Category Archives: KAL

Knitty knitty bang bang

Having fun so far with the #BangOutASweater project. Sometimes planning and dreaming is the most rewarding part.

green lopi pop

I didn’t love the spring green Lopi that I chose for my color pop when I swatched with it. Through the magic of duplicate stitch, I auditioned several other colors to see if I could find something I liked better. I used six different Malabrigo worsted colors that were leftovers in my stash.

malabrigo color pops

Purple, yellow, red (actually Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride)
Moss, orange, apple green

I’m leaning towards the yellow, so I tried that by itself.

yellow malabrigo pop

Maybe. Maybe just a little too much? I also like the moss, which is almost the same color as the original Lopi, but maybe a bit softer.

I asked for opinions on Instagram, and they’re all over the map! Some people liked the idea of using All THE COLORS, which could be fun, too. I may just knit the MC and not put the pops in, and then duplicate stitch them in afterwards. That would have two advantages: One fewer color to manage on that row, and I could swap out colors whenever I wanted to, like a necklace. Crazy? Maybe not!

With all this prep, how could I go wrong? I cast on yesterday morning. The contrast color borders were looking disconcertingly pastel, but all was well once I got to the main color. It looks like a blue valentine!

Lopi Valentine

But it was also looking suspiciously small. My gauge had dropped to 14 st/4″ rather than the perfect 13 st/4″ on my swatch. Grrrrr. I frogged it. I think my gauge swatch is laughing at me from downstairs. Swatches lie!

Lopi frog pond

I don’t want to use a bigger needle, so I’ve cast on the next size up. That will compensate for the difference in gauge, and it should come out the size I originally intended. Hopefully my gauge doesn’t switch back! But it’s looking pretty steady, and the fabric is neither too dense nor too holey. I’m on my way to banging out this sweater.

It’s a good thing it’s not a race, because I’m also in the middle of banging out a poncho. More knitting, more fun! I’m designing with this gradient set from Three Fates Yarns.

Three Fates Eponymous Sock Time Lapse

It’s pretty wild having a project in Aran weight and two projects in fingering weight at the same time. (I’m leading the Black Trillium Fibres Twin Leaf Crescent KAL this quarter, too.) But I’m enjoying them all. Knit like the wind and bang out all the knits!

Bang Out A Sweater next week?

When I saw that Kay and Ann over at Mason-Dixon Knitting were starting a #BangOutASweater KAL with Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover pattern, I tried to resist. I have several projects already in the works, and don’t really need one more.

But if I did decide to knit along, what colors would I use? I played with some colors online. Just looking, you know. As one does.

Lett-Lopi colors

I wondered what they would look like in real life? I went to the Knitting Bee to check. And then I bought the yarn. Oops. But Létt-Lopi isn’t very expensive on the yarn continuum, so I didn’t feel too guilty. I could put it away for later when I have more time, right?

My friend Claudia came over to bake bagels and sing with me the other day. (She, Becky, and I sing as the Pie Birds.) The bagels turned out great.

bagels with Claudia

I told her about the BangOutASweater KAL, and she was all in. She went from my house to Dublin Bay to get yarn. I’m such an enabler! (And can I say just how lucky we are in Portland to have 15 yarn shops in the area, and TWO that carry Lopi?) She sent me this picture.

Létt-Lopi for Claudia

I guess this means I should knit along with her now, instead of later. I swatched yesterday (in the round! and wet blocked!) and also sampled color placement. The size didn’t change when I blocked it, but the yarn fuzzed up marvelously and filled in the gaps at this loosely knit gauge. Perfect.

Stopover color sampling

I like the top sample better; the gray and blue pop against each other at the bottom of the peacock feather. The green and blue are too similar in value to each other and mush into each other in the bottom sample. Here it is in monotone; you’ll see what I mean.

lett-lopi monotone

So I’ll run with the color placement in the top sample, but I’m not excited about the green as the accent color pop. I may use cherry red. Or sunshine yellow. Hot pink? It’s only used in that one row, so I’ll check my stash of leftovers (Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride) to see if I have anything that works. Otherwise, back to the yarn store. Oh, darn.

How about you? Do you want to bang out a sweater with us? It will be quick. And fun! Check it out here on the blog, on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, their Ravelry group, and Instagram, where the hashtag is #BangOutASweater.

New year, new knits

I frogged my prototype Twin Leaf Crescent on New Year’s Eve, and cast on New Year’s Day.

twinleafkal2016 begins

I’m looking forward to re-knitting this yarn into the shawl it wants to be. The twinleafkal2016 is going on in the Ravelry Black Trillium Fibres group, if you’d like to join. The KAL runs through March 31, but in order to be eligible for prizes, you’d need to cast on by the end of January. I’ll be knitting along with everyone over there.

