Tuesday, June 2, 2020

batting a thousand...

Finally got a chance to give out some of these tank tops and see how I did! 
Sarah got hers and said:
 ‘Thank you very much for the beautiful knitted tank top! 
It fits like a glove and reminds me of when my Oma used to knit sweaters for us (although yours is much more delicate looking!) I look forward to showing it off, when we can leave the house again!!! Thank you so much for the time and care you put into it – it’s beautiful.’

Agnieszka and Rhiana put theirs on immediately and were totally happy with all the colours and the fit. They both mentioned the cutaway back armhole favourably! Nate said the colours reminded him of that salad with the cranberries!

They all look great and I’m ecstatic!!

P.S. Blogger is changing things. Ar-r-r-g-g-h! You know how I hate change...sorry for the delay while I learn something new!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

still cheating...

 Yeah, I’ve been switching it up. Expanding my horizons. When was the last time I did a chained cast-on? Who knows? Who cares? Working from the green book, I’ve chosen No 15, Hand Transferred Lace Edge with chained cast-on. You know I don’t read all my own instructions, who has time for that when they think they know what they are doing? I measure out three times the width of the needles and start chaining loosely – that’s 145 needles. Get halfway across and realize I’m going to run out of yarn. Calmly unravel it. Measure out four times, chain again and run out on the 10th needle from the right side. Heavy sigh. What the hay, I’ll see if I can fudge this. Draw down a new loop, finish the chain, loop the too-short tail over the next needle and knit the row. Looks like it could work. By the way, using Yeoman’s CannelĂ©, a beautiful mercerised cabled cotton – no splitting stitches here – in a pretty spring yellow, colour name is ‘poussin’ – how’s that for funny!
I‘ve been meaning to tell you about my latest Netflix binge – it’s called Wanted, a series from Australia - Spoiler alert! I was thinking it was a Thelma/Louise thing, but there are three seasons and they might do another. I’m loving it – the second season takes place around Queenstown, New Zealand – I spent almost a week there in 2017 http://travelwithmysis.blogspot.com/2017/03/queenstown.html
at the end of our hike and it is so spectacular. Watching the show, I kept saying, oh, I was there! During the Australia parts, I kept saying, I never got there! Anyway, Chelsea, one of the lead characters, her secret name is Brigitte Poussin! With a French accent! Is that synchronicity? or whatever you call it. Sorry, I digress.
Back to the knitting, this cone of CannelĂ© is really old, it’s from back when the put-up was 250g on the large cone. They changed it to a 245g cone and put it on a short, squat cone sometime in the last decade, I think. It’s virtually mandatory to have 3 full cones of one dye lot for a garment with sleeves. I only have one full cone of this colour, probably why I still have it - it actually still had the blister wrap packaging on it, and I wouldn’t really be attempting a top for me – the anxiety of running out would do me in! This one is for Lisi, another cute, petite, wee thing so am doing finished 34 bust, fingers crossed. After the hem is done, I think, hum mm, not really sure I can hide that but if it’s in the back maybe she’ll never notice…and if I make the back first, I can check that I will have enough yarn to finish before putting all the work into the front and wasting it because I didn’t have enough to finish…

Monday, May 25, 2020

wine or whine (?) time...

