Tag Archives: stranded colorwork

Katie’s Kep, encore

I had my first Katie’s Kep class on Sunday for For Yarn’s Sake, and we had a great time. We started off with a chat about size and gauge. I think that’s especially important with this project, which is prescribed to be 22” around. You can see how much smaller my second kep will be, and you can also see how lovely the fabric is after blocking. Blocking is magic, both for this yarn and for stranded colorwork in general.

Even though I’m reducing the circumference, the top will still have this lovely six pointed star. Math!

The hat pattern is free from Shetland Wool Week if you’d like to make your own. Also, I’ve added a third stranded colorwork Zoom class through For Yarn’s Sake on February 28 for this project. Register here, if you’d like to start your kep with me and a small group of knitters. We’ll talk about sizing, gauge, how to manage your yarns, yarn color dominance, and more! If you need yarn, For Yarn’s Sake also has kits for this project in 5 colorways. I found that very helpful!

Shetland Wool Week also has patterns for a cowl and fingerless gloves that coordinate with this hat; you can purchase them here.

I find the small color pattern repeats in each round to be very soothing, meditative knitting. Not a bad thing in these turbulent times. So far, 2021 is on a pace to outrun 2020. Yikes.

On the needles: Katie’s Kep

I’m knitting away on Katie’s Kep, a free pattern from Shetland Wool Week. Anne Lindquist at For Yarn’s Sake put together 5 different color kits, based on the ones in the pattern. This made it really easy for me to choose my colors without agonizing over what goes with what. Thanks, Anne!

I’ll be teaching a stranded colorwork Zoom class with this pattern in January for For Yarn’s Sake, twice! Both classes are sold out already. Should we add another one?

I’ve been struggling a bit with this project. It’s not a pattern problem; the pattern is well written and easy to follow. The charts are great. The problem is my needle; the stitches keep getting caught on the join between the cable and the needle of this 16” ebony circular. Yesterday I decided I’d had enough, so I walked up to Close Knit and purchased a new needle. I wanted a wooden needle, hoping to avoid gauge changes when swapping. The old needle is ebony, and the new needle is from the Knitter’s Pride Ginger line. The smooth join makes knitting this project much more enjoyable!

While I was swapping needles, I took the opportunity to measure for gauge and try on the hat while the stitches had room to spread out. It’s definitely big enough for my biggish head! The hat is supposed to measure 56 cm, which Alexa says is 22 inches. And that’s pretty much what I have. (I love that I can ask Alexa to do my conversions for me, so I don’t have to look it up and do the math.)

You might wonder how I got so far without checking gauge. I mostly don’t do gauge swatches for hats, knowing that I don’t usually wear hats, and that the hat is a sample and will fit *someone*. By the time you cast on enough stitches to knit a gauge swatch, you may as well have jumped into the hat project, if you’re willing to rip if it’s way off. And so I do. (Hint number one from class.)

Also, stranded colorwork always looks lumpy and bumpy before it’s blocked. Fear not; things will calm down. Clearly, I haven’t washed and blocked my swatch (for looks nor for gauge), since I didn’t knit one. I’m fine with that. Again, you have to assess your own risk tolerance. (Hint number two from class!)

I may order one more ball of the background color; the pattern doesn’t use much of the patterning color, and with one more ball of background I think I could get a second hat. Eventually. When I catch up with myself! (The kits have 2 balls of the background color, but you won’t use all of the second ball.)

Have you knit stranded colorwork? Did you enjoy it? Have you *cut* your stranded colorwork?

Oh! I’m also teaching a class on cutting your first steek! Homework is knitting a simple coffee coaster, in the round. We reinforce the steek and cut and finish during class. February 21 through For Yarn’s Sake. Cutting a coaster is much less fraught than cutting your first steek on a sweater you’ve knit for months!

Log Cabin blocks

And! I’m also teaching Log Cabin knitting on February 7 for For Yarn’s Sake. Easy-peasy garter stitch knitting.

Okay, back to my knitting. Actually, I have to take one more picture, and then I can publish my Leafy Origami pattern. So many (figurative) hats to wear: Photographer, knitter, designer, publisher, teacher… At least they don’t mess up my hair. Onward!

Kerfuffle Cowl update, and Kerfuffle Zoom class

Read to the bottom if you’re interested in class!

Young woman wearing snowflake colorwork cowlLarge cowl

I’ve updated the pattern for my Kerfuffle Cowl to streamline it for classes. I’ve been saying for years that I was going to do this, and now I have a little time to get it done. Here’s what I’ve changed:

  • Changed the needles to omit the smaller needle for the ribbing. Now the ribbing and the body both use the same larger needle. It works fine, and makes class that much more accessible.
  • Omitted the purl stitches in the first 3 and last 3 rows of the charted pattern. I was concerned about the edge flipping, but blocking takes care of that, and it’s one less thing for a new colorwork knitter to think about.
  • Added a larger 30″ size to the original 24″ size. Knitter’s choice!

The Kerfuffle cowl is a great project for first time stranded colorwork. There are only two colors used per round, and I’ve taken care that the motifs don’t have long floats that need to be trapped.

To celebrate this update, you can purchase the Kerfuffle Cowl pattern for 15% off through April 24, 2020 using the coupon code FRESH when you purchase it through Ravelry. Newsletter subscribers will have a 25% discount in the next newsletter. Not a subscriber? Sign up here!

Small cowl

I’m teaching a Kerfuffle Cowl stranded colorwork class through Zoom on Wednesday May 6, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The class is being organized by Fuchsia Troutman at Weird Sisters Yarn Shop. She’ll have class kits available, and a special pattern discount, too. Register here!

By the way, my May 2 Petite Brioche class is now full; thank you for your interest! This will be a great way to get into the swing of Zoom classes. I’m looking forward to being able to teach from home, and I hope you enjoy learning from home, too.

Three of my four Virtual Knitting Live classes are full (that was quick!). There are a few spots left in my Minerva Entrelac class, so if you’re interested in that, register now. VKLive link is here.

Let’s knit together, apart!

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.

Color work, two ways

I’m teaching two classes at Stash in Corvallis on Saturday. One is an introduction to stranded color knitting, and the other is slip stitch cowl design. Both techniques let you play with color, but in very different ways.

swish

Stranded color knitting involves carrying two (or more) colors across the row/round with you. We’ll talk about how to manage your yarns without a tangled mess, among other things. How do *you* manage your yarns? One in each hand? Drop and pick up the working yarn as you go? Two on the left? Two on the right? It’s a little different for everyone, so I’m curious what works for you.

I’m a thrower; I carry my yarn in my right hand. I took a colorwork class with Anna Zilboorg at Stitches way back in the 90’s. In preparation, I taught myself to knit continental style (hold yarn in left hand, pick with right needle) so I could carry one color in each hand. I was pretty pleased with myself, although it was a bit awkward. When I got to class, Anna showed me how to carry both colors in my right hand, which was a lot easier for me. That’s what I do now. Here’s a video tutorial, if you’re interested.

pdxknitterati knitting

Slip stitch knitting means you get to play with color, but you only work with one color per row/round. This can be a little more relaxing for the novice color knitter, and it’s very pretty. We’ll be swatching some of these patterns, and then designing our own slip stitch cowls. Here’s the one I’m knitting now:

pdxknitterati slip stitch cowl

Have you tried both kinds of color work? Do you have a preference? And please do tell me how you like to manage your yarns for stranded colorwork.

I think there’s still some room in class on Saturday, if you want to come play hands on!