Showing posts with label blocking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blocking. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Unravelling Old Projects: Musings on Reckless Beginner Knitting and Body Image

In the interest of frugality, I will be unravelling a project from the very early stages of my 'knitting career'. This was a time when knitting a gauge swatch was such a bore, adequate measuring (of myself and the swatch) appeared mysterious and incredibly complicated, blocking didn't exist and, due to a lack of familiarity with materials, I habitually chose the most unsuitable yarns for my projects. 

Hopelessly Oversized Asymmetrical Cardigan (completed circa 2010 / 2011)

I'm sure many other beginner knitters will be familiar with this cavalier attitude: You feel excited by the very fact that you mastered the basics of knitting and you just want to get on with it. Every project therefore turns into a test, attempting new techniques and more challenging pieces, rather than paying attention to the necessary groundwork, i.e. jumping through the hoops of all the preparatory steps before casting-on in earnest.  


I adopted this rather nonchalant attitude in two of my earliest projects: a jumper and an asymmetrical cardigan. And even though every seasoned knitter drew my attention to the importance of gauge, selecting suitable materials or the necessity of blocking, I chose to ignore all of this well-intentioned advice, knowing in the back of my mind that I was en route to Disappointment Central.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Cast-on loosely and don't knit tight - knitting lace with fingering weight mohair yarn

Wisp: Pattern by Cheryl Niamath (published in Knitty, Summer 2007), Yarn: Patons UK Misty


The Wisp Shawl pattern by Cheryl Niamath has somewhat turned into a classic lace knitting pattern and due to its simplicity it tends to attract many beginner lace knitters, who may never have used cobweb or fingering weight yarn in any of their projects before.

Though not my first lace project, I, too, opted for the pattern as I wanted to gain experience knitting lace with fingering weight yarn, whilst completing a relatively simple pattern. Niamath's Wisp fulfils these requirements and due to its straightforward stitch sequence, it allows you to concentrate on your manual ability and, above all, to get a feel for working with extremely fine yarn. 


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The First Sock is the Hardest: Turning Those Heels...

Gently inserted into everyday conversation, the mere mention of sock knitting tends to provoke remarks about its apparent difficulty and a comment on the intricacy of heel turning will undoubtedly be thrown in here and there as well. Even non-knitters or those only loosely connected to the fibre sphere will appear to sound like experts on the topic of sock knitting and inevitably convey a sense of a awe when they utter that ominous phrase: 'turning a heel'. 


And all of a sudden it seems that everyone has heard about how immensely difficult it is to turn a heel. "Turning the heel', i.e. the part of the knitting when you shape the heel of the sock and work your piece on several needles whilst decreasing, seems to simultaneously instil feelings of awe, fear and amazement whenever it is mentioned, especially if non-knitters join the conversation. It sounds somewhat magical, surgical and therefore terribly advanced. 


Sock Knitting Heel Detail

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Update on that "Bag of Weed"

My so-called "sabbatical" ended unexpectedly at the onset of October. This accounts for the silence on the blog, which I'm about to interrupt with a post on blocking.

Blocking again! I don't seem to be able to get away from the topic of blocking.

Commuter Cowl blocking, draped around dressmaker's dummy

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Freestyle Raglan Cardigan - Project Instructions

Surprisingly pleased with my first freestyle raglan cardigan, I decided to knit another, this time keeping a record of my project instructions.



Knitted seamlessly from the top down, this is a made to measure project without a written pattern as such. 

The number of cast - on stitches depends on your gauge swatch, your own measurements, the chosen needle size and the type of wool you are using. The pattern allows for modifications at every step of the way and what follows are my instructions for a cardigan in size S, knitted in stockinette stitch, with garter stitch edging at the bottom.

Should you wish to use another stitch motif, you simply have to knit the gauge swatch in the desired stitch and derive your measurements from your test swatch.