I feel like I hardly got any sleep the other night, dreaming about my next tank top. In the dream I was starting and changing my mind, restarting, rethinking, redesigning and oh my gosh, I felt like it was the most important job in the world and there could be no errors. This is not like me but something must have been bothering me when I went to bed. Still haven’t figured it out but I did my next shell. Sister Janet, even if she’s not exactly in the youngster category, was next on my list. Checking in on her in Toronto the other day by phone, I casually asked what colour she might like in case I got around to it. She shocked the heck out of me, asking for bright yellow or gold. She’s more of the jewel tones but I have gold Panama that should  work up nicely.
My plan was to change up the hems a bit – after all I do have a few in my back pocket to choose from! :) Going with the Scalloped Lace with auto picot hem on page 99, the Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2016/09/omg-its-ready.html
and the Leaf pattern from page 57, same book.
Got the hem done although this yarn is not the best-case scenario for hand transfers. Panama is a blend of cotton and acrylic and it has a tendency to split and snag on the hooks as you’re lifting multiple groups up. For this one, I’m using the adjustable 7-prong tool, moving five stitches at a time and then four on the next one. Turns out not exactly a lot of fun or relaxing! I’ll admit, some bad words were repeated multiple times.
I’m not sure I’ve told you this before, but I have a short memory for bad things. Always considered this a plus. By the time I knit 100 rows of stockinette, I’d forgotten the grief and continued into the ‘leaf’ pattern in an increasing diamond motif. Felt so confident in planning it out. The book says it’s a 16-row repeat but I added the offset next ones at 14 rows so I counted back from the neckline (RC176), six times to start it on row 106 so it would be wide enough for the width of the neckline. The leaf uses outlined transfers, not the simplest thing to do, even when all things are aligned with the knitting gods!
I also forgot that because of the acrylic I wouldn’t be able to press this out with my usual abandon. Careful steaming only! Thankfully, there's good stitch definition!
This could be called the Four-Letter Word Tank!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

saving grace...

I’ll be honest here. I was hoping to make two tanks from this olive garden yarn, and I did. I started off to make for Agnieszka and in the back of my mind, the second one would be mine. Here’s what actually happened. I did make a swatch, I showed you! But in my excitement, of course I didn’t let it rest enough. I finished the top and was pleased but thought, this will never fit her! It would be perfect for Rhiana though, a size down from the one I thought I planned. Oh well, no worries, I’m sure (not really) they’d like a mother/daughter combo or at least I figured Mom would. Not so certain about my 13 year old! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. In for a penny, in for a pound. No guts, no glory. You know what I mean!
Used the automatic picot hem, #3, from Knitting on the EDGE by MAO, the orange book, http://www.knitwords.com/bookstore.html did the A- line shaping from the original black tank, cut in the back armhole to make it more

summery and edged the armhole with #23, ewrap on vertical edge from 50 Ways To Love Your Knitter (the green book) by the same – I haven’t used that one in ages and oh my! impressed myself all over again how well it works. It has the look of that crabby-stitch crochet thing but done on the machine and doesn’t take all day and all night to do it! The auto picot hem worked beautifully for the neckline – no reduction in the number of stitches because of the width of tuck patterning in the body but you need to add an RTR (remove, turn, rehang) in there after hanging the beginning row (only for the neck, not the bottom hem) because there is a right side and wrong side to the band.

Quick knits, both of them in one day!
Look at those beautiful, weird little argyles! If you could only get that all-over!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

change is as good as a rest...

You know, I’m loving this hand-transferring lace stuff, but I have this leftover variegated WCD. I used it for the hood and sleeves of a remake of Omega, part of the last Serial Stuff, No 4.
The thing about variegated yarn is that it kind of does what it wants and, as you knit and change the width of the piece, the colours stack in different ways, making weird diamonds and doing random things not always what I’d like. I have really enjoyed my ‘camo’ hoodie and get lots of compliments on the colours. There is quite a bit left over, almost 400g and I think my daughter-in-law, Agnieszka (cover of #53, frontline worker and wonderful Mom of my two grandkids) would/might like it but doing hand transfers in this multi-coloured fabric would be a total misuse of time and, I’m keeping busy, not just wasting time!
You might recall one of my absolute favourite techniques, after lace, is One-Row-Tuck. https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2010/08/things-im-doing.html
I’ve used it many times and talk about it a lot - put ‘one row tuck’ in the search window at the top of the page and see what else comes up! I’m going to experiment a bit here, use the one-row-tuck (1RT) at a looser tension, T8 instead of T6 – this will make a thinner fabric for a summer top, the tuck will make a wider fabric and control the biasing tendency of the loose tension and hoping for the best on how it will effect the colour stacking. I’m anticipating the yarn will go further and maybe get two tops out of this. Fingers crossed! And I’s getting’ a little bored with this hem, going to try out another and I have a different trim in mind to finish the armhole…see ya in a few! I did make a quick swatch…
P.S. Happy Queen's birthday or whatever you call it!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

maybe I should explain...

