Monday, May 16, 2022

Starting & Finishing Cabled Motifs

I was recently contacted by a lovely knitter who was puzzled about knitting my hat pattern, Anchors & Ropes. I was able to help her through email but it occurred to me that others might find a little photo-tutorial a useful thing when knitting the anchors. And there'll be a knotwork motif in my Countess Cathleen that you haven't seen as yet. Considering I've only just recently finished knitting the hood ;)

I learned to knit knotwork cabled motifs from Alice Starmore's brilliant books "The Celtic Collection" and "Aran Knitting". And while the anchor in my Anchors & Ropes hat came from a stitch dictionary published in around 2005 (I knit the original Anchors & Ropes hat in the fall of 2009), it uses pretty well the same method put forward by AS. This has continued to be the way I start, and end, motifs that need this rounded shaping.

Enough background! Let's jump into how to start a motif.

I'm working with worsted weight yarn on size 4.5mm (US7) needles for both sections of this tutorial. The knotwork shown is a swatch for my Countess Cathleen pattern; the final pattern may not look the same. I haven't decided which of my knot motifs I like best. I've only created five possibilities for this design ;) 

(For knitting in rounds, you'll need to knit where it says purl in steps 3 and 4 of the starting a motif section.)

Starting a motif:

Step 1:
Work to where the pattern says to start your motif.

Step 2:
In the next stitch, you'll work 3 stitches. First by knitting into the back and then the front of the stitch:

Then by knitting into the vertical line that sits on top of those  2 stitches:

Here's the 3 sts completed:

Step 3:
In the next row, purl the first new stitch, work (purl, yarnover, purl) into the second new stitch, and purl the third new stitch:

Step 4:
On the next row, work the stitches as the pattern tells you, remembering to purl the yarnover through its back loop to twist it and avoid a hole:

And there you have two 2-stitch strands to work your cables from. The anchor motif I used in Anchors & Ropes has a pair of additional increases on either side of the first 1-into-3 stitch, which are knit on the next round; the anchor's arms are made of 3 stitches rather than 2. A slight variation that shouldn't cause you any pause.

Ok, now how do you close up those stitches that you've added into the fabric of your knitting? You could decrease them away over a few rows, but if you're working a knotwork motif it won't resemble the beginning.

Ending your motif:

Step 1:
Look at the stitches of your motif; you have 5 needing to be reduced down to 1. I've numbered them for you in this photo:
Note that stitch 3 is a purl stitch between the two pairs of stitches that have been the strands in your motif. 

Step 2:
Slip stitches 1, 2, and 3 to the right needle, purlwise (don't twist stitch 3 throughout this process):

Step 3:
Lift stitch 2 up and over stitch 3, letting it drop off the needle as if you cast it off:

Step 4:
Slip stitch 3 back to the left needle:

Step 5:
Lift stitch 4 up and over stitch 3, letting it drop off the needle:

Step 6:
Slip stitch 3 back to the right needle:

Step 7:
Lift stitch 1 up and over stitch 3, letting it drop off the needle:

Step 8:
Slip stitch 3 back to the left needle:

Step 9:
Lift stitch 5 up and over stitch 3, letting it drop off the needle:

Step 10:
Purl stitch 3:

Ta-da! Your decrease is complete, and the top of your motif has a similar rounded shape to the bottom of it.

If your motif has more stitches per strand, alternate passing stitches over the center stitch until all of the strand stitches are gone.

I hope this helps you with the start and end of these types of cabled motifs! They're so much fun to knit :)

Yours in yarn and woolly knotwork motifs,

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Is This Summer?

I almost think my island home has skipped spring in favor of a summer. Yesterday and today it's suddenly topped 20°C with bright sunshine. No complaints from me! I'm still a prairie girl at heart; give me all the sunshine!!

I'm happy to say the Hornpipe Bag pattern is in the midst of tech-editing. I'm making some fixes here and there to clean it up before returning it to my tech-editor. And to go with my wordy explanations in a couple of specific areas, I'll be getting photo tutorials ready as well. I'll be including these in the pattern but also putting them up here on the blog (with listings in my Helpful Post tab for quick reference).

A helpful knitter has reached out to me with some hiccups in my oldest pattern, Anchors & Ropes. If you've been following along over the years, this pattern was originally popped up on the Síle's Knittin' & Kittens blog back in December 2009(!) and didn't even have a chart. Rustic would be the nice word for it lol. I added a chart in 2015 or so and then revamped the entire thing with a new chart and new written instructions.

Well, I've got a couple of goofs in the translation from the latest chart to the newest written instructions that I need to fix up. I've also discovered that some of my written explanations for stitches, while familiar to a lot of North American knitters, and quite a few in the UK and Ireland, aren't as familiar with our cousins in other parts of Europe. I'll be adding two photo tutorials to the blog, with links in the fixed up Anchors & Ropes, to show these couple of trickier spots in a bit better way. 

And speaking of designs, I've finished the hood for Countess Cathleen and moved onto the cloak's body :) I'm so pleased with how it's shaping up! The moss stitch has such a nice rhythm to its knitting; very intuitive with the shaping, I find at least. I hope others will think so too! Here's the photo I nabbed as I got the transition between hood and body finished Monday night:
The hood laid out somewhat flat. The shaping makes it drape over a bit in the center. The star stitch border, center cable panel, and moss stitch of the sides are all very clear, both in terms of their textures and differences to one another.

That's everything for today! Lots going on behind the scenes this week, and you'll be seeing the results soon :)

Yours in yarn and summery temperatures (for now),

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Light Jig Tam is Updated!

That's right! I'm pleased to announce that the Light Jig Tam pattern has been updated and now includes a low vision accessible pdf and that same pdf is also screen-reader accessible. 

What does screen reader accessible mean? The main issue, especially with knitting patterns, is abbreviations. A commonly encountered abbreviation like st for stitch is read out as street. Using " instead of typing out inches doesn't get read at all, as a screen reader will see it as punctuation. Little changes like these go a long way in helping crafters using screen readers to read the pattern as easily as most of us read the standard pdf.

To celebrate the update, I'm offering a 10% discount through Sunday, May 8th with the coupon JIGAGAIN. This works on both my site and my Payhip shop. Sorry, it's not available on Lovecrafts 

Come and join me in the Light Jig Tam! (Link stays within this site)

A collage of several photos all showing a blonde woman in a grey tweed coat walking in the snow along bare branches of a hedge. She is wearing a blue cabled tam on her head and it is the focus of the photos.