Ambiguous Cowl – Clue Three

Part 3 brings me to the inside of the cowl that will be folded to the wrong side of the Front.  The pattern on the front of the cowl had a decidedly traditional look whereas the inside has a modern flare.  The inside chart has much less stranding with four rounds of single color knitting per repeat and no long floats to catch on the backside.

All the knitting for Ambiguous is finished and after a good long soak in a warm bath it has been measured and pinned out to block.  All that is left to do is to fold it in half and graft the top and bottom ends together.

Ambiguous Clue Three

Happy Knitting!

Ambiguous Cowl – Clue 2

Ambiguous Cowl - Clue 2

Ambiguous Cowl is measuring 11″ across for a 22″ circumference so I believe my gauge is spot on despite all my worries in the Clue 1 post.

The pattern is reminiscent of traditional Scandinavian designs and put my chart reading and stranding skills to work.  I don’t shy away from charts, I guess because of my many decades of counted cross stitch but I can respect the fact that some knitters steer clear of them.

Each repeat in this pattern is made of 16 stitches and 16 rows.  The designer gave us a couple tips that I also have found helpful through the years.  She recommend placing a marker every 16 sts to help you stay on track with the chart.  She also recommended using a sticky note (I use the extra sticky ones) on the chart to keep your eyes from wandering to the wrong row.  It is best to put the note above the row you are working and have it covering the rows not yet worked thus allowing you to see the charted design as it appears on your needles.

There were some special considerations that were addressed in the stranded design and this was where I learned I needed to have a ‘teachable’ spirit.  There were some long stretches between color changes in a few places and that can make the strand (or float) on the back long and untidy.  The floats can snag easily and pucker the fabric. Do you remember as I do, ever putting on a sweater in your childhood and your finger getting caught in a float?  As you knit the design there is a way to ‘catch’ the floats in those long stretches and trap them.  The designer said the general rule was to catch the float if the yarn is unused for more than 5 stitches or one inch.  Well….I like things ‘tidy’ on the backside of my stranded knitting so for years I have caught the floats on every fourth stitch, regardless.

Halfway through the cowl I realized I was gobbling up yardage, far more than what the designer had used, and I had to take a deep breath and let go of my ‘regardless rule’.  When I did I discovered that the pattern lay flatter and actually looked nicer.  Never, before this project, did I consider that my method for catching floats used more yarn than necessary but with us watching yardage in this project as we were doing…… I learned something new, YAY!

 

Wandering Moon – Part 1

I’ve been working on the border for Wandering Moon for the last couple weeks.  This crescent-shaped shawl is a design by Michelle Hunter and was a featured knit along last October.  When I saw this one I thought it would work nicely with some of my oldest stash yarn, Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool.  I bought three skeins of this 45% wool/ 35% silk/ 20% nylon yarn many years ago when it was deeply discounted at a yarn store in Texas.  I believe this particular yarn will enhance the beautiful stitches and techniques in this shawl.
Wandering Moon Border
This shawl incorporates interesting techniques and stitches so I hope to increase my skills while creating a wearable work of art in the lovely shade of ‘medium’ blue.
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Wandering Moon is knit from the bottom up beginning with a unique cabled border.  The border is knit as one long strip.  The next step for me will be to pick up stitches along the edge for the body of the shawl.   I cast on using the Cable Cast On method which produces a nice edge with the right side facing all ready to knit the first row.  Since the border was worked over a small number of stitches I used my beautiful shorter length Signature Needles with the stiletto tips – the perfect length needle for this strip of cables.
Signature Needles

According to the designer, the MOST IMPORTANT task in this border was to to hang a marker from the last stitch of every 20 row repeat.  I worked the cabled border pattern 26 times.  Apparently, the markers will help me correctly pick up stitches in the next step and also help me incorporate a new stitch into the pattern.  It was kind of nice to do round up all my markers!

 

Ambiguous Cowl – Clue 1

Clue One has been finished for  KnitPurlHunter’s Ambiguous Cowl Knitalong and the second clue will be up sometime this morning.

One of the goals Michelle has had for this clue is yardage management so gauge is super important. In fact, if my gauge  is not spot on with the pattern’s gauge I will run out of yarn and not be able to finish the cowl. The participants knitting the large cowl with four skeins of yarn will not be sweating as much as those of us knitting the small size with only two skeins of yarn.  Our yardage is pretty tight.
Ambiguous Swatch

I’m usually the ‘gauge’ police with my friends so I was not the least bit daunted when there was lots of chatter about the importance of gauge swatches, weighing yarn and comparing it to how much Michelle used when she knit the first clue, etc.

BUT THEN … I knit my gauge swatch using the designated size 5 needle, and then size 4 and then size 3 and I could not get gauge on any of the needles and there was not a noticeable discrepancy between the changes in needle sizes. I’m a fan of great BIG gauge swatches, not teeny TINY ones. The bigger the swatch, the more accurate it becomes when you measure it.  I surmise that my tiny swatch is telling big fat white lies to me right now.

Ambiguous Cowl - Clue 1

So what did I do?  I blindly plunged forward anyway knowing my tension is usually quite loose and knit with the pattern’s designated size 5 needle and hoped for the best.  But, of course, my gauge was way off when I pinned it out for its first photo shoot. Lesson learned…… why did I do that?

I ripped back and knit the clue all over again dropping down a needle size knowing that I should have gone with my gut instead of that teeny tiny gauge swatch. Those little swatches seem to always be wrong. Being a loose knitter and typically have to go down a needle size or two from what the pattern says.
Ambiguous Take Two

This completed clue, take two,  still does not meet gauge but it slightly better than the first attempt. I think I probably should go down to another needle size but since I didn’t use as much yarn as the designer used  I don’t think that is necessary.  At least, I hope not.

Can’t wait to move on to the next clue – I hear it a 14 stitch repeat!

Endgame – It’s a Wrap..ah,Scarf

In the bustle of rigid heddle loom assembly and warping for tea towels I was able to finish hubby’s belated Christmas present, the Endgame Scarf.
Endgame End Sections

Endgame was a delightful project and a proper gift for someone who thought he didn’t need to replace his dandy Noro striped scarf.

Resplendent with reversible cables, this scarf can be thrown around the neck and not a thought given to which side is the ‘right’ side and which the ‘wrong’ side.  Case in point – did you perchance notice in the picture that sides are not identical?  The one on the ‘right’ is actually the right side and the one on the ‘left’ is the wrong side but the scarf looks fetching all the same.  I didn’t notice when I was wrapping the scarf around my model’s neck.  I just love that no matter how Don wraps the scarf, it will show off some gorgeous cables.
Endgame Middle Section//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
The middle section made a nice transition before I reversed the directions of the cable for the second side.

The cables were successfully inverted and I completed this reversible scarf with a tubular cast off.  Typically, it is rather easy to distinguish the cast on edge from the bind off edge but in Endgame, you will need a magnifying glass to tell the difference between the two.  It is truly a bit of wonder!  The tubular cast on and bind off were the tangible lessons I took away from this project.

Don's EndgameHubby likes his new scarf and being the man of few words that he is, commented, ‘It’s long.’  Thirty two years of marriage have taught me to interpret this comment as, “This is the perfect length for my 6’3″ frame. It’s so frustrating to wear short scarves when you are a tall man.  Why doesn’t someone come up with an extra-tall scarf like they do extra-tall shirts?  I really like this scarf!  Thanks, Babe!

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One of my favorite places to shop that gives a 20% off discount for all fiber used in Michelle Hunter’s Knitalongs is Fiber Wild.

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Endgame Before 2016

In January 2015 I began a 4-part installment of the Progressive Needles Knit Along sponsored by Skacel Collection but set it aside after the first installment!  My resolution last year was to grow my knitting skills and KnitPurlHunter’s educational knit alongs often fit the bill.  I love that she has videos demonstrating new techniques.  Endgame is a lovely unisex scarf knit with Kenzie, a tweedy favorite of mine.  I envisioned it being a Valentine scarf for the hubby but alas, other projects stole my heart away from it.  I don’t want 2015 to end without finishing this lovely so out of hibernation it has come.

The scarf began with the invisible beauty of the Tubular Cast On worked in K2, P2.  Have you ever noticed that a long-tail cast on edge leaves a defined line which I feel detracts from the ribbing itself.  I learned this a few years ago when I knit an Aran sweater by designer Carol Fellar.
Tubular Cast On

For an invisible edge in the ribbing, Endgame employs the Tubular Cast On Method.  You can see in my photo that the knit and purl stitches of the ribbing seem to flow to the bottom of the scarf giving it a nice rounded edge…..love it!  The next time I knit a hat I will definitely be using a Tubular Cast On.

Another technique that is really cool in this pattern is that every end in Endgame will be gorgeous.  The edges of the scarf will lie flat with a two stitch I-cord running up the vertical edges. No wonky sides in this scarf!  I am very pleased with the results thus far.
Endgame in Kenzie

Now the cable fun begins!  You know how much I love cables!  What I especially like about Endgame is that ifeatures magically reversible cables made possible with ribbed stitches.   These cables are knit just like ordinary cables with the exception that they include both knit an purl stitches.  Reversible cables are great because the scarf looks fabulous on both sides.  I’ll show you the backside in my next progress post.

Lastly, I have been stung in a recent lace project not once but twice by not using a lifeline so I will make certain Endgame will be in the ‘safe zone’ by placing a lifeline after every cable repeat.  I find lifelines tedious but I have a feeling I will not regret it — I don’t want one of those ‘extra-long’ cables in my scarf — know what I mean?