First knitted jumper

first_knitted_jumper (3)

A medium term goal of mine is to knit a jumper from wool I spun myself. Having never knit a jumper before it seemed like a good idea to do a trial run with less precious acrylic yarn I had lying around (also good for using that up so I can concentrate on the woolly self spun goodness).

This is the result of that trial! I’m super happy with it even though there are more than a few dodgy things going on here :)

The ‘pattern’ I used was a top down raglan calculator from Knittingfool. I don’t know if I was just fundamentally misunderstanding something but all the numbers of stitches were odd and didn’t work at all for the ribbing. probably my fault and I’ve misunderstood something somewhere. But for this there was a lot of fudging to get all the numbers right.

The second issue is that for my gauge swatch I knitted stockinette back and forth left and right handed. It didn’t really occur to me that my gauge would be vastly different from when knitting fully left or right handed in the round. But it sure was!

The main body I knitted left handed and it is quite big. when I got to the arms I switched to right handed just to give my hands a change and rest and after a few rows the difference was very noticeable! see below the obvious switch to a much tighter gauge at the place I’m pointing:

There were many other weird things going on, most likely all my doing, but I ploughed n regardless and it’s all fine – a bit wobbly here and there but it fits and is nice and warm and cosy and I’m loving my last minute decision to have bright red cuff stripes :)

Here I am wearing it while making a start on the next (hand spun) jumper!

first_knitted_jumper (5)

grey fluff

A while ago I wrote about making my own drop spindle and having a go at some spinning. I did eventually spin enough to make it worthwhile to split in half and ply and then I knitted the result into a set of 6 (slightly wobbly) coasters. They’re great and it’s awesome they started as just fluff!

Coral cowl

This is a knitted cowl from a pattern by Nim Teasdale for a Christmas tree cowl. It’s got a great 3d spiky shape and lots of people commented how unusual it was the first time I wore it. I followed the pattern for the small size but I used worsted weight yarn and 5.5mm round needles so the finished thing is bigger. I didn’t make any changes other than that and skipping the beads. I didn’t think I’d finish it in time for Christmas so instead of green I used this peach colour that makes it look a little like a sea anemone or coral. The pattern was easy to follow in the end so it was finished pretty quickly. Something went a bit weird on round 14 but people’s notes on Ravelry suggest that round might have a slight error. I’d thought the spikes were going to be made by some sort of short rows but no – it’s just alternating sets of increases and decreases. Knitting structure is fascinating! The spikes hold their shape really well – they get bigger, and the cowl widens, as you work down the piece.

rainbow mitts

I’ve just posted off these colourful fingerless gloves for a friend’s birthday next week. I’m slowly crawling my way around learning to knit properly. I’m currently trying left handed again but eastern style (I think… it’s a bit confusing) and that seems to be working well. I can knit fine in any of the styles but it’s been purling that has held me back – I think I now have a comfortable way of doing it – stitches are moving from the right needle onto the left, yarn held in my right hand, back leg of the stitches leading, yarn held behind and wrap the yarn anticlockwise. switching from knit to purl to knit is fairly seamless this way and much less awkward than other methods I’ve tried. 

These mitts didn’t need any purling though so I didn’t have to worry about that. I used this barn mitt pattern from Heather Gorman on Ravelry and the tiny sock wonder circular needles pictured above.

kool

20180818_koolaid_socks (4)

Having decided to try and knit some socks I ordered a pair of tiny circular needles (they are brilliant! the left needle is very short so that you can still bend the cable but the right needle is long so you can hold it properly to knit with) and a double strand sock blank. A sock blank is a pre-knit rectangle of sock yarn ready for you to dye. Double stranded means that two lots of 50g are knitted together so that however you dye it you will get a matching pair of socks when you knit each one up. I also ordered various colours of Kool-Aid powder sachets. These are very easy to use for dyeing as their high acid content means you don’t need vinegar or any other wool preparation. just mix it up, soak the wool, heat it and you’re done. I didn’t want a solid colour – I was aiming for speckled and blotchy but vaguely fading from one main colour to another across the whole piece. I soaked the sock blank in water, squeezed most of it out and put it in a microwave safe dish. Then just sprinkled the various colours all around and swished it about til I was happy.

cover with cling film and microwave for ~2 minutes. leave for a minute, microwave for another minute or two then just leave it in there to cool. Once cold, rinse in cool water and leave to dry. No colour should come out – it all gets sucked up by the wool and the water is just a little bit white/cloudy while you rinse. This was my finished piece:

20180818_koolaid_socks (9)

you can knit directly from the piece, unravelling as you go but I wanted to see what it looked like in a ball – I also only had the one set of needles so I’d need to knit one strand while balling the other but then the second ball would be the wrong way round for knitting the second sock. So, two balls were made:

I then started knitting using various online videos and tutorials to figure out each section as I got to it. I’m sure there are things I can do better next time but they have turned out well – they fit, they look fun and they smell fruity :)

Each sock weighs ~22g and there is ~27g left of each ball so plenty to make another pair or maybe some matching gloves.

