Flying Vee Giveaway!

I was so thrilled to work with both these yarns from two indie dyers I admire with such different points of view. Stephanie at Asylum Fibers has a very cool gothic thing going on (I mean, just check out her colour names) and Annie at Knitting It Up draws her inspiration from all things pop culture (her 'Friends' themed fade kit is stunning.)

And both of them have offered a complete kit to make the Flying Vee for this giveaway. Thank you so much!

It's pretty simple: buy the pattern on Ravelry anytime between its release on Thursday April 26, 2018 and midnight EST May 7, 2018 and you are entered into a random draw for one of the two kits. The Asylum Fibers kit is for the same colourways I used in my sample: Vacant Stare (black) and Transorbital (speckled white/pink/blue/black). The Knitting It Up kit will be customized for the winner, who can consult with Annie and view her pallete to choose a colourway.

A few caveats:
- In Store Sales (which I love and appreciate so much!) will not qualify for the draw.
- Customers using a discount or promo code will not be entered in the draw.

Thanks for checking out my work and find me on Rav if you have questions!
 

Tighten Up

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I've had a few messages from knitters working on my Four Score sweater asking for techniques for tightening up that annoying column of loose purl stitches that often appear right after your column of knit stitches.

Rather than try to type this all up I made a quick little video. I hope this helps!

Two ways to tighten up loose purl stitches in ribbing.

Please excuse the state of my hands - it's been a long, dry winter here in Montreal.

Modifying Galore

  Drop the neck? Widen the sleeve? How to modify the Galore sweater for a perfect fit.

Drop the neck? Widen the sleeve? How to modify the Galore sweater for a perfect fit.

Here are few thoughts on ways to modify your Galore sweater.

Drop the Neckline

The neckline as written is quite high - I find it comfortable to wear but I know some people prefer not to have something right up against their neck. To drop the neckline down, skip the first increase by casting on the number of stitches listed after that first increase. Knit about an inch and then start the short rows. Reduce all the following yoke-depth based instructions by 1" - and if you want to be really picky, all the colour changes too.  I've got a version like this on my needles right now, and I added two extra sets of short rows by turning every 2 stitches instead of every four, but I'm not sure I love it yet. I'll update this post once I separate the sleeves and try it on.

Widen the Sleeves

The logic of this pattern - the way each section of 1x1 rib grows to become a five-stitch repeat makes it tough to modify one element without modifying another. However, adding four stitches to your initial cast on would make five additional stitches available for each sleeve. You will need to add 2 stitches to each of the sleeve sections when you place your markers and remember that all your stitch counts (except in the body section) will be affected. If you want the cuff to fit the same way, you'll need to add decrease rounds - at least 2. In some sizes, you'll add the final decrease round, in others, you'll eliminate it. (Don't worry - it'll be obvious which applies to your size once you get working.)

Add Bust Dart Shaping

  I'm a B-cup. If I'd used bust darts, I might have been able to do down a size from 36" to the 34".

I'm a B-cup. If I'd used bust darts, I might have been able to do down a size from 36" to the 34".

Bust darts can be an essential element of getting a good fit, especially in a slim-fitting sweater like Galore. If you've ever had your sweaters ride up in front, bust darts are for you. There are two types of bust darts: vertical and horizontal. The slip-stitch patterning on this sweater makes it an unsuitable candidate for vertical bust darts. This is a technique that adds width over the bust area - and in bottom-up sweaters, those additional stitches are usually decreased away in the sleeve and neck shaping. Galore is a good candidate for horizontal short-row bust shaping, though. This technique adds length to the front of the sweater, creating a convex area for the bust to fit in, and eliminating that riding up.

My favourite tutorial on this is from Tess Knits, and within it she links to a very good piece from Knitty. Tess's post covers two important things. One: that while cup-size can be a guide for calculating bust darts, it can be misleading. Two: A less onerous place to take measurements (many tutorials ask for a plethora of measurements that are hard to take yourself).

If you successfully knit the short-row neck shaping at the beginning of the pattern, you can knit short-row bust darts. Mark the 'side seam' stitches when you begin working the body (the column of knit/slip stitches in the underarm) and use the same method for avoiding the need to resolve your wraps: offset your wrap-and-turns by one stitch on the wrong side so you're always wrapping a purl-facing stitch.

(Of course, you can resolve your wraps if you want to! I usually do hide the last "wrong side" one when I come around to it from the front on that first full round after short rows.)

Questions? Comments? Results? Find me on Ravelry or send me an email via the Contact Form here. May your gradient be gorgeous!
 

Knitwear Design as Problem Solving

 I was meant for you, and you were meant for me. Madeline Tosh DK in Deep, Baroque Violet, Flashdance, Lepidoptra and Cactus Flower.

I was meant for you, and you were meant for me. Madeline Tosh DK in Deep, Baroque Violet, Flashdance, Lepidoptra and Cactus Flower.

I was a teaching a knitting class last month and while we were working away on some short rows, one of the women in class asked me what inspires my designs. Truthfully, when I started submitting designs to magazines years ago, I was trying to come up with things I hadn't seen before. I thought that was my only way into the market. The results were... interesting, but lacked universal appeal. I'm still proud of those designs, but not many people opted to knit them.

 An outtake from the photo shoot for Four Score.

An outtake from the photo shoot for Four Score.

Now, I tend to approach design from a problem solving point of view - as much as needing something to knit can be seen as a problem. With Four Score, the problem I wanted to solve was an intro sweater that didn't ask the new knitter to have an arsenal of interchangeable needles. And something that didn't require neck shaping with a cast-off front and shaped shoulders. I remember how weird those instructions were the first few times I tried to follow them. Wouldn't it be great to skip it entirely and still be able to make a wearable, fashionable sweater?

It may be less obvious what problem I was trying to solve with the Galore sweater, but I swear to you, it was a conundrum. I pulled five skeins of Tosh DK off the shelves at Espace Tricot during one of my days there and I just wanted to make a sweater from all five of them. They belonged together, and they belonged with me.

 My favourite colour: blue-genta.

My favourite colour: blue-genta.

Of course, we had only one skein left of two of these colourways, so my design would have to make maximum use of each skein. Five skeins, I knew, could make a sweater in my size, but only just. It would have to be a slim silhouette. It would have to use every last inch of yardage.

I swatched, and I ripped, and I set up a three-sheet Excel document for calculating exactly how many inches of knitted cloth I could squeeze from each skein. I had less than ten yards left in my last colourway, Cactus Flower.

As I'm thinking ahead to the designs I want to work on over the rest of the year, I can see that they are all possible answers to questions. Could a lace shawl stay put on my shoulders, and be more of a garment? Could it be more like a t-shirt? Could I come up with a first steeked project that wouldn't scare the bejeezus out of people? Would the manipulations in Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic work on knitted fabrics?

I'm looking forward to figuring out the answers to these questions, and I'm very thankful to all the knitters who have decided to try out my solutions so far. I can't wait to see the results.