FO Friday: Yggdrasil in Blue

I finished this about a month ago, but I think it slid directly off my needles onto my lap. My Yggrasil lap blanket is so warm and cozy!

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Project: Yggrasil in Blue

Pattern: Yggdrasil Afghan

Designer: Lisa Jacobs

Available: FREE! at Interweave Knits

Yarn: Knit Picks  City Tweed HW in Dungarees

You might remember this blanket from my “Finish it or Frog it!” post back in January. I’d already made some progress then, because it was my “neglected project KAL” target for January.  I won’t say it was “easy” to finish, not exactly, but I did eventually get into the rhythm of the border cables.  I do not think I will ever do this pattern again, and although I admire the finished full-size Yggdrasil Afghans out there, I have reason to doubt the sanity of those who accomplish such a gargantuan knitting feat.

The pattern itself is well-written and clear. Plenty of good charts.  I think this might have been my first knitted-on border, back in the day.  I also have a niggling feeling I may have grabbed the wrong size needle when I re-booted this project … the “old” border (right edge, upper right corner) looks a wee bit tighter than the rest.  However, this is invisible when I’m using it, so I am doing my best to let the slight difference go. I am definitely not going back and fixing it, ooooh no.

I continue to love, love, love City Tweed.  What a wonderful soft yarn with gorgeous colors, and it shows cabling so nicely! And it’s so warm and cozy!

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FO Friday: Sea Drift Toque

For Christmas, my in-laws gave me a copy of Weekend Hats. Swoon!  I cast on and finished this sweet little hat in less than a week — I found the pattern absolutely addictive. My middlest son was kind enough to model for me … but I think this hat will be for ME, thank you very much :).

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Project: Sea Drift Toque

Pattern: Drift Toque

Designer: Jocelyn Tunney

Available: in Weekend Hats ($15.30 on Amazon.com)

Yarn: Happy Feet DK in #52

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This hat has a really cool construction!  It’s worked sideways from a provisional cast on.  The cables sidle back and forth using increases and decreases (hidden by the reverse stockinette), and the crown shaping is accomplished with short rows.  I’m great at hiding short rows on the stockinette side — looks like I could use some practice hiding them on reverse stockinette too. At the end, the large graft is a bit of a bug-a-boo, but totally do-able.  I only had to undo stitches once, and that was only 10 or so.

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CO Monday: Sea Drift Toque, Happy Green Fyllyrd, Jan 2012 Mystery Lace KAL

There is nothing like a big UFO purge and Ravelry Queue clean-up to make me really want to cast on something new! 🙂

First up: a Drift Toque from my Christmas copy of Weekend Hats. I’m using some stashed Happy Feet DK — the color is gorgeous, and a little hard to capture with my camera.  I love the up-down cables and the sideways short-row construction.  I opted to use the called-for needle size (instead of going down a size, which I usually do, thanks to my loose knitting habits).  I have a huge head, and thought this might be enough to make the hat the right size for me.  Alas, it looks like it might be coming out a touch small … but, I think I can add an extra “wedge” of hat + short rows and make it fit.

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Next, I’m doing a Fyllyrd as part of the January KAL  in the Beginning Lace Knitters group.  I’m using my newly liberated Dream-in-Color Smooshy in the “Happy Forest” colorway.  I have already used as much yarn as I frogged … SO the right decision.  I just finished the first nupps repeat, and I am really enjoying it. If it looks like a neat pattern, join in the fun!  This is an open KAL that will be running all month (and, usually, afterwards as people finish up).

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I am using my other skein of DIC Smooshy (“Dusky Aurora”) for a different KAL (this one closed yesterday, so it’s too late to join in).  SusannaIC’s January Mystery KAL features nupps, beads, and a cast-on of 300+ stitches.  Fun times!

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New Pattern Release: Bifurcate Kumara Cowl

I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest pattern: a two-color, knit-flat, in-the-round, cabled cowl.  Bifurcate Kumara Cowl was featured in Issue 218 of Classic Elite’s Webletter (if you aren’t already a subscriber, sign up! free patterns, once a week! can’t beat that 🙂 ).

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Here’s what CEY had to say about Bifurcate:

This two color cowl is a show-stopper, and its construction is incredibly clever. How’s this for a brain-teaser…the entire cowl is knit back and forth, NOT in the round. Curious? This ingenious design comes from Rachel Henry, the designer who brought us one of our most popular Web-Letters to date, the Cotton Bam Boo Kudzu Shawlette.

There is no cozier yarn than Kumara, with its soft, lofty blend of extrafine Merino and baby camel hair. The camel hair is undyed, resulting in a muted effect that performs in perfect harmony with the sophisticated palette of 23 colors. Baby camel, a fiber with a softness rivaling cashmere, is expensive on its own, but you’ll find it in this decadent blend at an affordable price. This yarn is pure luxury!

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Pattern: Bifurcate Kumara Cowl

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: Free! from Classic Elite’s Web-letter (Issue 218)

Yarn: CEY Kumara in Thai Purple and Royce Mountain

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Design/Skills Needed: This cowl is “knit flat” in the sense that it is worked back-and-forth, with RS and WS rows.  When the colors cross, the RS and WS rows overlap a little bit — it’s easier to do than describe!  However, this cowl is also “knit in the round” in the sense that it is worked row-by-row and there is no long vertical seam.  If you can cable and follow directions carefully, you can make this cowl.

2740 Kumara Two-Color Cowl (inside)

Inspiration: My youngest son saw me working on a lacy cowl for myself, and asked if I would make him a neckwarmer too. I showed him my stash, and he chose a dark red and light grey and instructed me to make it “half one color and half the other, like this,” holding his hands up to his own neck. This request was the initial inspiration for this two-color, knit-flat, in-the-round, cabled cowl.

I knew I wanted to use simple cables, with no separation, to make subtle overall pattern that would also give the cowl some vertical structure. Almost right away, I could see in my head how the two halves could meet and twine together using this same cable pattern. I knew I could accomplish this by knitting first one half and then the other, but I wanted to make it all at once – in the round, at least nominally.

The first prototype, now in my son’s coat pocket, looked great. “Bifurcate” is the second generation of this original cowl, and is improved in several small ways. I changed the top and bottom edge to be less flared, and used different yarn and stitch counts to create an adult-sized cowl. I chose soft, luscious Kumara for it’s to-die-for touchability and great stitch definition. When washed and block, the soft halo is lovely.

The original knit-flat, in-the-round, two-color, cabled cowl:

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Cast-On Monday

In the spirit of 52 in 52, I’m changing up my Monday posts.  Instead of Ravelry Mondays (which, I admit, I have been a slacker about), I’ll post every Monday (or thereabouts) with a list of what I’ve cast on during the week previous.

This week I have only one new project added to the needles.  It’s a design project, so I can’t tell you too much!  I’m using this yarn (KP’s Stroll Tonal in “Springtime”):

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The project is a twisted-stitch sock pattern based on a sweater I saw (and loved!) at Canobie Lake Park on Mother’s Day:

2257 cool cabled sweater spotted at Canobie

I’ve cast on and ripped out about half a dozen times already, but this final iteration is going like gangbusters.  Once I get the leg done, I’ll start thinking about where I might submit the pattern idea for publication.

FO Friday: Zino Square Lace Shawl

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This week I’m featuring another of my pattern sample projects for Plymouth Yarns: a square lace shawl made from Zino, a long-repeat color-changing yarn. The shawl is worked in the round from the center out, with a cool open/solid lace pattern that really suits the yarn. I especially like the border, which shows the long color repeats well.  (My quickie photo (below) is shown before blocking.)

1196 lace for Plymouth Yarns (unblocked)

Project: Zino Lace Sample Knit

Pattern: Square Lace Shawl

Designer: Plymouth Yarn Design Stuido

Available: ask your LYS

Yarn: Zino

Lo, the gorgeous blocked shawl:

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This was by far the largest sample I’d knit for PY — it took a lot longer than a pair of armwarmers or a little vest. It was also more complex–this was the project where I really learned how to work with the designer at PY, because I ran into problems/questions and we went back and forth a couple times before we settled on the right solution.  Ultimately it’s her design, so naturally I want to serve that … but my job is to make sure the pattern adheres to her vision as I knit, so when I find things that don’t work, I stop and ask for direction. Sometimes, I even have something useful to contribute.

FO Friday: Happy Feet DK Child’s Sweater

This week I’m featuring another of my pattern sample projects for Plymouth Yarns: a child’s sweater made from DK-weight sock yarn.  The professional model is an adorable blond girl … but of course before I sent it out I had to take a home-photo on my slightly-too-large youngest boy — he was cooperative, if slightly silly.  Please ignore his desperate need for a haircut!

Project: Happy Feet Sample Knit

Pattern: Cabled Sweater

Designer: Plymouth Yarn Design Stuido

Available: ask your LYS

Yarn: Happy Feet DK (color 61)

This was a fast & easy project — basic shaping and making-up, and the all-over cabled rib pattern looks great and is fun to knit. I’m a huge fan of Happy Feet DK, but you MUST wash & block a swatch with this yarn — it opens up and softens considerably with washing.  Before washing and blocking the sweater, the fabric was tight and hard — almost crunchy.  After washing and blocking, it was soft and had a nice give, lovely to touch.