New Pattern: Wheels

It’s time for the fourth (and final!) Steampunk Oz design! This time I’m using two skeins of Iachos in “Patchwork Girl” and “Deadly Desert.”

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The Wheelers first appear in Ozma of Oz. Their arms are the same length as their legs, and all four limbs end in wheels made of fingernails. Their clothing is colorful and heavily embroidered. As a child, they terrified me! But, now I admire their attitude and steampunky outfits.

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Wheels is a crescent-shaped shawl that features a high-contrast colorway in wheels and stripes against a neutral background. The wheels are worked flat, using short-rows to create the curve. The body is also worked flat, bottom up, from a combination of stitches picked up from the wheels and newly cast-on stitches.

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This pattern can easily be lengthened by making more wheels. Each additional wheel will use approximately 32 yards of MC and 27 yards of CC. If you have two 400-yard skeins, you could safely begin with as many as 11 wheels.

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Wheels is part of the Steampunk Oz Collection. Look for The Wizard (two skeins of DK yarn), Glinda (two skeins of fingering-weight yarn), and Winged Monkeys (two skeins of DK yarn).

 

New Pattern: Mini Marvel Swing Vest

Just in time, for Vogue Knitting Live: 2015 in NYC … I give you the Mini Marvel Swing Vest!

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Are you anywhere near Manhattan?  No plans this weekend? Come visit me, Kate, and the Mini Marvel Swing Vest at Vogue Knitting Live. Ask nice, and I’ll let you try it on and give it a spin.  A Hundred Ravens has Booth #1006 on the sixth floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square (market hours and directions).  We’ll have plenty of mini sets as well as new colorways in Kate’s fabulous yarn, and of course all the usual suspects too.

 

Mini Marvel is a slouchy vest that features an asymmetric flare of color over the left shoulder – show off your gradient mini set from A Hundred Ravens! Also perfect for hoarded sock-yarn leftovers … go subtle or bold, the choice is up to you.

Worked sideways in garter stitch, the vest uses short rows to create the flare and swingy hem, and simple increases/decreases to shape the armholes. Finishing is limited to two shoulder seams!

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Many thanks to the lovely Libby for modeling Mini Marvel for me!  The owner of Stewart’s Florist (Townsend, MA) was so accommodating for our impromptu photo shoot — thank you!

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FO Friday: Fairy Rings

Lookit what I made, it’s so cool! 🙂

Project: Fairy Rings

Pattern: Miss Winkle

Designer: Martina Behm

Available: €3.60 EUR on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos  in “Frances and the Leaping Fairy

So … I think we all know how hard it can be to find a good pattern for a high-contrast multi-colored skein of hand-dyed yarn.  For instance, take a look at this skein:

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In terms of colors, the white, coral, and green all contrast sharply.  The tone of the saturated green and color are about the same, as you can see in the black-and-white version, but there is a strong contrast between the white and the most saturated “grey” ends of the skein. This is a colorway that will be stripey, and would overwhelm any but the most simple lace pattern.

BUT — it’s perfect for garter stitch, especially if the project has a variable stitch count to help avoid big pools of color. Martina Behm’s Hitchhiker is a perfect example of a simple pattern in garter stitch that increases gradually from a small cast-on to a broad end … it’s classic!  Martina seems to have made this sort of shawl/scarf a bit of a speciality.  What I like about Miss Winkle is the awesome loopy edge.  I need something to help hold my attention when working garter stitch, and this was just the thing.  An unexpected side-benefit of the loops is that they concentrate the color.  I estimate that each loop uses about half a round of the skein, so many progress through all three main colors. It helps “pop” the colors in the garter stitch…. and also, they are so cool!!

The curve of this kind of shawl happens naturally — the neck edge has kfb on both RS and WS rows, so it “pulls” a bit.

 

FO Friday: Firebird Rhea Silvia

I finished, finally! 🙂 I give you … a very BRIGHTLY colored cowl/wrap:

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Project: Firebird Rhea Silvia

Pattern: Rhea Silvia

Designer: Sara Morris

Available: $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos in “Midst Her Fires”

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Two skeins of Iachos ends up being not quite enough yarn for a Rhea Silvia.  If I’d read the pattern thoroughly, I would have know this. Instead, I got caught off guard … fortunately, I was able to bind off a row or three early on both edges, and it still looks pretty good.  Even with blocking, I’m finding the border flares more than I like.  If I make another Rhea Silvia, I’ll probably decrease more when transitioning from the cabled body to the border in order to limit/eliminate this flare.

That said, I’m delighted with the end product! Kate’s yarn shines (glows, even!) in this pattern. The striping and pooling of hand-dyed yarn can be SO much fun!  I’ve been wearing it doubled-up (see below) and getting lots of compliments.

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Cast-on Monday: Fall in Alexandria

So … I got this knitting machine for Challenge #4 of The Fiber Factor.  It’s really good at cranking out stockinette … so obviously, instead of working on the challenge, I packed up the machine and brought it over to Kate’s house. (You know, Kate, the amazing hand-dyer over at A Hundred Ravens.)  We rigged up two swifts and two skeins of her sock-yarn base ( (aka Iachos).  With her managing the swifts and me minding (and winding) the machine with the sock yarn held double, we cranked through 400 yards and created a tube-shaped dying blank about 5 feet long (tall?).

Why, you ask? Because with such a blank, we could do a fabulous gradient dye job! What fun!  It took about 40 minutes (with two people) to make the blank, which is longer than it took to dye it.  Later on Kate & Company reversed the process and made skeins out of the blank.

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My desire was to emulate the beautiful fall leaves against a slate-gray stormy sky. With Kate’s guidance (and editing eye) we focused on the leaves on the test skein (dyed “normally” with short color repeats), starting with a pale yellow, moving through bright oaky orange and a cherry maple red, and finishing with a more mahogany color. I begged for a second skein of the slate gray to do colorwork with the short-repeat skein.

Here are those two colorways, skeined and then caked:

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The gradient colorway is AMAZING in person — here it is in skein and cake:

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I have selected Alexandra by Dee O’Keefe (shawlette size) — so far, I’m in loooove!

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