For my next sock dyeing adventure I’d love to try and create something that would knit up into watermelon socks. So, start with green, fade through a small amount of white and pink to red with some black patches. I think that should be possible and I have a few half packets of Kool-Aid left :)

knit

neschof_knit_hat

finished my first ever knitted thing! a simple hat but I really like it. I just made it up as I went along and looked up how to do things as i got to them. Mostly the decreasing and working with double pointed needles.

I made the band first and did it length-ways so I could tell when it was long enough to go around my head, then joined it and picked up the end of the rows with tiny circular needles.

swatch

first_swatches

Over the last week or two I taught myself to knit. I’ve knit before, a little bit, a long time ago. I didn’t really like it. I managed to make half a scarf and then gave it up as too much hassle.

I’m left handed and last time I remember knitting left handed. I found this easier but it was very restrictive when trying to follow patterns – crochet instructions work pretty much the same left or right handed (except cables – still haven’t got the hang of crochet cables) but knitting was very confusing. So I stuck to just the basic knit stitch with a few flourishes, in a flat rectangular shape.

This time I wanted to explore the possibilities of knitting so I decided I really needed to learn to do it right handed to have half a chance at understanding the terminology.

To start with I mostly just made it up as I went along. Basic knit stitch at first (knit one row, purl the next) but I hated purling! so I figured you should be able to do purling by NOT swapping needles and just working the stitches back in the opposite direction (sneakily, this would then also be essentially left handed knitting again). I deconstructed the purl stitch to figure out how to do it ‘backwards’ and then I was away! easy peasy :)

after a few rows this get a bit dull still so I though what would happen if I changed direction in the middle of the row. how about multiple times. what would you get – something 3d I guessed, but would it be stable and would it look good?

turns out the answer to both those questions is yes:

first_swatches (7)first_swatches (6)

After this I tried to search for this technique online but it’s hard to find something when you don’t know the words for what you want to find. The easiest way was to follow the right kind of knitting images down the rabbit hole of Pinterest until they led to some articles that explained a little of the techniques. Turns out that the back and forth way of knitting I’d come up with was a thing (of course! nothing is new under the sun) and was often used by people who wanted to work lots of “short rows”, which, I think, is the correct terminology for changing direction in the middle of the row. usually, this is used for subtle shaping of garments rather than the surface texture / sculptural way I was playing around with. Armed with some better terminology my search then brought more interesting articles and images.

Mostly they were concerned with achieving 3d effects via machine knitting and all the discussions of technique were completely undecipherable to me but the images were fantastic and I had a go, with some success, at replicating them in my new way working:

first_swatches (9)

 

From here I ventured into the world of creating ‘bubbles’, again as a machine knitting technique:

I couldn’t really see how this might have been created, but then I managed to find an article on alessandrina.com that talked about how to hand knit these shapes and I had a few goes, with varying success:

first_swatches (5)

 

From here I stumbled into the world of dropped stitches and ladders:

I tried to follow this chart but it was a disaster – something to revisit when I know a bit more perhaps:

first_swatches (1)

and then onward to knitted lace, making your own stitch patterns and secret codes:

The String Geekery site is way waaay over my head but it’s so interesting and a fun way to learn how to increase / decrease etc. Just so you understand how little I know about knitting, it was at this point I realised I didn’t actually know how to cast on so had to go look that up on YouTube! until this point I’d just been sort of wrapping the wool around one needle and awkwardly knitting the first row into a loose strand.

This didn’t stop me from having a go at the lace though – just some very very simple, tiny swatches:

first_swatches (11)

first_swatches (12)

The two above are the same little chart but in the bottom one I only followed the chart on knit rows and just purled (fake backward purled) every other row. The top image is trying to follow the chart on all the rows.

first_swatches (3)

My aim now is to pick a simple but interesting stitch and create an actual finished knitted thing.