Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Dolly Sweater and Hat for Emily's Emily

Emily and I received the American Girl doll Emily for Christmas. She's mostly mine because Emily would destroy it if left to play with it for long. But it is the one American Girl doll that I let her play with from time to time. I had decided to make an outfit for Emily's Bitty Baby - a rolled brimmed hat and a sweater just like Emily's pink sweater that I had made 7 years ago for Lisa Miler,who is now 11 years old and lives in Germany. And I did make that outfit just as planned, but I put it on Emily the doll and I really liked it on her, so hers it shall be.

I intend to give the directions but I cannot guarantee complete accuracy. I tend to knit and then think later. Unfortunately I can sometimes talk in the same fashion. That's one of the nice things about editing on a blog. You can look at it later when you are in the thinking mode and change what you said.

Material: 1 ball of Encore
Needles: for the hat - set of 4mm DP needles
for the sweater - 5mm SP needles
Tension: for the hat - 5.5 sts per inch
for the sweater - 4.5 sts per inch

I wanted the tension on the hat to be tight so that the hat would be sturdy and not flippy-floppy. This way the hat stays on better and goes on more easily.

On the double pointed needles, cast on 60 sts.
Work in stocking stitch for 20 rows.

Now start the crown decreasing.
round 1: *k8, k2tog* repeat to the end.
rounds 2 & 3: knit
round 4: *k7, k2tog* repeat to the end.
rounds 5 & 6: knit
round 7: *k6, k2tog* repeat to the end.
round 8: knit
round 9: *k5, k2tog* repeat to the end.
round 10: knit
round 11: "k4, k2tog* repeat to the end.
round 12: knit
round 13: *k3, k2tog* repeat to the end.
round 14: *k2, k2tog* repeat to the end.
round 15: *k1, k2tog* repeat to the end
round 16: *k2tog* repeat to the end.

You now have six stitches. Work three rows like Icord.
To do that you kit across all the stitches onto just one needle.
Then you start again at the front of the needle, bringing the yarn around the back, and knit again. Repeats once more. Then break off the yarn and thread it through the stitches and poke the yarn through the top into the inside of the hat and slip the excess yarn through a bunch of stitch loops to secure it, being sure to tug gently on the yarn to make sure that the little beany nob looks good.



Cast on 37 stitches on 5 mm needles. Work 12 rows in 3/3 ribbing (k3,p3) for 12 rows, starting with k2, p3.   Then work 6 rows in stocking stitch. Cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.  Then on the third row: k1, ssk, knit to the last three, k2tog, k1. You now have 29 stitches. Now work in stocking stitch until there are 22 rows of stocking stitch from the ribbing. Cast off 6 stitches, work to the last 6 stitches and cast them off.  You have 17 stitches on needle.  Put on a holder.


Cast on 6 stitches. work 6 rows in stocking stitch. Put on a spare needle. Make another pocket the same. These will be needed when you finish the ribbing on the front.


Cast on 37 stitches on work 5 rows in 3/3 ribbing, as for back. 
On the next row rib 8, cast off 6 in ribbing, rib 9, cast off 6 in ribbing, rib 8. Then work 8 stitches in stocking stitch, knit 6 stitches from one of the pockets, knit 9 stitches, knit 6 stitches from the other pocket, and the last 8 stitches.  Work 5 more rows of stocking stitch.

Cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.  Then on the third row k1, ssk, knit to the last 3, k2tog, k1.  You now have 29 stitches.  Work 7 more rows of stocking stitch.

Make the front neck opening: 
row 1: Knit 9 stitches.  Turn, leaving rest of stitches on needle. 
row 2: P2tog, purl to end.  (8)
row 3: k6, k2tog. (7)
row 4: P2tog, purl to end.  (6)
row 5: knit.
row 6: purl.
Cast off remaining  6 stitches.  Break off yarn.
Transfer the remaining unworked stitches onto the other needle.
row 1: With a new piece of yarn, purl 9.  Turn.
row 2: SSK, knit to the end.  (8)
row 3: Purl to the last 2, p2togtbl.  (7)
row 4: SSK, knit to the end.  (6)
row 5: purl
row 6: knit.
Cast off remaining 6 stitches.
What you have now are 11 center stitches on the needle.  Put on holder.


Cast on 19 stitches on 5mm needles and work 6 rows in 3/3 ribbing, starting with k2, ending with k2.
Change to stocking stitch.  Increase one stitch at each end of the 3rd and every following 4th row until you have 29 stitches.  For the increase: k2, m1, knit to last 2 stitches, m1, k2.  Knit 1 more row.  Cast off.


Sew the shoulders together.  
Using a set of 5 mm double pointed needles, pick up 17 across the back, 6 down the front, 11 across the front center, 6 up the front.  You have 40 stitches.  Work in 2/2 ribbing for 3 rows.  Work in stocking stitch for 3 rows.  Cast off.

Sew on the sleeves, and sew up the sides.  Then stitch down the pockets.

If anyone sees and error in this, please tell me.

I made a second sweater without the pockets and the ribbing only 6 rows, the adding 6 plain rows.  The first version is cuter.  As with most knit items the variations can go on and on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Annie’s knee-highs

1 ball of Red Heart Soft Yarn, or a worsted weight of choice.
1 set of size 4mm (6US) double-pointed needles

Tension: 20 sts to 10 cm, 28 rows to 10 cm

Cast on 54 stitches and work in 1/1 ribbing (or ribbing of choice) for about 1 1/2 inches.
There are lots of options for ribbings. Do whatever you like.

The leg:
Working in stocking stitch, decrease 1 stitch each end of the row on every 10th row until you have 44 stitches.
For the decrease: on first needle k1, k2tog, knit to end.
Then on the third needle, knit to the last three, ssk, k1.
Work 20 more rows after you are down to 44 stitches.
Annie is a short person with sturdy legs, so for a tall thin person you can decrease a bit more and knit a bit farther.  Just remember to allow for the changes.

The Heel:
Knit 11 stitches on first needle. Place the remainder on the next needle.
Knit 11 stitches on second needle.
Knit 11 stitches onto the third needle.
Place the remaining stitches onto the back end of the first needle.
Now work back and forth on the first needle as follows.
1st row (rsf) slip1, knit across
2nd row (wsf) (slip1pw, p1) repeat to the end.
Work 20 rows of this all together, then with (rsf) slip1 kw, knit 10.
(I don’t really know exactly how many rows I knit, but 20 seems logical)

Turn the Heel:
row 1: k1, k2tog, k1, turn
row 2: s1pw, p3, p2togtbl, p1, turn
row 3: s1kw, knit to the stitch before the gap, k2tog, k1, turn
row 4: s1pw, purl to the stitch before the gap, p2togtbl, p1, turn
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until it’s all worked up, ending with the purl row.
Last row: s1kw, knit to the middle.

You now have 12 stitches at the end of the heel.
Place the instep stitches (the ones you haven’t been knitting on) onto one needle.

The Gussets: This whole thing looks tricky, but is not really hard.
Using the newly freed up needle, knit 6 stitches.
Then with a free needle pick up and knit 10 or 11 stitches along the heel flap, the last one being a M1 using the strand just before the instep stitches.
Place the first 6 stitches that you knit onto the end of the picking up needle, having the last stitch be a M1 and not just a knit into a loop. This helps keep things tight.
note: the reason I do the picking up on a free needle is incase I don’t get the right number of stitches at first.
Then knit across the instep.
Then, M1 (you’ll need a spare needle to help you do this, picking up the loop and knitting into the back of it.)
And pick up 10 more stitches. On same needle, knit the last six stitches.
Now that everything is all assembled -
Row 1: knit a round.
Row 2: (decrease round)
needle 1: knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1
needle 2: knit
needle 3: k1, ssk, knit to the end
Work these two rows until you have 40 stitches.
(Again, I didn’t remember exactly.  What matters is having a number of stitches divisible by four that will fit the foot.)

The Foot:
Knit in stocking stitch until the sock is 51 rows from the start of the turning of the heel.
This number of rows is dependent  on 2 factors - how long the given foot is, and how many stitches you have on the needle.

If the foot is x inches long you will need 7x rows.
 (7 being the number of rows per inch that you are knitting).
 Then you need to subtract how many rows you will knit for the toe.
This number will be number of stitches on needles minus 8 (40 - 8 = 32),
then divided by four (32/4 = 8)  plus half that number (8 + 8/2 = 12).
 So you will need to stop for the toe at total number of rows needed for foot minus 12.
Annie's foot is 9 inches long, that means I needed 63 rows in all, with 12 needed for the toe,
so I stopped at 63 - 12, which equals 51.

The Toe:
Arrange the stitches so that you have 10/20/10 stitches on the needles.
1st row:
needle 1: knit to the last three stitches, k2tog, k1
needle 2: k1, ssk, knit to the last three, k2tog, k1
needle 3: k1 ssk, knit to the end.
2nd row: knit a round
Work these two rows until you have 20 stitches.
Then, work only the decrease round until you have 8 stitches.
Break off the yarn and thread it securely through the 8 stitches.
Put the end on the inside and weave it is.
Weave in the cast on tail.

Now make a second sock to match. (This is the really tricky part)

Introduction to Molly's Knits

I began learning how to knit when I was in grade school, but it was a long time before I actually produced a finished product. I'm not sure, but I think that the first item was a baby planked for my oldest daughter. And after that I made a couple of simple sweaters for her. However,  I didn't really get started knitting until we were living in Hong Kong.  At church I saw so many beautiful sweaters on the children in the creche (that's British for nursery) that I wanted to know where they came from.   I soon  realized that most of the sweaters were made for the children by their grandmothers back in England. And soon after that realization I discovered a terrific yarn shop on Li Yeun street in Central. Then I found some great British knitting books in the South China Morning Post shop down by Star Ferry. I then began my long journey of learning how to really knit.

I began with little projects, like a simple baby vest, then a sock. It was quite a while before I could manage to make two matching socks. But my first truly major project was a school sweater for my oldest daughter.
She was attending a British school and needed a grey uniform cardigan. By then I had bought what was to become one of my most favourite knitting books and of course I selected a pattern from that book. It was to be in grey of course. I had chosen a 100% DK wool by Patons called Clansman and by the time I had finished the back I realized that I did not have enough wool.   Three days after I had purchased the wool at Mui Tong, where the wool had just come in that day, they were all out of my dye lot.  So I just got two more balls and decided that I would use the different dye lot on the main body of the fronts (not the plackets or ribbing) and that I would make it patterned somehow. This way I figured no one would notice the difference. And that was the case. I was very proud of the sweater and Heidi wore it for two years to school.

By this time I was beginning to collect British and French and German knitting books. The British ones were the most often used, but I loved the French designs. I made Corey a red Aran sweater from a French book. Corey could never understand why I made her a sweater with holes in it. The holes were caused by the blackberry pattern (or the trinity pattern as the Irish would call it). I also made for Corey a terrific button through cardigan in red with two cables up the front. She loved that one.

Over the years I've gotten to where I can knit without a pattern. Not everything, mind you, but quite a lot of things. But the problem is getting what I've done recorded. So what I want to do is try and record the directions for the things that I make up on my own. Also I need to record the patterns that are take-offs from other designs. One thing that I find so frustrating about blogs on knitting is that they only show you what they did, and say nothing about how they did it. Could you imagine if cooking sites only showed pictures of the food they made. Now I realize that it can be much harder to give accurate knitting instructions than it is to give accurate cooking instructions, but they're not so far apart in difficulty.