Category Archives: yarn

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?

Introducing: Leafy Origami Cowl

large cowl

The Leafy Origami Cowl is a 2-color brioche cowl, knit in the round from the bottom up. It features a stitch pattern that falls into mountain and valley folds, just like origami. The result is a delightfully three dimensional fabric. It’s knit with 2 colors of worsted weight yarn; I used Malabrigo Rios.

small cowl

The beginning of the round moves forward and backward on several rounds to keep the center vein of the first leaf as the first stitch of the round, making this a challenging brioche pattern. The results are worth it! 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.

A better view of all those leaves

This pattern is available through Ravelry and through Payhip for 10% off through December 16, 2020 with coupon code FOLDS. Newsletter subscribers, see your special offer in your inbox.

large cowl

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Debbie Braden, Elizabeth Forester, and Wendy Sakai.

small cowl, with colors reversed

I hope you enjoy knitting this as much as I did! Four cowls later, I’m still smitten. You know I love leaves, and you know I love brioche. This is a perfect combo for me.

This is my last pattern release for the year. 2020 has been strange, but ultimately productive. Hunkering down and knitting has had some benefits. I hope you’re making the best of 2020, too. Carry on…

Log Cabin Knitting, and the last classes of 2020

I taught two classes over the weekend, Log Cabin Knitting for Twisted, and Tink Drop Frog for For Yarn’s Sake. I love these classes; they’re relaxed and fun. Perfect for December knitting.

Log Cabin blocks

Log cabin squares are such easy knitting; it’s all garter stitch. Once you know where to pick up your stitches (where to stick it!), it’s a relaxing knit all the way.

I decided after class that my blanket needed some repair, and a bath. So she got both. I knit this from 2007 to 2009. It was supposed to be a scrap project, but as it got bigger I had to buy more yarn. Twice! This is knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, a non-superwash wool. I soaked it in my top-loading washing machine, but didn’t agitate. No felting, please! The original scraps were from my Felted Slip Stitch Tote design projects, when that was a thing. The pattern is “How to Log Cabin” from the first Mason Dixon Knitting book; this was my very first log cabin knitting project.

Tink bear

Sunday’s Tink Drop Frog class was the first time I’ve taught it via Zoom. I’ve been teaching this class for a decade, and it’s always lots of fun to help kntters become the boss of their knitting! And it works just fine in Zoom, too, maybe even a little better since everyone can see my hands at the same time.

I’m teaching both of these classes for Virtual Vogue Knitting Live this coming weekend. The Tink class is full, but there’s still room in the Log Cabin class. I’m also teaching Next Steps in Brioche/Increases and Decreases with my Deep End hat or cowl or Madrona Cowl, and Cast On/ Bind Off.

What are you knitting in December? I have 2 hats on the needles. One is a sample for a January class, and one is a swatch for a sweater for DH. And I have visions of another Log Cabin project dancing in my head. Hmmm, I may be outrunning my fingers here!

Introducing: Deep End

Deep End is a 2 color brioche hat knit in the round from the bottom up. One side features a large staghorn motif, the other side uses a variation of the gull stitch. I like wearing the staghorn on the side, but you can style it any way you want.

I designed this hat as a teaching piece for my classes. You’ll learn both left and right leaning brioche double decreases on the first patterning round; it’s like jumping in the deep end of the pool! After that it’s oodles of brioche rib before the next increases and decreases.

Two crown options are included. Choose the quadruple decreases for a challenge, or go back to the shallow end of the pool with familiar double decreases.

This pattern is available through Ravelry. It’s on sale for 10% off through October 8, no coupon code needed.

This pattern is also available through Payhip, and it’s on sale there, too.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitter Ann Berg.

I’m teaching a Zoom class with this pattern through Twisted on Saturday October 24. If you’d like me to email you when registration goes live, leave me a comment. (Coordinating all aspects is like a dance, and the pattern has to go live before the class can go live. One step at a time!)

Introducing: Tidal Wave Mitts and Hat

They’ve been a long time coming, haven’t they? And they’ve had a name change, too! Their working name was Sneaker Wave, but there really wasn’t anything sneaky about them, and sneakers just remind me of Keds. Tidal waves are the rollers of the tide going in and out. Sounds soothing to me. (And thank goodness for “Find/Replace” in Microsoft Word!)

The Tidal Wave Mitts and Hat both begin with ribbing for a stretchy fit. Loose rolling cabled waves alternate to transform ribbing into WOW. The mitts feature mirrored cables, so each hand has a cable that twists toward the thumb.

The thumb gore is formed with centered double increases. Bulky yarn and big needles make this quick knit a breeze!

The hat’s cables terminate elegantly to close the top of the hat, in both a shorter version and a taller version for a perfect fit. This is a great introduction to knitting cables.

The mitts and hat each take about 100g/130 yards of bulky weight yarn. They’re designed here with Knit Picks Chroma Twist Bulky, shown in the Narwhal colorway.

Charts and line by line instructions are included.

The mitts and hat patterns are available individually or together as an ebook for a discounted price. The pdf downloads are available on Ravelry and on Payhip.

Bonus! These patterns are 15% off, no coupon code needed, through September 23, 2020. As always, newsletter subscribers get a bigger discount; newsletter will be out in the next day or so. Subscribe here if you want knitting news, tips, and special offers. I send a newsletter once or twice per month. No spam!

Click here for Ravelry and choose the ebook or individual pattern you’d like.

Click here for Tidal Wave Mitts on Payhip
Click here for Tidal Wave Hat on Payhip
Click here for Tidal Wave Accessories Collection ebook on Payhip

River and sky #4catbordhi

I’m trying to get excited about my emPower People bandana, but I’m just not. I think it’s even frowning at me! I had hoped to finish it and use it for special election Tuesday next week, but I’m just not feeling the love. I’m going to put it aside for now.

I need to work on my Half the Knit Sky KAL; I’m trying to finish by the end of August. I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a lot more knitting than I expect, because the yardage on this Huckleberry Knits gradient is so much longer than on my original KnitCircus gradient.

I love how subtle the color shift is.

If you’re knitting along, please post a picture on Instagram or Ravelry so you can be in this week’s prize drawing. I’ll pick a winner over the weekend.

My Rio Calina #4catbordhi is calling my name. I love how quickly this river moves along, big stitches, bold cables. I’m trying to be random with the cables and go with the flow, but those two long lines heading to the left are just begging for an intervention!

What is your knitting telling you to do?

Onward!

New on the needles: Rio Calina

Well, I didn’t find 2 skeins of worsted in my small stash, but I did find 2 skeins of fingering weight that I could use doubled, for a roughly worsted equivalent.

This is Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Multi in their Springwater colorway. One of them seems more purple than the other, but that just means that the blend will be that much richer.

The pattern for the Rio Calina cowl is a gift from Cat Bordhi. The cables are meant to be random, like a river. I’m not very good at being random. I like rules; that’s how I design. I’m trying to be intentionally random here, which is testing me a bit, but for Cat Bordhi, I’d do it. Thank you, Cat, for encouraging me to go with the flow.

I cast on while Carole was visiting for wine o’clock in the backyard; she was working on a quilt while I was knitting. It would be sweet to knit this only when I’m with friends, either in person or in virtual Zoom knit nights. But that may not work during our pandemic social distancing. We’ll see how strong the pull of the knitting is. I now have 3 projects on the needles, so I can rotate…randomly?

Cat Bordhi is such a shining light; I’m so sad that the knitting world will soon be without her. If you missed her grace-filled post, it’s here.

Do you want to knit along? You can see posts with #4catbordhi on Instagram and other social media. I’ll be knitting, over here.

Sneaker Wave! Coming soon…

Earlier this spring, Knit Picks gave me the opportunity to try out a new yarn, Chroma Twist Bulky. I love Chroma Worsted, so I jumped at the chance. I chose this color, Narwhal.

I knew I wanted to make some bulky mitts, based on a recipe I dashed off on a piece of paper for my friend Vickie back in 2012. I thought it would be a fairly simple process of reverse engineering the picture she sent me back then.

Reader, I knit the first mitt 4 times, fussing with needle size, cable frequency, cable placement, thumb gore increase options (lifted/m1/other) and rate of increase, and more. Sometimes designing is more engineering than art. But after that, the second mitt was easy. Behold, a vertically centered cable that is neither too tight nor too loose.

I asked for 2 skeins, knowing I wanted to design a matching hat. It was going to be a basic ribbed hat with a single cable as a feature, but the cable didn’t look nearly as impressive on the bigger field of a hat, compared to a single cable on a mitt. MORE CABLES, PLEASE.

And thank you.

I’m really pleased with the finish on the crown.

I loved knitting with this yarn; it’s big and chewy like bucatini pasta. It’s plied rather than a single ply, which gives it more durability than my beloved Chroma Worsted. And it knits up fast! The color is a gentle gradient back and forth; I played around a bit to make sure the mitts had some shading, because the first one I knit was all one color, no thank you. It went to the frog pond and I started from the other end of the skein for the next attempt.

I also played with my hat so that it would begin with the darker shade next to my face, because that’s the shade I liked best.

I’m just going to make these as one size fits most, which is not my usual. Both the hat and the mitts are very stretchy because they’re basically just ribbing. If I add more stitches, it will throw off the perfect symmetry. If you really wanted to change the size a bit up or down, you could do it by changing the needle size. I liked the fabric best on US 9, but US 8 made a great fabric, too. The ball band recommends a US 10, so it’s all covered.

I’ve written the pattern, and it’s been tech edited already, too. I’m looking for a few test knitters for the hat, or mitts, or both. Drop me a line if you’re interested. The hat takes 100g/127 yards, and the mitts take the same. And they’re quick!

Tonal contrast and dye lots

I accidentally finished my pink Love Note before Monday’s Zoom knit nite, so I was desperate to put something else on the needles. This is the downside of being a monogamous knitter.

I poked through my tiny stash, and decided to cast on a second Half the Knit Sky, just to see how far 2 400 yard skeins could take this. The original only has 388 yards in the gradient sparkle skein.

You know the mono tonal contrast camera trick? Put your camera phone in monotone to see if your colors have tonal contrast. Based on this picture, it looks like the speckled yarn would show up well against either of the two blues I have here. I opted for the lighter of the two, because I had tried the darker before and I thought the colors looked muddy together.

But you really don’t know until you try it. Where are my stars?

I think the issue is in the dye lot. The one I’m using is in the upper corner. It looks like the speckles are longer/heavier than the speckles on the one in the lower corner, which is leftover from my Both Sides Now shawl. The light background of the speckle is an ok tonal pop with the background color, but the big star stitch stars are getting lost because there’s too much of the speckle dye in them.

I only have half a ball (44g) of the older version, not enough to do the whole shawl.

I really like the way the older speckle yarn pops off the dark background. When I swatched the dark yarn before with the new speckle, I thought it was a bit muddy. Whyyyyy?

The other difference between these two speckled yarns? The older one is whiter, and the newer one has a more natural/cream background. This isn’t a knock on the yarn; dye lots can vary quite a bit. It’s only when you have your heart set on a particular vision that it becomes problematic.

I do think the darker background is the better choice.

What to do? I think I can make this work if I use the whiter yarn for the single stars and the tall star stitch rows, as well as the final border. I can use the creamier, more heavily speckled yarn in most of the star trail rows (the long white lines). That would be like natural variation in the sky, and it would also vary the perceived length of the lines.

As with most knitting, I’ll have to try it and see. I just have to decide whether to rip back to the beginning of the second set of star trails, or let those bright trails stand. What do you think?

Knit Circus The Night Sky

This showed up in the mail, just before the stay-at-home order took effect. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s from Knit Circus; the sparkle gradient is The Knit Sky, and the speckle is Mistress of Myself.

I bought these with an idea in mind, something I’ve been dreaming about for a year or more. I’m finally ready to play with it. My initial swatching looks promising. A shawl, and it’s *not* brioche. I know, unbelievable!

More later. Gotta go knit.