Friday, October 26, 2012

Endless Leftie

Martina Behm's Leftie is a very enjoyable knit!
However . . . I didn't like the idea of weaving in all those ends from the Stripe and Leaf segments, so here's a way of carrying the contrast colour up the side, without having long loose loops.

This method creates contrast-colour mini-bobbles near the edge.
MC = main colour
CC = contrast colour - Stripe and Leaf
Swap the yarn positions forward or back as necessary.  I didn't twist them together.

On right side rows, with MC work kfb into first stitch, with CC work kfb into the next stitch, with MC continue the pattern.
On wrong side rows, pattern to the CC double-stitch, k2tog with CC, then pattern to end with MC.

And here's what the wrong side looks like.

This will work on any similar multicolour shawl with an increase on every row at the side.
Happy knitting!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Squidge details

Here are some more details to help with crocheting the start of my shawl design Squidge.
See the main post here.
I've made an oversize version of the starting point of the shawl, and blocked it mercilessly :)

You'll see that each ch-sc stitch forms a triangle shape with 2ch on one side, a single thread on the other side and a double thread across the top.  (When working a ch-sc into the 1-ch spaces, make sure that you insert the hook to the left of the single thread of the ch-sc in the row below.)

 Here's my low-tech diagram of the same swatch.
The double line on the sides of each ch-sc represents the 2ch part of the stitch as described above, and appear as you see them.
Note that the stitch count increases by 1 ch-sc every second row.

I hope this helps!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Squidge - a crochet shawlette

Here's an asymmetrical crochet scarf or shawlette, which could easily be extended into a full shawl.

It features a nice springy reversible stitch, which when combined with a textured yarn produces a highly tactile and warm fabric.

Whichever yarn you choose, make sure that the shawl is worked loosely - use a hook a couple of sizes larger than recommended.  This will provide the smooshy, squidgy softness.

Pattern Stitch - chain-single-crochet, or 'ch-sc'.  (British = 'ch-dc')
Insert the hook into the stitch, yarn over hook and draw through a loop (2 loops on hook), yarn over hook and draw through first loop on hook (2 loops on hook), yarn over hook and draw through 2 loops (1 loop on hook).

If you want to practise this, or if you want to make a rectangular shawl, here are instructions for a straight piece -
Base chain - multiple of 2 +1
Set-up row:  1 ch-sc in 3rd chain from hook, 1ch, *skip 1 ch, 1 ch-sc in next ch, 1ch*, repeat from * to * across row, ending 1 ch-sc in last ch, 2ch, turn.
Pattern row:  1 ch-sc into the first ch-1 space, 1ch, *1 ch-sc in next ch-1 space, 1ch*, repeat from * to *, ending with 1 ch-sc into final turning 2chain, 2ch, turn.
Repeat the pattern row.
 Asymmetrical Shawl

For this shawlette I used 100gm of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, with a 4.5mm hook (US size 7).

Size - unblocked and lightly steamed (to retain the squidge) - longest edge is 150cm (60"), the next longest is 135cm(53") and the shortest is 70cm(27")

Chain 6, (ch-sc, 1ch) into 4th chain from hook, skip 1 ch, ch-sc into last ch, 2ch, turn.
Next row: ch-sc into first ch-1 space, 1ch, (ch-sc, 1ch, ch-sc) into turning-3ch, 3ch (loosely), turn.
Row 1: (ch-sc, 1ch) into top of first ch-sc, (ch-sc, 1ch) into first ch-1 space, (ch-sc, 1ch) into each ch-1 space to end, (do not work into the 2ch turn), 2ch, turn
Row 2: ch-sc into first ch-1 space, 1ch, (ch-sc, 1ch) into each ch-1 space to end, end with (ch-sc, 1ch, ch-sc) into turning-2ch, 3ch (loosely), turn.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the shawl is big enough, or you run out of yarn, or patience (omit final turning chain).

Finishing - the scalloped edging on the final row is -
slipstitch to next ch-1 space, *2ch, ch-sc in next ch-1 space, 2ch, slipstitch in next ch-1 space*, repeat from * to * to end.
Weave in ends. 

I have added another post here with more details of the start of the shawl, with a diagram :)

Different angles show different patterns

In general, starting at the sharpest point of the shawl, on one edge you will be increasing by one (ch-sc, 1ch) group on every row, and on the other edge decreasing by one ch-sc on every second row.  Two steps forward, one step back . . .
This is a rule which can be applied to most knit or crochet patterns to produce this curly odd triangular shape.

