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Knitty!

November 2

It’s been a few weeks now, but the thrill of having my Eleanor Cowl included in Knitty has not worn off!

Knitty, cowl, lace, knitting

 

Knitty, knitty.com, cowl, lace, knitting

I used Lorna’s Lace’s Shepherd Sport for the pewter cowl above. It’s such an unusual, gorgeous neutral! Eleanor is a quick knit, and Lorna’s Laces’ colors are so abundant, I can see making several of these cowls for friends and also to accent various pieces of my own wardrobe.

I love the warm cashmere blend found in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Purple is a popular color right now, so I made this version of the cowl too.

 Knitty, knitty.com, cowl, lace

 Eleanor was inspired by a pattern I found in a Japanese stitch dictionary. I altered the pattern for the bottom section of the cowl so that it would take on a funnel shape – larger at the bottom to fit over a garment, and smaller at the top to stay closer to the neck.

Knitty, knitty.com, cowl, lace

 

I polled my knitting friends on Facebook about whether to design the cowl to be knit flat, which can make blocking the lace easier, or whether to design it in the round, which makes the knitting easier. The results were split so I wrote the pattern both ways!

Lots of knitters over on Ravelry have been making the cowl. I love to see the various yarns and beautiful array of colors that are being used.  If you want to check out their projects, click here:

As always, I send bouquets of gratitude to Susan Claudino for an awesome job knitting the pewter sample of the cowl.

Springtime Socks

June 2

As you may know, we now have a part-time home near where I grew up in the Midwest. I’m not used to living in the suburbs where other people can see me. In California, the only people who might get weirded out by my photographing socks are the deer and foxes and newts. Well, and my husband at first, but he got over it after a while. Here in the suburbs, I can only guess at what my new neighbors might think as I diligently pose socks around the yard. They haven’t come over to introduce themselves yet. Maybe this is why. (“The lady who used to live here was so…. normal”, they lament to each other, peering into our yard.)

Nonetheless, here are the socks I created using Sockotta Sock yarn and some leftover Regia 4-ply. I adore knitting with jacquard-patterned yarn like the Sockotta. The ever-changing colors keep the knitting entertaining.

 

I find the Sock Wizard software a handy tool for making socks. Once I do a swatch, it’s easy to plug the gauge into the software and come up with a pattern that is exactly the size I’m looking for. I’ve used it often enough to know that I always need to make the heel length longer. And I always put some sort of ribbing into the leg. Even with a good cuff, the legs fall down when I knit straight stockinette.

I’m not sure I’m crazy about the afterthought heel. What is your favorite heel?

Knit Picks Pattern

April 8

I’m excited and grateful to be part of Knit Pick’s Independent Designer Program! The Knit Picks version of my Smock Top Sweater uses their beautiful Merino Style yarn. I’m crazy for the Kenai color seen here:

 

I have a Japanese Maple that leafs out red in the spring. Doesn’t it look like fall?

I appreciate Knit Pick’s including me in their Independent Designers Program. You can read more about it and see other patterns here.

Many thanks to Susan Claudino for doing an awesome job knitting the sample for the Knit Picks Smock Top Sweater! She’s a talented knitter, and you can admire her work on her NoKnitSherlock Ravelry page.

For anybody who’d like a refresher on how to knit smocking, I’ll remind you I’ve posted a YouTube video that demonstrates the technique.

 

Braided Cable Hat – Ravelympics 2010

March 2

There’s nothing like a good challenge to spice up life! I had a blast (in panicky sort of way) participating in Ravelry’s knitting mayhem otherwise known as Ravelympics 2010. Thousands of knitters make projects with the idea of casting on during the Olympics’ opening ceremony and being done by the closing ceremony. Knitters can choose different events to “compete” in – hats, afghans, sweaters or dozens of other categories.

I, of course, had to choose the Designer Biathlon. I love the biathlon events in the real Olympics, and I love to design. But here was the challenge -  to cast on, design a project, write the pattern for it, photograph it, have it tech edited, and then publish it during the allotted time. Whew!

Here’s the result!

I chose Cascade 220 as the yarn, since it comes in so many great colors. The braided cable cuff is made first. I include instructions for grafting stitches together in pattern. When the hat is complete, the cuff is folded up. The circumference is about 20″, which will fit most women.

You may download the pattern for free here:

Smock Top Sweater

January 11

My Smock Top Sweater design, originally published in Knotions, is now available here. And its free!

The traditional style lends itself well to dressing up (maybe with pretty black slacks?) or dressing down (paired with jeans for cozy fall and winter gatherings). Its versatility makes it useful in a time when we are all trying to get the most out of our garments.

The sweater features a form-flattering ribbed body topped by feminine smocking. The turtleneck is knit with ever-increasing sizes of needles to drape softly at the neck line.

Knit from the bottom up, the body’s 2×2 ribbing flows seamlessly into the smocking pattern that adorns the chest. At the top of the smocking, the ribs flow up to match at the shoulder, making for a pretty join.

And now for something really fun….

I know I was a little intimidated the first time I tried to knit smocking. Like a lot of seeming challenges, once I tried it, I nearly laughed at how easy it is. I’ve made a YouTube video demonstrating how to make the smocking, in case you’d like a little guidance.

The updated version of the Smock Top Sweater pattern includes corrections, clarifications, and the addition of metric measurements.

The Smock Top Sweaters that I knit for myself are made from the yarn called for in the pattern, Rowan Classic Yarns’ Cashsoft DK. I adore this yarn! It’s soft against my skin, and the bit of cashmere  content gives it warmth without excess weight.

I caught Stella (my dress form) wearing it early one morning, hanging out by the last of my dahlias.

I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start. Happy knitting!

Smock Top Sweater Correction

December 22

A few days ago I was knitting with my buddies at my LYS. In came a gal who was knitting my Smock Top Sweater design, as seen in Knotions magazine. It felt so good to actually know someone who’s making my pattern. My little glow of pride was quickly dashed when she pointed out that there is an  error in the pattern. Two lines were swapped. Uhg.

For those of you who have already gotten the pattern from Knotions, please note the corrected lines for the Back section of the pattern should read:

2. For sizes 30, 38, 45.5, and 53” / 76, 96.5, 115.5 and 135.5 cm only:
 K2, *p2, k2; rep from * to end.
For sizes 34, 41.5, and 49.5” / 86.5, 105.5, 125.5 cm only:
K1, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * to last 4 sts, k2, p1, k1.

For those of you who have already started knitting,  before the armholes start you can just flip the work over so the WS and RS are reversed for the back and for the front. Your selvedge stitch will be a purl stitch, but everything else should work out all right.

I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.

The new pattern can be found on the Smock Top Sweater page.

Braided Mittens for Mom

November 10

As it cools off here in Cleveland, I want to make sure my Mom has something warm on her hands when we take her outside. I had a blast making these mittens for her. The color looks great with her bright blue eyes.

I often wear my hair in a braid down my back. By using the braided cable in the mittens, I’m hoping she’ll be reminded of  how much I love her when she wears them.

Mittens-1

 

Because of Mom’s stroke, one hand has problems with swelling. We couldn’t get commercially-made mittens to fit over that hand. I’m grateful I can knit, so I could make the mitten for that hand wider. A nice custom fit!

In the process of making these, I found another handy use for lifelines. I’ve used them in lace projects, but it only now dawns on me that they’re a good way to mark the beginning of shaping for mittens’ tops and socks’ toes.  I put the lifeline in when I thought the mitten was long enough, then proceeded with shaping the top. The mitten was still too short. I measured the deficiency so I’d know how much extra knitting would be needed. Fixing the problem was a simple matter of ripping back to the lifeline, knitting the extra length that I had already measured, then shaping  the top again. Perfect!

Mittens-Life-Line-1

 

I used Rowan’s Lima yarn. It’s mostly baby alpaca, with some merino wool and nylon mixed in. I liked the yarn’s woven construction.

Lima-Closeup

One of these days I’d like to make a simple turtleneck from this yarn. It’ll help me make that mental shift from California to (brrr) Ohio!

 

Santa Fe Mitts & Smock Top Sweater

August 26

I’m just full of exciting pattern news today!

First, the pattern for the Santa Fe Mitts is complete. You might remember that I originally came up with the idea from an ill-fated trip to Santa Fe. They were meant for my husband to wear when photographing in the cool New Mexico mornings. Instead he decided to break his elbow. Is that akin to the curse of the boyfriend sweater?

Here’s a re-creation of what might have been, had the photography workshop not gotten derailed:

Mitts-on-Steve-2

The design is sized for a Mens’ Medium and Large. The hand is fair isle, and the pattern is charted in full color. The mitts feature a ribbed thumb. At the top, the stitch count decreases from the hand area so the ribbing stays snug around the fingers and the mitt doesn’t droop. And still speaking of ribbing, the cuff is meant to be long, so wrists stay warm even when bending.

Reflecting Southwest colors, I chose Lorna’s Laces Sock yarn for the oranges, blues and green. I wanted a rock and bark feel for the background, and elected to use some heather colors in Regia 4-Ply Wool. The sock yarn makes the mitts washable, a good idea for guys. My hubby does a wonderful job when he does the laundry; asking him to hand-wash delicate knits would be pushing it, though.

Here he is, recovering from a long day shooting pictures:

Mitts-on-Steve-1

And showing he’s a tree hugger at heart:

Mitts-on-Steve-3

The motifs I use in the design reflect, I hope, a Native American heritage, with hints of local mountains, water, and trees.

Santa-Fe-Mitts-page1-1

The design calls for small quanities of some colors. I’m going to make socks out of the unused portions of the skeins and balls. I’m thinking of using the Regia as a main color, since it wears so well on the foot, and then making a cool design for the leg out of the beautiful Lorna’s Laces.

In other news, I’m excited to have my Smock Top Sweater design included in the new issue of Knotions, the online magazine. There are more pictures of it along with the pattern itself on Knotions, but I wanted to post one I’m particularly fond of. I shot this very early one morning, and loved the way dawn’s light made the flower arrangement glow. It reminded me of old Dutch Masters still lifes – sort of a moody quality, but with colors that pop.

Smock-Top-Flowers-2

Thank you, Jody, for providing me with the opportunity to have my pattern published in your online magazine!

Santa Fe Mitts Progress

July 21

I’ve had fun raiding my sock yarn stash for the Santa Fe Mitts I’m designing. I settled on Lorna’s Laces for the oranges, blues and greens. The deep reddish color is named “Manzanita” – the arid climate plant with the lovely red stems. Perfect!

Regia 4-Ply provides the heathered background colors. I’m going for the look of rocks and tree bark.

Santa-Fe-Mitt-2

After a few more adjustments, and my tech editor finding all the mistakes that I’m sure aren’t there when I read the pattern, and the Santa Fe Mitts pattern will be ready. It’ll be sized for men, in mens’ medium and large.

Santa Fe Inspiration

July 8

Last year my husband and I were enrolled in a week-long photo workshop put on by National Geographic. It was held in Santa Fe – we’d never been there before.  Some of the photography sessions started early in the morning.

Naturally, I wanted to accessorize my hubby. I latched onto  fingerless mitts as a way to keep his hands warm but dexterous in the cool mountain air. I looked at photos of the area, and grabbed some items from around our house that fit the area’s color palette. Then I got swatching. Here’s my inspiration board:

Santa-Fe-Inspiration-sml

I like the earthy orange in the pot, but opted to replace its grayish/teal with the more vibrant blue in the picture frame. A splash of green made a good accent against the oranges, and represents the foliage found in the riparian parts of the region.

Sadly, my husband broke his elbow – spectacularly, poor guy – just before we were to go. So I put aside the project until now. I think it’ll be a great pattern for Fall, even if it is a year and a lot of miles away from Santa Fe!

I like the colors together and have finished a preliminary chart for the fair isle pattern. I love this stage of designing!

Fingerless Mitts Swatch

April 8

Remember that picture of the yarns as seen through the Teleidoscope? You don’t?? Ok, to refresh your memory here it is:

teleidoscope-5a-colors

Here are how the colors came together in the actual swatch:

swatch1

The swatch is my launching point for making fingerless gloves from a book I’ll be reviewing later in the month.  The book walks the knitter through all aspects of planning and designing her own projects. Now that I have a color combination that I like and gauge from my swatch, I’ll follow the author’s simple worksheets to create fingerless gloves just the way I want them.  I can hardly wait to get started!

Nifty Gizmo

April 3

What do kaleidoscopes and knitting have to do with each other? I’ve come to find out that the beautiful patterns we all enjoyed as kids looking through kaleidoscopes and the yarn colors we use as knitters today come together through a nifty gizmo that KnitPicks calls a Teleidoscope.

The Teleidoscope is a simple cardboard tube.

teleidoscope-2

The clear ball lens at one end distorts whatever you’re looking at – in this case yarn. You look through the other end, down through mirrors that crate a kaleidoscopic effect.

I’m embarking on another stranded knitting project. It will – I hope – help bust a bit of my stash. I knew I wanted to use a teal-ish blue I have on hand, plus a creamy white. But I needed some accent colors to jazz it up. How would they look all together? This is where the Teleidoscope came in. Here are the two main colors as seen through the the Teleidoscope:

teleidoscope-2a-colors

As you look through the Teleidocsope you add and subtract yarns to see their effect on each other, including the proportions of one color to another. I tried a variety of accent colors, and here’s how a mustard looked added to the original:

teleidoscope-3-colors

I kind of like it. But the pattern I’m using calls for “bright, multi-colored ribbing.” Hmm…. it needs more. I threw in a bit of brown I have left over from a scarf. And then tossed in a coral from another project. Here are how the five balls of yarn looked through the Teleidscope: 

teleidoscope-5a-colors

I’ll use all five of these colors in the ribbing for my new project – fingerless gloves. The colorful stripes will make a nice accent to the teal and white hand, and will maintain the pattern’s ethnic tradition. I can hardly wait to swatch!

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