highlights from the last 2 months

it’s been a long time. here’s what i’ve been up to recently

we took a trip to new hampshire and saw some pretty things (North Church and a house on South Mill Pond in Portsmouth, NH)

and some beautiful things (The Fiber Studio in Henniker, NH and Yummie’s Candy in Kittery, ME)

we spent christmas in Virginia and stayed a night in Amish Country, PA on the way back (post office parking lot in Quarryville, PA and downtown Lancaster, PA as seen from the roof of a parking structure)

and i knit… quite a bit (potato head hat, birds headband– an xmas present for MIL, ribbed skyline hat, and tacky xmas sweater. all links are to ravelry for more info)


more to come, including a tutorial on using kitchener stitch to seamlessly work double knitting

last–now–next

last– “giftable” double knit earflap hat

Pattern: double knit earflap hats
Yarn: malabrigo worsted in VAA 51 and water green 83
Needles: US Size 4, 5
Started: July 1, 2008
Finished: July 14, 2008

i modified the gauge of the original pattern, i might write up a variation or something (any yarn, any gauge type of thing)– but for right now i’m totally burnt out on hats. this one is soo nice and smooshy though.

now– lace scarf

Pattern: easy flame lace scarf by wendy bernard
Source: knit and tonic
Yarn: malabrigo lace in burgundy 41
Needles: US Size 5
Started: July 14, 2008

i bought this malabrigo lace at the WEBS tent sale, thinking it would be for the curved shawl by jane sowerby. which is completely dumb of me because that shawl, and just about everything in that whole book, takes about 1000 yards. i spent a long time looking for something that only needed one hank of malabrigo lace (swallowtail was at the top of the list but i didn’t really feel like knitting that again, plus it’s not my style). eventually the other day i found this scarf. it’s perfect! very basic, but cute, and works really well with the yarn. i’ve done 7 repeats so far, and i’m hoping to finish it by the end of the week. if i can stop petting it enough to knit

next– hemlock ring
Pattern: hemlock ring blanket by jared flood
Source: brooklyn tweed
Yarn: ???

i reallllly want to make this, but i have SO much yarn and none of it is right. i packed it all yesterday– but first i photographed it and completely organized my ravelry stash (!!!)– but nothing fits the pattern. romni is having a pretty decent sale right now, but i know anything i buy here on sale will still be cheaper when we get back to NY next month, so i think i’m going to hold off. sighhhh

also
i’m selling some “got a light?” earrings on my etsy. check it out of you’re interested.

fo: freedom hat

this little guy took about four days total, but it could’ve been done in two if i’d actually sat down and just done it. in fact, i think more time went into charting the patterns than actually knitting.

(click to enlarge)

amagi double knit hat

amagi double knit hat

Pattern: double knit earflap hat
Yarn: caron simply soft in dark country blue and blue sky organic cotton in natural (colour #81)
Needles: US Size 7 and 5
Started: April 10, 2008
Finished: April 14, 2008

it’s got a few alterations from the pattern, but mostly the same. the one major change is that i grafted the seams to make them look continuous. if you’re going to do this, make sure you try it on because grafting is NOT stretchy and if you make it too small it will suck. it looks really good though– i wish there was something similar i could do on the earflap seams because now those REALLY bother me.

other than that, all that’s different is the pattern. the amagi pattern is described in my post below, along with the chart. the porcupine is adapted from the free state project logo below. this one is done in regular double knit (reversible) so that he’s always facing foward.

porc free state project

this logo also influenced the colour choice, although the blue i used is a little darker than this. i tried to get all the libertarian propaganda i could into one garment, while still making a very subtle front. i wish i had done all this on a smaller gauge, though, because both designs look quite pixelated. next time i’ll try adapting one of these on size 3 or 4’s and i’ll write up another version of the pattern.

i suppose that’s all for now. i’d love to know what ya’ll think!

by the way, i never did think of a better name. if you do, PLEASE let me know.

