Posts Tagged ‘gauge’

11
Mar

My Great-Grandmother’s Knitting

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life

I like to think that I’m a pretty expert knitter. But my great-grandmother’s work was something I can’t even describe. I never met her but I have always admired her skills.

The family story goes that Grandma Lena would knit sweaters for the soldiers during the war. She’d take whatever was given to her in the kit from the Red Cross or wherever and throw it aside in favor of smaller needles and thinner yarn. She’d make them entirely on tiny needles claiming that this would keep them much warmer than that cheap stuff. Then she’d go about making beautiful sweaters that everyone agrees probably never ended up with any privates but went straight to some lucky officer.

My parents still have a few pieces that she made for various family members and they’re absolutely gorgeous. You have to take a look. I can’t imagine this was knit on anything bigger than a size 1 needle. My wrists ache just thinking about knitting a whole vest at such a fine gauge. I’m obsessed with the way the cables decrease at the shoulders for a gorgeous neckline shaping. Isn’t that fantastic?

grandma lena

Here’s a detail from another sweater vest. Do you see how tiny these stitches are? I can’t even believe this was made by a human being. I’m not sure about whether she worked from a pattern. I have a sneaking suspicion that she wasn’t, though.

grandma lena 2

The cable running up the center (which you can see on the bottom of this detail) is actually one of my favorite cables. (I’ve used it on these socks.) It’s nice to know we have similar tastes.

grandma lena 3

It’s so inspiring for me to know that I come from a family of talented knitters! I’m not sure I could ever attempt a piece as detailed as Lena’s work. I’m just not patient and, frankly, I’m a little sore. But it definitely makes me want to challenge myself!

I know it’s tough to tell from my crappy iPhone photos but any guesses to what size needles she was using? Who keeps challenging you when it comes to craft?

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07
Jan

WIP: Faire Isle, Slowly

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, knits, life, sweater, WIP

Remember that sweater I cast on during my hurrication? It’s still here, guys.

Just as I suspected, it took a back seat during holiday knitting season. (And by back seat, I mean I was sitting on it, wedged between the cushion and the arm of the couch because that’s where I store my WIPs. I’m not even joking. I just promised myself that I’d get a proper place for them. Let’s make that happen.) After the blur of the holidays plus a big secret project (sorry, suspense!), I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d worked on it. I was half way through the armhole shaping on the back. Why, oh, why do I always put down a piece when I’m working on the armhole shaping? Then I pick it up and I can’t trust that I marked the proper place where I’d left off and I’m suspicious and double guessing the whole way through.

Anyway, over the past week, I was able to not only finish the back but I also worked on my Zelda cross stitch and knit up a new (but simple) design. Pretty neat, huh? I guess since I spent all of New Year’s Day on it, I got a couple of extra hours.

Here it is, so badly in need of a blocking (and better lighting).

 

faire isle back debbie bliss

 

As I’m a professional, I held the piece up to my back (you know, the scientific way of measuring garments) and I’m now a little terrified that it won’t fit. I know I voiced my concerns about the sweater being snug before. Now that I’ve completed the entire back piece, there’s really no turning back. Also, since I’m definitely, absolutely a professional, I didn’t bother blocking my gauge swatch so I have no idea if blocking the pieces will help loosen things up. (I’ll remember that for that “How to Knit a Gauge Swatch” post…)

Since it’s wool and most of my sweaters end up being massive, I can only assume that giving a nice soak will give me about an inch more which would be a big help. That or I need to go on a diet, ASAP. I’m not giving this sweater up. I’m too in love.

faire isle 2 wrong side

Here’s a picture of the wrong side. I like sharing my wrong sides a lot. I feel like it’s not something that’s out there enough and I think that they’re interesting and beautiful in their own way. I’ve also gone on weird OCD searches for them when I’m afraid I’m not doing a technique properly. The backside of a faire isle piece is important the way that the back of a cross stitch is important (says myself, who has sloppy, terrible cross stitch backs). Also, you can see that I have hours worth of ends to weave in. Party!

Anyway, this sweater isn’t the quick, simple project I thought it would be. But are they ever? My only hope is that I have time to finish the front before winter is over. Ok, my only OTHER hope is that it fits. And that I don’t cry. Those are my only three hopes. Oh, and also that I don’t run out of yarn because St. Denis is discontinued. Ahahaha!

Please help me.

My sweater’s going to stretch out, right? Do you like looking at wrong sides? Would you share yours?

 

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27
Jan

First FO of 2012

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, holiday, instagram, knits, life, new york city, photos, socks, style, want

Okay, I’m getting behind so I’d better show you my first FO of the year! Of course, I haven’t even posted all of my FOs from 2011 but that will have to wait if I want to stay up-to-date in the new year! If you follow me on instagram, you’ll already have seen these little socks being worked up.

I haven’t written about it much here since the first post but I really am obsessed with knitting socks. They’re just great to have around! I could always use more socks and they’re small so I can work on them on the train and they’re simple so I can work on them while watching a movie without worrying about reading a pattern. They are kind of like little swatches so it’s the perfect place to play around with colorwork and cables.They are just the best thing to keep on the needles. And while I agree with Allyson of Sweatshop of Love that socks are not easily shown off to friends, co-workers, strangers on the C train or in line at the grocery store, it is really impressive to turn a heel like it ain’t no thang while carrying on a full conversation. I knit about five pairs over the last six months of 2011 and I’m pleased with every one of them.

Just before Christmas and the big move, I cast on this pair. I had high hopes for them but I think they got lost in the shuffle of packing and unpacking and the holidays.  I carried them around too much and I put them down for a while. My big plan was to make these little beauties for Jon. I worked out a toe-up pattern with a quick gauge swatch I knitted up and I got to working and everything was fine. I guess I was dizzy with overwhelming thoughts of sugar plums that were going to forget to buy wrapping paper on Christmas Eve so somewhere around the heel I cut things short. At least I think that’s what happened. It could be that my gauge was too tight, as it tends to be with colorwork. Anyway, when I finally bothered to force it onto Jon’s foot, it didn’t fit.

So these socks are mine now. A little big in the heel for me but you can’t tell when I’m wearing shoes.

Obviously, these socks are inspired by the gorgeous Pia Wallen Crux Blanket. I, like so many others, am drooling over those gorgeous symmetrical crosses. So simple and beautiful. Recently, I’ve been using heavy inspiration in my knits. Socks are a great canvas for that, aren’t they?

You can really see the saggy heel here. Oh well!

Let’s see. These were knit on size 1 needles with Lion Brand LB Collection Baby Alpaca in black and natural. I’m sure I’ve said it before but I love LB Collection yarns because they’re soft and the colors are super classy and I like them especially because they’re inexpensive.

 

How do you feel about colorwork socks? Pay attention to your tension!

Thanks, Jon, for taking these beautiful photos of my socks with a real camera while I stood in the windowsill like a crazy knitter! I owe you a pair of socks…that actually fit!

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