I’m excited and grateful to have a pattern in the current issue of Knitty, the fabulous online magazine. Farrand is, if I may say so myself, a really fun and easy pattern to make. Malabrigo Rios yarn offers up wonderful colors to pair together. Better yet, the fiber is super-soft and a joy to wear.
The pattern came about when I fell in love with some Malabrigo Rios variegated yarn. I swatched several stitch patterns in a quest to find the one that showed off the variegated colors in an exciting way. Farrand’s stitch pattern causes the colors to pop, especially framed in solid colored accent stripes. Here the variegated colorway is Diana, framed by the nearly-solid Sabiduria.
Rios’ gorgeous saturated colors also drew me to pair nearly-solids together in the shorter cowl version. I loved the deep golden Sunset color with the rusty-brown Marte. I hope to give knitters inspiration to try their own favorite color pairings.
Farrand includes instructions for both the short cowl and longer loop versions. Both require just one skein each of the MC and CC. The longer loop version can be looped again for a thick and snuggly cowl:
Why the name Farrand, you ask? Beatrix Farrand was an accomplished landscape architect in the first half of the 20th century. I love her garden designs. The stitch pattern reminds me of her use of latticework as a way to bring vertical elements to a garden.
A word about Knitty.com…
Knitty has done amazing things over the years to bring creative, fun patterns to the knitting community…for free. We’re all aware that the publishing industry has faced major challenges lately. I heartily encourage all my readers to consider helping Knitty to keep bringing us quality, playful patterns and articles by becoming Patrons.
Photography by my very talented friend Gale Zucker
Knitty Winter 2016
Malabrigo Rios yarn
I almost got it done in time for Christmas….instead it has turned into my first completed project of 2017. This is the hat I designed for Vogue Knitting, Fall 2015. I hate to play favorites, but it really is one of my favorite designs to knit – the cables keep it interesting and I like the finished piece. With snow coming soon I need a warm hat, so I worked on this over the past couple of months.
I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in the Kingfisher color. I like the teal color. Best of all, the cashmere makes it warm and soft.
Needless to say, the pro photographer at Vogue Knitting did a far better job than I did!
Vogue Knitting Fall 2015 photographed by Rose Callahan on May 21 and 27, 2015 in NYC
In case you missed it, back issues of Vogue Knitting, Fall 2015 are available here.
I’m thrilled to release a new pattern, just in time for cold weather knitting….
It’s winter, and there’s nothing I like better than a warm, snuggly scarf. Double knitting makes for a doubly-cozy thickness and it’s reversible. My “Let It Snow” pattern includes instructions for two weights of yarn. The dk version features Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in two colors:
The heavier Rowan Felted Tweed Aran makes a great width for guys. For this one I’ve used three colors:
As I experimented with the snowflake motif I liked the play of positive and negative space that emerged. And there’s a sweet little heart on each edge of the snowflake, which I find endearing.
The pattern is written with the less experienced knitter in mind, using the slip-stitch method. This means you only need to know how to knit, purl and slip stitches. With detailed instructions on how to use the charts, you can grab a pad of sticky notes and be all set to start stitching. Knitters who are experienced in working with any of the two-stranded-at-once techniques can certainly use those methods instead.
I love a pattern that lends itself to lots of variations. The Let It Snow scarf can be made with lighter or heavier yarn, depending on whether you’re going for a wide wintery width or a more feminine narrow one. Or maybe smaller, for a child, in primary colors? You can play with solids or tweeds or yarns that transition from one shade to another. As long as you use yarns with some drape to them, you can let your imagination go wild. The pattern includes a “Make It Your Own” section for ideas. Here are a couple swatches I played with:
I hope you’ll enjoy the new Let It Snow pattern. It can be purchased for $6.00 from Ravelry or Love Knitting.
Rowan Felted Tweed Aran yarn can be purchased online or in person from the Ball & Skein & More in Cambria, California
The wonderful photos were taken by the amazing Gale Zucker
I love my local animal shelter! Rescue Village in Geauga County, Ohio, has the most dedicated staff I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I know I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s really fun to knit blankets for their cats. Thick blankets help to keep the kitties cushioned from the hard bottom of their cages. I love that the shelter sends the blankets home with the cats when they get adopted so they have something familiar to have in their new surroundings.
Despite my friends’ and relatives’ attempts to give me cats, a toy stuffed animal had to suffice for the photo shoot.
I used the Double Density stitch pattern from my Gimme Shelter Cat Blankets pattern. I used two skeins of the fun Cascade Big Wheel yarn and enjoyed the stripes the yarn creates all on its own. It can be machine washed and dried, which is a necessary attribute for the shelter. The Double Density stitch pattern, worked on #9 needles (two sizes down from the ball band), gives the little blanket wonderful thickness. I’ve seen cats at the shelter happily dig their claws into these blankets and blissfully knead away. Then they curl up for a nap while they wait for a human to come play with them.
You can download the free pattern here and make blankets for your local shelter, too!
I am super excited to finally start my first Custom Fit sweater. The brainchild of designer Amy Herzog, the Custom Fit program allows you to create sweaters that fit perfectly because they are created for your specific measurements.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that during our recent yarn crawl I ended up with a ridiculous amount of yarn earmarked to make sweaters. That was the impetus for me to finally try Amy’s ingenious program. Do I know how to alter sweater patterns to better fit me? A qualified yes…I still struggle, especially when altering armholes and sleeve caps. At the end of the day, I have limited confidence that my alterations will work as I hope. That’s why I wanted to give Custom Fit a try.
Here’s how it worked:
I signed up for Custom Fit. Once registered, I entered all my measurements into my account. It was easy, since the measuring instructions are very clear. Next I chose a pattern to buy. I wanted my first Custom Fit sweater to be simple so I could easily understand how the program works. I chose the basic v-neck Drumlin Cardigan.
Once I told the program my gauge it started to create the pattern using my own measurements, plus gave me an option to refine my measurements even further. Rather than “secretary’s spread”, I refer to my hip area as “knitter’s butt.” I altered the hip measurement so that the back would be wider than the front to accommodate where I carry my weight.
I hit a button and out came the pattern I purchased, completely customized for my measurements and gauge. It’s like magic!
Drumlin is exactly the style I had in mind when I bought my gorgeous dk-weight Cestari “Ash Lawn Collection” yarn.
When I make sweaters I like to start with a sleeve. It’s a good chance to see whether my gauge swatch is truth or fiction! Miracle of miracles, the sleeve and gauge swatch match and the sleeve is the exact measurements that my Custom Fit pattern says it should be. I can’t tell you how relaxing it was to knit the sleeve, knowing all the shaping was already calculated for me and the final measurements would fit me.
In addition to the online program, Custom Fit can be found in many yarn shops. A trained staff member will take your measurements and get you started in the program. They’re there to help you every step of the way.
If you follow my blog, you know I recently released the Aran Reversible Scarf as an individual pattern. I am delighted to announce that it is now available on Knit Picks, using their fabulous Capretta yarn. As you can see in these photos, Capretta has great stitch definition. What you can’t see is that its combination of merino wool, cashmere, and a touch of nylon makes it exceedingly soft.
Using a ribbed cable technique, this scarf is surprisingly easy to work. The stitch pattern is easy to memorize. With cables forming on both sides simultaneously, it seems like a really cool magic trick!
I hope you’ll give this pattern a try. It’s a lot of fun to make!
Photography by Gale Zucker
Passport in hand, I’ll soon go on the Yarn Discovery Tour, learning more about the yarn shops in my new(ish) domicile in Northeast Ohio. I purchased my “Passport” from The Artful Yarn in Chagrin Falls. Any of the 15 shops participating in the Tour sell the Passports. The list is impressive! Even given more than two weeks for the Tour, I wonder whether I’ll make it to all 15. It sure would be fun! I’m already plotting my course for the September 6-24 dates.
I hope I can stay disciplined enough to bring patterns with me to shop for. I might begin with this pretty Acorn Trail cardigan from Amy Herzog:
It’s not always easy to find an entire sweater’s worth of yarn, so I’ll pick out some smaller projects too. I checked my “Favorites” list on Ravelry the other day and was shocked to find over 500 patterns! It’s high time to start whittling that list down! The Yarn Discovery Tour will be the perfect way to pair yarns with those projects.
Photo credit for Acorn Trail: Jonathan Herzog
Acorn Trail Pattern: on Ravelry and on Amy Herzog’s website
As many of you know, Ravelry holds a crazy-fun event during the Olympics called the Ravellenic Games. We will cast on during the Opening Ceremonies, and aim to have our projects finished by the time the torch is extinguished at the end of the Closing Ceremonies.
Ravelry has concocted silly names for different kinds of “events”. I’ve entered “Shawl Sailing”. I’ll make Romi Hill’s beautiful Lyrica Euterpe pattern, using Alpenglow Yarn’s SMerF 4000 fingering weight merino. I’ve had this project in my stash for forever, and am glad to have the perfect excuse to make it.
Getting ready for the Ceremonies to begin!
Falling in love with a new-to-me yarn is one of my favorite parts of knitting. This happened to me when I tried Dragonfly Fiber’s gorgeous Djinni Sock yarn recently. A blend of merino, cashmere and nylon gives it a wonderful hand, and the just-right ply makes for delightful knitting.
When I was a young, I spent a lot of time in Arizona. I loved nothing more than to ride through the hills, exploring beautiful canyons and desert vistas. It was on one of these rides that I discovered a whole hillside of petroglyphs. Ancient carved rock pictures of snakes and stick figures captured my imagination.
No wonder I felt compelled to make the Petroglyph Socks from Anne Podlesak’s Western-inspired book, Free Spirit Knits.
I modified the Petroglyph pattern by making a rounded toe. If I had it to do over again, I think I’d choose a yarn that is a true solid so the socks’ stitch pattern would show up better. That said, I know I’ll get a lot of use out of these socks. I like the pattern, and the yarn makes the socks heavenly to wear.
I will be reviewing Free Spirit Knits and offering a brand new copy as a giveaway in the coming weeks.
Dragonfly Fibers offers many weights of yarn, in a staggering array of gorgeous colors.
I encourage readers to purchase books through their local yarn shops. Please ask for Free Spirit Knits there. You can check out the patterns in the book on the book’s Ravelry page.
Anne Podlesak offers many great patterns on Ravelry.
You might remember I was working on some very special mittens for my best friend’s birthday. Here are the Cupcake Mittens, all finished.
The stripes on the thumbs add a jaunty flair, I think.
I like how the personalization worked out, with my friend’s initials and milestone birthday year.
I made some modifications. The original pattern included some little stitches along the edges. I left them out. I changed the top of the mittens to make a more rounded shape.
Cupcake Mittens pattern is available as a Ravelry download. If you enjoy this pattern, you might like to check out more SpillyJane Knits patterns on Ravelry. She has a knack for creating fun and whimsical designs.
The yarn I used is Knit Picks Palette. It is available in a zillion great colors. I used the nine colors recommended in the pattern.
So what’s on my needles now, you may wonder? It’s more like what’s on my 10 needles…
A good friend of mine celebrated a landmark birthday recently. Knitting together is one of the pastimes we enjoy most. Eating cupcakes is another. (When we attend Stitches West together, we always make time to go to our favorite cupcake store(s) in Palo Alto. That’s right, we love cupcakes so much we leave the mecca of yarn for an afternoon. We’re that serious about our cupcakes.)
As this is a big occasion birthday, I wanted to make my friend something special that would commemorate our shared hobbies. What better than Cupcake Mittens?!
Why do I say my project is on 10 needles? Well, I have a bad habit of not finishing pairs of things. Single socks and gloves tend to lay around my house, forlornly waiting for the their mates to be knitted. I’m making both mittens at once this time, using 2 sets of 5 dpn’s, size #1. Somehow (when I have enough sets of needles to pull it off), making two at the same time fakes me out into thinking the knitting is going faster. This works for sleeves, mittens, socks…whatever comes in pairs.
One thing about this pattern is that there are a LOT of ends to weave in. All those adorable little cakes use a bunch of different colors. Theoretically I know to wait until a project is blocked before weaving in ends. However, I figured that it was worth saving my sanity to weave all the ends in every time I finish a round of cupcakes.
To personalize the mittens I’m working my friend’s initials into the palm side of one mitten, and her birthday year into the other. I used graph paper to figure out the proportions.
If you love cupcakes and stranded work, you might like these mittens too!
I had a great time making the Virginia City Cowl from Romi Hill’s book New Lace Knitting. (You might have seen my recent review of the book.)
After admiring Romi’s patterns for years, I finally took a class from her at one of the knitting conventions. She is well known for her shawl patterns, and her expertise in designing lace is fantastic. I knew from her class that she is detail oriented, with thoughtful and thorough instructions. These strengths shine through in her book.
In the pattern for the cowl part of her “Virginia City Cloche and Cowl” design, I appreciated that she gives specific recommendations for how to block the piece. She is equally specific when describing how to sew the piece together after blocking. I loved the clear and helpful details!
I used Cascade Ecological Wool.
As a reminder, if you’d like to enter the drawing for the giveaway for New Lace Knitting you have until Midnight (EST) on February 21st to entire a comment. Details are here.