ama-gi

from wikipedia: “Ama-gi is an ancient Sumerian word (AMA.GI) thought to mean “freedom”. It is believed to be the first instance of humans using writing to represent that concept.”

i wanted to knit this on my next hat (which i have so far deemed “the freedom hat”– i know– it’s just a working title) but didn’t want to have it reverse on one side as with regular double knitting because well… who knows what kind of bad karma would result from reversing the symbol for freedom? that’s nothing i want to tap into right now.

so i mocked up a chart…

and then bent my mind and made it reversible (i’ll explain below– it’s not as complicated as it looks. well, actually it sort of is)

and here’s my swatch! look, no bad karma!! fantastic. for the record this is a long-tail cast on that’s been knit in the front and purled in the back of each stitch, with a grafted top seam. i think i’m gonna put this on the nape of the hat… right in between the earflaps.

amagi double knit

once i finished, i realized that this was something NOBODY would notice. like, not even a knitter would imagine how complicated and annoying this chart is. but i still think its an amazing thing to be able to conceptualize so let me try to explain it…

a quick tutorial on charting for non-reversible double knitting: (click any photo to enlarge)

OK so here’s the thing about double knit charts. usually, with regular, reversible double knitting, the colours are worked in pairs– one stitch on the front (knit) side and one on the back (purl) side. these stitches are represented together on one square of the chart. in order to work a reversible design, these stitches will ALWAYS be opposite one another. so it’s not hard to imagine that by working a different colour pattern in the front and back, you can make a non-reversible pattern. great, concept: over. the hard part is actually charting it.

start with any colourwork chart. i’ll use my own as an example:

now, in order to have a different pattern in the front and back, add an extra stitch in between each column. now what’s below is just the stitches you will be making on the RS. the stitches in between are for the WS

copy and paste that image, mirror it, and invert the colours. these are the WS stitches.

then place it on top of the first image, shifted one cell to the right. confused? yeah.

at this point, i inverted the colours of the whole chart– this isn’t really necessary, but i wanted the dark and light yarns to correspond with the squares on the chart.

so when you’re ready to begin, instead of each square corresponding to two stitches, one in front and one in back, each stitch will now have its own. you will still switch off knitting and purling, ensuring that each side retains its stockinette appearance, but the colours will read more like a fair isle chart. when working, you will zigzag through the rows. i began at the top left and worked right, and then the next row down worked from the right to the left.

one major difference between a regular dk chart and this method is that on a regular chart, worked flat, the chart is only colour accurate every other row. in other words, since the RS and WS colours switch every row, the chart doesn’t correspond to which colour you are working, just when you will be working the MC or CC. with this chart, the colour on the chart will always represent the colour you are working.

basically, you’re knitting the same thing, but from two different ends of the chart, so that they will appear the same on both sides and not mirrored. you could do this with two completely different images as well– just place one chart every other column, and the other in the spaces in between. eventually you’ll get used to knitting this way and it actually doesn’t take as long as you’d think

well. i hope i helped at least someone grasp this concept. if anything is unclear, leave a comment or send me an email and i’ll gladly clarify. it’s something that’s really fascinating to me and i’ll probably have more on this subject in the weeks to come (i just finished my last class of the semester– summer break, woohoo!)

invisble double knit seams

(for info on the basics of double knitting, check out my blog post here)

once you get started double knitting, you’ll realize pretty quick that long tail cast offs and basic knit bind offs are extremely obtrusive to the rest of your beautiful knitting. and since few books and websites have been written on this subject, it is pretty hard to find alternatives to the basic dk cast on and bind off.

stitchdiva lists one alternative for each, basically suggesting that you cast on with one colour and then kfb each stitch to make the two sides of the work. i’ve seen this discussed (in the yahoo dk group mostly) as the way most people do each of these and i’m having a hard time using google to find anyone with a different way. this way does work fine but i keep thinking that there has to be a better technique.

