Yoke Sweaters

I’ve had a number of requests lately for a pattern for yoked sweaters. They were huge back in the 80’s and maybe they are coming back! Joyce Schneider wrote a couple of excellent pattern books for standard and chunky gauge machines back then and if you see a used copy of one of those, I’d suggest you grab it!

Just be aware that sweaters in the 70’s and 80’s were closer fitting with less ease so you might want to knit a size larger. Check the schematics for the finished measurements.

When I got the first request earlier this year, I dug through my old files and found this pattern Yokeswtr.  I think I wrote it when I worked for Singer. I know it was a long time ago judging by (1) the way I wrote the pattern (too many words!), (2) the fact that it doesn’t include a mid-gauge version (always my preference) and (3) Heirloom yarn has not been available for decades and, most notably, (4) I had to cross out an old address and phone number on the top! Have not lived in Cheshire for a long time now!

I have to apologize for the fact that the stitch pattern is not with the knitting directions, but any small, repeating patterns will work for a yoke. If you opt for a larger pattern, make sure it will fit the width of the yoke and not suffer by the decreases.

Heirloom 2/8 wool is no longer available, but JaggerSpun Main Line 2/8 would be a perfect substitute and the colors are gorgeous. There are probably some acrylics of equal size, but I seldom use acrylics and have no idea which ones. I suggest contacting Charlene Shafer at The Knit Knack Shop because if anyone knows, Charlene will! She may also have a yoke pattern book of her own or some of the old Joyce Schneider books available.

For a few minutes I toyed with the idea of re-writing the pattern and then I came to my senses and decided that what most people need is the method, rather than a specific pattern. I hope this is helpful information for you to have……it helped me on my quest to clean out the file cabinet and keep this stuff in circulation! Have a joyous Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza or whatever you decide to celebrate this year. I might celebrate them all – including Festivus! I’m already hoping for a happy, healthy and safe New Year in 2018.

Another Free Pattern

Modeled by Carol Scott, this top is one-size fits most. Both the knit and the purl side of the fabric are interesting – its your choice which to use for the right side.

I’m still plugging away on book #4 (Hand-Manipulated Stitches, Exploring Open Spaces) and although there are no sweater patterns in the book itself, I just posted the third free pattern (based on the techniques in the book) on the web site.

The first pattern was called “Swirling Eyelets” and the second “3D Eyelets and Nops”. Both of those were inspired by the first section of the book, which deals with extreme eyelets.

The third Open Space pattern is called “Slit Topper” and is indicative of the kinds of things I am including in the section on Slits. Eventually I will get some Ladder inspired sweaters done as well.

Frankly, I’m having a lot of fun playing with the “what if” and “I wonder if I could…” approach to some of these experiments in open fabrics, but I am getting restless to start making some sweaters. Hopefully the fall will afford me a bit more time. I think I say that every season, but the end is in sight and eventually I will have the time to do some garment knitting. I hope!

As often as I can, I weave in ends as I work, but for this garment, I should have waited until it was done and worked them in by hand. It turned out I like the purl side of the fabric even more than I do the knit side. The woven-in ends showed just enough to negate the possibility of using the purl side as right side and they were clipped too close to start re-working them in. Live and learn. I did include some photos of the purl side of the fabric in the pattern so you can see the difference. I think that the way the fabric curls towards the purl side adds an interesting bit of texture to the overall fabric. My advice would be to wait on the ends until you decide which side you like best for the right side.

In the meantime, enjoy this new pattern! You can access all the free downloads by signing up for the newsletter on my web site. Just save the confirmation email with the link that will bring you directly to the list of free downloads – you cannot directly access that page from anywhere on the web site.

Some New Russian You Tube Videos

Last week I got an email from a Russian machine knitter named Elena Luneva, asking if I would take a look at her You Tube videos and share them here on the blog. I think they are terrific! She has had the text translated into English on-screen titles and although I would love to have heard that rich Russian accent speaking English, the titles are probably easier for most of us to manage.

If you go to Elena’s You Tube page, make sure you click “Like” so that you are the first to know about any new classes she adds.

In the first class, Principles of Knitting Terry Cloth, Elena uses a ribber comb to work a hand-manipulated, purl-side looped fabric on a single bed.  

The following class, Knitted Baby Cap with PomPom from Terry Fabric, has patterns to use the looped fabric.

Her third class, The Principles of Formation of Elongated Loops, is about creating giant stitches and ideas for using them.My kind of fun!

Elena’s fourth class, Woven Insert,  features a truly unique way of weaving ladders right on the machine. I found this one particularly interesting because I am currently/still working on a chapter about ladders for TBTWNE (The Book That Will Not End) and can honestly say it never occurred to me to do what she does here. Truly innovative!

With all of the US/Russia controversy in the news these days, I really like the  fact that knitters all,  ultimately, speak the same language! Thanks for sharing, Elena!

