Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for May, 2008


Posted by mtmom on May 25, 2008

I’ve done more work on my Fair Isle sampler this weekend — small and quiet, but beauty-making, and thus delightful.  2/3 through Feitelson band

I’ve just changed the background color — can you see?  Left needle: blue-grey; right: blue-violet.  This motif has a nice balance between interesting diagonals and steady verticals.  Makes for pleasing knitting and nice tension-balance in the fabric.

One of the things I like best about Ann Feitelson’s Fair Isle patterns (many other designers do this as well, but not all) is that she changes the MC and CC colors on *different* rows/rounds.  Thus the shading is much more sublte, less visually jarring.  This close-up labelled progress shot may show you what I mean:  color columns labeled

Lots of overlap.  Ann Feitelson, I admire you!  (I have some thick-thin issues with this yarn, unfortunately.  Otherwise, wonderful stuff!)

I hope to write, in another post, about centering the motif.  (Yes, more arithmetic!)  But not today.

Another topic buzzing in my brain just now is the conversion of flat patterns for use in the round — a knitting buddy of mine asked me about this yesterday.  I’m considering writing a series of posts on it, starting with basic concepts and simplest stitches, then continuing into shaping equivalents and texture-patterning.  There would be swatches and photos, of course . . . .  Ambitious perhaps?  What topics would *you* like to see me address along this line?  Leave suggestions in the Comments, if you please.

More recent explorations:  sockitecture a la Cat Bordhi.  Little Sky sock

2 learning socks:  top-down “Little Sky” (above) and toe-up “Little Coriolis” (below).  Little Coriolis, front view

left view  right view

Posted in Color-work, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Getting Stripes with Space-Dyed Yarns

Posted by mtmom on May 23, 2008

Spring is continuing to spring here on the mountain.  budding aspens

But check the webcam (sidebar link) over the next few days — we’re expecting some new snow up on the Peaks over Thursday night.  Once the clouds clear, the view should be spectacular!


I thought I’d like to try explaining more about how I work with space-dyed yarns to get the stripes on my “28-Hour Caps”. 

When I start a cap, the colors line up seemingly haphazardly.  top of green-multi cap

But, after some increasing, like colors begin to line up and stack atop their cousins from previous rows.  Here, 8+ green stitches were worked into whites, but then I started working new white stitches into old white stitches.  green stitches before whites line up

After another group of increases,  fewer green stitches are over whites before the new whites start.  green stitches over whites

Pretty soon, the whites will be lining up vertically.  If I want semi-vertical stripes, that place of even-ness is my target.  More usually, though, I’m after diagonals.  I could stop at this circumference and get diagonals that go down and to the right.  But at this point in my increasing, I have only 60 stitches, and that’s a pretty small cap.  If I increase more, I’ll pass the vertical alignment point and my diagonals will start running the other way.  white sts over green

Now (above), the new whites start 2 stitches *before* the old whites.  My zigs are now zagging. 

More increases, and the whites will start even sooner.  whites over greens 

3 stitches sooner on the next 2 rounds, and then 5 the round after that.  5 whites over greens

That’s a slope I can enjoy, and 72 worsted stitches is a nice size for a child’s hat.  So, I stop at this size and work even from here on down.  I get a chevron near the top. . .  green chevrons

. . . and diagonal stripes down the sides.  sides of cap show stripes

One interesting thing I’ve learned lately, from measuring the length of several yarns’ color-change cycles (see previous post with photos of 3 samples), is that, at my gauge in these yarns, a 60″ color cycle (like this Caron) meets itself at about 60 stitches, while a 70″-73″ color cycle (like the TLC) meets at around 72 stitches.  Pretty cool, eh?!  So, unless I want a stripe-direction-reversal like at the top of this green cap, a cap for a grade-school child should be worked with a yarn that doesn’t repeat colors sooner than 70″.  For an adult cap, I could use a 70″ color-cycle yarn and go through the zig-zag, or I could hunt for a longer-cycle yarn.  All this, because the striping depends on the interaction between the yarn’s color cycle and the amount of yarn used to work each round (circumference and gauge).

Did you ever notice that there’s alot of math involved in knitting?  Well, in the planning part at least.

Oops, looks like someone has fallen asleep while thinking too hard!  sleeing Thinker-cat

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Sock Madness excitement!

Posted by mtmom on May 12, 2008

Well, round 6 of SockMadness 2008 is winding down.  The 4 Finalists have earned their slots for the final round, probably beginning the end of this week, and other knitters are proceeding at a more leisurely pace.  I have had such joy reading the kind and encouraging words they have written about my pattern and pattern-writing style.  [BTW, if you haven’t read Jo’s Celtic Memory blog before, let me have the pleasure of introducing you!]

During all this excitement, I decided to work on something quick and easy:  another “28-Hour Cap” (like the Choco-Cherry cap from this past autumn).  I have several interesting colorways of TLC Essentials Multi yarn, and they all knit up into “stripes” in child-sized hats.  Today, I measured the yarn-length for one full cycle of colors in 3 of the colorways.  3 strands and their color cycles

These 3 have very similar lengths-before-repeating: the outer ones repeat after about 70″, the inner after about 73″.

Here’s a 70″-repeat yarn in a 68-stitch hat (left) and a 73″-repeat yarn in a 72-stitch hat (right).

 Sedona cap, 68 sts Choc-cherry cap

Quite similar rhythm, eh?  But one warm and one cool.

DD enjoyed trying the new one on.  Sedona cap on Ch

Meanwhile, spring continues to spring up here on the mountain.  The aspen volunteer outside my bedroom window has finally begun to leaf.  sprouting aspen

[Why “volunteer”?  Because aspens are clonal; new trees sprout up from runner-roots of older trees.  They just “pop up”.]  The winter birds, mostly Dark-eyed Juncos, have gone, the sparrows and finches have stayed, but the hummingbirds have not yet arrived.  New this year:  a pair of doves!   They must like millet.dove on fence

Heartfelt thanks again to the Sock Madness coordinators, Hillary and Carole, and predecessor-designer Tricia, and all the 2008 SM knitters, whose words have brought such sweetness to my soul in the past few days.  After all the nerves of waiting, y’all have made this a delight!

Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting, Sock Madness, Yard/Garden | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sock Madness pattern variations

Posted by mtmom on May 9, 2008

godmother's socks toe

I’ve been saving this to publish after my Godmother’s Sock pattern is released to the Sock Madness competitors.  Friday, 9 May is the Big Day, so here it is:  ways to get bigger socks from my 64-stitch pattern.  (And several semi-random pent up sock photos!  :-))

Variation 1:  Change width by changing gauge.

The original pattern was worked at 8.5 sts/inch in stockinette, and fits a foot from 8″-9″ around (my own knuckle-width and instep-width).

If, however you use yarn and needles that give you a different gauge, the same 64 stitches in the pattern will yield a different circumference to your finished sock and that sock will then fit a different size of foot.  You can then add or leave out rounds of length, to fit.  It’s the width that takes some arithmetic to figure.  Here’s a table of possible gauges (measured in stitches per inch over stockinette) matched with foot sizes (measured in inches around the widest part of the foot).  The sock will be much more snug on the upper end of each width range.


Gauge (sts/in) Foot circumference – min  – max
4.5 15.11 17.00
4.75 14.32 16.11
5 13.60 15.30
5.25 12.95 14.57
5.5 12.36 13.91
5.75 11.83 13.30
6 11.33 12.75
6.25 10.88 12.24
6.5 10.46 11.77
6.75 10.07 11.33
7 9.71 10.93
7.25 9.38 10.55
7.5 9.07 10.20
7.75 8.77 9.87
8 8.50 9.56
8.25 8.24 9.27
8.5 8.00 9.00
8.75 7.77 8.74
9 7.56 8.50
9.25 7.35 8.27
9.5 7.16 8.05
9.75 6.97 7.85
10 6.80 7.65


Please keep in mind that, although these measurements look oh-so-very accurate with all those decimal places, that’s just because I got them from the calculator.  They are still just as approximate as the 8″ – 9″ measurement of my own foot with which I started.

ankle back  begin edging

Variation 2:  Changing width by changing stitch-count.

The original pattern uses 64 stitches.

68 stitches.

Same cast-on.  Same beginning of ribbing pattern, but you’ll end up on round 21 with k3, p1, …, p1,k2 on the instep needle, and 34 plain stitches on the sole.  Same heel, but on 34 vs 32 stitches.  For the ankle, the ribbing on the rear needle will begin with k1, p1, k to last st, p1 for 4 rounds; then k1, p1, (k3, p1), k23, (p1, k3), p1 for 5 rounds; then k1, p1, (k3, p1)x2, k15, (p1, k3)x2, p1 for 6 rounds; then k1, p1, (k3, p1)x3, k7, (p1, k3)x3, p1 for 7 rounds; then k1, p1, (k3, p1)x8 for the remaining 3″ of ankle, about 30 more rounds.  Instep needle and sole needle will not begin in same place in the 3-1 rhythm, but should flow together to be 3-1 all around: instep ends with k2, sole begins with k1;  sole ends with p1, instep begins with k3.  When you get to the cuff, alter the joining rhythm as follows: instead of slipping 3 stitches and SSSK-ing whenever you come to a last-purl-stitch, you must occasionally slip only 2 stitches and SSK, as if they were “normal”:  slip only 2 once somewhere in the middle of the back needle and once more somewhere on the front needle (note that this does not count the very first join, where you slipped only 2 eventhough it was a last-purl).  This rhythm should make your lace and sock both come out evenly and finish at the same time.  Same cuff grafting.

