Chill in the Air

This month is definitely colder than last month. There’s a chill in the air that’s not really noticeable when standing in the sun, but slowly seeps into your soul if you’re in the shade. The kind of cold weather that’s too hot for a sweater but perfect for a shawl! πŸ™‚

Chill in the Air shawl -- blocking

I knit this shawl for my sis — it looks like she prefers the rectangular ones. Lots of eyelets in this shawl, and I broke them up into repeating thick and thin sections between blocks of uniformly wide stockinette sections. So it’s not too warm and not too airy — it’s just right. (I’m so reminded of Goldilocks when I think that! πŸ™‚ )

The eyelets form a winding texture between them that I just love!

Chill in the Air shawl

Over some serial episodes, I added quite a few tassels and formed fringes at both ends. I’d love to see them fully frayed over time — and it looks like they’re as eager as I am to get there!

So how do you like the shawl? My sis loves it. πŸ™‚

A quick slouchy hat

I knit a quick slouchy hat last week, while a bad case of cold and cough got me bored out of my mind. Binge-watching serials didn’t help much, and I thought I could knit while watching. But then, I didn’t have the energy to tackle the larger projects that I’ve been working on, and decided to knit something small, just a few rows now and then. A hat would be perfect.

So I picked up this skein I had lying around since the vanilla and liquorice cardigan days. It’s a self-striping yarn anyway, and I wouldn’t have to do too much thinking. But I can’t really go without thinking either, so as a compromise, I added a bit of variety by changing the needle sizes every few rows — I used 4.5mm and 6.5mm ones, with appropriate increases and decreases in stitch count. I also added strategic eyelet rows. The needle size changes aren’t evident much in the end, but whatever… πŸ™‚

Slouchy hat

Slouchy hat

Pretty, isn’t it? My sis likes the amount of slouchiness in this one.

Slouchy hat

Lemony shawl

It’s Lemony because of the beautiful bright-yellow color of the yarn. I started this project because I wanted something different to do while I was trying to finish other projects. πŸ˜€ Some of those other projects are still not done, but this wrap finished up pretty quickly.

Lemony shawl

I first started with the top-down approach without any pattern in mind, working short rows coupled with increases until I reached a decent height, and bound off, only to realize that the yarn is pretty heavy, and it stretched the shawl so much that it looked like I was wearing a python. :-/ So I frogged it and started afresh, this time quite narrower.

I still wanted to stick to the top-down construction, and started off with a simple lace pattern at the top. This time, I thought of looking for some inspiration for a lacy bottom edging that I could play with. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not great at designing with eyelets and laces, and I thought I could practice a bit now. I came across the Annis shawl pattern by Susanna IC on Ravelry. The instructions were for a bottom-up shawl, though, so I thought this is my chance to try to convert it to a top-down one and see if it looks the same. I tried and tried with quite a few combinations of yo, k2tog and ssk, but it never really looked the same. Sigh! I’d had enough of searching and experimenting, and just picked the best-looking one from amongst my tries — I had already made much of the shawl and didn’t want to frog it all over again to restart it bottom-up.

Though it doesn’t look anything like the Annis shawl πŸ˜€ I’m still happy because (a) it doesn’t look half-bad, and (b) I learned quite a lot about eyelets from those experiments. It’s at least got me interested in experimenting with more lacy patterns to understand them better. There’s also more to pointy ends than I have read about — they didn’t come up right even after blocking, and have receded back into the body now…

Meanwhile…

My friend KG has asked me to knit a sweater for her. I’ve not worked on a large project for someone who’s not immediate family, but thought I could see how it goes. I haven’t blogged about the sweater’s progress, though, and KG checked with me last week about it. She’s given me a deadline, you see… πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ Now that most of the difficult initial work — thinking of a pattern, swatching, designing parts from reference measurements — is done, the actual knitting is coming along… slowly. I don’t do things for long periods these days because my eyes feel the strain and fatigue at times — my day job also involves staring at a computer screen most of the time.

I like the color of KG’s choice of yarn. (Lavender? Lilac? I’ll just call it some kind of blue.) There’s also one ball of white yarn for some stranded colorwork. And hello, the background polka dots in the picture are also blue-on-white… Coincidence? πŸ™‚

Lavender cardigan

I don’t want to post too many photos of this sweater and spoil the surprise (or shock?) for KG, though, so I still won’t be blogging much about it until she’s seen it. Take note, KG! πŸ˜›

Bulky jacket

Finally. I’ve been wanting to write about this bulky jacket, but properly photographing the jacket was just not happening. This jacket was pretty difficult to pose in and click, and it’s the only one that made me feel like buying a mannequin for displaying it. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’ve done the best I can (without a mannequin, of course), and here it is — It reaches the middle of my waist.

Bulky jacket

This is a top-down jacket, and I knit it without worrying about gauges. That’s what’s fun about bulky yarn. πŸ˜€ The initial, topmost portion is stockinette stitches radiating outward on a base of reverse stockinette stitches. Once I crossed the shoulders, I moved to plain stockinette stitches. Not for long, though. The body was beginning to look too plain, so I added a quick decoration — a trio of unaligned, different-sized vertical lines made of eyelets. They stretch a bit when I wear them, and are more visible then. I also shaped the garment slightly by decreasing a stitch or two along the way.

The edging is plain 2×2 ribbing. I stitched two buttons in the end, too — no buttonhole planning was required since the bulky yarn left holes in the garment big enough for these buttons to fit comfortably in.

