F) to get your neck decrease rate.

Finally the knitting! Work armscyes as directed. Make neck decreases in the stockinette section just outside the cable panels. Once shoulder shaping is complete, BO only the stockinette stitches and m1 on the collar, away from the neck edge. Work this extra stitch in stockinette – it will be used to seam the collar with the extra seam stitch on the back neck.

Continue working the cable panel till the centre back, throwing in a couple of short rows so that it curves at the back neckline. Join cable panels from both sides of the neck at the centre back, and seam in place. Finish the entire neckline with an applied i-cord, picking up 3 stitches every 4 rows on the front, and 2 stitches every 3 rows on the back.

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Details
Pattern: Dusseldorf Aran
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy; 100% merino; 229m = 113g; worsted weight; “Gold Experience”; 4.45 skeins
Needles: 3.5mm for ribbing, 5mm for rest, worked lever style
Ravelled: Here

 

Golden Fans – Dusseldorf Aran Sleeves

Here’s how I changed the sleeve cuffs of my Dusseldof Aran.

The pattern as written consists of a section of mostly stockinette in the centre of the cuff which is pleated shut after a few inches. I-cords emerge from the cables just above the pleats and are tied into a bow, as if they had been used to gather the pleats. It’s a very pretty and unique effect, but I knew I’d have to modify it to reduce the bulk of the pleats and the excess fabric at the cuffs.

Replacing Pleats with Decreases
Fortunately, I didn’t have to spend too much time thinking about how to reduce the pleats; I used the technique in this excellent blog post instead.  The answer is elegantly simple: form a fan or shell shape with the ribs by starting with k2p8 chunks, and then decrease in each purl section every four rows till you’re left with a k2p2 rib from which the cable pattern can flow out.

I made my ‘fan’ even shorter by starting with k2p7, thereby eliminating four rows. To neaten the edge, I worked the first four rows with a needle a couple of sizes smaller than the rest of the sleeve. For additional refinement, I cast on with a modified long-tail, which incorporates knit and purl stitches in any desired combination, described here.

Reducing Excess Fabric
Even after substituting the fan for pleats, there is still excess fabric at the cuffs since the fan structure is in addition to the main stockinette of the sleeve. To compensate I started with the same number of CO sts as needed for my CustomFit generated pattern plus 10% to account for cable compression. I positioned the fan in the centre, and then made compensatory increases in the stockinette sections every time I decreased within the fan. These compensatory increases were in addition to the regular sleeve shaping increases of the CustomFit instructions.

All this is much easier to explain with a picture:

Cuff Fan 1

Red pins – fan shaping decreases every four rows
Blue pins – compensatory increases in stockinette section to maintain width of sleeve, immediately after the red rows. Note (important!) that in the last blue pin row, two of the compensatory increases are made in the middle of the cable pattern – this helps form the central ‘rope’ of the cable.
White pins – regular sleeve shaping increases.

And finally, here’s what it looks like at the end:

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A Golden Beginning

The last ten days, I managed to finish another sweater. I know! What it is to knit with worsted weight yarn! It was the Dusseldorf Aran, and of course there were mods. Let us honour tradition by starting with a pattern analysis.

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Love!
– Those cables.
– The long vertical lines formed by the cables.
– The intriguing sleeve cuff: two i-cords appear to emerge from the cables, out of the plane of the sweater, and are then tied into a bow.

Lose!
– The seed stitch hems and cuffs.
– The puffy, pleated cuffs – too bulky.
– The scoop neck. I am usually a lover of scoop necks, but decided to prolong the lives of the cables a  little longer.

Fixed!
I generated a relaxed fit pullover with CustomFit, because I intend to wear this over other layers. The hems were easy, I swapped in a tubular CO of k2p2 ribbing for four rows, then increased by 10% while changing to stockinette, to account for cable compression. On the sleeves, I did a version of long-tailed CO which creates the desired combination of knits and purls from the beginning. Oh and found a way to eliminate the pleats and still retain the design essentials. I’ll write in detail about that in a separate post. Finally, I changed it to a V-neck, continuing the cable panels up around the back neck to meet at the centre of the nape. I changed the cables a tiny bit too, adding an extra twist to the central ‘rope’ at the knot. And mirrored the central ‘rope’ on the two front panels, and the sleeves as well. The back is in plain stockinette, except where the neckband extensions from the front travel to the nape.

Hmm, that’s all, I think! It all went by in a blur while listening to an audiobook version of Ayala’s Angel by Trollope. I do like it!

A Very Rosy Burrard

Burrard is finished!

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Ages ago, browsing through its projects, I thought I saw a pink cardigan, and was seized with a desire to make Burrard in pink. Now I can’t find my inspiration project – perhaps it existed in my imagination only – but I have my own pink Burrard.

And what a pink it is! Not hot, not blue, not princessy, not girly, not frothy, not frivolous, but a true, blooming and beautiful colour! Like expensive roses, happy and adult, robust yet refined!

Because of my sad gauge accident this came out in an average fit rather than relaxed, but I love it nonetheless. I omitted the final BO at the top of the sleeve cap and carried the pattern on through saddles. Since the saddles covered some of the shoulder, I reduced the back and front lengths, starting the shoulder shaping about 1.5 inches lower than specified.

saddle

Finally, I picked up stitches around the neck and worked it in 2×2 rib, throwing in six short rows for the shawl collar.

full close

Details
Pattern: Burrard, generated with CustomFit
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy; 229m = 113g; 100% merino; worsted weight; “Rosalita”; 3.35 skeins
Needles: 3.5mm for ribbing, 5mm for rest (lever style)
Ravelled: Here

Ondawa!

Done!

full 1

I’ve talked quite a lot about this one before, so I’ll just summarize here.

I decided to reduce the gigantic amount of ease to about 6” (the 1×1 ribbing makes it seem smaller). I also increased the length of the body, but perhaps it is now a bit too long. Anyway, the very thought of snipping a row and grafting the bottom up to make it shorter sent my brain screaming, so it’ll stay long.

I’m really happy I scooped the neck in front with short-rows. I hate boat necks and the modified depth is perfect. Also, I am really glad of my decision to knit most of the body and sleeves in the round. Imagine all those twisted ribs worked from the WS! Shudder! I love the refined edges: I finished with a invisible BO and started with a version of the long-tailed CO which creates knits and purls right from the beginning to avoid a hard edge.

Overall, I like the garment! The colour is really standout (more than the photos indicate), a sort of poisonous, emerald green. It’s not a colour I would normally wear, but I like the drama of it. I promised to pose this with obscenely large accessories, so here’s a necklace which fits that definition in my mind, a jangly-dangly thing of metal, glass and faux pearls. And because one must nod to The Fashunz, I’ll incorporate semi-tucked and hi-lo trendz into one picture and get it over with, thanks.

full tucked

Details
Pattern: Ondawa
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK; 100% wool; 206m = 100g; dk weight; 5.33 skeins; “Laurel”
Needles: 3.5mm metal circulars for everything.

Ravelled here. And final arty farty photo:

full blur

A Seamless Neck for the Ondawa

Here we go. I’ve finished both the front and back, and determined how many stitches will be left live in the centre of the Front and Back for the neck.

1. Bind off one side steek.

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2. Flip the sweater inside out so the WS is facing you, and start working a three-needle BO for the first shoulder. Use a needle size slightly larger than sweater needles to avoid puckering. And yes, if you’re stuck at the beach without a larger needle, it’s legal to use a golf tee. Be sure that the last two stitches you bind off are purl stitches (ie, knit stitches on the RS).

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3. Elongate the last stitch and pull the yarn ball through to seal the BO.

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4. Flip the sweater right side out, work across the neck, and repeat steps 1 through 3 on the other side.

5. Knit across the neck to the shoulder which was bound off first. Since the last shoulder stitches you bound off were RS, knits (Step 2), the last stitch remaining on the neck before the shoulder BO will be a purl. Work that stitch, then pick up and knit a stitch from the shoulder BO point. Work across to other shoulder and pick up and knit a stitch. This will maintain a 1×1 rib across the entire neckline.

6. Finish with a tubular BO on the live neck stitches.

Shoulder and neck done! Gratuitous picture of luscious cables:

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Giving Shape to Ondawa

A post full of shaping details, you have been warned!

Neck Shaping
I was determined to dip the front neck of the Ondawa pullover, with short-rows, so I drew myself a diagram:

 01 ondawa diagram

First, I measured my desired length from shoulder to hem – 19 inches. So the Back, a rectangle, would be 17 inches of cable and 2 inches of ribbing. Next, how low did I want my neck to dip in front? Around 4 inches. But 2 inches of the neckline is ribbing. Which means that the cables in the centre front had to stop at 6 inches below the full length of the Back, then the sides of the Front would have to be built up with short rows for 4 inches, followed by a final two inches of ribbing to bring everything to the level of the Back.

However, I was working this in the round, so needed to determine the placement of armhole openings as well. Since this is a drop shouldered style, I measured my bicep at where I thought the armhole would fall, and divided that in half to get the length of the armhole opening on each piece – 5 inches.

All the above was just to help me get the actual knitting sequence. Thus: work in pattern for 13 inches; start short-rowing across Back and sides of Front; after 1 inch of short-rows introduce armhole steek; continue short-rowing till Back is 4 inches higher than centre of Front; start working in the round again to get 2 inches of ribbing; finish steeks and neck.

I did start steeking the armholes, but abandoned the idea after a few rows because:
a) It was really tedious working long stretches of WS rows. It turned out much easier to work back-and-forth on the Back first, and then do the short-rows on the Front, till both were ready for the ribbing.
b) Because the end of round fell in the middle of my loooooong short-rows, I had to work one side of the Front’s cable crossing rows from the WS. Agonizing!
But once I started with the neck ribbing I reintroduced the steek because ptbl was painful!

Short-Rows
First, I calculated row gauge by steaming out the bottom of the pullover to get an actual stretched reading (since I was lazy and didn’t swatch in the round). With the row gauge in hand I calculated the number of short rows to be worked. For 4 inches I needed 42 rows, or 21 turning points (since each turning point adds 2 rows). I did not have 21 purl columns on each side of the front, so used 3 sets of 7 points each. The picture below shows only one side for clarity, but imagine that on the other side too, each set leaving a central panel and some side columns unaffected.

 02 ondawa short rows

Seamless neckline finishing next!