Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Episode 41

In this show I rehash things that I have already covered on the blog, for those of you who don't check in here as much.
-Remainder post links are here.
-My hat recipe is here.
-How many stitches are in a sweater. Please, please, don't do this!

Download Episode 41.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Shameless Shill

I started a small shop on Etsy today. I'm open to suggestions!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hat Recipe and A Plea

I typed up a recipe for a simple hat and put it here.

If you, say, married into a LARGE family and suddenly have to double your holiday knitting list, a hat is hard to beat for a quick, fun knit. You can always plan to add a matching scarf next year, when you are more used to your new obligation level.

Someone asked me how to tell how many stitches are in a sweater. She wanted to figure that out and then figure out how many stitches you need to knit per day to get finished for gift-giving. I would like to have it on record that I do not recommend this. If you really knew how many stitches you would need to make, I doubt any of us would really start any sweater.

But, you could, and it would be pretty easy to get a good estimate. Conventionally, the "top" of a sweater (from the neck to the underarm) is about 1/3 of the knitting. The sleeves, together, are another 1/3. Then, the body, that is the underarm to the bottom of the sweater, is about 1/3. You could take the number of stitches around the body (ignore waist shaping) and multiply by the number of rows or rounds in between the underarm and the bottom hem of the sweater. Then, multiply this number by 3. You will undoubtedly run in fear and, I hope, burn the offending document.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Episode 40: Graft

Download Episode 40.

Ok. Here is a quick run-down on my method of grafting. I used to follow written instructions that had me obsessed with knit-wise and purl-wise. I would face my work that looked like this:

I'm not going to lie. I would usually panic a little. Then, I become braver or more desperate and I took the work off the needles.

When I did this, the stitches turned to face me and it was all a lot easier.

This is the back, when finished:

The trick, as always, is not to panic, and to remember that you can do it over, if you need it. It is very, very important not to pull the darning yarn too tight. If you have a lot of stitches to graft, remember that you can use more than on length of yarn - otherwise you can get tangled up. If you need a little more security, or are using s slippery yarn, you can always run a length of dental floss through your live stitches.

The sock book I mention on the show is here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yet Another Way to Look At It

You could also see the original math problem turning up 6.5 as a solution, not a problem.

If you think of it as not 1 stitch being increased among 6.5, but 2 stitches increased among 13, you could do this:

x x x x x x x x x x x x O x O x x x x x x x x x x x x O x O...

By grouping your increases (or decreases) into groups of two, you allow the math to come out and I think it would look pretty nice, too.

I think this idea can scale, but you will need to figure out a few things:
1) How big do I want to make my groups?
2) How many stitches will go between groups?

If you want to keep 1-stitch divisions between increases (or decreases), you need to take the number of increases (or decreases) in your group (let's call this g) and subtract one. You can see the reason for this by holding out one of your hands. If you have five fingers, you will have 4 spaces in-between your fingers.

Revisiting the questions:
Multiply your increase factor (your original # / the # you want to increase by) by whole, prime numbers until your result equals a whole number (which I will call n). A good list of primes is here. The number you have to multiply by is the number of increases or decreases in your group (g). N is the number of stitches you have, total, in a given set of stitches for your increases or decreases. In the first example, above, n = 13 and the prime needed is 2. That makes g = 2.

To find out what you really need to do to make it work, you have one more step. To find out how many stitches should go in-between your groups of increases or decreases, take n - (g - 1). In the first example, that would be 13 - (2 - 1) = 12.

This seems complex and wordy, although it's really not, so I might make a worksheet for it. What do you think?

Yaay! Comments!

Comments make this little blogger very happy.

Response to one: Sarah-Marie's Klein Bottle is here. She even has a klein bottle as a hat, and a photo of someone wearing it. Neat!

To sum up from my last post: what we were ultimately dealing with was a remainder. You don't have to break out in hives to deal with having last heard (or read) that word in the third grade. Just divide, say, 13 by 4 to find 3.25. Now, find that 3 * 4 = 12, so 13 = (3 * 4) + 1. Your remainder is 1. If you were increasing (or decreasing) by 4 stitches across 13, you would add or subtract stitches every 3 stitches and have on "extra" stitch to deal with however your heart desires. Numbers can be bigger or smaller, but they can all be tackled in this general way:

x = original number of stitches
y = number of stitches that need to be increased or decreased
r = remainder = "extra" stitches that need to be dealt with

x / y = either whole number or number in the form of a.bbbb. There could be many b's or not.

No b's? That means you have a whole number. On your way. Your math work is done. Simply increase or decrease every a number of stitches. Remember that, if you are decreasing, you will have to take into account the fact that the decreases use some of the a stitches. For example, if you need to decrease by 4 over 12 stitches, your a = 3. You will actually work 1 stitch then ssk or k2t four times, rather than work 3 and then k2t, because both a ssk and a k2t require two stitches to be worked.

If fraction, use x - (y * a) = r to find remainder.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sticky Problem and a Super-Math-Rich Post

I just moderated a comment from a listener that said she had to put 41 yarn-overs into 267 stitches evenly. She fudged it. I'm going to say she would have to - it averages to one yarn-over about every 6.5 stitches. This is nearly impossible, really. If I were working some other increase, say, a lifted increase, I would say, just do an *increase, work 6 stitches, increase, work 7 stitches* repeat, and it should even out. I think that would drive me nuts when making eyelets, since my switching between 6 and 7 stitches apart would be obvious, to me, at least.

A possible solution: factor your numbers out and look for common factors. The major issue of this is that 41 is a prime number, which means that we would have to add or subtract somewhere to make this work.

267 is not a prime number, so we can take it apart and see what we have. Unfortunately, we don't have far to go.

267 = 89 * 3

89 is a prime number. Luckily, 3 * 14 = 42. So, we could round 41 to 42 by deciding that one more increase in the mix is better than the crazy-making idea above.

We can mentally, and with stitch markers, divide our work by three - so we're facing putting 14 eyelets into 89 stitches. 14 * 6 = 84, which leaves us with 5 extra stitches for each "wedge" of 89, if we increase every six stitches.

Speaking of which, to increase every six stitches *really* evenly, we would do this:
(x = stitch, o = increase)
(stitch marker) xxx o xxxxxx o xxxxxx o xxxxxx o xxxxxx o xxx...

I'm not going to do it 14 times, but you get the idea.

What do we do about those extra 5 stitches? We could put them in-between wedges, so that at some point, our work will look like this:
o xxxxxx o xxxxxx o xxxxxxxx(stitch marker)xxx o xxxxxx o xxxxxx

Which is to say, that, around our stitch markers, we would have 5 + 6 = 11 stitches as spacers. You could, and I would, decide that this is a design feature and only have to decide where they should lie - it doesn't even have to be 100% evenly, but I would probably put two of them under the arms of a sweater and the third in the middle of the back or front.

Design Feature Solution #2:
Break the set of 42 increases into 3 sets of 14 stitches.

267 / 14 = just over 19.
So, the first set of eyelets will be an increase every 19 stitches.
Total stitches = 281

281 / 14 = just over 20.
The second set could be every 20 stitches.
Total stitches = 295 stitches

295 / 14 = just over 21
The second set could be every 21 stitches.
Total stitches = 309 stitches

So, by adding one total stitch, and I'm not going to try to draw it for you, you could have a perfectly neat little leaning line of yarn-overs, in either 3 rows or 6, depending on how you do it. You could even stagger them by as much as you like, by making your first increase sooner than you would, and letting the stitches fall where they will.

I recorded my show on grafting, but have not knit, grafted, or photographed it, so it is still in the works, so to speak. I may talk about the above math in my next show, because I don't think a lot of you read this blog. Am I wrong? Leave me a comment to prove it. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Episode 39

Download Episode 39.

I had the idea for these shows because I made a golf-club cover for someone a while ago (not my dad, he actually framed the covers I gave him because he's afraid of messing them up) and he said it sprung holes almost right away. It could have been a split stitch, I guess, but it really looks like an act of a cat to me.

When darning, first stabilize the patient. I like to use small needles and/or dental floss to thread through the live stitches, starting with the lowest row that has a loose stitch. The dental floss is more flexible, but, to me, the small needles make it easier to hold the structure. On the other hand, a whole lot of dental floss can fit in your knitting bag and it's much cheaper than having extra needles around all of the time.

If that loose stitch has ladders over it (stitches that have slipped in the same way as if you dropped a stitch off the needle), I pull the stitches up with a crochet hook.

Now, I have brought up the loose stitch and isolated the lowest place in the knitting that is a full row without a hole in it. So, I take my darning needle and some matching yarn and a start a row of darning two stitches from the edge of my hole (leaving a tail to be darned in, too, in its time).

The stripes in this example are a good thing for us. It makes it easier to see that, while it looks like I'm actually darning one row up from where I should (or that I'm too close to the row of black) you have to remember that the "loose" stitches are a row, so be sure that you are working the correct row. If you're not, you can always jump rows when you get to the live stitches. So, I only have to darn one row of gold before I get to black.

You can see, above, that I screwed up. I accidentally darned in the wrong direction and made a purl stitch instead of a knit stitch. This is ok, because if you're paying attention, you can notice that, simply undo it, and learn more about how to do it properly.

So, we see that this hole can be fixed with one row of darning, although it seemed much worse before, because of a dropped stitch. So, it probably was just a single stitch that went south. Just goes to show - one stitch can sometimes cost nine darn photos.

This is the same idea, in two rows of white:

Now, a little bit of slight-of-hand. I darned this hole, but then found a mistake in one of the stitches - I had twisted it when I made the darn. Instead of picking it out, I darned over it again, strengthening my join and hiding my mistake.

Rerun of Episode 30: The MD Sheep and Wool Festival Trip, 2007

I'm just running Episode 30 over again without a new podcast attached, because it is already almost an hour long.

The original notes from the show are above, and if you want to see where we shopped and vendors we talked about, scroll down a bit, it is on the same page.

I don't normally listen to myself in old podcasts, but I listened today, because I love hearing my sister talk and I miss living nearer to her. I love you, sisser.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I am not slacking, I swear

I'm not able to podcast this week because I'm using my mic for actual work. At my job. Now my intern, who is on her last week with us, is using it, too. It's way, way too much fun.