Rakuda winners

Just a quick post to say congratulations to Birgit, Catherine and Touran on winning copies of Rakuda. Can’t want to see how it turns out for you :-)

I’ll have a few quite weeks on the blog here – this week my husband is traveling and my older boys have school exams. Tensions are high in the house!

Wednesday night we’ll be doing a parent swap, with my husband arriving home at 10 and my plane to Columbus for TNNA will be leaving before 8 in the morning. So please everyone keep your fingers crossed for me that everything runs smoothly.

New patterns plus surprises

This blog post is really almost a little news roundup. I’m busy in the planning stages for my trip to TNNA at Columbus next week. This is equal parts work and fun; I get to meet all my friends, fondle new yarns while at the same time selling my patterns to yarn stores. This year I’m extending my autumn/fall KAL to yarn stores. If you’re a yarn store (or if you’ve got one close to you that might be interested) you can register your interest with the newsletter here.

Barkentine

My first pattern with Yarn Stories, Barkentine, was released this week. You may notice that this season I’m just loving loose, drop shoulder lace tops. They just seem the perfect seasonal addition to the wardrobe at them moment! The lace running up the side of Barkentine was designed to echo the sea, for all your maritime adventures :-)

The KAL for Spritz Stripes is moving along very quickly – we’re already on clue 3! Many of the knitters were just astonished when they realised how much the lace grows in this sweater….watch them transform from crop tops to full length sweaters :-) These before and after photos are well worth a look.

Now for the surprise. I just released Rakuda which uses a very distinctive yarn, Cole. I would love to see a couple of versions of this in different yarns (or different colors of Cole if you’ve got some available). Leave a comment below telling me what size you’ll knit and what yarn you’ve got that will work for the pattern….. details of the pattern below. Please don’t enter if you don’t have time in the coming month to knit it!

Leave a comment by Saturday 23 May and I’ll pick 3 winners who get a copy of the pattern.

SIZE
To Fit Actual Bust Circumference up to:
31.5 (35.5, 37.5, 40, 44, 46, 48.5, 52.5, 54.5)” / 80 (90, 95.5, 101.5, 112, 117, 123, 133.5, 138.5) cm.
5-7” / 12.5 – 18 cm positive ease recommended.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Bust Circumference:
36.5 (40.5, 42.5, 45, 49, 51, 53.5, 57.5, 59.5)” / 92.5 (103, 108, 114.5, 124.5, 129.5, 136, 146, 151) cm.
Size 40.5” / 103 cm modelled with 5”/ 12.5 cm positive ease.
Length: 25 (26, 26.25, 26.5, 27.75, 28.25, 28.75, 30, 30.75)” / 63.5 (66, 66.5, 67.5, 70.5, 72, 73, 76, 78) cm.

MATERIALS
Yarn

Anzula Luxury Fibers ‘Cole’
100% Superwash Merino; 180 yds /164 m per 3.5 oz /100 g skein); Color: Pewter; 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9) skeins

Needles & Notions
2 US size 8 / 5 mm circular needles, 40”/ 100 cm long
2 US size 10.5 / 7 mm circular needles, 40”/ 100 cm long
Set of US size 8 / 5 mm dpns (if not using magic loop for sleeves)
Always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed, as every knitter’s gauge is unique.
Tapestry needle, stitch markers, stitch holder, one 1.25” / 3 cm diameter button.

Gauge
16 sts and 21 rows = 4”/10cm in St St with smaller needle
16 sts and 30 rows = 4”/10cm in Garter Stitch with smaller needle
15 sts and 18 rows = 4”/10cm in Over-Sized Lace

 

New summer lace cardigan

Rakuda

When I went to TNNA last December Anzula asked if I’d like to pick a yarn to design with and Rakuda is the finished product.  They have got some very delicious yarns so it was a difficult choice. One of their newer yarns, Cole, jumped out at me. It was a little unusual, an aran weight yarn that is 70% silk and 30% camel. Instead of having a smooth, shiny feel as a lot of silk blends this was a more rustic, slubby version of silk with that delicious silk smell. It was such a distinctive yarn it really called to me.

As I started swatching I realised that the heavy qualities of silk really needed an open pattern that allowed it to drape. When I tried it with this large over-sized lace I loved how it looked and felt; both heavy and open at the same time! However I wanted to make sure that it still held it’s shape so I used garter stitch to anchor the cardigan together.

It ended up creating a cardigan that’s super fast to knit but very wearable for in-between weather. It is knit flat from the bottom up in one piece, German short rows shape the garter stitch shoulder slopes. Sleeves are worked in the round from the top down once the body is complete.

When choosing a size to knit for this cardigan several inches of positive ease are a good idea. The cardigan is naturally draped so a few inches of positive ease helps that happen. The size pictured is the 40.5″ finished size which has around 6″ positive ease.

Here are all the available sizes for Rakuda – you can see that I’ve give recommendations for the size (to fit bust is the size of your own bust) with the actual dimensions of the finished cardigan below that.
To Fit Actual Bust Circumference up to:
31.5 (35.5, 37.5, 40, 44, 46, 48.5, 52.5, 54.5)” / 80 (90, 95.5, 101.5, 112, 117, 123, 133.5, 138.5) cm.
5-7” / 12.5 – 18 cm positive ease recommended.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Bust Circumference:
36.5 (40.5, 42.5, 45, 49, 51, 53.5, 57.5, 59.5)” / 92.5 (103, 108, 114.5, 124.5, 129.5, 136, 146, 151) cm.
Size 40.5” / 103 cm modelled with 5”/ 12.5 cm positive ease.
Length: 25 (26, 26.25, 26.5, 27.75, 28.25, 28.75, 30, 30.75)” / 63.5 (66, 66.5, 67.5, 70.5, 72, 73, 76, 78) cm.

Spritz Stripes upper body

My Spritz Stripes KAL is moving right along – I’m always so excited to see everyone’s progress :-) We’re now on clue 2 and we’ve already have a few knitters get to the finish point!

I’m very impressed with all of you knitting out there – there are a few difficult details in the sweater but everyone is just powering right on. The body was worked straight up but the stitch pattern increases and decreases within each pattern repeat so it requires careful attention to the stitch count ….. with occasional unknitting to keep it all in check.

The second clue is for the back section of the upper body. This uses a similar but slightly different stitch pattern than for the body. This is so that there are no changes in the stitch count to allow for easier neck and shoulder shaping. It’s enough keeping track of lace with short rows without adding varied stitch counts into the mix!

If any of you out there are working on this KAL but having difficulty with the short rows in lace you could take a look at my Craftsy Short Row Techniques class that covers this in one of the lessons (here’s a 50% discount link). Short rows in lace actually work surprisingly well – as there are so many decrease and increase stitches you’d never notice a loose stitch from a short row!

You will find though that when you do short rows across the shoulder with each row getting progressively shorter (and also working a different row in the lace) when you get to the final full row it’s going to be on a different row of the lace for each short row step. You can either embrace this as a feature of short rows in lace or if it bugs you you could also just do the final row in stockinette stitch.

Before my trip to Columbus for TNNA at the end of this month I’m releasing a new pattern in Anzula yarn, Cole. Keep an eye out for it; should be released within the next couple of days…. here’s a quick peek!

Anzula

Dragon Flames is released!

So my Dragon Flames cardigan is finished and has been released!

Dragon Flames

If you’ve been following along on my blog gradient adventure you have already watched the creation process. Last week my husband brought the cardigan with him to Florida when visiting family and his sister kindly modeled it for us! I think Florida was the perfect spot for this cardigan, the bright oranges and rusts just come to life with the the bright tropical colors.

Dragon Flames

I don’t know what plant this was in the garden but the color is just perfect with the cardigan!

Dragon Flames

Dragonfly fibers have put a few kits together for this cardigan in a variety of colors. One of my favorites is the Cheshire Cat gradient…

cheshire

Or maybe Siberian Iris?

If you don’t have any gradient yarn available I think that a variegated yarn or a self-striping yarn worked from the middle out would be amazing! What color would you like to do your version in?

If you’re going to the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival you can see the original sample in person at the Dragonfly Fibers stand and I think they may have a few kits with them!

