Category Archives: free pattern

More, please

Korknisse notwithstanding, I had about 2 weeks of project monotony in the end of January and beginning of February. It was good for me, because I produced these:

Garnet Dreams Knee Socks

They might look like regular (albeit pretty) socks, but no. They are very much more than regular socks. These are the things that will help me get through the cold winter long before they get the chance to look pretty with a nice skirt, come springtime. These are keeping the cold draft from flying up my pant leg and chilling me to the core. (Well, that along with a knitted sweater). These are knee-highs. Ta-da! The first finished project from my Rhinebeck 2007 purchases.

Garnet Dreams Knee Socks

Pattern: None. A personalized process which I will discuss below.
Yarn: Socks that Rock Mediumweight, ‘Garnet Dreams’, 2 skeins (used approximately 3/4 of each one)
Needles: 3.0mm DPNs
Notes: These contain elastic thread knitted into the cuff, as is my preference – I think every pair of knee socks I make will continue to have elastic in the cuff, it keeps ‘em sturdy and staying up where you need them. Elastic + leg shaping is my anti-slouch plan.

Someone asked me a little while ago what pattern I was using to make these, and there isn’t one. Anyone can make a pair of knee socks, just like anyone can make a regular pair of socks to fit their own feet. All you need is a gauge swatch, a tape measure, and your leg. There are already places online where you can find detailed instructions for stockinette knee socks (such as here), but the gist of what you need to know is this:

a) measure your leg circumference at the widest point of the calf in inches. Multiply this number by your number of sts/inch (according to your swatch), then subtract 1-2 inches’ worth of stitches (negative ease helps them fit and stay up). This is the # of stitches you will knit at the upper leg. Subtract a dozen or two sts from this number, and that’s how many you’ll use for the ribbing to cast on. (I used 88 sts for the leg, increasing just after the ribbing from a cast-on 76 sts, for this weight – BUT if you are using lighter yarn this may change. It is always better to err on the side of snug than loose, in all measurements with knee highs.)

b) measure your leg length from the top of your heel to the back of your knee, above the widest point of your calf. This is approximately how long your sock needs to be, not counting the inch or so of ribbing at the top cuff. I say “approximately”, because depending on your amount of negative ease, there will likely be some horizontal stretch and you’ll need to add an inch or so to keep the sock at its intended length while it is actually on your leg. (My sock length is 14.5 ins.)

For both the leg and foot, it is better to err on the side of too LONG than too short. If the leg or foot is too short, it will pull down as you wear the sock, and you’ll be constantly tugging them up to keep from falling down.

c) measure your leg circumference at your ankle, multiply by your number of sts/inch, then subtract 1-2 inches for negative ease. This is the number of stitches you want to arrive at for your ankle. If you’ve made stockinette socks before in regular length, you probably already have a good idea what you want this number to be, given the weight of yarn you’ll be using. (I used 56 sts since this is a heavier sock yarn. Usually I use 64 sts.)

There’s one more thing here, and it should be pretty obvious given how those socks are swooshing and pooling the colours in different ways at different points on the leg. There is, of course, shaping. You have to decrease from the number of stitches in (a) to the number of stitches in (c), starting after the widest point of your leg and ending by the time you get to the ankle. My shaping follows the yellow line in the image below, according to the shape of my own leg:

Photobucket

For me, for this weight of yarn, I would knit evenly in stockinette for about 4 inches after the cuff, then decrease 2 stitches (at the “back” of the leg) every 4 rows 5-6 times, then every 3 rows for the rest of the decreases. If I was using a slightly smaller gauge I would probably do all my decreases every 4 rows. Then, this still leaves me with a few inches of even stockinette to hug my leg around the ankle. Your leg may be different, though – you might want to do your shaping in a way that stops almost directly at the ankle itself, depending on the shape of your leg.

[EDIT]: Oh yeah, and one more thing: try the sock on OFTEN. This is key. It’s better to know that you need to add a bit of extra length or re-start the shaping a bit earlier or work the decreases a bit farther apart before, say, you finish the entire sock. I try mine on 3 or 4 times throughout the whole process. Then just use the 1st sock as a guideline for the 2nd.

After that, the rest involves the same set of decisions you’d make for any other sock – what kind of heel? (I used the flap. Definitely love the sturdy flap heel) What kind of toe? How long to make the foot? How to stave off boredom of knitting more and more stockinette? Ah yes, such a lovely nuanced decision-making opportunity, socks are. All in all, this is the sort of thing that takes a lot more energy to explain than to actually execute. And I fully plan on having more custom-fit knee socks entering into my closet!

