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More Knitting Questions.

(28 Posts)
NotQuiteCockney Wed 27-Apr-05 17:24:07

Ok, I'm finishing up the sweater I made for DS1. The neckline is done. I'm almost ready to put the arms on ... and the sleeves look waaay to small at the top. There are square inset bits at the top of the body, so the sweater looks like a sort of tank top, without the sleeves, and the sleeves, folded over, don't reach from the inset bit to the shoulder.

What do I do? Pick up stitches and do more increases so the sleeves are wider? Or is there some trick I'm missing, and the sleeves do really fit? (The instructions go on about right angles, and I don't really understand them, frankly.) The difference is maybe a centimeter.

Also, is there some trick to keep the edges of the sweater from looking like, well, crap? There are big holes all over the place. Do I just need to be extra careful with the tension there? They look particularly bad near the top, with all the decreases.

NotQuiteCockney Thu 28-Apr-05 19:18:35

Is this a hard question, or is nobody knit-mad around? Where is my 24/7 knitting support line? [flounce]

Seriously, any answers very gratefully received.

sammac Thu 28-Apr-05 19:50:04

When you mean the edges, do you mean the first and last stitches of each row?

To keep it neat, I always slip the first stitch and knit into the back of the last stitch, keeps it even( and it's what my mum told me!) Sometime if you do the decreases in a coupl eof stitches, ie on the third stitch rather than the first one, it will look neater. It will be in the same place all the rows up so will look neat as well.

Have you tried pressing the whole thing under a damp cloth before you stitch it together, it may be it just needs to , kind of , settle in to its shape.

Not too sure of your sweater, can't quite picture it in my head, so sorry if not any use!

suedonim Thu 28-Apr-05 22:45:19

I can't quite picture it either but maybe the top of the sleeve has been cast off too tightly. Any chance of posting a picture of a similar design?

tamum Thu 28-Apr-05 23:08:24

I reallu must go to bed, I was just coming to turn the computer off, but what with a damsel in distress.....

I have a feeling that the sleeves you're describing may only be meant to fit as far as the bottom of the body decreases, and not along the bit that you've decreased (god, this is hard to describe). Then part of the sleeve edge goes along the body decreases (horizontal bit). However, you may already know that and it's still too small. The best bet would be for you to let us know what the pattern is- is it from the SnB book? The chances are reasonably high that I will have a copy of whatever it is already and then I can try and understand a bit better. The only other thing you could try is blocking the sleeves to the size it says on the pattern schematic (assuming it has one)- soak the piece briefly, squeeze out the excess, and pin it out, stretching to exactly the size it should be and leave to dry.

The edges, I don't know. I don't do the slipping stitches thing unless I'm knitting a scarf, but you could try. It shouldn't be necessary though really, you don't normally get holes with decreases. Maybe you're right and it's a tension problem.

I'll check back in the morning to see how you're doing

NotQuiteCockney Fri 29-Apr-05 09:57:56

By edges, yeah, I mean the first and last stitches. There's a tip in SnB about making them be tight, by tugging a bit, maybe I should just be more careful. Or I'll try sammac's method, see if that works better for me.

Hmm, suedonin, it may be I've cast off too tightly, the sleeve does seem to decrease a wee bit at the top for no apparent reason. No way to fix that, is there? I guess I could un-cast-off and try again ...

The sweater is from "Miss Bea's Colours", which is a Rowan book (it's "Gold Star Sweater"). All the sleeves are the same style, with the body of the sweater having a sudden right-angle decrease (really a cast off) where the sleeves start. Hmm, actually, I've had a bit more of a look at it, and maybe it's ok, just a tiny bit short. Measured without any tension, the sleeve "hole" is 7", while the top of the sleeve is 12". So I'm short about 2" of sleeve.

The pattern doesn't say how wide the tops of the sleeves should be, just gives lengths for the sleeves as a whole.

I do understand what you mean about the body decreases, tamum, it's actually a cast off, so it doesn't go down very far, anyway.

The Making up instructions are slightly terse:

Insert square set in sleeves as follows: Sew cast off edge of sleeve top into armhole. Making a neat right angle, sew in straight sides at top of sleeve to cast off stitches at armhole. Join side and sleeve seams using either mattress stitch or batch stitch. It is important to press each of the seams as you make the garment up.

(So far, making up is certainly my least favourite part of knitting.)

suedonim Fri 29-Apr-05 20:19:10

You could try undoing the cast off and doing it again, NQC. A little trick when casting off, if you tend to do it too tight, like I do, is to use a size larger needle for that row. It makes the stitches just that much bigger and gives a bit of stretch. Hope you manage to solve the problem!

NotQuiteCockney Wed 04-May-05 08:27:53

Hm, uncasting off wasn't easy, I think I messed it up a bit. And I've now realised the sweater looks more than a bit bad ... I think it was a bit beyond my skill level. I need to do a lot of just plain knitting, I think, to really get the knack of it ... either that, or be a lot more fussy at the difficult bits, rather than hurrying.

Although I have done a bit of intarsia now, successfully. I'd been fearing intarsia, but now I've done it, so I've managed all the big things now, I think. I don't really understand the difference between intarsia and fair isle, it sounds like a matter of degree?

And I bought another book that's a lot more detailed than the SnB book, which I really like more, which is the Anchor book of Needlecraft. Good photos, nice explanations, lots of details. It's telling me stuff I wish the SnB book did (like, rather than sewing in the tails, you can leave them long, then use them for sewing up! Probably obvious to more experienced knitters, but still!). And it's got crochet and embroidery and all that, too.

NotQuiteCockney Wed 04-May-05 11:36:49

Oh, and I have one actual question - I was thinking of doing a baby blanket, as a way to get a big practice, and do a project I can (hopefully) do competantly. I was thinking of mostly following the SnB pattern, but thinking of doing the middle in basket weave, instead of blocks of Sto St and Reversed Sto St. That would work ok, right? Only presumably I'd have to do more stitches to get the same size, as basket weave is essentially like a rib? (And hence should lay flat, right?)

I'll have to get those Denise needles, too ...

robin3 Wed 04-May-05 11:47:32

I love knitting but never seem to finish things off tightly enough to survive the rough and tumble of kids.
What can I knit in the way of kids toys or decorations...something I could give as a gift to other people maybe?
Sorry to butt in on yr thread but you all sound like experts.

NotQuiteCockney Wed 04-May-05 11:56:57

Baby hats look good, especially for newborns. I'm not at all an expert, but I'm sure other people will have better ideas.

I'm meant to be getting some patterns for kids' toys, from a deceased grandmother-in-law, but I gather they're really really hard to make.

NotQuiteCockney Wed 04-May-05 21:01:06

Oh, mult-colour knitting seems to work. tamum, do you do intarsia, or fair isle? Somehow I find the idea of all those dangling strands, in intarsia, really off-putting, so I end up doing fair isle type stuff all the time. I guess the knitting police won't come after me if I mix the techniques, will they?

NotQuiteCockney Thu 05-May-05 09:35:20

Also, my tension is (again) too tight. How do I fix this? I was doing the SnB wristband thing, which is two strands held together knitting, which I'd not done before. It was soooo tight. Also, the sizing was all wrong, so I had to hand work it out. (casting off with a larger needle helped some, thank goodness. I also kept manually loosening my stitches, so I could cast off. Even so, I think I have callouses on my left index finger and thumb from pressing on the tip of the needle, whoops)

A more simple question: when a ball says it weighs 50g, that's just the weight of that ball, isn't it? It doesn't really say anything about the thickness of the yarn, except by implication? Or am I missing something here?

bundle Thu 05-May-05 10:29:55

some nice blankets here on the little acorns website, not suggesting you should get someone else to do the handknitting for you! but one of their blankets (the pink hearts one) is reduced from £48 to £16

don't like the sound of your callouses, nqc, knitting is supposed to be all gain, no pain...

Dingle Thu 05-May-05 10:37:46

woooh...sorry to seem really ignorant here ..but do people really pay tahe much for a pair of simple, hand knitted booties?

I know like anything it is finding the right market, but some people wouldn't even consider paying thay for a baby set! We used to charge £70-£100 for a full lenght mohair caot!

I'll have to get up in that loft, sort out my wool and dust off my knitting needles.

bundle Thu 05-May-05 11:10:24

shocking, isn't it dingle?

tamum Fri 06-May-05 13:07:17

Sorry, I missed all this, NQC.

