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I had a stressful Christmas holiday this winter, overwhelmed by many events. Because of these events, I didn’t and couldn’t knit after I cast off the last minutes present on Christmas Day. Then on 2nd January, it seemed I could at least sit back and relax for some moments, so I decided to cast on for a new project for the new year!

Here’s the result: Heartening.
Heartening 1

Heartening 4Heartening 3
Isn’t it silly? *giggling*

I hope some of you will like this bold yet not too overwhelming vest. Anyway, it’s a quick project, and cost me 3 balls of Soft Tweed only. The knitting was done on 4th Jan, then I lightly blocked it, and took photos on 5th Jan, and wrote up the pattern!

I’ve been wanting to use this heart-shaped stitch pattern since I saw it on Vogue: Dictionary of Knitting Stitiches by Anne Matthews. The cable panel looks complicated but they are combinations of small cables. These easy cables make the vest the perfect project for a first-time cable knitter, or someone who’d like to learn cabling without a cable needle! The vest is knitted in round from waist up to armhole, then knitted in flat for upper front and back. The cable panel is placed immediately above the “waistline”, an eyelet row where you can add an optional ribbon. After shaping necks, use three-needle bind off for shoulders, then pick up stitches around neckline (including those on hold), and knit the collar. No seaming is required! You can adjust this pattern very easily to fit your own curve. And you can choose between two different heart shapes by knitting either Row 18 or Row 18* of the central panel.

However, this is the first time I am writing patterns for sizes other than XS, and my experiences wih larger sizes are very limited, so do forgive me that I couldn’t pretend to speak for other sizes. I planned to extend the pattern for bigger sizes by swatching, but, but, it is not possible for me to do so just now. Your feedbacks are most welcomed!

**Please do let me know if you’d like to reproduce/republish this pattern in any form or you are inspired by it.**

Heartening
(click to take you to Ravelry pattern page)

SIZE
XS/S [M, L, XL] (shown in size XS/S)

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Chest: 33[35.4, 39.4, 43.25] inches
Length: 20.5 [21.25, 22, 22.8] inches

MATERIALS
[MC] Rowan Classic Yarn Soft Tweed [56% Wool, 20% Viscose, 14% polyamide, 10% silk; 87 yd/ 80 m per 50g skein]; color: Bramble (shade 004); 3[4, 4, 5] skeins
[CC] Louisa Harding Kashmir DK [10% Cashmere, 55% Merino Wool, 35% Microfibre; 130 yd/ 119 m per 50g skein]; color: 01; about 2m
1 pair of 40-inch (or longer, I use a 60-inch pair) US #8-11/5mm-8mm circular needle (size to obtain gauge)
1 pair of 16-inch (or longer) circular needles in smaller size
1 pair of 16-inch (or longer) circular needles in still smaller size (optional)
Suitable length of ribbon or ribbon yarn. (optional)

GAUGE
12 sts/ 16 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch

PATTERN NOTES

Rib pattern 1 (waist): K3, p2

Rib pattern 2 (collar): K1, p1

Decrease:
SSk after the marker and K2tog before it.

Increase:
Knit one stitch each from the stitch immediately after and before the marker by inserting needle into the right/left part of the stitch in the previous row.

Central panel:
Working over 20 sts. Cable panel are working on the central 16st between eyelet sections (2 sts each on both side of the cable). Please follow either the chart or the written instruction. Both the chart and the written instruction are for circular knitting and read from the right side. Work eyelet rows in symmetry (ie. either begin with: Yo, SSK, Cable, k2tog, yo, or K2tog, yo, cable, yo, SSK, and do the other the next odd row). Don’t worry if you started these vertical eyelets different than given chart/instruction, you will see how to achieve the symmetry when you go easily.

Heartening chart

Written instruction for the chart:
Preparation rows:
1 K2tog, yo, p6, k4, p6, yo, ssk
2 k2, p6, k4, p6, k2

1 Yo, ssk, p6, c4f, p6, k2tog, yo
2 K2, p6, k4, p6, k2
3 K2tog, yo, p5, c3b, c3f, p5, yo, ssk
4 K2, p5, k2, p2, k2, p5, k2
5 Yo, ssk, p4, c3b, p2, c3f, p4, k2tog, yo
6 K2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2
7 K2tog, yo, p3, c3b, p4, c3f, p3, yo, ssk
8 K2, p3, k2, p6, k2, p3, k2
9 Yo, ssk, p2, c3b, c3b, c3f, c3f, p2, k2tog, yo
10 K2, p2, k2, p1, k2, p2, k2, p1, k2, p2, k2
11 K2tog, yo, p1, c3b, c3b, p2, c3f, c3f, p1, yo, ssk
12 K2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p4, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2
13 Yo, ssk, p1, k1, c2f, c3f, p2, c3b, c2b, k1, p1, k2tog, yo
14 K2, p1, (k1, p1) twice, k2, p2, k2, (p1, k1) twice, p1, k2
15 K2tog, yo, p1, k1, p1, c2f, c3f, c3b, c2b, p1, k1, p1, yo, ssk
16 K2, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, k4, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, k2
17 Yo, ssk, p1, c2f, c2b, p1, c4f, p1, c2f, c2b, p1, k2tog, yo
18 K2, p2, k2, p2, k4, p2, K2, p2, k2
(18*optional way for Row 18: K2, p2, c2f, p2, K4, p2, c2b, p2, k2. You will join the two lines framing the hart this way. This is not shown in pictures.)

Repeat rows 3-18 or 3-18* once.

Armhole decrease:
Work the 4 edge sts as garter st. Do the decrease from right side. After 4 edge sts, SSK.
Before 4 edge sts: k2tog.

PATTERN

Rib edge:
Cast on 95[105, 115, 125] st, join to begin working in rounds. K1, p2, then begins Rib pattern 1, continue to the end of the row. Place one marker on the first stitch of the row, and the 50th[56th, 60th, 66th] of the row, so you will have 48[54, 58, 64] sts for the front (between the two markers), and 45[51, 55, 59] for the back. You will do decrease, and later increase, before and after the two stitches. Continue in ribs for 9 other rows or until desired length.

St st waist shaping
Next row: Start St st, at the same time, decrease 4 sts in this row before and after the marker (marker, SSK, st sts, K2tog, marker, SSK, st sts, K2 tog). Work St st before the eyelet row in every 4th row for 3[3, 4, 4] more times, or until desired width. Work until the piece reach the position where you want to place the eyelet row.

Eyelet row (Waistline):
Yo, k2 tog throughout. Do the last 2 sts as yo, k, so the back will be even-numbered now. Knit 1 row. Move stitch markers onto this row if needed.

Begin the cable panel:
following either written instructions or the chart:
Knit 11[12, 15, 18] sts, Cable panel, knit to the end of the row. AT THE SAME TIME, increase for bust on row 3 of the pattern, following the increase note as in the pattern notes. Increase on every 4[4, 3, 2]row for 3[3, 4, 5]more times, or until desired width. Continue st st for the back.

When piece measures 31[31, 32, 33] cm, begin armhole shaping and start to work back and forth.

Front:
Bind off 2[2, 3, 3] sts at a time, work in pattern until the second stitch marker. Knit this stitch. Turn. Next row: Bind off 2[2, 3, 3] sts at a time. Knit the K st and purl the P st. Then do the armhole decrease as in the pattern note. 1 st at each end on every row 2[2, 3, 3] times, then on every other row 3[3, 4, 4] times. Work until the end of Cable panel. Continue to work armhole and lace lines as before, and first work those 16 sts between lace lines as purl st for 4[4, 6, 6] rows, then knit across for 4[4, 6, 6] rows. Start Neckline: Hold center 10[10. 12. 12] st on a holder or a length or wast yarn. Left front (RS): continue in pattern and k2tog on the last two sts for neckline. Decrease on RS until there are 10[10, 12, 12] sts remains. Shape the right front in reverse.

Back:
Bind off in the same fashion as the front. Decrease until 38[] sts on the needles. Work the armhole shaping and St st in between until 2 rows more than front before shaking the neckline. Shape the neckline as the front.

FINISHING
Using 3 needle bind-off to join shoulders and bind off. Using a pair of smaller needles, pick up 24 [26, 28, 30]st on each side, between those on hold. Join and work Rib pattern 2, using this pair of needles. After 4cm in ribs, change to smaller needles if you’d like to have a snug-fit collars, as shown in pictures. After the collar reaches the desired length, break yarn. Join CC, holding two strings together, and bind off loosely with them.

Block lightly.

