Knitting! And advice, please?

One pure wool cardigan for Miss Ten.


I am not an accomplished knitter – plain and purl is about my limit. But there’s a fair amount that can be done with such simple stitches, like the diamond pattern on this cardigan, complete with beads in the centre of each diamond. I worked out the diamond pattern myself, and fitted it into the overall pattern for the cardigan. And if you look closely, you will see that each bead is knitted into the garment, not just sewn on later. I found out how to do that by spending a bit of time on teh interweb, where all knowledge may be found, eventually, and stopping into Borders and consulting their craft books on the sly.


As well as not being an accomplished knitter, I am not all that fast. Not because I haven’t got a reasonable technique, but because the entire project can get set to one side for months when my life gets busy with other things. Like going through a traumatic move, and then spending a difficult year settling in. So this cardigan sat in cold storage for over a year, even though the only thing I had left to do was the bands. Alas, during that time some moths managed to get to it (I said some not very polite things when I found the holes), so I had to reknit parts of a couple of panels, but thankfully, not the beaded sections.

Miss Ten is delighted to have it, ready for the cooler weather.

I enjoy doing craft work, especially when it means making something for my girls. I find knitting very soothing, and somehow, if I occupy my hands with knitting, I feel much more able to spend an evening lounging on the sofa and watching TV. Mr Strange Land and I have been rewatching all of Babylon 5 lately, which has had an entirely beneficial effect on getting this cardigan finished.

And onto the next project, a cardigan for the elder Miss Seven, who wanted purple or pink wool. We chose both. She wants a heart pattern, with beads in the point of each heart. I’ve worked out the pattern, and started on the back, but the hearts aren’t showing up very well. See?


Exactly. You can’t see them at all.

Do any knitters reading this have any advice? I’m using a reverse stocking stitch for the background (i.e. purl where I should knit, and vice versa), and right-way-around stocking stitch for the hearts themselves, but I’m wondering whether they would show up better if I used garter stitch for the background. M-H, I’m looking at you!


17 responses to “Knitting! And advice, please?

  1. My (very limited) experience of trying to make up patterns has been that knitting shapes into the pattern works best with an absolutely plain colour and smooth texture of wool. Fluffy or rough wool and/or colour mixtures like this one work like camouflage.

  2. littlegemsession

    I’m not a knitter, so can’t offer advice but do need to say they look great!

  3. The problem with variegated yarn is that any stitch patterns you use will be obscured by the way the colours pool on your garment.

    If she wants to use that yarn, you’re going to have to either go with plain stitches, or just keep going and let her know that the hearts won’t be obvious.

    Yes, I learnt that about variegated yarn the hard way 😛

  4. You could, if you were feeling really clever, do a couple of hearts picked out in big bobbles (or another colour of yarn), but otherwise, yeah, variegated yarn.

    They’re not novice techniques, but either would be learnable without too much drama. I made myself a monster cable cardy last winter, and learned a lot doing it.

  5. While seconding (ot thirding or fourthing) the varigated yarn thing, you could try getting holes into the pattern that pick out the hearts, if Miss Seven is committed to keeping the pattern and the yarn. You’d be looking for yarn overs when you look on the intertubes.

  6. Wow, you are a marvel Deborah, I’ve never managed to get the hang of purl so I’m restricted to making plain scarves. Good on ya! (or Bonza mate, in the local dialect)

  7. Aahhhhh! Now I understand. I think I will suggest to Miss Seven the Elder that designs won’t be able to be seen clearly, because the specklely yarn disguises them, but I can still do the hearts if she likes, so they are a secret just for her. And I can still put beads in them.

    Thank you so much for your help with this. I knew my e-friends would know what to do. Thank you especially to Joie who dropped in for the first time to help out with this.

    I will report on progress later…. [waves hands vaguely].

  8. See, you don’t really need me! You could join Ravelry, like all of us sad knitting gits, and receive around 1,000,000 answers to even the simplest question.

    But it’s true: teh variegations will minimise the effect of teh texture. Secret hearts could be the answer, or even lacey hearts, as Kate suggests, which are not as hard as you might think. Little holes make the outline, and you can still use the beads at the points, or in the middle.

    And Julie, if you learn to knit in the round you can make lots of stuff without using the purl stitch. True! But mastering the purl stitch will make you into a Real Woman. 🙂

  9. I see the point about going lacey, and I’m guessing it’s some variation on slipstitch, psso and making a new stitch in the next row. As people say, it’s quite easy. But those little holes are oh so tempting for little fingers, and Miss Seven the Elder oh so loves little pokey things. This is the child who poked a bead ring up her nose, resulting in a couple of courses of antibiotics before we worked out what was causing, or at least exacerbating the infections, and then a fruitless visit to the ENT clinic before having to have a GENERAL ANAESTHETIC to get the damned thing out. Result: two worried parents, four worried grandparents, one small girl who woke up bright and breezy from the anaesthetic (contra most children who wake up very grumpy from the gas), smiling and chatting to all the recovery room staff, riding back to the children’s ward on her bed and waving like the queen to other people in the long hospital corridors, and demolishing a meal at McD’s on the way back home. The bead ring was put into in a jar for her to keep. She thought she might get it out to play with again, but I sellotaped the lid down quick smart. She still took it to her preschool for “news” the next day.

    I can just see her getting her finger stuck in a lovely little lacey eyelet, and me having to cut it out (cut the eyelet, that is, not her finger).

  10. I’m in awe.

    I can knit and purl, but I don’t 🙂 I hoarded a half-made jumper, that I started before I got married, for years till I gave in and let the kids use the bits I had done for doll blankets.

  11. Yes, as said earlier, it’s the yarn’s fault. All the yarn’s fault – varigated yarn doesn’t really let patterns show. BUT there is one way to salvage the situation. Embroidery! If you were to duplicate stitch over the hearts with a solid color, contrasting yarn they’d show up. For ideas I direct you to Kristin Nicholas who has books on embroidery and design as well as a blog “”

    Good luck!

  12. My advice as well as the variagated yarn thing, is sometimes patterns pop better if they’re garter stitch on stocking stich than if they’re reverse stocking stitch on stocking stitch. I don’t know what that means for stocking stitch on reverse stocking stitch. I imagine garter stitch would stand out better on reverse stocking stitch as well.

    Your knitting looks awesome, I’ve slowed down recently, I’m clearly not spending enough time in meetings or watching Tv.

  13. If I wanted the hearts to stand out more, I’d embroider over them with a same or accent colour wool. Or a crewel wool, which is specially thinner for embroidery.
    Good luck!

  14. Both are very impressive, even if the hearts don’t show.

    “I hoarded a half-made jumper, that I started before I got married, for years”

    I started knitting a jumper while office temping in London in 1982 . . .

  15. I’m a TV knitter too! When life permits. Its nice and satisfying to one the fingers busy and create something. Good luck with your project.

  16. (that should say ‘keep one’s fingers busy’, but my fingers were so busy that they typed the wrong thing) Doh!