Thursday, May 21, 2015

Striped Sweater Update: Knitting Jogless Stripes

When I started planning my striped sweater pattern, one thing I had to consider is whether to knit it in the round or in pieces.  In the round was going to be easier, and quicker, and with less finishing - but I had to be concerned with the jog or notch at the end of each round that knitting stripes can create.

But if you follow knitting posts on Pinterest at all, you know that there are a ton of tutorials on how to knit jogless stripes.  So I decided to plow ahead and knit my sweater in the round - and went searching for techniques to combat the jogs in my stripes.

I ended up following this tutorial from Knit Purl Hunter on YouTube.

I'm okay with the results, but not completely thrilled.  All of the tutorials are basically the same.  As you start the second round with your new color, you lift up the stitch below and work it with your current color.  Generally, this works great.  But on my thinner stripes, you can see it looks just a little wonky (and even worse when I also do a decrease during this stripe).  Notice my beige or green stripes in the top photo.

Regardless of the wonky-ness, this technique probably looks better than jogs all up one side of my sweater.  And I'm hoping it all looks perfectly fine with a good block after I'm done.  Here's hoping!

Monday, May 18, 2015

KAL & Sweater Update: Striped Sweater Knitting Project

Just when I needed it, Shannon announced her Spring/Summer Tops & Tees Knit-A-Long.  This KAL has given me just the push I needed to finally start my striped sweater project that I talked about here.  I've made good progress so far.  As you can see, I've knitted up past my little pocket that I've pinned closed for now.  The red yarn is holding the stitches for the front of my pocket so I can go back and put a ribbed rim on it.

So here's what I've done and where I'm headed:

1.  I started the front and back as separate pieces from the bottom with k2p2 ribbing.

2.  I made the ribbing on the front about 2 inches deep, and about 2 3/4 inches on the back for a longer tail.  Not sure why, but I want this top to have a (very) slight boxy look and I wanted a longer hem in the back.

3.  Then I switched to my stripes.  After the first stripe, I joined the front and the back and will knit the rest in the round to the armpits.

4.  I've made my stripes wider than I initially planned.  My wide stripe is 9 rounds, and my two thinner stripes are 3 rounds. 

5.  I laid out my color progression before I started, but have been making tweaks as I go.  I will probably have a lot fewer colors left by the time I get past the chest, so the upper part may be a solid color.  And the sleeves may only have a couple of stripes.  I'm okay with this.  We'll just have to see what I have to work with.

6.  Still planning to make this top short-sleeved, but haven't worked out the details yet.  Should be at the armpits by next week and will share what my plan is for the sleeves then. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Perfect Knitting Project for Travel - And for a Good Cause, Too!


My husband and I have been making some trips to see my in-laws as they have been having some health problems.  And I've been looking for a good knitting project to fill the travel time in the car: a small project, something with a pattern that's easy to memorize, and doesn't take too much attention or concentration.

I happened upon Wildcare's call for knitted nest on the Knitty blog.  Wildcare is looking for knitted and felted nests for raising and feeding orphan birds.  They need nests made in three different sizes, out of either wool, cotton, or acrylic yarn.  The knitting pattern and all the particulars are on their website.

In addition to being a great travel project, I think these bird nests will be a wonderful way to use some of my leftover heavy worsted yarn from previous projects.  A charitable project and a stashbuster - win, win!

If you want more information about the knitted nest project, please visit Wildcare's website.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

New FREE Knitting Pattern: Mosaic Baby Blanket or Lap Afghan

In celebration of Spring, and just cause I feel like it, I'm now offering my Mosaic Baby Blanket and Lap Afghan knitting patterns for FREE on my Hubpages!  This pattern includes instructions for both a baby blanket and an adult-sized lap afghan.

I think this pattern is so pretty for Spring, and easy to adapt to any room decor or occasion.  I hope you like it :)  Find the pattern here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Starting Out: Striped Sweater Knitting Pattern

Probably like a lot of knitters, I have a big pile of random skeins of yarn left over from other knitting projects.  I've decided to pull together my skeins of dk yarn and design a striped sweater to use up some (most? all?) of my leftovers (I have more than what's pictured above).  My plan is:

1.  To design a short-sleeved striped sweater.

2.  I'm going to start the bottom as two pieces (front and back) to create slits on the sides, then join it and knit it in the round to the armpits.

3.  The stripes are going to be varied, as I have different amounts of each color, but I'll follow the pattern of one wider stripe then two thinner ones (6 rounds for the thicker stripe, two rounds for the thinner ones).

4.  I'm going to include a little pocket on the front (I think), because I've never done a pocket before.

5.  I want to incorporate these cute buttons in the sweater,  I plan to use one as a closure on my pocket, and one as a little detail on the collar.

