Prototype

One of the designs that’s been kicking around my head for some time is a pair of convertible mittens in fingering weight yarn so that they’re not super warm and so that your fingers have maximum dexterity. I know I want them to be textured, but I can’t decide if I want to do cables or a simple knit purl design. While I still have to figure out the details of the design, I think I’ve got the gauge and sizing figured out.

I love convertible mittens. You get the best of both worlds–the warmth of mittens, the dexterity of gloves–and free fingers for texting and turning doorknobs. I also put a “hood” on the thumb so that when you are in mitten mode you get maximum warmness.
I sort of used Ann Budd’s glove template from the Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, but made lots of mods (obviously.) Now that I’ve got the basic shape down, I can start playing with finding the perfect texture.
The yarn I used was Knit Picks Stroll in colorway Saphire Heather. It took just barely more than a single ball. I ran out of my first ball just as I was finishing up the hood of the second glove. I had to use maybe 20 yards from the second ball.
I still need to figure out what texture I’m going to use and then who knows when I’ll have time to write it up… I guess what I’m trying to say is there is no time horizon for the pattern release yet, but I’m one step closer now.

Warmish Release

It’s been a long time since I published a pattern on Ravelry. I have lots of lovely ideas, just can’t seem to find the time to work things out properly and make sure I write a good pattern. About a month ago I finally settled in and got one of my ideas down on paper. Warmish is now available for sale.


It’s a beret-shaped hat that sits loosely around the ears and a simple dimple-texture pattern. It doesn’t get that cold in Portland in the winter, so I don’t like hats that are very tight against my ears and forehead. This is fitted enough to not fall off in a gust of wind, but not snug. However, for those who do prefer a snug brim, I’ve included instructions for using a smaller needle size on the brim to give a tighter fit.
I knit my sample with one ball of Rowan Lima Colour in the creatively named colorway 711. I love the way the fiber blend (84% alpaca, 8% wool, 8% nylon) allowed for a lot of relaxation in blocking and really let the beret shape come out.
To achieve the beret shape, blocking is absolutely necessary. The circular decreases happen quickly and the finished hat will look a little “lumpy” until it is blocked. I used a 12″ dinner plate and got just the right amount of slouch. Some of my test knitters commented that the hat looked small when it came off the needles but after they blocked it, it grew to the right size.
I always love to hear feedback (and constructive criticism) about my patterns. If you happen to knit this one you can leave me a message here or on Ravelry and I’ll get back to you right away.

He’s a good man, I swear

He just wanted a Slytherin scarf. I can’t explain it. Everyone knows Slytherins are a bunch of jerks. I mean aside from Voldemort, the entire Malfoy family, Bellatrix Lestrange, etc. there’s the likes of Pansy Parkinson who constantly torments Hermione and Marcus Flint who cheats at quidditch.

Even knowing all that, Ryan still asked for a Slytherin scarf. Maybe he just knows he looks good in green. I don’t think it’s because he hates mudbloods.

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The backstory: In For Yarn’s Sake we have a shop sample of a Gryffindor scarf. Ryan came to take me to lunch one day and saw the scarf. He really liked it and asked if I could make one. (Incidentally, it’s a stockinette tube. Yes darling, I can make that.) I told him I’d be happy to make him one. He asked for Slytherin colors. Who am I to say no.
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His good side
I didn’t follow a pattern for this because, um, it’s just stripes. I cast on enough stitches to go around a 16″ needle (50) and worked my first green stipe until it was as long as I wanted. That turned out to be 17 rows. Then I did 2 rows silver, 2 rows green, 2 rows silver. Repeat forever, ending with a big green block. Flatten the tube into a big long rectangle. Add fringe. Ta-Da!
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His other good side
The yarn I used was Cascade 128. A 100% superwash merino that knits up nicely to a bulky gauge. I used size 10 needles and got a fabric that drapes but is still dense enough to keep the cold out. The colors I used were silver and army green. It took 3 full balls of the green (I used up every last scrap making the fringe) and just over half a ball of the silver.
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Ryan gave me some nice model poses for a while.
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And a silly pose or too.
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But eventually he tired of sitting in the cold listening to me direct him on how to sit and how to wear his scarf, and the shoot deteriorated.
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Ah, true love.