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I just listened to a Podcast I downloaded last year (I don’t know why I just listened to it). It features an interview with Doris Lessing and she talks about, quoting her, “imbecilic” internet activities including blogging. While I personally cannot agree with her more, it really seems to me if you didn’t blog often enough, it is very possible that you’re going to lose many of your friends. So here I am briefing my knitting notes…

FOs:
I am having my 3rd FO this year this week. The first is a vest that cannot be post just yet. The second is my side-project-of-(then)-moment that I still have to take decent shots but you can see underneath my WIPs in this paragraph. And the third? Still need to do some sew-up but it’s the Pashmina pullover that I’ve been dreaming about!Pashmina top-front, pre-blocking

WIP:
Too many: Rannoch dress. Dotty Vest. Argyle scarf. Olivia Shawl using EZ’s Pi are Square. A sock that only needs two more pattern repeats and some ribs but it was hibernated since I don’t know when for unknown reasons. and a Linea Rossa pullover as my side project of the moment.

Definitely I will write more about Rannoch. Isn’t it pretty? I have ten balls of Straw and I believe these will be enough for me.Rannoch dress WIP

And I frogged the Brie glove because I just don’t need a pair of gloves but I need those needles! (I am using a pair of 2mm circular and I have 4 pairs of 2mm circular but I need them all…)

However, all I really want is being energetic with my writing. (I don’t count blogging as writing like Lessing.) I am very glad to get knitting back to my life but I can make my own living by knitting, though I do wish sometimes (not selling blythe knitwear for a stark price of course). And I decided to change the name of my blog because that’s the one and only name I would name my blogs and the title of one of my most favourite plays of all time which I am going to see in the first week of Feb.

[The abovementioned podcast is from BBC 4’s Front Row Highlight, on 14th Dec last year so you can check the highlighted word is truly not mine.]

[speaking of blythes, I really should write up my blythe patterns. I am glad I didn’t promise anyone…I simply have no time for them. poor girls.]

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Knitting for me should be very relaxing. Solely for this reason, I can say that I don’t really enjoy double knitting. Meanwhile, I can’t stand the slow progress of making the albeit beautiful argyle scarf! So I ask myself: don’t I need to make life easier at this time of the year, when pressure isn’t lessened AND there are some other Christmas knits to be done?

So I decided I need to make another scarf for the intended recipient! I flipped through my Stitchionary for inspiration. Before long, a new decision is made: I’d make a scarf with herringbone pattern! The pattern is mindless yet the completed piece will have a sophisticated look, just the perfect thing for my recipient!

See how it grows:
this will be the replacement scarf

I literally follow the pattern 176 from Stitchinary 1. That’s how I make it if you’d like to know.

1. The yarns:

A: Lana Grossa Pashmina, gray. 2 to 3 balls.

B: Contrasting colour in 4ply (use two strings together) or DK. I am using Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4ply in off-white.

2. The pattern (not a very conventional style of noting):

HB: Right side, wyif slip 2, knit 2; Wrong side, wyib slip 2, purl 2.
A (RS) K1, *HB*, K1
B (WS) K1, Pl, *HB* until the last two sts, P1, K1
C (RS) K3, *HB*, do the last st as K1
D (WS) K1, sl 1 in pattern, P2, *HB* until the last two sts, sl 1, K1

3. how it goes:
Cast on 38 st. (you need to cast on a multiple of 4 plus 2, and probably using needles two size bigger than you’re going to knit), purl one row if preferred (using the normal size).
Do (A, B, C, D) x 3, (C, B, A, D) x 3 (so thetotal repeat is 24 rows.)

Edge stitches on both side: After three 24-row repeats, on right side, slip the edge stitches, on wrong side, knit them.

After a desired length, break off yarns. Use two strings of yarn B, work 5 rows of St st. break off yarns, reattach yarn A and continue the herringbone pattern (work both sides of edge stitch as garter st). After 2.5 24-row repeats, knit one row then bind off very loosely.

Lightly block or ironed if needed.

The result will be a herringbone pattern on a stock st base, with garter st edge. If you’d like to have a broader edge for either garter st or moss st, just add more sts on both sides. There ere are several other way to do herringbone, other than slip stitch. For example, this one and this one. Slip stitch version is my favourite (I love slip stitch patterns) but it will grow slower than the abovementioned patterns.

As for the argyle scarf, my boyfriend quickly said that he doesn’t mind waiting if he could have that!

Ps. I did a google search after drafting this entry and found that Henry from Knitty (Fall 07) was using exactly the same pattern, though in different style of pattern writing. The knitty scarf was knitted lengthwise. Judging from my experiences of slip stitch knitting, you would really need to pay attention to both cast-on and cast-off.

