Category Archives: stitch variations

using different stitches to add visual interest

Another backlog, Barbara

I have made a lot of stuff since I posted last, I am more into making than posting right now I guess. I decided to post all these hats now because I am making Christmas related stuff now.

Got a buildup of hats again, Barbara

I have been for a couple of 8 km walks in the last couple of days. I have discovered I actually like walking alone as much as with someone else, and I don’t have to coordinate the timing so …bonus points. I have been enjoying the extended fall. We have finally had a hard frost so the leaves will probably tumble down in earnest now. As I was walking yesterday I was musing about my two very distinct existences…summertime when I don’t hardly have an unsocial second at work and the winter where I can go for days without seeing anyone but Alan, and then only in the evening.

I was getting quite a buildup of hats and I only have so many heads to put them on. I usually keep them around on heads until I photograph and freeze them. I usually keep ones I am happy with around for a while to look at.

I had actually used two of these stitches before…the quilted lattice on the red lady hat and the dotted diamond on the gray and black hat. I had made these a long time before I started the Barbara Walker project, so I decided it was cheating to just use them again. I wish I could bend my own rules sometimes.

Barbara is having a watered down Christmas in July…

Heather does not like this post’s colours…to her they look like watered down Christmas, hence the name of the post.  I was going to do these mittens with the cuff as is and the main part in the green. I made the mistake of asking her opinion in the car and got her honest answer, so I followed her advice and stayed with two colours.  To do otherwise in front of her would have seemed rude.  The stitches are Windowpane Stripes, pg 58 for the cuff and Little Check, pg 21 for the main part of the mitts.  (The beige is not reading correctly in this photo…see the last two hats below for the actual colours)

… I am not all over the colours either, they are just making the best of a bad job these days, but  I almost always actually prefer doing three colours together.  I usually  find it more visually interesting.   I often have a problem when I try to put in a fourth.  Inevitably the fourth will throw off the balance of the first three, or wash out one of them, or make them seem muddy,..the problems quickly mount insurmountably…
The first hat I did was with a ball of brown that I now have a couple of meters left of (and no longer seems to exist), so I went with a beige for the other two hats. I cast on 100 stitches on 4 1/2mm needles using Patons Classic Wool worsted.  I started with the wine colour and did 12 rows of  Twisted Check, pg 20, then joined back into the cast on edge.  I switched to brown and green and used Honeycomb Tweed, pg. 57 for two inches, then switched back to wine and the first stitch for 4 rows.  The main body of the hat is done in brown using Block Stitch or Dice Pattern, pg 19-20 using the seed block stitch, the garter block stitch, the knit/purl block stitch for one repeat each then using Garter and Rib Check, pg 21 before I switched back to  garter block stitch for the

This next hat uses Zig Zag Knotted Rib, pg 43 and Van Dyke Check Pattern, pg 222.  I cast on 97 stitches with straight needles to do the ribbing (4 1/2 mm needles and Patons Classic wool, worsted).  I used the straight needles because I wasn’t sure I could recreate the stitch correctly on a round needle.  I switched onto a round needle and decreased one stitch at the beginning/end of the round before starting the main part of the hat.  I. tried to decrease in pattern but the top was not great, so I put the i-cord rose on the top in the wine and green

This is the last hat I am doing in this colourway, at least for now.  It is a bit of a sampler again.  I cast on 100 stitches with same needle and wool as before and did 6 rows of garter stitch before changing to Tricolor Stripe Pattern – woven version first for one repeat, then two rows of garter stitch and one repeat of the stranded version.  After another two rows of garter stitch I did one repeat of Three Color Tweed, pg 61, then two rows of garter stitch and 12 rows of Semi Woven Tweed, pg 60.

I did the top in just garter stitch, changing the colour after each row.  I used 10 points of decrease and decreased with a purl two together at each on the purl rows (p8, p2tog, etc…).     After the row that gave me 10 stitches left, I did the knit row, then did p2tog around and finished off.  I actually quite like the effect, if I do say so myself.



Even Barbara gets the blues…

I seem to have entered my blue period the last couple of weeks.  I have just moved from one hat to another on the same three balls of wool (Patons Classic Wool worsted, as usual), replacing them as they run out, making sure that if I change balls, I do it where it is unlikely to show any potential dye lot change.  I am becoming increasingly unhappy with the limited colour palatte that I have available at the place I buy this yarn.  I may be in the market for another brand of wool soon if things don’t pick up.  I think I will stick with worsted weight for the hats though..any suggestions?   I hate fashion,.. my kind of  colours are only “in” once in a while and I have to wade through times where I don’t “get”or “feel” the current colours.  Now seems to be one of those times.  Give me back my pure hues, please, these shades are killing me!

Ok, here we go.  Heather, aka my harsh little critic, was pretty scathing about the concept of this first hat.  When I explained what I was going to do I got “don’t worry, this one will stay in the freezer forever because no one will ever want it”.  When I was photographing them today, she actually put it on…something she rarely does any more and actually came close to admitting it wasn’t terrible…it accommodated her high ponytail completely.  She did say she liked the pattern, which is Stripe and Spot pattern, pg 56 above Basket Rib, pg 17.

spot and stripe pattern

spot and stripe pattern

I completely did not understand these next two colour change patterns when I read the instructions.  The 50 year old black and white photography does not do them justice in the book. I charted them out just to make sure before I started knitting, something I rarely do any more.  For the first one, I used Tricolor Fabric Stitch, pg 56, I also used Basket Welt, pg 17 at the bottom of the hat and Double Basket Pattern, pg 18 at the top of the

The next hat, I used 4 garter stitch rows at the bottom of the hat then did the Double Tricolor Fabric Stitch, pg 57.  I put four more rows of garter stitch, then Elongated Rib Check, pg 18. I was unhappy with the way the decreasing looked at the top so I put one of my I-cord roses on the top (for instructions, click here).

Double Tricolor Fabric Stitch

Double Tricolor Fabric Stitch

For the next hat, I actually started thinking the Squared Check Pattern would stand alone at the bottom of the hat, but it just didn’t look right so I picked up on the cast on edge and knitted four rows of garter stitch in dark blue to set it off, this way I had a live round needle at both edges of the hat:

picking up the cast on edge...

picking up the cast on edge…

still unhappy, and in an i-cord kind of mood from the last hat,  I added an i-cord rope at the bottom edge, then I did four garter stitch rows on the other needle to continue up the hat and firnished off with Swedish Check, pg 20.

My last hat is a pretty simple one with Swedish Block Pattern, pg 19 below Ripple Stripes, pg 55.

ripple stripes

ripple stripes

Just to round things out, I did another baby sweater, using Tamerna Stitch, pg 115 for the ribbing, and Mrs Hunters Pattern, pg 150.  I also used Horseshoe Cable, pg 243 on the

I must say, I am still finding this project endlessly fascinating and I think the stuff I am making isn’t terrible.

Barbara Walker catch up…dolls bed

A while ago I made the coverings for my doll’s bed.  I made them very early on in the project.  I actually stopped because I realized that I wasn’t really making anything but tension squares.

Here is the doll’s bed with all its bits and pieces:

Dolls bed and cradle

Dolls bed and cradle

I have already talked about the blankets in a previous post.  The two bed pillows and the blanket for the cradle were all done using dmc pearl cotton and 1mm needles.  The cradle blanket is Dewdrop Pattern, pg 149.

doll's pillows

doll’s pillows

The white pillow was made of Roman Rib Stitch, and the red one Roman Stitch, from pg 13.

The cradle pillow was made using Ripple Stitch, pg 13, Mettler Quilting thread and 0.75mm needles.

Knitting with sewing thread and 0.75 mm knitting needles

Knitting with sewing thread and 0.75 mm knitting needles

Barbara Walker…week 10

Wow, it is a big book…but I am not going to cave…yet.  I am learning a lot while I do this project.  I thought, after 50 years of knitting, 40 of which I would call myself a fairly active knitter, that I would have pretty much covered knitting.  I was wrong.  I guess sometimes before, I would just reject stitches willy nilly.  Now, with this project, I am not allowed to.  For those of you that don’t know, I am trying to design (ooo.. did I just call myself a designer?) knitted items using the stitches as they present themselves in a book that was published a couple of years after I started knitting, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker, 1968.  It has 500+ stitches in it.  My ‘rule’ is that I can use one or more stitches from any chapter or combination of chapters, but it must be the next stitch after the previous one I used in that chapter. I can, of course, throw in stockinette stitch and/or garter stitch whenever I feel the design requires it, otherwise things may get a little busy.  Not that I am usually averse to busy.  I am sure no one is keeping track, but there are some UFO’s (say it ain’t so, gill) and a couple of things I put in my knitting guild’s annual challenge, which I will show you next week when I get them back that represent some in between stitches.

first attempt

first attempt

back of first slouch

back of first attempt

This week was not a very productive week, partly because I have another baby sweater almost finished and the two hats I did finish have patterns that eat stitches for breakfast.  I hope it is obvious I was going for rasta-style hats here.  Last time, I did the colours, this time the shape.  I can’t say Barbara didn’t warn me that these stitches (Waffle stitch or Rose Fabric, pg 129 – purl version on the first hat and seed stitch version on the second hat) spread laterally, making a wider piece than you would expect.  She wasn’t kidding.  The first one is large and you would need a major set of dreds to fill it out.  I reduced the number of stitches by 10% (from 110 to 100) on the second one and it doesn’t seem to be that much smaller.  It took me a LONG time to get used to this stitch and, like lace, you have to go back stitch by stitch for a couple of rows before you recover your place if you have to rip back.  Which I did.  Several times.  The decreasing is weird because you keep knitting into the row below and collapsing the fabric, so the decreases become compressed.

second attempt

second attempt

back of second attempt

back of second attempt

I also used Mock Wave Cable, pg 115 on the first hat and Figure Eight Twisted Ribbing, pg 43 on the second hat.  Back to work today.  I am in the mills this week but next week I am joining the cooking unit, a change is a good as a rest as they say.  I will miss the guys, but I love new challenges.

Barbara Walker…week 9

Only two items this week…I haven’t really made baby sweaters since my kids were babies.  And we all know they are not that any more.  There are only two kids in the next generation so far and my sister Jane is a knitter herself, so there was no real point.  Gotta say, hats are WAY easier….there are so many more stitches in this sucker than any hat.  Also way more design choices, potential problems.  Having to rip back a few times only adds to the psychological issues.  I probably should have aimed for newborn size instead of the second size, less knitting….BUT, I used three whole stitches from “THE BOOK” (A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Barbara Walker. 1968).  Wheat Ear Rib, pg 43, Cloverleaf Eyelet Pattern, pg 169, and Eccentric Cables, pg 241.  I thought I had been making too many hats, and I needed to leave my wheelhouse for a bit.  I have made over 200 hats without patterns now and I make design choices almost automatically, for good or ill.  It almost never takes longer than walking to the kitchen to make a coffee to get me unstuck anymore.  Also, I couldn’t figure out how the wheat ear rib would be done in the round.  I think I have figured it out, but I thought it was cheating if I wasn’t sure it was the same stitch exactly.  I have to follow my own arbitrary, fictitious rules on this project, after all.

I have an issue at the back of the collar.  We are going to Toronto this week to pick the kids up from university, so I will try to visit the only grandniece I have and see how bad the problem is.  I am pretty sure I can jury rig it easily enough.  I am pretty vigilant these days about writing down the hat patterns, but I figured this was a dead loss and I quit writing it down somewhere near the middle of the raglans.  I am not really fussed about the look of the raglan edge, but better done than perfect as someone used to say.  A lot.

...a wam hug

…a wam hug

On our way home from Quebec City, we stopped in Plessisville at the Brassard et Fils weaving supply store  Near the cash they had this (sadly discontinued) Misti Cotton which is a blend of pima cotton and silk.  It felt so soft I couldn’t leave it there, so I bought three skeins.  I immediately knew that I wanted to make neck warmers with it.  I also knew that I had to break into the cable chapter, so I did this to use up a whole bunch of different cables.  I started at the bottom of the collar part with Classic Mock Cable, pg 115 and Four Stitch Cable Crossed Every Fourth Row, pg. 241.  Just before the collar part finished, I turned around as if to do a short row so that I flipped back and front.  I continued down the yoke part turning the mock cable into 4 x 4 cable then 6 x 6 cable.  I turned the 4 x 4 cable into 6 x 8 cable then 8 x 10 cable.  I was just trying to constantly increase as I went along.  I had measured and knew that I had to end up with about 2 1/2 times as many stitches at the bottom of the yoke as I had on the collar part.  I created new cables between the old ones which started as mock cables and transitioned into 4 x 4’s. At some point I was REALLY glad I wasn’t trying to follow someone else’s pattern instructions because I would have had to think too much.   With the baby sweater, this takes care of all the simple cables….yeah!  And it feels like a warm hug so, double bonus points.