Thursday, April 21, 2016

How I made my shorts

Welcome back to Fair Isle PANTS week. Today is Fair Isle SHORTS day. Don't forget to get the pattern for half off (just $3) all week long.

Here are my shorts version of the pants:

You want some too? That's great! I'm all about knitted bottoms. I have two pairs of knitted shorts now and I seriously love them. I wear them to bed all the time. So comfy. Here's how I modified this pattern into shorts: 

First, yarn. My main color is Knit Picks Swish in Squirrel Heather, and I used just about 3 skeins. My colors are all Cascade 220 Superwash. The pinks are something I had leftover from a long ago project. Love it when leftover yarn is exactly what you need. And really, the great thing about shorts is how little yarn you need total, and how quickly they come together. 

I made the size M, which is the same as my pants. I wanted my shorts to sit a little lower on my hips than my pants do, so I worked one fewer round between each hip increase. Otherwise I knitted them to the pattern up until the leg divide.

Once I got to the leg divide, I measured a pair of lounging shorts that I like to determine how long of an inseam I wanted. It was 1.5" (which sounds totally scandalous, but is definitely not). That meant that I needed to work just one more motif. After that motif, I worked some short rows across the back of the legs, to be sure that my booty was completely covered. I started the short rows at the middle of the crotch, and worked the first short row all the way to the side of the shorts. I did three sets of short rows, each set with one unworked stitch between wrapped stitches. In hindsight, I wish I would have done only two sets of short rows. The legs dip just a bit lower than I would have liked, but really, no big deal. I'm wearing these to bed. After the last short row, I knitted 6 rounds in stockinette, then did 5 rounds in garter. On the first purl round of the garter section, I purled 10 stitches, then purled two stitches together, all the way around the leg. I've found that garter stitch flares out on the bottom of shorts, so I figured that fewer stitches = less flare. Then I just bound off fairly loosely and ta da! Shorts.

I hope all you warm-weather dwellers make some shorts so that I can see them and get all excited! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fair Isle PANTS Week!

This week is the best week, because it's Fair Isle PANTS week on the Holla Knits blog! That means you can get the pattern for just $3 all week long. That's a steal.

My original PANTS from the Winter 2015 Issue

On Thursday, I'll be talking about how to modify these pants into shorts. Shorts are far, far more practical for me, living down here in the Deep South. I admit that I haven't had a chance yet to wear my pants sample, because we had a really mild "winter", and it just wasn't ever full-on knitted pants weather. Shorts, though- I can wear those!

In the meantime, don't forget to get the pattern for half off!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Pattern: Kimberlite

Oh hi! It's been awhile. Life, man. It's busy.

I don't know if you noticed, but last night, the Spring/Summer issue of Twist Collective was published, and I have a pattern in it! This is Kimberlite:

Photo courtesy of Twist Collective/Chrissy Jarvis

Kimberlite is great spring/summer tee with a repeated motif of diamonds: the front features an off-center diamond panel made up of smaller twist stitch diamond panels, and the back has a super fun diamond-shaped keyhole. This tee is worked from the bottom up in one piece with no sewing! The shoulders are shaped with a few short rows and joined with a three-needle bind off for stability. Twisted rib finishes all the edges. 

Photo courtesy of Twist Collective/Chrissy Jarvis

Finished measurements: 
Bust: 30 ¾ (34, 37 ¼, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56)" / 78 (86.5, 94.5, 101.5, 112, 122, 132, 142) cm
Length 23 ¼ (23 ½, 24 ¾, 25 ¼, 25 ¾, 26 ¼, 27 ½, 28)" / 59 (59.5, 63, 64, 65.5, 66.5, 70, 71) cm
Shown in size 34" / 86.5 cm
Intended to be worn with -2 to +2" / -5 to +5 cm ease.

6 (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) balls Dale Garn Lerke (125 yd / 115 m per 1 ¾ oz / 50 g ball; 52% Merino Wool; 48% Cotton) in #3217

Size 5 US / 3.75 mm:
• circular needle, 24–48" / 60–120 cm long, depending on bust size
• needles in preferred style for small circumference knitting in the round
• circular needle, 16" / 40 cm for neck edging

Four stitch markers (two removable markers of one color or type and two of a different color or type), tapestry needle, stitch holders

28 sts and 32 rows = 4" / 10 cm in Chart pattern
24 sts and 32 rows = 4" / 10 cm in Stockinette stitch

The pattern is available through the Twist Collective website and Ravelry for $6. 

Photo courtesy of Twist Collective/Chrissy Jarvis

Friday, February 26, 2016

Socks: Currently Unnecessary.

I realized the other day that I haven't finished a pair of socks in ages. I honestly don't even remember the last pair of socks I knitted. I have a sock going now- I use the term "going" loosely, because I knit a round or two on it like once or twice a week- but I feel no pressure to finish it. As I was outside on a sunny, 75* February day, I figured out why. We had no winter this year. I wore hand-knit socks like 4, maybe 5 times total. Most of my socks didn't even make it out of storage. As a knitter, this is sad. "Why even bother making socks anymore?" I asked myself. "I can't think of any reason to continue," I answered myself.

Plain vanilla sock, Knit Picks Hawthorne in the colorway Belmont that somehow jumped into my basket when I was ordering yarn for something else. Not sure why. It's sort of an odd color and the pooling is strange. 

As sad as it is, I just don't see a point in devoting precious knitting time to making socks, unless it's a super cool pattern, or holiday specific. That would be ok. I've got my eye on Jellyfish, and someone gave me a skein of Halloween sock yarn that I'd like to knit up before next Halloween. But these plain vanilla socks just aren't cutting it right now. I'd rather knit sweaters that I can wear once a year. Logic! Mine is sound.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Everett Henley Cardigan

Hello again! As a reminder, it's Everett Henley week over on the Holla Knits blog. Get this pattern for just $3 all week!

Modifying this pullover into a cardigan was actually quite easy. Almost any top-down sweater can be modified into a cardigan, provided the original design doesn't have some sort of front central panel. Vistoire, for example, would not work as a cardigan. But luckily, Everett does!

Here's what I did:
I followed the pattern up until the point when you cast on 4 and join to work in the round. I just didn't do that and kept working back and forth.

In hind sight, I would do things a little differently. I think I would have worked from the pattern until the front chart was complete, then I would have cast on 8 sts on each side of the front to add another lace repeat. That would make the neckline a little flatter across the very top. As is in my cardigan, the neckline is a little V-necky, but not really- it's sort of an odd shape. Casting on more stitches would make it a little more scoop necky.

Instead of the curved lower hem, I just did a couple inches of 2x2 ribbing.

Collar: I picked up about 2 stitches for every 3 rows along the neckline, then one stitch in every cast-on stitch. Couple of rows of 2x2 ribbing, done.

Button bands: Along the front edges, I picked up a multiple of 4 plus an extra 2 stitches, which worked out to be about 2 stitches for every 3 rows. I worked 2x2 ribbing, beginning and ending with 2 knit stitches. I did the button band first, then sewed the buttons on equally spaced, then I used the button locations to knit buttonholes on the buttonhole band.

And lastly, I wanted to share two finishing tips that have really made my handknits look much less "homemade."

For way more professional looking bind offs in the round, I always use method #3 from this TECHkitter tutorial. It's great for sleeve cuffs, the bottom edge of a top-down sweater, etc.

I recently discovered this tip from Ysolda about preventing "ears" when binding off, and I've been using it every time. Much, much better edges on things like the collar of my cardigan.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Everett Henley Week!

Over the next couple months, Holla Knits is going to be running weekly features for individual patterns, and this week happens to be Everett Henley week! This was my very first sweater pattern, and it nearly killed me. Top-down, all-over lace, crazy, but awesome! I still love this pattern.

This week, the Everett Henley is 50% off.... so you can get this fantastic pattern for just $3. Your Starbucks probably cost more than that.

About two years ago, when we still lived in snowy Delaware, I started knitting a cardigan version of this sweater for myself, based on this sketch that I did. I'm embarrassed to say that I literally just finished it. Longest WIP ever.

Here's a progress shot. And my crazy face. 

And here's a shot when I realized that I would most definitely not have enough yarn. That's all the yarn I had left, and I hadn't even started the sleeves. I'm not totally sure what I was thinking when I started knitting. Surely it was obvious that I didn't have enough yarn. I can't remember though, because it was two years ago. Geesh.

Amazingly, someone on Ravelry had a ball of that yarn in the exact same dye lot, and she was willing to part with it. However, by the time the yarn arrived, I had already put this sweater in the time out bin, and I forgot all about it, until literally a week ago, when I realized that I would need to knit both sleeves in very little time. Well guess what. I did it. 

Despite having that extra ball of yarn from that wonderful Raveller, I still didn't have enough yarn to make the cardigan the way I really wanted. I wish it had an extra couple of inches of length in the body. I realize that I could have made 3/4 sleeves and had enough yarn for a longer body, but for whatever reason I decided that I really wanted long sleeves. Sacrifices. 

I'll be back on Thursday to talk about how, specifically, I modified this pattern into a cardigan. In the meantime, don't forget to get the pattern for half off!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bakdash Jumper Pattern

Well hello blog, it's been awhile. Just jumping in quickly to say that my Bakdash Jumper from Issue 52 of Knit Now magazine (a UK-based magazine) is now available as an individual download! This is the original sample on the model, who is totally gorgeous:

I knitted the original in King Cole Merino Blend Aran, which I'm pretty sure is available only in the UK. I admit that I didn't like the yarn much. My skin is super sensitive (I'm allergic to soap. I break out in hives if I touch grass. Jewelry gives me a rash. This is annoying.), and this wool is not very soft. My hands did not like. So, I made myself another sample, in a size bigger, just for me.  

This one is knitted in Cascade 220 Superwash Aran. LOVE this yarn. This is the only sweater I own that I can actually wear all day with no wool-related discomfort. The yarn was really great to knit with, too. I want to knit everything with this yarn. And, it's a true aran weight, so this sweater was fast.

Bakdash is worked from the top down with raglan shaping. There is no waist shaping, but if you wanted to add some it would be easy to do. The cable panel flows into the ribbing at the bottom hem AND the neckband, a feat that required lots of the maths.  

I've updated the original pattern to include both imperial and metric measurements. The cable pattern is charted and written out so you can pick what's easiest for you. 

If you want to make a Bakdash for yourself, get the pattern on Ravelry for $6. From now until Sunday, February 7th, use coupon code Bakdash (note that there is no "c" in Bakdash) on Ravelry and get 30% off. Yay!