Category Archives: Adorable Ewe

Adorable Ewe – Part 3

With last week’s darling sheep behind us, it’s time to knit the fronts of the sweater.  The front is a plain design to showcase the buttons.  I really wanted to name it “The Mullet Sweater” – business up front and party in the back!

I want to clarify how to differentiate between the two fronts.  The fronts are named as if you are wearing the sweater.  Looking at the above photo, the piece on the right hand side of the photo is the Left Front – it would be on the left side of the body when wearing it.  The piece on the left hand side of the photo is the Right Front – it would be on the right side of the body when wearing it.  This was very confusing to me as a new sweater knitter!

Begin the Front working a rib using the smaller needles.  Changing to the larger needles, work one purl row followed by an increase row.  Next, begin working in stockinette until the piece measures 6 1/2″ from the cast on edge, ending after a purl row.  Note this measurement on the schematic below.

Adorable Ewe has a V-shaped neckline that requires shaping.  The shape is achieved by working a line of decreases at the neck edge.  The decreases are worked one stitch away from the edge for ease in finishing.  A k2tog (right leaning decrease) is used at the Left Front edge.  An ssk (left leaning decrease) is used at the Right Front edge.  These are the correct decreases for these edges as its lean mimics the slant of the piece.

The decreases are worked at the neck edge on every right side row 7 times, leaving 13 stitches remaining.  For those knitting to the stated row gauge or smaller, it may be necessary to work a few more rows of stockinette with no decreases on the 13 stitches to bring the Front to the same length as the Back.  End after working a purl row.  Do NOT bind off the stitches.  Place the remaining 13 stitches on a holder (or piece of waste yarn), leaving an 18″ tail for seaming later.

For knitters with a larger row gauge (fewer rows per inch), there are two options to overcome this discrepancy.  For the first option, simply knit the pattern as stated.  Your longer shaping area will result in a Front that is longer than the Back.  Return to the Back and knit a few extra rows to match the length of the Front.  These few extra rows may not have a great impact on the overall sweater.  If you were knitting a sweater for yourself, you would have to decide if these extra rows will make a sweater that is too long for you.  Often times, a slight difference is not a problem especially if you like longer garments or are lucky enough to be tall.

For the second option, decreases are worked more frequently to match the same shaping area length.  After consulting the schematic, a tiny bit of math shows that the decrease area is 3 3/4″ in length.  Total length of 10 1/4″, subtracted by the length to the shaping of 6 1/2″ = 3 3/4″ shaping length.  (All measurements are approximate.)  The pattern directs a decrease to be worked on every 7 right side rows, which is every other row.  To work more frequently, a decrease must be worked in the same place on the wrong side of the work.  For the Right Front wrong side decrease, purl one, p2tog and purl to the end of the row.  For the Left Front wrong side decreases, purl to the last 3 stitches, SSP, purl one.  On this sweater, squeezing in a decrease or two on the wrong side will cure the problem.  When working a full size garment, this option may be necessary if you do not want a longer garment, especially if you are short and are already shortening the length of the piece.

The Fronts may be knit two at a time, paying close attention to work the correct decrease in the appropriate place.

With the knitting complete, I recommend blocking the pieces prior to next week’s finishing.  With such a small garment, steaming the pieces into shape may be all that is needed.  To steam block, hold the iron a few inches above the work (never iron your knitting) and give it a shot of steam, pressing into shape with your hands.  If you prefer wet blocking, do not stretch the ribbing to match the width of the piece.  I prefer to leave ribbing in its natural state so it retains its elasticity.  See my Blocking video if you are new to the process.

We return next week for the finishing.  You will love how simple it is to end your darling sweater!

Happy knitting,

Michelle

Part Three

Click here to download printable version

k2tog – knit two together. See K2tog Video

M1L (Make One Left) – With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from front to back. Knit the lifted strand through the back. See Make One Video

M1R (Make One Right) – With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from back to front. Knit the lifted strand through the front. See Make One Video

RS – right side.

ssk – slip next stitch as if to knit, slip next stitch as if to knit, insert left needle into the front of these two slipped stitches from left to right and knit together.  See SSK video

WS – wrong side.

Left Front

With smaller needles and Main Color, cast on 18 stitches using Long Tail cast on.  See Long Tail Cast On video

Rib

Work 4 rows in rib pattern as follows:

Row 1. (WS) *P2, k2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, p2.

Row 2. (RS) *K2, p2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 3. Same as Row 1.

Row 4. Same as Row 2.

Change to larger needles and with WS facing, purl one row.

Increase Row: With RS facing, k2, M1L, knit to last 2 sts, M1R, k2. (20 sts)

Beginning with a purl row, continue in stockinette until Front measures 6 ½” from cast on edge, ending after a purl row.

Shape Neck

Decrease 1 st at neck edge every RS row 7 times as follows:

Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.

Continue in stockinette over 13 remaining sts until piece measures same as Back ending after a purl row.

Cut yarn leaving an 18” tail. Place sts on a holder.

Right Front

Work as on Left Front to Shape Neck.

Shape Neck

Decrease 1 st at neck edge every RS row 7 times as follows:

K1, ssk, knit to end.

Continue in stockinette over 13 remaining sts until piece measures same as Back ending after a purl row.

Cut yarn leaving an 18” tail. Place sts on a holder.

Block all pieces to stated measurements.

Posted in Adorable Ewe | 6 Responses

Adorable Ewe – Part 2

With the simple sleeves complete, we bring our attention to the attention-getting back of the sweater.  This adorably textured sheep is knit with Japanese bobbles using the Intarsia method.

Intarsia – See Intarsia video

Intarsia is a technique used to create separate areas of color, or “pictures”, within a knitted fabric enabling multiple colors to be worked across a row. Most Intarsia is worked from a chart to clearly illustrate the motif and is commonly knit in the stockinette stitch.   Each area of color is worked from its own individual ball of yarn that is held to the wrong side of the work until needed.

Because each section of color across the row is worked from its own skein, there is no strand of yarn connecting one color to the next. This missing running thread will cause a hole in the work unless special precautions are taken. To prevent a hole when transitioning from one color to the next, the yarns must be interlocked at each color change. The interlock links the two colors together for a gap-free transition. When viewed from the wrong side, the interlocks appear as a tidy line of stitching outlining the motif.

Joining a New Color

In Intarsia, new color areas are added mid-row making it necessary to both join and interlock the new color at the point of introduction.

Begin by working the required number of stitches until a new color is indicated. Drop the old color to the wrong side of the work. Leaving a 6” tail of the new color, work the next stitch in the new color and then drop this yarn to the wrong side. Pick up the old color and bring it over the new color keeping it secured with the left hand. With your right hand, pick up the new color from under the old color and work the next stitch with the new yarn. The new yarn is now joined and interlocked to your knitting – the old yarn may be dropped to the wrong side. Continue knitting with the new color until another color change is indicated. Repeat the above process with each initial join of a new color.

Interlocking a New Color After the Initial Join

After a color is initially joined to the work, it must be interlocked in subsequent rows at each color change. Follow the chart to the color change and drop the old color to the wrong side of the work securing the old color yarn to the left and over the new color. Bring the new color yarn up and over the old color as you work the next stitch. The new color is now interlocked and the old color may be dropped.

Pay close attention to the tension of the stitches adjacent to the interlock. When executing the interlock, strive to work the stitches with the same tension found throughout the fabric. Yarn held too tightly will cause a stitch to disappear into the knitting. Loosely held yarn yields a larger, wonky stitch. After working the stitch following the interlock, take a moment to assess its size and make any necessary adjustments to maintain an even tension.

Managing the Yarn

Juggling multiple skeins of yarn can be a tricky business! To minimize tangling, line up the individual skeins of yarn in the order they will be used across the first row from right to left. As you work across the row and interlock the colors, the yarns will become twisted – resist the urge to untangle. Turn your work clockwise to the Wrong Side. On the next row, as you interlock at the color changes the yarns will untwist themselves. Lastly, turn the work counterclockwise to return to the Right Side. Voila – no tangles!

Japanese Bobbles

The charm of our sheep is found in the simple to work three-stitch Japanese bobble.  Bobbles are found in knitting patterns worldwide following many different formulas. The dainty Japanese-style bobble uses an economy of stitches to yield a tidy ball. To begin, one stitch is increased to three stitches then purled on the wrong side. Lastly, a Central Double Decrease completes the bobble on the right side – slip two stitches together knitways, knit one, pass the slipped stitches over the knit stitch and off the needle.  See Bobbles – Japanese Version video

Duplicate Stitch

Small areas of color are easily added with the Duplicate Stitch.  Many knitters use the Duplicate Stitch in lieu of areas of Intarsia consisting of only a few stitches.  These added stitches are placed on top of stockinette stitches after the piece is complete with the use of a tapestry needle.  The Duplicate  Stitch is also a great way to cover errors and wonky stitches you wish you had discovered prior to binding off.  The legs and tail of the sheep are too small for successful Intarsia and are worked in the Duplicate Stitch at the conclusion of the Back.  The sheep’s head may be knit using Intarsia or added later with the Duplicate Stitch.  Both methods are acceptable here and the choice is yours.    See Duplicate Stitch video

 

Adorable Ewe – BACK

Work the rib using smaller needles and Main Color.

Change to the larger needles and work the Set Up Rows.

Sheep Motif

When working from the chart, odd numbered rows are knit/bobble rows and read from right to left; even numbered rows are purl rows and read from left to right. 

With RS facing, place a marker after the 7th stitch and after the 33rd stitch on the left needle.  There are 26 stitches between the markers.

Rows 1-4 in the chart were knit in the Set Up Rows using MC.  Begin knitting the chart over the 26 stitches between the markers beginning with Row 5.

I’ll walk you through the first few rows.  Remember to watch the Intarsia video – it’s a big help!

Row 5. (RS)  With MC, knit to the first marker.  Continuing with MC, k12 in MC.  (Ignore the black leg stitch.  It must be knit in MC with black added later.)  Join sheep yarn in next stitch.  Interlock the MC yarn and the sheep yarn before knitting the second sheep color stitch.  Knit 3 more stitches in sheep color.  There are 5 sheep colored stitches on the right needle.  Join second skein of MC in next stitch.  Interlock the sheep yarn and the second MC yarn in the second stitch following the sheep.  Knit to the end of the row with the second MC yarn.

Row 6. (WS)  With the second MC yarn, purl to the the marker.  Continuing with the second MC yarn, p7.  The yarn has already been joined for the sheep so from now on the yarns must be interlocked BEFORE changing colors.  After the p7, interlock the second MC and the sheep yarn, then p9 in the sheep yarn.  Interlock the sheep yarn and the MC yarn (original skein).  Purl to the end of the row with MC.

Row 7.  With MC, knit to the marker.  Continuing with MC, k9.  Interlock the MC and sheep yarn.  With sheep yarn, k1, (bobble, k1) 5 times.  Interlock the sheep yarn and second skein of MC.  Knit to the end of the row with second skein of MC.

Row 8.  With second skein of MC, purl to the marker.  Continuing with second skein of MC, p5.  Interlock the second skein of MC with the sheep yarn.  With the sheep yarn, p13.  Interlock the sheep yarn with the MC yarn.  With MC, purl to the end of the row.

Continue to work the chart over the 26 stitches between the markers.

Row 15.  If working the sheep’s head in Intarsia,  the yarn must be joined and interlocked as above.  If adding the head stitches later with the Duplicate Stitch, simply work the head stitches in MC.

Row 24.  If working the head in Intarsia, the MC yarn will be resting below in Row 23 seven stitches from the needed interlock position in this row.  Just bring the MC yarn over to the correct stitch taking care not to pull it too tightly across the back.  This long strand can be sured later with a yarn tail.  Below, is a photo of the wrong side of the head where the black tail yarn was woven over and under the long gray MC strand a few times to secure it.

Continue knitting the chart through Row 29.

After Row 29, return to knitting with the MC skein only.  Work in established stockinette stitch until the Back measures 10 1/4″ from the cast on edge, ending after a purl row.

DO NOT bind off the stitches.  Cut yarn leaving an 18” tail. Place stitches on a holder or piece of waste yarn.

Below is a view of the wrong side before weaving in any ends.

With black yarn, work the legs and tail in Duplicate Stitch over the MC stitches as indicated in the chart.  See Duplicate Stitch video

While the Back has no shaping, a schematic is provided for your reference.

 

I will be offline on Easter Sunday to enjoy time with family.  Enjoy the fun design and I will see you next week!

Happy knitting,

Michelle

Part Two

B, bobble (Bobble, Japanese-style) – (k1, yo, k1) into next stitch, turn, p3, turn, slip 2 sts together knit wise (as if working a k2tog), k1, pass 2 slipped stitches together over knit stitch and off the needle. See Bobble – Japanese Version Video

k2tog – knit two together. See K2tog Video

M1L (Make One Left) – With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from front to back. Knit the lifted strand through the back. See Make One Video

M1R (Make One Right) – With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from back to front. Knit the lifted strand through the front. See Make One Video

RS – right side.

WS – wrong side.

 yo – yarn over. See Yarn Over Video

Click here to download printable version

Back

With smaller needles and Main Color, cast on 38 stitches using Long Tail method, leaving a 24” tail for seaming. See Long Tail Cast On video

Rib

Work 4 rows in rib pattern as follows:

Row 1. (WS) *P2, k2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, p2.

Row 2. (RS) *K2, p2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 3. Same as Row 1.

Row 4. Same as Row 2.

Set Up

Change to larger needles and with WS facing, purl one row.

Increase Row: With RS facing, k2, M1L, knit to last 2 sts, M1R, k2. (40 sts)

Beginning with a purl row, work 7 additional rows in stockinette, ending after a purl row.

Sheep Motif

When working from the chart, odd numbered rows are knit rows and read from right to left; even numbered rows are purl rows and read from left to right.

Use separate balls of yarn for each color, interlocking the yarns on WS at each color change to avoid holes. See Intarsia video

With RS facing, place marker after the 7th stitch and after the 33rd stitch on the left needle.

Beginning with chart’s Row 5, work chart (below) over the 26 sts between the markers.

The sheep’s black head may be worked in intarsia or added later using a duplicate stitch. The black legs and tail will be worked in duplicate stitch at completion of the back. Any duplicate stitches are first knit in Main Color, with black added later.  See Duplicate Stitch video

 

After completing Sheep Chart, continue in established stockinette stitch until Back measures 10 ¼” from cast on edge, ending after a purl row.

Cut yarn leaving an 18” tail. Place stitches on a holder.

Posted in Adorable Ewe | 37 Responses

Adorable Ewe – Part 1

Welcome to the spring installment of the Progressive Needles Knit Along.  No better way to usher in the season than with a sheep-themed project!  I have all kinds of essential sweater techniques and know-how crammed into one tiny baby cardigan.  I can’t wait to get started but first a nod to Skacel Collection, whose support makes these KALs possible.

Before we begin, here is an overview of the KAL:

  • A portion of the 4-part mystery pattern is revealed here on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Thursdays in April at 9am Eastern time.  The weekly pattern, video resources and lots of helpful tips are included in each post.  An abbreviated, pattern-only version is included to download.
  • All techniques are supported with video instruction at knitpurlhunter.com
  • All questions and comments are monitored daily both here and in the Knit Purl Hunter group on Ravelry.  It’s like having  your own private knitting tutor!
  • Projects completed by May 15 are eligible for the monthly prize drawing – first prize is a set of addi Clicks!  See skacelknitting.com for all the info.
  • After May 15th, the pattern will no longer be free but will be available for purchase on Ravelry.

Gauge

Our first lesson begins before casting on the first stitch.  Yes, the dreaded GAUGE word!

Knitters often confess to me that they never knit a gauge swatch. While this does not surprise me, I am surprised that most knitters fail to fully understand the implications of omitting this crucial step.

Most importantly, improperly sized stitches will yield a piece in a size different than the stated measurements in the pattern. Spending countless hours knitting a garment that doesn’t fit is no one’s idea of fun. Also, many knitters neglect to swatch for projects that aren’t required to “fit”, such as scarves, shawls, blankets, etc. While the gauge may not be crucial to the outcome of these items, it has a huge impact on the amount of yarn used. Because larger (loose) stitches use more yarn, it may result in a yarn shortage. Who wants to run out of yarn with just a few rows remaining?  Taking the time to assess the stitches prior to the project will produce a piece that fits well, with optimum stitch appearance, and knit within the stated yardage.

A baby sweater is a perfect platform for testing and managing gauge.  True enough that a baby will grow into a big sweater or can’t complain about a tight one, but let’s use this opportunity to get the stated gauge and measurements which will be crucial in knitting a sweater for yourself in the future.

Adorable Ewe’s gauge is 16 stitches and 24 rows = 4″ in stockinette using the larger needle.  To knit the perfect swatch, read my Gauge Matters article released in a recent newsletter.  (Subscribe to my newsletter for future issues.)  Tips to measure your swatch are found in my Gauge video.  Note, if you adjusted the size of the larger needle to obtain gauge then your smaller needle will be one size down from that adjustment.

While the number of stitches and rows are both important, it is more important to match the stated stitch count. After diligent swatching, the stitch count is often correct but the row gauge may be off.  If the row gauge is slightly different, try experimenting with a different needle size or an alternate needle material to see if that will impact the rows. Also, try blocking the swatch to determine if it can be coaxed into the required row gauge.

If the row gauge is significantly different than the stated gauge, the pattern may be knit with some precautions taken. If a project states to knit to a desired length (as in a scarf or blanket), then the row gauge will not be a factor. However, if the pattern has shaping based on the row gauge then the frequency of the shaping must be altered. A loose row gauge (less rows per inch) will make the piece longer between each increase or decrease.  Conversely, a tight row gauge (more rows per inch) will make the piece shorter between each increase or decrease.  For example, if a pattern directs you to decrease one stitch every four rows, a loose row gauge will result in a longer shaping area. Decreasing more frequently, (perhaps every third row) will combat this issue and reduce the correct number of stitches in the desired length of knitting.

Due to the minimal amount of shaping in this pattern, a slightly different row gauge (+ or – a few rows) will have little impact.  However, if your row gauge is significantly different then it will impact the length of the sleeves, the front shaping and the horizontal front bands (button bands).  Fear not, I’m here to help!

With all of these gauge considerations in mind, we will be knitting the sleeves of the sweater first.  While they are the most boring section to knit, the sleeves are a great place to double check gauge in a relatively small piece of the sweater.  Ideally, your sleeve will match the approximate measurements in the schematic provided below.  Designers include these graphics to assist you and they should be consulted frequently.

If your sleeve reached the stated 6 1/2″ before completing all of the increases, take back a few rows and increase more frequently (more on that later).  Knit to the stated row gauge or slightly smaller, will have you knitting a few more rows after the increases to reach 6 1/2″ which is perfectly fine.  If the finished sleeve is just a tad off the measurements, try blocking it to reach the ideal size.

Note: 

Many knitters routinely slip the first stitch of every row to create a tidy edge.  This practice is a good idea when the edge will be exposed. However, if you are going to be seaming or picking up along that edge as in Adorable Ewe, DO NOT slip the first stitch of the row. This elongated stitch makes for a weaker seam and an incorrect stitch count for the pick up ratio.

Let’s start knitting!

 

With the smaller needle and Main Color, cast on using the Long Tail method.  I like the edge it creates when the first row of the pattern is a wrong side row, as worked here.  See Long Tail Cast On video  Leave a 24″ tail on the cast on to use in seaming later.

Knit the 4 rows of ribbing, then change to the larger needle and work the Set Up rows.  The arm length is shaped by working increases near the beginning and end of right side rows using the neat and discreet Make One Left and Make One Right.  See Make One video  

I used standard pattern writing language for the increase instructions:

Beginning with a purl row and continuing in stockinette stitch, repeat Increase Row on next 2 RS rows, then every 4th row (i.e. every other RS row) 6 times.

This type of instruction can be very confusing to the newer knitter.  For the less experienced, it is often helpful to make a cheat sheet that indicates the specific rows containing increases.  I like to used lined paper and number each row on a line with simple shorthand – knit, purl and increase.  We begin the cheat sheet after having worked the Set Up Rows and its increases.  The Set Up Row is not included in the following row calculations.  Using this system, the Arm portion begins with 24 stitches with a wrong side Row 1 worked as a purl row.  The increases are made on the right side in Rows 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 and 28 to bring the count to 40 stitches.

A correct or smaller row gauge will require the sleeve to be worked more rows beyond Row 28 to get to the stated 6 1/2″.  If you reached 6 1/2″ before reaching Row 28 then some adjustments can be made.  Rip out a portion of the sleeve and work the increases more frequently.  For example, if you have 36 stitches at 6 1/2″ then rip back and add increase rows in Rows 18 and 22 to see if that helps.  We could do a lot of math to find the perfect ratio, but I find a bit of fudging is all that is needed!

For veteran knitters, two sleeves can be knit at the same time.  Simply wind both skeins and knit one sleeve from each ball on the same needle.

My completed sleeve is pictured below.

I’m excited for next week’s Part 2 featuring a darling sheep and some unexpected stitches!

Happy knitting,

Michelle

Part One

Click here to download printable version

Yarn

Simpliworsted by HiKoo, 55% merino superwash, 28% acrylic, 17% nylon, 100g/140 yards.

  • 2 skeins Main Color
  • 1 skein sheep color – white or natural (approx. 35 yards needed)
  • 1 skein black sheep accent (approx. 10 yards needed)

Needles

US #9 (5.5mm) 24” addi circular or straights OR size needed to achieve gauge

US #8 (5mm) 32” circular needle (If larger needle size is adjusted, this needle should be one size smaller than adjusted size.)

Notions

4 – 5/8” buttons

Markers, tapestry needle

16 stitches and 24 rows = 4” in stockinette using larger needles

6 months – approx. 20” chest circumference

M1L (Make One Left) – With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from front to back. Knit the lifted strand through the back. See Make One Video

M1R (Make One Right) – With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from back to front. Knit the lifted strand through the front. See Make One Video

RS – right side.

WS – wrong side.

Sleeves

Make two.

With smaller needles and Main Color, cast on 22 stitches using Long Tail method leaving a 24” tail for seaming. See Long Tail Cast On video

Rib

Work 4 rows in rib pattern as follows:

Row 1. (WS) *P2, k2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, p2.

Row 2. (RS) *K2, p2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 3. Same as Row 1.

Row 4. Same as Row 2.

Set Up

Change to larger needles and with WS facing, purl one row.

Increase Row: K2, M1L, knit to last 2 sts, M1R, k2. (24 sts)

Arm

Beginning with a purl row and continuing in stockinette stitch, repeat Increase Row (above) on next 2 RS rows, then every 4th row (i.e. every other RS row) 6 times.  (40 sts)

Continue in stockinette if needed, until piece measures 6 ½” from cast on edge ending after a purl row. Bind off stitches.

 

 

 

Posted in Adorable Ewe | 44 Responses