Knitting: June 2011 Archives
Doubled Fingering Below, Sport Above
Rare is the knitter who chooses the exact yarn as recommend by a pattern. Substituting a yarn can happen for many reasons: 1) you have a different yarn in your stash 2) you don't like the colors in the recommended yarn 3) you are allergic to the recommended yarn 4) you have another yarn in your cart needing an excuse to purchase, etc. The reasons for substitution are as varied as the day is long. And substitution is generally a pretty easy business, unless the yarn you want to use is a different gauge, and then it gets tricky. Sure subbing Aran or Worsted is no cause for puzzlement but say you want to trade Fingering for Sport or DK for Worsted or, even crazier, fingering for DK. Don't get your underwear in a twist-it's easy if you know how.
Doubled Sport below, DK Above
Subbing yarn is all in the rule of doubling and as long as you know the hierarchy of yarn gauges-Lace, Fingering, Sport, DK, Worsted, Bulky & Chunky- you'll be fine. Each hierarchy level can be reached by doubling the size below. For example, to trade a Fingering weight yarn for a Sport weight yarn you will need to double the fingering yarn, so you will generally need double the yardage. To trade Sport for DK, double the Sport weight. For DK to Worsted, double the DK, and so on up the hierarchy. This also makes it easier to make great leaps in the hierarchy: to sub Fingering for DK, you will need 4 strands of fingering. This is because you need Sport weight doubled for DK and Fingering doubled for Sport so that makes 4 strands of Fingering weight. It can get to be a handful if you trade Fingering for Chunky so I would not recommend jumping up the hierarchy more than 2 steps.
To knit with more than one strand is just as easy as one strand; just hold all your strands as you would one (just check to make sure you loop them all in each stitch until you gain confidence. Doubling is also a great way to create your own variegated colors (by holding different colors) or add tone-on-tone variations or add a punch of color or texture (by holding 2 strands of the same size by different types of yarn. i.e. 2 sport yarns, 1 wool and 1 silk) to a simple pattern. Using this technique can also flesh out your stash, give you new ideas and encourage you to purchase that special yarn that you would otherwise have no idea how to knit up. I love using this with Mohair, since I am not a big fan of mohair given its lightness and fuzziness that loves to disobey my every wish; I combine it with wool to add softness and ease of knitting. This it does something special to both the mohair and the wool. This is one of my favorite tricks for feisty yarns!
Doilies-My initial mental picture is a plastic covered living room bedecked with coarse cotton doilies on every available flat surface, Oh and shag carpet. But that is just a stereotype perpetuated by Hollywood and is no longer the true reputation associated with Doilies. Doilies are cool now- no seriously, cool!
Just check out what Jared Flood has done to help the Doily
on its way up the social ladder with his Hemlock
Ring Blanket. Doilies do not have to be just doilies either. You can knit
or crochet them up to be just about anything these days, blankets (as above),
shawls, bowls (with some setting spray) or adornments. You can control the size
of your doilies by using different size yarn, needles and altering the
patterns. I choose to make some different doilies to embellish a plain tank
top. I choose several doily patterns
and some worsted
weight yarn. However, no matter how small I tried to make the doilies, they
still came out too big to embellish my tank. So I just knit the centers of the
doilies and cast off once I had the size I liked. Some of the edges curled and some
didn't and I like that. I used a 100%
cotton yarn to make it washable and durable as I am a big tank top wearer
in summer and these will get lots of wash time since Potty training is set to
start soon in my house. I originally tried to glue each flower on with fabric
glue but that didn't work for several reasons:
1) the fabric glue ruined the stretch of the rib knit under each flower
2) The fabric glue darkened the tank top under each flower so the glue had to be applied perfectly
3) My little girl could easily pull off the flowers
So I hand sewed each flower which was better in the long run than the glue because I could keep the shape better by hand tacking each doily in place and in the shape I liked.
What I really like about most doilies is the openness of the design which really makes it perfect for summer time projects. You could work up a bunch together for a hem detail or even some to adorn a matching headband. The options are endless and they only take a few minutes for each.
I used to make a yearly trek to Savannah, Ga every year and stroll along River Street with a drink in my hand and the breeze in my hair. Watching the Sunset down there is my favorite activity; still wearing my sundress from the hot summer day, as the sun crept down toward the horizon I would begin to shiver. No one to take my husband's oversized jacket, lest it cover my pretty dress, I set out to make a "little something" to cover my shoulders and add some detail in the back. My River Street Shrug fits the bill with a lovely Star motif radiating out from the center of the back to mesh lace that sweeps around your shoulders in caps sleeves. The River Street Shrug is the perfect complement to any sundress, summer top or bathing suit. Knit in Amy Butler Belle Organic Cotton it is as good for the earth as it is to your wardrobe. The River Street Shrug can easily be converted into a long sleeve cardi by continuing the oval for several more inches and extending the sleeves to your elbow or wrist. The pattern is easy to extend.