72 stitches.

 Same cast-on.  Begin foot ribbing on round 6 (an even rd with 36 sts): k1,p1, (k3,p1)x4 on the 18 sts on instep needle; plain stockinette on sole.  Continue adding stitches “in pattern” to foot, ending up on rd 23 with k2, p1, (k3, p1) x8, k1 over the 36 sts on the instep needle.  Same heel technique, but on 36 vs 32 stitches.  For the ankle, begin the rear ribbing with k2, p1, k across to last 2 sts, p1, k1 on the heel/sole needle; same for 4 rds.  Then k2, p1, (k3, p1), k23 , (p1, k3), p1, k1 for 5 rounds.  Then k2, p1, (k3, p1)x2, k15, (p1, k3)x2, p1, k1 for 6 rounds.  Then k2, p1, (k3, p1)x3, k7, (p1, k3)x3, p1, k1 for 7 rounds.  Then k2, p1, (k3, p1)x8, k1 for the rest of the ankle, about 30 more rounds.  Note that instep and sole needle (should) have the same arrangement of stitches, beginning with k2 and ending with k1, for a smooth rhythm of 3-1 all around sock.  When you get to the cuff, alter the joining rhythm as follow:  the very first join you do is a normal slip 2 SSK, but the second one is a last-purl-before-a-knit stich and, unlike the original pattern, you will make this a slip 3 SSSK like the other last-purls.  This should have your sock cuff and lace cuff finish evenly.  Same cuff grafting.

cuff joining joining cuff 

I truly hope you enjoy knitting these socks, original or varied, and are pleased with your results.  I look forward to seeing some photos!

Your SM2 round 6 sock E designer,
Deborah (Mt. Mom) Swift

Posted in Design, Knitting, Sock Madness, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Big Day nears for MtMom and SM2

Posted by mtmom on May 8, 2008

Round 6 of SockMadness 2 starts tomorrow and the pattern will be MINE!  The months of stealth will soon be over.  I’ve planned out some other sizes and saved them in a post for tomorrow.  And there will be photos too — ah, at long last!  For now (and for the next few days) I’m keeping my eye on the SockMadness discussion boards on flickr and Ravelry in case knitters have questions/comments/problems/praises.  (Gee, I hope there are some praises!)  Coordinators Hillary and Carole have been encouraging:  “Then, next Friday we’ll release pattern 6 and I’m sure that you’ll love it.  Really!  It’s fab!” (April 29, 2008 blog post).  [Isn’t that nice?!]

Teen-genius has been working on the MountainMom Designs website, so that I can make some kits of my multi-color hat patterns available for sale, but he hasn’t found a way to limit the orders to inventory-on-hand (I only have enough of some of the yarns for 2 Maritime and 6 Dreamsicle kits — chemists call such things “limiting reagents”).  I wouldn’t want anyone to pay for a kit than I can’t provide.  Etsy might be the way to go here.  Your experiences?

Check the Comments on my last post and the one before for some movie trivia action — hurray!

Posted in Design, fun, Knitting, Sock Madness | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Videos and Samplers

Posted by mtmom on May 3, 2008

I’ve been so disappointed that *no one* has even hazarded a guess on my movie trivia question!  How about some more hints?  One film is a horror-musical-tragedy (2007), the other a campy outer space-comedy (2000).  If no one comes close this week, I’ll reveal the titles and see if anyone can then come up with the common factor (and reason I tracked these particular films down to watch).

I’ve finished the Easter Egg blue/lavender cap, but haven’t found a child small enough to model it yet, so no new photo.  But I did make a video of 2 circular cast-ons using the same yarns (that link to YouTube will open in a new window — or click the copy of the video embedded below).  I plan to add links to other technique-demonstration videos in the sidebar — Watch This Space!

Progress on both my Samplers.  In my Feitelson band of the Fair Isle sampler, I’ve reached the center line where vertical symmetry kicks in.  Working on this project makes me think of God creating the physical world:  maybe He could have done a quick-&-dirty job, but He took the time to put in such an incredible degree of detail.  He made Beauty just ‘cus.  Here’s my beauty-work.  half way in Feitelson band

Sock-top sampler is moving along as well.  I’m finding this second band, a simple openwork pattern, more fun to execute than the first.  More bead experimenting too:  4mm and 3 mm, blue-lined and silver-lined (more subtle), round and megatama (mango-shaped), on plain rounds and on pattern rounds, over decreases and over increases.   EarthFaire is my favorite source for knittable beads.  nearly done with second sock-top band

Chloe is taking a siesta.  How can they do that and look so relaxed?!  cat on bed


Posted in Cat, Design, fun, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »