Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page
What was that bit about not having winter accessories to wear together? I am happy to report that problem has officially been resolved. Thank you for all of your lovely comments and encouragement along the way.
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in #6289 Charcoal mix and #6201 Winter white, 4 skeins each color for the entire set
Needles: US 6 (4 mm)
In early October, I approached Berroco, Inc. with a swatch and sketch for this design and the company generously donated the yarn for the project. As I mentioned before, I tried this pattern out on a hat with Harrisville Designs New England Shetland leftovers, but it was clearly the wrong choice. Can you imagine how long it would have taken me to knit this at a fine gauge? I still have not yet finished that sample hat! I really wanted a worsted weight yarn, and one with a bit of a halo to it as well. Berroco Ultra Alpaca was a great choice because the yarn is smooth enough to show off the stitch definition but soft and fuzzy enough to make a really warm set.
This Scandinavian-styled scarf is made in the round as a tube, its ends grafted together in the finishing process. Symmetrical about the center point, it is comprised of many very simple peeries of small repeats, along with a few more complicated snowflake and XOXO peeries. The scarf pattern is given as a series of10 charts. I broke the pattern up this way to make it a more portable project since smaller charts are easier to read. Although the charts may seem complex at first glance, upon closer examination, one will find that at the level of the individual round, the patterning is quite simple. After a while, the charts should only be truly necessary for the XOXO and snowflake patterns, or when starting a new peerie. Trust me, it’s true.
The hat is knit in the round with a contrasting liner tacked to the inside of the brim for extra warmth. I could not decide on a brim pattern for the hat, so I included four different versions in the pattern. Two versions include small peeries like the sample hat shown, while the other two versions feature traditional snowflake patterns. Between this scarf and the other projects I’ve made with snowflake patterns, I was feeling a bit burned out on snowflakes by the time I started the hat; therefore, I settled on a version with peeries only instead. In the end, I think I prefer the look of the small peeries to large snowflakes at the brim. Each version of the hat is topped with a lice stitch, spiral crown.
This is the first pair of worsted weight, non-thrummed mittens I have made in a long time. I seem to have forgotten how quickly mittens knit up when not done at 10 stitches per inch! Amazing! Each mitten took me a day – a day with plenty of distractions too. I think I still prefer tightly knit mittens over worsted weight ones; however, these will certainly prove at least as warm as finer gauge mittens I’ve made because of the lining!
Although I love lined mittens, my one complaint is that a lined thumb renders it practically useless. The last two pairs of lined mittens I’ve made have featured keyhole thumbs in the lining. Bonus? Not having to knit a second thumb.
More photos can be found here.
Finally, I have one last pattern coming out in the next week – Hedge Fence Pullover – and then I swear, I’ll be done for a while. I have a baby to deliver, you know.
Because of the new patterns I’ve put up this month, I feel as if I haven’t been blogging enough about my current knitting. The knitting interest I lost this summer is back, and my projects feel even more addicting than ever. I credit both the chill of autumn and not having any wool sweaters that fit over my gigantic belly with its return.
Like the hat I posted last week, this began as a Scandinavian-style sampler to test out some stitch patterns for a hat and scarf set I was planning. After a few inches, I thought it would make a nice edging for a simple, stockinette scarf. A foot into it, I decided to make the edging longer because it was so much fun to knit. Finally, I capitulated and eliminated all of the stockinette. You cannot imagine how addicting this knitting is! What is fascinating to me is that with the exception of four peeries, all of the patterns are so very simple: 2-, 4-, 8-, and 16-stitch repeats. So easy are they, in fact, that I have barely consulted my chart. And yet, the scarf looks impossibly complicated. Isn’t that wonderful? So little effort for so much effect!
Although I have not been able to work on it consistently this month, I try to log a few peeries every day. I have about 18 inches to go. And then the hat. And maybe some mittens. Please, someone stop me!
The scarf is knit in the round as a long tube for extra warmth.*
The only problem?
