Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Undulation Rib Pinstriped Scarf--knitting pinstripes on curves + geek notes on converting ribbing in a shaped fabric via controlled drop

Pinstripes (the subject of the previous several posts) need not be straight. They only require a continuous column of purls, and that column can as easily be curvy as straight.

Undulation Rib scarf, pinstriped with metallic gold yarn
The first part of today's post, which starts just below, features a pattern for the above scarf where the pinstripes appear on an undulating background.  I call this fabric pattern undulation rib, but it probably has as many names (and variations!) as there are knitters.

The second part of today's post is an optional method for creating purl ribs after-the-fact via a trick called "controlled-drop conversion."

If this project grabs you, you can completely ignore the second half of this post and still wind up with a very pretty undulation-rib pinstriped scarf. However, for maximum entertainment value from your skein of yarn, you might like to mess around with my optional trick, or at least try it over a few rows of your project.

PART 1: The pattern for an undulation-rib pinstriped scarf
  • Scrap amount of waste yarn in the same weight as the main yarn.
  • A ball or two of yarn in the main color (amount of yarn depends on how long you want the scarf to be).  This scarf--a bit over five feet long--used an entire skein of Cascade 220 yarn
  • A ball of contrast color yarn in the same weight as the main yarn, this is used for the pinstriping.  I used a metallic gold yarn which had been in stash so long that the band fell off. It was a 3.5 ounce ball, though, and I used most of it. Alternatively, you can use a skein of fingering weight yarn, held doubled. 
  • Knitting needles in the size you usually use to knit the main yarn (called "larger needles" in below pattern).
  • Knitting needles two or three sizes smaller than the larger needles.
  • Crochet hook in a size equivalent to the larger needles. (At least, start the pinstriping with an equivalent size hook, moving to a larger or smaller hook depending on the results you are getting.)

Note 1: The instructions below incorporate a slip stitch side-edging which creates a pleasant “chained” selvedge. This accounts for two stitches of the side-edging stitch count.

Note 2: You can also make the scarf wider or narrower--the edging on both sides takes up 10 stitches, while repeating part of the pattern is in chunks of 8 stitches, so add or subtract stitches in 8-stitch chunks: the pattern as written allows for knitting a fabric in any width starting from a minimum of 26 sts, which is two 8-st chunks + 10 edging stitches. (For further explanation of this sort of "X plus Y" notation, check out this post.)  Further down in this post, I show a sample of a skinnier scarf worked on a 34 st cast on. 

Note 3: The top and bottom edging is centered in the width of the scarf. Centering the undulation rib pattern on the edging requires both first and last pattern repeat to be cut short. Therefore, the scarf begins on a row 5. After this first partial repeat (row 5-28), you would start again with row 1. After working as many repeats as you like of rows 1-28, finish the scarf with another partial repeat, this time, by ending on a row 19. In this manner, the pattern and top/bottom edging are centered on the scarf and on each other.
Undulation rib

Chart: If you prefer charts to written instructions, here is a chart. The written directions are below the chart.  Clicking on the chart will make it much larger, in its own browser window.

Chart for undulation rib scarf

Below is the stitch key for the above chart.

Written directions:
Using waste yarn, smaller needles and any cast on method you prefer, CO 50 sts. Work several rows. Switch to main yarn.
Foundation row: purl all sts
Edging row A: Slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k4, *p1, k1, p1, k5, repeat from * until 3 sts remain on row, p1, k2
Edging row B: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p5,*k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until within 10 sts of end of row, k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1.
Repeat edging rows A and B twice more for a total of 7 rows worked in main color yarn.
Switch to larger needles.
* * *
Reminder to start first go-through of scarf on row 5 (not row 1!)
* * *
Row 1: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k1 *yo, k1, p1, k1, p1, SYTK, k2, repeat from * until 6 sts remain at end of row, k3, p1, k2.

Row 2: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p6,*k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 9 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k1.

Pretty picture: front and back of FO

Row 3: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k2 *yo, k1, p1, k1, p1, SYTK, k2, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, k2, p1, k2.

Row 4: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p5,*k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 10 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1.

Row 5: (This is the row on which to begin the scarf, after you have worked the foundation rows) slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k3 *yo, k1, p1, k1, p1, SYTK, k2, repeat from * until 4 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k2.

Row 6: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p4, *k1, p1, k1, p5 until 3 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1

Row 7: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k4, *yo, k1, p1, k1, p1, SYTK, k2, repeat from * until 3 sts remain at end of row, p1, k2.

Row 8: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p3, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 4 sts remain at end of row, p1, k1, p1, k1.

Row 9: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k5, *yo, k1, p1, k1, p1, SYTK, k2, repeat from * until 10 sts remain at end of row, yo, k1, p1, k1, p1, SYTK, k1, p1, k2 .

Row 10: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, p2, k1, p1, k1.

Row 11: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k7, *p1, k1, p1, k5, repeat from * until 8 sts remain at end of row, p1, k1, p1, k2, p1, k2.

Row 12: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, p2, k1, p1, k1.

Row 13: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k7, *p1, k1, p1, k5, repeat from * until 8 sts of end remain at end of row, p1, k1, p1, k2, p1, k2.

Row 14: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, p2, k1, p1, k1.

Row 15: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k5, *k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, yo, k2, repeat from * until 10 sts remain at end of row, k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, yo, k1, p1, k2

Row 16: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p3, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 4 sts remain at end of row, p1, k1, p1, k1.

