Knitting, crafting, cooking, and motherhood… trying to do it all!

Posts tagged ‘cable knitting’

Adding a Pocket to the Twisted Trails Sweater

The Child for All Seasons MKAL is in full swing on Ravelry! It’s never too late to join, and you can even preview the Autumn Collection before buying. Purchasing the year gets you 12 children’s patterns for one low price, released seasonally throughout the year.

This season, I have designed two of the patterns: the Trail Mix Fingerless Mitts and the Twisted Trails Hooded Sweater. Both are perfect fall knits for the little ones in your life!

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Having already knit 4 versions of the Twisted Trails, I decided to make a version with a kangaroo pocket for my godson Michael. I had never knit a kangaroo pocket, so it was a bit of a learning experience. My whole goal was to have the cables travel uninterrupted up the front of the sweater. I achieved that goal and I’m so happy with the results! Although this is not a pattern or an addition to the pattern, any adventurous knitter can use my notes to modify the pattern on their own. If you have questions, jump in on the MKAL forums and I’d be happy to answer them!

1. I began by knitting a rectangle the size that I wanted the inner pocket to be. I used a hoodie belonging to my older son as a guideline and chose to make mine approximately 8″ x 6″. I began with a provisional cast on (onto a spare needle). I also added the bright orange yarn as a lifeline since this was a technique I had not yet tried.

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2. Next I began the ribbing according to the pattern. On the first row of the main color, I knit all the stitches without beginning the cable chart set-up. Instead, when I came to the stitches that would center my pocket along the front, I lined up the needles WS together and worked k2tog with one stitch from each needle.

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3. After attaching the pocket to the ribbing, I worked the pattern as stated for approximately 1 inch to create some bottom depth for the pattern. At that point, I began working each section flat– the section that was the width of my pocket (including the cable chart) and the section that did not include the pocket. When I reached the length of the pocket, I was ready to join them together. I joined them the same way as before, lining up the needles and working k2tog or p2tog as needed. The difference was that this time I also had to cable as I was working the stitches!

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4. Once the sweater was finished, I used mattress stitch to seam the side of the sweater with the pocket rectangle, leaving the opening for the hands.

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5. Using the contrasting color (gray) and smaller needles, I picked up and knit 24 sts (a multiple of 4). I worked the same ribbing pattern as indicated for the hood ribbing. Using mattress stitch, I attached the sides to the sweater.

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6. The result was a beautiful new hoodie for my nephew’s birthday, shown here modeled by my son Adrian. I am sure this will get plenty of use all season long!

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I hope this is helpful to anyone wanting to add kangaroo pockets to their handknits. And if you haven’t already, join us as we knit our way through the year in the Child for All Seasons MKAL!

Hats! Hats! Hats!

One of the greatest things about cold weather (one of the ONLY great things about cold weather) is the chance to wear the things you’ve been knitting all year. Although my boys have some hats I crocheted for them years ago, I figured they needed to upgrade to some knit hats and it gave me a chance to learn more about hat construction. Thus became my mission… to knit hats for the family!

At the end of October I had knit plenty of things for my kids, but hadn’t made much for me. I had bought some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (colorway ‘Thistle’) to knit Jared Flood’s Laurel hat. I thought, “It’s small, I should be able to finish in a night.” Ha! The pattern is lovely and the chart was easy to read, but I wasn’t as quick as I dreamed I was. I finished in about three days, but long hours were put in during that time. It was a great learning experience, but I kept making small mistakes and needed to tink back or ladder down to fix the problems. In the end, the result was beautiful. I love my new hat and I love that I took the time to make something for myself!

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As the cold winds of December blew in, I started working on a hat for my baby. I wanted to try knitting Tin Can Knits’ Clayoquot cardigan with colorwork (I had knit this pattern without the colorwork here), but I thought I would start with the Clayoquot Toque. I knit this one in less than a day. It’s super cute, but I do wish it was just a bit larger. I try to make things to last more than a couple months, but with growing boys that’s tough to do! This hat looks nice and is quite durable knit in Cascade 220 Superwash.

