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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Needle Doodles


I’ve actually been using my row counter from this post, which gave me a bit of courage to try other little knitting hacks. Like coloring my bamboo double pointed needles. I rarely knit with DPNs on account that I’ve yet to make a pair of socks, but I’ve still accumulated a good number of them and am often frustrated when trying to find a matching set. On the newer sets the needle sizes can still be read easily enough but the sets I’ve used to knit sweater sleeves have become impossible to sort without a needle gauge. I considered just re-writing the size numbers with permanent marker but I’ve seen folks go to town with Sharpie markers on everything from fabric to ceramic so why not knitting needles?

Le fait que j’utilise le compteur de rangs d’il y a quelques semaines m’a donné le courage de tenter ma change avec un autre petit bricolage. Je me sert rarement d’aiguilles double pointe puisque je ne tricotte pas encore de chaussettes, mais lorsque j’en ai besoin j’ai souvent de la difficulté à trouver un ensemble d’aiguilles pareilles, surtout les plus usées dont l’étampe avec la taille n’est plus visible. Les gens utilisent les marqueurs Sharpie pour décorer toutes les surfaces imaginables ces jours-ci alors pourquoi pas les aiguilles à tricoter? J’avais l’intention de dessiner une petite ligne toute simple pour les différencier mais à la fin je me suis laissée emportée un peu.



I’m concerned that the marker pigment might rub off on my yarn so I plan on sealing in the Sharpie with a bit of matte Pod Podge just in case. I think I might want to avoid using neon-bright yarns that would blend into the needle colours and make it more difficult to see the stitches. But I’m already looking forward to doodling on my plain bamboo straight needle tops and quite possibly every other plain wooden surface in the house!

Au cas où l’ancre tacherait mes doigts ou ma laine, je compte recouvrir mes dessins d’une fine couche de Mod Podge. J’imagine que j’éviterai peut-être d’utiliser des laines aux couleurs fluo pour ne pas confondre mes mailles. Mais j’ai déjà hâte de décorer les bouts de mes aiguilles droites et – si personne ne m’en empêche – toute autre surface de bois qui me tombe sous la main.




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Battersea (free pattern)





I love cold-weather knitting as much as any knitter. So much so that I usually avoid knitting summer tops altogether; as a tight knitter I often dislike knitting with inelastic plant-based fibres. But this past fall and winter I knit mostly for others and before I got the chance to knit the fisherman’s gansey I’d wanted for myself, April was just around the corner. Rather than wait until the fall, I thought I’d marry the trending curved hem t-shirt silhouette to a more traditional gansey sweater and use some of the drapey, nubby silk yarn I’d stashed for far too long.
The design is named after a beautiful area of Ontario that is close to my childhood home. Its proximity to three different lakes make it well known for fishing and it seemed fitting for a gansey-inspired top. It’s also the name of a catchy Hooverphonic song I had on repeat in the 90s :)

A quick note on the photos : as usual I relied on my camera's self-timer, but this time I brought along my Gorilla-pod, a creature-like tripod with flexible legs and I just want to say that it is awesome.  It gripped branches so easily ; no more propping up my camera on rocks (like I did for the Handspun Spinster Slouch photos)! If you take your own FO photos I highly recommend it!

Je préfère de loin tricoter pour les mois d’hiver, des vêtements chauds faits de laine et d’alpaga. Le coton, le lin et la soie peuvent être dur sur les doigts, surtouts les miens qui tricotent très serré. Mais ayant bricolé plutôt pour les autres ces derniers mois, je n’ai pas eu le temps de me tricoter un pull gansey avant que le printemps se pointe du nez. Mais pourquoi attendre jusqu’à l’automne lorsqu’on peut marier la silhouette du t-shirt tendance avec ourlet arrondie aux patrons de gansey traditionnels?
Le design doit son nom à une région de l’Ontario connue pour la pêche et sa proximité à non moins de trois lacs. Et à une chanson du groupe belge Hooverphonic que j’écoutais à répétition dans mon adolescence!




Battersea :

Size (circumference of the tee in inches):  34 (35.5, 37, 39, 41, 42.5). Since the design is top down, you can divide the stitches among 2 sets of circular needles to try on the top as you go, sizing the arm holes and shirt length according to your size and shape. 
Note: Because of the necessary additional raglan increases required for the larger sizes, I had to add a pattern repeat to sizes 37, 39, 41, and 42.5. I chose an andalusian stitch motif, (not pictured in the sample because it is not needed for size 34).

