October 30, 2014 by Felicity Ford

The wall of joy at Jamieson & Smith

The wall of joy at Jamieson & Smith

You may have had the experience of encountering an amazing wall of different coloured yarns in a yarn store and finding the prospect of all those colours both delightful and daunting. The colours! So many options! But where to start with choosing, and how can you tell if colours that look great together as balls of yarn will still be delightful once you begin knitting with them? 

One theme explored in the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook involves choosing colours for stranded colourwork projects. Today for Technique Thursday I will share some of my ideas on this subject. I will present selected examples and tips from my book as rough guidelines and not as rules. I hope they assist you in your knitting adventures!

Here are my top tips, with explanations for each to follow:

  • Start by finding an inspiration source that you love
  • Choose colours for projects by matching yarn shades to that inspiration source
  • Ensure contrast when choosing colours so that your knitted designs will stand out

Start by finding an inspiration source that you love

It may seem counter-intuitive for a techniques post about choosing colours to begin with finding an inspiration source; surely looking at all the tasty yarn shades is the best starting point? However I have found that beginning with lots of gorgeous balls of yarn can be a bit overwhelming and reveals little about how those shades will interact once knitted. 

Tasty balls of Hebridean 2-ply

Tasty balls of Hebridean 2-ply

For instance I once took a whole host of beautiful shades of Hebridean 2-ply by Alice Starmore that looked delicious together as wee balls and seemed destined to sing together. But when I knitted with them, I was surprised and unhappy to observe that the shades I had chosen did not work well: this was not the beauteous colourwork I had envisaged! 

Oops, not the colourwork of my dreams

Oops, not the colourwork of my dreams

After making this useful mistake I realised I could help myself with future stranded colourwork projects by more carefully observing colour relationships in the world around me: it is logical that if colours look good mixed in objects found in everyday life then they might also combine well in stranded colourwork. It can be reassuring to look at something and say "those colours look amazing together, I will try that combination out in my own knitting".

Palettes generated while writing the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook - each one has been developed by closely observing an inspiration source!

Palettes generated while writing the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook - each one has been developed by closely observing an inspiration source!

In the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook I give an example of using my walnut tree for inspiration. I love this tree and when it stands brightly against the summer sky all the colours work together. Exploring the relationships between leaves, branches, bark and sky helped me choose colours that worked together for my knitting.

My walnut tree

My walnut tree

Short instructions: pick an inspiration source that you love and remember;

  • The things that delight you can be mined for knitterly inspiration 
  • If the colours look great together in your inspiration source then there should be a way to make them look great together in your knitting! 

Choose colours by matching yarn shades to your inspiration source

Colour-matching can be done by holding a shade-card or balls of yarn against an inspiration source and checking for close matches in colour.

What colour-matching reveals

If I was merely thinking about my walnut tree and visiting a yarn store I might select a brown shade, a pale blue shade, and some greens. (Those are the right colours for a tree, right?) However matching the tree to different shades of yarn reveals several surprises!

 FC58 from the Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight range is surprisingly similar to the bark

 FC58 from the Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight range is surprisingly similar to the bark

The darker parts of the bark are a complex purple brown.

rich purple brown heathery glory

rich purple brown heathery glory

The creamier parts of the bark are almost biscuit coloured (FC43) or a warm lilac grey (78).

FC43 and 78, nestled in the branches

FC43 and 78, nestled in the branches

The very tips of the leaves are a pinkish colour, and  there is some yellow involved. 

Unexpected pinks and yellows

Unexpected pinks and yellows

Using the technique of holding yarns and shade-cards up to the tree produces a surprising range of colours. I am not sure I would have chosen such shades if I had just tried to guess the right colours for a walnut tree!

Found palette: yarn shades chosen through colour matching

Found palette: yarn shades chosen through colour matching

Matching yarn to objects can help to challenge prejudices and assumptions about colours.

Duck eggs and a bright shade of white

Duck eggs and a bright shade of white

For example, duck eggs are not necessarily the famously named "duck egg blue" but can be represented by, amongst other shades, a sort of luminous white.

Prunes and a ball of Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight in shade 81

Prunes and a ball of Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight in shade 81

Prunes turn out not to be the deep plummy purple one might imagine, but a sort of heathery black; the white flecks resemble the glistening wet surface.

