Category Archives: Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong

Deluxe Cable Collection – Still Going Strong!

It might be February, but many of us are still working on projects from last fall’s Deluxe Cable Collection.

As a reminder, this is our ongoing blog series covering projects from the Deluxe Cable Collection. You can learn more about the knitalong by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Our Sales Director Yonca has completed both ponchos from the collection. We don’t have a shot of her Catawba River Poncho which she knit up in Deluxe Chunky 91904 Pomegranate Heather (which might be my most favorite shade of Deluxe). Below is free pattern Valentina worked in this same color.

Free pattern Valentina, worked in Deluxe Chunky Pomegranate Heather

But Heather did manage to catch Yonca the other day as she wore her new Cumberland Poncho here at the office.

Is she adorable, or what?Yonca made a couple of small changes to the pattern.

First, since she is a rather petite woman, Yonca knit each panel a little bit shorter is called for, which resulted in a bit less circumference in the finished poncho. Her gauge was also a bit tighter than called for in the pattern, but it worked out in her favor, giving the piece a bit less depth, as well.

Second, Yonca added only half the fringe called for in the pattern. Which I adore! A few weeks ago, she had her poncho here in the office to show us how it was coming along. At that point, the entire thing was knit and seamed with half the fringe attached. She put it on to show us, and we convinced her that it looked totally awesome only partially fringed. And she was delighted to hear this, particularly since that is a lot of fringe to attach and she was getting rather burned out of doing it!

I love these changes that get made along the way (especially when they involve less work!)

How about you? Are you still plugging away on a project from this ebook? I’d love to hear about it!

Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong – Installing a Zipper

With the holidays upon us, I know many of you are busy plugging away at gift projects. Me? I’m as selfishly knitting as ever and just finished my modified Wesley Heights. Though I finished knitting the pieces and seaming the sweater many weeks ago, I just sewed in my zipper, and I’m going to show you how.

As a reminder, this is our ongoing blog series covering projects from the Deluxe Cable Collection. You can learn more about the knitalong by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

I basically knit the Wesley Heights pullover, but followed instructions for the Greensboro Cardigan for collar and zipper facings. Stitches for the collar are picked up around the neck edge and knit upward. Then, the first and last 6 stitches of the collar are continued to form the zipper facings.

zipper_1

Be sure not to stretch the knitting when measuring for the zipper.
Be sure not to stretch the knitting when measuring for the zipper.

It’s important to block your knitting before measuring for the zipper length and installing it. Zippers and knitting can be tricky, since zipper tape is typically woven and non-stretchy. But I’m going to show you what you can do to avoid the puckery zipper look.

Open up your sweater and measure along the front opening from the very bottom edge to the top of the collar. I like to leave a small margin of about 1/4″ at the top and bottom before the zipper begins and after it ends. Mark with a pencil or with pins (as shown) where the zipper tape needs to be cut.

Don't accidentally slide your zipper over the top of your just-cut end!
Don’t accidentally slide your zipper over the top of your just-cut end!
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT slide the zipper off the top of the cut edge!
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT slide the zipper off the top of the cut edge!

Next, we’re going to pretty-up that cut edge. I’m using a plastic zipper in the photo below. This method works great for a zipper with metal teeth, too. With pliers, carefully remove the 2 teeth from the top of the tape. If your metal zipper came with a stop (which looks like a metal tab), you can remove it from the piece you cut off and reattach to the newly shortened zipper.

Then, take a lighter or other flame and carefully melt the end of the tape. This will not work for a cotton zipper tape – it only works on polyester, nylon, acrylic – something that will melt when burned. Be careful, you want to barely melt the end just to stop the fraying of the tape where you cut it.

If you have a cotton or plant fiber tape, fold under the end and sew it down.

zipper_5

This next step probably isn’t necessary for this particular zipper installation since my zipper will be sandwiched between the sweater and knitted zipper facing. But I’ve been burned before with forgetfully sliding my zipper off the top of the tape, so I like to do everything possible to prevent that! By whip stitching around the top of the tape just above the teeth, this will prevent the zipper from sliding off. Or if you had a metal zipper with a zipper stop and reinstalled it, there is no need for this step.

zipper_6

Next, unzip your zipper (you did buy a separating zipper, right?) and lay out the appropriate sides on their respective fronts.

Triple check your zipper placement!

