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May, 2011

The Loop Entrelac Strap How-To Video

Today we are casting on for our The Loop Entrelac Tank for our summer KAL, and for those of you knitting along with us and trying entrelac for the first time, here is a really extensive, long winded entrelac how to video to help you get started.


The Sweatshop of Love: Entrelac Strap How-To from Patrick Tracy on Vimeo.

Cast on your 12 stitches and follow the video step by step until you’ve got a handle on entrelac. I promise you’ll love it!

KAL Week 1 – Let’s Cast On!

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Today is the day to finally cast on our Selfish Sweater Knit Along sweaters! What I love about announcing the KAL sweaters with three weeks to wait until we cast on is that everyone very diligently gauges and gets the right materials and reads over the patterns, like we are all suppose to do before starting a project but rarely do.What I hate about announcing the KAL sweaters with three weeks to wait until we cast on is that we have to wait THREE WEEKS to get started on these awesome sweaters!

So let’s dig in! There are quite a few of you knitting both of these sweaters along with me so we’ve got no time to waste. Helpful hint: There is going to be more knitting assigned for The Loop each week than with MUYM, so plan accordingly!

Make Up Your Mind

Even though the Make Up Your Mind pattern was released last month, there are already a TON of FOs on ravelry, and many of them appear short. A lot of you were concerned about this on our MUYM KAL forum, so we are going to be modifying the pattern to add 4″ of length to this tank. 2 of those inches are coming this week!

We are breaking the first band, the Cellular Stitch, into two parts and will cover our first two weeks of this KAL

This Week’s Make Up Your Mind Goal: Cast on and get started! But you’ve got 2 choices going forward:

  1. Add 2″ of K2P2 rib to the bottom of this tank. Julie suggests 1″ of rib be added to each tank, but we are adding length and security at the bottom of this tank so I’m upping it to 2″. This addition will be great if you are planning on making a very fitted tank. Depending on how many stitches you are casting on for your size you may have to increase or decrease stitches at the end to make your rib work out. Just remember to get back to your original stitch count before starting your Cellular Stitch next week.
  2. Add 2″ of Cellular Stitch, so your first band, when finished, will be between 4 1/2 – 5 1/2″ depending on your size. If you are making a looser tank, either by upping your sizing or fabric, this would be a great way to go because you wouldn’t want it clinging at your hips with a rib if it’s loose and flowy. Keep in mind that we’ll still need a way to weigh the bottom of this tank down to keep it from rolling, so at week 8 I’ll be adding a couple rounds of single crochet to the bottom edge.

Whatever way you decide to go, this week you are casting on all those stitches, joining to work in the round being SUPER careful not to twist, and making 2″ of top. Whether that be rib or Cellular Stitch is up to you.

The Loop Entrelac Tank

We might as well knock the most difficult part of this tank out early, right?! We start off by making the entrelac straps for this tank and building the top from them. If you’ve never entrelaced before this is a great project to start with, since we are only casting on 12 stitches per strap. Bonus? I made a step by step (if not terribly long-winded) how to video on getting started with this strap! Cast on and knit along with the video with a little one on one entrelac help.

You are starting with your contrasting color here, but honestly both colors are used pretty evenly throughout the top. And remember to work in some main color stripes as you go if you choose!

This Week’s The Loop Entrelac Tank Goal: Make one strap. Easy as that! Well, it’s entrelac, so it’s not THAT terribly easy, but your start and end points are very clear!

(Don’t tell anyone but next week’s goal will be to make the second strap. Big surprise, right?!)


So be sure to throw your needles in your bag before you head out to your Memorial Day BBQ because you’ve got some work to do! Be sure to post pictures on our our Ravelry Group or email them to me so I can show off your handiwork on next week’s blog. I want to see some HOTT entrelac!

As always, email me, comment on the blog, post to our Ravelry Group, or tweet with hashtag #solkal to get questions answered.

Good luck and happy knitting!

Renegade Brooklyn Prep, Part 5: SEWING

One of the major reasons I had to run back to Minneapolis this past weekend was because my sewing machine is here and I have a shit-ton of sewing to do for Renegade, which is a mere 2 weeks away.

Project Bag Number, Like, 51

This has been my view for the past 2 days. I need 63 project bags to fill with kits for Renegade and, of course, I ran out of fabric at 54. Is it worth hand dying 15 more yards of muslin for 9 more bags? I might just try to work with what I’ve got. SO CLOSE!

Millions and Millions of Bags

Making drawstrings for all these bags are on my agenda for the weekend, between showing my family around Minneapolis.

I won’t be putting my sewing machine away when I’m done sewing these bags, though. I’ll be displaying all my jewelry and accessories in these adorable felt baskets from Katie over at Under the Red Umbrella! Aren’t they cute? I’ll be making 10 of them and, despite how cute they are, it is going to get annoying, too.

My Pattern!

Aaaaand as if I needed a bigger head, between sewing bags I hung up the beautiful frame my friend Stefanie made for me of my pattern in Interweave Knits. I was joking about framing it on twitter, and then I thought, ‘Why the hell not?!’ and then Stefanie gave me this absolutely gorgeous picture. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t put a smile on my face every time my eyes fall on it. It brings a little legitimacy to my work station, right?

Entrelacing Up A Storm

I’ll also be making an entrelac strap how to video for my The Loop Entrelac Tank this weekend! We’re starting with straps on Monday so first time entrelac-ers will get a (hopefully very) helpful how to video to go along with Monday’s instruction.

I’m officially appointing all of you to get some sleep for me this weekend, ok? It’s a good thing I psychotically love all of this!


We were greeted by tornadoes hitting Minneapolis on the way here Sunday, but once they cleared out it’s been lovely getting reacquainted to this beautiful city.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

We’ve spent the last couple days showing my best girl Rachel around. She has never been here before so we had to show her an awesome time!

Crazy Mirror Sculpture

Yesterday we played in the Sculpture Garden, which is very close to our apartment in Minneapolis. I showed it off a couple years ago, and little did I know I would soon be living within walking distance!

Rachel, PT, and I Reflecting All Over the Place

We ate a ton, walked a ton, and hopefully sold Rachel on Minneapolis so she’ll move here soon.

I’ll be working my tail off for the next couple days before my mom, sister in law Emily, and Baby Nolan drive up from Michigan for the weekend. Leaving for Renegade Brooklyn in T-15 days!

KAL Prep: Gauging

No exclamation points in that blog title! Gauging is the worst. I think that one thing that is awesome about doing these knit alongs is that you order yarn and then have to WAIT and WAIT for the KAL to start. It’s extra motivation to get all your ducks in a row.

Like reading through the entire pattern. Something that is super important but I know I never do. Both KAL patterns, though? READ! I even read my own pattern again. How about that?!

Another necessary evil? Gauging.

The Loop Entrelac Tank Gauge Swatch

To be a good example to all you KAL-ers out there, I did a gauge swatch for The Loop Entrelac Tank, even though I wrote the pattern so the gauge is my own gauge. That is how much I love you guys!

More Loop Gauging

Well, divide that love in half because I only did half a swatch. With my Simply Cotton Sport in Bermuda Heather and size 4 needles I got a perfect 2″x2″ by casting on 12 sts and knitting 12 rows. Holla!

Make Up Your Mind Gauge

The gauge swatch for Make Up Your Mind was a little more difficult.

With my size 6 needles and my Comfy Fingering Weight yarn in Hollyberry I cast on 16 and knit 32 rows in Julie’s checkerboard pattern.

I then did something I’ve never done before: BLOCKED A GAUGE SWATCH! Julie told me to do it so I did it. It’s always a good idea to see how your yarn is going to block with you are using larger needles for your yarn.

As you can see in the pic above, those 32 rows worked out to 4″ perfectly.

AAAaaand Not Wide Enough

Horizontally, however, we’re at about 3 1/8″. That is pretty bad. I’ll be losing almost an inch every 4″ of sweater, so if I need a size 36 that is like 7″ of sweater that won’t be there. I’ve got 2 options:

  1. Up my needle size to make a larger, albeit looser fabric.
  2. Knit a larger size to get a sweater that actually fits me.

I’m hesitating to up my needle size because I don’t want to lose the integrity of the different patterned stitches in the sweater, so looks like I’m knitting a larger size!

I’m losing 7″ for my own size, so I guess I’ll just add 7 to 36 and round up, to get a 44″ tank size. (no math was used in the execution of this formula)

The bottom line here is that I’d rather have a looser tank, one that hangs pretty and doesn’t stretch across my boobs unflatteringly, so I’d rather knit a larger size than even I think I’ll need.

See why gauging is important?! Take this week to gauge and fiddle around with your sizing. Email me or post gauging questions on our ravelry forum.

We cast on for real in ONE WEEK! I can’t wait! There is still time to get in on our knit along! Get all important KAL information over here, and email me at allyson [at] thesweatshopoflove [dot] com to get on my KAL mailing list.