The Vest that Never Ends is Complete

Absolutely giddy. That’s how I felt yesterday when I finished the border and reinforced the arm holes of my circular vest. The Finnish 2+2 stitch knotwork border sucked up yarn so fast! I had to go buy more of the blue yarn.  Much to do today, so I’ll keep the post short.

Study of Knotwork vs Stitches

As I was about to start working on the knotwork edging for “the vest that never ends”, it occurred to me to try the knot I wanted with a couple different stitches. I want the knotwork edge to be crisp and clear, yet only require a chain of stitches and the stitches quick and easy to create.

In my opinion, the Oslo stitch wasn’t as sturdy and didn’t provide as much definition for the single colored knot, even when I tried tightening up the stitches.

Oslo Stitch
Oslo Stitch tightened around needle

The Finnish stitches with 4 loops all had a crisper clearer knot that was easier to see. I think the Finnish 2+2 and Finnish 3+1 stitches gave the nicest effect. (Finnish 3+1 isn’t listed as an official stitch, that I can find. But it’s a logical variant of the Finnish stitches.)

Finnish 2+2 Stitch


Finnish 1+3 (Broden) Stitch


Finnish 3+1

So I chose Finnish 2+2 for my stitch and started off on the edging with gusto. I realized half way around the vest (which is a HUGE circle), that I was going to run out of blue yarn for the edge.  Blah! This edging style eats up yarn at an alarming rate! So I bought another skein of Cascade Eco+ Yarn (478 yards) of the Lake Chelan Heather blue and was lucky it’s the same dye lot. There will be quite a bit of the yarn left over.  What to do with that? Socks? Mini vest for my youngest? Hmm…

More Tinkering with Knotwork – Study in Which Knots Work Well with Nalbinding

Yesterday I found my Danish friend Maria is working with knotwork too for the Nalbinding Festival in Denmark. So there’s 3 of us now, that I know of.  Oh I wish I could go to the festival!  Maybe next year…
Last night I attempted 3 more knots as I work through my old knotwork book. Two of which were good.
The first one was my “fail” for the evening. But it was worth trying. I learned I’ll have to tack down the looser shapes like the “s” or “z” so they stay put. I won’t just be able to make a chain of stitches and make this knot. It will have to be more planned and after so many stitches I’ll have to attach it to the other chain of stitches. Otherwise, it won’t hold together well.
This knot was tricky to “tie”. But once completed and tightened, it was so pleasing. (I may have to make a photocopy of the knots I work on and highlight each strand in a different color. My eyes kept getting lost when tying this one.)

And this one really surprised me, I thought it wouldn’t work with the longer loops to the next knot. But when tightened it worked out well.

In project news, the “vest that never ends” might actually be nearing completion. It was very close last Sunday when I took it to coffee with friends. (No the vest did not get to drink coffee.  I suspect it wanted to though. It kept being difficult to work on, as if it was trying to tell me something.)
What in your projects and experiments has surprised you?


Knotwork Tutorial II

Several bits and pieces on how to do the scarf were scattered in my blog posts. But it wasn’t a real tutorial and a few important tidbits were missing.  So I’ll write down the process for those who would like to make their own nalbound knotwork items with more complicated knots. For my examples, I use the Finnish 2+2 stitch.

This is the knot style we’ll be working with. (Page 33 of Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction.) I highlighted one part of the knot in the diagram, so we can easily see the construction.

To make the knots:
Make to chains of stitches.  One or two colors of yarn can be used.

Make a loop with one chain of stitches. I try not to let mine twist – so my knots are more uniform.

Then I place the other chain of stitches under the loop that I just made.

Now we’ll start working over and under, over and under until we’ve completed the knot.

Now make as many knots as you want. The knots do stretch out a bit. So just know that if you decide to edge the knots, for final item won’t be as long. Here are the knots I made for my scarf.
To do a row of edging:
I picked up the knot tail and did a stitch or two on it.
A) Then I picked up and made 4 stitches in the top loop of the knot. (Depending on your knots, you may need fewer or more stitches in the loop. Experiment on a few knots to find out.)
B) Next, I did 3 stitches in the chain that is between knots.
Repeat A and B until you reach the end of the knots.
Do a stitch in the tail of the knot.
Then in the end of the tail, make 4 or 5 stitches (for the corner of your work).
Continue working on the edge of your knots. I did about 3 stitches in each part of the loop on the side.
Continue turning corners and edging until you reach where you started.  Pull your stich loops a little tighter so they blend in.  Finally, weave in your ends. (I had to use the ends to cover where I started and ended.)