how I figured that out. The peach one, I mean. I did the hem/border just as it was in the magazine. By the way, am using Wool Crepe Deluxe, leftover from Peachy Keen, Knitwords #52, so, no swatching, going with the same gauge I’ve been using all along and Lauren is another little bit of a thing, so, finished 32 bust. The diamond combination in the centre of the front is a 32-row repeat. There are 160 rows to the beginning of the underarm shaping, and I want the top of the last diamond to be just around there. The scalloped hem and the garter ridge line took up 32 rows. 4 repeats of the vertical diamonds would be 128 rows, taking me to RC160, but I thought it would look better if it ended a little higher and on a motif like this you want to end at the top of the diamond, not in the middle, a full repeat. I knit 10 rows plain, did 4 repeats of the large diamond and then ended with another 10 rows plain to offset the motif. Did the same thing with the row of horizontal diamonds in the yoke area. It’s a 22-row repeat so balanced it off with 6 plain rows below and above. That extra stitch that was required in the border, wasn’t needed after that so I got rid of it in the underarm shaping so didn’t have to worry about it for the neckline and shoulders. The back is plain except for the hem/border.
On the wine Mini Dina tank from last week, I forgot to say that when knitting the back in plain stockinette, I had to remember to reverse the extra stitch so the garment would match over the shoulders.
Looking at the final peach tank, it’s nice but I notice a mistake, or is it just different from the original? I’m not good at following my own instructions, it seems. I think I know what I’m doing and miss the final details sometimes! At the top of the large centre diamond, that centre stitch that shows up so nicely on the brown tunic, I did it different. On the Lace Medley tunic, the centre stitch is left in place, behind the transfers coming into the centre. On the peach one, I turned it into a two-step so doesn’t show the same. I guess I’ll just have to make another one…

P.S. Since Knit ‘n Style is no longer available, if anyone wants the Lace Medley pattern, just say. email me knitwords@shaw.ca

Saturday, May 9, 2020

it's like eating...

Knit 'n Style #182
potato chips! I can’t seem to stop!
Have you ever had one of those times when you thought, ‘darn, I did a good job on that’? The Lace Medley tunic, Knit ’n Style, #182, December 2012 was one of those for me. Back then, I had to make the garment in a finished 34 bust and send it off to them, never to be seen again. I made it first for myself using Forsell Touch of Silk, a DK wool/silk blend, perfect for the LK150 mid gauge.
The pattern had this really nice combination of hand-transferred lace diamonds and I thought I was so clever in figuring out how to make outlined transfers of diamonds going vertically and horizontally in differing sizes and making it out to all come together like a large motif. I never heard from anyone who made it but they did have someone translate it in the magazine into a hand knitting pattern (without getting my permission of course!) and as my main focus at that time was to show hand-knitters that machine knitting could make some really nice stuff, I think I did that. Anyway, I still wear mine and feel great in it!
Just to change things up, I thought I’d try that lace patterning in one of these shell/tank tops for niece, Lauren. I’d really like it for myself, but I am going to jump right in without thinking too much, make sure it won’t fit me, so I’ll have to give it away! ;)
The border lace pattern says it’s 20 sts X 18 rows. On the chart, the centre stitch is on #1 right. Looking at the schematic, I need 74 sts each side of 0. To fit the border in, needs to be a multiple of 20 (plus 1 st for seaming) so I’m going with 71-0-72 ns – that extra stitch on the right side so there is a centre stitch and then one at each side for the seam so the border will match at the side seams.

Thursday, May 7, 2020


Got ‘er done! and I could have made another couple of armbands! Although you could see the cone through the final strands. It was close, but final weight, 186g.
Just to change it up a bit, the next shell I’m making with Mini Dina (used to be a dress weight Silk City yarn, cotton/rayon blend), for Sarah - another tall, slim girl, same size as Shannon. I have this full cone of a raspberry shade (it’s labelled ‘wine’) that isn’t my colour and I can easily get at least two tops from a full cone – sister Janet may get the other one.
Cheating again, I’m not swatching, just looking back in the old issues of KNITWORDS (always fun!) to find where I knit stockinette Mini Dina and sure enough, found one that I used T6 with a gauge of 34 sts and 50 rows to 10 cm which is the same as the WCD gauge on the navy one!
Been thinking about that wonky neckline and I realized, duh…that one stitch – the centre of the lace pattern is throwing me off! I forgot about having that extra stitch at one side to balance it off and like, this is such a fine gauge you wouldn’t think you’d really notice it but, because this particular stitch pattern has so many holes, it all shows up, to the discerning eye!
I’m using basically the same lace motif as the navy one but adding an extra line of holes on the bottom vee line. Watching, in particular, the transfers of having 3 sts on one needle every other row alternating, which creates the vertical lines. I found that if I pulled the 3 sts slightly forward across the piece, check they’re the correct ones and then do the transfers, there is less likelihood of errors.
At the neckline, when shortrowing, do the transfers first, except on the inside end needle – don’t transfer that one (it’s the one you’re wrapping for the shortrow) but it’s okay to have empty needles on the shortrowed line, because you’ll be knitting a final row at the end to take care of that. Otherwise the neck edge gets too full of plain stitches if you know what I mean…

Thursday, April 30, 2020

cutting your losses...

Things go wrong here. I hope I don’t give you the impression that everything is always perfect. It's nice to think you have mad skills but stuff happens, it doesn't just go right every single time. Sometimes you can fudge things with no one the wiser, but you need to know the difference, when you can get away with it, when to re-do and the best way to do it.
Ripping out lace is never a good thing, maybe a row or two but more than that, you’re actually spending double the time to rip out lace because it’s harder to un-transfer, especially those two-step ones where the stitch ends up in behind. Now, even though I think I’m watching what I’m doing, I didn’t see this until after it was off the machine and pressed out. First, I noticed that one side of the neckline looks wonky. What the?? I did see, early on, while it was still on the machine, there is a mistake in the patterning  near the start of the vee motif but I had done the same on each side so one could argue, was it really a mistake? Not glaring and most people would never see it, but I know it’s there. I was justifying it to myself as I continued…
After pressing out the piece and holding it up in the mirror, I thought, ‘oh, gosh, darn, rats!’ I calmly walked away, spent the evening catching up on my DVRs. Today, still not quite ready to admit defeat, I held it up and thought about ripping it back to the beginning of the neckline shaping. Note, there are no solid, plain rows in this pattern which would help with rehanging.
Add to the equation, I am a bit nervous about running out of ‘French navy’ for this project. Started with 200g (final weight of my ivory one, 230g, 42 finished bust) and thought that would be plenty. This is for Shannon, another very slim girl so am making finished 34, but she’s fairly tall, about 5’7, I think, so I added 20 rows to the length. My backup plan was using 50g of ‘twilight’ for the armhole and neck bands, which seemed feasible before I knit anything but now, looking at it, not so much. I could just abandon the whole thing and bake muffins, but I have a commitment, to myself anyway!
To be honest, I knit the second piece up the underarm, still trying to convince myself that the other side would/could be acceptable. At this point, I decided to reknit the lace on this piece and, then, off the machine, rip the other one back to the underarm, rehang it in the plain stockinette. It only took an hour and a half to get this one finished, no mistakes! Golden!

Monday, April 27, 2020

that mitre...

decrease on second row
Take half the vee side from bottom of vee to top of shoulder, stretch slightly to determine number of sts. Mine was 1-54 ns and I stretched it to 60.

leave tool to hold triple stitch in place
60-0-61 ns. WY, ravel. CAL. RC000. T7, K1R.
Hang yarn mark at the centre stitch, #1 right.
T6, K1R. Decrease 1 stitch either side of centre stitch, putting all 3 on one needle.
Move all three to left so #1,2 right of 0 are empty
 and 3 sts are on #1 left. Leave transfer tool on top of them to babysit – one (or two) will jump off if you don’t ;).
Move right side over the 2 spaces – I used the garter bar. Put the 2 end needles out of work.
You now have 60-0-59. T5, K2R. Decrease 2 sts at centre, putting one either side of centre onto the centre stitch.
Move all 3 to #1 right and leave tool onto it.
Move left side in two spaces, knocking back
the two empty needles at left side 58-0-59 in work.
T5, K1R. T9, K1R (folding row RC006). T5, K1R.
Move right side out two spaces.
Move centre stitch over one space right.
Fill in the empty needles with heel stitch
from the ones away from centre. K2R.
Repeat this step, moving 2 spaces left –
you should be back at 60-0-61 ns. K2R.

