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