A small and medium only need 2 skeins of yarn as pictured and a large only a smidge more with 3 skeins. Grab your US 7 cable needles and this makes an excellent KIP project (Knit in Public). The techniques are easy and the River Street Shrug is a great beginner's lace piece. You will need to know how to knit in the round, decrease, and pick up stitches for the sleeves. This is best wet blocked with lace wires.
Summer is iconic for sprinklers, running outside until dark and playing in the grass but it gets so stinking hot outside some days that I just can't bring myself to bear it after 11 am. So since a good part of these days are set inside, I get to looking around and redecorating in my mind. I love to bring my 2 loves of sewing and knitting together whenever possible but it can be tricky when dealing in Home Décor. Knitting is most often shawls, sweaters and mittens. Clearly it is apparel heavy but just a little bit here and there and knitting lends itself very well to Home décor.
Yes, I am familiar with knitted afghans and pillows but those are so definitely winter items and not a good fit for summer decorations. Flowers, however, are just what we need to bring knitting into our living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Knitted and crocheted flowers are quick, fun and challenging (if you want them to be) and with a few swipes of the hand needle can be applied to pillows, duvets, table cloths, and chair covers to bring the outside in. Should you like wildflower bouquets, you can choose several flower patterns and mix them up together either in one color or complimentary colors. For those who prefer a huge monospecific bouquet might, instead, choose a favorite flower pattern and knit up as many as you need in either one or multi colors. Some patterns are meant to be felted, others are not and I would suggest an acrylic blend yarn to make them washable.
Since my Burlap Transfer Pillow was such a success, I decided to make a complimentary pillow out of the rest of my burlap with one huge, magnificent flower in the center. I used Berroco Weekend in Orchid and #154 from Vogue Lace Stitchionary but I recommend any of these great free flower patterns on Ravelry. You can adjust the size of your flower by your yarn gauge, needle size, doubling your strands and continuing a pattern. Be sure you take into consideration where this knitted piece will be used. Mine is strictly decoration (not too many want to lay their heads on burlap) but given that I have a toddler, it is all washable. I followed the same instructions as for my previous burlap pillow but I left the edges raw to contrast with the neat, precise lace flower in the center. I do not suggest fabric glue for joining knits to Home Décor pieces, hand sew when possible. The amount of use these items are likely to see coupled with the weight of the home décor fabric is not a good combo for glue.
Check back tomorrow for an exciting blog post. Here's a hint: June Weddings!
Now, should you ever come across a "must knit" sweater, t-shirt or vest but you know that your proportions are not going to be standard, have no fear, customizing knitting patterns is no sweat (just numbers). Customizing an existing knitting pattern is similar to creating your own but it is sort of like taking the interstate as opposed to back roads. You will get to the same place, but it will be easier and the signs better.
We start the same: with a good sized knitted swatch in your intended yarn using the dominate stitch of the knitting pattern. Most often knitting pattern will give you the gauge which includes the stitch pattern and the size swatch to obtain the gauge. Start there but knit bigger if you think you should (tight knitters should go for an extra 2-3 in. each way). If the stitch pattern is unfamiliar, this is a good way to practice before the big show. Check your gauge against the pattern and change needles to meet gauge.
Next, take the measurement of the pattern at the neck, bust, arm and waist (most patterns include them but if not you can contact the designer) and do the same for yourself. You can find where you need to alter the pattern where there are differences. If you are smaller in the bust than the pattern but don't want to make a smaller size than reduce your increases around the bust area (vice versa if you are bigger). If you need more room in the hips, than increase more around this area (vice versa if you need a slimmer fit). To determine where to make these changes, carefully read and mark your pattern. Some patterns will tell you how they are knit and assembled (top down, bottom up, in pieces and seamed together). You can mark each area of increase and decrease and determine if changes need to be made and how much. You will use your gauge to determine how much. Example: If you see that the bust of the pattern in the size you like is 34 in. but you want 36 in and the gauge is 4 Sts per in. then you will want to increase 8 more Sts. Pay careful attention to the pattern to determine the method of increase or decrease. Most patterns increase or decrease evenly on both sides and front and back. You want your changes to blend in flawlessly.
