A bunch of knitting Qs and some FOs(pics)

I have a lot of questions. I’m a self-taught (or book taught) knitter. [SIZE=“1”](Unfortunately no grandmas who taught me to knit. :cry: my mom’s not the “creative type” either.).[/SIZE] I hope someone can enlighten me somewhat.

[B]1.[/B] What’s a great book on knitting your own sweaters/garments? I’m interested in the top-down method at the moment.

[B]2.[/B] Kool-Aid Dyeing: does it bleed? does it fade when you wash/dry it? I’ve just bought some undyed KP yarns and wanted to try my hand at dyeing.

[B]3.[/B] I bought the Ariann pattern from Chic Knits. One of the instructions for the chart says: “[SIZE=“1”][B]Slip 2 knitwise, knit both thru front of st[/B][/SIZE]”. Is this just simple SSK or does it mean slip 2 sts [I]together[/I] knitwise, [I]and then[/I] knit thru the front?

[B]4.[/B] Gaps. I finished knitting Brea from Berroco but noticed gaps, in between the parts where I had to do k2tog and SSK. Any way to remedy this? (See pics below. The white is just plastic bags I used to stuff it.)

[B]5.[/B] Felting: I tried the Sophie bag pattern from Magknits using Patons SWS. My first ever felting project. I have a front-loading washing machine. I’ve read the yarn shrinks a LOT, so I made sure to watch it carefully when I washed it. It did shrink but you can still see stitch definition. I didn’t want to go any further because it might have ended up a bag for Barbie. Anyway, I used US 11 needles. Yarn recommends US 9. I’ve read cascade 220 is normally US 8 but US 10.5 for felting. What’s the rule for needle size if you are felting? I mean, like how much larger should they be than the one recommended? (See pics below.)

[B]6.[/B] And last, but not least, gauge and swatching. I have to admit, I’m stubborn, and stingy. Not to mention, I’ve gone broke since I’ve taken up knitting again and discovered elann, KP, and all these other online yarn stores. [SIZE=“1”](in my defense, I’m a college student studying art. almost literally a “starving artist.”)[/SIZE] What I’m trying to say, I think, is I feel like I’m wasting yarn by making a swatch. I know I’ll probably kick myself someday when a garment I’ve made is either too big or too small and will have to frog it. :wall: What convinced you to start swatching? And maybe convince me too. :help:

That’s it! If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading! :waving:
I’m going to bed now. :passedout:

Great work! Love both the bags! Knitting is full of holes, just normally not big enough to see through easily (well except where you are supposed to have holes). You’re not doing anything wrong on Brea, I suppose pulling those decreases a touch tighter might make the holes a bit smaller, but really nothing to worry about.

Imagine buying some expensive wool for a project, say a GORGEOUS top, and it turns out 3 sizes too small. That is likely to happen if you don’t swatch thoroughly and wash your swatch before measuring too! Then you would have wasted $60’s worth of wool. Swatching looking more sensible with your money now hey? Do you know that you can unravel a swatch later and reuse the wool if you need that last little bit (until then though keep it for reference).

“[SIZE=1][B]Slip 2 knitwise, knit both thru front of st[/B][/SIZE]”.

That might be SSK, though you usually knit through the back of the slipped stitches for that. If you slipped them together, I don’t see how it’s different than knit 2 together. :??

Doing a k2tog and ssk next to each other does tend to leave a gap. It depends on the yarn and/or needle size.

I don’t make a `swatch’ and leave it forever, but I do cast on some stitches for a sample to see what my gauge is or how the pattern looks with my yarn and needle size, then unravel it and use the yarn for my project.

A lot of people like Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top Down', though other people don't care for how it's written. I found it hard to follow, though I've been knitting for years. You can try it out through your library along with books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Jacqueline Fee'sSweater Workshop’. They’re bottom up, but give a `percentage’ method of figuring out how to make your own sweaters that you can apply to top downs too.

I don’t felt or dye, so can’t help you with that. I think your bags turned out great.


I’m a fairly new knitter, so no advice here! Just wanted to say your bags are BEAUTIFUL!! Love the felted one!! Could you link me to your pattern? What yarn did you use? Just AWESOME!

