Dec 23, 2014

Steeks in Handknitted Colorwork Sweaters

Steeking is a term used in knitting to designate a method of conversion of a sweater (usually it's a seamless Fair Isle sweater made in circles) into a cardigan by cutting an opening in the middle front. Also this word is used for a procedure of adding any opening in your knitted garment such as armholes or pocket holes ets. Next step would be to stabilize a cut we just made by creating a picked-up band or vertical band along both edges. Honestly, it's a quite scary procedure, I would't do it without some chocolate consumption to stay calm! But it's so worth it!

First time I was introduced to this technique through one Craftsy class Sweater Surgery by Carol Feller (see - Lesson 5: How to Steek). I love everything about this class! Carol is a charming, intelligent and skillful instructor and designer. Highly recommend this class, mast have for any knitter. It's not a free option though.

Of coarse on YouTube you will find some free video instructions about steeking, like this one:

Recently I've found one interesting article regarding steeking in a newly published issue of Interweave Knits magazine Winter 2015 under this title: Plan Ahead: Best Methods + Finishing Options for Steeks in Colorwork Sweaters by Donna Kay (Pp. 60-63). It it a very helpful article and on the very bottom of it I've found and used a link to discover more details regarding this technique: This article is providing an additional information to the article in the magazine and was written by Amy Palmer. Here are a couple chapters from it.

Reinforcing and cutting steeks

There are several methods for reinforcing steek stitches before cutting, each appropriate to different circumstances. All of them require good light; patience; a small, sharp pair of scissors; and steady nerves.
Unreinforced The traditional steek, worked in sticky Shetland wool in a garment with a very dense gauge, calls for no reinforcement at all. The friction you create as you knit will mat and felt the fabric very slightly, stabilizing the area to be cut and minimizing fraying. Simply cut carefully down the center of each steek, working in a very straight line and snipping just a few threads at a time.
Crocheted Crochet steek reinforcements firmly bind together the sides of two adjacent stitch columns to hold the cut ends securely in place. The method is ideal for sticky or smooth animal fibers still at relatively dense gauges: the applied binding adds security even to yarns that don’t felt readily, but it relies on a firm base fabric to stay in place. Crocheted steeks are not suitable for plant fibers or for superwash wools, since the base fabric must have some natural cling.
Regardless of how many stitches are used in the steek, a crocheted reinforcement is worked only on the three center stitches. Picture the two legs of the V formed by each knit stitch. For a crocheted steek, a line of single crochet binds together each half of the center stitch with the near half of the adjacent stitch. The left side of the steek (with the right side of the work facing) is worked first, from bottom to top. Then the right side is worked from top to bottom.
Begin by turning your garment sideways, so that you’re looking at the steek with the cast-on edge on the right-hand side and the steek itself lying horizontally. Using a crochet hook of the same or slightly smaller diameter than the working knitting needles and a contrasting strand of the knitting wool, start at the cast-on edge and insert hook into the adjoining halves of the left-flanking and center stitches in the first row of the steek (Figure 5). Yarnover and draw a strand of the reinforcing yarn through the two stitch halves (Figure 6). Yarnover again and draw the yarn through the loop, creating a single crochet stitch. Move on to the next pair of stitches above in the steek (or to the left as you look at the steek sideways). *Insert your hook into the adjoining pair of “legs” in this pair, yarnover and draw up a loop (Figure 7). You'll now have two loops on your hook; yarnover and draw yarn through both loops, then move onto the next pair of stitches in the steek. Repeat from * to the top edge of the steek; your steek should look like Figure 8. Cut the working yarn, and pull it through the last crochet stitch to fasten off. To work the right half of the steek, turn the work, start at the bind-off row, and work single crochet through the adjoining halves of the right-flanking and center stitches in the same manner, back down to the cast-on edge.
Figure 5Figure 6
Figure 7Figure 8
When completed, the lines of crochet should slant neatly away from the center cutting site, rather like an open book. Gently pulling the two lines apart will show a ladder of the base knitting—actually the purl bumps of the center stitch. Cut carefully between the crochet lines, taking care not to snip into the crochet itself. The cut edges should be neat and very secure.
Sewn When you use a very-slick-plant or synthetic fiber, sewing is the only way to ensure that a steek will not unravel. Because sewing stitches have no elasticity, some of the flexibility inherent in knitted fabric is lost when you use a sewn reinforcement. Save this method for when crocheting will not provide enough security.
For both handsewing and machine sewing, stitch as close as possible to the cutting line, within one-half or one whole stitch on either side. When you handsew, backstitch with very small stitches that split both the knit stitches and floats (the strands of unused color on the back of the fabric). When you machine sew, set the machine for a small stitch and move in a very straight line down either side of the cutting line. For either method, make as many passes as you deem necessary, though one is almost always sufficient.

