Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page
As other, more important project deadlines mounted a few weeks ago, I decided to cast on for some mindless knitting to help calm my nerves during a bought of insomnia. Some might find this a waste of already precious time; you know better, don’t you?
As far as I am concerned, there is nothing quite like an easily memorized, repetitive pattern to cure insomnia.** Consequently, the body of this pullover knitted up in lightning speed; however, the sleeves languish partially finished as their master has recently rediscovered the merits of sleep.
This is destined to become a scoopneck tunic with no waist shaping and as little sleeve shaping as possible, mostly because the combination of shaping and lace renders this no longer mindless. Perhaps that is a better reason for why the sleeves remain unknitted?
**Except when it doesn’t, and the knitter is forced – forced! - to stay up late to knit obsessively on a project about which she cares nothing. Ahem.
Back in the Great Mitten Swap of ’08 in Boston, Julia Vesper made Maritza the most divine pair of handspun, hand-dyed, hand knit (and lined) chevron mittens. No one could leave them alone! We were all so very jealous of that lucky Maritza! You can imagine how excited I was to test knit her beautiful Chevron Love Mitten pattern last month! When she told me to pick any eight colors of the Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport line, I floundered. I think it’s safe to say that I have a problem with this yarn. Did I not recently write about this large Nature Spun remnant stash consisting only of reds/oranges and blues? What colors do you think I picked for my mittens?
As if I could resist…
Needles: US 2.5 (3.0 mm)
Aren’t the chevrons just lovely? The mittens and the free matching hat pattern also warm my stashbusting heart. This is a fantastic way to use up scraps. I would recommend Julia’s clear, straightforward patterns to anyone. Also, the color pairings she put together in her kits are truly inspired.
Although I have yet to block my mittens, I am thrilled with how they turned out. I should say, I had intended to soak these in a large wool wash this weekend to pack away my winter woolens, but then it snowed. Lesson learned. Never pack away wool before summer.
It’s done! And I love it. I was worried it would be an eyesore but I could not love it more. AND, it was free. Well, almost. I had to buy one skein of yarn because I ran out. A $3 skein hardly counts. At the outset, I had 11.5 oz of yarn in my stash, now I have 3.0 oz left. The remains will likely go into hats and mittens here and there.
Pattern: I cobbled this pattern together as I went. None of the peeries are the same but many of them are variations on one basic pattern. For the stacking of patterns, I followed a few general rules. For example, every orange and white peerie is followed by a tan and red peerie, with occasional 3- or 5-row peeries thrown in for better transitions. Because the pattern repeats are all relatively small, I did not concern myself too much with centering the patterns. The exception, of course, was at the base of the V-neck. I made sure the last peerie before the neck shaping centered directly below the V. I thought about offering the pattern for this but since I made up instructions as I went, I can offer no information about standard measurements and yarn usage. Here is the chart image, feel free to use any or all of the patterns as you see fit. I also have the chart in Excel; please email me if you would prefer the Excel copy over the .gif file.
Yarn: 8.5 oz Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in six colors – Bev’s Bear, Roasted Coffee, Bordeaux, French Clay, Sunburst Gold and Natural
Needles: US 4.0 (3.5 mm)
Gauge: 28 sts and 32 rows = 4″
To fit this to my 34″ bust, I made a 32″ size for 2″ of negative ease. Eunny Jang’s Ivy League Vest taught me some important lessons last year about fitting a vest to one’s body. Primarily, a vest like this should not have any positive ease. I am much happier with how the garment feels with a full 2″ of negative ease at the bust. For the record, there is no ease (positive or negative) at the waist and hip, only negative ease at the bust.
The vest is knit entirely in the round. The armholes, neck opening and back neck shaping are all steeked open. Since Brown Sheep is not particularly good for steeking, I used the crochet method but reinforced the steek edges with machine stitching down the sides. I had intended to hand sew; however, machine sewing was much faster and I was desperate to be done! I took care to ensure the floats did not catch in my sewing machine, my greatest fear. After I added the edgings and blocked the vest, I tacked down the facings with a big blanket stitch. This last step is hardly necessary (especially with sewn steek reinforcements) but I like knowing that my facings will not move around.
The steeking process is far easier than it seems it ought to be. I would encourage anyone to give it a go! I think my last few posts have linked to Eunny Jang’s steeking chronicles but it’s worth doing again. She takes the mystery out of cutting one’s knitting.
The edges are done entirely with 3×1 corrugated ribbing for about 3/4″. I am particularly happy with how the pattern at the shoulder join looks – it is almost seamless! I thought about grafting it together for a completely seamless look but decided the seam would provide important support at the shoulders.
I hope this heavy sweater will last two winters. It will be a little long the first winter, with sleeves cuffed. The next winter, it should fit as a sweater might, with the sleeves left uncuffed. Both the cabled and the twisted 1×1 ribs have incredible stretch to them and will expand to fit a growing child’s arms and belly.
The garment is knit from the bottom up in the round and then steeked open. The sleeves are knit first and then joined to the body. I largely followed Elizabeth Zimmermann’s saddle shoulder construction for the armhole and shoulder shaping. The text is wordy but it should be clear once you begin the decreases. The neck opening is a bit wider than average and the back neck is shaped by short rows, with the cabled and twisted ribs extending up to form a collar. Rolled edges are knitted on to provide a place for the sewn in zipper.
Those unfamiliar with crochet steeks are encouraged to read Eunny Jang’s definitive steeking tutorial before proceeding. Only feltable wools with plenty of grip should be used for steeking purposes. Neither superwash wools nor plant or synthetic fibers will hold. Although it would be easy to modify the pattern to work back and forth without steeking, the instructions are written for construction in the round.
This pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $5.00.
Skills used: knitting in the round, increasing/decreasing, reading a chart, cabling, steeking, picking up stitches, stitching down facings, and hand sewing a zipper
1 yr (2-3 yr, 4-5 yr, 6-7 yr)
21 stitches and 26 rows = 4” in cabled (body) pattern when stretched
24 stitches and 26 rows = 4” in 1×1 rib (sleeve) pattern when stretched
16 stitches and 24 rows = 4” in stockinette
Ram Wools Selkirk (100% wool; 272 yd [249 m]; 4 oz), 2(2, 3, 4) skeins
US 8 (5.0mm) circular needle, length appropriate for size
US 8 (5.0 mm) double pointed needles
Separating zipper, size as needed
Crochet hook, any size between 3.25 – 4.0 mm will do
Small amount of sport or fingering weight, sticky wool for securing the steeked edge.
needle and thread
What started as a casual, ongoing, secondary project quickly grew into a terribly addicting, compelling project not long after I wrote about it.
It was bound to happen. I wanted my stashbusting vest to be a project to work on slowly throughout the year, adding scraps as they became available. Well, let’s face it: there is no shortage of Nature Spun Sport scraps in my house. Shortly after I posted about my Ultimate Stashbusting Vest, I felt a tremendous urge to FINISH! Right away! Sadly, a stranded vest with six colors and no repeated peeries requiring large amounts of math at regular intervals does not make for a good portable project. Alas! I have been dying to finish this for six weeks. Now, it is almost ready!
The other armhole and the neck edging remain to be done. Oh, and then there’s this little matter of weaving in ends…