Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chronicles of Narnia Cardigan pattern

3/29/08 note: this pattern is also available as a PDF download from Ravelry. Click here to download it if you'd rather have it in that format!

7/3/07 note: there is an error in the pattern as it was originally posted, and the pattern below has been updated. If you have printed out the original version of the pattern, please note that the number of cast-on stitches has been changed from 70 to 68.

Size: 9 months to 1 year. This pattern works nicely with different size needles. I have found that size 5 needles make a good 0-3 month sweater, and size 6 needles make a good 3-6 month sweater. I've never tried it with size 8s, but I'd assume you could do a 12-18 month sweater with them. Just go one to two sizes down for your ribbing, whatever needles you use.

Gauge: 21 st. and 28 rows = 4" in stockinette with larger needles

Circular or straight needles, sizes US 5 and 7
DK-weight yarn (I used Filatura di Crosa Zara): MC (3 skeins), secondary colors A, B, and C (less than 50 yards each), scrap yarn in color D

Special instructions:
Seed stitch: over even number of stitches
Row 1: *k1, p1, rep from *
Row 2: *p1, k1, rep from *

M1: make one stitch, keeping pattern correct (this is important in the seed stitch section). In the seed stitch section, the easiest way to do this is to knit and purl or purl and knit (depending on the pattern) into the same stitch. In the stockinette section, the easiest and most invisible way to do this is to lift the right-hand side of the stitch one row below the stitches outside the marker onto the left needle and knit it as if it was a stitch.

With MC and smaller needles, CO 68 st. Work 8 rows of k2, p2 ribbing. Switch to larger needles.

Sweater body:
Row 1 (RS): in seed stitch throughout, work12 st (right front), pm, work 10 st (sleeve), pm, work 24 st (back), pm, work 10 st (sleeve), pm, work 12 st (left front).
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12: slipping markers, work seed stitch to end.
Rows 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11: *work seed stitch to marker, m1, slip marker, m1, rep from *
Row 13: work seed stitch to first marker, m1, slip marker, m1, knit across arm stitches, increasing as follows: k3, (m1, k2) 7 times, m1, k3. m1, slip marker, work seed stitch across back, m1, slip marker, m1, repeat arm increases, m1, slip marker, m1, work seed stitch to end.
Row 14: Slipping markers, work seed stitch on right front, back, and left front, and work stockinette (purl) on sleeves.
Row 15: switch to stockinette stitch on entire sweater body. Continue to work raglan increases as established.
Row 19: begin fair isle pattern on sweater fronts as charted.
Row 37: Stop raglan increases and divide sleeves as follows: (continuing fair isle chart pattern) work to first marker, remove marker and slip arm stitches onto a piece of scrap yarn, remove marker, continue knitting across back, remove marker and slip arm stitches onto a piece of scrap yarn, work to end (continuing fair isle chart pattern).
Rows 38-end: work in stockinette, continuing fair isle pattern as charted.
When fair isle pattern is complete, work 4 more rows stockinette, then switch to smaller needles and work 8 rows of k2, p2 ribbing. BO.

Place arm stitches on larger needle, being sure right side will be worked first.
Rows 1, 3, 5, and 7: working in stockinette, space out two decreases in each of these rows so that decreases do not line up with one another vertically (to make decreases as invisible as possible).
Rows 2, 4, 6, and 8: purl.
Row 9: knit.
Row 10: p1, dec, p to 3 stitches before end, dec, p1.
Work 9 rows stockinette, and decrease in tenth row as in row 10.
Work 9 rows stockinette, and decrease in tenth row as in row 10.
Work 8 rows stockinette.
Switch to smaller needles and work 8 rows of k2, p2 ribbing. BO.

Button bands:
Using smaller needles, pick up 74 stitches along left front. Work 8 rows k2, p2 ribbing and BO. Pick up 74 stitches along right front and work 3 rows k2, p2 ribbing. In next row, make buttonholes as follows: work 2 st, YO, k2tog (or p2tog, depending on place in the ribbing). Repeat (YO, k2tog) buttonholes evenly spaced along band, making another buttonhole before last 2 stitches of row. Work 4 more rows of k2, p2 ribbing and BO.

