Friday, April 25, 2014

On the edge

Two blog posts in a week - when was the last time I did that? Someone must be napping in her crib more.

Two of my current WIPs had me thinking about garter stitch edges lately. If you just knit row after row, that first stitch often gets loose and floppy unless you do something to tighten it up. These two designs tackle the problem in clever ways. No simple slipped stitch here!

First up, Martina Behm's Hitchhiker - that addictive little scarf pattern - grows into a toothy swirl of garter stitch. The teeth have a stockinette edge and the curve is formed by a k1f&b on every row (beginning the RS rows and ending the WS ones). The result is a tidy, yet extremely elastic, edge. No need to pick up and knit a border to hide imperfections on the edge.

(This is my new midnight knitting project, now that I've finished the girls' latest knits. The decadence of the cashmere silk blend I'm using more than makes up for any boredom my fingers might feel with the garter stitch.)

Romi Hill's Fiori di Sole has the cleverest garter stitch edge treatment that I've seen on a lace shawl. Instead of the typical basic garter edging, she has you work a garter eyelet band with a decrease on the very edges of the shawl to balance the yo eyelets (ssk, k1, yo, k2 on the right edge and k2, yo, k1, k2tog on the left). The decreases tighten up any looseness from the previous plain WS row and give a lovely (yet sturdy!) edge which I expect will come in very handy for blocking.

If you're working a sweater or similar garment with a garter stitch edge, I'm a big fan of slipping the first stitch of the row knitwise, with the yarn in back. It makes for a neat and tidy edge without disrupting the garter ridges. That's what I used on Sprout's latest sweater and it worked like a charm.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In which one of my daughters models her new hand knit garment

Why yes, Tadpole and I have been reading Winnie the Pooh together. Those chapter headings must be rubbing off on me.

Both of my girls have new hand knits. One of them has tried hers on. That would be the immobile one, currently lacking the words to say "I'll try it on later, mommy."

Tadpole has a lovely new dress - the Goldilocks pattern - and I think it will fit. Hopefully she will be up for trying it on before she outgrows it.

Sprout was a more cooperative model in her new sweater, although she wriggled so much I had to switch to auto focus on the camera. Try telling a two-month-old to hold still - it just doesn't work. But happy, energetic babies are delightful creatures so we still had a lot of fun. Before I get distracted with the baby shots, here is the sweater itself:

Now for my model:

See why I wanted to make sure I showed you the sweater first? I kept getting distracted by those baby blues. Ok, now you can see how the sweater fits. It's still a bit big on her so I'm hoping it will fit for another couple of months - at least through the cool early summer evenings.

Now that I have you thoroughly distracted by the baby pics, I'm thinking of writing up the pattern. Any interest? This version was knit on size 1 needles using Sundara fingering merino yarn. Yes, there were lots of tiny stitches. But the stitch pattern would also look lovely in a heavier sock or even sport weight yarn on larger needles.

So if I were to write this up, would you prefer a free pattern with just one size or would you rather have multiple size and yarn weight options for a fee? And, perhaps more importantly, would you be interested in test knitting the pattern? I can promise an interesting knit, some clever details, and a satisfying FO. But you'll have to supply the baby.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Midnight musings

The new Twist Collective went up today and I was reminded that I'm really not a spring/summer knitter. There was one piece - a square shawl by Robin Melanson - that I liked but none of the other patterns spoke to me. That's fine. I tend not to wear knits n the summer unless it's a chilly evening. So it's not surprising that the image I liked best in the whole magazine was an add for Wool People 7. I eagerly popped over to the Brooklyn Tweed website only to find that WP7 has not yet arrived (and confirmed that I have not been living under a rock, for I never would have missed a new BT publication pre-baby). But I was reminded of one of my absolute favorite BT designs lately: Stonecutter

Why are all of the sweaters I like right now pullovers? This is not a new phenomenon. I felt this way most of the time I was pregnant with sprout. Now that I'm eight weeks post-partum, it will still be months before I am comfortable with my shape and measurements and willing to make the commitment of a complicated sweater. 

So what am I working on these days? Well, there's the exception to my general "I really shouldn't be knitting a sweater right now" policy: Rock Island. An oversized open front cardigan designed to be worn with several inches of positive ease doesn't present the same fit issues as a closely fitted pullover where an inch either way matters. 

I'm also finishing up a sweater dress for Tadpole (the striped piece in the picture up above). In the couple of days since I snapped that picture, I finished up the edging, wove in the ends, and gave the dress a soak. The fabric grew a fair amount in the bath so I'm curious to see how it dries. 

I've also started the first sleeve for sprout's new sweater - my current midnight knitting project. I happily cast on the other night only to discover that I needed to frog my inch or so of work when I looked at it the next morning. Apparently being able to count to 36 is not a skill I possess at 2am. 

Speaking of midnight knitting, my companion is not quite asleep yet and I'm going to get a few rows in before trying to get us both back to bed.