Thanks for all of your feedback! :hug:

I’ve been eyeing the Barbara Walker Knitting from the Top (and her Treasuries) for a while but don’t have the $$$ to buy them, yet. I’ve bought the Knitting Without Tears from Amazon a month ago, though I like how EZ writes, I’m the kind of person that likes step-by-step instruction. I’ve checked out some of her(EZ) books from my local library and a bunch other pattern books. Sometimes the instructions are looking complicated to me that I start doubting if I can do them.:cry:

I’m torn between wanting to make my own patterns and where my skill is actually at at this point! :pout:

baronreads: Thanks! The felted bag is [B][U]Sophie[/U][/B] from Magknits. I used 2 balls of Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) in Natural Geranium. I’ve read it shrinks a lot, so be forewarned! I’ve also read some people compare it Noro’s colorways, but can’t really compare them because I’ve haven’t worked with Noro.

For anyone else who might like the [B][U]Brea[/U][/B] pattern, I got it from Berroco’s site and used the recommended yarn, Ultra Alpaca, 2 hanks.

Thank you! I think this might be my next felted bag!! Love the braided handle!!

Okay, you already know the basics of knitting and more (your bags are beautiful), you want to knit sweaters, and you like step-by-step directions. Take a look at [I]The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns[/I] by Ann Budd. It has line-by-line instructions for six basic sweater styles (two are done from the top down), plus charts for making them in every size from child to large adult, and in any yarn at any gauge. Add to this a huge number of optional details and you end up with (quoting from the introduction) “nearly 900 possibilities, without counting neckline, edging, color and stitch pattern variations.”

List price is $27, but Amazon has it used for $17. If it’s sweater patterns, how-tos and ideas you want, the bang for the buck is stupendous.

Ahh, thank you knitasha! It’s hard to tell what’s inside a book if you can’t browse it. Amazon doesn’t have the [I]search inside this book[/I] feature for all books. I actually have that book on my wishlist. I think I’ll have to wait till my birthday in Sept. to get that. Maybe I’ll get cash as gifts and I’ll be able to afford it! :stuck_out_tongue: Until then, I have yarns in my stash that’ll keep me busy all summer. :knitting:

pointy teeth…I love the bag! I haven’t read all the posts so sorry if I repeat someone but best yarns I’ve found to use to felt are those recommending hand wash only (usually 100% natural fibres).

Try your library for the Anne Budd book. Even if they don’t have it, another library in their system probably does and you can request a loan.


Ok- so i’m also a self taught knitter too! :cheering:
Except AFTER i taught myself how to knit i found out my grandma and my mom BOTH knew how to knit but gave it up! my grandma even taught my cousin how to knit but SHE gave it up too!!! So i had all these people around me who could’v made the learning experience so much nicer and jus kept their mouths shut!!! :ick:
o well. i suppose learning it myself will b a blessing in the future somehow.
anyway, the whole point i’m replying is b/c i saw the Brea pattern (blue purse pointy_teeth made) and :inlove: and so decided it would b my first bag. however, as i was telling my boyfriend this he asked how i could possibly make a bag since yarn stretchs. therefore if i put anything in the purse the yarn will stretch and the bag will lose its shape and be ruined!..
and now i’m asking everyone for help because i really REALLY want to make this purse! what do you do to keep the yarn from stretching when you put things in the purse?
Thank you! :pray:

Felt it or line it.

Falling2311, the bag does tend to stretch, based on the one time I actually used it. I’m going to line it someday soon I hope! I’ve attached a pic of the bag with handles. I’m still looking for fabric to line it with. I have to warn you, the bag is OPEN. The only closure is that one button in the middle. I’m going to try to put snaps or magnets to it so it’s not so open. I still have to figure that out…

You are lucky you have relatives who know how to knit. It’s a shame they gave it up though.

I wish I had someone I could ask about knitting questions whenever I have them. Ah, but that’s the beauty of KH isn’t it?

Those bags look gorgeous pointy_theeth. I actually want to do the Sophie bag myself and I have to ask, did you make it larger than the pattern’s picture or does it just look like it? I want to make it larger myself, so if you did please give me some tips. :slight_smile:

On the gauging question - don’t be stingy!