Row 17: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k4, *k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, yo, k2, repeat from * until 3 sts remain at end of row, p1, k2

Row 18: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p4, *k1, p1, k1, p5 until 3 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1

Row 19: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k3, *k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, yo, k2, repeat from * until 4 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k2. (At the top edge, the last repeat of the scarf is a partial one, you end the scarf by working a row 19.)

Row 20: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p5,*k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 10 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1.

Row 21: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k2, *k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, yo, k2, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, k2, p1, k2.

Row 22: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p6,*k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from * until 9 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k1.
Another pretty picture

Row 23: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k1, *k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, yo, k2, repeat from * until 6 sts remain at end of row, k3, p1, k2.

Row 24: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p7, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from *until 8 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, k1.

Row 25: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k2, *p1, k1, p1, k5, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, k2, p1, k2.

Row 26: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p7, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from *until 8 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, k1.

Row 27: slip first st purlwise, k1, p1, k2, *p1, k1, p1, k5, repeat from * until 5 sts remain at end of row, k2, p1, k2

Row 28: slip first st purlwise, p1, k1, p7, *k1, p1, k1, p5, repeat from *until 8 sts remain at end of row, k1, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, k1

Top edging: After working a row 19, switch to smaller needles. Work edging row B, then A. Repeat B then A twice more, 6 total edging rows. Do not cut yarn
Finishing top edge: Continuing with smaller needles and same running yarn, work an I-cord bind off.   
Finishing bottom edge: Remove waste yarn from bottom edge, catch each stitch on a needle as the waste yarn is removed, then use reserved tail to work I-cord bind off at bottom edge so as to match top edge. 
Pinstriping: Using a contrasting color yarn (I used a metallic gold which was in my stash for so long, it lost its bands), pinstripe up the purl columns, according to the instructions in this post.
Ends: As the last aspect of the finishing, the tails of the main- and pinstriping yarn are hidden in the tubes of the I-cord bind-off.
* * *
Optional modifications:
Many optional modifications will occur to you.  Among the simplest is a change in width: this green and purple sample is skinnier than the white one, as it features only 3 repeats of the pattern (3 x 8 st + 10 edging sts) for a CO of 34 sts, whereas the white scarf features five pattern repeats (5 x 8 sts + 10 edging sts) for a CO of 50 sts.

In addition to being skinnier, this purple and green variation omits the I-cord bind off, dealing with the pinstripe ends by making them into a fringe, instead.

This green and purple scarf is is knit from Pattons Classic, the stripes are KnitPicks Palette yarn, doubled.

The second half of this post is about yet another optional modification: another way to create the purl ribs, called "conversion." However, converting ribs is not a necessary step to making this scarf. This green and purple scarf was modified in width and in the treatment of the ends, but it was not modified as to the manner of knitting.  In this version, the ribs were worked just as pattern is written/charted and, IMHO, it came out looking just fine. Here are before and after pictures of that scarf, created in the ordinary method, with the purl ribs knit in, then pinstriped over.

Before pinstriping and afterwards, scarf knitted to pattern (purl ribs worked as-you-go)

But, well...if you've been reading this blog for any length of time at all, you know me: I think the whole POINT of knitting is messing around.  So although I knit the purl columns of the green scarf in the usual manner (as the pattern is written) I knit the white and gold sample scarf via the geek-ish pattern modification discussed below, a trick called "conversion via controlled drop."
* * *

PART 2: conversion via controlled drop, a geek-ish trick for converting ribbing on a shaped fabric

This pattern features purl columns and these are  highly important to the pattern: without the purl columns, the pinstriping would have nowhere to go. (OK, cue the foreshadowing music: that's actually not completely true, as a future post will one day explain.  But for now, let's accept that pinstriping requires a purl column to nestle into...)

The problem is, purl columns interspersed with knit columns don't always play nice--the knit columns on the border can be messy.  I have written an entire post on tricks to neaten up this transition zone, Yet, being utterly addicted to playing with my knitting, on this scarf, I messed around and used yet a different trick.

The symbol to ignore if you
want to knit the ribs "blind"
Specifically, I knit the background for the pinstripes--the continuous purl columns-- as knit columns instead.  To replicate this trick, what you would do is work from the chart and simply ignore (for the time being!) all the symbols which look like at right, instead working those stitches as knits on the front and purls on the back.  The result will look like 5-stitch wide all-knit ribs. This is called knitting the ribs "blind."

When I worked this trick, I created beautiful non-messy purl ribs by "converting" the symbolized columns worked as knits to purl ones when the work was finished--but before the I-cord edging was attached.  Although the chart doesn't show it all that well, the purl columns are, in fact, continuous, so if you start off dropping the correct stitch, you're guaranteed to remain in the correct column all the way down. Purl ribs knit blind then afterwards created via conversion guarantee a very neat and tidy rib.

But wait, don't start running out whole columns just yet. Yes, normally, purl-column conversion requires that you drop a ladder down to the bottom of the fabric, then hook it all the way up again.  But...this 5-repeat scarf is over 5 feet long, so that would be a giant ladder (actually, 12 giant ladders--two for each rib, and one for each border--let down one-at-a-time).  Another problem with ladders is that they loosen up the fabric, and your stitches start sliding around.  Not so bad in a plain-knit fabric of pure sticky wool, but THIS fabric has tons of shaping--for a lot of their journey the ladders would be only one! column! away! from yo's on the one side, or shaped decreases on the other.  Even for sticky wool (I used Cascade 220 for the white scarf knit blind) taking a chance on loosening up the fabric next to **shaping** like this is a bit nuts; in any other sort of yarn, it would be insanity.