Yarn : For size 34: 6 skeins of Silk Sensation by Fiddlesticks Knitting. You will need to estimate yardage for the other sizes.

Supplies :

  • 24” US5 circular needles
  • 16” US6 circular needles
  • US5 DPN needles (for sleeve ribbing)
  • 4 stitch markers, one of them unique to mark the beginning of rounds.

Gauge after blocking : 18 sts and 32 rows using US 6 (4mm) needles  in stockinette stitch over 4 inches square.

Abbreviations:
tbl : through back loop
kfb : knit in front, then in back of same stitch.
pfb : purl in front, then in back of same stitch.

Required skills:
  • working in the rounds
  • working seed stitch without much instruction
  • working short rows

Pattern notes:

  • Until round 36, raglan increases are done every 3rd round by increasing 1 stitch on each side of markers.
  • I’ve written out the instructions for the first two gansey stitch patterns, and made charts for the last two. Sizes 37 and up will need to add an additional gansey panel, instructions are in blue.
  • There is no side-shaping for the body. I had planned on the tee having a loose, breezy fit with lots of positive ease but that just didn’t work out. In fact, it’s quite tight on my hips! It’s a good idea to continue to try on the tee as you knit so that you can add stitches to widen for hips if need be or add shaping in the just right spots for a more hourglass shape.

Instructions :

With US5 needles, cast on 136, (144, 152, 160, 168, 176) sts and join to work in the round, placing marker to mark beginning of wound. Work in twisted rib as follows:
Round 1 (set-up round) : (k1, p1) to end.
Round 2 and all further rounds of ribbing : (k1 tbl, p1) to end.
Work in twisted rib for 1.25 inches.

Change to US6 needles. Working in twisted rib for one more round, place markers as follows : Work 43 (45, 47, 49, 51, 53) sts, PM, work 25, (27, 29, 31, 33, 35) sts, PM, work 43, (45, 47, 49, 51, 53) sts, PM, work remaining 25, (27, 29, 31, 33, 35) st.

Begin working gansey pattern:

Round 1 : purl to end
Round 2 : purl to end.
Round 3 (increase round) : kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb.

EXTRA ROUNDS FOR SIZES 37 – 42.5 only :
Extra round 1: knit.
Extra round 2 : purl.
Extra round 3 : (increase round) pfb, p to 1 st before marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb.
Extra round 4 : knit.

Round 4 : (k2, p2) to 3 sts before marker, k2, p1, move marker, (k2, p2) to 1 st before marker, k1, move marker, (k2, p2) to 3 sts before marker, k2, p1, move marker,  (k2, p2) to 1 st before marker, k1.
Round 5 : knit.
Round 6 : (increase round)  kfb, k3, (p2, k2) to 3 sts before marker, p2, kfb, mover marker, kfb, k3,  (p2, k2) to 1 sts before marker, kfb, mover marker, kfb, k3, (p2, k2) to 3 sts before marker, p2, kfb,  mover marker, kfb, k3,  (p2, k2) to 1 sts before marker, kfb.
Round 7 : knit.
Round 8 : k3,  (p2, k2) to 2 sts before marker, p2, move marker, k3  (p2, k2) to marker, move marker, k3, (p2, k2) to 2 sts before marker,  p2, move marker, k3 (p2, k2) to end.
Round 9 :  (increase round)  kfb, k to 1 sts from marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 sts from marker, kfb, move marker, kfb,  k to 1 sts from marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 sts before marker, kfb.
Round 10 : (k2, p2) to 3 sts from marker, k2, p1, move marker, (k2, p2) to 1 sts from marker, k1, move marker, (k2, p2) to 3 sts from marker, k2, p1, move marker, (k2, p2) to one sts before marker, k1.
Round 11 : knit.
Round 12 : (increase round) kfb, k3, (p2, k2) to 3 sts before marker, p2, kfb, mover marker, kfb, k3, (p2, k2) to 1 sts before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k2, (p2, k2) to 3 sts before marker, p2, kfb, move marker, kfb, k3, (p2, k2) to 1 sts before marker, kfb.
Round 13 : knit.
Round 14 : k3, (p2, k2) to 2 stitches before marker, p2, move marker, k3, (p2, k2) to marker, move marker, k3, (p2, k2) to 2 stitches before marker, p2, move marker, k3, (p2, k2) to end.
Round 15 : (increase round) kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb.
Rounds 16 AND 17 : purl.
Round 18 :  (increase round) kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb.
Round 19 : knit.
Round 20 : purl.
Round 21 :  (increase round) pfb, p to 1 st before marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb.
Round 22 : knit.
Round 23 (seed stitch begins): (k1, p1) to 1 sts before next marker, k1, move marker, (k1, p1) to 1 sts before next marker, k1, move marker, (k1, p1) to 1 sts before next marker, k1, move marker, (k1, p1) to 1 sts before next marker, k1.
Round 24 : (increase round)  kfb, work in seed stitch (purling the previous row’s knit stitches and knitting the purl stitches) to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed st to 1 st before end, kfb.
Round 25 : Work in seed stitch.
Round 26 : Work in seed stitch.
Round 27 : (increase round) kfb, work in seed stitch (purling the previous row’s knit stitches and knitting the purl stitches) to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed st to 1 st before end, kfb.
Round 28 : Work in seed stitch.
Round 29 : Work in seed stitch.
Round 30 : (increase round)  kfb, work in seed stitch (purling the previous row’s knit stitches and knitting the purl stitches) to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed st to 1 st before end, kfb.
Round 31 : Work in seed stitch.
Round 32 : Work in seed stitch.
Round 33 :  (increase round)  kfb, work in seed stitch (purling the previous row’s knit stitches and knitting the purl stitches) to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed stitch to 1 st before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, work in seed st to 1 st before end, kfb.
Round 34 :  Work in seed stitch.

**Stitch count between markers at this point should be : 65, (67, 71, 73, 75, 77) each front and back / 47, (49, 53, 55, 57, 59)  each sleeve.  224, (232, 248, 256, 264, 272) sts on the needles in total. There have been 88 (88, 96, 96, 96, 96) st increased since cast-on.

Round 35: knit.
Rounds 36: (increase round) pfb, p to 1 st before marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb, move marker, pfb, p to 1 stitch before next marker, pfb.
Round 37: purl.
Round 38: knit.
Round 39: (increase round) kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb. Stitch count between markers at this point :  69, (71, 75, 77, 79, 81) each front and back / 51, (53, 57, 59, 61, 63) each sleeve.  = 240, (248, 264, 272, 280, 288) sts total.   

Round 40: purl.
Round 41: purl.
Round 42: (increase round) kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb. Stitch count between markers:  71, (73, 77, 79, 81, 83) each front and back / 53, (55, 59, 61, 63, 65) each sleeve.  = 248, (256, 272, 280, 288, 296) sts total.
Rounds 43-54 : work Parallelogram Chart. No increases.
Round 55 :  (increase round) kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb. Stitch count between markers : 73, (75, 79, 81, 83, 85) each front and back / 55, (57, 61, 63, 65, 67) each sleeve. = 256, (264, 280, 288, 296, 304) sts total.
Round 56: purl.

Time to try on the tee! Get hold of another long set of circular needles (size US6 or smaller) and place half of the stitches on it so that your sweater now rests on 2 separate circular cords, allowing you to stretch your sweater enough to pull in on over your head. Does your knitting reach your armpits yet? If so, jump to Round 57 and ignore the following (if you’re making size 34 or 35.5, it should reach your underarms). If you’re knitting the other sizes, chances are that your sweater doesn't reach your underarms just yet, so you’ll need to lengthen your knitting before moving to round 57. In order to preserve the gansey-style, I've added an extra 16-round motif section in Andalusian stitch that will add 2 inches of length to your knitting.

To be clear: if you are knitting size 34 or 35.5 and your knitting has reached your underarm, skip the next blue section! Go straight to Round 57. But if you are knitting sizes 37 and up, follow the next extra 16 rounds:

Extra round 1: purl.
Extra round 2: sizes 37 and 39: knit (do not increase). Sizes 41 and 42.5: (increase round) kfb, k to 1 st before marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb, move marker, kfb, k to 1 stitch before next marker, kfb. Stitch count between markers : --, (--, 79, 81, 85, 87) each front and back / -- (--, 61, 63, 67, 69) each sleeve. = --, (--, 280, 288, 304, 312) sts total.
Extra round 3: knit.
Extra round 4: purl.
Extra round 5: (k1, p1) to the end of round.
Extra round 6: purl.
Extra round 7: knit.
Extra round 8: purl.
Extra round 9: (k1, p1) to the end of round.
Extra round 10: purl.
Extra round 11: knit.
Extra round 12: purl.
Extra round 13: (k1, p1) to the end of round.
Extra round 14: purl.
Extra Round 15: knit.
Extra Round 16: purl.