Take a deep breath. Hang hem.
Leave the centre yarn mark but remove the waste yarn.
T8, K1R. Remove on garter bar.

61-0-60 ns, hang garment (you’re turning the band, remember!), placing yarn mark/vee start at 0, picking up outside cast-off row. Turn band and rehang. Pull through. Manually knit row and chain off.

Breathe a huge sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back! Sounds complicated when you say it all like that, but after the first one, piece of cake!

This is so pretty! She’s gonna love it!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

fairisle foibles...

On the Two-Faced Wendy, I did a scoop neck, 10 cm (D) down and the vee, 15 cm (other D) down from the top of the shoulder, both with a half width of 9 cm (B from the schematic), shortrowing both. On the vee piece, because the row count for fairisle is different (42 rows to 10 cm as opposed to 50 rows for stockinete) I recalculated the decreases (need 30 sts in 64 rows), starting at RC170 which is 15 cm below the top of the shoulder. Put the left side in hold - used the ravel cord method just to make sure not to damage that line of stitches and to make it easier to keep track of the vee shaping: [1 st, KWK, 2 sts, KWK] 7X; 1 sts, KWK, 9X which puts 30 sts in hold in 46 rows. Leave these in hold and knit to top of the shoulder without wrapping. After removing the shoulder (see below), pick up the remaining neck portion edge to the top of the shoulder, knit a loose row in the neckband colour (dark brown here) over this side of the vee and chain off. This is a neat, quick way to get the vee done in fairisle! Love it! I'll be using this method again!
shortrowing vee

A few other details about knitting fairisle: shoulder was shortrowed over 5 rows and then all returned to UWP. Change to stockinette and knit 1 row in the background colour (tan here), then remove on waste.  Do the same for the other one. If you don’t knit the plain row, good luck picking up those stitches! Just saying! To join the shoulder, pick up the first one, knit side facing. Hang the second piece, wrong side facing and rip out that row of stockinette (easy to do because that’s the way it was knit). Pull this set through the back set and presto! you have a nice seam, without a line of plain knitting because the second set of stitches is fairisle and when pulled through the plain row of the first side, disguises the plain row. For comparison, the shoulder join on the left of the photo, I hung the first side, the way it was knit, ripped out the row of stockinette and then turned the piece on the garter bar. Hung the second side, ripped out the row, and joined as above, putting last fairisle rows, one through the first and then cast off. You be the judge - there is a slight difference looking at it like this but not enough to make it worth the danger of loosing a stitch! And who’s going to be studying your shoulder seams?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

the truth about bands...

I did something the other day that I didn’t tell you about and now I’m ashamed! That I didn’t tell you, I mean. That red vee neck, I’m sorry - not much info there and I want to make it better. After I finished the red one, it looked so nice, I decided to put bands on the first (tan/brown) one. And I meant to make good notes, especially for the vee side. But all my good intentions left! It all worked out but there were things I should have said. Next one, I promise!
fresh off machine
after the tool, before steaming
One of the big things about bands is something I do on autopilot and forget to mention. The bands or hems (anywhere when it’s doubled over), when it comes off the machine, looks rather dreadful, especially in finer yarns like WCD. The stitches are stretched sideways when on the machine and you need to help them get back into shape. For necklines and armholes, use the DETT (double eye transfer tool) because it’s good and strong and you won’t be able to bend it. Thread it through the band along the fold, a little bit at a time and stretch it against the straight edge of the tool with your other hand to set the band depth and fix the stitches.
pressed and perfect!

Here’s a photo of the band on the scoop neck, fresh off the machine. Looks awful and it’s sticking up every which way. Do the tool thing and it looks better. Lay it on the ironing board, flatten everything out with your fingers and get everything laying right. Steam it and it’s beautiful!

