Hey everyone.  I hope you all had a good and productive week.  I missed my flight out of Israel and ended up stranded here for a few extra days.  I hoped to work on my vest on the 14 hour flight home and then do some photos after I got home on Friday, then have a nice post with finished photos.

Unfortunately because I missed my flight I wasn’t able to do all my homework and I’ll be flying all of Saturday.  So I had to skip straight to the button band to make sure I had something to post this week.  I will post finished photos of the garment after I sew on the buttons and finish blocking the piece…. hopefully by Wednesday.

So this week we will discuss how to remove your provisional cast on.  In week two I linked to a great video that shows you how to remove this cast on, but just in case you were curious to see a step by step process I have created one for you.

 

   

 

First you want to take out the original knot you made with the working yarn and the waste yarn.  Then to be safe just take a needle a few sizes smaller than your working needle and thread this needle through your live stitches with waste yarn still in the work.  Then remove the waste yarn- your work should look like the second picture above. Remember the nature of the cast on we used for this pattern twists the orientation of every other stitch.  You can see this a little better in the picture above and to the right.

 

   

 

There are two ways to correct the orientation of the twisted stitches.  This is the first way.  You can start by transferring the stitches by just slipping them.  If you do this make sure to stay on the same needle size as you picked up the live stitches with, if you change to a larger needle this could stretch your stitches.  When it comes to the twisted stitch (as shown in the first and last pictures above) you will slip the stitch from your left hand needle to your right hand needle purl wise and through the back loopThe stitches that aren’t twisted (as shown in the second picture above) just slip them off purl wise as usual.  After you have transferred all the stitches then you are ready to start your button band.

 

   

 

The second way to tackle the twisted stitches is to just simply work into them.  Remember that if you are going to actually work into the stitch that you have to change your needle size to the appropriate needle size in the pattern.  You can work off the smaller needle size onto the larger needle size, you don’t have to transfer the stitches.  The way you would approach this is the same way you would approach the stitch transfer.  The first stitch (since it’s the right side row) you will knit into the back loop of the stitch, then yf, sl p.wise (as usual)… and so on.

Remember that when you bind off your work you should go up 2-3 needle sizes so that your stitches don’t pull tight and pucker.  Next time I will post some photos of the finished piece with buttons and all.   Please let me know if you have any questions- you can post them here, Ravelry or Facebook or email them to me@graceakhrem.com.

   
If you are not a member of the newsletter then this is what you missed.  I am having a sale on the Grace Headband, Triangles, Diamonds & Squares… Oh my! and Vertical Force patterns.  All patterns include short rows! Woohoo!  Make sure to use the Ravelry coupon code IHeartShortRows to save 15% from Saturday, September 22nd through Sunday, September 30th by 11:59pm Pacific time.

It’s gettin’ close to that time, we are almost done with the KAL.  This week we will discuss ow to insert a decorative slit on the side of the vest and then we will review the second armhole.  Next week is our very last week for the KAL and we will discuss the button bands as well as blocking.  If I don’t post a picture of the finished garment next week you will have to forgive me because I am out of the country and flying in right before the next KAL post.  If I don’t post a picture of the finished garment next week, then I will shortly after- that’s a promise.

So when your vest measures the same distance from the lifeline to the armhole as the other half then you are ready to start the second armhole.  When I reached this point I had to TINK (knit backwards) one row because I wanted to work the slit before the armhole and the slit has to be started on a wrong side row.  One thing to keep in mind if you are making the slit that you MUST bind off an even number of stitches, if you don’t it will throw off your stitch pattern.

I decided that I wanted a slit that was only 16 sts in depth.  If you decide to make a deeper slit, that’s okay too.  I suggest putting a lifeline the row before you make the slit (and making a note so you know which row in the stitch pattern your lifeline lies).  If you don’t like the depth of your slit you can always take it out the lifeline and start over.  But remember, always work an even number of stitches for the slit.

It is also a good idea to keep your work in pattern when binding off for the slit, just as you did for the previous armhole.  If you decide that you don’t really feel comfortable with keeping the bind off in pattern and you just want to bind off purl wise then try going down a needle size or two just for the bind off- but watch out because your stitches might flare.