New Pattern

The Sylvan Cowl pattern that I showed you guys earlier this month is not available on Ravelry for $2.00.

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It’s an infinity cowl that can be wrapped twice around the head as show above or worn as one long loop, more like a scarf.  I originally created the pattern because I didn’t know what to do with some sport weight handspun I’ve had for months.  The yarn was extremely soft so I knew I wanted it around my neck, but the heathered tweedy color made it look very rustic.  I couldn’t find a pattern that was both interesting to knit and worked with the yarn.  I tried lace but the delicate look of the lace didn’t seem right with the hearty look of the yarn.  This was my solution.  It’s interesting enough to knit since you’re changing what you’re doing every few rounds, but the pattern doesn’t overpower the yarn.

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This is Knitgeneering’s test knit version of the pattern.  I think she made it so beautiful.  Her yarn is exactly the type this pattern was made for.
 
Every few rounds there is something different going on–garter stitch, stockinette stitch, eyelet panels.  Even though it’s knit in sport weight it goes very quickly.  Mine only took about two afternoons.  You can get it through Ravelry as linked at the beginning of the post, or you can buy it here but clicking on the design tab up top and click on the “buy now” button.  Hope you like it!
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Sylvan Cowl

I’ve had some handspun that I finished several months ago burning a hole in my stash for quite a while.  The fiber was a merino silk blend heathered with misty grey, blue, and gold.  The finished yarn was very heathered and had a “rustic”look to it.  While the color gave it a rustic feel, the fiber blend made the yarn buttery soft and I knew I wanted it up by my face to snuggle in when it’s cold outside.

I could not find the right pattern.  Lace didn’t seem to go well with the rustic look of the yarn.  Too much texture, like cables, took away from the beauty of the yarn itself.  Plain stockinette was too boring.  I decided to play around and invent my own pattern.  Here was my solution.

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I call it Sylvan Cowl.  It’s an infinity scarf that can be worn long as pictured above or wrapped around the head twice for a snug fit up around the neck.
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It’s a mixture of simple textures and simple eyelets that is just enough to give some interest to the project but allows the yarn to do its thing and show off its inherent beauty.  I want to make another one in a tweed yarn, I think it would be perfect.
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Currently the pattern is being test knit.  When testing is done, I’ll have the pattern for sale on Ravelry and here on the Designs tab.  The pattern takes about 250 yards of sport weight yarn and US 7 needles.  If you are interested in test-knitting for me, shoot me an email before January 12 and I’ll send you the pattern for free so long as you can get my your feedback by the 16th.
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Picky Hat

My latest design is available on Ravelry now!  I’ve been meaning to get this hat design down on paper for a long time.  I decided to hustle and get it out to test knitters before school started at the end of August.  I’ve gotten some great feedback and I’m finally confident enough that the errors have all been caught to release the pattern.

Ryan is picky about what knits he will wear.  He has very strict ideas about what is manly.  I’ve combed the ravelry database of men’s patterns over and over having him reject 95% of the hats I propose.  Finally I decided to get as much info from him about what he wanted and come up with something on my own.  This is the end result:

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This is not Ryan modeling, this is my brother Adam.  He’s 6’10”, that’s why the photo is taken looking up at him, I can’t get far enough away from him to get a picture that looks like it’s taken straight-on and still shows off the hat. 

I call the pattern Picky because it was designed because of Ryan’s rejection of most other patterns.  It’s knit on size 6 needles using worsted weight yarn.  When knit to gauge, the fabric produced is nice and dense without being stiff, perfect for a winter hat.

The yarn I used for this hat is Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere–72% merino, 15% nylon, 13% cashmere.  It’s very very soft and I have absolutely no complaints about the yarn itself.  (It looks like it might pill under abrasive use, but hats aren’t usually treated that roughly and I hate it when people use merino yarn then complain when it pills… that’s like cooking with real butter then complaining that your food is fattening… um duh, take the good with the bad.)  My only complaint is the put up of the yarn.  There are only 87 yards per ball.  At $8/ball it makes for a pretty expensive project, even for smaller items.  It also means weaving in more ends than usual which annoys me greatly.

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My brother deserves some major props for modeling in these pictures.  It’s about 90 degrees outside in those photos and I had him modeling this and the Habitat I finished during the same “photo shoot.”  He was a pretty good sport about it.  I told him to pose as manly as possible, this is what he came up with:

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I wouldn’t want to mess with that.

New Pattern Live!

My second knitting pattern has been released on Ravelry this week.  The Golden Ratio Blanket is available through the ravelry pattern store for $3.50.

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This blanket is based on the mathematical golden ratio.  It comes in three sizes: Stroller (Crib, Throw) 29.6”x18.3” (48”x29.6”, 77.6”x48”). This blanket is made by starting with the smallest block and picking up stitches to add subsequent blocks. The blanket is finished with an applied I-cord edge.  The instructions also include directions for back-stitching or surface crocheting the golden ratio spiral onto the top of the blanket if you wish.

Using size 11(8.0mm) needles and bulky wool, this blanket actually knits up pretty quickly.  Great for the math-loving nerd in your life (or a treat for your math-loving-nerdy self.)

The two patterns that I’ve released can also be found on the “design” tab at the top of the posts.  You can purchase them by going to Ravelry and using their checkout system, or by clicking the “buy now” button on the design tab.

It’s done!

The blanket that I have been working on for Ryan since November is done!  Actually, it’s been done since March 24 (or so Ravelry tells me, don’t you love Ravelry for reminding you of such things?)  but I didn’t have the energy or time to blog about such a gigantic project immediately since I had an unexpected visit from my dad plus hours of research work dumped on me at the last minute.  Anyway, you don’t care about that.  You’re only here to see this:

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That blanket is 4 FEET x 6.3 FEET.  As you can see, it covers Ryan’s entire futon.  This monster is so big that I could barely back away from it far enough to get good pictures in Ryan’s smallish living room.

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(Look in the background of this picture and you can see Lucy the Triceratops who lives on Ryan’s bookshelf.)  The blanket is a knitted representation of the Golden Ratio, which supposedly produces the most visually pleasing rectangle.  The ratio itself appears in nature in lots of ways, tree rings, nautilus shells, even human brain waves.  The rectangle is made by organizing squares next to each other in a way that keeps the ratio 1:1.61803398… (That super ugly second number is phi, one of those irrational numbers the like pi or e that basically make the whole world work.)  Each square gets smaller and smaller.  Mathematically, this shrinking continues infinitely.  Since I haven’t yet figured out how to knit infinitely small, I had to fudge a bit at the center.

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The golden ratio also creates a spiral, which I had originally intended to crochet on the top of the blanket, but Ryan decided he thought the stark geometric look was more his style.  I used Swish Bulky yarn from Knit Picks (because I am no fool and knew that if this was ever going to get done I’d have to use bulky yarn.)  It’s 100% superwash merino wool and it’s heavenly soft and squooshy and wonderful to handle, especially in plump garter stitch.  The colors I used (from lightest to darkest) were: silver, hawk, stormy, coal.  I ended up needing about 2,475 yards of yarn.  That’s 1.4 MILES! It would take me like 13 minutes of running to get somewhere as far away as the length of the yarn in this blanket.

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That’s a picture of me sitting on the blanket for perspective, lest you think I found a really tiny futon to throw it over.  (Yes the blanket is wrong side up in this picture, Ryan had it like that when I came over.  Funny to a knitter it seems like a horrible offense to a giant piece of knitting to have it displayed wrong-side up, but Ryan honestly can’t tell the difference.  I guess this is a good quality for a blanket which really is better without a wrong side.  I’ll take it as a compliment to my finishing skills.)

I wrote up a pattern for this beast, and also for two smaller sizes: stroller and crib.  They are basically created by knitting fewer of the blocks.  My blanket has 7 blocks, crib has 6, and stroller 5.  I also included instructions for adding the spiral in case anyone wants the complete math-nerd effect.  Right now it’s being test-knit by some great Ravelers.  When they get their feedback to me I’ll publish it via Ravelry and let you all know it’s there.  You can also check out the Designs tab at the top.  Right now the only thing there is Spring Breeze, but I hope to get a few more there shortly.

Love/Hate Hat

First off, what do you think of the new look?  I’m still deciding.  It’s a much happier look than the old brown.  It makes me smile, but doesn’t that sort of counteract the grump-theme that is my blog/life?  Weigh in.

Second, Spring Breeze, which I introduced to you last time, is live on Ravelry!  I debated whether or not to charge for it.  Part of me thinks that no one will want such a simple project designed by me, a totally unknown loser-hack.  The other part of me got all indignant at those thoughts and told myself that I worked hard to put it together, spent time considering each element, carefully wrote out the instructions, tried to lay them out in a way that would be accessible to any knitter (as opposed to the indecipherable scribbles I knit my test version from), organized a test-knit, charted, graphed, and did math… that’s got to be worth something.  I settled on $2.

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Even if you don’t have a Ravelry account, you can buy it by clicking this link and using paypal.

Third, the love/hate hat.

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This is my second Jacques Cousteau Hat, the first is here.  I hate knitting this hat.  The pattern is totally fine, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s easy to follow, it’s exactly what you’d expect to find from a ribbed hat pattern.  The hatred is entirely personal.  Also, possibly my fault.  Both times I’ve knit this pattern, which calls for DK weight yarn, I’ve used worsted weight but continued to use the recommended size 4 needles because I wanted a “dense” fabric… Read “dense” and finger-numbing, wrist-pain inducing, impossibly tight stitches of death.  I know, I did it to myself, but it still created an intense feeling of hate.

I knit this one holding two strands of Pattons Kroy Sock held together.  The colorway is called “Gentry Grey.”  I would call it “Nothing-Speical Grey” but maybe that’s just the hate from the project carrying over.

The reason this hat holds such sway over more than 2,000 knitters is probably the way the decreases spiral at the top.  (That, and it qualifies as “manly.”)

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The decreases are worked by knitting two stitches then passing one stitch over the other.  The stitch that has been passed over then strangles the other stitch making it nearly impossible to knit on the next row.  Normally I love doing increases/decreases because they break up the monotony of straight knitting, but I dreaded each of these.

Where is the love? you ask.  The hat is for Ryan.  He’s even modeling it, which is why you get so much hat and so little model in the picture… camera-shy that one.  Ryan loves this pattern.  I knit it for him once before.  He wore it non-stop during the end of winter/beginning of spring last year, then sadly lost it just as fall was turning to winter this year.  (Yes, I totally still measure my time in school years.  I can’t comprehend the beginning of the year being in January, my new years start in September thank you very much.  Such is the life of a perpetual student.)  He was very sad about the loss.  To cheer him up I went to the stash, dug out some more gray yarn and cast on.  There’s the love.  I hate this pattern, but Ryan’s a pretty wonderful dude and I’d knit it for him again and again. (With a bit of under-breath muttering.)

My first pattern!

Hi all.  I’m really excited to show you this today!  It’s the first pattern I’ve designed!  I call it Spring Breeze Shawl.

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I designed it because Yarnia is going to start offering a class on knitting triangle shawls and I’m going to teach it.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! (Though the exclamation points might be giving you a clue.)  I kept the pattern mostly stockinette because the class will be focusing on basic construction elements.  This would be a great first shawl/lace pattern because it’s geared toward beginners.

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This sample will be living at Yarnia, hopefully generating interest in the class.  It was knit from less than one cone of one of the Yarnia house blends called Noni.  The yarn is two strands gray merino, two strands soft almost-white-but-really-seafoam-green merino, one strand lavender rayon, and one strand lurex to give it a little sparkle.

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I’m currently looking for people to test knit the pattern, so if you’re interested leave me a comment and I’ll shoot you a free copy of the pattern for you to check my work.  It takes ~ 350 yards of fingering weight yarn (any cone of Yarnia sock yarn should work) and size 8 needles.  The finished shawl is about 48″ wide by 22″ deep.  I think the big swath of plain knitting would be good for variegated yarn because the stitch counts across the row change so fast it should combat pooling and the lace at the bottom is simple enough that it wouldn’t be overpowered by a strong yarn.

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Once this has been tested and I’m fairly sure there are no glaring mistakes I’ll put it up on ravelry and come back and add a real life pattern link.  SQUEE!