If you want the shawl shape to be straighter, longer and less curly, work 4ch instead of 3ch at the turn on the increase edge.
Yarn needed for one row is about 9.5 to 10 times the width of the row.

Yarn samples: left - Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool: centre - fine linen slub yarn 4mm hook: right - Madelinetosh DK 6mm hook

That's it - my first pattern!  Any comments or corrections are welcome :)
You may not reproduce or circulate this pattern.  You may sell items you make from it, with due reference to this blogpost.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Blocking wire

When I was making 12th scale miniatures I found that if you keep your eyes open, you find all sorts of interesting things which can be kit-bashed into something completely different.

So I started following my husband into bloke-shops, and found lots of treasures (hackle pliers at fishing shops were my fave find).

We live in a rural area, and the local bloke-shops are practical, not pretty. I wandered into the welding section, and lo and behold - blocking wires!! Couldn't believe it. (I had resigned myself to slowly saving up for expensive ones from the USA.) After some restrained shrieks of delight, I bought these, to some odd looks from the man at the checkout.

Their description is 'stainless steel tig wire' which comes in one-metre lengths. The two gauges in the photo are 1.6mm (the thicker ones, for heavier blocking - these bend as far as a half-circle), and 1mm (for lace - these ones are more flexible, and can bend into a circle). - $1.25 and 60cents per wire respectively.
You'll need to wash them in warm detergenty water to remove the manufacturing oils, before you use them.

Any welding supplies source should have these.

In my jewellery supplies I've also found some 1mm tiger tail wire for really flexible curvy blocking.


Stitch markers

I've found out the hard way that an essential part of learning lace knitting is using stitch markers.
So I dug out my jewellery-making stash, and sorted my favourite semi-precious beads. Add some white tiger tail wire, some small end beads and crimp beads - yay! - quick and pretty stitch markers :D

Couldn't stop there! I spent a happy hour making few more. Now I can get to see and use my favourite beads, and the knitting gets easier :)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nupps, or, jumping in the deep end

I'm returning to knitting after a long period of absence. It's oh so good to be back :)

I can still do cables, fair isle, intarsia, complex maths (to correct the perverse way I can never follow a pattern and therefore need to re-jig it as I go), frog, tink, sew up, etc, etc.

What I still can't do successfully is lace knitting. It slides off my consciousness like teflon. Always did.
I see a lace chart or pattern and it seems so obvious what to do, but I just mess up every time.
I can see a stormy romance ahead.

Meanwhile I've found Ravelry (bliss!) and seen the fantastic and wonderful things being made in knitland.

Enter the desire to make a lace shawl. The one I have my eye on has a little creature in it called a nupp. What is this thing, I said to myself, and interrogated the internet. It seems that it has emigrated from Estonia and that knitters have a love-hate thing with it.

If I wanted to make this lovely shawl I was going to have to learn to breed nupps.

and 4 days later . . .
This may not be an original method, but this is the only fool-proof way that I can make the little critters consistently without living in fear of the next one, and the next, and the next . . .
It may be of some help to someone else out there :)

My one-row, idiot-proof (if I can do it anyone can), same-every-time nupp generator!

Above - when you reach the stitch (on the left needle) out of which the nupp will emerge, work it with a fine crochet hook held alongside the right hand needle. Here I'm using 5mm needles, fingering weight alpaca yarn and a 2mm crochet hook.
Work as many 'knit/yo' repeats into the stitch as you want.
Above - slide the base stitch off the left-hand needle. Now your 7-thread nupp is ready to be set free.
Put the yarn over the hook,
draw it through the 7 threads,
then slide the 7 threads off the right hand needle.
Put the loop from the crochet hook onto the right-hand needle, and continue knitting along the row.
Nupp made!

BTW I've also tried making a sideways one-row nupp over two stitches, using a fine cable needle held vertically over the stitches. This controls how tight the wraps are, and keeps it neat.
Basically you slip the two stitches from one to the other needle repeatedly (*slip2 onto the right needle, yfd, slip the same 2 back onto the left needle, yb* repeat * to * ad nauseum), wrapping the yarn around the 2 stitches and the cable needle until you're bored, then knit the two stitches. The wraps will sit horizontally.

NUPP = Never Underestimate the Power of Persistence.
Or, the benefits of being a stubborn old woman.