My current work in progress:

Pitch by Emily Greene, knit from Elsawool Cormo worsted on a US 6 needle

Archives for April 2003

Of Sleeves and Row Counters


A couple of questions:

Lisa in NJ sez:

I’ve asked a question in my blog about keeping continuity of pattern…now that you are working on the sleeves, maybe you can tell how you keep things so beautiful as you increase? I find increasing and decreasing in pattern very hard!

Yeah, increasing and decreasing in a pattern can take a bit of concentration. Because I’m knitting my sleeves from the top down, I’m decreasing. I keep track of where I am in a pattern by marking the spot with magnetic strips on the pattern chart, thusly:


The horizontal magnet is above the row I’m working. For each decrease round, I move the vertical magnet over one stitch, so I know where to start. The sleeves are done with paired decreases, but as the charts are symmetrical (they are uneven number of stitches with a center pattern stitch, and the stitches on either side mirror images of each other), it’s easy to keep track.

Cheryl asks:

Wendy, how is that row counter attached to the sweater? Your own invention? Looks like a great idea–otherwise, they always fall off the end of the circular needle.

I put a row counter on a small stitch holder and pin it in my work, like so:


I have a couple of those row counters for circular knitting — the type that you can put on your needle like a marker — this:


But I don’t like them. I’d rather have the counter out of the way of the current row, so this works for me.

Hank’s first sleeve is growing . . .


Not Much Time . . .

. . . for blogging, I fear.

But you do get an updated photo of Hank. Amazingly, after an insane day at work, I actually got a bit of knitting done last night. So here is the first sleeve in all its splendor.


And here, just for grins, is a view of the shoulder seam, done with the three needle bind-off.


I do like the look of the three-needle bind-off.

Geane asked me yesterday, since I mentioned I was considering doing an “easy” sweater next, if I considered Henry hard. No, not really, I don’t. I find vertical patterns pretty simple to do. I think what I meant is that I’m thinking of doing something with fewer colors. I was tempted to do Marina, but the thought of keeping track of 21 different colors doesn’t appeal to me right now.

I think I’m gonna make Dale of Norway St. Moritz next. Not only is it fewer colors and larger gauge than an AS fair isle, but I don’t have to wind the wool into balls. Ahhhhhhh . . .

I’m thinking laziness will win out on this one.

Sweet little Izzy wants to say hello:


I added the link to the Tips page in my sidebar and on my knitting page. Check it out — there’s one more tip that Mary sent in last night — it’s a good one!

And the Winner Is . . .

Kristen Chambers, who offered the following:

“My favorite tip – Except for using dpn’s for items like socks and sleeves, I’ve given up straight needles and work exclusively with circular needles for all my knitting, including “flat” patterns. They are so much more comfortable and convenient to use: needles aren’t falling to the floor; stitches seldom drop off the tips; the bulk of the knitting is centered in your lap so your hands don’t tire as easily. I wonder now how I learned to knit with straight needles as a child.”

The laceweight yarn will be winging it’s way to Kristen today.

I selected the winner by assigning a number to each of the 86 emails I got before the deadline, and using a random number generator to pick the winning number.

The page of all tips received is here. This is a permanent page on my website, and will be linked from both my blog sidebar and my knitting page when I get to it, so you can refer to it whenever you like.

Thank you everyone who entered! I got a couple of late entries, and included them on the page as well.

Questions and Answers

Melissa asks: “I have never knit a Starmore. Is there no kind of facing for the junction of where the sleeve meets the body? What is your preference…. to knit the sleeves and then attach to the body or to pick up and knit down?”

In a traditional fair isle (like a Starmore), there is no provision for a sleeve facing. You pick up your stitches in-between the edge stitch of the steek and the first stitch of the body, and the steek lies down on the inside of your sweater, like a facing. When you are doing the finishing on your work, you can tack this down to the body. Though sometimes, I don’t even bother to do this. I’ve got fair isles that are 10+ years old that I didn’t tack down. From steaming and through time, the steeks have adhered to the inside of the sweater nicely.

As for my sleeve knitting preference . . . it’s a toss-up. When picking up stitches and knitting down, it’s nice that once you’ve finished a sleeve, you don’t have to sew it in the armhole. It’s done, except for weaving in any ends.

But it’s a pain to have the whole sweater flopping around on the needles while you’re knitting your sleeves. So knitting them separately and sewing them in does have its own appeal.

Johanne asks: “Wendy, when did you first become smitten with Starmore fair isle?”

I made my first Starmore fair isle in 1990 — the Wave Cardigan from her fair isle knitting book. And made a few other non-Starmore fair isles over the next several years. Then embarked on my long love affair with arans. It’s just in the past year or so that I’ve become besotted with fair isles again, and have knitted several AS ones.

Cheryl asks: “Have you ever done an AS vest?–I don’t remember seeing one on your finished page. No fondess for vests?”

Correct-a-mundo. I’m not a big fan of the vest. I have two or three (non-AS) vests that I’ve knitted. And never wear them. I’m not a huge fan of cardigans either, though I do have a few I’ve made . . . and wear every now and again.

Jo asks: (about my first steeking experience) “how was YOUR first time Wendy?????”

The answer is . . . ignorance is bliss. It never occurred to me to be worried about it, so I blithely cut my first steek with nary a care in the world.

Hank Progress

I got half a sleeve done over the weekend.


Happy Monday, all!

Sleeves? I Need Sleeves??!!

So Hank’s neckband is done. Finished off the little facing Wednesday night but was too tired to start a sleeve at that point.

Here it is.


And here’s a neck close-up. I haven’t sewn down the facing yet, obviously.


So last night I cut open a sleeve steek.


As you can see, Izzy wants to help. Here’s the photo of the cut open steek.


And picked up the stitches around the armhole.


The I wound some more yarn into balls. I’ll spare you a photo of that. And knit a few rounds on the sleeve.

Is anyone still awake at this point?

Now I’m pondering what to make after Hank is a knit accompli. I was thinking Marina, but I might do my Roscalie cardi instead, as I know it’s a much easier pattern than either Hank or Marina.

But wait! I’ve got Dale St. Moritz waiting in the wings as well. Hmmmmmm . . .

Look What I Found . . .

. . . on Marit’s blog!


Isn’t it great? I, of course, lifted it and slapped it into my blog sidebar. And some of you eagle-eyes noticed it yesterday and commented on it. Thanks Marit!

To Graft or To Three-Needle Bind-Off?

That is the question!

The pattern for Hank 8 instructs you to graft the shoulders together. I didn’t give that a second thought, and went ahead and did a three-needle bind-off. I vastly prefer that to grafting, partly because I think it gives you a more stable seam, and partly because I think grafting is a pain in the ass.

What do you all think?

Hank Neck

Ooh, ooh, ooh. Here’s a photo:


I’m still working on the neckband facing, but you get the idea. I really like the pattern on the neckband. It’s kinda sorta like a mini version of the border pattern round the bottom of the sweater. See?


Check it out now!

This new knitting blog, blogdogblog, from my online buddy Lisa. Wait’ll you see the fair isle she’s knitting!