The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

CPH in Action December 5, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 2:27 pm
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I finished the Central Park Hoodie (sans hood) the night before we left for Virginia.  In fact, I was still picking the basting thread out at the airport!  (Not intentionally, I just missed a few stitches and then some scraps stuck to the wool.)  I wore it everywhere in VA and it was quite the conversation piece.


Needs more coffee.  Also shown in this picture, 25% of my dad and 1/2 of Lowell’s face.
A glance at the back, with a nice shot of my knitting bag too.  Up ahead is my mom and her friend then it’s my grandmother and me.  We’re walking through the sculpture garden in DC.
The documentation of the Exchange of the Jade Dragon.  The Jade Dragon reveals the path to the secret treasure when held facing east on the last full moon of the year- oh wait, I’ve said too much.
Look at our cool, cool glasses.  You know you’re jealous.


I’m very, very pleased with how the CPH turned out.  I’ll write more about the mods I made and how they turned out when I have a chance to take some pictures with something other than my cell phone.  I think I have pictures of the zipper-sewing which really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  For now, though, I’m going to don my CPH and help Lowell put up the Christmas lights.  We’re horribly behind the rest of the neighborhood.


Short-Row Shoulder Caps November 25, 2009

Want to work a seamless set-in sleeve from the top down?  Did that sentence even make sense?


For my Central Park Hoodie, I lengthened the armholes but wasn’t smart enough to just use a larger size’s instructions.  I was then faced with this choice: destroy my brain by trying to figure out the math to make a sleeve cap and then deal with easing and sewing OR work my sleeves top-down with short rows.  Guess which one I chose.

 102_4776   102_4777    102_4775

Do you know how to pick up stitches and work short rows?  Then you have all the skills needed for this pattern modification.  For more information on this technique, check out Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top or Wendy Bernard’s Custom Knits.  Here are some good tutorials for picking up stitches from Knitty: Picking Up Stitches on a Straight Edge and Picking Up Stitches on a Curved Edge.


It was the short rows that confused me at first.  When you work short rows for a sock heel, you work shorter and shorter rows then longer and longer rows to make a pouch that’s essentially two trapezoids on top of each other like so:

Sock Heel

However, the short rows for a sleeve cap are just the second half of the diagram.  You start with a short row and then get longer and longer, picking up wraps as you work over them instead of saving them all for the end.

Shoulder Cap


Now, make a  decision.  Do you want to work the sleeves in the round or do you want to work them flat and then seam them? 


Let’s assume you want to make them in the round first.  Sew the shoulder and side seams for your sweater.  You now have a nice armhole to pick up stitches around.  Starting at the side seam under the arm, pick up and knit stitches evenly around the armhole.  If you haven’t made any modifications to the armhole, then the number of stitches on the sleeve before the sleeve cap shaping starts is the number to pick up.  Make sure that there are the same number of stitches on either side of the side seam.  Use the shoulder seam as the center of the sleeve top.  Place a marker for the beginning of the round.


If you’ve decided to work your sleeves flat, just sew the shoulder seams of your sweater.  Pick up and knit stitches evenly across the armhole.  If you haven’t made any modifications to the armhole, then the number of stitches on the sleeve before the sleeve cap shaping starts is the number to pick up.  Make sure that there are the same number of stitches on either side of the shoulder seam, using that as the center of the sleeve top.


Now for a little math.  Divide the number of stitches on your needle by 3.  Go ahead and round up or down to the nearest even number.  The result is the number of stitches you will need to have at the top of your sleeve cap.  Center this 1/3 on the shoulder seam.  Place markers on either side.

Flat Shoulder Round Shoulder
Knitting Flat Knitting in the Round


Mark the underarm stitches.  If you’re knitting from the bottom up, the underarm stitches are the stitches that have been picked up from the cast off stitches and decrease rows.  Make sure that there are the same number of underarm stitches on either side of the beginning marker (if knitting in the round) or either end of the sleeve cap (if knitting flat).  If you’re knitting from the top down, the underarm stitches begin at the first increase.  Place markers at either end of the underarm stitches.  If you’re knitting in the round, you should have 5 markers.  If you’re knitting flat, you should have 4 markers.


Okay, the set up is finished.  Now, work (in pattern) to the end of the top 1/3 stitches and slip the marker.  Wrap the next stitch and turn.  Work back across the top 1/3 stitches, slip the marker, and wrap the next stitch.  Turn and work back to the first wrapped stitch.  Pick up the wrap and conceal it with your preferred method, then wrap the next stitch.  Turn, work back to the next wrapped stitch.  Pick up the wrap and conceal it, then wrap the next stitch.  Here is an excellent write up of the various ways to conceal a wrapped stitch.


Continue working back and forth this way until you reach the underarm markers, ending on a RS row.  In the round, knit across the underarm stitches and continue around, concealing the last wrapped stitch as you come to it on the RS and then finishing the round.  Flat, work the underarm stitches to the end of the row, then turn and work back, concealing the last wrap as you come to it and continue on to the underarm sts.


Continue the sleeves as laid out by your pattern.  Unless the pattern has top-down sleeves, decrease whenever the pattern says to increase.  Remember that if you have picked up more stitches than the pattern called for to adjust your decreases accordingly.


That’s it!  Not so bad, eh, and no seaming!


Here’s a real world example to make things clearer:


On my CPH, I made my armhole 1” longer than called for.  I knit my sleeves in the round and changed the frequency of the decreases.


Starting at the side seam, I picked up 1 stitch for each cast off stitch or decreased stitch.  This gave me 9 stitches for the first half of the underarm.  I placed a purple marker after the 9 sts and for the beginning of the round. Then I picked up 2 stitches for every 3 rows of knitting until I reached the shoulder seam, which ended up being 35 sts.  I picked up 35 stitches down the other side of the armhole, placed a purple marker, and picked up 9 stitches for the underarm.


This gave me 88 stitches total for my sleeve.  Dividing 88 by 3 gives me 29.33333.  I rounded up to 30.  I want 15 sts on either side of the center of the sleeve top.  I placed blue markers on either side of my sleeve top, which was centered at the shoulder seam.


Since the CPH has cables running down the sleeve, I also placed white markers for the beginning and end of the cable chart, centered on the shoulder seam 6 sts away from the blue markers.


I knit to the purple marker (the top 1/3 of my stitches,) slipped the purple marker, knit 6, then worked the sleeve cables between the white markers, knit 6, slipped the purple marker, wrapped the next stitch and turned.


I purled back to the cable, worked the cable between the white markers, purled to the purple marker, wrapped the next stitch and turned.


Knitted to the cable, worked the cable, knitted to the wrapped stitch, concealed the wrap, then wrapped the next stitch and turned.


Purled to the cable, worked the cable, purled to the wrapped stitch, concealed the wrap, then wrapped the next stitch and turned.


Once the short rows were finished, I worked the rest of the sleeve in the round. 


The Battle is Won November 20, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 6:40 pm
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I have officially finished all the knitting on the Central Park Hoodie!




I dunked the whole thing in the bathtub yesterday with some Kookaburra and pinned it out to dry.  I even managed to coax another inch or so of width out of the body.  I did decide to redo the pockets.  I tore out all the lining and lengthened the steek.  This time I was much more careful as I sewed down the front; I think I managed to leave some flexibility in there.  All that’s left to do now is to sew in the zipper when it’s dry!




An artsy shot, just because I can:



Lolcat November 12, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 8:44 pm
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The sleeves on the CPH are taking forever.  Other projects have been dumped.  Much coffee has been drunk.  Despite decreasing every 5th round, the sleeve is not getting any faster to knit.  I may not have found Yarnia, but I have definitely found a black hole.


Must… stripe… November 6, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 12:37 am
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I’m getting the strange and almost irresistible urge to add some stripes to the sleeves of my Central Park Hoodie.  I think that if I don’t add these stripes I may run screaming into the street, flying the CPH above my head like some sort of demented surrender flag.  I believe the stripes will be neon orange, that’s the ticket…




(This picture is actually from yesterday; there’s slightly more right sleeve today and I finished the pockets.  They look awesome but due to a sudden temporary cessation of brain waves, they are just a tad too short in the height department.  My perfectionism and desire never to touch those pockets again are having an epic battle upon the shattered remains of my brain.)


The Steek Will Set You Free November 3, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 5:10 pm
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Wow.  I love steeks.  They’re awesome.


This weekend was pretty busy.  Mainly with knitting the Central Park Hoodie.  I finished the fronts and seamed the jacket up.  I was shocked to find that I do not hate seaming, like I thought.  With a nice edge that hasn’t been ruined by slipping stitches and has been carefully blocked, seaming was actually kind of fun.  Almost meditative. 


102_4767   102_4768


I also took a few swatches and practiced steeking.  I highly recommend slicing up some swatches- it really removes the fear.  I tugged and yanked and jerked on the swatch and the stitches didn’t go anywhere they weren’t supposed to.  Late Saturday night (because careful cutting of a week’s worth of work should always be done late at night) I cut pockets in the front of my CPH.


102_4765    102_4766 


The safety pins are holding on to the other stitches in the column that I cut.  I’ll be picking up stitches along the edges to form the pocket and then I’ll sew the lining to those loose stitches to secure them.  This was shockingly easy and kind of enjoyable.  There was hardly any freaking out as I cut the knitting.  Although I was very disappointed that the people with me were unimpressed by this sudden appearance of pockets.  I might steek everything now.  They’re really cool.


My shoulder plan is working out well too.  I knit the armhole about an inch longer than the pattern said (on purpose!) and instead of having to figure out what to do with the sleeve cap, I decided to work the sleeves top-down.  I seamed everything then picked up stitches around the armhole and worked short rows for the cap.  I’ll write more about this process later.  I can’t believe all sleeves aren’t done this way… it looks great!


102_4777    102_4776


Knitting as fast as I can October 29, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 11:53 am
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Left front went off without a major hitch and pretty fast, given that pretty much all I’m doing is knitting on this.




Er, except that I forgot to put in the pocket.  I really wanted pockets.  So, this is what I’m thinking: steeks.


It’s ok, you can resume breathing now.  I haven’t done anything yet and I might decide that this is an outer layer that doesn’t need pockets.  Ha, who am I kidding?  I will pass up something I truly love if it doesn’t have pockets on it.  I’m going to practice on those seven swatches that I made.  My CPH is made with 100% wool, so it has some good “stickiness” to it unlike superwash.  It shouldn’t be too hard… right?  I mean, knitters have been steeking for hundreds of years.  I figure I’ll decide where I want the pockets once I do up the shoulders and side seams, sew down the right columns, snip, cry, pick up stitches, and bam!  Pockets.


I can hear you laughing at me, don’t think I can’t!


(I’m still working on the lever-style knitting videos.  The tripod-behind-my-shoulder plan does not seem to be working very well.  I think that I will need to trick someone into manning the camera for me.)