 

Spritz Stripes double yo

I’ve had a few questions about the ‘double yo’ in the Spritz Stripes pattern. In this sweater you’re knitting a lace pattern in the round. At the end of round 4 you have a yarnover and then at the beginning of round 5 there is another yarnover. I’ve done a little photo tutorial on how I managed this. It does produce a slightly larger hole every 6 rounds at this position but it’s not excessive.

step 1Here’s the 1st step. You’re at the end of rnd 4, you’ve worked a p2tog and the next stitch is yo. So just leave the yarn in front and this will create the yarnover automatically.

step 2Here’s the next step. You slip over your start of round marker and get set to begin round 5. This round starts with a yarnover. So what you want to do is bring your yarn over the needle (this finishes the yo for you at the end of rnd 4) and wrap it around the needle once to get ready to work a knit stitch (yarn at the back of the work).

step 3The second stitch to be worked on round 5 is k2tog, so this is what it’s going to look like. A yarnover at the very end of rnd 4, the marker, a yo at the start of rnd 5 and then k2tog.

When you reach this double yarnover at the end of round 5 be careful to work them both separately so you don’t lose a stitch at either the start or end of the round.

Dragon Flames

So the Gradient cardigan is done! I hope you enjoyed joining the creative process with me. Looking at the colors change from yellow through to red I think that this cardigan just has to be called ‘Dragon Flames’.

IMG_3519Now that it’s finished it’s traveling to Florida with my husband who’ll take some photos of it there. From there it’ll head to DC to Dragonfly Fibers so if you’re heading to Maryland Sheep & Wool next month you’ll be able to pet it in person and pick up a kit :-)

Very shortly Dragonfly Fibers will also be putting kits up for pre-sale on their website so keep an eye out if you want to knit one for yourself. They’ve got some great gradient colors – I was also very tempted by their blue gradient.

IMG_3525I’m starting on my next cardigan now with Anzula Cole…more on that next week!

Gradient cardigan process -4

It’s been a busy week and while I’ve been knitting away on my gradient cardigan I haven’t actually been keeping you all posted!

First up I want to congratulate Cassy who won the raffle for ‘Knits for Boys‘, have fun knitting.

IMG_3518So this is the finished garter stitch front on one side (with the second almost done), there’s a short row shoulder slope, a little short row wedge to give the collar room to turn the corner and then the collar is just knit right up to where it will sit at the back of the neck.

IMG_3513I’ve now nearly finished knitting the second side. There’s a reason why I really, really need to knit the first sample myself with unusual constructions. When I started knitting I totally forgot to reverse the direction of the zigzag so it looks rather awful first time around :-)

I’ll get the sleeves finished in the next few days. I think they will be top down set-in with short row sleeve caps. Then it’ll be ready to send to the tech editor and test knitters. This yarn is a real pleasure to knit with, smooth but with nice body so it feels like it’s got some substance. My kind of yarn.

Kate Oates ‘Knits for Boys’

As I watch Kate’s family of boys grow I’ve been amazed at how much she’s been able to do while they were still all so small. Her family has had such a big influence on her design career; with a large number of her designs for little boys I wanted to pick her brain about knitting for boys. My own 4 fall in and out of love with knitwear as their personal tastes and style change and I wanted to get her perspective on knitting for boys.

Her newest book ‘Knits for Boys, 27 Patterns for Little Men + Grow-with-Me Tips & Tricks’ is beautifully laid out, the tutorials are clear and easy to follow, a new-to-me method of installing a zip was included. The first chapter also has tips on knitting for children, how to allow for growth. The patterns come in a range of sizes from ages 4-12 with a big variety of styles.

Caden Vest

Caden Vest

I think that the Caden Vest is my personal favorite but my youngest I think would go for the T. Rex Graphic Pullover!

T-Rex Graphic Pullover

So now for a few questions for Kate:

1.     What is your own experience of sizing for children? How much extra growing room do you include for your children? Any tips to ensure that they don’t just look over-sized?

This is sort of the basis for the Grow-With-Me section of the book!  I really am not a fan of giant over-sized look so that’s what led me to start exploring and learning about how to get extra wear time but in a better way.  I learned that children tend to grow up much more quickly than they grow out so you’ll be surprised at the bonus longevity you can get out of a garment if you can manage to add some length.

2.     In the 80s the style for children was really wide and short. Fortunately children’s knitting patterns seem to be in more realistic sizes now! With adult garments the amount of ease depends on both the style and personal preference. What amount of ease do you think works well for children’s clothes?

My personal preference is between 2-4 inches and this does depend on the age of the child. A baby’s chest circumference is much smaller than a 10 year old’s…so 2 inches works a lot better proportionally.  If its too huge, it’s hard for them to move.  I lean more towards 3 inches as they get older.

3.     Do your boys get much of a chance to wear the knits in everyday wear? If they do, what do they enjoy wearing every day? When you were designing the book did they have some input (helpful or otherwise!).

Ugh. My kids LOVE wearing handknits.  Unfortunately we kind of have the cobbler’s kids thing going on right now in my household.  You would think they own closets full of knits but sadly, so much of what I knit now goes to trunk shows that they don’t often get new stuff.  This summer though I have decided they are getting some new stuff.  However, for the 1-2 items they do each have, they pretty much wear it at every opportunity.  It’s quite hot where we live most of the year, so that’s one reason why I have designed some knits that work for warmer weather too.  With regards to their input, YES they love giving me direction!  They can be brutally honest about colors or fit.

4.     Somewhat tied to the last question, they go for colors or texture?

Both!  My oldest is more into color and kid number two is extremely tactile and loves a squishy texture pattern. Fortunately for them, I love working both cables and colorwork so I’m happy to do both of these techniques!

5.     In my experience children love comfort in their clothes. Any hint of scratch and they’ll refuse to put it on, even if it’s a badly inserted clothes tag. How do you suggest knitters choose children’s yarn so it’s both comfortable and durable for children?

I totally agree with this. There are so many nice and cozy yarns out there right now, so many options that my kids are pleased with. I was really picky about the yarns I used in the book and highly recommend all of them for wearabilty.  To really get an idea for how the finished project is going to turn out, work up a swatch and wash it the finished piece will be laundered.  Then, see how nice and soft it is!  A lot of yarns will soften up a bit after blocking.

6.     I love your colorwork designs for children, they’re bright and fun and feel like they’re made for living. Do you have some favourite color combinations that you used for this book?

Orange is one of my favorite colors.  I really had fun with the entire Imagination Sweater, using tons of different combos.  I love Navy and Orange and also Purple and Orange (though I admit this could be influenced by my alma mater, Clemson University). The other thing I really like doing is putting unexpected colors together.  I like putting shades of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel together, like blue and green or orange and yellow.  I don’t think it always has to be high contrast.

Imagination Sweater

7.     When knitting sweaters do you have a construction type that works best for kids? Is it easy to modify for different children shapes?

I think a top down raglan is probably the easiest.  It’s easy to add an extra increase just in the sleeves if a child has larger arms or just wants more room there. And it’s also very easy to add length anywhere it is necessary.

8.     You’ve got a great size range for the knits in the book from 4-12 years. You’ve opted to not include smaller sizes, was the baby/toddler sizing range has a different number of design considerations?

This is a great question that I don’t think I have answered yet!  There were definitely design considerations–I find that baby sizes often need to include instructions for buttoned necklines because the head proportion to the body is a bit different. Also in a lot of my super extended size range patterns, there are lots of “baby sizes only” or “child sizes only” instructions that are separated out.  Since the book really was geared to BOY rather than BABY, I chose to keep the instructions more simplified and really focus on the book’s main audience, who I tend to think is underrepresented compared to baby boy.

9.     When knitting the book what design did you enjoy knitting the most? And what one did the kids not want to hand back!!

Oh gosh there are a few of these.  Probably my favorite to knit was the Imagination Sweater.  A friend of mine actually worked up the Jesse Half-Zip sweater sample, otherwise that probably would be up there also.  I love cables. Oh and the Houndstooth Vest, loved that one also.  As for the kids, The T-Rex Graphic Pullover, Imagination Sweater and Jesse Half-Zip are all favorites…they must take after me.  We seem to share favorites!

Ok everyone, now that you’re drooling over all the little boys knits, what would you knit for your son (or daughter?) first? Give your choice in the comments and I’ll pick a winner of the giveaway on Monday 30th March. (US residents only I’m afraid on this giveaway.)

Gradient cardigan process 3

I’m moving right along with this cardigan, the gradient yarn is spurring me on to knit quickly so I can see it progressing.

I’m happy with how the garter stitch short row ‘turn’ worked from the back to the front.

IMG_3487I never thought that’s I get so much use from my maths; to calculate the number of short rows to turn the corner you just need to find out 1/4 of the circle circumference. You’ve got the radius with the number of stitches so it all fits neatly together :-)

Now that the corner is turned I’m working straight up for the front. Originally I was thinking about going back to st st and the zigzag stitch worked up the front but I’m really liking the striped gradient in garter stitch. What do you all think of a garter stitch front into a wide folded collar??

IMG_3489