Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

The story of women’s struggle for equality
belongs to no single feminist
nor to any one organization
but to the collective efforts of
all who care about human rights

[Gloria Steinem]

Shepherd's Moon

This Saturday is International Women’s Day. The photo is Ellen Robert’s display piece at the International Women’s Art Exhibition in the UPMarket Galleries (The Provision Market, Newport, Gwent) in Wales. Ellen spins, dyes, weaves and knits fiber, and she designed this lace poncho. The logo is her business identity, Shepherd’s Moon. The loom was built by her grandfather and used for many years by her grandmother—Ellen uses it now. The spinning is lace weight yarn the thickness of an eye lash. I am in awe of Ellen’s talent and skill. I have to add that she is also my oldest daughter.

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The whole difference between construction and
creation is exactly this:
that a thing constructed can only be loved
after it is constructed;
but a thing created is loved before it exists.
[Charles Dickens]

Dacapo_JacketHanne Falkenberg’s Dacapo jacket

Hanne Falkenberg’s designs are sold as kits (yarn and pattern). A friend gave me this kit last spring and I finished it this week. What a delightful project. I rarely knit other people’s patterns but I’m glad I had a chance to knit this one. The construction of the jacket was finely engineered and fascinating.

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
[C. C. Moore]

Argyle Christmas Stocking

If I could put a subtitle on this post, it would be, The Last of the Argyle. Thirty years ago, I knit an argyle vest for my husband. I found the technique so tedious and frustrating that, when I finished it, I swore I’d never knit another. I’ve known knitters, including my mother, who enjoy the technique immensely and who would be frustrated with the techniques I enjoy most. Such is the way with human beings.

Less than a decade ago, a group asked me to teach the intarsia knitting technique (as used in making argyle) so I designed another argyle vest. The request keeps cropping up so I keep knitting more argyle. I tell myself, it builds character.

Then came the ultimate request, a sock pattern that is argyle without a sewn seam. Here it is. Since I knew that I didn’t have the self discipline to knit a second sock, I made it into a Christmas stocking so I could say I was finished after only one. The accent lines are worked in duplicate stitch using metallic gold yarn. Although the pattern is worked to and fro, a wrap and turn avoids the need for a sewn seam.

Here is a Christmas gift for those of you who knit —  a free printable PDF pattern for knitting the sock. NOTE: This version of the pattern is a revision of the original. The heel instructions are altered. 

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It is easy to say how we love new friends,
and what we think of them,
but words can never trace out
all the fibers that knit us to the old.
[George Eliot]


I shared my website, A Time to Knit, with JoLene for over a decade. I’d met her when she started designing and was so impressed with her talent that I was delighted to support her growth as a knitting designer in whatever way I could. She was a fast learner and was very organized in her approach to the design process. I used to tease her about her swatch notebooks. While lots of knitters dread knitting a swatch, JoLene thrived on it. Her lovely work is a tribute to her. I am thankful for her friendship and inspiration all of these years—the fibers that will knit her to my memory even though she is gone.

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Did you ever get the feeling
that the world was a tuxedo
and you were a pair of brown shoes?
[George Gobel]

Tuxedo Mitts

Here is a photo of one of the designs I have developed for autumn knitting classes. The fingerless mitts are knit using sock-weight yarn, a palm increase, and an interesting cable treatment. The short mittens that add outdoor warmth to the mitt, are knit back and forth using worsted weight yarn. To finish, they have a subtle seam up the back under the buttons. The combination of mitt and mittens reminded me of a tuxedo in some way.

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It is difficult to see why lace
should be so expensive;
it is mostly holes.
[Mary Wilson Little]

Marianne's Lace Hat

Marianne (inset photo) knit this lace picture hat.

Other knitters inspire me to knit, to design knitting patterns, and to teach knitting classes. Some would call that ‘peer pressure.’ I call it ‘great fun.’ Here are examples that make my point.

Marianne contacted me from her home in Tennessee to ask questions about a lace picture hat pattern I’d designed for the book, A gathering of LACE (Swansen, 2000). We spoke on the phone several times while she was knitting the hat, and a knitting friend of hers sent photos to me. I was thrilled that she enjoyed the project so much, and that I could be of help to her. We didn’t know each other before, but I was inspired by her enthusiasm.

Michele took my twisted stitch knitting class a couple of years ago. Last year, she contacted me for help designing a sweater using the same technique. I encouraged her to buy the Schoolhouse Press translation of the classic book Überlieferte Strickmuster (Twisted Stitch Knitting) by Maria Erlbacher. Then we met and I helped her pick patterns and plan her sweater. You can imagine how thrilled I was to see her results. Her attention to detail was impressive—the way she blended the patterns as she decreased the sleeves is a good example. I was inspired by her perseverance well as her thorough grasp of the technique.

Michele Barton's Sweater

Michele designed and knit this breath-taking sweater.

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Do not compute the totality
of your poultry population
until all the manifestations of incubation
have been entirely completed.
[William Jennings Bryan]

Three Argyle Vests

This post follows up on the winter knitting classes I taught at Sarah Jane’s Yarn Shoppe. The only connection I have with the shop is as a customer and, from time to time, knitting instructor. I designed this basic vest pattern with color charts specifically for this class. Each knitter in the class received a chart in her own selected color way. A fourth example is shown below.

Designing this pattern and facilitating this class was great fun for me. Now I am polishing the pattern to sell as a PDF on Ravelry.

Jodi's Argyle Vest

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Feelings are like a color chart
that God has given us.

[Keith Miller]


Eight knitters started knitting their argyle vests in the first class. In addition to using printed instructions to get them started on the ribbing and vest back, they also filled in work sheets that helped them figure their stitch and row count based upon their gauge and measurements.

In the intervening two weeks, each sent me their calculations and I updated their customized color charts to use when they knit the argyle vest front (photo above).

As I polish the instructions for knitting the front and adding the finishing touches, I am faced with my usual quandary when writing patterns. How much do I include in the instructions? Do I illustrate how to add duplicate stitch accents, work attached iCord around the arm holes, and finish the v-neck with a miter and invisible bind off? Or do I just say do it and assume knitters will look it up if they don’t know how? In a perfect world, I’d publish this using little videos in an enhanced eBook. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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Design is not just
what it looks like
and feels like.
Design is how it works.
[Steve Jobs]

autumn argyle supplies

Teaching classes is an asset for a knitting-pattern designer. At least it is for me. Not only do my students inspire me by their requests and enthusiasm, but they help me clarify the pattern details and how to word the instructions. I have been composing a basic vest pattern in multiple sizes and gauges for an argyle technique class. Here are details of the fun parts of the pattern and how the design works:

  • Each of the eight students selected yarn colors in DK or light worsted weight from their favorite brands (Cascade 220, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Brown Sheep Nature Spun, Rowan Creative Focus). I customized color charts (shown above) for each student to use with her written pattern.
  • The lower edge is ribbing that is knit in the round so it lays nicely on the hips.
  • The body is knit in two parts (back which is plain and front which is argyle) but the seam starts above the ribbing. Two stitches are added at the beginning and end of each piece as a seam allowance to produce an easy to sew, tidy seam.
  • The armholes are finished with applied iCord and the V-neck is finished with ribbing and an invisible bind off.
  • Attention is paid to smoothness of the fabric. Yarn joins and wraps follow the suggestions in the book shown below.
  • The accent lines are worked in duplicate stitch.

argyle-workshop-swatchAn excellent source for refining intarsia technique is Intarsia—A Workshop for Hand & Machine Knitting from the studio of Sealed with a Kiss (Sherry and Keely Stuever). Select this LINK to download a sample swatch pattern for argyle intarsia.

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If a woman rebels against high-heeled shoes,
she should take care to do it in a very smart hat
[George Bernard Shaw]

Our autumn is so sparkling and fresh that I can’t imagine needing a hat, but I know the cold winds will come so I thought I would offer a simple hat pattern. Two of my favorite people agreed to model the two variations. Josh, on the left is wearing the regular watch cap. Rachel is wearing a cloche version. Both take about 220 yards of yarn, are knitted in short-row wedges and joined with a 3-needle bind off. The cloche is joined unevenly allowing a step cuff to be pinned up with a broach.

Select this LINK to download this free printable PDF pattern.

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