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Scientific Study of Color Affection

My several months long “Scientific Study” of Color Affection by Veera Valimaki

I believe this is the most fascinating pattern I have come across in some time. Not only has it compelled more than 12,000 Ravelry users to knit this garment, but it has made me make two immediately and Sheryl, one for the shop. Like potato chips, I tell customers, it’s tough to stop at one. What is so fascinating, that depending on the color combination you select, then which color you choose as your main – you produce a fabric that hardly resembles any others that have been knit!
However, there have been a few issues with the construction and I will run through a description of our shop’s three shawls.

Shawl number one followed the pattern EXACTLY. The shawl is knit top down, beginning with five stitches and the increases were created with M1L or M1R. The main color and contrasting color #1 and contrasting color #2 are twisted then carried. The designer recommends doing this loosely and refers the knitter to a tutorial.
Finished shawl number 1 prior to blocking had a unsightly twist, very tight cast on border running the length of the shawl, making it curl like a potato chip scarf. Causing, as you can imagine great panic and much research from yours truly.
I immediately cast on Shawl # 2 while Shawl # 1 was blocking (using wet blocking and blocking wires but beware, some Ravelry users have too vigorously blocked that cast on and have snapped the fibers!)

I decided to continue the M1L/M1R increase, but would not twist the additional colors as I carried them up the sides. I would simply pick them up as needed. While progressing, I noted the edging worked equally neat as Shawl #1. Meanwhile Shawl #1 had dried and the potato chip scarf effect had disappeared (collective sigh across the country) but the tight cast on border remained. Some would say, overcritical, but remember this is a scientific study.
Shawl #2 is bound off and the border is better, but still sadly quite tight. But we have eliminated the potato chip effect, so I know placing the blocking wires will be a snap.

Shawl #2 blocking, I eagerly cast on Shawl #3. Now I will not carry the colors and instead of M1L/R I will use YO at either ends for the increases. As you can imagine, number three flies off my needles as my excitement grows. Binding off I find the edging is springy, elastic, quite pleasing to the touch, but aesthetically unattractive. The YO’s do not meld with the linear symmetry of the garter stitch.
Now you may think I’ve completely lost my mind at this point. This is quite possible. But with the research and reading and Shawl #4, the solution is at hand. Do not carry the colors. For your increases, use YOs. Then on the wrong side rows, when you come to these YOs, PURL THROUGH THE BACK LOOP.

This closes the YO, keeps an elastic springy cast on, maintains the garter symmetry. Oh knitting joy, and the conclusion of this great color affection journey. (Must admit I love it so much, claimed one for myself and one for my Mom!)

A Little More Knit, Swirl Math

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Hello, Sheepies, especially those of you participating in the great Knit, Swirl! experiment! Last week (and last KAL session) we discussed how to adjust your number of stitches to make your sleeves the right length. Changing the number of stitches you cast on for the sleeves will force you to make two adjustments later in the pattern: you need to adjust how many stitches you work before and after binding off the neck, so your neck is still at the center of the garment and you need to alter the number of stitches you bind off when finishing the sleeves.

First: centering the neck.

There are two ways to adjust where to place the neck; choose whichever makes more sense to you. If neither make sense, please feel free to follow-up with us either online or in person.

Way #1: Count the number of stitches you have on your needle. Subtract the number of stitches that you will be binding off. Divide the remaining stitches by two. This number is how many stitches to work before you start the bind off and after you finish binding off. So, for Diana’s sweater, she has 260 stitches on her needle and is supposed to bind off 38 stitches. (260-38)/2 = 111, so she should work 111 stitches before starting her neck bind off.

Way #2: Either increase or decrease the number of stitches the pattern says to work by half of the number of stitches you used to adjust the sleeve length. Again, for Diana’s sweater, she had to decrease her sleeve cast on by 12 stitches. The pattern calls for her to work 117 stitches before starting the neck, so she needs to decrease that number by half of 12, or 6. If you had to add additional stitches to make your sleeves longer, you need to work more stitches to get to the neck than the pattern calls for.

Issue Two: Binding off at the end of the sleeves.

This is actually a very easy issue to handle; it is just important to remember to do it. At the end of the sleeves, you are going to bind off the stitches you cast on in reverse order. Over welts 49 and 50, the pattern calls for Diana to bind off 58 stitches, the same number she cast on over welts 35 and 36.

As you may recognize from last week’s post, the number of stitches being bound off for each row is the same as the number of stitches cast on, in reverse order. To make this fit Diana’s sweater, she will bind off in the same manner she cast on, in reverse order.

If you have any further questions about this or any other aspect of the Knit, Swirl sweater, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We hope you’re having a good time working on the sweater and are staying warm as the weather gets cold!

Knit, Swirl! Sleeve Math

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As you may know if you’ve been in the shoppe lately and are working on the Knit, Swirl! jacket, there is a potential issue with the sleeve length. Diana discussed this at the last KAL (recorded video available here), but here’s a reminder in case you’ve forgotten some of the details.

We’ll use Diana’s sweater as the example, but the concept is the same for all of the sweaters. Diana is knitting Tangerine Rose in size 1.

Towards the beginning of the directions for each jacket, there is a measurement given for the Center Back Neck to Cuff size. To be sure that your jacket fits correctly, this measurement must be the same as from the center of the back of your neck to where you want the end of the cuff to fall on your arm.

On page 52 of the Knit, Swirl! book, the Center Back Neck to Cuff measurement for a Size 1 Tangerine Rose is given as 33 1/4″. Diana’s measurement is 30 1/4″, so she needs to decrease the length of her sleeves by 3″.

Page 52: Center Back Neck to Cuff

Before we can alter the pattern, we need to figure out how many stitches to decrease for 3″. This is easy, since we know our gauge. 3 inches x 4 stitches/inch = 12 stitches. So we need to decease 12 stitches over the next two welts (35 and 36). To do this we will omit some of the cast-on stitches, rather than decreasing already existing stitches.

Page 54: Sleeve Cast On Stitches.

As you can see on Page 54 (or the image above), we need to increase in both welts 35 and 36. For the 33 1/4″-length sleeve, we should increase by a total of 58 stitches over these nine rows. To make the sleeves 3″ shorter, we will increase by only 46 stitches.

Cast On by Rows: Unmodified

We want to space the reduction reasonably evenly across both welts, taking away the most stitches from where we should increase the most. For Welt 35, rows 1 and 3 we will increase by 3 stitches instead of 4. For rows 2 and 4 we will increase 5 stitches instead of 6. The final number of cast on stitches is shown below.

Adjusted Number of Cast On Stitches for Sleeves

If your arms are longer than the sleeves, you should increase the number of stitches you cast on in a similar fashion.

We hope this will prevent you from having sleeves 9″ too long for your arms! If you need further help, please send us an email or come by the shoppe.

Ready, Set, Go – Knit, Swirl!

It’s time to begin the Knit, Swirl project. We got in a shipment of Madelinetosh last Friday and sold out of all of the Pashmina by Saturday afternoon for the Knit-a-long. I frantically called Marina at Madelintosh and she has enough in stock in eight colorways that she is shipping out first thing tomorrow. They are in Texas, should be here in time for the weekend if someone else has their heart set on Pashmina for the Knit, Swirl sweater. If not, we have plenty of other choices. The Madelinetosh Vintage in worsted is still available in lovely colors! The absolute beauty of this book is that there are four silhouettes, which are flattering on different body types. Within these silhouettes are patterns which call for different gauges.
This post will discuss the different silhouettes, sizing and required materials for those joining us for Knit, Swirl LIVE being broadcast on Saturday September 24th at 3pm. If this time doesn’t work for you we will have the videos taped on our website.

“Circle silhouettes offer gentle draping throughout and are softly flared across the back and hips.” This sounds perfect for my hourglass figure and shorter stature!
“Oval silhouettes hang flat across the back with more drape than the circle silhouettes at the front and sides…more variation in overall length is possible than in circle silhouette.” Think deep, deep collars and slim tapered sleeves.
“Centered Silhouettes, collars are deeper and more shawl-like, back lengths are shorter, and the torso and the upper portion of the sleeves are more generous.”
“Off-centered silhouettes, collars are much narrower, back lengths are longer, and the torso and the upper sleeves are more fitted.” I would consider my second sweater as an off-center circle, the off-center oval would be more appropriate for a slender tall woman (not me! Maybe Judy!)

Sizing is by determining your yoke measurement and we will do this on Saturday – so different from bust measurement! The sweater has three sizes: Size One Yoke of less than 33 inch (me), size Two Yoke of less than 35 inch (Nancy) and size Three Yoke of less than 37 inch.

Materials required: yarn is dependent upon pattern and sizing. Ms McIver recommends using resilient yarns and suggests avoiding non-resilient yarns such as cotton, linen or hemp.
I can’t stress the importance of knitting a swatch and blocking it before beginning your project. Ms. McIver suggests creating an 8″ square in pattern, wash in lukewarm water and allow to dry completely before checking your gauge. Adjust needle size to obtain the gauge as directed in the pattern.
Locking stitch markers – about 20 to 25.
Of course, the most important thing needed is Sandra McIver’s Book knit, Swirl!
See you Saturday and continue to follow the progress here!

New Knit-A-Long


Within the lavishly photographed pages of knit, Swirl!, designer Sandra McIver presents 18 designs that flatter all figures, each based on the innovative one piece, one seam circular construction she calls a “Swirl”. Using simple knitting techniques, she creates elegant sweater jackets in four dramatic silhouettes and three flexible sizes. Swirls are fun to style and may be worn in a variety of ways—some even upside down! Clear step-by-step pattern instructions and detailed schematics make knitting a Swirl a simple pleasure.

It is astonishing that only simple knitting skills are needed to knit this most sophisticated of all sweaters….I believe this sweater is destined to become one of the most oft-knit, beloved and reliable knitting designs in history. —Cat Bordhi

As clever a book as it is gorgeous, knit, Swirl! presents a masterful use of simple knitting techniques to create a garment that – as I can personally attest – feels magnificent, showcases yarn to its fullest, and flatters all figures. Sandra’s Swirl is, indeed, the new Miracle Sweater.—Clara Parkes

Stunning garments, beautiful photography, and endless variations on an innovative theme – this book is flawless. Sandra’s sweaters combine the perfect blend of simplicity and figure flattering shaping to entice knitters of all skill levels and sizes. —Cookie A

The scope of work included in these pages is absolutely staggering. The presentation of Sandra’s work is at once thoughtful, intuitive and beautiful. An instant classic and a true treasure in our genre. —Jared Flood

Like the origami master who cuts a square of paper and finds a universe within its magical folds, Sandra McIver has created a unique sweater construction that is inspired and inspiring. From a single shape she proposes a wardrobe of possibilities through pattern directions that are as much roadmaps of the designs as they are a foundation for the knitter’s own invention. You won’t be able to resist the urge to pick up needles and yarn. —Catherine Lowe

We already have a great group wanting to do this! Let’s start it at the end of September!

Hot New Projects for August

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Hi, Sheepies! Here’s a quick blog post to share some of the newest finished things we have at the shop. Have you been by recently and seen them? They’re pretty great!

This is Diana’s newest purse and we had to fight her to get it to stay in the shop so y’all could see it. It’s called Piedras, and it’s made from 2-3 skeins of Malabrigo Rasta knit on size 13 needles. We’ve got a fantastic selection of Grayson rolled leather handles in many colors, so there’s sure to be something to suit your tastes.

From our local master seamstress Maribeth Powers, look at the best knitting organizer you could ever want. You can use this to organize your interchangeable needles, DPNs, and notions, and there are lots of pockets for your notions. With this organizer you’ll have all your tools together and will have more time to be creative!

Here’s Diana in her gorgeous new Scribble Scarf, made using our luxurious new Paparazzi silk yarn from Pagewood Farms. How great is this?

Lastly (but certainly not least), here’s Nancy in her finished Luck of the Draw Shawl! We’re working hard to keep up with the demand for this fun, quick project, so come see what colors we have in stock!

Hot Off the Needles!

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Here are six great projects that are hot off of our needles!

First, we have a lovely, easy shawl made with new yarn from Trendsetter, Rendezvous.

Next up is another new yarn from Trendsetter, Improv. We know how much you enjoyed the ruffle yarn, Cha Cha, last year, and this is the newest twist on that idea. Improv can be knit like Cha Cha to make ruffles, or can be folded back on itself to make these pillows. It’s not as hard as it might sound, we promise.

New from Aslan Trends is Del Sur, a soft, chunky merino wool that you’ll just love. Diana designed this great sweater for it and you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll finish this project!

Fresh in from Munch Yarns is the oh-so-stylish Cleo! Diana saw this back at Market in June and we’ve been looking forward to it ever since. How great is this tank? Pretty great, right?

Last, but not least, is the new book Welcoming Home Baby. This book is full of wonderful projects to make for your newborn family member, including the super-cute hat and gorgeous throw shown below. The hat is knit with the Del Sur and Knit Collage, and the throw is made from Del Sur and Malabrigo Rasta.