June 22, 2014

Misadventures in Shawls, Part 3: The Pitfalls of Combined Knitting and Stitch Markers

I have to say, despite my semi-laziness in devoting time to working on this, I've gotten pretty far.  Things are speeding up a bit, as I'm well into the part where there's a lot of decreasing going on:

On row 81 yay.

When you hit chart C and beyond, though, it may lose stitches but it gets way more fiddly for a good section of it.   Unfortunately, my tension during that part was shot to hell, and there are stitches and yarn-overs that are small, and others that are huge.

Also, I have two running problems with my stitches at the moment:

1) The markers denoting the repeats are after a purl stitch, which means my purl stitch there is waaaay to loose, as it's eating the slack going around the stitch marker (this is not the first time I've had this problem, but I haven't figured out how to correct it yet other than taking out the stitch marker, which isn't an option here):

This is the back of the work, if you're wondering.

2)   My usual knitting style is a combined style. For me and many combined knitters, this means I knit 'normally', where I twist my yarn around the needle so the right leg is facing the knitter, but I purl in a manner that results in the right leg facing away from the knitter (I've talked about this before).  There turns out there's one issue with that.  When you yarn-over counter-clockwise after or before a stitch that was knitted or purled clockwise, the yarn-over pulls the other stitch down, and makes it really hard to find the right leg of either one.

It took me more than a few rows to realize why my stitches looked screwed up, or where my 'missing' yarn-overs went.  There is several places in the shawl where I knitted the stitch wrongly by working the wrong stitch or side of the stitch.  Luckily, since this always happens near a yarn-over, it just looks a bit messy and the yarn-over is a bit smaller or bigger than normal. I might have ripped it all out when I realized I had been reading those stitches wrong, but I don't have the patience or time for that at the moment.

So, how do you read this mess to work it correctly?

If you have a stitch with the right leg out before a yarn-over, you'll usually see it as this:

Ignore my lovely pajama pants; it might have been around midnight when I took these

The first stitch you need to work is not that string that looks like a loop below the weird twist (that's the stitch below your last one), it's the outer loop tilted away from you here:

Green arrow, not the red

There's the right leg...

So just work that loop as instructed:

Once you drop the stitch, you should be able to see the yarn over much better: 

Work it as instructed, and then you're done with that.

On the other hand...

If you have a stitch with the right leg out after the yarn-over, it'll look like this:

The difference to the set above is that the first stitch you see there is longer and usually angled more to the left, and the twist where the two stitches meet is more towards the knitter (this is because the YO is pulling it down towards the knitter, vs above where it was pulling it away).  Also helps to know where you are in the pattern.

The yarn-over is actually the yarn bar slightly below the needle towards the knitter:

Use that loop to work as instructed:

Once you slip the yarn-over off, then the other stitch will look like a normal stitch (for combined knitters at least).  Work that as instructed.

And that's it.  Now, if there were some easy way to correct those darn huge purl stitches.

June 19, 2014

Tappan Zee Tank

Yes, I actually have another pattern completed.  I've been working on this on and off for the past year, mostly under the radar.  There's a couple of reasons for that.  One, it's a garment, which is by nature bit more complex.  Two, while it's not a super complicated pattern, it's not a beginner's pattern either.  Three, I corrected my design process, went through a few ideas until I found one that worked with the yarn, and then actually sat down and most everything correctly, including hiring a tech editor.  The last is that I did this on top of everything else I do.

Much of this is also related to the fact that the other thing I decided along the way was that I'd put enough effort into this pattern to warrant selling it.

Anyway, all that is done and I'm proud to say, here you go!  My first for sale pattern.

Tappan Zee Tank

Pictures copyright Samantha Thomaier

I named this tank after the Tappan Zee Bridge because, not only was it the second plan of another bridge-named tank, but also the tank's diagonal line design mimics the strong diagonal lines that make up its superstructure. 