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It’s been a long while since I posted my last entry, and Christmas is coming next week!?

I’ve been knitting and writing, but it always seems time flied pretty quick. I just hope that all my WIPs will be finished by the time we say goodbye to 2007, and I’ll cast on the Ranoch dress as my first 2008 project.

However, at this moment, I wish I can finish at least four of my Christmas knits. These are: a daisy scarf (I’ve done one for myself–how pretty!), a dotty vest, a pair of lacy socks, and a double knitting argyle scarf.

I know I’d like to knit an argyle scarf in two tones for J. I started by looking around Ravelry before I set out to chart a pattern of my own design. But the search result brought me a big surprise, because this one, the uncle argyle scarf, was exactly what I wanted! so why spent time designing a different pattern?

While I merrily took out yarns I reserved for this gift, it stroke me: what am I suppose to hide the running thread on the wrong side? Before long, I realised that this design is meant for Double Knitting! no wonder people are showing two different background colours for the same project!!

I’ve never done double knitting before (for many reasons that will need a long entry to explain), but since my mind’s been set on this argyle pattern, I decided to give this pattern and double knitting a try first before brushing it away with another argyle of my design. So I charted the pattern, then figure out what would be best for this project–slip one knit one one side and then slip one knit one back? or doing one row at the same time? It’s quite easy to choose, right?

This photo shows how it goes:
Christmas knits

I know, there were “mistakes.” Usually I won’t tolerate one single error but, but it grows so slow and I need it to be done very soon! I decided that no time for frogging, and believe J wouldn’t notice. 😀 You can imagine the other side: it is blue in the background with mustard diamonds.

The one underneath the argule scarf is the daisy Scarf I made for Y’s mom, and the one on the left is the dotty vest for bf.

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There were so many knitty things worth mentioning since the last post here, but browsing around Ravelry had taken up nearly my online quota hence the no-post. (I am ambling there.) It is indeed that every serious knitter should make Ravelry a must visit.

I’ll start with my third pair of socks. They are stockings to be precise! The pattern, “Highland stockings,” is published on Rowan 42, using kid classic. I’ve been wanting it when I first spot the pattern, but back then, I haven’t demystified the secret of sock knitting, so my eyes were set on the Rannoch dress only.

Since I am bored with the second sock of my first pair, and the temperature dropped suddenly this week, I decided to cast on my third pair. (My second pair were long finished…my first finished pair of socks) My kid classic are reserved for the dress, so I am using Rowan classic’s Soft Lux instead (uuurrhh, I’ve got tons of them…). I’ve seen so many woolly leggy recently on London’s street, so why shouldn’t I?
highland stocking--all cabled uphighland stocking-moss diamondhighland stockings-cast on

I charted the whole pattern (I cannot knit with written pattern like that. I prefer to labour myself charting first, then harvest the enjoyment of chart knitting), then started the first one from toe-up. I’ve tried different methods of toe-up knitting, for example, the magic cast-on and the Eastern cast-on. But what I like most is my own way—there must be someone writing about it before me though. Long tail cast-on is my preferred method, and I am using it for socks, too! It’s actually very straightforward, if you use two needles while doing the long tail cast-on. What you have to do, for toe-up socks, is just casting-on stitchs, alternatively, onto both needles, so you would have, says, the odd numbered on the needle closer to you and the even numbered the one away from you (instead of on both needles). After both needles have enough stitches, you just have to carry on the first row knitting in the round. Simple enough!

The pattern is very pretty (albeit girlish if not childish…). They are just a combination of ribs, cables (very simple ones!), moss stitch, and single row bobbles!! Even some dislike making bobble would not object making these (because they aren’t real bobble stitch!). Don’t let Rowan’s long instruction barred you from knitting a beautiful pair! Mine will be a long pair, up to the thigh…

I also start knitting my first top from Linea Rossa 3:
a WIP
It was started as a knit-in-the dark project, and a side project of my Pashmina pull-over.

Speaking about Pashmina, I got a parcel from German, from the generous fbz, that packed some balls of Pashmina! I’ll be using them for the felted sleeves of this wrap-around two yarns.

And I have created a Ravelry group, Lana Grossa, mainly because I’d really love to see other works using Linea Rossa patterns! Please join us there!