6.  I haven't exactly figured out the sleeves yet, but they'll just be your basic short sleeve with a rib edge.

I hope blogging about this project as I go will make me start this sweater and stop just thinking about it :)  For some reason, I just can't get motivated to start.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Favorites: Blossoms By the Brook Shawl Knitting Pattern

My hubby/photographer is away, so sorry for the crappy photos!
I just had to show off this wonderful shawl pattern I knit from the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Knitty.  I have kind of a love/hate relationship with shawls.  There are so many AMAZINGLY beautiful shawl patterns out there, but I just don't know how to use them and wear them in my real life.  So I knit very few of them.

But I had a skein of Caron Simply Soft in this beautiful Orchid color that I wanted to make a light and lacy scarf with, so I went on the hunt for a narrow crescent-shaped shawl pattern that I could wear around my neck like a scarf.  I was thrilled to find this Blossoms By the Brook pattern by Ilga Leja on the Knitty site.  What I loved about it was:

1.  It only took about 150 yards of yarn

2.  The pattern was free (let's be honest)

3.  It was easily adjustable

4.  And I just loved, loved, loved the pretty scalloped edge and the wavy ends that this pattern creates.

This pattern is so cleverly designed to grow from the center bottom point, and can easily be knit to be longer and wider.    I wanted a shawl/scarf that was narrow but long, and I made very few modifications.  I found that it helped to put stitch markers between each repeat as my shawl grew in length.  I followed the pattern as written, but only worked Chart B to row 6.  Then I did two rows of purl stitches to create the upper garter border, and bound off with a larger needle.

I did only a light block on this, pinning my shawl down while it was dry and not pulling it too much.  Then I wet it after it was pinned in place.

So happy with the finished shawl!  I love when things come together like this!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Showing Off & Knitting a Better Thumb: Possessed Printer Fingerless Mitts

Possessed Printer Mitts UNBLOCKED
I just had to share my latest knitting project, the wonderful Possessed Printer Mitts by Emma Galati.  This pattern is great for variegated dk yarn, I used some beautiful merino hand-dyed yarn from Lola-Doodles on etsy.  I bought this yarn a couple of years ago.  I wish I had taken a photo of it still wrapped in its skein.  The color is Mist.  Such a beautiful array on purples, blues, pinks, and greens.  You can see all the amazing colors in the palm of these mitts.

Anyway, love the yarn, love the pattern, but I wanted to add knitted thumbs as other Ravelers had done.  So I followed some of the notes that others had posted and filled in on my own what was missing.  Below are my specific notes on my thumb pattern, based heavily on what AKnitOnTheSide had done.

I didn't want super long mitts, but you can adjust the length by following the pattern for longer before starting your thumb gusset.  I started with my left mitt first:

Left Mitt

I followed the pattern as written for the wrist for 13 caught stitches,  After the 13th caught stitch, I placed a second marker 2 stitches before my end of round marker (to mark my thumb gusset) as AKnitOnTheSide had done.  AT THE SAME TIME as marking my gusset, I knit into the front and back of the two marked stitches, increasing my thumb gusset to 4 stitches.   Then a knit 2 rounds straight, following the pattern.

Note:  While knitting my thumb, I continued to follow the caught stitch pattern on the front of the mitt and knit the palm as directed.

On the third round, when I got to the thumb gusset, I once again knitted into the front and back of the first stitch, knit across the other stitches, and knit into the front and back of the last stitch, increasing my gusset to 6 sts.  I continued this pattern of increasing the gusset every third round until I had 14 stitches in my gusset.  I then knit two more rounds without increasing, but maintaining the pattern.

After these two extra rounds, when I got to my gusset, I moved my thumb stitches on to some waste yarn and cast on 6 stitches using the backwards loop method to create a wall where the thumb was.  Then I knit one round in pattern, knitting all the stitches across the wall .  The next round, I knit in pattern until reaching the wall area, I decreased the first two stitches with a ssk, knit the next two stitches, then decreased the last two stitches with a k2tog, leaving me with 4 stitches in my wall.

Next round, I knit in pattern, and just knit across my wall.  On the fourth round, I continued in pattern until my wall, then ssk, k2tog.  This left me with 2 stitches in my wall and brought me back to the original 40 stitch count.

Now I just finished the pattern as written.  I ended with 30 caught stitches total, then switched to only 5 rounds of the twisted rib for my border.  Then I bound off in pattern.

Finishing up the thumb - I moved my thumb stitches from the waste yarn onto my dpns.  I knit across my 14 stitches, then picked up 1 stitch in the gap between my thumb and the wall, 4 stitches along the base of my wall, and 1 more stitch in the gap between the wall and my thumb (picked up 6 stitches total).  I knit one round, but when I got to my 6 picked up stitches, I decreased the first 2 sts with a k2tog, and the last two stitches, leaving me with 18 stitches around the thumb.  I knit one more round, then switched to 4 rounds of the twisted stitch ribbing before binding off in pattern.

Possessed Printer Mitts UNBLOCKED

Right Mitt

The right mitt follows the same instructions, but use the first two stitches of the 17 knit stitches that make up the palm as the beginning of your thumb gusset.

My mitts are a little bit looser than I'd like, but I hope a good blocking with make them a little tighter.  I hope these notes help anyone who wants to add a thumb to their mitts :)