Monday, February 16, 2009

30 Rounds of Ribbing

It is no secret that i am a devotee of one Mrs. Elizabeth Zimmerman. (Shock! Awe! You didn't know this was coming!) I'm only short a couple of her books (Hint Hint: Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Around). The most recent one to come into my collection is the timeless classic, Knitting Workshop. 

Now, a couple months ago had you asked me "Davitron, What EZ book should I buy first?", my answer would have been, hands down, Knitting Without Tears. But that has changed! Knitting without tears is a FANTASTIC book, but it assumes you know a little more about knitting than you might actually know. Where as Knitting Workshop talks to you like you just finished your first garter-stitch scarf and are eager for more, without making you feel dumb. It speaks very plainly about techniques and reasons-why. For this matter, I'm going to have to say it is now my all-time favorite book. (Notice i didn't clarify with "EZ book" or "Knitting Book". Yeah. I went there.)

One of the things that left me the MOST skeptical about this book was Elizabeth's (we're on a first name basis these days) staunch insistance on 30 rounds of 2x2 ribbing at the bottom of each sweater, and at the bottom of each cuff. 30. 30. I'll say it again. 30. That feel liks an INSANE amount of ribbing. That is knit knit purl purl ad nauseum, et al, por vida, FOREVER

That being said, I am almost done with a sleeve on a new design (It is delicious, i tell you what) and i decided to GO FOR IT, and see how this 30-rounds-of-ribbing turns out.

How did it turn out you ask? Why... amazing. Of Course. Liz Doesn't lie (we also have nicknames for one another, of course). But I do have a couple notes on the issue. 

1) EZ does not suggest going down a needle size or two. And honestly, it's not necessary REALLY.. but it looks nice. You're already doing 30 rounds of 2x2 ribbing for the sake of a beautiful sweater, why not try it down a couple needle sizes? What could it hurt, really? It's worth it. It pulls in JUST  enough more and looks gorgeous. This way, when your ribbing inevitably settles to be a little less snug and a little more sheer with the rest of your garment, the fact that it's knit at a tighter gauge still allows it to fit closely. 

2) this is an OK place to decide to knit it flat, if you're going to steek (I will gush about steeking at another point).Cast on a multiple of 4 + 2-stitches. Knit one, Purl1, then K2P2 until the last two stitches, P1, k1. Knit each stitch as it appears on your needle back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for 30 rows, then either do a cable cast-on, knitted cast-on or backwards loop cast-on for the remaining stitches (1,3 or 5, depending on your feelings about steek selvages, i do 5-stitch selvages, so i would cast-on 3 stitches), then join to work in the round. bam! You carry the purl stitch after the first knit stitch, and before the last knit stitch on the selvages allllll the way up. It adds a nice bit of structure. But, that's just my opinion - I'm sure EZ could tell you a half dozen other ways to do it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So Much for my Anti-Garter Bias

A different angle on a traditional garter-stitch scarf, I knit this both as a means to rectify a gap in my Knitter's Education and to create something eye-catching and fun-to-knit with this big, bold yarn. I'd never really made the de rigeur beginner's garter-stitch scarf and wanted to play with that stitch patter, but I also didn't want to make a plain, rectangular scarf with horizontal garter stitch, so I thought I'd try knitting on the bias. Not long after that, a pile of Brown Sheep Burley Spun caught my eye and insisted that I play with it. It comes in some really bold colors, and I LIT'rally couldn't stop thinking about it until I realised it was perfect for the garter stitch-on-the-bias scarf I so wanted to make. At the same time, Davitron (seen below modeling the scarf) needed a scarf, but hates knitting them, so really it was a win-win situation. ;o)

Knit in super-bulky yarn in a vibrant color, the big stitches and diagonal garter ridges are eye-catching and mask the super-easy backwards-loop cast-on used to increase. The slipped-stitch edge on the 'increase' side serves both to hide the increase stitch and mirrors the knit two together decrease used on the decrease side.

The full pattern text is published here, but the pattern is also available for download as a free PDF at the bottom of this post.

The model shown measures approximately 6"x7'10", post-blocking.

Not super-important for scarves, but here it is: 8 sts & 12 rows = 4" in st st.

- Brown Sheep Burley Spun, 2 skeins in fuchsia, OR approximately 260 yards of super-bulky yarn of your choosing in your favorite color.
- US 13 needles, or the size you need to obtain gauge.

Make it!
The construction of this scarf can, essentially, be broken down into three major parts: increasing, adding length, and decreasing.

-CO 3 sts
-Sl 1 knitwise, co1 using backwards-loop cast-on, k1, co1, k1
-next row: k4, p1
[next row: sl1, co1, k all sts to last st, co1, k1
-next row: k all sts to last st, p last st] repeat until you have 20 sts on your needle.

Adding Length:
Once you have 20 sts:
[1: sl1, m1, k all sts to last 2 sts, k2tog
2: p1, k all sts to last st, p last st]
-one edge of the scarf (the "m1" edge) will be longer than the other. Repeat these two rows until the "long side" measures the desired length, then...

Decreasing and Binding-Off:
Once you have reached the desired length for your scarf:
[3: k2tog, k all sts to last 2 sts, k2tog
4: p1, k all sts], repeat these two rows until you have 2 sts left.
-Slip the first stitch (the one closest to your hand on the "working needle") over the 2nd stitch. Cut a tail approximately 10" long, pull this through the last stitch and weave in ends.

Block and apply tassels as desired.

The pattern PDF is also available as a FREE download! Click the button below to download the PDF (you do not need to be a Ravelry member to download from this page).

Happy knitting!

EDIT: Visit for more knitting patterns by Homero Luna.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Which TricotChico Knits a Noro Striped Scarf

This blog has been a long time coming, and I'm really excited to finally be able to post it! The knitting has been finished for quite some time, but since this project is all about color, I wanted to be sure that I was able to get photos that effectively conveyed what it is that I got so excited about. Many thanks to Lee for offering to shoot this scarf for me when my basic digicam wasn't equal to the task at hand. Thankfully, we were both at Sarah's "stuporbowl" party (it was more about the beer and commercials than the game!) and took the opportunity to get some yarnography in. I'm really fortunate to have such awesome people in my life! [BTW-Sarah makes some AWESOME vegetarian chili! If you ever receive an invite to share it, I say you clear your schedule and get there early!]

The subject matter is a project that it seems like everyone and their mom has knit (the Noro Striped Scarf), but my resistance to Noro's self-striping colorways precluded me from engaging in this sort of thing for quite a while. Many of the more vibrant colorways (of Kureyon, especially) tend to come across to me as clown barf; too many bright colors all at the same time! However, though many of the color combinations were unappealing to me, some of the colors individually are/were quite lovely and they chanted my name oh-so-seductively whenever I was near a display of Kureyon at one of PDX's many LYS's. Ultimately, I found several colorways that were rich, subdued, enticing, and maddeningly desirable. You know how it goes: you see yarn and you must. have. it. You can't stop thinking about it until you take it home or find that project that will show it off most wonderfully--or both. And so it was with me and this scarf. Truly, I found four or five colorways that spoke to me, but these two (Noro Kureyon 185 [purples, greens, oranges, yellows] and 195 [blues, greys, olive, ochre, black]) really complimented each-other well.

I was really charmed by each colorway for similar reasons: the colors individually were amazing and together they were breathtaking. I was excited to see how they'd play together, and play they did!!! I knit this during the Snowpocalypse of 2008 and the color changes and combinations really kept me from going mad when PDX was, effectively, shut down by more than a foot of snow. It was amazing to see the rich cobalt blue of the darker colorway knit up next to the ripe papaya of the more vibrant one, and then there were combinations like lilac vs. olive drab, purple iris vs. mahogany, saffron vs. navy, mandarin orange vs. candied date, and goldenrod vs. dryer lint--even the most unlikely 'color' hit its stride when partnered with the right hue! I now understand what Jared Flood (a.k.a. BrooklynTweed) meant when he said this project seems almost like cheating, but then I remember the sage advice of my friend Karin: "Sometimes a B+ effort is good enough!"

Again, pretty much everyone and their mom has knit this scarf, but here is how I made mine: I used a tubular cast-on to cast on 36 stitches, then slipped the first stitch of every row knitwise, *k1, p1* to the last stitch, purl the last stitch. The resulting slipped-stitch edge is lovely, hides the yarn that you carry up the side for easy color-changes, and doesn't have any of the problems of created a bowed scarf that I've heard others mention when they slip the first and last stitch of every other row. I knit like mad until I had used all four balls of yarn (and a couple of yards of green from Kureyon colorway 172 left over from another project), then finished it up with a tubular bind-off.

After a couple of gentle washes (to encourage softening of the yarn) and a good soak in Kookaburra wool wash (to encourage huffing of the yarn), this scarf is hands-down putting all my grey scarves out of business!

Thanks again to Lee and Sarah for lending the skills and space (respectively) that made this post happen.