Here’s a photo of the hemline of the skin print one. Because this is a wider, longer piece, no curves, thread a blocking rod through the hem and pin it onto the ironing board, paying attention to pin it to the correct width. Steam it (hold the iron just above, not touching and activate the steam), while pulling on the rest of the piece to lengthen/stretch the hem into shape. This hem has no fold line, so this is a necessary step to making sure it ends up sitting properly.
I did not add shortrows at the hemline of this as I did in the first three because this girl is a tiny little peanut, like an XS (and double A if you get what I mean) in ready-made. If I were making this for me, I would have added 8 to 10 shortrows like I did for my stockinette ones.

Monday, April 20, 2020

changing tack...

To get away from the hand-transferred stuff, I’m going to try other stitch techniques for the tank top – looking at my list of ‘youngsters’ who might like one, I have some knitting to do!
I like that ‘skin’ print that I did the jacket in (was that only last month?) - going to try it out for my niece, Wendy, who loves animal print even more than I do. Knitting in fairisle takes a different amount of yarn. Still trying to use up my leftovers of WCD, I have 250g sand dune (tan) (plus several swatches that could be undone) and 100g of a pretty rusty brown, leftover from Wild Side https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2009/07/same-but-different.html
I dug out Boondoggle https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2013/08/perfect-pockets.html (fairisle, weights 420g) and my remake of Frill Ride minus the frills (stockinette, weight 430g) https://knitwords.blogspot.com/2010/01/happy-new-decade.html
They are about the same size, same sleeve length but what does that tell me? Nothing that makes me feel better about how far the yarn will go!
Light bulb moment! I could do the first piece and weight it before knowing if I could proceed with a second skin print or make the other side solid – you see that all the time in ready-made stuff! Wendy is much smaller than me, so, less yarn and overall a good thing as I tend to covet things and if it were my size, she might not get! ;)
By the time I did the hem, I’d convinced myself that trying to get 2 pieces of fairisle out of 100g of the rust was just plain dumb. Another option would be a better choice and now, armed with a full, brand-new cone of lovely carob, a deep, dark chocolate WCD, going for it!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

little things...

I know you’ve got a ton of questions! Like, cutting that armhole in farther – do you make a longer band? No, I don’t. I like the way the 60-0-60 st band fits and it may seem a little more gathered as you’re doing it but you can’t tell once it’s on the finished garment, or on you - just do the same thing, keep the gathered part more to the ends/underarm section and it’ll all come out in the wash!
Oh yeah, about making that armhole band (and the neckband for that matter) the original pattern says:
right end stitch easier to pick up
Stockinette bands. Cast on with WY, 1 row ravel cord. RC000. MC, T5, K6R. T8, K1R. T5, K6R. Hang hem by picking up first row of MC. T7, K1R. Remove on WY or garter bar.
What I really do to make it work a little smoother (she said, after the third set of bands) is this:
Stockinette bands. Cast on with WY, 1 row ravel cord, ending CAL (carriage at left). RC000. MC, T7, K1R, T6, K1R. T5, K4R. T8, K1R. T5, K6R. (that initial looser row is the one to rehang and the bigger stitch size makes it easier and doesn’t show of course. The T6 row was just the transition to the next T5 row. You still have 6 rows on this side of the folding row but that side ends up as the outside of the band and having the outside slightly larger makes it fold nicer and lay flatter.) Hang hem by picking up first row of MC (easy, peasy because of the larger stitch size. T9, K1R. (That makes it easier to pull off on the garter bar and it also gives a bigger stitch that is closing the hem AND doing the join later to the garment edge!) Without cutting MC, remove on WY or garter bar and set aside.
whole stitch at left end
The CAL at the beginning means two things – when hanging the hem, that little impossible half-non-stitch usually at the left is much easier to find when it’s on the right end and you’ll have up with a whole stitch at the left and really feel good about yourself! Secondly, after hanging the garment, you turn the band and rehang to join it to the garment. The cast- off row will now be right to left, much easier to chain off in that direction and less ends to darn in. You’re welcome!
For the band on the vee side, I used the mitring technique from The Neck’s Best Thing, No 3, Mitred Stockinette Band, making it just for that piece, putting the mitre in the centre of a 50-0-49 stitch band.