Tuesday, October 27, 2020

hidden pocket...

We had our first snowfall and it looks like it may be a stay-on-the-ground event.

Way too early and I’m still hoping it will melt but who knows? This is 2020! Anyway, I did wear my Aran poncho the other day while I ran a few errands and it was kind of fun. Had a couple of ladies shout out, where’d you get that? And got thumbs ups! I did see others wearing the blanket-style plaid ones but nothing like mine. Decided it needed a pocket (I hate carrying a purse) and maybe a cardigan/hoodie to wear under to extend the wear-ability. Back at home, I made a pocket, so simple, just a 5X5 inch stockinette patch and hand-stitched it to the inside front point, attaching it between some convenient tuck ribs, above the purl ridge of the hem, leaving the top open. Does the trick, holds a couple of bucks, credit card, mask, keys…

Now, a jacket/hoodie to go under/with! I need a standard gauge project to offset the mid gauge transfers!

Friday, October 23, 2020

going whole hog...

 Working on the second size from my KnS pattern, making a few adjustments to my schematic, mainly making it longer to reflect the tunic length I now wanted (changed side seam length to 50 cm/20 in), adding another inch to ‘1/4 hem width’ because of the change in length and adding a curved/shortrowed 1.25 inches to the centre.

Made the hem for the Back – my new schematic indicates 64-0-64 ns for the width, but my hem stitch pattern is a 12-st repeat, so I’m going with 66-0-67 ns, the closest 12-st repeat and of course redrafting the side seam decreases.

While working on the hem, I was pondering life. I had meant to knit this thing as the original, in stockinette, with the Aran-look yoke but I thought, what the hay? I’m here, working at wasting time and getting through the day, trying to feel like I’m accomplishing something…let’s stretch this out!’

After the hem, I figured I may as well start with that nice diamond thing up the centre back. By the time I got the first repeat done, at RC024, I was itching to expand. I added the 2X2X2 braided cable on either side – oh yeah, turning all those between sts to purl stitches was too much for me and I liked the separating tuck ribs that I used on the poncho better so left 3 plain sts between each new vertical cable with a tuck rib on either side.  After another 24 rows, began the 3X2 cable turned every 6 rows; then at RC072, started a 2X2 turned every 4 rows; at RC096, a 2X1, turned every 4 rows.

Some tips for Aran knitting:

1. Choose yarn and stitch size so the knitting is not too tight – you’ll be fighting with small stitches the whole time and not enjoy the experience. The yarn I used (DK Wool) for this tunic, I would knit at T5 stockinette but for this worked T6 to make sure there was enough give to manoeuvre the cables.

2. Make a cheat sheet noting the row numbers for each operation.

3. The stitches put down first are the ones that show on the public side of the fabric – talk to yourself as you’re transferring to remember what to do.

4. Be sure to read the Cables section in ‘The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters’ for lots more!

5. Making the Back first allows you to sort things out before working the Front – they do not have to be the same but the front neckline is the most important part of any garment and here you want to make sure you have the best pattern row to stop on. That diamond will look best if completed or stop at the halfway.

6. Mark the needle butts to help keep track of things – I mark the tuck ribs and then you see what fits between them.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with the centre of that diamond!

P.S. sorry for the confusion about inches and centimetres. I always work in cm and give the inch conversion for the U.S. as a courtesy, but sadly KnitStyle wanted only inches so that pattern has only inches in the schematic – I was working on them to change!

P.P.S. I did make a swatch in stockinette only and used that reading for my calculations.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

cables, cables, cables...

Carrying on with the cable/Aran theme from that poncho, I thought, why not do a pullover/tunic? Actually the last thing I submitted to KnitStyle, back in 2014, was a cabled project that was never published but I do have a finished pdf of the pattern if anyone wants…email me at knitwords@shaw.ca and put ‘cabled LK150’ in the subject line. https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2014/09/progress-report.html My description of it: Slight A-line shape, round crew neck pullover, set-in sleeve with accents of a variety of cabling techniques to create an Aran-style look on deep wide cuffs and forming a yoke-look at top of body. Garter stitch rows for bottom hems.

I thought I could make something like that – when doing for them, I had to submit the garment in a finished-34, so although I did get the garment back, no way was it fitting ‘moi’, even if the colour was anything other than one of my least favourites! I have almost two full cones of DK Wool in ivory that should be enough to make that into a tunic. I’ll start with that new hem from the Aran poncho and see what happens!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

handy work...

