Beautiful Knitting

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

Archive for April, 2010

Frogs in These Waters

Posted by mtmom on April 25, 2010

I finished the Bayerische Cap — for the first time, but not — I hope — for the last time.

< < Here (left) it is modeled by piper Mac (himself bought from a booth at our local Celtic Fair a few years back).

As you may suppose, his head is rather smaller than my own. . . .

And here (right) >> is the cap on youngest DD, modeling while she consumes a chicken “nugget”.

Her head is also, as you may suppose, rather smaller than my own.

(Do you get a sense of where this is all going?)

Here is a shot of the top of the cap, while we’re at it.

You can see the in-pattern decreasing, with all lines converging to the center top.

I had 2 main goals for this project:  trying out twisted-stitch knitting and learning more about decreasing rates in rib-based patterns.  Those goals led to my eventual decision to. . .

. . . rip back to before I began decreasing, and consider this a DD-cap instead of a mama-cap.

No, it’s not a tragedy.  Really.  (Although I am sad that it won’t be MY cap any more.)

I’ve reconditioned the yarn (i.e., held it over a steaming kettle to de-kink it), found my place in the chart (round 4), and resumed knitting.

I really do enjoy this style of knitting (goal #1).

And now I can move forward having progressed on, but not mastered, goal #2.  (I didn’t just want a cap, I wanted a lesson!)

Cap-top Decreasing — Theory.

When knitting a cap bottom-up in stockinette, a decrease rate of about 8 stitches every other round yield a nearly-flat top.  This usually curves on a head nicely.  You can do as few as 6 or as many as 10 decreases every other round and still get a good result IN STOCKINETTE.  (The same rates work for increases in a top-down cap.)  But, when knitting in cables or ribs (including twisted and traveling ribs, like in this cap), you have many more stitches in every horizontal inch, but not so many more rows/rounds in every vertical inch.  So, you get to the top in the same number of rounds, but have more stitches to eliminate while on your way there.  Thus, a faster decrease rate is called for.  (This is much more clear to me now than it was before!)

Another point:  a ribbed cap always looks skinnier when unstretched than a stockinette cap, so appearances can be deceiving as you’re knitting along with no head in the hat to stretch out the ribs.

Application:  How many decreases should I average on this cap and where should I place them?  Those have been big questions.  This is my current thinking:  I want to begin the decreasing later and then do it faster and more evenly.  (I think it squeezed in too soon, making the cap creep up her head, and that I had too many near-even rows in the top portions, making it pointy.)

I’ll continue to post, as things develop!

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Socks for Kathy

Posted by mtmom on April 21, 2010

I finished these a few days ago.  Yarn is worsted-weight “Fair Isle” by Wisdom Yarns.Process:

I split the yarn into 2 balls, with the colors aligned.  Started both cuffs in yellow; split for each heel after a green-brown stripe; each toe grafted just past the yellow again.  (Hurray!)

I enjoyed this adaption of a crochet-chain cast-on that looks like a bind-off; may use it again.  It’s actually quite stretchy because you SKIP chains in a regular rhythm:  here, I skipped 1 after picking up each k2 or p2.  My cast-on chain started with 50% extra stitches.  Also played around a bit with the heel turn and gussets — thanks, Elizabeth Zimmermann, June Hemmons-Hiatt, and Cat Bordhi for ideas and inspiration!

The lengths of color in this (discontinued) “self-striping” yarn weren’t long enough to make actual stripes, versus long blips, on any circumference greater than about 10″.  I didn’t think this wool would make a nice newborn hat, so I decided on socks.  One ball not enough for adult socks — (thanks, Ravelry search-by-yarn!) — so made child’s socks.  Another option might have been fingerless gloves, but I was glad to make something for elder DD (especially casting on for the project on her birthday!).


I have tried quite a few self-striping yarns in the past year or so, and I do not recommend this one.  😦  Color is too short, and texture is less than the best.  But I got to experiment, and I do hope DD gets some use and enjoyment out of her new handmade socks!

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Another few rounds on the Bavarian cap

Posted by mtmom on April 16, 2010

Bayerische hat (modified from Eunny Jang’s sock pattern of that name) is now at 1.4 repeats (row #5 of second group of 16, or #23) and 4″ tall.  I’ve run another dental floss life-line.

Height doesn’t look that much different from when it was 3 1/4″. . . .  But now I have to decide:

Am I ready yet to begin decreasing and closing off the top?  What do you think?

The very next round is where the actual decrease stitches would begin if I follow DuckyShepherd’s chart — her decreases begin on pattern-round #6 and take 15 more rounds (3 linear inches) to complete.

Posted in Cap/Hat, Knitting | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yarn Progressions — Part 1

Posted by mtmom on April 11, 2010

Mountain Mom continues to explore Color Theory!

“Part 1” because I hope to post more on this topic, as I learn more.  May take some experimentation time between some installments, but so far I’m just tossing around yarn balls.  (he he!)

Sometimes, I wish I had an “expert”/”artist” like Blacksmith knitter looking over my shoulder and giving me pointers . . . , but then I figure that wrestling with it myself may ultimately be more instructive . . . right?  Maybe?

So here’s a photo gallery of some families of yarns (I went first to my reds and neutrals) arranged in progression by value, or else by hue or by “warmth” (really a kind of hue progression, but this was more how I thought of it as I grouped them).  I want the “steps” between colors to be about even, from one to the next, with no big jumps to jar the eye.  The idea is, that I could use one of these groupings as a foreground or background in a Fair Isle style pattern-band, and they would “go together”.  I would arrange them to be dark–medium–light–medium–dark, or cool–medium–warm–medium–cool, for instance, highlighting the center rows of the motif with the lightest or warmest or brightest of a “series”, or with the pairing of greatest contrast between MC and CC.

What I have *not* yet been able to assemble, though, is a progression by saturation or brightness/dullness; that’s where you have a pure-hue yarn (like a red-red) plus yarns with that hue progressively diluted with its opposite/complement (like more and more green), heading toward duller/grayer/more muted.  I either don’t see like that, or just haven’t bought yarns like that.

by value -- 4 solid (vs heather) grays

by value -- 3 solid pink/reds

by value -- 4 other reds; some heather, some solid (hmmm?)


by value -- 4 cooler (as opposed to "golden") solid browns





by value -- more neutrals, but heathery; one "harlequin" with purple/green/orange flashes, at 5 o'clock.

by hue/warmth -- 3 reds/oranges of similar brightness

by hue/warmth -- grayer to yellower, neutrals of similar value

Posted in Design | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

“Irish Cottage”-style Knitting

Posted by mtmom on April 10, 2010

Have you ever wondered how (mechanically speaking) yarn harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee  knits?  She terms her technique “Irish Cottage knitting”, after her Irish grandmother who worked as a professional knitter back in the day.  Here are 2 videos, the latter having slow-motion and voiced-over portions.  Hope you enjoy them!  (Thanks to cousin Angeluna for the first link!)

by cuteknitter:

by climbingtweedle:

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Almost. . . !

Posted by mtmom on April 9, 2010

Daffodils on the west side of the house, Thurs afternoon

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Stripes of Several Sorts

Posted by mtmom on April 4, 2010

I’ve run a safety line in the Bayerische cap, and am proceeding with care.  I plan to try it on again at the next decision point, after 5 rounds into the next repeat.  We’ll see how tall it is then, and I’ll decide whether to decrease some or all of the motifs — there are 2 each of 4 pattern motifs around the circumference.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on striped socks (self-striping yarn) and another band on my Fair Isle Sampler Scarf — plus hatching another idea for the *next* band.

First, the socks.

The yarn is a discontinued worsted-weight from Wisdom Yarns, called “Fair Isle”.  I expected this to be brighter.

I started it as a cap, but the striping didn’t work out well at any size larger than newborn, and I didn’t think that would be a good match.

Next, I thought of quick socks, but a look around Ravelry confirmed my suspicion that a single 100 gram ball would not be sufficient for an adult pair.  Hence, these are destined to be for 10-year-old DD.

First, I split the belly-band ball into 2 center-pull balls, each beginning with yellow!

Began the knitting with a variation on a crochet cast-on that I found in June Hemmons-Hiatt’s book, The Principles of Knitting, recently borrowed from interlibrary loan.  Heel flap is a la EZ’s basic sock, with 3 garter stitches at each side edge.  Turned a wedge heel (modified the first one, also a la Hiatt, but forgot and did the second one normally), and worked the gusset in a way reminiscent of Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways book, with decreases along the sole, in 2 straight lines lining up with the heel decreases.

Getting near to being done with these — hurray!


Also striping my Sampler.

One thing I’ve done is go back to my “Korean” stripes and improve the end-tucking . . . with an eye to improving the end-of-round jog.

After -- pulling matching ends towards each other, and then weaving in with yarn needle

Before -- trapping ends as I go










And began a band based on the Philosopher’s Wool book, Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified.  The motifs are really intended for a bulky-weight (3-ply) yarn; in fingering-weight, they’re a bit small.  No 2-color rounds so far; all these effects achieved with slipped stitches, knits and purls.

"Philosopher's" Band

I found a very interesting blog this past week, by an artist only recently turned to knitting.  He has some gorgeous tams on Ravelry.  Read his words about combining colors!

Inspired by his “lectures”, I’ve begun to go through my stash of Shetland colors, grouping them into “progressions”.  Photos to come!

Posted in Color-work, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »