Monday, December 19, 2011

Department Store Knockoff Beanie

This beanie is designed to look like a knitted beanie that my husband and I saw at Macy's -- only the one at Macy's was a bit small for his head.
What was nice about this beanie was that the lower part of it was about 2.5 inches of 3x3 ribbing before changing to 2x2 ribbing, which gave the hat a lot more visual interest than it would otherwise have had. I tried my best to duplicate the style while enlarging it, making it large enough to cover any head (while the ribbing makes it small enough even for me to wear).

I used Dream in Color/Smooshy, though I could see using any fingering-weight yarn.
I used a circular size US1 needle. (I used the same circular needle the whole time, but feel free to switch to DPNs if you prefer, especially toward the end.)
Because I was mostly concerned about width (rather than height) of my stitches:
  • 21 stitches = 3.75 inches unblocked/unstretched.
  • On the finished hat, 40 stitches in k2p2 ribbing were 4 inches.
  • The height of the k3p3 section is about 2.75 inches at 27 rows. 
Given the nature of this design, exact gauge is not terribly important, it just needs to be fairly close. What was more important to me was to get a nice fabric -- dense without being too tight, so it was still flexible but not see-through. 

Some notes on math and size
If you need to make size adjustments: It was important at cast-on for the hat to be an even-multiple of 3, that is, I used the formula 56x3 = 168. (Even-number multiplied by 3 so that the ribbing would work properly the whole way around.) It also needs to be an even multiple of 2 (168 = 84x2). This means your total number of stitches needs to be a multiple of both 2 and 3. So, if you wanted to size it down, you could go down to 156 stitches (52x3 and 78x2) but NOT 162 (which is 54x3 but is 81x2 because 81 is an odd number). 


Cast on 168 stitches. I used the long-tail method because I prefer it and it does have some give to it, which was ideal for a hat. 
Place a marker before joining; we're going to work in the round.

Rows 1-27: Work K3, P3 ribbing around.

Rows 28-62: Work K2, P2 ribbing around (35 rows).

Row 63: [K2, P2, K2, P2tog] around.

Rows 64-67: [K2, P2, K2, P1] around (4 rows).

Row 68: [K2, P2tog, K2, P1] around.

Rows 69-72: K2, P1 around (4 rows).

Row 73: K2, P2tog around.

Rows 74-77: K2, P2 around (4 rows).

Row 78: K2, P2, K2, P2tog around -- there will be only 4 stitches at the end of the round as K2, P2, this is fine.

Rows 79-82: K2, P2, K2, P1 around (again, the last set will be K2, P2) (4 rows).

Row 83: K2, P2tog, K2, P1 around -- here you will end with K2, P2tog.

Rows 84-87: K2, P1 around (4 rows).

Row 88: K2, P2tog around to last stitch, then M1 purlwise to complete the round. (This is to ensure the correct number of stitches needed for the next rounds.)

Row 89: K2, P2 around.

Row 90: K2, P2tog around.

Row 91: K2tog, P1 around.

Cut yarn, feed it through the remaining live stitches and pull tightly/secure thread/weave in ends. Voila, you're done!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Flowers after the frost, part II

Sunday, April 3:
I'm working on this project again, this time in KnitPicks' CotLin yarn, DK weight. This yarn, being a cotton-linen blend, is good for my friend in Florida (for whom I'm making the piece) but offers some interesting differences. The wool yarn blocked out solidly but still had stretch after it was dry.
On the other hand, the CotLin (a blend of cotton and linen) is a bit firmer, less what I'd call "sproingy". Where my arm measures about 16 inches around, my friend's arm is more like 11 inches, though she did caution me that she'd prefer room since she can fluctuate. That's fine!
The stitch definition I'm getting with this yarn without blocking it is beautiful (I've used it before but for cabling, not for fine lace work). I suspect this one will be roughly the same number of repeats/size since it is less forgivingly stretchy than the wool but I'll be updating this as it goes.
Going along fairly smoothly; I found a typo in my pattern (typo = missed transcription of a K2 when I was typing it up), which is good that I caught before anybody else tried to do it and came up 4 stitches short on that row and had much hair-pulling when they tried to figure out the problem. However, that one hiccup overcome, it's been moving along though it'll be slower during the work week. If I'm lucky, I'll finish in a couple days. I'm noticing it seems a little more open than it did with the wool yarn, despite their being theoretically both DK weight, but I think that'll be ok for Florida so no problem there.

It's been a busy couple of days, but I'll finish the lace portion of the body tomorrow. I wonder if I can finish the lace, do the arms, and collar all in one evening. Not that there's a particular rush, but I'd like to see it done and off to the intended recipient. So far nothing new to report regarding the yarn, and I won't be doing a contrast color for the collar it'll just be the same blue. Also: cotton, so no need to pre-block the lace (else I'd do it tonight -- who am I kidding!).
The main thing is that I'm deciding whether to end after 6 pattern repeats (that is, 3 of the first four rows, 3 of the last four rows) or if I should add in one more for good measure. I don't want it to end up too saggy too fast! But I also don't want it to arrive and be uncomfortably tight.

Measurements. I've decided to go with a grand total of 72 pattern rows and I've finished off the all-knit row but, as noted, I've left my stitches live on the bottom and I'll be slipping them to a holder while I work the arms.
Since I've got more wiggle room in this one, I'm going to make the arms circular to begin with, which will save me seaming them later but may cause other, unforeseen problems. In the meantime, I took measurements of the piece, unstretched (first) and stretched in each direction.

11 inches tall and 15 inches wide.

14 inches tall and 17 inches wide.

I've finished the shrug, the numbers for the collar/ribbing are all exactly the same and it came awfully close to using a whole two skeins of the CotLin (good thing I had them both!)
But on the plus side, it looks lovely!
I'm really pleased with it and I hope the intended recipient likes it as well.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring! Shrug

So, it's spring, and I got some yarn in a beautiful, springtimey color but ... I only got about 235 yards. (You're thinking, What?! I know. But it was available.)

So, The Unique Sheep, superwool DK in Gold Ochre is what I used for the body and I accented it with a charcoal grey yarn that I had left over from making my brother's Christmas present: Caron Country, which is listed as a worsted weight yarn but actually works more like a DK. I love yellow and grey together and I thought that they were both in the same tone/feel to the color, and it worked for me.

I knitted the whole thing on size 5 (US) needles. I didn't swatch, per se, but measuring the final piece I've got 3 inches for 12 stitches and 2.5 inches for 8 rows(bound off) of k3/p3 ribbing, blocked.

I wanted to do something with it that was not a scarf, I wanted something spring but also wearable. And for me, springtime is all about flowers. I thought about it and decided there was no better pattern (for me) than the frost flowers pattern.

Approximately 33 inches around armpit-to-armpit (unstretched), although it stretches a great deal.
About 21 inches from sleeve to sleeve (the whole width of the garment). But again, it stretches a great deal.
Stretched the numbers are closer to 48 inches and 29 inches, respectively.
Armholes are about 12 inches around, unstretched, but stretch to about 16 around.
Stretch is important here because I'm stretching the garment about to its limit when I wear it, but if I'd had more yarn I'd have made it slightly larger!


I call it Flowers after the Frost. And my pattern is more a recipe of how to make it than anything else. I don't think there's going to be a ton of variability possible in the size because the pattern itself is only two repeats wide (you'd have to be VERY skinny to rid yourself of the second repeat!) though the fit can certainly be adjusted for those who might, say, have a bit more yarn. :)

The overall design went like this:
Main portion (lace) followed by arm-ribbing. Block, then sew armholes, then pick up stitches around for grey section.

Lace portion:
The lace is in two 4-row sections, each of which is repeated three times before switching to the next section. This means that you do
Row 1, Row 2, Row 3, Row 4, Row 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4,
Row 5, Row 6, Row 7, Row 8, Row 5, 6, 7, 8, 5, 6, 7, 8
until completion.

Cast on 78 stitches in your preferred method (I used long-tail).
Setup row: K4, pm, K70, pm, K4. There will be four stitches of garter edging on either side. (I liked to have a base row on either side that wasn't immediately lace, so there is a matching all-knit row at the end.)
Updated: I missed a very important K2 in row 7. 

Rows are:
  1. K4, sl m, K4, *K2tog, K4, yo, P2, [K2, yo, sl1, K1, psso] 3x, P2, yo, K4, sl1, K1, psso**, K6, repeat from * to **, K4, sl m, K4
  2. K4, sl m, P3, *P2tog tbl, P4, yo, P1, K2, [P2, yo, P2tog] 3x, K2, P1, yo, P4, P2tog**, P4, repeat from * to **, P3, sl m, K4
  3. K4, sl m, K2, *K2tog, K4, yo, K2, P2, [K2, yo, sl1, K1, psso] 3x, P2, K2, yo, K4, sl1, K1, psso, K2**, repeat from * to **, sl m, K4
  4. K4, sl m, P1, *P2tog tbl, P4, yo, P3, K2, [P2, yo, P2tog] 3x, K2, P3, yo, P4, P2tog**, repeat from * to **, P1, sl m, K 4
    Remember that these four rows are repeated in sequence three times before moving on to the next row.
  5. K4, sl m, K 1, *yo, sl1, K1, psso, K2, yo, sl1, K1, psso, P2, yo, K4, sl1, K1, psso, K6, K2tog, K4, yo, P2, K2, yo, sl1, K1, psso**, K2, repeat from * to **, K3, sl m, K4
  6. K4, sl m, P1, *yo, P2tog, P2, yo, P2tog, K2, P1, yo, P4, P2tog, P4, P2tog tbl, P4, yo, P1, K2, P2, yo, P2tog**, P2, repeat * to **, P3, sl m, K4
  7. K4, sl m, K1, *yo, sl1, K1, psso, K2, yo, sl 1, K1, psso, P2, K2, yo, K4, sl1, K1, psso, K2, K2tog, K4, yo, K2, P2, K2, yo, sl1, K1, psso**, K2, repeat from * to **, K3, sl m, K4
  8. K4, sl m, P1, *yo, P2tog, P2, yo, P2tog, K2, P3, yo, P4, P2tog, P2tog tbl, P4, yo, P3, K2, P2, yo, P2tog**, P2, repeat from * to **, P3, sl m, K4
    Remember that these four rows are repeated in sequence three times before moving back to the first row.
Repeat these rows in sets of 12-rows-at-a-time until your piece is long enough to wrap around your arm.
I did 108 rows total; that is, the first 12-row section was done 5 times and the second 12-row section was done 4 times.

Knit across 1 row (as described above). 
I left my stitches live and did not bind off, just moved my live stitches onto spare wires!

[Nota Bene: I worked these flat and then seamed them because I wasn't certain if this would be slightly-too-tight on my arms, again, I was making it as small as would possibly fit. Feel free to knit this in the round if you prefer, though then you'll want an exact multiple of 3 stitches picked up. You'll also want to block the lace portion first.]

Along both the left and right garter edges I picked up 56 stitches (half of the number of rows knit in pattern, for those making a different number of rows).

On the right side and left side I did reversed patterns so that they would match when facing. That is:
Side 1: P4, [K3, P3] to 4 stitches from end, K4
Side 2: K4, [P3, K3] to 4 stitches from end, P4
Your numbers will vary if you pick up a different number of stitches.

I repeated each side for 21 rows, then bound off.

At this point, I blocked what I had.
Once it was dried, I sewed up the ribbed portion of the sleeves. This is where the customization comes in:
In my case, I was able to sew it up right up to the end of the ribbing, though for skinnier folks, you may want to sew in further and for those who are wider, you'll want to sew less.

Because I had 78 stitches across the bottom (still live) I picked up 3 stitches at each armpit (where the sleeves are) and then the other 78 cast on stitches across the top. This makes a perfect multiple of 3 for K3/P3 ribbing.
I repeated this for 7 rows and then bound off with Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off. (I highly recommend Cat Bordhi's video for those who learn like me, since she demonstrates binding off in ribbing!)

In the end, it looks like this when flat:

I'm now working on a version of this in a cotton yarn, so any thoughts/comments I have on that are going in my blog's next post.