More Katherine thoughts

Posted on March 12, 2007 | 1 Comment

Katherine Hepburn finished sleeve

I finished the first sleeve on the Katherine Hepburn cardigan, and it turns out my stitch and row gauge are spot on. How often does that happen? I'm so happy to just blindly knit the pattern without thinking of adjustments all the time, it's a nice rest from my usual self-designed knitting.

The other nice change is being able to talk about the process as it's happening and more in depth. This pattern, like many commercial ones, tells you to increase at both sides of a RS row but leaves it up to you to decide what increase to do. Normally I would always champion the M1 lifted increase. But since it's so hard to see the stitches and rows on black (thin!) yarn, and since the sweater is highly patterned anyway, I decided to do a knit into the front & back increase, worked 1 stitch in from the edge, instead. I don't like this increase in stockinette because it results in a purl bump, but in this highly textured pattern it melts right in. And it's much easier because you don't really have to see what you're doing!

The other pattern instruction that gave me pause was to work the seam stitch in garter stitch. I normally do edge stitches in stockinette, having tried other methods and found that stockinette is the easiest to seam, doesn't leave holes (like slipping the stitch does) and doesn't cause the fabric to buckle at the edge (like garter stitch can). So when I first read that part of the instructions, I thought for sure I would change it. But I decided to try it, figuring that if it would work on any sweater, this would be the one, given the dark color and the super-textured fabric.

I found out that I was half right and half wrong in my assumptions. The edge is fine for most of the sleeve, but when it got to the sleeve cap there is definitely some buckling of the edges. Which is what I had feared, since garter stitch has a very tight row gauge it tends to pull in more than the surrounding stitch. No biggie, though, since this yarn is so stretchy I will just block that tendency right out with a steamer. But it's nice to have tried it and found it works sometimes. If this sweater were stockinette I definitely wouldn't have done it, but in this instance it's pretty much OK.

In other news, this sweater is eating up yarn like CRAZY. I used almost 2 full skeins for this 3/4 length sleeve! I bought 12 and I may end up having to get a few more. I'll know for sure once I finish the back, which I've already cast on for but haven't even gotten out of the ribbing yet.

Oh, and the Kersti sweater is really close to done. The 2nd sleeve is a few inches from completion and I already sewed the first one in. I hope to get a picture up before the week is over.

OH, and I'm this close to done with the pattern for Laura. I decided to offer a wider range of sizes than I usually do because this cardigan would work on various sized people, unlike many of my other designs. So it's taking a little more work to size and edit, I have to go over it more than usual to make sure all the sizes are right. Maybe I'll put it up for sale next week!

Posted in Knitting Techniques

Yet another new project!

Posted on March 08, 2007 | 2 Comments

My weekend in Boston was great, very low key with lots of hanging out with the family. We managed to see the lunar eclipse from a rest stop parking lot, so that was also cool. And I got a lot of knitting done on my Kersti sweater, I finished the back and front and most of the first sleeve.

And then I started something new . . .

KH Sleeve

Instead of starting the project I thought I would start from Lace Style, I started the Katherine Hepburn cardigan. And even weirder, I'm making it in Zara, which is what I thought I would use for the other project . . . but this isn't the same Zara, I went and bought enough black Zara for the KH, keeping the forest green bag for the other sweater. Very logical of me, don't you think? Don't answer that. I have no explanation.

What you see up there is a sleeve, which is what I like to start with when I'm not entirely sure of my gauge. On size 6's my gauge was too big and on size 5's it seemed pretty close but still a tiny bit loose. So I decided to play it safe and start with a sleeve, which is much less painful to tear out if it turned out pretty close isn't close enough. I have about 5" knit and the stitch gauge is good but my row gauge is a little tight, so I'll be adjusting the shaping a tiny bit to make up for that.

Speaking of adjusting, I'm making the 36.5" size and I'm actually really happy with the pattern's proportions. Usually I have to readjust commercial patterns but this one is pretty close to perfect. The only thing I'm changing is adding slight waist shaping, because I think it's more flattering on a close-fitting cardigan.

I'm really enjoying this cable and lace pattern, it's easy to memorize and has a good rhythm. The only thing that's a challenge is that smart me decided to make this sweater in black yarn . . . so it's hard to see what row I'm on for shaping purposes. Which is why you see that green marker on the upper right, it's marking the row where I last increased. This is a trick I picked up somewhere along the way that I rarely see explained, so here goes:

Many patterns have wrong side rows that are what I like to call "resting rows," meaning you knit the stitches as they lay (knit the knits and purl the purls). Plus, most patterns tell you to do the shaping on right side rows. When these 2 factors are true, there is no reason to think about your WS rows at all for tracking purposes. So there are only RS rows to worry about.

