FO Friday: Bigger on the Inside

Bigger on the Inside #1

One down, one to go!

Knit shawl

Pattern: Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley

Yarn: Valley Yarns Huntington in Blue, about 2.5 skeins

Needles: Pattern recommends size US3.  I used size US4 to get gauge.

Edit: I evidently remembered incorrectly! I used US6 needles!

Size: one size (mine is more of a shawlette than a true shawl)

My first attempt at this shawl turned out a bit smaller than I had thought it would be.  It’s really more of a shawlette.  Still cute, but not exactly as I’d hoped knowing that the dear friend for whom I was knitting it likes her shawls to actually wrap around her.  After discussing it via email with her, we’ve agreed that I should keep this one and do what I can to make the second Bigger on the Inside a bit, ahem, bigger.  Here’s hoping that the next one I make will be much more shawl-ish!

Do you know what to do if a knitted item is too small?

Well here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

First of all, don’t panic! Chances are pretty good it’s still a nice whatever-it-is. Perhaps you can think of someone whom it would fit perfectly! (And yes, gifting slightly off-sized items is perfectly acceptable! Just ask my niece who became the recipient of a Soap Bubble Wrap sweater that was a tad too wide in the shoulders for me, but fit her just fine! Lucky girl!)  Anyways, this Bigger on the Inside shawl is better-suited to my petite frame and, quite honestly, makes a fabulous scarf {see photo below} so I will happily keep it and use it.

knit shawl

Since I know I’m going to make another one of these shawls, what should I do to make it larger? 

Well, I do have at least a couple options.

The easiest way I’ve found to knit something in a bigger size is to use larger knitting needles. As you can see in my above notes, I already used a larger needle just to get gauge.  This is pretty normal for me because my yarn tension tends to be tighter than a lot of other knitters.  Tension affects gauge. Big time.  That’s why it’s so important to check your gauge before you start a project by knitting a swatch.  (I’m a rebel when it comes to swatching though.  I don’t usually swatch my smaller projects like socks or mitts, but I have been known to have to rip out and restart a pair of socks in order to get them to fit. You, my dear readers,  can learn by my mistake and swatch your socks, OR you can be a rebel like me! Regardless of your level of rebelliousness, you will NEED to swatch for larger projects like sweaters if you want them to fit!)

Okay, so for my second attempt at this shawl, I will most likely start out going up to my US6 needles.  Why not try US5s first?  Because I don’t have any! So, without purchasing new needles,  my next size up is US6.  By using such a large needle size–compared to the pattern and yarn I’m using–it’s possible the lace might not look right.

My next best option is to do some math and add a couple motifs or repeats to the pattern.

I’ll be the first to say, I hope the US6 needles work out, because just thinking about doing that math makes my head hurt.  But I’ll do it if I have to–or recruit the math master {aka my hubby} to do the math for me!  Ultimately, by adding stitches and/or pattern repeats, I would be adding length and/or width to the shawl. I’m just hoping for the easy way out though!

Edit: I do have US7 and US8 needles…I’ll be trying them both out to see how the fabric looks and determine if I would gain any length and/or width. It’s looking a lot like I might be adding repeats or otherwise modifying the pattern though!

What about you?

Have you had any knitting projects that seemed to work out just fine, but in the end didn’t quite fit?  What did you do? Share your experience in the comments below!

I’ll be linking up again this week with Tami’s blog for FO Fridays! Happy knitting!

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Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: Thumb plus Free Pattern

The Finishing Touch

If you’ve followed along with my tutorials, you know that all we have left to do is knit the thumb and weave in the loose ends! Woohoo! Let’s get started on that thumb already!

How to knit the thumb

First, we need to get our thumb stitches back on our needles. Because I use yarn to hold my stitches, I just slip the stitches onto my double-pointed needles (dpns) and then carefully pull the yarn out. I try to divide them onto 3 dpns as evenly as possible, remembering that I will be picking up 2 more stitches where I earlier cast on 2 stitches. [See photo #1 below]

Once you have the stitches back onto the dpns, grab your working yarn and, leaving about 6 inches or so hang as a tail and start knitting around all the stitches. [Photo #2]

When all the stitches have been knitted, your next step is to pick up and knit 2 stitches in the gap left behind by the stitches you cast on earlier. Because I don’t like having large holes near my thumbs, I don’t knit into the outermost stitch, but rather into the bar of the stitch below. [You can see these stitch bars in photo #3 on top of my fingers.]

knitting tutorialTo pick up and knit a stitch, you pick up the bar of the stitch you’re going to knit into with your right needle tip [Photo #4]. Then you wrap your needle and knit just as if you were knitting into a regular knit stitch [Photo #5].

knitting tutorial

Once you’ve added those 2 stitches, you have a total of 16 thumb stitches.

The rest of the instructions are pretty easy so here’s a quick run-through:

Knit 5 rounds.

On the next round, because 16 stitches makes the thumb too wide at the top for my thumbs, I like to decrease 3 stitches evenly. Do this by dividing the total number of stitches by the number of decreases. In this case we have 16 stitches divided by 3 decreases which means our decreases will be approximately every 5 stitches.  I then use a k2tog decrease once every 5 or so stitches and have 13 stitches at the end of this round.

Finally, to make my thumb match the cuff and top of mitt, I add another 5 row garter stitch ridge at the top of the thumb. Bind off on the last purl round just like the top of the mitt.

Weave in all the loose ends and be sure to close up any holes that might be by the thumb area.

The mitt is done!

Now just start all over again and make a second mitt for your other hand!  These mitts are interchangeable (can be worn on either hand) which I like because you don’t have to worry about which hand you need to put them on. Just slip them on and enjoy having toasty warm hands!

Get the free pattern!

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial series!  Ready to knit a pair of Early Morning Mitts yourself? But wait!  You need the pattern! Go ahead and grab a PDF of it right now by clicking here:  download Early Morning Mitts pattern  (It’s also available on Ravelry HERE.)

tutorial, knit pattern

A completed pair of my Early Morning Mitts

This pattern is my gift to you! Enjoy!  (Don’t forget to post your finished mitts on Ravelry! I can’t wait to see them!)

As always, happy knitting!

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Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: The Bind Off

Tutorial Recap

In case you’ve missed any of my previous posts in this tutorial series, here’s a list of links to those posts in order.

  1. Cast-on
  2. Cuff
  3. Thumb gusset

Bind off

Now that we’ve finished the main part of the mitt, it’s time to bind off. Like the initial join for knitting in the round, the bind off for my design is worked using purl stitches instead of knit stitches. So how exactly do you bind off in purl?  If you already know how to bind off knit stitches, you’ll find it’s not that difficult.

First you’ll need to purl those first two stitches.

knitting Tutorial

Next, in order to bind off one stitch, you will put your working yarn to the back as if you’re going to knit. Then pull the first purled stitch up and over the second stitch and off the right needle with the left needle.

knitting tutorial

knitting tutorial

Again, bring the working yarn back to the front. Purl the next stitch.  With your yarn behind once again, move the second purled stitch over the third and off the needle. Continue around the top of the mitt purling one stitch and then, with yarn behind, binding off a stitch until you have only one stitch left on your right needle.

Finally, cut the working yarn leaving about a six-inch tail and pull the yarn through the last stitch.

Note:  You could also bind off in purl without switching the yarn back and forth, but I’ve found it’s much harder to pull one stitch over the other when you’re working from behind the needle.

 QUESTIONS? Comments?

Having trouble understanding something in today’s tutorial?  Leave a comment below with your question and I’ll answer it in a future post!

Coming up next…finishing the thumb.

Next is our final step: knitting the thumb and finishing up. And if all goes according to plan, I’ll have my first FREE pattern ready for you to download as well!  Sign up for email updates, follow my blog on Bloglovin’, and/or like my Facebook page so you don’t miss it! 😀

As always, happy knitting!

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Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: Thumb Gusset

So what exactly is a thumb gusset?

So far, I’ve shown you some of the techniques used in knitting the cast-on and the cuff of my Early Morning Mitts pattern. Now it’s time to talk about the thumb gusset.  First off, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the term gusset means “a usually diamond-shaped or triangular insert in a seam (as of a sleeve, pocketbook, or shoe upper) to provide expansion or reinforcement”. So what does that mean for a mitten or glove? Well, take a look at this photo.

knitting tutorial

See the highlighted triangular shape?  The stitches between the stitch markers are the thumb stitches. Starting with just 2 stitches between the markers, I increase two thumb stitches every other row. These are paired increases because you make one at each “end” of the thumb stitch section and the stitches also lean in opposite directions.  The paired increases I use are Make 1 Right (M1R) and Make 1 Left (M1L). You can watch videos to learn how to do M1R & M1L at knittinghelp.com.

Early Morning MittsSo looking at the finished mitts, you see the thumbs are shaped out away from the palm of the mitt. It’s a little trickier to knit than an after-thought thumb, but having a gusset allows the mitt to fit the shape of the hand and thumb better.

Thumb gusset how-to

Once the cuff–up to the wrist–is completed, it’s time to start the thumb gusset while continuing to knit the palm section of the mitt.

My pattern’s instructions begin like this:

Round 1: Knit 1, place marker, M1R, Knit 2, M1L, place marker, knit to end of round.  You now have 4 stitches between the stitch markers.

Round 2: Knit

Round 3: Knit 1, slip marker, M1R, Knit 4, M1L, slip marker, knit to end of round.  You see there are now 6 stitches between the markers…each increase round adds 2 stitches to the thumb.

This pattern of increasing thumb stitches one row, knit one row, continues until we have the total number of stitches needed for thumb. Then the thumb stitches are slipped to a stitch holder (I just slip the stitches to a piece of yarn with a tapestry needle).

knitting tutorialOnce you slip the thumb stitches to scrap yarn or a stitch holder, you need to cast on 2 stitches to make up for the 2 that you used to start the thumb gusset. Then it’s just knitting around until the palm is as high up on the hand/fingers as you like. For this pattern, I’m wanting to mostly cover my fingers–these gloves are especially nice for driving because they keep the fingers and palms so toasty warm, but the finger tips are still free which is nice for setting temperature or radio controls.

At the top of the mitt, I do another garter stitch ridge just like the ones on the cuff and now it’s time to bind off!

QUESTIONS? Comments?

Having trouble understanding something in today’s tutorial?  Leave a comment below with your question and I’ll answer it in a future post!

Coming up next…binding off the top of the mitt.

You need to know the special way to bind off the mitt and then it will be on to knitting the thumb!

As always, happy knitting!

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Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: Cuff

In my last post, I showed you how to do the special cast-on for my Early Morning Mitts pattern.  Now it’s time to continue knitting the cuff.

The Finished Cuff

Here’s the finished cuff so you can see what it will look like before we go ahead with today’s tutorial.  Notice the garter stitch ridges as well as the gathered stockinette sections in between.

knitting tutorial

Garter Stitch in-the-Round

To knit garter stitch in-the-round, you don’t knit every round like you would when knitting a flat piece. Instead, you alternate knitting and purling:  knit 1 round, purl 1 round, etc.  So for my pattern, I’ve used a 5 row (or round) garter stitch for each of the 3 “ridges”. Purl, knit, purl, knit, purl.

Gathered Stitches

For the gathered stitches, you add stitches and then later take them away again. The extra stitches cause the fabric to pucker or gather in places.  To do this, I doubled the number of stitches with KFB (knit into both the front and back of stitch).  KFB sounds complicated, but is really quite easy! Start knitting a stitch like normal. BUT instead of slipping the stitch off your left needle like usual, you LEAVE the stitch on the left needle and then knit into the back loop of the SAME stitch {and then you can slip it off the left needle}.

knitting tutorialOne stitch has now become two! Pretty neat, huh?  Once you’ve knit into the front and back of all the stitches, you have a total of 72 stitches.

Knit 5 rounds and then it’s time to decrease those stitches back to the original 36 using k2tog (knit 2 stitches together) all the way around. K2tog also sounds more complicated than it really is.  Your right needle goes through the front loops of both the next 2 stitches (from left to right as usual).  Knit them together and the two become one!

knitting tutorial

Shaping for forearm

If you’re making your mitts long like arm-warmers as I am, you may want to consider shaping them with a few well-placed decreases.  Here’s how I do this.

While knitting the 2nd round of both the 2nd and 3rd garter stitch ridges, I decrease twice with a k2tog:  once in the middle of the round and again at the very end.  The first decrease round leaves me with 34 stitches and a second decrease round means I am left with 32 stitches on my needles. [If this seems a little confusing right now, wait until you can see the actual pattern and I think it’ll make sense.]

Once the cuff is knit, it’s time to knit the rest of the way to the wrist.  This part of the mitt can be knit as long or short as you like. {Just be sure to make a note of how many rounds you knit so you can do the second mitt the same!}

QUESTIONS? Comments?

Having trouble understanding something in today’s tutorial?  Leave a comment below with your question and I’ll answer it in a future post!

Coming up next…the thumb gusset!

In the next post, I’ll show you how to add a thumb gusset to your mitts.

Happy knitting!

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Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: Cast-On

Cast-on time!

My Early Morning Mitts are knit in-the-round. That’s knitter-talk which means the knitting forms a tube without any seams. It’s a super handy technique to know how to do! This tutorial series will help you better understand the special techniques I used in designing and knitting Early Morning Mitts.

I want to explain my pattern’s name before I get started. These mitts were designed when I was up in the middle of the night due to a bout of insomnia. After sketching out and testing my pattern,  I marked down the time right on the sketch:  1:15am!  Early Morning Mitts was the best name I could think of for a pattern created so early in the morning!

My project details:

  • Yarn:  Cascade 220 “Galaxy” colorway
  • Needles: US SIZE #8 double-pointed needles (dpns)
  • Gauge: I think I’m getting about 5.5 st/in while knitting in the round, but I need to double-check it.

My favorite cast-on–the long-tail cast-on–is what I use for most projects. Here’s the great video tutorial on how to do the long-tail cast-on that helped me as a new knitter.

I love her tip about not needing a slip knot! Has saved me a ton of time. Especially if I don’t estimate my tail length correctly and need to re-do the cast-on!

Cast-on
Cast on 36 stitches and divide stitches evenly onto 3 double-pointed needles (dpns)

Using the long-tail cast-on, cast-on 36 stitches to one dpn leaving a tail about 5 or 6 inches long when done. Slip 12 stitches from one end of the needle onto the second dpn and then the next 12 stitches onto the third dpn. {You now have 12 stitches on each needle.}

Join for knitting-in-the-round

Next, the stitches are joined for knitting in the round. I learned how to do this technique by watching this video at knittinghelp.com.

Cast-on

In my pattern, the join is done just a wee bit differently because the first row is PURLED, not knit!

Here’s how.

Being careful not to twist the stitches (that is, check to see that they all line up on the needles), join by PURLING into the first cast-on stitch. Use your fourth dpn and hold BOTH the working end of the yarn and the tail together as you purl the stitch.

Cast-on

Once you’ve purled the first stitch, do another the same way (with both working yarn and tail held together).

Then drop the yarn tail, and with just the working yarn continue purling around all 3 needles until you have purled all 36 stitches. The tail can help you find your beginning of rounds since it’s near the first stitch on dpn#1 (or you can use a stitch marker if you prefer).

Also be sure you aren’t getting gaps between the needles or you’ll end up with “ladders” where you change from one dpn to the next.  Just hold your working yarn nice and snug while knitting the first few stitches of each needle and you won’t have that problem!

Round 2: Knit

As you begin the second round, remember that the first 2 stitches were purled with 2 strands. You’ll want to knit those 2 strands as though they were one.

Cast-on

Cast-on

QUESTIONS? Comments?

Having trouble understanding something in today’s tutorial?  Leave a comment below with your question and I’ll answer it in a future post!

Coming up next…

In the next post, I’ll continue working on the cuff and explain some of the special techniques and stitch patterns I’ve used in my cuff design.

Happy knitting!

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Downton Pullover: seaming

Sleeves.

Let me just say that the Downton Pullover has me a bit frustrated at the moment. The sleeves, after gently blocking (read: blocking without measuring or pinning) were both about 4 inches too long. Ugh. I double-checked my gauge and it’s spot on, so I do not know what happened. I re-soaked and re-shaped to the best of my ability–this time with a tape measure and pins in hand! I have yet to check and see if the re-blocking is any better, but I know they were measuring a bit wide when I was re-blocking.

Downton Pullover

Blocking. Take two.

But at least I managed to get the shoulders both seamed!

Downton Pullover

Sewing a shoulder seam.

Here’s hoping the sleeves aren’t a complete mess!

I’m reminded why I so love sock knitting and making fingerless mitts–no blocking pieces or seaming!

Anyone else feel this way about finishing sweaters?