Topic: faroese knitting
This hat was knit by Tracey Ewing:
So, why are steek techniques so varied? The biggest mystery to me is why an "inny" or an "outy". This experiment on my needles is my Faroese Vine Cardigan intended for the Cape Ann (MA) Knitting retreat(s) in March and April (and again in November in New York...dates to be announced in April). Knit with Dale HEILO in charcoal and lightest grey heather, the steek below is a purled steek, while the snappy stripes above are a knit steek. I LIKE knitting the steek stitches, and resented puling the yarn to the front for the purled one. However, is stands to reason that the purled one will fold inward better and create an easier edge to pick up stitches from. We'll see.
Next on the agenda is a twisted knit for the steek stitches. This cardigan will be a true steek sampler.
It is always an act of faith for me when I knit to make a specific size in a new yarn. I gauge and swatch and gauge and swatch and wash and block many hats before I settle on a "blocking ratio" change. Two stranded color knitting can change size dramatically after blocking. Yarns vary in their elasticity. And, most importantly, knitters vary in their tensioning systems while they knit with two strands of yarn at the same time.
I have discovered that "I" will gain about 1.5" of width and an inch of length when I block Dale's Norwegian wool HEILO yarn. (This on a child's sweater). This discovery took quite a few hats until I was satisfied I was consistent. So, I knit my desired sweater 1" shorter than I wanted (1/2" in the body and 1/2" in the shoulder) and used a WORKING GAUGE of 6.5 sts=1", rather than the 6 sts=1" that measures in the final washed hat.
The final result:
The washing method I use for blocking: use HOT water and a tablespoon of your favorite shampoo. Soak for 20 minutes. Lift the sweater out of the basin carefully and let drip. Run hotter water in the basin, gently squeeze the drips out of the soapy sweater and immerse in the hot water, letting soak 10 minutes. Remove the sweater and carry to the washing machine. Turn off ALL water valves so no water at all can enter the washer. Set the washer for SPIN, and if you can, a gentle cycle. Spin for about 10 minutes.
Find the measurements desired in the beginning, and lay out your sweater, front side down, on a thick towel or clean bedspread, using a yardstick to move the warm knitting around to your specifications. Leave the sweater alone for 6 hours, then turn it over and repat into size. Let dry at least a full day (more if you are in humid air).
Just a note on the construction of this sweater; I am CONTINUALLY DELIGHTED with the tidy shoulder lines that circular knitting brings to any garment. It is a challenge to get all the patterns centered as you join body and sleeves, so that the patterns decrease in a pleasing and balanced way as you knit around up to the neck. I find writing patterns for these designs to be incredibly challenging (which is part of the fun), but the smooth knitting that results is rewarding.
This sweater is one of 3 designs that will be available at the Cape Ann Faroe Sweater Knitting Retreat next March, in sizes 6 months through Men's XXXL.
Having spent the last 2 months vacationing from blog writing (among other things) I have returned to tackle my favorite knitting topic: blocking.
In the Knitting Doctor Sessions I run here at Countrywool once or twice a month, the effectiveness of blocking has to be one of the biggest surprises for most knitters. What is there about hot water and soap, along with flat drying, that creates such harmony and unity in a natural fiber garment? How is it that your so-so knitted project can blossom and align itself in a most professional manner after a few simple steps?
Above you see the finished Kid's Faroe Blossom Sweater (one of the featured patterns at next year's Cape Ann Faroe Sweater Knitting Retreat ) BEFORE BLOCKING. I will now wash it and post the next picture when it is dry, along with a full explanation of how I go about it.
This pastel, but still all natural color, version of the Blossom hat feels springlike. It sports a complete tubular edge of 12 rounds.
I hate the edge. It really doesn't behave the way I want it to. Still, it looks fine, but is not worth the extra trouble.
I am working on a third hat right now, in a different pattern chart. Picture coming next week. It will have just a 4 round tubular edge, and I am LIKING it. Have also tried a percentage change in the ribbing to see if that will give me what I like. When switching from a single rib to a 2-stranded stockinette color pattern, wonky things happen to the fabric created.
I dug my needles into Faroe knitting while I was still at the Nordic Retreat. Hats are always the first item on the list when contemplating a new sweater design, as they are a great tool for checking out color combinations and edge treatments as well as circular gauge.
I experimented with tubular cast on styles and intensities, wanting to offer that at the retreats next year. I really like the edge one gets. Used for just a few rounds, it is super. Used for the entire hem-edge, I am not so sure I like it. I have a second hat waiting in the wings, drying while being blocked. I will report in a few days about the differences between them.
The hat above sailed out of here on Bob's head Sunday while still wet. (He has new friends who are knitters and he wanted to show it to them). Well, it came back this morning on his head. Since it is a cool day, and he whined so nicely, I let him keep it for a bit, but made him sit for the picture. I elicited a PROMISE that as soon as it gets hot, the hat comes back for the summer, so I can display it in the shop.
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