Thursday, April 28, 2016

Finished Knits round-up.

While I haven't been organised enough to share in recent months, I have been knitting away. Here's a round-up of some recent finished knits. (I blame a combination of a missing memory card & 3rd birthday party distractions).

 Milo by Georgie Nicolson. This is the 18 month size, which took just one skein of Ella Rae DK Merino super wash. This was my first time to try this yarn & I'm very pleased with the results; the stitch definition on the cables is lovely & held up wonderfully through a machine wash.

Brook by Dani Sunshine. Also knit in Ella Rae DK, with some scraps of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK for contrast colour. This is a lovely wee pattern; the yoke detail uses garter stitch ridges in contrast colour combined with a slip stitch and cable stitch. I've already knit multiple versions of the Bella cardigan from the same pattern collection & can see more of this jumper in my future. 

 Whistle Stop by Carol Feller, knit in Kauni Effektgarn. This was a sample knit, & sent off in a rush, so please excuse the dreadful project photos.  This was an enjoyable knit; the pattern construction is interesting but well explained. The long colour repeats in the yarn mean that a little bit of yarn-juggling was required to avoid any obvious & jarring contrast where joining the yarn. It's been exciting to see project pages appearing on Ravelry, showing just how much variety there is in different yarns.
 
 Cannetella by Woolly Wormed, knit in Araucania Botany Lace with added beads. If I had a do-over, I would reconsider the position of the beads in the lace motif. The pattern is lovely; knit in fine yarn and with open lace stitches, it makes for a great cool-weather hat. Plus pink with sparkles is usually a hit with a certain Small Human.
 Boom by myself; knit in some multicoloured handspun and Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply in stripes. The yarn is much finer than in the original pattern, so I switched to appropriate needles (3.5mm) and just kept going until I ran out of yarn.
 Tama by Kelly Brooker knit in aran weight scraps including Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran and Tivoli New Celtic Aran.  This is one of my favourite patterns; the basic pattern is so simple & so wearable for little kiddos that it just needs to be made repeatedly, with modifications.
 This one has a little extra length, and an added pocket for funsies.
 Risalire by Woolly Wormed knit in Brown Sheep Wildfoot Luxury Sock.
I've been obsessing over the patterns in Woolly Wormhead's recent Painted Woolly Toppers collection. I've had difficulty deciding just which one to knit for myself. I've also been struggling with the notion of wearing a hat that's not conservative of colour, or typical of shape. So the obvious conclusion has been to try the hats out for the Small Human first. The obvious advantages are that smaller hats mean less knitting time, and that Small Humans look cute in just about anything. This hat has a bonnet-inspired brim, which fits snugly over her face, keeping ears warm. The pattern calls for knitting garter stitch in the round, but was easily translated to knitting flat with a seam at the end.
So there you have it; about 4 months worth of knitting projects. Now that I've finally gotten around to  writing up this blog post of course I am planning to not leave it so long till next time. We shall see!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New pattern: Garter Yoke

Most knitters are familiar with the term yoke referring to the part of a sweater around the neck and shoulders. However, growing up in Ireland, the word is used to mean… almost anything;

(from the Collins dictionary)
(Irish) any device, unusual object, or gadget“    where's the yoke for opening tins?

(from www.urbandictionary.com)
these days in Ireland, a Yoke refers to almost *anything*
"how do you get this feckin yoke to work?" - computer 
"pass me that yoke" - pencil 
"this yoke is feckin broken!" - DVD player 
etc

So this seemed like the perfect neck accessory that could be described as a dickie, a cowl or a neck warmer.

The Garter Yoke is a no-nonsense warming layer around the neck without extra bulk; perfect for under snug fitting coats & jackets. There are ends to tuck in or gaps in the wrapping to worry about. It is more form-fitting than the typical loose cowl, and comes down around the shoulders for extra warmth.

The design came about from a need to keep the Small Human of the house well wrapped up without the complication of wrapping a scarf around the neck; with the added advantage that said Small Human is able to put it on and remove it herself without fuss. It's smaller than the typical scarf, so can be stuffed in a coat pocket in between wearings.

The garter stitch fabric is super stretchy, so the sizing is very flexible, with plenty of room for growth. Smaller sizes can be worn to cover just the neck & collarbone area - the toddler sized yoke will fit over a large adult head, for example.


The pattern is written in five sizes - Baby, Toddler, Child, Small Adult, Large Adult - and in a choice of four different yarn weights - 4ply, sport, DK or aran weight.
It is begun with a provisional cast on, knitted flat & shaped with short rows, and finished with a three-needle bind off. Instructions are also suggested for knitting without the provisional cast on, with a sewn seam.

Samples shown are: 
Toddler size in aran weight; shown in Tivoli New Celtic Aran in shade 951 Cream
Large Adult size in 4ply /fingering weight; shown in Dublin Dye Merino Sock, in shade ‘In the Navy’ 


The pattern is available to buy now. 


Thanks to Mr T & The Small Human for modelling, and to Laura & Ber for test-knitting. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Pattern Release: Boom!

Introducing 'Boom!'; a super-easy asymmetric shawl in reversible garter stitch. The gently curving boomerang shape is achieved using a combination of increases and increases.  The example in the pattern used 300 m / 330 yards of approximately aran-weight handspun yarn. The shawl was designed with the intention of displaying gradient experiments with some handspan yarn, but would also be suitable for variegated and gradient-dyed commercial yarns. 
The pattern includes instructions on the fibre preparation used to achieve this particular gradient from commercially prepared tops. 




Of course, I barely had this one off the needles before I was obsessing over the possibilities of other gradients, stripes & colour distributions within the finished project. This will require more spinning!


The basic instructions can easily be applied to different thicknesses of yarn with appropriately sized needles, and to different quantities too. The toddler-sized example below used some yarn I had in stash, spun in hand-dyed tops many moons ago.
Yarn: 88m / 96 yards chunky / bulky weight yarn
Needles: 7mm
Gauge: 12 st & 26 rows over 10 cm in garter stitch
Finished size at widest points: 98 x 12 cm / 38.5 x 6.5"


The pattern is available to  download now.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Knits round-up

While I did not fall for the usual knitted gift madness this year, I have been finishing quite a few knits over the last few weeks including;
A boomerang-style scarf for the Small Human, knit in a handspun yarn from stash.

A cardigan for the Small Human, based on Bella by Dani Sunshine & knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I omitted the cables & knit garter stitch bands around the yoke in contrast colours, & knit sleeve & body hems in garter stitch. I started knitting multiple colours in each garter stitch band, but decided this was too busy.... once I had finished knitting the body. I ended up ripping & re-knitting just the yoke, bottom up, by fudging a series of decreases as I went.

Another Zapote by Carol Feller.  Knit in Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran
18 month size, intended for my 3 month old nephew with (quite a lot of) room to grow...
Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood by Nancy Bush, knit in Noro Kureyon Sock. started almost a year ago & shoved into a drawer in favour of something more exciting... or something for somebody else. Kureyon Sock is my favourite yarn for socks, and I love the reworked vintage sock patterns in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Quite a few of the patterns are mid-calf length & feature calf shaping for a better fit - my favourite kind of sock. Just a pity that I got a little bored of knitting, & did not decrease the cuff quite as small as called for in the pattern as the ankle area is a little baggy.

And finally, a cardigan for Ariel... because her arms looked cold in a wee strappy dress. I used some leftover sport weight Millamia yarn, and some shiny buttons from the button jar that just happened to suit the doll's dress. I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's EPS proportions for this cardigan, top down & with raglan shaping. It is quite generous fitting, with the hope that certain little fingers will be easily able to dress the doll as wished. 

I suppose this would be the traditional time for a year-end round up, but appropriate words escape me. This has been an eventful personal year, and there have been times when I have been so grateful to have knitting as a distraction; as something to do when there is nothing else is meaningful enough.  Wishing you all a peaceful 2016.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New pattern: Camden Twist Beanie.

Introducing the Camden Twist Beanie!
The pattern is written in four sizes from Newborn to Child. The hat is knit in the round, bottom up, using set of DPNs or a large circular needle for the magic loop technique. The hat consists of 2x2 ribbing for a stretchy fabric, and features a simple cable.  
The pattern includes charted and written cable instructions.
Sizes:
Newborn, Baby, Toddler, Child.
To fit head (35.5, 40.5, 46, 51) cm / (14, 16, 18, 20)”
Yarn:
Pictured in ‘Too Rouge”, in the Child size, modelled on 19” head.
The pattern requires approximately (85, 108, 132, 160)m / (94, 118, 145, 175) yards 4 ply / fingering weight yarn.

Gauge:
48 st / 42 rows per 10 cm / 4” in 2x2 ribbing, after blocking & relaxed.

Materials:
2.75 mm needles, or size needed to achieve gauge.
(A set of DPNs or a large circular needle for the magic loop technique work equally well.)
Cable needle or DPN
Darning needle
 The pattern came about as I was knitting the Camden Twist Cardigan; I realised that the simple Twist cable pattern needed to become a hat too. The ribbed fabric is extremely forgiving & stretchy & will accommodate growing noggins for quite a while. I really enjoyed knitting with the Camden Tweed again; the yarn is deceptively bouncy, and knits up beautifully. The wee Donegal nepps in the base yarn add interest to the yarn, & the colour has a wonderful depth.
The pattern is available to download here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sparkly Things

I haven't had much knitting to show off lately, but have been working on a variety of sparkly things with the Small Human. She's been recently introduced to the joys of PVA & glitter glue, though most of these projects have involved preparation by me, for the little one to add adornments later.

First up; some tree shapes. I cut triangles of corrugated cardboard & wrapped some deep-stash unloved Noro Kureyon sock yarn around the shapes, with a little glue to hold in place. We then added a few different adornments. Star stickers proved the favourite activity.  

Next, some more tree shapes, cut from 'felt' sheets & stitched with a little wadding in the middle. The Small Human had great fun rooting through the button jar, picking out buttons for me. 

Next, some stars made of lollipop sticks. I assembled the stars, but had plenty of assistance painting a coat of blue poster paint, and then a coat of glitter glue. I hope to hang these near some fairy lights to enhance the sparkling glitter.

Lastly, some more stars. I bought the cardboard stars from the paper craft section of Art & Hobby shop. We layered PVA glue & white tissue paper on these, but found that the tissue was too translucent when dried. I later painted these with a silver acrylic paint, & then wrapped them with a variety of sparkly threads while the Small Human played with some spare threads.

I've enjoyed making these decorations, but have realised that I'll have to change my expectations of the Small Human's involvement. She's not very interested in producing finished objects, but enjoys getting to play with the materials. More than anything, she's going to be delighted when we put up the Christmas decorations.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Pattern release: Torc Scarf

Introducing the Torc Scarf. 
The scarf begins with a gently curving garter stitch section, cast on along the top edge and shaped with short rows. The applied 12x12 stitch reversible cable edging is a reinterpretation of golden torcs on display in the National Museum of Ireland, and included in the book A History of Ireland in 100 Objects.  I've been a little obsessed with the notion of taking inspiration from extraordinary artefacts - high status, highly ornate displays of wealth, that we assume were just for occasional or ceremonial wear - and creating cosy, comforting & wearable accessories for every day use. 
This scarf is very, very soft & squishy; definitely one of my cosier knits. It is also reversible. 

The pattern is written in two sizes:
The small size measures 140 x 21cm / 55x8" at the widest point, and requires approximately 400 m / 437 yards of DK weight yarn.   It wraps around the neck once with ends to tuck into coats. It is pictured in Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in 'Wish'. 
The large size measures 206 x 21.5 cm at the widest point & requires approximately 610m / 667 yards. Pictured in Dublin Dye Merino DK in 'Alge', it will wrap around the neck twice, with ends to tuck in. 


A solid or semi-solid yarn works best with the pattern; preferably something bouncy to show off the cables, & with a little elasticity.  The wide cable can be tricky to work, especially in stiff yarns like cotton. 
The pattern is available to purchase now. (The obligatory goofy photos are without charge)

 I'm very grateful to the kind assistance & generous feedback of my test knitters Janet & Sherry. I've been amazed by how generous people can be, if you just ask for a little help.