Category Archives: Knitting Patterns

BEST FRIEND DORM SWEATER

Just because I was eaten by work doesn’t mean there was no knitting going on at my house. I’m very proud of Elder Daughter (currently in 11th grade), who completed her first sweater this weekend past.

She used Sirdar Denim Ultra – a very soft and lofty cotton/acrylic blend, and made a top-down original, working off a pattern produced using Sweater Wizard. She did all the steps – knitting gauge swatches until she had one with a hand she liked, then calculating the gauge; taking body measurements; inputting the gauge and measurements into SW, and then tinkering with different lengths, eases, and necklines until she got the look she liked (comfy/baggy, for relaxing after class). Then she cast on and followed her pattern to the end.

alexsweater.jpg

She had a ton of fun working through the project, and is extremely happy with the end result. Her only criticism of the yarn is that it’s a bit splitty, and being composed of lots of individual smaller strands, does have a tendency to catch on things.

I know that Sirdar Denim Ultra is discontinued now, but in the chance anyone has a similar lofty acrylic/cotton blend that works up to 10 stitches/12 rows for 4 inches or 10cm, Elder Daughter shares her pattern:

My Best Friend Dorm Sweater

Needles: 11, 13 Size: 40 Gauge: 2.5 sts 3 rws per 1″ Estimated Ydg required: 718

Note: Sweater begins at the top back and is worked to underarm back. Cast on sts are picked up to work to front underarm. Remainder of garment is worked in the round.

Start Back

With larger straight needle, using a provisional cast on 54 sts. Work Back to Underarm Working back and forth, work until piece measures 10.5″. Place sts on a string.

Front Shoulder & Neck Shaping

Slip 19 left shoulder sts (from cast on string) on needle, skip 16 back neck sts. Slip 19 right shoulder sts onto needle. Using two balls of yarn, begin neck shaping as follows: Inc 1 st at neck edge every 3 rws, 3 x. Then every 4 rows, 5 x. Complete Front Top: Work even until piece meas same as back. Slip front body sts onto scrap yarn.

Work Sleeves.

Pick Up Sleeve Sts [pick up 4 sts, skip 1 row] 4x [pick up 5 sts, skip 1 row] 2x to shoulder. From shoulder down [pick up 5 sts, skip 1 row] 2x [pick up 4 sts, skip 1 row] 4x (52 sts) ending at underarm. Place marker, join.

Shape Sleeve

Work 1 rnd. Begin sleeve shaping: Dec 1 st on each side of marker every 2nd rnd 6x, then every 4th rnd 8x. Cont in pat st until piece meas 15.5″[rnd 46]. Change to smaller needles for cuff. Sleeve-to-Rib Dec Round: [Work 7 k2tog, work 6, k2tog] 1x, work 7. Work rib for 10 rounds[3″].Bind off 22 sts.

Work Body

Slip front and back body sts onto a circular needle. Work across front, pm(side seam), join front and back, work across back, pm (beg of rnd). Join. With larger needles, work one RS row. Begin shaping: Dec 1 st each side, every 20th rw 1x. Inc 1 st each side, every 20th rw 1x. (108 sts).Cont until piece meas 14″ from underarm

Work Ribbing

Body-to-Rib Dec Round: [Work 8, k2tog.] 10x, work 8. (98 sts) Change to smaller needles. Estab rib pat: *

K2
, P2. Repeat from * to end. Work 10 rnds.[3″]. Bind off.

Standard Neck Finishing

With smaller circular or dp needle and RS facing, pick up 16 sts from back neck, pick up 22 sts from left neck edge, place center marker, M1 st in center, pick up 22 sts from right neck edge, place end of round marker. (61 sts) Rnd1: work in k1, p1 ribbing to within 2 sts of center marker, ssk, pm, k1, k2tog, work in k1, p1 ribbing to end of round. Rnd2: work in estab ribbing to within 2 sts of center marker, ssk, pm, k1, k2tog, work in estab ribbing to end of round. Repeat rnd 2 for approx. 1″. Bind off loosely in ribbing.

alexsweater-body.jpg alexsweater-sleeve.jpg

Pattern and schematics produced using Sweater Wizard software. Pattern copyright 2008, Alexandra Salazar and Kim Brody Salazar.


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MORE DOODLING – DUCHROW HEART EDGING AND MITERING A CORNER

Yet another spate of horrific deadlines has washed past me. I survived (barely), but I haven’t had much time to knit.

