On to the gansey

Wow, so much interest in that little Folca box!

It is a great little box that I found through the Japan Knitting and Crochet group on Ravelry. Someone was looking for one and another member mentioned that  Ichiban Kan had a few. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have any in stock right now.

Thanks for the tips on the row counter. I’ll check into the ones that Beenotions makes.


I started the gansey this weekend. It’s growing fast … nearly at the halfway mark for what needs to be done for homework.

About the Aran …

I mentioned that the strip on the shoulder is off center because of how sweaters tend to shift when being worn.  This type of adjustment is done on this sweater so that the panel is clearly visible from the front. We haven’t done this on any of the other sweaters we’ve knit. I’m hoping Jean will let me do a panel on the Gansey so we’ll see if she suggests making its panel off center as well.

Minimizing accessories

Not too long ago I down sized my carry along gadget box into this nifty folca box.


This compact box unfolds to reveal many compartments. Including one that long enough for small Japanese snips, darning needles and a mini crochet hook.


One thing I’d really like to add is a manual row counter. The usual row counters like the katcha-katcha or the barrel ones are just too big.

Recently I was thinking about this dilemma and remembered a counter that came along with some knitting needles and supplies I inherited a few years ago.


This small flat counter  fits perfectly into my box but unfortunately some of the numbers have worn off.

This weekend searched the internet hoping to find a new one. My searches on Ebay and Google didn’t bring up any sources. When I search the by patent number and found this. The patent was filed in 1941! I had no idea it was that old. Looking at the diagrams revealed that the holes on the underside are there so that it can be slipped onto a needle. It’s got to be the predecessor of the barrel counter.

At this point I have no hopes of ever finding another one.

Here’s  a picture of the Aran.


Although it’s not done, it is ready for the next class … when we’ll learn how to sew in the sleeves.

I asked Jean why the saddle is about 1cm off center of the shoulder (more towards the front). She said it’s to compensate for how the garment tends shift backwards on the shoulders

No longer a serial knitter

I’ve been so busy with so many things that blogging has taken a back seat.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up knitting. Actually I’m on the verge of starting yet another project, a gansey.


This Nihon Vogue class definitely breaking me of my serial knitting habit. So far four sweater in progress with three nearly complete. While our fall trip to Japan set me back, I’ve also been making time for other things in my life. It’s so easy for me to get tunnel vision when working on a project that I tend to let neglect other things … but not this year.

The Aran is nearly complete … just need to add the ribbing and start sewing it together. I’ll post a photo of it next week.

I’m also dropping the idea of using an openwork stitch pattern for the dolman. Others in the class that did ened up having a difficult time with the short rows on the top of the sleeves. That’s one good thing about being behind, I get to see how others struggled with theire projects and make changes accordingly.

Better the second time

Aran_sleeve1 This is the second try. The first one had a couple of cables crossed the wrong way and I didn’t like how I spaced the increases.

One thing to note about this sleeve is that the saxon braid is not centered on the piece. There’s about 1cm more on the right side than the left. According to Jean the front part of the shoulder panel should sit  about 1cm more towards the front.  So with my Aran sleeve which has a 7cm panel, 4cm of it will be on the front and 3cm will be the back. Unfortunately my notes don’t say why we need to do this. I’ll ask when we have our next class.

Aran progress

Sophie couldn’t help herself … just had to be in the picture and attack my sweater. I had to pry it out of her paws after this photo.

This is the front. The back is about half done (and looks the same).

It’s coming along ok. When I hold it against my body it almost looks like a corset … very stiff.  The yarn should soften when washed, at least that’s what happened with the swatch.

After the sleeves are finished I’ll start the gansey swatch.

Paper dolls

Last weekend I had fun playing paper dolls in Sally Melville’s Knitting to Flatter and Fit class at Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

The half day class was packed with lots of information but what stuck with me the most was her emphasis on maintaining or tricking the eye into see a hour glass shape.

Sally illustrated her points by having us dress our 1/8 scale silhouette with various garments.

Here are some of my “paper dolls”.

Shaped long sweater:

She said that longer shaped sweaters look better than shorter ones.  This idea really runs contrary to what I’ve always believed.  I have a tendency to make most of my sweaters (shaped or unshaped) somewhere above the fullest part of my hips in an effort not to accentuate my hips. But Sally says, “the best way to make something look smaller is to cut it in half.”

Unshaped short sweater:
This is the length I normally make. But according to Sally a short unshaped sweater is not flattering with these type of pants. The hour glass shape is lost and the eye is drawn to the hips.
Unshaped short sweater with Palazzo pants:
I’ve never worn these type of pants. Not sure if I’d look good in them. Sally says unshaped short sweaters look much better with these pants because the fullness  of the pants helps the eye see an hour glass shape.
Unshaped short sweater over a long shaped shirt: Sally mentioned that a short top can be worn over a longer one to help maintain an hour glass shape.

So many interesting concepts. Sometimes I think this type of thing is more of an art than a science. Not all of us could see what she was seeing.  One thing I did see was that I really should make my shaped sweaters longer and cut my hips in half.

I look forward to seeing her new book that’s coming out next March.

And here’s what I have on the needles … a boxy Aran sweater.


Always playing catch up

Aran_swatch The last few weeks have been challenging. I’m  trying to keep up with my knitting projects/homework but other issues keep popping up. Finally, I have a few moments to post a picture of my Aran swatch.

The full saxon braid on the left will be the center of the sweater.  The smaller one on the far right will be on the center of the sleeve. The XO patterns between the saxon braids on the swatch will be on either side of the full saxon braid.  The sides will be filled in with double moss stitch.

I was going to make set-in sleeves but changed my mind after realizing that doing so would probably mean that the last one of the OX columns would get cut off if I didn’t make some adjustments. Instead of changing the stitch pattern configuration, I’ll go ahead and redraft the pattern to include  2cm to the upper body and modifying the sleeve to be a modified drop-shoulder.

And here’s my other homework.

Six swatches neatly blocked with various notes about the blocking process.

Also, for the other class, I have the outline of my body ready to go.

These two classes should be very interesting.