Happy Valentine’s Day!
My awesome husband gave me a box of chocolate truffles and these wonderfully geeky coasters from my favorite TV show. Obviously you can see why I married him.
In honor of Mal March, I’m offering a Ravelry coupon code good for 20% off any of my self-published patterns. Enter the code MM2013 during checkout (either from this website or through Ravelry) to get the discount through March 15th.
Wishing you and yours a great Valentine’s Day filled with fiber!
Whew, it’s been a while since I’ve posted! I do have a pretty good excuse, though. Besides the fact that my current knitting projects are two secret yarn company designs that I can’t show you, no matter how much I wish I could, there’s also this:
As of last week, the hubs and I are the proud owners of this house! We’ve been busy running around getting things ready to move in. I’m going to have a great workspace for my knit designs and plenty of yarn storage space. It’s pretty dang exciting.
But somewhere in the middle of all that, I managed to wrap up test knitting on my newest sweater design and get it published. So here, without further ado, is Full Circle:
I finished the knitting on this sweater back in the summer (gulp! Can’t believe it’s been that long!), but I couldn’t show it as an FO because I sent it in for an online magazine’s call for submissions. When I got the word they weren’t going to use it, I started the process of self-publishing the design. And now I get to show it off!
Pattern: My own Full Circle Cardigan pattern. I wanted a long, cozy cardigan when I moved back to the Midwest, so I decided to design one. I threw in the fun bubbly cables because, well, I like cables.
Yarn: Araucania Toconao, purchased from Little Knits when they were having their ridiculous full-bag sale ($35 for ten skeins!). I loved working with this yarn–it’s squishy and reminiscent of my beloved Tosh Vintage.
The only thing that bothered me, actually, was the obvious inaccuracy of the yardage given on the yarn label. I used about 6.5 skeins for the whole sweater, including two extensive swatches. If I use the 139 yds/skein given on the label, this was about 900 yds. I can’t knit a regular-length, all-stockinette sweater with 900 yds of Aran weight, so I knew that was waaaay off.
With some help from the Little Knits Ravelry group, I figured out that their skeins are regularly in the 160-170 yd range, which made much more sense, so I put a note in the pattern to this effect. I guess it’s better to get more yarn than advertised rather than less… but it’s still rather annoying.
Notes: I think my favorite part of this design is the teeny sleeve cables. They make me happy. :-)
From the pattern page:
Have you been dreaming of a lightweight pullover for indoor wear, changing seasons, or winter in temperate climates? Look no further than Dream a Little Dream. This stylish but still casual pullover is light as a feather and easy to knit. Mock cable rib at the hems and upper back adds texture and keeps the knitting interesting.
This sweater is constructed from the top down in the round and is completely seamless. The only finishing is picking up and knitting the neckband and buttonband placket.
XS (S, M, L / 1X, 2X, 3X)
Finished bust measurement:
30.5 (33.75, 37, 41.25 / 44.75, 49, 53.25)”, or 77.5 (85.5, 94, 105 / 113.5, 124.5, 135.5) cm
Shown in size M with 1” of negative ease
madelinetosh tosh merino light (100% merino; 420 yds/384 m per 100g skein): 3 (3, 3, 4 / 4, 4, 5) skeins in Worn Denim
If substituting yarn, you will need approximately 900 (1000, 1150, 1300 / 1450, 1600, 1750) yds, or 825 (925, 1050, 1175 / 1325, 1450, 1600) meters, of fingering or sport-weight yarn.
NOTE: This sweater is designed to be knit at a loose gauge. A DK or worsted weight yarn won’t drape like the original, even if the gauge is right. Fingering or sport-weight yarn is recommended.
Guess what guess what guess what? I just found out not one, not two, but three of my new patterns are now available for purchase!
These are designs I did for Universal Yarn back in March (remember when I had all that knitting I couldn’t show you right around that time?). Well, the pattern collection, Universal Yarn PC550 Deluxe Worsted Vol. 4, is out!
With no further ado, here are the patterns (all pictures by Shane Baskin/Black Box Studios):
I’m very fond of the cables on this sweater (they’re on the back too, although I don’t have a picture to show you, unfortunately). Increases between lines of rib on the sides give it a swingy A-line shape. Let’s just say it’s lucky this sample was knit in a size too small for me… I would have had a really hard time giving it up otherwise.
I named the sweater after this little town we stayed in when we visited the west coast of Ireland a few years ago. It was August, and although it was warmish, it was damp and drizzly most of the time. A wool cardigan like this would have been perfect.
This hat uses a lot of twisted stitches to make those cool lines of rib between the diamond patterns. I was inspired by pictures of some old Aran sweaters that currently reside in museums. When the hat was right off the needles, the fabric was doing this really cool bias thing (due to the twisted stitches). I decided to block it out straight, but I think I’m going to make another one of these and let it do its thing. It was a different look, but still neat.
I think these little mitts knit up in about four episodes of Doctor Who. Totally fun, and just enough pattern to be interesting without frustrating.
I’m so glad to finally be able to share these patterns/FOs with y’all! I had a lot of fun knitting them, and I’d love to hear what you think. :-)
Why helloooo, Knit Picks fall catalog. I received you two days ago, but now I finally have time to flip through…
And look whose Hipster Stripe Cardigan is featured on page 8!
