Wintergreen KAL – Week 2 (Body)

Hi there everyone.

I very much hope you enjoyed starting your swatching for your Wintergreen cardigan. If you haven’t already – please do hop on over to my group on Ravelry to say hello and tell us about your plans and your yarn – or on Instagram using the tag #wintergreenkal.

This is Week 2 of the pattern – the Body – and the first installment of tips and tricks.

This week’s post includes some visuals for setting up your cable patterns for the body section of the cardigan – as well as a short film clip with a preview of the adult version and a little ‘how to’ for making the cluster stitches used in the cable pattern. You’ll also get to see my smiling face – though I do appear to be a little red. Not sure why…

Pattern Numbers

You may notice something a little different about my patterns when you first open them up – there are no numbers in them! This may seem a little bit strange (although it is becoming more common).

I have always found it really tricky to make sure I keep working the correct size when trying to knit from a string of numbers. For example,

CO 3 (3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7) sts.

So, instead, in my patterns, where a number would usually go, you will see a lettered blank – e.g., CO A_____sts.

Refer to the table of numbers and find your size along the top of the table, then pick the number for your size for A and CO that number.

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I usually go through the whole pattern and fill in the blanks with the numbers for the size I’m making – then I can just knit away and never find I’ve actually knit the sleeves for the sweater two sizes smaller than the one I’m making. Don’t ask.

Body Marker Set-up

I thought some little visuals might be a good place to start.

The ribbing on the cardigan is really straightforward – cast on and work in 2 x 2 ribbing (k2, p2) until piece measures 3in (for adult version) or 1.5-2in (for child version, depending on size).

Then you’ll do 2 rows in Stocking stitch (stockinette for the Americans in the group) – knit one row, purl one row.

On the knit row, you will place your markers, in preparation for starting your cables on the next RS (right side) row. I think a drawing is really helpful to picture where you’re headed.

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When you begin the Cable pattern on the next Row 1, the cables will be worked between the markers already set-up, and a few knit and purl stitches will be added for cable definition.

On the Right Front (final section of the Wintergreen cable), don’t forget to start working the pattern from the stitch column listed in the pattern for your size. This ensures that both fronts of the cardigan will match.

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After you’ve established the various cable patterns around the jumper, you will work as set without increasing or decreasing.

Optional Waist Shaping

If you prefer a little bit of waist shaping in your body (useful to provide a bit more shape to a woman’s jumper), you can add this in, but it’s optional, so don’t let it worry you if you don’t want to. It will still look lovely!

If you are adding in optional waist shaping you will have to do a little bit of brain work –

As you begin decreasing stitches, you will not have enough stitches to work the full cable pattern. Instead, continue to work the cable pattern for as long as possible. When you no longer have enough stitches to work it, work stitches ‘as set’ (knit the knits, purl the purls).

Then, when you start increasing for the bust, you’ll slowly get your stitches back until you have the full cable pattern again. When you do you m1 (make 1) stitches at the side seams, look at what type of stitch you need to work next on the cable pattern (knit or purl?) and increase using either a plain m1 (for knit) or a m1p (make 1 purl) for a purl stitch. If you want some more help on these, let me know and I’ll do an extra post.

Cabled Cluster Stitches

Want a hand with your cluster stitches? Check out the video here and get a preview of the adult version of the cardigan. (Promise I’ll get better at the video editing – for now, tonight’s video is in two parts!)

Part 1: Introduction to the KAL

Part 2: Cluster Stitches

 

Happy knitting! I look forward to seeing your progress photos…

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New year, New socks? A new treat for your toes.

January always makes me want new beginnings and challenges. How about you?

It is time for haircuts, deep cleaning, and new projects. I’ve already re-organised the stash. The bathroom is all sparkly clean. Now, you’ll find me haunting wool stores, looking for the perfect patterns (or making my own if they don’t exist yet), sketching, swatching, and casting on lots of new, exciting projects. What inspires this?

In January, everything slows down after the Christmas rush of baking, family, and finishing those lovely, gifty knits –  the creative energy starts flowing. Most often I have some time off work, which gives my mind that breathing space to relax properly.  I know I’m finally fully relaxed when I start to think up new project ideas. (This comes just after the moment of complete boredom when you wonder what you used to do with your time before you worked!)

For me, part of this creativity is learning new things and finding new ways to do the same old stuff. Knitting is where I play with this – trying out new skills and challenges. This year I intend to tackle brioche knitting, which I’ve not done before. This is also when the design bug strikes!

Amber Waves Socks

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The Amber Waves sock design was born about this time last year, filling that January creativity gap – I hope they inspire you as much as they did me.

They started with this beautiful, lush wool from the Knitting Goddess, a present from my husband.

Its perfect, golden sunshine colour acts as an antidote to the dull days of winter. The luxe fibre content does it’s part too, chasing away cold toes – alpaca, silk, cashmere, and yum. This wool is a complete dream to knit and wear. It’s soft and fluffy with a slight halo. And alpaca has insulating properties, just sayin’. The longer you wear them, the warmer you get.

I dove into my different stitch dictionaries looking for something as special as the yarn. When I surfaced, I had found this lovely overall Waves cable pattern and that Double Hearts twisted stitches cable pattern. Both cable patterns have a 16-row vertical repeat, which means they line up and it doesn’t take too long to work a full repeat.

tip toe

Cables on socks, especially small 2 stitch cables, can be particularly annoying to work, as adding a cable needle to the mix can sometimes cause needle management issues. If you’ve not tried it before, why not use these socks as an excuse to try cabling without a cable needle? The pattern includes written instructions for working twisted st cables with a cable needle.

I’ll be publishing a tutorial on my blog shortly on how to work them without a cable needle – for now, check out Ysolda’s blog on it here: http://ysolda.com/blog/2014/5/8/technique-thursday-cabling-without-a-cable-needle.

I love how you can’t tell where the Twisted Hearts pattern ends or begins, like a Celtic cable, but quite delicate. The cabled heart shapes, while potentially cheesy, lend the socks a significance – the hearts are subtle. Someone you love could wear the socks without quite realising just how much love you’ve put in them, while being cosily enveloped in it.

Amber cover

I wanted a completely seamless knit, so I went for a toe-up construction, with an Afterthought Heel. The pattern has a link to a tutorial for Judy’s Magic Cast-on to get you started casting on, if you’ve not done it before. More importantly, there is a full tutorial of the Afterthought Heel process with written and pictorial instructions for each step. I promise it’s simpler than you think – you may never go back.

I hope this sock satisfies all your own desires to do new things in January and that the tutorials help you get there. Happy knitting!

 

Get 25% with the code  AMBER25  from 12th – 26th January.

(If you’d like to receive updates and subscriber-only offers from me, sign up for my newsletter here: http://www.petitchoufleurknits.co.uk. Soon, I’m planning to stop blogging new patterns and just announce via my newsletter. Blogs will be for new tutorials mostly.)

Oliver Tutorial no. 3 – Steeked Pockets

This tutorial is the third in a series of tutorials to help you knit my Oliver and Olivia patterns. To make sure you don’t miss one, you can follow my blog (on the Home Page) and sign up for the newsletter.

This is the third and final tutorial I’ve put together to accompany this pattern. If you have ideas about other techniques you’d like to know more about, do leave a note in the comments. I hope you find them useful.

Oliver & Olivia Tutorial Series

Tutorial no. 1 – Reading your knitting (aka help with Double Moss Stitch)

Tutorial no. 2 – Reading your knitting (aka help with the cables)

Tutorial no. 3 – Steeked Pockets (aka special diagonal pockets)


Cabling without a Cable Needle

You may notice I’ve decided not to include a tutorial in cabling without a cable needle – that’s because I found some great ones online already. If you want further help with cabling without a cable needle, you can find some here or here.


Invented Diagonal Steeked Pocket

For this jumper, I really wanted to add pockets to make it into a super cosy jumper or cardigan. (Also, practical – with places to put your keys, phone, etc.)

I didn’t want a flat opening – either perfectly vertical or perfectly horizontal – because they never feel the right shape for putting your hands into. So, I knew I wanted a diagonal pocket. However, as the jumper is in the round, there was still a potential difficulty. Diagonal pockets can be worked flat fairly simply by joining in two balls of wool and working each side of the pocket separately. In the round though, this would involve joining in new yarn on each round for each section – annoying and ridiculous!

Thus was born the diagonal steeked pocket. This is the first time I’ve seen this pocket style before, but it may be someone else has used it somewhere. Find below some help for steeking and finishing the pocket openings.

Pocket Steeks

  1. Re-inforce your Steek: At both sides of your steek stitches, apply a row of crochet slip sts, using a slightly smaller size crochet hook than normal, or sew two lines of stitching, either by hand or machine. For this jumper, I used a 3.5 mm crochet hook. In the sample, I have hand-sewn one side and used a contrast crochet slip st chain on the other, so you can see the difference. (If you are working in a material other than wool, you need to use a machine-sewn steek as other materials like cotton and silk will pull out of a crochet slip st steek.)

Steek 1

  1. Slip Stitch Crochet Re-inforcement: Join in your wool at the edge, pick one column of stitches and work into every or every other stitch up the edge. The aim is for the slip stitch chain to lie flat against the fabric – working into 2 sts and then working into every other stitch for the next 2 slips, usually works for me. You will only need to do one row of reinforcing.

Steek C1Steek C2Steek C3

  1. Now, you’re ready to cut! Find the middle stitch between your re-inforced steek edges. This is where you will cut. As the pockets have a 5 st steek (odd no. of sts), you will be cutting through the middle of a st, not between sts. Take a deep breath and cut. Once you’ve cut, the edges of your steek will naturally curl inwards to the WS of the jumper. Your reinforcements will keep the steek edges steady and keep your sts from pulling out.

Steek C4

Steek C5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing your Pocket Steeks Edges Pocket Edge Closest to Cables – Outside (RS) Edge

The following instructions are for finishing the steek edge closest to your cables – i.e., the edge that you would see if you had your hand in your pockets. Let’s call it the outside edge.

Picking up Stitches. The first step is to pick up stitches on the outside edge of your steek, using your smaller needles. You will be picking up at the outside edge of your steek re-inforcements so that they are hidden on the inside of the jumper.

PIck up 1

Step 1: Join in yarn and insert hook, from front to back, outside of steek re-inforcements.

PIck up 2

Step 2: Wrap yarn around hook (around from left to right) on the WS of work, then pull through to front. Stitch made.




 

 

Pick up 3

All sts from diagonal steek picked up onto crochet hook.

Pick up 4

Picked up sts seen from the side. Steek and reinforcements are pushed/curl to the WS of work naturally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I-cord Edging. On the steek side closest to the front cable, you will work an applied i-cord, working the i-cord together with your picked up sts as you go, until they’re all worked. Finish off by grafting the i-cord edges to the jumper/cardigan body securely.

Work i-cord as follows:

CO 3 sts onto right needle, slip 1st st onto left needle and k2tog tbl with 1st picked up st. *Slip i-cord sts to left needle, then K2, k2tog tbl, rep from * until all picked up sts have been worked.

Attaching Pocket Lining. These instructions are for finishing the ‘inside’ edge of the pocket. You will have knit your pocket lining separately – either a pouch pocket (like a sweatshirt) or single pockets (for the cardigan version). Stitch the diagonal edge of the pocket lining, with RS facing, to the jumper body using mattress stitch. It should be sewn on outside of the steek re-inforcing stitches so that they are hidden on the inside of the jumper. I used a contrast lining so you can see the line clearly.

Facings

On the inside of the jumper, you will still be able to see your cut stitches. If you think they are likely to pull out, you can tuck the cut ends under and lightly stitch them down using some sewing thread. They shouldn’t be too bulky.

Here you can see the pocket lining, attached using mattress stitch to the jumper body, as well as the i-cord edging finishing the Outside edge of the Pocket steek.

Here you can see the pocket lining, attached using mattress stitch to the jumper body, as well as the i-cord edging finishing the Outside edge of the Pocket steek.


Zipper Help

I haven’t put together a tutorial on how to apply your zipper, but I found this entry recently which I think might be helpful. It uses hand-stitching, rather than machine-stitching, but should still be fairly quick to do. If you want some extra tips (and have some blocking wires handy), you could try this method instead.


Olivia in Action

Here are a few shots of the cardigan with pockets to show you them in action – they’re quite cosy and perfectly shaped to allow easy access for your hands!

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Oliver Tutorial no. 2 – Reading Your Knitting – Cables

This tutorial is the second in a series of tutorials to help you knit my Oliver pattern. (They will help with Olivia too, which will be coming soon.) To make sure you don’t miss one, you can follow my blog (on the Home Page) and sign up for the newsletter.

Below you can see the upcoming tutorials you can look forward, each designed to make it faster and easier to make this jumper, and offer some tips and tricks that I didn’t have space for in the pattern. I am a workshop tutor at heart and couldn’t help thinking tutorial as I was knitting this jumper. So many chances to learn some great new skills.

Oliver & Olivia Tutorial Series

Tutorial no. 1 – Reading your knitting (aka help with Double Moss Stitch)

Tutorial no. 2 – Reading your knitting (aka help with the cables)

Tutorial no. 3 – Steeking (aka special diagonal pockets)


This tutorial uses the Staghorn Cable, worked on the front and the back of the Oliver jumper, to show the technique. In these photos, I am working with Cascade 220 yarn – lovely stuff and great for cables. The Central Staghorn cable is cabled every other round, and the upward-facing cables at each side are worked every 4 rounds.

Cables worked every other round (in the round)

I find it difficult sometimes to read my cables, especially when I’m working in the round where you don’t have a WS (wrong side) row to help you identify your place on the chart, so I’ve put together this short picture tutorial to help you with this pattern.

  1. When you have worked a cable on the last round, your sts will pull quite sharply vertical onto the needle. This means you need to work this round in pattern simply knitting the knits and purling the purls. (If you’re not sure how to identify your knits and your purls, please see Tutorial 1.)

Cable 1 Photo

  1. When you have worked a non-cabled round in pattern on the last round, your sts will sit peacefully on your needle with no pulling. This means you will need to cable this round.

Cable 2 Photo

Cables worked every 4th round

The upward-facing cables that frame the central Staghorn Cable are every 4th round. These cables I find have to look almost too open before they’re ready to cable.

Two hints here:

  1. Here is a picture of the 8 st cable that’s worked every 4th round. In this picture it is ready to be cabled. The sts sit evenly spaced on the needle without any pulling or skewing from the previous cable round.

Cable 3

2. Here’s another way to tell if you’re ready to work a cable round.

-Insert a spare needle into the ‘gap’ made by cabling (it creates a tiny hole in the fabric when you cross your sts, usually invisible). Make sure the spare needle is toward the top of the hole. The sts over the needle will look slightly stretched as they were stretched in the cabling process. This is your last cable.

-Now, count the sts above the needle. You do not count the one over the spare needle or the one on your working needles.

-The number of sts between the spare needle and the working needle are the number of rows you have worked since the last cable row.

In the picture below, I am on my 4th round (I have not worked it yet) and I am ready to cable.

Cable 4

Oliver tutorial no. 1 – Reading your knitting

As promised, here is the first in a series of tutorials to help you knit my Oliver pattern – each designed to make it easier and faster to knit this jumper up. (The women’s version of this design, Olivia, will be coming soon too.) To make sure you don’t miss one, you can follow my blog (on the Home Page) and sign up for the newsletter.

Tutorial no. 1 – Reading your Knitting

So, let’s get started.

Does anyone know what reading your knitting is? Hands up!

I know we’re not in a classroom, but let’s treat this blog as your very own personalised knitting tutorial. Feel free to post questions in the Comments section below and I’ll pick up on them in the next post.

Reading your Knitting is being able to visually identify what your stitches are doing on your needles, with an aim to helping you figure out what to do next.

If you’ve ever been to one of my workshops, you’ll know that I think this is a really important skill. Reading your knitting is to knitting what learning your scales is to playing a musical instrument. Understanding the building blocks of your knitting (your stitches) is what helps you move to the next level where you are less reliant on your pattern and can figure out where you are in your knitting more easily.

Reading your knitting is very useful for patterns comprised of knit and purl, like the Double Moss Stitch which is featured on the Oliver and Olivia jumpers.

First, we need to be able to identify what our knit and purl stitches look like.

Your knit stitches look like a ‘V’, made up of the left and right legs of your stitches. Your purl stitches look like a bump.

Knit+Purl

How can we use this little fact?

If you’re working in ribbing, where you want your columns of knit and purl to stack up, when you see a ‘V’ (our knit hint), you will knit, and when you see a bump (our purl hint), you will purl.

If, instead, you were working moss stitch, where the pattern off-sets on each row (i.e., purls on top of knits and knits on top of purls) you could work as follows: when you see a ‘V’ (our knit st), you would purl, and when you see a bump (our purl st), you would knit.

Double Moss Stitch Pattern

Here is a visual of the Double Moss Stitch and the written out pattern from my Oliver jumper. You can see the double moss stitch filler stitches next to the cables on the shoulder. It adds a lovely texture which doesn’t seem at all like knit or purl sts.

 

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Double Moss Stitch Pattern (Knit in the round on an even number of sts)

Round 1 and 2: *P1, k1, rep from * to COR.

Round 3 and 4: *K1, p1, rep from * to COR.

Double Moss Stitch pattern – how to tell which row you’re on!

Photo A - Double Moss Stitch

Photo A – Double Moss Stitch – Round 1 completed. Work one more round the same.

Photo B - Double Moss Stitch

Photo B – Double Moss Stitch – Round 2 completed. Time to off-set!

 

If your knitting looks like Photo A, you will work one more round in pattern as set – knit your knits and purl your purls. (All your knit sts looks like a V, and your purls look like a bump.)

If your knitting looks like the photo B, with your knits (or purls) stacked two-high on top of each other, you will now off-set the pattern, knitting your purls and purling your knits.

Voila! No more needing to read each row of the pattern and puzzle how that fits in with charts and decrease rounds.

Top Tip: Many people find either moss stitch or double moss stitch slower to work as you’re constantly switching between knit and purl, which means you have to flip your wool front or back after each stitch. To speed this process up, why not try knitting continental style?

Here’s a handy tutorial to help you give it a try.

Lessons in Gauge

I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and time off. The season is probably feeling like a faint memory right now, seeing as it’s just turned February. Although we did get hail last night where I am…the whole street was covered in it.

I had the pleasure of teaching at Baa Ram Ewe last weekend – a brand new workshop I’ve recently developed all about sweaters and sweater fitting. (I always love new workshops – they’re all bright and shiny.) I had a great crew (totally forgot to take any pics – sorry) – and we had a day of fun, measurements, maths and…swatching.

Swatching, you say?

If there were one thing I’d like to impress on knitters everywhere it’s that, if you’re going to take the time and buy all the wool to make a jumper – which I definitely think you should do as there’s nothing like it – then, please knit a swatch…and then listen to what it’s telling you!

I don’t know about you, but I always have to learn the hard way. (Which I think actually makes me a better teacher – I really have been there, done that.)

Some lessons are harder to learn than others though…and this is how I became absolutely convinced about the magical properties of swatching.

The story begins with a jumper. It is a cold winter’s day, several years ago, before I had done colour-work or steeking, or really made very many sweaters at all. However, still being me, I liked a challenge and felt, well, that I could do whatever the pattern was asking me to. If I didn’t know, I would figure it out.

So, I picked this beautiful cardigan by Ruth Sorenson to knit as a Christmas present.

I knitted and knitted. And knitted. (4ply jumpers are nothing to sniff at.) And knitted some more. I knitted the corrugated ribbed peplum at the bottom; I knitted the steek stitches; I cast off the steek sts and cast on some more; I made some errors on the chart and some of my fair isle strands were perhaps not as strandy as they could have been, but I knitted on, determined to finish.

And I did. I steeked the jumper without mishap (surprisingly!) and added my i-cord edgings. There was a certain pleasure in grafting the last bit of i-cord edging to the very first bit cast on – a certain circular completeness to coming full circle to the beginning. And so neat – look, no seams!

All serene – I washed and blocked it, sewed on the buttons and posted it off to my mum. All seemed fine – no surprises, she loved it. Then, I visited and true confessions came out – She loved the jumper. There was no question. And it fit…

…like a glove. She could put it on, and then she couldn’t move. It was an exquisite straight-jacket!

I promised (almost straight away – I did have a moment’s pause) to knit her a replacement. In her size.

So, I took measurements and went home and look at the pattern. To all rights, the jumper I had knit should have fit her. What could have gone wrong? I checked that I’d used the actual jumper measurements, not the ‘To Fit’ sizing information, to pick a size. No error there. And then the light dawned…

I knit this jumper a long time ago. Before I really understood about swatching. And, while some people seem to get gauge every time with the recommended needles (you know who you are), I almost never do. And it’s worse with colourwork.

I had knitted the first jumper on the recommended needle size – 3.5mm needles. I swatched again with these needles – too many stitches by a long shot. So, I went up another size (3.75mm) – still too many stitches. And then swatched again, with 4mm needles this time – and bingo. I still think 4mm needles are too big for 4ply, but swatches don’t lie!

I have knit the jumper again – it is much nicer the second time (I have learned some things) – and posted it off and it fits perfectly, less like a glove and more like a jumper.

And, as a bonus, the original jumper has been gifted off to a friend who it fits perfectly. And all’s well that ends well.

Screenshot 2014-02-02 20.10.06

The moral of the story is – always swatch for large projects. If you can’t possibly swatch because you can’t resist your wool and must start right away – try starting with a sleeve. They’re like a swatch.

Repeat after me.

I. Will. Always. Knit. A. Swatch.

A few top tips for swatching:
  • Make your swatch big – about 6 inches square – so you can measure your stitches and rows properly. Your measurement will be more accurate over more stitches – so measure across the whole swatch (keeping away from your edges as they can distort), and then figure your measurement per 1cm x 10 to give you your sts per 10cm.
  • Wash your swatch how you will wash the finished product – this is your one and only chance to see how it will behave and if you like the fabric.
  • If you are getting too many stitches to 10 cm – you need to make your stitches bigger, so go UP a needle size.
  • If you are getting too few stitches to 10cm – you need to make your stitches smaller, so go DOWN a needle size.

And here is a very good blog post just about swatches…and more reasons why you want to swatch.

I’m by no means the first person to talk about swatches or sweater fitting, and I’ve had lots of help getting to where I am now. I would fully recommend this book and this book if you want to know more.

Here are some bonus shots of the steeking process as well, in case you find that interesting too. The picture of tiny balls of wool at the bottom left shows all the wool that was left at the end. I feel I got the most out of my wool – no leftovers!

Autumn Leaves1