I’m still working on that second lace doodle scarf – the one composed from patterns out of the Duchrow books. (Which I wholeheartedly recommend for lace fanatics.) I’ve finished the center panel, and have applied the edging down one long side, around the narrow end, and am now starting back up the second side:

Doodle2-2.jpg

The edging in this case is a bit unusual. It’s predicated on motifs that are somewhat heart-shaped, and sports a very deep dag. I managed to fiddle around with the attachment rate so that I ended up at the corner of the body at the exact narrowest point of the edging repeat. That let me miter the corners using short rows. I wish I’d stopped and taken pictures of that process, but I’ll try to explain it sight-unseen.

To miter the corner on this symmetrical lace, I knit this edge onto my main body piece, either directly calculating the pick-up ratio, or (more likely) fudging the rate of attachment so that I ended with my narrowest row (the valley between two points) at the exact corner stitch of the corner I wish to go around. Sometimes this is easy – if I’m a stitch or two off, those can be made up in the last repeat just before the corner. If I’m more than just a couple of stitches off, I might need to rip back a repeat or two and space the required extra rows or skips (or k2togs) over a larger interval. Obviously, it’s easier to fit an edging with fewer pattern rows into any given arbitrary length than it is to fit a longer one, because there are fewer rows between the widest and narrowest points of the repeat.

Back to actual performance. Arriving at the narrowest point of my edging in concert with reaching the absolute corner of my piece, I’d knit the next right-side row of my edging as usual. BUT on the return journey instead of working all the way back to my attachment point, then purling the last stitch of the edging together with one from the body, I’d wrap that attachment stitch (Row 2, Column A). Then I’d turn the work over and head back on the next right side row, taking care to keep my place in the edging pattern. I’d continue like this, but on each successive wrong-side row, I’d work one fewer stitch, and wrap the next one prior to turning. All of this is complicated of course, by the increases and decreases that form the lace pattern itself. Liberal fudging is usually in order to maintain the pattern as established – or a close to it as is possible.

Eventually I’d reach the row that on a “normal” repeat, would be the longest row – the one that happens in the centerpoint of one of the protruding dags. My actual row worked is much shorter than usual because I’ve been wrapping stitches to form my miter. It’s at this point I go back and begin the second half of my short row sequence, working each row one stitch farther along, waking them up one by one by working them along with the wrap at their base. If I’ve done this correctly, by the time I have reawakened all of the stitches on my row, I’ll also have arrived at the narrowest row of my lace edging repeat, and all of my previously parked short row stitches will have been reincorporated. When that happens, my mitered corner is complete, and I can I begin resume working the edging along the side of my piece.

I’ve taken the liberty of translating the historical pattern from Duchrow into modern notation. She doesn’t present a mitered corner for this edging, but I’ve noted where the short row shaping should take place so you can see (more or less) what I am writing about. Click on the image below for a full size pattern. Apologies for the file size.

Heartedge.jpg


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ADVENTURES IN LACE – CORRECTING HISTORICAL LACY KNITTING PATTERNS

First, let me reassure everyone that it’s not my intent to supplant the need for the books I’ve been using lately. I strongly recommend that people interested in lacy knitting buy them, and have as much fun learning to knit from them as I am having. But I also realize that it’s very daunting for many people to think of picking up a book in a language they don’t read, that uses an unfamiliar symbol set, and that can be full of unexpected differences from modern knitting logic (to the point that would be thought errors in modern books.) Mining these older works for usable ideas is a form of Extreme Knitting* – one that I want to encourage more people to try. I hope these posts help bridge some folk over to beginning their own explorations.

For example, here’s another lace redaction problem that turned into a paddle in the lace design pool.

I intended to finish out my black lace doodle scarf with an edging appearing in the same book as the insertion strip I modified for that scarf’s body. But the graph of the original isn’t quite logical, especially when compared to the engraving of the finished item. The edging I originally intended to use is on page 12 of Knitted Lace (Kunst Stricken) by M. Niedner anf G. von Reden (edited by the Kliots).

la89.jpg

If I flat transcribe each of their chart symbols into modern notation, I get the chart in the diagram below (click on it to make it bigger).

doodle-chart-2.jpg

Although the chart looks good, it’s not knittable. Not if you want to make an edging that looks like the one in the engraving. Why? Look at each graphed row. If you count up the increases (the YOs) and the decreases (ssks) you quickly find that there is an equal number of both in each row. That’s perfect if you’re doing a straight insertion with parallel sides, but this is supposed to be a dagged edge that grows and shrinks to make triangular points. In order to achieve the ragged left edge indicated the stitch count should increase or decrease each row. But you say – it does! The little points are being formed. MY point is that there is no indicated origin for those extra stitches. For Row #3 to have one more stitch on it than Row #1 as shown, there should have been an increase without an accompanying decrease on Row #1. Otherwise that stitch just appears **poof** without a logical point of origin.

Now, if we want to knit this edging, we need to add that missing stitch. In fact, if you look at each and every line of the pattern you’ll see that there’s either a missing increase or decrease on each illustrated row. We need to put them in.

There are several ways to make those corrections. The simplest is to leave out one strategically placed decrease somewhere on the “growing” rows (working the two stitches involved as plain knits); and to introduce one somewhere on the “shrinking” rows (working two stitches shown as being knit as a decrease). Another fix would be to make up the differences on the interstitial even numbered rows. A third method would be the most noticeable – incorporating the corrections as visible additions to the pattern, in effect, editing the pattern to introduce new eyelets or decreases to form a new design element.

Now. Where to put them? Again looking at the original graph, you’ll see that the only area that changes is the part I marked in blue on the original chart (the original didn’t differentiate these stitches in any way). Other than growth/shrinkage in that triangle area, the pattern is stable, alternating between two design rows – the unshaded area shown on Row #1 (repeated on 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, and 29) and the unshaded area shown on Row #2 (repeated on 7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, and 31). Obviously all of our edits will have to take place within the blue shaded area. Even with those edits, the heavy reliance on only two pattern rows means this will be an easy pattern to memorize once we’ve noodled out the missing bits.

doodle-chart-3.jpg

I began experimenting, although I fizzled out along the way, having lost enthusiasm for using this particular trim. But I did produce a workable solution. It relied heavily on the original chart, modifying some of the decreases on the growing rows and adding some on the shrinking rows:

doodle-edge-1.jpg

As you can see, while my yarn choice for this swatch isn’t optimal (something lighter would conform better and shape itself more fluidly up and over the triangle’s point, it did work. It also looks pretty close to the original. But not spot on (more on that below).

I tried mightily to make the mods on the off-side rows piece work. In theory it sounded feasible. It would have worked, had there not been the flower-like quad eyelet structure in the point of the base triangle. Adding/subtracting stitches at the right edge (the straight edge) perturbed the placement of the eyelets and lost the symmetry of the feature. Putting those additions/decreases elsewhere by adding/subtracting stitches along the pointed edge of the base triangle produced a clunkier, more clumsy finished product than did working them in on the right-side row.

I have to admit, I didn’t bother with the increases as a decorative element step. To do that I’d have had to widen the pattern as a whole, and introduce a YO after the slipped stitch on each odd numbered row. On rows 19-31 I’d have had to follow that YO with a double decrease (removing one stitch to compensate for adding the YO, plus the one stitch needed to shrink the base triangle . Contemplating the result of the second scenario above made me think that this arrangement would also run afoul of that quad eyelet flower. Between that and realizing that this pattern wouldn’t be a good compliment for the design of my scarf’s body – I ran out of enthusiasm to keep fiddling with it.

Oh. The final straw? Examining the pattern chart, the engraving of the pattern and my knit sample, and realizing that the chart as shown (and that I knit – more or less) wasn’t the same as the engraving. That clearly shows four courses of eyelets, not three, plus two rows of crocheted picots. The picots I can forgive, especially since I can noodle out just enough of the blackletter-style German text to determine that instructions for it were included in the prose. Here’s the chart for my successful result, plus a posited modification to produce the four-course pattern shown in the book’s original engraving. I haven’t actually knit up the lower chart yet, but it should work.

doodlechart-2.jpg

I’ve run into these problems several times in these older pattern collections – both the lack of correspondence between chart and illustration of the final product; and basic charting that doesn’t produce the desired result. I’ve found it’s always a good idea to proof the rows in a pattern – especially one from a historical source – before sitting down to knit, and if knitting from an unproven vintage source, to always swatch up a repeat or two before committing oneself to a full project in any given stitch pattern.

Oh. What did I end up using on my doodle scarf? More on that another day.

*Extreme Knitting – A mythical book I long for instead of what’s on the shelves now. A compendium of highly challenging patterns in lace, colorwork, garment shaping and tailoring, tiny gauges, historical recreation/redaction – whatever, so long as each project is as magnificent and as timeless to wear as it was an inspiration and learning experience to knit. I hereby reserve this title, but will surrender it to any author who can prove his/her work meets these conditions.


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CASHMERE LACE SHAWL – EDGING

First some administrivia. This site has been under massive attack by comment and trackback spammers. As a result, we’ve totally disabled the trackback feature, and limited comments to the most current three months of entries. We have also instituted a protected comment system to prevent automated spammers. But since the crowd that visits here doesn’t appear to be particularly chatty, that shouldn’t be a problem. We’ve also updated the software that runs the infrastructure of the blog. Whenever a set of changes of this magnitude is undertaken, it’s going to take a few days before the bugs are ironed out. Apologies if you tried to consult these pages and received error messages. We’re working on the remaining nits as fast as we can. Special thanks to The Resident Male – website plumber extraordinaire for the hours he’s put in wrestling with these issues.