Back to this LK Aran piece that I rediscovered, I was originally going to make a long strip, with diminishing patterning – hence the plain section on one side - and seam it for a simple poncho but as I got into it, the hand transfers were so much fun and so engaging, I changed to making the two-piece poncho. Using an old trick https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-moment-of-truth.html (cutting the desired shape from knit fabric to figure out what size needed), I took the first piece off the machine at 200 rows – it measured 20 inches wide by 28 inches long – and I folded up a piece of knit fabric to that size and pinned the two together to see how it fit. That was the point when I cleaned up and put it away. Getting it out again, I thought I should add about another 8 inches to the length so the new size of each piece would be 20 X 36 inches. After making the hem of the second piece, I decided I should flip the patterning and have the cables beginning from the opposite side – maybe not the best choice but I’ll live with it (if doing again I wouldn’t do that – no real reason, just because…) I had made a cheat sheet with the layout of the cables and what rows they were turned so sort of reversed that on the needle bed and changed it up slightly – a few experiments and a few mistakes here and there but who’s counting? Just having fun, me and Clint Black, killing time! The cabling actually goes pretty quick – it’s those tuck ribs that take

up the time – I found that knitting 30 rows, doing the cables as I went then stopping and doing all the tuck ribs after 30 rows and then taking a break, was the best way to get it done. Got the two sections joined – I
found a diagram in an old Knitwords magazine (#30, Autumn 2004) to help with that. The neck opening is a little large for Autumn in the north, so I made another hem piece to add to it to close it up a bit. This was so much fun, doing all the cabling and not having to follow too many rules to make things matchy-match, I’ll be thinking up another LK hand job!

Friday, October 2, 2020


I was tidying up and sort of looking over things in my workroom and surprise, surprise, I came across this abandoned project! Wow! Does not happen often! It was from two years ago and I think what happened, I was cleaning up for company coming, just put this into a covered bin, and you know, out of sight out of mind.

My inspiration, back at the time, was from my Ireland hiking trip and the beautiful Aran knits found in some shops there. Unfortunately, the majority of them are industrial machine-made versions of the hand knits of yester year, but inspiring nonetheless. I had taken some photos to remind myself and one that stuck most in my mind was this poncho. I liked the simplicity, two rectangles joined in a way to make a triangular cover-up and the neckline could be filled in with another straight strip if needed. I was on it!

I had made this first piece, based on some of the Aran stitch patterns in my ‘Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters’ (available on amazon.com), spreading various cables over 48-0-49 sets on the LK150. Looking at it now, I realize I had a brand-new hem technique to share as well as the rest of the stuff!

#152 Aran Poncho Hem. Chain cast-on, hand transferred scallop made by multiple transfers, eyelets eliminated and 2X1 mini cable with tuck rib. 12 stitch repeat, side away is right side.

1. Cast-on waste yarn, ravel cord. Mark every 12th needle, starting with #1 right. RC000. CAR. Measure out MC 4X width of ns in work, plus 8-10 inches. Double it over on itself to have 2 strands together. This will make a long-enough double strand for the chain cast-on. Bring ns to D/E. 

2.    With next size-up latch tool, chain loosely from left to right.  Anchor last loop on end needle. Close latches. Single strand, MT+1, knit 2 rows.

3.   Using 5-prong tool, transfer as in chart for row 3, starting with #1 right as the centre with 3 stitches together. Fill in empty needles with heel stitch from adjacent stitch. Knit 2 rows.  RC004.

4.    Using 4-prong tool, transfer as in chart for row 5. Fill in empty needles with heel stitch from adjacent stitch. Knit 2 rows.  RC006.

5.     Continue as in chart, make mini cables after row 7 and row 11. Continue as in chart to RC012.

6.     Leave the tuck rib business until this row – because the stitch drops down and is reformed on every other row, it can be done in one operation, instead of every other row!

7.     Remove. Turn. Rehang. K2R. RTR. (This makes a two-row purl border.) RC014. Wrong side facing again, ready for next step!


P.S. thanks for all your encouragement! I still have lots to say and share. Cross your fingers! I’m going to give Blogger another shot… 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

old yarn...

The weather has  definitely turned – no sleeveless and something warm required! Really like the shape of that tunic so my next attempt is same but different. A bit longer, with long sleeves. In checking over my wardrobe, I realize I have nothing very casual and zero in the way of a pullover/old sweatshirt sort of thing so, here goes! Pulled out 2 cones of Forsell Suva Nights in midnight, black and dark navy, really old stuff, wool with a cotton slub, knits as 4 ply. Used this yarn lots in the past but it was discontinued long ago so this could have been on my shelves 15 years or more. I want to knit the 1RT (one-row-tuck) loosely again to create a thinner fabric and I go back to one of my favourite Knitwords patterns, ‘Caped Wrapper’ from #43 https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2013/01/hybrid-knitting.html Swatched, making sure to use waste yarn before the ribbed cast-on because this yarn is already on the soft/not too strong side, without factoring in the age thing. Got the swatch made, with T9 and the second set at T10. After getting it off the machine, I could see there were a couple of breaks in the rib but because it was Full Needle Rib, it picked up and knit without me noticing, not something you’d want to happen in a garment but the single bed stuff knit perfectly. I determined that the loose tension on the rib was the source of the problems and after washing and drying the swatch, jumped into full garment mode in spite of the few little breaks. Using a tighter tension for the rib worked fine and I had the Back done in no time. In case the yarn breaks across the row, here are a few tips: https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2019/05/even-i-had-my-doubts.html Another thing I do is the position of the machine: https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-sound-of-silence.html Long story short, on the Front, the yarn broke once, but the ‘thwack’ alerted me in time and no problem. Feeling confident, and knitting slowly, the first sleeve just about did me in - I stopped counting after 9 breaks, but persevered because it was always happening at the end of the row and nothing was lost, didn’t have to rip out or rehang anything. By this time I was contemplating sleeveless but determination kept me going and what do you know, the second sleeve came off like a dream, no breaks! Got it finished up, washed and dried and love it! It will be my Thanksgiving dinner outfit!

