All Seasons Bramble Berry Released

June 9, 2009

Bramble Berry All Seasons_ThumbnailThe last few years at TNNA I have heard comments from the warmer states along the lines of “the designs are lovely but they would be too warm here”. So I am beginning to offer the worsted weight designs in a lighter weight version, beginning with Bramble Berry. Bramble Berry has always been a popular design so it seemed  to be a good choice to start with.

Skacel generously provided yarn support which I appreciate immensely. It has been an expensive month with the different garments coming due that were test knit, and then designs needing tech edited. I don’t even want to think about it.

At any rate, here is a picture of Bramble Berry in Merino Cotton 90 by Schulana, a Merino Cotton distributed by Skacel. It is a wonderful yarn, lighter in weight and also the fiber content makes it friendlier for warmer climates as well.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

The Joys of Digital Files: Symbol Dropped off Elizabeth I Chart

June 4, 2009

I recieved an email from a nice knitter over the weekend who was new to lace knitting and had some troubles with Dainty Bess from my Elizabeth I pattern. She was asking about the sk2p and what to do in the last rep, since the key said to end the last rep with ssk (this symbol on Dainty Bess always has a yo on both sides of the dec).

She knew enough to know that she should not have a yo on both sides if not working a double dec, but it wasn’t making sense to her.

On the answer key, what was missing was an asterisk/star, that matches one next to two rows on Glorianna, where there is an sk2p as the last stitch in the repeat. There is a yo in front of it, and the yo that pairs with it is at the beginning of the repeat. Since there is not a repeat following in the row, there would not be a yo then to pair up with that other dec (it is a two stitch dec).  In those two rows, the knitter must work a single decrease as there is not a yo that follows the sk2p when it is the last st worked in the row.

My solution was to have the star/asterisk on Glorianna next to the sk2p on Glorianna where it was the last stitch in the row, have a note above the chart with the asterisk to see chart key for last rep, and then to have the star/asterisk in the key as well.

My new solution will be to put in the chart sk2p: at * end last rep ssk (Glorianna). There are no other double dec’s in the repeat.

Sometimes it can be difficult to write instructions that are both clear and concise, particularly when you know something well. It might not be clear to someone who doesn’t know as much about either the topic or the pattern.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

A Little Organization is Good for the Soul

May 1, 2009

I just wanted to let you all know that I added a page to the Special Pages section to the right, called Tutorials and How To: Knit and Design. I went through a couple categories to find some of my previous blog posts (including the Channel Island Cast On Tutorial that I did) and am organizing links on this page to make it easier to find at a glance things that might be of interest.

Right now the only tutorial with pictures is the Channel Island Cast On tutorial. The content under the design category is mostly of an essay nature, as many of you know. Anyway I will also be going through the Business of Design category and adding that content later, in my copious free time. VBG.

I have perhaps 2 hours before I need to be at work at the Hospital this evening. I was supposed ot work day shift but they did not need me. So I asked about evening shift and they do need help on evenings, unfortunately I have not gotten much done yet today and it is noon. I work evenings tomorrow as well, so hopefully tomorrow is more productive. I have three designs to finish up and get to test knitters as the items need to be done in June. Fortunately I am more than halfway through each pattern and if I have some time to work on them in the next few days they should not take long to finish.

One is an Interweave project for another book. Which reminds me…Knitted Gifts will have a baby blanket (Sugar and Spice) and a set of baby sweaters (Animal Crackers) that I designed. I am not sure when that one will be out exactly, this summer or fall. I will keep you posted.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Hello Boston Knitters

April 30, 2009

I was just in Boston this past weekend visiting my husband and went to the Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival. I actually found out about it when I arrived in Boston and Ed and I were looking at what we were going to do Saturday morning and I was looking at yarn stores. I know, pretty creative huh. He is a good man.

We went out to the festival and watched some ladies making Bobbin Lace. I have always thought this would be fun to do. Bobbin Lace requires the use of a special pillow, pins, bobbins, threads, and a paper with the pattern printed on it. The pins are moved down the paper while the lace is woven around the pins.

We also watched a demonstration of sheepherding with about 4 or 5 dogs with a bunch of sheep and three goats. I always enjoy watching the dogs, as they always seem to enjoy what they are doing. I could not help but think of some of the animal rights groups who feel it wrong to use animals for this type of work…one of the Shepherds commented that he would not recommend one of these dogs just as a pet, as he said they need work to do and if they don’t have it they will find it and it won’t always be good. A very good point. Work is not always a bad thing, and sure maybe the animal did not sit there and think I want to choose this occupation when I grow up, but that doesn’t mean the animal is unhappy working. Those dogs really light up when they do their thing.

There is a balance between work and play, and the Shepherd doing the talking commented that they also have to teach these dogs to have fun because they will continue to find ways to work even when they are not herding the sheep, so then they started playing Frisbee with the dogs. The dogs loved that too. An animal can work hard without being hard worked, if that makes sense.

We also went to the Minute Man National Historic Park. That was awe inspiring to say the least. While we were not there during any special event, we did see Hartwell Tavern and a view of Battle Road. There is about 4 miles of the road still preserved along the front of the tavern that still stands.

I flew in and out of Dayton so I had a chance to visit with Erin (Hi Sweetie!) and her family…well, mostly Ian as Andy is on night shift now.  On my way home yesterday I forgot my laptop, so I am meeting Andy in St. Mary’s Ohio which is about halfway and he will be giving me my laptop. I have files in there that I need for designs in progress. I feel bad so I will offer to buy him so lunch in St. Mary’s.

I did buy some yarn while in Boston. At the Sheep thing at Gore Place I bought some yarn from Bartlett Yarns, who had a booth there. And on the drive home from Dayton I went to Stitches and Scones, just north of Indianapolis in Westfield, to get some Sedona by Tahki. I bought other yarn too, that I was looking for. When I was in the Boston area (I was actually closer to Lexington, Concord and Bedford) I called I don’t know how many yarn stores looking for Sedona. I needed some to swatch with and nobody had it in the area. I had fun going to Stitches and Scones though, which if you are in the area is well worth a stop. It is one of my very favorite yarn stores.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

A Little Inspiration for your Knitting

April 15, 2009
Blue Eyed Honey Eater

Blue Eyed Honey Eater

This picture is of a Blue Eyed Honey Eater that I took at our zoo, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo a number of years ago. I thought the colors were simply amazing and I had to take the picture.

When I take photographs of animals at the zoo, I often look at colorways that I would not always think of, and this is a perfect example. Pea green, Black, Creamy White, Royal Blue, and a Pale Turquoise Blue. If you look close in the shadows around the toe of the bird, you can see a touch of pink that I think is some reflected color form the rusty bracket holding his food dish.

I have a fairisle planned for this colorway, in Rauma Finnulgarn. Rauma is a good Norwegian yarn, and Finnulgarn is the only yarn I could find that had the right colors. You would not believe how many yarns I looked at in that weight to find the right color, and color for this design is critical. The colorway was an obvious choice because it is a distinguishing characteristic of this animal. It also has a prominent beak but I did not feel particularly inspired by that.

My cat, oddly enough, will not leave that yarn alone. Whenever it is out, every morning when I get up I find balls of it scattered about the house. She has learned not to hide it or desecrate it or she is banned from the room.

Gathering up the balls of yarn does get tiresome though so I do try and not to leave a colorway of it sitting out where it can tempt her.

Orangutan

Orangutan

This picture was taken of one of our Orangutans.  I happened to be at the right place at the right time and snapped this picture. Since it is behind glass I had the flash off. For those of you wanting to take pictures of animals at the zoo and they are behind glass, take the flash off and put your lens right up to the glass. The lens won’t “see” the glass then and you will get a better shot.

