Join the Antler Cardigan Knit-A-Long

Antler

The Antler Cardigan Knit-A-Long is less than 2 weeks away. I am looking forward to making myself a “go to” cardigan. I have decided to use Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted. It comes in many colors and doesn’t have merino so I can knit with it [editor’s note – Cecilia is the only person I know of who is allergic to merino – not other types of wool, just merino!].

I have started my gauge swatch… I will not know how the fabric is going to look until I wash the swatch. I find that Superwash yarns act differently once they get wet; they tend to grow one way or the other, so I am making a nice big swatch.

Antler Swatch

The Antler cardigan has a little cabling at the top so when choosing a color, I wanted something that would not hide the cables and went with a lot of clothes. I decided on grey, which is totally outside my comfort zone; I prefer bright reds and purples, but I do like how it is coming out. There is just a little heathering, but not too much. I think it is going to be very nice.

The Antler Cardigan by Tin Can Knits starts at 6 months and goes to 4x so you could make one for any one you know. Make a baby one – because there are always going to be babies – and the 6 month size only uses 280 yards. A child size could actually be used as a gauge swatch for a bigger one, and you could make a matching cardigan for you and your favorite child. It is definitely a unisex sweater.

It is not too late to sign up to join me. We start on 9/23. I hope to see you there.

~ Cecilia

Year of the Sweater: 4th Quarter

We’re excited to announce our 4th Quarter inspiration sweaters. These are the sweaters that each of us in the Yarn Department at 3 Kittens wish we could make this fall if we could only find the time!

Here you go –

Antler Cardigan

by Tin Can Knits

Cecilia’s pick is sized from infants to 4XL adults. The Antler Cardigan is truly a sweater for everyone!

Suggested Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool SW Worsted (219 yds/25gr; 100% Wool): 2-9 balls

Alternative Yarn: Spud & Chloe Sweater (160 yds/100gr; 55% SW Wool, 45% Organic Cotton): 2-12 skeins

Join our Antler Cardigan Knit-A-Long this fall!

 

Barnard

by Lori Versaci

Shelley likes Barnard because it will be easy to wear for all sizes.

Suggested Yarn: The Fibre Co Cumbria (236 yds/100gr; 90% Wool, 10% Mohair): 5 (6, 6, 7) (7, 8, 8) skeins

Alternative Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca (215 yds/100gr; 50% Super Fine Alpaca, 50% Peruvian Wool): 5 (6, 7, 7) (8, 8, 9) skeins

 

Brickyard

by Elizabeth Doherty

Casual and comfortable, Brickyard  is Jane’s favorite.

Suggested Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool SW DK (137 yds/50gr; 100% Wool): 9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20) balls

Alternative Yarn: The Fibre Co Luma (137 yds/50gr; 50% Wool, 25% Cotton, 15% Linen, 10% Silk): 9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20) skeins

 

Gwyneth

by Amy Miller

Cables and a classic fit make Gwyneth Shayne’s pick for fall/winter.

Suggested Yarn: Swans Island All American Sport (185 yds/40gr; 100% Rambouillet Wool): 8 (9, 9, 10, 10) (11, 12, 12, 13) skeins

Alternative Yarn: Outlaw Bohemia Sport (183 yds/50gr; 45% Polwarth Wool, 45% Alpaca, 10% Possum): 8 (9, 9, 10, 10) (11, 12, 12, 13) balls

Koto

by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Koto is on-trend with it’s hi-lo hemline – right up Laura’s alley!

Suggested Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Solo (109 yds/50gr; 45% Silk, 45% Kid Mohair, 10% Lambs Wool): 12 (12, 13, 13, 14, 15) skeins

Alternative Yarn: Sugar Bush Bold (190 yds/100gr; 100% SW Merino Wool): 7 (7, 8, 8, 8, 9) balls

 

Tangled Up in Gray

by Sloan Rosenthal

Elizabeth thinks the Tangled Up in Gray pullover would look great with jeans and boots.

