Category Archives: pattern design

Cold feet! and Indie Design GAL

Remember these?

My Concentric Slipper Socks. So beautiful in this lovely panoramic gradient from Knit Circus. But they’re an expensive slipper because they’re double-stranded with four 50g balls of beautiful gradient yarn. You could knit these with any worsted weight yarn and be very happy. The gradient just makes them extra lovely.

So this happened.

I frogged the slippers, which I loved, because I want to make single-stranded bed socks. Those four balls should make two pairs of bed socks, if I use a contrasting yarn for heels and toes.

GAME ON.

You’ll note that I’m using some very interesting needles. These are Skacel’s FlexiFlips, which come in a set of 3. (I reviewed them before, here.) It’s a hybrid of dpns and magic loop or two circulars; there’s a bit of cable between the two tips. Divide your work in half, and the third needle is the working needle. I like having fewer transitions than when using dpns, and no fiddling with sliding stitches on cables.

I had started these socks with magic loop on 32” cables which felt too long, and moved to 24” cables which felt too short. The FlexiFlips are just right. They each have a pointy end and a blunter end, so you can choose which suits your knitting style. And I find I don’t need to re-tension the yarn in my throwing hand when I switch needles, which is saving me time.

I’ll let you know how the bed socks turn out…soon! Worsted weight yarn means quick socks!

What else is going on? The Indie Design Gift-A-Long starts on Friday!

What’s a Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer event 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. Your project with any paid pattern by a participating designer is eligible for prizes, not just the patterns in the sale. Here are a few of my patterns that are included in the coupon sale portion of the GAL; you can see the rest in the GAL bundle on my Ravelry designer page.

The pattern sale runs from Friday, November 23 at 8:00 pm US EST – Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm US EST. The coupon code is giftalong2018 and it’s good for 25% off any of the participating patterns from all the designers. The KAL/CALs will run from Friday, November 23 at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party December 31 at midnight (US-EST). Check out the Ravelry group for all the details.

And! Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I hope you get a lot of knitting time in over the holiday weekend. What else would you do while the turkey is cooking? I was planning to knit these bed socks, but then this happened:

The car door and I had a difference of opinion. Click. I went for an x-ray (my hands are very important to me!) and found that my knuckle is just bruised and swollen, nothing broken. It will just slow me down for a few days. I’ll be knitting…gingerly!

I’m very thankful it’s not broken. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Nymphaea gradient update

I’m so glad I started over. It was a tough decision to rip out an almost finished shawl, but I’m glad I did it.

The softer contrast of the gray Soft Kitty instead of the green Serenity really speaks my language. (Others are using the green, and it works for them. Color is so personal!)

I love these iridescent Black Copper-Lined Diamond AB beads against the brown end of this gradient yarn.

As the brown shades into gray, I transitioned to the green beads…

until it was green beads on green.

And then switched to Terra Dove Gray Pearl beads as the green becomes more intense. I think the gray beads tone down the green nicely.

I’m working on repeat 9, and could do 10 or even more before getting to the edging. We’ll see how those greens turn out. If they’re too intense for my preferred muted palette, I’ll stop early.

Wish us luck!

Re-introducing: Nymphaea!

My lovely Nymphaea shawl pattern is now available through Ravelry download. It’s a sparkling beaded confection that’s fun to knit and wear.

You can knit it with 435 or 650 yards of fingering weight yarn and 200 yards of contrasting color. And beads. About 1350 of them.

I’m still knitting my large version, with a gradient from Fierce Fibers.

Mini-skeins have a place here, too.

You can find the Nymphaea pattern on Ravelry. It’s 10% off this week, and newsletter subscribers get a special discount.

Knit on, knit happy!

Knitting in color and changing my mind

Oh, that little voice that says, “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

Green beads, green yarn

And you say, “Maybe?”

On our way with green beads, green yarn, and contrasting green yarn

Commitment is just so hard sometimes. I decided this might need contrasting beads instead. The green silver lined beads don’t show on the very vibrant teal at this end of the gradient cake.

Brown beads on green yarn

On our way again, with more contrast

But as I got further, I decided that wasn’t the look I wanted, either. So I started over. Again.

At the other end of the gradient this time. And I changed the yarn contrast color too, because I wanted it to feel less “tree” and more “sand.” Both the green and gray yarns work with the main cake; it’s just personal preference at this point.

I love it! And I like these beads on it; they’re subtle but they reflect a lot of color.

I know that I won’t use every inch of the yarn cake (600 yards), so I won’t have my bead dilemma on that most vibrant end.

I’m generally pretty conservative in my yarn color choices. I usually choose my beads to be not too contrasty, too. You may like more pop in your knitting. There’s no one right way; do what makes you happy!

Edited to add this picture of Laurinda’s take on color and beads.

I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Nymphaea Shawl Retreat with Laurinda Reddig. We’ll be talking about color choice as we begin knitting or crocheting our Nymphaea shawls. And my Nymphaea pattern will be available through Ravelry next week when I get back; I’ll have a re-launch now that it’s mine again.

Color choices are so interesting, and so personal. I loved knitting my rainbow Lucky Stars shawl, but it’s more color than I normally wear.

I’m wearing my Carbon/Pollen Lucky Stars all the time: One neutral main color (gray gradient) and the golden pop.

My clothes are mostly black. It’s a great background to show off my knitting! Occasionally my skirt will tie in with the theme.

But that’s usually as far from black as I get.

How do YOU feel about color?

Evolution of a shawl: Lucky Star design story

I’m really happy with my Lucky Star shawl, and it seems like you’re happy with it, too! I’m looking forward to seeing Lucky Star shawls out in the wild. It’s a fun knit. And this one goes perfectly with one of my favorite skirts.

Just a reminder: the Lucky Star pattern is on sale for 10% off through October 31, no coupon needed.

Here’s how Lucky Star came to be:

Sometimes, designing is like falling off a log. You get an idea, you get some yarn, you start knitting, and BOOM! The project is perfect. Write it up!

Other times, it plays a coy game. Lucky Star took a while to decide what it wanted to be.

I had this main yarn skein for a while; I couldn’t resist the pops of color on it. It’s Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock in Box of Macarons. So sweet! I was going to pair it with a Sixlet pack of Gumballs (Victory Fingering) in Lover’s Rainbow, but it became clear that the colors were too different. I couldn’t tell in the mini skeins, but as soon as I put the tomato red with the Macarons, I knew it wouldn’t fly.

A quick trip to Lorajean’s studio set me back on track. The colors in Box of Macarons came in minis, too, and in the same yarn base (Smarties), so this was a perfect match: Madge, Orange You Glad, Genteel, Key Lime, Aquamarine, Tanzanite.

I was planning to use a flower stitch between sections of the color rainbow. I thought I wanted a lace stitch for the color sections, but this fabulously bouncy round yarn said no to my first lace pattern, too burly looking. And the flowers looked too wobbly.

Two row garter on stockinette stripes, with a simpler starry variation of the flower stitch? I liked my newly minted star stitch (and figuring out how to make it work), but the stripes were way too busy. Sometimes high contrast is not your friend.

I tried a more open lace pattern between the star stitches, but it was harder to track. I don’t want your knitting to be difficult; I want it to be zen! And it was still too burly.

Garter stitch to the rescue! Sometimes it pays not to try so hard.

I always knew there’d be a sweep of scallopy Old Shale lace after the minis were done. I wanted to accent the edge with some color, too. I didn’t like how contrasty this red one was, though.

I re-knit the edging. I think this blue is just right. The scallop is a little softer because I didn’t re-block after replacing the edge.

I love the way this turned out. Eventually. I hope you do, too. I do all the fussing, so you don’t have to.

And then! Test knitter Ann knit up this beauty with a much bigger mini skein gradient pack. I wanted a bigger one, too.

This is Knitted Wit Victory Sock in Pollen, with two Smarties Sixlet gradient sets in Carbon. Swoon! I had a lot of Pollen left, but I wanted to feature the gradient and not let the Pollen overwhelm it. It’s perfect!

Introducing: Lucky Star

It’s been a super productive fall, and it’s not over yet! Here’s the latest off my needles.

Lucky Star is a crescent hug of garter stitch stripes, interspersed with an intriguing star stitch. The shawl is knit from the top down, then finished with Old Shale lace for a scalloped edge. Designed to use mini skeins in coordinating colors, you can knit a rainbow, or a subtle gradient shift. You can use fewer, larger mini skeins, if that’s what you have. You could even use a continuous gradient cake. The garter stitch makes this a most meditative knit…or a multi-tasker’s dream.

This gradient version is knit with 2 Knitted Wit Sixlet gradient packs in Carbon, and a skein of Victory Sock in Pollen. Thank you to Knitted Wit for the beautiful yarn!

This rainbow version is knit with a single rainbow Sixlet pack, and a skein of Victory Sock in Box of Macarons.

Test knitter Ann knit hers with a gradient set with more yardage. Lovely!

This design uses my new Better Garter Tab Cast On for Top Down Crescent Shawls.

The Lucky Star pattern is available through Ravelry, pattern page here. It’s 10% off through October 31, no coupon necessary. Newsletter subscribers get 20% off with coupon in newsletter. Sign up here, if you haven’t already!

PDXKnitterati’s Better Garter Tab Cast on for Crescent Shawls

I have a new shawl design, Lucky Star. It features an elongated garter tab cast on at the beginning, designed to minimize the hump that can occur at the center neck of top down crescent shawls.

Many crescent shawls have this visible hump in the middle; it’s a function of construction and stitch pattern. A short garter tab results in more rows right under the center, creating a hump.

Garter stitch is less humpy than a stockinette based stitch, because the height of the stitches is more compressed. I like to use garter stitch at the center neck of my crescent shawls.

Elongating the garter tab can help smooth out the center. If you add YO’s along the edge of this elongated garter tab, it visually mimics the YO’s along the top edge of the shawl. It also adds flexibility to the center of the shawl neck.

I find this works better if you make a tab long enough to pick up in every other garter ridge as shown in the bottom shawl pictured above. See how this gives those first rows a little more width to stretch out and relax?

Let’s do it! My sample is in garter stitch.

Decide how many working stitches you’d like to have on the first real row of your pattern. Call this N. These are the stitches you’ll use in your patterning. (Don’t include the stitches you’ll increase into at the beginning and end of the row.)

Cast on 3 sts for garter tab. If N is even, knit 2(N) rows. If N is odd, knit 2(N – 1) rows.
Next row (RS): K3, turn work clockwise. *YO, pick up and knit in second ridge from needle, rep from * until you have N sts counting from the YO if N is even. If you want N to be an odd number, end with a YO. Turn clockwise and pick up and knit 3 sts along cast on edge. Now you have N+6 sts. (3 sts on each end, and N in the center.)
Next row (WS): K3, pm, yo, k(N), yo, pm, k3. (For stockinette stitch, purl the N working stitches on this row.) You have N+8 sts: N working sts, and 3 garter stitches and a YO increase at each end.

Here’s a video tutorial.

Now you’re ready to work your shawl. The small bit of hump can usually be blocked out, depending on your stitch patterning. Blocking is essential for top down crescent shawls. And a biasing stitch pattern can still make a hump. Lace where the YO’s are not right next to the decreases can cause biasing, which makes lovely scalloping, but you don’t want it right next to your garter tab beginning. Start with some plain garter at the neck, and gradually move into your stitch pattern after several rows.

Much better! I used this cast on for my Lucky Star Shawl. Many thanks to Ann Berg for test knitting the pink version shown here.

Introducing: Madrona Cowl

What’s next on my hit parade? A snuggly warm cowl. Winter is coming!

Madrona trees are native to the Pacific Northwest. They have gorgeous peeling bark, shiny leaves, and little berries. This brioche knit cowl features leaves and optional small bobble-like berries. I knit most of the blue cowl (no berries) last February while at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, and the name seems to fit. I started the green version at the Lantern Moon retreat in March; it has berries on the vertical columns. Lots of good memories in these!

This cowl is worked in the round from the bottom up. The pattern has lots of links to my brioche knitting tutorials, which you can also find on my tutorials page here.

I loved knitting these cowls, but I wanted to wait to publish the pattern until after summer. And then I forgot to include them in my photo shoot last month with Erin, so it was DIY time. A camera remote control is a fabulous tool!

The Madrona Cowl pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through October 19, no coupon needed. But! As always, newsletter subscribers will receive a 20% off coupon in my upcoming newsletter. Sign up here, if you haven’t already!

Happy cozy knitting!

Introducing: Concentric Slipper Socks

I had so much fun designing the Concentric Cowl. What else could I design with such sproingy goodness?

Concentric Slipper Socks, of course!

These are knit from the cuff down using 2 strands of worsted weight yarn held together for a quick and cozy knit. You can use magic loop, 2 circulars, or double pointed needles; knitter’s choice! Alternating bands of knits and purls create a scrunchy fabric that traps warm air at the ankle.

(Women’s medium sock with 4 purled ankle bands, on top of women’s large sock with 3 ankle bands)

These slipper socks can be knit in three women’s sizes, or for a small man’s foot, based on the available yardage in Knit Circus’ Ringmaster Panoramic Gradient 50g cakes. Four cakes are needed to achieve 2 slipper socks with matching gradient shading, since the yarn is held double. Sample shown in Thanks for all the Fish colorway.

These slipper socks would also be cute knit with two different yarns held together for a marled effect. Your imagination is the limit!

This pattern is available through Ravelry; link here. As always, newsletter subscribers will receive a special discount coupon. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here!

Thanks to tech editor Amanda Woodruff, and test knitters Jacqueline Lydston, Denise Delagarza, and Ann Berg. And thanks to Knit Circus Yarns for the inspiringly gorgeous yarn!

Knitting for the near future

I’ve been knitting up a storm.

Here’s a sneak peek of my newest shawl, coming soon. It’s called Lucky Star. You may now have a Madonna song running through your head. You’re welcome.

You know that hump that happens at the center neck of top down crescent shawls? I didn’t want that on Lucky Star, so I’ve worked on minimizing it. I’m making a tutorial on how to do that. It’s coming soon, too. I’m debuting it in my Favorite Shawl Shapes class at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this Saturday morning.

I’ve been knitting little samples for class, too. We’re going to have fun talking about shape and design.

You can still register for this class on-site. You can knit these little shapes, too!

What are you knitting now?