Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rant, Continued

I recently wrote a post upon the receipt of the latest copy of Verena. I found it aggravating that (nearly) all of the sweaters had been worked in multiple flat pieces, as though they were machine-knit. (Handknitters can knit in the round; isn't that miraculous.)

And none of the sweaters were top down. It seemed ridiculous to me.

I was thinking I might be a bit of a lone wolf on this one, and then I came across this quote in Knitting Daily:

Tammy T, on ease: My daughter's favorite tip for knitting sweaters is "Finish knitting them!" A tip that has been revolutionary for me is this: If you are a shapely lady, knit a sweater top down. I had no idea what size I needed and had trouble modifying bottom-up sweaters to fit my 12-inch difference between bust and waist measurements. If you knit from the top down, you can try it on as you go and get the perfect fit. Then when you do a bottom up sweater, you can use the top down one as a template to help with the sizing and shaping. Also, I don't know about everyone else, but I tend to overestimate my size. Even for a larger lady, wearing a sweater that hangs like a sack isn't attractive. A little negative ease is your friend!

[From newsletter titled, "Knitting Tips and Tricks, from You!" published 4/16/2010.]

Exactly. Top-down. In the round. Better fit.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

FO: Oread Pi Shawl

I knit another Pi Shawl, this time in a frenzied binge. This one went really fast, a combination of the yarn/needles and the simple concentric circle pattern. I let the yarn color changes do the talking, instead of complicated lace.

An Oread is a type of nymph from ancient Greek mythology. They lived in mountains, valleys, and ravines. The greens and grays of this shawl evoked that sort of imagery for me.

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl
Needles: Size 10 1/2 circulars
Yarns: This is a little more complicated.

I used some mohair ball ends I found a thrift store (brand unknown) held double with some Valley Yarns Alpaca/Silk Lace--I bought a cone of it a few years back, plus some other mohair in my stash. Basically, use a lightish weight mohair held with a lace-weight woolish strand. I'll try to give as much info on my yarn as I can.

So, here goes:
Main Color--Used throughout: Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk in Olive. 4 ounces. (half of a half-pound cone)
Color 1 (center): Rowan Kidsilk Haze Color 645. 1/2 skein.
Color 2 (2nd color from center): Unknown Green variegated mohair. 1/2 skein.
Color 3 (grayish): GGH Softkid. Dark Gray. 1.5 skeins.
Color 4 (green/brown variegated): Fiesta Yarns Heaven in Catalina. 1/2 skein.

I used size 10 1/2 needles and this went really fast. I bound off with a crochet hook, like this:

Pass hook through one loop on needle and work a single crochet. Chain one stitch. Repeat all the way around.

Very simple but effective. The edge is ruffly because I worked an extra round of YOs shortly before ending, and I also worked a pattern of garter stitch rows periodically.

I’d be glad to write up what I did exactly if you want to know, if you want. Just post a request in the comments.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Pattern: Oya Shawlette


Ok, so there are a million triangle shawls out there. What makes this one different? Knit from the bottom up, this scarf features a simple, but effective, twisted drop stitch pattern that is easy to memorize. Since it is a one-stitch repeat, you can easily expand the scarf as you go, without worrying about how to add in a wider stitch pattern repeat.

Oya was inspired by the African Goddess of Wind, Fire, and Storms.


You will first create the triangle to your desired width. Then, you will pick up and knit the border all the way around the shawl.


Oya is available for $4.99 on Ravelry.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Caution: Rant Ahead

I just got the new Verena mag today and there are so many beautiful patterns. I flipped to the instruction pages and EVERY SINGLE DANG PATTERN is knit in multiple flat pieces, from the bottom up.

Here's my question:

Why on earth would you want to knit a five-piece sweater? (back, L front, R front, L sleeve, R sleeve) and then seam it all together and just HOPE that the thing doesn't look crazy? Haven't we had enough designers show us that all great designs can and SHOULD be worked in one piece (even if you prefer to work from the bottom up)? See e.g. Stephanie Japel, Brooklyn Tweed, and Wendy Bernard. Seriously, people. It is EASIER to work in one piece!

Elizabeth Zimmerman, hardly a newcomer, made this point over and over.

Why are we still knitting like we're knitting machines? We don't have to work pieces flat. We can work in the round. We're handknitters. We can knit the all sorts of three-dimensional forms, customize, and avoid the crap-shoot of seaming at the end.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Katie in The AntiCraft

Katie's latest pattern is in the AntiCraft's latest issue (Beltane 2010).

Lady Macbeth Arm Warmers:

Yarn: Cascade Bollicine Etoile or another heavy-ish weight mohair, 1 skein.

Needles: Size 5s and 7s.

Sassiness: Lots.

Best with:

George Dickel and a Diet Coke.

Cool summer evenings.

Ideally: Both.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pi Shawl Ruffled Edging Instructions

This is my donation to the Pi Shawl oeuvre. A very minor donation, yes, but one I like a lot.

I put a ruffled edging on my shawl that doesn't curl and looks good from both sides when you fold it back at your neck.

You will need some basic crochet skills and a crochet hook one size smaller than your knitting needle to work this bind off, AND a knitting needle 1 or even 2 sizes larger than the needle you used for the rest of the shawl.

Pi Shawl Ruffled Bind-Off by Katie Rose Pryal

Once you have finished working the lace pattern of the last section of your shawl, and you are ready to bind off, do the following:

Switch to larger needles.

Set up round: Knit 5, m1, k5, m1, repeat to end of round. (m1 = lifted increase. See for directions)

Round 1: Knit all stitches. When you get to your stitch marker that marks the round, slip the marker, then, holding the yarn in front, slip the next stitch, move the yarn to the back of work, then slip that stitch back on to the left needle. Turn the work.

For those of you who know how to work short rows (and for those who don't), you have just done a "wrap and turn."

Round 2: Knit all stitches. Slip marker, wrap and turn.

You are working in garter stitch, obviously. This will prevent the edge from curling and create a fullness of fabric for the ruffle.

Round 3: As round 1.
Round 4: As round 2.
Round 5: K1, yo, k1, yo, repeat til end of round. Slip marker, wrap and turn.
Round 6: Knit all stitches.

Bind off using a crochet hook:
Set up: Insert hook through first loop, wrap yarn and pull through loop.
Bind off: Insert hook through loop, wrap yarn and pull through loop, wrap yarn again, pull through both loops. Repeat.

This will take FOREVER. You have about 1000 stitches on your needles, so put in a Lord of the Rings or something and just go for it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rewed FO: La Tarte Pi Shawl

For those of you that know, une tarte is "pie" in French. Plus, with the ruffle everywhere, this shawl turned out tarty.

Pattern: Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmerman from Knitter's Almanack (just buy the book, people) [Ravel This Pattern]
Yarn: Knit Picks "Gossamer," in color Sweet Peas, overdyed with a French Blue color (FO weight: about 200 gm)
Needles: Size 6 for a while, then size 8 at the end (Pattern calls for 8. I should have used 8 the whole time)

[Read about this project on Ravelry]

I "finished" this shawl last summer and never wore it once. It was just too small, and the edging came out less-than-awesome. This winter I picked up stitches around the edging and just started knitting--I worked some double yarn-overs to create a really open fabric, and then work a great ruffly bind off--I'll put directions for the bind-off in a later post to share.

Now I love it! I wear it pinned, like in these pictures, but it's also long enough to function as a scarf in winter. It's about five feet in diameter. Sweet! Everyone should knit one.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sorry, our eBooks are Currently Unavailable

Due to the generally crappiness of our erstwhile PDF hosting service, our eBooks are temporary unavailable for purchase. All patterns can be purchased individually through Ravelry, though. (And soon, our eBooks will be hosted by Ravelry, a generally awesome PDF hosting service among other things.)

Thanks for your patience.