alala

rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy Almost 2019!

At the behest... well, no, request... actually, more like a suggestion - of my awesome friend Arja, I am going to crochet one teeny granny square per day next year, and sew them all into a teeny blanket and then... oh, probably give it to some baby somewhere. Anybody having a baby in 2019? Arja will too! Crochet a weather blanket, I mean, not have a baby. Only it's hexagons, not squares. And I don't know if she's planning to give hers to a random baby or keep it, but otherwise it's like exactly the same.

Here is a sample square I made a few days ago: the center bit represents the low temperature (below 0°C), the middle ring is the color of the sky that day, and the outer bit is the high temperature (I think it was 4°C that day).

The color card (click to embiggen) shows my temperature scale, and down there on the left is the plan I finally came up with for how to sew the squares together. I initially thought of starting at the center and working out in a spiral, but no I don't think so. And below is the whole project fitting in a box! Clearly this is a project to do at home, not on the go, which will be difficult on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I leave the house at 7:30 and get home Very Late Indeed and Also Quite Tired, but I think no one will be surprised to find me crocheting a granny square for each day, but not necessarily on each day. One of my resolutions for the coming year is to learn to recognize and work within my limitations.

So who's with me!? Haha, yeah, I know. If I wanted you to join in, I should have given you more time to plan. Apologies for that. The recognizing limitations thing is a work in progress.


Saturday, December 08, 2018

The Lucky Baby Lopapeysa basic pattern

So here it is all in one post, and each subheading links to the post that describes the steps in more detail, but for an advanced knitter, this should cover the most important points. If it does not, please let me know, and I will amend accordingly.

Materials

  • About 1/3 of a skein of Aldi or Regia 4-ply self-striping superwash sock yarn
  • Most of a skein of Aldi or Regia 4-ply superwash sock wool in a complementary color
  • 2.5mm and 3.0mm circular needles
  • 8 stitch markers
  • A tapestry needle and a length of quilting ribbon to act as a stitch holder.
  • A crochet hook for the cast-on and bind-off is optional.

The collar

Using the provisional cast on of your choice, cast 80 stitches onto a 2.5mm circular needle.
Work 16 rounds of 2x2 ribbing.

The yoke

Round 1: change to a 3.0mm circular needle and knit each stitch together with its base.
Round 2: place a stitch marker after every 10th stitch. Color changes will occur at the center back, but rounds will be counted from the center front.
Round 3: knit to the third marker after the center back marker. Slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Purl back to the center marker and then continue to the third marker after that. Slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Knit the full round, working each wrap in with the stitch it wraps.
Round 4: increase 4 stitches in each section, as evenly spaced as possible.
Rounds 5 & 6: work even.
Round 7: knit to the second marker after the center back marker. Slip the marker, k7, wrap the next stitch, turn. Purl back to the center marker and then continue to the second marker past that. Slip the marker, p7, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Knit the full round, working in the wraps.
Round 8, 9, & 10: work even.
Round 11: knit to the second marker after the center back marker. Slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, turn. Purl back to the center marker and then continue to the second marker past that. Slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Knit the full round, working in the wraps.
Round 12: increase 4 stitches in each section, as evenly spaced as possible.
Rounds 13 – 19: work even.
Round 20: increase 4 stitches in each section, as evenly spaced as possible.
Rounds 21 – 27: work even.
Round 28: increase 4 stitches in each section, as evenly spaced as possible.
Rounds 29 – 32: work even. Consider changing back to the base color in one of these rounds. Also, move the markers: keep the center back marker. K 27, place a marker (right back); k 45, place a marker (right sleeve); k 28 (right front), you should be at the center front marker. From the center front marker, k27, place a marker (left front); k 45, place a marker (left sleeve); k 28 (left back), and you should be back at the center back marker.

Separate the sleeves from the body

My way of doing this may be somewhat idiosyncratic, but you may find these instructions useful if you've never done this before.

