Swatching has commenced on my cabled Jaeger Trinity sweater. The cotton/silk blend is super soft but a little bit irregular – it took a few rows to get even stitches and I might even go down a needle size to get gauge and improve the fabric – I’m a bit worried about the finished sweater stretching out of shape. Are there any tricks to knitting well-fitting garments from plant fibers? I think plant fiber tricks would work well with the cotton/silk blend also.
I do love the cables – I’ve been using the ‘sans cable needle’ method I learned from Grumperina’s tutorial. I found a picture of the first cabling I ever did – I was in college, my entire dorm was making garter stitch scarves, and I picked out the most complicated cable I could find in my sister’s Reader’s Digest book and commenced knitting my ‘scarf’. Like with many things I’d started knitting, I quickly realized the edges were going to roll, I didn’t have enough yarn to finish, and I was bored especially since I was making it just to counteract the vast quantities of garter stitch in my dorm. So I folded it up into a bag, crocheted it all together, and never got around to lining it – the fabric is so floppy I’d really like the security of a zipper.
The color is truer in the left picture of the entire bag but I wanted to show the cable detail as well. I remember manipulating those stitches with a slippery dpn I called ‘cable needle’. Those were the days before I bought knitting needles and vast quantities of yarn – I would just raid my mother’s single ziplock bag of knitting supplies and pick from the 1 or 2 available 14″ straight needles and her 1 set of dpns. I think she must have bought the needles around the same time she bought yarn to make me a sweater – I’m just finally using that yarn now to make the ‘vintage licorice twist shrug’. I was going to make a sweater but as you might imagine, I’m a bit larger now than when I was five and there just isn’t that much yarn since it’s a heavy worsted weight.
I decided entrelac might be cool for a christmas gift scarf but I had no idea how it worked. In my google searches, I found mention of a Eunny Jang editorial in a past issue of Interweave Knits which I don’t have and my library doesn’t have so I kept hunting and I eventually found directions I could follow from the Vogue Stitchionary Volume 1. I made my first one from dishcloth cotton since it was nearby in my study and would make my practice swatch into something useful. I ended up not switching to a contrasting color because I didn’t feel like untangling balls of yarn. I did find that knitting backwards was very helpful because turning 10 times to knit 10 stitches was annoying me.
I enjoyed making Mr. T’s brioche scarf so much that I decided to make another – this time with 2 colors. I’d remembered seeing a red and black striped brioche scarf on the internet somewhere so I sat down with some scrap yarn and promptly started cursing (do you see that weird looking stripe about a 1/3 of the way from the bottom? I was being stubborn and insisting on figuring the pattern out myself instead of simply looking on the internet.
I remembered the tubular cast-on without looking it up but I had a hard time figuring out how to alternate colors on the brioche columns (are they ribs?). Fortunately I was using double pointed needles because it involved acrobatics such as knitting then purling the same side before turning the work. Finally I figured out a rule:
1) switch colors every row (to figure out which color is next if I walk away, whichever column/rib has a knit stitch is the color I used last)
2) slide the knitting to whichever side has the proper color working yarn (why double points or short circulars are excellent needle choices)
3) when necessary (on half the rows) purl the columns so they stay the right color and right stitch
I got going on the ‘real’ yarn which is Knitpicks Andean Silk I picked up a little while ago during their sale.
Then I realized that I wanted the white stripes to start at the beginning, I needed smaller needles to get a tighter gauge, and I wanted to make a wider scarf. So I started over
I might finally be happy with it – sadly this probably won’t be 24 knitting because I have to pay attention. The yarnover loops don’t always seem lined up right so I have to perform needle acrobatics to make sure the different color yarnover ends up behind the knit column.
This scarf is destined as a Christmas present – maybe I won’t be stressed out in December this year 😉
I think I’ve been twisting all my stitches. The comments on the last post prompted me to do some internet research and I found out a bit more about twisted stitches. I naively thought that since all my stitches looked identical (see the bottom of the first picture) they were ‘correct’.
Then I tried ‘untwisted’ which actually looks quite nice (phoenix was right, I’m a combination knitter). I like that when stretched, all the stitches loop together between rows and look identical. My twisted stitches are shaped like a ‘v’ or ‘y’ but have a single line attaching stitches together.
Here’s a bigger picture of ‘untwisted’ stitches (can you find the one stitch I twisted by mistake?).
Then I had some extra yarn from my calorimetry and ocean stripes hat which I used to practice ‘untwisted’ along with an i-cord cast-on, edging, and cast-off.
I found the i-cord edging in Annie Modesitt’s pattern for Alison’s scarf (look for the free pattern in the sidebar). I’m almost sad I didn’t figure out how to do i-cord edging myself; when I read through the pattern, it seemed so simple and obvious. I’ve been doing long-tail cast-on for all projects and was super-excited when I learned how to cast on the loops for purl. However, the i-cord definitely looks more professional and finished – I might try it on my next scarf.