Category Archives: yarn

Re-introducing: Parquetry

I designed Parquetry last spring for The Fiber Gallery for the Puget Sound Yarn Tour. It’s just come back to me, so I can now introduce it here.

I designed it to be a simple and easy knit. Garter stitch and simple brioche stitches combine to form the checkerboard pattern, like a parquet floor.

Knit cowl with cat in reflection

I used two coordinating colors Of Hazel Knits Lively DK. I think this was the first time I used their DK, and I liked it so much I used more of it for my Soldotna Crop. It’s great yarn to knit with. But you can use any heavy DK/worsted yarn for your Parquetry. Just adjust your needle size to get a fabric you like.

The pattern is now available on Ravelry, link here. And it’s 10% off through October 11, 2019, no coupon code needed.

Happy knitting!

Nymphaea Shawl FO number 3!

I started this shawl for the Nymphaea Fall Shawl Retreat last year, and set it aside sometime after my last post about it in November 2018. Other design projects were calling my name. You can see my progress up to that point in the previous blog post, with lots of thoughts about color and beads.

So when the Bead Biz ladies asked if they could borrow my sample for their shows, I decided now would be a good time to finish!

I was already on the 10th repeat of the ZigZag Lace pattern, and that was about where I wanted to end up. There’s enough yarn left for at least another partial repeat, maybe a half? But deadlines are deadlines, so I finished the 10th repeat and went on to the edging.

I was planning to use the dove gray pearl beads on the edging, but the yarn in the Soft Kitty colorway was tabby striping, and the beads weren’t really adding anything to the story. So I ripped back and changed to peacock beads, to pick up the teal from the last repeat. I love it.

The finished shawl is so beautiful; can I really stand to let it out of my custody to go to west coast shows with Bead Biz?

Sure, as long as it comes back soon. The yarn is from Fierce Fibers, her Abyss base (with silk!) in the Surf and Sand gradient. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Finally!

The original shawl was knit with a mini skein gradient.

The second shawl was knit with 2 435 yard semi solid skeins from Bumblebirch. (Lots of CC left over.)

And this third shawl was knit with a 650 yard gradient from Fierce Fibers, plus a 50g skein of contrasting yarn.

I love them all!

Color is a funny thing

Color is a funny thing. I learn a lot about it by trial and error.

I bought these two skeins of of Malabrigo Worsted to play with some more brioche ideas. I wanted the multi-color to be the main color, and the Polar Frost to be the contrast color.

But the multi doesn’t really stand out here, or look very organized.

The back side is a little more cohesive; you can tell where the stitch columns are. This made me think that the semi-solid should be the MC, and the multi should be the CC. But this combination doesn’t really have much spark.

So I bought more yarn. This is how a non-swatcher accumulates a stash, by the way.

Now we’re cooking! I like this orange on the right side.

And because of the contrast with the bright orange, the multi-colored wrong side looks more cohesive, too.

What am I making? I’m just playing with a couple brioche ideas right now. We’ll see how it turns out!

Introducing Syncopation shawl and scarf!

Syncopation adds so much to music, and to brioche knitting, too!

My Syncopation is a brioche asymmetric triangle shawl or scarf, knit from narrow end to wide end. The interplay between the dark rib and light edging is enhanced by the playful dance of the leafy border. It’s knit in fingering weight yarn in 2 coordinating colors, one skein of each.

I designed the shawl first. It’s a deep triangle, slightly off center due to its asymmetry. Gravity makes it feel like it’s knit on the bias, with that lovely bias swing.

After I finished the shawl, I wanted to design a scarf with the same yardage, so it could be longer to easily wrap twice around my neck. Making it longer means it’s also narrower/shallower because it doesn’t grow in width (depth) as quickly.

I wasn’t sure how it would wrap until it was off the needles and blocked; it’s so long and skinny for much of it. But it does exactly what I wanted. I love it when that happens.

I’m really happy with both pieces!

Size is easily adjustable, simply by using more or less yardage. I used Hazel Knits Entice MCN for both shawl and scarf.

Options are given for plain or fancy endings; I love the syncopated rib ending with the single leaf point at the corner. Knitter’s choice!

Syncopation is a great way to take a next step in brioche knitting. This pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through October 3, no coupon code needed.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Tami Hawes, Jacqueline Lydston, Eden Scheans, and Jardee Worcester.

Introducing: Kittiwake!

I love linen in the summer. It’s cool and crisp, and feels just right to wear. I’m hoping for a long slow slide into fall, because I’m not done with summer yet!

Kittiwake is a breezy summer shell that knits up quickly in Kestrel, Quince & Co’s Aran weight chainette linen. The chainette keeps it light and airy, and is easier on my hands for knitting.

Worked flat in 2 pieces from the hem up, Kittiwake features an undulating wave edging and a simple lace pattern that resembles a kittiwake, or gull.

I’ve included three hem options: Plain hem, split hem, and split shirttail hem. Instructions are both written and charted.

I’ve also swatched this with Berroco’s Remix, and it makes a lovely fabric that is spot on for gauge.

The pattern is now available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through date, no coupon code needed. Newsletter subscribers will have a special offer in the upcoming newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitter Ann Berg. Thanks also to my sister Sharon for modeling with me!

FO: Soldotna Crop

I tried on my Soldotna Crop halfway through the bind off, and it either needed to be a little shorter or a lot longer. I thought it would be cuter as a little cropped thing, so I ripped back and took out some of the body dot section. I’m pretty short waisted, so 5 completed dot repeats is plenty on me. Now it’s a cropped crop!

Sleeve finishing: I had 59 sts per sleeve based on my change at the body/sleeve division. I picked up 5 sts at each underarm (where I bound off 3 sts); the two extra stitches are to avoid holes there, and also because I need a multiple of 4 to make the ribbing work. 59+5=64; perfect.

I first finished this with green at the waist, but decided that I didn’t like a bright green horizontal line across my midsection. So I swapped it out with the dark purple instead. I had also finished the sleeves in green (just following directions!) but having so much green at the yoke and sleeves made it read as a green sweater. I wanted a purple one. I tried the dark purple here, but it was too much of a statement; it needed to be either green or light purple, like the motif just above it. I think the light purple is perfect.

A little steam blocking, and it’s ready to rock and roll. BTW this turned out to be 38” at the bust, which is fine for me. Gauge…

I finished this in less than two weeks, even though I knit most of it twice! Which means it’s a really quick knit in real life.

And it’s so cute! It’s perfect for now through fall.

So what is this monogamous knitter knitting now?

I’m swatching some Berroco Remix, a nylon/cotton/acrylic/silk/linen blend, as an alternative to Kestrel for my upcoming Kittiwake pattern release. It’s looking like it will be a good alternative. It’s soft and cottony, rather than crisp like linen. Choose what works for you!

In the meantime, I’m dreaming of a new shawl, probably brioche. We’ll see what happens next!

Introducing: Hopscotch!

You know how much I love brioche knitting. I’ve fallen so far down the brioche rabbit hole, first with 2 color brioche in the round, then increases and decreases. What’s next? Flat brioche. Flat brioche, syncopated. If you swap the knits and purls in a brioche rib column, you get a reversal of color pop! Now I want to share how to do that with you.

Hopscotch is a syncopated brioche scarf, knit from end to end. It’s knit with two 100g balls of worsted weight yarn in contrasting colors. Gradients make an especially nice Hopscotch scarf. This version is in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, Drawing Room and Natural.

The playful interchange between brioche knit and brioche purl stitches within a column of brioche rib creates a delightful quilt block inspired pattern. Reverse image right side and wrong side are equally handsome; choose two contrasting colors and jump right in!

Hopscotch is a great way to take a next step in brioche knitting. Some prior experience in brioche knitting is helpful; I recommend my free Petite Brioche pattern for learning two color brioche rib in the round.

The Hopscotch scarf pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through August 9, 2019, no coupon needed. Newsletter subscribers will receive a coupon code for 20% off in today’s newsletter.

Test Knitter Ann’s Hopscotch in Pegasus and Natural, Knit Picks Chroma Wosrsted.

I’ve just scheduled a Hopscotch syncopated brioche class at For Yarn’s Sake on October 20. I’m also teaching this at Twisted on November 16. Come knit with me!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Laura Caudle, Melinda Davis, Chris French, and Eden Scheans. I hope they all had as much fun as I did!

Soldatna color update

Well, it took all morning, but I just had to know for sure.

Here’s the green yoke version.

And here’s the white yoke version. The green and purple arrow section isn’t nearly as compelling as I imagined it would be, I think because of the nearby white. See how much more the green and dark purple stand out from each other on the first picture, when there’s no white near them? It doesn’t work that way in the second picture. Also, the green vertical stripes are harder to read on the white background, than the white vertical stripes on the green.

So I’ll be carrying on with the green yoke/purple and white arrow version!

It’s actually pretty quick knitting, when you’re not knitting two. I started these on Friday, and it’s only Monday afternoon.

Onward!

