Posted in knitting

From the Design Idea folder

Dear Fellow Makers,

Over the past few days I have been engaged in work on fiber objects that take a lot of time to complete, such as painting the hydrangea leaves for a wall hanging and knitting a sweater. So I don’t have anything new to share on the blog today.

In perusing my design book, I was reminded of a project that I made in 2013. It has an interesting story which involves knitting sweaters for a little boy.

Have you ever worked hard on a hand-made gift, only to have it rejected on the spot by the recipient? I have! As a new grandmother, I was joyfully knitting sweaters annually for my grandson. One year it was an Elizabeth Zimmerman design (the modular Tomten Jacket described in The Opinionated Knitter.) After unwrapping it, said grandson simply cast it aside. (sigh.) I resolved never to let that happen again. For his birthday sweater the following year, I chose soft, brightly colored acrylic yarn and came up with a design that no little boy could resist.

Like all boys, my grandson loved trucks – BIG trucks and BIG earth-moving equipment. I decided to make a rugby style sweater with the image of a John Deere digging machine on the back. This project required a custom chart and my husband gleefully helped me to create it.

The picture was downloaded from the JD website, but the grid required a little adjustment. In knitting, the number of stitches per inch almost never matches up with the number of rows per inch. To avoid compressing the image, the squares of the grid need to be fatter than they are tall. I gave husband my gauge (stitches per inch and rows per inch.) He calculated the ratio and used spreadsheet software to adjust the grid to match. From this chart it was relatively simple to knit using a combination of stranded and intarsia techniques.

Upon receiving his gift the following birthday, my grandson jumped for joy.

“It’s an excavator, it’s an excavator!!”

This sweater was happily worn for several years in all kinds of weather.

One final note: If you try this technique, you may find it helpful to outline the details of the image in black yarn. This will help the image come together.

Posted in colorwork, crochet, knitting

Colorblock with a twist

Easter and garden events in the past two days have kept me away from my Daily Fiber blog, but my fiber stash has not been idle. I have checked out a few tutorials on some techniques that I have been wanting to try. The first is Tunisian crochet. If you haven’t heard of Tunisian, it is a sort of cross between knitting and crocheting. The hook looks like a crochet hook but with a straight smooth handle, on which the loops are collected up during the forward pass. On the return pass, you crochet them back off the hook. Since each stitch is worked twice, it makes a nice, thick fabric.

Tunisian Simple Stitch.

To be honest, this technique did not capture my imagination. The swatch is just, well, meh. Perhaps it could be used to make a warm pair of slippers. Moving on – the tutorial I watched yesterday is about various colorwork knitting techniques, including fancy stripes, duplicate stitch, inlay stitch (called Roositud in Estonia) and two-color cables. This last technique is the one I am swatching right now.

I’m using the two-color cable technique as a join between two different colors of yarn. In other words, I made a swatch that was two colors, side by side, joined in intarsia technique. I started by casting on fifteen stitches of grey and the same of yellow. Here is the wrong side of the swatch, just as I begin the first cable.

This is a six-stitch cable, bordered by two purls stitches on each side.

Here is my progress for the first two cables:

At this point, I was totally getting the technique and decided to make it a little more interesting. I decided to “travel” the cable from its central position. I did this by knitting two grey stitches together and making one yellow stitch. I repeated this two more times. Here is a view of the swatch back, showing how the two yarns are locked together. To do this, you bring the working yarn of the second color up from underneath the first color working yarn.

And here is my two-color cable swatch after wet blocking.

This was an easy knit. I can think of fun applications for two-color cables, such as children’s sweaters and team color scarves. Can you spot the slight lean in my cable? It’s going to the right, so I guess that makes this a conservative stitch.

Happy knitting!