Posted in Knitting

Knitting Techniques: Corrugated Ribbing (with knitting videos!)

galvanized1So … I’ve been working on Amy Christoffers’ Galvanized Cardigan for over a year, and I’m beating myself up about it, because I’m knitting it as a gift, and I wanted to get it done sooner. #knittingguilt

I’m knitting this one for our family doctor; here’s the story. Several years ago, Mimi knitted this cardigan for a Project Diary on Knitting Daily (link at end of post), and it turned out not to fit her as well as she hoped, so she gave it to my mom, who wears it ALL THE TIME. In fact, she’s wearing it right now. No joke.

Anyway, Mom wore it to a doctor’s appointment, and our doc fell in love with it. She asked my mom where she got it, and when she heard that Mimi knit it, she asked if she could pay one of us to make it for her, in exactly the same yarn. My mom said she’d ask us, but we didn’t usually knit for other people.

When she asked me about it, though, I said I would love to knit it for Dr. Awesome (not her real name, ha ha). After everything she’s done for our family, it’s the least I can do. And Dr. A is the size a of a pea, so I thought I could get it done quickly. But, as you know, I didn’t.

I’m back to it now, though, and I will finish it in time for her to wear it before the weather warms up. #knittinggoals

This sweater is started from the bottom up and knit to the underarms. Then the sleeves are knit and attached to the body, and the yoke is knitted to finish up the body. The sweater is completed by knitting the neckband and buttonband. I’ve got the body and one sleeve done, and I’ve cast on the other sleeve.

The Galvanized Cardigan in progress. If you look closely, you can see a mistake on the sleeve ribbing. I talk more about that in the video below below: it’s fixable!

The most challenging part of this sweater is the corrugated ribbing (I’ll bet you were wondering when I was going to get to that!). I filmed a video about knitting this technique in the round, and I’m working on one for knitting it flat. The flat corrugated ribbing is actually more challenging, and much less common, than working this technique in the round. Since corrugated ribbing is used all the time in colorwork on hems, cuffs, and hats, it’s usually knit in the round, as those things lend themselves to that method. And colorwork sweaters are usually steeked, so you can still knit the ribbing in the round.

Regardless of how you knit this ribbing, the trick is twisting the yarn not in use as you knit so you don’t have a hole between each color. It’s the same method that’s used in intarsia knitting; you pick up the new color from under the old color, which naturally twists the two colors in the process.

Amy’s directions for corrugated ribbing say, “When working corrugated rib, always strand the yarn not in use across the wrong side of the fabric , as for stranded colorwork. This will require passing the yarns front and back for the purl and knit stitches and simultaneously stranding the unused color.” Okaaaaaay …. I had to work hard to wrap my brain around this until I got the yarn in my hands.

This is k1, p1 knitting with two colors, but you have to work if as if you’re using one color, so the purling yarn has to be moved to the back after each purl stitch and the new yarn must be brought under the old yarn each time you knit, which secures the yarn. It’s a lot of bringing yarn back and forth, but once you get into the rhythm, it’s no big deal.

When knitting in the round, I found that holding the purl yarn in my left hand helped me automatically trap the yarn. Here’s how I did that, plus another cool tip about this knitting technique.

So that’s pretty easy. But for this pattern, you also have to knit corrugated ribbing flat, which is a bit more challenging. You have to take the purl yarn to the back when you’re working on the right side, and the knit yarn to the front when you’re working on the wrong side. WHAAAAAT?? I know. Here’s a video that might help:

I can’t wait to get the Galvanized Cardigan finished and deliver it to Dr. Awesome!



Links and Stuff

Galvanized Cardigan Project Diary

Galvanized Cardigan knitting pattern from the Interweave Store

Posted in Knitting

Blocking Knitting: Wires and Blocking Boards

I have another knit shawl shawl on the blocking boards, and I used blocking wires on this one, so I thought I’d share it with you.

I’d love to take credit for this beauty, but it’s actually Mimi’s work—isn’t she a great knitter? I did do the blocking, though, so I can brag about that!

Vittorio knit lace shawl by Corinna Ferguson
The Corrina shawl on the blocking board

This is the Vittorio Shawl by Corrina Ferguson, knit from Becoming Art Cielo fingering in the Carousel colorway. Gorgeous.

The shawl gets larger until the halfway point, and then smaller, decreased back to the original cast-on number, so it’s sort of a wedge shape. Mimi thought it was an easy knit, and the payoff sure is worth it, so this might be a great project for a beginning lace knitter. It’s definitely a wonderful way to use up some of that sock yarn we all have hanging around.

As you can see, I used blocking wires to help block this piece. I threaded the wires through each of the points on the border and then stretched it into shape on the board and secured it with pins. Blocking wires are really a godsend! It took me about five minutes to thread the wires through the points in the border, and then five more to secure the shawl to the blocking board. Seriously!

A finished object: Vittorio knit lace shawl by Corrina Ferguson
Here’s the finished shawl. Isn’t it pretty?

If I had used just pins, it would have taken me at least three times as long to pin it into shape, and I’d have had to repin as I went, because I always stretch lace projects more at the end than I do at the beginning, so I need to repin the first part to match the last part. Anyone else do this??

Mimi wearing her new scarf. It looks great bunched up and worn loose. I love it!

I love how this turned out; I can’t wait to steal it from Mimi and wear it!

About those Blocking Boards

On my last post, someone asked me about my blocking mats, asking if she needed two sets. I do have two sets of blocking mats (link below), and I recommend getting two if you can swing it. Since they’re individual blocks, you can put them together any way you want to, which enables you to make your blocking board fit your project, and not the other way around.

So, if you’re blocking a sweater, you can build a square, and if you’re blocking a scarf, you can build a long rectangle. I love this flexibility.

Links and Stuff

Here are links to the items I talk about in this post. Some things are available at other stores, too.

Vittorio Shawl by Corrina Ferguson

Blocking Wires from Webs

Blocking Mats from KnitPicks

Posted in Knitting

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl

It’s confirmed: blocking works magic. As you know, I was skeptical a simple soak and stretch could fix my mess of a garter-stitch scarf, but it did. The Lori Scarf by Carrie Bostick Hoge is a smooth, soft, beautiful finished object!

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl gets a good soakBlocking knitting is easy, really. I filled my bathroom sink with lukewarm water and a little Soak wool wash, and put the scarf in. The important thing here is to get the piece totally submerged and completely wet. So I squeezed the scarf a few times to make sure it had absorbed the water, and let it soak for an hour or so.

Then I squeezed out as much water as I could, and “squeeze” is the operative word here. Do NOT wring out your knitting, ever. When the fiber is wet, it’s fragile, and you can really stretch it out of shape, or even damage it, if you wring it out.

What I like to do for this step is drain the water and let gravity do its work for awhile, and then gently squeeze the knitted piece until no more water runs from it.

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl after it's soak
The Lori Shawl after squeezing the water out

In the case of this shawl, that did the trick because it’s such a light and relatively small item. If you’re working with a sweater, you’ll probably need to roll it in some clean, dry towels after you squeeze out the water. I do this for almost all of my sweaters, and it works great to absorb most of the excess water. You’ll have some wet towels to deal with, but we must suffer a tiny bit for the beauty of our knitted garments!

Now comes the fun part: The stretching and pinning. I use blocking boards that I got from KnitPicks (link below), which I love. They’re like those interlocking play mat squares that kids use on floors; in fact, I know many people who use those mats for blocking. Why not? (I have two sets of blocking mats, and they’re slightly different colors, so that explains the checkerboard effect in the photo below.)

Normally, and especially when I’m blocking sweaters, I check the measurements that I need the finished object to be and block the item to those measurements. This time, though, I wanted to see how big I could make this scarf, and since garter-stitch S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S, I knew I could make it pretty big. So I pinned the two right corners and used Knitter’s Pride’s awesome Knit Blockers (link below) to pin the larger end of the scarf in place so I wouldn’t pull it out of shape. Then I stretched that sucker out!

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl on the blocking board
The Lori Shawl on the blocking board. That white piece of paper is the directions for the knit blocker pins, although they’re pretty self-explanatory!

It’s now about 52 inches long and 36 inches tall at the tallest point, and I think that’s the perfect size. I can wrap it loosely around my neck or bunch it all up.

Kathleen Cubley modeling the Lori Knit Shawl

Lori Knit Shawl modeled by Kathleen CubleyThe bunching option is what I’m going for today, since it’s 10 degrees out! And the cashmere (Habu Textiles N-86 Pure Cashmere) will keep me nice and cozy.

So that’s the scoop on this FINISHED OBJECT. I love it so much, and all my worry was for naught. Thanks to those of you who reassured me that blocking would indeed fix my problems—you were right!

If you have any blocking knitting tips, or if you block your knits differently than I do, leave a comment and share your wisdom.

Have a wonderful day, and stay warm.



Links to Cool Stuff

Knit Picks Blocking Mats

Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers

Madder: Anthology 2—Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Hoge contains the Lori shawl pattern, plus gorgeous sweater and accessory knitting patterns.

Posted in Knitting

New Year’s Knitting Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Last year I wrote a post on Knitting Daily about my new year’s knitting resolutions, and I thought I’d do a follow-up and see how I did.

Resolution 1: Finish Kayleen Tee and Zuni Cardigan. Nope, these are still on the needles. But I did make progress. Kayleen is almost completed, I just need to finish the sleeves. This is a warm-weather top, so I’ll finish it this spring. Zuni is in rotation currently; I hope to finish it this winter.

Resolution 2: Knit a lace shawl. Yes! I achieved this goal (it’s not really a resolution, is it?). I knit 198 Yards of Heaven, which I love and wear all the time.

198 Yds of Heaven Knit Shawl Pattern

Resolution 3: Organize my stash. Nope. My yarn is in bins and storage containers, awaiting its final resting place. I have a plan, but it’s not been implemented.

Resolution 4: Donate or sell yarn I’ll never use. Nope, see above. I need to organize my stash first.

So, utter failure. What the hell did I knit this year? I need to look back on my projects, because this review has me seriously doubting I’ve spent enough time with my yarn and needles.

I guess this saves me from having to make any new resolutions this year, though, except maybe to knit more! Do you have any yarny resolutions this year?

Courage in 2017, friends.