Sunday, March 16, 2014

end of the rainbow...

It turned out awesome and she loves it! It is, of course, sideways knit – started with a regular drop shoulder sleeve. Took that off on waste yarn, half and half. Hung one half at one end of the machine and knit the back. Took that off on waste in two sections, for half of the other sleeve and then the side seam. Took the other half of the first sleeve, hung it at the opposite end of the machine and knit the front, ditto with waste yarn. Then hung the two parts for the last sleeve and knit it down. I did make it a little more complicated – I love that A-line shape on sideways knits so I made a random 2-row gore on almost every stripe on the lower half of the back and the front. So it was all one piece by the time it came off the machine, just had to seam the shoulders, the underarm and join the sides. Then, I edged it, neckline, cuff and hem, all with a small, stockinette roll in a denim-coloured Panama. The weaving-in of the tails of yarns, all you need  to do to those is check that they are all snug – you may have to pull a few to straighten and then just trim off the excess – presto, done!

She told me that I should re-arrange my yarn shelves and group all the colours together, like a rainbow. I told her there were too many non-rainbow shades…

1RT raglan...

I’m still on my A-line raglan kick and, while waiting  around for these KALs to get going along, I dashed off a one-row-tuck raglan. A while back, I did that white lace remake of ‘comfy/rich raglan’ and it turned out very nicely and I had intentions of trying one of my 1RTs with the A-line raglan shape.  Briefly, 1RT means there is a row of tuck and a row of stockinette, so it makes a faint pattern on the knit side – advantage, not as boring as plain stockinette, it makes a wider fabric because of the tuck (WCD in stockinette at T6 gives a gauge of 34 sts and 50 rows to 10 cm whereas the 1RT at T7, gives 28 sts and 60 rows to 10 cm) and the tuck allows you to knit looser (yarn goes further)and not have to worry about the fabric biasing as sometimes happens with a loose knit.
I had an old cone of woolray, the pre-WCD version of wool/rayon in a bright, leaf green - not my colour – a little too vivid for me but would be perfect for my sister Jan – when I was visiting her in Toronto last Fall, she had tried on a cardigan in this colour and it looked very nice on her, but didn’t fit well enough to buy – she’s a bit shorter than me (well, actually, I feel quite tall when I’m with her!) and doesn’t really know what it’s like to buy a garment with sleeves that aren't too long, so I decided to make this one for her – I figured if it didn’t really come out good I wouldn’t tell anyone, just chalk it up and toss it. But, darn, have you even had a time when something just went flawlessly...there isn’t even one spot that you want to rub your finger over, hoping to erase a small glitch…even the stockinette band seaming compared to the side seam – perfect! And the raglan shaping and seaming – OMG!  
If you want more info on 1RT,  see blog post August 13, 2010.
Here’s the back story - I was inspired by my friend Grace (AKA Kay, Sep ‘09)- she had purchased a Silver Reed machine and wanted to learn to use it with DAK so we’ve been emailing back and forth and I was making her make one of my tuck patterns from Knitwords – she chose 'Match or Set' from #37 and to refresh my memory in using KFS (knit-from-screen), I got going with this green raglan.
For knitting tuck, usually you want the end stitches to knit plain. If you are an old Silver Reed knitter, like me, dating back to the punchcard machines, you will know that when knitting tuck, pulling out the end needle at the beginning of the row will cancel the pattern and ensure that the stitch knits. With the electronic machines, you can use the point cams to cancel patterning by setting the point cam one needle in from the edge, eliminating the pulling the needle trick, but sometimes that single end stitch just does not want to knit through properly and you either have to knit it manually when you see it didn’t knit, or maybe try to pick up a dropped stitch if you didn’t see it in time…so generally I will be watching the pattern and you get to know when the stitch is not going to knit and you can pull out the needle when needed.
For the A-line side seams I used a 2-prong tool for the full-fashioned decreases – pick up the 3rd stitch, place it on the 2nd needle from the edge and then move the 2 outside stitches in one space – the decrease is on the second stitch which becomes the edge after seaming and looks really neat. For the sleeve increases, I moved only the end stitch out one space and hung the heel of the inside stitch to fill the empty needle – looks awesome as you can see!
So, back to the tuck pattern, make sure there are no tucks happening on the row before or after the increase or decrease otherwise you may get a weird hole or a bigger bump from the tuck than you want. Most of this just requires that you watch and override the tuck by bringing out the needles to cancel tuck or re-knitting the tucked stitch. I move the point cams (one at a time on the side opposite the carriage) on the row before the increase or decrease. For the raglan shaping, I still wanted the five plain stitches for the raglan seaming and placed the point cams in 6 needle spaces from the edge to achieve this. Note, this method of having 5 plain sts for the raglan shaping won't look good with regular allover tuck because there will be too many rows of plain knitting at the edges compared to the pinched up tucks of the main fabric...Now, I’ll have to make one for myself in good WCD!  
AKA – also known as
KAL - knitalong
KFS - knit from screen
OMG - oh my goodness
WCD – wool crepe deluxe
1RT – one row tuck