Orangutans tie knots in vines in the wild, and in the Tropical Rainforest’s exhibit they have some samples of knots they have tied. It made me think of Celtic Knot work, so of course for this design I came up with an Aran design.  A feminine one, befitting this lady of the Rain-forest.

The Natives in the areas where the Orangutans live call them “Man In The Woods”. If I were going to do a men’s sweater, which I was at one time outside of the book submission, I would call it Man In The Woods. It would make a great name for a design. This particular design could go also with color as inspiration, it would make a beautiful colorway as well. Yellows to oranges to Rust Reds. Then there are the leathery Browns.  Bring in some greens from the background foliage and it would be quite magnificent.

Or, if you wanted to focus on texture you could go with Mountain Goat from Mountain Colors. It has a bit of a hairy texture to it, and they have a number of interesting colorways: I liked Yellowstone, Harmony Woods, Juniper, Ladyslipper, Moose Creek and Red Willow. A distinguishing characteristic of this animal is it’s hair, so a handpaint yarn in a simple stitch pattern would also be a good choice.

She is quite beautiful, isn’t she?

As you may have picked up, when you are inspired by something there are a number of ways you can go from your inspiration to your finished item. In knitting, our design elements are our yarns and by extension the properties the yarn brings to the party in texture and color. We also have as design elements stitch patterns, and the lines that are created by the stitch patterns which impact how the design is viewed and how it feels to us as we view it (does it feel energetic, restful, sporty, playful, majestic, etc). Do the stitch patterns lead the eyes to certain parts of the body that are flattering or unflattering?  Do the parts of the design transition well from one area to the next? Is it an anomaly because it is supposed to be an anomaly?

For example, when I plan out a sweater, everything is a design element. I do mean everything. Right down to the ribbing. That is why you don’t see plain ribbing slapped on every sweater I do. If I put ribbing on a sweater, it is because ribbing is the best solution, in my mind, for that design for the edge of that garment. And then I don’t just slap ribbing on it. Yes it takes a little planning to have a transition from your ribbing to your pattern, but it looks so much better.

Later on when I have more swatches with stitch patterns with ribbing, I will have to scan them and post them so I can better illustrate what I am talking about.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Book Submission In The Works and Other News

April 15, 2009

I won’t name any names as it is too early, but I will tell you that I have begun to go over my book submission as I am going to be submitting my proposal to another publisher. A contact that I know in the business is going to look at my proposal and I am frankly nervous.

I have not talked about my book idea in a long time, and for those who don’t remember it, the idea for the book is simple: all of the designs are inspired by animals at the zoo. Originally it was our local children’s zoo, but over time and travels there have been a couple things added that are not from our local zoo. For those who are familiar with my designs you know that none of my work is representational, it is all abstract. Zambesi River and Squirrel Monkey are both examples of designs inspired by animals.

I originally came up with the concept a couple years before Handknit Holidays came out, and had shown all of the swatches to Ann Budd as well as Meg Swansen (I went to knitting camp when I turned 40 with Katherine Misegades, I am now 45). Various people in the industry have seen the swatches and loved the concept. I submitted the book to Interweave, but the editor in the book department at the time did not feel knitters could relate to a book that had animals as the inspiration. If I had changed the concept to include other things, it might have been a different story.

However, I can see a whole series of books, either Inspired Knitting or a Knitter’s Travelogue and then different subtitles. A book for example with designs inspired on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago. A book on Sacred Places (I have a design already that is inspired by Arlington Cemetary with some wonderful photography).  The Great Lakes, Route 66, Eclectic Architecture.

I went through my computer and printed off a whole stack of papers that I will be going through and makeing sure there isn’t anything I want to change. I went through my swatches the other day and sorted out which ones I want to re-knit in a different yarn, as I have yarn support now and want to use yarns from different yarn companies that are so generous and helpful. Skacel, Plymouth, Trendsetter, and Dale are all ones I would like to thank for various reasons. It it were not for Trudy VanStralen (Louet Sales) I would not be a designer today. I did my first professional design for them, and she was very encouraging, followed closely by Black Water Abbey’s Marilyn King. Marilyn is a wonderful woman and I treasure her dearly.