More Free Downloads!

Tucks and Twists is one of my all-time favorite sweaters.

I’m really happy to tell you that Knitter’s Magazine just gave me permission to share all of the patterns I did for them back in the 90’s. I have been busy scanning and have finally got them all added to the free downloads on my web site.

I think that most of the patterns have stood the test of time quite well. Just be aware that the yarns will most likely no longer be available and you will have to do some substituting. There is a wide variety of techniques to be learned from these patterns and many of them were done for the LK150. As always, you need to be registered for the web site newsletter to enjoy all the freebies. Also, feel free to share these patterns with your knit clubs and friends, but please make sure my name and the credit to Knitter’s Magazine remains on any copies.

“Back in the day” when I was with Studio, we used to advertise in Knitter’s (and other hand knit magazines) so they were much more open to featuring machine knit patterns than they might be today.

These are the patterns I just posted:

24 Gold Carrots – a multi-color tuck stitch pullover with 24 appliqué’s gold carrots that was the inspiration for the issue called Fakes and Funnies.

Basket of Flowers

Basket of Flowers – a really gorgeous hand-manipulated stitch that uses woven stitches to create an undulating fabric.

Little Girl Blue – a child’s cardigan with smocking.

Mozambique Mosaic – a fabulous LK150 two-color tuck stitch (AKA Tuck Mosaic) worked on the LK150. There is also a Tips & Techniques download on mosaic stitch and, of course, a whole chapter in Hand Knits by Machine.

Peacock Tails – is a light weight, open mohair cardigan that uses a unique hand transfer method that, in fact, I am revisiting in the ladder chapter of the current book project. This is a great technique to stretch your yarn further because the fabric is more air than stitches!

Sideways Vest – I designed it as a women’s vest, but they wanted more men’s patterns for the magazine and decided that this one qualified as uni-sex. This one features sideways construction and a neat little added detail at the beck.

Tucks and Twists – This was one of my favorite sweaters ever. It is a lush combination of tuck stitch, twisted stitches and the Judith Duffy cabled edging.

Royal Hawaiian – this one uses a narrow short rowed zig-zag band for the edging.

I also uploaded the pattern for an intarsia vest, “Como se Llama?” that I did for Knit ‘N Style Magazine, which has been out of publication for years.The entire vest is worked in intarsia and the charts are all included.

Lastly, Gini Woodward sent me the original directions that used to come with the garter bars (or, rather the “garter stitch accessory” as they called it back then). I have added that with the Tips & Techniques.

2017 Retreat with Deborah Newton!

Deborah Newton

 

One of my all-time favorite knitters happens to be a hand knitter – Deborah Newton. I’ve known (and adored) her since we were both authors working on our first books for Taunton Press back in the 90’s and when I tell you she is bright and funny and incredibly talented, I am not exaggerating one bit. I know I am a little star-struck when it comes to Deb, but she really is the best and I am fortunate to count her among my friends.

A recent design from Vogue Knitting is perfect for a mid-gauge or bulky machine!(copyright Sixth & Spring)

You can hardly scan an issue of Vogue Knitting over these many years that doesn’t feature one of Deborah’s designs and, beginning with Designing Knitwear she has produced a trio of books that should be in any knitter’s library because what she has to say transcends needles or machines!

 

This is one of the garments from Finishing School.(copyright Sixth & Spring)

Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters, her second book, is my favorite go-to book for finishing details and techniques (and a dozen great patterns). Her newest book, Good Measure: Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time is loaded with gorgeous illustrations to support the purls of wisdom she shares on how she designs sweaters – and tells you how to do it yourself! There are also 24 patterns included in the book.

While Deborah carefully explains various necklines and garment shapes, she also details design considerations for specific body types and fitting problems. I found it refreshing that some of the models are somewhat more normal sized women (i.e. not size 3!) which gives me a much better idea what the garments might look like on me and helps to illustrate some of her tips on fit.

I especially love the swatch photographs in Good Measure because they tell you so much about what the final sweater will look like. Deborah works out all the details on each swatch before she begins any project. If you are familiar with Deborah’s work, you know that perfect fit is the hallmark of her designs and it starts with the switching process. If you are a hand knitter, you are probably familiar with Deborah’s designs. But if you have only knitted by machine and tend to avoid hand knit patterns and books, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these books because she will open new worlds for you!

The inn on Block Island

OK. So – the books are fabulous and her work is the gorgeous and I am clearly #1 fan. Here is the best news – Deborah will be teaching a workshop for North Light Fibers in September on gorgeous Block Island, Rhode Island. Space is definitely limited so if you’re interested in giving yourself a special gift, use this link to get the details and to sign up for the retreat! Four days on an island with Deborah Newton sounds a little bit like heaven to me!