So, I pulled an even more obscure TECH-nique out of the old bag o'tricks.  Rather than let down a giant runner all the way to the bottom, then latch it up, I instead worked from top to bottom, converted each column stitch-by stitch.  In other words, I converted upside-down to how the fabric was knit, using a trick called "controlled drop."

Controlled drop is normally employed as a temporary solution for dropping a column in color knitting or double-knitting.  Yet it has many other uses ... cue foreshadowing music again: a future post will show an amazing trick you can do with controlled drop...I'll put a link here in the fullness of time ... but for this scarf, the use we want is that controlled drop permits  permanent conversion of knit columns to purl columns without ever dropping a ladder.

There's never a free lunch in knitting, and using controlled drop means each purl column is "upside down." Further, the fabric has a slightly funky top and bottom edge.  Yet, in this context, no problem.  In a one-color stockinette fabric (which the underlying scarf is) the upside-down-ness is virtually impossible to see, and once you work a pinstripe over the converted column, the secret is yours until the sun explodes and swallows the earth.  Further, the I-cord bind off hides any edge irregularities. Here's a close-up of top and bottom, see the edges for yourself--

Top and bottom I-cord bind off: edge irregularities are hidden and a hiding-place provided for the tails left over from the pinstripes. 
* * *
Below is a series of diagrams about working controlled drop, one stitch at a time, and ending with a close-up photo of the converted ribs, but first, one final note.

Many of the below illustrations show the fabric as seen from the PURL SIDE. Just to confuse you, we ARE making purl ribs, yes, but the reality of controlled-drop conversion is that it's easiest to make KNIT ribs on a PURL background.

As the Zen masters say, "what has a front has a back," and the back of knit is purl. So, even though the point of this exercise is to make PURL ribs on a KNIT background, working this controlled-drop conversion is actually performed by making KNIT ribs on a PURL background. It all comes out right in the end, however.

The fabric as seen from the purl side.  The column we are going to drop is marked at the top in red and gold.

Above, the first two stitches of the column to be dropped are marked in red and gold.  Below, the two stitches have been dropped, and the resulting ladders keep their coloration.

The first two stitches in the column have been run out

(The above illustration shows the adjoining stitches on knitting needles, but that is mere artistic license.  The stitches adjoining the column being dropped belong on stitch holders.)

The conversion begins by drawing the second ladder up over the first, as shown.

Using a crochet hook, the conversion begins at the top of the column. Because the conversion is "upside-down" to how the fabric was created, the top stitch in the column--the red one--now appears as a giant hole, as if it were a yarn over. We'll come back to this problem shortly.

The conversion proceeding down the column

In the above illustration, the crochet hook is pulling the next stitch out of its "right-side-up" column directly into the upside-down column, while at the same time converting the stitch from a purl (white stitch) to a knit (gold stitch). Note that the hook catches the side yarn (gold spot).

Rather than having to work a two-step process--first undoing the top stitch of the right-side-up column, then tugging the ladder of that stitch into the new upside-down column--grabbing the side yarn is a little refinement which lets you pull the next stitch out and immediately convert it--a one-step process.

Before adding the I-cord edging to the scarf, go back to the top of each converted rib.  Grab the red tail with a crochet hook, twist it up and deposit it alongside its neighbors. This corrects the stitch count and eliminates the hole.

Remember the red tail?  Above is the illustration of what happens with it at the end of the work, but before you put the I-cord edging on.

Above shows the final result of the conversion, as seen from the front of the fabric.  The converted purl column is upside down to the adjoining knit columns, yes, but it would take an expert knitter armed with a magnifying glass to notice it. See for yourself--the below photo shows converted purl columns in real life: this is the white and gold sample scarf before the pinstripes were applied.

The white and gold sample scarf before pinstriping, front and back, showing the converted columns. For comparison purposes, have a look at the green scarf "before" photo, where the purl columns were worked as-you-go.  IMHO, both look fine, but these converted ones look "finer!"

Good knitting!

PS:  Here is a link to the Ravelry page for this pattern. (As time goes on, perhaps there may be more projects added to look at...)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A pinstriped hat--basic and with variations

Pinstriped hat pattern**
click any photo to enlarge
Both sides of the basic pinstriped hat, worked in a color wheel progression.  The pinstripes are worked in Paternayan embroidery wool.

Variations on the basic hat: two color pinstripes and a brim with horizontal decoration.  The pinstripes and decoration are worked with sock yarn scraps.