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Finally I am in, on Ravelry! (I am ambling there. ^_^ ) How exciting that there are some interesting groups there. For example, the group Exotic Knitting Styles (link for those on Ravelry only at this moment) is exactly what I’d love to join because that’s a group for those who neither knits English way nor continental way!! Really the last thing I’d like to hear from people is “you don’t do the stitch properly!” So, excluding Sunday brunch at Carluccio’s, I spent my time either on Ravelry or on a pair of simple ribbed socks since my invite arrived on Sat 19: 11.

But I should at least write something on Cressida, a bolero I’d fallen in love when I saw the pattern online.

Cressida bolero!Cressida bolero!

The bolero’s done at least one week ago, but I still haven’t (1) blocked it, (2) hid all tails, and (3) sew buttons on it. The metal button on the second pic is cheated, with the little help from dear pins.

The pattern is designed for Rowan’s Soft Lux, an aran weight yarn. But I decided to use Rowan’s kid soft for it. Kid soft looks thinner than Soft Lux, but the mohair and lambswool mix makes it chunkier than Soft Lux. The result is, it knits up quickly, the garment is lighter (only 3.3 to 3.4 balls were used), warmer, and softer!

Since I’ve got 5 balls of Kid Soft, I decided to use them up and make a stole-ish garment:
Kid soft stole

that’s the drop-stitch and purse stitch project I was mentioning the other day. ^^

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This shot should not be uploaded just yet, because the object is for a swap and I always try not to spoil the fun! What you see from the pic is a partial view of a Blythe dress, in which I use the Cross stitch pattern and a verrsion of lacy lattice pattern. (pre-blocked though…)

This is definitely not a swatch

I can’t believe that there are so many people interested in the cross stitch pattern when I post it on Sunday. I did think it’s unusual, but I never thought that the instruction is no where to be found via google! or at least that’s the result of initial serach, and I haven’t clicked each page for more details. It is not that I don’t want to share how to do it but that I prefer to make sure there won’t be copyrights infraction if I type the pattern here. I first learned this pattern from Vogue Dictionanry of Knitting Stitches, by Anne Matthews. If you’ve got this book, dig it out, and turn to the drop stitch section, you’ll find it!! But I “remembered” I’ve seen it somewhere, in one of my vintage patter collection. Anyone knows if typing someone’s pattern on a blog will be fine?

So here’s comes a minor surprise when I checked The Stitch of the Day section on knitting daily today! The pattern featured today is “Extended open-work” stitch. If you saw my post today, you can probably see it on knitting daily. It will be gone tomorrow so be quick!! But don’t be sad if you didn’t catch up–their “Stitch of the Day” comes from Harmony Guides, so you may as well buy yourself one. Harmony Guides are great stitch dictionaries, and are on my wishing list! (My knitting books grow quicker than I intended them to be, so I won’t get them just yet. And I am keener to get Barbara Walker’s books at this moment.)

But this pattern isn’t exactly the same one I am using.

There are two significant differences. First, the one from Harmony Guides is more like a cable. You just don’t build up these cables, but break them with a purl line (seeing from the right side). While I did point out in my previous post, the one from Vogue is similar to cables, they are achieved from inside the loops.

Second, the Harmony Guides uses wrapped stitches, but the Vogue one uses drop stitches. The difference isn’t that easy to tell but they are not the same. Wrapped stitches look neater, drop stitches look more fun!

(I do dislike written instruction, but it doesn’t mean I can or don’t read them. Plus, when it comes to patterns with photos, I can probably tell you how to do something just by the photos. ^_^)

I think you have to sign up for knitting daily to see the stitch, but I find myself enjoying reading it! You find lots of promotions from Intereweave Knits and their sister companies indeed, but the editor Sandi Wisehear talks about lots of knitting tips that is more than useful. For example, she writes about how to convert flat knitting to circular knitting, in which she briefs nicely on all techniques I knew from experiences.

Anyways, that’s it for today. If I’ve got time, I’ll swatch both patterns and put them together. Don’t expect me to do it quick though…. I was actually planned the dress with another drop stitch pattern, “Butterfly pattern,” but only after two complete rows did I remember I forgot a stitch, so I unravel the piece and choose the cross stitch instead–it’s quicker and easier!

Oh, and I think I’ll be in on Ravelry Friday. I will be out, away from computer until late, and have to leave early on Sat! And don’t even have time for Ally Pally! (or will I??) Oh, why, oh, why???

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