In the mean time, knitting here continues. Friend Dena was amazingly generous, giving me more of the gray/brown laceweight (also lots of other goodies destined for some more over the top lace projects). Ten thousand thanks! Armed with more yarn, I’ve been able to work more on the big shawl. I’m rounding the second corner and on the back stretch. No pix today though. It looks much as it did last week – a frothy gray/brown object too unblocked to see well.

It turns out that this blog serves a major purpose that I didn’t really appreciate. I am not good at cataloging what exactly I do as I fudge my way through a project. I was careful to note the pattern and mechanism I was using for the framing area of my shawl, but I hit on the edge pattern during the time I was stretched thin and didn’t have time to write up entries. Therefore I didn’t make a written note of where that edging pattern came from and what I did to adapt it for this piece. Since I also set the shawl aside when I ran out of yarn, I had lost my thread of continuity on it. It took me a couple of days before I located the edging that I was using and figured out what I had been up to. It’s from the first volume of Duchrow reprints compiled by J. and K. Kliot:

Duchrow.jpg

I now present it here as much to keep track of what the heck I’m up to for myself, as for others to play with. The pattern I’m using appears on Page 35. The original stumped me a bit because I couldn’t make the last three stitches work out correctly. According to the book, every row should end with a SSK, K2 – but I find that working the “uphill” side of my triangular dags, I have room for a plain K3, and on the “downhill” side as the dag narrows back, I have room for a K2tog, K3 – but need to cheat, working the first stitch on the wrong side return row as a P2tog to preserve the visual line of the narrow strip at the outer edge of my border.

cashlace-edge.gif

The pattern page (click on image above to get a readable version) presents both the original from the book, translated into modern notation; and my adaptation.


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MORE ON EDGINGS AND CORNERS

More on corners. Using the same principles as the knit-from-center-out framing area on my cashmere shawl, I’ve done a mitered corner on my baby blanket. I do envision a problem now that I’ve finished a credible Corner #1, but I’ll deal with it when I get there.

The first step was to make sure that I had a multiple of my halved row count available as live stitches along each edge of the project (small alerts should be going off in your head right now, but back to this later). That’s because using my chosen attachment method, two rows of edging are attached to each live stitch.

Edging right side row: S1, work pattern to end
Edging wrong side row: Work pattern to penultimate stitch, SSK last stitch together with a live stitch of the body.

I can modify this scheme by doing an occasional SSSK on that wrong side row, in which one edging stitch is knit together with two live stitches from the body. This can be periodic and eat a specific number of stitches over a given number of repeats (eating one on every Edging Row 1, or every third row of the edging, for example); or it can be ad-hoc – performed when the thing looks like it’s getting too ruffly. Being a precise person, I prefer the former, but I’m not above sneaking one in using the latter should it be necessary. You’ve probably already figured out that working an edging onto a top or bottom of live knit stitches (or stitches rescued after unzipping a provisional cast on) will require a different rate of attachment than would knitting them onto stitches picked up off a side edge formed when the body was knit, via a standard slip stitch edge.

The second step was to identify a clear diagonal on the existing pattern, and use that as an alignment point on which to build my mitered corner. In this case, the edge of the eyelet diamonds makes a good divider.

So having stated the obvious, I violate it all. To create the live stitches all the way around my perimeter, I picked up, putting all the new stitches on a large circ. I started at the end of a knit-side row of stockinette, placed a marker and picked up a stitch in every slip stitch selvage on my left side edge. Then – not having done a provisional cast-on because I was on vacation and was lazy – I placed a marker and picked up the same number of stitches as I had stockinette stitches across the bottom of my half-hitch cast-on row. Then it was a march back to the origin point, placing a marker then picking up stitches along the remaining selvage.

It so happened that my picked up stitch count on each side is pretty close to a multiple of my edging row count-halved. So I started knitting my edging a couple of stitches in from my corner, commencing with good old Edging Row #1. (Hearing that ding-ding alert again? You should be.)

All is well and good (sort of). I’ve now marched around three of my four corners, and am in the home stretch, working my last straight side. Then it’s on to the final corner and graft.

Now. Why all those alerts?

Because my corner as graphed works best when I commence it on the tallest row of my point – not on Row #1, which is the shortest row. I didn’t figure that out until I was well along. Not wanting to rip it all back a THIRD time, I’m going to see if I can somehow cheat on Corner #4.

Here’s a graph for my modified edging and corner, with attachment instructions (done to the best of my ability).

whiteblanket-corner.jpg


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FRAMED AGAIN

The shawl continues to grow. My center is very busy. I thought that the final piece would look nice if I used a complementing frame of a more solid appearance. After paging through lots of lacy knitting books and pattern treasuries and finding nothing that sang to me for this purpose, I decided that I needed to make up my own design for the framing phase of my gray-brown shawl (curiously gray in natural light, and tobacco under artificial light).