Picking up and knitting from a steek edge

Once the steek is cut, you can pick up stitches just inside the cut edge, along the purl channel between the border and body stitches, and work button and neckbands. In a drop-shoulder sweater, the sleeve stitches can be picked up around the armhole between the border and body stitches and the sleeve worked down to the cuff. Figure 9 shows a stitch being picked up at the edge of a steek; notice how the needle picks up the bar between the border stitch of the steek and the first stitch of the body, both of which were worked in the background color. In shaped sweaters, the sleeves may be knitted separately and sewn in along the line created by the border stitch. In every case, the steek flap will naturally fold to the wrong side along the pick-up or seam line. Once all finishing work is completed and the sweater has been washed and blocked, the steeks should be finished neatly by trimming away any frayed ends and tacking down the flap with a simple whipstitch or blanket stitch (Figure 10).
Figure 9Figure 10

Baby Sweater for a Girl

My first baby cardigan! Seamless construction, raglan sleeve with a small fair isle / jacquard installation with hearts motif. Made for a 10 month old girl.

Information about the yarn
Yarn: Knit Picks, Capra DK
Color: Flamingo
Fiber Content: 85% Merino Wool, 15% Cashmere
Weight: DK Weight
Knitting Gauge: 22 sts x 29 rows = 4" on US 4 - 3.5 mm needles
Crochet Gauge: 12-17 sc = 4” on 7-I hooks
Yards: 123
Grams: 50
Care: Hand Wash/Dry Flat

In my opinion it's a quite soft yarn, gentle enough for a baby sweater. It's getting fuzzy in prosess of knitting.

Dec 18, 2014

The last chapter of The Hobbit

It was so sad to see the last chapter of The Hobbit Movie! I love J.R.R. Tolkien and movies of Peter Jackson based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books which were and will be always a big part of my life and my self. I'm very thankful to all who made this real.

Dec 7, 2014

Knitting two socks on one circular needle

Did you know that you can knit 2 socks at the same time on the same circular knitting needle?
This video shows how to do it.

It's quite amazing! But there is no innovation regarding the hill gusset.

The recommended cast on is pretty advanced, but I'm sticking to my faithful Italian cast on for my socks, which is imho ideal for creating flexible edge.

Sep 25, 2014

Simply Chroma Hat - Free Pattern

Here is my pattern for Simply Chroma Hat. You can download it and use for free.

Aug 12, 2014

Lidiya Shawl

I just realized that I didn't say anything about my new design yet. Please, welcome Lidiya shawl! She got the name after my mom (it was such a lovely surprise for her).
The shawl has a crescent shape and worked from top (nape) to bottom (hem). Main body is made in stockinette stitch, lace hem has a wonderful flower motif of traditional Estonian style.

Skill Level: Intermediate.
Skills needed: k2tog, ssk, s2kpsso, k3tog, sssk, 3into7.
Measurements after blocking: 52.75" (134 cm) wide along the top edge, 13" (33 cm) from bottom center point to top edge. Size may vary according to individual knitting tension.
Gauge after blocking in St st:
21 sts x 33 rows = 4" (10 cm).
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (420 yards (384 meters), 100% merino), color name "Logwood", 1 skein fingering weight yarn (CYCA 1: Superfine).
US 4 / 3.5 mm 29" circular needle or 14" straight needles.
US 6 / 4 mm needle for bind off.
Blocking accessories.
Size E/4 (3.5 mm) crochet hook.
Waste yarn in contrasting color for provisional co.

Basic skills necessary:
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together as one. 1 stitch reduced to the right;
ssk - slip a stitch knitwise, slip another knitwise, transfer to left hand needle and knit together through the back. 1 stitch reduced to the left;
s2kpsso - slip next 2 stitches together as to knit, knit 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over. Centered, 2 stitches reduced;
k3tog - knit 3 stitches together. 2 stitches reduced to the right;
sssk - slip a stitch knitwise, slip another knitwise, and slip 1 more stitch knitwise, transfer 3 slipped stitches to your left hand needle and knit them together through the back. 2 stitches reduced to the left;
3into7 - make 7 stitches from 3:[knit 3 stitches together leaving them on the left needle, yarn over] repeat 3 times from the same 3 stitches, knit same 3 stitches together once again. On the next row, purl all 7 stitches separately.
- All rows in the charts read and work from right to left.
- All charts show only odd (RS) rows.
- WS rows (except for row 1 and 8 in Beginning) work as follows: es, k1, p all until 2 rem, k2.
- All sts of even rows are p except for selvage sts.
- Selvage stitches: Very first st of first row in provisional co and first st of row 8 should be k. The first stitch of each following row should be LOOSELY slipped to the right-hand needle as to purl. Next st and last two sts always k (k on RS and k on WS). Selvage sts on RS are shown in the charts and worked in garter st for top edge border.
- Flower Chart RS row starts with es, k1 (selvage st). Then work the sts to the right of the outlined pattern repeat. Work the sts in the outlined pattern and repeat them until just enough sts remain to finish the row by knitting the sts shown to the left of the outlined pattern repeat. Finish all rows by k2 sts (selvage sts).
- The shawl increases 6 sts every other row until Row 11 of Flower Chart.
- The shawl can be made larger or smaller by working it with lace, sport, or worsted-weight yarn on larger or smaller needles.
- When written pattern says to "rep n times", n indicates total number of times bracketed sts should be worked. Ex.: "[yo, k1] rep 2 times" = "yo, k1, yo, k1".