Garnet Dreams Knee Socks

More, more, more please.
Stay warm!

23 Comments

Filed under fearless knitting, finished object: socks, free pattern, knee socks, socks

Well would ya lookie there

So, last night I had some friends over for dinner (and learned that if you are going to have appetizer, soup, pasta, salad, and dessert – which is cheesecake – it really is quite all right to spread dinner out into a 5-hour experience), and then checked my internets before tumbling into bed (thank you daylight savings for the extra hour OMG), and I had a few comments in my inbox letting me know that, hey! November Magknits had arrived! And well would ya lookie there, I’m in it! I knew it was going to happen, but I’d somehow managed to misfile that information in my brain and so now it is sort of a pleasant surprise. Thanks, Magknits!

Basic Black

You may have noticed that Basic Black does not come with a whole lot of pizazz or bells and whistles or anything overly complex or groundbreaking. And that is exactly the way I wanted it to be. I wanted a sweater that wouldn’t scare anybody away. I wanted a basic, light layer, with maybe a bit of a wider v-neck and a bit of shaping and cropped sleeves to take it into the modern era in classic sort of way, and that was that. I like it, and so does my mom, so it has managed to please at least 2 generations in my family so far if that counts for anything ;)

I used Plymouth Wildflower DK because it was accessible to me at the time and it came in a wide range of colours, but really, just about any DK yarn that maintains its integrity pretty well (i.e. that will not droop too horribly) would work just fine. A note on yarn selection: if you intend this sweater to be machine-washable-dryable, make sure you wash and dry your swatch beforehand so that you get an idea of how the finished fabric will behave afterwards. Some machine-washable-dryable yarns do actually shrink up slightly post-drying, which makes it desirable to knit a few extra rows in key places so that the shaping still sits where you want it to sit. I suspect that knitters will also want to make adjustments depending on their height; for example if you are quite petite, even a 12-inch sleeve might not be quite cropped enough, or if you are particularly on the tall side you may want some extra length pre- and post-waist-shaping, so get out the measuring tape and see what works best for you.

I hope you enjoy! I’m already planning on queuing up a ‘Basic Pink’ for myself the spring. For now, though, I have some seasonal patterns that are distracting and enticing me. Little Gems Mitts, anyone? December Lights Tam? Maybe I can just sneak in one of those this week, surely my other WIPs won’t notice…And maybe another slice of cheesecake too… ;)

36 Comments

Filed under design, finished object: sweater, free pattern

The Brennan Cardigan

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

BrennanSweater4

For anyone just tuning in, my full explanation of why I wrote this pattern may be found in this post from May. The name belongs to Dr. Temperance Brennan, the main character in the television show Bones, and in the Kathy Reichs series of novels upon which the television show is based. Dr. Brennan wore a sweater very similar to this one in an early episode of the series, and quite frankly, I wanted to figure out how to knit one for myself. Thus, this pattern was born. I believe this is a modern, flattering, stylish looking garment which is also comfortable and cozy, and it is only for the sheer volume of projects I have in my ever-changing knitting queue that I haven’t actually managed to start up on one for myself.

I am now pleased to offer this pattern for free in PDF format (download link appears below) in 5 sizes, measuring 32[34, 38, 42, 46] inches across the bust. I would recommend 2-3 inches of ease for a close but comfortable fit. I would like to add another size, possibly two, when I have another spare few moments to devote to it. Also, it is entirely likely that this pattern will still have errata, so I am comfortable putting out this version into the world as-is and making adjustments as necessary.

Why am I offering this pattern for free, you might ask? Well, there are several reasons. But really, the main reason is that, as will be clear from my previous post, this design very obviously takes close inspiration from a commercially-made garment, and as such I do not feel comfortable charging $$ for it. (The pattern instructions and sizing, however, are all the product of my own brain, so you can bet your ass I’m quite happy with that.) I will note, though, that my sweater is not a completely exact replica. There are some details in the inspiration garment that do not appear here. (Don’t worry, if you really want me to charge money for stuff, I’m quite sure I’ll find other new designs to do that with in the future ;) )

If you download this pattern and find value in it, I would recommend taking whatever money you think the pattern deserves and giving it to Knitters Without Borders, or, failing that, another deserving knitting-related Enterprise For Good.