I came up with this (click on it to see it full size):

shawlframe.jpg

[LATE BREAKING NEWS: THE DIAGRAM ABOVE WAS CORRECTED ON 28 JUNE 2007]

I’ve taken the center diamonds that fill the interstices in the basketweave and framed them with an interlace two “lace bars” deep (the basketweave sports lace bar elements that are four deep. I’ve got the thing charted out alternating solid centers with the diamond centers, but I am not sure if I’ll keep that or fill all of the centers with diamonds. Also, no I didn’t make a mistake. I deliberately cut off the pointy tips of the outermost lace bar unit. I charted it out both ways, but preferred the snipped tips. I think that one tiny detail adds to the horizontal focus of the piece.

A real challenge in doing this was to come up with something that would work well both with my established stitch count (upped one to 52 per repeat to aid symmetry, with the required stitches to make the repeat count and corner picked up on one plain knit row just before commencing), and that would play nicely with a mitered corner. To do that, natural YO diagonals had to figure somewhere in the pattern, where they were (mostly) unaccompanied by a corresponding decrease. If they were coupled with a decrease, my stitch count for that round would not increase the required 8 per round needed to keep the piece flat. I’ve marked those lines in blue and green on the chart above.

By placing my mitered corners at the indicated points I minimize the need for fudging counts – almost all of the green and blue squares bear a YO anyway (those that don’t I’ll work as one on the corner-most repeat). There are a few rows that might pose problems. – 27, 31, and 35, also 61 and 55. On each of these a blue or green YO needed to form the mitered corner is paired with an immediately adjacent decrease on the “will be worked” side of the diagonal establishing the miter. I’m not quite sure what to do about them, and will experiment when I get that far. Right now I suspect that I’ll need to do a double YO at that those spots in order to maintain stitch count.

So I will continue knitting along, working my framing chart until its completion. After that I might work another row of double YO beading to finish off the section. And then comes choosing (or devising) a suitable edging.

If anyone out there has done this – designing an original lacy knitting mitered corner on the fly – and is now experiencing a forehead-thumping moment because I’ve missed something obvious, please let me know. Your input would be most appreciated!


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INCHING ALONG

Incremental progress on two fronts here at String. First, demolition is now complete. Evil Upstairs Bathroom having been stripped to the studs now finds itself at the very beginnings of build-out. The new larger shower stall has been roughed in, and the electrical work has commenced.

bath-during-1.jpg

You can see the back side of the lath and plaster hallway walls on the outside of the old wall studs. 1912 was deep in the pre-drywall and wallboard era.

And on the lace shawl, I’m over the half-way mark in constructing the center square. I’ve got only one or two repeats left before my proportions are correct.

cashlace-2.jpg

I’ve also tinkered a bit with the base pattern, translating it to modern notation and changing the directionality of some of the decreases to sharpen the lines. Since I have changed it somewhat and recharted it, I present the result. Click on the thumbnail below to load a full-size image

Basketweave.jpg

The original lacy knitting pattern from The Knitted Lace Patterns of Christine Duchrow, Vol. 1 was presented as part of two complex garment designs – a blouse and a baby bonnet. There are a couple of complementary simple band patterns for cuffs and trim on those projects. Except for the introduction (which provides a helpful translation key for the symbols and some historical German knitting terms), the entire book is in the original German. From what little knitting German I’ve picked up I can tell that even the written parts aren’t quite modern German knitting prose. Like English knitting instruction writing, the conventions in German have changed over time. While I can work from the chart to make my own whatever, it would be an extreme challenge to knit up the blouse as described.

As the editors of this book report, Duchrow was among the first to try to present knitting instructions in graphical rather than prose format. Her graphs are idiosyncratic by modern standards and use letters and symbols rather than visual representations to represent the various stitches, but with a bit of practice her graphs are not difficult to knit from. Even though I can’t read a word of the accompanying text in Vol. I, I’ve ordered a couple more books in the same Duchrow reprint series. If you’re a lace and lacy knitting fiend, you’ll probably have as much fun with Duchrow patterns as I am.

I feel confident I can share the design because I have redacted it into modern symbols, included corrections, and made changes in the pattern as presented. While my graph is recognizable as a variant of the historical one, there are subtle differences. For example, the original graph for this pattern treats all double decreases identically, rather than using directional variants to reinforce the framing diagonals. It also didn’t continue the pattern into the edge areas as uniformly. It also didn’t show the even numbered row. But for all of that, the pattern works up quite nicely even in the original presentation. I share my redaction/correction as tribute to the original author and the editors of this work, to help other knitters bridge from modern instructions to historical ones, and to encourage others to seek out these patterns and knit them without fear.

Interesting conjecture – from the style of the blouse, it would not be a stretch to say that it was current around the time my house was built. For all I know, the original owner may have sat in the library 95 years ago, knitting the same lace patterns I am working from today.


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VINTAGE LACE SCARF; ATTACHING LACY EDGINGS

Where have I been? Well, first there was another spate of chaos deadlines at work. Then it was the beginning of Birthday Week here in the String household (they’re 7 years and four days apart, with mine shortly thereafter). And to no one’s surprise, I came down with a nasty flu. I’m not yet over that, but it was severe enough for me to stay home from work – something I’ve done only once or twice in the last decade.

For her birthday Smaller Daughter specified a volcano cake with a dragon on it. She’d seen something like this in a kiddie cookbook – a bundt with a lava-like frosting poured on, surmounted by some clever marzipan decorations. So we made it a group project. I provided the almond bundt with chocolate fudge filling and frosting; Older Daughter molded the marzipan dragon with dried apricot wings; and Smaller Daughter made the strange red prey creatures fleeing from the dragon:

dragoncake.jpg

We were hard pressed to find enough room for the obligatory birthday candles. The cake and decorations however were delicious.

I did manage to make some progress on the lace scarf over the last week. I’ve finished the center section, and am working on the edging. It looks like I’ll have to nip into my third skein of Prescott, so I’m thinking of pausing on the edging to go back and add some length to the center section before lapping all the way around that last end. I’m not doing anything fancy here – no mitered corners. I’m just working an extra repeat of the pattern into the cornermost stitch, and hoping that all blocks out evenly later.

vintagelace-4.jpg

UPDATE:  THE LACY EDGING BELOW IS NOW AVAILABLE AS A SINGLE PATTERN DOWNLOAD UNDER THE KNITTING PATTERNS LINK, ABOVE.

I played with quite a few edging patterns for this piece, finally settling on the “Doris Edging” from Miller’s Heirloom Lace. It has framed diamonds that exactly complement the center strip. Along the way I noodled up another simple triangle-based edging. This is an out-take, and didn’t end up on the scarf. I won’t violate copyright by sharing Miller’s edging (which I used more or less verbatim), but I will share this one:

sawtooth2-pix.jpgsawtooth2.jpg

Knitting an edging onto a piece isn’t difficult. It helps if your base item was worked with a slip stitch selvage edge, but that’s not mandatory. I’ve knit edgings onto all sorts of things, including finished fulled/felted items, fabric, and leather (some caveats on this, below). The slip stitch selvage just makes it easier. Your chosen trim will have one edge intended to hang free. Most often that will be dagged, serrated, scalloped or otherwise fancified. It will also have one (more or less) straight edge. This straight edge is intended to be sewn or knit onto something else. I like to work in the orientation shown in the knit sample and pattern, above – with my straight edge on the right, and the fancy edge on the left. My right-side rows commence from my main piece outward, and my wrong-side rows return from the fancy edge back to the main piece.

Sometimes I use a provisional cast-on and start my lace rows immediately after it. Other times I use a half hitch cast on, then work one row back in knits before starting my lace patterns. There’s no real rhyme or reason here. It’s just what I felt like doing at the time. In this case, I cast on using half-hitch, and worked a row of knits back, working my first join on that “back from cast-on” non-repeated row. The join itself is quite simple. When I get to the last stitch of my wrong side row, I pick up one stitch in the edge of my established body piece. Then, for the first stitch of my right-side lace row, I either knit or purl that newly created stitch along with the next stitch after it on my needle.

If I knit those two together I end up with a neat column of stitches that makes a visual line between the lace edge and the main body. While this can be desirable in some cases, it does present a different appearance on the front and reverse of the work. Because the lace center of this piece is garter, and the edging is also presented in garter, I used a P2tog to make the join. The front and back of the work look less different from each other if I purl the join instead of knit it. Once the join is made, I work out the remainder of my right-side lacy row, and the return row. So long as I remember to pick up one stitch at the end of every wrong-side/return row, then work that stitch together with the next one as I begin the right side row, my edging will be firmly united with my main body.

Sometimes you don’t want to do a row-for-row join. Occasionally the stretch of the lace edging or the ratio of the edging rows to body rows isn’t 1:1. This might happen if you are working the edging on smaller needles; or if you are working the edging across a row of live stitches (or across the top or bottom cast-on or bound-off edge) rather than along the “long side” of the work, parallel to the main body’s knitting. In that case you may need to either work additional non-attached lace rows every so often, or pick up at the end of the wrong-side/return rows by knitting two body stitches together, again every so often. The former adds more length to the lace, the latter subtracts width from the body. Which method is used depends on the stretch of the body.

The biggest caveat in attaching knitting by knitting on rather than by seaming is that if you do so, the lace is no longer “portable.” Let’s say in a fit of Suzy Homemaker frenzy, you edged out a set of exquisite hand towels. It’s now some years later, and your children have stained those towels beyond recognition, but the edging still looked good. If you had knit the edging separately and seamed it on it would be very easy to remove and re-apply to new towels. But even if you had run a band of slip stitch crochet down the edge of the towel to provide an easy edge for attachment first, if you had knit that edging onto the towel, removing the fancy lace from the towel will be …problematic.

As far as knitting onto fabric, fulled material or leather – it CAN be done. If the edge can be pierced by a needle tip (or was conveniently punched beforehand), you can knit right onto the edge of anything. BUT the warning about not being able to take the lace off again or adjust it later is strongly in effect. If you want to attach a lace edging to any of these substrates, it’s worth it to work one row of slip stitch or single crochet along the item first, then knit (or seam) your knitted edging onto that crocheted foundation row. The foundation row of crochet gives you a stable, evenly placed line of stitches for the joins, and stabilizes the base item’s edge somewhat. It also (in the case of leather) makes working into previously punched holes easier (a crochet hook is much easier to thread through and grab a strand than is a knitting needle’s tip). Plus, if you think the item being trimmed might shrink, consider seaming rather than knitting on so you can make adjustments later.

So. If you plan on using a lace edging again on another item, or you think your base item might shrink – take the time to seam (collars, cuffs, bed or bath linens). If the edging will remain on that piece, living and dying with the item that bears it – consider knitting on instead (knit counterpanes, scarves). To illustrate this post I wish I still had the denim jacket I trimmed out in knitted lace, or the baseball jacket that used strips of recycled fur interposed with white Aran style heavy cables…

In any case, back to sniffling and a nice lie-down.


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APPLIED STRIP EDGING WITH MITERED CORNER

I’ve played around some with methods of producing and applying the edge finish to the khaki vest. First I tried the separately knit/sewn on band method, using a couple of different approaches to the seaming (fold band longitudinally, sew the band up, then apply it; sew on both sides in one pass; sew on the display side, then do a separate seam to affix the facing side). Of all of them, the last method worked best, but it was the most effort intensive of them all.

So I looked further. Plain I-Cord (knit on or applied) was too narrow to stabilize the edge, and two courses of it would have been too bulky. I didn’t like the way that picking up along the edge then knitting out looked – especially along the curve of the armhole.

Even more experiments ensued. Finally I landed on knitting-on a strip parallel to the edge, then going back and seaming down the free side on the inside of the piece. Doing that I could produce an edge of any desired width, go around curves and even plan on mitering the vest point corner. Here’s a swatch with a mitered corner. Note that I haven’t sewn down the facing on the inside yet, but natural stockinette curl is keeping it nice and neat. (For some, the inside seaming might be optional, but I plan on doing it on my finished piece).

khaki-vest-4.jpg

To miter the corner of this 8-stitch strip, I used short rows. Here’s how I did it:

Applied 8-stitch Strip Facing with Mitered Corner

Start with the public side of the work facing you, holding it with the bulk of the piece on the left, so that you’re working up the right side of the thing (upside down from the picture above). Using straight needles, cast on 9 stitches, then pick up one stitch in the edge of the piece being finished. While the strip is 9 stitches wide, one is consumed during joining, so the part that protrudes is really only 8 stitches wide.

Row 1 (wrong side): P8, k1.
Row 2: S1, k6, ssk, pick up one stitch in edge of swatch
Row 3: S1, p7, k1

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until you reach the corner, having just completed an odd number (wrong side row)

Row 4: S1, k6, wrap and turn.
Row 5: Slip the wrapped stitch, p6, wrap and turn
Row 6: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S1, k5, wrap and turn
Row 7: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, Slip the wrapped stitch, p4, wrap and turn
Row 8: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S1, k3, wrap and turn
Row 9: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S1, p2, wrap and turn
Row 10: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S1, k2, knit the next stitch along with the loop around its base, turn
Row 11: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S the stitch you just knit, p2, purl the next stitch along with the loop around its base, turn
Row 12: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S1, k3, knit the next stitch along with the loop around its base, turn
Row 13: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, Slip the stitch you just knit, p4, purl the next stitch along with the loop around its base, turn
Row 14: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, S1, k5, knit the next stitch along with the loop around its base, turn
Row 15: Ignoring any previously wrapped stitches, Slip the stitch you just knit, p6, purl the next stitch along with the loop around its base, turn

The corner is complete, return to repeating Rows 2 and 3. Optional finish – seam down the inside edge of this facing.