I wish I could have made the sleeves longer, but the jacket didn’t really look good then, so I ended them where I did.

Scalene shawl

Yet another post that is delayed due to various reasons, the main one being my laziness. :/ After a bout of creative experimentation for new knitting-related stuff, I’ve just been too bored to follow through on the results. This asymmetric shawl is one of those experiments that was pretty successful as I see it. πŸ™‚

Scalene Shawl
I needed a light shawl for the occasional cool day when a regular shawl would be too unweildy, but not so light that I shiver from the slightest gust. Enter Nako Comfort Stretch sport-weight yarn. Not having worked with elastic / stretchy yarn before, I must admit it was fun getting used to maintaining the correct tension while I knit. Once past that stage, it was a purely pleasant experience working with this yarn. And the results — my stockinette stitches from the yarn are the straightest, cleanest, most beautiful ones I’ve ever made. I’m going to buy more of it soon for a future project!

Scalene Shawl
For this shawl, I’ve used seed stitches for one section, stockinette stitches for another, and an eyelet pattern of my own making for the remaining. For the finishing, I used in-pattern selvedges + garter stitches for two of the edges, and double-crochet along the other. All three edges are of different lengths, and I decided to (unimaginatively) call it the ‘Scalene’ shawl.

And for the first time, I tried the Charting charts that TECHknitter talks about for tracking one’s progress. I’ve never been much into diagrams, and used to make Excel trackers before I saw TECHknitter’s chart-charts; my Excel trackers, it turns out, were too-long versions of chart-charts. I like the alternative, easy-to-track representation provided in chart-charts, especially when it comes to patterns. (And what knitting project doesn’t deal with patterns!) Needless to say, my pattern-heavy projects use chart-charts now!

Eyelet-patterned raglan cardigan – finished!

The cardigan is finally done! For the edges, I finally ended up using a regular 1×1 ribbing. (Nothing like the ol’ ribbing for sweaters…) It went pretty slow because I was busy with other stuff, and then I had to wait for my sister to model it — she was busy with other stuff. She is, by the way, happy with how it looks and wears. Phew! [Wipes sweat off brow.] We finally got some time today to click pictures of the cardigan. Here it is —

Eyelet Cardigan

Eyelet Cardigan

While I was knitting the ribbing, I got to thinking more about the cast-off (bind-off.) For this cardigan, I simply cast off in pattern, i.e. continue with the 1×1 rib pattern while slipping the previous stitch off the right needle. It’s easy that way for top-down sweaters because all borders are knit towards the outside from the middle of the fabric. Whether it is the body and the sleeves — where one just switches to the ribbing after the last main row, or at the neck and the front — where one picks up stitches and makes the ribbing, the bind-off is the last row for all parts of top-down sweaters. Not so for bottom up ones knit in parts — there, the body and sleeves have borders whose bottommost rows are the cast-on rows, but for the neck and front, the bottommost row is the bind-off row. And that means that the cast-on stitch needs to match the bind-off stitch. So it’s research time, since I’m going to make my next cardigan in a bottom-up fashion.

The next step that I want to take is to write pattern instructions. Not for this cardigan — it has some increases that are non-uniform and need careful counting, and since patterns need to be written for various sizes, it’s more than I can handle. Next time I think of a relatively easier pattern, I’ll give instructions-writing a go!

Eyelet-patterned raglan cardigan – the sleeves

The Sleeve

The Sleeve

As I’d decided, I stopped knitting the body of the cardigan when it reached a respectable length, and moved on to the sleeves. My sister, in between trying on the in-progress piece again and again, said sometime that the body actually feels long enough to her. Or maybe she said it because she got tired of hearing “Here, try this on, and let me look and decide about various measurements some more…

I’d originally thought the sleeves would be regular stockinette stitches, but somewhere along the knitting process, I’d started to imagine them ending with the same eyelet pattern near the cuffs. Just a few repeats, no more, but patterned cuffs nonetheless. So that’s what I did, and I’m not disappointed. Now, one sleeve’s done (they’re 3/4 sleeves), and it’s time to think of a border that will look good. I tried out a border in my head and discarded it, and my sister didn’t like another border that I tried for real, but I’m sure I’ll think of something eventually.

While I think of finishing touches, I should mention here an important tip that I picked up after my first top-down cardigan turned out too hole-y at the underarms. The bane of top-down sweaters is a hole or two that usually tends to occur when one picks up stitches at the underarms. This is because the stitches in the column right beside the underarm get stretched way too much. You can see for yourself in a mirror when you lift up your arms sideways — it’s that point in your shirt near the underarm that gets pulled in all directions (literally.)

UnderarmThe trick to avoid the holes, or at least reduce them in my case, is to pick up extra stitches near the ends of the underarm pick-up stitches. If required, pick up more stitches near the ends of the sleeve stitches too. And twist these extra stitches while picking them up. (That is, make the left arm of the stitch lie at the front of the needle.) Very important. Not twisting will create more unsightly holes. Depending on how stretched the stitches are, you may need to pick up 2 or more stitches. Then, to reduce the stitch count back to the expected one, decrement as required. For example, k2tog for right-leaning decrease, or ssk for left-leaning one. If holes still remain, they might need to be sewed up in the end.

Now that this handy tip is out of the way… One more sleeve to go, and then the edgings, and the cardigan will be ready! Exciting times ahead… πŸ™‚