New Pattern Release: Full Bloom Bag

Introducing my latest pattern: Full Bloom Bag!

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PatternFull Bloom Bag

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: $3.99 at Knit Picks / $4.50 on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in three shades of green, and three shades of pink

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Design/Skills Needed: This cute little bag packs a lot of knitting technique into a single project: stranded colorwork, steeking, and applied i-cord work together to create a colorful bag inspired by old-fashioned wallpaper.

In order to achieve the vertical stripes on the finished bag, the body is worked sideways, in the round, using stranded colorwork to make the stripes and roses. The body is then steeked and the first and last rows are grafted. The bottom is worked in the round from picked-up stitches, and the top edges are finished with applied i-cord, which is then extended into i-cord handles.

Directions for a simple lining are included in the pattern, but (dear reader) you may remember I blogged about how I sewed a lining with built-in pockets. If you make this bag, I urge you to give pockets a try!

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The bottom of the bag has mitered corners in garter stitch — sturdy and perfectly square.

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I had a really hard time letting go of this sample so it could sojourn to Knit Picks for review.  I am anxiously awaiting it’s return, so it can be my cute purse and project bag for some time to come!

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New Pattern Release: Flurry Sweater

Introducing my latest pattern: the Flurry Sweater! This two-color pullover features a band of colorwork snowflakes at the waist and elbow, waist-shaping, flared sleeves and hem, and i-cord finish on all edges.

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Pattern: Flurry Sweater

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $3.99 through Knit Picks IDP

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed

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Inspiration: I have this old sweater, a favorite that I’ve had a long time.  It’s pilled and felted from incautious laundering, but I still love to wear it. I picked the things I liked best about it (grey on top, blue on the bottom, colorwork band) and improved it a bit too (more fitted waist, set-in sleeves).

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Design/Skills Needed: The body is knit in-the-round until the armholes, after which the front and back are worked flat, separately. The sleeves are also knit in the round until the sleeve cap, which is worked flat. Knitters may select their preferred in-the-round method (DPNs, one circ, magic loop, two circs, etc.) throughout.

For the colorwork section, I recommend going down one needle size, as many knitters find their colorwork to be looser than their stockinette. However, it’s possible that you may need to stay with the same needle, or even go up a size, to maintain consistent gauge between the stockinette and colorwork portions. Please work a gauge swatch in both stockinette and the colorwork pattern to determine the best needle size for you, for each section.

When working stranded colorwork, take care to keep the floats loose behind the work. When gaps larger than 5 sts must be bridged, catch the float halfway through the gap to keep things tidy. The colorwork sections are charted.

Yarn: Almost any worsted-weight yarn will work with this pattern. I recommend the darkest color for the bottom, a medium value for the top, and the lightest for the snowflakes.

I would be delighted to answer any questions or help any knitters working on this project.

FO Friday: Howl Cowl

I put this pattern in my queue some time ago, and I bought yarn for it in early September.  My goal was to finish it by Halloween …

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Project: Howl Cowl

Pattern: Hocus Pocus Cowl

Designer: Thea Eschliman

Available: $7 on Ravelry (includes alternate pattern for tote bag)

Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in Black and Stroll Tonal in Foliage

I had a great time making this cowl.  It begins and ends with a turned hem.  Even the “baubles” are adorable — and I’m often not a fan of bobble-knitting.  I think the colorwork is exceptionally clever — very evocative cats, owl, and pumpkins, with subtle vines to fill in the empty spaces. I especially like the skull at the foot of the cats — fantastic!

What with camping in the snow (unintentionally) and a days-long power outage, I wasn’t able to finish before Oct 31st.  Lucky for me, the power outage forced the town to delay Halloween by a week, so by some measures I did get to finish on “Halloween night.”

New Pattern Release: Steek This Coffee Cozy

Introducing my latest pattern: Steek This Coffee Cozy! I designed this button-up mini vest to fit 20-oz coffee cups. More important than a stylish accessory for your latte, however, is the opportunity to try out steeking!

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Steeking is technique used to safely and securely cut your knitting to create holes where you want them. It is frequently used with complex colorwork sweaters, because it is easier and faster to knit colorwork in the round. It can be scary to steek a big sweater, so I created this scaled-down steeking project to help knitters try out the technique fearlessly. The cozy is worked in the round with stranded colorwork to create a classic fair-isle pattern. Then follow the step-by-step guide to steeking with a crocheted reinforcement.

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Pattern: Steek This Coffee Cozy

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available:  FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: Cascade 220 Solids and Heathers

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Inspiration: This coffee cozy popped into my head when I was thinking about fun, useful classes that I wanted to teach. If we get enough people, I’ll be teaching “Steek This” on Mondays this September at Unforgettable Yarns.

Yarn: Natural fibers, NOT superwash

Design/Skills Needed: This project is best for knitters who have experience with colorwork and knitting in the round.  The tutorial walks you through the process of reinforcing the steek with a crocheted chain before cutting. Stitches are picked up along the two edges created by cutting, and the button bands are knit from there.

