New Pattern: Altitude Shawl

Done! Just in time for Stitches South ….

Altitude!

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Designed for two contrasting colorways, Altitude is a crescent-shaped shawl with an extravagant lace border. The shawl begins at the back neck with just three stitches. The body features a simple lace pattern flanked by garter-stitch wings, and is suitable for both tonal and moderately variegated colorways. The all-lace border is worked along the entire length of the shawl. Frequent increases in the border allow for dramatic blocking. The complex lace is best shown in a tonal colorway.

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New Pattern Promotion! Buy Altitude, and receive 25% off anything in my Ravelry store. No limit on number of patterns or ebooks; expires April 30th, 2015.

(No coupon code required — just put Altitude in your cart, and the discount should apply automatically to any pattern from my Rav store.)

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Some things I love about this shawl ….

* Color, color, color!  Be as WILD as you want to — the body section will stand up to moderate variegation, so don’t be shy!  Or … be subtle and sophisticated with mellow tonals that are closely related.  The choice is yours!

* Shape!  Crescents are my favorite shape for easy wearing. The curve keeps everything in place, and the fabric just swoops across your body with stately aplomb.

* Ruffles?  Almost! The massive increase in stitch count at the border means that extra fabric for extreme blocking, but it also means the edge goes 3D with very little effort. Lots of movement in the finished piece.

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New Pattern: Nahant Stole/Scarf

Who loves handspun? I do! I’m pleased to share this new design via Knitty.com.

I give you … Nahant!

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I read about fractal spinning and had to try it out. Like magic, colorful high-contrast fiber fluff became self-striping-ish prismatic handspun. I absolutely adored the finished yarn, but it needed to be knit up into something special.

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Pattern searches left me unsatisfied — the only solution was to design the perfect stole. My requirements: mostly stockinette, with just enough pattern to keep my interest without distracting from the colorful yarn.

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Nahant highlights the color changes of my fractal handspun with a subtle leaf pattern that doesn’t fight for attention. Knit on the bias, it resists curling. Use any weight yarn (just choose the appropriate needle), and make it as wide or as narrow as you like. Length is flexible too, so you can make the most of that precious handspun yarn.

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Extra thanks to Donna (who helped me get photos at Nahant Beach for submission to Knitty) and Rebecka (who modeled “springier” pictures for me, as per Knitty’s quite reasonable request).

 

Cast-On Monday: Catching Up

I honestly don’t know when I last posted about which new projects were leaping onto my needles …  let’s just say it’s been too long?  For a while, I was purposefully holding off on new projects, because I had a weekend retreat planned with my knitting circle, and I wanted to cast on a whole bunch of projects AT the retreat. Because of the way my brain works, every time I work on a project (or touch a finished object) I can recall all the places I worked on it, with nearly photographic intensity.  Often I can hear any music or conversation or (let’s be honest) the TV show that I heard while I was working on the project.

Every once in a while this backfires — for example, I had a really hard time finishing the socks I was working on at the Emergency Vet’s office while Gromit was getting a stick surgically removed from the roof of his mouth.  Every time I touched them, I was instantly back in the chilly waiting room, sitting on a hard plastic chair and shivering, waiting to hear how Gromit was.  I can smell the antiseptic, not really covering up the faint odor of blood and other bodily fluids.

But, most of the time, my “mental souvenir” in the form of knitting projects is a boon! I think everyone in the group cast on at least one new project, for a total of 17 new WIPs!  Of these, seven were mine. Whee!

#1: Renaissance Spring

I’m using my handspun for this — I’m insanely pleased with this handspun, and it needed a special project! The highly textured and lacy Renaissance Shawl (by Anne-Lise Maigaard) is just the thing.  The pattern has optional beads, on which I am opting out, because the handspun is a little crazy color and doesn’t need any gilding. As of today, I’m about 25% done with this one.

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#2: Twill Flower Cowl (was: Hat) — FINISHED!

Technically, this started life as a hat, but I was knitting a tad loose and the brim was clearly too large. Rather than rip and try again, I used the most excellent suggestion of Marilyn to just make it a cowl instead.  It turned out awesome — soft and squishy and just the right size.  I gave it to my friend Judy :).

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#3: Sweet Spring

Some of us are doing Boo’s Sweet Dreams shawl as a casual KAL … I haven’t made much progress on it, because I was knitting like mad on a different Boo shawl … I’ll post about that on a future FO Friday. My KAL yarn is from Vogue Knitting Live … I totally love the bright green springy colorway.

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#4: Rainbow House Socks — FINISHED!

I used a skein of self-striping DK yarn from White Birch to make some squishy house socks. They came out a tad large, but still totally wearable in slippers or boots.

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#5: Impatien Mormorio

I paired a skein of brightly-colored “Impatiens” with a skein of leftover “Mist” to make a cheerful shawl … as of this writing, I’m about halfway through the two-tone garter-stitch body

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#6: Willow Angst

My oh my, the pattern for these socks is high concept! And, alas, kind of painful to knit. And I’m starting to worry about fit. So, this WIP wins “most likely to be frogged,” but for now it is still on the needles.

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#7: Bella Hornburg

A big fluffy skein of super-bulky yarn in bright yellow-green? I’m turning this one into a upsized Hornburg.  No slipped stitches, fewer stitches and fewer repeats … it’ll be done lickety-split.

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FO Friday: Entrelac Butterflies Cowl

FO Friday: Entrelac Butterflies Cowl

Lookit what I made!

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Project: Emo Butterflies

Pattern: Knitted Scarf Butterflies

Designer: Svetlana Gordon

Available: $3 on Ravelry

Yarn: White Birch Fiber Arts 100% SW Merino, DK in “Emo Enough?” (self-striping)

I first encountered White Birch‘s amazing self-striping colorways at Stitches East.  I picked up two skeins of her DK-weight 100% SW Merino, in part because I recognized the base yarn (Crazy Eight, from Wool2Dye4).  I’m familiar with Crazy Eight, because Kate uses it too!  I love this bouncy 8-ply yarn that straddles the line between sport and DK. Knowing the base made it easy to invest in the dyer at White Birch — and her self-striping colorways are fantastic, so I really wanted to take some home.

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Finding the right pattern for this spectacular colorway — “Emo Enough?” — took some time.  I cast on a number of projects and ripped, ripped, ripped. Eventually I settled on the Knitted Scarf Butterflies pattern, marking my first time doing entrelac.  To my surprise, the back-and-forth rhythms of entrelac knitting were soothing and fun! Each tier of tilting rectangles feels like an accomplishment. Each rectangle has a single cable cross, further livening things up.  This isn’t entrelac for newbies, but it certainly is a nice, chewy knit — and the results speak for themselves.

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Alas, my yarn didn’t go as far as I’d hoped … my FO was not quite long enough for a scarf or doubled-up infinity scarf, and was a bit long for a single-loop cowl.  No amount of thuggish blocking got me anywhere near the length I needed, so I played a bit with it in the mirror, and decided that some buttons and i-cord could bridge the gap.  I’m quite happy with the result, and may use this “shape” again with an otherwise-awkwardly-short scarf.

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New Pattern: Mini Marvel Swing Vest

Just in time, for Vogue Knitting Live: 2015 in NYC … I give you the Mini Marvel Swing Vest!

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Are you anywhere near Manhattan?  No plans this weekend? Come visit me, Kate, and the Mini Marvel Swing Vest at Vogue Knitting Live. Ask nice, and I’ll let you try it on and give it a spin.  A Hundred Ravens has Booth #1006 on the sixth floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square (market hours and directions).  We’ll have plenty of mini sets as well as new colorways in Kate’s fabulous yarn, and of course all the usual suspects too.

 

Mini Marvel is a slouchy vest that features an asymmetric flare of color over the left shoulder – show off your gradient mini set from A Hundred Ravens! Also perfect for hoarded sock-yarn leftovers … go subtle or bold, the choice is up to you.

Worked sideways in garter stitch, the vest uses short rows to create the flare and swingy hem, and simple increases/decreases to shape the armholes. Finishing is limited to two shoulder seams!

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Many thanks to the lovely Libby for modeling Mini Marvel for me!  The owner of Stewart’s Florist (Townsend, MA) was so accommodating for our impromptu photo shoot — thank you!

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New Pattern: Rapid Eye Movement Wrap/Cowl

This design has been in the works for more than a year!  I’m pleased to bring you Rapid Eye Movement — a wrap, or a cowl, or a little bit of both:

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Many thanks to Dream in Color for their generous yarn support, excellent photography, and pattern layout! Rapid Eye Movement is part of the upcoming “Duets Collection” — kits will be sold through local yarn shops starting in early 2015.  (Ask yours to carry the kits!)

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This shape of this design is inspired by the rhythms of dreaming. Sleepers alternate between periods of deep sleep and periods of lighter Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep is associated with creativity, learning, memory, and dreams. Coincidentally, my initials growing up were REM. I shared this monogram with my Grandpa, who is a philosopher, a doctor, and a maker of things. I learned a lot about creative thinking and science from him; he’s always encouraged me to dream big.

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This design uses alternating rings DIC Classy with Cashmere and Wisp. The Classy forms the arches of the wrap, and gathers the Wisp ruching together at three equally spaced locations. The wrap can be worn with one set of gathers at one shoulder for an asymmetrical look, or doubled up as a cowl. I would suggest a dark tonal colorway for the Classy-with-Cashmere, and a lighter, more variegated colorway for the Wisp.

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CO Monday: a pair of design projects, and a bonus FO sweater

I have been disciplined lately, and have hardly cast on anything!  Woo.  But, I do have two new design projects share. One is for Classic Elite, which means I can’t tell you much; the other is an indie design project with splufty yarn from New Zealand, and I can tell you alllll about that one.  Also, I have gift project to tell you all about, because I cast on and finished in two short weeks.

First off, the least informative project: a shawl design in Alpaca Sox.  I can show you a closeup of the yarn:

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… but I can’t say much else.  The finished design and pattern will be available sometime in mid-2015.

Second, I have some sumptuous new yarn all the way from New Zealand. Outlaw Yarn’s Bohemia Sport is 45% Polwarth, 45% Alpaca and 10% Possum fibre.  It comes in 15 keen colors (or colours, as the NZers say), including two that I’ve seen in person:

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Here’s what they have to say about Bohemia Sport:

The Polwarth provides excellent stitch definition, stitch memory and sheen, the Alpaca gives a silky drape and the Possum content is perfectly balanced to bring a subtle marl and soft halo to the knitted yarn. Possum has similar qualities to mink. The fibres are hollow, light, non-itchy, extremely warm and (unlike angora) Possum is pill resistant. Alpaca is an extraordinarily fine fibre with microscopic air pockets creating unique thermal properties. Its durable, non-flammable and non-itchy containing no lanolin with a smooth cell structure.

I’m designed a mobius-based cowl with Bohemia Sport.  Think garter stitch with some slipped stitches. The mobius will transition into a flared tubular cowl so it will lie nicely around the shoulders while still being snuggly around the neck.  Here’s a sneak peek of that:

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Last but not least, I made a sweater in just two weeks!  Ok, it was a Julian-sized sweater, and it was bulky yarn on size 10 needles … but still!  I bought three skeins of Wynter in Crimson, and two skeins of MountainTop Blackthorn (one each of Seal and Beaver Grey).  (Oh, I also got myself some #10 Signatures, so now my set is complete!) I ended up needing a fourth skein of Wynter, but that is only because I changed my mind about how much striping I wanted to do.

Here’s my youngest boy, Julian, who commissioned the sweater and collaborated on stripe placement:

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He asked for a red sweater, I asked if I could add some stripes.  Halfway through we agreed that stripes on just one arm would be cool!

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I used Ann Budd’s Top-Down Sweaters book as guidance — I added some short rows to shape the neck, and altered some lengths to suit my actual child.  (Fab book by the way! Super useful.  Saved me much math.)

I love how the sweater came out, and especially how much Julian loves it!  I think he’s worn it every day since I finished it.

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