The Gyro Experience

I thought I could do it. A test knit. Test a pattern for accuracies before publication. I counted the weeks, predicted how much time I could dedicate to knitting each of those week . . . and calculated. Yep, I could do it, I thought and then . . . nope, notta, nothing. The due date came and went. Much like one fails at fostering and adopts, I failed with this test knit and knitted a beauty.

I first saw this design called Gyro on fb. It immediately caught my attention, as to me, it looked like the model was wearing a sort of shawl over a knitted dress. Oh, I thought, that shawl would constantly be falling off my shoulder. Annoying. I looked twice and came to realize it was a one-picee affair and immediately, my love affair. All my knitting plans shifted, the search for yarn (in the house) ensued, and I became a test knitter for the designer.

Linda Marveng‘s patterns are sophisticated and not for the faint of heart. Small needles, yards and yards of yarn, intricate cables; her mucho finishing details are abundant. Her patterns are thorough in direction and Linda, herself is very approachable and appreciative of all suggestions to her patterns. (Within the time frame, I was able to help with a thing or two.) And, when I realized the deadline could not be met, she was very understanding of that, as well.

Well, in life, who knows what the next day is going to bring. And, in knitting, what is planned sometimes goes south.

I’m all about utilizing stash, especially leftover balls of yarn. This pattern offered two opportunities to do that.

Yardage figured out, tissue paper pattern made to help visualize the shape the knitted piece needed to be, my needles in hand and soon learned my gauge was off.

I had to ditch the scottish tweed for the sleeve sections. Could the felted tweed be used for the sleeves?

Yup, almost, as while the stitch gauge was right on, my row gauge was off causing me to need more yarn than what the pattern called for. No problem, I thought. I see all kinds of felted tweed still available. What I didn’t realize was the discontinuation of THIS color and two of the sleeve sections had already been completed. Ravelry to the rescue.

Reaching out to the very few Ravelers who had this dye lot in their stash, I received a friendly and helpful response. She said she could help me but to be prepared as, in her experience, dye lots look very different with this line of yarn. I received her bundle, and to my dismay, she was correct, and attempted some sort of blending by alternating knitting two rows of one dye lot, then two rows of the other on the last two sections of the sleeves. You can see the result, below.

Well, turns out I fell in love with the ‘striping’ and had enough of the darker dye lot to be creative on the solid pieces. So, well . . . you know. (When you think of ripping out as opportunity for more knitting, it doesn’t feel so bad.)

When it came to the sewing, it became strategic to make sure the striping lined up at the sides, and across the back and the front. You can make out the subtle striping, here that does just that.

Here’s a better view.

The cable section ended up being knitted in Tinde, a delightful new yarn to me, written about, here. It is of a lavender hue that shows its magnificence in the light of day.

The rest? Just a lot of knitting. The only change I made to the pattern was to create a selvage by knitting the first stitch of every row. I used the twin stitch method for short rows, and I did not find the need or want to block.

another

Oh, and one final thing . . . this is my first photo shoot with Sally, my iphone tripod. You can see the remote in my hand in the photo, below. Let’s just say, from beginning to end, it was quite the ride to create this epic look.

Modern Argyle

Utilizing a quiet day during lockdown, I am catching up on writing about a project completed a few months, ago. When I received my Vogue Knitting Holiday, 2019 and excitedly turned the pages to see the new designs, which has been a total thrill for me for over 40 years, I turned to this, #07 called Parallelogram designed by Laura Zukaite.

Under my breath I said, you’ve got to be kidding. Argyle? Didn’t I knit argyle 30 years, ago? Continuing turning the pages, the argyle stayed with me. I’ve been in conversation many a time with knitters talking on how we choose the projects we choose. I have noticed that one technique I consider is if the garment is memorable. I very much liked the modern twist of the cropped length and the way the diagonal lines of the argyle finished around the shoulders. Upon further noticing, I realized I had the perfect yarn in my scrap stash. (I’ve talked extensively about stash here and again, here as examples. Another word I use is remnants.) The grey is a workhorse yarn, a classic wool from Patons that actually was a hand me down yarn from another knitter. I figured the other colors simply had to be of the same weight.

Have you noticed the variety of techniques designers use of knitting fabric, then adding embellishment over that fabric? Appliqué, perhaps? Such is the case in this beauty I knitted many years, ago by Norah Gaughan, from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 1994. Oh, how I wished I either still had this or had taken a photo of me in it.

Recently, I saw this exquisite number by Alexandra Davidoff from VK Spring/Summer 2019 working cross stitch with an embroidery needle after knitting a grid-type fabric and yes, it is now in my queue.

Plaids are often created by knitting horizontal striped fabric, then adding the vertical lines of a plaid in duplicate stitch, again with an embroidery needle. My argyle came to life in exactly this way. First, the diamonds of the pattern using bobbins were knitted.

A tip on the usage of those bobbins: shaking or simply holding up the knitted fabric after a row allows the bobbins to dangle freely and they literally spin untangling themselves.

And, then the diagonal lines were applied over the stitches. Tips on duplicate stitch:

  • Use your thumb to guide yarn over stitch for fullest coverage.
  • Keep the work loose. When you pull tight, the yarn sinks in and the coverage is minimal (ugly).
  • Work from the bottom and go up.
  • Focus on not splitting yarns.
  • Keep slow.
  • Weave in ends, sew the sweater together.

This is a design that has a center that is to fit within the top and bottom of the garment. To assure that this would happen in my sweater, I paid particular attention to row gauge. See that little blue marker?

To center the argyle pattern, I had to add an inch below and above what the pattern stated. I only knew to do this because I knew my row gauge and the length I needed this to be. If I had not done this, my sweater would have been 2 inches too short.

Other than that, this project was clear sailing and is easy to wear. The photo shoot was in the neighborhood about 1 1/2 months, ago.

As seen on my Project Page on Ravelry

Comfort or Shout-Out

Maybe, it was the thrill of the package. Maybe, it is the yearning for something positive as we live in social distancing parameters, or maybe it is the fact that I have never knitted with this yarn before, but this post is nothing more than a shout-out for the exquisite yarn called Tinde.


Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk Tinde pelsullgarn
is a plied, dk 100% wool Norwegian yarn that I ordered online from Ysolda. I have knitted with wonderful yarn in the past, of different fibers, variety of weights, but somehow this particular yarn has caught my attention. It just begs to be knitted. It is as simple as that. I ‘found’ it via a test knit for Linda Marveng‘s new pattern called Gyro. Let me share this awesome bat-wing sleeve dress pattern with you, also could be thought of as a tunic. I was particularly drawn to, what I call, the double layer look. To me, it looked like the model had on a knitted dress with a knitted shawl over it. The fact that it is one piece is captivating.

I won’t discuss my well-intended thought and subsequent failure regarding the test knit (due date has come and gone), rather the fact that this well-intention did lead me to the introduction and eventual purchase of this yarn. Difficult to photograph and capture the essence of its color which is truly as lush as the yarn, here is my best attempt.

Maybe, you can see it better paired with the sides of the dress, already knitted in Rowan’s felted tweed. (Not to veer off topic, but there is a story about this yarn choice, as well.)

You can see the cable section started for the center of the design utilizing Tinde. I think it is the yarn’s body that I am so appreciating.

I am working my way up as you can see and am also stopping to snap a picture of the cable work.

I have learned this strategy of taking photos along the way to help spot mistakes in my knitting. Whatever the pattern stitch, (cable, color work, etc) somehow, seeing the entirety of the fabric from a distance defines the mistakes and they jump out. It is amazing what you see in a photo that you do not see when the knitting is directly in your lap. I mentally prepare myself for ripping out if mistakes are spotted.

Transition

The volunteer position of teaching knitting, aka my ‘found’ knitting group, includes teaching basic skills. The hope is that this art will serve these ladies well in some capacity in their future. The classes are offered in semesters so the size of the group of ladies varies. And so does the skill level of the participants. With that in mind, I offer a variety of patterns,

all free from Ravelry, from very simple to a bit more complex. Complex in that some patterns may include cables, may have increase and decrease steps, or expect the knitter to read a chart. It is with great effort that I am knitting samples of these patterns so the ladies can see and feel exactly what they are embarking upon.

One lady in particular was zooming right along on her projects. She was a great knitter and expressed a desire to learn how to read charts. So, I found this muffler pattern, a hooded scarf, that I thought would serve well. One could make just the scarf or the entire muffler, has a chart to follow with simple cables and I knew I loved the pattern. So by making it, I would have this great item in my wardrobe as well as serve as the sample of this pattern. 

I call the project ‘transition’ as you will see how, as the weather transitions, so does this fun piece. I knitted it in Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease, worsted weight

wanting to utilize the exact yarn the ladies knit with. (A large collection of this particular yarn was donated for this volunteer position.)

Here I am along Erie Basin Marina’s inner break wall modeling the hooded scarf as single layer.

Continue reading “Transition”

I Lost and Found a Knitting Group

Pretty much my entire life, I’ve knitted alone.  Happily, on the couch, in a relaxed state of mind, figuring out the pattern stitch or the possible mistake in the pattern or in my thinking, always knitting alone  . . happily.  The main advantage of that is the ease of stealing an hour here or there between the hustle bustle of family life, after a school day (whether a student or teacher or both), in between the piles of homework and/or housework, there were always those precious hours.

After retirement, feeling like I might have a bit more time and a desire to socialize, it was very much a goal to find a group to knit with, to share in ideas, conversation, technique, or just a ladies’ night out.  I tried small groups, large groups, Organizations, retreats, coffee shop groups, and online groups. I’ve invited groups to my home and/or I’ve been invited to people’s homes to knit whether it was for teaching knitting or knitting individual projects.  It’s been nearly four years since my retirement and I’ve been in . . . and out of pretty much all of these scenarios.

In the throngs of volunteering which is how I have spent these last four years when not care-taking, house keeping, keeping up with my own health and wellness, well, you know the list. And, always keeping my ears open for that knitting group, I came across an opportunity. In search of a soup kitchen in which to serve, an opportunity arose to teach knitting to a group of temporary residents (women) during their winter semester (January – March) where they reside.  Oh, here we go again, I thought, but hey, let’s give it a try.

The class was named Stitch Away Stress.

Well, can I say how delightful I was to be with this group?  The ladies were enthusiastic, willing, able, but mostly so very appreciative to learn how to knit.

We used donated yarn, donated needles, and FREE patterns found on Ravelry.  Our goal within the twelve weeks was to complete at least one project.  Well, one lady completed more than one project as seen here in her pile of finished projects.

Here are individual projects, all knitted in garter stitch ~

 Triangle Neck Wrap

Infinitude Scarf

Infinitude Scarf, before

and after with design change of added fringe.

Color Tipped Scarf

and another.

Of course, I had to get into the action.  Mine is modeled outside along the driveway.

Below is a most enthusiastic knitter but she began a bit late into the class and is working on getting the stitch down. That hooded scarf pattern in the background is a project a lady and I said we would be making during the summer semester, our KAL of Hooded Muffler.  Again, all of these patterns are easy to find and are FREE and on Ravelry.

I look forward to meeting up with the ladies again soon. In the meantime, I am delighted that I have found my knitting group.