This pattern assumes the knitter has already had some experience knitting sweaters, as it will provide some challenge through the use of short-rows, extensive seaming, work with a cable-needle, and working set-in sleeves. It is a garment constructed in pieces, and the back and two front pieces are both worked in sections, including long pieces of ‘diagonal ribbing’ which seam up at the sides to create a v-shape style at the side. (See picture below). This is the biggest challenge of the pattern. My sister Martha who knitted the pattern, and who is shown modelling the sweater, will happily tell you that these diagonal ribbing sections nearly did her in. This pattern also makes use of an “at the same time” instruction, for the front pieces, which involves working the armhole sections at the same time as the neckline decreases. In this pattern I also assume that you already have a comfortable method of working your decreases and increases at each side, for example, which is why the pattern instructions do not go into detail about whether you should ‘k2tog’ or ‘ssk’ any particular decrease. Other than that, I hope you will find that the pattern is worked in a very similar format to other standard knitting patterns.

Two small changes I have made between the sample pattern and this version is that I have made the front neckline slightly deeper, and the sleeves are slightly more fitted.

 

BrennanSweater3

As for yarn and gauge, this pattern requires worsted-weight yarn knitted in a Stockinette gauge of 5 sts/6.5 rows per inch. There are a wide variety of yarns available in this gauge, which means you should feel at liberty to choose what best works for you and the pattern. My preference is for something woolen or wool-based, since it is light, warm, and keeps its shape well. Ubiquitous and priced-to-own yarns like Cascade 220 or Patons Classic Merino would work just fine. The sample in the photos was knitted with Brunswick Sheepswool, 100% worsted-weight wool. If you choose a non-wool fibre, I would recommend something which does keep its shape and isn’t very heavy (i.e. not 100% cotton!)

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

Download the pattern:
BrennanCardi-July18-07

If you choose to knit this pattern I would be pleased to hear from you, and if you discover anything that needs adjusting I will be happy to start up an ‘errata’ page. Happy knitting!

23 Comments

Filed under brennan cardigan, free pattern, sweaters

Inferno Legwarmers – 2 ways

At Knit the Classics, participants are challenged to work on a knitted or otherwise crafted project to parallel the ‘classic’ novel selection of each month. It’s sort of an online book club with the option of putting your crafting skills to work at the same time. The May 2007 selection was ‘The Inferno’ by Dante Alighieri. So, naturally, I decided to make legwarmers with flames on them. You know, so the flames of Hell can literally lick at your heels. That makes sense, right? ;)

Inferno1large Inferno4

Download the free pattern here:
InfernoLegwarmersPDF

[EDIT]: Hey, look, now it’s a prize-winning pattern, too! Aw, shucks.

Yarn: Patons Classic Merino in ‘black’and ‘regency’. You would need 2 balls of black and 1 ball of regency if you make 1 of each version or if you make both with the flame pattern, and 1 ball of each colour if you are making both with the striped version.
Length: 16.5 ins
Size: To fit leg circumference 14-16 ins around at upper calf.
Needles: 4.5mm and 3.5mm DPNs
Cast on: May 22
Cast off: June 2
Notes: Since I couldn’t decide between the flame motif and the nine circles (one for each of the circles of hell through which Dante descends), I decided to do one of each. There are instructions for both included in the pattern. There is also a vertical band of k1, p1 ribbing at the front and back of the legwarmer to add a bit more cling and structural integrity.

I must say quite like the contrast between the black and the red/orange variegated – it’s one of the new variegated shades of Patons Classic Merino and this was a fun excuse to try it out since I’ve only ever used the solids. And since it is officially June and now in the land of red/black/metallics for Project Spectrum, I suppose I could count this as my first project for that too, right? Look at that, it’s a two-fer!

9 Comments

Filed under finished object: accessories, free pattern, knit the classics

Like a little sandal-sized hug

These:

 

Socklets3

Are going to help me wear these:

 

Socklets2

Every spring I go through the same song and dance when sandals weather comes around. I rotate through the 5 or 6 pairs of sandals in my closet (all of which are comfort sandals, mind you, no high heels or flashy beach sandals or nothin’), each of which will bruise and blister my feet horribly in a slightly different location. After 3 weeks or so, my feet and the sandals reach some kind of truce and the blisters stop. But those 3 weeks make me want to whimper. And we’re talking any sandals, here, thongs, slides, wedges, buckles, t-straps…There’s some combination of the arch of my foot and the brisk pace of my walking (walking is transportation for me) that just does me in every year, for a while. I have blisters on top of blisters.

