Thursday, April 13, 2017

Skye Shawl

Skye Shawl
Skye Shawl

Those of you who follow my Instagram may realize that I attended the Edinburgh Yarn Festival last month (not that I posted much - one photo, maybe?). What you may NOT realize is that I also bought a crapload of yarn. Of course, because my mother raised me to value a sweet deal, I bought both brand-new-perfect-condition stuff and quite a few "odds and ends," like the beautiful naturally-dyed fibers from the Skye Shilasdair Shop that I used for this design. Naturally, then, the Skye Shawl is designed for just such a collection of funny bits and leftovers, in case you have a few odds and ends of your own laying around the house. :) I ALSO bought a kitchen scale so that I could accurately measure my yardage; as you can see, I've bolded all of the colors and yardages below so that you can get a good idea of how many yards of each color you need to make this shawl for yourself (I've also already added a 10% cushion on the amounts I used, in case you're wondering).

Oh, and I almost forgot! I also made technique videos for this piece, which demonstrate all of the important stuff you need to make this shawl. And yes, I know I start EVERY SINGLE ONE by saying "okay." Okay? Okay! Apparently I can't help myself. 

Oh, and double oh: the instructions for this shawl make it look much more complicated/difficult than it actually is! Take heart, it's not that bad, I promise. :)

Yarn: The Skye Shilasdair Shop oddments (unknown blend of Alpaca, Merino, Cashmere, Angora, and Silk); Yellow/Green (Color A; 45 grams, or roughly 135 yards), Dark Pink (Color B; 30 grams, or roughly 90 yards), Lime Green (Color C; 10 grams or roughly 30 yards), Light Pink (Color D; 20 grams or roughly 60 yards), Dark Green (Color E; 20 grams or roughly 60 yards)

Skye Shawl
A closer looks at the stripes and the edgings.
Needles: One pair of needles in size US 5, two double pointed needles in size US 5, and one US 6 or 7 needle for provisional cast-on (this is optional; you're only casting on 4 stitches provisionally, so your tightness is not of great importance)

Notions: 2 tapestry needles, 1 18" length of scrap yarn, and 2 roughly 3' lengths of scrap yarn, preferably in cotton

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a shawl then! And remember - as I mentioned above, I filmed a series of technique videos for this pattern, so (hopefully!) you will be able to find a technique video just below any of the instructions with which you may need help. And with that in mind, in order to get this particular blend of stripes, we're going to begin by making the i-cord on the top middle part of the shawl, and then work the striped middle panel down from there. So, first, using one of your size US 5 dpns or your size US 6 or 7 needle and your color A yarn, cast on 4 stitches provisionally, making sure the scrap yarn you use to hold your provisional stitches is roughly 3' long. If you used a larger needle for your provisional cast on, transfer stitches to one of your size 5 dpns now. And if you need some help with these instructions, then the video below is for you (side note: when I watched it back I realized that I could have explained myself better. What I mean by "making space" is that if you're not going to size up your needle for your cast on, you should NOT pull the stitches around the scrap yarn tight, but instead leave them a little loose, as demonstrated).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reverb Shawl

Reverb Shawl
Reverb Shawl

First off, I hate to admit how long I've been working on this shawl, because, to be quite honest, I can no longer even remember when I started (nevertheless, I am 98% sure it was last year). And I know that may not sound like *that* long to some of you with years-old WIPs sitting around in your drawers, but I'm one of those people who loses steam VERY EASILY the minute I set something down, and will often literally throw out a project to ease the psychic burden of staring at it, unfinished, for too long (but I swear I've gotten better about this as I get older!!! really, it's true!!!). Anyway, what was my point? I have no idea, but I did make a shawl! And quite a shawl it is - made with worsted weight so it doesn't work up too slowly, the Reverb Shawl also combines twisted stitches and mesh for some interesting textural detail. So make one of your own, if you want! I will send lots of good energy your way so you don't get bogged down halfway through. :)

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (100% Merino Wool; 210 yards [192 meters]/100 grams); #193 Jacinto - 2 skeins

Reverb Shawl
Another look at the pattern
Needles: One 32" or longer circular needle in size US 7
 

