Tubular bind off

tubular_bindoff

I’d frogged an old sweater so I could remake it into something that I’d like better and wear more. I’ve started working on the new pullover, and this time, I decided to finish the neck first, instead of leaving it till the end like I always do. 1×1 rib seemed like a good match for this pullover, and in continuing my learning process, I decided to try out something new — a tubular bind off.

It took three tries before I considered it good enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

At first, I tried TECHknitter’s way — 4 prep rows and then grafting. But it ended up making a very visible band at the upper part of the rib. In hindsight (you’ll see after you read on about all my tries), I think it was because the stitches were large, and as a result, loose.

I then undid the ribbing partially, and tried with only 2 prep rows, like many other tutorials say. This looked better, but the ribbing looked oversized. I realized that it’s been so long since I’ve knit a proper 1×1 ribbing, and have become used to knitting 2×2 or 3×3 ribbing using the same needles that I knit the body with, that I’ve forgotten to reduce the needle size for this ribbing.

This time, obviously, I had to undo the ribbing completely. I then used needles two sizes smaller than the main ones, and picked up more stitches than I had earlier, and finally, the ribbing is more to my liking.

I love the seamless look that tubular cast off gives. โค It makes me think of infinity pools. ๐Ÿ˜€ With smaller needles, and resulting tighter stitches, I think TECHknitter’s use of 4 prep rows can make it look even better — the slant at the top where I graft the knit and purl rows would be less pronounced then. I’m not gonna rip out the neck any more though, it’s just something that I’ll try next time! It looks good enough for now, right?

As an aside — I do have to admit that I’ve started liking grafting after using it in so many projects! ๐Ÿ™‚

I thenSave

Autumn leaf top

I’ve always fretted about not being good at coming up with lace patterns. Cables were something that I managed to get better at with practice, and with practice, I managed to turn out good stranded knitting projects too. Lace patterns were somehow, incomprehensibly, not speaking to me at all. Regardless of what I tried, I would come up with something dumb. Most of my learning so far had comprised of eyelets and simple lace patterns. They taught me decreases and yarn-over basics, but they weren’t enough to come up with patterns that bring the lace concepts in my mind to life. I needed more to understand lace at deeper, stare-into-its-soul level. It was when I made the Ashton shawlette for my mom that I came across different lace stitch nuances, and how different stitches work together to give the look one is aiming for.

Yes, yes, I’m getting to the autumn leaf top…

My sister had wanted a loose lace top, and I’d bought some yarn in a color she liked. I decided to put my lace learning to the test, and though I had to experiment quite a bit, I finally managed to come up with a pattern that I’m proud of. Now I’m out of my very own lace box of shame! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Well, I’m actually a bit scared, wondering if I can ever outdo this one, hehe…)

Autumn leaf top

Autumn leaf top

The pattern has some nice texture to it too, which reminds me of leaves in autumn. (Coincidentally, the yarn is yellow as well! ๐Ÿ˜› )

Autumn leaf top

The top is knit top-down in two pieces — front and back, and is exclusively composed of the lace pattern, except near the seams (shoulders and sides.) Seams have a few rows / columns of stockinette stitch to give some stability to the structure of the garment. I’ve used grafting (shoulders) and mattress stitch (sides) for the seaming; the neck, sleeve and bottom is 1×1 ribbing in a larger needle size.

Here’s my sister wearing the top —

Autumn leaf top

This top has given me a firm push into the ‘I should write a pattern’ zone. It’s mind-boggling how much good patterns need to include these days — right from the gauge to schematics with measurements. I mean, if the gauge and the number of rows and stitches are provided, it’s not difficult to figure out how much the piece measures. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, that’s for me to figure out when I finish writing the rest of the stuff in the pattern, and I haven’t even started… ๐Ÿ˜›

Vintage vest

Vintage vest

Vintage vest

Whenever I see this vest, I think it looks like it’s about 50 years too late in the making ๐Ÿ™‚ but I love it! It’s something that I started quite a while back, and with leftover yarn from not one, not two, but three projects! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I’m just really happy with how it turned out. ๐Ÿ™‚

At first, I’d picked only the pink and brown yarn, and I wanted the patterned part to be all over the vest, but from my swatches, I knew the yarn I had would not be enough for that. So I picked additional leftover yarn, choosing to only use it for the sides. In a moment of recklessness ๐Ÿ˜› I started bottom-up though there was the chance that I would run out of yarn before I finish the project… [fingers crossed]

I made the front and back pieces separately, and it was fun moving between four balls of yarn for every row — two for the two sides, and two for the stranded pattern. The pattern itself is pretty simple, as you can see.

That I decided on a closed vest made neck shaping easier. I’m improving with neck shaping, but I’m still not there — there’re always bulges at certain points along the neck no matter how carefully I calculate. Not for garments with a closed front; the necks in these come up pretty nice, regardless of what design I shape them in. When it comes to necks in open fronts that are meant to be buttoned up, though, no amount of modifications to my calculations seems to work… [Scream of fury! Then quite a few slow, deep, calming breaths.]ย  I’ve to research and think a bit more the next time I decide on an open, to-be-buttoned-up garment, and try to figure out what’s going wrong.

Anyway, after all that silent screaming, I should really finish what I started talking about — the neck shaping was a simple gently curving one, and obviously, was joined by armhole shaping after a few rows. I worked each side with three balls, one for the side and two for the pattern, and made an extra stitch along the neck — I would pick up this stitch later for the ribbing.

The back was a similar affair, with a shaping of the neck in the final few rows.

I joined the two pieces using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. I experimented with adding sleeves to make it a top, but I didn’t like how it looked. So decided to keep it a vest / sleeveless top, and added ribbing at the neck and armholes.

My sister said that it’ll go well with a white shirt. (Now when I mention this vest to her, I say “the one that goes with a white shirt.”) I must say I like the combination! ๐Ÿ™‚

Vintage vest

I still have scraps of yarn left from this project, and they will go into a tiny project, or maybe something with crocheted squares.

Tiny triangles top

Hurrah! The top with triangles is officially done; I just finished weaving in the ends a few days ago. I’d kept thinking of this as my first multicolor project, but I realized when I saw an old, old tote bag that I’d knit — that was my first multicolor, stranded-knitting project. Of course, I didn’t know much about knitting then, let alone stranded knitting, and my now-‘experienced’ eyes see a few mistakes, but it’s still a beautiful bag, and kudos to younger me for experimenting so successfully. ๐Ÿ™‚

But I digress. That tote bag deserves a post of its own. (Add to things-to-post-about list — check.) Back to the tiny triangles top. Just in case you’re wondering — it’s the triangles that are tiny, not the top. Here’s a picture to prove that it’s human-sized.

Tiny triangles top

Tiny triangles top

Things looked fine while I knit the front and back pieces. I sewed them together using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. Then, after repeated failed attempts with different bottom edgings,ย I realized that the edging just won’t sit well with this yarn, even if I made it longer. So I’ve just let the current short 1×1 rib be. It folds up but looks okay(ish), and I can always tuck it in.ย The compromises one makes, huh… And nope, the yarn doesn’t play well with blocking either. ๐Ÿ˜€

I still have a lot of the yarn left. I can’t think of any knitting or crochet project I’d want to use it for, since I don’t wear lacy stuff much (nor does my immediate family), and it’s too much work to make a non-lacy project with this thin yarn. So I’m making a different needlework project — a cross stitch one — from it. I still feel bad for the yarn that it’s not gonna turn into a clothing item. Any ideas for a quick-but-not-lacy project?

Ridged sideways hat

I had this beautiful skein of yarn that I wanted to make into a hat, highlighting its colors.

Yarn

I’ve made a lot of hats the usual way (knit round and round), quite a few with variegated yarn, and the colors finally look all mixed and splotchy. Of course, some color combinations look good that way, but I didn’t think this was one such combo. So I decided to knit a sideways hat.

A sideways hat is made by knitting to and fro, where every row runs from the bottom of the hat to its top. Well, not every row; some rows have to be short so the hat curves towards the top. ๐Ÿ™‚ And when I think short rows, I must mention TECHknitter’s short row tutorial. She describes not one, not two, but five different methods of making short rows! And her instructions are just divine! As if they’re not already easy to read, she also provides wonderfully clear illustrations that make your day! I don’t usually make consecutive exclamations, but there you go… ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve learned quite a bit of knitting techniques and tricks from TK, and not just short rows.

So anyway, I made a sideways hat with this skein. I started with a provisional cast on, with enough stitches to eventually span the required length. On every right-side row, I knit 4 stitches less than the previous row before wrapping and turning, until the last short row was about half the length of the hat. Then it was time for a full row on the right side, picking up and knitting the wraps. The next wrong-side row was full of knit stitches too, to give it those purly ridges on the right side. That completed one ‘wedge’. I repeated these steps until the hat was wide enough.

It was then time to join the last row on the needle with the first row (the provisional cast-on row.) For this, I grafted the two rows. Grafting helps join knit pieces seamlessly, or invisibly. The concept therein is to make another row between, and attached to, the two pieces to join; the yarn is threaded between the stitches of the two pieces, and it is threaded in just the manner it would lie if it were knit (or purled.) Since I needed to make the purly ridge for the join, I grafted in a purly manner. (I actually grafted in a knit manner from the wrong side — knit stitches just come easier while grafting.)

That completed the hat. I didn’t add an edging because it looks good as is. This is how it looks by itself —

Sideways hat

Sideways hat

And this is how it looks on a penguin doll —

Sideways hat, Penguin modelI’d originally intended for the ridges to be slanted, but in the course of figuring out the short rows, I forgot all about the slant. No matter, I love this version — how beautifully it shows the colors of the yarn. Penguin does too, evidently. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And you?