A sea of numbers? Knit your sample.

Pullover assembly

I plug all my garment measurements and stitch gauge into my spreadsheet. Taking all the resulting numbers I hand write a pattern.
For the shoulders on the back of the current piece, I cast off in four steps. For the front, in error I write only three of these steps. Knitting the sample I come to these three steps. This doesn’t add up to the correct number of stitches. Do I check what happened for the back? No, I change it so the three steps add up to the correct number of stitches. I line up the shoulders to sew them together. Hang on, these don’t match!!! What have I done??? Finally I check to see what happened for the back. So for each front shoulder I have to un-knit 5 short rows and redo to match the back. Thankfully this is fairly quick and easy to recitfy. Relief!!!!
What are my options?
a) Don’t make any mistakes when writing out your pattern. – Not likely or even possible
b) Check the written pattern against all your numbers over, and over, and over……. – Yes, but that won’t catch every mistake
c) Knit your sample – Yes, this is where it all comes together. It’s not until you actually use the pattern that mistakes will become glaringly obvious

The pieces are finished and I’ve begun sewing together. The shoulders are sewn and one of the sleeves is in.

Pullover assembly

For the moment, I’ve had the time to approach my design and sample knitting as “work”.  When my “work” is this enjoyable, I feel uncomfortable spending time on it.  Everyone else is working and I’m having fun!!!  That can’t be right.  One of the benefits of this is that when I’m feeling under the weather, this is work I feel capable of getting on with.  I sometimes feel that I achieve more when I’m sick than when I’m well.  I can ignore household tasks and get on with my project!  It’s not my fault, my brain made me do it. 🙂



Pullover sleeves chugging along

The sleeves for my cowl collared pullover are coming along nicely.  The first one is finished and here is a photo of the second one, underway.  It’s hard to get a true picture of the colour.  This distance seemed to work better.  When I tried to fill the photo with the work, it looked more grey than blue.  It’s a mystery to me.  I’m keen to finish the sleeves and get it all sewn up so I can get onto the collar.  That’s the whole purpose of this exercise.  It’s a good exercise in patience and a good motivation for keeping on going. 



10 ply Alpaca/Merino in the middle of summer?

My cowl collared pullover is continuing nicely.  I’ve been keen to see the diffence of the appearance of the tone on tone yarn colours in the stocking stitch/cable sleeves in comparison to the very textured front/back.  That’s partly apparent from my tension squares (swatches), but it’s good to see some finished pieces to see what it really looks like.

Here’s the completed back and the almost finished front.  You can see what I meant about the colour change at the top of the back.  I’d rather see this at the top or bottom, as it is, than as a band in the middle of a piece, so it’s working out OK. Both pieces were photographed on the same spot with the same lighting.  Who know’s what the camera was doing?  Not me!




I was OK with doing p3 togs all through every fourth row, but I’m happy to be onto the sleeves, which are stocking stitch, with a cable up the middle.  There’s a bit less concentration required. 🙂

As for knitting in the middle of summer, we seem to be having a high 30’s day once a week, rather than an ongoing heatwave in other parts of the country, so the house hasn’t been heating up day after day.  So the knitting continues.  And I’ll have a lovely warm pullover to wear when summer is over. Yay!

A new project

I have a new project underway.  The next step in trying different collars is the cowl collar.  The vehicle for this collar will be a pullover in Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted using a relief stitch for the body and a cable for the sleeves.  My intention for the collar is to use a k2, p2 rib.  I’ll worry about that when I get to it.  Here are the swatches for this project.  The first swatch uses Raspberry stitch.

RIMG0145 RIMG0146

I’ve finished the back of the pullover now.  All the skeins are in the same dye lot, but a strange thing happened with the second skein.  It was the light and dark blue as shown above, then I came to a join in the yarn and it’s been predominantly dark blue since then.  This happened at the top of the back.  I’m continuing in this darker blue for the beginning of the front. Hopefully it will all look like it belongs together by the end.

Idiosyncrasy Pullover pattern available

My pattern for the Idiosycrasy Pullover has been available on Ravelry for a couple of months now, and I’m finally getting around to showing it here!

This is a beautifully warm and light lace pullover.

It’s a fitted, lace pullover with a Turtleneck Collar, in wool and cashmere. The yarn used here is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

Idiosyncrasy Pullover
Idiosyncrasy Pullover

Idiosyncrasy Pullover

Knitting Pattern

Yarn Suggested: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran or any other 10ply/Aran yarn. 50gm balls, 91m (100 yds)
Gauge:20 stitches and 26 rows = 4 inches in Small Fern Pattern
Needle Size: 5.00mm, 5.50mm and 6.00mm
Meterage: 910 – 1274 yards (832 – 1165 m)
Sizes Available: 74 (84, 94, 104, 114)cm  29¼  (33, 37, 41, 45) in
This pattern is available to buy from Ravelry for $US 7.00

Neck width stretch & Final assembly

With each pullover or cardigan (one so far) I design, I’m trying to refine the design and create my ideal design.  With each design, I want to deal with a design failing and see if I can correct it.  I love set in sleeves, as they give a close fit at the top of the arm, in comparison to the drop shouldered variety.  I’m not keen on trying raglan sleeves as I’m not confident that my row gauge is standard.  With set in sleeves, once the armhole shaping has been done, you can continue the armhole for as long or short as you want, to suit your own row gauge.  One flaw that I’m finding, is the tendency for neck openings to stretch, making the cross back look wider than I’m actually making it.  I’ve done some Ravelry research on the matter and have found someone with their own explanation for this phenomenon.  Joan Schrouder aka schrouderknits on Ravelry is “peevish” about this aspect of set in sleeved garments.

In response to a question about a garment with set in sleeves and negative ease perhaps riding up, Joan said:

How stretchy is your fabric? your yarn/fiber? What kind of st patt – does it stretch? How much wt is in the sleeves? (cap sleeve vs long sleeves?) What kind of shaping are you doing for the back of your neck? Are the sleeves separate pieces or extensions from the body? (ie is there a seam joining them to the body) My personal pet peeve with lots of set-in sleeve designs is that the shoulders are too wide to begin with, then the back of the neck cut-out, the fabric is knit loosely and with a stretchy fiber so the problem is compounded to make the sleeves droop unattractively off the natural shoulder line, looking much more like a drop shoulder.

In another about short row shaping on shoulders, Joan said:

I don’t know if you should do short-rowing at the neck part, too; try it if you want and see if you like it. I much prefer binding off my back of neck sts to help retard stretch that often occurs if those sts are not bound off. Rather than rejoining yarn to BO those center back sts, I would bind them off on the last time that I crossed them. I also rarely shape the back of my neck as I don’t like how it fits and it tends to lead to more stretching, one of my pet peeves.

So, it’s looking like back neck shaping may, in part, be the culprit.  Back neck shaping certainly isn’t a necessity.  The cast/bind off is nice and firm, it’s the step up between cast off sections where the stretch seems to occur.  I suppose this is happening with the front neck shaping too, but theoretically, if the back neck is firm, it should help stop the whole neck opening from stretching.  The front neck can’t stretch far if the back neck isn’t coming with it.  I also have the feeling that a collar will sit much better this way.

This is something to try in my never ending search for the pullover, as it should be.

My turtleneck lace pullover is finished and I’m now blocking the collar.  Here are some photos with the collar underway.

After sewing it together, and before starting the collar, I tried it on.  It fit’s exactly the way I wanted it to!  I’ve shaped it from the waist to the bust (another refinement I’m trying).  As I make my pullovers short, this is to prevent the baggyness at the waist that can occur without shaping.

So, I need to properly write out the pattern, get some photos done, and I’ll be all systems go!

