Friday, April 30, 2021

Same Old, Same Old

I wish I could write with exciting news, photos -- something, but it's same old, same old here. We're in a strict lockdown in Ontario, not that that means much given that Bill and I have been avoiding social interactions for over a year. I haven't been inside a shop of any kind since March 2020. Thankfully, Isabel is living within walking distance of us, at least temporarily until her big tech employer calls its employees back into the office in Kitchener/ Waterloo. She's "bubbling" with us, following identical restrictions. Not so for James, also within walking distance. I see him at a distance only, but we chat periodically by phone.

What's happening in my insular world of making? A relatively plain vanilla sweater, enjoyable rather than boring after all the chart following concentration of the aran cardigan project.

The yarn is Ultra Alpaca worsted in "blueberry mix", looking as usual with my camera, more grey than blue.

I finally plyed some singles that had been sitting on spindles into a nice DK weight, shown drying on my music stand. It's Ashford's Corriedale in "Grape Jelly".

Yesterday I cut out and began to sew a cotton dress for warm weather. The fabric is "Meet me in Ibiza" from Cotton + Steel. Love those Japanese prints.

Finally, I'm having my annual contest of wills with a robin determined to build a nest atop one of our porch pillars. I think the terracotta pot has succeeded in thwarting her ambitions. I feel slightly cruel, but the resulting mess from bird poop on the porch can be dreadful, and there are plenty of other nesting opportunities out there.

Note the mayflies (bird food) dotting the pillar. They should be over in the next week or so. It's the curse of living a stone's throw from Lake Ontario.

Going for my first dose of Pfizer on Tuesday. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Design Your Own Aran Cardigan, Part Fifteen: Wrap Up

Time for photos of the completed cardigan. Yarn: Topsy Farms Worsted, 4 skeins. Needles: 5 mm 32" circular for body and sleeves. 4.5 mm 32" circular for ribbing. Gauge in stocking stitch: 4 sts per inch. Buttons: 7/8" coffee-coloured wooden buttons from Darryl Thomas Textiles. Shown with this home sewn linen dress.

Some stats:

CO = 176 sts

body length to underarm = 11"

armhole depth = 7"

sts on hold at underarms = 18 

total sts involved at neck (same number for front and back) = 28

sts placed on hold before neck shaping (same for front and back) = 20

sts bound off at shoulders = 22

sts knitted up for sleeves = 60

sts after perpendicular join = 59

total sleeve decreases before ribbing = 11

rows between decreases = 6 

sts left after sleeve decreases = 37 

sts in cuff = 34 

OK, now it's your turn. Show me your projects on Ravelry by linking them here.  

Me in my new overalls. So comfy. I feel taller (always good when you're 5'1"). The grin is because I managed this morning to book my first and second vaccine appointments (May and August). Also because the sweater is #5 right now on Ravelry's "Hot Right Now" list and it seems to be inspiring a few knitters to venture into designing their own.

Design Your Own Aran, Part Fourteen: Sleeves

In the previous post I described the process of knitting up the sleeve stitches and working down to the point where the underarm stitches have been subsumed into the sleeves and the whole joined neatly into the round. Now it's time for a few more calculations. 

1. Figure out, approximately, how many cuff stitches to aim for. In a stocking stitch sweater, the cuff would normally be about 20% of the body stitches. So, if this were a plain sweater with no cables, a 36" sweater knitted at 4 stitches per inch would have 144 stitches in the body. 144 x .2 = 28.8 I'd probably aim for around 30 stitches, just to be safe. But, this is a sleeve with cables, so I'm adding a few more stitches, around 34. Don't forget that as you knit the sleeve you can try it on and make adjustments as you go. It's best to end the decreases a little early and allow for a few inches of working even for your forearm. You can always work a few more decreases when you start the cuff ribbing (if you're doing ribbing, that is). Knitting is very forgiving.

2. Estimate how many rows apart to work your decreases. Guestimate sleeve length from the underarm join, using an existing sweater. Multiply the result by your row gauge to learn the total number of rows you have to work with. Divide by the number of decreases.

Example: I had 59 stitches when my sleeve was joined into the round. I knew I needed to get down to around 37 (I adjusted my original number up so it would be an odd number since I was starting with an odd number and would be doing pairs of decreases). 

59 minus 37 = 22:  total stitches to decrease

22 divided by 2 = 11: total number of decreases 

15" sleeve (measured from the underarm join) x 6 (my row gauge) = 90 rows

7 or 8 of my rows would be dedicated to the ribbing, which brought me down to 82 rows. I like to have at least a couple of inches between the end of the decreases and the cuff, so taking away another 12 rows that brought me down to 70 rows. I divided 70 by eleven and ended up with a decrease spacing of every 6 rows, with a few left over. 

3. Play with the ribbing. When I arrived at the cuff, I decided to carry on with the cable ribbing as much as possible right to the end. Actually, I ended up turning the centre of the big cable into a little rope cable and decided to decrease 3 extra stitches in the first round of ribbing, thus arriving at 34 stitches. Don't forget to switch down a needle size for the ribbing. Not a bad idea for the last couple of rounds even if you're not ribbing, just to keep the cuff from flaring out.

And remember, to avoid cable splay, end with a cable turn just before binding off in pattern. 

The last part is here

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Design Your Own Aran, Part Thirteen: The Perpendicular Join

Do you consider thirteen to be unlucky? I don't, but I'm always surprised at the number of people who do. Regardless, here's how to knit sleeves top down from a modified drop shoulder. It's tidy, it allows the aran patterns to progress uninterrupted to the shoulder, and it's just plain fun. For an overview of the perpendicular join, see here. FYI, I also used it for the saddle shoulders in Glenora.

To double check before you launch into this, you should have an even number of stitches on lengths of waste yarn at the underarms and continuous selvedge stitches all the way up the upper body to the shoulders (now joined by 3-needle BO).

I use a 32" circular for the whole procedure (and also for the rest of the sleeve utilizing the magic loop method). Knit up stitches around the armhole in a ratio of 2 stitches for every 3 rows. Review this tutorial if necessary for where and how to knit up stitches. Whilst doing this, at the two bottom corners of the opening next to the underarm stitches, pick up the running thread and twist it before knitting into it to close any gaps, making each twisted stitch lean toward the underarm. Leave the underarm stitches on the waste yarn; they will be worked into the sleeve one at a time. You should end up with an even number. 

Example: my 7-inch tall arm opening produced (29 x 2) sts + (1 x 2) at the corners) = 60 sts total. 

At this point, if you haven't done this so far, stop to consider which, if any, aran stitches from the body you want to carry down the sleeves. Remember, it must be a stitch pattern that will look the same whether worked bottom up or top down. My gull stitch cable was ruled out for this reason. I chose to employ my largest cable, the Inishmore Cable, for the sleeves. Centre the cable over the shoulder and place markers around the stitches that will be involved. Note that you will begin, as you did for the body, on a WS chart row. The instructions below for the perpendicular join below are written for a plain stocking stitch sleeve; remember to work your chosen aran stitches in the area you have marked out for them.

Now, working back and forth:

Row 1 (WS): Sl1 wyif, purl to last st, sl1, sl1 from waste yarn, sl2 back onto LH needle and p2tog, turn.

Row 2 (RS): Sl wyib, knit to last st, sl1 knitwise, s1 knitwise from waste yarn, insert LH into last 2 sts to make and SSK, turn.

Rep Rows 1 and 2, cont to work back and forth in this fashion, eating up the underarm sts from the waste yarn until 1 st is left on the waste yarn and 1 sts remains on the needle, then work a double dec as foll: sl2tog knitwise (the 2 remaining sts just described), k1, P2SSO. You should have an odd number of sts left in total for the sleeve. Place a locking st marker in the double decrease and move this up as the sleeve progresses. This will be the start of the round. Yes, from here on you will be working your aran chart in the round, so don't forget that you will be reading EVERY row from right to left for the first time in the knitting of the cardigan. 

Here's how the underarm will look after a few more rounds, with the sleeve at the top of the photo:

 And here's how the perpendicular join will look when completed.

It's like knitting magic!
Part 14 is here.