Monday, September 30, 2013

Chevron Shawl Experiment 3

My goal in this design is to create a chevron shaped shawl. I wear my shawls wrapped around my neck like scarves. The traditional triangular shaped shawl results in too much bulk around my neck, even though I block them for width and not length.

My main issue is to get the stitches that form the back of the neck to have a lot of stretch when blocking, but still have some substance. This time I knit my back as follows: KFB, K, YO, K, (do some shawl stuff) K, YO, K, KFB. This is a better choice than experiment 2, as it gives the back more stretch. However, I'm a tight knitter so the amount of stretch is still not sufficient. When I blocked this one, I actually broke the yarn; not something I've done before. The back looks reminiscent of experiment 1's back -- not enough substance.

So what do I do next time? I think I will need to incorporate a YO that gets dropped on the next round. I also need to add another knit stitch into the border to give it some substance. I'm thinking: KFB, K, YO, K, YO, K, (some stuff), K YO, K, YO, KFB. On the next row: KFB, K DYO, K, YO, K, (some stuff), K, YO, K, DYO, KFB. Who knows I might actually need to do some short row shaping.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tumbling Water Sock Pattern is Available on Ravelry

My second top-down sock design is complete! This design was started in Cookie A's sock design class at stitches west 2013. For this pattern I started with a Japanese stitch design and adjusted the design to work in both a medium and a large size sock. The pattern has a large amount of stretch to fit a wide variety of feet and legs. Choose a light to medium solid or tonal yarn.

I have knitt both the medium and large size socks. Please report any issues you may find with the pattern.

while there is nothing unusual in this sock construction, there are some unusual stitches. You should be comfortable with lace knitting and able to knit non-typical stitches. Techniques used in this sock include:

  • Decreases: K2Tog, SSK, P2Tog
  • Right Slip Cross Rib or Turtle Track stitch (a Japanese stitch)
  • A stretchy cast on such as German Twisted Cast On or Tilly Buddy's Very Stretchy Cast On
  • YO
  • SL, K, K tbl, P
  • Pickup and K tbl
  • Standard heel flap construction using Eye of Partridge heel stitch
  • A custom gusset corner pickup.
  • Chart reading, as the pattern is charted only.
  • Kitchener stitch
  • Tumbling Water is available for free on Ravelry. download now

    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

    Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits.

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Knitting a Right Slip Cross or Turtle Track Stitch

    Right Slip Cross or turtle track is an interesting stitch that can be found in Japanese stitch dictionaries. I love the textural dimension that this stitch adds to a sock. The symbol for this stitch is . The stitch is knit as follows: Slip stitch 2 over 1, hold on left needle, K into SL & slip from needle, K into 1, slip from needle. Lets go through this step by step:


    Photo Tutorial

    Stitch 1 is the stitch closest to the needle tip; Stitch 2 is the 2nd stitch in from the tip of the needle.
    Stick your working needle tip into stitch 2 pwise and slip it over stitch 1. Do not remove the stitch from the needle. You may need to hold the stitch in position.
    At this point stitch 2 is now in the stitch 1 position.
    Now knit into the slipped stitch....
    ...and slip it off the needle.
    Now knit into the next stitch...
    ...and slip it off the needle.

    The stitch is now complete. To use this stitch, alternate the turtle track on one row with 2 knit stitches on the next row.

    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

    Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits.

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Picking up the Gusset Corner Stitch in My Tumbling Water Sock

    In my Tumbling Water sock, I aligned the Right Slip Cross Rib (Turtle Track) stitch with the corner gusset. One stitch from the turtle track stays with the insole and the other stitch aligns with the gusset decrease. Now, a traditional pickup could be done at this point, but the result was not the smooth transition from the turtle track into the gusset that I envisioned.

      I played around a bit with my pickup, using different pickup styles. I finally settled on picking up in the turtle track itself. The result is a smoother transition from turtle track rib into the gusset.


    Here is how its done:

    Identify where to pickup the stitch
    Identify where to pickup the stitch, another view
    Pickup stitch, put needle through the middle of the identified stitch.
    Pull Picked-up Stitch through Base Stitch and knit it through the front loop
    Finished Stitch

    This technique could be used on a 2 stitch rib or a 2 stitch cable that line up in the same manner.

    Information on the Tumbling Water sock can be found Stitch 200. The pattern will be made available for download in early October.

    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

    Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits.

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Taking Classes at Knitting Lab

    Well, I finally decided that I should take some classes at Knitting Lab this year. I have avoided it in the past, since I'll have to deal with rush hour traffic heading up US 101. Since I didn't find a huge number of courses that interested me at Stitches West, I decided to take a second look at the courses offered at Knitting Lab. I have to say, there are quite a few that interest me.

    I have decided to take the following courses:

  • Introduction to Brioche Knitting
  • Brioche with a Twist
  • Brioche Colorwork
  • Advanced Top Down Sock Design: Going off the Grid
  • Two themes emerge... I'm going to learn a lot about Brioche, something I've always wanted to do, but haven't taken the time to learn and I'm going to continue improving my sock design skills. This is a Cookie A class, so it should be quite good.

    Hope to see you there.

    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Stitches West 2014 Classes

    I have to say, I was disappointed with the class selection this year. I was hoping for more classes discussing publishing issues. I also noticed that Cookie A is not teaching this year -- too bad, her classes are fun and educational. I actually use the many things I have learned in her classes. I can't say that for many other classes I've taken.

    This year, I decided that I'm going to learn more about sweaters. I chose three classes:

  • Secrets of the Sleeve Cap
  • Sweater Redesign
  • Top Down Short Row Sleeve
  • All three classes are taught by the same person and I've never had a class from her before, so I'm hoping for the best.

    What Do I Hope to Learn?

  • how to modify any sweater pattern to my gauge.
  • How to modify a pattern to get an in-between size.
  • How to convert set-in sleeves to short row sleeves.
  • How to perfectly fit a sleeve.
  • Understanding of sweater constructions so I can design my own sweater
  • Maybe I'll see you there.

    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Sock Knitting Master Class Sock Down

    The GPY Sock Club has moved on to other patterns. We knitted all but five of the patterns in the book: Bulgarian Blooms, Happy-Go-Lucky Boot Socks, Mock Cables and Lace, Thigh High Stripes and Up-Down Entrelac socks. I have already completed the Boot Socks, so only I only have four to go. How can I resist? I think I need to finish the remaining four.

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    Converting the Circles and Squares Sock Pattern to a Standard Top Down Design

    As mentioned in previous posts, I prefer to knit my socks "top down". I love geometric patterns and the Circles and Squares pattern stood out, but unfortunately it was a toe up design. Some patterns lend themselves to a straight forward conversion. This geometric design is the same whether it is knit toe up or top down, making for a simple conversion. Here is how I converted the pattern to use standard top down construction.

    72 stitches were cast on using the German Twisted Cast On (also called the Old Norwegian Cast On) and knit 10 rounds of 1x1 twisted rib. I prefer using twisted rib for a 1x1 rib since the twisted stitch tightens up the rib for a cleaner look.

    I then knit 2 1/2 repeats of the stranded pattern to get a leg I was happy with.

    Once I was happy with the length of the leg, I started my heel flap. In my case, I knit a 36 stitch heel stitch heel flap. Starting with a WS row, I slipped the first stitch and purled the remainder. For row 2, I knit (SL1, K), repeating to end of row. I repeated rows 1 & 2 for a total of 31 rows, ending with a WS row.

    To turn the heel:
    Row 1 (RS): SL 1 wyib, K 22 stitches, SSK, K1; turn.
    Row 2 (WS): SL 1 wyif, P 7 stitches, P2tog, P1; turn.
    Row 3(RS): SL 1 wyib, K to 1 stitch before gap created by turn on previous row, SSK (1 stitch before gap and 1 stitch after gap), K1; turn.
    Row 4(WS): SL1 wyif, P to 1 stitch before gap created by turn on previous row, P2tog (1 stitch before gap and 1 stitch after gap), P1; turn.
    Repeat rows 3 & 4 until all stitches have been worked 22 stitches remain.

    Now comes the fun part. Since I wanted to duplicate the sock as closely as possible, I had to duplicate the circle square pattern on the sole. (Of course, you could just do a simple striped sole & gusset at this point. It would be more straight forward.) In order to duplicate the pattern, I had to determine where the squares needed to be placed so that they would continue in pattern around the foot of the sock. I placed a marker at the center of the heel, 11 stitches on each side of the marker. From the marker, I counted off 9 and 18 stitches, placing markers at each location in both directions from the marker. I now have 5 markers and four sets of 9 stitches which form the basis of the squares. Since the squares alternate in color, look at the where the instep ends and start with the next color. In my case, my instep colors alternate: brown, red, brown, red. My next color will be brown.

    The gusset starts by knitting across the heel. The first 2 stitches of the heel will be brown (knitting is started in the middle of the first square). Alternate colors at each marker. Once I got around the heel, I continued my PU&K (pick up & knit tbl) stitches in the appropriate pattern color until I reached the last marker. At this point I deviated from the pattern. I chose to stripe the remaining gusset stitches by alternating colors in every PU&K. I knit in pattern across the instep of the sock and moved to the second gusset. Picking up the remaining gusset stitches is a little different. PU&K in the 1x1 stripe pattern until the first marker is reached. This marker is now start of round. PU&K the remaining gusset stitches in pattern based on the next charted row (In my case these stitches were picked up & knit in pattern according to row 2 of the chart).

    Gusset decreases start on the next row and alternate every other row until all the stripes are gone. Since the gusset is striped, I knit the decrease using the last 2 stitches before the instep and the first 2 stitches after the instep. Once the decreases are complete there are 36 sole and 36 instep stitches on the needles. Continue in pattern until the sock is 2" from end of foot and start the toe. I knit the following toe:

    Switch to toe color.
    Round 1: K, SSK, K*, K2tog, K
    Rounds 2&3: K*
    Round 4: K, SSK, K*, K2tog, K
    Round 5: K*
    Repeat rounds 4 & 5, 5 more times for a total of 6 rounds.
    Round 16: K, SSK, K*, K2tog, K
    Repeat round 16, 7 more times for a total of 8 rounds. 12 stitches remain.

    Graft the toe closed using Kitchener stitch, weave in ends and block. Blocking is important in stranded socks as it will make your stitches more consistent.

    Details of this sock can be found at Black Holes and Fading Suns.