I used the following materials:

  • Yarn: Madelinetosh, Tosh Merino Light (Sock Yarn) - 1 hank

  • Needle: 5mm (US size 8) circular needle, 4 double - pointed needles (5mm / US size 8)

  • Scrap yarn, 4 stitch markers, scissors, darning needle 



Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light Sock Yarn, Colourway: Victorian Gothic



Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light Sock Yarn, Colourway: Victorian Gothic


Prepare your gauge swatch and block it in whichever way you see fit. Count the stitches and calculate the number of stitches against the measurement of the gauge swatch: In my gauge swatch, 26 stitches in stockinette stitch measured 10cm exactly. 


Gauge swatch in stockinette stitch.



Next, you will have to determine how many stitches are required for the neckline of your cardigan. You can either measure yourself or, as this is not always as straightforward, opt to measure the neckline of an existing garment. My neckline measurement was 51cm.

Once you have determined the neckline measurement, you calculate the number of stitches to be cast on proportionally:

The general calculation looks as follows:

(measurement of desired neckline x number of stitches in swatch sample) / measurement of swatch = number of required stitches 

For my cardigan, the calculation looks like this: 

(51cm x 26sts) / 10cm = 132.6sts


I rounded the stitch total to 135, in order to easily divide the stitches between the various sections.


Once you have determined the number of stitches required, you are ready to start knitting:



Cast on 135 stitches:

  • 1st row: knit all stitches
  • 2nd row: purl all stitches

(After completion of this row, I decided to incorporate a button hole at the beginning of the next row, but this is entirely optional.)

Next, divide stitches between markers for the front, back and the two sleeve sections: 

  • 45 for the back section, 46 in total for the front sections and 22 stitches for each sleeve section
  • 3rd row: knit 23, place marker, knit 22, place marker, knit 45, place marker, knit 22, place marker, knit 23
  • 4th row: purl, slipping markers as you complete the row

From the next row onwards, you start the Raglan increases. Until you are able to fit your arms comfortably through the sleeve sections, the number of stitches will have to be increased as set out below.

  • 5th row: knit to two stitches before 1st marker, kfb, knit, slip marker, kfb, knit to two stitches before next marker. Continue increasing the stitch count as set-out above until the row row is complete, increasing one stitch before and after each marker.
  • 6th row: purl all stitches slipping markers as you complete the row


Continue in stockinette stitch, increasing stitches before and after each marker on every knit row as shown above.

Continue knitting in stockinette stitch until your arms fit through the sleeves. (I increased the sleeve sections from 22 stitches to a total of 45 stitches between markers.) 

When the sleeves are wide enough and the fit is comfortable, proceed as follows:

  • Knit to 1st marker, remove marker, place all stitches between markers on scrap yarn. Remove second marker. Join first front section with back section, continue knitting to second sleeve section, remove first marker, place stitches between markers on scrap yarn, remove second marker, join back section with second front section. Proceed to knit until end of row. 


Proceed to knit in stockinette stitch, removing all markers until your cardigan has reached the desired length. (You will have to keep checking the fit of the cardigan whilst knitting.)

Once your cardigan has reached the desired length, knit 4 rows in plain garter stitch (to avoid rolled edges) and bind off.






Having completed the Torso, it's time to move on to the sleeves: 

As pictured above, the live sleeve stitches are held on scrap yarn. Divide these stitches evenly between 3 double - pointed needles and remove the scrap yarn. To give the sleeves a neater look and to avoid the appearance of "underarm holes", pick up a few stitches underneath the arms, where the front and back sections were originally joined. This will stabilise the sleeve and create an overall tidy appearance.

It is now up to you to decide, how long the sleeves should be. As I wanted to use one skein of sock yarn exactly, I settled for short sleeves, which only required me to knit three rows in the round until bind-off. 

Once you have completed the sleeves, your cardigan is ready to be blocked.

As this garment is knitted in one piece, blocking can be quite a challenge and I decided to pin it against my dressmaker's dummy, whilst steam - blocking the fabric.  






Should you require pattern support, please feel free to contact me via Ravelry or leave a comment below.

This pattern is for personal use only and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without permission.


© 2012 Clarice Asquith. All rights reserved. http://makedoandmendnovice.blogspot.com



Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Lesson in Hanging on...until the time is right for steam blocking

Introducing The Freestyle Raglan Cardigan


A rather interesting project, one that's been on the needles since August 2011. At the time, I attempted my first cardigan. I wasn't following a "pattern", instead the project was knitted top - down, according to swatch and proportion.

As mentioned, no written pattern was followed as such, just basic project instructions along the lines of: 

Measure swatch, measure yourself, block swatch, calculate stitches required around collar in proportion to swatch sample, cast on equivalent number of stitches, divide stitches, place markers, memorise increase pattern, go forth and knit ...




Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Garter Stitch Brain Cleanser ...or Can you Block Acrylic Yarn?


Baktus Scarf



Update: Project notes for a modified brain cleanser baktus are now available here.

Strikkelise's Baktus pattern  has been on my "to -knit-list" for quite a while, but I had never quite gotten into the right state of mind for a project knitted entirely in garter stitch until now. Knitting in garter stitch throughout can be quite a repetitive endeavour, which I highly recommend as a brain - cleansing activity. To incorporate a little more of a challenge, I decided to knit my Baktus in two colours and I wanted to use the most inexpensive yarn I could find in my cupboard (...and still achieve a presentable look).

The yarn for this project was a charity shop find. I was unable to ascertain the manufacturer and only have a vague idea on the composition. A label on the inside of the heather - coloured cone tells me that the yarn contains 30% wool, with the remainder being acrylic. I assume that the same applies to the grey cone, but I could be wrong. I also assume that  Yeoman's are the manufacturers of the yarn. (Yeoman's produce machine knitting yarn, which is sold on cones.) But I could be wrong on this, too.



Sunday, 12 June 2011

Meandering Vines by Susanna IC - Almost Finished...

According to an earlier blog entry, I began to work on "Meandering Vines" back in March 2011. It seems so long ago and I started several other projects whilst knitting the shawl.  

Meandering Vines


Finally, after three months of knitting on and off, it is finished. Well, ... almost finished. It's currently blocking. The shawl is knitted in a relatively thick cotton / acrylic yarn (Paton's UK Vintage) and blocking was an absolute must on this project.

The pattern is simple and straightforward, and, as promised by the designer, it can be knit in pretty much every type of yarn.  -   An easy knit for the beginner lace knitter.

My blocking method is a little quirky (see below). I neither own a blocking board, which would accommodate the full length of the shawl, nor do I have blocking pins, which would be strong enough to hold the fabric in place.

Meandering Vines in Patons UK Vintage - Blocking in Progress


Meandering Vines in Patons UK Vintage - Blocking in Progress


After some deliberation I decided to suspend the shawl with the help of two pegged coat - hangers from the top shelf of the wardrobe. The triangular corners on either side of the shawl are fastened to both sides of the wardrobe with the help of some scrap yarn (inserted in the eyelet stitches and then tied to the sides of the wardrobe). A further two coat hangers keep the garment in place at the bottom of the wardrobe.

Once this arrangement was in place, I lightly misted the garment with cold water.

Pictures of the blocked garment can be found here.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Meandering Vines - Update

Just a brief update on Meandering Vines by Susanna IC (please see my previous blog entry for details on the pattern). The picture below shows what the shawl looks like in Paton's UK Vintage after three full pattern repeats on No 4 (UK) knitting needles, unblocked.



I am not sure whether the photo does it justice, as this was taken last night in fairly bad light. So far, I am happy with the outcome. Knitted with quite a bulky, textured yarn (70% Acrylic / 30% Cotton), the shawl has acquired a somewhat interesting texture, which almost has the appearance of a cabled pattern. I wonder to which degree this will be altered after the blocking is finished.

This brings me to another subject, I don't have the right blocking equipment at home. In fact, I have no proper blocking equipment at home and this project definitely requires blocking. I will either have to buy blocking pins or look around for some home - made alternatives. We shall see...

I haven't nearly progressed as much as I wanted to in respect of the shawl. I can excuse this partly as I was occupied with another side project: unravelling my first sweater and recycling the yarn. I didn't realise how time-consuming this was going to be, but all good fun and a post on the matter will follow shortly.
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