(Variations, including the brimmed version, are at the end of the pattern)
Basic hat, worked in a color-wheel progression pattern...
Gauge and needles: In stockinette stitch, 5 st= 1 inch, Use whatever knitting needles you require to get this gauge. Use a crochet hook of similar diameter for applying the pin-stripes.  Here is a link to an equivalence chart. 
Finished size: just under 20" inches diameter, un-stretched.
Materials: A 3.5 ounce skein of worsted weight (the weight of yarn normally knit at 5 st/in). For the basic version, I used Galaway (Plymouth Yarns) 100% wool, color 8, white.  For the brimmed version,  Cascade 220, color 8505, white.
The pinstripes on the basic version worked using a long single strand of Paternayan embroidery wool, held double. Twelve colors are used to create the color wheel:
  • yellow green 692, 
  • yellow 761, 
  • light orange 813, 
  • dark orange 820, 
  • red 941, 
  • red violet 352, 
  • violet 300, 
  • purple 331, 
  • blue violet 340, 
  • blue 551, 
  • blue-green 686, 
  • applied in the seam, between the blue green and the yellow green, the last color is plain green 706. 
Cast on: 
Leaving a 30" tail in reserve (later to be used for seaming) cast on 97 stitches using the long tail cast on.
Bottom edging: 
Rows 1, 3, and 5 purl. Rows 2 and 4, knit. 
Row 6 and 8: purl, row 7: knit.  
Row 9: purl. 
These rows complete the double reverse-stockinette edging at hat bottom.
Body of hat:
Row 1: knit 8 sts, place marker, p1, place marker *Knit 7 sts, place maker, p1, place marker. Repeat from * 10 times, 11 sets of markers placed. (There will be 12 total pinstripes, but since one is worked up the "valley"of the seam, only 11 pinstripes are worked as-you-go.) End row by knitting 8.
Row 2: purl all stitches, except knit the stitches between the markers.
Row 3: knit all stitches, except purl the stitches between the markers. Repeat rows 2 and 3 until a total of height of the hat is 6", end by working a purl row. This height will make a rather short hat, designed to be worn with the edging "straight" (not flipped up, no brim). Optional:
Before you decide for sure on the length of your hat, take a look at the end of the pattern for possible variations on the brim. If you do decide to knit the hat longer, this is the point that you would knit more rows.
Decrease for hat top:
Decrease row 1: (knit side decrease) knit to within 3 stitches of marker, k2 tog, k1, slip marker, p1, slip marker.  Repeat across the entire row.  After slipping last maker, work to within 4 stitches of end, k2tog, k2.
Decrease row 2: purl all sts, except knit the sts between the markers. 
Decrease row 3: knit all sts, except purl the sts between the markers.
Decrease row 4: (purl side decrease) purl 2, p2 tog [see note], purl to marker, k st between markers, *purl 1, p2 tog, purl to marker, k st between markers repeat from * across row, after last p2tog, purl to end of row.

[note: there are LOTS of different kinds of p2tog's.  The kind to use in this pattern is worked as follows: insert R needle under the forward (right) arm of the next two sts on the needle and purl these sts together from this position] 

Decrease row 5: knit all sts, except purl sts between markers. 
Decrease row 6: purl all sts, except k the sts between markers.

Repeat decrease rows 1-6  once, then rows 1-2 again.  There will remain 37 sts on the needles, you will be on a k side row.

Next row: k1, *reposition next st on L needle so it lays left arm forward.  K2tog tbl, slip marker, p1, slip marker, repeat from * to end of row, k. there remain 25 sts on needle.
Next row (as you work this row, remove the markers) P2, then *k1, p1* to end of row, ending with a p2. 
last row: k1, *reposition next st on L needle so it lays left arm forward.  K2tog tbl, repeat from * until 2 sts remain at the end of the row, k2, there remain 14 sts on needle. Place these sts on a holder.

Block: Block hat.  Steam blocking works well.   If making brimmed version (see variations, below) block the brim up at the fold line. 

Pinstripe the 11 purl columns in a colorwheel pattern, using the embroidery wools listed above or your own alternatives.  The pinstripes are worked with a doubled stand of yarn.  Regarding length: each strand of pinstriping takes approximately four times the length of the purl column to which it will be applied.  When working with a doubled strand, this means 8 times the length must be allowed. Add a coupld of inches to this measure so you can run the end into the pom-pom (more about working ends in below).
Starting a pinstripe with a doubled strand Working with a doubled strand eliminates a tail at the bottom of the hat Following the diagram below, hold the bottom loop of the doubled yarn at the very bottom of the pinstripe, and draw it through as the first loop.  Consider this loop over your hook-barrel as the first loop of the pinstripe.  

Next, insert the crochet hook into the next stitch higher in the column, then grab both strands of the embroidery wool, as shown below.  


Finally, draw the two strands through the bottom loop, and off you go, pinstriping up the column. (The pin-striping method itself was described in the previous post of this series. Also, here is a link to a video about how to pinstripe.By starting the pinstripe in this manner, no tail is left flopping around at the bottom of each pinstripe, requiring you to work it in later.

When you get to the top of each pinstripe, allow the ends of the colored yarns to dangle inside the hat at the top. Do not trim them short. 

Finishing: Seam the hat shut using the reserved 30" tail from the cast on, via a slip stitch seam which leaves a "valley" in the back of the hat. (At link, scroll down slightly for instructions on using the slip stitch for seaming.) Below is a quick glimpse of what slip-stitching a seam looks like in person--

Slip stitching shut the hat seam
If you stretch a finished slip-stitched seam, you can see the cross-yarns where the slip stitches pass from one fabric to the other, as on photo below.

The slip-stitched seam pulled open, showing the "cross bars" of the slip stitches
Insert the crochet-hook into the gap above each cross-bar to work your pinstripe and the seam will look for all the world as if it were a purl column. The photo below is of the seam after the pinstripe has been worked. Other than the tell-tale where the bottom of the seam meets the hat border (which I pulled on to make it more obvious for you) the seam-pinstripe blends right in with the others--see for yourself. 

The middle pinstripe is in the seam. I tugged the bottom border into a little point to make obvious the seam location.
Let the excess of the tail remain on reserve, dangling inside the hat at the top. Using the reserved 15" long tail, graft the top of the hat shut via Kitchener stitch.

Below is what a Kitchener-stitched closed top looks like before the pom-pom is attached. (This is a variation hat, but the top is identical to the basic hat.)

Close up of Kitchener stitching (grafting) at top of hat, before pom-pom is attached
Make a pom-pom in the same color as the hat. Pom-poms can be made large (as the brimmed hat in this post) or smaller (as the basic hat in this post). (Geek note: pom-poms getting ratty through wear can be made to look new again via a "hair cut." Larger pom-poms obviously yield more opportunities for this trick.)  Attach the pom-pom on top via the two long main-color tails you reserved inside the hat, then trim these to length.  