I rarely do intarsia because it dawned on me that I hated it, and that seemed to defeat the point really. I do a bit if I have to. I only substitute fairisle if there aren't too many stitches to carry the wool over. I did Cheesecake (you have to scroll down) a while ago and that involved a bit of both, but it wasn't too bad because ther were lots of solid rows in between. Anyway, I don't think the knitting police will mind what you do

Umm, ball weight. No, it doesn't tell you how much woll there is, because it is really only the length that matters in terms of how much you need to complete a particular garment. Heavier yarns like cotton will have less meterage in a ball than pure wool, for example, so you need to watch this if you're substituting. Most ball bands from companies like Rowan will say the length as well as the weight.

I think the only answer to your tension problem is to do a (gulp) swatch. Test you stitch and row number, and if it doesn't correspond to what the ballband/pattern says, then use bigger needles until it does (or smaller, but it sounds as though your problem is tightness).

Me, I am just finishing Clapotis in Debbie Bliss's Maya 03 . I've done it to be more like a winter shawl though, and it's v. nice though I say so myself

NotQuiteCockney Sat 07-May-05 06:24:42

tamum, the shawl looks very sweet. Tricky, too, with the knitting-on-the-bias thing.

I have been doing sample swatches, actually! It came out a bit big, when I was doing the cuffs, but it was really bulky and hard to do, so I felt going down a needle size would be a mistake - so I was trying to knit tight, a bit, on purpose. (I also decreased the number of stitches, I had to modify the pattern anyway, as I was trying to make it fit DH.) I probably should have gone down to one strand instead, and just increased the number of stitches.

At any rate ... I think I will make a baby blanket. I really like the "basket weave" texture from the Anchor book, so I think I will do it in that (although it's got a right side and wrong side, so maybe not?). I'm sorting out getting some Denise needles, and will do it that way. I should probably try out all the textures that interest me in the Anchor book and see what suits ...

I didn't hate fairisle, but I really didn't like intarsia. I don't like having more ends to weave in, to the extent that I'm ecstatic at the idea of using the ends for sewing up. I think a big no-sewing project like a baby blanket would be ideal for me. Then maybe a scarf for DH.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 14:42:59

The SnB book says there are a bunch of different yarn "weights", like "double knitting" and "worsted, or aran" etc. Looking at British yarn, I see weight/ball, sometimes length, suggested needle size, and then a gauge square, for (presumably?) the recommended needle size. But is there a yarn thickness value I'm missing somewhere here?

But if, say, I buy some yarn that should knit on 4mm needles, for a pattern for 4mm needles. And it turns out, to get the recommended gauge, I have to use 3.75mm needles. Won't the garment be thicker than it's meant to be? And also, will I need more yarn, or less?

tamum Sun 08-May-05 14:55:19

Hmm. Most UK yarns say DK or aran or whatever somewhere, IME, but not all I agree. I don't really look at that as long as the tension is given, as that's a much more reliable guide. If you find that you get the right gauge by using smaller needles, then that will give you exactly the size and thickness the pattern intends- the needle size is meant to be a guide as to where to start, the only thing that matters is gauge. Certainly if you were to use a thicker wool than the one intended, and you use the needle size given, then you would end up with a denser fabric, but that's really the only way it could happen. Does that help at all or am I missing the point?

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 15:02:25

Ok, so I'll try not to worry about yarn type.

I "won" the auction for the Denise needles, so they should be showing up soon.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 15:02:51

Thanks for the support, tamum.

I think I'm going to try the alien illusion scarf from SnB.

tamum Sun 08-May-05 15:08:52

You're more than welcome Not sure I've done much good, though. It's probably a good idea to do a few scarves and blankets as it gives you a chance to get used to the feel of different yarns with your tension where it doesn't matter too much. The basketweave idea sounds good! The Denise needles are so useful- I prefer wooden needles generally but they are fine to knit with and just give you so much flexibility.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 08-May-05 15:11:07

Yeah, my only problem with a basketweave blanket is that it's got a right side and a wrong side. I might try other patterns. I really like basketweave, though. V pretty.

tamum Sun 08-May-05 15:17:51

I've got a book called something like Sampler Afghans that has loads of different patterns that each knit up to a rectangle the same size, then you sew them together (it's shown further down on this page . There are loads of good ideas in there, and it's great practice for different lace stitches and so on. I've only done 2.5 squares so far so my blanket is a bit small

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