Wednesday, October 31, 2018

just a prototype?...

Well, I think that worked. There doesn't appear to be a line of any sort, tension-wise or weight-wise where I dropped the ribber and changed to the knit arm. New front is done!
Looks okay but who knows until you get it all
 together. The fact that this is going to shrink up considerably – pretty hard to judge until it’s laundered, after the putting together. I did pin the one side and shoulder together to the back and it looks like it will work so am proceeding with the other front!
My brother is coming to visit – I’ll wear it and we’ll have a glass of wine and a heart-to-heart…

Sunday, October 28, 2018

trust the expert...

And READ the instructions!
Got Elvis (back and sleeves) all knit and now I’m ready for the fronts. I examined all my 1X1 look swatches and kept going back to the first one that was supposed to be like I used on Granville and thought, gee, maybe that would be okay if only the main bed tension were lower to make those stitches smaller, tighter and more defined. I dug out the Granville pattern and what do you know? MAO did use a tighter tension on the main bed stitches! Ha! Made one more swatch to be sure, following directions this time and it works!
Looked at the video at Shopbop a few more times and I’m convinced the hemline of the front is sloped with shortrows after the rib hem. I’m going with 10 cm over the width of the front as well as adding 4 longstitches at the centre side – Vince probably didn’t do this but it’s what I want and even though it won’t actually show – it’s on the inside of the fold – I figure it will at least lay flat and not roll which could create a weird ridge showing on the front!
I could lie and say my first attempt was beautiful, perfectly thought out and worked a charm, but who would believe me? ha! Knitting away, I did the armhole shaping and my plan at that point was to knit up to the shoulder and then continue knitting on the remaining edge, making it long enough to take it up and around the back of the neck to finish the shawl collar. As I approached the point where there should be front neckline shaping if it was a regular neckline, it dawned on me this would be a mess. Way too much fabric for the collar!
I stopped, had dinner and pondered the situation.
revised front schematic
I figured there should be some compensation/shaping, more like a vee neck, to bring the collar portion over to the shoulder line. Is that what they meant about the open placket??? I was going to rip out about 40 rows, back to the end of the underarm shaping, just throw in the vee shaping but I decided to wait until the morning. I tossed and turned half the night and thought about cutting a prototype from fabric. By morning, I decided that I’d miscalculated the width of the shawl collar portion and the entire piece was unusable, but the hem, the shortrowed angle and the longstitch facing was all good.
I’ll rewind that piece later if I need the yarn, but with a fresh start, I quickly got to the beginning of the vee neck. Decisions, decisions! Basically, I am knitting stockinette on the double bed – the ribber is up and there are only 4 sts on the rib bed, knitting only every other row for the longstitch. This is on the side that I would be putting in hold, to come back to later after shaping the neckline with vertical decreases. If I put that part in hold, the carriage will be passing over it for another 100 rows or so and I don’t want to damage the yarn. I could draw it back to A position on ravel cord and just be real careful. A light comes on and I realize the longstitch edge from this point is no longer necessary because that edge will be stitched into the vee neckline. I can transfer those few sts up to the main bed, place the collar part all in hold (or not – I decided to take it off on waste and rehang it later) and continue on the right side of 0, abandon the ribber altogether, and finish up using the knit arm. Do I take the chance? Will there be a difference in the stitch size of that next row?

Friday, October 26, 2018

every trick in the book...

I swatched and then I swatched some more! My stockinette tension/stitch size is T10 and I did get the same stitch and row gauge with both yarns.
Just Ribbin'
The back of GW is pretty simple. For that wide, deep rib, I chose 3X3 rib in the 3X2 needle arrangement – see Just Ribbin’ KW# 50 at a fairly high stitch size –  T8/8 because I don’t want it snugging in – want it to be as wide as the stockinette and the reason I went with the 3X2 needle arrangement means there are more stitches in the ribbing (when transferred up to the main  bed, there will be 2 sts on every 3rd needle but it doesn’t really show) than the stockinette to help maintain the same width. If you are reading me regularly, you might notice that I didn’t say that I made the sleeves first – I made the back first because I’m not really sure how far these yarns will go and how much there is – I did the back using Elvis because the label did have a yardage on it so it will help me judge how far this will go. It took 136g, leaving 264g, and I’m certain I can get both sleeves from the rest of him. Also, no disrespect, but Elvis has some thick and thin, like the spinning was not as smooth and consistent as the Bob Carver cone which I knew had to be for the fronts and will likely take considerably more than the back because of the extended lapels for the shawl collar.
The big unknown with this design is that 1X1 rib on the hem of the front – it looks like 1X1 but it’s as wide as the stockinette and just plain 1X1 wouldn’t be. So, I swatched full needle rib – too wide and too thick. I did the ‘1X1 on main bed with all working on the rib bed’ like on Granville
– still looks too wide. Tried 1X1 rib at T10/10 double stranded – that didn’t work! I was also working on the idea of an automatic longstitch facing for the centre side of the front – there is no finishing band apparent. I am assuming there is maybe a narrow longstitch, so I put 4 sts on RB, knitting every other row to finish that side. In a couple of the shots from the Shopbob website it  sort of looks like the front is angled up slightly – that may be from the longstitch facing pulling up the centre side somewhat or because they have actually shortrowed an angle to the front after the rib and the nice garter-stitch ridge after the rib is hiding the shortrows…lots to think about as I work on the sleeves. Maybe I’m over-thinking again! Just as I fell asleep last night I thought, what about tuck rib?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


You’re not going to believe this, but I’m actually planning on making this Good Wife Cardi with two different yarns. Kids, don’t try this at home! Alicia’s cardigan is specialty fibre and I have something close but know I’ll definitely need two cones. The first one I have is something I’ve been saving for at least 20 years. Anyone remember a business called Carver Textiles in Calgary, Alberta? Here’s an excerpt from my editorial blurb from Knitwords No. 2 Autumn of 1997:
Back in June, when planning this issue, I needed some yarn to make a tunic that was drapey, a bouclĂ© would be best, and I needed it in a hurry. I was imagining a rayon, slubby yarn in one of those non-colours. What was I going to do? I suddenly remembered a visit to Bob Carver’s in Calgary a few years ago. Bob’s place was a warehouse of shelves and racks full of industrial yarns, mill ends and full line yarns, almost everything imaginable – the machine knitter’s dream palace! So, I called Bob, explained my problem and he said he’d send me some stuff, what colours did I like and, I could send back what I didn’t want! Who could ask for more? I told him earth tones and to put it on the bus as that was the cheapest, quickest way in western Canada (Thunder Bay is 2000 km from Calgary). Sure enough, 36 hours later, there I was struggling with this huge box. There must have been 30 cones of yarn in there! I wanted all of it! It was great - lovely taupes, jute, creams, ivory, olives and only one blue one! There go the profits! Of course, two days later when the invoice arrived in the mail, I knew I needed to get a grip on reality. I did send back about half the shipment. But, thank God and Greyhound and Bob Carver! Wasn’t there a song like that?
And then, the kicker, that particular tunic didn’t make the ‘cut’ for this issue – you’ll have to wait for the next issue to see it!
That’s the background on the first cone, it’s cashmere and angora in a lovely oatmeal shade, about 500g total. And why have I been saving it? Likely because I couldn’t use it for a pattern without being able to give a good substitute and I’m pretty sure Bob is no where to be found, never mind the yarn! Full disclosure, I only have two more cones (not the same stuff) from that original shipment! ;-) 
The second cone was gifted to me a few years ago by my friend Vickie, who loves teal and jewel tones, and I’m sure I got this one only because it was oatmeal in colour – it is 100% alpaca from 4-B Llamas in Rose Prairie, BC. The label identifies it as 2 ply/1600 yds/lb, 425 g, and the colour is handwritten in as ‘Elvis’! I’m thinking that’s the llama’s name – I love stories like this!
Anyway, these, side by side, at a quick glance, appear to be the same – close enough for me to think I can use one cone for the back and sleeves and the other for the fronts. It’s not like the finished garment is going out in an international trunk show! If you’re reading this, that means I did it, whether it really worked remains to be seen! Later!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

surfin' the net....

Been looking for something to catch my attention and give me a reason to knit and I came across and old 'to-knit' list, headed up  by the 'good wife cardi' - got me digging and looking. Reread my old blogposts from April 2014.
and dug out the old swatches.
Even went on Netflix trying to find it, skimming Season 4, and then, while I was having a coffee break, casually googled ‘the good wife cardigan’.  OMG, they have everything on there! I found it with a notation that the sweater was worn by Juliana Margolis in Season 5, episode 19!

Now I have a mission! Can’t really remember why I abandon this project but I think it was yarn issues. I was so wrong before! It is all basically stockinette – the back has the deep wider rib at the bottom, but the front is all stockinette except for what looks like 1X1 rib on the hemline. There is no shaping at the sides, it’s just an open-front cardigan with the shawl collar formed by folding the extra width at the front under and back to make it look thicker and more complicated than it really is! At (they even have a short video with the model turning full circle!), it was $450, no longer available of course and made of wool, yak, alpaca and cashmere, how exotic!  Their description:
         A draped shawl collar frames the open placket of a cozy Vince sweater, which is finished
         with a ribbed hem and cuffs.
Frames the open placket? What the hell does that mean? Watch this space!

