April 22, 2006

How To: Short Row Raglan Shoulders

Thank you all for the wonderful comments on Somewhat Cowl!

Several people left comments asking for more details on the short rows that I inserted in the shoulders. I'll share with you what I did, and what I think you'll need to do for yourself.

The point I want to stress is that you must do this by trying it on your own body. Shoulder width, drape and stretch of yarn and armhole depth will all play a part in how many short rows you need.

Here's an updated version of the illustration I presented in my last post.


This illustration shows you how SC's shoulders fit me after doing the yoke. The end of the yoke came out at a soft angle rather than a harsh 90 degrees.

After looking at SC on my body in the mirror, I decided I need about 1.5 inches total length added in the center of the sleeve, tapering out to nothing at the edges.

So, here's what I did, starting with the first row of the sleeve after knitting the yoke (let's assume a gauge of 6 spi):

Row 1: Pickup and knit stitches at armhole, and then around the sleeve until 15% of the sleeve stitches from the center top of the sleeve are knit. So, if the sleeve had a total of 100 stitches, knit 15 stitches past the center top of the sleeve. Wrap and turn.
Row 2: Purl 29, wrap and turn.
Row 3: Knit 35, wrap and turn (picking up and knitting wrap when you come to it).
Row 4: Purl 41, wrap and turn (picking up and knitting wrap when you come to it).

Keep following the above, going an extra 6 stitches (1 inch) past the last row's short row until a total of 1.5 inches of short rows have been knit.

Once they've been knit, start knitting all sleeve stitches in the round. For short sleeves on SC, this means knit an inch of sleeve in stockinette before switching to 2x2 rib.

added later: grumperina left a comment that she also has written up some details on short row shoulders. you can read hers here.

Let me know if this makes sense, or if you think I've left something out. Like so many things in knitting (or just because I'm Italian and like talking with my hands) it would be a lot easier to demonstrate in person than try to get it down on paper.

April 22, 2006 in Tips & Techniques | Permalink | Comments (5)

March 10, 2005

8 To Go*


I'm past the armholes on the back now, so it should be smooth sailing!

While working on it last night I thought some of you might like to see how I do the armhole curves. I think I saw this first in EZ's Knitting Without Tears. You see how my edges don't do any of that stair-stepping? It makes the curves nicer and sewing it up far easier! Wanna see what I do? Here are a few pics for you too!

* inches left on the back

March 10, 2005 in March Madness, Tips & Techniques, zipo | Permalink | Comments (26)

February 25, 2005

How I Organized My Stash

A bunch of you have asked how I went about organizing my stash. I don't think I did anything particularly noteworthy, but since you asked, here ya go!

I started by pulling out the bins that I had already started filling with my stash over the summer. They were partially full.

Then, I gathered up yarn I had stored elsewhere throughout the house. Mostly they were in bags or boxes. I stacked them up all around me, keeping them in some sort of order (e.g., sock weight, full sweaters, yarn for felting, cottons and summer-weight yarn all in separate heaps).

Then I created a spreadsheet with columns entitled Name, Yardage (this is per skein yardage), Fiber content, Color (I listed both color number and a descriptive name if it was helpful), Number of balls (I went down to half balls if appropriate), Notes (e.g., gift from so-and-so, bought for Mom's scarf but she didn't like it, etc.), and Total Yardage (this column is calculated based on yardage and number of balls). If I were to do this again I would add another column -- bin number. This way I wouldn't have to hunt around to find the yarn I now know I have!

Here's a copy of the spreadsheet template I used. I've left 4 entries in there so you can see how I used it.

I then started with one of the bins and took all the yarn out. As I gathered the yarn together I input what I had one-by-one and put them on the other side of the room. I didn't put the yarn back in the bins until I had quite a bit of the yarn catalogued. This allowed me to see how to best group the yarn to fit well into the bins.

About halfway through this process I had to go out to Target and buy 4 more bins. Yes, that's double the number I thought I would need. Oh -- my bins are clear and I find it really helpful so I can see what's in them.

After a couple of weeks I decided I wanted to use this to keep a running inventory of my stash as well. So I added columns in the spreadsheet to keep track of each month's usage. The way it works is you type the number of balls you've used into the month name column (e.g., February) and the spreadsheet automatically calculates the new totals. It's been fun to see the numbers going down (albeit slowly). I also anticipate using it when I have a new project in mind to see what I have in my stash that's appropriate.

That's pretty much it. Was this helpful? Feel free to download the spreadsheet and use it to your liking. If you have other suggestions or come up with better ways I'd love to hear about them.

February 25, 2005 in Tips & Techniques | Permalink | Comments (11)

January 21, 2005

Random Thoughts

I considering posting my near-done sock #2, but it looks a whole lot like his near-done sock #1.

Instead, I'd thought I'd share with you all some links I've come across that you may or may not have seen before.

New Project Ideas

  • Sideways Short-Row Seaman's Scarf -- Really interesting technique, and a great way to use just 1 ball of Noro!

  • Breast Cancer Sock -- I need to make these for my Mom, who's a 15 year survivor!

  • Saxony Sock -- While visiting Lisa's site for the Breast Cancer site I came across these cabled socks. Very pretty!

  • Lite Brite -- I don't know why I didn't notice this pattern when it first came out. It has a solid-colored body, and uses Noro only on the raglan arms. I can get my Noro and avoid horizontal body stripes! Put this one in the hopper for next fall.

Resources and Techniques
  • How to test if your fiber is wool -- without the chance of setting your house on fire!

  • Nicely illustrated knitting basics. This is the site I link to whenever someone asks me things like "How do I do a lifted increase?". Their illustrations are clear and easy to understand.

  • No-wrap short rows -- By now you all probably know I LOVE the OzYarn no-wrap short row instructions. I was describing them to my friend Hope and she told me that they're called Japanese short rows. I thought you'd like to know that.

  • Great resource for old lace stitch patterns. Warning -- the charts indicate the stitch you'd knit when you're on that row, not the way it would look on a RS row (the more common way). I find it hard to retrain my brain to knit this way and actually rewrite the chart beforehand.

I feel like I had more than this to share! I'll add to it if something comes to mind.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Added Later

In keeping with the randomness of this post, I have a question about Opal yarn. How do you know which Opal pattern you have? The only thing I see on the ball that would seem to indicate the type is "Farbe 5 Partie 16". I've googled and translated and searched all over the place and still can't seem to find a way to figure this out!

January 21, 2005 in Tips & Techniques | Permalink | Comments (11)

January 01, 2005

New Beginnings


It seemed only fitting that I give my favorite sweaters a bath today. I hate washing handknits! Wow, I'm sure that's a profound statement. I'm guessing you all just love it, right?

Well today I tried something new (for me) and it worked really well. I used my washing machine to spin them out after soaking in the sink. I have a front loader and I thought it wouldn't work -- but it did! I turned them inside out and switched on the spin cycle and voila! My sweaters weighed a fraction of what they did before they went in. I should have dry sweaters by the morning (with brand new Isabella paw prints on them to boot!).

I'm also playing around with my blog design. I don't think I'm done, although I am done for today. I wanted something cooler and with less color, but it's really hard to judge colors on this laptop monitor. So when I feel like hooking up a regular monitor I'll take a peek and do some tweaking.

I'm taking Margene's advice and making sure I do all the things I love today. Since I haven't knit yet it sounds like a fine excuse to do so! Make sure you do the same :)

January 1, 2005 in Tips & Techniques | Permalink | Comments (9)

May 26, 2004

Almost There

I've been putting alot of thought into my Drape Along project this week. Last night I knitted up a swatch and it was "OK". Not great - but OK. So I'm going to tweak some things and even try a different stitch pattern today. I think I'm close though and hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to post what I'm finally going to be doing with this yarn!

Cast On Methods

I pretty much always use a long tail cast on unless the pattern specifies a particular technique. I tried to use it for the beginning of Smooch - which starts out with that picot edge - but the edge was too stiff and heavy. I finally tried the thumb cast on and I liked it alot better.

I also used the thumb cast on for the ruffly beginning of cheesylove. Again, it seemed perfect for the design.

Added Later - Here's a link for the thumb cast on. It's called the single cast on.

Then, over the weekend, I was playing around with some sock yarn that I picked up at MDSW. I have a Fiber Trends sock pattern that I really like that's cuff-down. I was afraid of a too tight cast on so I looked around. Finally, my Twisted Sister sock book suggested that same thumb cast on for a very elastic edge. I tried it, and poof - VERY stretchy cuff. To the point where the ribbing almost looks ruffled when it's not stretched. It was very pretty. So, I think I'll be using that cast on from now on for cuff-down socks.

I'm curious though, was I the only one who was clueless about using that cast on for the cuffs of socks? I don't knit many socks so it's entirely possible. I figured I'd share it though just in case it's not totally common knowledge. Are there any other good cast ons for cuffs?

Tune in tomorrow for more than your fill of linen drape swatches. I hope to have a winner by then.

May 26, 2004 in Linen Drape, Tips & Techniques | Permalink | Comments (6)

May 12, 2004

Cotton Steeking Adventures

A few of you have mentioned that you were interested in how I steeked my cotton Mission Falls tank so here ya go...

I started out by pin fitting the tank on my body:

Once I got a good fit all around (it took a bit of tweeking), I carefully took it off to make sure the pins didn't fall out.

Then, I laid the garment flat, folded along the center front and center back so the side seams were in the middle (hopefully that makes sense). I then pin marked the excess fabric that needed to be taken in on both sides of the side seams. Note: Since I knit it in the round there really aren't side seams. In my case I marked along the line where the side seam would be, which is also where yarns were joined.


See all those ends I was able to get rid of? Woohoo!

Then, I took out my trusty Viking sewing machine, and stitched along the lines marked with the pins. The hardest part about the stitching was the fact that the shaping was at the sides, so I couldn't just sew between 2 stitches. I had to sew across them at times. I fiddled with the presser foot tension, the stitch length, and even dried dropping the feed dogs. I finally determined I should use a very weak presser foot tension, and a stitch length of 3.5. I liked it better with the feed dog up - it helped push the fabric through and didn't catch it like I had been concerned about.

Once I stitched along both pin lines, I cut up the center.


Here's a closeup in case you can't see the stitches. Sorry it's a bit blurry.


And then, I sewed a second row of stitches about a quarter of an inch away from the first row. This second row is further out than the first row and is hidden in the seam.


I then clipped very close to the second row of sewing and seamed up the tank using the mattress stitch.


Voila! A tank that actually fits!

In case you're wondering why I had to go through this exercise at all, here's what happened. This is the first tank that I've made for myself. I pulled out some knitted tanks that I own to use as a comparison for sizing, but they all had some kind of rib in them. So they were definitely smaller than I'd like for a st st tank. So, I made the tank just a bit narrower than I would a sweater and it was just way too much ease. In all honesty though, I'm glad I went through the exercise. I taught myself that steeking isn't so bad, and I saved my time weaving in all those ENDS. Hell, it was worth it just to get rid of the ends!

May 12, 2004 in Maude, Tips & Techniques | Permalink | Comments (7)