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Method to the Short Row Madness

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Yesterday’s WIP is today’s FO and today’s WIP will probably become tomorrow’s FO.  That’s the way hats work, the train just keeps rolling on.  I had fun with this one!  I kept the short rows going all the way to the top.  It’s got the perfect bit of asymmetric wonk happening.  If there’s anything I appreciate it’s intentional wonk.  Yeah, I meant to do that! :)

I kept the purple hat balanced, I keep my repeats regular.  For the next one, I’m going completely irregular.  It’s an experiment.  You know those ice breaker games where everyone says their name with an adjective beginning with the same letter and then you have to repeat the people’s names prior to you?  I was always Experimental Emily.

I’m still Experimental Emily.

So let’s see if I can explain what I did.  Once you allow yourself some wonk, the pressure of perfection is gone.  No need to match a pattern or even use one.  Whatever happens…happens.  and it’s okay.  And it’s easy!  You can do this, honest.

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I drew a color coded picture, maybe it’ll help.  ha!

1 – Cast on & ribbing, starts the same as any hat.  There’s no reason you have to use ribbing.  Insert your favorite beginning.  Knitter’s choice!

now onto the body of the hat…

2 – The first wedge,  I start by knitting one round.  Next round won’t really be a round, it’s going to be a row.  At this point, I’m going to start knitting flat, back and forth for the short rows.  I’m starting with a long row, almost the entire round.  I decided to use 5 stitches as the number for my short rows.  Each row, I knit to 5 stitches before the last turn.

Find the red 2 on the picture, that’s the point I’m at.  I knit across that first red line.  I stop 5 stitches before the end of the row.  That’s the first wrap and turn.  By turning you’re now working the hat inside out.  Work almost all the way back to beginning, stopping 5 stitches short.  Wrap and turn.  Now you’re back on the outside of the hat, work to 5 stitches before the last wrap & turn.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Just keep going back & forth until you don’t have enough stitches left between your wrap & turns.

Why did I pick 5 stitches for my turns?  I dunno, seemed like a good number.   Higher numbers mean fewer rows.  Lower numbers mean more rows.  Higher numbers & fewer rows mean skinny stripes, lower numbers/more rows mean fatter stripes.  5 seemed like a nice mid-point.   On my current WIP, I’m not even keeping that number consistent.

3 – the next wedge.  At this point you’ve got options.  Wedge placement and maybe you don’t do a wedge at all.  In the purple hat, I worked a few rounds of straight stockinette between wedges.  In the current WIP, I’m working from one wedge to the next directly.

The diagram shows a regular wedge rotation, which is what I did in the purple sample.  I did the same wedge repeat each time rotating it 1/4 of the way around.  To do this, I simple cut the working yarn and slipped the first 1/4 of the stitches to the right needle unworked.  Essentially I just changed the place where the round begins.  Why not?

This is a liberating decision!  My row can begin anywhere!  So the purple hat is the regular, planned approach.  The current WIP is completely free form.  I’m just sort of plunking the beginning of round marker down where it seems like a good idea.

I didn’t draw wedges 4 & 5 but labeled their approximate starting positions.

and then closing the top?  Good luck explaining that.  I just did it.  I incorporated standard decreases in the stockinette sections.  K6, K2tog around, K5, K2tog around, etc.  But I kept my short rows going and did some decreasing in the short rows.  The whole point was asymmetric shapes, so I didn’t get to hung up on regularity.

Really, if you’ve read this far, my point is…just try it.  Forget ‘the rules’ and just try whatever you feel like.  We all know what shape a head is.  Hats can really be any shape.  Hats don’t really have to head shaped.   (<- the beginning of my rationalization for really weird shaped hats!)

Stay tuned…the hat binge is not over yet!

 

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WIP Wednesday – Still Hat Binging

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As usual, my hat binge is showing no signs of slowing!  I don’t know why I’ve never explored the possibilities of short row hats before.  I’m loving it right now though!  It’s a great way to use up all those yarny oddments laying around.

My first hat this week, is using a rustic, hand spun, llama yarn that my mom dyed.  And when I say rustic, I don’t mean slubby and homespun, I mean vegetable matter.  Lots of vegetable matter.  Even that doesn’t do it justice, I’m picking full on tree branches out of this stuff.  It’s really pretty though!  And it’s bulky!  One afternoon in the park, even with a false start that required frogging, and it was done!

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I’m happy with the result.  The short rows give it a nice close fit, not much slouch in the back at all.  With the bulk & weight of this hat, you definitely don’t need any extra fabric hanging around.

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The short rows are the garter ridges.  The color change highlights them nicely, really gives you a clear picture of how the shaping is effected.  You can imagine a big round noggin filling the front of the hat, and no weird gaping to bunch up around the back of the neck!  Perfect!

As I was patting myself on the back for a job well done, I started the next hat.  More stashbusting scraps, more short rows.  All was going well until…

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I forgot to change needles at the end of my ribbing.  D’oh!  No big deal.  I’m now knitting a hat on size 3s.  It’s still going to be lovely.  It’s just going to take forever.  (or a day and a half…somehow I’ll manage to survive!)

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Check Ravelry for the details:  Rustic Llama  or  Purple Waves

 

 

 

 

 

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Ravellenic Round Up

The Rio Olympics came to an end last night and along with it, the Ravellenic Games (aka the knitting olympics).  My final medal count is 5 — a sweater, a cowl and 3 hats!

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My main event was the Sweater Triathlon.  Much to my own surprise, I successfully crossed that finish line 6 days into the competition.  It seems so long ago, already.  With San Francisco Summer in fully swing, I’ve been wearing my new sweater almost daily!  It’s been a fully integrated part of the wardrobe right from the start!  I always hope that happens with a new sweater, but you just never know.  This one is definitely a keeper!

Week 2 produced a hat and a cowl.

The final push brought two more hats!  Back in July, Woolly Wormhead had a scrappy hat knitalong, seeing those hats definitely brought me inspiration!  I’ve got enough odds & ends for a hundred hats!

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The knitalong didn’t feature a pattern but a set of options to pick your own.  I was especially drawn to the use of short rows.  My sweater, up top, called for the use of Japanese Short Rows, which I’d swatched years ago but never incorporated into a project.  It’s a fiddly technique that seemed unnecessary for that particular project.

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Japanese short rows are the ones that eliminate the wrap and instead use a locking stitch marker.  The idea is to use less yarn when closing the gap left by the turn and thereby create a neater fabric.  It’s not really necessary when working with garter stitch so I skipped it with the sweater.  A hat is the perfect place for it though, especially if it’s stockinette!

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I was pleased with the result.  Without blocking, the short rows are very neat!  I suspect once I’ve blocked it, the short rows will be invisible!

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I’m definitely not done messing around with short rows and hats.  It’s, surprisingly, not something I’ve done much.  Rest assured, there will be more short rowed hats!  This particular hat binge is just getting started!  I’ve got lots plenty of hat yarn in the stash!

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Double FO Friday

It’s been a busy week!  I knit in a bar.  I knit on a bench.  I knit at a beach.  I knit on a bus.

While, I don’t enjoy 1×1 ribbing, seed stitch is a happy place for me.  This project was my constant companion for the week and I’ve got this to show for it…

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A bulky seed stitch cowl.  It’s a sample for my Learn to Knit classes this fall at the JCC.  (If you’re in San Francisco, there’s still time to sign up.  Details are here!)  Trendy and educational!  Now I can start knitting samples for my second class…Colorwork & Hats! (YAY!  This one is gonna be good.  Dates & times here.)

I’m excited at the prospect of a hat binge.  I finished my Hillary Hat.   (Details on Ravelry!  I’m link crazy today!)

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Much like Hillary’s campaign, I found it to be unsatisfying.  I’m ready for more hat knitting.  And my current WIP count is only 6.  How did that even happen?  Yes, definitely time for a mass cast on.  Plus, it’s the weekend…Happy Friday!!  Woooo!

 

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WIP Wednesday – Muh Muhs

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I’ve had this yarn for nearly two years (Taria Tweed from Plymouth, a lovely wool, silk & llama blend!)  I wound it at the shop before it even came home with me.

I took myself on a birthday yarn buying spree but I tried to buy with intent, instead of the usual impulse shopping.  I picked the pattern and even found someone who had used the same yarn on Ravelry.  Muh-Muhs, it hit all the right notes, half circle shape, garter stitch, stripes, only a tiny bit of lace.

It only took me until May to set up my ravelry page and another 3 months after that to actually cast it on.  I finally did it though.  I was having an ‘I don’t have anything to knit moment’.  It’s worse than an ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ while standing in a closet full of clothes moment.   And so…

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I still don’t have anything to knit though.  I may have to start another sweater this week.  I did swatch for two pre-Olympics, after all.  It’s only Wednesday…anything can happen!

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Alternating Cable Cast On

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You ever discover something new–something you’ve never heard of before–and then it’s suddenly everywhere?  That happened to me this weekend with a new cast on…the Alternating Cable Cast On!  It sounds fancy but turns out, I knew how to execute it already!

I was going to start a hat anyhow, so might as well try something new!  This is the beginning of the Hillary hat.  Nothing fancy, just a boring grey stockinette hat with 1×1 ribbing to start.

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The alternate part of the Alternate Cable Cast On, refers to alternating knits & purls…aka ribbing!  It creates a lovely seamless edge.  It’s a derivative of the Cable Cast On.  It’s got the same firm, stable edge with the necessary stretch for a cuff or hat coming from the knit/purl repeats.  This would be the perfect substitution for the Tubular Cast On, which I’ve never bothered with.  It’s always sounded complicated and I’m a lazy knitter!

Here’s a side by side comparison, Alternate Cable Cast On at the top, a standard Long Tail Cast On on the bottom.  Clearly, this is a minute detail being scrutinized but that’s what separates handmade from homemade.

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So how does one do the Alternate Cable Cast On?  It’s essentially the Cable Cast On with one modification…you alternate knits and purls!  Duh.  So simple it’s brilliant!  And entirely obvious, or at least it should have been!

Start with a slip knot — that’s your first stitch.  Second stitch is ‘Knit On’ (meaning you knit the slip knot and put the new stitch back on the left needle.) Now with two stitches on the needle you can begin the Cable Cast On, which is just like Knitting On, except instead of inserting your needle into the second stitch, you insert your needle between your first and second stitch, knit it and place the new stitch back on the left hand needle.

Now it’s time to begin the alternating part…next stitch is purled.  Insert your needle between two stitches again but this time, insert from the back to the front AKA insert purl-wise.  Lather-Rinse-Repeat.  Continue to cast on in the cable style between stitches rather than through them and alternate between knit & purl.

Viola!  New trick up my sleeve…perfect for making a sleeve!

It’s not quite the same for 2×2 ribbing, that’s where the technique gets a little more complicated.  I tried to wing it on a little swatch.

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The yellow is my attempt, the blue/purple is a standard Long Tail Cast On.  Turns out, you can use an Alternate Cable Cast On for 2×2 ribbing, but you’ve gotta do some extra manipulations.  You cast on the same, but your first row of knitting involves swapping stitch positions, like working a twist.

But I’m a lazy knitter and I’ve got stockinette in the round to knit so I’m saving the proper 2×2 technique for some other time!  One new cast on is enough to for today!  It’s only Monday after all…

 

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FO Friday – Outer Space

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The idea was to knit a sweater in 17 days.  Part of the Ravellenic Games (aka the knitting olympics!)  I may not have set a world record but I certainly hit a personal best finishing it entirely in just 6 days.  All the details here:  My Rav Page!

The pattern is Stephen West’s Outer Space.  An unusually constructed sweater with a yoke that mimics my favorite of his shawl designs.  I didn’t think I’d like this sweater but I didn’t think I’d like my yarn either, so it was a sort of practice sweater.  Something I wouldn’t mind giving away if I hated.  Ultimately though, I love it.

I knit it without major modifications.  I attempted to lengthen the sleeves but it wasn’t a good look so I frogged and left the sleeves as the pattern was written.  Of course, I didn’t know what was going to happen.  I had to try it on a lot, just in case the need for mods arrived.  And so, I present top down sweater knitting in selfie form.

And, I’ve still got plenty of the yarn left.  I’m contemplating another one, reverse colors and no sleeves.  The math works…1 sweater in 6 days means I can do 2 sweaters in 17 days.  Right?