Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Horseshoe Cable Muffler

Horseshoe Cable Muffler

Where do I start with this one? How about at the very beginning, back when my sister and I were wee little girls and loved to play nothing more than "Old Days," where we dressed up in Little House on the Prairie-worthy thrift store clothes and pretended to be princesses-turned-scullery-maids, or occasionally scullery-maids-turned-princesses. And how is this relevant? Well, because the Horseshoe Cable Muffler is exactly the type of piece that we would have relished back then, with its rustic color and snuggly, old-timey aesthetic. Of course, this cowl/scarf isn't just relegated to the past, as you can dress it up three different ways for a very modern look. As a note, however, if you're planning to use it mainly as a scarf, you will need extra yardage of your yarn and you'll want to continue the piece longer than I made it for the best effect.

The end of the muffler.
Yarn: Skacel Alpaca Seta (75% Baby Alpaca, 18% Silk, 7% Nylon; 137 yards [125 meters]/50 grams); #11 Lemon Grass Twist - 2 skeins

Needles: One set of straight needles in size US 6, two double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 6, and a size US 8 or larger needle for your provisional cast on

Notions: Tapestry needle, cable needle (cn), stitch holder

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started!

Using a provisional cast on and your larger needles, cast on 38 stitches. Then switch to your size 6 needles and we'll move straight to our pattern. You'll need the following terminology to continue:

cable front (cf): transfer next 2 stitches to cn and hold in front, k2, k2 from cn

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ruched Shawlette

Ruched Shawlette
(According to my spellchecker,
I made up both of those words)

The story of this item is simple - I received a box full of beautiful homespun yarns as a gift, and this particular yarn told me exactly what it wanted me to do with it. Namely, it wanted to be made into a beautiful and simple triangle scarf (shawlette? I am still struggling with the vocabulary of this particular design). Whatever you call it, though, this is a perfect pattern for that gorgeous handspun you've had your eye on, one that's made especially nice by the column of ruching down the front of the piece. Blah blah blah, how about I stop talking now and start knitting instead?

Yarn: Homespun I received as a gift (100% Superfine Merino; 356 yards [326 meters]/?? grams); hand-dyed - 1 skein
The ruching. It's subtle in this yarn
but I promise it's there.

Needles: Size US 10 needles, 16" or longer size US 8 circular needle (for length, not for circular knitting), plus a size US 11 or larger needle for your provisional cast-on

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 15 stitches = 4 inches

Using your size 11 or larger needle and the provisional cast-on technique, cast on 54 stitches. Transfer to your size 10 needles and proceed as follows:

Row 1: knit until there are four stitches left in row, k2tog, k2

Rows 2 & 4: k2, purl until there are two stitches left in row, k2

Row 3: knit

Knit rows 1 though 4 until you have 38 stitches left on your needle and you've just completed row 4 (if you have yarn to spare, you could continue these four rows longer. As is, the piece measures 52" across. Each additional time you repeat these four rows before moving on to the next set will add about 1/2" to the finished length). Anyway, when you're ready, we'll proceed as follow:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gradated Rib Leg Warmers

Gradated Rib Leg Warmers

I had the idea for these leg warmers ages ago, and then got distracted by too many other projects to make them happen. Since I had already bought the yarn, however, I finally got to them this last week. And what sets these guys apart is that they actually use two different weights of yarn, as well as a number of different needle sizes, in order to create a small-to-large-to-small-again gradated look. Of course, you could just as easily knit them with a single weight of yarn, with or without the needle size changes (well, you'd definitely want to change needle sizes for the ribbing, but skip the changes for everything else). This pattern is also easy to size, as long as you add or subtract a multiple of four. As written, the pattern is sized to be about 12" around at the top and bottom, and each four stitches added or subtracted will change the size by about 3/4".

Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash (100% Superwash Wool; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #802 Green Apple - one skein (size A), Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Aran (100% Superwash Merino Wool; 150 yards [137.5 meters]/100 grams); #802 Green Apple - one skein (size B)

A close up. This pattern uses eyelets and twisted stitches
for a very deep ribbing.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size 5, one set of dpns in size 7, one set of dpns in size 8, and one set of dpns in size 10

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches on size 7 needles for size A yarn, 18 stitches = 4 inches on size 8 needles for size B yarn

So let's get started! First, using your size 5 needles and your size A yarn, cast on 60 stitches (or 56, or 64, or whatever multiple of four you need to get the size you want) and distribute evenly between 3 dpns (just make sure you have a multiple of four stitches on each needle). Join in round. Then, we'll work the following ribbing row:

Ribbing Row: * p1, k2, p1; rep from *

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Notched Front Cowl

Notched Front Cowl
Notched Front Cowl

At this point, I imagine that everyone who looks at my patterns regularly has already figured out that I like to come up with new shapes for cowls. And I do, mostly because scarves have become impractical now that my children can use them to try to strangle me (unintentionally, of course). So the Notched Front Cowl is yet another entry into my new-shapes-for-cowls canon, and one that can be styled a couple of different ways (see below for pics). It's also a good design for those who have just begun to knit in the round, or who want more practice with basic increases and decreases.

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sierra (80% Pima Cotton, 20% Merino Wool; 191 yards [175 meters]/100 grams); #01 (White) - one skein

Notched Front Cowl
The back.
I would have done a close up, but I'm pretty sure you've seen
seed stitch before.
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size 7

Notions: Tapestry needle, three stitch markers

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches

Cast on 101 stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll go straight into a seed stitch for the first part of the pattern. Or in knitting terms, we'll proceed like so:

Row 1: k1, * p1, k1; rep from *

Row 2: p1, * k1, p1 *

Knit rows 1 & 2 until piece measures roughly 3". It doesn't matter which row you end on. And now, we'll knit one transition row to place our extra markers, like so:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stepping Stones Beanie

Stepping Stones Beanie
Buying this yarn was a no-brainer; I dig the Berroco Vintage line, and I will still swear that it's a lovely blend of gray and purple (even if my husband, and perhaps everyone else in the world, sees it as a lovely blend of gray and gray). However, it took me a long time to devise a pattern that seemed to suit it. Fortunately, I think the Stepping Stones Beanie takes advantage of both the yarn's weight and its variegation, and would also make a suitable hat for either gender. I would also love to see someone knit the main pattern in a larger needle - perhaps a 10 - to create an even slouchier design that really showed off the yarn overs (and if you do, I want pictures!).
Yarn: Berroco Vintage Colors (50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon; 217 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #5215 Smokestack - one skein
A closer view of the pattern.
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: 18 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a hat! Using your size 6 circular needle, cast on 96 stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll knit the following ribbing row:

Ribbing Row: * p1, k2, p2, k2, p1; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row 8 times, and then switch to your size 8 circular needle (or a 10, if you want to make a slouchier hat. Let me reiterate: I want pictures!). Now, we'll move on to the main pattern, for which we'll need the following notation:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Star Cluster Mini Shawl

Star Cluster Mini Shawl

I was only a few rows into the Twin Leaf Cowl when I realized that I absolutely wanted to work with the yarn again, especially since it was on clearance at my local store and I didn't know how much longer it would be available. So I bought another color of the stuff, this (in my opinion) gorgeous red. Then, I held on to it for a few months until inspiration struck in the form of this scarf-like thing, the Star Cluster Mini Shawl. Long story short, I've had this item on my mind for a while, and I couldn't be happier about how it turned out! As a warning, however, this item does use a few intermediate techniques, such as a provisional cast on and some short rows.

Yarn: Schoeller + Stahl Spray (100% Cotton; 153 yards [140 meters]/50 grams); #8 - two skeins

The pattern
Needles: Straight needles in size US 8, straight needles in size US 10 - 11

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

To make this piece, we're going to begin in the middle, work one half, and then pick up stitches from the middle to work the other half again (by using a provisional cast on, not by actually picking up stitches). So, using your largest gauge needles and the provisional cast-on technique, cast on 71 stitches. Then switch to your size 8 needles and purl one row cross. Once that's done, we'll begin our pattern, which features the Star Cluster from page 217 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and a decrease worked every odd row. First comes the terminology, and then the pattern.

Cluster 2 (c2): slip 2 stitches with yarn in back, bring yarn to front between needles, slip the same 2 stitches back to your left hand needle, pass yarn to back between needles, and then slip the same to stitches with yarn in back again

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chevron Market Bag

Chevron Market Bag

When I first considered the idea of making a bag like this one, I picked a lovely yarn that I knew would be perfect and started to design the thing in my head. Unfortunately, however, while I PICKED a yarn, I didn't actually BUY it, and it was gone by the next time I visited the shop. So the Chevron Market Bag is the redesigned version of my imaginary-yarn bag, not that you would know it in a glance. This bad boy turned out pretty striking on its own, after all, even if it might be a bit rainbow-y for some people's tastes (luckily, you can pick your own yarn!). Furthermore, while I knit this bag with a provisional cast-on and a three-needle bind off to attach the handles, I am providing two sets of instructions, one for a bag exactly like the one I made, and one for a bag that skips the provisional cast-on and seams the handles in place rather than attaching them with the three-needle bind off. So, it's your choice how you want to make it, and you'll find the second set of instructions following the first!

Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream (100% Cotton; 95 yards [86 meters]/56.7 grams); #02739 Over the Rainbow - 4 skeins

A close-up of the chevron pattern
Needles: One 24" circular needle in size 10 or 10.5, one 24" circular needle in size 7, one 16" circular needle in size 7, and one set of double pointed needles, also in size 7

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size 7 needles

Let's begin with the handles! Using your largest gauge needles and the provisional cast-on technique (we'll be working back-and-forth for these guys, and using a three-needle bind off to attach them to the top of the bag so we want live stitches on either end of each handle), cast on 9 stitches. Transfer stitches to any of your size 7 needles and knit the following set-up rows:

Set-up Rows 1 & 3: knit

Set-up Rows 2 & 4: purl

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Zigzag Ribbon Stitch Cowl

Zigzag Ribbon Stitch Cowl

There's only one way to intro this piece, and that's with an extensive discussion of the yarn. I knew I had been eyeing this particular fiber for awhile, but I didn't realize how long it had been until I finally bought it and brought it home. I say that, of course, because as much as I look for this yarn online, I can't find it. By the label alone, in fact, it appears to be the exact same yarn that I used for the Pretty Plum Cowl. But it isn't - it's lighter weight, and a different color. At the end of the day, then, all I can really tell you about this yarn is that it's a cotton bamboo blend that's more of a sport weight (even if the label calls it a dk).

And now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the pattern! Since I knit a lighter-weight yarn on slightly larger needles, the piece gets that nice stretched-stitch look. The subtle stitch pattern is also very suitable for both solids and variegated yarns, and adds nice texture to the piece. Furthermore, although this piece is knit back-and-forth, it's seamless, and is joined by a provisional cast-on and a Kitchener stitch graft. This gives the mesh neck even more delicacy, and really suits the airiness of this cowl!

Yarn: Schachenmayr smc Cotton Bamboo Batik (50% Cotton, 50% Bamboo; 131 yards [120 meters]/50 grams); #95 - one to two skeins (I got by with one)

Close-up, for your viewing pleasure
Needles: Size 6 straight needles

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches on size 4 needles

So let's get started! We're going to begin this piece with a provisional cast-on, instructions for which you can find here. So, using this technique, cast on 20 stitches. Then, knit the following set-up rows:

Set-up Row 1 (right side): knit

Set-up Row 2: purl

And once that's done, we're going to work the following row until the piece measures about 8" long and you've just finished a wrong-side row. So here's how you'll proceed:

Neck Row: k1, * yo, ssk; rep from *, end k1

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Twilled Stripe Hat

Twilled Stripe Hat

There's no doubt about it: I fell in love with this Twilled Stripe stitch pattern the first time I used it, in the Twilled Stripe Arm Warmers. But when I got the idea for this hat, which uses a combination of Twilled Stripes and dropped stitches, I thought that the combo might add a new dimension to the stripes. And, indeed, this slouchy hat gives the stitch pattern a whole different look. Not that it wouldn't still match the arm warmers...

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #8906 Blue Topaz - one skein

A closer view
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 5, one 16" circular needle in size US 7, and one set of double pointed needles, also in size US 7 (optional but recommended: one 20" or 24" circular needle in size 7)
Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size 7 needles

So let's get this thing going! Before we start, I should point out that the magic doesn't really happen with this hat until you start dropping stitches, so don't worry if it just looks like an oversized rib at first. And now that the disclaimer has been issued, let's begin! Using your size 5 circular needle, cast on 108 stitches, place in marker, and join in round. Then, we'll knit the following ribbing row.

Ribbing row: * p1, k2; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row 6 times and switch to your size 7 16" circular needle. Now it's time to move on to the main pattern, which is a combination of Twilled Stripe from page 147 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and some stitches we'll drop later. There's only one notation note, which goes a little something like this:

Left Twist (lt): skip 1 stitch and knit the second stitch in back loop, then slip the skipped stitch purlwise onto right-hand needle, then slide the knit stitch off of the needle as well

And now that the ribbing is complete and we have our notation down, let's knit one set-up row and then begin the pattern! So first, we'll knit this bad boy:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vertical Drop-Stitch Scarf

Vertical Drop-Stitch Scarf
As a much younger woman, I was obsessed with scarves. I made them, I bought them, and I received them as thoughtful gifts. Then I had kids, and all of my beautiful scarves became glorified teething rings and/or nooses (and I discovered the cowl). Nevertheless, when I found this yarn, I knew it was time to design my first-ever scarf, this Vertical Drop-Stitch number. As an added bonus, it even has an I-cord edging, so it's as polished as it is pretty.

Yarn: Berroco Weekend DK (75% Acrylic, 25% Peruvian Cotton; 268 yards [247 meters]/100 grams); #2924 Rhubarb - one skein

The end detail
Needles: Size 6 straight needles

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches

Okie-dokie-o, let's get started! As I've mentioned, we will be working this scarf with I-cord edgings, and as you can probably tell from the pictures, we will be tapering the ends for the prettiness factor. So, before we get to the main pattern, we will cast on 8 stitches and then work the following set-up rows. Your I-cord edgings will consist of 3 stitches on either edge of the piece, and if you want a tutorial about the process, please go here. Basically, we will be slipping these stitches on the right sides and purling them on the wrongs; that's really all you need to do to create what looks like an I-cord. Anyway, did you get those 8 stitches cast on? Good, then let's continue like so:

Set-up Row 1 (wrong side): p3, k2, p3

Set-up Row 2: slip 3 wyib (with yarn in back), m1r, p2, m1l, slip 3 wyib

Set-up Row 3: p4, k2, p4

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shine Bright Fingerless Gloves

Shine Bright Fingerless Gloves

You know what? I'm not even gonna intro these fingerless gloves. And you know why? Because Rihanna can definitely do it better -- not only was her song "Diamonds" the inspiration for the name of the Shine Bright Fingerless Gloves, but her video has it all; finger tattoos, wild horses, and burning roses. It's almost like my eleven-year-old self directed this video, except I would have included more crying in the rain. Ah, to be young again...

Sizes: smaller (for a hand roughly 7 1/2" - 8" in circumference at the base of the thumb) and larger (for a hand roughly 8 1/2" - 9" in circumference at the base of the thumb) - directions for larger size will follow those for the smaller size in parentheses

A bit closer look at the pattern.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #9496 Buttercup – one skein (both sizes)

Needles: one set of double-pointed needles in size US 7, one set of double-pointed needles in size US 5

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches on size 7 needles

And now that we've gotten that out of our system, let's make some gloves! So, using your size 5 needles, cast on 38 stitches (44 stitches) and divide amongst your needles as follows: place 13 stitches on your first needle, 12 on your second, and 13 on your third (place 13 stitches on your first needle, 18 on your second, and 13 on your third). Join in round. Then, knit the following set-up row 4 times (as you can see, it's different for the two sizes, but I've also used parentheses in the instructions for the smaller size. That's to indicate that a direction is repeated, and will occur again in the notation. Just remember that the alternate larger instructions will always occur after the smaller instructions in each row, and not in the middle of them):

Set-up Row:  k1, (p1, k1) 9 times, (k1, p1) 9 times, k1 (larger size: (p1, k1) 11 times, (k1, p1) 11 times)