Through Thick and Thin; The Difficult Yarn

Uh oh, the neck seemed to be coming along nicely, but when I join the left and right segments, the stripe at the join distorts. My sis and I remember owning a striped top a long time ago that distorted similarly, but I’m not really keen to have it remain distorted like this.

Through Thick and Thin top - neck stripe distortion
Is the tension at the edges of the neck too tight, making the fabric scrunch up at the join? I’ve tried to keep the edges as loose as I possibly can without the slack propagating to adjacent stitches. Is there some trick or tip that can straighten it right now, or will it get fixed when blocked? I hope it becomes undistorted. And if it doesn’t despite my best efforts, well, then I’ll just wear it anyway! πŸ˜›

Through Thick and Thin top - ribbing
Meanwhile, this is how the junction of stockinette and ribbing looks with TECHknitter’s tip. The knit stitches have consistently appeared pretty seamless, and the texture doesn’t do a visible ‘step up’ at the ribbing, so that officially makes this tip a staple in all my ribbing transitions! πŸ™‚

The difficult yarn :-)
As for a design for my sister’s cardigan, I’ve tried samples of a few vertical striping ideas that I had, and none seem to look that good. The color of this yarn is just gorgeous, but it doesn’t seem to lend itself well to stripey looks. πŸ™‚ My usual sources of inspiration, Ravelry and Pinterest, don’t have much that we liked either. If I don’t come up with a viable design soon, we’ll probably change our preference to something else. Wish me luck!

Advertisements

Through Thick and Thin – progress

I’m almost done with the back portion of the top, and will finish it with a k3p2 ribbing. I’ve been using TECHknitter’s tip for a more uniform, less distorted fabric at the transition from stockinette to ribbing. And I must say it works great! Ah, the magic of slipped stitches! πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to seeing how the transition looks on this top.

Through Thick and Thin top -- progress

Speaking of slipped stitches, I decided to knit this top as separate front and back parts since I didn’t want to deal with jogless stripes. But I guess I’ll end up dealing with them when I knit the sleeves, since I’m gonna knit them in the round. They’ll be pretty short below the armhole, and I’m really not interested in knitting them flat and sewing the seams.

I love the colors in this one, and like the appearance of the pattern on the reverse side too, and I wish I knew of some good ways of joining seams and weaving in ends so this could be a reversible top! Knitting it the Raglan way would avoid seams, of course, but there seems to be no escaping the weaving in of yarn ends. πŸ™‚ (Also, Raglan is fine for sweaters, but for tops, I like the more fitted shape of non-Raglan construction.)

I’m in the stripey mood right now, and for a sweater that I’m planning to make for my sis, I’m thinking vertical stripes! πŸ™‚ My sister is okay with this. (Hurrah!) I’ve still not figured out much of the details yet, and I’m hoping the design will come to me soon. If it ends up being stripes, I also need to find some compatible yarn that would be a good color match — we’d bought just the main color back then.

Two-tone top

Remember when I talked about my novice self strutting off and buying insufficient amount of yarn for stranded knitting? Yeah, in the same shopping spree, I’d also bought another insufficient set — 3 red and 1 gray skeins of the same yarn that I used for my horizontal cables sweater.

Before I bought the yarn, I’d given some thought to the placement of the stranded knitting areas, but now, I knew that working on stranded knitting would result in a short jacket at most. And the placement I’d thought of won’t do for a short jacket. So instead of stranded knitting, I decided to knit a two-tone raglan top / sweater with the yarn.

Since the top would just be stockinette stitches, I decided to add some ribbing along the raglan shaping, and finish all edges with some simple, discreet eyelets. (Weird combination, I know, but that’s me! πŸ˜› ) This is how the raglan ribbing looks for the red body and gray sleeve —

Blood-and-Ash two tone top

The yarn is worsted weight, which means the progress is so much faster on this! I’m going to name it the Blood and Ash top. πŸ™‚ These colors do make a good combination, don’t they?

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. πŸ™‚

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. ❀ It makes me think of infinity pools. πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ™‚

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! 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˜›

Ribs and more ribs top

Ribs and more ribs I was never sure about any element of this striped / ribbed top that I knit — do I stop the ribs after the chest, do I then reintroduce the ribs after a while, do I shift the ribs instead, do I want a longer sleeve, do I add an edging in a different color or make a different pattern with the same yarn, do I add something else on the body (like crochet flowers or chain stitches), do I use a bottom-to-top construction…

I was so unsure that I didn’t even snip off any yarn after knitting some starter pieces, thinking that if I have to frog the piece, I’ll at least not be left with a whole lot of small lengths of yarn. I didn’t write about it because I didn’t want a series of undo-redo stories over the weeks. I was unsure until the very last stitch. And now that it’s finally done, I don’t even want to think about the what-could-be scenarios! πŸ™‚

And my biggest satisfaction is that the ribbing is neat — there are no ladders! After trying out many, many tricks and tips to prevent ladders, I’ve finally realized that for me, what works is simply keeping the knit-to-purl transition super-duper-ultra tight. After consciously remembering to do that for a few rows, it just became second nature.

Ribs and more ribs I knit this top using:

  • Saddle shoulder method in a top-down manner. My mom and sis are impressed with how much better this fits at the armholes compared to the Raglan method. One small step at a time towards improvement, Mom and Sis! πŸ˜‰
  • 3×3 ribbing for the body, which I inverted (that is, knits become purls and vice versa) near the ribs and then re-inverted near the waist.
  • I-cords in a different color for the edgings. The yarn was of a smaller weight, and I used a larger needle so I could pick up 1:1 body stitches. This is my first time knitting an I-cord, and I’m addicted! πŸ˜›

I added some shaping at the back using short rows, and at the waist using decreases.

I’d bought enough yarn for a sweater, so I still have quite a bit of it left. I’m sure I’ll incorporate it in a good pattern!

Vanilla and Liquorice Cardigan

The Vanilla and Liquorice cardigan is now finished, and is lying in my mom’s closet. It was already done a couple of weeks ago, but I was too lazy to click pictures of it. I eventually ended up presenting the cardigan to my mom on her birthday. (My sister thought that was very calculating of me, but I assure you, there was nothing calculating about it. πŸ˜‰ )

Vanilla and Liquorice cardigan

Vanilla and Liquorice cardigan

I mentioned in my previous post that the neck was really not in a great shape for the ribbing. To maintain the shape of the neck, I had to eventually make some increases at two places on each side of the body while knitting the ribbing. I still don’t really like how it turned out, but my mom thinks it’s salvaged well enough — she really didn’t like me undoing the yoke. So for now, it’s fine since she’s fine! πŸ™‚ For future projects, I think I’ll need to adjust the yoke cast-on stitches to not contain more than 1 stitch for the neck — that should prevent this quandary.

Vanilla and Liquorice cardigan

As for more projects, I’m knitting shawls these days, because sometimes sweaters are just too warm, and shawls certainly finish faster than sweaters. πŸ™‚