Thursday, July 23, 2009

Knitted Guest Hand Towel Pattern

Bubble Up Towel
(click here for pdf version)

New:  This pattern is available on Ravelry.  Click the highlighted text to view the pattern page on Ravelry and to download the pattern.
Click the highlighted text for an immediate pdf download of the pattern.


Yarn--4 50 gm. hanks (88 yds.) Pakucho cotton, color Natural (very white). Available here. (I don't get any benefit from touting this yarn. I just like it.)

Small amount of contrasting yarn, about 20 yds ea. of 2 colors. I used Blue Sky Organic Cotton.

Needles--size 7 or size needed to get gauge.

Gauge: 20 st./4 in, gauge is not crucial.


Cast on a multiple of 5 stitches plus 1. For a finished size of 15" wide by 22" long, allowing for shrinkage when washed, cast on 81 stitches.

Begin with a turned hem, so if you are careful about such things, use a size 7 or 8 needle to cast on, then knit on a 6. You're going to sew or knit this hem down and you want a loose edge to sew or pick up, and you want the back side to be fairly tight so the hem will lay flat. For me, I think, "It's just a towel" and use a long-tail cast on, starting with a size 8, switching right away to a 7. Draw out an extra long piece for your "tail" and you can use it to sew the hem down.

If you are really particular, use a provisional cast on, so that you can knit the loose stitches from the provisional cast on with the live stitches and eliminate sewing the hem. This is really overkill for a towel, but is one way to get a neat hem.


k - knit
p - purl
k2tog - knit two stitches together as one
k3tog - knit three stitches together as one

p1w - purl one, wrapping the yarn loosely twice around the needle, producing a stitch that has two loops around the needle rather than one

sl 1 del - slip one stitch purlwise, dropping the extra loop you wrapped around the needle on the row before, producing a long slipped stitch (lss)

Border Pattern:

Knit 5 rows in stockinette. If you haven't already, change to a larger needle, the needle you will use for the front of the towel.

Knit 1 row on the wrong size, forming a purl ridge on the right side.

Knit 4 rows in stockinette. Knit a RS row, knitting the cast on or live stitch from provisional cast on together to turn hem, or just sew the hem down later.

Begin border stitch pattern, "Bubble Wrap":

Stitch Pattern Notes: This stitch pattern is from Nicky Epstein's Knitting Over the Edge. It is a great book, and I am indebted to Ms. Epstein for the cute pattern. I've not seen it in any other stitch dictionaries, but am hopeful that it is ok to use it here. Using this stitch pattern will make 15 bubbles, which are actually bobbles with the purl side showing. They are made from one stitch. On wraps, wrap yarn twice, loosely. Be sure to slip stitches with yarn in back. After all bobbles are made, pull the slipped stitches on each side of the bobble to tighten it and loosen the slipped stitch.

Row 1 (WS) With A, p1, *p1w, p2, p1w, p1* repeat 14 times more.

Row 2 (RS) With B, k1, sl1 del, k2, sl 1 del, *[k1, yo, k1, yo, k1] into next st, sl 1 del, k2, sl 1 del* repeat 14 times more, end k1.

Row 3 With B, p1, sl 1, p2, sl 1, *k5, sl 1, p2, sl 1* repeat 14 times more, end p1.

Row 4 With B, k1, sl 1, k2, sl 1 *p5, sl 1, k2, sl 1* repeat 14 times more, end k1.

Row 5 With B, p1, sl 1, p2, sl 1, *k2tog, k3tog, pass k2tog st over k3tog st, sl 1, p2, sl 1* repeat 14 times more, end p1.

Row 6 With A, k1, *drop first lss off needle, sl 2, drop next lss off needle, then with LH needle, pick up first lss, sl 2 sts from RH needle back to LH needle, then pick up second lss with LH needle and k5* repeat 14 times more.

Row 7 With A, purl all stitches.

Row 8 With A, knit all stitches.

Rows 9-16 Repeat rows 1 through 8 once more, changing color B to color C.

