Thursday, September 28, 2017

Size does matter or How changing your gauge helps

I want to talk a little bit about how NOT knitting to gauge can play in your favor



Most of the time you want to make a swatch and knit to gauge to ensure that the finished project is exactly the size of the finished project in the pattern.  This is especially important when you work up a fitted garment.  

But what if you want to make it bigger deliberately?

The most simple way to do that is to use thicker wool and larger needles.

Goal:  I have been intrigued by the "Tree of Life Afghan"  by Nicky Epstein and when I decided to knit up a blanket for a friend, I thought that this was the perfect pattern (finished size 48"x 58").  The beautiful pattern, which looks almost like a painting, is created simply by knit and purl stitches and a few cables.

Problem: But almost 2,000 yards of Aran weight yarn on size US #8 needles?
I wanted something quicker to work up and squishier/ thicker for those cold nights she would use it.

Solution: Then I found the baby blanket version by the same designer : "  Baby Tree of Life Throw"
which would make a 26"x34" blanket in worsted weight yarn on size US# 7 needles. 
So, I decided on using Bulky Yarn on size US#11 needles and tweak the pattern a bit.
Right off the start I decided to knit a seed stitch border right in.
With a gauge of 11 sts and 4 rows to 4 inches, I calculated that I should cast on 20 additional sts for the border left and right for a total of  112 sts .
To lengthen the blanket I threw in a few additional seed stitch rows to get to a total of 212 rows.

The end result: A 41" wide to 53 " long throw knitted up fast and looking fabulous :)
I used 1122 yards of bulky weight yarn on size 11 needles :)
The blanket is ready to ship :)

Next time you knit a blanket or shawl, give it a try and go up ( or down) in yarn weight and needle size.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

When things all come together

I just love it, when things all come together, when I suddenly realize that there is a common theme in different areas of my life. It makes me feel all wrapped up in harmony.

First :  While being on vacation my niece just finished a book and gave it to me because it sparked my interest.  The book is called "Indigo" by Catherine E. McKinley and gives an interesting account of the author's search for the original and true color indigo.  I was intrigued to read about  dying cloth and by the meaning and symbolism of different cloth designs.  I am glad to have a little background understanding about dying from when I attended a workshop on "natural dying" some years back at "The White Sheep Barn" in New Paltz, NY. Click this link to read that post : Natural Yarn Dying

Then:  The new PomPom magazine came out and I was drawn to the stitch pattern used in the sweater "Elibelinde".  At first I thought to just use that stitch in my next pair of socks.
But then I remembered the yarn I had bought last September and put aside for a sweater.  My plan then was to knit a practice sweater for myself before knitting up the one I made for our son.  And ,wouldn't you know it,  that yarn, a four-ply fingering, is the perfect yarn for this sweater.
And so I started; intrigued, too, by the symbolism of the pattern.  As the name of the sweater says it all : "Elibelinde"
"Elibelinde (Turkish for “hands on hips”) is a motif of a hands-on-hips female figure. It is widely used on kilims (flat tapestry-woven carpets) and occurs in many variations. The arms of the figure are represented by two inward-facing hooks, while the body of the woman is represented by a triangle or diamond. The head is typically represented by a diamond. The Elibelinde is a symbol of fertility and motherhood. It is one of many kilim motifs commonly woven into Turkish flatweave rugs.

And:  The same niece who lend me the book, took a lovely photo in New York city with the fearless girl by the charging bull in the financial district.  Hands on hips....  It just seems I have come full circle.

Claire in New York City


The pattern is very straight forward and easy to follow.  There are some minor errata which anyone who knitted a sweater before would pick out (I even think this may be typos and not erratas from the designer). Read my notes on ravelry for more information on that: Strickliese's Elibelinde.

The length is right

Looks like it will be the perfect fit!!

But: When everything DOES NOT line up:  So, the Chart B cable in the front section of the sweater does not line up with Chart A as it should (see my ravelry notes for more detail on this).
My question now:  Can I live with it or do I want to rip everything back to the armhole divide and re-knit....?

Uh, oh, something does not look right

Meanwhile:  A sermon was lingering in my memory (nagging me)..."when you are lost, go back".  Yes, I certainly did get lost as that specific detail in the sweater did not look the way it should.  So, I unraveled to the front/ back divide and am in the process of re-knitting.  I rather loose a few days worth of knitting than feeling regret every time I feel like wearing the sweater.
And yes, this is a bigger errata, but I still very much like the pattern.
My advise to you is when you divide the front and back be very careful that you have symmetry and an even number of repeats in the front!
Also, if you wait a little, the designer Ellinor Siljeström will most likely publish a new version or errata.
Much better!

I am hoping this re-knitting does not set me back too much and I will be able to start on the sleeves soon, but then again, to me knitting is not a competitive sport when you have to race to the finish line.  To me it is about the act of knitting and figuring things out when they don't look right and getting things just the way you had envisioned them sometimes with fearless determination, with your hands on hips.

Still, at times I wish I had nothing else to do, but to knit this sweater ( I almost feel a little possessed by it).  One thing which helped me to speed up the knitting, was to work the cables without a cable needle and I made a little video of that.

I will be working the sleeves two at a time on two circular needles.  There should be no problem to be able to wear this during this year's Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck :) I still have five weeks till then and I am very much looking forward to wearing the sweater :)