Monday, 22 August 2011

Bias Knitting

Sorry about the lack of posting, it's not that I haven't been knitting, it's just that I have so many projects on the go and all have been in the early stages. This sweater is one of them. It's a really clever pattern called Bias Knit Jumper by Fiona Morris (Knitting Magazine 93 September 2011), and the construction is most intriguing. I'm using a machine yarn I have in my stash, which is very thin so this is going to need careful blocking when washed to get it to the right shape, which it isn't quite at the moment. The piece above is the lower and middle back along with the underarm. Yes, you read that right. The phrase "bias knitting" didn't mean much to me, but "short row knitting" is probably one we all recognise, certainly if you knit socks as that's how you shape the heel. In the photo above you can see that the stocking stitch part at the bottom is knit in a standard way from the bottom up but is triangular in shape - that's the short rows. Once you've made your triangle, you move on to this...
By casting on more stitches to the same needle and knitting short rows back and forth, taking in one or two of the stitches from the earlier piece, you not only add the lacy pattern (not very clear in this photo, needs blocking) but you add the middle part of the back at a right angle to the bottom. And that's how you also knit the underarm part of the sleeve on the end. So, so clever and very hard to describe, hope it makes sense! I'm currently working on the underarm sleeve of the front section, then all I have to do is add the top of the sweater in a similar way. A fascinating knit. Will post pics when I finish it.

I'm also still toiling away on the gansey, making a crochet cable sweater and a pair of Cookie A socks. Lots to do, must get back to it!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Silk/cotton Sweater

Back in May, I got a coned yarn remnant, a silk/cotton mix and started working on it for a summer sweater. As you can see, the yarn is a bit slubby and it turned out to be hard work knitting due to the bobbles. My fault, for choosing to work it the way I did, but it has turned out fairly well. The first thing about yarns designed for working by machine is that they're often oiled, as was this, so the finished look is never what it looks like at the start.
So my tension swatch was washed to see how it would work out, you can see in the photo above that the washed yarn fills out compared to the work on the needles. So my stitch numbers took the changed tension into account. I knitted it on small needles, 2mm, which I wanted to do so as to make it a dense fabric, which it certainly did, though it made the knitting harder work. As it turned out, sloshing the sweater around in the machine for a while actually made it softer and more "felted" than even this photo shows. The finished sweater has a lovely feel to it.

The design was simple - a wide base without rib, narrowing to the waist and I decided on three-quarter sleeves, mostly because I wanted to finish it! I wanted to wear this over loose blouses and tunics, so it's a wide fit below the armholes. Looks loads better on than in the picture.

But you can see one problem with the yarn in the photo - the little bobble in the bottom of the sweater on the right is because the side seam has moved round to the front. The yarn is a single ply, and these are prone to twisting. I did realise this was happening part way through the knit, but hoped I would be able to fix it in the drying. I wasn't able to do this, so both seams are twisted slightly. It looks fine on though, not noticeable. If I had knitted in a broken rib rather than stocking stitch, it would have helped prevent this level of twisting.

I do like experimenting with different yarns and this was a great experience. The sweater will be good for an average British summer, and is lovely and soft. I have quite a lot of yarn left, so I'm going to remove it from the cone so I can wash and measure it and hopefully knit or crochet something else with it next summer.