Category Archives: pattern design

Introducing: Cherry Blossom Wrapture

Cherry blossoms on my mind! This log cabin themed shawl is a generous 17” deep by 98” wide. You don’t have to knit yours to be that wide, but I LOVE how big this is.

This wrap starts at the center with a leafy square, knit in the round. A log cabin knitting-style frame is added, flat, and then the ends are worked out from each half of the square. I knit mine in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, 2 skeins of Ticklish (white with speckle), and a skein each of Cherry Blossom and Fresh Cut.

It’s so lovely to wrap yourself up in!

This pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and through my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code BLOOM for 15% through April 23, 2021 on either site. Newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your special offer.

Love that center square!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Jacqueline Lydston, Nan Palmer, and Sylvie Bedard.

Signs of Spring: Birdwatcher and Cherry Blossoms

The Birdwatcher (pattern by Casapinka) is underway. I moved up to a US5 needle, knit for a while, and steamed it to get an idea how wide this will be. It’s approximately 39” and I’m aiming for 40”. I’m hoping that the stockinette portion will be just a tad wider than the chevroned edge, and I think it will be. Or not! Again, do as I say, not as I do. I like the fabric I’m getting, and it may just have a little less ease than I was planning. I don’t want to go up another needle size, and I don’t have enough yarn to go up another size in the pattern.

There are supposed to be 4 repeats of that chevron pattern, but I stopped at three. The bottom of the sweater is supposed to be 12” to the armhole, and I want it to be 9. I don’t want chevrons halfway to the armhole; I want it to be more of an edging. I think three repeats will be enough! Also, I was ready to stop paying attention. Now it’s just stockinette to the armhole, which is gives me room to think about other things. I’m glad I’m alternating skeins every 2 rounds; I can definitely see a bit of stripeyness as I’m knitting the stockinette section.

My log cabin wrap is done and blocked! I took some pictures in the back yard, but the modeled pictures are coming soon. My sister modeled for me, and we were lucky to catch the last of the cherry blossoms on a neighborhood street. We went downtown, too, but the trees there were no longer very pink!

Just not the right look for the photo shoot. I really have had cherry blossoms on my mind, so I think this pattern will probably be called Cherry Blossom Wrap. Look for it at the end of the week! For now, let me share pictures from a couple weeks ago downtown. This was the hoped for backdrop for our photo shoot, but I wasn’t ready when it was ready.

What are you knitting this spring?

Dreaming of Spring

I’ve been haunting the Portland waterfront this month, waiting for the cherry trees to bloom.

The top picture is 2 weeks ago, and the bottom is from March 31, 2019. Hoping next weekend is peak!

This color palette is on point!

Here’s a peek at what it’s becoming. I’m so pleased with this. After my adventure with the Pythagorean Theorem and the hypoteneuse, all is well! I don’t regret frogging those 11,000 stitches at all. I’m just over halfway done with this. Pattern coming soon.

I didn’t get much knitting done this weekend because I was teaching for Vogue’s Virtual Knitting Live. I debuted my new Darn It! class, which was really fun! Mending and even more visible mending. This all started with that sock mending project for a friend; it was so much fun I wanted to share my new skills. I’m teaching it again through For Yarn’s Sake on April 25, registration on this page, soon.

And we also launched Brioche Doctor. This covers reading your brioche knitting, and fixing mistakes. I love that it’s different every time, depending on the questions from my students. We can make this as calm or as crazy as you want! I like having several samples so we can play with it different ways.

April classes are booked; I’m looking forward to teaching Brioche Doctor, Tink Drop Frog, Syncopation, and Log Cabin Knitting for Vogue in April. Sign up for their newsletter so you can be notified when registration goes live.

I’m also teaching a slightly longer Syncopation/Syncopated Brioche class for Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop on April 3. I’ll walk you through flat brioche instead of assigning it as homework, before getting to the syncopated brioche. Class is a little longer than the VKL classes to accommodate this. Register here!

I have classes with Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake in April, too. Sign up for my newsletter for the most complete list of classes, plus knitting news, tutorials, and the best discount on my new pattern releases. I try to keep my Workshops and Classes pages updated here on the blog, but there’s no way to let you know about updates on that.

Knit on!

Best laid plans…

I’ve been knitting along in a dream state with these pretty yarns, thinking of how to make the shawl that I see in my mind. This is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Ticklish, Cherry Blossom, and Fresh Cut.

A lot of my designing is trial and error, so there’s a lot of ripping and re-knitting. But I learn something every time I rip. I’ve been knitting away, thinking, and it was time to figure out how how big this would be. I used the Pythagorean Theorem. When’s the last time you thought of that? The hypotenuse is the magic number here.