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I would be delighted to answer any questions or help any knitters working on this project.

Cast-on Monday: Tappan Zee, Itty Bitty Blocker Sock, and Flurry Prototype

This week, I was waiting impatiently for two boxes from Knit Picks.  I stalked my birthday-gift-card box online, and frowned mightily when it sojourned far too long at the nearby sorting center. To force the box to come, I swatched for a Tappan Zee in this gorgeous yarn …

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I bought the yarn at half off at the Loon Mountain Knit-In.  I only have two skeins — about 980 yards.  The label claims “DK” — but I have to say it looks and swatches a lot like worsted.  Of course the swatching caused both my boxes to arrive the very next day.  Mission accomplished!

The first box was my birthday order (gift card from my mom):

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Mostly I got enough Gloss DK to make a Parseval. The orange/black combo is for a Halloween Cowl: Hocus Pocus. The Stroll Glimmer (shiny!) is for a Damask shawl.  I also got a snappy little tape measure, and a sock-blocker key chain.  Did I cast on with any of this yarn?  No. I must focus on the other box.  I did, however, cast on (and finish) an itty bitty sock-blocker sock with leftover BMFA STR Lightweight in “Electric Kool-aid Acid Test.”

The other box from KP is for my “Flurry Pullover” prototype.  KP accepted my proposal, and this is my delightful WotA Tweed!  I have swatched, waited impatiently for the swatch to dry (rainy weekend here), cast on, and knit the bottom 3-4 inches of the sweater. This sweater must be my knitting focus for the next few weeks.  My goal is to knit through one ball of yarn per day — that should get this sweater done lickety split.  Then “all” I have left is testing.

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I swatched for the proposal using Swish DK in similar colors — not the right size, but enough to show the idea:

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Cast-On Monday: Maluka, Steek This, and Kumara Two-Color Cowl

I weathered a bout of castonitis this week, starting three new projects.  Fortunately for my WIP list, they are all smallish projects. In fact, one of them is already done, and another is an i-cord bind-off away from completion.

Last week Monday I cast on for my Maluka, the August KAL in the Lace Knitters group.  This pattern falls directly into my current favorite category: one-skein fingering-weight lace shawlettes.  This one begins with a sideways-knit lace edging, with the body picked up along the full length.  The gently curve is achieved with short-rows.  I used a skein of Three Irish Girls McClellan Fingering that I had left-over from a design project.  I am in love with the pattern AND the yarn for this project, so it’s no surprise that I’m almost done.  I started binding off this morning, and plan to finish tonight.

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I also cast on for a new design project: Steek This, a colorwork coffee-cup cozy for a steeking class I’ll be teaching in the fall.  My idea is that it will be less scary to cut a teeny-tiny colorwork project like a coffee-cup cozy, instead of making a whole colorwork cardigan and then taking scissors to it.  I used Palette held double to simulate worsted-weight yarn, and a classic Fair Isle pattern from a stitch dictionary.  I finished the knitting, steeked, and put on the button bands in a single evening.  Alas, the prototype is a smidge too small, and the button band flares.  I’ll fix both those problems in the next prototype.

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My third new project this week is another design project: Kumara Two-Color Cowl. I’m upgrading my son’s Two-Color Cowl to adult size, using gorgeous soft Kumara from Classic Elite.  This pattern is destined for the CEY Web-letter — look for it in the fall.  I’ll be looking for test knitters in a week or two.  If you want to learn how to knit flat in the round with cables …. post below!

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FO Friday: Diplodocus Sweater

I recently had the good fortune to test knit this adorable sweater for Kate Oates (of Tot Toppers). If you like this pattern, think about joining her KAL (starting August 1st).  If you buy the pattern before the KAL starts, you’ll get it for a mere $4!

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Project: Dino Sweater Test Knit

Pattern: Diplodocus

Designer: Kate Oates

Available: discounted to $4 until August 1st, buy now and save! 🙂

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tonal in Blue Yonder, Deep Waters, and Springtime

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Like every single other thing I’ve test knit for Kate, this pattern is well-written and thoughtfully designed.  Simple things like adding a button to the neck on the smallest size (baby heads are big!) make all the difference.  The sweater begins with the neck, and short rows are worked across the back to make the neck scoop down in front.  The colorwork dinosaurs are worked without increases (thank goodness).  After the dino yoke is complete, the sleeve stitches are held while the body is worked in stripey rounds.  Although Kate provides a gorgeous striping chart (I followed it exactly), she also encourages the knitter to be inventive — stripe as you like! 🙂

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You can see how much my 6yo son likes his new sweater … he wore it in June, in Massachusetts, for several days in a row.  The size 6 did come out a tiny bit big for him — but then again, he is a smallish 6yo, so please blame the knitter (not the pattern).

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Back:

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Closeup:

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Front:

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