Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Feels like forever since I have posted.  It is the longest time since I have started blogging.  The TKGA conference was fabulous and I learned so much about designing, finishing and technical tips.  I was very focused on what would help me for the Masters, but for fun I took a class on Bavarian Twisted Stitches and that was great.  My swatches are working their way home via the USPS so hopefully I'll have them and some wonderful additions to my stash soon.

I am feeling much more confident about designing the sweater - how to shape it and make it fit.  You can see I have one sleeve done and one in the works.  While I'm confident about how to make it fit, I'm still playing with the cable lay out on the back and also the edging for the cardigan fronts.  I took a great class on sweater design where we all got measured.  Not a single person in there was the size they thought they were!  What does that tell you about women and their body issues?

Masters Day was terrific and I learned a lot.  I thought I was done all of my swatches but there are about 5 that they want me to redo and probably another 3 that I want to redo now, because I know I can do better.  Lots of work to do.

For great inspiration, head over to Tami's.  It will be late tonight before I have time to check them out.  I feel disconnected now and need to get plugged back in.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday and First day of the TKGA show!

I am so excited to be in Greensboro for the TKGA Knit and Crochet show.  I went to a show for a day or so about 8 years ago so this is a real treat to be here for five days!  Today is Masters Day where many people who are working on the various levels of their Masters get together for some classes and also feedback on their projects.  I'm also taking a class tonight on couture techniques for knitting.  Can't wait!

Packing for this was an event.  I have taken less luggage for a two week cruise.  But with all of that I didn't bring my camera.  So with a camera phone, at 6 am with bad hotel lighting, here is what I'm working on.
These are the sleeves for my Aran sweater.  I frogged what I had and added another cable on each side of the twists framing the Saxon Braid.  Trying to work this and write the pattern at the same time.  I'd be much further along just winging it and knitting but then I'd never be able to recreate it.

Have a great day - go check out Tami's to see lots of great projects.  I'll catch up with everyone later in the week.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finished Object Friday - Mosaic Dish Towel Pattern

Today I'm sharing the pattern for the dish towels.  This is my first published pattern so I think that qualifies as a finished object.  If you are new to mosaic knitting, I posted a tutorial recently that you can find here

Finished Measurements:   16” wide by 26” long
Louet Euroflax Sport Weight yarn, 270 yards (247 meters)/3.53 ounces (100 grams)
 Two skeins of background color, One skein of contrast color.
Note – three skeins of background color and one skein of contrast color will make two towels.
Size 3 (3.25 mm) knitting needles
Tapestry Needle

Gauge:  In Stockinette, 24 stitches and 30 rows to 4”/10 cm.  To save time, take time to check gauge.
CO 96 stitches.  Work in Stockinette for one inch.  On wrong side row, increase 17 stiches evenly, 113 stitches active.
Attach contrast color and work from chart, repeating the pattern 11 times.  See notes on working mosaic patterns.  After completing row 28 of the mosaic band, work a knit row, decreasing 17 stitches evenly across the row.  Work in Stockinette stitch for 19”.  On a wrong side row, increase 17 stitches evenly across the row.    
Repeat the mosaic border, joining the contrast color and working the mosaic band chart rows 1 through 28.  After completing the band, decrease 17 stitches evenly across the row.  Work in Stockinette stitch for 1”.
BO loosely in knit.  Weave in ends.  Block.

That's it.  Lots of easy, mindless stockinette work and a shot of color to make it more exciting.  
It's Friday so head over to  Tami's

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Work in Progress

Lots going on while I was waiting for my sweater yarn to come in.  I won't bore you with hexipuffs every week but here is a look at them in a basket.  I made this basket myself - my one and only basketmaking effort - about 25 years ago.  I like how it looks but basket making takes blocks of time and isn't very portable, at least not as a novice.

Those hexipuffs are addictive.  Will need a larger basket shortly.  A purchased basket!

Then I started a brioche pattern to do a pillow cover.  Doesn't look like much yet and I am going to run out of yarn shortly, but here it is.

It has a great, springy texture.  I'll put an I-cord around the edge when it is eventually finished.

And my sweater yarn arrived yesterday so here is the beginning of the arms.  I'm about four rows above the ribbing.  There are two sleeves there, just scrunched together.

It is Wednesday - doesn't if feel like it should be Thursday?  That means head over to Tami's to check out her great yarn and all the other fabulous projects.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mosaic Knitting Tutorial

Today I’m posting a tutorial on mosaic knitting.  This is the technique I used to do my linen dishtowel. 

 Barbara Walker is the guru here.  Her first Treasury of Knitting Stitches had several examples of color work with slipped stitches and then she did a full book titled Mosaic Knitting.  For this project I used Band #22 from this book on page 107.

While the designs can look complicated, they are easier than they look since you use only one color at a time.  Barbara always charted these patterns and they are easy once you learn how to read them.  Here is the chart I used:

You can see that the pattern has a repeat of 10 stitches (2 – 11 on the chart) with one side stitch on the right and two on the left.  You read the odd rows right to left – and there are only odd number rows on the chart.  More on those missing even number rows in a minute. 

To start, you first do a couple of rows in your background color.  For my towel, I used the natural linen and did stockinette stitch.  You could do this in garter but I prefer the look of the stockinette.  To begin the colorwork band, you drop the background color – don’t cut it, attach the contrast color (in my case, orange) and begin the pattern.  The contrast color is represented in the chart by the dark squares.  When a row starts with a dark block that means you use the contrast color for that row and the next.  When it starts with just the background block, you do that row and the next with the background color.

In the first row, the first dark block means that we are using the contrast color as the working yarn.  You knit all the dark blocks and slip the background blocks.  Always slip stitches purl-wise and keep the working yarn to the wrong side of the work.  For this row, that means knit two in orange, slip 2, knit 5, slip 2, knit 2.  That would be for 13 stitches.  You repeat stitches 2 – 11 as many times as you want for the width you need.  Now, you turn and are ready for row two – a missing row on the chart.  That is because you don’t need a chart.  Your knitting will tell you what to do.  When you come to a contrast color stitch on your needle, purl it with the same color.  

When you come to a background color, slip it as if to purl.  Since you are working on the wrong side, you would hold the working yarn in front on the wrong side.

Now you are ready for row three.  The first stitch on the chart is a background stitch so you pick up the background color, twisting it around the contrast color for neatness.  

You will knit the background squares and slip the contrast blocks.  

When you get to row four, slip the contrast stitches and purl the background ones.

Some Rules to Remember:
  • Don’t slip your selvedge stitches.
  • The color of the first stitch on a right side row determines the working color for the next two rows.
  • Dark symbols on the chart refer to the contrast color.  No symbols refer to the background color.
  • A stitch never changes its color on the wrong side rows.  All of the color changes are done on the right side.
  • Always slip the stitches purl-wise with the work to the wrong side of the piece.  If you are on the right side of the work, that means the yarn is in back as if to knit.  If you are on the wrong side or even number row, you hold the yarn in front as if to purl.
  •  Twist your two yarns at the beginning of the odd rows to make the carried yarn look neater. 

There you have it.  You only have to read a chart for half the rows with a rest in between.  And you have a complicated looking design with only one color being worked at a time. 

Just a note.  This was one of my first projects in linen and while knitting it looks all crimped and uneven.  After the washing machine and dryer, it softened up and fulled a bit.  It is just a dishtowel after all; who would want to have to hand wash and block it. On Friday I'll post the pattern that I wrote for this towel.

Friday, September 9, 2011

FInished Object Friday

Yes, I'm a bit late today and I can't even blame it on the Southern California black out.  I just finished my linen towel.  I took the leap and washed and dried it by machine and it came out great.  The linen really softened up.

I'm still playing and learning with my light box but I think it will work very well.

My goal is to have the pattern and tutorial on the mosaic pattern done for next Friday.  
In the meantime, check out all the great projects at Tami's.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Good morning!  My wonderful husband built me a light box which I'm still playing with to get right.  I'll have no excuse for bad pictures except laziness.

I'm almost finished the linen dish towel and hoping that it will be done for Friday.  That may be a delusion on my part but we'll see.  I worked all weekend on my Aran sweater design, testing too different colors.  I've decided on the light grey.  First picture is of the front of the cardigan.    I was so excited that I didn't take detail pictures.

This is for my final project for Master Knitter's Certificate and a requirement is that it have a bobble.  I personally don't like bobbles  - and most of you must not either, because when I showed you samples before none of you liked the Diamond and Bobble pattern.  I've swatched about four different bobble patterns and this one was the least offensive.  It is actually growing on me now.  The one diamond is filled with moss stitch, so I used that in the area under the armhole.  The Saxon cable is bordered by a two stitch twist and the center opening is edged by two of the two stitch twist.  About halfway up, I tried a cable edge instead but decided that I like the twists better.  There are two purl stitches between them that leave room for buttons and button holes.  When it got time for the crew neck, I put the twists on a holder and then used them later to do the edging.  I'm still playing with this, but using short rows in places for the curves seemed to work.  I'm more pleased with it in person than in the picture - which is just cropped from a larger picture.  Now I'm going to have to go back and look at it again.

Here is the sleeve sample with just the Saxon braid and moss stitch.  This is in the darker color, which isn't showing up as dark as it is in person.  I'm going to have to play with the light box more.

I also started the the Beekeepers Quilt.  I had heard so much about it on different blogs that I fell for it.  I'm not a sock knitter so had to go buy some sock yarn on sale.  My cat thinks these are perfect cat toys.  I'm trying to do one or two a day.  In a year I'll be done at that rate!

It is Wednesday so you can find all sorts of great creative ideas over at Tami's.  Have a great day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

State Fair Results

I heard on Saturday from the fair.  Blue ribbon (first prize) for vests, Red Ribbon (second place) for cardigan and honorable mention for the shawl.  No prize for the white lace.  It was 30" in diameter and by the time I got it there, the blocking hadn't held on the edging.  However, I am very happy with those results and quite excited!  Twenty-five days until the fair starts.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finished Object Friday

I am so glad it is Friday!  It has been a long week.  I had a meeting or event every night this week after work, and it severely impacted knitting time.  Summer is over, and everyone is cramming in back to school events.  That meant I didn't get to start swatching with the new yarn for my Aran sweater  - let's face it when you get home after a 12 to 14 hour day, who has the energy?  But I did finish the lace swatch and it blocked out to 5" by 8".  I'm debating now if the scarf should be wider, I think so, but then by how much?

Here it is and yes I did miss one bead placement.  If you have good eyes, you can find the spot.

Actually, it is easier to find in the close up.  The beads are optional to the design but I just like the way beads sparkle on lace.

I'm hoping to write up the pattern this weekend and get on to the final design of the Aran sweater.  I did see a really cool design for button band and holes within a cable yesterday so I need to play with that.
Have a great weekend - a long weekend for those in the States.  Be sure to head over to Tami's to see lots of great fiber projects.