New Pattern Release: Mhara Baby Blanket

Introducing my latest pattern: Mhara Baby Blanket! Mhara means “sea” in Gaelic.

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Pattern: Mhara Baby Blanket

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 through Knit Picks IDP or $2.50 on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Bulky in Tranquil

Design/Skills Needed: This fully reversible baby blanket is worked on the bias in garter stitch. Step-wise increases and decreases are embellished as you go with crocheted waves. Explicit directions for stroller- and crib-sized blankets are given, but the pattern is easily adapted for larger or smaller blankets. This pattern includes complete photo tutorials for the step-wise increases and the crocheted embellishment. For ease of printing, these tutorials appear at the end of the pattern. Experienced knitters may print just page 2 for complete pattern with no extraneous photos or information.

Familiarity with crocheting is helpful, but not necessary. Almost any yarn will work with this pattern, provided you use appropriately-sized needles.

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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.

New Pattern Release: Marilla’s Very Practical Shawl

Introducing my latest pattern: Marilla’s Very Practical Shawl! This Danish-style tie shawl is worked from the bottom up in worsted-weight yarn.

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Pattern: Marilla’s Very Practical Shawl

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 through Knit Picks IDP

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Tonal

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Inspiration: I read the Anne of Green Gables series several times over while I was growing up (and at least once as an adult).  It’s easy to like Anne—we’re meant to like her–but I always had a soft spot for Marilla Cuthbert. Prickly, practical, and tough, she protected a tender heart with a convincing façade. I like to think Marilla would have liked this shawl. It’s warm, knits up quickly, and the long Danish-style ties allow you to wrap and secure the shawl around your shoulders and waist. But, there’s just enough lace to make it pretty, too.

I made a shawl in this style a couple years ago, and I wore it all the time last winter. I loved how the ties held it in place, and allowed several different ways to wear it.  For cool days, I wore the shawl over my shoulders with the ties going directly under my arms and tied behind — like a shrug.  On frigid days, I crossed the shawl over my chest, wrapping the ties around myself before tying them behind. Both ways allowed great freedom of movement while staying warm, and pretty too!  I even wore this shawl to dog agility events.

My interpretation of this type of shawl is larger overall, with longer ties. I used worsted-weight yarn to make it warmer and faster to knit. I tried to streamline the construction to eliminate as many loose ends as possible.

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Design/Skills Needed: The shawl begins with the bottom edging, worked from right tip to left tip, with a short-row corner halfway through. Stitches are picked up along this bottom edge, leaving 8 repeats at both tips to form the ties. The body is worked from the bottom edge, with decreases to form the spine and top edge. After the body is completed, the neck edging is worked from right tip to left tip and joined to the body as you go.

It’s worth noting that the bottom edging uses about 40% of the yarn … so even though it takes a long time, you are nearly halfway done when you finish it! The pattern includes some charts; however, all charts are also completely written-out, for knitters who prefer to work from written directions.

Yarn: Almost any worsted-weight yarn will work with this pattern.

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

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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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New Pattern Release: Aviator Scarf

Introducing my latest pattern: the Aviator Scarf!  This lacy scarf pattern can be worked in lace weight or fingering weight yarn, with two very different finished products.  The lace-weight version produces an ethereal scrumptious scarf that floats around your neck.  The fingering-weight version is sturdier and more forthright (and, it should be said, a much faster knit).

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Pattern: Aviator Scarf

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 at Knit Picks

Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud (for the lace version) or Knit Picks Gloss Sock (for the fingering version)

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Inspiration: I wanted to make something lacy that looked impressive but was do-able for beginner lace knitters. Size, repeating pattern, and only a few lace stitches make this scarf deceptively simple. Early in the design process I found myself thinking of real-life aviators and steampunk air pirates while working on the pattern — this scarf is for the girl pilot in all of us :).

Design/Skills Needed: Scarf is worked in two halves, starting from the ends and grafted together in the middle. Wrong-side rows are purled to speed knitting, and narrow garter-stitch borders help the scarf lie flat. The pattern looks tricky, but is achieved with only k, p, k2tog, YO, ssk, and a right-leaning centered double decrease.

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