It turns out I had made the beginning way too big. I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish if I kept going. So I frogged the 11,000 stitches that came after this. Which was fine, because I used those stitches to map out what I want to do, see how things would fit together, and decide what the stitch patterns should be. And it was a really big gauge swatch, too. I took a lot of notes along the way, and now I’m well on my way. At least I think I am!

My current workspace is not too shabby.

Are you a ripper? I really don’t mind it, if I get what I want, eventually.

Introducing: Leafy Origami Loop Cowl

Oh, brioche leaves, I just can’t quit you. After the original Leafy Origami Cowl, and then the Leafy Origami Hat, I just had to do one more. A longer cowl (which is really how I like to wear them), with a smaller leaf pattern that I worked out for the hat, which means more leaves on the cowl. This is the Leafy Origami Loop Cowl, and I love it.

Do you like your leaves big and bold, or smaller and…more numerous? Do you like your cowl as a small neck warmer, or a long loop? So many questions, so many options. The new Leafy Origami Loop Cowl can be anywhere from 20” to 36” in circumference, using the smaller leaves that I worked out for the Leafy Origami Hat. But that didn’t seem fair to the first cowl, so I updated that pattern to be from 18” to 32” using those bigger leaves.

This cowl is 32” long.

And this one is 36” long. I love how leafy they are.

Calvin approves!

The Leafy Origami Loop Cowl pattern is now available through Ravelry and Payhip. Use the code LEAFIER for 15% off through March 3, 2021. If you previously purchased the Leafy Origami Cowl pattern through Ravelry you’ll receive an update to that pattern for a longer loop (check your email or Ravelry messages), along with a coupon code for a free copy of the new Leafy Origami Loop Cowl pattern, now that there are more options.

Don’t forget, there’s a Leafy Origami hat, too.

Snow day

And now my dreams are turning from winter to spring…

Sleeve Island Dreams

The end is in sight! I finished one sleeve, and am well on my way on the second one. Actually, I’ve knit two sleeves already. I realized I didn’t like the fit of the first one when it was 2/3 finished, so I started the second one, adding 6 stitches over all. That’s the finished sleeve you see. Then I ripped the first one all the way back to the yoke and started it over to match the second sleeve. I wish I had added 8 stitches, but I made a math error, and I’m not going back!

We’ve decided to skip the patterning at the wrist; it’s just a place to snag fingers on the stranding inside. This isn’t a particularly grippy yarn (Berroco Vintage Worsted), so it’s definitely a consideration.

But you know this means my mind is wandering along to the next project. I’m swatching!

This isn’t the real yarn for this project; I just wanted to know what would happen, and get an approximate gauge for fingering weight yarn.

It’s really a square; it’s just easier to manage on a circular needle when it gets this big. I’m thinking of a pastel floral garden. I started another block in a dark green single ply from my stash, and it’s just not living up to the dream, so I’m doing a little online yarn shopping…

What’s on your needles? Something new, or something that needs to be finished? Or both?

Introducing: Leafy Origami HAT

It’s been a very busy couple months, but I’m back on track. The Leafy Origami Hat is ready to rock and roll!

The Leafy Origami Hat is 2-color brioche, knit in the round from the bottom up in worsted weight yarn. It was inspired by my Leafy Origami Cowl, and it features a smaller version of the leaf stitch pattern that falls into mountain and valley folds, just like origami.

The beginning of the round moves forward and backward on several rounds, making this a challenging brioche pattern. I’ve made several video tutorials to guide you through the increases, decreases, and moving the markers. The stitch pattern is adapted from the Under Dutch Skies stitch pattern in Nancy Marchant’s book, Knitting Fresh Brioche.

I’m having a pattern launch sale, use coupon code leafylaunch for 15% off the pattern through Feb. 2, 2021. This code works on both Ravelry and Payhip.

This pattern is available through Ravelry, link here.

This pattern is available from my Payhip shop, link here.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, Megan Drake, Elizabeth Forester, and Jacqueline Lydston.

I love these leaves. I’m still knitting on my mega-cowl version, but it’s on the back burner until I finish DH’s Dreyma sweater. I just started the first sleeve!

It’s amazing how much progress you can make if you concentrate on one project, and that’s why I’m pretty much a monogamous knitter. Two projects at the most, so that there is always a mindless project and a mindful project. I’ve had 3 projects on the needles lately (Dreyma, Leafy Origami, and Katie’s Kep) which means I’m not good at getting progress on all of them at the same time! But now Dreyma is on the stockinette sleeve portion, which is truly mindless, and I’m using that for Zoom meetings and home knitting. It’s too big to take on appointments outside the house now.

Don’t forget, my Gauge Swatch Hat pattern is free; you can download it from this blog post where I extol the virtues of hats as gauge swatches.

What’s your strategy for managing your projects?

To the frog pond, happily

I knit the hat on the left, while developing the hat on the right (pattern next week; I just need pictures). The first hat wasn’t what I wanted, so I frogged the crown and re-finished it as a cowl. Yes, you *can* frog brioche and get it back on the needles!

