Cable City!

Finally, finally! My cabled top is ready. πŸ™‚

Cable City! Top

This was the most fun I’ve had with cables till now — never a boring row! I did work on it on and off, though, so that might have been a contributing factor to the not getting bored bit. πŸ˜›

The Nako Saten yarn that I used for this was really fun to knit with. (I’ve bought more skeins to knit something for my mom.) And I totally love the color. ❀ It’s too hot right now to wear this top, but fall or winter would be perfect.

I knit everything top-down. I made the front and back separately, sewed them together, then knit seamless set-in sleeves. I lined all the edges with i-cords.

These are the cable patterns that I used for this top:

Cable City! Top

To look up the pattern names, I referred to my old post which I’d written when I’d made just a little bit of progress on this one, and saw that I’d hoped this top would be epic when done. πŸ™‚ I do think it’s turned out pretty epic (it’s my latest favorite project πŸ˜€ ), and I can’t wait to wear it when I’m out and about! ❀

Sunburst shawlette

The Ashton shawlette that I knit for my mom was made with some beautiful self-striping yarn. I’d originally bought the yarn to make a sweater for me, but switched to a shawl because my mom loved the colors. After the mom-project, I still had two skeins of the yarn left, so I thought I could knit a shawlette for myself, if not a sweater.

So I took short breaks from my do-over pullover, and tried knitting some stacked triangles using short rows, and…

Sunburst shawlette, everyone!

Sunburst shawlette

Sunburst shawlette

I like that it has stripes as well as some texture, and that stripes and texture don’t compete against each other — they work well together. This is just how I wanted it to turn out. I made the textured part using slipped stitches, like so:

RS: *sl, p1*

WS: *p*

Guess you can tell I’ve been practicing pattern writing… πŸ˜‰ I ended up using some irregular calculations for the triangles in this shawlette, though, so I probably won’t attempt a pattern for this. It would have been a great first pattern to practice with otherwise.

I knit the shawlette with larger gauge needles so it wouldn’t turn out super-warm. I love that it turned out light and reasonably airy after blocking. Perfect for chilly mornings or evenings!

Sunburst shawlette

I used just one skein of the yarn for this shawlette, and I still have one left! Maybe a hat?

Do-over pullover progress

The do-over of the old frogged sweater that I’d talked about earlier is coming along nicely. Like I wanted to, I changed the cable pattern for the new version. I’d used a uniformly twisting basic cable earlier — knit a few rows and then make a 3×3 twist on an RS row. This time I’m using a more slowly twisting cable — in every RS row, twist the same 3 stitches to the right by one stitch until the moved stitches reach the end of the cable column, then rinse and repeat by twisting the 3 leftmost stitches to the right again.

Here’s how one of the sleeves looks —

Do-over pullover

Do-over pullover — slowly twisting cable. The ‘edges’ are purl columns with a decorative seed stitch column amongst them.

Cables in the old one —

Frogged sweater

Frogged sweater — regular cable. (No close-ups because the sweater doesn’t exist anymore!)

I also didn’t turn the pattern around on the other sleeve (I did that in the old one), so the sleeves aren’t mirror images of each other. Over the years, I’ve found that I seem to like cabled sleeves better when both of them have the same pattern.

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! πŸ˜‰ (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! πŸ˜› )

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. πŸ™‚ 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… πŸ˜›

Ashton shawlette (or Happy Mother’s Day!)

I finished the Ashton shawlette for my mom a couple of weeks ago, and eagerly awaited her return from a vacation to surprise her with it. And was it a pleasant surprise or what! She loves the colors and the lace in the shawl. πŸ™‚ It’s not as drapey as I would like, but it’s definitely pretty cozy. My mom thinks she’ll use it to keep warm during her next vacation. πŸ™‚ Though today is not the day she received the shawl, I’m writing about it today, so I’ll consider it my Mother’s Day gift. πŸ˜‰ (Alright, alright, I presented it to her on the eve of my parents’ wedding anniversary, so it did end up as a gift, albeit for a different occasion. And today, we gave her handmade cards.)

Ashton shawlette

I spent quite some time blocking the shawl, and the lace opened up really well, but the points are still not to my satisfaction. (Remember that I had the same problem, but much more intensely annoying, with the Lemony shawl? These points are definitely much better than the almost-non-existent ones of the Lemony shawl.) I used the super-stretchy bind-off described in the pattern, and I used larger-sized needles for it. It looked fine while blocking, but did I need to knit the bind-off stitches still looser? I’m thinking of blocking again, because the edge has slightly curled up. (My mom keeps insisting it’s fine.) Maybe that’ll help?

The pattern definitely has been a good learning experience with different lace stitches. I’m more confident with lacy patterns now, and managed to designe a pattern of my own for a top that my sis asked me to make! Yay! It required a lot of testing to get right, but I did it, I designed a lacy pattern. So yeah, yay! πŸ™‚ (I’ll upload photos when I click them.)

Now to tame those pesky points…

Decorative increase: Fern leaf

I’ve been working on a sweater that’ll probably be ready by winter due to the on-and-off nature of my knitting. I’ve gone back to knitting Raglan style sleeves for this one. πŸ™‚ The last Raglan sweater I made had invisible increases for the Raglan. For this sweater, I wanted to add some decorative element there (no, not eyelets from yarn-overs…) After some experimenting, this is what I came up with –

Decorative Increase: Fern Leaf

Decorative Increase: Fern Leaf

I call it the Fern Leaf increase because, well, it looks like a fern leaf to me. πŸ™‚ I’m sure this pattern, or something very similar to it, already exists with a different name, but I’ll just stick to Fern Leaf.

This pattern works well for symmetrical increases, that is, a left increase and a right one that occur in a regular interval. (That way, the fern looks healthy. πŸ˜‰ ) It is worked with one central stitch that acts as the ‘stalk’ of the fern. I’m going to assume that the central stitch is placed between two markers where the increases are made. The increase is worked on the right side (RS) row, and the leafy decoration happens in the immediately following wrong side (WS) row.

RS (increase): *k* till marker, M1R, SM, k1, SM, M1L, *k*.

WS (decoration): *p* till 2st before marker, TL and purl both twisted stitches, SM, p1, SM, TR and purl both twisted stitches, *p*.

Abbreviations

M1L, M1R: Make 1 Left, Make 1 Right

TL, TR: Twist Left, Twist Right

SM: Slip Marker

That’s all there is to the pattern! I’d love to know how you find it. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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… πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰ And you?