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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Always on the look out for new and exciting techniques, imagine my surprise when I found myself dusting off something that I learned (but rarely used) the other day.

I’ve reached the point in my Sandrine sweater where I’m now doing body shaping using increases. Now it’s a slippery slope in pattern writing to specify a type (of almost anything). It can open a literal pandora’s box of confusion with the most outspoken rallying around their favorite type and campaigning in my email for its use.

But no matter because I always encourage knitters to use whatever Their Muse directs them, because YOU get to make the call! If you like the particular look of a type of increase, decrease, cast on or bind off, nothing is written in stone on these types of techniques, so full speed ahead, my hearties!

Like many, I’ve been lectured (there is no other word) by complete strangers, even in public (!) about The Proper Way of “Fill-in-the-Technique Blank Here”. There is, in the knitting universe, always a few dedicated Missionistas determined to Convert All to whatever is the perceived “Standard”. Aye, maties, I learned knitting at my Grandmother’s knee as an imp and still throw the yarn around the needle just like when I was 10 (but I’m fast as all get out now!) This has perplexed some who were then “led” to show me the errors of my way. If you’ve been knitting for more than a scarf set, you’ve probably met this person, because, baby, they get around! ;p

Forget them! Do it however it rocks your world!

Usually I like to use some kind of directionally leaning M1 in a shaped area, but this time I’ve abandoned the M1 Family and am all aflame over a plain old Lifted Increase. This was something that was demonstrated during a class I took at Stitches Midwest in 2005 taught by the lovely and talented Margaret Fisher. She showed us how to do many tips and tricks (in fact she just came out with a book based on her popular class yay!) but this one type of increase just stood out for me.

Just a Nice Friendly Increase: I just knit it in on a whim and I’m in love! Now, you CAN make these Lifted Increases left or right leaning, but I don’t see much difference in how they look and am especially lazy as WINTER is still dragging on so I just fly through with right-lifted increases on both sides of the side markers.


This technique leaves a very small footprint and virtually no hole (or bump). When I have some free time, I’m thinking I’ll play with this on a raglan line and see how it looks in a repeated sequence. Hmmm…

>>>>>> Read all posts in this category: Cotton Sandrine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If I had to pick a prevailing fascination in my projects, ribbing would probably be my defining detail, one I come back to over and over.

Ribbing? you say? That plain ubiquitous border; that ever present first chapter of most any sweater and you are thrilled with it?


chicoutchicintEven in one of my first (published) designs, the 3XChic, I was busy playing with rib, but uncommon rib. This pullover had columns in a 7×2 ratio and as I worked it, something became apparent that had not occurred in the visualizing stage. Sometimes, you just don’t know how it’s going to *look* until you actually are making it and it presents itself to you.

One version (and the way it was offered) had wide columns of knitting, punctuated by narrow lines of purl. The other, had fields of purl stitches, bisected by narrow columns of knit stitches and this was only in my musings as I never made one, but looked at the other from the inside out, fascinated.

Such is Sandrine. I am knitting the first sleeve of the sweater now and have regressed into one of my favorite ploys to get it done fast. Since I think (but have never really timed myself) that I am faster knitting than purling and the stitch pattern has more knit sts on the wrong side of the work, I’m going to knit it from the Wrong Side. (Quick! Call the Knitting Police!)

To begin, I’ve picked up all the sleeve stitches as the pattern indicates, then I flip the garment inside out. The working yarn is in an awkward place, a few stitches from the underarm marker. However, this is NOT a big deal. The gauge of most sweaters is small enough to stand an extra row worked in there somewhere; you see it all the time in shoulders, underarms, necklines and you’ve probably done it yourself if you’ve knit a sweater. Anywhere there are mirrored segments, most likely one will have an extra row lurking and I’ll bet you’ve never noticed it in the final product.

Here I’ll work the few stitches once to have the working yarn going in the right direction at the real beginning of the round. To avoid a little hole, I will wrap the last sleeve cap stitch with one of the new underam sleeve stitches. Then I just work away as usual, remembering to transpose the decrease type as necessary.

But back to the uncommon rib…


Here is my sleeve (and my Sandrine) shown wrong side facing, as I’m ready to start the sleeve. I really like the way it looks from the wrong side! The wider columns of ribbing are a completely different take on the effect of the stitch pattern, here presenting almost as Stockinette Stitch, but gracefully broken up by the narrow columns. You can see it in contrast here in the original sample sweater, with the right side to the Left of the picture, and the wrong side to the Right-Middle of the picture:


And on a larger scale, here in the sweater I’m working on, shown from the WS:


One of these days, I’m going to make one, wrong-side out, maybe out of denim yarn, with the wide rib pattern going all the way to the hem.

>>>>>> Read all posts in this category: Cotton Sandrine.

Friday, May 1, 2009

sandrine-p1000287 Hope is wonderful thing and I’d hoped to be done with at least this sleeve by today. Hopefully, by next week this week’s chaos will seem as benign as fog swirling around a high rise and I’ll have both of them done!!

Quick, raise your hand if you haven’t heard of swine flu! Ye Olde H1N1 has been leading Chicagoans (and the rest of the country) around by the nose for over a week now. In my alternate life as Intrepid Girl Photog, I’ve visited clinics, the Stock Exchange (with 80 International Mayors, Paris, Bangkok, Moscow, Bogata, !), and yes, a pig farm, to record the progress of the beast.

This has left little time for knitting; you get up early and go to bed late and hope for the best. These pictures were taken at 5 am and dawn is just beginning to smile.

All of this hoopla will hopefully result in a Maximum Knitting Weekend~! I truly wish I was one of the lucky ones going to the MDSW fest this year (say hello to everybody for me!) I need a Festival of hundreds of kindred souls to recharge and refresh! It’s always a lot warmer down there than in Chicago as well — we’re still waking to 40ish temps (!) and I am writing this in my flannel jammies…

Part of the equation has radically changed for me this last year. After my day job moved downtown, I had to switch commute routes and have been taking the Blue Line El (or elevated train) which actually on my route is a Subway! After years of knitting on the bus (miss you #66), I’ve found out the hard way there is no knitting on the subway, at least at this hour. It is SRO and you will usually find me with my blackberry in hand holding a pole in the other hand, smushed up between hundreds of other travelers, but I’m playing Scrabble! I LOVE THE MODERN AGE! But I miss my knitting and the obvious production kick it gave my schedule.


Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovley month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray.

>>>>>> Read all posts in this category: Cotton Sandrine.

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