I am at a point in my design career where I am trying to make my patterns more widely appealing though, and part of that when you market to yarn stores is having designs offered in yarns that are available wholesale. So I am doing two versions of many of my designs, a worsted weight version in Black Water Abbey and then another version in either a different worsted weight wool, or a different weight yarn or different fiber. I am looking at having  some of the same patterns be a better fit for southern states by using more all season blends and lighter weights (Schulana Merino Cotton 135 is a DK weight Merino Cotton, for example, and they have a Merino Cotton 90 which is a Worsted Weight according to the web site).

I guess you could say I have a larger pallete to choose from now, which is great fun. Oh, yes. Thank you to Shi Bui Knits. For those of you who are shop owners who will be going to TNNA I will be providing a final list of sample garments and yarn vendors who have donated yarn, along with their booth numbers, closer to TNNA. Barring anything catastrophic you will see:

Calliope (New Leaflet) knit in Lyndon Hill from Plymouth Yarns, Bramble Berry and Lush (New Design) knit in Schulana Merino Cotton 90 from Skacel, Harvest Spice (New Design) knit in ShiBui Knits Silk Cloud, Elizabeth I knit in Claudia Handpaints Silk Lace.

Random Thoughts on Easter: No Knitting Content

April 13, 2009

For those in Western Cultures, the Easter Holiday is a normal occurrence and may be a secular or Christian celebration. You may have celebrated yours with visits to Church or visits from the Easter Bunny (and the following candy fest), or a combination of both. My husband was home on leave over Easter, and I got to thinking about Easter and of course about the many things we have that we take for granted in our lives. It is easy in any country to look at difficulties and to forget about blessings. It is easy to look at other cultures and not to be accepting. Odd as this might sound, I am not particularly talking about Americans towards other cultures but humans towards humans in general. There is a fair amount of finger pointing all the way around that just gets old.

In the end, to me the only ones who benefit are the 24 hour news channels and the blogs that are little more than on-line versions of the National Enquirer. I find it ironic that in a day and age where people of the world supposedly celebrate diversity, there is so much intolerance of those who are diverse. This happens not only on a global scale but on a national scale as well. For example, political affiliation aside, whatever one may feel about either Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin the sky will not fall if either are in office. That they both represent people with diverse views and opinions there is no doubt. Do we come to the best decision when there is no passionate discussion? Not really, as we are not forced to look at issues from every possible angle. We see this time and time again whenever either party is in overwhelming majority for periods of time and gets to do basically what it wants unchecked and unfettered with no discourse. There are effectively no checks and balances then.

We need each other, with our different view points, and not to always agree. Sure, it is nice to agree but that doesn’t always give us the best solution. We need to accept and respect that just because someone has different beliefs and philosophies than our own, and different political view points, does not make them naive, less intelligent, or somehow less than we are. They have a different view than we do. We don’t have to agree with it, but we don’t have to be superior about it either.  Agree to meet in the middle as long as it is my way? That is silly but it is an attitude that far too many adults have.

Whatever one may feel about Christians, whatever experiences someone may have had with those who may have been over-zealous, misguided, or immature in their faith, one thing clear in the teachings of Christ that is a common theme in many other religions: love is of primary importance. We are, as Christians, to do all things in love. Without love, we are nothing. Not in the romantic sense, but in the human sense, for the ability to love is what defines our humanity. 1 Corinthians 13 vs 1-13 explains it well.

If Hillary Clinton can do a good job as a liberal senator, I commend her. If Sarah Palin can do a good job as a conservative governor, than I commend her. Whether or not they are conservative or liberal should not be the end all and be all on how they are judged. Granted I know it affects how they view things, how they prioritize, how they set agendas, how they vote. But how do they role up their sleeves and work? Women can be very strong and very independent and still be conservative. Women can still have very strong family values and be very liberal. While I think it important that we take an interest in current and political events, I also think it important to pray for our leaders. Christians should be praying not that our leaders have the same opinions we do, but that they make wise decisions. I don’t know about you, but last I checked I am not wise all the time, nor do I know everything.

