LONG HIATUS, BUT NOT INACTIVE
A frantic interlude of work related deadlines later, I return to this page.
And the recipient of the Crusher pullover, modeling it with standard ironic teenage attitude during Thanksgiving break:
Eye roll aside, she loves it. Really. Especially the three-quarter sleeves and front pocket. She’ll wear it with a collared denim or chambray shirt underneath, so the wide neckline and shorter sleeves (for rolled up cuffs) is spot on what she wanted. So armed, Younger Daughter returns now to college, full of turkey, and cocooned in wool.
On the knitting front, I am well into a Licorice Whip pullover possibly for me or Elder Daughter. I’m still trying to fit The Great Stash Largesse into my yarn boxes, so to make room, I’m doing up some quick knits from the bulkiest lots in them. This one is to use up some Araucania Nature Cotton, an Aran-weight thick-and-thin, kettle dyed cotton I’ve had on hand for at least six years. The skeins are not uniform, not even within dye lot (probably why I was able to snag it on special sale), so I am working from two of them at the same time, alternating to meld the colors and avoid any visible horizon likes (like the deliberate one in Crusher, above, where I used to strong contrast yarns on purpose).
The color is sort of washed out in the photo above. Red Licorice is really a very bright candy-apple red, veering to orange. The cotton is cushy and soft, but prone to shedding. It will most certainly be a gentle hand-wash garment when it is done.
In other news, two more pairs of briefcase-sox accomplished using Great Stash Largesse yarn. Standard figure-8 toe/short row heel, 76 stitches around, plain feet/interesting ankle. One brown pair already with its recipient, the other pair is mine, mine, mine:
I also completed two baby sweaters, for Salazar Clan grandchildren born last month. One is with its target baby, the other is here in my basket, awaiting word of where to send it to rendezvous with the target great-nephew. Both are the same Lopez Island pullover and use same long stashed yarn in two different colors. Red is a 6 month size, and Blue is a 9-12 month size:.
In other knitting news, I will be needing a small project to carry with me on a trip the week after next. The bulky red pullover being too big for in-flight knitting. For that one, I’ve settled on Sandra’s Shawl, using a shaded deep to medium green laceweight from an earlier shipment of Largesse. I’ll knit up the larger size. However, I’m not a big fan of working nupps (the little bobbles that accent the edgings). Instead I will use silver beads. Cast on for this will be sometime this week, so I will be well enough along for relaxed knitting on the plane.
And finally, progress on the long stalled Second Carolingian Modelbook project. As I feared, in the format I had chosen, parallel to the original book, production – even in electronic format – will be prohibitive. I am now redrafting for release as a series of shorter works. The first of these will be a very short pilot folio – probably only five or six plates worth. By contrast, the book as I originally conceived it was 75 plates. If that works out well, I will continue with similar scheduled releases.
WITHOUT A NET
I’ve finished the no-pattern/no-gauge pullover I started the last week of September, at the beach:
It’s a short but not cropped front-pocket/baggy-fit raglan pullover, knit in rustic New England style two ply Aran weight wool. The only seaming was grafting the top of the front pocket to the body. The thing is knit top down. Had I decided to add a pocket when I got to that point, I’d have worked it in, and knit the bottom edge into the body, and obviated any need to sew at all.
Younger Daughter has first dibs on the thing. It should fit her nicely, and if not – I’m sure I’ll find another family member or friend to wear it.
Here’s a working-method summary. I hesitate to call it a fully developed pattern because I haven’t calculated sizes, made exact measurements, or estimated exact quantities.
Wesley Crusher Unisex Pullover – A Method Description
Fits size 44 chest
Gauge: approx 18 stitches = 4 inches (10 cm) in stockinette
Recommended needle size: US #10 (6mm) circular for body, or size to get gauge; US #8 (5mm) circular for ribbing. You may wish to start the neck and finish the cuffs using DPNs of the same size.
If working the optional hand-warming pocket, either an additional US #10 (6mm) circ, or a pair of US #10 (6mm) straight needles, and a piece of contrasting color string, preferably a cotton in fingering weight or thinner, that will be used to baste the row to which the pocket is grafted, for better visibility in keeping that seam straight..
Materials: One skein of Bartlett Yarns 2-Ply Aran weight rustic wool (about 210 yards/192 meters) in shoulder color. 3.5 skeins of the same yarn in a contrasting color (about 735 yards/672 meters) for the body.
Other tools: 5 stitch markers, two large stitch holders or spare circular needles (any size) to hold the sleeve stitches while the body is being completed. Yarn sewing needle to darn in ends.
Using smaller needle, cast on 100 stitches, join in the round and work in stockinette for approximately 2 inches (a bit over 5cm). Switch to larger size needle.
Place marker, knit 35 stitches (front); place marker, knit 15 stitches (sleeve top); place marker, knit 35 stitches (back); place marker, knit 15 stitches (other sleeve top). Knit one round. The four markers indicate the center point of the raglan increases. There will be one marker left over. We’ll use it later.
Increase round #1: *K1, YO, knit until one stitch remains before the next marker, YO, K1, move marker*. Repeat this three more times.
Increase rounds #2 and #3: Knit.
Continue working increase rounds 1-3 until you have enough depth on the shoulders so that the under arm area ends about under the arm (don’t worry if there isn’t enough depth for the front and back raglan “seams” to meet. We’ll be adding stitches under the arm, and working them into gussets. I did my raglan increase set 18 times (making 18 holes in a rows down my raglan “seam,” and ending up with 71 stitches between my front markers, and 51 stitches across each sleeve). Be sure to finish after round 3.
Separate out the sleeves:
Knit 36 stitches. Place the fifth marker. Continue knitting across the front to the first raglan marker. Set it aside. Take a stitch holder or spare circular needle (or a piece of string threaded onto a yarn needle) and slide the 51 stitches of the sleeve onto it. We’ll revisit them later. Set aside the next raglan marker.
Returning to your working needle and replace the marker. Holding the sleeve stitches out of the way, cast on 16 stitches, preferably with a half-hitch cast-on to minimize bulk. Place marker. Continue in stockinette, knitting to the next marker. Set it aside.
Set aside the stitches for the second sleeve in the same way, sliding them onto a storage device, replacing the marker, casting on 16 stitches, and placing the remaining marker after the cast-on stitches.
You should now have a marker indicating the center front, plus four markers – two at either side, isolating the cast-on stitches. Continue in stockinette to the center front marker. We are going to use that marker at the center front as the “begin round” point from here on.
Work the body:
Knit one round in stockinette.
Gusset Decrease Round #1. Knit to the side marker, move marker, SSK. Knit until two stitches before the other side marker, K2 tog. move marker. Knit across the back of the piece until you reach the other side marker. Move it, SSK, knit until two stitches before the next marker, K2tog, move marker, knit to the center front marker.
Gusset Decrease Rounds #2 and #3: Knit.
Repeat Gussett Decrease Rounds until only two stitches remain between them. On the next row, knit to the marker, take it off, knit one stitch, put it back; knit one stitch and set the second side marker aside. Repeat this for the back. You should now have a tube with about 176 stitches in total – 88 for the front and 88 for the back.
Continue knitting the body tube until it is as long as you want, minus 2 inches (about 5 cm) for the ribbing.
Optional hand warming pocket:
You will need a second ball of your body yarn at this point, or you will need to work from both ends of your current skein. I’ll call this secondary source the “pocket yarn.”
Using your original body yarn, knit all the way around your piece until you reach the marker for the second side. Move it and knit 19. 25 stitches should remain before the center marker. Holding your original yarn and your pocket yarn together, knit to the marker, then knit 25 stitches after the marker. Drop the pocket yarn and continue around with your original yarn (don’t worry if you’ve mixed them up – it makes no difference). Make sure that the pocket yarn emerges from the PUBLIC side (the knit side) of the work after you drop it, before you continue around with the original yarn. Stop when you get to the start of the doubled stitches.
Take your second #10 needle (straight, circ, whatever). Working carefully with your original needle, knit one stitch of each doubled pair and slide its brother onto your second needle. When you are done you should have 50 stitches on the pocket needle, and the same original 88 for the front (plus 88 for the back) on your original body needle.
Knit one round on the body, just to make sure everything is snug and safe.
At this point you can either finish the body or continue on to the pocket. Your choice. If you opt to finish the body first, skip below to Ribbing, then return to this point.
For the pocket – you will be knitting flat, back and forth. This means that to achieve stockinette, you will be knitting on the right side of the work, but purling on the journey back.
Turn the sweater upside down. We will be working from the bottom back to the shoulders for the pocket.
Pocket Row #1: Knit 5. Place marker. Knit 40. Place marker. Knit 5.
Pocket Row #2: Knit 5, move marker. Purl 40, move marker. Knit 5.
Pocket Row #3: Knit 5. Move marker. SSK. Knit to 2 stitches before the next marker. K2tog. K5.
Pocket Row #4: Knit 5. Move marker. Purl to next marker. Move marker. K5.
Pocket Row #5: K5. Move marker. Knit to next marker. Move marker. K5
Pocket Row #6: Knit 5. Move marker. Purl to next marker. Move marker. K5.
Pocket Row #7: K5. Move marker. Knit to next marker. Move marker. K5
Pocket Row #8: Knit 5. Move marker. Purl to next marker. Move marker. K5.
Repeat Pocket Rows #4 through 8 until 38 stitches remain on the pocket needles, or the pocket is deep enough. If you want it deeper, work remaining rows without decreasing. When done, DO NOT bind off the stitches. Instead, break the yarn leaving about 2.5 feet for seaming.
Keeping the pocket stitches on the needle, smooth it out against the front of the sweater. Note the row where the pocket should be grafted. On the row ABOVE that, take your piece of marking string, thread it onto your yarn sewing needle and run it through that row for the width of the pocket. This will make identifying the row for seaming easier. If you are confident in being able to graft a straight seam, you can skip this step.