Monday, October 22, 2018

she loves it....

Washed and dried and perfect! I called her and said we’d better get together so she could collect her TB Poncho before I was tempted to wear it! She laughed and said she'd be right over. It looks great, she was thrilled and eager to wear it! I cleared two whole cones off my shelves. It was a win-win!



Friday, October 19, 2018

finishing details...

Attach the band to hood: bring out the needles, same number as the ribbed band (100 stitches). The hood edge has 120 sts so decrease 20 sts (100 divided by 20 is 5) which means you want to double up on every 5th needle as you are hanging. What I do to make it easy is go across the needle bed and bring every 5th needle slightly forward (start this on the 3rd needle from the right edge so you don’t have doubled sts at either end) and then using the 3-prong tool, hang 3 sts.
Pick up the next 3 sts and double up on the needle at right that already has one stitch. Pick up next 3 sts and hang on new needles. Continue across the row, doubling on every second pick up and it will work out perfectly! Remove the waste yarn, take the ribbed band, turn it and hang it stitch for stitch. Pull the band sts through the hood edge, manually knit loose row and chain off. Graft the back seam and try it on. Should be good to go.
Seam all the rest of the poncho and then pin the hood in place and try it on again just to be sure – the hood has to be deep enough from the top of the head to the neckline so it doesn’t hold the garment up off the shoulders and the front opening should be big enough for your face and most
important, the neck opening has to be large enough for the head to fit through! If any of these are compromised, you need to make another hood, fixing the issues but I’m good to go!  
You could stitch this in by hand but who’s kidding who? I’m doing it on the LK! Because it is a circle, start at one end and do it in sections.  There are no open stitches, it’s all closed edge on both pieces. I want the seam to be on the inside, so am putting right sides together, hanging the body first, right side facing me and then the hood piece, wrong facing. I leave it all pinned together from the try-on and just un-pin the section I’m working on.
To keep track that each side will be the same, start off figuring out how many needles for the entire neckline, so hold the centre back at 0, pull the centre front to the right – I got 55 needles for half the neckline. It’s my experience that the back-neck area of any garment should be pulled in slightly and the width of the back neck was 20 sts half plus the 3 cm/1 inch drop and I want to reduce that width slightly,
so I hang it over 20-0-20 needles. Put the shoulder seam at #21 right and then stretch out the front neck to the centre of the garment and hang the edge, half the outside edge stitch. This will likely be a bit less than the original 55, mine was at #50. Now, hang the hood section, from the centre front to the first shoulder.
Manually knit fairly loose sts – not quite all the way back to ‘B’ but close (just doing a single row to join and cast-off all in one – no need for the extra bulk of a joining row and casting off!) - to the shoulder and then chain those off except the last one. Hang the back neck, over to the opposite shoulder (#20 left), and then the hood. On this section, for the 16-0-16 section, the loose stitch for the chain cast-off is a little smaller to further draw in the back neck. Finish off the other side. Throw it over your head to make sure all is still good and breathe a huge sigh of relief!
Got ‘er done with still plenty of wearing days left for this season!
Hope this all makes sense!

Friday, October 12, 2018

rib recap...

1X1 rib, E4N std gauge
I’m making the cuffs for the poncho (1X1 rib made on the standard gauge ribber). If I hold the edge for the cuff up to the LK150, it appears that 20-0-20 stitches are needed. To set this up on the standard gauge, I am using 40-0-40 needles, selecting every 4th needle on the main bed and then the alternate 4th needles on the rib bed. The cuff
row of stockinette after rib

ribbing should be tighter than what is on the hem band so am doing it at T8/8 for 20 rows. Again, transfer up to the main bed and it is every other needle for a row of stockinette before waste yarn. TIP, before cutting, measure off the main yarn, 4 times the width of needles in work to have enough for the cast-off row on the LK! Two less ends to darn in! Ditto for the face band and for the grafted seam at the back of the hood.
sleeve edge on LK

To attach, hang the sleeve edge of the poncho on the LK150, knit/right side facing you. Turn the band and hang stitches in the hooks of the needles.
hang cuff
Put the garment part behind the latches, with the stitches still in the hooks. Close the latches and push back on needle butts to pull that row through the closed edge to join the pieces. Knit loose row and chain off!
loose row for cast-off

finished cuff with std gauge selector

For the hood, I’m using the same schematic as the Oxymoron Cardi which was almost the same as Milky Way (but a little deeper and I had grafted the back seam because it laid flatter and neater)  which was from Lacy in Red, KW#40, Love the hood on Oxy (I know I didn’t show you, but I will soon, promise!), fits just right and really looks nice up or down and I think it will be just right for the poncho.
mylar  - follow red line
This hood is knit from the face edge (in one piece), back to the back of the head and the side edges are shaped with decreases to fit to the neckline. The stitch gauge tells me to have 60-0-60 sts (120 total) for the full width of the hood and I want to have a ribbed edge on the front of the hood. To do it in one piece on the standard gauge ribber, I can only get 100 sts total which is fine because I used a few less stitches for the front band on the Oxy hood and it works great, snugs the open edge of the hood in nicely, especially when it is laying over your back. 
hood before
Here, I made the hood band first, T10/10, 10 rows, but I will knit the hood on the LK150 starting with waste yarn. The band will be attached later because it will be easier to rehang the hood edge, gathering in the extra stitches evenly spaced rather than trying to hang the ribbed band and increasing across for the extra stitches! Attach the front face band before grafting the back of the hood or it won't open up enough to stretch across for the band. Just sayin'...

Friday, October 5, 2018

yeah, i cheated....

Don't hate me because I’m more than a one-machine-pony! heh-heh! I do like my LK150, but does that mean that I have to sit there and hand-latch every other stitch for 10 rows of 1X1 rib times 4? Hell no!
On this poncho – I’m calling it the Thunder Bay Poncho because we need more that just a wide scarf that drapes the shoulders – this one also swaddles your butt and keeps your arms and sides warm, making it good for even a warm-ish winter day! Anyway, the original had narrow stockinette bands all round which was fine, but on my tweedy one, 1 did change those to 1X1 rib and even though it was close to 20 years ago, I do vaguely remember knitting the bands on the standard gauge ribber and then rehanging it on the LK150. If it makes you feel better, I did have to make the first one now only about four times before I got it right. I needed 80 stitches for the bottom so without thinking it through all the way, I set up and knit 80-0-80 sts in 1X1 rib at T10 on the standard gauge. Transferred up and knit a row which turned out to be much stiffer than I thought it should be but I reasoned that I was using DK weight on the 4.5mm machine...took it off and brought it over to the LK and saw that I had twice as many stitches as needed but also, it wouldn’t be wide enough if it was only 40-0-40 needles. Probably because I have been doing a lot of tuck ribbing previous to this, I felt a lightbulb go on and figured all I’d need to do was add tuck on the rib bed because that widens things out. Set up 1X1 rib on 40-0-40 needles, adding in tuck after the cast-on. Proceeded to get about 5 rows done before admitting defeat on that process. As I pried that off the machine, another bulb went on and I realized it should be Every-Other-Needle 1X1 rib which means every 4th needle in work on the main bed and than the alternate every 4th needle on the rib bed!
But, I’m still ahead of the game! Made all four bottom bands, starting with the manual wrap cast-on to make sure it was all stretchy enough, T10/10, knit 10 rows, carefully watching that every stitch knit through properly, transferred up to the main bed, knit a row of stockinette which is now every other needle in work and then several rows of waste yarn. Take the band, turn it and hang on the LK150, on every needle, so the plain row becomes a nice purl stitch ridge before beginning the stockinette.
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving and may  we all be thankful for pumpkin! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


I’ve had several enquiries about poncho patterns lately. And it begs the question, what exactly, is a poncho? Is it a blanket, a shawl, a wrap? Mostly, I’ve always thought of a poncho as being a thing that goes over your head and covers up easily, mostly worn for warmth. Back in the day it was in late winter way back when, I made this thing called It’s a Wrap. Made on the LK150, the pattern was in the Spring 1999, Knitwords No.8 and the caption read:
Call it a poncho, cape or cloak! Whatever, it’s lovely to wear and easy to knit! A great yarn (alpaca/wool), knit in stockinette, really wide, a long-sloped shoulder with a small cuff to create a ‘sleeve’ and a vee neck opening filled in with another piece of stockinette collar. One size fits all!

We had a great time at the photoshoot with it and I wore it a few times after then, sister Marnie fell in love with it and asked for it. Of course, I gave it to her but I kind of missed it.
I re-engineered it to delete some of the volume at the sides, re-knit it using a tweedy DK yarn and I’ve been wearing it off and on for the past almost 20 years, both spring and fall. When I got the first query about a poncho pattern, I dearly wanted to remake this one again and add a hood – I’ve already admitted to being a hoodie junkie – but because this one is black and goes with virtually everything, I didn’t feel justified in making a new one for myself. My d-i-l was over the other day and I asked her if she’d like a poncho – she was thrilled, tried mine one, picked out a colour and timidly asked if she could have a hood on hers!