The pattern is for sale only on Ravelry, and is as of now priced at $5.00 (US).  Click here for the Ravelry page, or click the following button to purchase: 

Craft Type


Skill Level

Intermediate level, as it involves standard increases and decreases, shaping, basic crochet, and following multiple directions at the same time (including a element that occurs at different rates). 


32” (34”, 36”, 38”, 40”, 42”, 44”, 46”)
[81.3 (86.4, 91.4, 96.5, 101.6, 106.7, 111.8, 116.8) cm]


20 stitches x 30 rows per 4” [10cm]

Yarn and Yardage

Valley Yarns Goshen (Worsted weight, 92 yds/skein, 48% Cotton, 46% Modal, 6% Silk):
3 (4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins for color A
3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4) skeins for color B

Needles and Hooks

US 5 [3.75mm] 24” circular needle
US G [4 mm] crochet hook

Happy knitting!

Ug, code generators.  The markup's a bit messed up.  Think I fixed it but if it looks wacky in your browser, I'm sorry.  I'll clean it up at a later date.

June 3, 2014

Oops, I Did It Again

Since I can't really do the shawl anywhere but at home, I've been knitting a sock for my subway project:

'bout time I used the wound-up skein that's been sitting on my coffee table for at least 6 months
It's not a bad pattern, and I love the design and the yarn.  Might have had to rip it out twice due to issues, but none of that was the pattern's fault (first time I screwed up the chart, the second I realized I had to make it a bit smaller to fit...well, ok, one size fits all isn't for socks, so that may be the pattern's fault). This is my first time doing toe up socks, and therefore the style of heel involved is completely new to me:

I'm not a fan of being blind to the pattern, but having got past the heel now, it seems like it'll work out, and at least now I understand how this heel works.  Well, I'm ok mainly because according to the swatch, this yarn will grow a bit so being slightly small for my foot is a good thing.  But I'll take it.

However, that's not what I'm hear to talk about.

I'm here to talk about another needle.  My brand new Knitter's Pride Karbonz circulars, size 0 since I tend to do a lot of socks on 0s.  I bought them a bit less than a month ago when my knit group made their what's turning out to be annual trip to WEBS.  I was being splurge-y, and since I tried out the Karbonz at VOGUEknitting Live, I've wanted to get one.  So I did.

I like them.  As someone who favors metal needles, I still liked them.  They're not as slick as other metals, but still slick enough for my comfort without feeling like I fighting it too much, yet not so slick it feels like you're slightly out of control. They feel solid, but not heavy.  It's an interesting sensation, and I find them very usable.

So when I had to rip out my sock the first time, I switched to my new needles as was happy.  Until today.  Because I broke them:

Oh, they don't seem broken, unlike the last needle I broke (also on a sock, of course).  But they are broke.  You see in that picture up there that the tips aren't the carbon material but are metal?  Sepreate pieces of course. So, I was knitting along on the subway into work today, only to have one of those tips dislodge just enough so that it wiggles back and forth with the slightest of pressure.  Including trying to pull a stitch back with it, because of course it was the side I was holding in my right hand. I managed to complete the row very carefully, then I put them away because I was afraid any more knitting would cause that tip to come off completely and anyway, it's not easy to knit with a tip that bends when put under the slightest of pressure.

Am I really that hard on my needles?  I mean, I'll entertain that thought because I know I'm a tighter, rougher knitter...it's why I prefer metal needles for most yarn.  Or just unlucky and got needle with an issue?

Anyway, there is a happy ending to this story.  I emailed WEBS and asked if they had a broken needle return-and-replace policy, because I couldn't find it on their site and, I mean, it's only been a month.  I was fully prepared to pay the shipping to send it back and have them send me a new one because it's still cheaper that way AND I won't have to deal with the switching needle gauge problem (because I do have a metal size 0 circular for socks here already).  They replied that they have a no-questions asked replacement policy on Knitter's Pride needles, and that they would send me a replacement right away.

Hopefully I don't break this one.  The only suck-y part right now is that I don't have a travel project to work on.  Unless I just finish this first sock with the metal needles.  How much could my gauge change for the upper part of a sock with a crazy design, anyway?