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Moving on, I wanted to try out a pattern from the Tin Can Knits book Pacific Knits, which I had recently received. I used some lovely Dream in Color Classy yarn (colorway ‘Peacock Shadow’). The pattern is Sitka Spruce, and uses twisted stitches to create an awesome geometric pattern. This one was not for my boys, though. This one was a gift for a special friend who has recently moved to a much colder place. I figured the warm wool would be perfect for those snowy days in Buffalo, NY. This one also turned out a little shorter than I wanted, but after blocking it was closer to the correct size. The tonal yarn looks amazing with all those twisted stitches!

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Three days before celebrating Christmas, I decided to make a hat for my husband using more Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (colorway ‘Birdbook’). I chose Apple Pie— another TCK pattern. This one features a ribbed doubled brim. Although it was tedious to knit the extra length of the doubled brim, I think it will be super warm. All the cabling within this hat took a long time, but I love the results. I love how it looks on me, so it was almost a disappointment when my husband loved it and wanted to wear it! (Ha! Just kidding!) That doubled brim was a foreshadowing of a future project… a project that made the hat brim seem like nothing at all (more details to come!).  Here is the hat modeled by Yours Truly.

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Next up was a hat for my second son, Adrian. I decided to do yet another TCK pattern (I own two of their books, of course I’m going to knit their patterns!)– Stovetop. This uses moss stitch to create an interesting texture and some simple cables along a main panel. The crowning glory, in my opinion, is the pompom on top. I knit this one with some leftover Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash (colorway ‘Primavera’) and I am SO happy with how it turned out. Although it was created for Adrian, my third son Jonathan has adopted it as his own and looks incredibly cute in it. Here it is modeled on Adrian:

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Dying to try more simple colorwork, I found The Easy Ombre Slouch Hat, by Paul S. Neary, a free pattern on Ravelry. I changed the pattern quite a bit (detailed on my project page), but it was exactly what I was looking for. I used the same Plymouth Merino Superwash used in Adrian’s hat, paired with some blue yarn of the same brand. This design also inspired me to design a sweater with a similar effect. I loved the results, but my oldest son Roman has been crocheting hats for himself, so this one doesn’t get much use.

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One final hat to add to the post… another one that was intended for me! Although the Laurel hat I made at the beginning of this post is great for cooler weather, I wanted one that could withstand heavy snows (not that we’ve had any this year). I used, you guessed it, a TCK pattern. This one is called Tofino Surfer and is from their book Pacific Knits. I had some trouble finding yarn to get the recommended gauge. I settled on some Cascade 128 and used a size 9 needle. The hat turned out great with one exception. Because I used a smaller needle size, the tighter stitches caused it to stick up straight instead of slouching. As I blocked it I stretched the wool, which helped a lot, although it does require a little push to make it slouch. No modeled pic for this one:

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What are your favorite hat patterns? The cold weather isn’t through yet… I could always knit another!

Cables are the Best!

Since my last post, I have been crazy busy designing knitwear. I now have four patterns for sale on Ravelry, two in testing, two to write/photograph… and about a hundred more ideas swimming around in my head. I love seeing other people knit my designs and I have gotten so many compliments on the clarity and quality of my patterns.

For the past several months, I have been having a love-affair with cable knitting. I learned how to do a basic cable on day 3 of learning to knit. It was a technique that I had never encountered with all my years of crocheting and I was so excited to try it! Since then, I’ve been studying and swatching TONS of cable patterns. I’ve been studying their construction and the layout of the charts. I’ve now moved on to creating my own! I found a lot of great cable ideas in this book by Melissa Leapman:

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I absolutely love argyle, so my first order of business designing my own cable was to attempt to cable argyle! I tried MANY different ways of doing it, but there was only one that I really loved. I used this as the basis for creating a cardigan vest for Michael, my godson and nephew. He told me his favorite color is, “toy-quoise,” so that is the color he got!

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You can see from the picture that this uses a thick cable for the main diamonds, and a thinner cable (created with twisted stitches) in the background. The front of the vest features cabled diamonds along the front panels. the edging is all done in rice stitch. Be sure to check out my Diamondback Cardigan Sweater Vest on Ravelry!

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Michael loved his new vest and it seems to be a hit with my customers as well!

This fall I tried two cabled cardigans that were not my own design. I created Arlo, by Brooklyn Tweed, and Caribou, by Tin Can Knits. I loved both of these patterns! Arlo begins with a tubular cast-on (my new favorite cast-on!) which make the stitches look like they wrap over the edges of the sweater. It was knit in five pieces, so I got lots of practice with seaming and my first experience with a set-in sleeve. I am SO happy with how it turned out!

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Caribou, by Tin Can Knits, was another fun knit. This one had such unusual construction that I had to try it! The cable band is knit first, then you pick up stitches above and below to create the rest of the sweater. My favorite part is how the cables appear to run straight onto the button bands! I knit this one using GORGEOUS Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Yarn and I can’t wait to use their yarn again! I’m going to have some very warm boys this fall!

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My favorite cable project was my own. Roman, my oldest son, requested that I design a sweater for him in honor of his eight birthday. I let him choose from the color palette of the Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash and he chose the color “Primavera.” I wanted to play on the X’s and O’s without being too obvious about it. I swatched and swatched for months (here and there) before settling on a Double X pattern on the back with seed stitches in the middle and a chain link “O” pattern running the length of the sleeves. This is one of the patterns that is finished, but needs to be photographed and written (hopefully soon!). Roman is LOVING his special sweater!

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Be on the lookout for new cable patterns to come from me! My boys can’t rock the lace, but they look awesome in cables! I just can’t wait to do more 🙂

Knitting in the Round

My first project knit in the round:

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On a trip to the local yarn store, I talked to some more experienced knitters to find out more about needle sizes and circular needles.  According to this woman, circular needles were the way to go.  They can be used for knitting in the round, but can also be used for large knitting projects, going back and forth as if using straight needles.

My first set of circular needles came from Hobby Lobby.  I bought a 16″ length with needles that screwed onto the cord.  I have since decided that I would rather spend the extra money to get quality circular needles that remain attached.  The needles I bought tended to unscrew while I was knitting, which was very frustrating and would have been terrible if I dropped all those stitches due to a needle malfunction.

So… I wanted to make a hat for myself that involved knitting in the round.  I searched the internet very carefully, knowing that I wanted to make a hat with cables.  This was when I first discovered the pattern searches on ravelry.com.  If you are a knitter or crocheter, you HAVE to sign up for this website!  It allows you to search for patterns (free or for a small fee) with as many search criteria as you can imagine.  You can limit searches by free/paid, knit/crochet, VERY specific items, yarn weight, needle size, and SO much more.

I found a free hat pattern (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/declans-hat) that had some unique cabling I could adjust to my size.  While all the “models” were male, I figured I would add some extra ribbing to allow me to fold up the brim and I could even add a pompom to the top if I wanted to make it a little more feminine.  The ribbing made it so stretchy that it would fit a bigger head, so I figured the extra allowance would be good for my first adult hat project.  The pattern called for a size 6 needle, but I had a size 8.  Because this pattern is so versatile, I figured I could swing it by following the pattern for an adult medium.  Of course, I had to try on the brim to be sure it wasn’t ridiculously huge:

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The pattern was great and I got to practice reading a knitting diagram with this pattern.  I also got to practice holding cable stitches to both the front and back (which wasn’t hard, but took a little bit of practice).  The trickiest part was when the rows started decreasing and I realized it was not going to stay on the circular needles.  The light bulb went off in my head– THIS is why people say you will need double pointed needles (DPNs) on a hat project!

Bad news.  It was 10:30 at night (kids are asleep, making 9-12:30 at night the best time for me to knit), and I did not have DPNs.  Nor did I have experience with DPNs.  Hmmm…. I understood the concept of how they would work.  I had read the section on them in my “Learning Knitting” manual and had watched a video or two on YouTube to see them in action.  The best solution would be to wait until the next day when I could run to the store and buy some DPNs, but I am NOT a patient person and I was determined to finish that night.

What happened next is tough to blog about because I’m still kind of baffled as to how I did it, but I managed to complete the hat.  I pulled out my size 8 straight needles and pulled the stoppers off the end.  Then, through a complicated method of knitting with one end of a needle and then sliding them onto another needle so the point was facing the opposite direction, I managed to decrease the stitches correctly and come up with a finished hat.  The good news out of all this– when I finally used DPNs on another project, they were a piece of cake after this creative but unconventional experience!

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I love my new hat and I love how it matches my handmade fingerless mittens!  As you can see, my toddler loves it, too!

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