Using your extra long tail end left over from the pocket, graft the pocket stitches to the row immediately below the one you have carefully marked with basting. Invisible horizontal seaming works nicely for this, uniting the live stitches off the working needle with the body stitches.
Return to the original needle holding all of your body stitches. Take your smaller ribbing needle and working from the original needle onto the new smaller needle, start from the center front marker, and work K1, P2,* K2, P2* ending with K1 for the stitch immediately before the marker. Discard the larger needle and using the smaller one, continue in this K2P2 ribbing until you’ve worked 2 inches (about 5 cm) or the ribbing is long enough for you. Bind off in pattern.
Take your #10 needle and transfer the stitches for your sleeve to it. Take your body yarn and starting at the left point of the stitches you cast on underneath the arm, place marker, pick up 8 stitches place the center sleeve marker (suggest this be a different color), pick up another 8 stitches to finish filling in the gap, place the third marker, and knit around the sleeve. Knit around until you have returned to the center sleeve marker. NOTE: As you continue the sleeve from this point you may find that it gets uncomfortable to use a larger diameter circular, even if you “loop out” the excess cable as you go. Feel free to switch to DPNs or a two-circ method at any time during completion of the sleeve.
Sleeve Gusset Decrease Row #1: Knit to 2 stitches before the next marker, K2tog, move marker. Knit around the sleeve until you reach the other sleeve gusset maker. Move it. SSK, knit to the center sleeve marker.
Sleeve Gusset Decrease Row #2 and #3: Knit
Repeat Sleeve Gusset Decrease Rows #1 to 3 until only two stitches remain between them (one on either side of the centermost marker). At this point you should have 53 stitches. You can remove the two sleeve gusset markers and continue working until you sleeve is long enough (minus 2 inches for ribbing). On the final row before starting the sleeve ribbing, start the row with a K2 tog, so that you have 52 stitches. Switch to the smaller needle(s) and starting at the center sleeve marker, K1, P2, (K2, P2)*, ending with a K1. Work this K2P2 ribbing for about 2 inches (5 cm). Bind off in pattern.
Darn in your ends, and you’re done.
So here we are at the beach again, seizing a weekend unoccupied by renters, to enjoy our place in North Truro. It’s not as warm as it can be in full summer, but it’s plenty comfortable enough for lounging on the beach, wandering the shoreline, and nosing around Provincetown.
And what’s lounging on the beach without a knitting project? It can be difficult to knit from a complex pattern on the beach – hard copy pages get damp, and tend to blow around. It’s often too bright to knit from designs stored on the iPad, the screen washes out in the sun. So I tend to look for projects that are mindless, memorized, or free-form.
So here’s the latest, photographed in full sun on our deck.
I’m working entirely without a pattern, using a rustic style Aran weight wool. I’ve got several skeins of well-aged Bartlett two-ply Maine wool, that are taking up all to much room in my stash boxes I’d prefer to put to other use.
I have a couple of heathered garnet red; a couple that are ragg-mix of one ply of the garnet, and one of a navy; and a couple of a medium blue which is too light to use in combo with the others. None are enough for an entire adult sweater but it’s time they earn their keep. Also the ragg style blue/red mix would overpower most texture work. So what to do?
A unisex, simple raglan, worked top down was the obvious choice. No pattern, no gauge. I started by casting on 100 stitches, and working a rolled stockinette collar on a US #8 (5mm) needle. I changed to a US #10 (6mm) needle. I’ve now got about 172 stitches around – roughly a 44-45-inch chest circumference. The fit is slouchy and sweatshirt-like, and the high lanolin content rustic yarn (though a bit itchier than Merino, and hand-wash) guarantees a hard wear sweater ideal for cool weather hiking, and winter sports. It’s a bit small for me, but between spawn, and a huge army of nieces and nephews, plus lots of outdoorsy friends, it’s bound to fit someone.
So, what do I call this no-pattern piece? The Wesley Crusher, of course. Named for the ubiquitous shoulder-colorblock casual sweaters and uniform blouses worn by him and the rest of the STNG crew.
Minor discovery during the course of this one. Many circular needles in larger sizes have a noticeable “bump” where the needle part slims down to the cable’s thin diameter. It can be annoying to shuffle stitches up that steep incline as you knit in the round. But you can minimize the problem if you are using an interchangeable needle set. I’ve outfitted one of the circs with a size #10 on one end, and a #8 on the other. Since stitch size and gauge is dictated by the needle you are using to form the stitches (as opposed to the one being knit from), the smaller size needle sits on the “feed” side of the round, and its slightly smaller diameter presents less of an impediment when shuffling the stitches around into “knit me” position. Give it a try!
And in other knitting news, I have finished the leaf shawl/scarf:
It looks like work/home will crawl back to a more manageable schedule, so I hope to be posting more regularly again in the weeks to come. Next up is a tutorial on a simple method to finish out a sampler into a backed hanging.