3D Eyelets and Nops

I’m really excited to share this sweater pattern with you! It is one of the garments I have been working on as I sample and knit my way through the content for my fourth machine knitting book: Hand-Manipulated Stitches: Eyelets, Ladders and Slits (Exploring Open Spaces). I’m aiming for a release this spring, but life always gets in the way so I won’t make any guarantees quite yet. You’ll be among the first to know once I set a date! I hope the scale of this pattern gives you an idea what I am up to with this new book – the open spaces I am working with are contemporary and bold – not prissy grandma lace! (No offense intended to grandma or anyone who has a grandma. Heck – I AM a grandma!)

The full, detailed pattern for this green merino wool sweater is on my web site with all the other free downloads so I won’t include the chart or other particulars here on the blog. However, because the transfers I used for this stitch pattern are a little unusual, I thought the video would be helpful.

In the video I use a handy needle Magic Needle Selector Wand for the SK 860 (mid gauge – 6.5mm) from Knitting Any Way. They are available for machines with 6.5, 7 and 8 mm needle spacing and only cost $34. There used to be a great adjustable needle selector available for Passap with 5 mm spacing but I’m afraid I don’t know of one for Japanese standard (4.5mm) or bulky (9mm) spacing. If anyone out there does, please let me know! I’ve seen people make needle pushers out of heavy cardboard for special projects and I’m tempted to think this is something that could easily be 3-D printed…….

My pattern is written for a luscious merino wool from Silk City that I started out using right off the cone on the standard gauge machine and, although the swatch was gorgeous, I realized it would take forever to finish a whole sweater. So – I used the yarn doubled on the SK-860.It would be great for the LK-150 as well. You can adapt this stitch design to any yarn on any machine as long as you do a gauge swatch first. There is just no escaping those gauge swatches!

The transfers I used for this design are triple transfers where 3 stitches are transferred from the left and 3 from the right onto the same three center needles – each of those needles end up holding 3 stitches. The tension on the transferred stitches is what forces the “nops” to pop out on the knit side of the fabric. The eyelets are 3-stitch eyelets so the whole scale of this lace is way beyond more common lace stitches!

Because the stitch chart shows the repeats centered from zero on the bed, you can just repeat the transfers all the way to the edges of the fabric, which makes it pretty straightforward to keep track of the placement and easy to use this pattern on any number of stitches. Just remember that you need to make either a whole or an exact half transfer and may have a number of plain stitches at the edges for lack of a enough stitches for a repeat. You’ll see what I mean once you start to swatch and try the technique.

In order to keep track of this pattern so that the eyelets formed their neat little zig-zag in the background, I made a chart that listed row numbers and indicated which transfers to make when. I checked the chart every time I picked up my 3-prong transfer tool because it took a whole lot less time to do that than it would to rip out an entire row of incorrect transfers!

I hope you like this pattern and that I have whetted your appetite for the new book!

Great Work from Blog Subscribers!

fingerlessmittLast week I got an email from Maria Anna Youngs, who I met when I taught at a seminar in Minnesota this past summer. She took my entrelac class and was evidently  bitten by the entrelac bug because she has been knitting lots of pairs of these fingerless mitts for holiday gifting. She said she got the original idea from Eileen Montgomery and used my excellent entrelac directions for the execution. Wouldn’t these look great over a pair of plain mittens or gloves for extra warmth and pizzaz?!

fingerlessmitt2Maria Anna said that she worked with sock yarn on a standard gauge machine (stitch size 7) and that the base row for each mitt is 4 triangles wide, with 10 stitches in each triangle. Most were worked 7 sections high (including beginning and ending triangles), but she suggested working a couple more sections for a longer cuff. The mitts are seamed along the side, leaving an opening for the thumb. Most of them measured 6.5-7″ wide and 5.5-6″ long. What a great way to use up small amounts of beautiful yarns!

image2I also got an email from Lynn Jones with photos of the shawl collared sweater she did on her Brother 260 (bulky) with Premier Yarn’s “Puzzle”. She finished the front edges with an I-cord trim and also worked a modified drop shoulder to reduce armhole bulk. I think she did a gorgeous job!

 

 

teacherbadgeround

There are still a couple of openings in my classes at VKL in NYC next month (January already!) I’ll be doing one session with highlights from the book I am still working on about open spaces.

 

 

5k-students-badgeLast, but not least, I want to thank all of you who have enrolled in my Craftsy classes! The first class, which launched just a little over a year ago, now has over 5,000 students and the other two classes are doing really well. Thank you for your confidence in me and your continued support! Remember, there are always discount coupons available on my web site .

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many of us here in the US have just put away all the dishes and the extra leaves for the dining room table now that Thanksgiving is behind us. I think I have had more than enough turkey to last me for a while! Thanksgiving is always a time for families – and ushers in the beginning of winter and the holiday season. I’m looking forward to less time in the garden, a lighter teaching load and more time here in the studio working on the book that will ultimately be titled something like: Hand-Manipulated Stitches: Eyelets, Ladders and Slits, (with a subtitle) Exploring Open Spaces.

