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

Gradient Cardigan Process 2

I’m making my way through the back and I’ve got a number of issues coming up.

The first is the transition between the colors. You can see here that for the first transition I just finished one color and started the next.

IMG_3478

Even though the colors are close the tradition is harsher than I’d like. For the next one I’m going to start alternating with the new skein when 1/4 of the yarn is left which will hopefully create a smoother translation. I think I like this a bit better…

IMG_3480

The next issue is moving from the back to the front. At the rate the yarn is being used I think there will still be a good bit of the gradient yarn left when the width of the back is finished. I’m trying to figure out how to ‘turn the corner’ so to speak to the front so that the gradient is allowed to flow. If I keep going with the zigzag pattern I’ll run into a problem – when working this in short rows I’m going to get disjointed sections within the stitch patterns. So that makes me wonder how I could transition for the short row bend from back to front by using a different contrasting stitch pattern….maybe garter stitch? That would look pretty cool with the gradients in short rows. The I could leave that garter short row triangle to stand alone and start up with the zigzag to work up the front of the garment.

IMG_3481Here’s a little sketch of how that would flow. This is what I use walks with my dog for – I mentally ‘verbalize’ the problem and troubleshoot different ways of making it work and flow. This is the part of my job that’s the hardest but the most satisfying when it works. You come up with something totally unique rather than a standard design-by-numbers approach.

Gradient cardigan progress 1

I wanted to knit a cardigan with the gradient yarn but the key for me was using the gradient somewhere that was not going to be a critical spot when the gradient ran out. I don’t want it to look right for one size but then dramatically different for all the other sizes! Plus I want to completely use up the gradient, with the other yarn only being used when it was finished.

Now I think that a gradient is going to work best with a stitch pattern that flows and weaves. I’ve seen it used a few times with feather and fan lace stitch which works great but I wanted to try something different. I’ve been experimenting with a zigazag stitch pattern that I think I’ll use. It creates a great texture but it’s very fast to work.

IMG_3472I’m going to start the sweater at the center of the back and go out each side, that way hopefully it’ll look like the gradient is growing out in both directions. Here you can see that I’m almost finished with one 1/2 of the first gradient (it’s halved so that it’ll be equal on each side of the back) and I’m getting ready to wind the next skein.

IMG_3474

Dragonfly Fibers

It would appear that I’ve fallen down the Dragonfly Fibers rabbit hole :-) Not a bad place to be actually! Last month the Ribbon Tool Shawl which used their yarn, Pixie, was released in the spring Interweave Knits. It’s a great shawl to learn German short rows in garter with and they’re running a KAL in their ravelry group. In fact anyone who finished before the 14th of April gets a 10% yarn discount coupon. So if you’re working on this shawl make sure you join into their KAL (actually you’d have enough time even if you started now).

Ribbon Tool Shawl

Following on from this design Dragonfly Fibers wanted to know if I’d like to do a design for their stand at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. They’ve got some wonderful gradient kits (take a peek here) so I thought a cardigan that begins with a gradient would look wonderful. dragonfly gradient

They’ve put together a gradient for me that runs from yellow right through to their Rodeo red. I’ve wanted to use a gradient set for so long that I’m really excited about this. If anyone is interested I can post little update on my progress as I’m working. I don’t often get to do that but designing can be an isolating job and it’s be kind of nice to have you all along for the journey!

Spring KAL!

It’s been a few months since I’ve released a new self-published pattern so I’m very excited to have my spring KAL, Spritz Stripes, ready to launch!

Spritz Stripes
I think we’re all really, really sick of this long miserable winter so a lightweight spring sweater seems like the perfect antidote. The sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up in a lightweight 4ply (fingering) yarn. The fabric is worked as a series of lace stripes that are blocked aggressively to open up the fabric and create the light, airy effect. Basically with this sweater you’ll be blocking as aggressively as you would for a shawl. This of course means that while you’re knitting it you work will look squished up and rather unimpressive….

BUT when you pin it out you can actually see the pattern!

To add to the light effect, this sweater is knit with a generous helping of positive ease so that it floats over your tank top/dress/shirt. For a 33-35″ bust I’d suggest the 40″ size which give 5-7″ positive ease.

Once the body is finished the upper body is knit separately at the front and the back and joined at the shoulders. There are a few short rows worked here but I’m going to put a tutorial together showing you how to do that with the lace pattern.

Finally the sleeves are worked from the top down in the round.

There are a few techniques I’ll be writing tutorials on for this pattern; first up is a stretchy cast-on. If you want your lace to stretch and flow it’s really important that the cast-on can move with it.  This leads me on to the second tutorial, a stretchy bind-off, for the very same reason, to allow the lace to stretch without being confined.

The third technique will be short rows with the lace, sounds complicated but the lace pattern is simple so it is easier than it sounds!

So come knit with us and learn lots of new skills….plus you’ll get a great sweater at the end!
Eden Cottage Yarns have kindly provided a free postage code for the Milburn yarn that is available until March 31st. When you purchase the pattern the discount code is given in the information pdf.

The second sample I’m knitting which is shown above in red is in Madelintosh Tosh Light in Tart.

KAL Timing
Clues will be released every 2 weeks on the following schedule:
Clue 1: April 14th, 2015.
Clue 2: April 28th, 2015.
Clue 3: May 12th, 2015.
Clue 4: May 26th, 2015.

If you want to work along with other knitters on this project, come join us at the dedicated Ravelry group -
http://www.ravelry.com/groups/carol-fellers-kal

spritz stripes

 

spritz stripes spritz stripes

Essential Short Row Techniques

Some of you very observant people may have spotted that my new Craftsy class, Essential Short Row Techniques, is now live! (This link will give you $5 off the class).

Essential Short Row TechniquesNow as the name hints, this is a technique class. It works through different situations that you will use short rows in and how you can make them your own.

There is a huge lack of information out there about working short rows in anything but stockinette stitch. What happens in reverse stockinette, garter, ribbing or in the round? What about if you’ve got a cable or lace pattern?

I hope to give enough information in this class that you’ll feel comfortable substituting different types of short rows in a pattern, changing the slope created by short rows and maybe even use short rows in your own design!

_DSC8705

Once you’ve mastered Short Rows you’ll want to use them in everything!

Here are a few of my favourite patterns that use short rows. Until March 15th there will be 25% off all of them with code “SHORTROWS“. Just ‘add to cart’ and when you’ve got the cart open click ‘use a coupon code’ to add the code.

Finally, I frequently get questions about the knitted pieces shown in my classes so here is a rundown of everything you’ll see:

Lesson 1: Basanite Hat (in Among Stones, digital only), Sandy Cove, Taupo, Ravi.

Lesson 2: Striped shawl (Tempisque) from new book, Carpino.

Lesson 3: Cabled Cowl sweater from new book (Orosi).

Lesson 4: Capall Dubh, new cardigan from book (Toro).

Lesson 5: Gilligan, Orosi (from new book), Penrose Tile.

Lesson 6: Sandy Cove

Lesson 7: Ravi, Maenad, Dunderry, Taupo.

Lesson 8: Basanite Hat (in Among Stones, digital only), Talium socks, socks from new book (Arenal), Maenad.