Lurid shade 49 in the Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight range is very similar to an artichoke thistle

Lurid shade 49 in the Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight range is very similar to an artichoke thistle

Colours which you would never normally pick, or which may seem not to be "your colours" may turn out to be perfect for a knitting project. I have never much liked purple, but seeing how this exuberant lilac shade pops in the garden when my artichokes run to flower has given me a new perspective and shade 49 has snuck into many of my subsequent knitting projects! 

Choosing colours through matching is a lot of fun; I hope you can imagine running around with balls of yarn in your pockets ready to match them to the world! However this playing also provides important ideas for different shading effects. All the time spent trying to see which shade of brown or green is the closest match is also spent learning how colours move from from light through to dark across branches and leaves. This information is useful when you start knitting and thinking about shading.

Knitting developed from walnut tree palette

Knitting developed from walnut tree palette

Short instructions: choose colours through matching and remember;

  • Your inspiration source may surprise you.
  • Observing how colours interact in your inspiration source will give you ideas for how they might work together in your knitting.

Ensure contrast so that your designs stand out

My final tip for choosing colours is that once you have found a palette, you may wish to ensure it contains contrast.  

My walnut tree presents many different surface textures and these help to visually separate out its various elements. However when you knit with your yarn you will produce a fabric with a uniform surface and the main factor which will help patterns to stand out clearly is contrast.  

An easy way to ensure contrast is to squint, blocking out the colour receptors in your eyes and enabling you to see dark and light more clearly. If you have a smart phone you can also take a black and white photo of your yarn shades to check that they stand out distinctly from one another. If they don't, you can introduce contrast by finding colours that are already in your palette and adding darker or lighter versions of them.

Black and white version of Walnut tree palette

Black and white version of Walnut tree palette

Although the beautiful mid-blue of FC15 seems a perfect match for a midsummer sky, this shade does not contrast very much at all with the other shades in my walnut tree palette. 

FC15 - too dark for the sky

FC15 - too dark for the sky

To mimic the high contrast effect of branches against sky seen in reality, lighter blues are required.

High contrast tree and sky

High contrast tree and sky

Short instructions: check for contrast within your palette by squinting at your colour choices or taking a black and white photo of them and remember;

  • Making things darker or lighter can help your patterns to stand out!
  • BUT if you want to create a more subtle effect, the opposite is true...

Choosing colours for garments

This process of choosing colours through observation and colour matching reveals hidden magic in familiar places. It involves looking around your neighbourhood and home for inspiration and then experimenting with yarn to find all the colours hidden there. These ideas can then be used to produce wondrous garments connected to your environment and imbued with the pleasures of choosing - and playing with - colours. 

The weeds at the end of my street bordered by lovely old brick houses

The weeds at the end of my street bordered by lovely old brick houses

I chose the pretty patch of weeds at the end of my street as an inspiration source, initially because I liked the green and blue together in the vivid foliage and green alkanet flowers (which are actually blue). 

Green alkanet flowers

Green alkanet flowers

In practice I struggled to find the best way to show these flowers in my knitting. I felt I never managed to get sufficient contrast between the greens and the blues for the pattern to really stand out...

...however through observing the total palette of this corner of my street, I found other interesting colour relationships and a rich overall palette with which to experiment.

The colours of my street found through colour-matching

The colours of my street found through colour-matching

I was especially happy to notice that areas of repair in the brickwork involve different coloured mortars, and took this idea forward in one set of charts used with my Fingerless Mitts pattern.

Swatching with the colours of my street

Swatching with the colours of my street

You can see that the mortar in my mitts changes colour just like the mortar between the bricks in my street. Matching shades helped me to find and choose colours for these mitts. 

Wearing the colours of my street

Wearing the colours of my street

Colours in general

I want to finish this Technique Thursday post by sharing some of my favourite exercises for developing confidence with colour. 

Spicy!

Spicy!

Exploring your kitchen cupboard with a shade card can reveal how many colours there are amongst your herbs and spices.

You can also learn a lot about colour by going to the DIY store, helping yourself to one of every single paint shade card, and matching them to the world around you.

Traditional Castles and Roses motifs on canal boats are full of beauteous colour combinations!

Traditional Castles and Roses motifs on canal boats are full of beauteous colour combinations!

Forest Lake, Khaki Mist or Tarragon Glory?

Forest Lake, Khaki Mist or Tarragon Glory?

If all else fails, you can't go wrong with reading a yarn shade card at bedtime. When I was writing my PhD thesis I relaxed at night by looking at the beautiful colours in the Jamieson & Smith shade card: it was better than a story because within the many shades I could recognise my favourite things and places.

Giveaway Winner

Finally, I used a random number generator to locate a winner for the book giveaway announced earlier in the week and this winner is Louise Edsall who reflects on the inspiration provided by her bees:

Louise Edsall  21 hours ago

My inspiration for stranded colorwork is my beehives. I am a beekeeper and the colors in my hives are glorious. The beautiful pollen tucked into the honeycomb in reds, pinks, golds, yellows, greens and whites create a patchwork of color. The warm reddy brown of the propolis (plant resins bees bring in to make hive airtight and line their honeycomb edges for antibiotic properties), the chamois browns of the wax caps over the honeycombs protecting developing baby bees, the beautiful nectar on its way to becoming honey looks like stained-glass of a cathedral when held to the light. The bees themselves with their warm tones and distinctive black stripes and fuzzy yellow hairs which pollen sticks to are an inspiration into themselves. The beautiful sunshine and blue skies that my little bees soar up to over the green canopies of summer in search of their flowers. Thank you for allowing me to share this. Now I must get busy on the design. This has been a great start to my day to reflect on my honeybees and their gifts to us.

WOOHOO! What riches of colour and texture this comment conjures. Congratulations Louise! A book will soon be on its way to you and I hope it helps you find ways to knit your bees.

Everyone's amazing comments - left on Ysolda's review - blew me away. The world is clearly full of things which are special in deeply personal ways and worthy of knitterly celebration! I wish you all many hours of fun matching your stash to the world around you and finding inspiration in unexpected places. Turbo thanks to Ysolda for writing such a complete, careful and thoughtful review of my book earlier this week and for hosting me here for Technique Thursday. I hope you have all enjoyed it! 

YOURS IN COLOURS, xF

The KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford contains many tips similar to those shared in this post and can be purchased directly from the author here.

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October 28, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

There are many, many knitting reference books that have wonderful, useful content but which could have been written by anyone with the right skill set and ability to impart information. Those things take hard work and experience, but the books I really care about, the ones that I'll hang onto despite knowing how to do whatever techniques they cover, are the ones that could not have been written by anyone but their particular author. Not incidentally they're also the books that tend to divide opinion. Elizabeth Zimmermann's 'pithy' directions started many knitters down a creative path but are unnecessarily perplexing to others. Part of the pleasure of reading Montse Stanley's or June Hemmons Hiatt's technique bibles is the internal arguments you get to have with their strong opinions on everything from sleeve cap shaping to holding the needles. 

There's inspiration to be found in unique voices, and those are the books whose teaching goes far beyond specific techniques. 

Felicity Ford's KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook is such a book. Felicity first crossed my radar years ago when I ran an extremely silly contest to knit my Elijah pattern and create a photo story of his adventures — she got delightfully into the challenge.

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Stuffed animals, words no one else I know uses, an enormous sense of fun — things that could so easily be dismissed as childish affectations. And yet, combined with Felicity's extremely serious approach to her multi-disciplinary and wide ranging art practice, the result is a grounding of big ideas in the everyday earthiness of beer, fruitcake, patches of weeds and, of course, the practise of making something necessary for warmth beautiful that is at the heart of all stranded colourwork traditions. 

Whenever I teach there are two questions I dread being asked the most: "how do you find inspiration?" which is really "how should I find inspiration?"; and "how do you put colours together?". In response I usually mumble something and books and films and architecture and paying attention, or I joke that "inspiration isn't my problem, it's finding time to put ideas into practice". Which is true, but it's a spectacularly useless response to someone who isn't feeling inspired or can't see a path from appreciating the structure of an interesting roof to a lace shawl. As for colour, my knowledge of colour theory began and ended with an argument with a teacher who told me I didn't need the requested purple paint because I had blue and red. She refused to believe that that particular blue and red would make brown, whatever the rule was. 

Both the ability to pick out interesting details and imagine how they can be re-interpreted and a good sense of colour can seem like innate qualities, rather like perfect pitch (guess which of these I don't possess at all!). To a certain extent I'm sure they are, but that doesn't mean that they cannot be developed through structured practice. Felicity's formal art training (and teaching) is clearly evident in her approach to developing a clear, step-by-step system that emphasises the importance of playing with ideas, critical review and creative constraints. Some readers will follow this approach more strictly than others, and the book explicitly acknowledges that they are simply the rules and limitations that have helped Felicity's process. Encouraging readers to "hack the system" she says, "I'm giving you my map and compass, but this should be your adventure." 

The book begins with a general overview of this system including basic tips for making charts and working stranded colourwork. Outlines are given for developing both initial charts and colour palettes but the emphasis is on working out those ideas while actually knitting. We often see swatching as a preliminary chore done, if at all, as a necessity to ensure the real knitting turns out properly. I find even many working, or aspiring, designers feel like time spent swatching is wasted when their ideas don't work out as planned. Here swatching becomes a crucial part of the creative process, an approach that Felicity describes as removing "the fear of getting things wrong, because when learning through trial and error, mistakes are completely welcome". It sometimes feels like I spend ninety percent of my knitting time on swatches or sections that are eventually ripped out, so it was personally nice to be reminded of how important that is. We could all do with giving ourselves the time, space and to play in this way and the warm-hearted generosity towards mistakes that Felicity constantly demonstrates.  That, more than any of the actual examples, may be the most inspiring element of the book. 

Patterns inspired by fruitcake, with critical notes on what worked and what didn't. If this makes you hungry you'll be pleased to note that the book contains a recipe. 

Patterns inspired by fruitcake, with critical notes on what worked and what didn't. If this makes you hungry you'll be pleased to note that the book contains a recipe. 

There are, however, specific examples, and plenty of them. The main part of the book is divided into three sections: A World Full of Things, A World Full of Places and A World Full of Plants. Each illustrates the process of finding inspiration, creating a palette and patterns and developing a shading scheme while swatching. The descriptions of things and places are highly particular and personal, to an extent that initially seemed somewhat out of place in a book on knitting. As I continued to read however, I found myself enjoying these descriptions for themselves, and appreciating how much they illustrated the practice of observing the things we love for reasons far beyond the fact that they're pretty. In fact, the examples I found most interesting began with the least obvious, least pretty, sources of inspiration like driving on the motorway or functional objects. 

The digital sound recorder Felicity uses in her art practice is an unusual inspiration source that resulted in some of my favourite patterns in the book. I'd be fascinated to see more designs inspired by other such objects, which have our every day use worn into intimately into them but are not, necessarily, immediately visually inspiring. 

The digital sound recorder Felicity uses in her art practice is an unusual inspiration source that resulted in some of my favourite patterns in the book. I'd be fascinated to see more designs inspired by other such objects, which have our every day use worn into intimately into them but are not, necessarily, immediately visually inspiring. 

In a world where it often seems like inspiration and creative work is trapped in an endless self referential loop as everyone looks at the same things on Pinterest or Ravelry it's rather refreshing to see explicit examples of going out into the world and observing. Inspired by the ways in which stranded colourwork traditions in Estonia and Shetland are rooted in their cultures and landscapes the book is part of a wider mission to encourage knitters to develop their own such traditions, and in so doing, to become more connected with their own surrounding places and communities: 

"I hope that reading and knitting from it will help you to hear yourself more clearly in the din of the modern world, and to notice and discover all the latent treasures where you are."

It's a fabulously expansive attitude towards a knitting technique that can often feel artificially constrained by traditions that were never set in stone anyway. 

Each of the three chapters follows the same format, and includes some repeated information. Reading cover to cover this is mildly annoying but, on balance, I think that will be a useful benefit as it makes it easier to pick up and use at any point. 

Objects and swatches from the chapter on plants. 

Objects and swatches from the chapter on plants. 

Charts are included for the most successful ideas generated in the chapters and the final chapter, From Swatching to Wearing, demonstrates how to put these and the reader's own patterns to use. This clearly written guide will be sufficient to inspire experienced knitters without going into overwhelming detail — references are included for those who want to learn more about garment design. The focus is on the particular constraints on stitch counts and shaping posed by stranded colourwork patterns. Two master patterns are included, for fingerless mitts and legwarmers, and the process of applying different colourwork patterns to these is shown from beginning to end in case studies. Like the entire book, the approach here is "this is how I did it, now try your own" and full fill in the blank charts are included for these projects. 

Two versions of the mitts pattern and the objects they were inspired by: the plants and brickwork found on Felicity's home street and a 1930s book about electricity. These show the rather quirky nature of her design process with the pattern placement depending on the desire to position the battery design over the pulse point on the wrist. 

This is not the first knitting book, or yarn industry business development I've seen seeking crowd funding but it may be the one that I felt was most suited to the model. I have a lot of complicated, and conflicting, thoughts on the rise of crowd funding but they can probably be boiled down to — "will this create something of benefit to the funders and wider community and wouldn't otherwise exist?" As the enthusiastic campaign, and response now the book is available, have demonstrated the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

Of course there are other publishing models, and some excellent traditional publishers and editors working on knitting books are out there, but I can't help but think that if it hadn't been self published this book would have lost some of what makes it so special. I suspect the very personal, specific descriptions of places and objects would have been cut down, made more picturesque, less cheery. More patterns would have been insisted upon, at the cost of space to encourage readers to give things a try for themselves. It might have been a good and useful book, but I'm not sure it would have been nearly such a great one. 

The Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook shows self publishing at its best, and is part of an increasing family of self published knitting books that are not instantly recognisable as such. Photography is crucial to a book about colour and the images shot by Felcity's brother Fergus, are both clear and appealing and the credit's emphasise the value of working with your community: "Ferg's photos reveal that sometimes he understood this project better than I did."

The layout is clear and professional, at its best in the main chapters where the swatches are given space to breathe. I did find myself wishing the pages of charts had been less crowded, and had wider margins on the spine side — it gets a bit hard to read everything without breaking the spine of the book. Separating the illustrations of the system in practice from the secondary material of the charts is a logical decision but I would have liked to see them more clearly linked. This may be somewhere where having the ebook available to work from (I was delighted to see that this is available for free to everyone who buys the print version, something I do myself and feel strongly is the way of the future) is very useful. Readers might want to position the charts for each theme together with the large images of the swatches for the sake of comparison.

I was mildly curious about what this book would turn out to be, but the fact that it's something I needed to fill a gap in my knitting library I didn't even realise existed, was a pleasant surprise. Felix has achieved something remarkable that should be essential reading for anyone interested in making their knitting more creative, a book that in its very specificity becomes generally inspiring in a way that will go far beyond stranded colourwork. 

As soon as my copy of the book was delivered to the studio Bex grabbed it but, overwhelmed by flicking through she deemed it necessary to order her own in order to spend the time with it that it demanded. I think you'll feel the same way, and the book can be ordered directly from Felicity here. She's also generously given me a copy to send to one lucky reader. To be entered into our prize drawing please leave a comment describing what place or object in your life you'd like to turn into stranded colourwork patterns. Leave a comment before Thursday and Felicity we'll post a winner in the guest Technique Thursday post that she'll be doing — I'm rather excited to share that! 





October 23, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

A provisional cast on is any method of casting on that can be undone later to release live stitches that can be worked from the cast on edge. This is my favourite method because it unzips so easily.

You'll need smooth scrap yarn close to the weight of the working yarn and a crochet hook in a similar sise to the needles. 

1. Begin by making a slipknot and placing it onto the hook.

1. Begin by making a slipknot and placing it onto the hook.

2. Wrap the yarn around the hook.

2. Wrap the yarn around the hook.

3. Pull it through the stitch on the hook.

3. Pull it through the stitch on the hook.

4. One stitch has been made around the needle

4. One stitch has been made around the needle

5. *Wrap the yarn around the hook

5. *Wrap the yarn around the hook

6. then insert the tip of the needle between the wrap and the stitch on the hook

6. then insert the tip of the needle between the wrap and the stitch on the hook

7. Pull the wrap through the stitch on the hook. Rep from * until the desired number of stitches have been cast on.

7. Pull the wrap through the stitch on the hook. Rep from * until the desired number of stitches have been cast on.

8. Work a few more stitches of crochet chain, break the yarn and pull the end through the last stitch on the hook.

8. Work a few more stitches of crochet chain, break the yarn and pull the end through the last stitch on the hook.

9. Switch to the working yarn and work the first row into the waste yarn stitches on the needle.

9. Switch to the working yarn and work the first row into the waste yarn stitches on the needle.

Tip: The crochet cast on doesn't have to be provisional, done in the working yarn it's the perfect match for a regular bind off, which can be nice on something like a scarf.

Undoing the crochet cast on

1. Start at the end with the chain and unpick the tail of the yarn.

1. Start at the end with the chain and unpick the tail of the yarn.

2. Pulling on this end will then unzip the chain.

2. Pulling on this end will then unzip the chain.

3. Because the stitches are turned upside down the first stitch will be a half a stitch, pick up this loop with the working needle.

3. Because the stitches are turned upside down the first stitch will be a half a stitch, pick up this loop with the working needle.

4. Continue to pick up stitches with the working needle, pulling out the cast on carefully as you go.

4. Continue to pick up stitches with the working needle, pulling out the cast on carefully as you go.

At the end count how many stitches you have compared to how many you need. If you miss this half stitch or want to drop it off nothing will unravel.

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October 17, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

This week's Knitworthy pattern, Opari, includes some rather tricky but very pleasing reversible double decreases. If you've never done any brioche knitting before the hat is a great project to get started with, and I've just issued an update with a few more clarifying notes to help you out, but if you're a visual learner you might want to look at a tutorial such as this one.

Rearranging the stitches

The stitches are arranged in an alternating pattern but in order to have a double decrease that looks the same on each side (although in opposite colours) we need to rearrange the stitches. This means that three MC ribs can be decreased into one and, on the following round, three CC ribs can be decreased into one. The MC decrease will be knit and the CC decrease will be purled. 

It's easiest to use a cable needle but if you're comfortable cabling without one then you might not need it for this. 

Begin by slipping the first MC stitch and its yarn over purlwise.

Begin by slipping the first MC stitch and its yarn over purlwise.

Slip the next CC stitch to the cable needle. 

Slip the next CC stitch to the cable needle. 

Repeat this process until you've slipped 3 MC stitches to the right needle tip and 2 CC stitches to the cable needle. 

Repeat this process until you've slipped 3 MC stitches to the right needle tip and 2 CC stitches to the cable needle. 

Return the CC stitches to the left needle tip,

Return the CC stitches to the left needle tip,

then return the MC stitches being careful not to drop any of the yarn overs. 

then return the MC stitches being careful not to drop any of the yarn overs. 

You should have 3 MC stitches clustered together followed by 3 CC stitches. 

You should have 3 MC stitches clustered together followed by 3 CC stitches. 

brs2kp

The 'br' indicates that this is a brioche decrease — there will be yarn overs paired with some or all of the stitches involved. The general rule is to always treat the yarn over and stitch as a single unit.

The 's2kp' is the abbreviation I use for a knit centred double decrease. It stands for: slip 2 stitches together knitwise, knit 1, pass the slipped stitches over the stitch just worked. Other than the yarn overs this is worked in the standard way. 

Slip the next 2 stitches together knitwise including their yarn overs. 

Slip the next 2 stitches together knitwise including their yarn overs. 

Knit the next stitch together with its yarn over.

Knit the next stitch together with its yarn over.

Pass the slipped stitches and yarn overs over the stitch just worked and off the end of the needle. 

Pass the slipped stitches and yarn overs over the stitch just worked and off the end of the needle. 

It should look like this. 

It should look like this. 

Yarn over and slip the 3 CC stitches — the whole cluster gets just one yarn over — and continue working in pattern. 

Yarn over and slip the 3 CC stitches — the whole cluster gets just one yarn over — and continue working in pattern. 

brs2pp

This is the purl version of the previous decrease which requires a little more manipulation in order to avoid twisted stitches. 

Yarn over and slip the decreased MC stitch from the previous round. Don't forget to bring the yarn to the front between the needles before beginning the decrease. 

Yarn over and slip the decreased MC stitch from the previous round. Don't forget to bring the yarn to the front between the needles before beginning the decrease. 

Without going through the accompanying yarn over slip the first 2 CC stitches knitwise individually (slip one, then the other). 

Without going through the accompanying yarn over slip the first 2 CC stitches knitwise individually (slip one, then the other). 

— slip one, then the other. 

— slip one, then the other. 

Insert the left needle tip into both slipped stitches from right to left 

Insert the left needle tip into both slipped stitches from right to left 

And slip them to the left needle. 

And slip them to the left needle. 

Purl all 3 stitches together with the accompanying yarn over.

Purl all 3 stitches together with the accompanying yarn over.

The completed decrease. 

The completed decrease. 

If you're interested in exploring Brioche knitting further (it's a bit addictive!) have a look at the work of designers and teachers Nancy Marchant and Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark

 

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October 10, 2014 by Rebecca

If a sweater is at all fitted I add bust darts. I find they make a massive difference in fit and ease of wear for my figure. In stockinette sweaters or cardigans it's super simple to do the math and add the dart. If the sweater is worked in the round then the darts are a short section of back and forth, and quite invisible especially if you’ve had a lot of practice with a favourite short row method. 
 

Blank Canvas and Sugarleaf are two examples of sweaters of mine where adding short row bust darts was straight forward. Also, as I’ve done a number of sweaters for myself, I have a standard set of bust dart numbers worked out for different gauges. You'll find that once you've worked them successfully once that it's easy to transfer the process to different garments. 

Bust darts in colourwork

When I saw Pam’s Aunt Fred I loved it, but was hesitant to make it for myself because the body has no shaping at all.

After some discussion with Ysolda I decided to go for it with some modifications. I normally knit a 40" bust and add bust darts. Because Aunt Fred is allover colourwork with no waist shaping we came to the conclusion that the 42" size plus bust darts would work. 

For the bust darts I had to adjust my standard numbers a bit. The colourwork is a 6 stitch, 8 row repeat, so those were my constraints for my bust darts. The stitch repeat can be broken down into groups of 3 so I used that for my turns. In order for the colourwork to appear unbroken the total rows of the bust dart has to be a full repeat: I did 2 full repeats. So my darts are 8 turns on each side, 3 sts apart.

I made a note of which row I ended on before I started the bust darts so they finished on the same row. That way the colourwork would be in the correct place to start the next round. In order to keep the end of round in the same location at the underarm, I broke the yarn after finishing the final wrong side row of the bust dart. Then I rejoined the yarn at the end of round and continued on with the pattern as written.

The yarn is Nate's Yarn from Briar Rose Fibers in 140 and undyed.

Paneled sweaters

The sweater I’m currently working on Foxcroft from Twist Collective is also patterned but way easier to add bust darts to than Aunt Fred was. The cable panels are centred on the front and back with stockinette areas on each side which are perfect for adding bust darts to.

Ready to add bust darts

Ready to add bust darts

I made sure my bust darts were only in the stockinette side panels, so my final turn is just outside of the cable section in the stockinette. The main thing to be aware of is that after completing the bust darts the front and back cable panels will no longer be on the same row. Which won’t be an issue for long because once I reach the underarms I’ll be separating and working each section flat.

The yarn is Wollmeise DK in Golden Pear.

Bust dart complete

Bust dart complete

I know this wasn't a specific tutorial on adding bust darts to sweaters but I hope it helps you see that with a bit of planning you can add bust darts to sweaters in more complicated stitch patterns. Ysolda's book Little Red in the City has lots more information about sweater fitting and calculating bust darts.

technique thursday

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October 06, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

Dress up your knitted gifts with tags that show how Knitworthy the recipient is.  Encourage them to stay on your list by including instructions for properly caring for the item! 

And if you end up giving a project on the needles or a single sock and a ball of yarn (I've done both of those!) at least the tag will dress things up a little. 

Thanks to Mary Heather for the "please don't felt this line!". They're a little silly and a lot useful and I had fun making them so I hope you like these. If you've subscribed to Knitworthy you can now download and print tags for all your gifts. 


Tomorrow I'm going on a little adventure, taking a train, a ferry and then cycling to the West coast of Shetland for some knitting and exploring. I'm currently watching the weather forecast a bit obsessively — cross your fingers for seas that aren't too rough and that it's calm enough to be worth taking the bike. 

 

 

 

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