Tag Archives: dovestone hills

Side-to-Side Seamless Construction

The next type of construction I want to look at is side-to-side garment construction. This method is a little bit different and can be confusing the first time you try it. It is however an awful lot of fun to work!

side-to-side
This method starts the cardigan along one edge of the front, works all the way around the body and finishes at the other side of body. There are many more ways of creating side-to-side garments but this is the method we’ll look at here.

You can see an example of this type of construction in the last individual pattern to be released from Dovestone Hills, Capitoline.
(Remember just a few weeks left to use that 15% off coupon HAPPYDOVES for ALL individual Dovestone Hills patterns or the digital book).
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So how does this type of construction work?
total-body

First Front
The key is to think sideways and do all your shaping with short rows! You start along the front edge of one side of the cardigan. Now you work short row ‘wedges’ that repeat all around the neck. The reason for this is so that the top of your neck is smaller than the bottom of the yoke; you want less rows at the neck than lower down.

First Sleeve
Once you have reached the side of the body you put the body stitches on hold. Now you cast on stitches for the sleeve that are added on to the yoke stitches. You work your sleeve from side-to-side but the whole time you also keep doing the yoke short row wedges so you neck will be shaped correctly. When you’re finished you cast off the sleeve stitches. You can of course also use a provisional cast on and then at the end graft both sides of the sleeve together to keep it totally seamless.

Underarm
Once the sleeve is finished you work the body for a little bit without the yoke. This will create an underarm area that can be attached to the bottom of the sleeve for a better fit.

Back
When the underarm is finished you join the yoke and body together and work all the way across the back exactly the same as for the front.

Second Side
The second side is completed exactly the same as the front, working the second sleeve, underarm area and second front of the cardigan. You end by binding off all of the stitches along the front edge.

Extra Shaping
The cardigan construction I’ve described here is a very basic shape. You can however use short rows to modify it for a bit more sophistication!
To create an a-line swing you can work short row triangles along the bottom edge so that the bottom hem is wider than the bust. You can do these either at the front and back or at either side.
The sleeves as worked are straight, but to create a narrower cuff you work short rows with less rows at the cuff so that it’s smaller.


Variations

Yoke only

ravi-yoke

In the cardigan, Ravi, I use a variation on this construction type. I’ve worked the yoke only from side to side and then from that I picked up stitches for the body and sleeves that are worked down from the yoke. With this type of construction it is very easy to see what you’re trying to achieve with the short rows in the yoke!



Side-to-Side Skills Needed: Short Rows
As you can see, the key skill needed for this type of construction is short rows. I often use garter stitch as it really looks great worked vertically! My favorite method of short rows in Garter is German Short Rows. You can see a small tutorial on that here.

Examples

Spoked Cardigan, Interweave Weekend 2011

Spoked Cardigan, Interweave Weekend 2011

Ravi

Ravi

Capitoline

Capitoline

It has been so much fun discussing the construction techniques of The Dovestone Hills Collection! Which has been your favourite? I
f you are looking for more tutorials you can find them on my YouTube channel here or drop me a comment below if there is a technique you would like to see more of on the blog.

Dovestone Hills – The Interview

In case you missed it, January is Dovestone Hills month here in the land of Stolen Stitches. I’m very excited to get to share a wonderful interview with the founder of baa ram ewe LYS, Dovestone & Titus yarns; the lovely Verity Britton.  Carol asked her a few choice questions so that you could meet the person behind the yarn:

 

How did baa ram ewe get started? 

We opened baa ram ewe in North Leeds, Yorkshire, back in 2009 with the main aim of being a yarn store that people felt was part of their community and celebrated Yorkshire’s rich wool heritage, whether that was through local sheep breeds, spinners or the many hand knitting companies that are still based here like Sirdar, King Cole and Thomas Ramsden. It was mind-boggling to discover Leeds did not have a yarn shop that wasn’t selling mostly acrylics, or that had modern, wearable designs. So I left my career in radio production and opened baa ram ewe! I had no business experience and it was a bit of a gamble, but from day one we’ve had such incredible support and wonderful customers, many of whom have stayed with us over the years.

What prompted you to begin your own yarn line?

It was a natural progression really. We have always had a passion for beautiful Yorkshire sheep breeds like the Masham and the Wensleydale, and we always dreamt of being able to showcase these to their full potential in our own yarn. But it was a struggle at the start finding a mill that would spin a small enough amount for us, as we only imagined we would sell a little from our shop. The response we had to our Titus when we launched it was incredible, largely down to Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Review, which meant we sold out within days! I always remember us being amazed at getting calls from Times Square in New York with people asking to buy our yarn! It was then that we took the decision to scale up production so that we could meet demand globally. The idea that our passion for showcasing luxurious Yorkshire wool along with the superb quality of local spinners and dyers now resonates across the world still gives me a massive thrill.

Titus Mini Skeins

Titus Mini Skeins

How many different yarns are you now producing?

We have two different ‘brands’ of yarn: Our original Titus which is a 4 ply/fingering weight and a blend of Wensleydale, Bluefaced Leicester and British Alpaca. Then there’s our Dovestone range which is a blend of Masham, Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester. We have a DK in a lovely shade range which matches the Titus, and our new 5 shades of Dovestone Natural Aran, which celebrates the stunning- and rare- black and brown fleeces of these breeds and makes use of them when traditionally farmers would find them harder to sell.

Your yarn lines are very inspired by Yorkshire, what inspires you about where you live?

The unique combination of landscape and industry is what historically made Yorkshire the centre of the universe when it came to wool production, and what continues to be our inspiration today. On the doorstep of our shop in the city of Leeds are buildings that were once the largest spinning mills in the world, with huge banks of windows and chimneys which still define the skyline. But drive half an hour or so up the road from us and you are in the Yorkshire Dales, a beautiful landscape still peppered with sheep and lush green fields, which provide the fleeces we use for our yarn. All of this inspires us for our signature shade palette, whether it’s the teal green of Eccup, named after the Reservoir up the road from us here or the treacle and ginger mixture of Parkin, a delicious Yorkshire cake which I recommend everyone tries at the earliest opportunity!

The New Yarn Shades

The new yarn shades in Dovestone DK and Titus

Any more in the pipeline that you can share?

Ooo well, we are just about to launch our new products for Spring Summer 2017, so this is good timing! We have three gorgeous new shades of Dovestone DK and Titus: a mustard called Brass Band, a gentle pale lavender called Heathcliff and a perfect Raspberry rose called Rose Window, named after the circular window at York Minster. We’ve used these shades in a brand new design collection from Alison Moreton called the Titus Vintage Collection! The collection is a reworking of vintage Sirdar patterns which we found when given exclusive access to their archive. It’s such a lovely book.

We are also VERY excited about a brand new product we are launching, called Titus pick n mix: a tube of six 12 gramme Titus mini balls in 4 different shade combinations, all inspired by traditional sweets including Liquorice Allsorts, Kali (a Yorkshire word for Sherbert!), Wine Gums and Gobstoppers. Each tube comes with a free fingerless mitt pattern to make too, and they’re a brilliant way of introducing people to our yarns, using just a small amount of each shade, rather than having to buy full 100g hanks.

 

Where can knitters find your yarn?

We always offer a warm welcome to visitors who can make it to our store in Leeds, but we also have an online shop on our website, and now have over 250 retailers around the world, making one big happy baa ram ewe community! We have a store locator page on our site too where you can put in your post or zip code and find your nearest retailer. We sell all over North America, Europe and as far as Japan and Israel, so hopefully, you’ll be able to find somewhere close to you!

Thank you, Verity, for finding the time to answer these questions.


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.

Carol is also blogging about each of the techniques used in the seamless construction of the garments in the collection. In case you missed it the first up was Caelius and Carol talks in-depth about it here.

So which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments and to be one of the first to know about releases, KAL’s and discounts why not sign up to the newsletter. 

Nadia

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?

Save

Save

Save

Selfish knitting

It doesn’t happen very often but I’ve actually knit a sweater that I intend to wear occasionally. It’s the curse of being a knitwear designer; it’s so important to keep samples in good condition that you never wear them! This time I wanted to try a different colour combination for Caelius and make a few little changes.

This version is knit in the colour Chevin with stripes in Coal. This combination is more dramatic than the original Bramley Baths and Yorkstone which is much more subtle. You may notice that the edges are still curling a lot, it was very cold yesterday so I was eager to wear the sweater even though it’s not yet blocked! With a sweater that has rolled edges blocking can be used to reduce the amount of curl, I still leave a little bit but it controls it somewhat.

The stripes on the sleeves are a little different from the original, they start further down the sleeve and the second stripe is narrower. This happened accidentally; I was knitting while traveling and I was so busy talking that I went beyond the stripe position! So I modified and changed the position rather than reknit. It still fits the same way, it just looks a little different.

Are you knitting anything from Dovestone Hills yet?

Viminal

So we come to the final project from Dovestone Hills; Viminal. This sweater uses one of my all time favourite construction techniques; top down with short row set-in sleeves. In this sweater I wanted to blend two very different but complementary colours as seamlessly as possible to create an ombre effect.

The sweater begins at the shoulders with 2 stripes (one for each shoulder) worked from the neck out to the shoulder. These stitches can be left on a holder to form the top of the sleeve later. The stitches for the back and front are picked up from these strips and the shoulder slope is then worked using short rows at each side. The rest of the armholes are worked on each side increasing as necessary. Finally the body is joined under the armholes and worked in the round to the hem. There are a few little finishing details as well; the hem and cuffs are finished with folded hems but they pick up the second colour giving you a little glimpse at the bottom edge. The neck edge is gently rounded (easy to drop down if you want to) and finished with an I-cord edging.

Once the body is finished we go back to work the sleeves. There are live stitches at the top of the sleeve and we pick up stitches along the edge on either side. Short rows are worked back and forth to form the sleeve cap and then the sleeve is worked in the round to the cuff.

What colour combinations do you think you’d do for your version of Viminal?

Palatino


Palatino, the next pattern from Dovestone Hills was a wonderful surprise to me. It was designed as a hat to match the Esquilino cowl. It is knit from side-to-side with the same ribbed cable pattern as the cowl. However as this is a hat I used short rows at the crown to shape it. As with the cowl you begin with a provisional cast-on. The the hat is knit in a series of wedges that use German Short rows to shape the top (these are very easy to work in both knit and purl) until the correct length and it is grafted together at the end.

The surprise came for me at the end; I had finished the wedges and the grafting was done. I was drawing a needle through the edge stitches in the center of the crown when I saw it; the short rows in the cables created a wonderful star flower at the centre of the crown. It’s my favourite part of the hat and it was a complete surprise :-)

If you need help with German short rows or just want to learn more about Short Rows both my craftsy short row class or my upcoming Short Row book would both be useful to you.

 

Quirinalis

We’re already on the second last garment from Dovestone Hills; Quirinalis. This uses one of my favourite construction techniques, seamless set-in sleeves. The cardigan is knit from the bottom up in one piece to the armhole. From there the front and back are worked separately and armhole decreases are worked. Finally the shoulders are joined together using a 3-needle bind-off. When the body is finished the stitches for the sleeve are picked up around the armhole and the set-in sleeve cap in worked using short rows. The remainder of the sleeve is worked from the top down.

First let’s take a look at the the cables; these are not your standard cables! I wanted this cardigan to have a modern, more geometric feel so the cables I’ve used are zigzag and undulating along the front of the cardigan. I love working cables but when a garment is heavily cabled it can make it a bit dense for everyday wear. These add ‘just enough’ so this can become your favourite everyday cardigan.

You can see here as well that I’ve kept the rest simple; both the back and sleeves are worked in Dot Stitch giving it a nicely textured feel which works really well with a nice woolly yarn.

The folded collar is one of my favourite details; it’s worked to double length and folded inwards, then when you’re doing your bind-off you pick up the cast-on stitches and knit them together. this creates a seamless ‘seam’ that has all the stretch of a knitted finish.

Capitoline

Welcome to the next in my Dovestone Hills patterns; Capitoline (view on ravelry here). Remember that today is the last day that you can use the coupon code DOVESTONE (either free euro shipping or 20% ravelry sale).

This sweater is knit completely from side to side. You begin at one side of the front, casting on all of the stitches for the complete yoke and body. From there you work from side-to-side, working short rows at the yoke so that the yoke is the correct size.

When you reach the sleeves you cast on the sleeves stitches provisionally, work the bottom of the sleeve then the sleeve and yoke are worked together. When the sleeve is finished you graft the start and end of the sleeve together for an invisible seam. For anyone who hates grafting a standard seam will work just fine as well!

When the sleeve is finished we go back and work the side of the body under the sleeve. this is worked using a simple lace stitch with short rows to create an a-line shape at the side of the body.

Now we make our way around the back of the body, again with short row yoke shaping. We work the second sleeve the same way as the first and finally we finish at the other side of the front. And magic, you’ve got a cardigan :-)

Aventine

Aventine

Let’s take a look at the first pattern from Dovestone Hills, Aventine. This pattern idea started as a gift. Blue Moon Fibers sent me yarn a couple of years ago, a worsted weight ‘Worthy’ . This yarn in the heavier weight wasn’t made as a commercial yarn so I couldn’t use it for a published pattern. It was so wonderfully soft though that I thought it’d be beautiful to make a gift for my mother who adores green.

I began playing with ideas; I never like doing things the ordinary way (top down simple shawl!) so I began this from the bottom. I started with a standard shawl tab, with standard triangular shawl increases at the center and sides. But then when each diagonal of the shawl was as long as I wanted I separated them. From there I began knitting each shawl side separately; first straight and then angled to decrease. I also added a few buttonholes at the very end to allow the shawl to be wrapped around the front and buttoned at the back. (A common complaint of mine with shawls – it’s hard to hold them in place!).

Just because this shawl is buttoned though doesn’t stop you from using it as a standard wrap or scarf, its happy to do whatever you ask :-)

Baa Ram Ewe knit the second version in Dovestone that was a perfect match for my wrap!