Monday, May 30, 2011

The reindeer socks are finally finished!

I suppose they became a UFO (unfinished object) lying there in my knitting basket waiting for me.  But now I finally got my act together and finished them.

The pattern is a Drops pattern and can be found here.  They were tried and found true on a all day kajak trip yesterday. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just shoot me.... (or the Ullared sweater part 1)

I think I have just started the biggest project of my life.

I've always been interested in history, and especially historic knitting and quilting.  I can wonder about a antique quilt or sweater, who made it, who used it, how did their lives turn out.  There are plenty of antique dress clothes, but unfortunately working sweaters have, literally, been worn to threads.  This is a lumberman's sweater from late 1800's. 

It's tightly knitted in a two color stranded knitting, almost water proof and wind proof because of the small guage. 

I got the yarn in the mail yesterday, a Scottish combed wool 3-ply.  Surprisingly soft.  In natural wool colors unlike the original.

I don't have a pattern, but let's not let that stop us, eh?  I think I can figure it out along the way, with some guidance from a couple books on antique fisherman's sweaters.

I started with a swatch, to get a guage, get a feel for the stranded pattern and figure out what size needles I am going to work with.  The original is probably knitted with 1 to 1 1/2 mm needles, but there ARE limits!

The swatch is made with 2 mm needles, which made a thick, tight, supple fabric.  Knitting an entire sweater with 2 mm needles feels.... scary!  So, I'm going to make a swatch with 3 mm needles too. 

The 2 mm needles gave me a guage of 44 stitches and 42 rows in 4 inches (10 cm).  Let's not do the math to find out how many stitches are in a whole sweater, at least not yet..

Monday, May 9, 2011

Storm progress

I've been working on my Storm-at-sea quilt today, got half of it pieced...

...when I realized that I somehow messed up when cutting the diamond blocks.  There are not enough of them to make the size I wanted.  Very disapointed!

So now I'm trying to figure out how to solve the problem.
Pieced border?
Just give up and make it a throw?

Shadow knitting

Have you tried shadow knitting?

It's a simple way of knitting that gives you a interesting effect.  Looking at the fabric fram above, you have horizontal stripes.

When you change your perspective, the stripes turn vertical.

Isn't that cool?

It's the knits and purls that do it:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What gives me joy today

Some days huge things happen that give me joy.
Some days little things give me joy.

Today is a day of small things.

A beautiful geranium bud just starting to to bloom.

A mint plant, smells wonderful!

A geranium baby stolen from work.

My knitting basket, with a sweater in shadow knitting.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fair Isle fingerless mittens - a guide

I've been reading Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting.  A wonderful book for people like me, interested in history and knitting.

Inspired, I came up with this:

This is not a pattern, but a guide to making your own pattern.

To figure out how many stitches to cast on:
Make a swatch and figuer out how many stitches you knit per inch. Measure you wrist, add 1/2 inch for movement.  Multiply the measurement, in inches, with the amount of stitches per inch you get from your swatch.

Example:  My wrist is 7  inches + 1/2 inch for movement = 7 ½ inches.  My swatch gives me a guage of 8 stitches per inch.  7,5 times 8 = 60

I casted on 60 stitches and used 2 mm double pointed needles and 2-ply scrap wool yarn.

The ribbing is a knit2 purl2 rib, using the background color for the knits and a mix of the other colors as the purls.  I ribbed 8 rows.

The first pattern is a simple zigzag, this pattern repeats 3 times on the mittens, I put it first, last and in between the larger patterns.

The bigger patterns are from the book, but there are so many nice free Fair Isle patterns to copy.  Search pattern databases such as Ravelry (this requires a log in id, but it's free)  and Drops (write "fair isle" in the search box).  I added a couple stitches to accomodate the patterns.

The pattern in blue is a OXO pattern.  I used the X to give me a starting place for the thumb increases.  I added first one stitch in the middle of the X and then one stitch on each side of the first increase every other row for a total of 14 extra stitches.  The other pattern continues on both sides of the thumb increase. 

I kept trying the mitten on my own hand, figuring out how many stitches were needed and how long to knit before putting the thumb stitches on a thread.

On the next row, I just skipped the thumb stitches and joined the remaining stitches together, continuing the knitting until I got the length I wanted.

The top edge is made like this:
Row 1 (that is row 1 of the edge, it's probably your row 145 or something ): ( k2tog, yo ) repeat until end of the row.
Row 2: knit all stitches.
Row 3-7 knit all stitches.
Cast off loosely.
Turn the edge at the k2tog, yo row and sew the hem to the back

Pick upp the stitches on the thread and pick up as many stitches as you need from the back of the thumb.  I picked up 6 stitches.  Knit as far as you want.  Cast off.

Good Luck!