Keeping Track

The fun part of creating your own designed item is that you get to do what you want. But there is also the other part of such efforts – like keeping track and adjusting as you go. For me, this ends up being a messy process of numbers/erasures/writeovers and just plain ol chicken scratches. Here are the working sheets for example:










Part of the challenge of this pattern is incorporating a couple of kinds of stitch patterns along with stockinette, and having one of the stitch patterns be the ‘side seam’ along the cardigan. As you can see on the second diagram I literally put the stitch counts in for each part to make sure that my counts were correct. Plenty of correction along the way!

Then when I got to the sleeves I debated how to knit them – flat with seams, or in the round? Because I wanted the same treatment I used on the side seams to be at the inside of the sleeve, I’ve opted to knit them bottom up and in the round, and had to do the same kind of calculation incorporating that as well as the cable along the front of the sleeve. In trying to figure out many to cast-on, and how to do it in pattern as I did for the body, this time I literally charted out the row, which got more complicated because I wanted the sleeve and button band edges to be done with a tubular cast-on which wears better. (I didn’t do this on the body because it adds some bulk with this thick yarn.) Seriously, there are days when I wonder…

Now that all the hard math is hopefully done, except for the front edges, I decided to copy over the work more neatly on a new sheet of paper so that I might be able to read this in the future and know what I did.

Note: The project template page is from an older but quite good book on designing and knitting your own sweaters called Sweater 101, but many other design books also have them. This one has three different templates, depending on whether you are doing a drop-shoulder, raglan, or set-in sleeve style. There are also sizing options so you don’t have to start in the dark if you don’t have every detailed measurement!

As far as the said sweater goes, the body is done and blocked:

and now I am onto knitting the sleeves in the round – I’ll do two-at-a-time on a couple of circulars I think. Thankfully this is bulky yarn so it should not take forever!

Izzie says, can I help?



Too Hot to Knit?

Tomorrow at Casa del Revknits it is going to be close to 100 degrees. Yikes! That is hot for this time of year.

My progress on my own design that I’m calling the Simple Cable Cardigan is going well – I’m almost finished with the lower body and about to split into the fronts and backs:

The yarn is Ecological Wool, which is a woolly bulky yarn that is light, which will make the sweater cozy and fun. But having a lapful yarn on one’s lap in this heat is not fun. But I had just finished my last charity hat with about 2 yards of yarn leftover:

So I looked in one of my bags and realized that I had put aside a couple of fingering weight yarns to play with. One is yet more handspun awaiting some purpose – a lovely merino-silk blend from Ellen’s Half Pint farms,

and a new-to-me indy dyer called The Dye Project. It’s a Corriedale/Nylon blend in a color that glows!

I think the cardigan is going to have to wait for cooler weather!


Hats and Pompons


I’ve been going through my stash to knit some charity stuff – our local hospital has a great need for all kinds of items. With the leftovers from the Op Art Baby Blanket, I’ve been knitting a few bright hats! With the exception of the red and black hat (Pattern: Bumble by Tincan Knits) these hats are me winging it with color, using some size information from Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl McPhee.

At first, I wasn’t going to put pompons on all of them, but I really can’t resist. With the Clover Pompon maker, it’s easy and they look great – the secret is to fill them up all the way, and to tie the knot tightly.

Plain ones are obvious, but I like to play a little more. If you wind together 2 or more colors together – you get an easy multicolored one:

If you switch out colors while keeping one dominant one, the effect is a subtle striping, which works especially well with a striped hat:

The most distinct is to switch single colors in and out:

This hat will go to the baby that got the blanket – because it’s so much fun! It’s like a party on the top of the head!

What are your favorite ways to use pompons?



Adapting for Another Size

A number of years ago I made a series of sweaters for Afghans for Afghans as a way to work through grief. One of them was my own design, with a fairly simple cable on the front of the cardigan. Behold the simple cable cardigan!

Afghans for afghans sweaters

I’ve wanted to make it for me for years, I had even bought yarn (Eco-Wool) to make it, and as I was wondering making a cool weather sweater for me for fall, I realized that I had everything I needed, including one side of the chart of the front cable:

The best part – I could swatch immediately and make sure that my gauge matches the first sweater (it does).

Now onto the math to plan my cardigan! I think Brandy is going to help!



Last week I discovered some unplyed singles and made yarn. Realizing that I had spun and knit a hat and fingerless mittens in a similar colorway, I made a cowl to go along with them:

Really fun to get that all done in a week!


Test Dye

I finally took the plunge and did some test dyeing on Saturday with natural dyes.  For this experiment I decided to do both bits of fiber (wool and alpaca) and different protein yarns. The fiber was put into a mesh laundry bag:

And I added ties to the small mini skeins I was dyeing ( note that the blue note has a different order of skeins than in the photo):

My dyeing station was out on my deck to reduce exposure to the chemicals. I mordanted the fiber and yarn overnight in a pot, then set up the dye station – a small side table topped by a Cusimax cast-iron electric hot plate topped by a large pot I got at Salvation Army. Other materials used included the mordant,  Botanical Colors liquid dyes,  a wooden spoon and measuring spoons:

I decided to try for an Aqua color which uses both the Saxon Blue dye and the Myroloban extract. It wasn’t clear what percentages of each I should use, so I did equal amounts.

The pot started looking like this:

and ended by looking like this:

There was still a fair amount of dye leftover – and I think it was mostly the Myroloban, so I’ll have to take a look to see if the proportion should be changed in the future.

After rinsing, I dried the yarn and fiber on the balcony:










The results – definitely variation among the fibers dyed:

and the yarns as well:

This is some nitpicks Wool of the Andes – and it turned out with a blended look: