Thursday, May 20, 2010

FO: Tuck stitching summer top

I recently finished my self-designed summer top. The main decorative elements are the rows of tuck stitches, which are on only on the front. I wanted the center tuck stitches to provide a little ease for the bust area. I think they ended up placed a little too high, but that turns out not to matter much. In addition to being decorative, the lower tuck stitches compensate for the extra fabric on the sides created by the center tucks. The bottom edge is a narrow folded hem started with a provisional cast-on. I must remind myself to use needles that are 2 sizes smaller for the hem instead of just one size smaller because there is still a little too much flaring. I used my now favorite crochet edging of single crochet followed by reverse single crochet for the sleeves and neckline. The "sleeves" are just gradual increases at the armhole area, with short rows to shape the shoulders a bit.

The yarn is Jaeger Trinity. I think this yarn has long been discontinued, but I love it. I should stockpile some more from ravelry sellers. I knit it in a slightly looser gauge than recommended. The top has a nice texture and drape. It's also substantial enough and provides enough coverage that I don't need to wear another layer under or over it. This might turn out to be one of my favorite warmer weather sweaters.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

WIPs and knitting in the flat

I'm almost done knitting this self-designed simple summer pullover. The yarn is Jaeger Trinity, and the tuck stitching is the main decorative element. The armholes extend outwards a bit to form small cap sleeves. The bottom edge is a a small rolled hem started with a provisional cast-on. All I have left to do is the neckline edging and a few more loose ends to weave in.

I've also been working on the two-toned shell from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2010. I'm using Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. At 6 SPI, this is the finest gauge knitting I've ever attempted. It's been going relatively quickly, probably because it's mainly stockinette, and I love knitting with this yarn. I will most likely add the same bottome lace pattern as an armhole trim.

It seems de rigueur these days that patterns knit from the bottom are knit in one piece and then split at the armholes. I'm not sure why this is so, except that perhaps designers cater to modern knitters, many of whom don't seem to like seaming. Many knitters will convert a pattern in pieces to knit it in the round. Not I. This pattern is written as knitted in the round, but I decided to convert it to knitting as flat front and back pieces because I prefer to do it that way. I'm not sure if there are many other knitters like myself, but for some reason, I feel compelled to list my reasons for preferring to knit my garments in pieces and sewing them up:

  • I knit English style, and I use long straight needles so that I can rest the right needle on my forearm. This allows me to release my right hand to throw the yarn without expending any energy to keep the right needle level. I can knit and purl at the same speed.

  • It's a lot easier to change yarn and weave in ends if there's a seam to hide a multitude of sins.

  • If I have to rip back, then I'm ripping back one half the amount, or one quarter the amount in the case of the cardigan front pieces, as compared to knitting seamlessly.

  • I think that seams really do stabilize a garment in many cases and can prevent strange stretching over time.

  • I don't like carrying large pieces on the needles. Smaller pieces are more portable. Also, it feels like I am making faster progress as each piece gets done.

  • One can try on a garment as one goes along if it's knitted in the round, but sometimes I find that annoying because I have to take all or parts of it off the needles to do that. I find it much easier to use a finished well-fitted sweater of a similar shape, drape, and weight and just hold the flat pieces against it and use that as my sizing and shaping guide.

  • With a flat piece, I find it easier to get an accurate width measurement and a really good gauge measure after a few inches have been knitted.

  • If it's a pullover with a lot of stockinette (which I sort of like) I will be doing both knitting and purling, which is a lot more interesting than knit, knit, knit, especially since I do both at about the same speed.

  • Finally, I really don't mind seams, and I find the straight side seams to be satisfying to do. They go quickly, and the speed I gain from the first three reasons more than makes up for the little time I spend on side seams.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


If you like Rowan yarns, I see that has a 20% off sale today. I'm thinking I might like some Summer Tweed to try.

The latest Interweave Knits summer preview is up, and I think I might actually purchase this issue. I haven't bought this magazine in a while because none of its styles appealed to me. My favorite garment is the Ambrosia cardigan, but I think I would eliminate the ribbing at the waist.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Parasola is finished!

I just finished up Parasola, from Nora Gaughan Vol. 6.. I love the look of the circular ornaments on the front. That's what sold me on buying the booklet when I saw the sample at Stitches West. The yarn is the recommended Berroco Pure Pima. It's very soft and has a nice sheen, but it is a bit splitty to knit with. The finished sweater has a very nice drape and I'm very happy with the fit.
I changed the shaping of the sweater from an A-line to the standard decreases-at-the-waist shaping. I also started with a 2-inch narrower circumference at the bottom because I didn't want too much positive ease. I modified my sleeves to be slightly puffy. With the flat sleeves, this sweater was just too tight at the shoulder joint because the gathers at the neckline pull the upper bodice inward and makes it quite narrow at the top. The puffing gives me a nice comfortable ease at the shoulders.