Friday, 18 September 2009

Fairisle fingerless mittens

Fairisle fingerless mittens
Originally uploaded by misterhankey
After making Angela Sixian Wu's 'Three Tams' on Ravelry, I wanted to make some matching gloves, as I've just moved from my lovely Quad facing office to a basement office under a bridge. It's really cold, even though it's only September, the University haven't switched the heating on yet. So fingerless gloves will let me type but stop the wind whistling up my sleeves ;). I chose Sublime Angora Merino in 'Feather', a nice off white, and the Silk Garden colourway is 272 - it changes from lilacs and purples to greens and blues, and there's some charcoal in there as well. The hat came out lilac, one glove green and one glove charcoal. The angora adds a nice fuzz, but any DK, worsted or aran yarn would probably work. The Silk Garden is listed as an aran but it's very slubby so it changes from thick to thin frequently. The pattern repeat is 2 stitches, so it would be easy to cast on more stitches to fit your wrists. I do have fairly small wrists and hands. I'm assuming you can knit in the round by whatever means you prefer, so I'm not mentioning how to organise your stitches on your needles. I'll leave that to you. I used the Magic Loop method.

4mm needles
2 stitch markers
Main colour (MC) 25g Sublime Angora Merino
Contrast colour (CC) 25g Noro Silk Garden

Gauge - 4.5 stitches and 6.5 rows per inch of stocking stitch knit in pattern in the round

Cast on 30 stitches (I used a long tail cast on)
K1 P1 rib for 2 rounds in MC
Knit in stocking stitch in main colour until work measures approximately 1.8 inches, or however long you want.

Knit in pattern (see chart) until pattern section measures 5.5 inches. Now start making increases for the thumb opening. It seems to me to make life easier for yourself if you make each of these increases on a row when you're knitting in only one colour, so one of the MC or CC stripes, so prepare by placing the markers just before a single colour round.

K1, place marker, knit to one stitch before the end of the round, place marker, K1.

Increase round: Knit to marker (1 stitch on the first increase round), slip marker, M1L (see here for increases tutorials), knit to marker, slip marker, M1R, knit to end of round (1 stitch on the first increase round).

Knit an increase round every 4-5 rows, continuing in pattern until you have 12 stitches between your markers (or however many you need to fit around your thumb).

On the next round, knit to the second marker, and slip the stitches between the two markers onto a scrap of waste yarn. Now start knitting in MC, and join the round, knitting the hand of your mitten (the thumb stitches are waiting on the scrap yarn and will be dealt with later). Continue in stocking stitch in MC until MC section is approximately 1" or how ever long you like, K1 P1 rib for 2 rounds and bind off in rib.

Place the 12 stitches placed on the scrap yarn earlier back on your needles and knit in MC in stocking stitch for approximately 0.5", K1 P1 rib for 2 rounds and bind off in rib.

Weave in ends and knit another one!

To block, (depending on your yarn choice) immerse in tepid water with a little bit of wool wash or shampoo, rinse, and roll in a towel before pulling into shape and leaving to dry over night. I must confess I could have done more to minimise the jog between rounds in the first place, so they could be tidier. I can never resist blocking after I finish one, which usually ends up with me making the next one a slightly different size. I'm just impatient and like to know what it looks like when finished!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Bagpuss socks

Bagpuss socks
Bagpuss socks,
originally uploaded by misterhankey.
4mm circular needle with a cable long enough for magic loop – OR a set of 4mm DPNs.

100g aran weight yarn (approx 200 yards) cream
75g aran weight yarn (approx 150 yards) pink

Suggested yarns Cashmeres by Kate 8 ply cashmere and Debbie Bliss pure cashmere (discontinued, but still available on sale)

I haven’t tested it, but I think Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran would also be suitable.

Gauge: 4.5 stitches per inch

I made this pattern up as I went and made them using the magic loop method. it's not a proper pattern, more some guidelines.

Notes: I changed colour using Jeshknits technique of pulling the yarn tight on the second round of the new colour. After trying various colour change techniques including jogless stripes and travelling jogless stripes I thought this was the neatest method for working in the round. I found it easiest to get a good colour transition by changing colour in the middle of a needle rather than at a needle change, so a stitch marker is useful to mark the end of the round. This pattern assumes that you’ll decide how many stitches to put on each needle yourself, so Magic Loop or DPNs, it’s up to you. I used the Magic Loop method.

