Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn Leaves Sweater - the how-to

Finally some photos!

(I also have my Blogstalking posts to catch up on - I think I finally have all the pictures done! Coming soon!)

The Autumn Leaves sweater. Fits a rather skinny almost-2 year old with not much room to grow, but that is OK. It's an autumn sweater after all. She needs to be wearing it right now.

It is knit in Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton, which is discontinued. Its gauge is about 23 sts/10cm. It was knit on 3.75 mm needles, mainly in the round.

I began with 12 repeats of Nicky Epstein's leaf border (from p120 of Knitting on the edge). I did this in the first contrast colour. Then I picked up one stitch in each garter ridge, and knit 2 rows back and forth with the second contrast (brown). I then switched to my circular needle, the main colour, and stocking stitch. To compensate for the extra width of the garter stitch, I made one more stitch for every 10 that I picked up. I ended up with 120 stitches.

Actually now I write that down, I'm not sure I really did have 120 - I think I had 120 garter ridges, but if I made more, I should have had more stitches than that... I can't remember now whether I counted my 120 stitches (I think I did...) or whetherI just presumed that was what I had. Hm.

Either way. Once I had knit round and round in stocking stitch to the armholes I started my sleeves. Using Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system, I calculated I needed 40 stitches in each sleeve. (if I did miscount for the body, that would explain the narrowness of the sleeves... I thought I was just making the whole thing close-fitting for warmth!).
I knit a 5-stitch strip of garter stitch in my first contrast colour. I knit 37 ridges, so that when I increased to compensate for stocking stitch being wider than garter stitch, I would have 40 stitches for the sleeve. I cast off, and picked up one stitch in each garter ridge, with brown. Then I joined to knit in the round, changed to the circular needle, increased 3 stitches evenly and knit in the round to the armhole. From there, I followed EZ's seamless raglan instructions (I have both Knitting without Tears and the Knitting Workshop, and consulted both) to join the body and sleeves together. I started the raglan shaping, but after an inch or so of that, I wanted the front right raglan line to open for easier over-the-head access. So I started to work back and forth on the circular, still following the raglan decreasing. ( I added a stitch at one end, so that the decreases still happened one stitch in from the edge).
When it came to the neck opening, EZ recommends a simple square neckline, and I wanted more of a curve, so I worked a few short rows in order to get that shape. Once I was done with that, I put a few rows of garter stitch on as a neckline - since I had used short rows, I didn't need to pick up any stitches at the side of the neck. On the last row of the neckband, I picked up stitches along the opening in the right front raglan, then continued around and cast off (I think I did it in purl on the right hand side) all around the neck and front opening.
There were no seams - hurray! I love how neat the inside of it is. I did have to graft about 8 sts together at each underarm. I suck at grafting, and I managed to make a row of purl bumps under one arm - and I hate grafting so much that I decided no-one would see it and I didn't care!
Finally I made a frog closure (this was Chi's idea, and it really made the sweater!) using 2 lengths of 2-stitch i-cord in the first contrast colour. I found out how to make the knot for it here (scroll down).
Kittycat loves wearing her sweater and the matching hat - she insists on wearing the hat at home, too!
And... since I put the sweater on Ravelry, it's got 8 hearts - yay! AND I linked to the pattern for the beret on Ravelry and it's in 5 queues! I'm feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Love you, Ravelry!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Autumn leaves sweater

Hurray! I've finished the autumn leaves sweater and I did it in time for it still to fit Kittycat!

Just a couple of "teaser" shots for now, since blogger is putting my photos in sideways at the moment. I'll do a longer post, with all the technical stuff, tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Free pattern: Top-down toddler beret!

Top-down toddler beret

This beret is worked top-down using a magic loop technique (dpns and I do not get along). These are the instructions for the one I knit; because it is knit top-down, you could adjust it for any size you like by just increasing until you get the diameter you want, working your plain rounds and then decreasing until the opening fits the head in question. Do note though, that the i-cord edging tightens up the edge considerably, when compared to live stitches sitting on a circular needle.

Size: head opening has a circumference of 42cm; fits my almost 2-year old with some room to grow.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton, 2 balls main colour, small amount contrast colour (you won’t use much of the second ball of the main colour).

Needles: 3.75mm circular – 24” (to use magic loop), 2x 3.25mm dpns for i-cord “stalk”

Tension: 23 st/10cm

With MC, CO 4 stitches onto one dpn.

*Slide these 4 stitches to the other end of the dpn. With the other dpn, K across all 4 stitches. Repeat from * 6 times.

Using the circular needle, kfb into each of the first 2 stitches. Pull the needle through the stitches just worked, so that they rest on the cable. Now kfb into the remaining 2 stitches. You have 8 stitches in total, 4 resting on the cable, and 4 that you have just worked on the needle.

K one round plain thus: pull the stitches that are on the cable onto the other end of the circular needle. 4 stitches are on each point. Now pull the other 4 stitches onto the cable. K the 4 stitches off the point, pull the needle through as before, K the remaining 4 stitches. All subsequent rows are worked in this way.

Next round: kfb in each stitch. 16 sts.

K 1 round plain.

Next round: kfb, K1, repeat to end. 24 sts.

K 1 round plain.

Next round: kfb, K2, repeat to end. 32 sts.

Keep increasing in this manner until you have worked the round that goes kfb, K18, repeat to end (160 sts).

K 10 rounds plain (you can knit fewer plain rounds if you would like a less slouchy beret – about 4 would work).

Now, in order to work the decreases, you’ll need to move a couple of stitches.

At the beginning of the round, K1 and slip this stitch past the loop so it is with the other group of stitches on the cable. K18, *K2tog, K18, repeat from * until the end of this group of stitches, where you are left with one stitch. You need 2 stitches to work a K2tog, so nab the first stitch of the next group, slip it along the loop and onto the working end of the needle. Now K it together with the previously lonely stitch.

For the second group of stitches, K18, K2tog, repeat to end.

K one round plain.

Next row: K17, K2tog, repeat to end.

K one round plain.

Next row: K16, K2tog, repeat to end.

Keep decreasing in this way until you have knit 12 sts between K2togs.

K one round plain and cut yarn.

Now add the i-cord edging (if you do not like i-cord, you could just K about 4-6 rows of garter stitch instead).

With CC, CO 4 sts onto a dpn and work about 4cm of i-cord as before on the dpns, depending on how long you want the ends of your tie. Then slip the 4 sts onto the left-hand point of the circular needle. Still using CC (and now using the other end of the circ to knit – no more dpns!), *K3 on your i-cord as usual, then K the last st of the i-cord tog with the first st of the hat. Slip the 4 sts back onto the left needle, and repeat from * until all the hat sts have been eaten up by the i-cord. Switch back to dpns and K another 4cm of i-cord for the other end of the tie. Cut yarn, and using a sewing needle thread the end through the 4 sts of the i-cord and pull tight. Secure the end, but do not break yarn. Now tie a single knot in the tie, and use the CC yarn end to secure the knot invisibly. Weave in all ends, block over a plate or saucepan lid, *put hat on toddler, toddler removes hat and throws it on floor, repeat from *.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


He's on top of a war memorial, along our evening walk today.

Kittycat wore the beret I just finished for her:

I improvised the pattern, which is a top-down beret. I'm working on writing up the pattern for the blog!
It's knit in Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton and took 2 balls (not much more than one actually) plus a little of the contrast colour. It goes with the raglan sweater I am just finishing up - more on that in an upcoming post.

Here is my blogstalking post of an interesting statue:

Monday, October 22, 2007

More FOs

I'm way behind on posting these... sorry about that.

Firstly, a finished scarf: Matilda from Magknits. Knit in one skein of Noro Kureyon, and not quite a whole one of Lett-Lopi.

I made my first pair of socks! I used Ann Budd's basic toe-up socks recipe from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007. I am not too happy with the heels though - the 2 sides of them do not look the same, and one side has a row of purl bumps while the other has nasty holes. These were done using yarnovers. I love my socks though - plain and ugly though they may be, they are cosy and woolly. I used Elann's Sock it to me sock yarn (got a bag of it on a good deal). I thought it was nice and cheap to try out socks with, but I honestly don't love this self-striping stuff. It looks like you don't know how to do colour stranding so you have to let the yarn do it for you. I'm all for hand-paints but I don't like this much. I'm currently working on another pair of socks for myself, this time Diamond Waffle from Knitty; it has a different heel construction but is still toe-up (which I'm drawn to - I like the try it on as you go idea). My yarn is not the nicest for the pattern, but it's all about trying out different constructions until I decide what I like best.

With the leftovers I'm knitting some wee socks for Kittycat.

In other knitting news: I have been reading lots of Elizabeth Zimmermann! I made a tomten jacket from Knitting without Tears (out of Lanett) and am just finishing off a seamless raglan - a whole post on that when it's all done and I have photos.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Here is Trice:
Pattern: Trice from X-treme Knitting
Yarn: Estelle Young Touch DK (100% cotton)

I made no modifications at all and it took virtually no time (well, a couple of weeks, but it wasn't my primary knitting). Lots of fun. Kittycat calls it "Ceratops" or "Cyteratops" and when I gave it to her today after her nap, she immediately brought out all her other dinosaurs to introduce it: "Hello! I'm a dinosaur! I'm a ceratops!" So it's a hit. Fun to knit, quick, and as you can see from the photo, it is the ruler of all it surveys.


Finally I am getting around to posting my blogstalking assignments!

Week 1: Who am I?

I'm a knitter in my mid-30s, who teaches high school modern languages, has a husband and daughter - and knitting, work and family takes up most of my time and space these days. My faith is central to who I am. I work hard not to simply accept what the dominant culture around me says is acceptable, but to think for myself; I am an inveterate consumer (especially of yarn) but I'm trying to detox from that. I speak four languages, and want to learn more (they are English, French, Russian and Spanish - I can also make sense of a fair bit of Italian and I have a smattering of German, and I'd like to learn Mandarin or Japanese next). I was always a bit of a bookworm but find my time for that is limited these days. I hate commuting by car and much prefer public transit.

Week 2: Purseguts

My handbag contained (this is 2 or 3 days ago):
a hairbrush and a headband
transit tickets
paper hankies and some fisherman's friends
foundation and mascara
sunglasses for me, and some for Kittycat
an agenda
a novel (La Curee by Emile Zola) - and I promise I did not plant that there to look intellectual
a blue leather purse and a black leather keychain
the sleeve of Kittycat's autumn leaves sweater (which is now attached to the sweater) and a tape measure
a piece of seashell that Kittycat bestowed upon me.

Chi wants the computer now - I have finished a trice and he has done a photoshoot, so he needs the machine - so the next 2 weeks will have to wait a while. Still, I am on my way to being caught up!