Author Archives: sdbev

Aqua Blue

Not sure I’m going to post the back story on this project.  I’m too far into it. In fact I am near the end and deciding whether it will be worthwhile to finish, finish and donate, or trash as simply finished as useful muslin.

I used 2 strands of 2/24 acrylic in a very lovely aqua blue pattern.  Since I had not machine knit in a year, and didn’t do much that year, I chose a simple pattern, a raglan of 4 pieces and ribbings. After several attempts I stopped where I am now: 4 pieces of  slip stitch without ribbings.  I was rather horrified by the final appearance.  I have a gross mistake on one of the sleeves a minor mistake on the other.  The yokes, that area between neckline and armscye are rather disastrous.  Front and back are the same length and both are 4.5″ too short. The sleeves were neither the same length, nor finished with the same number of stitches.  I raveled back one so it contains the same number of stitches as the other and happily that also made them the same length. However that turns about to be more like 6″ too short. Thy are are not an even -length with the front and back.

I am reluctant to knit this yarn a 3rd time. Acrylic loses its bounce with multiple knittings especially since it has been steamed twice.  I decided before throwing it away,  I wanted to know how close to fitting the garment pattern is.  I basted the pieces together easing the sleeve armscyes to the body armscyes and then took pics.

So a good thing is that the overall length (that is after the yoke would be filled in with about 4″) will be right

It needs the 1″ hem and sleeve ribbings to be spot on. Not a bad thing l since I planned and knit intendening on making 1″ ribbings.

However we can already see there isn’t enough tummy room. Definitely surprising given that butt room is adequate.  Both pieces are knit and steamed to the same dimensions.  I stacked them on top of each other to be sure.

Looking at the back, I think that although I have had problems with fitting while sewing raglan tops,  a machine knit raglan adapts pretty nicely to sloping shoulders.  But still needs help with the asymmetry.  Note that all the diagonal drag lines are on the right, my lower shoulder. (I’ll examine the horizontal drag lines in later.)

I’m not really sure  I need more room at the bust.  It may not be readily apparent but the sleeves are too close i.e. tight.  While I’m not experiencing binding or restrictive movement, they would be better for long johns, underwear; rather than  an outerwear blouse — which this was intended to be. The tightness, horizontal drag lines, I see at the bust may be from the tightness of the sleeve. Which is a quandary for me.  Even machine knitting, it takes a long time for me to knit a garment. Do I want to take a chance on adding circumference to the sleeve and not the garment? Or do I want to add to both and the body of the garment be too loose? Part of the beauty of knitting your own garment is that you can control the shaping and ease to make your personal most flattering knit garment. But, it involves making choices like this.


The side view emphasizes how the horizontal drag lines are all pointing to the underarm area. Which reinforces my opinion that the sleeve has inadequate circumference.

I adapted this pattern from a very old hand-knitted, summer style. I thought only to lengthen the sleeves.  I never thought about the neckline being summer-time, sun worshiping low. The neckline as written, makes sense for that season. What I’m saying is I understand this was my error. Maybe I should have looked further into my collection for a long-sleeved raglan.

Well it is what it is. ATM I’m more inclined to correction the dimensions and knit another. However, I don’t want to make more swatches; and I’m tired of this particular color.  Guess it is time to pull the yarn storage down and take a good look at what I have to use.    Hey it will give me some time to think about what changes to make.



200 Needle Knitting

aka Machine Knitted. Both hand and machine knitting have a place in my life.  I love hand knitting.  I love take along projects that occupy my fingers when I need to be still.  Machine knitting fills that place in my mind that wants complicated knits or instant gratification.  Unfortunately my machine knitting, like the hand knitting,  has languished the last several years.  Oh I’ve tried several times.  Fired up the machines. Cleaned carefully and knit numerous swatches.  Even started and ruined a few projects.  That’s why today’s project is precious to me, even with all it’s imperfections:


It’s knit with 2 strands of 2/24 acrylic yarn in a tuck stitch pattern that imitates cables or fisherman knits.


Even with 2 strands of yarn, this is a light weight knit and does not have quite the depth of a hand knit fisherman’s  Guernsey. The purl side becomes the right side although the knit side is also interesting.


I used simple shapes or intended to use simple trapezoid shapes.


Many sweaters are built of basic rectangles or squares. Which is fine. It’s just that the pear-shaped me finds that a narrower shape at the top fits a little nicer. Hangs just a bit more gracefully. Has fewer folds of fabric beneath the arms. I don’t have to settle for too tight across the hips or too wide across the shoulders/bust.  Back and front would be knit like the figure on the left. Interestingly, the same shape laid over on its side (on the right) makes a nice sleeve. I planned for a cut and sew scoop neckline finished with single knit bands folded in half to cover the raw edges.  A similar band would and did begin each piece to form the welts along the hem and wrist.

Now this is a simple shape created with regularly spaced decreases along the sides.  It can be pretty mindless knitting which allows one to be concerned with all the minutiae you need to keep track of when machine knitting. If only people really knew what had to be done for a successful machine knit garment, they’d be a lot more respectful when talking about machine knits.  The first step is swatch 40 stitches knit in pattern of the garment over 60 rows. Swatch is then treated to its expected final environment which in my case will involve occasional washing on the hand  cycle of my front loader.  As much as I may complain about my front loaders, I have to admit that the hand wash cycle is superior to my personal hand washing. The washing machine is both thorough and gentle. My sweaters will also receive freshening in the dryer and light pressing. So I partially dry the swatch and then lay it out to finish air drying followed by a light press. Then I take the gauge measurements.  The Trapezoid Sweater is a favorite of mine. Very easy to change the final look through use of patterning, dimensions and neckline or sleeve finishes.   I’ve used it so often in the past, that I have a pretty good worksheet to make my calculations. Yes, yes my KH970 has the capability of making all those calculations internally. The thing is, I had this worksheet first and have never taken the time to figure out how that machine feature works.


However something went terribly wrong. Since I’ve used this worksheet many times (many , many times), I’m pretty sure the worksheet is good. I checked and rechecked the worksheet. I’m sure it’s good.  What went wrong had to happen with the swatch. Maybe the number of stitches/rows is off. Or the swatch reacted to the laundry/ironing process more than the finished pieces. Whatev, I reknit the front and back twice. The trapezoid was long and narrow.  After 4 fronts/backs, I decided upon a cut and sew option. Figured out how many extra stitches I would need to make the needed width. I cast those on and knit straight up.  I had to reclaim yarn to knit all 4 pieces.  While washing and blocking the pieces, I converted my newly completed knit block it to a dartless block. Using that I cut T-shirt shaped pieces and serged them together.


I top stitched over the serging using my cover stitch machine. It holds the seams flat which is really nice during wear.  At this stage, shoulders stitched, sleeves attached in armscyes and top stitched, I added a rib knit band around the neckline.  Both the thread and fabric band match in color so it’s not noticeable. Probably helped that both fabric and yarn are eons old.


The knit-on bands at the hem and wrists wouldn’t snug to the body so I added elastic in the channel that is formed when the band is turned up and attached at the knitting machine.

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It’s not a perfect process and not totally lovely, but it does work.


The finished garment does snug to my body keeping out wind and cold, two very important consideration for sweaters of the Mid West.


To be honest, it fits about as I expected a dartless block would do. I’ve got a dart forming above the bust. I think of myself as flat chested. Apparently my fabrics disagree. It tucks in under my tummy which is unlikely to get any smaller. I did cut the right shoulder and right armscye 1/2″ lower to accommodate my asymmetry. My only real criticism and the thing I would improve in the future is that the shoulders seem a little wide and the  sleeves a little long. Possibly due to the stretchy nature of knit.  I did stabilize the back shoulder of my PJ test. I may need to consider doing the same with all my knits.

Although I’m pleased with the final garment, it was not without issues and not without room for improvement.  Most importantly to me, it is done, done all the way d-o-n-e. The first d-o-n-e machine knit sweater in about 8 years.  I’m happy.


First Knitting Project Completed in 10 Years!

Note:  This was accidentally published during August.  I wanted better pics and took down the post.I’m reposting with 2 new pics which are just as disappointing as the originals.    Unfortunately, eggplant photos no better than black.  I’m at the point of saying it is what it is.

New Front Photo


not really much better than:

Despite its obviously short comings and my lack of photography skills, I love this sweater. Love it, because it is finished. Not just a swatch guage. Not partially done and abandoned. Finished.

For this cardigan I used 7 skeins of  Knit Picks Brava Worsted in Eggplant.  It’s not an expensive yarn. But having culled my stash and ruined several purchases, I decided to start simple and cheap.

Pattern is my own. Essentially 4 rectangles, two for back and two for front, which are joined and then sleeves picked up along the sides and knit to the cuff.  I used garter stitch through out.  About half way through I realized I wasn’t going to have enough yarn. At that point I purchased a skein from Hobby Lobby (Label lost.  Can’t tell you anything other than it’s a purple).  Total yarn needed was just under 8 skeins.

I’m of the opinion that adding a different color or even the same yarn but different dye lot, it needs to be done artistically. I added 6 rows of garter stitch to each side in the Hobby Lobby purple before picking up the stitches for the sleeves using Knit Pics Eggplant.  Used the Hobby Lobby again for the 3-needle bind-off when joining the the back pieces.


Back and side seam detail

Other than the center back, the seams are back stitched.


I did have some starts and rips but got going pretty quickly and finished in only 3 weeks.  Haven’t decided if I want buttons or other closure in front. So it may be done, done, but not all the way done. Then again, considering it’s faults, it maybe done, done DONE.


First Knitting Blog Post

I both hand and machine knit. 2 needles and 200. Or at least I used to. I used to fill my closet with personally knit garments which others swore were high end. Nope I’d just been practicing for  20, 30, 40 years.  About 10 years ago, all my knitting ceased. Not intentionally. I retired and restructured my life.  Knitting went by the wayside. Oh I picked up needles from time to time and cast on guage swatches. But I never got far. I’m happy to say that’s changed. I’m knitting and finishing garments.


Of course, I’m going to brag about it!  But for those of you not interested in knitting projects and because this is how I organize my posts, I’ve started a new blog that will contain only my knitting posts. I don’t expect there will be many but you need not read them at all.  And, you don’t have to subscribe if you do want to read my posts. I’ll still post a link on my index blog sdBev.  If you are subscribed there (or use another RSS tracking service), you’ll automatically be notified when I post about my knitting. Thanks for joining me