PS - forgot to mention - for the stockinette bands added as hems (cuff, bottom and neckline), I used the same number of stitches as in each tuck piece - usually, when adding these to stockinette, I would decrease the bands by about 10% so the bands are slightly smaller and don't flare out, but because the tuck is a wider fabric, no need to do this and they matched sizewise perfectly!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Roy GB4

That actually stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. From my childhood – the way to remember the colours of the rainbow. We had one for geography – George Evans Old Grandmother Rode A Pig Home Yesterday and there was one for arithmetic that I believe is now politically incorrect.
Anyway, I made the mistake of asking my granddaughter, Rhiana, what she wanted for her birthday – she’ll be seven on Wednesday…Here’s the thing - I am a firm believer in ‘if you can’t handle the answer, don’t ask the question!’ or, if you’re asking the question, be prepared to do something about the answer!
So, what would you like for your birthday?
A rainbow sweater.
Well, that sounds okay – she’s been drawing and creating  a lot of rainbows lately – I should have just left it at that but no…I said, ‘like a rainbow going across your sweater?’ and I made a swooshing motion with my hand…
’No Grama, just straight lines of the rainbow colours.’ So, I made a sketch and showed her (OK, so I draw like a 7 yr old!). She took the paper from me and said, ‘I’ll show you.’ I didn’t dare ask what was going to happen to the sleeves because it dawned on me by then, if I questioned, she would probably have an answer I wouldn’t like!
So, we’ve got eight colours, sort of close to the same weight. Red Panama. Pink Bonita. Gold Panama. Yellow Mini Dina. Green Castoro. Royal Sable Crepe. Navy Panama. Purple Linen. Colour was the main criteria and then washability, and, not itchy, of course. After questioning the ‘gold’, I explained to her that I had no suitable orange in my stock. That was okay, but she wanted a pink in there too. I made  a swatch with 6 rows of each colour – could get really picky and say I need 6 rows of this and 7 of that, but come on! I am changing from T7 for the lighter weight ones to T8 for the Bonita, Castoro and purple linen. She approved, even though I was afraid she wouldn't  go for the texture of the Castoro- it's fuzzy and all the others are smooth, but she liked the feel of it.  Notice the size of the stripes in her sketch…900 ends to darn in? I don’t think so – I’m darning them in as I go, doing a free pass between colour changes so the ends are woven in at opposite sides…and if you think I’m going to worry about symmetry or where the colour repeat starts or ends, fuggedaboutit! We’re making a rainbow sweater for a 7 yr old! She’s ‘helping’ along the way, pushing the ‘train’ halfway across from her side, counting the rows and letting me know which colour to use next and making sure the gate is closed after the colour change. I am hand feeding the yarn – it’s easier to have the 8 cones on the floor rather than re-threading each colour…
I already feel like I’m McGuyver-ing it!

Monday, March 3, 2014

sock issues...

I’ve been working on my next KS project on my LK150 mid gauge – it’s a hand-selected stitch pattern (tell you more about that another time)  and I usually like to break it up with something else, like some other project on my standard gauge machine but was having a hard time settling on what I wanted to do next. Some upcoming birthdays sent me to my LYS for some sock yarns – didn’t find anything too exciting – settled on a ‘safe’-looking, denimy-shades, 100g/448m ball of King Cole ‘Zig Zag’ – it’s a 50% superwash wool, 50% nylon combo that I thought may be better wearing because of the higher nylon content. It’s a bit finer than what I have been using lately (Schafpate Opal, 425m/100g) so I went down a dot on the stitch size on each bed. While I was in sock mode, I reknit a few pairs that have been holed-up,  (get it?) waiting for new feet and it reminded me of an email I had last week. My friend Peg, who admits to being a hand-knit sock snob of the past, recently completed her first pair of my ‘warm up socks’ and after getting over the heel shortrowing,  told me she really liked them, especially the snugging up of the cuff as you get closer to the heel. And she was getting over her issues with the seam in the rib thing  as ‘it sure is sweet to have a pair of socks in less than a day!’
But now she is asking me if I’ve ever tried the slip stitch heel in machine knitting... I replied, ‘I don't really know what a slip stitch heel is - is it kind of 1X1 slip on the heel area, only to perhaps thicken or re-enforce the heel? if so, I wouldn't bother - I find the biggest problem where these socks wear out first is in the toe area - just my personal experience... so I save the ribbed cuff and re-knit the entire foot’ (see blog, Happy Feet, Apr 14/09).  
Peg confirmed my take on the slip stitch heel and promised she’d get over that too!
Just wanted to add a bit to that – I hang the back of the sock, placing the seam at 0 on the main bed, working out to 18-0-18 ns and then hang the front bed – the time you save on doing the easy part on the main bed makes up for no time saved trying to do the rib bed deal first and at least you know where the end sts on each bed go…

Sidebar – Last week I got my first order to what I think of as the only famous zip code – the only one I know anyway – 90210 – yes, it is Beverley Hills, CA. (Paypal said it was a confirmed address!) When I took the package to the post office in Grand Portage, MN, I pointed it out to Mary, the postmistress - she laughed and said, huh! I thought that was  fictional!