Wednesday, March 21, 2018

swatch hack...

 Grabbed several cones and made a quick swatch!
Cast on 25-0-25 sts on the main bed. Put #21 needle on each side out of work – this will mark the centre 40 sts all the way up without having to hang yarn marks. Did a quick, hung hem. I am using T7, based on my vast (;-)) general knowledge – I know the gauge will be 29-30 stitches and 39-40 rows to 10 cm - and I want the narrow stripes to be about one inch, so, picking the colours randomly, knit 10 rows of each. This eliminates the need to make marking rows to keep track of the 60 rows to measure for the row gauge – just count off 6 stripes. All the yarns are Forsell Pure New 4 ply Wool, except the tweedy one which is my favourite here – it is an oldie, NLA of course, called Rutland Tweed (also by Forsell) and it will knit at the same gauge as the plain wools. I chose it because it has the little flecks of khaki, grey and black that I think will tie all these colours together.
My vision has khaki for the bottom edges and I see it as a circular hem, meaning that it looks like plain stockinette but it’s done on the double bed. Much quicker, no waste yarn, no rehanging stitches, just transfer up to the main bed at the end. I do have another reason for opting for the double bed technique – the front bands are going to be the automatic long stitch facings that I love and since you need the ribber for that, may as well get it going from the beginning.
I find that knitting up stripes like this gives a better perspective of how the colours blend and mix together and if there is a colour you don’t like, it’s easy to fold that stripe out of the swatch and put other colours side by side without having to reknit it all.
I got so excited, couldn’t resist jumping right in. You know it, I made the Sleeves while I mull over what I want on the Back. I looked up an old bell-sleeve pattern (KW# 35, Made to Fade) that I knew would serve (not too big or exaggerated) and put that sleeve schematic in my KR11.
The circular hem is beautiful and so easy! I wanted one stripe of the tweed on the narrowest part of the sleeve and here’s the thing – I always like the purl side of this tweed better – the little blobby spots show up more, and I thought, why not? Never one to shy away from an RTR or two, I took it off, turned it, knit the tweed, turned it back and finished off with the olive. It's adds another dimension and I like the added detail of the little dotted line from the first RTR. This may come back to bite me as the fronts will have the long stitch facing but I’ll deal with that tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I paged through the episode, hunting for shots of Wendy’s sweater coat. I’m not sure what attracted me - the stripes (rather random, not matching), the colours (olive, grey, khaki, black, I thought), the shape (belted in back, long-ish, bell-sleeved, open front and is that a sailor collar?), the fact I was sure there was a ribbed, long stitch facing on the fronts or, the pockets (block, patches)? I may never know but I spent the weekend thinking of it and then today,  punched ‘laura linney ozark sweater coat’ in Google and got a ton of stuff. Wading through all the images – there were pages and pages of stuff - I finally found this!
OMG! It was from Anthropologie, sold out, of course, called ‘Angel of the North’ and it actually said that Laura Linney/Wendy Byrde wore it on ‘Ozark’. It said it was wool knit, green, yellow, navy (???), 32.5 inches long with a removeable belt and had been $169 – I liked it better on the show, but it gave me more of a starting point. Believe it or not, I have a fair stock of wool in the brown, slate, khaki, gold -ish tones, some full cones, some leftovers...

Friday, March 16, 2018

silver lining...

So glad I made that mis took the time to knit that prototype of the collar! It was way too big! I had the cardigan all put together, shoulders and side seams joined and sleeves on – so I put that on and then held the collar around my neck and I could better judge the actual size needed. Took 10 stitches off each side, reknit the whole thing, (placing the N1 correctly ;-)) and it’s perfect! Added bonus, I could use the longer edging from the outside of the first collar to judge how many stitches needed for the front bands.
OMG! You’re not going to believe this, but I re-purposed that band. I kept holding it up to the front and measuring and it seemed like the exact length that I would need for the button band. I pulled off the lace part until there were 2 rows of stockinette left above the ribbed edge that I had before beginning the lace patterning. I rehung into the row below which worked perfectly because everything was well steamed, and stitches set, leaving one full row of stockinette across the entire piece. I removed the last row, did an RTR and knit a row so I had that nice garter stitch ridge, took it off on the garter bar, hung the left front, turned the band and rehung it and presto! my button band! I did do a swatch of the buttonhole and I went with the 15mm (smaller), 2-stitch hole rather than the 20 mm, 3-stitch hole. I thought it suited the size/width of the band better than the larger one.
 BTW, you know how I like to name my projects, this one is called ‘Pocket Change’.
P.S. I'm watching 'Ozark' on Netflix - I'm really liking it and I'm becoming obsessed with a long cardigan that the Laura Linney character is wearing in the 7th episode - watch this space!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

just between you and me...

