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Let It Snow!

November 30

Let It Snow reversible scarves

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:

dk weight Let It Snow Scarf

The heavier Rowan Felted Tweed Aran makes a great width for guys. For this one I’ve used three colors:

Let It Snow scarf Aran

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.

Let It Snow scarf detail

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:

Let It Snow scarf swatches

I hope you’ll enjoy the new Let It Snow pattern. It can be purchased for $6.00 from Ravelry or Love Knitting.

Let It Snow Pattern Cover

 

Resources:

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

Another Gimme Shelter Cat Blanket

November 10

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.

Cat Blanket 4

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!

Gimme Shelter_Cover

Custom Fit: Fun with Sweaters

October 12

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.

drumlin-finals-web-1_medium1

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.

drumlin-pattern-and-yarn_1

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.

drumlin-pattern-and-sleeve_2

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.

 

 

Aran Gets A Touch of Cashmere

August 31

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.

Aran Reversible Scarf Knit Picks

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!

Aran_kp_2

I hope you’ll give this pattern a try. It’s a lot of fun to make!

Aran Reversible Scarf detail

Photography by Gale Zucker

posted under Patterns, Scarf, Yarn | No Comments »

Yarn Discovery Tour

August 25

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:

Acorn Trail pattern by 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.

Resources:

Photo credit for Acorn Trail: Jonathan Herzog

Acorn Trail Pattern:  on Ravelry and on Amy Herzog’s website

Warming Up for Ravellenic Games 2016

August 5

shawl

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!

posted under Projects, Shawls | No Comments »

Petroglyph Socks

March 30

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.

Petroglyph Socks

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.

Resources:

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.

Cupcake Mittens

March 14

You might remember I was working on some very special mittens for my best friend’s birthday. Here are the Cupcake Mittens, all finished.

Cupcake Mittens Back

The stripes on the thumbs add a jaunty flair, I think.

Cupcake Mittens 2

I like how the personalization worked out, with my friend’s initials and milestone birthday year.

Cupcake Mittens Detail

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.

Resources:

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.

Tiny Cupcakes

March 1

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.

 cupcake mittens ends

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.

cupcake mittens

If you love cupcakes and stranded work, you might like these mittens too!

Virginia City Cowl

February 17

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.)

Virginia City Cowl

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.

Virginia City Cowl

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.

posted under Cowls, Projects | No Comments »

Snuggling Up and Turning Pages

January 25

Now that it’s like this outside…

Snowy Forest

I’m getting a lot of use out of my Page Turner Throw!

Page Turner Throw

  The throw, made Quince & Co.’s gorgeous Lark, is holding up really well.

I love snuggling up in this as a plan my next few projects. One that I can tell you about involves kitties….lots and lots of kitties at the local shelter. They need blankets, too. Stay tuned!

Knit Picks Scarf & Headband Set

December 4

Mistake Stitch Scarf & Headband Set

Mistake St Set KP

Just in time for winter, I offer you the Knit Picks version of my Mistake Stitch Scarf and Headband set. Super bulky yarn makes for warm and cozy accessories. My scarf and headband designs are quick to knit – just right for gift giving during the busy holiday season. Post-holiday, they’re the simple kinds of projects that we all love to make as we crave relaxation, simplicity and maybe some social knitting with friends. A holiday gift to you is that the pattern is free!

Fans of Knit Picks yarn will love The Big Cozy yarn, a super bulky scrumptious blend of alpaca and wool. It gives nice stitch definition and also softness.

The headband is secured by a button, which you can adjust for just the right fit.

AudKnits scarves

AudKnits scarves

With snow promising to pile up soon, this warm thick scarf is a welcome accessory!

Mistake Stitch scarf

I hope you enjoy this relaxing set of quick knits!

Resources:

While you’re there, please check out my other Knit Picks patterns, available through their Independent Designers Program.

Photos are by Gale Zucker Photography, © Gale Zucker/AudKnits LLC 2015

Knit Picks The Big Cozy yarn

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