Beautiful Knitting

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

Posts Tagged ‘gansey’

Lots of Texture, not so much Color this week

Posted by mtmom on May 9, 2010

Cast On’s call for submissions includes a request for Bavarian Twisted Stitch patterns, so I’ve intensified my work in that arena.  I’ve been going through my twisted-stitch book, counting stitches and rows needed for the various motifs, to see which might fit onto the back of a glove or the sides of a cap.   But, between my teen-genius, tech-guru DS coming home from college for the summer and my 4th grade DD returning to our home-school, however, I’ve cut back on knitting and designing time.  (Pleased to do it, you understand, but a cut-back nonetheless.)  And at some point this week, I noticed that almost all my current work is in undyed/natural/cream-colored yarns — hence today’s post title.

First, I’ll show you the giveaway hat I finished this week.  It probably will go to Julie’s church’s annual Craft Sale — she taught me how to knit back in 1999.

purl side out

Yarn is a JoAnn Sensations bulky yarn, Bellezza Collection “Bellissimo”, 90% thick-thin wool with 7% nylon and 3% “other fiber”, worked on needles size US 10 (6 mm).  Probably the “other” is the sparkly binder thread.  Don’t know if the photos will pick that up. . . .

I started at the top and increased until the “puffs” stopped lining up right on top of each other, then worked straight until the 50 grams of yarn ran out.  Switched to a less-textured, worsted-weight wool and US 9’s (5.5 mm) to finish with garter stitch at the bottom.  Ended up with an adult M/L size.  This project reaffirmed my conviction of a few years back, that I don’t really like working with thick-thin yarns.

knit side out

Decided I like the purl side better than the knit side, so I plan to tuck the ends in accordingly. If I can do an especially neat job of that, the hat will actually be reversible!





As a break from the twisted stitches, I did a little bit more work today on my sampler of Gansey stitches.  Yarn is Wendy’s “Guernsey 5-ply” on US 3 (3.25 mm) needles.

Along the left side are horizontal stitch patterns and fillers (bottom to top):

1- stockinette, 2- Mary Ann or double moss, 3-Betty Martin, 4- purl band separator, 5- bird’s eye.  Next, I hope to do more moss stitch variations.

Along the right side are vertical patterns:

1- ladders (or steps? not sure at this point how they differ), 2- cable on seed stitch ground.  Lots more vertical panels to try out!

I noticed as I looked through my gansey books for cables, that nearly all are 6 stitches wide, and (at least in Gladys Thompson) cross every 7th row/round.  In back-and-forth knitting, this means every other crossing occurs on a wrong-side row!  No problem in circular knitting, though.  I also noted that almost all the cables cross to the right and are not mirrored on the other side of the chest.  Probably just to make the knitting easier.

I like working on this sampler.

My other un-colored project on the needles just now is a pair of kilt hose in DK-weight KnitPicks “Bare” (i.e. undyed) worked 2-at-a-time on one long Magic Loop circular needle.  I have made the last planned pair of increases on each sock, so now the ribbing pattern is “full” again (k3-p1, with k3 at center back) and I’ve reached the widest part of my calf.  If I decide the fabric is too stretched, I may go up one needle size rather than make 4 more pairs of increases.

(pins mark increases)

After all that off-white, this yellow swatch may seem bright!  (I made a similar one in undyed KnitPicks fingering, but can’t find it today.)

Here I’m experimenting with twisted stitches by eye, rather than following a chart or list of directions.

In traditional patterns, traveling happens on every row/round, so, in order to avoid twisting on the wrong side and repeatedly trying to peek over the top, I’m making a circular swatch by carrying the yarn across the back after every row.  I think I need to pick up the pace a bit on this, if I want to have a design more-or-less finalized and proposal(s) ready by the deadline.  I’d like to write an article, too, about different techniques to make the twists and crosses. . . .


Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Design, Knitting, Master Knitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finished Gansey Sampler!

Posted by mtmom on November 22, 2009

This got put on hold while doing “work” knitting, but today I got back to it and actually finished it — hurray!

This mini-sweater is the Sampler, from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book, Knitting Ganseys.  It uses all the techniques of a traditional gansey, but on a smaller, quicker scale.

Ganseys, also called Guernseys (after the island in the English Channel) and Fisherman’s Sweaters, are native to the coasts of Scotland and England, and are related to the Irish Arans.

I used 2 yarns, because I split them between this and my proposal-swatches for the summer Cast On issue.  Deadline for those swatches to be received in Ohio is next Monday, 1 December, so I’m glad to have the swatches done and the proposals *mostly* written up.

One thing I learned from my first submission, recently photographed and edited, was that I wished I’d kept more notes on the original swatches, as to gauge and technique decisions.  I hope to rectify that this time; I’ve written down notes that I’ll KEEP.  I may even video myself handling the swatches, pointing features out to my-future-self, like, “see how I joined up these 2 pieces with ssk. . . .  I slipped these stitches (or not) after turning the short row. . . .  the slant on these decreases matches the edge better than these, see?”

I expect the selection committee will meet in the first week of December, and then let all the designers know what we’ll be spending the next 5 – 6 weeks working on.  Judging by last time, the competed model(s) and pattern(s) would be due by mid February.  It would be smart for me to proceed as if they will choose my proposals, and get started on the details of math and other paperwork in the meantime, maybe even more swatching/prototyping.  I can’t start the actual model-knitting, because they *send* designers the yarn they want used for the magazine, and it’s not always the same as in the swatch.  (More lessons from last time!)  I find the pressure can be pretty intense (!) in those weeks between selection and delivery, so the more I can get done ahead of time the better!!  (Enough on that — this is my day off!)

As far as using either Venezia (wool/silk by Cascade) or Touche (cotton/rayon by Berroco) for future ganseys, I now think that I’d rather use a nice, round, bouncy, toothy wool.  These yarns both flatten out, the strands separating along the needle as I knit, because they’re so smooth and non-grabby.

(I’m listening to the Wicked Tinkers (they classify themselves as Tribal Celtic) while writing — they can certainly perk a girl up and get her out of her mopey head!)

Posted in Celtic, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

DoubleKnit “M”-Coaster is Done.

Posted by mtmom on August 31, 2009

But, I waited a bit too long between posing and shooting. . . .cat_on_coaster (Oops — Sorry, M.)  😉

Eventually, I got a clear shot. M_coaster

And I got a good match between the cast-on and bind-off edges,


although I’m not sure I could *reproduce* the 2-color loop cast-on.

Along other knitting lines, I’m dividing my time between the pink mini-gansey and a pattern for Sock Madness 4, due in the next few days.

Back Panel is done.

Back Panel is done.

Posted in Cat, Celtic, Color-work, Design, Knitting, Reversibles | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

Cap of Old

Posted by mtmom on December 17, 2007

As each calendar-year draws to a close, I like to make a conscious effort to “tie up loose ends” and finish things that are hanging or incomplete.  For this year, 2007, I have resolved to bring my Knitting Notebook up to date.  I’m looking through my notes, closets, and blog posts to find finished objects that don’t have a page — with notes and a photo — in my Notebook.  When I find one, like I did today (see below), I plan to take photos and print them out, add explanatory notes, punch holes, and add the page to my binder.  If all goes well, perhaps I will also update the “Finished Objects” page in my blog sidebar.

Today, I found some graphs in my notebook from some time in 2005, and realized I had no photos of the cap that came from them.  Having recently (then) read both the books  Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, and Arans: Fishermen’s Sweaters from the British Isles by Gladys Thompson and Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown Reinsel, I learned that the classic British gansey-knitters came up with motifs by stylizing in purl stitches the images they saw in their daily lives.  Why couldn’t I?  So, I sat down with graph paper and pencil and began sketching charts.  What images formed important parts of Mt. Mom’s life?  Snow.  Mountain peaks (from our house, they look like an “M”).  Books.  Yarn/needles.  Trees.  Pinecones.  Some didn’t translate as well as others.  I picked a few and cast on and the adventure began!

I used a lovely shade (#15 — not a terribly evocative name, but ’twill serve) of medium blue, a bit lighter than is traditional for gansey sweaters, in Halcyon Yarn’s in-house worsted-spun worsted-weight yarn, Botanica.  The knitting went well, but I had a little trouble with the blocking.  When I stretched the wet wool hat over a suitably large plate — large enough to cause the top to lie flat — underneath the plate, the hat’s brim stretched out to horizontal.  Nothing I tried would entice the brim to remain narrow enough for forehead-hugging.  I eventually semi-felted the hat to bring the size of the whole thing down.  Then, I ran a length of yarn through the top edge of the brim and just cinched it in.  Ah, well.  It is serviceable.  And it still looks —  I think, and I hope you’ll agree — quite handsome. 

Flagstaff Jersey cap

Side view Detail of motifs

Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »