Tag Archives: duplicate stitch

And This Is How I Did It

Wednesday, I talked about a sweater I made for my grandfather, based off one that his mother made for him decades ago.

I thought it might be interesting to talk about how I combined a couple patterns, added my own details to create this customized sweater, and went from an idea to a finished product.

I started with the description my Grandfather gave me, “A brown and blue sweater with deer on it.”  From there I guessed that he meant an old-school ski sweater with some sort of color work pattern on the front and back.

235792[1]I looked at patterns for ski sweaters, and none of them were quite right.  They were either too fancy (too many colors or too fussy-looking), or more formal than I knew my grandfather would like to wear (he is a hunting, fishing, outdoors-y type).

Instead, I decided to start with a very simple pattern that I had used before, and modify it to my liking.  I picked the Weasley Sweater by Alison Hansel.  It’s a simple and easy drop-shoulder sweater that comes in a million sizes from infant to grown-up.  I’ve knit a couple sweaters from the pattern before, and they have all turned out really well.  (And the pattern is available for free!)1116161018_78043aab2b_z[1]

The only thing that I don’t care for with the Weasley Sweater is the rolled hem and collar.  Instead, I knit a k2p2 rib for the bottom, and a k2p2 crew collar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, instead of working the whole shebang in plain brown, I added a stripe of blue just above the cuffs and hem.  Adding a little bit of color work at cuffs and hem is a very “ski sweater” thing to do, and a stripe is the simplest color work you can do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy next problem was the deer motif that I had to put on the chest.  I looked at a lot of patterns, and finally decided to use the deer motif from the His & Hers Reindeer Jackets from Patons.  I originally planned to work the deer using the intarsia technique, but then I decided that I wasn’t insane.  (Intarsia and I don’t get along very well.)

Deer_Sweater_-_front_medium[1]Instead, I knit up the whole sweater in plain brown (except for the blue stripes at cuffs, hem, and the edges of the chest panel), and used the duplicate stitch to add the deer after once the knitting was done.  It took approximately 100 years to finish the deer (not really), but I think it was worth it.  Because the whole chest panel is knit plain, the sweater is stronger than it would have been if I had worked the deer in intarsia (and I think it looks better, too).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, with a couple different patterns, some planning, a little futzing, and inspiration from the ghost of my great-grandmother, I think I managed to make exactly the sweater that my grandpa was looking for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pattern: Shiny Jammer

When I’m not being an obsessive TV-watching, tea-drinking knitter I like to let out my aggression by playing roller derby. It’s super fun. I play with a local banked track league (Tilted Thunder), and it’s probably one of the most satisfying things that I’ve ever done. (And definitely the most fun I’ve ever had playing a sport, although that’s not saying much.)

Actually, since I’m usually pretty polite and quiet soft-spoken in real life, and I don’t have any tattoos, sometimes people don’t believe me when I tell them I play derby. So, here’s proof:

1044944_10151760344398223_1844534174_nI’m the one in green with the black helmet.  I love this picture because I look kind of terrifying.  Usually in derby photos I just look scared and awkward.

In this picture, I’m giving my jammer (the girl in front of me who wears stars on her helmet) a push to make her go faster.  The jammer is the one that scores points by lapping skaters on the other team.  (I’m a blocker, whose job it is to help our jammer go faster, and stop the other jammer.)  If you are interested in the rules, this is a good overview.

Anyway, a friend of mine, who also plays derby, asked me to make her a jammer hat  for her birthday, and who am I to say no?  I looked through some of the available patterns, and I didn’t care for them, so I made my own pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now you, too can channel your inner badass with this roller derby-inspired hat.  It’s knit in the round with a simple ribbed cuff and decreases on the crown.  The stars are added using the duplicate stitch after the hat is knit up.  Knit this super simple hat in the colors of your favorite roller derby team to show your spirit.  And don’t forget: skate fast, turn left, and hit hard!

Get the pattern here:

Shiny Jammer

I’m So Lazy…

I’m totally lazy.  I love trying to find  shortcuts and easy ways to do things.  Unfortunately with knitting, there often isn’t an easy way.  (There’s no shortcut for knitting the acres of stockinet for a sweater… you just have to do it.)

Sure, knitting is an effort-heavy process, but don’t lose all hope!  I’ve got a great little trick for making color work super easy.  Let’s imagine that you want to put a nice little fair isle border on the cuffs of your new sweater, or maybe knitting an intarsia heart on a little girl’s hat.  Your project would end up really cute, but it would be a total pain to do.  I don’t know about you, but I like just making plain old stockinet stitch garments (easy!).  So, what’s a girl to do?

That’s where the duplicate stitch comes in.  The duplicate stitch is technically an embroidery technique that you can use to decorate knitted fabric after it has already been knitted so that it looks as if the decorative pattern was worked as the project was knit up.  I like using it for projects that have only a little bit of fair isle (which can be a pain to do for only a row or two at a time), or any pattern that wants you to do intarsia in the round (which is almost impossible).

And, I’ve even made a video for you.  Enjoy, and let me know if you have questions!

Inspiration: Bob’s Burgers

So, Netflix pretty much thinks I’m a family consisting of:

1. A 60 year old woman (documentaries-Jiro Dreams of Sushi is fantastic)

2. A guy in his 20s (sci-fi movies-anything Star Trekrelated is great)

3. A 17 year old girl (romantic period dramas-Um, Pride and Prejudice?  Obviously.)

4. A middle-aged man (procedural cop dramas-Any show that has “Law and Order” in the title is good by me.  Also, I just discovered there is a “Law and Order: UK.” I think I know what I’m doing this weekend.)

5. A 12 year old boy (cartoons-It’s kind of embarrassing, but Adventure Time is actually really good.)

My “Recommended” queue is always a little multiple-personality-ish.

One show that appeals to the most of my personalities is a really hilarious cartoon called “Bob’s Burgers.”  I think it airs on Fox, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, the second season just showed up on Netflix about a month ago, and I couldn’t recommend it more.  It’s a family-sitcom-type cartoon (like the Simpsons when they were good), about a family that runs a burger joint.  They get into shenanigans, and are generally hilarious.  It’s a really smart show, with really great writing.

But the most important part about “Bob’s Burgers” is the character of Mr. Frond (the kids’ guidance councilor) is a knitter!  Here he’s making a pink scarf.  (He even has a yarn bowl!)

Mr Frond 1

He runs into Linda (the kids’ mom) at the art store, buying yarn:

Mr Frond 3

And best of all, he has this fantastic sweater:

Mr Frond 2

Be like Mr. Frond and make yourself an awesome sweater.  You could use this pattern, a really simple stockinet turtleneck sweater.  You could then add on the words with a duplicate stitch or a really careful fair isle.

Knittaz 4 Life!