In this pattern, there is a cable that crosses every 4th row. Obviously, half of those rows are WS rows, so we don't have to worry about them. So that means that the cross is every other right side row. This is key, because it means that if you're on a RS row, there are only 2 choices: Cross or No Cross. And it's really easy to tell which you're on, because the row right below it tells you (think about how you do seed stitch, it's the same idea).

SO, where am I going with this? The sleeve calls for increasing every 8th row. I did my first increase on a No Cross row. So I know that I have to increase on every other No Cross row. So all I did was stick a locking stitch marker in the No Cross row where I last increased, and when I have 2 cable crosses above that marker, I know I will have to increase on the next No Cross row. Then I will move the marker to that row and repeat the process.

I just read over this explanation and I'm not sure it's very clear . . . let me know if it doesn't make sense!

Posted in Knitting Techniques

All Koigu, all the time!

Posted on December 31, 2006 | 3 Comments

Koigu pullover and shrug

It should come as no shock to anyone that I keep creeping closer and closer to knitting all Koigu, all the time! The Koigu Cashmere pullover is almost done, I have to sew the second puff sleeve in and weave in the ends and then I can wear it.

The puff sleeve came out cute, didn't it? This was my first time knitting and sewing a puff sleeve so I took my time and really thought about it and planned it out. I looked for info about them online and there really wasn't anything geared to knitting, so I ended up looking at sewing resources about puff sleeves, which were also scarce. I finally found something about how to alter a paper pattern for a set-in sleeve to a puff sleeve, and used that concept for the knitting. I first printed out graph paper in the correct proportion, then drew in my sleeve cap using my pattern. Then I cut it out and altered it to have a wider top, glued that onto the graph paper and traced it again, translating the new edge into stitch counts.

Then when it came time to sew in the sleeve, I again tried to look up information in my references, namely the big Vogue Knitting book, which had no specific information about how to sew the gathered edge onto the smooth edge. So I ended up winging it and found a good ratio: 3 sleeve stitches to one body stitch gave it a nice gathered puff. I'm really happy with how it came out and I can't wait to wear this cutie!

The peach blob on top of the cashmere pullover is my newest Koigu project, which is actually a commercial pattern! I know, shock of shocks. I just got the new Vogue Knitting and it has this cute shrug pattern in it:

Vogue Knitting shrug

The gauge is exactly right for KPPPM so I jumped right in and already finished the back and picked up stitches for the body. The instructions have you knit the body even for several inches, which seems really strange to me (I think it would make more sense to have some increases), so I picked up and started a sleeve instead of continuing the body. My plan is to finish the first sleeve and try it on to see whether the pattern might work as written or if I have to alter it. I don't have that much faith in Vogue patterns since they tend to always have some problems, and I'd rather do it right the first time than blindly follow a pattern that seems wrong only to have to rip and re-write it later anyway.

Oh, and in health news I went to the doctor for my knee and he says I damaged one of the disks of cartilage between the leg bones, behind my knee cap, and that is what's causing my varying degrees of pain. I'm on prescription anti-inflammatory, taking Glucosamine to encourage the cartilage to grow back, and doing exercises to tighten the joint. It definitely could have been worse and I'm happy I went to get it checked out so I don't have to worry about it.

Back to the couch to finish my pullover and give my knee a rest!

Happy New Year to everyone! See you in 2007!

Posted in Knitting Techniques, Koigu

Haute Finishing: It's all in the Details. Part 1: Casting On.

Posted on August 20, 2006 | 4 Comments

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Haute Finishing: It's all in the Details, Part 1

Posted in Knitting Techniques


Posted on May 05, 2006 | 0 Comments

So my toe seems to have healed, it is no longer bruised or slightly crooked. I guess I just sprained it. The fire in Brooklyn is over and they've labeled it suspicious and are investigating. The Giotto sweater lies in a heap, waiting it's turn to be ripped out and reknit. I haven't had much knitting time this week due to work knitting, but I did manage to get past the halfway point on Halfobi2. Here's a sneak peek:


This is the first front, which is as much as I can show you at one time without loosing any semblance of stitch detail. When layed out flat this thing is rather huge and the resulting photo has to be gigantic to show anything worth seeing. But you get the idea, you've seen it before. Want a closeup of the stitches? Ok!

I think I succeeded in picking a spring-like color combo, huh? I love it. The colors go together so perfectly that it doesn't even look like there are two strands held together. The best way to combine Koigu with a solid is to pick a color that only complements and doesn't compete with the Koigu. You want a color that fades into the background, letting Koigu do its thing. The only way to find out if it's going to work is to swatch it, I tried out 3 colors before settling on this pairing. It's worth trying a few combos before you pick one, because it really is hard to tell if it's going to work unless you knit it up.

I should have this finished this weekend. . . although with MDSW on Sunday, my knitting time will be cut in half this week. It's worth it though! I hope to meet some of you fellow bloggers there!

Posted in Knitting Techniques, Koigu

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