Winter Knitting in the Heat

Whew! - these past two weeks certainly have been scorching hot in the northeast! A cold snap the final week of August faked me out and the subsequent heat wave caught me hauling out blankets and packing away my summer clothes. So here I sit with the air conditioner blasting, knitting snowflakes into a sweater that - true to its name - is making me sweat just pooled up in my lap. 

Nevertheless, my winter knitting is off to a strong start. I've just finished the draft of a new scarf pattern meant to look like the movement of water in the rain. I'm not sure that came through well at all but I do think it's a pretty scarf. I'll pop in some pictures at the bottom. 

Mostly I've had a sweater bug these days - my couch is covered in dog-eared copies of interweave, splayed open to pictures of sweaters in heather grays and mustard yellows. Inexplicably, the first one I cast on is holiday green and covered in snowflakes. Not totally appropriate for fall! I do love it though.

Commonwealth Sweater by Kiri FitzGerald-Hillier, from Interweave Fall 2015 - still sans sleeves but soon to come! 


I haven't even tried it on yet as the temperature in my apartment makes that an unappealing task. But my dress form and I have been in partnership for some time, and judging by how it fits her, it ought to be perfect on me. 

And now for some pictures of my new design-in-progress. I think I may need to knit a new sample of it in a yarn where the pattern will stand out a bit better. 


Hopefully someday it will be knitwear weather again. 

New Designs, New Projects

Between work which has kept me busier than usual lately and the fact that I moved to a new apartment in November (and I am not one of these people for whom unpacking takes less than six months), my knitting life has progressed slowly lately. Here is an all too brief rundown of my recent endeavors. 

First, new patterns:

My first yoga mat bag design! I'm beyond pleased with how it turned out. I originally conceived of this design as a stash-buster to work through some scraps of cotton I had left behind from a few weaving projects. Last spring, my best friend and I visited Paris and I had a chance to visit the popular yarn and notions shop, La Droguerie. I was enchanted by the vibrant colors of their Fleur de Coton yarn and bought a few hundred yards in twenty-six colors...which has left me quite a stash of cotton yarn. 

I wanted to make the bag completely adjustable to any size yoga mat, so the pattern begins with a center-out circle that can be worked to any desired size. Once the bottom of the bag is sufficiently wide, the pattern simply carries on working upward to make the body. I used a very basic slipped stitch pattern so that only one working yarn is used at a time. 

Just a few weeks ago, I finally published the pattern for a little scarf I originally designed nearly a year ago. 

This guy has quickly become my favorite scarf. I always have a hard time finding a chunky scarf that doesn't look dumb under a puffy winter coat, but this one is perfect. I tried to take a selfie wearing it, but it didn't come out very well: 

Selfies aren't my thing. 

Selfies aren't my thing. 

In the works I have a set of simple pillows and a double knit triangle scarf. Pictures to come!

Square Summer Scarf

This past December I was with some friends Christmas shopping at Nordstrom when I found a super-cheap ultra bulky square scarf about four feet long on each side. It's enormous - actually so large that when I wear it I can't see my feet when I walk (do other people look at their feet when they walk down stairs, or is that just me?). I had no idea how to wear such a garment when I first found it, but it was a pretty blend of pastels like a watercolor painting - and cheap - so I took it home. It was only when I wore it to my frigid office building that I discovered the wonderful versatility of square scarves: when chilly at your desk, you can use them as blankets! Plus, as my best friend and I discovered walking the streets of Paris this year, bulky scarves worn kerchief-style are really in right now.  

This newfound love of square scarves inspired me to design a center-out square knitting pattern. I received a jumbo-skein of Ewetopia's Lima DK (100% alpaca) in Pomegranate in one of my Yarnbox monthly packages and it pairs beautifully with a bright white cotton worsted weight from Knit Picks. 

Here are some photos of my cute friend Nana modeling the finished product: 

The Color of Summer is...Fringe!

I've recently discovered all the glory that is fringe. Seriously, how have I not been fringing everything I own all these years? The pattern for this scarf will be forthcoming, but for now here's a little trip through my latest fringe adventure. 

Fashion forward knitting, in seven steps:

Step One - Find yourself some airy, breathable yarn, preferably with a teeny bit of shimmer and shine.

Teresa Ruch Designs Tencel 5/2 in pearl

Teresa Ruch Designs Tencel 5/2 in pearl

Step Two: Knit something light and lacy.

Step Three: Contemplate your fringe. How long should it be? Three inches? Four? Go for drama and make it five! Sky's the limit. 

Step Four: Put the menfolk to work cutting the fringe. 

My brother, clearly thrilled. 

My brother, clearly thrilled. 

Step Five: Attach fringe to scarf.

Step Six: Throw on a gorgeous dress and have a photo shoot.

Step Seven: Enjoy!

Winter Blues Scarf - Project Support Page

This is the pattern support page for my brand new Winter Blues scarf! 

The Winter Blues scarf got its name because I had a bad case of the winter blues when the weather got cold, and my first two test knits were done in lovely blues. So you will all be very kind and disregard the fact that my most recent test knit (of which I took the photographs for this post) was done 

This scarf is shaped with short rows worked outward from the center, with a border worked back and forth along the edge. I wrote two alternate border patterns, both of which are included. 

My favorite shot from our photoshoot, featuring border option one:

Here it is featuring border option two:

When the scarf first comes off the needles, it'll look a little misshapen because of how the short rows curve. Once blocked, the scarf will take its shape. Here is a photo of a test knit as the border is being worked:

On the blocking boards, the shape will be a crescent. It's important to pin down the top edge straight across and to pin down the border so the the body opens up. 

The border is worked by casting on stitches using the backward loop method and working back and forth across the edge of the scarf. Here are some close ups of the border in progress:

Finished product!

Happy knitting!

Weaving in the New Year

A very belated happy new year, all. 

This month has flown by me in a blur of shawls flying off the loom - I looked up and it's practically February! But it's been fun playing with colors and weights on my rigid heddle. My sub-par photography skills being what they are, I had a difficult time capturing color in these photos, but these give a good idea of where my month has gone. 

Yarns: Kismet Fiber Works in Beaujolais and Jones & Vandermeer Clever Camel in Snowden Grey (it's 100% camel!)

Yarns: Ewetopia Kickapoo Sock in Tapestry (warp) and KNit Picks Biggo in Cobblestone Heather (weft)

Yarns: Ewetopia Kickapoo Sock in January (warp) and Knit Picks Biggo in Cobblestone Heather (weft)

Yarns: Rain City Knits (warp), Wandering Wool Heights DK in Gray Matter (weft), Wandering Wool Heights Worsted in Sand Dune (weft), and Imperial Yarns Erin in Natural (weft)

Yarns: Ewetopia Kickapoo Sock in Shady Grove (warp), Knit Picks Andean Treasure in Coriander Heather (weft), and a bit of Purl Soho Worsted Twist (header)

Yarns: Rain City Knits (warp) and Ewetopia Lima DK in Iridescent (weft)

Endless Sweater - Final Pictures and Pattern Notes

My endless sweater is finally finally finally done and I LOVE it. I had originally intended for this to be a slouchy pullover for wearing around the house, but the delicate stitch pattern works well for pairing with boots and jeans. 

My brother (he does cool photography!) did a mini photo shoot with me over the weekend. I won't be writing up the pattern for this sweater anytime soon, but my pattern notes are included below. 

Pattern Notes:

4 skeins Ancient Arts 3-ply sock yarn in Irish Linen
Size 7 circular needle

Stitch Pattern:
Row 1: knit into the front and back of each stitch
Row 2: k2tog, p2tog, repeat to end
Row 3: knit into the front and back of each stitch
Row 4: p2tog, k2tog, repeat to end

That's it!

Using size 7 circular needle, CO 91 stitches
Knit two rows
Work in pattern for 23 inches or until desired length.

Shape shoulders and neckline:
Slip center 31 stitches onto scrap yarn or stitch holder.
On each side, bind off 4,4,5,5,6 stitches
At the same time, bind off two stitches from each side of the neckline every other row

Using two strands of yarn held together, pick up and knit 9 stitches from front neck edge, knit stitches from front stitch holder, pick up and knit 9 stitches from front neck edge, pick up and knit 9 stitches from back neck edge, knit back stitches from holder, pick up and knit 9 stitches from back neck edge.
Knit one row around.
Bind off.

CO 36 stitches
Knit two rows
Work in pattern
Increase two stitches every 10th row 11 times, then every 8th row 3 times, then on the 6th row once. Cast off in pattern on the next row after the final increase. 


Swatch Sunday

Yesterday was a lazy day.

Seriously. Not a maybe-I'll-do-one-or-two-things-and-then-sit-here-on-the-couch day. More of an ok-maybe-I'll-shower-but-then-it's-back-into-pajamas-and-I'm-not-moving-more-than-my-fingers-today day. 

But football was on the TV and I could justify the laziness by thinking of the endless to-do list sitting on my desk in the office, so my mind was at peace. And - since my mental faculties seemed also to be taking a break - it was the perfect day for low-stakes knitting: pattern swatching. 

I'm one of those knitters who truly loves to swatch. I like the feeling of producing a handful of tiny squares in under an hour. I like seeing patterns I imagine actually appear with minimal effort. I like the ability to frog and remake in minutes if something doesn't look quite right.

I've had the sneaking suspicion these past few weeks that my color palette for this winter has been excessively neutral so what better to remedy this than a sweater in an oh-so-bright Bugga! by the Verdant Gryphon. 

Endless Sweater, Part 2

It probably makes me an unusual knitter that I never have WIPs sitting around that I intend to finish. My abandoned projects are either irretrievably flawed, never to be resumed, or they nag at me so aggressively once set down that I feel compelled to pick them back up. 

When I wrote my first post about the endless sweater I've been designing (or attempting to design), I planned to hibernate it for a while and come back with fresh eyes in a couple of months. That probably would actually have happened, had I not posted my progress on one of Yarnbox's Ravelry boards and asked for input on how I should remake the sleeves. Suggestions abounded (such a friendly group!) and one in particular got into my head. Once the idea was planted it wouldn't leave me alone.

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Cashmere Cowl

Cashmere Cowl

One of the most agonizing aspects of travel is, for me, that hour spent the night before departure deciding what, oh what, to knit on the journey. Perhaps those less clumsy and accident prone than I are faced with an easier decision, but for me a great deal rides on this choice. Indeed, I believe I am the queen of the crafting-while-traveling faux pas. There was the fateful dpns-on-a-plane incident in which I dropped a needle from my work and, after a great deal of fuss, located it under a fellow passenger's rear end. Or the time I brought a color work hat on a megabus and one of the many balls of yarn slipped from my hands and rolled beneath the seats all the way to the front of the bus. Are you getting the picture? I'm not one of those people who travels with poise. 

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And Sometimes, Friends, You're Just Stuck

And Sometimes, Friends, You're Just Stuck

A few months ago, I started working on a pullover with no particular design in mind. I had four skeins of Ancient Arts 3-ply fingering/sock in Irish Linen and it was lovely and soft and all I could think of was how nice it would be to snuggle into a big cozy pullover this winter. I cast on in a simple stitch and whipped up an oversized front and back that are every bit as soft and warm as could be desired. And then the sleeves happened.

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Girl on the subway: thanks for the awesome sweater

Girl on the subway: thanks for the awesome sweater

Knitter friends, I think you will sympathize when I say I often cause myself awkward interactions with strangers who are wearing interesting knitted things. You know what I'm talking about. That awkward moment when you stand much too close to the slightly-unbalanced-looking man muttering to himself on the bus because you just need a better look at the color work in his hat. Or that moment when the girl next to you in the train shuffles uncomfortably to the other side of the car because you've been staring intently at her sweater for a solid ten minutes. Or the guy behind you in line at Starbucks strikes up a conversation, thinking your interest is in him, not his chunky scarf. I know I can't be the only one who does this.

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