Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Shoulders and Joining Yarn

The back is complete and the instructions say to bind off the stitches. After you finish the fronts you will be told to sew the front and back together. Once again we will deviate from the written instructions here. I put my back section on a stitch holder (otherwise known as a spare, smaller circular needle) because I am going to do a three needle bind-off when I am ready to attach the front and the back.

Why on earth would I bind them off and then have to sew them together???

It is MUCH easier to do a three needle bind-off and it gives you about the same amount of stability. Excellent photos of how-to here. If I wanted an invisible flow over the shoulders I would do the Kitchener Stitch, but it doesn't provide any support.

Next the instructions tell me to attach a ball of yarn to each side of the front and work both sides at the same time. As a lazy knitter, there is no way I am going to mess with two sets of needles and four balls of yarn (because I am using two yarn together.) I am going to work each side separately and COUNT to make sure I have the same number of rows.

To join a new yarn for working on the fronts I simply take the end of the ball and start knitting with it. You may tie it to the side with a loose knot if you like - not tight because you will find later on that the place you tied itis much looser than you thought and you will want to redo it, not to mention, when you are done, you will want to pick out the knot and weave the end in.

In my experience, the best way to weave the end in is to use it to duplicate stitch on the BACK of the garment. It is truly invisible this way.

And re: the problems people are having with the Comments and Links - it is definitely an issue with Mozilla - I can see that it is happening but I have no idea why. Mozilla appears not to be able to "see" that type of file.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Back to Progress

First - Congratulations to Mimi C. who has finished TWO T-Tops - one for her daughter and one for herself, with a third in the planning. Big round of applause - Way to go, Mimi!

I've been working on the back of mine:

Perfect front porch knitting for listening to all the summertime fire news coming from DH :-)

FYI - if you are having trouble with the comments, they are run in Javascript which is not supported by all/older browsers. It seems to work fine in IE and not in Netscape.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Checking In

How are those T-Tops going? What yarn are you using? Spill!

I have about six inches knitted and the next thing I need to do is decide how long I want my top - Never, Never just knit it the length specified in the pattern!

Pull something out of your closet that is the length you would like your T-Top to be. Measure from the bottom of the armhole to the hem - this is the length you will knit NOT the length specified in the pattern. Note - this may cause you to use MORE or LESS yarn depending on how your sweater is going to differ from the pattern.

If I were to knit the length given for my size, the bottom will be about four inches below my waist because I am very short waisted - there is no right or wrong length - it is just a good time to THINK about what length you want :-)

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Magic of Short Rows

Short Rows are used to create dimensional knitting - it can add either curves to flat knitting or depth.

The human figure is not flat, even though our clothing often is - to shape clothing and make it more flattering (or just plain more comfortable), short rows can be used to add roundness for the bust, stomach, and upper back of a garment while maintaining the same distance at the sides. In other words, a piece might have 20 rows at the edges and 30 rows in the middle - Huh?

This photo has three sets of short rows:

The are 18 MORE rows in the center than on the sides, causing it to arch. See how we get short row heels on socks - we knit a little pouch like this for the base of the heel. This is only one of many shapes you can create with short rows.

The Short Row Exercise

I really want you to do this little sample so you will understand short rows - it won't take long - I promise :-)

With smooth yarn and appropriate needles - my samples are done with dishcloth cotton - cast on twenty stitches.

1. knit across the row - 20 stitches. Turn and

2. purl across the row - 20 stitches. Turn and

3. knit 18 stitches. Stop - breath - you have two stitches left unknitted. They will be staying right where they are.

4. Turn your knitting around so you are holding it facing the purl side. There are two stitches on your right needle and 18 on the left. The little gap between the right and left needle is where a hole "may" develop as you work short rows. This little opening is what people are trying to prevent by wrapping or using yarn overs while short rowing. We are not going to worry about it - this is my We Don't Need No Stinkin' Wraps Method of short rowing. So - slip the first stitch purlwise - tighten the yarn around the neck of this stitch as much as you can. Knit the next stitch. Stop here and look at your work from the front (knit) side.

The picture shows the two unworked stitches on the left, then the little gap, then the slipped stitch, then a knit stitch. Flip back to the purl side (we were just visiting the front, not doing anything.) Purl 14 stitches - stop. You should have two stitches remaining on the left needle. They will be staying right there. Turn your work and

5. Slip the first stitch (purlwise so it stays seated on the needle the same way), knit 13 stitches - stop. We are going to turn again. Notice you have four stitches on the left needle. We will be leaving two more stitches behind each time we turn. Two stitches is an arbitrary number - it could be five, it could be ten - it depends on how steep you want your curve to be.

Note: In the T-Top pattern I want to hide my turn between a knit and a purl (we are doing k2p2 ribbing) because the stitches are often a bit looser there anyway. YOU decide where you want to position them because YOU will always be the one adding them to a pattern.

6. Turn, slip the first stitch purlwise. Tighten the yarn. Purl 11 stitches. Stop - there are 4 stitches on the left needle. Turn.

7. Slip the first stitch. Knit nine stitches. Stop. Turn.

8. Slip one, purl seven. Stop. Turn.

At this point there are six unworked stitches at each end of the row. Having done enough short rows for our example, we are returning to regular knitting.

9. Knit all 13 stitches, pulling your yarn as tightly as possible as you knit across the last seven stitches. You should have all 20 stitches on your right needle. Turn.

10. Purl across the row, knitting tightly across the last seven stitches. You have purled across all 20 stitches.

Turn and work an additional four rows in stockinette - knit on the front, purl on the back.

Notice the loose/larger stitches where I turned . . . I can fix them the same way I fix ANY loose stitches in my knitting - by pulling up the looseness and distributing it across the row (washing and blocking will further hide any looseness.)

I've hooked the loose stitch with an extra needle and pulled the loose yarn up into a loop. Next I will follow the path of the yarn and move the looseness toward the center of the row by pulling on part of a stitch a little further to the right.

In the next picture, I have "fixed" all the stitches that looked loose. You can clearly see the crescent of short rows - and I don't see any gaps.

Having tried the various short row wrapping methods and acknowledging the difficulty of finding/seeing/picking up the wraps - I would much rather spend a few minutes tightening some stitches than fiddling with when and how to wrap. Not to mention - even with wrapping, there are still loose stitches that need to be tightened. Here is a comparison of all three methods:

Top - Zilboorg's yarn over method from the Knitting Anarchist.
Middle - My No Stinkin' Wraps method.
Bottom - Standard short row wrapping.

All of them had loose stitches tightened to improve the look.

To learn how to do traditional short row wrapping - check your favorite knitting reference book :-)I did not find a lot of great photo/instructions on the net for short row wrapping but here is one - scroll down the page.

Back to our T-Top

Why all this talk about short rowing? I don't like to always be tugging on the back of my sweater so I usually put some short rows at the bottom of the back. When I was ready to do the short rows, I worked half way across the piece until I reached my side marker - because I looked at the pattern and figured out that the first half of the stitches was going to be the front and the second half was going to be the back. Going a few stitches past the marker, I turned the work and did six short rows, moving over two stitches each time, just like the example (only the rows were longer :-)

The back of my sweater is now longer than the front. I will probably do a couple more short rows up near the top of the back. If you have more of a chest than I do, you will want to put your shorts rows at the widest part of your bust. Lily Chin did a great article in one of the knitting magazines a few years ago on adding short rows to make sweaters fit better - maybe one of you knows which magazine?

Some people love to play with short rows - if you ever run into the Queen of Short Rows - Heather, she will tell you all about her adventures with them.


Friday, June 04, 2004

News Flash!

Lorna Miser, the designer of the Lapel T-Top is joining us - Whoo-hoo! She is a talented designer - see her work here. We're happy to have her on board :-)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A Peek at Short Rows

An extra six rows added to the bottom of the back of my sweater should keep the back of my waist covered without tugging!

I did my cheaty version of short rows with no wrapping and no yarn-overs - I'll tell you how I do it Friday (in my usual exhaustive detail.) Tomorrow we are going to The Great Indoors in Phoenix - day trip into the blistering heat. I love it - the Phoenix news stations are saying things like "Record Heat! When will it end?" I'm thinking October.

Anyway - here are some articles on short rows to wet your appetite. Remember, short rows are used to add fullness to an area of the body is rounder (bust, stomach, upper back) on one side and flatter on the reverse.

How to knit short rows on a neckline.
A great article from Knitty
Some fancy uses for short rows - just pictures.

I'm planning on showing you some samples on Friday - hopefully the new DSL modem will be up and running by then.

Remember - you can join us anytime - we don't have a lot of rules or deadlines!