Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Divine Drape Cowl

Divine Drape Cowl
Divine Drape Cowl

If this cowl is one thing, it's a summer-to-autumn wardrobe staple that would look great in any color, at virtually any length. And if it's two things, it's also yet another one of my attempts at the absolute perfect cowl design: not too bulky around the back of the neck, but with enough fun in the front to attract some attention. And heck, while we're at it - why not make it THREE things -- or in other words, your next project? ;)

Yarn: Premier Yarns Cotton Fair (52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic; 317 yards [290 meters]/100 grams); #27-09 Lavender - one skein

Divine Drape Cowl
The main stitch pattern. Airy
and pretty, no?
Needles: Straight needles in size US 3, straight needles in size US 4, straight needles in size US 8, and straight needles in size US 5 for provisional cast-on

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 23 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 4 needles

So let's make a cowl! Using your size 5 needles and a length of scrap yarn, then, cast on 35 stitches provisionally. Transfer work to your size 4 needles and knit two transition rows, as follows:

Transition Row 1 (wrong side): purl

Transition Row 2: knit

Knit these two transition rows, and then transfer work to your size 3 needles and we'll work a ribbing for a bit, like so:

Ribbing Row 1 (wrong side): p1, * k1, p1; rep from * until you reach the end of the row

Ribbing Row 2: k1, * p1, k1 *

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kids' Teensy Treasures Bag

Kids' Teensy Treasures Bag
Kids' Teensy Treasures Bag
pictured in size medium

I came up with the idea for this bag for a very simple reason: you can find this style EVERYWHERE in Switzerland. Seriously, what I remember (perhaps incorrectly) as a passing fad in the United States took deep roots in Swiss soil, much like the "Parental Advisory" branded clothing and hats that, while virtually extinct stateside, still roam the Swiss countryside like long-hunted wolves. Wait! What am I talking about? Oh yeah - the bag! They're everywhere here, and they're all the same size: adult. Which gave me the oh-so-clever idea to create a variety of kid sizes, since kids, without question, freakin' love bags. Oh, and if you love the look of this too, you're in luck, since the extra-large size is basically just adult. :)

Sizes: Small (Medium; Large; Extra-Large) (approximate finished dimensions: 6" wide by 7.5" tall [8" x 9.5"; 10" x 11.5", 12" x 13.5"])

Yarn: Patons Grace (100% Mercerized Cotton; 136 yards [125 meters]/50 grams); #62628 Fiesta - 2 skeins (2 skeins; 3 skeins; 3 - 4 skeins)

A closer view of the grommet
hole thingamabob. I know, I'm a poet.
Needles: Straight needles in size US 4, one 16" circular needle in size US 5, double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 5 for making i-cords, cable needle (cn)

Notions: Tapestry needle, 3 stitch markers

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's get this started! To begin this bag, then, we'll start by knitting the two drawstring-holding portions at the top separately and back-and-forth before joining them in the round (so the purled strips at the top that your straps lace through). With that in mind, and using your size US 4 needles, cast on 36 (48; 60; 72) stitches loosely. Then work the following rows:

Row 1 (right side): slip 1 stitch, purl until end of row

Row 2: slip 1 stitch, knit until end of row

Knit rows 1 & 2 five times and then knit row 1 once more (all sizes). Then, clip yarn tail and transfer work to your size US 5 circular needle to resume later. Again, using your size US 4 needles, cast on 36 (48; 60; 72) stitches loosely and work rows 1 & 2 five times and row 1 once more, although this time, when you finish, don't clip the tail. Transfer the work you've just finished to your size 5 needle, next to your other piece, making sure that the right sides (purl sides) are both oriented correctly, and that the piece you've just finished, with the running yarn connected, is lined up on the right-hand needle of your circulars so that you can continue work in the round. At that point, join in round, place row marker, and then knit one row around. Then we'll knit one transition/marker placement row, as follows. Since it's different for the different sizes, I have listed each size's row separately for ease.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Carved Diamond Cowl

Carved Diamond Cowl
Carved Diamond Cowl

I would like to tell you something about this cowl, but the Pentatonix video blaring at 1,000 decibels to my right is distracting me slightly (what can I say, my children are obsessed!). So I'll just say, first of all, thank you to the dear friend who mailed me this yarn all the way from Alaska. And then I'll get right to the pattern part, so you can make one of your own!

Yarn: Premier Yarns Cotton Fair (52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic; 317 yards [290 meters]/100 grams); #27-04 Turquoise - one skein

Carved Diamond Cowl
Another view of the pattern.
Quite pretty, no?
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 4 (optional but recommended: one 16" circular needle in size US 3 for edging)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 23 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

Which brings us to the pattern! Using your size 4 needle, cast on 128 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round (if you're doing your edging in size 3, use that needle instead). Purl five rows around. Switch to your size 4 needle, if you didn't cast on with it, and then we'll continue in Carved Diamond Pattern from page 150 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. You will need the following notation to continue:

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, June 9, 2016

Primavera Wrap

Primavera Wrap
Primavera Wrap

When I first bought this yarn, I definitely considered it a bit of a score; not only was it a fancy color gradient with size and texture fluctuations to boot, but it was also HALF OFF, price-wise. What can I say - I'm my mother's daughter, and can't pass up a good deal. But then, when I actually started trying to design a pattern for the stuff, it took everything I had not to give up and crawl into the bottom of a bottle. Why? Because, my friends, fancy yarns like these do not take many (probably most) stitch patterns well, and I was also hell-bent on making something with some interest value that wasn't a cowl or a scarf. And while I'll spare you the full details of my tribulations, I will say that I think I came out victorious in the end. This pattern, after all, is well-suited to a fancy fiber, and also grows in a triangle shape so that you will still make something interesting and style-able even if you're not working with a huge amount of yarn.

Yarn: Lang Yarns Ella (38% Cotton, 30% Polyester, 26% Viscose, 6% Nylon; 174 yards [160 meters]/50 grams); #0048 Altrosa - two skeins

Primavera Wrap
A better look at the pattern.
Needles: Straight needles in size US 7

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

Okay, so let's make a wrappy thing! And with that goal in mind, first cast on 3 stitches loosely. Then work 5 rows in garter stitch, which will make a little tab from which you'll continue. So, without turning your work, continue as follows:

Tab Row: yo, and then pick up 3 stitches along the edge of your garter stitch tab. At this point, you should have 7 stitches on your needle (3 from the end of the tab; one yo, and 3 that you've picked up along the edge of the tab) (oh and if I'm confusing you, just watch the video, below)

Complete the tab row and then we'll begin our set-up rows, as follows:

Set-up Row 1 (wrong side): p4, k3

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Something Special Gift Bags

Something Special Gift Bags
Something Special Gift Bags

Now that I live in Switzerland, much of my life revolves around chocolate. More specifically, where to buy it, how to distribute it, and whether or not I should ship it back to friends and loved ones or just lock myself in the bathroom and gobble it up while the children bang on the door (note: I have never actually done this. I have a much cleverer hidden chocolate-eating system that involves a cupboard door and pretending to look for the ingredients I need for dinner). What was I talking about? Oh yeah, gift bags! A friend of mine recently divulged her cost-saving practice of buying chocolate at the factory store and then rebagging it for Christmas gifts, and a light turned on in my head. What better summer knitting project than these little gift bag delights, after all, which are not just scrap-busters, but also earth-friendly and quick-knitting?

Sizes: Small (Medium; Large) (Finished dimensions roughly as follows, with a note that the closed hole pattern will be slightly narrower than the open hole pattern in all sizes. That being said, the small is roughly 3.5" wide x 4.75" tall, the medium 4.75" x 6.25", and the large 6" x 7.75")

Yarn: Maddison Bio Baby (100% Organic Cotton; 197 yards [180 meters]/50 grams); #06 Purple - one skein; #03 Tan - one skein, & #01 White - one skein

Something Special Gift Bags
A better look at the openwork pattern;
you can find a close-up of the
closed version below.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 4

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 26 stitches = 4 inches 

Which brings us to the pattern! Please note that I used the yarn I had leftover from the Crystal and Pearl Cowl for these gift bags, and, while I've identified the colors above, I haven't prescribed colors in the pattern since you can pick whichever color you dang want for each piece. Having said that, cast on 48 (64; 80) stitches in whichever color you'd like to use for the body of the bag and then divide between 3 or 4 dpns (whichever you prefer) as evenly as possible while still maintaining groups of 8 stitches. Join in round. Then we'll work the following edging rows, which are the same for all sizes:

Edging Rows 1 - 4: * k2, p2; rep from *

Edging Row 5: knit