In the home stretch

I’ve knitted all the main pieces of my lace cashmere pullover.  It’s blocking at the moment.  Then I’ll be able to sew it up and knit the collar.  Exciting!

As you can see, I finally got hold of some interlocking foam mats for my blocking.  I thought two would be enough, but I’ll need another.  Hopefully by this time next week it’ll be looking a lot more like a pullover!

I love/hate Excel

My love/hate relationship with Microsoft Excel is continuing.  I have been periodically complaining about various things:

  • how all those grid lines make the thing hard to look at
  • how the hell did I come up with that figure? (I don’t want to have to click on a cell to see what formula is in there)
  • why can’t I make it be more text focussed with a few figures here and there?

I’ve since been informed that the grid lines can be hidden.  For those that already knew this, well done.  For those slow learners like myself, join me in celebrating!  At last I’m able to make it look the way I want.  I can enter long, descriptive sections which describe exactly what’s going on behind the scenes and I’m not being sent cross eyed by all those grid lines.

So, here’s the difference.  The first screen shot is a section of my spreadsheet with grid lines.


The second screen shot is a similar section of my new spreadsheet, without grid lines.  I’ve been able to make it more word focussed, and have added in lovely little blue comments (my choice of colour) to let me know what’s going on behind the scenes.  I do love a bit of documentation, preferably done by someone else.

My lace cashmere pullover is continuing nicely, with minimal hiccups.  Here’s the front, almost completed.  I’d virtually finished the first sleeve, when a calculation error became apparent. Gah!  Just the sleeve cap to redo.  Could be worse.Pullover front, in progress


A new pullover design underway

After a few false starts, I’m knitting up my latest pullover design.  My idea is for a lace cashmere turtleneck pullover.  All good in theory, but I’ve stumbled over a few hurdles on the way.  The first lace pattern I tried was strangely arranged so that the sides of the work bulged and increases would be difficult to work out.   On the second, I discovered a discrepancy between the written/charted pattern and the photo provided.  I could’ve solved this, but I couldn’t decide which alternative I preferred.  I finally settled on a third pattern, had done all my design calculations and pattern writing and was halfway through knitting the back, when I realised the increases were too confusing for the average knitter (including myself) to work out.  Rip, rip, rip.  Iteration number four and I found a pattern which I like and which is simple to work increases in.  Hooray!  The yarn I’m using is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which I purchased from Sunspun in Canterbury.

The picture on the right is my tension square, which was worked in camel colour, discovered to be discontinued after purchase!  The back of my pullover so far is in Basil, although it’s difficult to see the difference in these photos.  Since taking these photos, I’m well on my way on the armholes. All is going well.  It may not be apparent from the photo, but I’m shaping from the waist up to the bust, in the attempt to create a more fitted garment.  As I prefer my pullover’s short, to hide as little of my scant lower half as possible, unshaped garments may seem a bit baggy at the waist.  This will hopefully solve that problem.  Every design is an attempt to improve the flaws of the last.  Enjoy your knitting!

Fayre Cushion Cover pattern now available

The pattern for my Fayre Cushion Cover is now available.

A fresh, colourful cushion cover, knitted in cotton in a simple lace stitch. The cushion cover is worked in one piece, then folded over and seamed at the sides.  Whether worked in bold, contrasting colours or neutral, graduating shades, this will make a beautiful addition to your decor. The yarn used here is Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK cotton.

Fayre Cushion Cover

Fayre Cushion Cover

Knitting Pattern

Yarn Suggested: Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton or any other 8ply/DK yarn. 50gm balls, 110m (109 yds)
Gauge:25 stitches = 10 cm (4 in) in Alternating Eyelet Stitch 
Needle Size: 3.75mm
Meterage: 400m (436 yards)  – 1 ball of each colour
Notions: 9 snap fasteners required
Sizes Available: To fit cushion 36cm x 36cm (14in x 14in) 
This pattern is available to buy from Ravelry for $US 5.30