FO Friday: Princess Wander’s Aran Cape

I made a cape! This does not make me a knitting superhero.

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Project: Princess Wander’s Aran Cape

Pattern: Wandering Aran Fields

Designer: Norah Gaughan

Available: in Wrap Style

Yarn: CEY Princess in peacock (3409)

This is a store sample for the Hub Mills Store.  Even though Princess has been discontinued (SOB!) we still have some in stock — come and get it, before it’s all gone! There is nothing quite so soft and lovely as this worsted-weight yarn. I will miss it when it’s gone entirely.  In the mean time, I got to knit this cabled cape — such fun!

The pattern is pretty straightforward: cast on the bottom edge, work cables until done, make button bands, then make more ribbing than you’d like to.  The shoulder decreases are cleverly hidden in the cables — very cool! The button bands are worked separately in the pattern, with smaller needles, although I noticed several knitters elected to work them as they went rather than deal with seaming.  Seaming doesn’t bother me, and I think it adds to the structure of the garment in many cases.

If you make this pattern, don’t make MY mistake.  I thought I knew what they wanted for 2×2 rib — I mean, 2×2 rib, right? How hard is that?  Well, I failed to take into account a totally appropriate one-stitch selvage (to make seaming those button bands easier), and ended up having to correct two inches of 2×2 rib that was off by one stitch.  Ugh.  Of course, I could have ripped it all out … but ribbing is my nemesis, and I just couldn’t face it.

I have improved my ribbing a great deal with this project, speaking of.  All it took was a little more attention paid to keep the working yarn on the needle tips when going from a knit to a purl — I was allowing the yarn to slip back a bit, adding too much slack at this crucial point and causing a loose left edge to knit columns.

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FO Friday: Minotaur Obsession

This week, I offer you another “finished it a while ago” project.  I am wearing it right now, so I thought — hey, I haven’t show this to anyone yet! Better take care of it.  In contrast to last week’s epic blanket, this cowl only took 5 days from CO to BO.  Whee! Quick projects are awesome.

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Project: Minotaur Obsession

Pattern: Minotaur Cowl

Designer: Rachel Henry

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: CEY Obsession

I had exactly one ball of this interesting (but discontinued) yarn.  It’s a bulky-weight cashmere, made up of 8 different skinny strands, each a different color.  I was a pleasure to work with — I mean, cashmere, right?  I made a tight-fitting mobius cowl using my own design.  Minotaur starts with a foundation strip (knit flat in garter stitch) that is twisted and seamed to form the base of the mobius.  From there stitches are picked up along the single mobius edge, and the remainder of the cowl is knit mobiusly.

This construction allowed me to get exactly the right fit, because the foundation strip is easy to measure as it is knit.  It also allowed me to use up every last scrap of this extra-luxurious fiber, because I just kept knitting in pattern until it was all gone.

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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.

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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: Princess Wander’s Cape, Hooligan Pixie Hat, and Sept 2011 Sock Club Socks

This week I cast on two projects destined to be store samples for the Hub Mills Factory Store. Hub Mills is the outlet store for Classic Elite, who published myKudzu and Drop Everything patterns via their free web-letter.   I’m lucky enough to be their newest employee — I’ll be working two Saturdays a month, starting after Thanksgiving when the store opens in it’s new Billerica, MA, location.  I’m so excited to be joining this group of talented knitters.  (A major “thank you!” to my friend C who recommended me for the position!) In addition to helping staff the store, I’ll be teaching classes some Saturdays — more info to come!

The first project is a cabled cape from Wrap Style: Wandering Aran Fields by Norah Gaughan.  I’m using CEY Princess in Peacock.  Princess is a great blended yarn — Wool, Rayon, Nylon, Cashmere, and Angora.  It’s super soft, but has great stitch definition.  I’ve cast on the 332 stitches for the larger size and I’m done with the ribbing.  I found out after ten rows that I was 1 st off. Rather than re-do the ribbing, I spent three hours dropping down every other row and changing knits to purls and vice versa.  It probably would have been faster to rip out and re-do, but I couldn’t face all that ribbing again!

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The second sample for the store is cabled hat from the Bounty pattern booklet: Hooligan by Susan Mills.  I’m using CEY Montera in a beautiful olive green.  This llama-wool blend is aran weight — perfect for a warm, cozy hat.

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I also cast on the latest “Notorious Sock Knitters” shipment — but we’re still in spoiler season for that, so I won’t post a photo just now.  If you’re curious, you can click through to a photo for my Sept 2011 Sock Club Socks.