Round 57 : purl to first marker before the sleeve stitches, slide the sleeve stitches to scrap yarn or stitch holder, using backward loop method, cast on 3 (5, 5, 7, 7, 9) stitches onto the right needle, purl to the next marker before the next sleeve sts, slide the second sleeves’ sts onto scrap yarn or stitch holder, cast on 3 (5, 5, 7, 7, 9) stitches onto the right needle, purl to end. Make sure to keep the stitch marker that indicates the start of round for the body!
We’ll come back to work the sleeves later. Body stitches (including new cast-on stitches) is: 152 (160, 168, 176, 184, 192) stitches.
Rounds 59-60: knit.
Rounds 61-62: purl.
Rounds 63-73: work Arrow Chart.
Round 74: knit.
Rounds 75-76 : purl.
Rounds 77-78: knit.
Rounds 79-80: purl.

Work in stockinette stitch until desired length has been reached. I knit 14 inches down from the armhole before beginning short row shaping for the curved hem.

Short rows (skip this section if you do not want a curved hem at the back):

Take 2 stitch markers. Lay the top flat and mark the two side stitches. I lightly steamed the top so that it lay perfectly flat before adding the stitch markers – it’s important to select the right stitches so that the curved hem is centered!



Knit across the back to within 3 sts of side marker, wrap the next stitch (with yarn in back, slip next stitch from left hand to right hand needle, bring yarn to front of work, slip back to left hand needle). Turn work around and purl back to other end to within 3 sts of the other side marker. Wrap next st, turn, knit back to other end to within 4 sts of the other marker. Wrap and turn, purl to within 4 sts of other marker.  Wrap and turn, knit to within 5 sts of other marker, wrap and turn, purl to within 5 sts of other marker, wrap and turn. Repeat until you have wrapped and turned to 13 (15, 17, 19, 21, 23) sts from markers. Then knit one full round, picking up wrapped stitches as you go.

Bottom ribbing:
Change to US5 circular needles and work in twisted rib for approximately one inch. Cast off loosely.

Finishing the sleeves:
Evenly distribute the sleeve stitches onto the US5 DPNs and up the stitches along the gap under the sleeve. Work in the round in twisted rib for approximately 1 inch. Cast off loosely.




I’m not a professional designer and am sharing my instructions out of love of ganseys, the coming summer, and the knitting community. If you notice errors or have suggestions, I’d love the chance to improve the pattern.

And as always, if you you knit the sweater and would like to give back, please consider making a small donation to your local food bank or women’s shelter. Thank you!




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Counting Stitches




I’m terrible at keeping track of my row counts while knitting, especially if I’m watching tv. Although I own an electronic and many clicky-type counters, I still forget to pick up the counter and press the button. I’ve seen a number of these chain-type counters around and love the simplicity. You place the ring of the counter on the needles like you would a stitch marker and when you come up to the counter, you switch to the next ring on the chain… working your way one row/round at a time towards a charm at the end, which signals that you’ve completed as many rows as rings your chain is made of.

Je suis quasi-incapable de faire le compte de mes rangs, surtout lorsque je regarde la télé. Même si je possède déjà plusieurs compteurs mécaniques et automatiques, j’oublie de les ramasser à la fin de chaque rang pour faire avancer le chiffre. Il y a quelques temps que j’admire ces jolis compteurs simples composés d’anneaux de métal formant une chaîne. On place le premier anneau sur l’aiguille comme on ferait avec un anneau marqueur. Lorsque qu’en tricotant on arrive à l’anneau, on fait un changement d’anneau pour faire avancer  la chaine. Lorsqu’on arrive finalement à la breloque (ici une petite perle et une bille en labradorite) on sait avoir complété un certain nombre de rangs. 



I have lots of findings left over from my beading days including a few yards of this large-loop metal chain, so I didn’t even have to assemble jump rings. It’s hard to decide what I think of the counter because the rings are kind of large for my current project - they're pictured here on a size US13 needle. I'll have to make a smaller chain for the US4-US6 needle sizes I use most. But I’m glad to find a new purpose for old beads and findings. Now if only it can improve my counting!

Il me reste beaucoup de matériel de joaillerie (je m’y intéressais il y a plusieurs années) alors j’ai coupé un morceau d’une vieille chaîne de métal plutôt que de former des anneaux. Le compteur n’est pas très pratique pour le moment puisque les anneaux sont pas mal gros. Dans ces photos ils sont sur une aiguille de 9mm et mon projet actuel repose sur des aiguilles de 4mm. Je compte fabriquer un compteur avec de plus petits anneaux et reste à voir si mon comptage s’améliorera!