For each sleeve:

Knit 45, make 5 for an underarm gusset, join to work in the round. Work two rounds even, decrease out two of the gusset stitches. Repeat twice more. You will have decreased 6 stitches.
Work 9 rounds even, decreasing two on the tenth round. Repeat this once more. You should have 40 stitches, at which point you work ten more rounds even, then switch to 2.5mm circular needles and 2x2 ribbing for 8 rounds. Bind off stretchily.

The body

Knit around the body stitches, picking up 5 stitches at each underarm, in the base of the sleeve gussets. Decrease these stitches out in the same pattern as for the sleeves: two rounds even, decrease two stitches, repeat twice more. Then work even until there are 80 rounds from where you joined the collar. Switch to 2.5mm needles and 2x2 ribbing for 16 rounds. Bind off stretchily.
Work in the ends. Wash. Block. Hug.



Friday, October 26, 2018

Step 5: The body

The body is actually the simplest part. As you may recall from Step 3,
Finish the left sleeve, cut the yarn, and then start at the base of the left sleeve and work the back stitches to the center-back marker. That was round 33.
As you cross the center-back marker you begin round 34. Knit to the right sleeve and pick up five stitches in the base of the gusset stitches you created for the sleeve. Work across the front and pick up five more stitches in the base of the left sleeve gusset.

Work two rounds even and then work paired decreases in round 37 to mirror the decreases in the sleeve gussets on both sides. Work another two rounds even and then work paired decreases in round 40.  Work another two rounds even and then work a double decrease in round 43.

From here work even in the round until you have knit a total of 80 rounds from the beginning of the yoke.

Change to a 2.5mm needle and work 16 rounds of ribbing. Bind of stretchily.

Work in ends, wash, block, hug.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Step 4: The sleeves

Argh, I keep forgetting to take pictures! Why does it get dark so fast?

So in the previous entry. we put the front, back, and left sleeve stitches on a holder and now we have 45 stitches on the needle. Now we start a 5-stitch gusset. I generally place a stitch marker before the last sleeve stitch (on the right needle) and after the first sleeve stitch (on the left needle), so that with the gusset I have 7 stitches between markers.

Magic-loop the needle and pick up or make 5 gusset stitches. I usually do as follows:
  1. Knit into the stitch below the last stitch on the right needle, 
  2. Pick up a stitch in the ladder between my needle and the holder, 
  3. Make one backward loop, 
  4. Pick up another stitch in the ladder between the needle and the holder, and
  5. Knit into the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle. 


I find this makes fewer holes. But you can do 5 backward loops or whatever you like best.

From here, work three rounds even and then decrease in the fourth round: slip marker, ssk, k3, k2tog, slip marker. There should now be 5 stitches between the stitch markers.

Do a second pair of decreases in round 7: slip marker, ssk, k1, k2tog, slip marker.

In round 10, do a double decrease: slip 2 knitwise, k1, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the k1.

From here, knit 9 rounds even and decrease two stitches on round 20; either a double decrease like on round 10, or paired decreases on either side of the center stitch.

Knit 9 rounds even and decrease two stitches on round 30.

Knit 10 rounds even, for a total of 40 rounds, and then change to 2.5mm needles and ribbing to match the collar.

Bind off as stretchily as possible. I recommend Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. Cut the yarn.

From here, as I mentioned in the previous entry, start knitting at the base of the right sleeve, leaving a tail long enough to tighten up any holes that appear in the underarm. Knit across the front stitches and the left sleeve, then place the front stitches back on the holder and knit the second sleeve in the same way as the first. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Step 3: Dividing the body and sleeves

More stalling, because, hm, well. There is more than one way to do this, and I'm not sure how much nerdy detail to go into.

Ever so basically, somewhere between round 28 (the last increase round) and round 32 (the last round of the yoke), move the markers to mark off a back and front of 55 stitches each, and two sleeves of 45 stitches each. The center-back marker should remain at the center of the back, if that makes sense. Each sleeve will have a 5-stitch gusset that is mirrored on the body.

Once round 32 is complete, you can place the body stitches on a holder and continue on the sleeves, or place the sleeve stitches on a holder and continue the body. I usually do the sleeves first.

Here's the process I've developed, over, I dunno, 20 or so tiny sweaters:

Round 33, knit across the right half of the back (should be 27 or 28 stitches), slip the marker, and knit across the right sleeve (45 stitches). Thread a length of quilting ribbon onto a tapestry needle and slip the front stitches, the left sleeve stitches, and all the back stitches onto the ribbon. Tie it off.

Knit the right sleeve (see next post: Step 4, The sleeves), cut the yarn, and then start knitting at the base of the right sleeve. Work across the front and left sleeve, and then put the front stitches back on the holder. This leaves a tail at the base of the right sleeve for sewing up any holes that appear in the underarm.

Finish the left sleeve, cut the yarn, and then start at the base of the left sleeve and work the back stitches to the center-back marker. That was round 33.

From here you work the body in the round, for which refer to Step 5, The body and finishing. (I'll turn that into a link once the post is written).




Thursday, October 04, 2018

Step 2: the yoke

Oops, don't have a picture for today's entry. I'll try to remember to add one tomorrow.

So we've knit round 1 in the self-striping yarn, and re-set our row counter to 1, if we're using one. In round 2, insert the stitch markers, dividing our 80 stitches into 8 sets of 10. I put the row counter in the center back, because that's where I change colors, start increase sequences, etc; for the center front marker, I try to use something distinctive, because that's where I count rounds if I need to double-check. This is because short rows will mess up your row/round count at the back, but no short row crosses the center front.

So as simply as possible, I do a short row in round 3, 7, and 11, and increase 4 rounds per section at round 4, 12, and 20, and three rounds per section at round 28.

Pretty simple, huh? Yeah, no. You probably want a bit more detail.

More detail on the short rows

I don't like to count (that's why I use stitch markers), so what if we number the stitch markers? The first marker after the center back row counter is #1, the center front marker is #4, and the row counter is marker #8.

So then, in round 3, you knit to marker 3, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Work back across, until you reach marker 5, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn again. Work all the way around, working in the wraps as you go. Note that you will pass the row counter twice without changing the row count, because all of this is round 3.

Round 4 is an increase round. See below.

In round 7, knit to marker 2, knit 7, wrap the next stitch, turn. Work back across until you reach marker 6, purl 7, wrap the next stitch, turn. Knit all the way around, working in the wraps as you go. When you have worked in both wraps and arrived at the center back again, you have finished round 7,

In round 11, knit to marker 2, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Work back across until you reach marker 6, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn again. Knit all the way around, working in the wraps as you go, until you reach the center back. That was round 11.

In my knitting, the wrapped stitch tends to get a little loose, particularly on the left side of the sweater. Just thought I'd mention that.

And that's all your short rows. Boy, aren't you glad to be done with those? Whew.

More detail on the increase rounds

It doesn't really matter where you increase, as long as the increases are more or less evenly distributed over the section. It also doesn't matter much how you increase. I favor what the Craft Yarn Council calls the M1 increase, or Knitting Between Stitches (the second set of diagrams on that page), but any increase will probably do.

In round 4, increase 4 stitches, evenly distributed over the 10 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 14 stitches. 

In round 12, increase 4 stitches, evenly distributed over the 14 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 18 stitches.

In round 20, increase 4 stitches, evenly distributed over the 18 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 22 stitches.

In round 28, increase 3 stitches, evenly distributed over the 22 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 25 stitches. Your total will be 200, and it'll be time to decide where to stop striping and switch back to the solid color. This will depend on your taste and the striping sequence, so I'll leave it up to you. 

In summary: 
Round 3: short row!
Round 4: increase! 
Rounds 5 & 6: just knit. Whew. 
Round 7: short row!
Rounds 8 - 10: just knit. 
Round 11: short row!
Round 12: increase! 
Rounds 13 - 19: just knit.
Round 20: increase!
Rounds 21 - 27: just knit.
Round 28: increase! And start thinking about where to change back to the solid color.
Rounds 29 - 32: just knit.

In round 33 we'll divide the sleeves from the body, but that's for another entry.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

YES, I am stalling

The next bit includes increases and short-rows! Can you blame me?

Here's another sweater pic to tide you over. I'll try to use the holiday tomorrow to tackle the yoke pattern.