Decorate the pom-pom AND get rid of the contrast color ends as follows:  With each set of color-ends, thread them onto a sharp needle and run each through the hat top and then into the pom-pom, then trim to match the pom-pom strand lengths. Repeat with all the other color-ends. Work in any other stray ends (such as from the grafting) in this same manner. The contrast color ends yield a very pretty effect, as you can see below.

Top view of color-wheel hat: the ends of the pinstripes have been threaded onto a needle, then run through the hat top, into the pom-pom and trimmed to length. Therefore, there is no need to work the many pinstripe-ends into the fabric
Because the pinstripes all start with a loop, and all the loose ends are run into the pom-pom, there are no ends to work in anywhere on this project.

Pinstripe colors are easy to change: a muted single color worked on a plain hat yields a tailored look: even fashion-averse guys will wear gray with a gray stripe.   Alternating colors of pinstripes look well, too, or even 2-colored pinstripes as on the brimmed hat variation shown in this post. Pinstripes easily add team colors to a hat: the red-and-white on the brimmed hat variation honors Bucky Badger, a very appropriate hat for a fall day in a stadium full of red and white.

Create more or fewer pinstripes: add or remove purled columns, evenly spaced (or not!)  It is fair game to alter the stitch count slightly, to accommodate. If you're alternating solid color pinstripes, like for a team-color hat, make sure two same-color stripes won't accidentally wind up next to one another. The hat top shaping assumes 11 evenly spaced purl columns, plus a "purl column equivalent" to be created via the seam, so if you have any other arrangement, consider stopping the pinstripes before the hat-top decreases, and eliminating the purl columns at that point, also.

Looser hat: The basic pattern makes a short, rather tightly-fitted hat. If you prefer a looser hat, either knit at a looser gauge or add more stitches.  If adding stitches, distribute them evenly in the areas between the markers as well as before the first marker and after the last marker. This is because the hat is knit flat and stitch count as given is designed to allow two stitches to be consumed in the seam. These two stitches will become as "one purl column" once the slip-stitch seam is created, and the valley of the seam is where you work the last pinstripe. In this manner, the areas before first marker and after the last marker end up being identical to the areas between the markers. Remember, also, that you must work additional decreases at the hat top to get rid of any added stitches.

Add a horizontal trim to the hat border.  Whether you knit the basic version or the brimmed version, you can add a line of Fake Latvian Braid (FLB) between the two sections of the bottom border. This was done to the brimmed hat, here is a close up of that part of the brim.

The bottom border is in two sections, the FLB peeks out between them
Longer hat: the pattern indicates where to add rows to make a longer hat.  If making the hat longer, consider how you want the bottom edge to look.  Specifically, do you want a straight edge, flipped edge or brim?

Straight edge or flipped edge: The hat is designed with a double-reverse stockinette border, as shown close-up, below left. The hat is designed on the short side, the idea being to wear it with the edging "straight" (unflipped). If you choose to make the basic hat, but work it a little longer, you could then wear this hat with the edging flipped up: the look would be as shown shown below, left.  Flipping up the brim shows the reverse of the fabric--the back of the pinstripes show a sort of a stitched appearance. Click the photo for a closer look, as shown below, right.

Left: Worn with a straight (unflipped) bottom edge, the hat features a double reverse-stockinette edging. Right: If worn with the edging flipped up, the reverse of pinstripes shows.
Brimmed variation: 
Below are instructions for working a brimmed variation on the basic hat.  This particular version of the hat also varies in the nature of the pinstripes: these are worked in two colors.

For a "real" brim, where the flipped-up brim has the "right side showing" just like body of the hat does, you cast on as for the bsic hat, then knit the brim to the height you want.  The brimmed hat shown in this post has a 3" brim, measured from the curl-over of the bottom border to the fold line. 

Once the brim is the height you desire, end on a knit row, then turn work.
fold row 1: working on the purl side of the fabric, k1, p1, * k5, p1, slip maker, k1, slip marker, p1, repeat from * to within 2 sts of end of row, k1, p1
row 2: p1, k1, *p5, k1, slip marker p1, slip marker k1, repeat from * to within 2 sts of end of row, k1, P1.
row 3: p all sts except the k sts between the markers.
row 4: k all sts except the p sts between the markers
row 5: repeat row 3
row 6: repeat row 4
row 7 (Releases the internal tension of the fabric so the hat lays smooth behind the brim): k1, p1 across the row. (Reality check: the sts between the markers remain in knit.)
row 8 k1, p1 across the row. (Reality check: the sts between the markers switch to being knit sts.)
row 9: the fabric reverses at this point--k all sts except p the sts between the markers (The reason the fabric reverses so far past the fold line is so that the "back" of the fabric never will show around your face--have a look at the third photo below.) 
row 10: p all sts, except k the sts between the markers.

Repeat rows 9 and ten until hat is the height you want, as measured from the first fold row. Return to the basic hat pattern for the shaping of the hat top. When you finish knitting, block the hat with the brim folded up, as shown below.

The brimmed variation blocked with the brim up
Also note that making the hat brimmed gives you a lot more places to hide ends at the bottom edge of the hat, so working the pinstripes with a doubled yarn isn't as important. The photo below shows lots of tails, but these will all be hidden either inside the hat or behind the brim, and will never show. 

