Sunday, 24 January 2010

Rippled Shale

This is my new design, now available for download on Ravelry. I love the Old Shale pattern, and really wanted to make a top with it.

I have a large collection of old patterns and searched through them to get ideas, finding two patterns using the stitch, one from Canada in the 1950s and one from England in the 1980s. But neither of them did any shaping around the arms, instead just knitting two rectangles for front and back; presumably this is because of the difficulty of creating shaping in this 18 stitch pattern.

So the challenge was to create a shaped garment in this stitch. I had learned that a garter stitch edge works well on this type of pattern, as it shapes naturally so the bottom and the necklines were easy. After a bit of thought and experimentation I figured out how I could do the armhole shaping, though the armholes are rather more square than normal armholes. Then the only difficult bit was working out the stitch divisions for front and back for all sizes. I've retained an element of the cap sleeves of the older patterns as the "straps" of the top are quite wide due to the requirements of the pattern. On me the armholes just fall slightly off my shoulders, but maybe less so on someone with wider shoulders.

I enjoyed the challenge of this project, and managed to use up quite a bit of the vintage cotton yarn I bought a few weeks ago. So now I'm working on using up more of the yarn and am designing a summer bag (purse in American). I hope to get it done in a week or so, watch this space!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

I started spinning my alpaca fleece (Sebastian) this week - here is the first bobbin. It took a little practice to get it right, partly because I had just been spinning a much coarser Balwen so had to adjust to this fine fibre. Beautiful though, isn't it?
A few weeks ago I bought some vintage cotton which I found in an antique shop and had to think what to do with it. I've wanted to do summer knitting in cotton for a while, but struggle to find patterns I like, so decided to design one myself, here's a sneak preview. This is the second garment I've designed from scratch and, unlike the first one, looks like being a successful project. I learned a lot from my first efforts. So it will be a sleeveless, pretty thing in mercerised cotton and will be available for purchase on Ravelry once it's done. I've just managed the tricky decreasing for the armholes and will finish the back in the next few days, so it should be ready in a few weeks. The great thing is it looks complicated, but really isn't - my kind of knitting.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Simple Socks in DK Cotton

A free pattern from Lancashire Knitter

These comfy socks are a simple knit, with a double rib around the short ankle section.

Dimensions: ankle circumference 22 cm (8.5 inches), foot length 23cm (9 inches).

Yarn: 200m DK cotton - I used Elle True Blue which is a multi-stranded cotton.

Needles: 2.5mm dpn (or circular if using the magic loop method)

Gauge: 28 stitches x 35 rows measured over 10cm (4 inches) in stocking stitch after blocking. N.B. some cotton yarns have a small shrinkage - generally this means the work is a little wider before blocking. Please check your yarn carefully to ensure the finished article will be the right size.



Cast on 60 stitches, work 40 rounds in K2, P2 rib.

Work 1 knit row.

Divide for Heel:

Next row: K15, turn, slip first stitch purlwise, P29, turn, leave remaining 30 stitches on a spare needle.

Slipping the first stitch in every row, work 25 rows stocking/stockinette stitch.

Turn Heel:

Row 1: Slip 1, P16, P2 tog, P1, turn

Row 2: Slip 1, K5, SSK (slip 2 stitches knitwise, then knit together), K1, turn

Row 3: Slip 1, P6, P2 tog, P1, turn

Row 4: Slip 1, K7, SSK, K1, turn

Row 5: Slip 1, P8, P2 tog, P1, turn

Row 6: Slip 1, K9, SSK, K1, turn

Row 7: Slip 1, P10, P2 tog, P1, turn

Row 8: Slip 1, K11, SSK, K1, turn

Row 9: Slip 1, P12, P2 tog, P1, turn

Row 10: Slip 1, K13, SSK, K1, turn

Row 11: Slip 1, P14, P2 tog, P1, turn

Row 12: Slip 1, K15, SSK, K1, turn

Next row: Pick up and knit 13 stitches from side of heel, place marker, knit across 30 stitches from stitch holder, place marker, pick up 13 stitches from other side of heel, K9 and start each subsequent round from this point (74 stitches in total).

Tip: If, like me, you hate using markers, arrange your stitches on the needles in such a way that the “markers” would be just before or just after a break in the needles. I tend to arrange them thus: 22/30/22.

Shape Instep:

Row 1: Knit to 3 stitches before first marker, K2 tog, K1. Knit to the next marker, K1, SSK, knit to end.

Row 2: Knit

Repeat the above two rows until you have 56 stitches left.

Knit until the foot measures 18 cm (7 inches) from heel.

Shape Toe:

Row 1: Knit to 3 stitches before first marker, K2 tog, K1, slip marker K1, SSK. Knit to 3 stitsches before second marker, K2 tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SSK.

Row 2: Knit

Repeat the above two rows until 24 stitches remain.

Graft stitches together:

Arrange stitches in equal numbers on two needles and wrong sides together, with yarn end on the back needle at the right end (assuming you are right handed). Cut yarn (leave plenty spare), thread through needle and commence grafting:

Insert needle knitwise through first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through and pull stitch off needle. Insert needle purlwise through next stitch on front needle, but do not pull stitch off. Insert needle purlwise through first stitch on back needle and pull stitch off needle, pulling yarn taught so stitches join up. Insert yarn knitwise through next stitch on back needle, do not pull off, then knitwise through next stitch on front needle and pull stitch off. Work through all the stitches in this way until they are all grafted.


Knitwise front, off, purlwise front, leave on.

Purlwise back, off, knitwise back, leave on. Repeat these two steps.

Copyright Ruth Seddon (Lancashire Knitter)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Year, New Projects

With the new year, my list of projects is growing now that Christmas knitting is behind me. First I washed this blue-faced leicester fleece which I bought in 2008. I've already spun up some of the cleanest parts of this fleece, but decided that the rest was simply too muddy to be spun as it was. So here it is, cleaner and ready to go. It's third in the queue for spinning!

This is my easy evening project for when I get bored with whatever else I'm doing. Last year I made good progress in using up my stash, knitting several pairs of socks from left over 4 ply. So I just have remnants left and decided to use up what's left on these small but perfectly formed crochet granny squares. Self-patterning yarn creates a rather interesting effect!

These are cotton socks - I'm trying to perfect my pattern as cotton works a little differently to wool. I think the feet are a bit wide, so will try a different number of stitches on my next pair. It's dk cotton which I bought cheap a couple of months ago, so these socks cost me £1.20 in total!