Tag Archives: KAL

What’s on the Needles

Spritz Stripes
When I’m working at knitting shows I love wearing my handknits. There is however a slight problem; it’s usually really HOT! My solution is wearing handknit garments that are lightweight and airy.

For the last few years I’ve worn Spritz Stripes for every show. It’s the perfect sweater for over a light tank top and gives you just the right amount of warmth. The version I’ve been wearing is knit in Madelintosh Tosh Light which is a heavy fingering weight yarn. I wanted to knit a brand new version in my Nua yarn. However Nua is a sport weight yarn so the gauge won’t be the same.

I did a gauge swatch and found that I got 14 sts instead of 16 sts per 4″ in the lace pattern. Fortunately the row gauge seems to be the same which will make calculations just a little easier! When I’m done I’ll do a new version of the pattern in the new gauge. As an added bonus it’ll mean that it knits up that much faster!

Ravi Junior


A few months ago I knit a new version of Ravi Junior in Angry Monkey. The beautiful model is Evin’s little boy (photos by Evin also).

This sample took just over 2 skeins of yarn and it makes such a cute baby gift!

Nadia’s Akoya

Nadia has been busy knitting up a version of Akoya in Nua (Bare Necessities). She’s just getting started with it but I think even with the ribbing it is going to be so lovely in this natural colour!

Secret Nua


Well as the title says – this is a secret knit… I’m really happy with how the collar turned out so I’ll just give you a small peek of that.

Santa Rosa Plum Colour Choices

Last summer Santa Rosa Plum was the spring KAL. The cardigan for the KAL was knit in a custom gradient from Blue Moon Fiber Arts but there were a few single colour versions that were just beautiful (you can see all of them here). The gauge for this cardigan is the same as for Nua yarn so I want to get a sample knit in Nua. However I keep swinging between doing a single colour and putting a Nua gradient together. What do you think? Here is a potential colour choice.

Sugarcane KAL
The yarn shipment for the Sugarcane Cardigan KAL is on it’s way to me right now so I should be able to start shipping the preorders out by the end of the week! Are you joining in? Still lots of time to get your yarn order in.
The discussion is starting already on the ravelry group here and I’ve put a little video together discussing choices for finishing the collar.

My Brand New Shop & KAL

Did anyone notice that I have a brand new online shop? This something I’ve been thinking about and planning for most of the last year. I wanted a way to simplify the purchase process for knitters once I had physical products so that both physical and digital can all be done in a single shopping cart. The system we’ve put in place does this and we’ve got the extra special bonus of being able to add your pattern into your ravelry library after checkout!

As well as having a single shopping cart I also wanted the patterns to be more searchable. With this system I’ve just tagged every pattern with it’s attributes so you can search using all sorts of different criteria. For instance if you just want dk weight patterns – find them here.

Do you want just cables? Take a look here.

As a designer and knitter this makes me inexplicably happy. It’s almost like rediscovering all my patterns anew, remembering lost treasures.

As a way of christening the new shop I’m starting a brand new Spring KAL; Sugarcane Cardigan. This is set-up like my previous KALs, with the pattern initially going on pre-sale while you gather your yarn and start swatching. Then each clue is released every 2 weeks with support on the ravelry board here. The only difference now is that you can choose to buy the pattern either on my shop or through ravelry and I’ve got the option to preorder yarn for a cardigan kit.

So a little bit about the cardigan; it’s a top down raglan with a gentle v-neck shaping. The lace at the back is initially a 2 row simple repeat until the bottom of the yoke and then it becomes a full lace pattern. The waist shaping is worked at the back between the lace panels but I’ve given a modification to move the shaping to the side. The sleeves are given in both 3/4 sleeve (as pictured) and long sleeve options. The front collar is pictured as a shawl collar with I-cord edging and integrated buttonholes. I’ve got a few more option as well; a narrow collar with an open front or omitting buttonholes and using a Jul or shawl pin closure. Lots of fun stuff to discuss on the forums so come on and join in!

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A Little bit of Luwan: A Round up Post on the Luwan KAL.

Luwan knitting pattern by Carol Feller Stolnstitches

Luwan Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee.

As the fun and laughter of another garment knit along have come to a close, I thought we could have a look back on the highlights and what got us from our needles and yarn to wearing those finished sweaters.

Fun Facts

First up let’s have a look at some fun facts. You loved this KAL so much that you had a staggering 1,349 forum posts alone on Ravelry. That does not include any posts on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. That also doesn’t include forum posts outside the KAL itself. So it seems you like to talk, which is fantastic because around here we encourage it, mostly with tea and baked goods.

Wondering how many times certain words were mentioned? I got you covered. Wine was mentioned in 102 posts but mostly as a reward while help was only mentioned 67 times.

But you are a bunch of knitters with heart as topping the boards was Love at 1036 and Thanks or Thank you at 217!

Knitters Unite

Interestingly the toughest part of knitting Luwan was in clue one. Starting the dot pattern and keeping it in pattern while working the increases appeared to be tricky. But working together as a team and some helpful diagrams from Carol and you were on your way. Now I’m not one to point out things but maybe there was a connection with the number of times a certain alcoholic beverage was mentioned. See paragraph above.

HazelS you were worried about posting too much in the threads. Let me put your fears aside, you have a grand total of 156 posts and there can never be too much posting in the threads.

Finished Luwan Sweaters

There are some fancy FO’s floating around and this post wouldn’t be worth its weight in salt without an FO show:

Dyeshavei's Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (Thraven)

Dyeshavei’s Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (Thraven)

Vivcrest's handknit Luwan

Vivcrest’s Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (Cranberry Bogged)

 kikukat's Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (blue moonstone)

Kikukat’s Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (blue moonstone)

Davenlori98's Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (Winter Solstice)

Davenlori98’s Luwan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee (Winter Solstice)

Aren’t they just fabulous! A huge thank you to all of you who took part and kept the forums a fun and friendly place filled with banter. I’ve already been asked about the next KAL and don’t worry Carol always has something up her sleeve!

If you want to be one of the first to find out about the next KAL taking place in the group then just add your email address to the newsletter. Along with being a VIK (Very Important Knitter), you also get exclusive discount codes on pattern releases, prizes and extra treats.

What do you think of the finished Luwans?  Stay in touch by using the #stolenstitches on your posts on all social media and drop a comment below because we would love to hear from you!

Cosy up with Cables

When winter starts to draw in around here, we start to look to heavier weight yarns and cables. On Tuesday, Carol posted some cable tutorials along with a blog post on working with cables. I thought it might be nice to talk about three patterns that show off cables quite differently.

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Cables in Accessories
It’s hard sometimes to comprehend knitting a garment with a new technique in it. In times like these I find myself picking up accessory patterns as they are often small, quick, knits that can lead to instant gratification and a feeling of triumph. For the Wrap up Winter KAL, I will be knitting the Stannum gauntlets. These have a dramatic, mirrored cable that runs along the top of the mitt and then on the palms they have beautiful diagonal cables that are more simple and mirrored. If you want to tackle these along with me, you can hop over to the KAL board and there is also an discount offer on the Wrap Up Winter bundle until November 10th.
Hand knit mitts Stannum by Carol Feller in Townhouse yarns grafton 4 ply

Stannum in Townhouse Yarns Grafton 4 ply.

For something that lies between garments and mitts you can try Mason’s Scarf. This pattern from the latest issue of Interweave Knits has beautiful reversible cables that weave in and out of a rib pattern. Men’s accessory patterns are hard to find and I just love the timeless look of this pattern. (Plus reversible is always a bonus in a scarf!)

masons-scarf

Mason’s Scarf from Interweave Knits Holiday Issue

Cables in Garments
 
If you want to jump all in, one of my favourite garment patterns is Ardara from Contemporary Irish Knits. These cables are showcased on a background of reverse stocking stitch and worked vertically to draw the eye down the length of the garment. I just want to cuddle up in this until spring appears. If your new to the blog, you can read all about Carol’s Contemporary Irish Knits launch in the archives here.
ardara knitting pattern by carol feller in studio donegal aran tweed

Ardara from Contemporary Irish Knits in Studio Donegal Aran Tweed

Now that I’ve put the idea of winter and cables in your head, you may want to try a cable garment this is tailored to your fit?  To get some support and back up while you work, you can take a look at Carol’s Craftsy class on Celtic Cables where you can make the below Portulaca cardigan. There is a discount code for 50% off until October 31st when you use this link here.
Portulaca from Celtic Cables Craftsy Class by carol feller in studio donegal soft

Portulaca from Celtic Cables Craftsy Class

I’ve held you up for long enough now, do you have a favourite Carol cable pattern? Are you going to be joining in the KAL? Then leave a comment on the blog and let us know what you will be doing, we would love to hear from you.

As always you can find Carol on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and you can follow the blog using the subscribe button or Bloglovin’.

Until next week, wrap yourself in cables,
Nadia

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A day in my design life

I’m frequently asked how I get everything done and the answer is that I don’t!
There are so many things that drop off my to-do list due to lack of hours in the day, or if I’m honest lack of desire. Some things I’m getting better at getting help with; I now have a cleaner every few weeks so we don’t get swallowed up in mountains of dog hair and the wonderful Nadia has started helping me out with some social media promotions and general organisation.

Every day is short and I want to make sure I get what’s most important and what I enjoy done every day. I love answering knitters’ questions, whether it’s on my boards, in a KAL or in my Craftsy classes. This means that a good chunk of my time is spent just chatting online. This does mean that it can be a bit more difficult to find time for bigger jobs like writing blog post, patterns and newsletters. I won’t even mention my inability to do longer term planning!

One thing that almost never drops off my daily to-do list is knitting. That might seem obvious but running a knitting business actually makes it very difficult to find knitting time. While knitting is still obviously a big part of my job it easily gets side-lined for computer based work. However if I’ve reached the evening without having picked up my needles I start to get a bit twitchy. After all these years I still find knitting relaxing and comforting.

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When I grab my knitting and sit on my sofa spot (we’ve all got our special spot…mine has a stack of cushions, a standing lamp, table and of course Lizzie) its instant relaxation. When the boys were younger I knit more on the go, I had bigger stretches of time in the car waiting for people. Now with 3 different schools I only get a few minutes knitting time between each collection.

So how does my design and knitting day look?
My youngest is already 10 and we’re on our last 2 years of primary school. This ends earlier so it keeps my workday short. In the morning after drop offs and dog walking I have computer time. This is what allows me to relax with my knitting later on. I plan as much as I can on paper; first from the swatch I measure my gauge and put it into my spread sheet. From there I calculate the stitches and rows I need for each section of the pattern that I’m working on for every size. Next I write a bare bones pattern to work from including all charts I’ll need. This means that as I’m knitting I can effectively test the pattern out as I go, rewriting as I work so that the knitting flows more smoothly.
Obviously there are only so many hours in the day and knitting is a relatively slow process. Over the last few years I’ve started working with a few sample knitters here in Ireland that are just worth their weight in gold. They are all fantastic knitters and always watch out for anything that doesn’t work in the knitting. This means that even for the samples I’m not knitting it’s as close as I can get :-)

As a designer I follow a process with each design. In case you were curious this is the basic process that I try to follow:
Step 1: Swatch
Step 2: Put numbers in spreadsheet
Step 3: Write the basic pattern
Step 4: Draw up any chart necessary
Step 5: Knit
Step 6: Rewrite pattern as necessary
Step 7: Block and re-measure finished piece
Step 8: Draw up schematic
Step 9: Print pattern and do full number check
Step 10: Final pattern revision
Step 11: Send pattern to tech editor
Step 12: Photo shoot
Step 13: Complex patterns sent to test knitters
Step 14: Give pattern to husband to do layout
Step 15: For book or collection repeat from step 1!
Step 16: For stand alone pattern enter onto ravelry
Step 17: Create page on website
Step 18: Blog, instagram, tweet, facebook, newsletter to the world

There are probably more steps then you had imagined but they’re all needed to get a pattern professionally ready. Obviously this becomes much more complex if you’re working on a book as there is also a lot of non-pattern writing, illustrations and photos.

So here are a few of the computer tools I use when I work:

ILLUSTRATOR


In terms of software I use, for drawing schematics I use adobe Illustrator. It took a little while to figure it out but now I’m able to use enough of the basics to do what I need to do. I know it’s got a lot more functionality that I use but it does the job I need.

STITCH MASTERY
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For charts I usually use Stitch Mastery. If the charts use standard symbols then this program works really well. If I’m doing something a bit more complex I’ll do the chart in Illustrator. My son put a set of symbols together for me so I’m not drawing everything from scratch. It takes a bit longer but the charts it produces are beautifully crisp and sharp.

wrapup-winter-ig
I’ve been talking about my knitting and designing for quite a while but if you want to do some relaxing pre-holiday knitting of your own come join our Wrap Up Winter KAL. Have fun knitting and finish some wonderful winter accessories for friends and family! Until the 1st of November I’m offering 20% off all the patterns in this bundle with the code WRAPUP2016. Come get some KAL encouragement on the board here and when you’re finished post your FO here to be in with a chance of winning a prize on the 31st of December.

Which accessory is your favourite? Come tell me in the comments!

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Knitting with Rainbows – The Knit-A-Long

The Knitting with Rainbows KAL has been happening over on the Stolen Stitches Group on Ravelry. The craic has been mighty and many an accessory has been knit over the last month and I’m happy to report that as well as having some very beautiful FO’s to flash around, some very lucky people have won some yarn too! (Thanks Carol!)

Knit A Long by Carol Feller Knitting with Rainbows

In case you are new to knit-a-long’s or Ravelry (if you are go sign up here, it’s free and it’s where global knitting magic happens) then let me explain to you what happens. Carol pick’s a theme / pattern selection and we, the knitters choose what we want to knit from this and then support each other to achieve our finished objects or FO’s for short. Sometimes (more often than not) Carol has a prize for people who post a status update on her WIP thread and a prize for an FO at the end of the KAL. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Free yarn anybody?

This KAL has been impressive to me because I’ve always loved gradient yarns and this pattern collection in particular shows them off to their best. So without further a do, let’s have a look at the FO Show!

 

Hand Knit Socks in Gradient Yarn with a beautiful wave like rib pattern

Gilabbey Socks in Fivemoons Moon Phases

Socks that Rock

The Gillabbey socks pattern was a favourite and one of the first FO’s off the needles in this KAL. These are knit from the cuff down and have a rib that biases in and out to form a smooth wave that travels down the foot of the sock. Carol has some useful tutorials on increases that could come in handy when working this pattern and you can find them over here so you can pop these in your knitter tool box. I hear that the pattern was a lot of fun to knit, was easily memorised and is like a hug for your feet! I especially love these by Knitsnpurls in Oceanwind Knits Sushi Socks Gradients and I think they turned out beautifully. May you have happy toasty feet this winter Carol aka Knitsnpurls! 

Handknit socks in a grandient yarn. Pattern by Carol Feller

Gilabbey Socks by Knitsnpurls

 

Gradient Stave Hat

Handknit hat in cool tone gradient yarns, pattern by Carol Feller.

Stave Hat in Navia Duo

A change of pace in the Stave Hat with gentle colourwork it can be subtle or dramatic depending on your contrasting colour choice. The stranded colourwork technique allows you to move seemlessly between colours. Carolynba worked her Stave hat in Anzula Cricket, Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo, and madelinetosh Pashmina, proving that this is a nice little stash buster too! Carolyba also managed to knit this hat here in Ireland while on her trip (she also got to see Scotland and Germany too the lucky knitter) so this is also one for travel knitting!

Stave Hat by Carolynba

Stave Hat by Carolynba

 

Cool Cowls

Handknit gradient cowl in Dragonfly Fibers sock, pattern by Carol Feller

Arch Lane in Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock

Next up  is an accessory favourite of mine, the cowl. Arch Lane is the product of slipped stitches and a beautiful gradient yarn. This is a deep and slouchy cowl and perfect for burying your face in during those winter commutes. One of the best things about this cowl is that you can easily keep knitting until your gradient colours are all used up so your not wasting any of your precious yarn! 

Maggie0823 knit her Arch Lane in Color Story Colorwork Kit and I think she is very happy with how it turned out. What do you think? She mixed up her colour gradients for a more dramatic effect and I love how the green transitions from the dark emerald to the pale ice blue at her face.

Arch Lane by Maggie0823

Arch Lane by Maggie0823

Fenn’s Quay is a long cowl designed to wrap around your neck twice. It is worked in the round with a bias pattern to show off the beautiful gradient

Fenn's Quay

Fenn’s Quay

Gansai knitted this beautiful version in Townhouse Yarns Burlington Blanks. Have you ever used a sock blank? These really fascinate me as they are already knitted up and you unravel the blank to knit into your project. I have to say this turned out beautifully and I will definitely be giving them  a go.

Fenn's Quay by Gansai in Townhouse Burlington Blanks

Fenn’s Quay by Gansai in Townhouse Burlington Blanks

Vibrant Shawls
By far the shawl is always a firm favourite in KALs and this was no exception! Mardyke, Half Moon Street and Shanakiel all had knitters working away on them and I’ve tried to gather a few *drumroll please*

First up is the lovely Snowshell’s Mardyke in Fiber Optic Yarns Kashmir Paintbox Gradient and I for one drooled over the FO and the mannequin on which it is displayed. Your eye gets drawn from the light blue to the dark indigo along the length of the shawl. This is an interesting knit as it uses two biases and the wave pattern of the lace to create a parallelogram that has a wavy biased edge. Isn’t this fabulous!

SnowShell's Mardyke in Fiber Optic Yarns Kashmir Paintbox Gradient

SnowShell’s Mardyke in Fiber Optic Yarns Kashmir Paintbox Gradient

Next up we have another FO (gasp two FO’s!!) by the lovely Knitsnpurls who knit her Half Moon Street in Sweet Georgia Yarns. The contrasting colour here breaks up the colour gradients creating a string of pearls effect (thanks Knitsnpurls) that gives this shawl a beautiful texture. Not only is this perfect for showing off gradient yarns but it’s generous size allows you to wrap this around your winter coat for that added glam factor.

Knitsnpurls Halfmoon Street

Knitsnpurls Halfmoon Street

And finally we have Shanakiel which I think is one of the jewels in this collection. MissBunt knitted hers with some handspun Nebula and that’s something I didn’t even think of! I was too busy dreaming of sock gradients to consider handspun! This is a stunning shawl that is knit on the bias to allow the colour gradient and triangular shape to work at different angles to form a dramatic effect. This is truly a work of art.

MissBunt's Shanakiel

MissBunt’s Shanakiel

For all of the shawls here I think a useful toolkit tutorials would be the Russian Join for joining in new yarn seamlessly and weaving in ends as you go to speed up your finishing. Talking about toolkits, one of the things I love about Carol’s books are the interesting tips and techniques that she has photographed and thoroughly explained. In Knitting with Rainbows, Carol has a very useful discussion on the use of subtle and dramatic yarn gradients and the type of patterns that they work best with. It’s all neatly wrapped up in a convenient table too, so you can quickly reference the type of gradient yarns you have in your stash and the best pattern to start with.

Remember way back at the start of this post I said that each KAL has a winner well MissBunt and her Shanakiel was the Knitting with Rainbows KAL prize winner and take a look at what she won:

The Fabulous squishy yarn prize!

The Fabulous squishy yarn prize!

Have I inspired you to join one of Carol’s Knit-a-longs? If your up for a garment the Luwan KAL is just at the swatching stages and this is being carried out over on the dedicated KAL board. It’s always friendly and fast paced in there and Carol (and plenty of other friendly knitters) is around to help you, should the need arise.

Not up for a garment? It’s ok I understand that the dreaded but fun season of Knitmas is already on the lips of many a crafter. Hushed tones only please Halloween is first! There will be a KAL starting in the StolenStitches group on Ravelry and it will be announced soon so keep you eyes peeled. We added a News Reel thread to the group so that you can keep up with discount codes, classes and all things happening in the world of Stolen Stitches.

I’m off to plan more knits in gradient yarns that I have my eye on but which was your favourite? Leave a comment below or you can find Carol on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Till next week, thanks for reading

Nadia

(Bunnyt)

Choosing Your Yarn

Yarn substitution can be a very tricky thing. On the surface it seems like just picking a yarn with the same gauge should do the job but that is just the starting point!

I’ve had a few requests for substitutions for the Luwan KAL so I thought I’d do a little swatching and put my thoughts and some general information together for knitters.

Yarn varies is several different ways but the three most significant are; weight, construction and fiber blend. If you want to substitute a yarn within a pattern ideally all 3 of these items should be as close as possible to the original yarn used for the sample. Now if that’s not possible you can pick the items that are most important to you and swatch in the stitch pattern used.

This swatch will tell you a few different things:

  • Do you get close to the original gauge?
  • How does the fabric feel and move?
  • Does the yarn do the stitch pattern justice/does it look good?

Lets break down these yarn characteristics and discuss each one separately.

YARN WEIGHT

It seems like this should be an easy one – pick a yarn that is either named the same or has the same weight, right?

However yarn names are very, very confusing! For Luwan we used a yarn that is technically a ‘dk’ weight yarn but if you look at dk (double knit) yarns they can range from 20 to 24 stitches per 4″ / 10 cm. Due to this I’d suggest watching the gauge rather than the name of the yarn, this will be the best indicator.

With this yarn you can see that using 4.5mm (US size 7) needles I get a gauge of 18 stitches per 4″ / 10 cm in pattern. This is obviously a bigger gauge than dk yarn but yet the stitches don’t appear to be loose? There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly the pattern stitch naturally creates a bigger gauge than stockinette stitch. But also this ‘dk’ yarn is both a heavy dk and a single ply yarn. When you hold the yarn it ‘fluffs out’ and takes up much more space than it seems like it should! This means that it looks great knit more loosely than it’s name would indicate. I’ll talk a bit more about the construction in the next section. So when looking at yarn weight look for either a heavy DK weight yarn or a light worsted yarn for best results.

YARN CONSTRUCTION

There are several different ways to make yarn. I’m definitely not a spinning expert but I’ve got enough working knowledge to get started and know how a yarn will behave.

The 2 main ways yarn is spun is either Woollen spun or Worsted spun.

With Woollen spun when the fibre is carded it’s allowed to remain scattered in different directions. This creates a yarn that will have loose hairs poking out but it makes a much lighter fluffier yarn. When you knit with Woollen spun yarn after blocking the yarn ‘blooms’, which means that it really fills in and softens the stitches.

Worsted spun has all the fibres lined up in the same direction. This creates a smoother but heavier yarn. You will have better stitch definition but you won’t get the ‘blooming’ effect after the yarn is blocked.

The yarn used in the Luwan KAL (Silky Single Targhee) is spun in a different way again. Both Woollen and Worsted spinning refer to yarns that are plied. This means that several strands of fibre are twisted together to form a strong stable yarn. This yarn however is a single yarn. This means that there is only a single strand of yarn twisting on itself. To give it a bit of stability and strength it is lightly felted which gives it a little firmness and durability. Often single yarns can be unbalanced, wanting to curl up on itself as you work. Fortunately the felting seems to help with this and this yarn didn’t have that issue. Due to the yarn being a single yarn it blooms very nicely when washed to create a nice full fabric.

YARN FIBRE

Silky Single Targhee is made from 70% Targhee wool and 30% silk. Wool is the dominant fibre in the yarn and you can feel that when you are working with it. Silk adds softness and a bit more weight as it is a heavy fibre.

For substituting you could comfortable use a yarn that is 100% wool. I think it would behave well enough to hold the stitch pattern. Silk does add a little bit extra though!

Lets take a look at a few swatches now to figure out how all the factors influence our final swatches.

The swatch below shows from top to bottom SHELTER, Dovestone DK, and the KAL yarn Silky Single Targhee. Both of the substituted swatches I did here are woollen spun which means that they have a hairier look. This creates a totally different looking stitch pattern! The Shelter ended up being too heavy and gave me much too big a gauge. The Dovestone DK however was spot on for both stitch and row gauge. It does look really different though! I suspect that woollen spun is a little too hairy to allow the stitch pattern to show through enough.

Below is another Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn – Targhee Worsted in colour Gourdy. This is a plied yarn so the texture is a little different but I got both stitch and row gauge with it for Luwan so it could be a potential substitute if you didn’t want to use a singles yarn.

So now it’s in your court! What yarn will you use? Come chat with other knitters on the ravelry board here, it can be very helpful to get advice from other knitters!

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Luwan KAL coming soon

It’s almost time for our next KAL! Luwan sweater KAL will be on pre-sale October 5th and the first clue will be released on the 5th of November. This gives lots of time to order yarn, swatch and pick you size.
I really enjoy running sweater KAL’s (knitalongs) as there is always a few knitters working on their first garment. The KAL process is perfect for new garment knitters; you walk slowly through each step of the process and the encouragement of other knitters is very helpful. You also get to see that everyone makes mistakes; new knitters, experienced knitters and me the designer. As you become more experienced these mistakes don’t go away but they do become less. What’s most important is how you deal with them. Rather than tearing your hair out with support you can approach the problem thoughtfully and figure out a solution that you’re happy with. It really is true that you learn more from your mistakes if you acknowledge them and learn!

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So then the question is – what will you learn in this KAL?

Luwan is a top down sweater with set-in short row sleeves. I love this type of construction as it makes it really easy for knitters to modify. To start with you cast-on your shoulder stitches, then you use German Short Rows to shape the shoulders and work down from there.

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This sweater has got a very subtle textured pattern stitch that is fast to knit but really allows the soft single ply yarn to bloom. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee is lightly felted which is important for durability in a singles yarn. I’ve used a semi-solid colour but the texture would look great with a bit more colour variation as well.

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Once you’ve finished the upper body the next step is the lower body. In the sample I’ve worked it straight down with no increases or decreases allowing the short row back hem shaping to take centre stage.

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Finally the sweater is finished with top down short row sleeve caps and sleeves worked in the round. I worked 3/4 length sleeves but as they are top down it would be easy to modify them to be longer.

So in this KAL what kind of modifications can you try?
In the pattern tips I’ll give suggestions to adjust the shoulder width for your size, give some tips to add or reduce length and some pointers to make the body a-line. I’ll also have some sleeve modification suggestions to change the size and length. Most importantly you’ll have support and help from other knitter (and me also!) in the ravelry group to give you the best chance of finishing your sweater!

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

Are you joining the Autumn KAL?

On Sunday evening I launched the pre-sale for my autumn KAL – Capall Dubh. This started out over the summer when my friend Sue was thinking of knitting a new cardigan. I offered to do the designing and she was going to knit a version of it. I’ve got several beautiful piles of Blue Moon Fibers yarn here so it seemed the perfect yarn for the project.

I knew I wanted a simple enough cardigan that it could be used for everyday wear. BUT I wanted to have enough detail that it was fun to knit. The basic shape of the cardigan is simple, top down body with set-in sleeves from the top down. But I was playing around with pattern stitches and loved the Cherry tree one. I began by using it as the first panel across the top of the shoulder and then I liked it so much it got added to the back as well!

You can see in this photo the stitch panel at the shoulder, I also worked ‘welts’ at each side of the stitch pattern so it really stood out as a focal point for the cardigan. They can of course be omitted if you wanted a more subtle effect.

The front is a gentle scooped neckline that is finished afterwards with ribbing and the buttonbands use small delicate buttons.

I knit the version shown above in Silky Victoria. This is a light dk/sportsweight yarn that is knit with larger needles to give it a lighter more open feel. This plays well with the lacy cable stitch at the back panel.

The version that Sue is knitting uses Gaea Sport. This is quite a heavy sport weight yarn and as the yardage is a little less you’ll need slightly more yarn (weight wise). You can see it in progress here in Smoke on the Water colorway:

As everyone is picking yarns, choosing colors and starting to swatch there’s quite a buzz going on the ravelry board! Come on over and join us.