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

color · knits · Knitting · sweaters · wool

My Knitting Bucket List

I think we knitters need a bucket list of knitting patterns we would like to accomplish sometime in our lives! Don’t you agree? This list could get pretty long, right? So I will try to be discriminate and weed through the many designs in my Ravelry library and list them here for you to compare, to inspire and to challenge. I will keep the list fairly short, say to maybe 10 designs? This list includes sweaters, shawls, a hat and mitt set, a cardigan,  and a moebius cowl:

“Coda” by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

This design has great little details that make the whole finished project have a big impact. I especially like the detailing coming down from the neckline.

“Aranami” by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

I have never seen anything come close to this in the design elements, the gradient color change, just the overall finished project.

“Ashby” by Leila Raabe

Love the way the yarn shines through in the stitch pattern and definition. This is a Brooklyn Tweed design and the yarn is Shelter, a worsted weight. It has such a richness of depth, color and drapes the body beautifully.

“Moody House Set” by Elinor Brown

This would be a great first-time color work project. Elinor used Plucky Knitter Primo worsted which I think was a great choice! Love the design at top of hat and around edge of hat and mitts

“Reine” by Alexis Winslow

Here is another Brooklyn Tweed design from Wool People Vol. 3, knitted out of Loft, fingering weight. A classic, elegant but casual cardigan that is a must have for any wardrobe.

“Damejakka Loppa/Flea” by Pinneguri

This was a pretty popular project on Ravelry, showing 130 people crafting it. Pinneguri always produces great color work. She has been at it a long time. Check her out here.

“Reversible Smocked Hat” by Elisa McLaughlin

Everything about this called to me: the color, design, pattern. Elisa designs mostly hats, see her Ravelry page here. An errata page can be found here as well.

“Halligarth” by Gudrun Johnston

Brooklyn Tweed seems to have one thing in common in all of their designs: a very good classic sensibility with a twist. What makes them classic is the designs at times but also the yarn used. Not trendy yarns, but yarns that offer great quality, color and stitch definition.

“Turbulence Cowl” by Laura Chau

This does look like turbulent waves in an ocean which has been achieved by using short rows and stripes. This very sculptural look is what definitely appealed to me as well as the color combination used.

“Sperry” by Amy Miller

What a great take on a three-quarter length sleeve and shirttail shirt! Add stripes and you’ve got a fun sweater to whip up in no time. It is a top-down raglan which shouldn’t be too hard. The last one I made knit up in a flash. I love just about everything Amy puts out.

“Funchal Moebius” by Kate Davies

It doesn’t get much better than Kate Davies and her great color work, not to mention the brilliant designs she comes up with. I bought this pattern and have intended to make this for some time now. What’s holding me back? For one thing, I procrastinate a great deal, and I get intimidated easily. I must do this, I must! This is one of my all-time favorites. LOVE the reversed patterning!

A list like this is almost impossible to compose but still fun to put together. I would really like to know what some of you would include on your list. Let’s compare, shall we?

 

design · improvisational techniques · Knitting · stitch patterns · sweaters · Travel

Designer of the Week – Wendy Bernard

Hello all, I have been on vacation, hence my absence last week! I thought I might be able to get a post in, but it was just too tempting to languish and do nothing but enjoy others’ company, the sunshine and my knitting. I’m sure you can relate.imageThis is where I spent my time. Now you understand, right?

Now, for the designer of the week. Wendy Bernard has been a favorite for some time as I own most of her books she has published. “Ingenue” from “Custom Knits” was my first top-down sweater project and was a wonderful initiation into this type of construction. The pattern was easy to follow and execute. I loved the process and the final outcome.

Ingenue“, Custom Knits.

cropped-cropped-cropped-img_1630111.jpg

DSCF7207collageHer designs are so well thought out, classic and feminine at the same time, while offering a chance to “make it your own”. For instance, with Ingenue she suggests you could make it an off-the-shoulder sweater and goes about telling just how to do that. If you are interested in “unleashing your inner designer” with improvisational techniques she instructs on that as well.    “Custom Knits 2” continues on in the same vein. “Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary“, one of her more recent publications, is a wonderful compilation of more than 150 stitch patterns to use knitting top down, bottom up, back and forth and in the round. A great book with concise instruction, good choice of patterns and a few designs thrown in as well.

Staghorn Vest“, Custom Knits 2.
Royal Cable Vest“, Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary.

Custom Knits Accessories“, a resource for customizing your accessories.

Skipper Poncho“, Custom Knits Accessories.

Other Wendy Bernard resources:

Any of you out there trying to improvise on a design? Desire to be a designer? Wendy’s books would be a great place to start for inspiration, help and just plain good instruction.

Now go knit and do good.

xoxo Shannon

Knitting

Designer of the Week – Joji Locatelli

Just today I cast on one of  Joji’s shawl patterns, Ley Lines. I think it is going to be a good one! What initially attracted me to this was the unique way she designed the directional patterning of the p2 k2 rib. I’m using the yarn I mentioned in my last post, love it so far!

IMG_2859 IMG_2862Also, how do you like my new yarn bowl? My super talented neighbor is a wood worker. I told him he should look into making yarn bowls. This was only a few days ago mind you, and low and behold last night he brought this to me. I am in awe. Isn’t it a beauty?! I think I first found Joji on Ravelry, then pretty soon started seeing her in other places. She just had a design (mimic) published in Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People Vol. 9 (see below). This t-shirt dress looks so comfy and easy to knit to boot! I know it is a top-down construction beginning with shoulder-shaping knit flat to the underarms and changing to circulars down to the hem. The great thing about top-down knitting is you can try on as you go and make it however long or short to fit your needs.
 What I love about her work is her classic sensibility, unique and interesting touches she sometimes adds as seen below in her “On the Road Again“, and just plain beautiful feminine designs. This is a removable cowl, how ingenious is that? See how the buttoned tab leads your eye down to the pattern? Love that! This is in my Ravelry library as a must-knit.

Other favorites …..Opposite Pole“Her Ravelry page describes this is as a cabled cardigan with reversible collar and set-in sleeves, a circular shaped garment which can adapt and fit to your body shape. Who doesn’t want that?

Where to find more of Joji:

Soooo, go “knit, do good” today!

xoxo Shannon