I always have a tendency to get a little overly-absorbed in the projects at hand and I have found myself really enjoying the fabrics and techniques I am working on for this book. Right now I have taken a break from all the sampling and swatches to work on a gorgeous all-over 3-stitch eyelet pattern and once that sweater is done, I will post the pattern on the web site and let you know here on the blog.

linen5
Giant 3-stitch eyelets swirl across this linen pullover. Godets at fullness and drape at the side seams.

In the meantime, I just posted the pattern for the Swirling Eyelets Sweater I did a year ago. The pattern first appeared in Machine Knitting Monthly Magazine, but some of you may not subscribe (shame!) so I decided it was time to make the pattern available on my web site. Just go to the page called “Free Stuff” and you will see it at the top of the list. The model is my lovely friend, Anne.

The pattern features huge 3-stitch eyelets and godets that add fullness and drape at the sides. The sleeves are knitted down after picking up the armhole edge. Open spaces are all the rage in ready-to-wear right now and this sweater is easy enough for a beginner.

linen-detailMy sweater was knitted with some gorgeous worsted weight linen that I bought from Silk City. It has fabulous weight and drape. However, the yarn may no longer be available and, if it is, it was tough to knit with. Linen has no give at all and even on the bulky machine it was heavy, arm-muscle -building work! The concept and design will work in any weight yarn on any machine so be good to yourself and pick a nice stretchy wool or blend. I hope you like it!

 

One Last Post on Charting

I promise. This is about the last thing I will have to say about charting for a while!  Most of us find that we seldom exactly match somebody else’s gauge – especially when we start utilizing hand knit patterns on the machine. Sometimes it just means a little tweaking to get things right. Other times it requires re-charting the entire pattern.

If you own DAK or Garment Designer, you probably won’t have as much use for this info, but it is still worth understanding how to affect simple changes that will enable you to use almost any pattern you like on whatever machine you own.

So – just these last thoughts on gauge  as it affects re-charting armholes and sleeve caps for set-in sleeve sweaters. Be aware that this is just skimming the surface when it comes to charting and gauge. But I promise not to make you delve any deeper…….for now anyhow.

Resources for Managing Gauge and Charting Knitwear

Books you need to own:  The following books are excellent sources for information, garment shapes and dimensions in various gauges – and perfect for building on to produce your own patterns now that you know how to adjust gauge!

Newton, Deborah. Designing Knitwear. Taunton Press, 1992 (newer paperback available). One of my personal favorites.

Budd, Ann. The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. Interweave Press, 2002 and 2004. (Multi-sized reference patterns). Fabulous resource!

Zimmermann, Elizabeth. Knitting Without Tears. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971. A classic.

Vogue Knitting Book. Sixth & Spring Books, 2002. (Has been reprinted/updated several times). Another classic.

 

Leisure Arts’ Back to Basics (series) . Multi-size and multi-gauge patterns for children and adults. (#2274 Kids 6-12 drop shoulder; #2390 kids 6-12 set-in-sleeves; #2394 6 months-4 years set-in-sleeves; #2289 adult 42-50 drop shoulders; etc.) Might be somewhat out of date (if still available) but excellent resource.

Patons Back to Basics (series),multi-style (set-in, drop, raglan & vest in each book) for kids and adults; for specific gauges (#561 sport/DK weight; #562 worsted).Might be somewhat out of date (if still available) but excellent resource.

Self-Published and probably hard to find, but well worth owning:

Elalouf, Sion. The Knitting Architect and The Advanced Knitting Architect. Knitting Fever Yarn Co. (KFI, 1982). Excellent introduction to carting.

 

Valuable Knitting Information     < These yarn reference books were published twice a year and were available only to yarn shops, so talk to your local shop and see if they will sell you a more recent out-of-date edition. Much of the information stays relevant – especially when you want to check yardage and gauge information for long discontinued yarns.

Marion Nelson Pattern Cards  These cards were self-published in England and have been out of print for some time. You might be able to find used sets through some of the book sites, Ravelry or eBay. Amazon lists them as unavailable. The basic set included raglans, set-in-sleeves , sleeveless and drop shoulder in sizes 18″-48″ for 4 different gauges. Additional sets included skirts, sideways and dolman sweaters, children’s clothing, yoke sweaters, etc.

 

Web sites worth book-marking:

This web site The Fiber Gypsy, offers a wealth of reference tools and information as does The Craft Yarn Council, including children’s sizing, hats and a wealth of info for knit and crochet.

Last but not least, this chart is from a web site called YarnXpress that no longer seems to be active, but the information is great!

Hope all this helps! Till next time!