Aug 3, 2014

Red Jacket

This red jacket is a very fast knit due to the great gauge of Cascade Sitka yarn (too bad it is discontinued). I started it very spontaneously and knitted with passion. It has raglan sleeves and a close-fitting silhouette. The jacket was worked seamlessly in all-over lace pattern.

Jul 8, 2014

Free pattern - Simply Chroma Hat

My new pattern for Simply Chroma Hat was published today on Craftsy and Ravelry for Free.
A very simple, straightforward hat - ideal for a beginner. This project requires only half of the suggested yarn skein. The remaining yarn could be used to make a pair of matching gloves, for example.

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills needed: Italian cast on method, k2tog
Size: One size fits most
Measurements: 12.5" (32 cm) tall, 9 3/4" (25 cm) wide when laid flat
Gauge: 25 sts x 32 rows = 4" (10 cm) in stockinette stitch

Knit Picks Chroma Fingering (396 yards (362 meters), 70% Wool, 30% Nylon), color name "Misty Morn", 0.5 skein 50 grams fingering weight yarn (CYCA 1).
US 4 / 3.5 mm 16" needle, or size to obtain gauge.
US 4 / 3.5 mm sock needles.
Stitch markers 8 pieces.
Tapestry needle.

Jul 1, 2014

The Making of the CHANEL Bicolor Cardigan

Machine knitting. It seems so easy, fast and neat. But there is something missing, something which makes hand knitted garment so special.

May 28, 2014

A Treasure for knitters

It seems I have found a treasure!
Real treasure for knitters - Stitch Maps - knitting charts drawn without grids so you can see how the fabric flows. It's interesting tool for designers - you can enter the written instructions for the stitch pattern, and they will draw the stitch map for you. Free registration is all that’s required. I'm definitely going to try!

May 26, 2014

Как создать проект на Равелри. В помощь тем вязальщицам(-кам), которые не владеют английским

Дорогие рукодельницы, в помощь тем, кто не владеет английским, я пишу этот пост с переводами основных терминов, необходимых для создания проекта по выбранному дизайну на Равелри.

May 18, 2014

Evanston - a triangular shawl

Evanston - my newly published design.
For this shawl I used Madelinetosh - Tosh Lace in gorgeous color Afternoon. Almost the entire skein was vanished by the end.

There are no nupps. Hurray! I know that many knitters dislike them, and all my other shawl designs include nupps.
The most complicated stitch of this pattern is in the last chart, and it exists only in one single row (1st row of the Hem chart). I'm talking about k3tog into9 - *knit 3 stitches together leaving them on the left needle, yarn over*, repeat 3 more times from the same 3 stitches, knit same 3 stitches together. On the next row, purl all stitches separately.
And the most difficult row was 5th in the Hem chart because there are a lot of such stitches as ssk, sssk and s2kpsso.
I started making a step-by-step description for each row, but then realised, that main chart and center chart are not compatible. So I had to let go this noble idea.
I want to express my gratitude to my dear husband for his editorial assistance.

May 7, 2014

Simply Chroma Hat

This hat falls into a category of really simple knits. Just knit to relax! I love it! This project let me rest from my big lace work.

For this project I used:
Circular needles US 4 - 3.5 mm and 1 set of sock square needles US 5 - 3.75 mm. It turns out that square needle sizing is always one size thinner than they are marked.
0.5 skein of Chroma Fingering from Knit Picks. My color was 106 Misty Morn.
I like this yarn very much for 2 important reasons:
1) it is the softest wool considering that it is not merino;
2) color transitions are impressive and perfect for a hat or pair of socks.

Jan 24, 2014

Golden Florence lace scarf

One more variation for my scarf design "Florence" .

Yarn: Silk Cloud from Shibui Knits - about 1.5 skeins = 495 yards.
Size made: 78.7" x 11" (200 x 28 cm).
Needles US 6 - 4.0 mm.

I have to say - the yarn is just gorgeous! It's definitely my favourite mohair yarn. It's extremely soft, not too messy in process of knitting, not too fluffy. Just I wish Shibui would add some gentle tones. And I really miss their "blush" color.

Jan 7, 2014

BT - Winter 14

Beautiful as always! I absolutely love these photos, especially the ones taken in a natural environment. I can almost feel that chilly, fresh air and the comforting wool hugging me. I also like that the models are not smiling aggressively while looking directly at the camera, but that instead they are looking away like they are thinking about something or just enjoying their walk carrying peace inside. I miss trees, but now it's the busiest time of the year for me, so I can not allow myself to rest.