This brimmed version of the hat has lots of ends (especially since it was worked in a two-color pinstripe) but the brim provides a place to hide them.  As with the basic version, the reserved ends at the top will be worked into the pom pom. 
As per the small print on row nine of the brimmed version, the FOLD line and the line along which the "front" of the fabric switches to the "back" are not the same line.  If they were, you would not get the smooth turn-up at the brim which you can see in the below closeup.

The spot where fabric of the brim switches direction (front becomes back), is hidden away under the turn-up of the brim.  However, the reversal takes place several rows past the fold line, to assure that the fabric "back" doesn't flash at the fold line
"Tube-ulate" the bottom edging of the hat:  If you intend to pinstripe the hat with a single strand of yarn and NO brim, it would be easiest to knit the hat bottom as some form of tube (provisional cast on followed by an I-cord bind off, or skip the provisional cast-on and simply start with a tubular cast on).  Each of these alternatives provides a tube as a hiding-place for the tail of each pinstripe.

Work the hat in the round: I wrote the pattern to be knitted flat to in order to show off how perfectly a pinstripe conceals a slipped-stitch seam. If you don't care about proving this point to yourself, then alter the pattern and knit in the round. One downside: while pinstriping the narrow top of a hat CAN be done, it is easier to pinstripe a flat fabric, because this give you more space to maneuver the crochet hook for pinstriping. 

If Kitchener stitching is not your fave, make the hat somewhat longer and then simply run a yarn through the remaining stitches at the hat top (called a "purse-string" ending).  The pom-pom will cover the hat top anyway and knitting the hat slightly longer takes care of how the purse-string "draws up" the fabric.


PS:  About the different font sizes: Try as I might, I can't get the type sizes to even out, in the main text body so...sorry about all the distracting variation.

** I've test-knit this pattern several times--the two you see here plus several earlier variations.  Buuuut--if I made an error in the pattern, well...I know what I MEANT to say, and might have glossed over it.  So, if you knit this and find an error in the pattern, I'd appreciate you letting me know right away.  In thanks, I will send you, as a gift, a link to any published TECHknitting pattern on Ravelry

Monday, January 18, 2016

Two-color Pinstriping: vertical columns of color on a knit fabric

Just as Fake Latvian Braid can be made in two colors, so its cousin Pinstriping can be worked in two colors also.

Close-ups of two-color Pinstriping
To work a two-color pinstripe, hold two different colors of yarn behind the fabric and draw first from one, and then from another.  

In the above photo, both the red (left) and the brown (center) pinstriping were worked "upside down," that is: the pinstriping was applied in the opposite direction from how the underlying fabric was knitted.  Further, in both the red and the brown pinstripe, the column was worked using the background color as the alternate color. As you can see, this combination of yarn and direction unite to create a distinct chevron.  By contrast, where the background color is not part of the column, as with the two teal-colored yarns at right, the chevron effect is much more subtle, and this is especially true where the pinstriping is applied in the same direction as the underlying fabric was knitted--as the teal yarns were. 

2-color pinstripe, back
  Regardless of which direction you are applying the pinstripe, the back of the fabric looks best if you consistently draw each color always from one side or another.  This keeps each color marching up its own side of the back of the column, as shown on photo to left. 

The tension of two-color pinstriping is perhaps a bit tricky to adjust, and although it gets easier, it is never going to be very fast.  Yet, given how much more trouble it would take to achieve this look with any other knitting technique...

Next post: A pinstriped hat with a few tricks of its own.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pinstriping: vertical columns of color, added after the knitting is finished.

lots of photos and illustrations plus a video--
Pinstriping on knitting--what is it?
click any picture to enlarge
Pinstriping is vertical Fake Latvian Braid. Like Fake Latvian Braid, pinstriping is added via a crochet hook and the slip-stitch, after the knitting is done.  Yet, although they are the same basic technique, FLB is horizontal (and stackable) while Pinstriping is vertical (and not-stackable).

Why pinstriping is great
Although pinstriping is worked on a ribbed fabric, once the pinstripe is applied, the fabric  looks like smooth stockinette interrupted by a single column in a contrasting color.  In part, this is because the front side of a slip-stitch looks for all the world like a column of knitting.

Another reason pinstriping looks knitted in is because the pinstriping nestles into into the purl column.  This leaves you with a surprisingly smooth, neat surface.  Have a look at the "horizon" of this pinstriped scarf and see for yourself.

No bumps or ridges are visible along the "horizon" of this pinstriped scarf
Pinstriping looks good on the back, too. When you flip the fabric over, the purl column with the pinstripe worked into it shows as a knit column with a "stitched" appearance down the middle. In the sample below, I think I like the back of the fabric better than the front!  If you like the look, too, the reverse side pops best when you work the pinstripe in a high-contrast color and/or a bulkier yarn than the main fabric (or both).  Even if you don't go as far as using the reverse as the "front," you can still take comfort that a pinstriped fabric looks well enough on the back to be used for reversible items like scarves, afghans and lap robes.

Sometimes, I almost think I prefer the "stitched" appearance of the back--this fabric would be excellent for an understated man's sweater, for example.
Another advantage: because it is applied what is essentially a ribbed fabric, pinstriping helps counteract stockinette curl. Yes, pinstriping allows you begin to approach the knitters' holy grail: a stockinette fabric which does not curl.  In truth, it curls somewhat, but mostly on the edge before you get to the first pinstripe.  Past that, a pinstriped fabric really does lay waaaay flatter than a comparable stockinette fabric.  Again, this is due to the fact that a pinstriped fabric isn't really stockinette, it just looks that way.  In actuality, it is a ribbed fabric, and ribbed fabrics don't curl.