On the needles: Soldotna Crop

I don’t knit from other designer’s patterns very often; usually I’m designing something of my own. But every once in a while a design will catch my attention, and I just have to knit it! The last time it was Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover. I loved it so much I knit two of them.

This time? Caitlin Hunter’s Soldotna Crop is calling my name. I bought yarn for it in June. But I set it aside so I could design and knit a linen top first. That’s the incentive plan: Work first, then play.

Here’s the yarn I bought in June. Iris, Spooky Hue, Nickel, and Fresh Cut. I was a little worried about the gray and green; they don’t have much tonal contrast, and I really wanted to use the green for the arrow line across the yoke. Per the pattern, it would be paired with the gray.

Not much contrast there, right? But I knew I wanted the watercolor-y light purple Iris for the main part of the body, and I thought I wanted the dark purple to pop off of that.

I ignored my warning bells and cast on. Did I do a proper washed and blocked gauge swatch? No. Do as I say, not as I do! Sometimes just jumping in and starting is as good as a gauge swatch. I don’t mind ripping.

The first attempt used the recommended size US 5 needles, and it was tighter than it should have been. So I started over on a US 7. Oh, with a provisional cast on. I’ve paged through a lot of Ravelry project pages, and the one complaint is that the neckline is very high. So I’m skipping the ribbing and the short rows, and just beginning right below the colorwork. I’ll figure out the neck treatment later.

When I got to the green/gray arrow, there was no contrast at all. Guess I should have listened to those warning bells. Also, I decided that I didn’t want the dark purple as a background at the beginning; the whole sweater was bringing me down. Too autumnal, or even wintery. So I went back to Twisted, and bought a skein of Nekkid to replace the gray.

I still want the light purple as the main part of the body. And I wanted way less of the dark purple, so I’ll use that for the arrow. That’s the least used color. The question is: Nekkid or Fresh Cut for the beginning and the interplay with the light purple?

I started with Nekkid, and it felt like the purples were a stripe on a white sweater. Pretty contrasty! In this color scheme, the arrow would be dark purple against green, which I would love. Should I knit a little further? As I said, I don’t mind ripping!

I also started with green, and the combo of this and the light purple made me think of sugared violets. Beautiful! I like how everything seems to blend. But now the arrow would be dark purple against Nekkid, which is very contrasty, and not quite as pleasing as purple against green.

So far, I’ve decided to go with the green beginning. It feels more blendy/cohesive. And the contrasty arrow will really stand out. But of course I’m having second thoughts. There might be more green than I want here. I may go and knit a little further on the other piece and see what happens. Which do you like?

I find color to be such an adventure, and so hard to predict how colors will interact until I try it. How about you?

I never did wash and block any of these beginnings. I guess it will fit…or it won’t!

Kittiwake, my linen top, is coming in August! I’ve knit two of them. The pattern has been edited, and test knitter Ann just got her yarn and is knitting away. I’m looking forward to sharing that with you! Soon!

More linen knitting

So, my gauge swatch ended up being 39” in circumference and 5” tall, unblocked. I gave it a soak and laid it out with just a little bit of encouragement to maintain its size, and it pretty much did.

The stockinette swatches I made previously got a little smaller when I blocked them, but this slightly lacy pattern seems like it can be coaxed to maintain its size. That’s good, because I don’t want this to be any smaller than 39 inches.

We shall see! I popped this back on the needles and continued going in circles.

Note that the stitch holders are cables from my HiyaHiya stainless circulars, with their cute panda stoppers on the ends. I’m doing the actual knitting on my Lantern Moon ebony circulars, because that’s what I swatched with.

As I continued knitting, I had a little worry. Will I have the perseverance to actually finish a top in fingering weight yarn? There are no idle hands here, but an idle mind led me down this path…

What if I knit it with Quince and Co. Kestrel instead of their Sparrow? Heavy worsted/aran weight linen for a quicker knit? The yarn is actually a narrow knit i-cord ribbon. Playing with this idea also lets me try knitting it flat, so I can have side seams for stability AND a split hem at the sides. I like how bold the stitch pattern looks in this weight, too.

It all feels a bit crunchy right now, but the linen will soften when I wash it. This is one 50g hank, knit up. It measures 20” wide by 6” tall. I’m going to wash and block it now, but I like it so much, I’ll just cast on for the other side while I’m waiting for this to dry.

I don’t know what the actual outcome of this linen experiment will be yet, but it’s summer and the knitting is easy. The actual knitting, anyway. The planning is a little more work.

Just a reminder, my summer knitting pattern sale ends on Friday. See the previous post for details. Happy knitting!