Archive for the ‘stash busting’ Category

Set-in Sleeve Calculator

A lace pullover for spring

Although raglan and yoke constructions (and even Elizabeth Zimmermann’s set-in model) are seamless, I regrettfully find them ill-fitting on my body. Like it or not, traditional set-in sleeves just fit me better. However, calculating the armhole and sleeve cap shape is time consuming and rather unwieldy for patterns with multiple sizes. This winter, I designed several garments for publication with set-in sleeves. I created an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the armscye measurement, the perimeter of the armhole. Still, the spreadsheet required tinkering here and there and was not a very good solution. When I explained my frustration to Aaron, he decided there had to be a better way. Using Jenna Wilson’s (girl from auntie) impeccably thorough armscye tutorial in Knitty as a guide,  he wrote a web application that would take in the necessary information regarding gauge and armhole shaping to produce meaningful information about sleeve cap shaping. 

The application can be found for free here.

armscye

It may seem complicated at first, but I think his Help! pop-ups explain the inputs pretty well. Here are some sample inputs, taken from the lace pullover shown above. 

armscye_filled-in

By leaving the final output as the number of decreases and the number of rows remaining before the cap bind-off(s), the calculator provides the designer with enough freedom to play around with the curve of the sleeve by varying the rate of decreases. 

Set-in sleeve detail

I relied heavily upon Aaron’s calculator for this simple lace pullover. Although the body largely came to life during a fit of insomnia, the sleeves dragged on interminably in part because I ran out of yarn and needed to alternate between multiple skeins to hide the variation between dyelots. The yarn is yet more stash leftover from my Ivy League Vest, which called for far more yarn than was actually needed. 

Back view

Pattern: The vine lace stitch pattern is an easy 4-row repeat from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns; the sleeve calculations came from Aaron’s armscye calculator 

Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland

Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm)

Side view

Since this was another stashbusting project, I’d say it was almost free! One thing is for sure: because I used a light sport weight (fingering, really) yarn on US 8 needles, the project required minimal yardage – only 570 yds for a finished bust of 36″ with 3/4-length sleeves!

 Set-in sleeve detail

This is the fifth garment I’ve knit using the calculator and every single sleeve cap has fit into its corresponding armhole flawlessly. Here are a few examples of the other garments:

Armhole details, using Aaron's armscye calculator

I hope others will find the calculator equally useful. 

Vine Lace Pullover

Perhaps it’s time to give set-in sleeves another go?

Relaxing Vine Lace

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? 

 Swatching a spring project

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.  

OK, maybe I'm at the armholes. Maybe.

The yarn is Harrisville Designs Shetland (in White), leftover from my Ivy League Vest last winter. The lace pattern is a 4-row repeat from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

Lace project

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.

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

Done!

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. 

Stashbusting: from 11.5 oz to 3.0 oz

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″

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

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. 

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

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 guts

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. 


With my favorite jacket

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. 

Shoulder join 

For more photos, see the Ultimate Stashbuster Vest folder on my Flickr account.

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

Down the rabbit hole

What started as a casual, ongoing, secondary project quickly grew into a terribly addicting, compelling project not long after I wrote about it.

Almost done with the knitting

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!

Down the rabbit hole

With the major knitting done, I steeked the vest yesterday and picked up stitches for the first armhole edging this morning. 
I can't stop

The other armhole and the neck edging remain to be done. Oh, and then there’s this little matter of weaving in ends…

The ultimate stashbusting challenge

In my stashbusting efforts this fall, I discovered Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport comprises the majority of my remnant stash. While not a fancy or exciting yarn, it is a nice, inexpensive wool that comes in a million colors. I heart Nature Spun. Most recently, I used Nature Spun Sport for Ida’s vest, a DROPS sweater for Beatrix, and my Winter Sunrise hat. It is also the yarn used in the never ending Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, which I will finish sometime in my lifetime. Excepting the two cones I bought from Whitney’s recent destash, it is worth noting that most of the NS in my remnant stash predates my blog. This means it is at least three years old. I must use it up or throw it out. Period.

With small amounts of at least 13 colors, I suppose I could knit hats. Many, many, many hats. However, I noticed nearly everything could be grouped into shades of orange/brown or shades of blue. Starting with the former color grouping, I decided to knit up the biggest stashbusting project ever: a fair isle vest like the Ivy League vest I knit last year, using only what I had. I will buy more of one particular color if I run out. However, I will not buy additional colors to use in the project.

With the ribbing

Using the same 3×1 ribbing as Ida’s vest, I cast on last October.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

The vest grows slowly, in part due to the stitch gauge and in part due to its relegation to secondary project in my knitting basket. Now, several months later, I have reached the V-neck divide.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

I’m still not sure the bright orange and white peeries jive with the darker peeries. I think they look good from a distance but it’s a little jarring from the knitter’s distance. I added them in the first place because the other peeries blended together into one dark blob.

My favorite panel

This is my favorite peerie of them all. I intend to use it in other designs, I like it so much. From some angles, it looks like the standard XOXO; but from other angles, I see orange butterflies. Do you?

I am willing to accept this may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit. After all, orange and brown are not exactly my favorite colors. However, I think it might be a nice fall vest under a jacket. Furthermore, the planning stages alone taught me valuable lessons about stacking and centering peeries, and stranded knitting in general. I remain hopeful.