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)