Thursday, 21 June 2007

Elegance Knit Images

Let's Knit Series #11 - Elegance Knit
Cover Sweater

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Lace Progress

I wouldn't want you to think that, just because I haven't posted in a week or two, that I haven't been working on my shawl. (Shawl #3 from "Elegance Knits" book 11, you'll remember.)

So, here's the progress photo. I'm about halfway through the first repeat of chart #2 . . . which basically means I've still got a long, long way to go, but it sure is looking pretty!

Monday, 18 June 2007

Getting closer - The Neckband Story

I've tried a few combinations of yos and decreases for the neckband pattern, finally decided for this one.

In order to keep things Japanese, I coded the chart in the Japanese style and this will be your homework: to figure out the interpretation :).

It's a 6 stitches repeat pattern, so make sure you pick up a multiple of 6 stitches around the neckline - in case you want to use this pattern yourself, obviously.
I was quite lucky to get 96 stitches from the first picking attempt - this gave me exactly 16 repeats, (not 11 like I said before - thanks Joan for spotting this).

These are the moments when I feel God being on my side :).
Otherwise you have to increase/decrease a few stitches to get to a multiple of 6 stitches.

So, did you finish picking up the right number and knitting two rows of purled stitches?

Good - next thing - place stitch markers for your lace neckband - and of course I expect you to start placing them at the middle of front part first - in order to align the center stitch of the front with the center stitch (no. 4) of you neckband pattern. See the red line? That's the center I'm talking about.

Now, If you've done your homework right, that's what you'll be getting two hours later:

Neckband done. It does look a bit like the original ...but I'm not very sure about being identical.

I used my own method of casting off here - I invented it long time ago - but it might as well be a famous one - I never read any knitting books :).
...And it goes like this : * knit two tog, slip the stitch back to the left needle, purl two tog, slip the stitch back to the left needle * repeat from *. The p2tog produces a small bubble - and I thought they look nice in the overall context.

Right, next I am diving into the sleeves math and this is going to be tricky - stay tuned for the next episode.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

A little intro & I'm finally ready to roll!

My name is Jenny and I am in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. I purchased my first Japanese knitting book book a couple of years ago but never made anything. Later I got caught up in the Au Kamin cardigan craze and so purchased that book. Not very long after that, things got very busy at home and work, so my knitting life was pretty much on hold. If you check out the last dates on my blog you can tell how long its been - the baby shown just turned 3 and has moved from the bathtub to the beach!

So now I'm back and have been stitching away at several projects। When the Japanese knitting bug hit again, I was all in. I spent a few years in the quilt world before returning to the knitting world, and enjoyed watching the progress of the young Japanese quilters who had come to the states and taken up quilting with a vengeance. What impressed me most was their use of the traditional geometric patterns transformed with the Asian color pallet. It is this same sensibility in design and color that I enjoy so much in the Japanese knitting books.

Now I have more books ordered from Japan, and I am finally actually knitting. Well closer to the truth is that I am swatching. And ripping. And swatching. I have been trying different yarns and needle sizes.

Thanks to our fearless leader, Silvia, I had a bit of a starting point. I chose the cover pattern from the KE #8, pulling the chart from 250 Stitch pattern book that arrived just about the time this group got started. (I haven't been able to put my hands on the actual pattern book #8 - I have three others that I'm waiting to receive.

What I like most about these patterns is the fearless use of cables and lace providing some dynamite looks. What I like least about these pattens is the fearless use of cables and lace resulting any quite a few backside increases and decreases. This was a major reason I have swatched so many times!

The second reason was working from the chart. It isn't that the chart isn't clear - it is. I just kept losing track. I also had a devil of a time trying to wrap my mind around the left and right leaning decreases on the purl side. Soooo:

First I created a spreadsheet with the chart written out row by row.

Then I printed out index cards with individual rows, each on a separate card and now I have a flip book to work from. Much easier to keep track of things! TECHknitter just addressed this same dilemma. Hmmm .... order a book from overseas to translate to English .... no wonder the Au Kamin KAL was called crossed in translation.

With the chart taken care of I still had needle and yarn to deal with. When I swatch, I usually try three different needle sizes. Two will usually have the same gauge and one will be higher or lower. They will all look different. I'll then decide which one feels right for the purpose.

I tried wool - I love to knit with it, but recently I can hardly wear it. This is a sport weight coned wool purchased from WEBS that I have in the stash. It comes off the come feeling "crunchy" but after washing it has a wonderful hand.

The first swatch is a US size 3.25 Addi. Tight to work and will mean alot of repeats. About 6.5 stitches to an inch.

The second swatch on a bamboo circ size 3.75.
Almost identical gauge except in row count. Much easier to work.

The third swatch is on a cheapo metal circ, size US 5 . At 6 stitches per inch, I'm afraid this one will stretch to the next size!

Not happy to stop there I pulled several other yarns. I have some nice cottons but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough in a dye lot to finish. Silvia, how much yarn will you use?

I'll spare you the photos, just know that there are little ringlets of about 35 stitches ripped off the needles and dropped all over the house and in the car. Latest swatch and possibly the final one is a Dale Hielo. This falls somewhere between a sport and DK weight.

I may still try one more needle with this but at about 5 stitches/1", I'm pretty happy with it. The light color also shows the work well also. sorry for the fuzzy pic - I was in a rush to get to the dentist and then to work this morning!

Hubby loves it when he walks in and sees me standing on a chair doing things he can't quite figure out!

Lastly, I had to figure out how many repeats, and from what starting point, and at what gauge will (hopefully) get me to a size 38 sweater. I have a spreadsheet for that too if anyone needs it!

My girlfriend thinks we are nuts trying to do this. She has seen my studio. She knows that I don't have any shortage of. Patterns in English! I do have co-workers that hail from other countries, so translation shouldn't be a problem. But most don't knit and I would have to teach them to knit for them to understand the terminology!

Oh well, that's why we are all in this together!

I promise my next posting will be shorter!


Wednesday, 13 June 2007

More progress and decreases

I finally managed to finish the body - both parts, front and back - and I've started planning the neck band.
Just to say this again, I don't have the pattern book (and I gave up any hope to find the book anywhere online), so I'm doing my own thing here, just based on the pattern stitch from 250 Patterns Book. (Did I mention I love this stitch pattern? )

Right, and here's a progress picture.

I designed my own sleeve decrease (based on another similar top pattern from Elegant Knit), which in Japanese reverse engineering would look like this:

The Japanese decreases (or increases) are coded with an 'one off' number of stitches to start with (optional), followed by several 'three numbers' sequences.

The 'three numbers' sequence has the following meaning : first number shows how many rows to knit after the last decrease, second number represents the number of stitches to be decreased and the third one tells you how many times to execute this decrease instruction.

So 2-3-1 means : knit another 2 rows - decrease 3 stitches - do this operation 1 time(s).

I've done a detailed chart as well, just so we see what's happening in real life, row by row.