Cast on 44 stitches on 4mm needles using Cream yarn. I used the continental or long tail cast on, also known as a German cast on (I think). Join round and rib 1 x 1 for 8 rows. Change to pink yarn at the beginning of the round, laying it over the cream yarn (this will help to close any gaps later). Continue in rib for one round, and on the first stitch of the next round, pull the cream yarn tight and twist it around the pink yarn. Continue knitting in rib pattern in pink for 2 more rounds, twisting the two colours at the end of each round. Continue the ribbed stripe pattern until you have 3 pink stripes. When you change colour to cream, begin stocking stitch. Continue colour changes as before until you have 4 cream stripes in the stocking stitch pattern. The decreases for the shaping are done on the last round of each of the pink stripes, i.e. every 6th row. *Decrease round: K1, K2tog, knit to 3 before the end of the round, SSK, K1. Knit 3 rows cream, knit 2 rows pink* (42 stitches) Repeat 4 more times (34 stitches) Continue striped pattern until the sock is the right length for you, ending with a cream stripe (14" for me).

Heel (short rows)

Staying in the cream colourway, K8, yarn forward, slip 1 from your left needle to the right needle, put the yarn to the back, put the stitch back onto the left needle and turn the work. You have created your first wrap. You should now have one stitch on your right needle. Arrange your stitches so that there are 16 on your left needle and put the remaining stitches on the cable or a spare DPN. Purl until you have one stitch left on your left needle. Slip the last stitch onto your right needle as if to purl, put the yarn to the back, put the stitch back on the left needle, bring the yarn to the front, and turn the work. You have created your second wrap.

On each following knit row of the heel, knit to one stitch before the stitch you wrapped on the last knit row, and wrap that stitch (yarn front, slip stitch as if to purl, yarn back, put stitch back on left needle) and turn. Rows will become progressively shorter. On each following purl row, purl to one stitch before the stitch you wrapped on the last purl row, wrap that stitch (slip stitch as if to purl, yarn back, put stitch back on left needle, bring yarn to the front) and turn.

Keep wrapping until you have 7 stitches left unwrapped. You will now increase your rows by one stitch on each row, picking up the wraps as you go, knitting them together with the stitch they are wrapped around. Picking up the wraps helps to close any gaps created by the short rows.

Knit to the first wrapped stitch. Insert your right needle through the wrap from bottom to top, and then through the stitch to knit it. Knit both the wrap and the stitch together. Wrap the next stitch and return the stitch to the left needle, as before. The next stitch has now been wrapped twice. Turn, and purl to the first wrapped purl stitch. Pick up the wrap by inserting your needle from underneath the wrap on the knit side of the work, i.e. as if to purl it, and purl it together with the stitch. Wrap the next stitch and turn as before. On the following rows, you will pick up two wraps and knit or purl them in the same way, always wrapping the next stitch. When you get to the last row and have picked up the last set of wraps, wrapping the next stitch, which will be on the instep needle, will help to close any holes between the heel and the instep. Do the same on the purl side, and pick up these single wraps as you pass them when you start knitting in the round again to knit the foot.

Click here for a Short row heel tutorial

The last heel row will be a knit row. At the end of this row, change needles to start knitting in the round again, changing colour to pink, and picking up the wrap you made on the last knit row. I made the colour changes down the side of the foot. This means that your stripes all have 3 rows in them. You could make the colour changes along the sole of the foot, but this will mean that you have 4 rows of cream across the instep on one row. If you find a better way to do this, I’d be happy to hear about it :) . Continue knitting in pattern with no decreases (34 stitches) until the sock reaches the correct length for your foot (5.5 inches for me – I knit to the end of my little tow before I start the toe).

The toe is knitted in the same way as the heel, with the same number of stitches. If you knit it on the instep needle you will be able to graft your final ‘heel/toe’ row to the sole of the sock using kitchener stitch, and the graft will be hidden as it will be under the foot.

K2tog - knit 2 stitches together
SSK - slip 2 stitches from the left needle to the right one at a time as if to knit, and insert the left needle into the two stitches on the right through the front loops and knit the 2 stitches together