Archive for the ‘lace’ Category

New cowls: Mill Creek and Northumbria

Hello, there. Do you know you’re reading a knitting blog during the dog days of summer? What are you thinking??? If you are like me, you’re looking for some quick and easy projects to carry you through the remains of the summer before wool for fall sweaters lands with a thud on your doorstep.* I’d like to introduce two quick cowls to you, both made with lovely yarns, the first available in my pattern shop, and the second in the Fall 2010 issue of Knitscene. Perhaps they will do the trick. I hope you enjoy them!

Mill Creek Cowl is a simple lace cowl worked up with a 10-stitch lace repeat over 12 rounds. After ripping back once for not following my own instructions (it happens, I have trouble following directions), this knitted up quickly in a day or two. I used Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock, a 100% merino sock yarn that comes in delightful semi-solid shades. This is knitted in Sheridan Circle, which was a blue-green I just could not pass up. I cannot tell you how much I love it!

This is an excellent stashbusting project, for those of you with a spare 250 yards of sock yarn kicking around. What? No one has lonely sock yarns? Hmf! I don’t believe you.

Like most nice lace stitch patterns, this looks as good on the wrong side as it does on the right side, I think.

Beatrix definitely prefers the wrong side.

She likes to be contrary.

She also likes the cowl-as-snood look.

The second cowl, Northumbria Cowl, appears in Knitscene, Fall 2010 magazine.


Copyright Knitscene

The ribbed lace pattern is simple – very simple – but makes for a nice mindless project in an absolutely delightful yarn, madelinetosh pashmina.


Copyright Knitscene

Pashmina, a blend of 75% superwash merino wool, 15% silk, and 10% cashmere, produces a lovely knitted fabric; however, it is the dye that truly makes the yarn. I felt relieved that my cowl pattern was so simple, as I think a more complex stitch pattern would both be lost in and detract from the beautiful shading of the yarn.


This is shown in Ginger, a color that positively announces autumn! Track down some Pashmina for yourself, you will not regret it.

Finally, if you really are thinking about knitting at the peak of summer, be sure to check out my new sweater, Hallett’s Ledge, in the Fall 2010 issue of twist collective, which launches tomorrow! I cannot wait to see the whole issue! Judging from the list of contributors, I just know it will be a great one.

* Yes, I do patronize my LYSes, but the yarn I look forward to this fall is coming by truck, for better or worse.

The waiting game

Waiting for babies to be born is not my strong suit. Oh, who are we kidding? Why qualify it? Waiting is not my strong suit. I decided to devote some of this interminable wait to knitting up a long overdue gift. I settled on knitting a stole (recall that around here, we don’t call them shawls) for a woman who has helped me enormously with my medical school applications. After much deliberation, Muir seemed the perfect combination of easy and interesting. I feel a bit too absent-minded these days to work on anything complex; thus, I needed a pattern I could not easily mess up!

So, the knitting is done

I used some stashed Classic Elite Yarns Fresco for a heavier weight stole. Consequently, I only cast on 93 stitches for 2 (instead of 3) pattern repeats across. I stopped after 11 full repeats in length, although I probably could have eked out a 12th repeat if pressed. After blocking, the stole measures 24″ x 66″, although I think it will stretch quite a bit more in length when worn.

So, the knitting is done

Pattern: Muir by Rosemary Hill (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, #5334 Cool Raspberry, 4.5 skeins

Muir was the only knitting project I really wanted to finish before Baby Brown’s arrival. While I am working on several other projects on post-baby deadlines, here are two that I hope to finish in the coming months.

First up is i heart you (Ravelry link) by Mandy Powers. I have admired this pattern ever since Mandy published it and I thought it would be a great way to use up some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport scraps in a sweater for Beatrix.

Hearts

Beatrix liked the idea too. So much so that she wanted to “help knit”. Fortunately, the knitted fabric remains intact after her assistance; the small skeins of colored yarn for the hearts are piled up in a tangled mess. At first, I thought I would spend an evening untwisting the yarn. Now, I think it would probably be best to find more. So much for a stashbuster. Thanks, Beatrix!

The other project I’m working on is a cabled pullover for me. I have not yet decided if I will write up a pattern for this or just knit it for myself. Much will depend on how easy the shaping proves at the shoulders and neck. I worked furiously on this for a few weeks, but set it down once I reached the armholes, as I now have some more math to do before proceeding.

Suddenly sedentary

They say babies only come once the knitting is done. Well, it’s done and I’m waiting. Less and less patiently, but I’m waiting.

Yarn Forward patterns: Green Day and Scoopneck

Green Day from Yarn Forward Magazine, No. 13 (June 2009)

Copyright St. Range Photography

I have been waiting months to post about these two projects! Back in December, I submitted two project proposals to Shannon Okey, the editor of Yarn Forward Magazine. They were accepted, but I needed to turn around both projects in 6 weeks! Indeed, this winter’s frantic knitting frenzy partly explains the major burnout I feel now. Or more likely, finishing the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan crushed my will to knit

Front

Pattern: Green Day Cardigan, in Yarn Forward Magazine No. 13, May 2009, shown in 22″ size

Yarn: Dale of Norway Heilo

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)

I intended this to be a functional, unisex baby cardigan. All of the pieces are worked flat and seamed together, although it would not be hard to knit this seamlessly in the round. I used some Dalegarn Heilo I bought last fall while visiting my parents on Cape Cod. Heilo offers wonderful stitch definition for cables!

Back

Unfortunately, Beatrix was not at home when Green Day came off the blocking table and since it went straight into the mail, I do not have modeled photos of this!

Button band

 

The second pattern, Scoopneck, is due out next week in the next issue of Yarn Forward. I designed this specifically with wearability in mind. The yarn is one of my favorites (Harrisville Designs New England Shetland); it is light and airy but offers a tremendous amount of warmth with really wonderful drape. Besides, it comes in 56 amazing and tweedy colors. What’s not to love?

Scoopneck from Yarn Forward Magazine No. 14 (June 2009)

Copyright St. Range Photography

 Pattern: Scoopneck, from Yarn Forward Magazine No. 14, June 2009, shown in 35″ size

Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland, in “Topaz”

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)

Front view

The lace pattern is simple and easy to memorize but does not interfere too much with the body and arm shaping. 

Scoopneck blocking

Scoopneck is knit in the round to the armholes, when the sleeve caps are worked back and forth; the shoulders are joined by a three-needle bind-off to minimize seaming. 

Set-in sleeve detail

This project was actually the first one in which I used Aaron’s set-in sleeve calculator. Not a bad fit, eh? Math is brilliant when someone else does it!

Side view

Although a British publication, Yarn Forward Magazine can be found at Barnes & Noble and some LYSs in the US; copies can also be purchased online here. When the pattern rights revert to me later this fall, I will offer the pattern for sale here.

My albatross

This cardigan has plagued my knitting basket for such a long time (since October 2007) that I know not what to say about its completion. Good riddance, perhaps!

Finally finished

I cast on while studying microbiology, and it immediately became clear that this pattern would never be a good study companion. The 12-row pattern repeat is simple – dull, even; however, it is just complicated enough to command attention. Since I almost exclusively knit while doing other things, the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan languished 18 months before I finally finished it. 

Not a bad product, but a miserable project

In fact, I would say that I only finished it out of spite. The color is beautiful, but it really is not for me. I am not even so sure the style is right. This might have to stew in the cedar chest until I forget my complaints with it.

 

Katharine Hepburn Cardigan

Pattern: Katharine Hepburn Cardigan by Kathy Zimmerman from Lace Style

Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in “Chuckberry”

Needles: US 3 and US 5

The only modifications I made were to lengthen the body a little,  knit the sleeves to full length, and reshape the sleeve cap a little bit.

Refitted set-in sleeves

Although the knitting proved miserable, the pattern itself was very clear, well written, and accurate. The faults are entirely my own, not the designer’s. I should have known better than to jump into this one. Lesson learned the hard way. 

Set-in Sleeve Calculator

A lace pullover for spring

Although raglan and yoke constructions (and even Elizabeth Zimmermann’s set-in model) are seamless, I regrettfully find them ill-fitting on my body. Like it or not, traditional set-in sleeves just fit me better. However, calculating the armhole and sleeve cap shape is time consuming and rather unwieldy for patterns with multiple sizes. This winter, I designed several garments for publication with set-in sleeves. I created an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the armscye measurement, the perimeter of the armhole. Still, the spreadsheet required tinkering here and there and was not a very good solution. When I explained my frustration to Aaron, he decided there had to be a better way. Using Jenna Wilson’s (girl from auntie) impeccably thorough armscye tutorial in Knitty as a guide,  he wrote a web application that would take in the necessary information regarding gauge and armhole shaping to produce meaningful information about sleeve cap shaping. 

The application can be found for free here.

armscye

It may seem complicated at first, but I think his Help! pop-ups explain the inputs pretty well. Here are some sample inputs, taken from the lace pullover shown above. 

armscye_filled-in

By leaving the final output as the number of decreases and the number of rows remaining before the cap bind-off(s), the calculator provides the designer with enough freedom to play around with the curve of the sleeve by varying the rate of decreases. 

Set-in sleeve detail

I relied heavily upon Aaron’s calculator for this simple lace pullover. Although the body largely came to life during a fit of insomnia, the sleeves dragged on interminably in part because I ran out of yarn and needed to alternate between multiple skeins to hide the variation between dyelots. The yarn is yet more stash leftover from my Ivy League Vest, which called for far more yarn than was actually needed. 

Back view

Pattern: The vine lace stitch pattern is an easy 4-row repeat from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns; the sleeve calculations came from Aaron’s armscye calculator 

Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland

Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm)

Side view

Since this was another stashbusting project, I’d say it was almost free! One thing is for sure: because I used a light sport weight (fingering, really) yarn on US 8 needles, the project required minimal yardage – only 570 yds for a finished bust of 36″ with 3/4-length sleeves!

 Set-in sleeve detail

This is the fifth garment I’ve knit using the calculator and every single sleeve cap has fit into its corresponding armhole flawlessly. Here are a few examples of the other garments:

Armhole details, using Aaron's armscye calculator

I hope others will find the calculator equally useful. 

Vine Lace Pullover

Perhaps it’s time to give set-in sleeves another go?