Below are a series of photos of the slit in progress:

 

   

 

Decide how many stitches you would like to bind off, in my case 16 sts.  With wrong side facing bind off an even number of sts in pattern and work to end of row. On the next right side row (this is your the first row for your armhole), work the armhole pattern as you worked the first one then work to end of row (as written in the pattern).  Then using the crochet cast on as discussed in week three cast on the same number of stitches you bound off for the slit.

If you made any modifications and notes to the first armhole this is when you would refer to them.  The second armhole is worked exactly as the first one in week three.

After you have worked both you slit and your armhole thread in another lifeline but do not remove the slit lifeline (just in case you change your mind about the slit).   Make a note of the placement of each lifeline and continue to work in pattern until the length after the second armhole is the same length as the first armhole to the cast on.

Please let me know if you have any questions- you can post them here, Ravelry or Facebook or email them to me@graceakhrem.com.

   
Check out three of my newest fall/winter patterns: Walt’s Tangled Cables, Bumble Stripes & Olana Slouch.

This week it’s all about short rows… unless you decide to go the cowl-less route and then your Olga’s Vest will look like the back of the vest…. both the front and the back will have the same drape.  Here is a good image of the vest with the drape it would have if you skipped the cowl section. I have knitted an Olga’s Vest where I omitted the cowl section and I absolutely love the way it turned out.  I would show you a photograph but I haven’t been looking very photogenic lately… sorry.  When I get back home I’ll photograph it on the dress form for all to see.

 

One of the nice things about this pattern is that it allows you to easily customize very crucial parts.  For example in the pattern I say to work X” from armhole and then start the cowl shaping.  But what if you want to make sure this piece fits perfectly, or if you are in between bust measurements?  Then what you want to do is try on your garment.  The first armhole you make is your left armhole, so go ahead and try it on.  Then slightly stretch your work and it should come to the center of your bust before you start the short row shaping.  Slightly? What the hell is slightly?  Don’t you hate it when patterns tell you to slightly stretch a swatch?  I think everyone’s idea of slightly stretched is different…. right?  So what does it mean in this case… you really don’t want to stretch this garment too much.  If you feel that you are pulling it several inches, then double that and consider that’s how much negative ease your garment will have.  The picture below shows how I measured this piece on myself… it’s about 1/4″ smaller than what you see in this image below.  This means that the most negative ease you would have for the fit of this garment is 1/2″… which is not very much so it should fit comfortably.  Make sure to try this on as you get closer to the desired length because you don’t want to overshoot the measurement…. that would make for some very unhappy tinking. 

When you are ready to start the cowl neck make sure you put in another lifeline.  Make a note of the row where you placed your lifeline… just in case.  It is very important (no matter how comfortable you are with the stitch pattern at this point) to  put in a lifeline.  The first time I worked this stitch pattern within short rows my stitch count changed…. this is baaaad news.  This brings me to the second important point, count the number of stitches you have every time you are ready to work a RS row.  Yes! One stitch makes a difference… especially if you lost it within your cowl.  If your stitch count is off by one, this means that your cowl neck pattern will be off by two rows and that means that your pattern wont line up when you are ready to work the remainder of the body.

So how do you work short rows and still keep the integrity of your stitch pattern intact?  Lets say, for example you have to work  in a multiple of two stitches and the pattern tells you to work 11 sts and then w&t, that means you have one extra stitch that doesn’t fit into your stitch count…. so just knit it.  What if your repeat is K2tog, Yo and you have to w&t a stitch after a Yo? So, work a w&t after a yo…. there are no rules against that.  Everything is essentially the same but if you have an extra stitch before the w&t just knit it…. don’t worry, this will not make any difference in the final look of your pattern.

Another thing to keep in mind- I know many knitter’s have their favorite short row technique, as do I.  Usually I prefer the Yo method, but for this pattern I have to say the w&t is the absolute best way to work the short rows!  Oh! And one more tip!!! Place a locking marker after the stitch you are supposed to wrap, this will help you get keep track of where you are in your short row pattern.  For example, if the pattern says K11, w&t – then place you marker in between the 12th & 13th.  This will let you just work to one stitch before the marker and then w&t.  Just move your marker along with you as you progress forward.  If you prefer to work without a marker, then go for it!!! So… lets get started!

 

   

Work up to the stitch in pattern, bring your yarn to the front of the work in between your needles and slip the next stitch as if to purl.

   

Bring the yarn to the back of the work in between your needles, and slip the stitch from your right hand needle back onto your left hand needle as if to purl.  Turn your work.  Work back in pattern on the WS row in the corresponding pattern row.   For example, if your first short row happened to fall on row 5 that means that after you turn your work you will be on row 6.  Make sure to start your pattern on the WS in the place where it would start if you were working a complete row.  An easy way to figure out where you would be is to find the Yo nearest you on your left hand needle and work backwards.  In the third photo above, you can see the Yo is the second stitch from the end of the needle.  The Yo stitches and all the stitches above the Yo are always purled on the WS row so just work back from that.

   

At the end of your first half of the short row shaping your piece should look this.  Don’t let those short row gaps freak you out, they will go away next week.  If you had a hard time with this weeks tutorial and are still feeling a bit funny on short rows I recommend Carol Feller’s FREE class on Craftsy that is all about short rows, click here for more info.

I hope this blog post made sense to everyone…. sometimes I wonder if it just makes sense in my head and not on paper.  If anyone has any questions, please let me know.  My sister and I booked a last minute trip to Barcelona this week and I am not sure abut our hotel WiFi situation…. hopefully there will be WiFi.  If not, I come back on the 30th and will answer every single question upon my return. Happy knitting!!!

I am hoping that everyone managed last week with invisible provisional cast on. This is my absolute favorite cast on technique, because it’s easy and fast to work once you remember it, it takes up hardly any waste yarn, and it’s super easy to remove! I couldn’t ask any more from a provisional cast on!

The next step in the Olga’s Vest is the armhole.  Don’t be afraid of this…. it isn’t nearly the most difficult part of this pattern (Insert evil laugh here- Bwaaah Ha Ha Ha!!!).  Since the pattern is written by inches instead of rows and we are probably all working different sizes, and row gauge is usually harder to get, it’s likely that everyone is at a different point in their stitch pattern repeat at the point when it’s time to work the armhole.  DO NOT WORRY.  It’s much easier that it seems.

I purposefully planned my bind off row to land on the hardest row possible, just to show you that it really isn’t that hard.

The first thing you want to do is put in a lifeline here at this point, right before you are ready to start… just in case!  Mark somewhere which row is the last row worked before starting the armhole row so that in the case that you do have to rip out your work to your lifeline you know which row you’re on.

Next, you want to section off your work.  Warning- I am about to use hypothetical numbers. For example if your pattern says to work he next 10 sts in pattern then bind off the following 11 sts in pattern then work the remaining sts in pattern, this is what you will do: Place a marker after the first 10 sts, place a marker after the next 12 sts after the first marker.  Why 12 and not 11? Because you have to work 12 sts to bind off 11 sts, so once you work all the sts between the markers you know that you have bound off the correct amount of sts.  Does that make sense?

But what if you are on a lace row (where you need to work an odd number of sts and the pattern tells you to work an even number of sts).  For example, the pattern says work 10 sts in pattern, bind off 11 sts, work to end in pattern.  Well there are two ways you can go about this. 1- Just work an odd number instead of an even number so if the pattern says work 10 then work 9 or 11, no big deal (one stitch will not ruin the look of the garment)…. just make a note of this for your second armhole.  2- Work the last remaining stitch (of the 10) as a knit, I know this doesn’t quite keep the integrity of the stitch pattern, but it’s just one stitch, and one stitch is not going to make or break this pattern either.

The next thing to keep in mind is that if you generally tend to bind off tightly then you want to go up a needle size if you are on a lace row, if you are on row 3 or 7 then you want to go up about 2-3 needle sizes.  Don’t try to control your tension by knitting really really loose for this section.  It is almost impossible to control your tension especially when learning something new and when you are comfortable with your work – so when is it possible to control your tension? Almost never. You want to make sure that your arm fits into your armhole, right?

Okay, so let’s get started!

 

Section off your work using two locking markers (as discussed above)

Work up to first marker in pattern (as discussed above), here is an example of how the stitch pattern didn’t work out with the number of sts I had to work in the first section, so just knit the remaining stitch.  The picture above shows row 5 where the repeat is k2tog, yo, this means that if I don’t end in a yo I will be short a stitch. Then I end with a knit one.

Because I knit one stitch right before the marker and to keep the integrity of the stitch I start my bind off section with a knit one.

Start back in pattern with the k2tog.

Bind off the first stitch.  Remember, this counts as one bound off stitch.  Count the stitches as you bind them off and not as you work them.

The next stitch in this pattern is a yo…. so yo, then bind off.  That’s two stitches bound off.

Continue to bind off the number of stitches as suggested in the pattern then work to end of row in pattern.

Try on your armhole at this point and see if it fits comfortably around half of your armhole depth (measurement #7).  Hold up the beginning of the bind off at the top of your shoulder, it should run all the way down to your underarm with a little wiggle room (so you can move comfortably).  If you feel like the opening is going to be too tight just bind off more stitches (in pattern of course) until the opening is a comfortable size – make sure to make a note of how many extra or how many total you bound off. Then continue to work in pattern to the end of the row.

On the next row work up to the bind off gap.  For the cast on- I like to use the crochet cast on method because it looks exactly like a bind off.  But if you are working this cast on in the middle of a row you need to remove the last stitch from your working needle and place it onto your crochet hook.  Make sure to use a crochet that corresponds to the needle size you are using (for example if you are using a size 9 U.S. needle this is a 5.5 mm, find the corresponding mm size in a crochet hook, which is a size I).  Here is a link to a video on the crochet cast on method, the video shows two ways to work this cast on, I prefer the second way.  If you don’t feel comfortable with the crochet cast on method, go ahead and use your preferred cast on method.  Another good cast on, would be to join in a new piece of your working yarn and just work the long tail cast on method and then cut the yarn (making sure to leave a tails long enough to weave in your ends).

To work this cast on, after you have placed your last stitch worked onto your hook, place the needle which you will be casting on your stitched into your left hand.  Position your hands as shown in the image above.  Bring your working yarn to the back of the work.  Bring your hook underneath the working yarn and let that yarn sit in the little nook of your hook.

Draw the yarn through the loop on your hook- Congrats! You have cast on one stitch!

Continue working this cast on until you have cast on the same number of stitches you have bound off.  Remember, the last stitch cast on comes from the loop from your hook (just transfer it from your hook to your needle).  If you lost count of your cast on, don’t worry! Just count how many stitches you have total.  It’s simple math, if you started with 100 sts and you are counting that you have 97, then you need 3 more stitches right? It’s that simple!  Then tun your work and work to the end of the row in pattern.  Not sure where you are in pattern? Just count our your stitches from the beginning, or another easy way to remember this is that you will always purl the stitch over the yo below, then slip the next and the previous stitch.  I hope that makes sense…

After you have worked the armhole and you have the right amount of stitches and are happy with the size of the opening put in yet another lifeline just in case and make another note as to which row your lifeline was inserted.  Continue to work up the the next section in the pattern which is the cowl neck.

Next week I will put up a photo of a version of the Olga’s Vest that I knit without the cowl neck.  It’s much easier and if you are afraid of working short rows in stitch pattern then you night decide to go in the way of no cowl.  It’s really nice, you’ll see…. but I’ll let you decide next week.  Please let me know if you have any questions- you can post them here, Ravelry or Facebook or email them to me@graceakhrem.com.

Also if you would like to join my mailing list for pattern updates, sales and other info, click here!

I hope that everyone had a fun time with last weeks post and learned something about swatching.  Today we will discuss how to determine which size you will make, adjust your garment in length (just in case you didn’t get gauge) and how to insert a lifeline.

Last week we discussed how to check your bust measurement properly.  So what if you measure in between sizes? This happens more often than you may think.  Patterns are usually written for a range of sizes and not for each individual size, otherwise designers would be buried in math and numbers for eternity (my version of hell on earth.  Lol)!

I measure at 43″ the size options for me are 40″ & 44.”  This particular garment is to be worn with negative ease, so I will go with the size 40″ – but if you notice in this pattern I give you the option to make modifications to fit your bust measurements exactly (we will discuss the details of this a little later – towards week four).

If you don’t get gauge you can always adjust the length of your garment by casting on more or less stitches.  For example, last weeks reader Zara got 21 sts over 4.185.”  This comes out to a stitch gauge of 5.017 sts per inch.  How did I come up with that number?  The cast on number of the swatch (21) divided by the width of the swatch (4.185).  Lets say you are going to make the 36″ size and want a finished length of 23.5″, so simply take the desired finished length and multiply that by the stitch gauge (23.5 x 5.017 = 117.89).  If you want your garment even longer or shorter than the finished length simply apply the same method to the desired finished length.

For this particular pattern you need to have an odd number of stitches for the stitch pattern to work out.  So simply round up or down to the nearest whole odd number.  So in the case above where the math worked out to cast on 117.89 sts I would round down to 117 sts.  You are now ready to cast on!

I used the invisible provisional cast on method for this particular garment.  I chose this cast on because I LOVE IT!  It’s easy to do (once you learn it), it’s faster than any other cast-on, it takes the least amount of waste yarn than any other provisional cast on and it pulls out very easily.  Make sure you choose a smooth solid waste yarn in a contrasting color from your working yarn.

Another thing to know about this cast on is that most people (including myself) tend to work it on the tighter side.  So what I do to counter the tension in the cast on is go up in needle size.  One needle size never seems to be enough… for a garment knit on a size 9 U.S. I went up to a size 11 U.S. for the provisional cast on.  I also like to work this cast on onto a straight (single point) needle because it makes it easier to count your stitches (on a circular needle they tend to start twisting over each other- which makes it difficult to tell one apart from the other).

So lets get started.  The following link is to a video for the Invisible Provisional Cast On.  In case you would like to start with some visuals here I have step-by-step photos to help you out a bit.

 

  

  • Tie the waste yarn to the working yarn, make sure to leave a minimum of an 8″ tail of the working yarn
  • Position the waste yarn in front and the working yarn in back and hold your needle above the yarn
  • *With your needle, come in front of the waste yarn and underneath

 

   

  • Come over the working yarn and grab it with your needle
  • Come back underneath the waste yarn and up

 

   

  • With your working yarn, work a yo stitch onto your needle (in the usual way)*
  • Repeat from * to * until you have the total number of co sts needed
  • Turn your work and begin to knit (in pattern) off your larger needle with your smaller needle

 

At this point you are ready to get rockin’ and rolling through this pattern.  I know that this stitch pattern is a it tricky- but I can tell you that will all the people I have assisted with this, most knitters have memorized the Linen Lace stitch pattern by the time they approach their first armhole.

Because of the complexity of the pattern I recommend inserting a lifeline into your knitting at the end of every repeat until you get more comfortable with the stitch pattern and then maybe you can put in a lifeline every 2-3 repeats.  Here is a very helpful instructional video on how to insert and utilize a lifeline in your knitting.

Next week I will discuss how to work your armhole in pattern and inserting a slit into the side of your work if you would like.  If you don’t reach that point- don’t worry, the blog post will still be here by the time you do.  Please let me know if you have any questions- you can post them here, Ravelry or Facebook or email them to me@graceakhrem.com.

Please keep in mind that I am out of the country right now and there is a huge time difference.  I will still answer all questions within 24 hours or as soon as I can.  Happy knitting!!!

Oh! And just to satisfy everyone’s curiosity- the yarns  I am using for my Olga’s Vest KAL is Sweet Georgia Silk Crush held together with Rowan Kildsilk Haze.  I hope you like what you see.