Monthly Archives: October 2009

Fritillary – republished

Last spring Fritillary was published in Yarn Forward.  I’ve updated the pattern and republished as an individual pattern download.

This pattern will be part of my Wearable Lace collection, so if you buy the collection you will automatically receive all 4 patterns that are already in it.

Fritillary $5.95

Wearable Lace Collection $14.95

Knowing your shape

When I started knitting I was very eager to knit myself a cardigan.  I bought expensive wool, had a pattern I liked and I even knit a gauge swatch.  I choose to knit the medium size, as I usually wear a small or medium from a shop.

I knit all the pieces, seamed it together and it was horrible.  The sleeves were like tents and the shoulders caps hung inches off my shoulders.  I was gutted.  Does this sound familiar?  Now looking back I know exactly what I did wrong but at the time I was baffled.  Now to really illustrate my failed attempt I should really include a photo…but I’m not sure I’m that brave!!

There were a couple of main point where I went wrong.  The first was gauge.  Now I did knit a gauge swatch that was correct.  However when knitting the complete piece my gauge went from 18 to 16 stitches over 4 inches!  Now as a novice knitter your gauge is more likely to vary over a large piece and as you relax into your knitting.  To take this into consideration for garment knitted in pieces I would suggest starting with a sleeve and rechecking your gauge as you go.  Sleeves can be left a little larger if it is just a slight gauge difference or reknit if it looks like it will make a big difference.  If you are knitting in once piece from the top down or the bottom up you will need to keep a close eye on your gauge and make adjustments if necessary as you go.

In addition to my gauge was the issue of fit.  When you walk into a shop most people know roughly what size will fit.  Often you need to compromise, maybe the shoulders are just right but it’s a little tight across the chest, but if you go up a size the chest is right but the shoulders are too wide and baggy.  The beauty of hand knitting (that I think is often forgotten) is that it is customizable.  It will fit YOU.  However this does take a little knowledge on your side.

The pattern

When  I (and any other designer) is designing a garment we have to create it to fit standard dimensions.  Generally this entails using standardized tables (probably with some modification from personal experience) to create a range of sizes.  If you are created with standard proportions that is great for you but what happens if you are large busted, have narrow shoulders, high waist, short arms?  None of these are wrong or right, just different than the average.  When you get a pattern and you want it to fit you I would first examine the schematic.  Most, but maybe not all, dimensions will be on this.  If some key dimensions are not there, calculate them (count rows to get waist height, add shoulders and neck together for total shoulders, etc.).

Measure yourself

Now this is the hard part – you need to know your own dimensions.  You only need to do this once, draw them on a little stick figure of yourself and put it somewhere you can find them the next time you need them.  If you have a friend that will do this with you that is great but if not you can also do it yourself.  Get a snug fitting t-shirt that fits well, mark your widest bust point with a pin and measure around yourself at that point.  Repeat this for your waist and hips.  If the shoulder caps fall exactly where your shoulder curves then this measurement will give you your shoulders (if it is off, measure the difference and make the adjustment).  Now you can take off the t-shirt and measure the distance from the shoulder to your fullest bust point, your waist and the widest point of your hips.  Take the measurements from the armhole shoulder height as this is lower (you can see how the shoulder will slope towards the neck).

Now put all the measurements on your little drawing and put it somewhere safe.

What’s my size?

Now that you have all of the dimensions you need to know what to do with them!  This part is dependent on what type of garment you are making, the yarn gauge and of course personal preference.

Ease is the basis of all your size decisions.  For a close fitted garment you will have little to no ease (if your bust measures 36 you knit 36 inch size).  A very fitted t-shirt style may even have negative ease (for a 36 inch bust size you may knit a 34 inch chest size).  For a heavier outer wear jacket or heavy sweater you will have positive ease (for a 36 inch chest you would knit a 38-42 inch size).

The weight of your knitting yarn and they type of pattern comes into this decision as well.  A thick yarn and a very elaborate cable will create a thick fabric, possibly with a little less stretch.  This means that you have to add extra inches to the finished size to make sure it will fit.

Finally, personal preference.  A good way to see what kind of fit you like is to look in your wardrobe.  Find a top in your wardrobe with a similar weight yarn that you like how it fits.  Measure the bust size and use this as a guide.

Now armed with this information you have the tools available to help you avoid the complete disaster that was my first sweater!  If you relative proportions are non-standard your next step is to customize your garment.

In my next post I’ll give a basic outline on how to do adjustments to suit your shape.

Keeping track of shaping in your knitting

When I first began knitting I remember having a very hard time of keeping track of patterns where several different things are happening at once.