Notions: Tapestry needle, 2 stitch markers

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a shawl! Begin by casting on 3 stitches loosely, and then working 8 rows in garter stitch to create a tab. Then, without turning work, yarn over (yo) twice, pick up 1 stitch about 1/3rd of the way down along the edge of the tab, (yo) twice again, pick up 1 stitch roughly 2/3rds of the way down the edge of the tab, and (yo) twice again. Complete tab by picking up 3 stitches along cast-on edge; you should now have stitches coming from 3 sides of the tab - 3 along original working edge - 8 along the side (counting each double yo as 2 stitches), and 3 along the cast-on edge. Then, work a few set-up rows as follows. Oh, and you'll need the following terminology, as well:

rt (right twist): knit two together, leaving stitches on left-hand needle; next, insert right-hand needle from the front between the two stitches just knitted together, and knit the first stitch again.  Finally, slip both stitches from left-hand needle together

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pink Ponytail Hat

Pink Ponytail Hat
Pink Ponytail Hat

A few of you have been asking for a ponytail/messy bun hat, and I'll admit there are two reasons why I haven't jumped on the trend. #1 - Hedwig (my fake head) looks absolutely RIDICULOUS when I try to put her lovely hair in any kind of updo, which means that I have to model any version of this hat myself. Not exactly my favorite activity. And #2 - when one designs these kinds of hats, one doesn't get to design the very best part - the crown. Even in the face of this sad, crownless world, though, when I got a request to do a ponytail hat with a pattern similar to the Cellular Stitch Kids' Poncho, I put on my big girl pants and got it done. Because I couldn't make a crown, however, I had to get a bit fancier nearer to the face. But if you want to make this hat with the Cellular Stitch and that stitch alone (you can get a better view of it in the picture below - it's the top part, with the holes), simply knit the ribbing and then knit rows 26 - 29 on repeat until your hat measures roughly 6" and you've just finished row 29, and then proceed with the remaining rows as written.

Yarn: Sommer Merino 85 (100% Superwash Wool; 96 yards [85 meters]/50 grams); #867 - 2 skeins

Pink Ponytail Hat
A better view of the back.
And my small, sad little ponytail.
Needles: 16" circular needle in size US 6, one 16" circular needle in size US 8, one set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 8

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 17 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make one of these hats, shall we? Using your size US 6 circular needle, cast on 90 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll work the following ribbing:

Ribbing Row: * k1, p1; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row until piece measures roughly 2". Transfer work to your size US 8 circular needle, and then we'll work a variation on the Wide Leaf Border from page 342 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns that transitions into the Cellular Stitch. I wish I had better news for you at this point, but sadly you'll have to follow the pattern for every single row of this hat, as follows:

Rows 1 & 2: knit

Row 3:* k5, k2tog, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, ssk, k5 *

Row 4: * p5, k5, p5 *

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quatrefoil Cowl

Quatrefoil Cowl
Quatrefoil Cowl

What can I say about this yarn? The minute I saw the color I KNEW I HAD TO HAVE IT, even though this yarn weight (worsted) in a mostly-cotton blend can be hard to design for (Why? Because lace isn't very crisp in this weight, the lack of stretch compared to wool makes it less ideal for cables, etc). So I had to play around with a few patterns before I came up with something I liked, but I enjoy the way this combination of a picot hem and a basic eyelet design creates a feminine, but not overly girly, aesthetic. Of course, just because I used a mostly-cotton fiber doesn't mean you're stuck with that choice; this design would look equally good with wool, and would probably even take the right variegated yarn as well... 

Oh, and before I forget - special thanks to my friend Nikki at Zender Studios for helping me with the pics! :)

Yarn: Lana Grossa 365 Yak (66% Cotton, 12% Yak, 22% Polyamide; 159 yards [145 meters]/50 grams); #004 - 2 skeins

Quatrefoil Cowl
A better look at the eyelets.
Needles: 16" or 20" circular needle in size US 9

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 18 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a cowl! First, then, we're going to start with a picot hem. You can find tons of tutorials for this online if you need extra help, but I'll walk you through the steps here as well. So, to begin, cast on 96 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Knit five rows around. Then, work the following row: