My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for January 2012

Knitting With Ease

When the Diamond Gansey was released from my needles I immediately cast on a new project.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I knit a swatch from some Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. I did so because I was curious how it would work for a gansey-type sweater.

As you can see from the photo above, I decided to give it a go.

I am knitting this at a gauge of 4.25 stitches and 7 rows to the inch. I am using a U.S. size 6 needle to achieve this gauge, loose knitter that I am.

The design is another relatively simple one: zig-zags of moss stitch alternating with vertical columns. This is another of my own creations — I charted up the zig-zags and columns for the swatch I knit.

The yarn is quite pleasant to knit. It’s a 50/50 blend of cotton and acrylic and has a bit of stretch and bounce, thanks to that acrylic content. I don’t know how well it will wear, but for now I am very pleased with it and find it a soothing easy knit.

The sweater will be a simple pullover, similar in construction to the Diamond Gansey. It will henceforth be known as the Zig-Zag Gansey.


Here’s a photo I snapped of my odometer last night:

I bought this car on February 28, 2004. Clearly, I do not drive a lot of long distances!

Knitting Event

Registration is now open for Carodan Farm’s SoXperience 2012!

And at home, poor Lucy is exhausted from helping me photograph my work over the weekend.

Diamonds and POK

Yesterday I finished my Diamond Gansey and carefully laid it out to photograph it:

As you can see, my little helper is on the job.

To recap, I knit this from Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton in the “Gravel” colorway, using a U.S. size 5 needle.

Here’s a close-up of the shoulder seam, joined with a three-needle-bind-off:

I may or may not write up the pattern for this at some point.

Now, lookie what I have:

This is a review copy of the newly revised Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, which is scheduled to be released on February 14, 2012.

The revision/reprint has been in the works for a while now, so I am delighted  to actually have physical proof of this in my hands.

What can I say about this book? The original edition from 1989 has been out of print for ages and copies of it would sell for insane amount of money.

This edition has been revised and updated. Since I have never seen the original, I can’t tell you how different this version is from that. But I can tell you that this version is pretty darn comprehensive. It’s kind of hard to do a review that covers the whole thing.

I picked a topic — picking up stitches.

There is a whole chapter devoted to this — 23 pages worth. And it includes pretty much everything you need to know about picking up stitches, with lots of very clear illustrations.

And also very clear photos.

I note that an e-book version is being released as well as the hardcopy. I tend not to get knitting e-books, but I think this is one I will get. I think it will be very handy to have all this knowledge readily available via my electronic devices I always have with me. The hardcopy book weighs over 4 pounds so it will stay at home. 🙂

Because I am pushy, when the publisher contacted me to offer me a review copy, I asked for two., one for me and one to give away.

Who wants it? 🙂

To be entered in the random drawing for a copy of Principles of Knitting, leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Thursday, February 2, 2012. At that time I will use my WordPress plugin app to randomly select a winner.

Leaving a comment on this blog post is the only way to enter.  Do not use the “contact me” link directly below the header — that sends me an email. Do not leave a comment on a different blog post — the plugin app will select only from comments on this entry. The link to enter a comment is right below the title of this post, which is “Diamonds and POK.”

Lucy sez:

“What? It’s my job to help!”


Three Needle Bind Off

There were a couple of questions in the comments asking why I am attaching the sleeves for my gansey via a three-needle bind-off rather than picking up the stitches and knitting the sleeves down from the body.

Yes, I could have picked up stitches along the edge of the body and knit the sleeve down from the top, reversing all the shaping to make the sleeve narrow as I knit towards the cuff. I have successfully done that many times, but it does have its drawbacks.

First of all I would have the weight and warmth of the entire sweater resting in my lap while I knit the sleeves. This is a deal-breaker for me.

Second, the direction of the knitting is reversed. For my simple diamond pattern this is not a huge deal, but if the sleeve is patterned with something other than straight stockinette or garter stitch, you will need to figure out how to knit the pattern upside-down. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, this may or may not work.

There was another comment asking what ratio I used to pick up my stitches. It all depends.

My completed sleeve was 20″ across the top, so I measured 10″ down the front and 10″ down the back of the body of the sweater and placed markers at those points.

After I finished my sleeve increases, I had a total of 101 stitches. That means I needed to pick up 50 stitches up the front, 1 stitch at the shoulder seam, and 50 stitches down the back. So on the body I placed a marker halfway between the bottom marker and the shoulder seam, and then another marker midway in each of those sections so that I had 4 even sections in which I needed to pick up stitches on both the front and back.

Starting at the bottom marker, I picked up 12 stitches in the first section, then 1 stitch right at the next marker, then 12 stitches in the next 2 sections, then 1 stitch right at the next marker, then 12 stitches in the next section — which takes you up to the shoulder seam. That’s 50 stitches for the first half of the sleeve. Then I picked up my 1 stitch right at the shoulder seam, and picked up the remaining 50 stitches in the same manner as the first 50 stitches.

Here’s my sleeve:

And here’s the sleeve joined to the body:

But this photo is the most accurate representation of the color:

Hard to take photos after work in the winter when it’s dark!

To change the subject . . .

See this little angel?

Hard to believe that someone who looks so sweet and innocent would wake her Momma up 7 or 8 times during the night for no good reason, huh?

Quickie Update

Busy busy busy this week, so just a quick post today.

Sunday afternoon I made some good progress on my Diamond Gansey. I joined the front and the back at the shoulders using a three-needle bind-off, and I picked up stitches around the neck and knit a narrow neckband.

I also picked up stitches along one side so I will be able to attach the sleeve using a three-needle bind-off.

I’ve gotten a fair amount done on the first sleeve — I ought to be able to finish this sleeve tonight.


The winner of the Jordana Paige Craft Tool Butler, chosen at random from the comments on the post that announced the contest, is, for a change, a guy: Small Town Knit Guy Rusty! Rusty has been contacted. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest and a big thank you to Jordana Paige for supplying such a lovely prize for the giveaway.

While my Diamond Gansey will not be done by the next blog post, I hope to be working on the second sleeve. We’ll see.

Lucy is hard at work too.


Remember this swatch I showed you in the last blog post?

I told you that it was a 50/50 cotton/acrylic blend but not what it was. A number of you guessed that it was Rowan All Seasons Cotton or Rowan Calmer. A couple of you guessed correctly: good ol’ Lion Brand Cotton Ease.

I started the swatch with a U.S. size 7 needle but thought it was working up a little loose so halfway through I switched to a U.S. size 6. You may be able to see the point where I switched in the swatch — the stitches on the bottom half are a bit wonky. With the size 6 needle I’m getting 4.25 stitches and 6 rows to the inch.

Working up, the yarn this feels most like to me is All Seasons Cotton. But Cotton Ease is a lot cheaper. I’m planning on knitting a textured pullover with it to see what I think.

But I’m still in the middle of my diamond gansey knit from Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton.

I finished the front last night.

And I started a sleeve.

I think at some point this afternoon I’ll join the shoulders and knit a narrow neckband. Come back Tuesday to see how it looks!

And don’t forget the Tool Butler giveaway closes on Tuesday. Remember, you have to leave a comment on that post to be entered in the giveaway. If you’ve emailed me using the “contact me” link you are not entered. I have a plugin that pulls a winner at random from comments on a particular post. The link to comment is right below the title of the blog post and is blue and says “xxx Comments.”

Okay, I’ve got a lot to do today, so it is time to get started on it.

Lucy has been resting up so she can spend the rest of the day helping me.