Isn’t the model adorable? She totally looks like she’s thinking hipster thoughts, heh.
Another design milestone!
Today’s topic: Improving Your Skillset. How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base?
I would consider myself an advanced intermediate knitter. I can (obviously) design patterns, but there are still many skills I don’t know, or don’t know well.
There are a few skills I’m pretty confident about. Like complex cables:
Socks (including stockings and slippers, which I prefer because they’re so much quicker!):
Which wraps up the list of skills I’m confident in… and brings me to the skills I’m not!
Here are a few that could be better:
1. Short rows. I’m okay at these, but they never turn out quite as I’d like them to–always a little messy or misplaced. I’ve been bookmarking alternative short-row methods for a while (shadow wraps, German short rows, Japanese short rows), and sometime when I’ve got a lot of knitting dead time (ha!) I’m going to do some mega-swatches and try them out.
2. Intarsia. I’ve done it, but it was fiddly and awful and I hated it. Here, for posterity, are the only two intarsia projects I’ve ever done:
And here’s a list of things I haven’t tried at all (but want to!):
1. Steeking. Scares the crap out of me. I don’t have a sewing machine (or access to one), so I know I’ll have to figure out how to REALLY reinforce those center stitches before I dive in.
2. Complex lace. I’ve never done nupps or bobbles, never knit with beads, and never done lace patterning on both right and wrong side rows. This is more a case of not finding a pattern I’d like to knit than anything else, honestly…. I don’t wear or knit shawls (although I’m working on a design for one right now, oddly enough!), and I’m not a big fan of how most of the froofy lace stuff looks. But I’d still like to try it!
3. Crochet. I know how to single-crochet around the edges of things, but that’s about it. I would love to actually make a whole crochet project someday.
That was a fun list to create. Makes me want to go work on my shawl design, actually :-)
The baby blanket pattern is now up for sale! You can find it here.
It’s gotten a really nice response on Ravelry, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :-)
Now I just have to keep the sample in pristine condition until the baby shower next month… hmmm. Some cat-proofing may be in order.
A few days ago, I finished the sweater I’ve been working on. Today, hubby and I got some pictures, just in time for FO Friday!
I named it Bevin, which happens to be my middle name. Hey, I never claimed to be really creative with pattern names. It seemed appropriate for this design, somehow.
I’m really, really happy with the way this one turned out. The twisted-stitch detail goes up both sides of the front and back and stops right before the bust shaping (no need for any stretched-out motifs emphasizing the size of my bust, thankyouverymuch).
This sweater provided me with some challenges. I was reminded (more than once) why I tend to knit sweaters in the round rather than in pieces–I couldn’t try it on as I went, had to make sure the pieces were EXACTLY the same size, had to deal with all the seaming at the end, etc. But I wanted the yarn to be appropriate for summer, and the cotton/linen blend really needed the extra structure of seams to prevent any sagging or bagging.
Here are the specs:
Pattern: my own! Soon to be published through Knit Picks’ wonderful Independent Designer Program. Stay tuned!
Yarn: Knit Picks CotLin. I’m not terribly fond of working with cotton or linen (give me a nice squishy wool any day), but I can honestly say this sweater will be more comfortable to wear here in SoCal than most of my wool sweaters. It’s one of those process vs. product questions… and I think it was worth some discomfort if the finished item is so nice.
Notes: Now it’s time to write up the pattern in different sizes (I want to do XS – 3X, at least), then get it to some test knitters and a tech editor. I’ll be running the test through the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry, if anyone’s interested–hopefully I’ll have a call for testers up by Monday.
My new pattern is the Europos Scarf, inspired by Barbara Walker’s interpretation of the famous “knitting” fragment discovered in the Indus River Valley around 250 A.D. The fragment was dated back thousands of years and was long thought to be the earliest example of knit fabric, but they later proved the technique used was actually nalbinding, not knitting at all.
There’s a fascinating Knitty article by Julie Theaker here that mentions the Dura-Europos fragment. Check it out if you’re interested!
Now that the history lesson’s out of the way, I can talk about the scarf, heh. The sample was really, really fun to knit–one of those designs where everything works the first time and the finished product actually looks better than what you saw in your head! The motif from Barbara Walker #2 included edge stitches to keep the piece rectangular, but I decided I liked the undulating shape without the edges (plus, it makes the scarf super-quick to knit, since you narrow down to only a few stitches between each “leaf”).
I also changed the decreases, since the one BW specified looked sort of odd to me. I decided to go with a purl lifted increase (PLI) after swatching: new to me, but easy to work once you get the hang of it and looks pretty in the pattern! The scarf’s reversible, too–not exactly the same on both sides, but pretty either way.
I used some pretty Rowan Cashsoft DK to knit the sample. My sister-in-law brought all the way from England for me as a birthday present last summer!
The scarf is perfect for warmer climes: a nice pop of color against a black coat, but not too warm or stifling. I think I’ll wear it a lot this winter!
The pattern for this scarf is available to purchase for $4.00 here.