Not completely flat, perhaps, but much flatter than plain stockinette

Why pinstriping is not-so-great
All is not roses. Pinstriping only looks knit-in on a relaxed, undisturbed fabric. When you stretch the knitting, the pinstriping doesn't go along, as you see from the photo below.  Specifically, the fabric behind the pinstripe stretches but the pinstripe itself stays unstretched because it's only connected to the fabric back, not the stitches alongside. I, personally, don't mind this look, but if you would, save pinstriping for knitting which doesn't get stretched: oversized sweaters, neck scarves, afghans or hats with not too much negative ease.

On this stretched fabric, the pinstripe did not go along for the ride
Another thorn in the rose is that pinstriping column after column can get kind of boring.  OK, I'm not going to lie to you, it does get boring. On the plus side: once you get it, you can do it while watching TV or on a conference call. Another plus: the look is good and pinstriping is much easier than other technqiues which give the same look, such a bobbin knitting or standed knitting with floats. Bottom line: it IS dull, but focus on the relative ease and the good result.

Geek notes
Before we get to the how-to, here are a few technical notes.

GEEK NOTE #1:  To counteract stockinette curl, the usual quoted minimum for ribbing is 3/1.  In other words, one in every four columns needs to be a purl column. To really counteract roll on a flat-knit scarf, you might want to go with an even more frequent rib like a 2/1 rib (one in every three columns is a rib). However, as you see, even so wide a rib as a 5/1 (gray scarf with gray stripe in the photos above) lays much flatter than a plain stockinette fabric would.

GEEK NOTE #2:  Ribbing can be formed AFTER THE FACT on a stockinette fabric, so if you have a curled up stockinette scarf laying abandoned in a drawer, rejoice! You can radically transform the scarf to lay flat by dropping ribs, then go further and make it a pinstriped scarf with today's trick.  

GEEK NOTE #3: Machine knitters--who can quickly whip up stockinette scarf-blanks--might find these tricks pretty neat, also. 

How to, VIDEO
Here's a little video (there are step-by step illustrations in the next section of this post)

For further information on the slip stitch, have a look at these TECHknitting posts: Basic Crocheting for Knitters--slip stitch and Neat Little Edging.

1. Start by holding a strand of yarn behind the target purl column, the pull through a loop to the front using a crochet hook

Step 1

2. Keeping the drawn loop over the barrel of the hook, insert the head of the hook into the next purl stitch up, and catch the yarn over the hook.

Step 2

3. Draw the second loop up to the surface of the fabric, then draw the second loop through the first.

Step 3

3A: Close-up of the step 3

Close-up of step 3

4: As in step 2, keeping the drawn loop over the barrel of the hook, insert the head of the hook into the next purl stitch up and again catch the yarn over the hook. By repeating steps 2 and 3, you will create a "pinstripe," which is a line of slip stitches on the fabric surface.

4. Pinstripe on fabric surface

Start off using a crochet hook of the same size as your knitting needle was. Here is an equivalence chart for hooks and needles.  If your slip-stitching distorts the fabric, move up to a larger (or even MUCH larger) hook.  Eventually, you will find the size which makes a nice even loop when working at your natural tension (and of course, practice pays off--your tenth pinstripe will be waaaay more even than your first one).

Direction of the stitch
Slip stitching yields a V-shaped stitch, pointing towards the original hook insertion point.  If you start the pinstripe at the bottom of a bottom-up knit--as with the blue pinstripe on the below photo--the column of pinstriped slip-stitch fits the surrounding knit columns exactly, looking as if it were worked in place with the original fabric.  If you work the pinstriping opposite to how the fabric was knit--as with the yellow column--you get an opposite-pointing V, a subtle effect.

Dealing with the ends
At the beginning and end of every pinstripe, there's an end to work in. There are several different ways of managing this.

First, you can start and end with a tubular cast-on or tubular cast-off.  The hollow running inside the tube is the perfect place to hide the tails at the end of each pinstripe--simply run 3 or so inches of the tail into the tube--best to use a crochet hook or dull-pointed yarn needle. Tension the yarn slightly, snip close to the surface of the fabric, then stretch the fabric once and the tail will retract, never to be seen again.

Similarly, you can work this exact same tail-hiding trick using an I-cord bind-off and hide the ends in the little tube of the I-cord, as was done on this pinstriped scarf.

The colorful ends are hidden in the applied I-cord edging at the top and bottom of this scarf

Another trick with pinstripes close together is to work up one column and down the next, which leaves only a short horizontal carry on the fabric back. This actually helps counteract the tendency of knitted fabrics to flare along their top and bottom edges.  However, the slack must be adjusted judiciously, you don't want a stiff unyielding edge, either.

Yet another trick is to leave a length of yarn showing at each end of each pinstriped column, thus creating a fringe.  This would be excellent for a scarf, afghan or lap robe. (And here is a bonus link to a post showing how to keep your fringes in good order.)

A final trick will be shown in the very next post, which gives the pattern for a colorful hat, and features yet another method of dealing with ends--in fact, the hat pattern to come completely eliminates ends--stay tuned...

Until next time--Good knitting!

Addendum, February 2016: Pinstriping found in the wild!  ...Check out these great socks ...    (Russian language blog...)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Picking up stitches part 2: picking up along a bound-off edge

Garment finishing often requires the knitter to pick up stitches--to form a new row of live loops at the edge of a fabric where no live loops exist. TECHknitting blog has already dealt with picking up stitches along a selvedge, which is the "vertical" type pick up typical of cardigan bands.  This type of pick up is shown in green on the below schematic.

