Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lotus Shawl



 I'm excited to be finally publishing the Lotus Shawl.  I knit this shawl with very generous yarn support from Knitpicks and it is part of their IDP.  Their Shadow lace weight yarn is 100% wool and has a beautiful drape and halo.

I swatched this lace pattern several times before deciding on the right needles and yarn weight.  The lace stitch isn't particularly difficult, but it is worked on both right and wrong side rows, so it involves  some concentration.  I knew I didn't want to have to concentrate that much during the whole shawl, so I cast on and worked in stockinette stitch and garter stitch for most of it.  The garter stitch picks up nicely on the garter ridges found in the lace.  I finished the shawl with two full tiers of the lace and think it's just enough to satisfy my need for a challenge and provide the detail I wanted.

Agnieszka's Test Knit
 
Working with this stitch solidified for me how much I love working from charts.  Charts terrified me at first, but I learned to read them by writing them myself.  Anytime I swatched a new lace pattern, I charted it first and, in doing that, I learned how the stitches should align and how to read my knitting.   That process has made knitting lace much less daunting and really enjoyable for me.

Details on the shawl are below.  The pattern is charted but also includes written row by row instructions for those who prefer that.  It's light and airy, warm but not cumbersome.  It's a great transitional piece as we head into spring (or even fall).

Andrea's Test Knit

Sizing
Blocked measurements :: 68” / 172.5 cm across by 32” / 81.5 cm deep
Preblocked measurements :: 52” / 132 cm across by 24.5” / 62 cm deep

Yarn
2 skeins Knitpicks Shadow Tonal in Goldrush; 440 yds / 402 m per 1.7 oz / 50 g skein; 100% merino wool
Note about yarn choice: Shadow Tonal has been discontinued, but Knitpicks still carries Shadow. Shadow is a lace/light fingering weight yarn. A fingering yarn may be used also, although you may want to go up a needle size or two. This sample took approximately 800 yards of yarn.

Needles & Notions
Size 7 US / 4.5 mm 40” / 102 cm circular needles
2 stitch markers
tapestry needle
blocking pins

Gauge
17 sts and 30 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette stitch using Size 7 US / 4.5 mm needles, after blocking
Gauge is not critical for this pattern.

Thank you to my tech editor, Katherine Vaughn, and to my test knitters Andrea, Tina, Agnieszka, and Merrilie.

 

Monday, March 16, 2015

help (please) and pattern giveaway

I'm releasing my newest pattern, the Lotus Shawl, this Friday.  It's a triangular shawl knit in a lace/light fingering weight yarn, and it drapes beautifully and feels light and airy.  A perfect project for spring.

I need your help choosing a cover photo for the shawl.  Reply to this blog post with your favorite picture and I'll enter you to win a free copy of the pattern.  Winners will be announced on Thursday evening, so get your vote in by 5pm EST Thursday.  For a second chance to win, visit me on Facebook and leave your vote there too.

Thanks for your help and good luck!

A

B

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E

F

G

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

swatching

I despise making gauge swatches.  I would rather make a guess and, guessing wrong, have to give whatever I've made away than make a gauge swatch.  I've given a sweater away for that very reason, but at least I had the experience of knitting the sweater, which I guess is what I really wanted.


But making swatches to explore stitch patterns, textures, and motifs, or how two stitch patterns work together:  that I love.  I love comparing how stitches look different in different yarns and with different needles.  I even love charting the stitch patterns on graph paper and making small tweaks to see how the pattern changes overall.   I sit on the couch and surround myself with stitch dictionaries and graph paper, pencils, erasers, a red pen, lots of needles, and whatever scraps of yarn I have laying around.  I've spent the entire last week doing just that.  I've had plenty of failures, but I don't mind those at all.  Even the failures teach me something.

The past three weeks have been incredibly snowy and cold.  The only way I can see to happily get through these weeks is wool and bamboo needles in front of the wood stove.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Catching Up

It looks as though I've taken an almost 2 year, unexpected break from my blog. Between volunteering at my kids' schools, and moving to a neighboring state, blogging fell to the wayside.

I have been knitting and designing in the meantime, so I'll try to catch you up quickly.


My pattern Agamenticus was chosen as the cover for Knitpicks' Under 100 Collection last winter! Mount Agamenticus is located in Southern Maine and is visible from the beaches at which I spent most summer days. The beach became a fixture in my life for the seven years we lived in Maine and it's something I miss quite a bit, even in the winter.


This Fall, I released my Radiate Hat pattern to complement the Radiate Cowl. I love this pattern because I wanted to work with stripes and I like the effect the slipped stitches make.  The patterns also have the added bonus of requiring very little yarn, so they are good for using up leftovers in your stash.


And just last week, I released my Snowshoe Hat pattern. I designed this pattern with two things in mind:  I wanted to work a cable (but not too much), and I wanted a pop of color in the middle of winter.  So this pattern features just one cable repeat -- the rest of the hat is worked in stockinette stitch -- and I chose Malabrigo Chunky for its gorgeous, saturated colors.

We've got lots of snow here, and lots more still falling, so I've sworn off winter knitting in the hopes that warmer weather will soon be here.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blooming Cowl

About two weeks before Christmas, I found myself shopping for gloves and scarves at the Bloomingdales outlet.  I came upon the most beautiful, brightly colored, soft, drape-y cowl.  My first thought was, "I could make this."  I think every knitter has that same thought when they find something knitted in a store?  My second was, "But not in time for Christmas."  So I bought the cowl and gave it as a (hopefully) much loved present.

When I got home, I wanted to replicate the cowl and I wanted to make my daughter's teacher a special gift for Christmas.  When we moved, my oldest daughter started at a new school almost three times bigger than her last.  I was nervous for her, but her teacher has been amazing.  I didn't get the cowl done in time for Christmas, but thankfully her birthday was in early January.

I opened my yarn drawer -- I'm trying to limit myself to three separate places in the house where I store my yarn -- and found a beautiful blue, superwash, worsted weight wool.  I bought this wool years ago to make an adult version of the Lucia sweater but, for lots of reasons, that project didn't pan out.  One thing that I know about this yarn: it doesn't shine in stockinette stitch.  The stitch definition just isn't as crisp as I'd like.


 To replicate the drape I found in the cowl at the store, I pulled out Size 11 needles and started working in a pretty basic knit/purl stitch.  I guessed at how many stitches it would take to make a 12 or 13" tall cowl (because I couldn't be bothered before the holidays with making a gauge swatch) and started knitting.  I knew I wanted a cowl that was fairly long around, and I didn't trust my guess at a gauge be as spot on for that measurement.  So I worked flat, which I wouldn't normally do, and seamed the cowl into one big loop when it was long enough.  I could knit this cowl on auto pilot, which was a welcome relief at night from the mental accounting it takes to manage Christmas shopping for three girls.

 
That's the Blooming Cowl :: fairly quick, somewhat mindless, but generous in size and with a lovely drape.  I've included instructions for both knitting flat and seaming AND knitting in the round.  I hope you enjoy this free pattern!

 
 
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My newest design - the Radiate Cowl pattern




I thought about this pattern for a long time before actually knitting it.  I really didn't know when I'd get around to knitting it.  But I walked into my local yarn store about a month ago and saw these 2 skeins.


I started knitting and, as I knit, I saw these radiating columns begin to form.  I didn't originally plan to have the columns be different lengths, but as I kept going, I liked how the columns drew your eye around the cowl, almost like spokes on a wheel.  And the word radiate came to mind.  Not only that spokes radiate from the center of a wheel, but that spring was almost here, and light and warmth were on the way.

I love how simple this cowl is.  Take any 2 colors you love and knit this one size cowl for anyone you love.

Each cowl takes only 2 oz. of a main color and 1 oz. of a coordinating color.  My sample is knit with Malabrigo Rios in Midnight in Paris and English Rose. These are my two favorite springtime colors together.


You can buy the Radiate Cowl pattern on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/radiate-cowl.

Welcome spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

sale! (coupon code listed below)


When we got the first snow or two back in December, I was excited.  The kids could sled, they wanted to play outside, and everything looked clean and new.  About 100 inches later, and days away from the start of Spring, and snow fatigue has set in.

We're supposed to get another foot of snow tomorrow.  So to help me celebrate what I hope is the last snow, use coupon code lastsnow for 50% off any one pattern in my Ravelry shop.  The coupon code is good until the end of the day, March 21, 2013.

Stay warm, knit something, and hope for spring!

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