I am also a self-taught knitter who was stingy… until I knitted a sweater that was ultimately TWO SIZES to big for me! It called for 4mm needles and had I pre-gauged, I would have learned that the whole thing should have been done on 3mm needles. That little swatch would have cost me much less yarn than the extra yarn I actually used in making a too-big sweater (not to mention my time and frustration!).

here’s some of the links to tutorials, etc. that i have in my bookmarks. i’ve starred ***** some of them that are for top down sweaters. really nice tutorials, if you ask me.

there is TONS of free info on the net, including videos on this site. i’m not a starving artist. i’m a starving nurse. :wink:

http://www.woolworks.org/patterns/raglan.html top down raglan tutorial!!!
http://www.knittingsoftware.com/Ksweater/knitsweater.htm another great sweater tutorial

KT120: I did the bag just as the pattern suggested, though used a different yarn. The finished measurement on the pattern says 8x6x3in (Length x Width x Depth). Mine came to about 10.5x7.5x4.5in. I guess it came out slightly bigger.

I think if you want to make a bigger Sophie bag, you can cast on more stitches to make it wider. And I’m thinking you do the decreases every ten rows too? I’m not too sure how the shape will turn out though. I’m sure you will need more yarn so buy sufficient amounts so you don’t run out.

Carrie218: Thanks for the advice. I’ve only made one pullover so far, but it was supposed to be loose so no problems there. I will definitely make a swatch when I make Ariann (from Chic Knits). I’ve got my yarn ready. It’s just the getting started part that’s the problem. I’ve got so many other things I want to make!

dakatzmeow: Thanks for all the links. I’ve bought Knitting from the Top and Fitted Knits. Fitted Knits has mostly top down construction. I might try a pattern before attempting my own pattern.

thanks a lot [B][COLOR=red]pointy_teeth[/COLOR][/B] for the info on the bag. i kno i would hav been freaking if i made the purse and then it started stretching and no one had mentioned it. i would hav definately thought i did something wrong!
as for the purse being too open could you possibly (i know it’s probably too late for you but jus wondering) make either 3 button holes (one on each side and one in the middle) or make a flap and hav the button hole in the middle of the flap to make sure it goes over and stays over?
and about asking relatives for advice on things- i’ve only found one person who’s been very helpful and i’m not even related to her! she’s my boyfriend’s grandma. go figure!
Hope your knitted sweaters turn out nice! :slight_smile:

FYI, the bag is worked using 2 strands of the Ultra Alpaca yarn, I suppose it’s to reinforce the bag. I’m thinking a chunky yarn could be used instead of 2 strands of worsted weight?:??

The buttonhole is actually a crocheted chain, looped to make a buttonhole. Did that make sense? :?? I guess if you wanted to attach 2 extra buttons you could? To me that might look silly because the bag’s design sort of looks like a flower and the button is the middle of it.

I attached the pic of the bag from Berroco’s site. It looks stiffer for some reason. I have a doubt they might have used a 100% wool yarn because Ultra Alpaca is 50-50 wool and alpaca. I’ve read that when you do some type of stitch design with alpaca, it doesn’t show as well as wool. I tried ribbing with alpaca and it was flat.

Thanks for the encouragement! I haven’t actually started any sweaters but I’ve made two One Skein Wonder shrugs, started this, and I just finished a simple sock pattern yesterday. I might finish the 2nd one today. I had a bunch of other WIPs that I had to frog because they just didn’t look quite right.

Good luck and have fun making the bag!

i see what you mean by the button- more buttons would jus not look right. and using two strands- i totally agree with you! mayb they’re jus trying to sell the yarn?
and i can’t believe you can work on so many things at once! i’d a) not hav enough time and b) hav WIPs that would remain on the needles for months! and that shirt is really nice!
i may try working that bag in wool (or at least in mostly wool) since you said you hav to use two strands and alpaca apparently doesn’t do well with some stitches? (never worked with alpaca before) i don’t kno. it’s going to b a while before i make it since i now hav 5 projects to do for my family- 2 for christmas.
Hope you sweaters look great! :slight_smile: