May 09, 2007


Last week at Feral Knitting, we had duelling swatches:


I was working on my homework swatch for steeks (for Janine's upcoming class) -- and it turned out that Gail was working on her swatch, too, and that we were on the same row! Gail's is the one at top -- she's using Moss and Rye, and mine's the one at the bottom, using Turf and Sand. I'd finish a row and yell over in her direction: "Finished another row!" and she'd ignore me and keep on knitting.

Yesterday I worked more on the swatch when I met with my long-lost knit-bud Abby for coffee:


She was knitting a sock in Child's Play. The young woman who was the barista had knitted a few scarves herself; she had not ever seen before anyone knitting in a tube with three tiny DPNs, so that was fun to be able to talk knitting with someone who's new to the craft. In addition to knitting, Abby makes glass beads, and you can view some of her work here.

Over coffee, my Basic Black Vest also grew by a couple of rows:


I gave my pockets an I-cord bind-off, following directions from the Spring 2001 issue of Interweave Knits. I am really, really pleased with this little detail on my pockets!

Working on Level II of the TKGA Master Knitter program, I have learned this method for knitting pockets into a garment as you go -- no need for seaming, later. Of the 22 swatches that one must knit for Level II, I have found the pocket swatch to be the one that was most enjoyable because you get to see this whole pouch emerge right from your needles. And it's a good thing that I found it enjoyable, because I knitted that swatch only five times before I got one that I felt partook of the Form of Perfection.

In a nutshell, what you do to knit in a pocket is to stop after finishing the wrong side row at the point where you want the bottom of your pocket to be. In the case of the vest, I wanted the pocket about 2 inches from the bottom hem, so I stopped with a WSR when the vest was that long. Then with a separate DPN and a separate ball of yarn, pick up in the purl bumps as many stitches as you'd like your pocket to be wide. For the vest, the pocket is placed 2 inches from the front opening, but obviously, you could begin picking up your stitches for the pocket further over if you wanted your pocket further to the side. You then knit a flap as tall as you'd like your pocket to be deep, working a garter stitch selvage on that flap. (The vest pockets are 3 inches deep.) When the flap is as tall as it needs to be, you return to your main needles and main yarn, and begin re-knitting the entire width of the garment, and you catch into your knitting (k2tog) the garter stitch bump from the pocket selvage on every right side row. This photo shows the knitting-in of the selvage stitches in progress:


Voila! A pocket that needs no further finishing, other than to darn in the yarn ends.

In Two Swans Yarns news: The Summer issue of Interweave Knits is here!


(For a long time, it's been one of my goals to learn Photoshop. Two years ago I bought the Classroom in a Book, but I have never had the patience to sit down and work through the lessons. I just want to know what I need to know, when I need to know it! So, trial-and-error, inferring from what I have already learned about Photoshop, I made the above graphic. My learning curve is not very steep.)

I am intrigued by the construction of the Luvtroja Mans hoodie. You first knit the center horizontal band, then pick up stitches for the side panels and knit them, intarsia style. The front checkerboard pattern is entrelac. The pattern says it is knitted on size 2 needles in Spindrift -- and I'll be the first to admit that that is a lot of knitting! You could easily upsize to the DK weight and size 4 or 5 needles, and have less knitting (and the sweater might be ever so slightly heavier, but not by so much that it would be a problem). And although the magazine shows it in two shades of gray with teal, it would look equally good in any three colors that coordinate well. I'm really partial to pink with gray . . . which Allegra is forever telling me are "eighties colors" . . . and I think Plum would look great instead of the Nighthawk. My kids gave this hoodie pattern two thumbs up.

The Ogee Lace skirt uses the new yarn from Rowan, Bamboo Tape. The skirt is knitted on size 11 needles and should be a quick project. The Ogee lace stitch pattern is pretty. I realize not everyone wants to wear a wrap skirt, but the resident ballerina in our house might want to, over her leotard when she goes to dance class.

Posted by Karen at May 9, 2007 12:18 PM

So who won the swatch-off? ;)

They're both gorgoeus!

Posted by: Romi at May 9, 2007 08:19 PM

Oh, mine is *still* a work in progress. But I am closing in on the home stretch, here, pretty soon....

Posted by: Karen at May 9, 2007 10:50 PM

I'm afraid you'll have to do something more dramatic, say, bonk me on the head, to get my attention when I'm battling stranded knitting! Sorry I didn't hear you!

I changed my swatch partway through the evening, adding some steek stitches (and a strange white lump, don't ask) so I could finish my swatch knitting in the round. (And Janine joked to the effect: "See how quickly my students ignore my instructions---class hasn't even started yet."

Someone told me it was Absolutely OK to cut the steek without any preparation. So I did it, then quickly jammed the whole thing in my knitting bag. I've been afraid to look at it ever since. Will pull it out at ferals to see what happened...bring Kleenex...

Posted by: Gail at May 10, 2007 02:05 PM

Gail, so you were concentrating, is that what it was?!

it is Absolutely OK to cut a steek of stranded knitting when the yarns are of this *sticky* Shetland type. The little scales on the yarn strands will stick to the little scales on their neighboring stitches, and it won't unravel. (I'd tell you not to cut, willy-nilly, a steek knitted in machine washable wool, or in a cotton yarn . . . .)

Posted by: Karen at May 10, 2007 04:31 PM

I think that my resident gymnast would like that skirt too. I love the little tutorial on the pocket, yours looks wonderful.

Posted by: marti at May 11, 2007 03:32 PM