what’s been floating ahead in my mind recently is doing a figure-8 or provisional cast on and then grafting the top seam. this way, the work would be fluid– top to bottom, side to side, without any overflow of the cc to make your cast on look messy on the mc side. so i just swatched it and… yeah! it works. it’s actually sort of beautiful (one colour floating into another effortlessly). even if someone has thought of this before, i’m pretty damn proud to have figured it out.

my happy little swatch (ok so the knitting part is sort of messy, we can’t all be perfect. the gauge is way off– i usually use a size 6 with simply soft and all i had in front of me were 8’s. i’m lazy.):

click photos to enlarge

MC:

CC:

figure 8 cast on:

kitchener stitch bind off:

i’m going to work another dk hat and try this as the bind off, and if it works (stretch-wise) i’ll add an errata note suggesting the use of this method over the one written in the pattern. i’m also going to write up a tutorial that shows how to apply this cast on and bind off to double knitting as soon as DH wants to play photographer.

double knitting resources

double knitting is an amazing technique with endless possibilities. once you practice it a bit, it isn’t any more difficult or time consuming than regular knitting (i promise!). so if you’ve ever wanted to knit something reversible or super warm, or impress your friends by knitting two socks in one, i urge you to give it a try. below is a compilation of dk resources, because i really believe that conceptualizing in double knitting is the hardest part. once you “get it” you’ll be addicted!

learning

knittinghelp.com tutorial video videos are the easiest way for me to learn so i always suggest this video first. demonstrates a reversible potholder, which can be adapted to any reversible dk’ing project.

knitty.com extreme 2 socks in 1 article up to knitty’s well-written, well-photographed standards. these instructions are only for knitting two seperate pieces on one set of needles, and will not connect as a double-sided hat or scarf.

subversive knitting’s tutorial very very very basic. no colorwork, no magic socks. one color. tube. not really sure of a practical purpose but this will help even the most beginning knitter understand the concept.

lucy neatby’s double knitting dvd i’ve never seen this, but i’ve heard it’s a great resource that covers all the concepts within double knitting. if you can find it, let me know how it is 🙂

basic projects

itsbyerin’s om chart this chart is how i taught myself to double knit. the motif works beautifully applied to any garment.

crafty chick knit’s star scarf this was one of the first double knit projects i saw. the pattern is so simple but the finished scarf is so impressive and cute! UPDATED 1/4/2011: Thanks to Romy, this link will now send you to the actual pattern, even though Crafty Chick’s site has been down for a few years. Enjoy!

advanced projects/resources

fallingblox is a double knitter whose work really stands out as extremely advanced. even the stuff i do understand i would never dare try, but it seems to work for him.

ravelry’s double knitting group of course, moderated by fallingblox himself. projects contain some really nice pieces and the discussion is always nice too. there are also topics solving some of the more confusing dk problems you might encounter.

yahoo’s double knitting group has some other links and inspirational project.

my two cents

if you’re anything like me, you will need to go down 1-2 needle sizes to get your gauge the same in double knitting. otherwise your hand will be killing you after a few rows. even though it is seldom discussed in the knitting world, i have a feeling double knitting is going to be gaining popularity in the coming years, and i can’t wait to see what ya’ll do with it!

i’ll keep my eye out for more resources and keep this list updated.

pattern: double knit earflap hats

finally!

sorry i’ve been so lame lately. it’s now officially spring, but since its snowing out i thought i might be able to squeeze the term “winter” until it actually begins staying above freezing. the three patterns are all available for purchase now here (on the right side “patterns” tab of this blog)

i am willing to consider making custom charts if anyone is interested (your own city, for example) for a small fee (maybe $2.50?) so contact me if you’d like to set that up.

the pattern link is also up on ravelry

and, not to be a sap, but i can’t stop thanking all of you for making my dreams really come into fruition. i can’t wait to keep designing new patterns, and your support has made it such an incredible experience so far. i’d love to hear feedback of what else you’d like to see.