Thursday, December 14, 2017

Frost on the Windowpane Shawl

Frost on the Windowpane Shawl
Frost on the Windowpane Shawl

To introduce the shawl, I think it's best to start at the beginning: it's a rainy, blustery day, the place is rural Romania, and the year is 1988. Okay, okay, maybe the origins of this piece aren't quite that dramatic... the truth is, I got the idea for the Frost on the Windowpane Shawl while attending a shawl shaping class with Chrissie Day at the Loch Ness Knit Fest in Inverness this last October, when she mentioned a concept called sequence knitting. And while I am no sequence knitting expert (if you want one, you should check out the definitive book by Cecelia Campochiaro), I understood enough of the basics to want to give it a shot.

Okay, first then - what is sequence knitting? As I have a very basic understanding, I again refer you to the book. What you need to know in order to make this piece, however, is that instead of using a multi-row stitch pattern, in which you line up your current work with your work from the previous row, you will simply be repeating the same combination of stitches over and over again to create the pattern on the non-stockinette portion of the shawl. Of course, since there are also increases and that stockinette stripe to deal with, it's perhaps easier to think of knitting this shawl using a few algorithms, or rules. I realize that that might sound complicated right now, but I hope you'll realize that it's easy and fun once you get started. Another bonus is that this shawl uses an almost identical amount of your color A and B yarns, so you can knit without waste (which I personally find terribly enjoyable).

Oh, and as a final note - you'll notice that I played pretty fast and loose with the gauge on this puppy. Almost any lighter-weight yarn will work; since it's just an increasing triangle shawl, you have a lot of freedom with your yarn choice!

Finished Dimensions: roughly 56" along the stockinette stripe, 45" along the top, and 64" along the diagonal

Yarn: Skein Queen Linger (75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon; 465 yards [425 meters]/100 grams); Sea Holly - one skein (color A) and My Happy Place - one skein (color B)

Frost on the Windowpane Shawl
A closer look at the details.
Needles: One 24" or longer circular needle in size US 5, and one US 4 needle for icord bind off (optional)

Notions: tapestry needle, one stitch marker

Gauge: 36 stitches = 4 inches on size US 1/2 needles, 20 stitches = 4 inches on size US 5 needles

So let's make a shawl, then! And I know I said some stuff about sequence knitting before, but we will begin with the stockinette portion of this shawl, so don't worry about that stuff for now. Using your color A yarn, then, cast on 8 stitches loosely and then go immediately to some beginning rows, as follows. As you'll notice, there are faux icord edgings on both sides of the shawl; leave those loose, especially the one at the beginning of your wrong side rows, in order to get the best stretch on your shawl when you block it. Anyway, let's continue like so:

Beginning Row 1 (wrong side): using color A, slip 3 stitches with yarn in front (sl3), purl until you have 3 stitches left in row, sl3

Beginning Row 2: using color B, knit until you have 3 stitches left in row, (yo) twice, k3 (+2 stitches)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rock That Selfie Cowl

Rock That Selfie Cowl
Rock That Selfie Cowl
in the farmer's market at B├╝rkliplatz

Okay, I'm scared I'm going to forget to tell you all of the relevant information about this cowl if I ramble on too long beforehand, so let me skip the intro and go straight to the details. First off, then, I made this cowl with a 120 gram bundle of 6 mini skeins; often, mini skeins come in 100 gram bundles with 5 skeins and if you have one of those that's okay too! You can still use your bundle to make this cowl, you'll simply have two fewer stripes (but since mine measures over 14" long I promise yours will still have a decent length too!). Secondly, I made this cowl top-to-bottom, because I wanted my gray yarn to be nearest to my face. You can make your cowl top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top, as you prefer, but I highly recommend finishing the TOP end with the i-cord bind off and the BOTTOM end with the picot bind off, since it spreads more and I personally prefer that spread towards the bottom. And third, this cowl is a perfect choice for scrap yarn if you don't have minis, and the basic design makes it a perfect choice to adapt for different weight yarns - so if you have any questions in that vein, just hit me up in the comments! :)

Oh, and yes - I did selfie for all of these pictures myself (it's such a nice pop of color for a picture!)... but with a friend in tow, so everyone we passed very clearly thought I was a lunatic who refused to ask for help with my photos!!!

Yarn: Martin's Lab Mini Bundle (100% Merino; 6 mini skeins of {80 yards [73 meters]/20 grams}); gray (color A), pink (color B), purple speckled (color C), green (color D), dark purple (color E), and periwinkle (color F)

Rock That Selfie Cowl
You can see the i-cord bind off
on top and the picot bind off on
bottom... and the Limmat
in the background!
Needles: one 16" circular needle in size US 3, one needle in size US 2 or 3 (for i-cord bind off; smaller size is recommended), and one needle in size US 4 (optional, for provisional cast on)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker, roughly 3' of scrap yarn for provisional cast on

Gauge: 28 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 3 needles

So let's get started! Using your color A yarn and your larger needles, if required (otherwise your size US 3 circular is fine), cast on 155 stitches provisionally. Then, if you used a larger needle to cast on, transfer stitches to your size US 3 circular, and in both cases place marker and join in round. Knit twelve rows, including your provisional row in that count, and then begin the striping pattern, as follows:

Rows 1 - 12: using your color B yarn, knit

Rows 13 - 24: using your color C yarn, knit

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ramble On Beanie

Ramble On Beanie
Ramble On Beanie
Pictured in size Adult Medium

Recently, I had the tremendous good fortune of attending the Loch Ness Knit Fest, where I both drank some truly horrendous coffee AND bought this truly spectacular yarn (you can imagine which one was more exciting...). And, like so many beautiful yarns, I determined that this skein needed a pretty but basic pattern that would show off its gorgeous variegation without too much extra fuss. Therefore I came up with the Ramble On Beanie, an excellent, unisex design that you can whip up in an afternoon!

Sizes: Toddler (Child; Teen/Adult Small; Adult Medium; Adult Large)

Yarn: Cookston Crafts Chunky Baby Alpaca (100% Baby Alpaca; 109 yards [100 meters]/100 grams); Multicolored Pastels (that's what I'm calling it since the color is unnamed!) - one skein (one skein; one skein; one - two skeins; two skeins)

Ramble On Beanie
Another look at the finish
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 10.5, and one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 10.5

Notions: tapestry needle, one stitch marker

Gauge: 12 stitches = 4 inches on size US 11 needles

So let's make a hat! Using your size US 10.5 circular needle, then, cast on 52 (56; 60; 64; 68) stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll work a ribbing as follows:

Ribbing Row: * k1, p1; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row until ribbing measures roughly 2" (2.5"; 3"; 3"; 4"). Then we'll move right to the main pattern, which is a variation of Rambler Pattern from page 122 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, except adapted for the round. And it goes like so. Notice that the pattern diverges into two groups for the rest of the instructions; make sure you're following the correct instructions for your size!