Today's post deals with a different kind of pick up: horizontal pick-ups (the brown areas on the below schematic).  A future post will deal with picking up stitches along a combo edge (light green).

The different types of picking up--today's post deals with the kind of pick-up marked "horizontal" on the above schematic of a cardigan sweater

There are actually TWO different kinds of horizontal pick ups: picking up live stitches from a provisional cast on, and picking up new stitches through a bound-off (or cast on!) edge. Today's post is only about the second kind: picking up through a bound-off edge.  This is because TECHknitting blog has already covered the first kind, links below.
As you can see, the bottom bands and cuffs (brown) were picked up on a horizontal edge.  In other words, the brown back-of-the-neck, as well as the bottom bands and cuffs were picked up and knit in the SAME direction as the knitting to which they are attached (arrows go the same direction on schematic).

Horizontal pick-ups are simple: the rate of pick up is 1:1, meaning one stitch is picked up through the top of each stitch-column in the main fabric.  Below is a diagram of how these are done using the "added yarn" method (very similar to the added-yarn method for selvedge pickups). As you see, the loops are picked up from the back to the front so that the live stitches appear on the OUTSIDE of the garment.  This hides the bind-off itself on the garment-inside, where no one can ever see it again.

The purple yarn is being picked up through the bound-off edge (brown) of the main fabric (yellow) using a crochet hook to draw loops through the top of each stitch column.  The loops are then parked on a knitting needle.
Here is a close-up photo of what such a pick-up looks like "in the wool" with the stitches parked on the knitting needle.

Reality check: how the picked-up stitches actually look "in the wool"

On the picked up stitches shown above, I knit a dozen or so rows to represent a collar, let's say, working one half in ribbing and one half plain (photo below) so you could see how the fabric would look either way.

The stitches picked up in the first photo were worked for a dozen or so rows, as a sample to show what a picked-up fabric--a collar, perhaps-- would look like worked in ribbing (right) or plain (left)

In the above photo, the "ditch" of the pickup (located along the row where the purl columns start)  shows as a disturbance in the smooth fabric, but the stitch pattern remains undisturbed through the pick-up row, because the bind-off itself is hidden on the back of the fabric scrap shown here.  In other words, the bind-off is inside the garment.

Where and why would a knitter want to pick up stitches through a bound-off edge?

Picking up through a bound-off edge is probably most common at the back of the neck of a garment. The reason to bind off and then pick up again is to hold the back of the neck from stretching--here is a link to an entire post about this.

Another common location this might happen is when your pattern calls you to bind off stitches at an underarm, followed by a requirement to pick the stitches up through the bound-off edge.

Yet another example of picking up through a bound-off edge can be seen in a scrap-yarn project featured in an earlier TECHknitting post, where the bind-off itself is a decorative horizontal element. This is called "Fake Latvian Braid, bind-off version." In this trick, the pick up is done from the outside to the inside, thus forcing the bind-off to the surface of the knitting where it becomes a decorative element. Using a decorative bind off like this is a particularly great trick to protect the already-knit part of a scrap project from unraveling, while at the same time freeing your knitting needles from a  project which might be knit in spurts, years apart, whenever more scrap yarn becomes available.  Using a bind-off as a decorative element also lets you use scrap yarn of different weights, colors, etc. because the horizontal element provided by the bind-off hides what would otherwise be discontinuities in the fabric.

As to picking up bottom bands and cuffs through a bound-off (or cast-on) edge: in truth, this isn't an ordinary manner of picking up such stitches in knitting. What's actually unusual is not the idea of picking up stitches to add the bands and cuffs afterwards.  In fact, adding cuffs and bands afterwards is an excellent idea because it allows you to custom-fit the garment with you in it.  However, such afterwards-added bands are usually worked "going the other way" on a provisional cast on. Bottom line: it's not the idea of picking up stitches for bands and cuffs which is unusual, it's picking up for these through a bound-off edge which is out-of-the-ordinary.

However, if we're talking children's clothes, it might make perfect sense to pick up the bottom bands and the cuffs in this unusual manner, working through a bound-off (or cast-on) edge.

Kids grow lengthwise a lot quicker than they grow in diameter. Further, the edges of a kid-sweater could use refreshing after a year of so of constant wear. By nipping the bottom bands and cuffs off and knitting brand-new, longer ones, you can keep a kid-sweater going for more years than you can imagine. Band/cuff lengthening  COULD be done on live stitches/provisional cast-on as you would do for an adult sweater, but it's actually easier to rip off the cuffs/bands and knit all-new ones if you don't have to worry about catching live loops.  So, if you'd originally picked up the cuff/band stitches through a bound-off edge, when the time comes for refreshing and lengthening, you'd simply rip merrily away until the cuff/band is all gone, then pick up all-new stitches through that same edge and re-knit.

An overlapping reason is that kids are hard on sweaters.  In fact, kids often wear sweaters  right out--little me sure did (and little-inner-me still grieves all these years later for that one worn-out, rust-colored sweater my mom knit!)   When cuffs and bands are picked up through a bound-off edge, a worn cuff/band can't unravel very far and all damage is constrained.  Instead of having to grieve for a worn-out sweater with runs all over it, your kids will think you are a magician as you simply frog that one worn-through cuff and knit a replacement, 1-2-3.

A final situation is which to use picking up through a bound-off edge arises in the special case of grafting ribbing head-to-head. Generally, such grafting would result in a 1/2 stitch offset causing disruption of the pattern.  However, if you bind off one fabric and then Kitchener-stitch (graft) the live stitches to the bound-off stitches, you can avoid this problem.  Here is a post with more info.

Until next time, good knitting!