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!

 
 
 

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