Triple check your zipper placement!

Next, pin your zipper to the sweater front. Ignore the facing for now. It’s much easier to pin it to the sweater front first and then add the facing. Begin by pinning the upper and lower edges of the zipper to the sweater. Then add in pins at halfway points between other pins until the whole thing is pinned down. Use lots of pins – you can never have too many pins!

Use lots of pins!
Use lots of pins!

After the front is fully pinned to the zipper tape, one by one, remove a pin and add in the knitted facing. The zipper tape will be sandwiched between the front of the sweater and the zipper tape. You’ll want to leave a margin sticking out a little bit beyond the zipper teeth so that the knitting doesn’t get caught when you’re using the zipper.

It's a zipper-wool sandwich. Delicious.
It’s a zipper-wool sandwich. Delicious.

Use thread that matches or will blend in with the color of your yarn. Take small stitches and go slowly. You are sewing through 3 layers, so take care and make sure the needle is entering and exiting the fabric where you want it. I kept 1 stitch in stockinette on my edges, so I’m using that as my guide for where to sew.

This step requires patience.
This step requires patience.

I use a running stitch, but make a back stitch every inch or two – basically whenever I remember.

Once the zipper tape is sewn to the sweater, it’s time to sew the other edge of the facing down. I left long ends when I bound off my facing for this very purpose. I also split the yarn in half to reduce bulk for the seam.

On the home stretch!
On the home stretch!

Once all your sewing is done, give the facings a light steam inside and out, and you’re done!

I really am smiling.
I really am smiling.

I love putting on a new sweater! And I’m lazy, so having a zipper is a big draw for me. Sometimes I like a buttoned sweater. But I like being able to zip and unzip a cardigan makes me happy. And pockets. And cozy!

How are your Deluxe Cable Collection projects coming along?

 

Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong – We’re Still Knitting Along!

It’s been a little bit quiet on the ol’ western front  with the Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong. But I can assure you, those of us with projects still on the needles continue to plug away!

Knitalong graphic hi-res

As a reminder,  you can learn more about the knitalong by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Heather finished her Tillery Socks last month, but she didn’t stop there. She is now the proud owner of her very own two-color Cold Mountain Hat:

heather-cold-mountain-this-guy

Look how happy she is! I would be too if I had a hat that looked super-awesome with my blue hair.

heather-cold-mountain-side-1

You can just barely see those blue locks peeking out from under the double-folded brim, but trust me: this is a fun color combination.

I love how Heather took this pattern and made it her own, through something as seemingly simple as different color choices. It always amazes me what a difference color can make in a knitted item or anything else, for that matter!

Often times we see a project and don’t look twice because the color doesn’t suit us. Heather proves that if you like the stitches and the item, the color is the easiest thing about it to change!

lurve-this-book

Do you love the Deluxe Cable Collection, too? If so, I’d love to hear about what project you’re working on!

I’ll be back next time (hopefully sooner rather than later this time) to demonstrate the finishing on my modified version of the Wesley Heights Pullover. I’m almost there!

 

Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong – Tillery Socks

Knitalong graphic hi-res

If you’re not already knitting along with us during our Deluxe Cable Collection fun times (!) knitalong, you can learn more by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Today, a brief update from Heather, who is knitting Tillery Socks from the collection.

TillerySocks_2575_hires TillerySocks_511_hires

Heather is no stranger to sock knitting, and she knows she maaaayy have a tendency to get bored after the first sock. That is why she’s knitting her socks two at a time on a long circular needle. It’s the best SSS (second sock syndrome) buster I’ve found, too.

Tillery socks on hand

You can see the other sock in the upper left corner in the photo above.

Heather turned her heels last week and is now almost ready to shape her toes. So close!

tillery-socks-heel-interior

Heather told me she was happy to see this pattern designed with a slip-stitch heel flap, since this will make them nice and sturdy. She plans on wearing these as around-the-house slipper socks. Since Heather is knitting these in Deluxe Worsted Superwash, the care will be super easy, too!

tillery-socks-heel-interior-vertical

tillery-socks-heel-turned

The one thing Heather does point out about working socks two-at-a-time, is that when it comes time to work the heel, only one sock can be done at a time. Stitches for the other sock can stay on the same needle, but have to wait until the first sock’s heel is complete. And since Tillery Socks are knit in worsted weight, this section takes no time at all!

How about you – are you knitting along? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Deluxe Cable Knitalong – Increasing in Pattern

Hi, Cable Crossers! How’s it stitchin’? If you’re not already knitting along with us during our Deluxe Cable Collection fun times knitalong, you can learn more by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Today I’m going to talk about a topic that drives many a knitter craaaazzzy: increasing in pattern. I touched on  this topic during our Rocked knitalong last year. You can read that blog post here.

Why are patterns written with the confusing instructions of “maintain increased stitches in pattern” or other similar sounding garble? Well, there are a couple of reasons I do this in some patterns:

  1. In my example below with the Greensboro Cardigan, I could have had the pattern running only up the center part of the sleeve and had the sides of the sleeve worked in stockinette or reverse stockinette. This would have made “maintaining increased stitches in patter” much easier. But I didn’t want to do that here. I wanted this sweater to have an all-over cable and rib patterning, gosh darn it.
  2. If I was writing a pattern for only one size, I could easily explain in detail how each newly incorporated stitch should be treated. But when writing a pattern for 5-6 sizes, this is tough to do and keep the pattern a reasonable length.

As you may recall, Jannie (a new knitter here in the office) decided to knit the Greensboro Cardigan.

Greensboro_095_hires

She did a little swatching, and then cast on for her sleeve, shown below:

greensboro_sleeve-in-prog

Now that she’s done with her cuff ribbing, it’s time to move onto the pattern. Because Jannie is doing all kinds of new things with this project (making a garment, reading charts, doing twisted crosses), I didn’t want to add increasing in pattern to the mix. So I made her a special chart for her sleeve that shows all of the increases.

Here is what the chart looks like in the pattern:

The chart shows you the pattern repeat, and where to begin and end for your size. Once the increases begin, you must incorporate these new stitches into the already established cable and rib.

I’ve found that for some knitters, the idea of doing this just clicks. After learning a new stitch pattern, they’ve memorized it enough that intuitively they know what the next stitch should be. Of course this will depend on the complexity of a stitch pattern, as well.

With other knitters, it’s a struggle to wrap their head around. It’s just the difference in how our brains visualize and process. If you’re in the second group – don’t fret. You can do what I did for Jannie – make yourself a custom chart.

greensborocardigan_janniesleeve

If you don’t have a graphics program or know how to make charts like this, it’s okay. You can do it by hand on graph paper. You can even use a spreadsheet program to make charts. After all, we’re just talking about a bunch of symbols inside of squares.

Happy cabling!

 

Catawba River Poncho – Picking up Stitches

Greetings knitalongers! After joining shoulder seams on my Catawba River Poncho last week, I’m all set to pick up stitches for my side ribbing.

At this stage, my poncho is starting to look like a wearable thing. Which is exciting! All that’s left now is the side ribbing and then the collar. The side ribbing is more of the mock eyelet ribbing pattern, the same stitch pattern that’s used on the hem.

As you can see before the ribbing is added, I have an unattractive rolled stockinette thing going on here at the sides of my piece. But this will soon change.

PickingUpStitches_1

The instructions in the pattern state to “pick up and knit 162 (167, 177) sts. To pick up and knit stitches, I am going to pull through loops of yarn and place them on my knitting needle to form my base row.

But first things first. How in the heck do I figure out how to pick up that many stitches evenly along this thing? It can seem like daunting task, but I’m going to share a few of the little tricks I like to use when doing this.

I’m making the small size, which means I need to pick up and knit 162 stitches. I’m going to break this down into more manageable numbers.

My usual method is to cut the length in half, then in half again, and again, until I get to a small enough section that doesn’t hurt my head. If I wanted in the illustration below, I could have halved the 20 stitch sections to 10, but I’m comfortable with 20 stitches at a time.

PickingUpStitches_3.5

162 / 8 sections  = 20.25 stitches per section. I’m going to solve this by making 2 of my sections 21 stitches instead of 20. In the scheme of things, a stitch here or there rarely makes much of a difference. I placed safety pins at each of my divisions

Next, I need to figure out the rate at which I’m going to pick up my stitches. I counted the rows in a couple of my 20-stitch sections, and found that each of these had 24 rows. I will be picking up 20 stitches over 24 rows.

Now I’m going to put some of my fancy math skills to work with fractions! 20/24 can be reduced to 5/6. This means I’m going to be picking up 5 stitches for every 6 rows. For you, this number could be the same, but it could also be different. It all depends on your row gauge.

To pick up and knit, I’m first going to start at the right-hand side of the piece. In most cases when I’m picking up stitches, I like to pick up between the outermost stitch and the next stitch in. In a super chunky yarn, I might pick up in the center of the outermost stitch to reduce the bulky of the seam. But Deluxe Chunky isn’t too heavy, so I’m going one stitch in as usual.

PickingUpStitches_4

 

Insert your needle into the space between those first two stitches. Wrap yarn around the needle,

PickingUpStitches_5

 

And pull through.

PickingUpStitches_6

 

Here we are with a few picked up stitches on the needle.

PickingUpStitches_7

 

And with the first 21 stitches on the needle. My markers make it easy to see my sections and to count back to make sure I have the right number of stitches.

PickingUpStitches_8

 

Here are all the stitches on the needle:

PickingUpStitches_9

 

What you can’t see here, is that I picked up an extra stitch on one half of the piece. If this happens, it’s no big deal. Just k2tog or p2tog over the next row to adjust.

 

And, the edging completed:

PickingUpStitches_10

 

All that’s left is my other side edging, a collar, some blocking, and it’s done!

As I was sitting outside enjoying my evening the other night, I could smell the autumn in the air for the first time this year. It’s coming, people. It’s coming! How is your knitalong project coming?

 

Catawba River Poncho – Joining Shoulders

Our Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong has been going strong for about 3 weeks now. If you’ve been thinking about joining, you can begin by reading through some of the blog posts here. It’s not too late to start! You can take part in sharing and conversation over on Ravelry in our knitalong group here.

Knitalong graphic hi-res

Today I want to cover a technique used in the Catawba River Poncho, the 3 needle bind-off. In this pattern, it is used to join the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces.

Here is my front piece of the poncho. My neck stitches have been bound-off already, and my shoulder stitches are sitting on the needle.

3ndl_1

 

And here are my front and back pieces with shoulders touching. They’re ready to become one!

3ndl_2

 

To begin, place the pieces with right sides together. You can see that I left my yarn attached to one of my pieces – one less end to weave in later!

3ndl_3

 

It’s important for each shoulder to be on a needle. I’m going to be knitting a stitch from each needle together to join them.

3ndl_4

 

Insert your right needle through the first stitch on the front needle, then through the first stitch on the back needle. Here, I’m just using the needle from the other end of one of my working circular needles. But if you find this awkward, you could use a spare double point or straight needle.

3ndl_5

 

Step 1: Knit the 2 stitches together and slip to the right needle.

3ndl_6

 

Step 2: Knit the next 2 stitches together and slip to your right needle – you now have 2 stitches on your right needle.

3ndl_7

 

Step 3: Bind off 1 stitch by passing the first stitch on the right needle over the second stitch.

3ndl_8

3ndl_9

 

Repeat steps 1-3 for a 3 needle bind-off. Here’s what it looks like after a few stitches have been bound off:

3ndl_10

 

Here is my first shoulder after joining:

3ndl_11

 

Both shoulders:

3ndl_11.5

 

You can see that this method produces a ridge, which is why it’s typically worked with wrong sides of pieces held together. But every now and then I like to use it as a design element and work it with wrong sides together.

 

And here’s my shoulder viewed from the right side:

3ndl_12

 

There are a few reasons I love a three needle bind-off. For one, I don’t have any seams to sew. I don’t really mind sewing seams, but I don’t just totally love doing it, either. I’d always rather be knitting than sewing a seam.

Second, a three needle bind-off makes it easy to line up pattern stitches, such as in the Catawba River Poncho. I could acheive the same look with a mattress stitch seam, but I prefer this method when possible.

Third, I find it easier to get a seam with good tension as opposed to a sewn seam. Oh, and fourth, a 3 needle bind-off makes for a very stable seam. Shoulder seams see a lot of stress. Especially in a piece like this worked in a bulky weight yarn, think about how much stress will be placed on the shoulders as the garment is hanging down from it.

Next time I’ll be back to talk more about this poncho! I’m going to be picking up stitches along the sides for my eyelet ribbing.

Are you knitting along? I would love to hear how you’re doing!