Suggested Yarn: Rowan Hemp Tweed (104 yds/50gr; 75% Wool, 25% Hemp): 11-16 balls

Alternative Yarn: Cascade 220 (220 yds/100gr; 100% Wool): 6-8 skeins

 

What do you think of our choices? If you’d like to participate in a Knit-A-Long for any of them this fall/winter, leave a comment, and we’ll add you to the interest list. As soon as we get a few eager beavers for any sweater, we’ll put it on the calendar.

Happy Sweater Knitting!

Phase 2 of Road Construction – How to Get to Us

Whew! We successfully survived the first phase of the Hwy 110 construction project. Over the weekend of August 5-6, MnDot opened up all of the east bound lanes! Yippee! But, they’ve now closed the west bound lanes. Sigh!

What does this change mean for you?

If you’re coming from the North, South or West

You can go back to using Hwy 110 to get to us. Simply follow your normal route to the store and take Dodd Rd to Hwy 110.

Getting home will be a bit more problematic. To go South or West, take Dodd Rd south to Hwy 494 W. To go North, take Dodd Rd north to the Marie Ave (the first stop sign; turn left and go to Victoria (the first stop sign); turn right and go to Hwy 13 (first stop sign); turn right and take go to Hwy 35E (less than 1/4 mile).

If you’re coming from the East

Take Hwy 494 west to Dodd Rd, turn right and go 1.5 miles to the Village at Mendota Heights (take a right on the first street after Hwy 110 – Market St).

110 Alternatives - 494 west to Dodd

You can return home the same way or use Hwy 110 east to connect to Hwy 52 or Hwy 494.

It looks like we’ll have another 6+ weeks until this project is over. Thank you for your patience and support!

Aalto KAL: Part 4, What Now?

According to the calendar, the Aalto KAL is over. However, I don’t think anyone is finished with their poncho yet. Am I right? I know I’m not! I haven’t even finished with the first half!! And Mary Lou who has been attending the in-person KAL hasn’t either. We took a pic yesterday of our progress.

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So, first of all, we are going to extend the knit-a-long. If you can or want to join us in the store, we will be meeting Saturdays, July 29 and August 12, from 2-4pm. That’s four more weeks. Not sure if that will be enough, but we will assess when we get there. I’m hoping to get to the shoulder shaping in the next few days, and I will do another post on the short rows then.

What we noticed, though, when we took the photo is that my fabric (the orange) is much more open than Mary Lou’s fabric (the blue). It’s hard to tell in the above photo, but here’s a close up.

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We decided we had better check our gauges again. Oops! Neither of us is on gauge! I am back to 19 sts/4″ and Mary Lou is at 25 sts/4″! I am not terribly concerned about mine. I know I can stretch my finished piece vertically and gravity will do the rest. I may never achieve that perfect 22 sts/4″, but it will be close enough (remember my comment about being tall?). Mary Lou is also not going to worry about it. She is short and was concerned about the length of the poncho down her arms. That is not going to be an issue at all now. And, when she held up the piece to her body, it was obvious that the circumference will be big enough to accommodate her torso, so that’s not a concern. She can also stretch her poncho horizontally when she blocks it if she decides she needs more room in the torso.

This is one of the beauties of this garment – you don’t have to be spot on with your gauge to still have a great poncho.

How are things going for you?

~ Laura

Aalto KAL: Part 3, Adding a New Ball of Yarn

First of all, sorry for the delay in getting this blog post done (and thank you, Judy, for reminding me to do it!). I have been under a deadline to get a shawl design wrapped up for our upcoming Progressive East End Project, and I haven’t even gotten to my 2nd ball of yarn for Aalto yet. Sigh…

However, Mary Lou was here knitting with me at last Saturday’s in-store knit-a-long, and she had to attach a new ball of Twig. Normally, when I add another ball of yarn or a new color to my knitting, I knit in the new strand and the old strand as I’m knitting like this:

But, because of the airy, open nature of this fabric, this method won’t work – it would show through as a line on the right side of the fabric.

So, the best way to add your next yarn is to knit several stitches (I would do 8-10 sts) while holding both the old and new yarn together. I suggested to Mary Lou that she should do this at the beginning of the row, because even if it was a bit noticeable, having it at the edge of the fabric would mean that most people would never see it. However, Mary Lou ran out of yarn suddenly in the middle of the row, so she decided to add her new yarn there (despite my dire warnings!). I believe she knit 10 stitches with both the new and old yarn held together, then she dropped the old yarn and kept knitting with the new one. After knitting with the new one for several rows, here’s what it looks like:

The join is in the middle of the row right under where Mary Lou’s nose ends. Can you see it? Neither can I. So, go ahead, change yarns in the middle of the row!

Bonus tip: This type of join is also ideal when working with cotton yarns. My favored knitting in method is terrible for cottons – you can always see the join from the right side. Knitting several stitches with the old and new yarns held together, surprisingly, is not nearly as noticeable. For a tighter fabric, I may only do a few stitches , but for open fabrics, where the stitches are looser, I like to do 8-10 stitches.

~ Laura

Aalto KAL: Part 2, Swatching (again) and Casting On

After completing my 2nd swatch, blocking and hanging it for a while as suggested in the first blog post about our Aalto KAL, my gauge was still off by one stitch per inch – I have 21 sts and 27 rows per 4″ instead of the required 22 sts and 28 rows. So, am I going to make a new swatch on a smaller needle to try to squeeze in that additional st and row? No.

Now, before you jump all over me for not getting gauge since that’s what we preach here all the time, I have my reasons. First, this is not a garment that needs to fit accurately (like a sweater or hat does). I did the calculations and realized that the difference in size is not going to make a big difference for me personally. I’m making the largest size, so I will be casting on 209 stitches.

209 sts divided by 5.25 sts/” = 39.8″ (vs the 38″ shown on the schematic)

Almost 2″ difference. But, I’m tall and can handle that extra 2″ without any issue. I took a tape measure and held the end at the center back of my neck, down over the curve of my shoulder and along my arm. 20″ (half of the approx 40″ width of the front or back) hit me just above the elbow. I think that’s o.k.

Now about that pesky row gauge. What to do about that? If I was making a sweater with a set in sleeve, I would have to either get the row gauge or make some adjustments to make the sleeve work. But… Aalto is unfitted so adjustments aren’t as necessary or difficult. Again, I am tall (5’8″), so I don’t want to the garment to be short on me. Luckily, 26.25″ is pretty good for me. So, I just need to make sure that I get to the required length (23″) before I start the shoulder shaping. (I highly recommend checking the length by holding a tape measure to your body – if you are short, you may need to decrease the length.)

While I could simply measure each piece and hope for the best, the better way to make sure my front and back match in length is to count my rows. For 23″ at a gauge of 27 rows/4″, I should knit 155 rows (wow, that’s a lot of knitting!) before I start the shoulder shaping.

What’s the best way to count my rows? I could use the old-fashioned method of hash-marks on a piece of paper. Or I could use the CountMeme App that I have on my phone.

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But, I’m worried that I will forget to “hash” or to press the button on CountMeme, so instead I am going to using locking stitch markers to mark off every 10 rows.

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For me, this will work the best. What technique will you use?

Finally, casting on…

209 stitches to cast on is daunting – especially thinking that I would have to count those stitches multiple times in order to convince myself that I cast on the right amount. To make it more palatable, I put a st marker on my needle after every 10 stitches – as I was casting on.

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For 209 sts, I used 20 markers. I could have used regular stitch markers, but I used locking ones because they were handy. After I knit my first row, I will remove all except those marking the 50th, 100th, 150th, and 200th stitches. I’m leaving those in to help with counting later on.

People always ask how to know how long of a tail to leave for long-tail cast ons such as the German Twisted Cast On called for in the Aalto pattern. There are many ways to accomplish this. Check out this Google search for some ideas.

That’s it for now! Who’s started their project?