Hypothetically speaking, if one were to lose a stitch marker down that hole, there’s little hope of getting it back. Not that I would be so careless. Nope, not me.
Stay tuned for Min Ulla progress!
* Actually, I knit it in the round because I was far too lazy to purl back.
As it has grown colder in the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about my problem with winter accessories. You know, once I get an idea in my head, I cannot get rid of it! I have sketched, swatched, and stashbusted – finally, I have a plan! I’ll share more once my yarn arrives. In the meantime, I can show you what did not work, for one reason or another.
Every winter, I fall into a stashbusting hat binge. So far, I’ve managed one adult hat and two newborn caps. I rediscovered why people make hats: they’re such quick knits! It seems unfair that I have to learn this lesson every year. I think there will be a few more of these, if only because they knit up so quickly and effectively use up annoying scraps lurking in my stash.
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
This project came closer to satisfying my criteria for the ultimate winter accessory knitting; however, the gauge was all wrong. Still, it’s a good prototype for what will come.
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)
Needle: US 1.5 (2.5 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)
The pattern is up! Thank you so very much for your kind comments and positive feedback! I cannot believe almost 300 people entered the contest! I am pleased to announce that by random selection, Nancy is the winner of the kit. Congratulations Nancy, and many thanks to all who entered!
For those interested in the pattern, please take a look at the pattern specifications and schematic before purchasing. The pullover version requires no steeking and would be a good introduction to stranded knitting. Please be advised that the cardigan version is steeked and will require, in cases of yarn substitution, a feltable wool that is not machine washable.
Finally, there appears to be some disagreement about Harrisville New England Shetland yardage, which I suspect comes from the washed/unwashed (skeined/coned) offerings – some say 217 yds/skein, others 197 yds/skein. I made all of my calculations assuming 197 yds/skein to ensure that you will not run out of yarn.
Plum Frost Pullover & Cardigan
Knit seamlessly in the round from the bottom up, this simple, versatile, women’s pullover/cardigan pattern features a classic XOXO stranded pattern in the 6-color yoke, with stars occupying the lozenge positions. The main color (charcoal) fades out to nearly white within the stranded pattern while, at the same time, a light purple darkens toward the center of the band. Hourglass waist shaping and fitted sleeves outline a flattering style to most sizes and shapes. The bottom band, button bands, neckband, and sleeve cuffs are worked in K1, P1 rib and employ tubular cast-ons and bind-offs. The cardigan version is steeked open; however, it is essentially the same pattern as the pullover, measuring 1″ wider in the body only because of the button band. The pattern is designed to fit bust measurements from 33″ to 51″.
The pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $6.50.
Intermediate (pullover), Advanced (cardigan)
Tubular cast-on, knitting in the round, decreasing, increasing, reading and working through a color chart, tubular bind-off, grafting together stitches, crocheting a chain (cardigan only), steeking (cardigan only) picking up stitches (cardigan only), sewing on buttons (cardigan only).
To fit bust: 33 (36, 38, 43, 47, 51)”
Model shown in size 36 with a shortened back waist.
Bust (pullover): 32.75 (35.75, 37.75, 42.75, 46.75, 50.75)”
Bust (cardigan): 33.75 (37, 39, 43.75, 47.75, 51.75)”
Back length: 20.75 (21.5, 22.25, 23, 23.75, 24.25)”
24 stitches and 32 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch on US 4 (3.5 mm) needles
24 stitches and 32 rows = 4″ in stranded stitch pattern on US 6 (4 mm) needles
Harrisville Designs New England Shetland [100% wool; 197 yd (180 m); 50 g skein]; color: #49 Charcoal, 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7) skeins; #19 Blackberry, #20 Purple Haze, #72 Lilac, #47 Suede, #45 Pearl, 1 skein each.
US 2.5 (3 mm) circular needle, 29″ or 32″ long
1 set of US 2.5 (3 mm) DPNs
US 4 (3.5 mm) circular needle, 29″ or 32″ long
1 set of US 4 (3.5 mm) DPNs
US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, 29″ or 32″ long
US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, 16″ long
Size B (2.25 mm) crochet hook (cardigan only)
Stitch markers – two different colors (blue and orange used for illustration purposes)
Scrap yarn – the scrap yarn used for the cardigan’s crochet chains must be feltable wool (i.e. not superwash)
7 3/4″ buttons
More photos can be found here.
Back in February, I found myself playing around with some simple XOXO fair isle patterns and color fading. As soon as I swatched this one in Harrisville Designs New England Shetland, I knew I had to make myself a sweater with it. Regular readers will hardly be surprised to see me knitting yet another garment with this yarn. What can I say? It works! I carefully planned out the pattern in six sizes from start to finish. Like every other project I had going, it immediately began collecting dust when I became pregnant in March. I returned to it in August, committed to knitting up the sample in spite of my impossibly large middle. Although it hardly fits now, with the baby due in December, I hope to squeeze at least a few months of wear out of it this winter.*
I am happy to present Plum Frost Pullover & Cardigan! Knit seamlessly in the round from the bottom up, this simple, versatile, women’s pullover/cardigan pattern features a classic XOXO stranded pattern in the 6-color yoke, with stars occupying the lozenge positions. The main color (charcoal) fades out to nearly white within the stranded pattern while, at the same time, a light purple darkens toward the center of the band. Hourglass waist shaping and fitted sleeves outline a flattering style to most sizes and shapes. The bottom band, button bands, neckband, and sleeve cuffs are worked in K1, P1 rib and employ tubular cast-ons and bind-offs. The cardigan version is steeked open; however, it is essentially the same pattern as the pullover, measuring 1″ wider in the body only because of the button band. The pattern is designed to fit bust measurements from 33″ to 51″ . It will be available for purchase from my Ravelry shop for $6.50 beginning Wednesday, October 7.
I could not be happier with how well this particular garment turned out. Harrisville’s Shetland yarn is such a delight to use. Just as I began to find my stranding rough and lumpy, I soaked the pre-steeked version and it was instantly transformed. The yarn blooms so well, filling in errant gaps between stitches, smoothing out the yoke, and blending the colors together. I really cannot speak highly enough of how magnificently Shetland blooms: I’ve never experienced anything quite like it with any other yarn. While it is unmistakably a very woolly yarn, it is somehow soft enough that I can wear it next to my skin without itching all over. I have used it often in the past (e.g. Vine Lace Pullover, Scoopneck, Vespergyle Mittens, Ivy League Vest), and I will certainly return to it again. Besides, now I have leftover bits in lots of colors!
One of the things I needed in a yarn for this piece was a color choice that included three close shades of each color (i.e. gray and purple). There are only a few yarn companies that offer such thorough color palettes: Harrisville, Jamieson’s and Knit Picks are ones that come to mind. I do not care for Knit Picks’ Palette yarn, and Jamieson’s is both out of my budget and unavailable locally. Not only that, my local yarn shop carries the full line of Harrisville Shetland – all 56 colors – on cones, which makes it quite an economical option for me. Another thing I love about all of Harrisville’s yarns is that the lines and color offerings are so stable. As long as I have a color card on hand, I know exactly what I will be getting when I pick out colors. How often do other companies discontinue colors or particular yarns altogether? I still miss Magpie Aran and Skye Tweed – surely we all have our own personal, discontinued favorites. Anyway, I appreciate the wide selection and stable offering. Without it, fair isle projects would surely be much more difficult to plan!
Because I like the yarn so much and want to support their business, I contacted Harrisville Designs about this particular pattern. The company has generously offered to donate the yarn for one lucky commenter to make a Plum Frost pullover or cardigan! Please leave a comment by Wednesday, October 7 at 8 a.m. CST to be entered in the contest. I will use a random number generator to choose a winner to receive the yarn and a free copy of the pattern. I hope you will love both the yarn and the pattern as much as I do!
* Can you believe I actually published that link?? I felt it was only honest. You’re welcome.