Thursday, September 7, 2017

Follow Your Arrow Shawl

Follow Your Arrow Shawl
Follow Your Arrow Shawl

First and foremost: a quick thanks to Nikki from Zender Studios for taking these photos for me; you're a doll for helping (and lending me your shoes for the pictures)! And with that being said, let's get to some details about the pattern...

... like the fact that I should probably apologize for the fact that I made this delightful shawl using mill ends that I bought at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, which means that I can't tell you *exactly* what's in the thing. However, I CAN tell you that I carefully measured everything I used, and added a 10% allowance to the values below, so you can find grams/yards/meters for every color, which should help you to choose your own materials (just remember: having the appropriate yardage is more important than the weight, especially for colors D & E [since those are my heavier weight yarns]). I also encourage you to view the pattern as a jumping-off point for your own color ideas; overall, it's made of 10 sections with 2 colors apiece, so the possibilities abound!

Speaking of the fact that it's 10 sections (and kite shaped, when laid out!), I should also mention that this pattern has not been tech edited, and since it's one of my lengthier designs I welcome any questions or comments about errors that you may find. Ultimately, it's not terribly complicated since I used the same pattern all over (a combination of garter and a mesh pattern), but once you add color choices and increases and decreases to the thing, I'm certain I slipped in my notation at least a few times. So again, I'm very happy to help with any issues you may find; in fact, I've even labeled each section of the design so that it's easier for you to identify any problems to me (just give me section and row number and we'll be good to go!).

Oh, and I know I'm being verbose today, but one last thing; I noticed, as I worked this, that it's easier to make knitting errors in the sections in which you're beginning with your color A, or the mesh pattern. If you notice that your counts are off, don't despair! This mesh pattern is VERY forgiving of errors, and as long as you correct your stitch counts by the end of each section you will be able to proceed, even if you've made a mistake (and, again, I highly doubt you'll find your error ever again). All in all - bon courage, and I hope you like your finished shawl as much as I like mine (IT'S AMAZING!). Also, if one of you actually makes it in the target yarn (ideally John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers 4 Ply) please send me pictures, so I know what it would look like if I didn't have such a strong attraction to the mill ends bin. Of course, even if you make it with a bunch of odds and ends like I did, I think it will turn out great just the same!!! :) (other ideas: scale it up with DK weight yarn and the appropriate sized needles if you'd like, or even worsted it you want a real sleeping bag of a shoulder wrap. and again, send pics!)

Finished Size: 75" long in total, 28" inches wide at the widest point

Yarn: John Arbon Textiles mill ends; White (Alpaca Delight, 70% Alpaca, 30% Merino; Color A; 120 grams, or roughly 510 meters/558 yards), Green (Knit by Numbers 4 ply, 100% Merino; Color B; 8 grams, or roughly 32 meters/35 yards), Orange/Green (unknown fiber; Color C; 30 grams or roughly 120 meters/132 yards), Dark Orange/Red (100% Merino; Color D; 58 grams or roughly 145 meters/159 yards), Light Orange (Knit by Numbers DK, 100% Merino; Color E; 100 grams or roughly 250 meters/274 yards)

Follow Your Arrow Shawl
From the side
Needles: One pair of needles in size US 3 (3.25 mm) (I used a 32" circular needle, but I think you should be able to make this on straights if need be, although they will get quite crowded!)

Notions: tapestry needle, two stitch markers

Gauge: I am a terrible person and used two different weight yarns in this shawl, as mentioned. Colors A, B, and C are 28 stitches = 4 inches on US 2 needles, the rest are 24 stitches = 4 inches on size US 4 needles. I am loosely averaging this to mean 26 stitches = 4 inches on US 3 needles for all. Like I said, terrible!

So let's get started! Using your color B yarn, cast on 2 stitches. Then, right next to those 2 stitches, use your color A yarn to cast on 3 stitches as well (at this point, that means that these two sets of stitches are not connected). Then, using intarsia color joins for all color changes, we'll begin our first color section like so:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Single Stripe Mittens

Single Stripe Mittens
pictured in size small

Sometimes I buy yarns because they BEG me to bring them home, all puppy dog eyes and soft squishiness. Sometimes I buy yarns because they're on great sale, and I'm my mother's daughter. And sometimes (like this time) I buy yarns because I happen to wander into a LYS in Lithuania and it's so small that I feel like I HAVE to buy something, but they stock almost exclusively Turkish and Italian yarns (so I can't find anything local) and nothing really catches my eye. Such was the case for me recently, until I finally spotted this nice alpaca. And then, of course, I used it for this fun design, which avoids any broken stripes by nestling the color change against a two-stitch stripe up the side rather than placing it at the beginning of the round.

Oh, and as a side note, this yarn is slightly non-standard sized, for recommended needle size and gauge, and you will probably find more yarns that give you 20 stitches per 4 inches on a slightly larger needle. If that's the case, simply adjust your needle size to gauge as needed. :)

Sizes: Small Adult (Medium Adult; Large Adult) (the small is for a hand roughly 7 1/2" - 8" in circumference at the base of the thumb and 7" from base of palm to fingertips, and the large for a hand roughly 8 1/2" - 9" in circumference at the base of the thumb and 8" from base of palm to fingertips - and finally, go medium if you're between)

Yarn: Alvita Alpaka (100% Alpaca; 109 yards [100 meters]/50 grams); #90 Brown - one skein (one skein; one to two skeins) (color A) & #10 Ivory – one skein (all sizes) (color B)

One mitten, near a tree. You
can just get a peek at the stripe
down the side...
Needles: one set of double-pointed needles (dpns) in size US 6, one set of dpns in size US 4

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches on size 6 needles

So let's get started! Using your size 4 needles and your color A yarn, then, cast on 40 (40; 44) stitches loosely, distribute between three double pointed needles as follows: 12 stitches on first needle, 16 on second, 12 on third (12 stitches on first, 16 on second, 12 on third; 14 stitches on first, 16 on second, 14 on third) and join in round. Then we'll work some ribbing for the cuff, as follows:

Ribbing Row: * k1, p1; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row until ribbing measures roughly 2" (2.5"; 3"). Transfer work to your size US 6 needles and knit one row around. Clip your yarn tail, since we'll be changing colors halfway through our rounds. Then, we'll begin our color pattern, as follows:

Row 1: using your color B yarn, k19 (k19; k21); then, using your color A yarn, knit until end of round

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Xcellent Adventure Hat

Xcellent Adventure Hat
Xcellent Adventure Hat
pictured in small size

What can I say about this hat? Well, I guess I could start by mentioning that I still had a skein of this yarn left over after finishing the Rainbow Rib Mitts, and I thought that the variegation of it might work well for a larger project (since the color sections are on the long side, I thought I would at least get one full round in each color gradient for a hat). And since I also love the look of long slipped stitches with color work, I decided to combine the yarn and slipped stitch pattern for a fun, textured design.

Sizes: Teen/Adult Small (Adult Large)

Yarn: Lang Yarns Novena Color (50% Wool, 30% Alpaca, 20% Nylon; 240 yards [220 meters]/50 grams); #0009 Rosa/Violet/Blue - one to two skeins (two skeins) (side note again: I completed my size small hat with one skein)

Xcellent Adventure Hat
A better look at the finish.
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 6; one 16" circular needle in size US 8, and one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 8

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette 

So let's make a hat! Using your size US 6 circular needle, then, cast on 112 (128) stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll do a simple ribbing, as follows:

Ribbing Row: * k1, p2, k1; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row measures roughly 1.75" (2"). Transfer your work to your size US 8 needle and knit three rows around. Then we'll begin the pattern, as follows. Notice that your slipped stitches will seem short by the time you reach rows 11 & 23; simply tug them a bit when you work those rows to make them more pronounced. :)

Rows 1 - 4: * slip 1 stitch with yarn in back (sl1), k6, sl1, k8; rep from *

Row 5: * drop slipped stitch to front of work and slip next 3 stitches purlwise from left needle to right needle, pick up and place dropped stitch on left-hand needle, slip 3 stitches back to left-hand needle, and k4; then, slip next 3 stitches purlwise from left needle to right needle, drop next slipped stitch to front of work, slip the 3 stitches back to your left-hand needle and pick up and place dropped stitch on left hand needle, k12 *

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Zigzag Slouch Hat

Zigzag Slouch Hat
Zigzag Slouch Hat
Pictured in size small

This is another one of those designs that first appeared in my mind half-formed and hazy, and then solidified as soon as I bought the yarn. And while I know I'm reusing some concepts here (I used the same stitch pattern and combination of a solid yarn and a variegated yarn in the Zigazig Ah Scarf), I think that the finished result is pretty and novel, from the faux icords running up the seam to the notched back design.

Oh, and some notes on sizing and design here - first off, I know that there's a fairly significant size difference between the small size (which fits up to about a 23" head) and the large size (which fits bigger ones - up to 26.5" at least). This is for two reasons - one, the design suits either a close-fitting or a loose-fitting wear, so it's not too finicky, and if you're borderline on sizes you can choose based on whether or not you want your hat to fit tightly or slouch (you can also choose a size based on your volume of hair!). And two, the stitch pattern is 24 stitches long, and, though one could create a medium size by only working 12 of the final 24-stitch repeat, it would no longer be symmetrical in the back, which compromises some of the hat's appeal. All of that being said, if you'd like a truly medium sized hat, you could always work the design on needles that give you a slightly different gauge - for instance, work the large size with needles that give you 26 inches per 4" instead of the given 24.

Speaking of symmetry and sizing, I would also like to mention that I successfully worked my entire hat on size 4 needles. However, the icord cast on is a little tight, and required blocking to relax it. If you'd prefer, you could work your icord cast on in a needle one size larger than the needle with which you work the rest of your hat. Then you will avoid any too-tight brim issues entirely!

Sizes: Teen/Adult Small (Adult Large)

Yarn: Lana Grossa Cool Wool Melange (100% Virgin Wool; 175 yards [160 meters]/50 grams); #115 - one skein (two skeins) (color A) and Lana Grossa Cool Wool Degrade (100% Virgin Wool; 175 yards [160 meters]/50 grams); #6002 - one skein (one skein) (color B)

Zigzag Slouch Hat
A better look at the back,
faux icords and all!
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 4, one set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 4 (optional: dpns in size US 5 for icord cast on or a 24" circular in size US 4 if you're making the larger size of the hat)

Notions: Tapestry needle, 36" of scrap yarn, stitch marker

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 4 needles

So let's make a hat! Using your color A yarn, and your size US 4 or 5 dpns, cast on 4 stitches loosely. Then we'll work an icord cast on, as follows:

Icord Row (always worked as a right-side row): kfb, k3; then, when you go to begin your next row, use your tapestry needle to thread the first of kfb stitches onto your piece of scrap yarn purlwise to hold for later

Knit this icord row until you're holding 127 (151) stitches on your scrap yarn. Kfb in your first stitch one final time, transfer the first stitch (of your kfb) to your scrap yarn, and then bind off your four icord stitches (which include the second stitch from your kfb). Then, transfer the 128 (152) held stitches from your scrap yarn and onto your circular needle (you can use a 24" if you're making the large size). Once you have all your stitches transferred, continue to use your color A yarn and work as follows. Note that you can pull the yarn tight behind your slipped stitches; this creates the icord look.