New Pattern Release: Mind the Gap Cowl

Introducing my latest pattern: Mind the Gap!

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Pattern: Mind the Gap

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: FREE on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Danu, Squonk (sample used  about 175 yards)

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Design/Skills Needed:

Mind the Gap is especially designed for hand-dyed yarn. The puffs consolidate colors, making a finished cowl with color properties similar to the original skein of yarn. Even highly variegated skeins can pop in this fun-to-knit, three-dimensional stitch pattern.

The short pattern repeat makes this an easy pattern to adapt to a variety of yarn weights and sizes.

This cowl may be knit flat or in the round – full directions for both methods are included! Full written directions for all charts are also provided.

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FO Friday: Sublime Rosewood

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Project: Sublime Rosewood

Pattern: Sublimity

Designer: Sivia Harding

Available: $6 as a single pattern, or $26 for the 7-pattern collection

Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in “Rosewood”

Beads: 6/0 Miyuki round seed beads; transparent lavender with AB finish

Man alive I have a serious designer crush on Sivia Harding.  This is yet another awesome pattern from her mind. Love the stitch pattern, love how the decreases are hidden … love the sparing yet perfect use of beads! I knit this cowl as-written, even though the neck seemed a bit high … turns out I was right, since it crumples up when I wear it, but maybe I have a short neck and the fault is not with the pattern. Tosh Vintage is just as yummy as it always is.

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CO Monday: Your Way Cowl

I’m working on a new design project … something in Danu, a one-skein cowl.  Kate’s brilliant idea was to make it so the knitter could knit it flat OR in the round — hence, “Your Way Cowl.”

I’m using my skein of Squonk from the Bestiary Yarn Club.

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I tried out a couple stitch patterns … it’s always a challenge to find something interesting that doesn’t start a pitched battle with the colorway, when using highly variegated yarns like this one.  I think I’ve found the right one … but who knows, later tonight I may rip it all out! 😉

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FO Friday: Two Cowls

I bought two skeins of DK-weight yarn from A Hundred Ravens, and made two cowls!

Pretty yarn:
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I made the orangey-red skein of Danu into a Greyhaven cowl:

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Project: Maple Greyhaven

Pattern: Greyhaven

Designer: Robin Ulrich

Available: $4 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Danu (Maple)

I wanted a tighter cowl, so I cast on with only seven repeats of the main lace pattern.  My first try turned out too tight, so I frogged and cast on again with one extra repeat.  At this stitch count, the yarn pooled in a really beautiful way!  Happy accident.

For the pink-and-green skein of Danu, I decided on Trestle, somewhat modified:

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Project: Rose Trestle

 

Pattern: Trestle Neckwarmer

 

Designer: Virginia Catherall

 

Available: FREE on Ravelry

 

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Danu (Briar Rose)

I eliminated the button on this pattern, and knit it in the round instead of flat.  I also reduced the number of repeats, going for a snugger fit.  Once again, too snug! I frogged, added a repeat, knit it again. I love the fit of the final version — it stays up around my neck if I’m cold, or I can fold it in half for a more decorative look.  The cables played nice with this vibrant colorway. Yay!

Danu is soft, soft, soft and held up to the frogging well, despite being a single-ply yarn.

CO Monday: Knitters Gone Wild

I bought new yarn on Sunday, and started making stuff right away!

With my skein of A Hundred Raves Danu in “Briar Rose,” I’m making a Trestle Cowl (changed to working in the round, rather than flat):

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With my skein of A Hundred Raves Danu in “Maple,” I’m making a Greyhaven cowl — but fewer repeats and taller (for warmth).

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I also cast on for pair of socks 2 of 5 for my mom — purple Alpaca Sox in the Gush pattern:

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FO Friday: Inspira Libertia Woola

Here’s a bandwagon I’m glad I hopped on:

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Project: Inspira Libertia Woola

Pattern: Inspira Cowl (“steampunk” variant)

Designer: celerstalk

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: CEY Liberty Wool Print in Rainforest (MC) and Berry Brambles (CC)

It seems like everyone is making one of these, these days — and Liberty Wool is just such a perfect yarn for this simple-yet-colorful project! I’m a loose knitter, so I went down a needle size … I think I could have gone down one more, and still come out great.  The finished fabric on my cowl is soft and drapey — I’ve seen others that were much more corrugated and stand-up-on-there-own-ish.

Each time the ribs swapped places, I knit the whole round — to avoid funny purl-bump color changes.  I also stopped 12 rows early, most because I was running out of yarn … but it was also quite big enough.  This project was a joy to knit.

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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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Upcoming Classes: Self-Ruffling Yarn, Mobius Cowls, and Open Knit Night

Lately I’ve been teaching more and more knitting classes.  I taught a “first lace project” class at the Andover Bookstore using my Kudzu pattern — thus turned out to be a bit more ambitious than I intended, but my students rose to the occasion admirably.   Then I designed my Steek This Coffee Cozy pattern for a “first steeking project” class at the Bookstore.  I had a better idea what was achievable in a short class, and my students both finished the project in class — great fun! After that I taught two series of “Magic Loop Sock Knitting” classes, which were popular and went really well.  I even had some repeat students!  What I heard from all my students is that what they really wanted was a regular knit-with-a-teacher night, so they could come work on whatever they wanted, and ask me questions or get help with trouble spots.  So, we decided to try it out. We started right before the holiday season, so attendance has been a bit irregular.  We’ll give it a month or so more to see if enough people come often enough to make it work.
Open Knit Night at the Andover Bookstore

Every Tuesday, 6 – 8 PM (No reservations necessary!)

Knit with a teacher (me!) ready to answer questions and help with problems.  I have experience with almost all knitting techniques, including colorwork, Fair Isle, lace, chart reading, cables, intarsia, entrelac, seaming sweaters, socks, and more.  I welcome all knitters, whether you are just starting out on your very first project, or you are a knitter with years of experience and want to discuss the finer points of finishing.

Bring: your works-in-progress, or buy supplies right here at the store.

Cost: $15 per class, or $60 for a six-class punch card (good for one year).

 

I’m also teaching classes at the Hub Mills Store in Billerica, MA, on Saturdays, about once a month.  This is a new location for the store, but it’s been around a long time as has a wonderful group of regular customers.  I’ve been working in the shop since last fall, and it’s been wonderful to meet so many dedicated knitters.  I can’t wait to have a few as students!  I’m starting out with two different specialty classes.  I decided to offer a “try it” class for self-ruffling fibers.  Many knitters are drawn to the sample scarves made with these unusual yarns, but don’t know where to start on making one.  This class will lower that learning curve with hands-on work with sample yarns.  I’m also offering my Mobius Knitting class, which I taught last summer at the Granite State Knit-In XX.  I designed my Clewe and Minotaur cowls specifically for this class, which explores two different ways to get started with mobius knitting.
Self-Ruffling “Try It” Class

10-12 AM on Saturday Jan 21 or Saturday Mar 17

Try out all our “self-ruffling” fibers in this two-hour class. Bodega, Improv,
Cha-Cha, and Flamenco make impressive-looking and quick-to-knit scarves
with just one skein. Each uses slightly different techniques — learn about the
differences and try out each fiber to see which you like best.

Bring: US#9 circular needles, any length

Cost: $20 (includes a 10% student discount on materials)

Register: call (978) 408-2176 or visit the store

 

Mobius Knitting Class

10-12 AM on Saturday Feb 18 or Saturday Mar 31

The möbius shape-a loop, with a half-twist-drapes nicely when worn. It’s a great shape for neck-warmers, cowls, wraps, and collars. Also, because there is only one continuous edge, a person can knit a knitted möbius item from the center outwards on circular needles without turning the work.  

In this class, learn two different methods to start a mobius knitting project: first, using a foundation strip, and then, using a true mobius cast-on.

Homework: before coming to class, knit a foundation strip (directions sent after registration)

Bring: two balls of bulky-weight yarn, two US#10 circular needles, 40″ or 47″

Cost: $20 (includes a 10% student discount on materials)

Register: call (978) 408-2176 or visit the store

 

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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