I saw one of those makeover spots they do on daytime television and they were featuring a long cardigan and the stylist said that short girls should wear these too, don’t be afraid and the longer the better! Just to know I’m on trend feels good!
I’m doing the collar now and I’ve used this technique many times – basically knitting a rectangle, starting off with the edging, in this case, the ribber trim. I don’t want it too heavy looking, paired with the lace, so I’ve deleted a couple more rows from the pocket top and the trick to have the same edging for the ends of the collar, you cast on more than needed for the width of the collar, enough extra on each end to pull around 90 degrees and handstitch to finish off the ends. Sounds more complicated than it really is, but it works! 92-0-93 needles is what I cast on, knit the ribber trim, take off 22 sts at each end on waste yarn (for the end trim), switch to lace and knit the depth of the collar (8 cm). I tried something extra here – I added a little bit more for the back neck area, so the collar would fold over and lay better, hopefully. I got to about row 10 of the lace and it dawned on me I forgot to put in the N1 cam to centre the stitch pattern. Take a couple of days off and it all goes to hell in a handbasket!
I knit a few more rows just to be certain that it wouldn’t look right – the ends of the collar come together, right under your face – who’s not gonna notice that? I debated whether to rip out the lace and start again but decided it wasn’t worth it - I could say this is a prototype to make sure it wasn’t too large/too small. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!  

Friday, March 9, 2018

i had a lump in my throat...

I found another one of those ‘editorials’ – this one was in KNITWORDS #32 – I am preparing for a few new classes for some upcoming seminars and one of my topics is ‘up-dating old classics’ – there were some great designs back in the early issues and I am exploring how best to tell knitters to go about re-sizing, particularly  sleeves, for a closer-fitting garment. Back in 1997 we were wearing over-sized things with 4-inch ease. A few years later, styles were changing, and store-bought stuff was becoming much more fitted. I was looking through the old magazines to find what I called the `first shoulder pad-free issue` and it was No. 32, Spring 2005. Previous to this, I went to the photoshoots armed with at least 4 pairs of shoulder pads in varying sizes and I remember Bill, our photographer, noticing halfway through the shoot that I was no longer shoving in the pads and adjusting everything accordingly! It was a banner day!
My editorial, as it appeared:

Of all the tasks of my job as editor of Knitwords, this one is usually the hardest and I always save it for last. The time when I sit down and talk to you, one on one. I think of you as friends, some of whom I’ve never met. Many of you I’ve spoken to, when you call to renew your ‘prescription’ or ask a question. I always get such a kick out of hearing, Is this really Mary Anne? What are you doing answering the phone? Like, I’m only supposed to knit or write or edit. I can cook too, you know! In fact, one of these days, I’m going to put in a recipe or two and see if anyone notices.
I like getting photos of your family, dressed in ‘our knits’ with little notes indicating who’s who. ‘Here’s my granddaughter in the pink poncho. The guy is my husband.’ I get postcards from your holiday travels and I know you took KNITWORDS because you had the correct address! Your renewal forms have nice little notes jotted around the edges and on the back. I put these treasures on my fridge door, just like moms do with the kids’ drawings and school work. My family and friends have fun checking out the new stuff posted on the fridge ‘bulletin board’ along with my hopeful lottery tickets.
The delivery of this, our 32nd issue, will complete eight years of KNITWORDS. Back in our first issue, I listed my reasons to knit:
-To learn more about the operation of my machine.
-To make garments that complement my lifestyle.
-To develop techniques that produce a good-looking finished product.
-To combine an interesting technique with a new shape.
-To change the old rules.
-To design garments to inspire other machine knitters to explore their machines
- And most of all, to enjoy myself.
Well, eight years later, I look at that list and I could have written it yesterday. And I’m still having fun!
Thanks to all of you for your continued support and for being my inspiration.

OMG! This is 2018 and I think it all pretty well still applies!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

it went to my head...

 The success of that pocket! So, this morning, I powered through the left front, anxious to confirm my technique and get the same result from my pocket notes. Marked the pocket opening, remembered all my 10 cm yarn marks, got the front off the machine and just as I was going to start steaming it, realized that I only knit to the underarm when I took it off the machine! Now I have to go back, rehang it, find the correct row of lace patterning…never pays to get too cocky! How to figure it out? Well, I know I was at RC240 when I ended and I started with row 1. The stitch pattern is 38 rows by 24 sts, so keep adding 38 rows until you get close to below 240 and at 228, I can see there are 12 rows to RC240. That should mean I am going to knit row 13 of the pattern. Give that a try and hope to heck I had my point cams and N1 cam where I thought I did (fingers crossed!)! OMG, I just got really, really lucky! It pays to keep good notes!

Monday, March 5, 2018

a pocket in lace? ...

Here I am, with the radio on, listening to a little Chris Stapleton singing about broken halos (why am I identifying with that?), and I’m at the point where I am either committing to this pocket thing or not. The method I use would be to put a manual row of ravel cord for the pocket opening only, so like 30 stitches in the middle of the row, but you need to be sure you have a clean row of stockinette below that and then again above that to be able to pick up the stitches and add the actual pocket patch and the band to finish it off  later. With regular patterning, like tuck, fairisle, slip or whatever, that just means to bring out those needles only that you want the stockinette on, knit the row and the machine will continue the patterning on either side - bringing the needles out cancels the patterning and produces stockinette only. But this is lace and you cannot bring the needles out as they would then automatically transfer on the next row and you’re screwed!
hand knit ravel cord
hold sts for later
You’ve never heard me say this and probably never will again, but it would be easier on a brother machine! Hah! I said it! Yes, on a brother machine, the lace carriage transfers only and in the space where you want the pocket opening marked with stockinette you would simply un-select those needles, pushing them back to B position and then you would get the desired stockinette. But, I’m using my beloved Silver Reed lace carriage which transfers and knits all in one pass so that does not apply. Now, I could get out the instruction manual and find extra point cams and set this up as a single motif thing but by the time I do that (and it would likely mean re-reading the row, yada, yada, yada), I’ve decided the easiest thing to do is simply lace knit the row and then un-transfer the few stitches in that 30 row space. I did that and then hand knit the ravel cord from #23-52, knit a lace row, unknit and un-transfer only the few lace stitches, reforming them to stockinette and then just continued. The actual pocket is added later.
first pick up, row below top of ravel cord
second pick up
both attached, inside garment
Before getting to this point, I made the patches (ewrap bottom edge, knit 52 rows and take off on waste, reserving a tail of main yarn to cast off with later) and the pocket tops/bands, each/both 32 needles wide so there would be an extra stitch on each side of both the patch and the band, compared to the opening. For the bands, I made the hem to just after the first set of racks is done and then transferred it all up to the main bed, knit a row of stockinette, and then an RTR (remove, turn, rehang) and another row (this will make a nice garter stitch row that shows on the outside, making a nice dividing line between the band and the lace fabric),then took it off again on the small piece of the garter bar, reserving a tail of yarn about 4 times the width that should be enough to do the attach and cast-off without adding a couple more ends to darn in. What you want to happen is to add the open stitches of the band to the row of stockinette below the ravel cord and cast it off, add the open stitches of the patch to the row above the ravel cord and cast those off. Then, if done correctly, you pull out the ravel cord to open the pocket! Ta-da! The band folds up to the front on the bottom of the opening and the patch is hanging behind with the top nicely covering everything – all you need to do now is catch-stitch the outside edges of the patch onto the back of the fabric as neatly as possible…OMG! I feel like a rocket scientist! ;-o   P.S. if you want the handout with the method for your techniques folder, email me!

all done, inside
outside, finished