Knitting

Ravelry Pattern Review and a W.I.P. Update

Indigo Frost” by Isabell Kraemer

This speaks to me of snowy woods, winter time, sleigh rides, and Little Red Riding Hood. You know, something that is just calling for you to make. I love the way it hangs in soft, loose folds around the body, the ribbing, the eyelet design, the Fair Isle work at the yoke and the adorable pom poms. It all just comes together very well. Isabell is a prolific designer as evidenced by her Ravelry page and if you are looking for a good cardigan or sweater pattern, you have come to the right place. Check out her blog here.


poncho collage


At the top of Ravelry’s “Hot Right Now” list, this could be the perfect gift for someone or a great addition to your winter wardrobe. And to make it even better, it is worked seamlessly from the top down. The color work is a simple 4-color slip stitch pattern (sounds like some Mosaic knitting to me).

Elsewhere:


IMG_3011

…. And talk about color knitting, the second color has been added to my surprise project! It is coming along swimmingly (do people really use that word anymore?). The only problem I have had knitting this project is my stitch count keeps getting messed up somehow and it throws off my mitered decreases and yarnovers. So far I have been able to fix it. It is frustrating at times, though, grrrr. Other than that, I love the project. It is pretty fast knitting and I am enjoying the color changes.

I hope you all are having the best day and happy weekend!

xoxo Shannon

design · Knitting · stitch patterns · sweaters · texture · wool

Pom Pom Mag Review, Issue #14

I now own my very first issue of Pom Pom Magazine, #14. I must say, I do love it. So concise, and just the right size to fit into your bag (6 1/2 ” x 9″ to be exact), as well as the obvious. It includes great patterns and articles such as the discussion of different breeds of sheep and their wool and how John Arbon Textiles in North Devon got their start to name a few. There is even a recipe for pumpkin spice cake included!

Here are some of my design picks:

Hitchcock” by  Alexa Ludeman of Tincanknits

Love, love, love this t-shirt sweater design. The richness of the “Pomegranate” color way gives it such great depth and the fact it is a simple, classic design puts it in the staple category, something I would want to knit over and over in many colors. There is one change I might make to the pattern. Since I am fairly short waisted, I would probably shorten it to just below my waist which would be an easy thing to do. This sweater seems to have been fashioned after the classic Henley. It is unisex so you can make it for your boyfriend, spouse, brother, sister. This is definitely going in my knitting que.

Stats:

  • Category: Sweater, pullover
  • Yarn: Swans Island, worsted in shades Pomegranate or Frost. This certified organic wool is hand-spun in New England and hand-dyed in Maine.
  • Sleeves knit first
  • Body worked from bottom up in one piece to underarm
  • Ribbing at hem, cuff trim, neck trim and buttonhole strip
Karusellen” by Erica-Knits

Adorable, rustic and whimsical. Really liking the tweedy texture of Shelter, a great pick! What a cozy, cute and quick knit. I have not personally worked with Shelter yet, but this design has me itching to!

Stats:

  • Category: hat, beanie, toque
  • Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, worsted in shades Woodsmoke and Thistle. 100% Wyoming-grown Targhee-Columbia wool
  • Colorwork
  • Ribbing at bottom rim
  • Pom pom
Magdalen” by Joji Locatelli

There is so much going on in this outstanding scarf by Joji Locatelli! Where do I begin? First of all, the color caught my eye immediately, one of my favorites. Then the design patterns! The dimensions coupled with the dramatic take this over the top.

Stats:

  • Category: scarf/wrap
  • Yarn: O-Wool Classic Worsted (a 100% certified organic merino) in Begonia
  • Size: One size at 16″ wide by 69″ long
  • Patterns: Honeycomb cable on the body and Twisted Rope cable for trim

Note: I ordered my copy of Pom Pom Quarterly from Fringe Supply Co. Unfortunately they are sold out right now, but have a few other good publications still for sale.

I hope you are having the best day!

xoxo Shannon

 

color · Crafts · knits · Knitting

Chullos Anyone?

Polar Chullo” by Mary Ann Stephens
Ribbels Shetland Chullo” an adaptation of the above pattern using the Puffin mittens color chart found here.

I’m sure you all have seen this style of hat that is most connected to what Andeans wear in Peru known as the “chullo” or hat of the Peruvian Andes. It is their answer to a stocking cap and was born out of necessity to protect themselves from the harsh winters in the mountains of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. “Chullo” coming from the Aymara and Quechua languages has several meanings but in terms of knitwear it stands for the symbol of the Andes, a woven wool hat with earflaps.

Believe it or not, this head-gear was once considered a crude piece of clothing only worn by Andean Indians, a lower class of Peruvian society. It did come to designate certain groups living in the high mountains. The colors, patterns and weaves would indicate where each wearer was from much like Gansey sweater designs did.

Chullo’s history: Read here for more on its origins and traditions.

