Tag Archives: adrift

Three Beautiful Spring Knits to Inspire You

Talamh

Around now I start dreaming of Spring knits that I can reach for on cold mornings. I still need that touch of wool to get me out the door and ready for the day ahead. So, for today’s blog post I thought we could take a look at three of my favourites:

 

Talamh

Talamh is a timeless, textured cardigan from the Four Elements collection. The open lacework in the yoke creates an interesting fabric to look at and to knit. Talamh is knit from the top down in a light-weight yarn with some slight shaping for a flattering finish. This means that it is a perfect cardigan to fend off the cooler days and looks just as stunning with jeans or a dress.

 

Dark Pearl

When I knit for Spring or Summer, I like to have lace or openwork in the pattern and Dark Pearl ticks all of my boxes. The stocking stitch back and sleeves provide the comfort of relaxed knitting that will keep me warm while the elegant scalloped front adds a dramatic flair that is intriguing to knit.  The cowl neckline allows this cardigan to look elegant while closed but also falls beautifully in a waterfall while open. Knit in a fingering weight yarn I know this cardigan is light yet warm and perfect for transition seasons.

 

Adrift

As the warmer days of Summer start to roll in, I like to move to lace weights and Adrift is a beautiful cardigan that can be worn two ways. The long front panels allow this cardigan to fall elegantly to the side or to pin closed like a shawl when extra warmth is needed. This is also a pattern that allows the yarn to really shine as the stocking stitch would look beautiful in variegated/ semi-solid yarns as well as solids. The shape is perfect for pairing equally with dresses or vest tops in late Spring /Summer.  The pattern also comes with both short sleeve and ¾ length sleeve options, so you can tailor this to suit your Summer season.

I hope I’ve inspired you to think about those Spring garments that help you get the most out of your knitted wardrobe. What are your favourites? Or have you knitted one of these cardigans?  Let me know in the comments.

Top Down Raglan Construction

Dovestone Knits
In August 2015 I released the book, Dovestone Hills, that coincided with the release of baa ram ewe’s Dovestone DK yarn. Up until now these patterns have only been available as part of the book but over the coming weeks I’ll be releasing the individual patterns one at a time!
Until the 14th of February if you use code HAPPYDOVES you’ll get 15% off any of the Dovestone individual patterns or off the digital book.
As an extra special bonus from baa ram ewe you’ll also get a discount code for 10% off their Dovestone DK yarn for the same time period. That code will be available when you purchase the patterns or digital book.

So watch out for all the patterns, there will be a new one added ever couple of days!

(And the code works for all of them…..)

Top Down Raglan Construction
This seemed a perfect opportunity to talk a bit about different types of seamless construction as there are 4 different seamless methods used in Dovestone Hills. The first that I want to talk about is top down seamless raglan. This was traditionally the most common method of top down knitting as it’s very easy to knit. It doesn’t always create perfect results but with a little bit of knowledge you can easily adjust patterns to suit your body and taste.

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Caelius is the sweater in Dovestone Hills that uses this shoulder construction method. It starts with a cowl neck, uses short rows to shape the back of the neck and then uses raglan increases on either side of a decorative seam. This decorative seam continues down into the a-line body and forms the focus of interest for the sweater.

Top Down Raglan Techniques

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A ‘raglan’ is a shoulder construction where the sleeves come all the way up to the neck. For a raglan to fit correctly you would typically increase/decrease on each side of the body (and at the front and back) and on each side of the sleeve on every right side row or every other round if working in the round. This gives you 8 increases (or decreases).
If you are knitting from the top down the raglan seams are all increases but if you were knitting bottom up the will be decreases.

Increase Types
When you are creating your raglan seam you can use any type of increase that you wish. The most basic would be a kfb (knit into the front and back of the stitch), for a bit more refinement you could have a mirrored M1R and M1L and if you were working on a lace cardigan you might opt to use a yo (yarnover) increase as it would fit with the lace.

Adrift uses kfb increases

Vivido used M1L and M1R increases.

You can change the way increases look also by adjusting the number of knit stitches between them. This creates a wider or narrower ‘seam’ along the raglan.
While it looks like Caelius uses yarnovers as the increases it’s actually got a centered decrease with yarnover and then the increases are outside this. The reason for this is so that the pattern can be continued down the body when you no longer need raglan increases.

Rate of Increase
In a traditional raglan you start with neck size you want, increase the body and sleeves every second row or round until you get close to the body stitches you want. The final stitches are then cast-on across the underarm. For some body shapes this works just fine BUT on the smaller and larger end of the spectrum you can have problems. Most body shapes don’t increase the size of their upper arms as fast as the bust size increases. This means that for larger bust sizes using traditional construction the sleeves will be too large.
To correct this I write my patterns with two rates of increases. You start with full raglan increases and then move on to alternating body only rows with full raglan increases so that everything fits right at the bottom of the yoke. If you do a few calculations you can adjust for yourself in the same way to fit a pattern exactly to your body shape.

Short Row Back of Neck

If you work your raglan straight down from the neck you will have the front of the neck the same height as the back. However generally a neckline is more comfortable to wear if the front is a little lower than the back. You can do this by adding short rows across the back of the neck. If you’ve got pattern work near the neck you can even put those short rows lower down the back as well.

Underarm Cast-on

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When you are finished the raglan yoke increases you still need to join the body together. You do this by knitting to the sleeve, using a tapestry needle threaded with waste yarn and slipping all of the sleeve stitches on to the thread (tie it together so you don’t loose the stitches!!)
Now you need to join the underarm. To do this neatly you cast-on the underarm stitches and then join up the back of your body and work on to the other side. Typically patterns suggest a Backwards Loop Cast-On. This is because you can keep working in the same direction with that type of cast-on. However it doesn’t really give the most stable underarm area. I prefer to turn to the wrong side of the work and using a Cable Cast-On which is lovely and firm.

Examples
I’ve designed an awful lot of top down raglan sweaters and cardigans. You can find them on here.
Dusty Road and Santa Rosa Plum are both from last summer and I’m still in love with them both :-)

Santa Rosa Plum

Santa Rosa Plum

Dusty Road

Dusty Road

Do you have a favourite?

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Adrift

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For those cool evenings this soft, airy, elegant draped cardigan will keep you warmed and stylish. Knit from the top down, this cardigan has long front panels which are designed to either hang down forming a cascading front or be pinned across the front like a shawl.

Sample is shown knit with short sleeves but directions are also given in the pattern for 3/4 length sleeves.
Measurements
To find the correct size to fit, measure across your high bust line (approximately under your armpits) and use this as your size guide. Due to the stretchy nature of the fabric you should use this actual measurement; if you are between sizes knit the smaller size.
To fit bust: 30 (33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54)” / 76 (84, 91.5, 99, 106.5, 114.5, 122, 129.5, 137.5) cm
Length: 17.25 (17.5, 18, 18.25, 18.5, 18.75, 19, 20, 20.5)/44 (44.5, 45.5, 46.5, 47, 47.5, 48.5, 51, 52) cm.

Materials
Malabrigo Lace (100% Baby Merino wool; 470 yds/430m per 50g skein); /Color: Glazed Carrot, 16;
Short Sleeves: 2 (2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4) skeins.
¾ length Sleeves:  3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins.

1 set US 6/4mm dpns (if magic loop not used for sleeves)
1 US 6/4mm circular needle, 40”/100cm length (or longer for larger cardigan size)
Tapestry needle; stitch markers; waste yarn.

Gauge
25 sts/38 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in st st blocked.