~ Laura

Aalto KAL: Part 1, the Swatch

We’re gearing up to start the Aalto Knit-a-long starting June 17 (sorry for the delay, everyone; we had two colors that were back ordered…). In prep to start knitting, I highly recommend doing your gauge swatch at least the week before the KAL starts.

I did my gauge swatch this past week. I chose the Poppy colorway (thought it would go nicely with the purples and pink in my hair! The Poppy color is actually a bit darker than pictured).

Here was my process for doing my gauge swatch. I hope this helps you when you do your gauge swatch:

  • Because the gauge is supposed to be 22 sts & 28 rows/4″ and I always want to do a swatch at least 6″ wide (the bigger the better for swatches, people), I decided to cast on 30 stitches (to get a 6″ wide swatch, I really should have cast on 33 stitches, but…).
  • I knew this yarn would be slippery and while I am addicted to Addi needles because they are super fast, I decided that it would be better to go to a less slick needle. I chose Knitter’s Pride Karbonz. Karbonz circularI could have used bamboo needles, but the Karbonz combine the flexibility and “stickiness” of bamboo or wood needles with the speed of metal because of the metal tips. (Keep in mind when doing your swatch to knit it with the same needles you will be using for your garment – your gauge may be different with a wood needle vs a metal needle or a different brand).
  • The pattern calls for a German Twisted Cast On. Instructions for this cast on are provided in the pattern, but I found them hard to understand. Shibui also provides a link to Lucy Neatby’s video on this technique, but again, I was having a hard time following the video. So, I went to the trusty Cast On, Cast Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. Sure enough, German Twisted Cast On, aka Old Norwegian Cast On, was in there, IMG_2282and I was able to figure it out. Your swatch is a great place to practice this cast on if it’s new to you!
  • I started my swatch the way the pattern says to start – with 4 rows of reverse stockinette. This is not necessary, but I just wanted to see how it looked. After that I switched to stockinette for the full width of the swatch.
  • I often will slip the first stitch of every row for an item that is not being seamed, because it produces a nice edge; however, I noticed when I was doing each row in stockinette with this yarn and the bigger than expected needle size that the edge stitch was rolling under to the back. And I knew that the edge of the actual garment is in reverse stockinette, so after I had knit a few inches, I added the edging called for in the pattern to my swatch. Slipped StYou can see that the edge stitch (inside the purple box) is rolling to the front of the swatch now that I am doing the reverse stockinette edging. I decided that I really didn’t like that look, so I switched to actually working the edge stitch (knit or purl depending on the row). Here’s how it looks after I switched (above the black line is the area where I did not slip the first stitch of each row).Not Slipped I wish I had done a few more rows, but I think I like the non-slipped edge stitch better.
  • The gauge in the pattern calls for the swatch to be blocked. Make sure you do this before you measure! I got the swatch completely wet then laid it on my kitchen counter to dry overnight. I didn’t pin or use blocking wires; I just patted it flat and aligned the edges with my hand.
  • After it dried, I measured the center of the swatch in the area where I had only done stockinette (not where I had done the reverse stockinette edging). Measuring in the center will give a truer measurement than incorporating the edging stitches in your measurements. Make sure to measure across at least 4 inches. My blocked gauge was 18 sts/4″ – too few stitches!
  • BUT… because cotton & linen are notorious for stretching, I thought I’d better simulate gravity and hang my swatch up for a few days to see if the gauge changed. I hung the swatch on a pants hanger. Because the swatch is much smaller than the finished Aalto poncho will be and thus won’t stretch by itself as much as the full garment, I wove my circular knitting needle through the bottom of the swatch to simulate the gravitational pull on a larger garment. IMG_2330After hanging for a few days, my gauge had changed slightly to 19 sts/4″. Still not right…

It’s back to the drawing board (or knitting needles) for me – I’ll have to go down a needle size to try to get the right number of stitches per inch. (Oh, and by the way, my row gauge was 27 rows/4″; almost right. I’m hoping changing the needle size will help with that as well. I’ll discuss how to compensate for row gauge in a future post.)

~ Laura