Jane Fonda said one thing I thought was quite brilliant, she said she thought we were more purple than anything (referring to the mixing of red and blue, the colors for our two political parties). While I don’t think it would be good to have one party, I think there is a lot of truth to the purple thing. There is a lot of overlap in how people think and feel in the two parties when it gets down to our level. In the end, we all want the same thing. We want our country to be healthy, we want our families to be healthy and happy.  There are not as many people out to get us as we think, and we can make a difference in the world.

There is a lot to be thankful in this world. There are a lot of uncertainties right now, many of which are thrust upon us hourly by the 24 hour news channels who are selling ratings and a story. I am not saying everything is peachy, but I am saying that we forget to look at our blessings. Mood follows thought. If our collective thought is always negative, than how can we as a country feel good or positive about the future? I am so thankful for my husband, a good and honorable man. I am thankful for my family whom I love very much. I am thankful for my Stepdaughter Erin, who has been such a blessing in my life (Hi Sweetie!).  I know she will be surprised to read that because she is pretty modest about those kinds of things. I may have not given birth to her, but she is my daughter. I love her son, and I love her husband who is a kind and playful man. I am thankful for the gift of creativity that I have been blessed with as it gives me many hours of enjoyment. I am thankful for so many things.

I hope you have much to be thankful for as well.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

And The Winner Is…Pam T

April 13, 2009

I am Happy and Delighted to announce that Pam T is the winner of Fiber Gathering. Pam, I will see if I can figure out your email address (I think wordpress sent it to me). If you don’t hear from me in a couple days send me an email.

Congratulations! I was able to do the figuring sooner than I thought.

JoLene Treace

Interview with Joanne Seiff: Day 6 on the Fiber Festival Blog Tour

April 8, 2009

Blossom in different yarns

Here is a scan from a picture of some swatches I did for Blossom, a scarf design I did for Joanne’s book Fiber Gathering. The yarn is Acero, from Brooks Farm Yarn. Not only are these very nice folks at Sheep and Wool festivals, but they also are at Stitches Midwest every year, which is where I happened to meet them. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to these types of events or to pick up the same weight of yarns so the picture illustrates how the lace looks with different weights of yarn.

On to my stop in the blog tour, an interview with Joanne Seiff, the author of the book:

JoLene: One of the things I like to do on my blog is talk about design from the perspective of business because there are so many new designers out there, or knitters interested in becoming designers and I feel that there is not very much information out there that is easy to find to help in that transition to professional designer so I would like to explore the process you went through with your book from that aspect.

1.    What were you looking for in a publisher? I know this is a very broad question, but the process you went through took you through more than one publisher. What made you ultimately settle with your current publisher?

Joanne:

It’s pretty hard to land a book contract with even one publisher! For this project, I needed to have the support of a publisher who shared my values. We needed to share the same vision for the book. There were a lot of issues to consider, but the first one was about compensation.

Publishers have different ways of “paying” for things. For instance, for Fiber Gathering, we (the photographer and I) had to travel a great deal, which is very expensive. The advance had to cover the expenses of the book. (An advance on royalties means the book will have to sell enough to cover that advance—sort of a loan– before I earn any more money at all)

Some publishers offer a large advance, but then expect the author to cover costs like paying for models or for multiple photographers, stylists and illustrators out of that advance. Other publishers offer a smaller advance, but they cover these costs from their own budget. In the end, I had to choose what made the best sense for this book.

There were other concerns, too. I wanted a rural feel to my book, and I had to argue for that rather than a slick urban look. One potential publisher wanted to only use models who were size 6-8, and no older than 23. I wasn’t willing to do this…I believe “regular” women are beautiful, and wanted a variety of ages and sizes in my book as well.

In the end, Wiley was the best fit for me. The editors there treated me with respect. We truly collaborated on the process. I felt great about my choice in the end, although it was a rocky journey to publication.

2.    When a designer has an idea for a book, what process do they go through in presenting their book to a publisher?

Joanne:

The short version is that you write a non-fiction book proposal. Your local library has books that explain how to do this. It’s like a 35-70 page term paper, explaining the book’s concept, the audience, why it will sell and how you will help to market it. The twist is that for a knitting book, you do all this and provide design pitches too, with sketches, concepts, swatches and other details. Most of this is done by email, so it helps if everything is available electronically. (swatches can be scanned!)

Some people have agents who represent them, and others contact publishers on their own. Landing an agent who’s effective and represents you properly is a difficulty in itself. In the knitting world, you can publish a book without an agent if you feel confident negotiating your own terms and contract.

3.    What were the most challenging aspects of your book project?

Joanne:

Finding a publisher I could trust and collaborate with was the most difficult.

– Traveling. Travel is expensive and very wearing. Even when going to fun events like festivals, it can be very hard on the body. It’s hard to stay healthy.

– Organizing 15 designers’ work. Designers are fabulous, creative people. When one combines frequent travel to 11+ events with organizing the designs, contracts, and designers, things were sometimes hard to manage. It turned out beautifully, though!

– I combined all this with writing my first book. I had no idea how working with a publisher went either, and that was challenging.

4.    What were the most rewarding?

Joanne:

-I had so many positive experiences with lovely people at fiber festivals. What amazing and kind people are involved in our community!

-Writing the essay drafts was a joy. Back at the hotel room, the words would pour out. I’d be grinning like a fool at the computer while I tried to describe it all.

-Seeing the galleys and holding the book in my hands for the first time were rewarding moments, too.

-Finally, every time someone says something positive about the book, it’s like they’ve given me a present!

5.    What were your favorite fiber festivals to visit? As much fun as it would be to go to sheep and wool festivals, was the travel for the book hectic and did you have to approach it from a different perspective since you were doing it for research for your book?

Joanne:

This sounds corny, but every festival was my favorite. There isn’t one best festival…there are special aspects to each event. The people are always fantastic-no matter the event- and the festivals all have important and unique regional differences. For instance, small festivals are less crowded and more intimate. You have more time to shop, learn from others, and have a relaxed experience. Don’t discount a small festival!

The travel was hectic and hard. For a while, we had no days off. For instance, in October 2007, we went to 3 festivals. When we’d get home late Sunday night or on Monday morning, we’d have to go to work right away. I’d have lots to do for the book, and my photographer (aka my husband, the professor) had to get back to teaching his Genetics lectures and running labs.

When you’re writing about and photographing a festival, it’s not like going to a festival for fun. We were at the fairgrounds by 7:30 or 8 in the morning, photographing things and interviewing participants before the crowds arrived. We then stayed for evening events to cover all the different aspects of an event that lasts only 2 days. A rainy day didn’t mean we could go home early—we still needed photographs and something to write about! Then, we’d often drive 2 or more hours back to an airport. Then we took flights back to our home airport, in Nashville. It’s another 70 mile drive from that airport to our house…and sometimes we did this 3 times a month.

6.    Do you have another book planned?

Joanne:

Yes! Knit Green: Twenty Projects and Ideas for Sustainability will be published in September 2009. This book has essays, much like Fiber Gathering, and the topics cover how to incorporate environmental sustainability into one’s knitting and fiber arts. I designed all the projects for this book myself and started working on it even before Fiber Gathering went to press. I’m very excited about Knit Green! 2009 is a big year for me!

If you’d like to know more about Knit Green’s publication, keep an eye on my blog, http://www.joanneseiff.blogspot.com, and sign up for my newsletter on my website, http://www.joanneseiff.com.

Next Stop on the Blog Tour:

April 9th           Cindy Moore, designer  – http://fitterknitter.livejournal.com/

The Joys of Pattern Writing: Non-Conventional Techniques

April 4, 2009
Calliope Close Up

I am currently working on revising Calliope, a lace tank that was licensed by Knit Picks for a year. The Yarn that I am doing it in is Lyndon Hill, from Plymouth Yarns. Thank you, Plymouth Yarns, for the yarn support by the way. Lyndon Hill is much lighter in weight than Shine, and it is a nice Cotton and Silk blend. In the Photo, which is an old one, it is in Knit Picks Shine. It is so much prettier in the lighter weight yarn.

The stitch pattern is basically a ribbed chevron of sorts that has yarn overs in it. Due to the nature of the stitch pattern, what I discovered in doing this design is that there is a lot of bias, or can be, when doing shaping.

So for the armhole decreases in this pattern, rather than have the traditional directions where you have your initial BO and then dec this many on RS rows this number of times, what I was faced with was not only the stitch pattern itself, which had a central double decrease (the center line that the ribs point in to)  separated from its paired decreases, but the pattern is in ribbing as well. So I want to keep it in pattern with the ribbing as well as have to keep in mind where I am at in the stitch pattern with regards to the yarn overs and their decrease.

I normally work about a third of the stitches for the underdarm in BO 2 sts, and then a third in single decreases. It gives a nice curve to the underarm.  What I found for the 2 st BO’s was that in some places because I was at a point in the pattern where I was working the double dec, but I was not far enough out to work the yo, that I had to dec one stitch instead of eliminate 2 (one was eliminated in the double dec, as it did not have a yo paired with it, so there would be a stitch decreased). In some places, I had to eliminate 3 sts, not 2, because I had worked a yo but would not be far enough in the pattern to be working that double dec. So I was fitting it in at the edge, between p2togs, k2togs, and sometimes more creative types of decreases. At one point, I needed to end up with that central decrease next to my selvedge stitch, and I had three stitches to eliminate. The one normally decreased on the left of it that paired with the yo on the left of it, and then the 2 sts at the right needed to BO for the armhole shaping. I still wanted to maintain that central line that I had going there. I inserted the tip of my RH ndl into the first 3 sts on the LH ndl as if to knit (the central stitch which is always on top, which is why there is an uninterupted line, and the 2 sts to the right), slipped them to the RH ndl, then did the same with the next stitch on the LH ndl and then knit the 4 together. This just arranges the stitchs so that the stitch on the left is on the bottom, and the one in the center is on the top.

When working the double decreases for the rest of the garment I had been slipping 2 stitches, the central st and the one to its’ right, in the same way. Who says you cannot put them in the order that you want, or do it with more stitches than you normally would? Since Lyndon Hill is a fine gauge yarn, I could get away with it. If you were working in a worsted weight yarn this would be more difficult to do and have it blend in because of the thickness of the yarn. What I ended up with was the stitch pattern looking exactly as it always did exactly where it stopped. For this pattern, this level of scrutiny in where the decreases go and how they are done just gives a better finish at the edge. It might not be noticable to most as to why it looks so much neater, but it is the difference between a professional looking garment and one that just doesn’t look as nice. Those kinds of details are important to consider when designing. How do the decreases in shaping affect a stitch pattern, and do I need to do things a little differently for a better finish?

Since I am going to a different yarn, I have to re-chart the armhole shaping for each size as it is different because the gauge is different. It took awhile to get things set up, but after I got going in Adobe Illustrator it was a little easier and I got the chart done for the first size. Today I hope to get a couple more done, and then I will be casting on sufficient stitches just for the armhole shaping and testing the shaping to make sure it is doing what I expect it to. Then it will be off to the test knitter.

Those decreases and yo’s can bias a fabric when they are separated, and you will see them paired but some distance from each other in different types of stitch patterns. The best way to handle the edge of your fabric when shaping so that the fabric does not bias is to maintain that stitch pattern while working your shaping.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace