Archive for the ‘fair isle’ Category

Plum Frost Pullover & Cardigan now available

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 Cardigan

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.

Difficulty

Intermediate (pullover), Advanced (cardigan)

Skills used

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).

Sizes

To fit bust: 33 (36, 38, 43, 47, 51)”

Model shown in size 36 with a shortened back waist.

Finished measurements

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)”

Gauge

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

Full view, Plum Frost Cardigan

Yarn

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.

Needles

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)

Notions

Stitch markers – two different colors (blue and orange used for illustration purposes)

Stitch holders

Scrap yarn – the scrap yarn used for the cardigan’s crochet chains must be feltable wool (i.e. not superwash)

Tapestry needle

7 3/4″ buttons

Schematic

schematic4

Plum Frost Cardigan

More photos can be found here.

Plum Frost Pullover & Cardigan

Plum Frost Cardigan

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.*

Plum Frost Cardigan

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.

Back view, Plum Frost Cardigan

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!

Yoke detail, Plum Frost Cardigan

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!
Yoke detail, Plum Frost Cardigan

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!

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* Can you believe I actually published that link?? I felt it was only honest. You’re welcome.

Down the rabbit hole

What started as a casual, ongoing, secondary project quickly grew into a terribly addicting, compelling project not long after I wrote about it.

Almost done with the knitting

It was bound to happen. I wanted my stashbusting vest to be a project to work on slowly throughout the year, adding scraps as they became available. Well, let’s face it: there is no shortage of Nature Spun Sport scraps in my house. Shortly after I posted about my Ultimate Stashbusting Vest, I felt a tremendous urge to FINISH! Right away! Sadly, a stranded vest with six colors and no repeated peeries requiring large amounts of math at regular intervals does not make for a good portable project. Alas! I have been dying to finish this for six weeks. Now, it is almost ready!

Down the rabbit hole

With the major knitting done, I steeked the vest yesterday and picked up stitches for the first armhole edging this morning. 
I can't stop

The other armhole and the neck edging remain to be done. Oh, and then there’s this little matter of weaving in ends…

The ultimate stashbusting challenge

In my stashbusting efforts this fall, I discovered Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport comprises the majority of my remnant stash. While not a fancy or exciting yarn, it is a nice, inexpensive wool that comes in a million colors. I heart Nature Spun. Most recently, I used Nature Spun Sport for Ida’s vest, a DROPS sweater for Beatrix, and my Winter Sunrise hat. It is also the yarn used in the never ending Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, which I will finish sometime in my lifetime. Excepting the two cones I bought from Whitney’s recent destash, it is worth noting that most of the NS in my remnant stash predates my blog. This means it is at least three years old. I must use it up or throw it out. Period.

With small amounts of at least 13 colors, I suppose I could knit hats. Many, many, many hats. However, I noticed nearly everything could be grouped into shades of orange/brown or shades of blue. Starting with the former color grouping, I decided to knit up the biggest stashbusting project ever: a fair isle vest like the Ivy League vest I knit last year, using only what I had. I will buy more of one particular color if I run out. However, I will not buy additional colors to use in the project.

With the ribbing

Using the same 3×1 ribbing as Ida’s vest, I cast on last October.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

The vest grows slowly, in part due to the stitch gauge and in part due to its relegation to secondary project in my knitting basket. Now, several months later, I have reached the V-neck divide.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

I’m still not sure the bright orange and white peeries jive with the darker peeries. I think they look good from a distance but it’s a little jarring from the knitter’s distance. I added them in the first place because the other peeries blended together into one dark blob.

My favorite panel

This is my favorite peerie of them all. I intend to use it in other designs, I like it so much. From some angles, it looks like the standard XOXO; but from other angles, I see orange butterflies. Do you?

I am willing to accept this may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit. After all, orange and brown are not exactly my favorite colors. However, I think it might be a nice fall vest under a jacket. Furthermore, the planning stages alone taught me valuable lessons about stacking and centering peeries, and stranded knitting in general. I remain hopeful.

Day projects

Top view, XOXO hat

In a blaze of stash busting this week, I whipped out two hats, one for my brother and the other for his girlfriend. I had almost forgotten the thrill of seeing a project to completion in less than a day. I love knitting hats! Why do I not knit hats exclusively? Perhaps if I wore hats myself, I would knit more of them. Still, they are so much fun to make.

XOXO hat

About once a year, I knit my brother a nice, warm hat in a dark color. However, single-color hats are so dreadfully boring to knit! And since I only wear hats when it is really, really cold, I find hats with a single thickness of wool utterly insufficient. The only solution worth my time is, of course, a stranded project. When I saw Tuulia’s beautiful Alise Mittens (Ravelry link), I decided to use a similar XOXO pattern in a hat. You may find a link to my free hat pattern here but really, all you need is the 8 stitch x 8 row pattern repeat and a little common sense.  Alternating gray and black provided enough visual interest for the knitter while the overall effect is dark and subtle. After all, my brother does not need a hat that screams, “My sister made this!” I also knit a 2.5″ lining to be tucked inside the brim for extra warmth around the ears.

XOXO hat for my brother

Pattern: XOXO Hat (Ravelry link here)

Yarn: Approximately 200 yds of worsted weight for each color; I used Bemidji Woolen Mills Original Homespun (in some shade of dark gray) and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (in “Coal”)

Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm), either DPNs or DPNs and 16″ circular

XOXO hat

My scrap bag is rife with browns: coffee, taupe, chocolate, mocha, chestnut, tan, you name it, it’s brown. All year, I have been meaning to put my scraps to good use and knit a Chevron Love Hat by Knitterly Things’ Julia. The chevron mittens Julia made for Maritza at our October mitten swap only further convinced me: I need to knit zigzags. Finally, with the array of brown scraps in front of me, it was time. I knit this one up for my brother’s girlfriend last weekend. I could not be more pleased with the result! It’s a good thing I have plenty of brown left over because I see another chevron hat in my future! Julia’s pattern is easy and fun and the knitting flies by! I heartily recommend this one to anyone interested in using up leftovers!

Chevron Love Hat

Pattern: Chevon Love Hat (Ravelry link)

Yarn: a mix of Rowan Magpie Aran, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Top of the Lamb Lionspun, Plymouth Encore Worsted.

Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)

The fiber content is not entirely pure: this hat has some acrylic blends in it. I doubt it will be much of a problem; after all, winter hats are not routinely tossed in the dryer, are they? These zigzags are my favorite! Thanks for the wonderful pattern, Julia!

Brown chevrons

Well? What are you waiting for? Go stash busting and knit some quick hats!