New Pattern: Hornburg Cowl

Things to ponder… Who blew the great horn of Helm Hammerhand? Was Saruman experimenting with explosives? Whatever shall I do with this high-contrast variegated colorway?

Hornburg provides an answer to the last query, using slipped stitches and ever-changing stitch counts to show wild colorways (like Helm’s Deep) to full effect.

 

PatternHornburg Cowl

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Aesir — 2 skeins

Hornburg is knit flat, using a clever trick of construction to result in a circular cowl with no sewing or picked-up stitches. No, really!

Although designed for a bouncy sport-weight yarn (like Aesir), the pattern is readily adapted to other weights of yarn. Use needles sized appropriately for your yarn, and add (or remove) repeats of the bias strip pattern as desired. Naturally, yardage required will vary with size of yarn and needles.

Cast On Monday: The Summer Edition

I’ve been working on a couple big projects this summer … which naturally means I haven’t cast on as many projects as I usually do.  My WIP pile was getting bloated, so I’ve been trying to do a “cast off two = cast on one” thing … with some success.  In any case, here are the new things since last we chatted:

Spring Fever Wrap: I’m improvising a bias-knit leafy wrap for some self-striping (prismatic) handspun that I made. If I like how it turns out, it may become a pattern. We’ll see!

Clue for Fennick Socks: This is for a M-KAL … I frogged the companion shawl after 1.5 clues done, but I think I’ll keep plugging on the socks. The yarn is a “Wild Child” skein of Iachos from A Hundred Ravens.

Dandelion Stripes: This is a “love at first sight” pattern — I knew I had to make it!  Then Hub Mills got some of Madelinetosh’s new “Dandelion” in … it is a match made in heaven.  I luuuuuurrrrrve this cardi, and I know I’ll be living in it soon.  The body is done, I’ve finished all the ribbing, so it is just sleeves and buttons and loose ends and done!  I’m using some Very Special Buttons from Robert Gilmore on etsy.  (Really, go check out his shop — great stuff!)

Touched by Maine-Made Alpaca: This is a M-KAL by a favorite designer, perfect for some “Kickstarter” yarn I have in my stash. I was knitting along swimmingly when the cable on my #6 signatures snapped off, right at the base of the needle. Sob. Signature is being awesome about replacing the needle, but until it arrives … I’ll make no more progress on this project. Sigh.

Last but not least, I’ve also cast on for two designer-y projects — I’m re-knitting Evolution in Rylie for an October KAL (for The Fiber Factor), and I’m making a striking colorblock stole in Soft Linen for Classic Elite.

New Pattern: Mighty Mini

PatternMighty Mini

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $5 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos — one mini set, and one solid color

Mini skeins are so cute, you just have to have them. But after you’re done squashing them, what to make?

Mighty Mini uses a single skein of fingering-weight yarn as the main color to show off your favorite mini-skein colors. Each individual mini stripe uses about 15 yards of fingering-weight yarn (about 3.6 grams).

Mighty Mini is worked flat. Regular increases at one edge and staggered decreases at the other edge create the teeth-on-the-bias shape. The main color is carried along the smooth edge, and the mini ends are woven in as you go.

Pattern is given in full written directions.

New(ish) Patterns: Flying Colors Wrap and Cardigan

Classic Elite published two of my patterns in their fall-ish collection, All Seasons.  (Tip: the cover pattern, Vixen Charm, is so cute!)

For the original call, I submitted a broad crescent-y wrap using Liberty Wool Light and a nifty slip-stitch/garter/lace combo.  CEY asked if I could make a companion cardigan, and I agreed!  The cardi is made in Liberty Wool Light, and the wrap uses AlpacaSox.  The wrap was one of those design FOs that I loved the entire time, and was loathe to give up.  I want it back! :)

Both designs make the most of a high-contrast colorful yarn by pairing it with a solid friend … try it sometime, you’ll see how well it works!

PatternFlying Colors Wrap

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

YarnCEY Alpaca Sox

PatternFlying Colors Cardigan

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

YarnCEY Liberty Wool Light

Stash is Back, Baby!

So … I sort of half-intentionally, half-by-accident, took the summer off.  Halfway through July I realized I hadn’t posted much at all, and I thought I’d take a nice break from blogging, and then dive back in once school started up again. Well heck, we’re almost done with September, the kids have been in school since the last days of August, and I still haven’t posted!  My thanks go out to a knitting-circle friend (Hi, Jane!) who kindly brought this absence to my attention.  Time to get back to blogging, dear reader, and I hope you haven’t given up on me!

One thing I did get around to this summer was a complete inventory and culling of The Stash. Now, I don’t have as much stash as SOME people … but I knew for a fact things were out of sync with Ravelry, and that’s a problem for me.  I love data, pure and simple, and I want it to be Right.  On a more practical level, I use Ravelry’s stash and queue functions in concert to decide what to make out of which yarn … and also what yarn I’m “allowed” to buy, and which I should pass on.  (If I already have something, I don’t need to buy more!)