I’ve stated applying this same edging to the armholes of my vest (having previously seamed the shoulders).

khaki-vest-5.jpg

I plan to do the bottom edge next, incorporating the mitered corner on the vest points. But I haven’t played with the buttonhole band treatments yet. Sadly, I have misplaced my copy of InkKNitters. It’s here. Somewhere… Weekend plans include tossing my knitting library to find it.

Oh. Unless a monsoon is upon us, weekend plans also include attending the annual Gore Place Sheepshearing Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. Not a big festival as fiber fairs go, but very local and lots of fun. Look for me with both Elder and Smaller Daughter in tow.


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DRAGONFLY MITTENS – FINISHED PATTERN

UPDATE:  THIS PATTERN IS NOW AVAILABLE AS AN EASY TO PRINT PDF, AT THE KNITTING PATTERNS LINK, ABOVE.

My mis-matched mittens are done. Today I present pix plus a write-up and more reliable graphs. I changed the placement of the decreases on the graph. They’re now shown along the side strips rather than on the triangle that forms the mitten top. This eliminates any confusion caused by the double // notation inherited from the original inspiring mitten blank. I’ve also fixed the pattern alignment on them so that they integrate better with their palms and graphed my thumbs out to be a stitch wider than the hole provided for it in the mitten body. I found that I needed to pick up a stitch at the left and right corners of the slit formed when the provisional stitches were removed. If I didn’t do that, I ended up with a hole at either side of the base of my thumb.

First, proof that the mittens are done, courtesy of overly dramatic Smaller Daughter (code name Sarah Heartburn).

morganmitts.jpg

She does have very large hands and feet for an 8-year old, a sign that she’ll probably inherit my family’s height (at 5’8″ I’m the shortest female in my immediate family). But the mittens are a bit large on her. I’d call them kids’ extra-large, or teen/small woman size.

Dragonfly/Pomegranate and Knot Mittens
a knitting pattern,
(c) 2007, Kim Brody Salazar, http://www.wiseneedle.com

dragonmittens-4a.jpg dragonmittens-4b.jpg

Materials:
Approximately 1.5 ounces total of lofty Shetland style sport weight yarn, with a native stockinette gauge of about 6 stitches per inch. (This will be knit down to a much tighter gauge to make a warmer mitten). Four colors were used:

  • Color A: About 50% of the total – Navy blue
  • Color B: About 35% of the total – Light green
  • Color C: About 10% of the total – Cranberry
  • Color D: About 5% of the total – Light blue.

Size 3.25mm double pointed needles (Two circs or one-circ “magic loop” methods can be substituted). DPNs highly recommended for the thumb.

Scrap of contrasting color yarn or string for thumb “place holder”

Gauge:
8 stitches = 1 inch

Finished measurements:
Mittens measure approximately 4″ across the palm and 9″ from tip to cuff

Instructions:

Using the predominant color and a tubular cast-on, cast on 64 stitches. Work in two-color K1 P1 corrugated ribbing for 2 inches, using Color A for the purl columns and Color C for the knit stitches. Using Color A, knit one row and then purl one row. Using Color D, knit four rows. Using Color A, knit one row and then purl one row.

Using the chart of your choice (below) for stranded knitting, work as shown. The creative will note that given four different and interchangeable mitten sides, any combo thereof would make perfectly suitable mittens – all four as presented needn’t be used. Regardless of the mitten graph chosen, introduce a small bit of waste yarn or string for the stitches indicated in red. Make sure that you mirror that placement for your left and right mittens, as shown in my charts. Alert: On the pomegranate and knot mitten chart, I call for decreases done in Color A. I’ve introduced a separate symbol for those decreases. It’s noted on the chart. End off the mitten at the top by grafting together the last 8 stitches.

Thumb:
Returning to the waste yarn introduced for the thumb, carefully remove it, slipping the live stitches above and below the newly formed slit onto DPNs. Using a third DPN start at the side of the thumb to the right of the newly created hole. Looking at the thumb chart for the visible side of the thumb (the one with the pattern that matches the palm), pick up one stitch in the right side of the newly created thumb slit. Do this in the color indicated for the first stitch of the thumb chart. Note that the thumb pattern should seamlessly integrate with the palm pattern, although each of these mittens does that in a different way. Work across row 1 of the visible side thumb chart. Switch to the inside-the-thumb chart (the one with single stitch checks), again starting with the first charted stitch, pick up one stitch in the side of the thumb slit prior to working across the rest of the thumb chart. Follow chart as shown, grafting the final stitches at the tip of the thumb. Darn in all ends.

dragonflymitpat.jpg knotmitten.jpg


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