So I decided to put the knitting on it and took up some more of that leftover bit of Lorna’s Laces from the Endpaper Mitts, and made myself these little socklets. They’re stupid fast, and while I’d be willing to bet lots of money I’m not the only knitter out there to invent something like this, I’ll tell you what I did. It’s very simple:

1. Cast on 64 sts with 2.25mm needles (This # can be sized up or down depending on the best size for you – as long as you cast on a multiple of 4 sts). Join to work in round. (This is the same # of sts I would normally use in a sock foot, on one needle size smaller than what I would normally use. I get “regular” sock gauge of 8 sts/inch on 2.75mm needles, so going down to 2.25mm needles puts me around 8.5/9 sts/inch.)

2. Work k1, p1 ribbing for 5 rounds.

3. Work k3, p1 ribbing until the piece measures 2.25 ins from beginning.

4. Work k1, p1 ribbing for 5 rounds.

5. Bind off, but not so tightly that the thing won’t stretch over your foot.

I’ll likely be trying another pair or two, possibly decreasing yet another needle size and possibly doing just the k3 p1 ribbing to see how it goes. I want these suckers to be nice and clingy.

 

The socklets and I are spending the afternoon on campus and then heading off to represent with the Yarn Harlot at the Canadian Launch of her book. It’s gonna be super, I am sure, and my parents and several friends are coming along. Can’t wait to see all the crowds that show up.

May your knitting not be far from you today…

8 Comments

Filed under finished object: accessories, free pattern

"Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

Over at Knit the Classics, knitters read a different ‘classic’ novel each month, and are challenged to come up with a knitting project that matches the novel in some way. December’s novel was, appropriately, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I decided to knit this cap, for reasons I shall explain further below (along with the pattern for the cap). Time will tell if it’s at all clever or just plain dull ;)

(Bob Cratchit’s stocking night cap – or is it Scrooge’s?
Briggs & Little sport-weight 1-ply)

By the end of the first chapter of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge makes his way back to his large but cold and dark house. Despite the fact that he is extremely well off, he doesn’t even bother to light all the gaslamps in his home because light costs money – “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” He dresses in simple bedtime attire and eats a bowl of gruel before retiring – “Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravat; put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his nightcap; and sat down before the fire to take his gruel.”

We aren’t given an impression at this point of what the home life of his clerk, Mr. Cratchit, must be like, but given the miserly wages that we are led to understand Mr. Scrooge pays him, we can assume it is quite meagre. By the time we see the Cratchits on Christmas Day, we are shown that their merry feast is gratefully received but still quite sparse – the goose isn’t very fat, and Mrs. Cratchit frets over the pudding because if it doesn’t work out there is nothing else to serve instead.

It occurred to me, reading these passages, that Scrooge and Cratchit’s day-to-day home lives are actually quite similar on a material level – the only difference is that Scrooge keeps himself in a simple and modest lifestyle because of his miserly inclinations, but Cratchit is forced to do so by necessity. I began thinking of the kinds of basic, modest garments they might both wear – knee socks came to mind, particularly with the cold winter – and eventually settled on the idea of the night cap. We know Scrooge wears one and I can only guess that Cratchit does, too.


In my stash I have had a couple of skeins of very simple, very utiliatrian sport weight wool from Briggs & Little, just waiting for a project to complete it. I thought it matched the basic materiality of A Christmas Carol‘s humble beginnings quite well, and so the nightcap pattern seemed to fit. Here is the pattern, for those of you who would like to try it!

Scrooge/Cratchit Night Cap

Size:
One
22 ins circumference, 19 ins (approx.) from brim to top
(to modify the size, simply add or subtract from the given # of CO sts by a multiple of 4)

Materials:
1 skein Briggs & Little sport weight 1 ply (or other sport weight yarn to substitute, approx. 420 yds), dark grey

1 40 cm 3.5 mm circular needle
1 40 cm 3.25 mm circular needle (or DPNs)
1 set 3.5mm DPNs
tapestry needle
stitch markers

Gauge:
6 sts/8 rows per inch on 3.5mm needles, or needle size required to match gauge

Pattern:

Available here.

2 Comments

Filed under free pattern, knit the classics