Side conversation: I’m working up a Brioche Doctor version of my Tink Drop Frog fixing mistakes class; I’ll let you know when that goes live.

Done. I love these leaves, and I had enough yarn leftover to knit one more cowl. I decided to play with the smaller leaf that I worked out for the blue hat. But! What if I made it a longer (wider) loop, too? That’s really my preferred cowl style, long and hanging down, not so much up around my neck. I’d need this yarn back to do that, though.

To the frog pond! You know that brioche is a two sided fabric, in separately worked layers. Did you know you can frog one color at a time, leaving the other color behind? This looks so cool, like a frilly petticoat peeking out under a skirt.

Almost there…

I have the new cowl about halfway done, which means it’s the traditional time where I start second and third guessing myself. Should I make the leaves even smaller? Do just I add this version on to the existing cowl pattern, or make a new pattern? I think the answer to that depends on how much extra work goes into it. Right now it’s just using the new smaller leaf from the hat, but if I make the leaves even smaller, it would be a ton of work to redo the chart and written instructions *again*, so it would want to be a separate pattern. Diminishing leaves, diminishing returns?

Really, I just need to finish knitting this so I can move on to a couple shawl ideas that are buzzing in my head. It’s time to get 2021 on the road!

One thing leads to another…

Leafy Origami test knitter Debbie Braden told me that she was wearing her small cowl like a pony tail hat. Hmmm, I thought. It would be super easy to close up the top and make a hat. So I did.

But I didn’t love it. It looked a bit bucket-like, and it was a little too big. It felt like it wanted to slide off my head. I turned up the bottom, and lost a good deal of visible leafiness. Humbug! Fixable? Challenge accepted.

If I removed a 24 stitch repeat, it would be too small. So I reduced the size of the pattern repeat to 20 stitches to make a smaller leaf, which removed 16 stitches overall. It was still going to be a little small, so I went up a needle size to change the gauge. Close enough!

Of course, removing 4 stitches meant removing 4 rounds per leaf, which meant the hat would be too short. So I added one more vertical repeat. More leaves! I had to finesse a bit at the beginning of the hat to end up with approximately the number of rounds I wanted, and it worked. It was a balancing act, and it was fun to puzzle it out.

The fit is definitely better. I think the added leaves make it easier to see them on your head, even if you turn up the brim.

So what began as a simple addition of a closing to the original Leafy Origami cowl pattern ended up being an entire re-chart/re-write. I finished it on the last day of 2020. It goes to the tech editor this week to kick off 2021. I’m looking for a couple more test knitters who are up for some challenging brioche!

I looked back at my Ravelry project page and see that I finished 28 items in 2020. Many of them were multiples for design projects and KALs: 3 Half the Knit Sky shawls, 3 Minerva cowls, 2 Deep End hats, 2 Deep End cowls. And 3 Love Note sweaters! I definitely knit a lot last year.

This year? I have several design ideas percolating in my head; we’ll see what comes of them. And I’m still knitting away on DH’s sweater, and my Katie’s Kep. Did I tell you I started that one over? My stitches were so much more even after I changed to a new needle, I decided that it would be worth it to start again. Here’s to new beginnings in 2021! Happy new year!

Multiple WIPs, oh noes!

I usually have one or two projects at a time; that’s plenty for me. I work better when I’m a bit obsessive. But my two current projects are both stranded colorwork (Dreyma and Katie’s Kep), and that means paying attention to a chart, all the time. Sometimes that’s not possible.

So here we are with brioche again, a perfect multi-tasker project for me. I decided I hadn’t had enough of this color combo yet; Malabrigo Rios in Volcan and Azul Profundo. I gave two friends the previous cowls in this color combo, and I decided I liked it so much I wanted to use it again.

Debbie Braden, one of my Leafy Origami Cowl test knitters, said she was wearing the small cowl as a hat with her ponytail coming out the top. Hmmm. I think I can actually make this close up on top, gracefully. I’ve gone so far as to chart it, and now I have to see if it works in real life. If not, I’ll rip off the top, and finish as a cowl for Mom-in-law. It’s a winner, either way.

Here’s another non-charted project from the weekend. I made a little bow with my other 32 ft strand of fairy lights. US 9 needles, again. I made a stitch holder for the live stitches, using a piece of guitar string. After that I realized that I probably have a stitch holder somewhere that would have worked! Oh well, it’s all good.

I’ve got a lot of food gifts to make in the next few days, which will be a good changeup from knitting. My forearms are still reminding me that I knit too long on Dreyma last week, so it still looks like this:

DH wore the hat over the weekend, so I guess we’ve done our gifts early! (Mine is the board in the leafy hat-to-be picture.)

Are you a mulit-WIP or monogamous knitter? Are you scrambling this week, or completely chill?