I have long been an admirer of this style and have yet to make one. Nonetheless, I have been drawn to its folk inspired style, colorful design and the infamous earflaps. They usually always include ties, a long tassel or pom-pom and are sometimes lined. Mmm, that would make it nice and cozy. Here is Mags Kandis’ version:

Chullo Cap” by Mags Kandis
Squishy Chullo Hat” by Adriana Hernandez

Okay, well I could go on and on showing you one great design after another, and there are many to choose from as evidenced from this plethora of designs on Ravelry. I think you get the idea. If you have made one or decide to make one, I would love to see pictures! I could share them as a follow-up to this post. It might inspire me to get busy and make one as well!

I hope you all are having the best weekend, filled with pumpkin picking, apple cider drinking, leaf watching, etc.! I have partaken in the apple cider and leaf watching, but not the pumpkin picking yet. We are having the most gorgeous day here today too filled with lots of sunshine and fall colors. It just makes you glad to be alive, right? Happy knitting.

Now go knit and do good.

P.S. I just had to share this last one:

Andean Chullo Hat” by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

Okay, I’m done.

xoxo Shannon

 

knits · Knitting · sweaters · wool

Project/Gift Knitting Lineup

woolen mittens

Hmmm, if this doesn’t get you itching to starting stitching for fall I don’t know what would!

Hi there! Ready to start those fall knitting projects? Or Christmas gifts? The yarn shop I work for has been getting decidedly more busy and mostly with knitters looking for yarn and/or ideas for Christmas gifts. There have been a few sweater projects started as well. Fall and cool weather are definitely in the air and with Christmas only a few months away, it’s time! Here are some ideas:

Antler Cardigan by tincanknits

Need a gift for that special niece, daughter or granddaughter? Is she adorable or what? Love the cardigan too! A tutorial for the pattern can be found here. This pattern which comes in adult sizes as well, is part of the book “Pacific Knits“. You will love the fact that it is knit seamlessly, the body is done in rows while the arms are knit in the round, and button bands are added on last.  I know I would love to have this in my wardrobe. The great thing about tincanknits patterns is they come in lots of sizes. Tell your friends!

Funky Grandpa” by La Maison Rililie

Rililie of La Maison Rililie fame is one of my favorite designers right now. She comes up with some really nice designs and stripes occur fairly often in them. They are classic with really great little design elements or use of color and stripes. BlueSand Cardigan, is another favorite. Check out her Ravelry page. This is a nice lightweight piece done in a fingering weight if you are looking for something not so heavy and too warm. It is also knit completely seamlessly and almost in one piece.

Mrs. Jekyll & Little Hyde” by La Maison Rililie

And while we’re at it, let’s add another of Rililie’s patterns. This reversible hat is ingenious and adorable. Who wouldn’t like this? It’s not too bulky, but yet done in two layers which will be warm. One side feminine, one side sporty. The ribbed rim is knit in one layer to prevent too much bulk near the face.

Border Socks” by Mary Jane Mucklestone

How about some socks for the men in your life? Or really, these could be unisex. I would wear them. I just had to throw in a color work pattern for you to be tempted by! Come on, try your hand at a little fair isle along with some wide wale ribbing. This is the perfect gift. I have a friend who could whip these out in no time. She has become a sock knitting fiend. I’m jealous.

Mosaic Blanket” by Purl Soho

As you might have guessed, I kind of have a love affair with mosaics right now. I have just about finished my PaintBoxes Cowl as mentioned and shown in a previous post. Mosaic is so easy, please don’t be intimidated by it. It just consists of using two colors and slip stitching and that’s it! Besides the fact that this pattern is beautiful, it’s also free. This was knit in Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure in 24 outstanding colors and Worsted Twist in 34 glorious colors, both aran weights (worsted weight would work here as well). They used a pattern taken from Barbara Walker’s “Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns“.

Here is my latest project. Sssh, it’s a surprise for someone! I will tell you it is going to be colorful. I promise to show you the progress along the way.

IMG_2994

Happy knitting everyone!

xoxo Shannon

color · design · knits · Knitting · stitch patterns · sweaters · texture · wool

Review: Twist Collective’s Fall 2015 Issue

If you haven’t seen Twist Collective’s newest issue for Fall, then you are missing out. Here are the standouts for me:

ballyfaron_d_500 ballyfaron_a_500Ballyfaron” by Luise O’Neill

Stats:

  • Both tam and cowl knit in Madelintosh DK in Terra (225 yds, 100% super wash merino)
  • Techniques: knitting in the round, I-cord cast-on, Vikkel braid, and cables
  • Ravelry page info.

And you may be asking what is a Vikkel braid, otherwise known as a Lateral or Estonian braid. You can see it running along both edges of the cowl. Here is a good video showing the technique. It looks like it basically involves knitting into the back loop and slipping stitches. I really like the professional finish it gives.

I love everything about Ballyfaron: the color, the yarn, the design, and the wonderful stitch definition. It speaks fall to me. It also has a Celtic feel, something any Irish lass such as myself would be happy to wear. This will end up in my Ravelry library.

cherrywood_a_500“Cherrywood” by Kristen TenDyke.

The richness of this yarn color caught my attention for starters. The cabled trim at bottom and around cuffs take this classic sweater shape over the top and gives it a Renaissance feel. It belongs in the courts of Lancelot. Makes you want to run off into the woods, huh? A winner in my book!

Stats:

  • Yarn is Shalimar Yarns, Paulie, worsted weight (60% merino, 20% camel, 10% cashmere, 10% silk) in  color way “American Beauty”
  • Techniques: cables, provisional cast-on, kitchener stitch, working in the round
  • Ravelry page info.

“Fretwork” by Stephannie Tallent

This is so beautifully executed with the bi-color cables and lacework on the trim. The patterns and color pop out at you. I can see me wearing this, oh yeah.

Stats:

  • Yarn: Piegonroof Studios American sock (400 yds, 100% superwash merino) in Indigo Ink and Celeste
  • Bi-color cables and stranding
  • Lacework and intarsia
  • short rows
  • garter stitch
  • Ravelry page info.

filigrene_b_500“Filigrene” by Barbara Gregory

First of all, I think the colors combined with the intricate design work make for a really nice package. Just enough of a challenge for you first-time color knitters out there.

Stats:

  • Yarn: Indigodragonfly Chameleon sock yarn (400 yds, 63% super wash merino, 20% cashmere, 17% silk) in color ways Cylons of Anarchy and Lambada 3
  • stranded color work mittens
  • worked in round from cuff to tip
  • Ravelry page info.

Enjoy!

xoxo Shannon

 

Knitting

Cochineal Yarn and a New W.I.P.

Hello everyone! How are you? I am so sorry for my blogging absence! I allowed life to get in the way, and that’s my only excuse. Anyone getting in the mood for some fall/winter knitting? I know I am. This is a good time to get out those w.i.p.s you’ve put to the side and finish them! It has been getting cool here at nights, and today is just the most perfect, cloudless day. Fall is coming! Now onto some yarn news:Instead of delving into the indigo dye vat, I decided to try another cochineal project. I am pretty happy with how these turned out: a very nice soft seashell pinkish lilac with a new yarn that has a great heft and feel to it. Just the kind of yarn you can’t wait to dig your needles into.

Yarn specs:

  • 85% alpaca, 15% bamboo
  • 3-ply sport weight
  • 5 oz., 320 yds.

Other knitterly things in the works is a mosaic project I am currently working on for a class I will be teaching soon. If you’ve never tried your hand at mosaics, it is a rewarding knit and fairly easy to accomplish. It consists of a lot of slip, purl and knit stitches. You work with two colors, one at a time for two rows with some pretty spectacular results! Here is the pattern I’m using:

PaintBoxes Cowl by Susan Ashcroft

My version:

DSCF8655IMG_2960

What others have to say on the subject:

  • Twist Collective – great photos, information, links and charts.
  • Barbara G. Walker‘s book (the queen of Mosaic knitting) is a great resource.
  • Her Ravelry page offers many inspiring designs.
  • Purl Bee offers a fresh take on this technique with a blanket and also gives three other color options.
  • Knit Freedom has a good introduction to mosaics.

What new techniques are you trying? I challenge you to challenge yourself! Have a good one.

xoxo Shannon

color · Crafts

a journey into dyeing

IMG_2931How do you like my somewhat crude setup? Hey it works, and we are having California weather right now where I live! So nice, not sure what I will do however when winter comes. But delving into natural yarn dyeing I am.

IMG_2932In my dye pot: a skein of 75% wool, 25% nylon fingering weight in a cochineal bath. It looks like it would come out a dark purple right? But lo and behold not to be. See below. This actually looks pinker than it really is. It is more of a lilac color. For those of you who might be wondering, cochineal is a parasitic insect found on the paddle cactus that is laid out to dry and ground up into a fine red powder. Or you can even buy the bugs themselves and extract the color that way.

IMG_2940 IMG_2939 IMG_2941I am really happy with the color and on my first try! So encouraging and doing it outdoors is very enjoyable. Any other newbie yarn dyers out there? Or experienced ones too. I would love any pointers/tips.

IMG_2936Meet my newest plant acquisition acquired at the local grocery store: “Cheyenne Spirit” Coneflower (Echinacea). I truly adore this color, and would love to find a way to replicate it in a dye pot.

DSCF4853 DSCF5511 DSCF6732 DSCF6764 DSCF7245 DSCF7277 IMG_1613DSCF7452DSCF7603Nature’s offerings and being able to curate and replicate these wondrous hues to me is nothing short of miraculous! Some of these flowers could be possible dyestuff. To which can be added, different tree barks, avocado skins, onion skins, walnuts, the roots and leaves of many plants, too many to mention and on and on. My next venture will be with Indigo. So stay tuned!


 [Update: the finished product:]

Woolful has featured several hand dyers of yarn in these podcasts.

Youtube video featuring Alternative Apparel’s dyeing process.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit”, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

xoxo Shannon