New Year’s Day was sunny, bright, windy and cold! We had a lovely walk on my favorite riverfront path.

steel bridge pdx

burnside bridge pdx

Two days later we had snow, and then freezing rain on top of it. I saw this Buddha in a neighbor’s yard.

chilly buddha

He looked serene, but maybe a little lonely, so I brought him some friends.

chilly buddha corkies

Waiting for things to thaw out. Everything is coated in ice. (Bird pic courtesy of Son2)

bird and freezing rain

Speaking of snow, I’m looking forward to releasing a new take on Snowy Woods soon. I just can’t get enough of those lovely trees! It’s been to the tech editor, and just needs someone else to knit it as a confirmation. Soon!

I have one other project on the needles right now, an easily memorizable cowl design that can be knit in public or at knit night, no crazy charts to follow or beads. This balances well with the Twin Leaf Crescent, which needs a little more attention.

What’s on your needles this year? Is January Selfish Knitting Month for you?

Gift knitting deadline looming near

Are you still trying to knock out last minute gifts for Christmas? (It’s too late for Hanukkah this year; all the candles have been lit.)

menorah and christmas stockings

Solstice? That’s even sooner than Christmas!

I don’t do deadline gift knitting; I don’t like the pressure. But I’m shopping through my ever-growing stash of knitted design samples for some very nice gifts.

If you’re the kind of knitter who thrives on holiday gift knitting, don’t forget about the Indie Design Gift Along. You can win prizes for participating, which is a bonus on top of getting your gift knitting done. The GAL/KAL/CAL runs through the end of the year; check out the action on Ravelry.

And here’s a very cute “T’was the Knit Night Before Christmas” to keep you amused…

Beads and Bead Aid giveaway, twinleafKAL2016

Have you signed up for the Twin Leaf Crescent KAL? Dyer Melanie Dilworth of Black Trillium Fibres tells you how in this post.

Twin Leaf wingspan

The KAL begins January 1, 2016, and runs through March. But we want the fun to begin earlier than that, so join us in the Black Trillium Fibres group on Ravelry for discussion and fun.

We’ll be giving away beads from Fire Mountain Gems to two lucky participants, and a set of Bead Aids to three lucky participants before the knitting begins. What color yarn and beads do you want to knit with? I generally stick with clear beads, but if contrast is your thing, go for it!

Lower edge detail

Special thanks to Sarah Lajoie, the maker of Bead Aids, for donating these for the giveaway. They make beading so much easier.

I’ll be knitting my Twin Leaf Crescent in Mallow, which is shades of mauvey-pink. I guess I should say I’ll be re-knitting it. I’ll be ripping out my original prototype so I can make it perfect.

twin leaf prototype

We had fun comparing these at knit nite last week. The gauge on this was too loose, I had a lot more decreasing in the lace section which made it narrower at the top than I envisioned (not enough wrap around), and the lovely top edging wouldn’t stand up. But I wasn’t ready to frog it all until I knew I had a better version. Melanie was kind enough to send me the Periwinkle gradient so I could work things out. Now I’m happy, and I can frog and re-knit the first one.

So join the KAL and knit along with me in January. It’s selfish knitting month. Or if you’re feeling unselfish, give the yarn/pattern combo as a gift to a very good knitting friend. Everybody wins! Details on the KAL are on Ravelry in the Black Trillium Fibres group. Sign up by December 22 to be in the beads and Bead Aid drawing. Are you dreaming of colors? Go!

Twin Leaf Crescent KAL: Sign up now!

Introducing….my new Twin Leaf Crescent Shawl.

Twin Leaf front

I designed this for Black Trillium Fibre Studio’s Q1 2016 Knit Along. It’s knit with Melanie’s gorgeous Lilt Sock gradient yarn, 85% Superwash Merino, 15% Mulberry silk. This yarn is heavenly to knit with, and the drape and hand of the knitted fabric is amazing. Beads are optional, but highly recommended, for additional drape and sparkle.

Twin Leaf back

This shawl is knit in the periwinkle colorway, five gradient shades of the loveliest blue-purple. The gradient kit is 165g, 675 yards, which makes a lovely large shawl that you can get cozy in. You’ll want to check out all the available colors; I had a hard time choosing.

Twin Leaf wingspan

The leaves on the lower edge…

Lower edge detail

are echoed at the top of the shawl. A ribbon of shell lace is set off by a garter stitch frame.

Twin leaf detail

The pattern is available exclusively through Black Trillium Fibres for the KAL that runs from January 1 to March 31, 2016. Check out the Ravelry page for info on the KAL, or the Black Trillium Fibres page for more info on ordering the yarn and pattern. Fun and prizes await. Treat yourself in the new year!

How to use yarn dominance to your advantage

I finished the quilted lattice band of the Heladas Hat that I’m knitting for the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, and moved on to the pinstriped body. The stripes are made with a combination stranded colorwork/slip stitch technique. But I noticed that the lovely stripes were sinking into the stockinette stitch so that they were barely visible. Hmmm.

