January 13, 2005
Wearing the Leftovers
Today nona is wearing leftovers. My Leftovers Vest is finished, blocked, and sporting its inaugural wearing. Do you ever finish a knit garment and realize you have nothing -- I mean absolutely nothing -- that will go with it? So yes, observant reader, that is a new butter yellow top under the vest. Photo Spread of my Leftovers Vest.
Nona, what did you like about this project?
What didn't I like about this project, terrific project from start to finish. Here are some of the highlights:
- I loved working with the yarn, Julia, and the colors I selected.
- The pattern was extremely clear and well written. Many thanks to Alison, the designer
- I experimented with 3 new techniques while working on this project, all successful – if I do say so myself (click here for all the juicy details):
- Jogless stripes with circular knitting
- Improved, non-saggy, ribbing
- Invisible pickup
Nona, what would you do differently next time?
I'd love to make another version of this vest, this time using an eclectic mix of yarn from my stash. I think I'll just pop this idea on my knitting wishlist!
January 07, 2005
Pleasurable Pick Up
nona had a pleasurable pick up experience this evening. No, no, nothing like that -- I tried a new technique for picking up stitches on my Leftovers Vest. I learned this technique from my Catherine Lowe Pullover Kit. This technique has two big advantages. First, the row of picked up stitches is invisible from the right side of the garment. This is handy when the stitches are to be worked in a stitch pattern other than stockinette stitch -- ribbing for example. Second, the first row worked is a right side row. Think of the picked up stitches as a join, not as a row of actual knitting.
Okay, so that's the theory. Want to know how? Keep reading...
A few things before you start:
- You'll need a needle 4 times smaller than the needle you'll be using to work the picked up stitches and a crochet hook.
- You'll be working with the right side of the knitting facing you.
- You'll be working from left to right.
To pickup stitches:
Secure the tail of yarn around the running thread at the spot you want to begin picking up stitches. Using the crochet hook, pull the tail of yarn from back to front and then back again. Knot the tail onto the working yarn. Okay, you're ready to start
Using the crochet hook, pull a loop from back to front and slide the loop onto the small sized needle -- remember the needle is on the left.
Pull the yarn tight and keep a firm tension throughout the process.
Once all the stitches are picked up, use your regular sized needle and begin with the first row of your pattern. As the picked up stitches are worked from the smaller needle onto the larger needle, they virtually disappear to the back of the knit fabric.
January 06, 2005
Leftovers in the Fridge
I just arrived home after being out and about this evening - the last stop being a Mexican Mocha at Cafe Barrone -- you know, the one that's so good because it's made with half and half. Being a bit hungry, I opened the fridge to check for leftovers and look what I found nestled between the half cantaloupe and the pot of cioppino. A word to the wise, don't eat the cioppino, it's been in the fridge a bit too long. nona warns her family to be nice to her -- only nona knows what in the fridge could kill you.
The back and front of the Leftovers Vest are complete, patiently awaiting the neck and armhole ribbing. I'm looking forward to trying Catherine Lowe's stitch pickup technique. I'll pass long the details if the technique is a success.
December 29, 2004
Round & Round to Back & Forth
The infatuation of the Wavy Scarf had temporarily captured nona's attention from her Leftovers Vest, but not for long. While watching Lost tonight -- nona is not a huge TV fan, but she is a big time Lost fan -- I pulled out the Leftovers Vest and got back into the round & round swing. I've made it to the armholes and will start back & forth knitting tomorrow -- I'll miss round & round!
December 19, 2004
Nona thoroughly enjoys knitting the Leftovers Vest! This project involves two things I love, color and circular knitting. Circular knitting is quite addictive -- at least for nona -- I just keep going around, and around, and around. With no logical stopping place, it's frankly hard to stop -- even to go to the bathroom. As for color and stripes, I love the anticipation of deciding what color to work next.
However, there is one negative side to stripes and circular knitting. Yes you've guessed it, the dreaded jog. Circular knitting creates a continuous spiral, the last stitch of the round is one stitch higher than the first stitch. Changing colors at the beginning of the round emphasizes this jog and the stripes look misaligned -- off by one row. For the Leftovers Vest I decided to conquer the jog and learn how to knit jogless stripes.
As any good interest user, I turned to Google to begin my search. A simple query of "Jogless Jog Circular Knitting" seemed to do the trick. The consensus seems to be that the best technique was introduced by Meg Swansen in her Knitters article (issue 45, Winter 1996). Here's a synopsis:
Knit the first round in the new color as usual. Before you start the second round, find the old color stitch below the first stitch in the round and lift it up on the needle. Knit the old color stitch with the first new color stitch.
I've been using this technique with my Leftovers Vest. It's not a perfect solution -- you can still see that something is going on -- but it's better than the jog!
December 17, 2004
A Bit of Bragging
Not to brag, but nona has greatly improved her ribbing. I hate to admit it, but for years I've had a problem with saggy, loose knit stitches. The culprit stitch has always been the knit stitch just preceding a purl stitch. Luckily, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts alerted me to my problem. In her insightful book, Knitting in the Old Way, PGR discusses the "three fundamental approaches" to creating knit fabric -- much talk about stitch mounts and working methods -- a must read. Anyway, most of us in the US use the "Western" method of knitting. In this method, the right leg of the knit stitch sits in front of the needle and the knitter wraps her yarn counter clockwise. According to PGR:
When you wrap a Western knit stitch, the yarn comes in a straight line from the last stitch made; when you wrap a Western purl stitch, the yarn must cross the needle at an angle. Thus the amount of yarn wrapped for a purl stitch is slightly longer than that for a knit stitch.
Light bulb! Perhaps my ribbing problem was due to the purl stitch's extra bit of yarn allowing my knit stitch to get baggy? To make a purl stitch using the same amount of yarn as a knit stitch, wrap the yarn in the opposite direction -- clockwise. Wrapping clockwise causes the new stitch's left leg to sit in front of the needle. So be careful, the next time you encounter this stitch, you'll need to knit (or purl) it through the back loop.
So listen carefully and I'll tell you my ribbing secret. When purling the first stitch after a knit stitch, wrap the yarn clockwise instead of counter clockwise. And remember, when you encounter a "twisted" stitch -- a stitch with its left leg in front of the needle instead of its right leg -- knit (or purl) that stitch through the back loop.
Why all this talk about ribbing? Well nona has finished the big chunk of 3x3 ribbing in her Leftover Vest and is onto the first stripe color.
December 15, 2004
Leftovers For Nona
Nona thinks Alison Hansel's Leftovers vest in the current issue of Knitty deserves fresh yarn of its own. 10 new balls of Julia in 7 different shades, is my fresh yarn of choice. I'm using a chocolate brown -- the new black -- for my ribbing and trim and then autumn spice colors for the stripes. "Autumn spice colors" -- nona what are you talking about? Just check out my swatch yonder left.
Alison has designed the vest to be close-fitting. But based on my experience with form fitting ribbing -- see "Does This Make Me Look Pudgy" -- I've decided to go up a size! Alison has an interesting twist on the ribbing, which is worked double stranded on needles 2 sizes larger. She claims "the bulky ribbing at the waist and neck adds a dash of style". Nona hopes so!
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