PS  Blogger has changed things and I'm not figuring it out...this could be the end...

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

easy bind edge question...

I got an email the other day and thought it would maybe help others out.
Greetings Mary Anne,
I’m not sure how I’ve lived my machine knitting life without knowledge of your blog, but I just found a small book in my inherited collection called
50 Ways to Love Your Knitter and between that and your blog I feel like I’ve gone to MK Nirvana.  
Anyway, I didn’t immediately see the way to search your blog for this edging, is there a YouTube video maybe?  I am a hand knitter and have been converting patterns for years, so the step 3 is throwing me. Pick up from edge (1/2 outside edge stitch) and put onto every other needle.  It’s the 1/2 I don’t get.
These edgings are fab, I’ve been looking for ways to make my garments more interesting.  I’m trying to make my Gran a tuck st poncho but I wanted a nice edging and this #26 should look lovely.  
Thank you in advance for any clarification you can offer, I’m so excited to delve into your blog.-KVT

Dear K, I don't do YouTube but hopefully I can help. On the selvedge, only pick up the loop/bar/half-knot (whatever you call it), the single piece of yarn, not both sides of the actual stitch. I’ll do a blogpost for you!

from 50 Ways to Love Your Knitter:
26.  Easy bind edge: Use on vertical edges, great for uneven fabrics such as tuck & slip; looks good on both sides.
1.  With wrong side of fabric facing, pick up edge, without stretching.
2.  MT, knit 3 rows.
3.  Pick up from edge (1/2 outside edge stitch) and put onto every other needle.
4.  Carefully push needles out, putting knitting behind latches.
5.  Close latches.
6.  Knit 1 row loosest tension, latch tool cast off.
Steam and pat flat.

So, I found a swatch from ‘Neck’s Best Thing’ by MAO (#26 1X1 Rib with Swung English Rib) and tried out this  Easy Bind Edge, using  pink for the purl side application and blue for the knit side – thought it would show up in the photos with more detail than if it was same colour.
Hang side evenly without stretching

What it should have said:
Easy bind edge: Use on vertical side/selvedge, great for uneven fabrics such as tuck and slip but works for stockinette and others too! Looks good on both sides and finishes sides neatly.
1.  Place carriage at left ( so final row  for the chain cast-off will be knit from right to left which is the easier way for most). Hold piece up to needle bed without stretching to determine number of needles required. With inside of fabric facing you, pick up edge, whole outside stitch.
pick up top side of selvedge onto EON
2.  Bring ns out and close latches (this prevents the carriage jamming up when you try to knit across without closing the latches because the open latch could catch in the selvedge). Carriage at left, Main Tension, knit 3 rows.
3.  Pick up from same edge, but only half of the outside edge stitch, and put onto every other needle. Doesn’t matter if it’s the top bar or the bottom, but be consistent. This is a single-prong tool job. There will be 2 loops on EON and only one stitch on the other.
using carriage to knit loosest tension on right;
switch to manually knitting loose row at left
4.  Carefully push needles out, putting knitting behind latches.
5.  Close latches.
6.  Knit 1 row loosest tension (or manually knit row very loosely if you can’t dial up at least 4 full numbers higher), latch tool/chain cast off.
Steam and pat flat.
To Add to open stitches:
Reduce by 10%, e.g. if original number is 70 sts, multiply by .9 = 63. Bring 63 ns to work. Rehang cast-on sts from waste yarn, gathering evenly to reduce. I picked up 2-3 sts from the trim on the selvedge.  Knit side or purl side as above. Knit the 3 rows. Pick up sinker loop of original row OR sinker loop of first row of trim, either, again be consistent and do #6 to finish.

pick up knit side facing, stockinette and
 chain stitch shoa on knit side
pick up with knit side facing,
purl/tuck-look shows on stockinette side
Oh my, I feel like I just taught a workshop! Wish I could pass this swatch around the room!