« January 2005 | Main | April 2005 »

February 27, 2005

Paris

No, I haven't disappeared from the face of the Earth. Busy organising and arranging [and trying not to procrastinate. The Interweave deadline is coming up soon and I've still done nothing concrete.] 
Spent a long weekend in Paris last weekend.  It was soooo cold.  I haven't been that cold in a long time.  Here's Notre Dame for your viewing pleasure.  In moody black and white to emphasise the coldness...

Notredame_1

During the weekend, I also made a quick stop at the Phildar boutique [this is supposed to be a knitting blog] at Galeries Lafayette, probably the hugest department store in Paris.  They had a pretty good [but small] selection of Phildar yarns and mags, and I scooped up a few for further study.  The colour selection of yarns available wasn't to my personal taste though, and the selection of  fibres was a touch on the synthetic side, so no yarn indulgence.  That said, there were plenty of bargains to be had in terms of sale packs of yarn and the assistants were friendly.

Mode_3

Sunday was spent at the fleamarket at Clignancourt on the outskirts of Paris.  Lots of amazing things, lots of them at amazing prices.  I came across a batch of 1930's handcraft and sewing magazines, and snapped them up for 50 euros. I also scored some "galalite" [bakelite?? definitely some kind of plastic] sequins, hand made from tiddlywinks.  Fifty cents each.  No idea what I'm going to do with them yet. The photo doesn't really show off the colours very well.  They're also really grubby and need a good clean, which doesn't help.

Sequins_1

And to finish, some creepy beauty advice, circa 1932, courtesy of Modes & Travaux:

Mask_1

Rejuvenate yourself and become more youthful and beautiful in only half an hour with a RADIOACTIVE [?!] beauty mask.  Wonder why these never caught on?  I just googled "caoutchoucs de beaute" and found it means "beauty rubbers"...Radioactive rubber beauty masks....ok.  Almost as frightening as those knitted clown masks that were doing the rounds a few weeks ago.

 

February 27, 2005 in Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

February 09, 2005

Details

Deco_1


Retro touches and knitted embellishment for Winter 2005. 

Amazing how a change of scale or unexpected use of material can modernise something.

Photographs copyright Style.com

February 9, 2005 in Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 03, 2005

Decreases

 

Calatura1

[click to see larger image in a new window]


From back to front:
streamlined decrease, standard decrease, wale deflection decrease, double decrease, bias decrease.
   

When I get a moment, I’m going to collate all of the information in this post into a printable PDF, but until then please have patience and of course feel free to point out glaring technical errors.

Apologies for the lurid greenness my samples, it was what was on hand.  [I think the Hulk would be proud of me, though].  All of the samples in the photo above were knit on a standard [4.5mm needle spacing] gauge knitting machine for speed, but could be just as easily knit by hand.  The yarn was cheapo 4 ply cotton.

The other thing I should mention is that I used a 6-point transfer tool for all of the samples.  Experiment with the number of points/stitches for different effects.
All of the samples were knit to emulate the standard ‘decrease 1 st every alternate row’ raglan formula.  This is reflected in the written instructions.

The first two decreases are very well known and serve more as something to compare the later decreases to than anything else.

The Streamlined Decrease
I call this a streamlined decrease simply because of the sharp, clean line created by stitches cutting across stitches.  Hand knitters will be very, very familiar with this type of decrease, it being used in 90% of commercially available patterns.  An extra step, although not a very difficult one, is required for machine knitters to achieve the same effect.

By Machine:
*Counting from edge of work towards centre of bed, using a single-point transfer tool place the 7th st onto the 6th needle. 
Transfer all stitches towards centre to fill space left by empty needle. 
Return newly empty needle at edge to non-working position. 
Knit 2 rows.*
Repeat from *to*

By Hand:
[At beginning of row, leaning towards left]
*Knit 5, ssk, work to end.
Work one row straight*
Repeat from *to*

[At end of row, leaning towards right]
*Work to last 7 sts, K2tog, k5.
Work one row straight*
Repeat from*to*

The Standard Decrease
This decrease is very similar to the previous example, but slightly less graphic.

By Machine:
*Using a 6-point transfer tool, move edge 6 sts in by 1 needle.
Return empty needle to non-working position. 
Knit 2 rows.*
Repeat from *to*

By Hand:
[At beginning of row, leaning towards left]
*Knit 5, K2tog, work across row.
Work one row straight.*
Repeat from *to*

[At end of row, leaning towards right]
*Work to last 7 sts, ssk, k5.
Work one row straight.*
Repeat from*to*

The Wale Deflection Decrease
As you can see in the sample, the edge stitches are deflected by the decrease [hence the name] and bounce off at an angle.  This type of fashioning looks good in finer yarns and shows up best worked several stitches away from the edge [my default number is six regardless of gauge]. 

My Italian colleagues call this decrease “one at the edge and one on the inside”, which is an odd way of explaining that two different decreases are used on alternate shaping rows – once at the edge and then once several stitches inside the edge.
 
By Machine:
*Using a 6-point transfer tool, move edge 6 sts in by 1 needle.
Return empty needle to non-working position. 
Knit 2 rows [or as many rows as your pattern dictates]. 
Using a single point transfer tool, move edge st onto adjacent needle.
Knit 2 rows [or as many rows as your pattern dictates].*
Repeat from *to*

By Hand: 
[At beginning of row, leaning towards left]
*Knit 5, K2tog, work across row.
Work one row straight.
Ssk, work across row.
Work one row straight.*
Repeat from*to*

[At end of row, leaning towards right]
*Work to last 7 sts, ssk, K5.
Work one row straight.
Work to last 2 sts, K2tog.
Work one row straight.*
Repeat from*to*

The Double Decrease
This is the same classic fully-fashioned decrease often seen on commercially produced knits.  In industrial production, sweater manufacturers use this particular method for a very simple reason - to save time [time is money!].  By decreasing two [or more] stitches at a time, they can knit twice [or more] the amount of plain rows before having to stop again.  As a by-product, they also get a more pronounced effect to their shaping.  Compare the double decrease with the standard decrease and you’ll see what I mean.  When working with heavier yarns, you might want to reduce the number of plain stitches worked before and after the decrease for a more graceful look.

To work this decrease by hand, a cable needle is necessary, it functions as a temporary third needle allowing you knit pairs of non-adjacent stitches together.

By Machine:
*Using a 6-point transfer tool, move edge 6 sts towards centre by 2 needles.
Return both empty needles to non-working position. 
Knit 4 rows [this allows for a decrease rate of 1 st every 2 rows]*
Repeat from *to*

By Hand:
Back Double Decrease [at beginning of row, leaning towards left]:
**Knit 4, slip 2 sts onto cable needle and hold parallel to and behind left needle. *Insert right needle into first st on left needle and at the same time into first st on cable needle, knit these 2 sts tog; rep from * once more - 2 sts decreased.  Work 3 rows straight.**
Repeat from**to**

Front Double Decrease [at end of row, leaning towards right]:
**Knit to last 8 sts, slip 2 sts onto cable needle and hold cable needle parallel to and in front of the left needle.
*Insert right needle into first st on cable needle and at same time into first st on left needle, knit these 2 sts tog; rep from* once more - 2 sts decreased.
Knit remaining 4 sts on left needle. 
Work 3 rows straight.**
Repeat from **to**

The Bias Decrease
The bias decrease is a simple variation on the double decrease.  Adding an increase at the beginning and end of the row causes the decreases to move across the fabric, pulling the edge stitches into a bias slant.  Added to this, increasing into the first/last stitch has a cancelling out effect on the double decrease, reducing it to a single decrease.  It obviously follows that to maintain the standard raglan formula, the decrease has to be repeated every two rows and not every four rows as in the previous example.  This decrease looks especially good on raglans, creating a chevron effect where the bias stitches meet at the seamline.  It’s commonly found on classic fine-gauge knitwear along shoulder seams and sleeve caps.

The handknit instructions are particularly wordy, but please don’t be put off.  All you are doing is increasing one stitch to bring the double decrease back to a single decrease.  Try it, it sounds much harder than it is.

Incidentally the term of reference my Italian colleagues use for this is “increase one, decrease two”.  I think it sums up this little manoeuvre extremely well.

 
By Machine:
*Using a 6-point transfer tool, move edge 6 sts towards centre by 2 needles.
There are now two empty needles in working position at the edge.
Make stitch by picking up heel of edge st and placing onto adjacent empty needle. Return remaining empty needle to non-working position. [1 st decreased]
Knit 2 rows.*
Repeat from *to*

By Hand:
Bias Back Decrease: [at beginning of row, leaning towards left]
**Inc 1 into first st, knit 3, slip 2 sts onto cable needle and hold parallel to and behind left needle.
*Insert right needle into first st on left needle and at same time, into first st on cable needle, knit these 2 sts tog; rep from * once more.  [total of 1 st decreased during shaping]
Work 1 row straight.**
Repeat from **to**

Bias Front Decrease: [at end of row, leaning towards right]
**Knit to last 8 sts, slip 2 sts onto cable needle and hold cable needle parallel to and in front of the left needle.
*Insert right needle into first st on cable needle and at same time into first st on left needle, knit these 2 sts tog; rep from* once more. Knit 3, inc 1 into last st on left needle.  [total of 1 st decreased during shaping] 
Work 1 row straight.**
Repeat from **to**

Ps. A big shout-out to Domiknitrix, who I just noticed has listed me on her inspirations page!

February 3, 2005 in Knitting, Machine Knitting | Permalink | Comments (8)