Thursday, January 22, 2015

Free Knitting Pattern: Slightly Shifting Knitted Cowl

Just posted my latest FREE knitting pattern for my Slightly Shifting Knitted Cowl.  This pattern is a simple, yet beautiful design that looks particularly lovely in a variegated yarn.  I knit my sample up in Cascade Yarn Pacific in color 508 (Hydrangeas).  This yarn is such a beautiful color, like the gentle hue changes in an Impressionist's painting.  Ans this slipped stitch pattern really shows off these pretty colors.

You can find this new pattern on my Hubpages!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Latest Knitting Project: Hand-Dyed Chevron Scarf

chevron scarf knitted with hand dyed yarn

Back last summer, I took a yarn dyeing class at my LYS.  You may remember, I contemplated a number of scarf patterns to make with my hand dyed yarn.

My hand dyed yarn
After a few false starts with other patterns, I settled on Cheri Borden's Pearl-barred Scallop Scarf.  All the other patterns I tried caused my VERY variegated yarn to pool and puddle.  So I went back to my old standard: a chevron pattern.  Variegated yarn always seems to look good in a chevron pattern.  And Cherie's knitted scarf pattern had a different purl detail that I think gives my scarf a pretty woven look to it.

Of course, as is my habit, I ended up making some small modifications to the pattern.  My yarn was slightly lighter than what the pattern called for, so I increased the number of stitches and changed the row count a bit.  Since Cheri's pattern is free, I'll share my changes.  Here's what I did:

Co 48 sts using a #5 needle, than began pattern:

Chevron Row 1 (RS):  K3, *yo, k3, cdd, k3, yo, k2,* repeat from * to * twice, then yo, k3, cdd, k3, yo, k3.  (cdd = see original Pearl-barred Scallop Scarf pattern on Ravelry for directions)
Chevron Row 2:  K3, purl to last 3 sts, k3.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for a total of 7 times, then do purl detail below:

Purl Detail Row 1 (RS): K3, purl to last 3 sts, k3.
Purl Detail Row 2:  Knit all stitches.

Repeat Chevron Pattern and Purl Detail in order above until you reach desired length.  I knit this pattern until I was almost out of yarn, then bound off as directed.

My finished scarf is quite pretty.  I love the lightness of it.  I'm not sure any of the pictures really show the color changes in the pattern, but I'm very happy with it.  I'd love to try hand dyeing again some time!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Final Reveal: Knitting the Perfect Cardigan

Yea, it's done!  And I love it.  As you may recall, for the past few months, I've been heavily modifying Red Heart's Alica Blue Cardigan to become my perfect cardigan.  And I quite happy with the results (though there were time I seriously doubted what I was doing).

So here's how I did it (tailored to my own measurements).  I was on gauge with the pattern, so I just changed the stitch count and size for my needs:

1.  Knit the right front, back, and left front as one piece up to the underarm.  I also wanted to lengthen the sweater to about 22" overall.

2.  I knit a 5 st garter button band on both edges as I knit the cardigan, rather than going back and adding the button band as the pattern stated.  I made my button holes at every 2 inches along my band.

3.  I needed to accommodate my larger hips, but then decrease the size down to 34" for my chest and shoulders (the smallest size in the pattern was a 36" bust).

I didn't like the 3 x 2 ribbing called for in the pattern.  Instead, I did a tighter 2 x 2 ribbing:  Using a #5 needle, I cast on 5 sts for the right button band, 60 sts for the right front, 122 sts for the back, 60 sts for the left front, and 5 sts for the left button band (total 252 sts).  Keeping the 5st button band in garter st, I knit 2 inches in k2,p2 ribbing for the bottom hem.

When my ribbing was complete, I changed to a #6 needle and began knitting in Stst (again keeping the button band in garter).  For my first row in Stst, I decreased 10 sts across the right front, 22 sts across the back, and 10 sts across the left front (total 210 sts remaining).  I like to knit my ribbing this way with more sts.  It allows more room for my hips, and the ribbing lies flat and doesn't get stretched out.

4.  Continuing in Stst, I did a series of 4 decreases on the front and back to shape the body, then I did one increase for the chest about an inch before I started the underarm shaping.  This body shaping left me with 47 sts for each front (plus the 5 st button band) and 94 sts for the back.

5.  I began the front lace detail at 12 inches from the bottom hem.  I thought I would only be able to do 4 repeats on the lace pattern, but I actually fit all five across each side.  One weird thing: the lace pattern is not symmetrical.  I don't think anyone is going to notice looking at my sweater, but if I were to knit it again, I would try swatching the lace pattern and try to reverse it for the left front side.

6.  For the arm holes, I bound off 5 sts before and after each side marker (total 10 sts for each arm hole).  Then did a series of decreases to shape the armhole:  dec 2, 2, 1, 1, 1.  I think this is slightly different than the pattern instructions, but worked great for me.

7.  I bound off the neckline pretty much as stated in the pattern, then picked up sts to do a 1 x 1 rib for the collar.

8.  I knit the sleeves in the round, CO 55 sts with a #5 dpns and knitted a k1.p1 rib for 18 rounds.  I then switched to #6 dpns and Stst.  On the first round, I decreased 10 sts (45 sts left).  I followed the increases as written in the pattern for a total of 77 by the time I reached the underarm.

When my sleeve measured 16 1/2 inches, I bound off 5sts before my marker and 5 sts after my marker (total 10 sts).  At the beginning of the next 4 rows, I bound off 2 sts (following the same sequence as the body of my sweater).  Then I started doing the decreases to shape the shoulder.  I think there's a typo in the pattern here.  For my shoulders, I knit 1, k2tog, knitted until the last 3 sts, ssk, then k1.  I did this decrease every right side row until I was left with 25 sts and my shoulder was about 7 1/2 inches from where I bound off for the underarm.  Then I bound off 2 sts at the beginning of every row for 6 rows.  Then I bound off the remaining 13 sts for the top of my shoulder.

9.  And, as I tend to do, I scoured esty for some cute vintage buttons to finish off my sweater.

I'm not sure about the white buttons on this sweater, but I do love the cute geometric design on these.

All and all, I LOVE the color and design of this sweater.  It is perfect for me.  And I got it finished before the holidays!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sweet Snowman Knitting Pattern: Holiday Knitting

As promised, I wanted to tell you what pattern Jennifer used to make my cute little snowgirl ornament.

My ornament from Jennifer
Jennifer said she used the "Parson Brown" pattern by Emily Ivey (it's a FREE pattern!), but changed the hat and added a scarf.

"Parson Brown" by Emily Ivey
This pattern is adorable and there's still time before the holidays to knit one for your tree or for a friend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Knitting Group Ornament Exchange

Last night was my knitting group's third annual ornament exchange.  Each member makes an ornament to exchange within the group.  The ornament does not need to be knitted, but it does have to be handmade.

The purple and red button ornaments below were my contribution to the ornament exchange.  (You can find the directions to make all four of these ornaments on my Hubpages!)

In exchange, I received this sweet and cozy snowgirl ornament from Jennifer.  I don't know if Jennifer used a particular pattern to knit her, but I'll ask and let you know.

She's adorable, and right now I've got her on display with Rambo, my stuffed lamb, in the center of our wreath:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Update on the Perfect Cardigan

I've finally had a chance to put in some serious knitting and get the body of my Cotton Candy Cardigan done - but I still have the sleeves to go (sad face).  The sweater is based on the Alice Blue Cardigan, a free pattern from Red Heart and I've made many modifications to create what I hope will be the perfect cardigan.

These photos show the body unblocked, but so far I'm really happy with how this cardigan is coming along.  I have notes all over the place on my modifications.  I'll try to pull them together and post them along with photos of my finished sweater.  I hope to have this whole thing done and blocked in time for Christmas.  I just need to finish two sleeves and lay off the ice cream so this cardigan will fit when I'm done.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Having a Ball: Christmas Ornaments Made with Yarn

Yes, it's getting to be that time of year - when most knitters turn their creative minds to holiday knitting.  For me, the first project to tackle is my decoration for my knitting group's annual ornament exchange.

This year, I started playing around with yarn - layering it inside Christmas balls, wrapping it around Christmas balls, and turning Christmas balls into yarn balls.  I came up with four different designs, and I'm not sure which one to use for my ornament exchange:

Want to make your own yarn ornaments?  Check out my Hubpages for the directions for all four designs!