Beautiful Knitting

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

Archive for the ‘Master Knitter’ Category

Twisted Stitches, Ganseys, Fair Isle, and Kilt Hose

Posted by mtmom on May 2, 2010

I have long loved color-work, but lately, especially due to my involvement in Level III of TKGA’s Master Hand Knitter program, I’ve been exploring other “ethnic” knitting genres.  Level III requires projects, swatches and research into various knitting traditions, including techniques particular to Fair Isle, the Isle of Aran, and Bavaria/Austria.  As part of my research and design planning (and for other projects I have in mind), I’ve got several samplers going.

Yarns for next band in Fair Isle sampler (begun June 2007)

Yarns and motifs for Kilt Hose (begun March 2010)

Gansey Stitch Sampler (begun around 4/20/2010)

Beginnings of Sampler of Bavarian/Austrian Twisted Stitches












In the cream sampler, you see Channel Island cast on, holes to indicate needle size (in this case, US 4 and then 3), “steps” or “ladders” on the right, and stockinette, “Mary Anne”, and “Betty Martin” on the left.  This is currently #1 option for Level III sweater project.

I haven’t heard back from my kilt hose client lately, but I’m proceeding with a sampler for him (and other potential commission-ers) to consider, next time he’s in town.  Robert asked for thicker yarn and muted colors, and Dixie wants deep blue, so here you see some worsted-weight possibilities, and the beginnings of sport-weight options (more traditional for kilt hose), plus various ribbing and cable choices.

Lots of Shetland oranges to choose among, eh!  I added in some periwinkle blue-purples and greens, plus some pinker reds/corals, depending on what seems called for as swatching progresses.

I have enjoyed working on my Bayerische cap enough that I’m really looking forward to doing more with these sorts of twisted stitch motifs (including a Level III swatch).  Rightmost photo displays my new stitch dictionary and yarn for the purpose.

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“Citius, Altius, Fortius” Knitting — Wrap Up

Posted by mtmom on March 5, 2010

Phew!  That was some furious knitting.  But Olympic knitting, like the Vancouver Games, is concluded, and the dust is settling.  Life and knitting are getting back to “normal”.

I went for (my own conception of) the Knitting Triple Crown:  medal each in the Lace, Cable, and Colorwork events.  And I did it!!

for the Inishturk Tam, previous post

for Lace Doily, Level 3 swatch 18

for Lopi "God's Eye" neckwarmer

Here are my medals!
(Also located in the sidebar, so they’ll stay visible even after more posts.)





The tam, you’ve seen.  Here are the other “medal event” projects:

The colorwork began as a hat, but turned out to be not wide enough.  I hand-sewed a steek, cut it open, added edge borders and now use it as a neckwarmer, closed with a plastic hairpin.  It’s not as scratchy as I’d feared, and really does work to make me feel warmer.

I may do some more swatching to develop this into a full-fledged sweater yoke pattern. . . .





Posted in Cap/Hat, Color-work, Design, Knitting, lace, Master Knitter | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Knitting Olympics Training Continues

Posted by mtmom on February 5, 2010

Swatching some less common cast ons and bind offs, in preparation for Olympic Speed Swatching next week.

(Left column, dark teal)

Twisted German paired with JSSBO, stockinette to left and ribbing to right.

Small picot CO and BO.

Large picot CO and BO.

I-cord CO and BO.

(Right column, bright green)

Crochet CO and traditional BO.  If I used a crochet hook to do the BO, not only would they look the same, but perhaps I could call it “different”.


Next time I work on this, I’ll try a few versions of tubular cast on — there are at least 2 or 3.  Then, when it comes time for the Games,  I’ll need to make full-sized swatches which also include the less-common decrease techniques called for in the Level III instructions, and have Very Even Edge Stitches.

In the meantime, I’m also working on other stuff.

Red Heart "Soft", colorway "embers"

Embroidered after Christmas break with school letter logo

Elizabeth Zimmermann "Icelandic Hat", at smaller gauge

Quick Crocheted Chenille Cap

She wants you to see her first-ever hook-crocheted chain!

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In “Training” for Knitting Olympics

Posted by mtmom on February 2, 2010

The Winter Olympic Games are set to begin at 6 p.m. PST on 12 February, 2010, and Ravelry is hosting a parallel event for the online knitting/crochet/spinning community which they’re calling the Ravelympics.  (Logo designed by zzwhitejd, moderator of Ravelympics group.)

I’ve joined up with the TKGA team, and plan to cast-on along with all the other “athletes” when the Olympic torch is lit — in my own time zone that will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, the 12th.

My team event:  Single Skein Speedskating, for which I plan to start and finish the first group of my Master Knitter Level III swatches.

I may also enter individual events (being on a team is not required for any event).  Maybe a hat in the Hat Halfpipe and/or the Cable Cross-Country events.  Or a new design for Designer Original Dance (sample only), Designer Pattern Skeleton (instructions only), or Designer Biathlon (both).  Or a cat bed in the Bobsled event.  Or a throw pillow for DS “teen-genius” dorm room in the Platter Lift.  Maybe something for Charity Curling.  Lots of possibilities — mustn’t overwhelm myself!  Event-projects can be added at any time before the Games end.

“Training”, i.e. swatching, is allowed before event-time, so I’ve been looking up some references for the techniques required in the first swatches and giving some of them a mini-try.  Currently, that’s pairing unusual cast-ons and bind-offs of my choice; one pair must be tubular.   I find Master Knitter work satisfying!

Posted in fun, Master Knitter | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Samplers for Fun

Posted by mtmom on August 9, 2009

I haven’t been slacking off, while I wait for the go-ahead on the next pair of kilt hose (Robert has been in France at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient).  In the meantime, I’ve swatched some interesting fabrics from Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant.  Luxury swatch

2 different yarns (one a simple gray wool, one a variegated mohair-blend).

3 different stitch patterns.

From bottom to top:

(1) a reversible cable, from a scarf design by Jeni Chase (p. 159);

(2) an open slipped-stitch pattern, in gray and continuing in multi, from a neck warmer design by Sarah Keller (p. 203);

(3) an interlace multi-yo stitch, from the band of a hat pattern by (again) Jeni Chase (p. 207).

Slip-stitch patterns and variegated yarns are just made for each other, don’t you think?  Each plays up the strengths of the other.

I’ve also gotten about 1/3 through the Sampler sweater from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book Knitting Ganseys, designed to lead the knitter through the constituent parts of a traditional gansey’s construction, but on a small scale (doll-sized) and in big yarn (5 sts per inch) for quick results.  I chose a yarn I’d been wanting to experiment:  Cascade Venezia Worsted (70% merino wool/ 30% silk).  pink ganseyIt starts with the Channel Island cast-on, then a 2-piece overlapping garter-stitch welt, 2-stitch purl “seam”, initial in the plain area, and definition ridge of garter stitch.  Next will be vertical panels of diamonds, cables, and background stitches, along with gussets growing out of the side seams.  Last will be sleeves, shoulders, and neck.  I’m thinking of designing a full-size sweater in this style for Level 3 of my Master Knitter work, so this sampler is great for getting my feet wet and seeing if this is indeed the way I want to go, instead of Aran style.

Posted in Knitting, Master Knitter | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Video by a New Master Knitter

Posted by mtmom on July 9, 2009

Swatches, sweaters, and kitties — check it out!  (Fun, lipizzanknitter Leslie — thanks!)

Posted in fun, Master Knitter | 1 Comment »

“Congratulations! . . . “

Posted by mtmom on May 23, 2009

I passed Level 2!

(Not to leave you in suspense, it’s just that I really didn’t have much computer time yesterday.)

Some comments, excerpted from my completion letter:  “Your resubmitted swatches and written items were all nicely done.  The edges of your swathes were straight and even.  Seams were all neatly joined. …  The [resubmitted] written instructions read clearly and contain all necessary information. …  You made very good use of the Design’er’s Notes on swatch #16 to include special instructions.  The buttonholes are correctly worked.  The tubular edge on swatach #21 is very nicely done.”

I am now “eligible to apply for Level III,” but haven’t saved up enough knitting-dollars yet.  It’s probably just as well, because I’m currently feverishly working toward a knitting deadline:  the pipers come back to town in early July and I want to finish the commissioned kilt hose before they arrive.  Then I’ll also have time to make any alterations before they leave. RWatt sock

This particular pair is for Robert Watt from Northern Ireland.

Some of the other instructors have expressed interest in handknit pairs as well, but I don’t know if I’ll want to do this.  A custom pair can take 90 knitting-hours and that’s alot of “production knitting” time — not usually my favorite.

The yarn is very nice to work with:  Satakieli 100% worsted-spun wool from Finland.Satakieli green

I also finished a knit cap. honey hat on Ch, profile

I enjoyed the knit, once I figured out the placement of the double-decreases and especially after I realized my in-pattern top-decreases were working out.

I may write this one up, but I’d want to check with Arenda first — she used this stitch pattern in some socks in last spring’s Cast On.

honey hat on Ch, top

Posted in Cap/Hat, Celtic, Knitting, Master Knitter, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Level 2: Resubmit #8 (and LAST!)

Posted by mtmom on May 14, 2009

I think I’ve done all the re-writes successfully, and now I’ve finished the last re-knitting (hurray!).

Swatch #21, original

Swatch #21, original

Evaluator’s notes:  “The decrease in the ribbing for fiting the curve is a very creative solution.  However, it interferes with the continuity of the rib pattern.  Adjusting the number of stitches along the curve would give a better result.  The tail weave in the seam [is] very bulky.  Tails need to be clipped.”

What you can’t necessarily see from the front is the fact that the 3 knit stitches in the crook of the curve have no purls between them.  (It’s more obvious from the back, but I don’t have a photo to show you.)  I decreased them at about 1/2 and 3/4 of the way through the ribbing to draw the fabric together.

Swatch #21, re-ribbed

Swatch #21, re-ribbed

This band has 1 stitch fewer, but is ribbed throughout and has a tubular bind-off.

And, don’t worry, I’ll trim off those tails before shipping it!  I don’t want to miss anything in my rush, now that the end is in sight. . . .

Last step:  cover letter.  Maybe tonight?

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“Dimpled Diamonds” Errata and Level 2: Resubmit #7

Posted by mtmom on May 12, 2009

Firstly, for participants in Sock Madness 3 who received my Dimpled Diamonds sock pattern today, Tuesday, 12 March 2009:

Errata found so far:
Toe, Round 2, the bracketed instructions should read:  “k1, kfb, k to last 3 sts on ndl, kfb, k2“.
Foot, Rd 9 should end with “k4” instead of “k5”, to make 5 knit sts altogether.
Ankle, Rd 3, the marker should go after stitch #19, and the last plain round before the final expansion is Rd 28, not Rd 29.

—————————————  edited to add most up-to-date corrections. ————————————–

Secondly, for those following my work on Level 2 of TKGA’s Mast Handknitter program:

I’ve also finished another swatch to resubmit.

Here’s the original Swatch #14 – Cable #1, “Wave Cable”.

Swatch #14 - original

Swatch #14 - original

It’s main flaw is, perhaps, immediately apparent.   Although, strictly speaking, these cables do have “3 reverse stockinette sts or 3 garter sts on each side”. . .  this is not exactly what the committee had in mind when they wrote the directions.  🙂

Evaluator’s notes:  “The instructions were not followed correctly for this swatch.  …  Eliminate the rib in the center.  This swatch should resemble the appearance of [your] swatch #15 with the two cables and only 3 stitches in between.  …  The seed stitch at the bottom is less than 1″ and seed stitch border should be worked with better tension.”

Swatch #14b -- for resubmission

Swatch #14b -- for resubmission

Seed stitch in Cascade 220 certainly does loosen up when wet!  But I’m hoping this swatch’s borders will pass muster.  I didn’t attempt to straighten the edges fully, but let them flare; judge said of Swatch #16 that the ” flare in the borders as been successfully managed,” so I’m not so worried that the un-compensated borders be flare-less.  Would you agree?

She has liked my cable work overall, writing, ” The cables are nicely made with good tension on the knit to purl transition at the edges,” and “This is a very nice cable with good tension and good blocking.”  All my cable *patterns*, however, need to be rewritten to be more brief, terse, and clear, with standard terminology, layout, and notation.  Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I specifically *asked* for extra vigilance in checking and critiquing my pattern-writing.  [Notice, from the first part of this post, that others are reading my pattern-writing, so constructive criticism can be put to good and immediate use!]

Posted in Master Knitter, Sock Madness | 2 Comments »

Level 2: Resubmit #6

Posted by mtmom on May 9, 2009

Jumping ahead to Swatch #18 – Buttonholes in Double Rib Band.

Swatch #18 - original

Swatch #18 - original

Evaluator’s notes: “The K2P2 ribbing should be maintained consistently along the length of the entire swatch. Revise the description to match the resubmitted swatch. Abbreviations should be explained.”

Firstly, let me say (in defense of this admittedly odd-looking swatch) that I had researched buttonhole placement, reading about it in all my knitting reference books:  Montse Stanley, Katharina Buss, Vogue Knitting, and Nancie Wiseman in particular.  Ms. Buss expressed definite opinions as to where to place buttonholes in various ribbings, including 2×2:  horizontal should be centered over 2 knits, whereas vertical and round should be centered between 2 purls.  No one single ribbing rhythm would suit for all 3 types of buttonhole.  I was perplexed.  I asked in the TKGA online forum about whether I should have one ribbing and some off-center holes (some over knits and some over purls, not in center of the 10 stitches), or have multiple ribbings and holes all centered ideally (what I ended up doing), or have them all over only knits or purls but not “ideally” centered as per K. Buss.  I struggled to word my dilemma.   I thought I understood the answer to be that each section of the swatch would be considered independently from the others, meaning that I could center each hole within its own 2″ section.  That’s what I did.  Apparently I was mistaken and the judges want that third alternative.  I wrote to my evaluator and asked, including copies of the online messages, and she confirmed that I needed to decide on only *one* ribbing rhythm, and center the holes within it.  OK, I can deal with this.  After the cooling off period of waiting to get my box back, it started to seem a bit silly for me to have worried/be worrying so much about putting my horizontal buttonhole over purls instead of over knits, so I decided just to move it.

Swatch #18, first re-do

Swatch #18, first (partial) re-do

At first, I wanted to redo as little as possible, not eager to wrestle with ribbing edge-stitches more than necessary.  😉

So, I cut the swatch just at the stitch-change and sewed an outline-stitch bind-off to replace the cast on edge, unpicked the old bind off, joined in my new yarn (I’d run out of white), and knit a purl-centered horizontal buttonhole.

Not too bad, but I didn’t think the faux cast on was good enough, and I forgot to work my first row in new color as all knits.  I didn’t have the heart to re-redo this (I had felt so clever!), so I set this one aside to save and cast on for a completely new swatch.

And here she is, pinned out on blocking board.  A few extra rows in between holes, to make extra sure it measures correctly even after the long-term shrinkage I seem to be getting.

Swatch #18, complete re-do

Swatch #18, complete re-do

Meanwhile, spring springs on!

at churchapple blossoms

and outside my bedroom window

Aspen buds

Aspen buds

As Kristin Nicholas, author of Kristin Knits, wrote recently on her blog“The older I get, the more I realize that a person only has so many springtimes in their lives — I want to enjoy each one as much as I can.”

So, go out (if you’re in the northern hemishpere) and get you some spring!  (Southern “mates” can catch some autumn instead!)

Posted in Master Knitter, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »