Freitag, 3. Juli 2015

Nikko Summer Crochet Hat

In high summer I tend to get sunburned. Therefore I usually have to shield my eyes and face somehow. Last year I decided to crochet a cotton hat, I bought the yarn ... and put it in one of my stash boxes ...

Another summer started and I - finally - started to crochet a hat. As usual I was too lazy to search for a pattern that fits my size, to swatch and so on. I ended up trying and frogging twice before I got it right. But now, it fits perfectly.
This blog post describes how I did it.

I chose the name Nikko because these kinds of hats remind me of Japan in summer and "nikko" -  besides being a town name - mean sunlight or sunshine.



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This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.





Materials
  • yarn (I used about 200 metres of DK weight yarn - 2 skeins of Lang Xenia (a mix of cotton, linen and rayon)
  • a crochet hook to match the yarn (I used 3.5mm hook)
  • a tape measure
  • a tapestry needle to weave in ends

Techniques and Abbreviations
  • Magic ring: A method to avoid the little hole when starting to crochet in the round - the technique is shown in this YouTube video by planetjune.com
  • ch: chain stitch
  • ss: slip stitch
  • sc: single crochet
  • sc-inc: single crochet increase; two single crochets into one stitch below
  • dc: double crochet
  • dc-inc: double crochet increase: two double crochets into one stitch below

How to Crochet a Flat Circle ... and a Hat
A way to crochet a flat circle is to start with a magic loop and 8 sc in the round. In each of the following rounds the stitch count will be increased by 8.
That means that in the 2nd round every 2nd stitch needs to be doubled (e.g. by crocheting 2 sc into the sc below). In the 3rd round every 3rd stitch needs to be doubled, in the 4th round every 4 stitch ... and so on. So when you distribute the increases evenly, in round 2 there is always one stitch between the increases, in the 3rd round there are 2 normal stitches between the increases, in round 4 there are 3 stitches between the increases ... and so one.

For a hat there needs to be a sort of incline, i.e. less than 8 stitches need to be doubled per round, so after the first few rounds there will be more stitches between the increases.

Preparations
Take the following measurements:
  • A = the desired height of your hat (you can do that by measuring around the top of your head from about 1 cm into your ear to the same point at the other ear - and then taking half of that distance
  • B = the circumference of your head
See also the picture on the right for a schematic.

Instructions
There are two versions of the instructions one really short one that explains the

Really short version
  • Crochet a magic ring with 8 sc and close with ss
  • Crocheting a circle (as explained above) alternate in crocheting one round of sc and one round of dc - until your piece measures one fifth (1/5) of the desired height.
  • Continue alternating sc and dc rounds, but with less increases - calculate the stitches between the increases by multiplying the normal stitch distance by 1.5 until your piece measures three fifth of the desired height.
  • Continue alternating sc and dc rounds, but now with a distance between the increases as twice as wide as the distance for a normal circle until your piece has the desired circumference.
  • Then continue to alternate sc and dc rounds without any increases until your head has the desired height.
  • To crochet the brim, increase every third stitch - still continuing to change each round between  a dc round and an sc round.
  • Continue without any increases until the brim is as wide as you like it to be.

Longer Version with Examples and Comments

This example is one-size only - there are explanations to adjust it to your size, and some comments (written in purple) to explain the "thinking" behind this pattern.

Crochet a magic ring with  8 sc and close with a ss.

For the first fifth of the height the hat is worked as a circle,
R1: ch1, sc-inc to end of round, close with ss
R2: ch3, * dc, dc-inc repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
R3: ch1, * sc-in, 2sc repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
R4: ch3, * dc, dc-inc, dc repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[To avoid visible corners the first increase stitch is at a random spot.]

After these four rounds, I had finished one fifth of the height. Adjust the number of rows to the size of your head and your crochet piece.

In order to shape the hat, less increases are worked from now on. For the 2nd and 3rd fifth, the distance between the increases is 1.5 times as high as for a flat circle.

R5: ch1, * sc3, sc-inc, sc3 * sc, sc-inc, sc repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[5 x 1.5 = 7.5 (rounded to 7), i.e. every 7th stitch is doubled, i.e. there are 6 stiches between the increases] 
[To avoid visible corners the first increase stitch is always at a random spot.]
From this point on there may be a few stitches left at the end of your round after you finish your last complete repeat. Just finish the round with sc's (or dc's in even-numbered rounds) and then close with ss
R6: ch3, * dc8, dc-inc repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[6 * 1.5 = 9, i.e. every 9th stitch is double or 8 stitches between the increases]
R7: ch1, * sc1, sc-inc, sc8 repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[7 x 1.5 = 10.5 (rounded to 10), i.e. every 10th stitch is doubled]
R8: ch3, * dc5, dc-inc, dc6 repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[8 x 1.5 = 12, i.e. every 12th stitch is doubled or 11 stitches between the increases]

Continue in this fashion (increasing according to the formula and alternating sc- and dc-rounds) until you have reached 3/5 (three fifth) of the height of your hat. For me this was the case after the 12th round, i.e. I continued with round number 13. Please adjust this to your size.

From now on you have to measure the hat's desired circumference, once you've reached that, stop the increases and just go on with alternating sc- and dc-rounds until you've reached the desired height.
If you haven't reached the circumference, yet, continue increasing but with an even wider distance between the increases: twice as wide as for a flat circle.

R13: ch1, * sc10, sc-inc, sc15 repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[13 x 2 = 26, every 26th stitch is doubled]
R14: ch3, * dc3, dc-inc, dc24 repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
[14 x 2 = 28, every 28th stitch is doubled]

Continue in this fashion (increasing according to the formula and alternating sc- and dc-rounds) until your hat has the desired circumference.

Then add alternating sc- and dc-rounds without any increases until your piece has the desired height.
For me this was the case after round 16. Please adjust to your size.

R17: ch1, sc until end or round, close with ss
R18: ch3, dc until end or round, close with ss

When your hat has the desired height, start crocheting the brim. For me this was the case after the 24th round.

To start the brim, crochet a round where every 2nd stitch is doubled.
If this is an odd-number round (i.e. an sc-round): ch1 * sc-inc, sc2 repeat from * to end of round, close with ss
If this is an even-number round (i.e. a dc-round): ch1 * dc-inc, dc2 repeat from * to end of round, close with ss

Continue alternating sc- and dc-rounds (without increases) until you're brim is as wide as you like it to be. I stopped after the 4th brim-round because I ran out of yarn. 

Weave in ends and you're done!


Montag, 22. Juni 2015

Tips to Knit A Striped Top-Down Sweater without A Pattern

When I'm planning to knit a sweater, I'm usually too lazy to search for a knitting pattern and too unconcentrated to follow a pattern through.

Even though most sweater patterns that I have knitted (e.g. Corinne cardigan by Crystal Erb Junkins) were great and beautifully written, I tend to be unwilling to really follow the pattern. Following a pattern seems to take more of my concentration than trying something of my own. (And I want to be clear that up until now it's never been the pattern's fault, but just me being me.)

This blog post is NOT A PATTERN (far from it) but a collections of tools, techniques and links that can help you when you're designing and knitting a similar sweater yourself.

In this post I assume that your already familiar with the general concept of a top-down raglan sweater. If you've never done this, here's a nice blog post by Knitting Pure and Simple that explains the idea or try to read this Raglan tutorial by Kirsten Tendyke - or knit a top-down pattern such as Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier or Gemini by Jane Richmond. (Here's a list of the free, knitted top-down sweaters on Ravelry; you nust be logged in to make this link work.)



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This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Measuring, swatching and planning raglan increases

Usually, I don't like knitting swatches - for smaller projects (fingerless gloves etc.), it's just not worth my while. Even if it doesn't fit, I generally can see this early enough, i.e. after about the same time, it'd take to knit the swatch. However, everytime I skipped swatching for a sweater or another big project, I only ended up just knitting a bigger swatch, like half a sweater or two thirds of a cardigan. Therefore, I really (REALLY) recommend knitting a swatch in garter stitch for anything a big as a sweater.

The best way to take measurements is to use another sweater that really fits you well. The measurements depend on the type of sweater you want to knit (e.g. for a V-neck sweater, you'd want to measure the depth of the neckline) - the raglan calculators (listed below) require different measurements.

For the sweater in this picture, I measured according to this picture. A is the width of the neckline, and B the width of the arm part. I knitted in the round (stitches for A, stitch marker, stitches for B, stitch marker, stitches for A, stitch marker, stitches for B, stitch marker - join in round).

To know how to increase, you can use one of the following raglan calculators:


To be honest, I have never used any of these calculators, I prefer to do increases around the stitch markers - and stop increasing when I have reached the desired width (C or D) and then going on without increasing until the yoke piece is long enough (I). But if you want to distribute your increases evenly over the length of your yoke, you should calculate your increases.

After finishing the yoke part, I put the arm stitches on scrap yarn, cast-on a few underarm stitches and placed a stitch marker at the middle of my underarm stitches.


Increases and decreases for a fitted sweater

In order to knit a fitted sweater, I'd measured my chest (E), my waist (F) and the width at the sweater's lower edge (G) - as well as the corresponding heights (I, J and K). To fit the sweater to my size, I knitted increases and decreases at the underarm stitch markers, i.e. down the sides of the sweater.



Traveling jogless stripes

When knitting stripes in the round, the color change can be seen as a visible jog.

A technique to avoid this is called traveling jogless stripes, which is done as follows: When changing to another color knit one round of that new color; when reaching the first stitch of that color, slip that stitch purlwise and replace the marker that indicates the beginning of your round from before that stitch to behind that stitch. This way the beginning of the round keeps traveling as long as you keep changing colors.

A more detailed explanation can be found at techknitting blog or in this YouTube video by New Stitch a Day.



Carrying yarn up

If you're anything like me, you'd want to avoid having to cut your yarn everytime you change colors (and consequently to avoid too many ends to weave in) and at the same time to avoid long floats on the WS of your piece,

To do this you have to connect the yarn in the color that's not used every few rows, i.e. when you come to the end-of-round marker, wrap it around your working yarn before knitting the next stitch.

The technique is shown in this YouTube video by karin kelly-burns.

The photo on the right shows how the WS looks when using both the jogless stripe technique while carrying up your yarn.


Avoiding holes at the underarm stitches

I always pick up more stitches under the arm than I have cast-on after the yoke part. Usually, about 2 at the side (i.e. the gap between the last arm stitch from my scrap yarn and the stitches cast-on after the yoke), than the cast-on stitches and two more at the other side. In the next two rows, I usually decrease the stitches from the gap. This avoids the potential holes.

Here's a YouTube video by TheKnittingArts that shows this technique.


How to try it on while knitting

If you want to check whether the sweater fits you, you need to be able to try it on while it's still on the needles. This is easier, if you do the following:

  • Put all arm stitches on a long piece of scrap yarn - at least twice as long as the circumference of your upper arm (and secured with a slipknot). That way the hole is big enough to let your arm through when trying it on.
  • For the body part, it helps to distributed the stitches on two circular needles before trying it on (e.g. I have two 4.5mm circulars that I used for the pictured project - one 80 cm and one 60 cm). Afterwards, you can go on knitting with one needle.


Freitag, 19. Juni 2015

Summer Top

If you have read some of the patterns published on this blog, you'll know that I like short rows ... and I usually apply the to make scarfs or fingerless gloves, i.e. small accessories. However, I wanted to apply this technique to something more substantial and wearable: a summer top.

For this project, I measured an old sweater that fits me well and I actually knitted a swatch ... something I usually avoid. Then I "calculated" the stitches to be cast on and started from the top as with any Raglan sweater. 

As far as I can tell, the new top will fit nicely - I only have to finish the arms (they'll be short) and to weave in ends ... Right now it looks a bit crumpled, it's been in a bag while I was travelling, but I'm sure it will look better after blocking :)



Not sure whether I will manage to write this down as a readable pattern or rather knitting recipe.

Dienstag, 2. Juni 2015

Ojos de Bruja Scarf

Something warm, yet light for spring or summer evenings – easy to knit but with a certain “lacy” optic, the Ojos de Bruja scarf is the perfect accessory. It is knitted from side to side and all in garter stitch.

It is great for using the beautiful yarn in the wildest colors that has been in your stash for so long. Due to its short row construction and varying width, colors will be distributed nicely and color pooling isn’t very probable.



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This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.





Fellow raveler mariarosaknits (from Fili & Colori - The Knitting Room) has written an Italian version of this pattern - it is available here.
She also made a YouTube video to explain the techniques (with "subtitles" both in english and italian) - here on YouTube. Thank you, this is great!

Materials
  • about 210 grams of fingering weight yarn, however, the pattern is written in a way that it can be adapted to any yarn weight (therefore, gauge doesn’t really matter).
    The yarn that I used here (Jitterbug 400 by Colinette - colorway Jamboree) is listed on Ravelry as a fingering weight yarn - however, it has only 400 yards to 150 grams (whereas all the fingering yarn I used before has 400 yards to 100 grams).
  • 3.75 mm needles

Techniques
  • Short rows with double stitches (German short rows, t+p): when you turn, bring yarn to the front and pull it back so that a sort of "double-stitch" is created, then knit back as usual - when you have to knit the double-stitch, make sure to knit it as one stitch (see also this YouTube video); this method has the advantage the no picking up of stitches is necessary. In the pattern, this stitch will be called t+p (turn and pull).
  • Backwards Loop CO: See this YouTube-Video from planetpurl.





Instructions

CO12
Row 0 (WS): sl1, k to end

Increasing Section

For each section, you will have to calculate a number X, that tells the distance between the "t+p's . It is calculated as
    X = (number of stitches when beginning the section PLUS 3) DIVIDED BY 5

This looks more complicated than it actually is, for the first section X is 3 = (12+3)/5 ... and X will increase by one for every knitted section (i.e. for the second section X is 4, for the third section X is 5 etc.), because the stitch count increases by 5 for each section.

Rows 1, 2 (RS, WS): sl1, kfb, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 3, 4 (RS, WS): sl1, kfb, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 5, 6 (RS, WS): sl1, kfb, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end

Rows 7, 8 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 9, 10 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before last wrap t+p, k to end
Rows 11, 12 (RS, WS): sl1, k to end // turn // sl1, k to last 10 sts, BO5, k5
Rows 13, 14 (RS, WS): sl1, k4 // turn (do not wrap) // sl1, k4
Rows 15, 16 = Rows 13, 14
Rows 17, 18 = Rows 13, 14
Rows 19, 20 = Rows 13, 14
Rows 21, 22 (RS, WS): sl1, k4, CO7 (backwards-loop CO), k to end // turn // sl1, k to last before CO, ktbl, k7, ktbl, k to end
Rows 23, 24 (RS, WS): sl1, k to 2*Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
     ["2*X" = X multiplied by 2]
Rows 25, 26 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end

Row 27 (RS): sl1, k to end
Rows 28, 29 (WS, RS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 30, 31 (WS, RS): sl1, k to Xth st before last wrap t+p, k to end
Rows 32, 33 (WS, RS): sl1, k to Xth st before last wrap t+p, k to end
Rows 34, 35 (WS, RS): sl1, k to Xth st before last wrap t+p, k to end
Row 36 (WS): sl1: k to end

Repeat increasing section until you have reached about half of the desired length of your scarf.
(I knitted a total 13 increasing sections.)
Then knit the middle section once.

Middle Section

For the middle section X is calculated as for the increasing section - it will be one higher than it was for the last increasing section.

Rows 1, 2 (RS, WS): sl1, kfb, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 3, 4 (RS, WS): sl1, kfb, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 5, 6 (RS, WS): sl1, kfb, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end

Rows 7, 8 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 9, 10 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before last turn, t+p, k to end
Rows 11, 12 (RS, WS): sl1, k to end // turn // sl1, k to last 10 sts, BO5, k5
Rows 13, 14 (RS, WS): sl1, k4 // turn (do not wrap) // sl1, k4
Rows 15, 16 = Rows 13, 14
Rows 17, 18 = Rows 13, 14
Rows 19, 20 = Rows 13, 14
Rows 21, 22 (RS, WS): sl1, k4, CO5 (backwards-loop CO), k to end // turn // sl1, k to last before CO, ktbl, k7, ktbl, k to end
Rows 23, 24 (RS, WS): sl1, k to 2*Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 25, 26 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end

Rows 27, 28 (RS, WS): sl1, ssk, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 29, 30 (RS, WS): sl1, ssk, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 31, 32 (RS, WS): sl1, ask, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end

After finishing the middle section (once), knit start with the decreasing sections.

Decreasing Section

The number X for this section is the number of stitches minus 2, and that result divided by 5.
For the first decreasing section, it will be as high as for the last increasing section - decreasing by one for each section.

Row 1 (RS): sl1, k to end
Rows 2, 3 (WS, RS): sl1, k to 4*Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 4, 5 (WS, RS): sl1, k up to and including last wrapped stitch, k X sts, t+p, k to end
Rows 6, 7 (WS, RS): sl1, k up to and including last wrapped stitch, k X sts, t+p, k to end
Rows 8, 9 (WS, RS): sl1, sl1, k up to and including last wrapped stitch, k X sts, t+p, k to end
Row 10 (WS): sl1: k to end

Rows 11, 12 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 13, 14 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before last wrap t+p, k to end
Rows 15, 16 (RS, WS): sl1, k to end // turn // sl1, k to last 12 sts, BO7, k5
Rows 17, 18 (RS, WS): sl1, k4 // turn (do not wrap) // sl1, k4
Rows 19, 20 = Rows 17, 18
Rows 21, 22 = Rows 17, 18
Rows 23, 24 = Rows 17, 18
Rows 25, 26 (RS, WS): sl1, k4, CO5 (backwards-loop CO), k to end // turn // sl1, k to last before CO, ktbl, k7, ktbl, k to end
Rows 27, 28 (RS, WS): sl1, k to 2 *Xth st before end, t+p, k to end
Rows 29, 30 (RS, WS): sl1, k to Xth st before end, t+p, k to end

Rows 31, 32 (RS, WS): sl1, ssk, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 33, 34 (RS, WS): sl1, ssk, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end
Rows 35, 36 (RS, WS): sl1, ask, k to end // turn // sl1, k to end

Repeat decreasing section as many times as you knitted the increasing section (there should be only 12 sts on your needles now). Bind off.

Weave in ends and block.


Freitag, 22. Mai 2015

Yet Another New Scarf Idea

One of my current knitting projects, the Random Seifenblasen Scarf, is a bit tedious and it needs LOTS of concentration. Furthermore, it's knitted in laceweight yarn and needs lots of (re-)counting, i.e. progess is slow. 

To set a counterpoint I started another new project that's far easier to knit: a garter-stitch-only scarf knitted with heavier yarn. I love the colors, the shape and the fact that I actually can see it grow.



Donnerstag, 21. Mai 2015

Shaped Random Lace Scarf

Since the Random Lace Scarf came out so well, I thought it might be a interesting to explore the random approach a bit further still.

This time, I tried it with the shaping of my Seifenblasen Lace Scarf - but with random lace panels. So far it looks OK, but a bit crumpled. Looking forward to seeing it blocked ... (but this will take a while ...)