Row 17 With A, purl

Row 18-19 With A, knit.
Towel Body:
Now you are ready to knit the middle portion of the towel. I used plain stockinette, but you can substitute another stitch pattern if you prefer. If you use stockinette, you need a border to prevent the edges from curling. I've tried garter, but it was too tight lengthwise. I then tried seed stitch, but it was too wide. In the manner of Goldilocks, I'm now trying the border stitch pattern from Arietta. I mean to use it in my next sweater, and need to practice it.

If you like a selvedge edge, use your favorite, such as slipping the first stitch of each row purlwise.

Body Pattern:
Knit one row, placing two markers, one after the first 10 stitches and one after 71 stitches, before the final 10, then begin edge pattern--

Row 1 (WS) Knit 10 stitches, slip marker, purl 61 stitches, slip marker, knit 10.

Row 2 Knit.

Row 3 same as Row 1.

Row 4 Knit.

Row 5 *p1, k1* 5 times, purl 61 stitches, *k1, p1* 5 times.

Row 6 -7 Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Row 8 Knit.

Continue the edge pattern (or the pattern of your choice) until the entire towel measures 15 inches in length, then begin the border pattern for the opposite end, first knitting a row on the wrong side then knitting 3 rows in stockinette. Repeat Rows 1-19 of the bubble wrap pattern, knit a wrong side row, knit 5 rows in stockinette, using a smaller needle if you like, and bind off and sew the hem. Alternatively, bind off while picking up purl bumps from the towel to attach the hem without sewing.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sallie pullover, knit and finished

Now that my excessively-modified version of Louisa Harding's Sallie pullover is complete, it's time for a review:

While the pattern from Harding's Summer Classics book is cute, with its jazzy stripes and wide sleeves, I felt I had to add some length to both the body and sleeves to make it more classic. I planned to increase the length from about 20" to 22" and the sleeves from about 13" to 18". I also wanted to add increases and decreases. To begin, I embarked on a complicated combination of the two versions of this pullover.

One version has a straight shape, one flares into a peplum at the bottom. The peplum version echos the flare below the waist with bell sleeves. I began with a more modest flare, adding stitches to a few of the ribs, then decreasing them away before I began the stripe pattern. Along with the shaping calculations, I had to make sure the stripes lined up on the sleeves and the sweater.

While it seems the waistline shaping was successful, the stripe pattern played havoc with sleeve length. Since the main stripes and the sleeve stripes had to line up when I joined them for the yoke, my choice was between 7 stripes on a 19" sleeve or 6 stripes on a 16 1/2" sleeve.

The sleeve length is probably compounded by my decision to use the saddle yoke from Veronik Avery's Skater Undertop for the shoulders. I thought it would be fun to knit a saddle yoke and wanted to avoid seaming in a cotton yarn that knits up as firmly as this Jaeger Aqua does. These photos show me that I should have decreased the front and back a bit more before beginning the sleeve cap shaping. The shoulders are a bit wide and allow the sleeves to droop down even longer. Still, considering the multiple changes I made, it's a wonder this sweater fits as well as it does.
I had to rework the stitch counts a lot, since my yarn gauge for the brown yarn was closer to 22 stitches/4" rather than the 20 stitches for which the pattern is written. That was easy enough, since the pattern suggests over 4" of ease. That's right, it recommends a 40" sweater for a size 36. For most of the stitch counts, I just knit what was recommended for a size 36. My version, with my smaller gauge, measures about 37". It's nice to have a little ease in a cotton sweater--it's so likely to shrink with washing.
While it would be easy enough to rip out the yoke and re-knit it with more decreases, I think it more prudent to wait and see if the sleeves will shrink lengthwise after a few washes. Until then, I'll enjoy the funkiness of long sleeves. They fold up nicely, proving that a quick fix of cutting off the excess and re-knitting the edging would probably work.
I've written up all the mods I made. They are so extensive, it's almost as though I wrote up the pattern. You can see them on the Ravely page for this project.
Edited to omit many of the references which seemed to attract unwanted readers. Still, I will keep comments on this post closed. It's not worth the bother.
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