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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New Patterns Released: Twins and Entwined, Cabled Mug Cozies

Announcing my two latest patterns: Twins and Entwined, two cabled mug cozies!  Both are available FREE on Ravelry, so go download a copy today.

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I designed this pair of patterns for my upcoming “Intro to Cabling” class at the Hub Mills Store. The class is two hours long and costs $20.  I’m offering it twice in the near future, on Saturday, April 21st, and Saturday, May 19th, from 10AM – noon.  “Twins” is the simpler of the two patterns, intended for the knitter who is totally new to cables.  “Entwined” is a bit more complex (though not as much as you might think!), meant for a knitter who has done a bit of cabling before, or an adventurous novice.

If you’d like to take my class, call (978) 408-2176 or email yarn@hubmillsstore.com to reserve a seat.

Both cozies take less than 50 yards of worsted-weight yarn, plus two buttons, and can be finished in a single day.  Both are also appropriate for learning how to cable without a cable needle — something I will also teach in class, because I think it makes cabling SO much quicker and easier.

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CO Monday: Purple Hedgehog Hat, Berringbone Patch Socks, Bam Boo Branches Store Sample, Silver Ribband

Welcome to CO Monday, or (as it shall be known this week) “Have I Lost My Mind?”  I started four new projects this week, even though I already have multiple projects already actively in progress.  Perhaps I am crazy, and believe I have grown extra arms, and need even more projects to keep my extra arms busy.  I hope those extra arms already know how to knit.

I think the cause is simple: I’m getting near the end of many of those WIPs, and I’m anticipating the lull that follows — the panic that sets in when I don’t have enough projects! Eek!

So, here are the four newbies:

Purple Hedgehog Hat — I bought a skein of Mushishi as a courtesy purchase when I checked out Aunt Margaret’s Yarn Shop in Chelmsford, MA.  The main draw of this shop (for me) is that they carry a full line of Knit Picks needles, including interchangeable tips and cables! But, I didn’t need any needles on this visit, so I chose a big cushy skein of purpley yarn.  It has long color repeats, but they aren’t that different from each other.  I’m taking full advantage of the color repeats with the short-row bumps in this hat. I have two bumps done so far :).

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Next up: Berringbone Patch Socks.  I haven’t made a pair of socks in quite a while.  It was time.  I’ve had this skein of Stroll Hand-painted around for a while, earmarked for socks … I did change my mind about the socks I was going to make, though.  I’ve decided I really don’t like lacy sock patterns, because they don’t wear as well as more solid patterns. I’ve finish the cuff and gotten about four rows into the herringbone pattern.

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I also cast on for a store sample for Hub Mills of my upcoming CEY design, tentatively called Branches.  The pattern sample is in cranberry, but the store sample will be this gorgeous purple:

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I cast on for this project, because I had finished the cape I was making as a store sample.  The pattern book won’t be out until June, so I have plenty of time to work on it.  But, when I work in the shop, I can only knit on projects for the store — I wanted to make sure I had something to do with my hands if it turned out to be a slow day.  As it happened, it WAS a slow day … but I didn’t work on the purple project at all.  Instead, I cast on (and then finished) a Sliver Ribband for the store.  We recently got in several kits by Laura Nelkin, and I got to make this one:

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I stranded the beads and knit it up in a single day — the kit comes complete with the yarn, beads, clasp, pattern, and even a little threader to help put beads on the yarn. I give it high marks!

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

 

Cast-On Monday: Kensington Mitts, Bubble Hat, Advent Garland, and Jellyfish Bodega

I’ve cast on a number of new projects over the last two weeks.  The first pattern is from the new “Jane Austen Knits” special-edition magazine from Interweave Press.  I’m making the Kensington Mitts with a skein of tonal green Dream in Color Smooshy.

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I also cast on (and finished) this adorable Bubble Hat using some Swish Tonal left-over from my Marilla Shawl. Meg, if you’re reading this — this hat is for Susan, of course!

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Have I mentioned that I recently started working at the Hub Mills Store, now in Billerica, MA?  In addition to the retail work, I’ll also be teaching knitting there.  And, making samples for the shop!  While we were setting up the yarn in the new shop, a shipment of new yarn came in, with packs of an unusual fiber called Bodega. I took some home to make a sample for the store — it is very, very interesting!   Below, you can see my first attempt at a Bodega scarf, using the pattern that came with the yarn.  I wanted something fuller, so I started over yesterday … just wait until you see the jellyfish awesomeness of the new version.

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Last but definitely not least, I cast on for the Advent Garland that Frankie Brown is offering for Christmas 2011.  Every day of December until Christmas, Frankie is releasing a new tiny ornament pattern, and a bunch of my knitter friends are all doing the ornaments together.

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