“Knots of Insanity” completed…and now I promise to be good

Whew! Just finished up this little “I just had to try it” experimental scarf last night so it could some with me to knitting Sunday at my local yarn shop. The knotwork went pretty quickly because I wasn’t counting it and the edging even more quickly (even though I had to count that).  Just had to figure out how many stitches to attach for each knot to make it look even.
And so I give the girl scout salute and solemnly vow to finish my circle vest.
What insanity projects have snagged you lately?

More Knotwork Experiments and Progress on “The Vest that Never Ends”

The nalbinding knotwork bug is still biting. Just after the cowl was finished, I dug out my trusty old (20+ years old) copy of Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. I tried several different knots.  The ones with large gaps do not seem to work nicely with my attempts. But tight close together knots like the ones below seem to look good after they are created.

The second one is the one that caught my interest for a fashion scarf (too many holes to be a practical scarf) done in Finnish 2+2 stitch. With these knots I haven’t been counting stitches obsessively like I did with the pretzel knot cowl. I just work long chains of the yarns and make the knots. I’ll keep going with the knots (below) until I run out of green.  I suspect these knots could be done in rows and be a fabric by themselves.  But I don’t have enough green to test that theory. So I’ll edge it in blue to make the scarf a tad wider.

The circle vest I’ve been working on officially has been given the nickname “The Vest that Never Ends”. It’s taking quite a while to finish the project, but I also thought it fit because the colors spiral out from the center into what looks like infinity and they get lost in the stripe effect.

 Only 2-4 more inches?  Maybe there is an end after all…

Nalbound Knot Work Cowl + Knotwork Pretzels Tutorial

Yes, yes. I should be working on my circle vest to have it done before the end of February for the Green Camel Gathering fiber arts event.  But I got distracted, you see.

A spiffy knotwork headband  post from one of the Facebook groups inspired me this week to start to learn how to do knotwork in nalbinding, beyond braids.  I’ve always loved Celtic and Viking knotwork, thus I was dragged (not unwillingly) into another project. Thankfully this one went quickly!

It’s been wicked cold out (windchill -20°F/-28°C to -30°F/-34°C) this week, so a cowl was the perfect project.

Nalbound Knotwork Cowl done in Finnish Stitch. Copyright Amy Vander Vorste
Nalbound cowl with knotwork – done in Finnish 2+2 stitch. A Celtic looking clasp was the pefect closure for this, to help tighten it against my face.  I couldn’t resist putting the needle in the picture too. Hubby made it from red heart wood and gave it to me for Valentine’s Day a few years ago.
Nalbound Knotwork Cowl done in Finnish Stitch. Copyright Amy Vander Vorste
The cowl with the clasp undone.
Nalbound Knotwork Cowl done in Finnish Stitch. Copyright Amy Vander Vorste
I’m trying not to giggle as my son snaps the picture of me in this cowl indoors.

Working on each of the little pretzel like knots was addictive and the work went quickly. Yarn details are on the project page. I suspect this will lead to more knotwork projects…

To help my fellow nalbinders with knotwork of their own (since it took me a couple tries to be able to make them consistently), I took pictures of each step for making the little pretzel knots.  (They’re actually overhand knots – but they look so much like pretzels!) Hopefully this will also help me remember how to do the knots too.

How to Make Knotwork “Pretzels”: (Or at least it’s how I made them. There are probably several ways to make them.)

To start, I’ll recommend making a pretzeloverhand knot and measuring it against a flat row of stitches, so you can get the width in stitches of your knots and how many stitches for each section.

Attach your work to row. Make a chain of stitches.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 2
Turn your work over. Count over from your attached work half the width of your test pretzel knot.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 3
Work with F2 connection (for strength of the join) back to last joined work.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 4
Create another chain, same length as the last one.


Turn your work, then put your chain end (with the working yarn and needle) through the loop you created.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 6
Now you have a pretzel/overhand knot.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 7
Attach it to the previous row with the F2 connection for stitches that equal half the width of your pretzel knot.
There you have it. Go forth and make pretzel knots to your heart’s content!  (I had to do 3 rows of them before I wanted to do something different.)
Now I need to get back to my circle vest…