March 30, 2006

Progress, of sorts

My beginning on 2 circs is working out quite well in some ways, not so great in others. Major problem? The color! Linda you are wise to wait to order your contrasting color. I'm using chocolate, which is one of the colors in the Vera colorway. I'm coming to the conclusion that the contrast needs to be a completely separate color. The twisted stitches just look like more variegation. That's not much bang for your knitting buck. I want to complete a second repeate of the stitch pattern before deciding, though. I'll post the photo then.

The hard part is that every fiber of my being tells me charcoal will look like crap for the contrast. Because what does charcoal have to do with the Vera colorway? Nothing! Maybe one of the colors, but much darker, like a really dark green or brown (if Lorna's makes such animals) would work. I think contrast is in order, but it still has to coordinate, or at least that's what my brain is telling me.

March 28, 2006

Just joined!


I just joined this KAL and can't wait to start making this. I am a bit intimidated, though with the twisted float -I keep reading through the pattern and I am not sure I understand what to do exactly. The pictures of it in the "How To" section didn't really clarify it for me. ANy suggestions? I was also wondering if you (Reb) decided to go with the chocolate and vera? That's what I was thinking of using, but I think I read that you weren't sure. I have not seen either yarn IRL, so I was wondering what your opinion is of these 2 together.



Check your spam filters

The simplified version should be in a folder near you.

More pics

Alison, a fellow blogger, has already made this shrweater. She's shared a pic of hers. Here's what she has to say:

"Hey there - I too have already finished the TFS - and I'd be happy to share pictures and any thoughts I had (like poking my eyeballs out when there was over 400 stitches on my needle - a totally normal response by the way)...

I used LL yarn - Black Purl and Charcoal for the body and then Charcoal for the Grace. I love the yarn and it was a dream to work with - the color combination I used is terrific for dressing it up with black pants. The whole thing took about a month.

Sizing Tips

Annie has given me permission to include her sizing tips on our KAL. Here goes:

"For final garment size, measure yourself at 2 points:
A) Across your front, from armhole to armhold if you're wearing a top with sleeves. Divide the cross front meas by .83 to determine armhole placement.

B) From fingertip to fingertip with spread arms. Divide tip to tip measurement by 1.73 to determine final garment circ."

Surely Annie means the final garment's diameter above, how wide it is across. I don't know why we are to divide by these particular numbers, but I'll take Annie's word for it. :)

Simplified Version Now Available!

Hi, kids. Sorry I've been AWOL--I very innocently needed to reorganize my yarn treasury (to, um, sneak some more yarn into the house) and came up for air many days later, a household-wide Spring Consolidation (can't really call it Spring Cleaning since I didn't clean a thing) complete.

I have received the simplified version of the shrweater! I will be sending it to everyone shortly via email, as an attached .pdf file. New members will receive the pattern upon request. Annie has very kindly shared this pattern with us, so let's please respect copyright and not profit financially from her generosity.

That said, the major difference I see between the patterns is the beginning--knitting more stitches before joining, which is probably easier to manipulate. The stitch pattern is the same as far as I can tell, although you begin at a different point in the pattern, so the rows are written in a different order from the Vogue Pattern. I am going to try both to confirm that, though.

As for my swatches, I have not been happy with anything so far. I decided size 7s are too small, so I got some 8s in appropriate lengths this weekend. I'm a bit shakier with 2 circs than DPNs, but I'll let you know how it goes. Also, I'm having colorway doubts. My chocolate colored worsted arrived, but I'm not sure about it with Vera. Time will tell!

Kenny, your knitting looks so beautiful! I hope to catch up to you soon.

March 22, 2006

28 Stitches

Did you know that superwash wool will not felt?

I tried joining a new ball of Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted using the spit and splice method and it didn't work. I thought all wool felt.

Anyways, I have an update on the Round Sweater/Twisted Float Shrug that I'm working on. I'm at the point where if I were to make a size S, I would start the armhole. I have 28 stitches in each of the 8 sections of the circle. I thought I would take the piece off the needles to get a more accurate measurement and take some pictures.

Here is a picture of it right off the needles:

And here is a picture of it slightly steam blocked:

15" in diameter. I am off gauge - it should have been 16 3/4" in diameter. I could reknit the entire thing using bigger needles, but I am not going to. I am quite happy with the fabric right now, anything looser will just be too floppy.

It looks like I will have to keep going up to a size M or maybe even an L. Miss M's shoulders are about 18" wide and I am assuming that this is how big I want the circle to be before I start the armholes.

I'm going to continue knitting till it's about that big and measure again.

Oh, and here is a closeup of the twisted float trim.

This yarn is just absolutely gorgeous. But of course, it's not only the yarn, but also the pattern stitch that makes it stunning. Annie Modesitt is such a genius! I just love the way the dark Charcoal contrasts with the Watercolor to bring out the look of a braided rug.

I wish I were at home now knitting. Happy knitting guys!

March 21, 2006


What's up Reb? Where are your progress posts?

I will be posting a progress picture soon. I need to put all the stitches onto scrap yarn to take some measurements. Then I'll post a picture.

March 18, 2006


Finally! I was able to log in. I've had trouble accessing this blog.
I am a self taught knitter who learns by experimenting.
I don't want to purchase a very expensive yarn yet.
I think I want to try something less expensive. Any suggestions?
I'm looking forward to the challenge. I will be able to start next week
since I will be on spring break.

March 15, 2006

Round and Around

So, in my 1000th attempt to start a circle, I came up with this:

I started the circle with Emily Ocker's circular cast on using size 6 US needles. Knitted a few rounds and went up to size 7 US and finally started the first pattern repeat with size 8 US. I worked the first pattern repeat and then I took out the needles and put the live stitches onto waste yarn to "check it out", I guess.

Look at how it is rippling!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PATTERN???

Maybe nothing. I read somewhere that said - to make a circle, you increase 8 stitches every other row/round. That's ok. I also read somewhere that said - if your work ripples, your needle size is too small, and if your work cups, your needle size is too big. Hmm.....

So, I decided that a sacrifice must be made. I'm just going to cut this $5000 yarn and make what I have into a swatch. As I snipped, my on-lookers cringed. I soaked it in some water and here is what I have.

Ehh.... it's now laying a little flatter.

So here's the thing. I think maybe I ought to just put this project aside for a while. It's really stressing me out. Should I attempt this once again tonight? What would I do different? Should I start with 6 US and go up to 8 US? Should I go up to even 9 US? Should I use a different increase?

Alas, I don't know the answers!! Probably an invisible increase would look better. Probably, in the grand scheme of things, I'm worrying about nothing. I just need to close an eye and keep knitting.

March 10, 2006

Going in Circles

As most of you know, my newest project is Vogue Knitting Magazine's Fall 2005 Twisted Float Shrug aka Circular Cocoon Shrug by Annie Modesitt. I just call it the Round Sweater (I know, so ghetto!).

I've been struggling. I just can't seem to start the circle to my satisfaction. I've swatched and swatched, started and restarted, ripped and ripped and I'm about to throw all my Lorna's Laces out the window. Well, not really cuz number 1 - I'm cheap, and number 2 - I need to solve this problem!!

My problem is that the circle is just not neat enough for my taste. There are holes and spaces between the stitches that I just can't seem to get rid off. Here are my alternatives. If you know of a better way to start the center of a circle - PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!
  • Emily Ocker's Circular cast on.
    - This swatch is done with 5 dpns. Look at the stitches right around the center.... they are so far apart.

    - This swatch is done using magic loop. Again, look at the center where the arrows point. WTF??
  • Queen Kahuna's Aloha cast on. (Thanks Carla and Martha!!)
    - I'm not sure if I like the weaving thing going on in the center. There are still holes. Emily Ocker's cast on is cuter I think.... more like a flower with a circle center.
So, there is ONE more thing that I can try. And if this doesn't work, I'm done. I will try to cast on with 2 needle size smaller and see if the holes disappear. If anyone of ya'll know that this is NOT going to work, let me know so I won't need to do more futile knitting!

By the way, which of the circles above do you like?

Cast On

Here are some cast on methods that I've been thinking about for this pattern:
  • Annie Modesitt's original pattern cast on.
  • Cast on 8 stitches. kfb into every stitch, then join. I'm not too sure about this method. It tells you to knit a row increasing to 16 stitches before even joining into a round. This will leave a hole that is 16 stitches wide in diameter. But I guess you can close the hole by sewing yarn around it or something. Maybe the alternative to this method is that you cast on 8 stitches, join and then kfb into every stitch. Ideas?
  • Emily Ocker's Circular cast on.
    This website tells you how to do this cast on. This seems to work pretty well. You can just pull on the end to close up the hole. My dilemma here is whether to cast on 8 and then join, or cast on 16 and then join?
  • Queen Kahuna's Aloha cast on.
    This cast on is really interesting. This is the first time hearing about it and it makes sense. This cast on should have virtually no hole at all. This however uses 2 needles at once. This would mean that you would have to start the project using either the magic loop technique or the 2 circulars technique. Another drawback of this cast on is that you have to cast on an ODD number of stitches. I'll try this maybe tonight.

Yardage Issue?

Edited to add yardage requirements as given in the pattern (for those who don't have the pattern yet):
Sizes, Bust & Length - 30 (35, 40)"
Materials - Lorna's Laces yarns
  • 4 (5, 5) 225 yd skeins of Shepherd Worsted in a variegated colorway (A)
  • 2 (2, 2) 225 yd skeins of Shepherd Worsted in a shaded solid colorway (B)
  • 2 (3, 3) 120 yd skeins of Grace Mohair Bouclé in a shaded solid colorway (C)
Multiplied out, that is
  • 900 (1125, 1125) yds variegated worsted weight yarn (A)
  • 550 (550, 550) yds solid worsted weight yarn in a contrasting/coordinating color (B)
  • 240 (360, 360) yds mohair bouclé (C)
Gauge - 18.5 stitches and 24 rows to 4" over pattern stitch using size 8 needles

However, yardage may run short; to make her 40" shrweater, BJ needed an extra half-skein of Color A. She said a couple others in her knitting group are running short also.

Yikes! I didn't order extra. I think I'll do the sleeves before casting off the body; I don't want leftover yarn I could have used on the body. If the garment turns out a little smaller, that should be OK for me. I'm sure we'll get a better idea whether more yarn is routinely needed as we go along.

Staggering Increases

I read a good tip today about randomly staggering the increases: roll a pair of dice 7 times, write those numbers down, then use them to assure "random" placement of the increase stitches. A low tech random number generator. :)

Yarn Musings

I don't get Vogue Knitting, so when Paula turned me on to this shrweater last week, I was instantly smitten. I had vivid and immediate dreams of Lorna's racing through my mind. I saw Lorna's, wanted Lorna's and pondered Lorna's obsessively. I considered a whole lot of colorways: Watercolor with Charcoal trim, Gold Hill with Cedar, Black Purl with Charcoal, Vera with Chocolate, Sand Ridge, Jeans, and more. Even Forest is really nice with its more subtle hues. I decided on the dramatic Vera. It's different from what I normally choose, there's high contrast, plus Chocolate will match my hair. :) And I don't have much wardrobe in the way of browns. Ivory doesn't normally work for me, but all the color thrown in there gives me the opportunity to embrace one of my bêtes noires.

I'm really curious how this project will look with varying amounts of contrast between the colorways. Or how about two variegated yarns, one high contrast within that yarn, the other low? Or maybe two solid colors, either high contrast or low. How about Noro Silk Garden making concentric color circles? With my singular mindset, I forgot to consider so many options! Artyarns Supermerino is lovely? Ooh, Mountain Colors! I'm very much looking forward to seeing everyone's choices.

I ordered my yarn online from Chez Casuelle, a brick & mortar and online shop. I couldn't find Grace locally, and ChezCas provided great service with a discount and free shipping to new customers. The yarn is winging its way across the continent. In the meantime I'll continue to pre-wrap my mind around the pattern way more than I usually do.

March 09, 2006

Pics of an upsized shrweater

BJ has already knit this shrweater; here are the pics. She used Lorna's in the Tuscany coloway. Doesn't it look amazing? I am so digging this stitch pattern.

BJ upsized the garment. I'd been worried that making it fit around a no-longer-tiny body (or fit around it with lots of room to spare in BJ's case--a 40" garment on 5'4" medium-size BJ) would be way too long, but I think it looks great. I like it better than the length the Vogue model is wearing.

Shrug, side view:

Shrug, back:

Sweater, side view:

Sweater, back:

Some answers

I've been wondering the same things Kenny has. Here are some answers from Annie. I'm posting them here so they aren't "lost" in a comment to Kenny's post.

CAST ON - Thanks, Kenny, for linking to Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On on your blog. I had been thinking this might be the way to go, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of it. Annie wasn't familiar with this cast-on.

I'm also going to try a regular cast on then later thread the tail through those stitches. As when finishing a hat at the crown, you should be able to pull the stitches tighter. I might also try a smaller needle size for the cast-on and first round. I'll report back.

COLOR MANAGEMENT - Annie carried the contrast color (color B) like so:
"In the first Color A only row, I worked B along with A in the first st.
In the second Color A only row, I worked B along with A in the second st.
In the third Color A only row, I worked B along with A in the first st.
In the fourth Color A only row, I worked B along with A in the st before the first st.

Do you see the pattern? I worked B along with A at the start of each A-only round, only using B in ONE STITCH and leaving it hang until I got back to it again. Out of all the techniques I tried, this was the best for stranding B up with the minimum of show."

Yay, no cutting! No weaving!

INCREASES - Here's what Annie did:
"For the first few rounds I knit into the front and back of the st because it was easier, but after I had a bit of fabric on the needles, I used what I call the grandma increase (I'm going on the assumption that the st on the needle is the 'mommy' - therefore the st below the
'mommy' is the 'grandma'.

To do this I simply knit right into the center of the grandma stitch. I like this increase - even though it leaves a bit of a hole in the middle of g'ma, it's less visible than many other increases. You can use whatever inc you like though!"

I'm also going to try the twisted yarnover increase because I just learned that while making a Faroese shawl. I'll try the increases Kenny mentioned (bar, M1, and invisible), too. Which side will be public is a consideration. See below.

RIGHT SIDE/WRONG SIDE - the pattern calls the side facing you as you knit the wrong side, aka the private side. Annie says:
"Try not to think in terms of "right" and "wrong" side, but rather St st and Rev St st side. The Rev St st will be the public side of the garment, or not. It's reversible."

So, as the pattern is written, the side you see while knitting (the stockinette side) will be the private side. Use an increase whose reverse stockinette side looks good to you because that will be the public side of the garment. Unless you'd like to wear the sweater with the stockinette side out!

JOG - yes, there will be a slight jog at the beginning of the rounds. Annie doesn't have a suggestion for that. I don't think Meg Swansen's Jogless Jog will be much help since it is used when the next "stripe" will be 2 or more rounds wide (tall). I'll do some research on this and report back.

Some things to think about

Here are some things to think about:

  • CAST ON - The silhouette of this sweater is a big circle, knit from the center out. How would you start off the sweater? How would you cast on to make the neatest center point of the circle?

  • COLOR MANAGEMENT - The pattern stitch is a combination of garter stitch and stockinette stitch both knitted in the round. The twisted floats are on the wrong side of the stockinette stitch. Here is a general summary of the twisted float stitch pattern:

    1: A – purl
    2: A – k with increases

    3: A – purl
    4: A – k with increases

    5: A – purl
    6: A – k with increases

    7: A – purl
    8: A – k with increases

    9: A – knit

    10: A, B – k1A, k1B twisting OVER
    11: A – k with increases
    12: A, B – k1A, k1B twisting UNDER
    13: A – k with increases

    14: A, B – k1A, k1B twisting OVER
    15: A – k with increases
    16: A, B – k1A, k1B twisting UNDER
    17: A – k wih increases

    As you can see, the garter sections use only color A and the twisted float/stockinette sections use both color A and B. How would you handle both colors? Would you carry B from Row 1 over to Row 10 or would you carry it from row to row? Would you break off the yarn every color change?
  • JOG - Also, 2 kinds of jogs will happen, the color change jog and the garter stitch to stockinette stitch jog. What would you do?
  • INCREASES - What kind of increase would you use to build the circle? Invisible, kfb or m1? Remember, the wrong side is the public side.

March 08, 2006

Introduction - The Boy Who Knits

First off, a big thank you to Rebecca for starting this KAL blog page.

My name is Kenny and I am in Houston, Texas. I'’m a guy -– obviously and a self taught knitter. I'’ve been knitting for a little over a year now.

I hope this page will pool together ideas, thoughts, tips and tricks from knitters'’ experiences on this project. I plan to use this page both as a resource myself and to post my personal experiences with this project.

I also have a blog and it'’s at:

I am knitting this sweater - Twisted Float Shrug or Circular Cocoon Shrug or what I call it, Round Sweater (I know, it'’s so ghetto!) for a friend. I will be making this using the yarn used in the pattern, Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted and Lorna'’s Laces Grace. I will be making the body with the Shepard Worsted in the original colorway -– Watercolor and Charcoal but using a different color for the trim. I will be knitting the trim with Grace in Watercolor and Charcoal held together.

I've started this project a whole bunch of times already and I a’m off to a shaky start. I cannot seem to get the beginning to my satisfaction. I am facing a couple of issues will share them on this blog.

In addition to that, I have e-mailed Annie Modesitt with some questions will post her replies here.

That'’s me ..... Happy Knitting!

Fantastic News!

Annie Modesitt will be popping by the KAL from time to time as her Modeknits Spring Heresy '06 Tour permits. And she has oh-so-generously offered a free, simplified version of the shrug pattern! I will give the scoop on that as soon as I have it.

Knit-Along scoop

(pilfered by permission from Tipper's Scarf Style Knit-along FAQ)

1. When will this knit-along take place?

This knit-along will be ongoing. Join when you'd like, knit when you'd like, finish when you'd like!

2. How do I join the knit-along?

Send an email to Reb. (updated 3/3/07: Please send e-mail to Kim.)

3. What happens when I send an e-mail to join?

When you send an email, I send you an invite through Blogger. Blogger will send you a link to confirm your membership. If you have a Blogger username, simply enter this and your password and you're all set. If you do not have a Blogger username, you will need to create one before you'll be a member.

4. Do I need a blog to join?

No, only an email address. However, when you sign up, you will be asked to create a username, and you can create a blog (for free!) at this time.

5. How do I post a picture?

When you create a new Blogger post, you'll see icons above the text you're typing. Click on the icon on the right; this will pop up a window that has a few options. You can upload a picture from your computer, insert a picture from a website (use this option if you've already uploaded a picture elsewhere), and select where in the post the picture will be placed. When you've entered the necessary information, select "upload picture" and Blogger will automatically insert the code into your post.

6. The sidebar isn't appearing at the top of the page; what's wrong?

When this happens, someone has posted a picture that is too wide or an URL that is too long. Use (or HTML code) to make your URL smaller, and make sure your photos are no more than 425 pixels wide.

7. My name isn't appearing in the sidebar. Am I still a member?

I haven't quite figured out how Blogger decides which names to insert into the sidebar and in what order; my best guess is that it will show nicknames (which you can enter into your profile) and will refresh when a new post is made. As long as I've sent you an invite and you've completed the process, you're a member.

8. How do I link my name to my website?

If you enter a website URL into that field in your profile, the posts you make will link your name to your website. Otherwise, they will link to the knit-along blog.

9. Where can I get this pattern?

The Twisted Float Shrug was featured in the Fall 2005 issue of Vogue Knitting. Many local yarn shops still carry this issue or can order it for you. Likewise, it is available from many online vendors. Or you can order a back issue directly from Vogue Knitting. You can also order the pattern individually from Vogue.

10. Can you send me a pattern?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. Patterns are protected by copyright laws, and it's illegal to distribute them. If you want pattern, buy it. Knitwear designers need our support!

11. What yarn should I use?

This pattern calls for Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted and Grace mohair boucle yarns. Some local yarn shops and online vendors sell kits for this shrug, and many others will special order for you. But you can also make your own kit by buying the yarns individually in a myriad of colorways.

Of course, you do not have to use Lorna's Laces. This shrug is also beautiful in Artyarns Supermerino with Silk Fur trim as shown here. Or use any worsted weight yarns your heart desires.


Would anyone care to join me in knitting Annie Modesitt's beautiful Circular Cocoon Sweater? It is also called the Twisted Float Shrug in Vogue Knitting's Fall 2005 issue. Let's knit!