Maybe you are working a pattern with an eight row repeat, when you reach the armholes you need to decrease at the armhole and after a certain length you must also began neckline shaping.  How do you keep track of all of these things at once?  This is especially relevant if you tend to have several projects on the go together, so your project might be put down for a week or two and you will need to know where you left off.

I find the best way for me to keep track is to make out a chart.  If I’m being very organised I print a spreadsheet out (like below) but more often than not I just scribble a little chart on a sheet that I keep with the pattern.

This graph might give you an idea of what I mean.  This would be for a pattern with an 8 row pattern repeat (so I have 8 rows listed).  I always put in whether it starts on a RS or WS so I won’t forget.

Next I put in the different shaping with either different colors or symbols.  In this example I use green for the armhole shaping; decrease 1 st each end every row twice and then on every RS row 4 times.  You can see the green cells where you have your armhole decreases.

Next I also want to put in my neckline shaping.  In this case the neckline shaping starts when 4 rows of armhole shaping have been worked.  I’ve marked them with an X so they stand out and won’t be forgotten.

I always make out a quick chart like this before I begin shaping, that way I know how many increases or decreases I have worked and it is very easy to go and check that you stitch count is correct.  It only takes a few minutes but it can save you days of reknitting!

Wearable lace

Wearable Lace $14.95

Over the last few months I have started to see certain trends in what I’m knitting.  Because of that it made sense to put several related patterns together in a booklet.  Some of these pattern have already been published but a couple of them are new.  All patterns can still be bought individually if you only want one of the patterns.  I’m afraid that I won’t be able to offer a discount if you have already bought one of the patterns individually, as you can see the booklet is already heavily discounted.  Buying the booklet you get a whopping discount of $14.70 on the 5 patterns.

In this booklet as well as having these 5 patterns I will have a brief introduction to lace, reading lace charts and working increases in lace.  There will be instructions on how to do several techniques uses in the patterns (provisional cast-on, grafting and short rows).

The full booklet will be released at the beginning of December.  You can however buy the booklet immediately and download the individual pdfs for the 3 patterns available now (Summer Affair, Laced Leaves and Centrique).  Fritillary and Midnight Shrug will both be released in November and you will be sent these patterns if you have bought the complete booklet.  If you buy the ebooket immediately you will automatically be sent the pdf upon release in December.

The 5 patterns available in the ebooklet are:

Summer Affair $5.95

Laced Leaves $5.95

Fritillary $5.95

Centrique $5.95

Midnight Shrug $5.95

Interweave Holiday 2009

I’ve got a new sweater up in Interweave Holiday Gifts Terry’s Sweater.

Before I sent it off I took some photos of it on my dad, quite suits him I think!

I am not sure why but this was probably the fastest men’s sweater I have ever knit.  I think it was about 12-13 days from start to finish it took and that was without rushing!  Probably the combination of easy to knit yarn and simple body and sleeves meant meant that the bulk of it just flew.  The body and sleeves were both knit from the bottom up in the round and were then joined at the yoke and knit together.

When I had sent the original proposal to Interweave I liked the lattice so much that I knit a cotton hoodie version in orange for my oldest son.  I must just find the photos I took and I can post them.  To convert this to a hoodie all you need to do is leave out neck lattice decreases and then just continue up with the neck for the length of the hood.  I don’t think I even worked any increases/decrease for the hood. The top is grafted together and instead of working a shawl collar you work the ribbing around the entire hood edge.

Waiting for blocking….

I collected the Fyberspates shawl from Sue this afternoon.  It was soaked and now it is pinned out on my ‘blocking board’ and stretched out as far as those fibers will go.  Please don’t take too much notice of my rather colourful blocking board.  I have a table in my office that I use for my blocking, it is covered in childrens bright foam number blocks.  They work great for blocking but don’t make for very attractive photos!

This larger version of the Centrique shawl is knit with Scrumptious DK Gold yarn and it takes less than 2 x 1oog hanks and after my very generous blocking is about 54 inches wide and 25 inches long down the spine.  That should retract a little in size once it is off the blocking board.

I should have the patterns taken and the shawl up for sale in a week or so.

I’ve also got another suprise.  I am planning on putting some of my existing lace patterns (and some new ones) together in an ebooklet at a reduced price.  Just waiting for Ravelry to get the ebook in their system and I should be able to share more details.  Very exciting!

Fun teaching

It has been a very busy week and this is the first chance I’ve had to post since running the knitting workshop in Vibes and Scribes. I had so much fun teaching this class, all of the knitters were beginners or almost beginners and everyone caught on so fast! They all walked out of the shop with the basics and really happy.
If there are any of you out there that were at the class – well done you!