Other modifications like length of arm or body are easy since you can add rows until you are satisfied. Just be sure you add a few extra balls of yarn to make sure you don't run out. You can determine how much yarn you will need by estimating that a stitch takes anywhere from 1- 1.5 in. of yarn and multiply that times your gauge and the additional length you want to add and compare it to the yardage on the ball band. This should tell you how many additional skeins of yarn you will need.
Everyone is different; I know I am preaching to the converted but this can become very evident when it comes to knitted sweaters. It is such a bummer to put all your time and yarn into a sweater that is just a bit off, or worse, a lot off. Every knitter wants a perfect fit and why not! After so much effort and evenings spent half-watching movies, you should have a perfect fit. With a little math you can and every time. You can use my Custom Fit Knitwear Worksheet to create custom fit sweaters just for you and your family or use it to alter awesome knitting patterns. We'll start out with a custom fit pattern and then discuss alterations.
To start pick a shirt that you love. It fits just right and makes you feel good. It should be something simple, like a t-shirt or sweater. A basic shape will make it easier to measure. If it is too complicated (like a twisty top or billowy tunic, you won't be able to pin down the measurements as well. Make sure your shirt (we'll call it a muslin) is washed, ironed and rested. Ironing can stretch your fabric, so lay it out on a flat surface for about 30 min for it to recover. Now we measure. You will want to note all the areas on the illustration below and write down all the measurements that correspond. The neckline will be your cast on edge, the shoulder length and armhole length will determine where and how many increases, the bust measurement will tell you when to stop increasing and the waist length will determine how long your sweater will be. We will cover this more in depth as we go along; for now just measure and note. You will also want to note which shirt you are measuring in case you want to come back later and measure for a different neckline or arm.
Next, you will want to choose your yarn and knit a good sized swatch in the stitch you will use for your sweater. Knit a 4 x 4 in. or even bigger if your stitch requires many stitches. Measure your gauge. You will need to know how many sts per in. (we'll call this X) and how many rows per in. (we'll call this Y). Download your Custom Fit Knitwear Worksheet to record your measurements and to help with the math. Below are the instructions:
Step 1: This step determines how many stitches to cast on to match the fit of your muslin. You can adjust this by adding or subtracting sts to match your stitch pattern (if it is a cable pattern add sts, if it is lace subtract).
Step 2: Knit for this many rows to achieve the shoulder length you need.
Step 3: This will tell you where to place you markers for the arm; place 2 for each arm. You will increase inside these markers for the arm and outside these markers for the chest.
Step 4: (X * C) you will need to add this many sts for your arm. (Y * C) This is the number of rows you will need to knit to achieve the arm hole length you need. Evenly distribute your increases over the number of rows you need.
Step 5 (AT THE SAME TIME as Step 4): You can increase on both sides of the arm markers. Inside the markers, you will increase for the arm (see step 4 above) and outside the markers for the chest. You will use Step 5 on the worksheet to determine how much to increase and you will distribute these increases over the same number of rows as in Step 4.
Step 6: This will tell you how many rows you will knit to create your desired length.
We will continue later this week in Part 2. Stay Tuned!!!
In 3 months a better part of the country will see temperatures drop and a fall chill creep into the air. It seems 100 years away since it just got hot but before you know it you will be reaching for your wooly sweaters, silk shawls and alpaca scarves. If you don't get busy now you will be left out in the cold. And why not start now. The kids are home from school and in need to activities to keep them entertained. Teach them to knit or crochet and they can create their own scarves. Once they learn to knit or crochet, they will love the activity and creativity. You can take your yarny projects to the park, soccer practice or sit at a local coffee shop while the kids play at camp. It is a great excuse to hide away in the air conditioning for a while.
I have scoured the internet for some great knitting and crochet patterns that you will want to get started on right away. You have 3 short months to put a dent in your knitting & crochet projects before the cold weather creeps in.
This is an amazingly constructed sweater- Seamless from the top down, making it easy to try on while knitting. This would look great in tweed!
Such a great idea to make a 2-in-1. I recommend a bright Alpaca
This sassy number needs a tonal stripe to make is just right for fall. I can see it in Teal and Lite Green Superwash Merino (pic © Mia Edvardson)
Great for everyone- it can be a stash buster or to bump your cart up to $35/free shipping
Crocheted delight for kids. My little one loves her poncho and so do I. It makes buckling into her car seat much easier than a coat.
I MUST make this in a trendy, spicy color. I am thinking Candied Yarn Mix! (Pic © madelinetosh)
Elise Shawl: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elise-shawl
This is simply amazing and I love it in a tightly wound red as featured.