theraineysisters knitting and so much more

December 9, 2007

From Susan and Sally — Why Add I-Cord to Ballerina??

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Sally's Ballerina — Both Sisters @ 1:27 pm

Laura wondered about the i-cord on Ballerina, “I am not clear on why you added the i-cord to the bottom edge since there is already a knitted-in i-cord finish to it.” 

Susan answered this question in an old post here.  Basically, it is because the built in i-cord is not very attractive from the inside*.  With a swing coat, like Ballerina, it is possible that the hem will show because the back is longer than the front.  Doing applied i-cord afterward makes for a better looking finish:

Ballerina007.jpg picture by lv2knit
Susan’s Mermaid at top of photo, Ballerina at the bottom.

*PS from Susan: I should clarify: Hanne’s built-in i-cord is not very attractive from the inside — she does it this particular way in order to have single color i-cord at the hemline even though you are knitting 2-color stripes as shown in Mermaid above.

In general, it is absolutely easy to have built in i-cord on either edge of a garter stitch strip of any width:

For a 3-stitch i-cord edge on ONE side of garter stitch:
Row 1: knit to last 3 sts, bring yarn forward, slip last 3 sts to right hand needle one by one as to purl; turn
Row 2: knit

For 3-stitch i-cord edge on BOTH sides of garter stitch:
All Rows: knit to last 3 sts, bring yarn forward, slip last 3 sts to right hand needle one by one as to purl; turn

December 8, 2007

From Sally — At Long Last!

Filed under: Roslin Fair Isle Hoodie,Sally's Ballerina — surly @ 2:24 pm

 Ballerina is finished. It’s a good thing, too — I really wanted and needed it to be off the needles and in the finished pile. I’m not sure why knitting this drove me crazy or why it took so long. I knit the first half in a very short time period, but the second half just dragged like a bad movie. Oh, well.

I made a few minor changes in the pattern. Like Susan, I did an applied iCord at the bottom and along the neck band because I think it gives it a more finished look. It’s a lot of iCord by the time you go all the way around.

Now, when I finished all of the knitting I tried it on. I was, to say the least, underwhelmed. It was SO boxy that I felt like I was wearing a cardboard box. Cutting armholes in a cardboard box would have taken me a lot less time than I had spent on my poor Ballerina. But I knew from making Mermaid that the yarn would soften and the sweater would have more drape once it was drowned soaked and blocked. It worked. Yay! Here are the obligatory photos of Lucy wearing it. (I’m not sure I’m crazy about how the stripes look wider at the shoulder, but I don’t think there’s much I can do about it.)

I do like how it fits; it looks better on because of the way it moves. Therefore, I am actually — gasp — going to post a couple of photographs in which I’m modeling it. Warning: These are not great pictures. There’s a reason I take most of the photographs in the family although it was sweet of my husband to try. I did some serious cropping as well. Part of the problem was that the angle of the pictures made me look even shorter and stubbier than I am. I mean, I know I’m not the tallest Rainey Sister on the blog, but still. Okay. Takes deep breath. Here you go:

Edited to add: I always get nervous about yarn quantities when I work with kits. For those of you contemplating Ballerina, I did have plenty of yarn. I chose to make the S/M. I lengthened the sleeves by an inch or so and then also did the iCord, which uses a lot of yarn that would not have been accounted for by the designer. I have a full ball and a half of each color left over. (Falkenberg gives you enough yarn for the largest size.)

In other news, Astrid finished her beautiful Roslin and kindly let us show it to you — what a fantastic job!  She used Jamieson Spindrift & DK in Peacock (Color 258) as her main color and most of the same colors for the fair isle inset.  To accommodate gauge, she knitted the size small to achieve a finished size medium. 

Astrid1.jpg picture by lv2knit

Astrid2.jpg picture by lv2knit

AstridInset.jpg picture by lv2knit

Astrid, we are so proud of your Peacock Roslin!  Thanks for sharing!


November 30, 2007

From Sally — A Little Progress on Ballerina

Filed under: Sally's Ballerina — surly @ 3:32 pm

I keep plodding along with my Ballerina, all the while eyeing more enticing projects that seem just out of reach. I fear that if I put Ballerina down at this point, I won’t get back to it for months — which seems kind of silly when I am so close to finishing.

I’ve had obstacles. First, my little assistant came for a visit and he’s not always as helpful as I’d like.

Then I traveled to a Christmas concert and didn’t get much knitting done.

Now I’ve got company coming and I needed to shovel out the guest room. Even so, I’ve just got the last part of the right front, the neck band, and the finishing (which won’t be too bad) left. Here are some photos. Lucy’s hoping it looks a bit more elegant when it’s finished.

November 15, 2007

From Sally — Some Quick Notes on Ballerina

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Sally's Ballerina — surly @ 4:01 pm

I’m not sure this post will make any sense to someone who hasn’t knit or isn’t in the middle of knitting a Falkenberg Ballerina, but here goes anyway. In my update yesterday, I showed the raglan edge between the back and the right sleeve before the stitches were re-activated. Here it is again so that you don’t have to scroll:

Falkenberg has you alternate between reducing one stitch and two stitches through short rows on the raglan. It’s easy to keep track of where you are (and whether you need to be deactivating one stitch or two) because they clump together. If you’ve just deactivated two stitches, for example, you’ll see what looks like three stitches in a clump: the yarnover (which Falkenberg uses instead of a wrap) and the two stitches. Alrighty then. When you are working on the other side of the raglan line, you are “increasing” through short rows. Again, you either add 1 or 2 stitches. The problem is that when you are increasing stitches through short rows you knit past your last increase on your way to do the new one. It’s harder, therefore, to see what you’ve just done and remember if you are supposed to go up by 1 stitch or 2. I’m easily distracted, constantly interrupted, and I’m working with black yarn. (Note: on the sleeve side of the raglan edge, all of my stitches are black so I can’t just use the color change as a guide, which I will be able to do on the raglan side of the right front when I am increasing stitches there.)

My sister Susan came up with a clever way to keep track: she wove a contrast yarn around the stitches before she started the short rows. That made the knitting itself much more mindless. Here’s the method:

First, in addition to increases up the raglan via short rows, you are supposed to be increasing stitches at the other end of the knitting to form the sleeve. Falkenberg makes three stitches out of one to increase two stitches (instead of using short rows). Susan and I both wanted to be able to do a three needle join of the sleeve seam. So, before starting the raglan short rows I did a provisional cast on of all of my sleeve stitches using a contrast yarn. Then I knitted one row from the cuff edge to where the stitches would join the armhole and the raglan. At this point, things looked like this:

Then I wove a contrasting yarn through the raglan stitches.

Then I could start knitting, increasing on both sides. The blue yarn tells me to stop and turn. It’s mindless, and I don’t need to remove the blue yarn as I go.

I’m sure this probably sounds incomprehensible unless you’re knitting one of these; I apologize. As a reward for making it through this painfully boring blog entry, here’s a touch of fall.

November 14, 2007

From Sally — Where Have I Been?

Filed under: Sally's Ballerina — surly @ 11:50 am

Did you miss me? Sorry to have been missing in action. I took a short trip. First, I had to visit my little assistant. Doesn’t he look cute in his bomber jacket?

Then I jetted off to Paris:

Well, maybe it wasn’t Paris. Maybe it was Las Vegas and I just wished it were Paris. (This is the view of the Paris Hotel from my room over at the Bellagio.) I discovered that I am not a Las Vegas lover, which I pretty much suspected before I went. I don’t gamble and I don’t like cigarette smoke. But I did love that view of faux Paris, especially at night.

I also drove out to see the Hoover Dam. (I wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, but I didn’t have time.) Right at the Hoover Dam, they are building a bridge, whose supports you can see in this photo. I think I’d be nervous driving over this thing when it’s finished.

I’ve also done some knitting. Some of it is stealth knitting that I can’t talk about yet. But I have made some progress on Ballerina. I’m finished with the back — just one sleeve and the right front left to go. Lucy is hoping it’s long enough to cover her ass and thighs after it’s blocked.

Here is a close up of the raglan before the stitches are activated for the next sleeve. When you are reducing the number of stitches on the raglan, the stitches “clump together” with the yarnover under Falkenberg’s method. It’s easy, therefore, to tell whether you have just reduced by one or two stitches. When you are increasing the number of stitches up the raglan, which I’ll be doing next, it’s trickier. I’ll show you how I keep track (a method devised by Susan) tomorrow.

Finally, here is a photo of those stitches after they’ve been reactivated.

November 2, 2007

From Susan and Sally: Answers to Ballerina Questions

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Sally's Ballerina — Both Sisters @ 10:55 pm

Several of you had some questions about Ballerina, so we will attempt to enlighten and clarify:

From Susan to Judi P in Cleveland : I love my Ballerina and wear it frequently — sans button!  I suffer from “lack of waist” syndrome so I wear it over a jumper.  It never slips off my shoulders, never needs adjustment.  When I went on the Shop Hop three weeks ago, Rosanne was one of my travelling peeps and she wore her Ballerina — it’s exactly like the one Sally is knitting.  She never tugged or pulled, and it looked fantastic with black slacks and black turtleneck — she also wore a stunning necklace.  Sally started hers at this time because I described how great Rosanne looked wearing hers.  So, there are a couple of real life testimonials!

Check out this source for great pricing on Ballerina:

Warning!!  Hanne just introduced a new design that looks like a cross between Sunrise Circle and Mermaid called Gloria — quite cute (Cucumberpatch for Gloria).

From Sally: Several people have asked me about the basting along the bottom of my Ballerina:

It’s not basting. I’m marking the ridges where I’ve made increases with a contrasting piece of yarn. Ballerina is short in the front, and it gets longer as you work your way around to the back. You start knitting with the left front. I’ve marked each ridge where I’ve made an increase so that when I start decreasing as I work towards the right front, I can decrease on the same ridges. In other words, it’s an easy way for me to try to make each half of Ballerina identical. I use the same method for marking increases on sleeves or increases/decreases for waist shaping.

Susan uses the same method. She described it here. Basically, when you get to an increase row, you “lay” a different colored yarn over the running thread between two stitches. Then you knit, which traps this yarn in place. It’s quick and easy and, if you forget to lay the yarn across the running thread until you are halfway through the row, you can pull it through with a crochet hook on the next (WS) row. When the garment is finished, you just pull it out. 

Another question was whether one wraps for the short rows. That’s a little more complicated. Falkenberg’s directions tell you to do a yarnover, rather than a wrap, for short rows. You knit to the turning point. (Remember, you are knitting garter stitch.) You turn. Instead of putting the yarn to the back, if you just knit the next stitch you create a yarnover. When you activate the stitches, you knit that yarnover with the following stitch and all is well.

BUT: I have found that other methods are sometimes prettier and you just need to experiment. For example, when I did the sleeve increases, I did nothing at all. No wrap, no yarnover. Why? Well, when you first knit the new stitches (to increase the number of sleeve stitches),* you are knitting on the wrong side. When you activate them, you are knitting on the right side. When I did these short rows using Falkenberg’s yarnover method, it just didn’t look right because the YO shows on the RS. It looked better doing nothing. (I have found this to be true in general with seed stitch as well as garter.) On the other hand, when you are activating stitches on the right side of the fabric, Falkenberg’s method looks great.

With the black yarn I’m using, you could use Falkenberg’s method and it would work; I just liked my method better, at least for the sleeves.   From Susan: I used Hanne’s method on my sleeves and did not like it for the reasons that Sally describes.  But it does look okay when you activate the sts from the RS.

From Susan: Another good method for garter stitch short rows is to wrap the stitch as usual for short rows but don’t pick up the wrap when you come back and activate the sts.  The wrap mimics the look of a garter stitch ridge perfectly.

*I had placed all of the sleeve stitches on a needle first through a provisional cast on and then added them in; I was not following Falkenberg’s directions.)

PS to Marina: I do not expect to knit Gloria: I already made both Sunrise and Mermaid, so I do not feel compelled (at least for the time being) to make Gloria!  But who knows??? 😉

October 31, 2007

From Sally — My Little Assistant Is Haunting Me (and so is a Ballerina)

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Sally's Ballerina — surly @ 10:50 am

Now that the first rush of excitement of our Roslin Hoodie pattern is past, and quick before we find any more mistakes, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled knitting and blogging.

I love Halloween — for some reason it’s always been one of my favorite holidays. Mayhaps it’s the candy. I usually carve a few intricate pumpkins, but I confess that this year’s are a little dull:

Fortunately, someone in the wilds of Colorado has been taking up the slack. Remember my little assistant? Here’s a refresher photo for those who don’t:

He’s been immortalized in a Halloween pumpkin by my daughter’s boyfriend. I think he may have found his true calling; it captures Batman perfectly.

As for knitting, I’ve embarked on another Hanne Falkenberg: Ballerina. I’ve had this kit for some time, and suddenly got interested in it when I finished Mermaid. I needed a portable project — my Kauni skeins are too large to carry around. Well, all I meant to do was get it “started,” but I got carried away. I’m just over halfway finished with it already, although I suspect my progress will now slow considerably.

Here are a few shots. First, Lucy is modeling it and wishing I would provide her with some kind of undergarments:

Here are some other shots that show the color and the pattern a little better. I was surprised, based on the photos I’d seen of this jacket, at just how many stripes there were on the sides. That part was a little sl-o-o-o-w.

For some reason, I’m finding this to be a more enjoyable knit than Mermaid — I’m not sure why. One reason may be that you are forced to knit the sleeves as you knit the body, so I know I won’t be faced with the drudgery of sleeves when the project is almost, but not quite, finished. It’s also a very clever design. As you finish the front, you knit one row of a garter ridge (which is always two rows) from the bottom to the neck edge, quickly (ha!) knit a sleeve, and then go back down the garter ridge and finish it. There is thus no side seam — you just keep going. You are supposed to go back later and seam the sleeves.

My clever sister Susan, who made Ballerina earlier, figured out an easy modification that allows you to join the sides of the sleeve in a three-needle bind off as you are knitting so that you don’t even have to go back later and do that bit of finishing. Instead of doing the sleeve increases as Falkenberg directs (by stitch increases), you do a provisional cast on of all the sleeve stitches and increase using short rows (as you do for the raglan shaping, etc.). Then, as you finish the last row of the sleeve, one side of the sleeve is already on a needle. You remove the provisional cast on from the other side and put those sleeve stitches on a second needle, and do a three needle bind off as you knit the last sleeve ridge. It’s brilliant and easy and eliminates finishing. I’m so glad she knit this first.

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