I thought about yarn dominance in stranded colorwork, so I decided to change how I was carrying my yarns. I usually carry two colors in my right hand, and the position of the yarns doesn’t make much difference as long as they keep their relative positions. But it was making a difference in this case, so I switched. I had been carrying the main color in my favored (usual) throwing position, and the contrast color above because it doesn’t get used as often. Swapping them made all the difference. You can see that the first stitch of the contrast color stripe is kind of buried in the stockinette stitch, and above that they pop out. Yay!

heladas yarn dominance

I don’t particularly like carrying the MC in my non-favored throwing position; it’s a little more cumbersome. So for this project I’m carrying the CC in my left hand and picking it continental, which still puts it in the lower position, and lets the color pop.

Do you know about yarn dominance? It’s a fun fact and useful thing to know. Your particular knitting technique may end up making the upper yarn dominant instead of the lower; you’d have to check and see. But after you decide which one is dominant and like it that way, keep your yarns in the same relative postion as you knit your colorwork. Have fun!

And don’t forget that the pattern sale for the GAL ends on November 27 at midnight; the coupon code is giftalong2015. The knitting/crocheting/prizes continue until the end of the year.

Indie designer: Yarn Intercept Designs

Heladas Hat

Last night I cast on my first Indie Design Gift-Along project, the Heladas Hat. I love the clever 2-color quilted lattice stitch on the wide band. A very fun stitch that adds a lot of interest!

Heladas

The Heladas (frost) Hat is designed by Beverly S, yarnintercept on Ravelry. I’ve followed Beverly’s blog for many years; back in 2011 she even interviewed me for her blog!

Beverly is a middle school math teacher who also designs knitting patterns. She’s not afraid to use math in her design work! She designs accessories: hats, mitts, socks, and shawls. Her asymmetrical Bricktown Shawl is a very appealing use of slipped stitches and eyelets using two complementary yarns.

Bricktown

Bricktown

I had been planning to cast on Beverly’s Frozen Spires Cowl. This lovely cabled cowl would be perfect for the extra skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted that’s left over from my Edin cardigan. Even better, I have an extra 1/5 skein from the sweater, so I can make this cowl one repeat bigger and even squishier than the original seen here.

frozen spires

And I still may. But right now, the hat is humming along. I’m using Malabrigo Arroyo in Purpuras and Borrajas, and I love the way it looks.

Malabrigo Arroyo purpuras y borrajas

Check out these designs and more on Beverly’s Ravelry designer page. And stock up during the Indie Designer Giftalong sale!

(All photos by Beverly S/Yarn Intercept Designs, except my cast on.)

Indie Design Gift-Along: Let’s get this party started!

Last year’s Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry was so much fun, I’m particpating again this year as both a designer and a knitting participant.

GAL2015 mosaic

These are just a few of the 20 designs I’m including in the event.

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion through Ravelry to help you kick-start your holiday gift-making! It begins with a pattern sale, and then the fun and games begin on Ravelry, with KAL/CAL activity and prizes. You don’t have to belong to Ravelry to buy patterns, but you do have to join if you want to participate in the KAL/CAL games and prizes.

The pattern sale runs from Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm US EST. The KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 19 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Thursday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

Here’s a link to my featured patterns for this event; scroll down to the Giftalong 2015 bundle (fuzzy Thrumbelina picture) and click. The discount is 25%; use the code giftalong2015 at checkout. Remember that it starts working tonight (Thursday, Nov. 19) at 8 p.m. Eastern, which is 5 p.m. Pacific. (When we lived in New York, my PDX Mom would always ask “What time is it there?” when she called me.)

Ready, set, KNIT! (or crochet…)

Are you knitting gifts for the holidays?

FO: Edin cardigan

I love a good finished object! This is my Edin Cardigan, pre-blocking.

Edin, pre-blocking

I gave it a light steam block so I could take a photograph for the ChicKnits KAL. Here you can see that the band on the left is unblocked, and the one on the right is steamed a bit.

Edin bands

I love how the whole thing begins at the back of the neck.

Edin back neck

I wet blocked it 2 days ago, and it’s still drying in the sunroom.

Edin blocking

Almost dry! It relaxed a bit, gaining an inch in width and an inch in length, both of which are good things. (Did I wash and block my swatch? No. But I did swatch, and I use this particular yarn a lot, so it behaved according to plan.)

Here are the details:

Edin, design by Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Continental Blue, 4.8 skeins
Needles: Hiya Hiya US 7
Began Oct. 13, finished Nov. 14. Quickest sweater ever for me.

I really enjoyed knitting this; Bonne Marie’s pattern is well written and easy to follow. Edin as a top down cardigan, mostly stockinette except for the lace bands that look like cables. So pretty! Stockinette is great for multi-tasking knitting; I did a lot of reading while knitting this.

Edin magic loop sleeve

I also perfected my magic loop technique while knitting the sleeves. I knit the first one last month in Sisters, Oregon, where my yarn was the same color as the sky.

image

At least on the first day. The next day was quite frosty in the morning.

Sisters morning

While I was in Sisters, I had the opportunity to meet up with Sarah and Paula at the Stitchin’ Post. Good times.

Sarah me Paula

I have 1.2 skeins left of this glorious blue yarn, and I’m planning to make a cowl in the Indie Designer Gift-Along on Ravelry, which starts Thursday. I’ll post about that in a few days.