Sew sleeve seams. Weave in all loose ends and block. Sew buttons to match buttonholes.

Two lovely FOs!

I've been a little knitting machine this week, trying to finish up two baby sweaters to bring to the silent auction for my choir. I may have given myself repetitive strain injuries, but the results are pleasing. First, I put the finishing touches on a nautically-themed sweater that has been languishing without buttons in my apartment for about a month, and whipped up a matching hat:

Here's some detail on the fair isle pattern:

Those, by the way, are sailboats and goldfish, though very few people who saw it at the auction could figure that out. I think I might embroider some masts to the sailboats to clarify that they are not ice cream cones or mountains.

For those of you who get off on it, here's a shot of the stranding:

What's clear in this shot is the difference in weight between some of the yarns I used. Although I worried about it when I was knitting and it looks kind of funky here, I think that it is totally fine on the right side. Blocking did a lot to help with that, too.

The second finished object set is the Chronicles of Narnia-inspired girl's sweater, which came out nicely, if not really looking at all like the one in the movie:

And to complete this set, I churned out a pair of mittens. Toddler mittens always crack me up. They are so adorable it's almost unbearable, like a baby bulldog.

The details.

Nautical fair isle sweater and hat:

Patterns: top-down raglan baby sweater pattern, free with purchase from School Products, with my own fair isle addition, and my own made-up hat pattern
Size 5 Addi Turbo needles
Baby Merino from School Products, 2 skeins
Karabella Aurora 4 in turquoise, baby blue and bright yellow, 1 skein each
Karabella Aurora 8 in tan, scraps left over from sheep sweater

Chronicles of Narnia sweater:

Patterns: my own design, Kathy's Mittens from Knitting at Knoon
Sizes 5 and 7 Knitpicks Options needles
Filatura di Crosa Zara yarn in sage (3 skeins), raspberry, teal, and eggplant (1 skein each)
Karabella Aurora 8 in tan, scraps again

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sew I Knit's mitten!

I am officially the author of a pattern -- Sew I Knit has knit her own pair of my Latvian mittens! Click here to see the picture of her beautiful work.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Movie sweater

The next project in the works is another baby sweater, either for my friend Elisa or for the choir auction this weekend. It is my attempt to copy this amazing sweater from the new Chronicles of Narnia movie that I have been obsessing about ever since I rented the DVD.

The real sweater is clearly knit at a finer gauge than I am knitting (or at least it is a bigger size with the same gauge), and is done in pieces, whereas I am attempting to do mine in my standard top-down raglan design that I have used for all baby sweaters. My plan so far has been to do the seed stitch yoke in the raglan design, trying to make the increases as inconspicuous as possible. I have done a good job of that, I think, though it took a few moments of mind-melting to figure out how:

Then at the moment I stop the seed stitch, to increase the arm stitches by 1/3, thereby imitating the look of a gathered, set-in sleeve. At the moment I am slowly tapering back down on the arm stitches, so that the arms are not super-wide all the way down. We'll see how it turns out. I don't imagine that it will look exactly like a set-in-sleeve, designed-in-pieces, vintage sweater, but hopefully it will look close. I have also done some modifications to the flowers on the front placket, making mine fair isle flowers instead of blocks of color. This modification was done for my own sanity because the super-long floats that resulted from sort of an unhappy marriage of stranded green and intarsia pink were making me crazy. But I am not super-satisfied with the result: I think that it looks less vintage and a little too conventional-cutesy for my taste. But the thought of ripping back that pattern again has me deciding to forge on and hope that the finished product will be less cutesy than the single flower looks, and that the adult color scheme offsets the twee flowers.

Almost finished.

The pair is almost complete. Here's a progress shot to show what the pre-duplicate stitch mitten looks like. I think that the wrist pattern looks much more "ethnic" with the centers in white, but I am torn about the hand pattern; now that I see them side by side I might prefer the one without the red centers to the boxes. Clearly visible, too, is the effect that twelve million times of turning the mitten inside out and jamming your fingers in there to do the duplicate stitch, in terms of widening out the mitten hand; I am confident that blocking will fix this problem, as neither mitten has been blocked yet.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Latvian-inspired mitten pattern

Here's the pattern for my "Latvian" mitten:

size 4 double-pointed needles
Karabella Aurora 8 (94 yards/skein) or other worsted weight yarn: 2 skeins color A, 1 skein color B, 1 skein color C
Tapestry needle
waste yarn

Ladies' size small
Gauge: 26 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches

CO 40 stitches in color A. Knit 1 row, then join yarn in the round. Knit 3 more rounds, then *K2tog, YO, rep. from * for one whole round. Knit 4 more rounds.
Switch to color B and begin pattern chart. Notice that some rows require you to increase or decrease by a stitch or two in order to fit the whole pattern repeat, and in switching from the wrist patterns to the main hand pattern you will increase by five stitches.

* note: the red centers of the main pattern's boxes, as well as the white centers of the cuff pattern's diamonds, can be done in duplicate stitch if preferred. If you choose to do so, just knit the boxes entirely in white and the diamonds entirely in black.

Dark outlines on the chart indicate where to place thumb gore for left and right mittens. Inside this outline, increase as charted for length charted. At final row of thumb gore, knit row, then place thumb stitches on a length of waste yarn. In the next round, knit to thumb stitches, cable cast on 3 stitches to make up for 3 original thumb gore stitches, then continue round.

Decrease for top of mitten as charted, using right-leaning (k2tog) decreases on right sides of mitten tops, and left-leaning (ssk) decreases on left sides of mitten tops. When four stitches are left on needles, break yarn, draw both colors through loops, pull through to wrong side of piece, and knot.

Pick up thumb stitches from waste yarn and pick up 11 stitches around hole left by thumb gore, continuing the stripe pattern. Join yarn and knit in the round until thumb reaches about 1/3 of the way up the thumb nail. Begin decreasing by four stitches in each round as charted. When six stitches remain on needles, break yarn, draw through loops, pull through to wrong side of thumb, and knot.

When mitten is finished, fold under and tack up picot hem. Weave in all ends and block mittens together to make sure they are the same size.

Latvian completed

The first of my Latvian-inspired mittens is finished! Here it is, pre-blocking, in a somewhat dimly-lit photo (stupid NYC drizzle three days in a row!).

Karabella Aurora 8 in black, off-white and bright red
Size 4 double-pointed needles
Design: my own, based on traditional Latvian patterns

The patterns are taken directly from some mittens on the Riga Summit site (linked in the posts below). There are some non-traditional cheats that I did do tailor the mitten to my tastes (and skills):

The cuff (which is unflatteringly showing the pattern jog on the right side) uses a traditional pair of patterns, but I made it narrower: 8 stitches smaller than the mitten body. This ends up being just tight enough to hold out the cold, but not so tight that it's hard to get on or looks like a weird sausage. With a body stitch count of 48 stitches per row, the cuff is 5/6 the size of the hand.

The thumb has a gore and is in a different pattern (fuzzy picture). This is partially because I am not a fan of peasant thumbs, and partially because I gave up on trying to figure out a way to have a gore and still keep the thumb pattern lined up with the body pattern. Math was melting my brain. For a while I had this feverish idea that I could cast on one entire pattern repeat more than I wanted for the fingers, then do a peasant thumb and decrease by one entire pattern repeat right above it. I still think this would be possible, I just didn't have the guts or the patience to try it. Plus, I kind of like the way the stripey thumb looks.

The biggest cheat of all is (I hope) relatively undetectable. Any row that seems to have three colors in it is actually two colors, with the third color duplicate-stitched on. So all of those red centers to squares in the mitten body pattern are actually added later. This saved me a LOT of hassle with yarns tangling and carried-over red yarn showing through on the right side. It was not quite as speedy and carefree to execute as I thought it would be. If you look closely on the picture of the cuff you can see that there is a bit of red behind one of the center white stitches; that's the stitch underneath the duplicate-stitch white.

So here it is, in all its glory, with drizzly NYC in the background:

And work begins apace on the second mitten:

When I have the time I will write up the pattern for anybody who'd like it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


So I have made the discovery that a cuff 3/4 the width of the hand is ridiculously small. Back to the drawing board...

Taking a stab at a Latvian

... mitten, that is. Or at least one whose patterns are Latvian. I was inspired by the following sites:

The second link is courtesy of the Stranded Colorwork Challenge blog.

But the problem with all of those mittens for me is the slightly unnecessary pointiness of the tops and the fact that the bottoms are not smaller around the wrist. I personally like to have no place on my body where cold air can seep in during the winter, so I like a tighter wrist. So I spent a lot of time brainstorming and sketching:

Eventually becoming a little obsessive:

Here is the progress so far:

You can't necessarily tell from the picture, but it's not really a traditional Latvian mitten, aside from the patterns: I'm making the cuff 3/4 the size of the mitten body. I did a picot-edged hem, and thought it would be smart of me if I also ribbed the folded-under part of the hem. In retrospect I don't think this was such an amazing idea, as it doesn't lie quite right now, but it does have a nifty sort of sea-urchin shape to it as a result:

Of course, that will go away when I tack down the hem.

The Mitt Hits the Fan

So a little backstory: the whole mitten-knitting thing began during Christmas break when I decided to make Selbu mittens from Folk Mittens. I got this beautiful aubergine color of Aurora 8, looked up a slightly more ornate and less star-shaped star pattern with the same footprint to switch out the one from the book for, and began.

I worked hard to make the stitches all even, and thought that it was looking nice:

The problem? Well, you can be the judge:

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


My friends Barbara and Christopher found out a little earlier this year that they were pregnant. I was super excited, because... baby things to knit! They are the perfect knitting project: small, so you can have instant gratification; not too fitted; size is not important because as long as it is not too small, the kid will grow into it; a built-in preciousness factor so anything you want to do is appreciated; kids don't mind looking like idiots in some uber-twee outfit, or at least they are too small and inarticulate to complain. Case in point:

The cardigan I knit for them immediately after hearing about the baby. Is it precious? Yes. Is it made with love using luxurious and yet machine-washable merino wool? Yes. Does it have intarsia sheep on it that are so cute as to be absolutely embarassing to a child old enough to recognize that there are intarsia sheep on his yoke? Indubitably. No boy old enough to be past the Mirror Stage would be caught dead in a sweater with adorable intarsia sheep on it. Perfect baby knitting present.

Monday, January 8, 2007

2006 roundup

I really learned a lot in 2006:
Fair isle stranded knitting
Intarsia knitting
Cabling without a cable needle
Mitred knitting
Lace knitting.

This is the year I think I turned a corner in my knitting, from amateur who is just capable of increasing and decreasing, to a knowledgeable knitter who feels confident in doing almost anything. I still haven't tried steeks, though!

Some highlights:

The yoke of my first real fair isle sweater: I did quite a bit of math figuring out how to do the increases, and n0w realize I could have done my increases in wedges spaced a bit farther apart instead of sort of evenly spaced every fourth row, as I did.

My next stranded knitting project: some Latvian mittens. In fact I think that these are not going to work out, but I can't bring myself to frog them. Look at that beautiful pattern!

I guess it is clear now that I really favor stranded knitting. I tried some lace and cables this year, and I can do them, but I find lace too hard to concentrate on and cables a bit too time-consuming. Stranded knitting, however, has just the right amount of interest without being too slow going.

Lovely Knitting Gift

Here is my beautiful Christmas present from sister Sarah:

A lovely knitting bag with all kinds of pockets and a fashionable shape. Here's a shot of the inside, which of course is already messy:

Thanks, Sarah!

First post!

Welcome to my blog! I started out, like many people, with a regular "diary"-type blog, but it quickly turned into just knitting, so I finally gave in and started a knitting blog. Here's a picture of my first finished object of the year: a pair of Norwegian-style mittens for my friend Ebony. I am particularly fond of the initials on the thumbs.

Karabella Aurora 8: 2 skeins burgundy, 1 skein oatmeal
Size 4 double-pointed needles
Patterns from Sheila MacGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting
Mitten shape adapted from Marcia Lewandowski's Folk Mittens