First Rule of StashCull: Get It Out

Can’t sort what’s hiding … so I got it ALL out. I mean everything!  Old stash, new stash, the 2nd ball for the WIP … everything!

Second Rule of StashCull: Fix It In Ravelry

So … this part kind of sucked, but essentially I sorted my Rav stash by yarn weight, and then went through one entry at a time.  I laid hands on the yarn for each Rav stash entry, or updated the entry to reflect reality (oh yeah, I gave that skein to a friend) (oh yeah, I finished that project but forgot to update my Rav stash).  Any yarn leftover after I’d gone through ALL of my Rav stash entries needed to be photographed and entered.

Third Rule of StashCull: Sort With Merciless Abandon

Before I started, I made a bunch of categories up and wrote them on 3×5 cards and made stations all around the living room. As I touched each bit of yarn, I also decided where it should live …. and here are the results!  I’m proud to report that my total yardage (according to my Rav stash) went from 81K to 50K.

“Rest of Yarn for WIPs” and “Assigned to Queued Project”

Any yarn that is part of a current WIP gets to stay (obviously), as does yarn assigned to a project in my Rav queue.  (I also did a quick cull of my Rav queue, to make sure I wasn’t hanging on to something for a project I’m no longer interested in making.)

 

“Keep Regardless” and “Assign to Project”

Some yarn is extra pretty, or has memories attached, or is just the right amount for specific short-notice projects (Baby Surprise Jacket, etc.).  That yarn I keep, regardless.  Yarn I like but isn’t quite in that category has to be assigned to a project!  If I couldn’t find a single project on Rav for that yarn, away it goes to some other category.

 

“Sell”

Yarn in good condition, I listed on Rav as “For Sale or Trade” (FSOT) along with price and shipping details.  I actually sold my first skein before I was even done sorting.  Most of what you see in the photo below is already gone, so don’t get too excited!  But, know that FSOT is a great place to look for yarn, and it’s a great place to re-home yarn while putting a little extra change in your wallet. I usually knock a few dollars off the retail price, and include S&H to the continental US.

 

“Give Away”

Partial skeins, unlabeled balls, and orphans went into this pile.  I brought it to the next few knit nights, and made my friends happy with yarn!  It was awesome.

 

Not Pictured: “Swatching” and “Teaching” and “Trash”

I keep a box of yarn given to me by companies specifically to develop designs. I don’t feel comfortable using this yarn (even in leftover format) for personal use, so I keep it for swatching for future projects. I went through this box and took out any yarn that was no longer in production (most of that went to “Give Away”). I also keep a bag of worsted-weight wool in pretty colors for teaching kids.  The yarn in these two categories doesn’t belong in my Rav stash, since I won’t be using it for projects, nor would I sell it or give it away.

I tossed tiny balls, old gross acrylic, and called it a day.  Phew!

 

NEW Pattern: Mainspring

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PatternMainspring

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry, or $12 for the Clockwork Collection

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos in Windmill and Kyoto

Boing! Mainsprings provide the principal impulse that drives motion and activity. This shawl is inspired by the clockwork rhythm and bounce of mainsprings.

This curved shawl alternates between wedge sections and straight sections. Short rows create pools of color and fabric. Each row uses one color at a time – no stranding! Slipped stitches and shorts rows do the heavy lifting in this design.

Mainspring is part of the Clockwork Collection. Each of three shawls in the collection can be made with two 100-gram skeins of fingering weight yarn. Look for Flywheel and Cogwheel.

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NEW pattern: Pendula

Introducing Pendula!

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Interesting story … you may have noticed a distinct similarity between the main motif of Pendula and Flywheel.  If so, good eye!  Some fellow knitters at the Hub Mills knit night admired Flywheel, but bemoaned its general triangularity. They opined that a rectangular version featuring the first motif on Flywheel would suit them most admirably. I agreed to adapt the pattern for them, in return for their mad sample-knitting skills. Thus, I bring you two versions of Pendula, thanks to Jane and Kim — for the first time ever, I didn’t knit the sample for one of my patterns!  (I did knit an enormous swatch to make sure the charts worked, natch.)

PatternPendula

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

YarnCEY Firefly in #7734 Vivid Violet and #7774 Parakeet Lagoon

This stole is worked in two halves beginning in the center with a provisional cast on. A series of dramatic pendula extend towards the edges, culminating in an explosion of lace. This pattern is easily adapted to almost any desired width and length. Complex patterning and several unusual stitches make this an interesting pattern for ambitious intermediate knitters.

Pendula is fully charted; no written translation of the charts is provided.

 

 

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