FO Friday (err, Saturday): Zylphia Over Yonder and Sapphire Papilionoidea

In a special weekend edition of FO Friday, I bring you two projects I finished this summer….

2527 Zylphia (blocked)

Project: Zylphia Over Yonder

Pattern: Zylphia Cowl

Designer: Stephannie Tallent

Available: on Ravelry ($6)

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Blue Yonder

I tech edited this pattern, and absolutely could not resist casting on almost the moment I finished the editing work.  This cowl takes the stitch patterns from Stephannie’s “Zylphia Pilots Her Airship” sweater (published at the Sanguine Gryphon) and scales it down into a beautiful lacy cowl. Turned picot hems finish both ends; the cowl is knit entirely in the round.  I found the lace pattern interesting and easy to memorize.  It shows off tonal yarn beautifully.

 

 

2525 sapphire papilionoidea

 

Project: Sapphire Papilionoidea

Pattern: Papilionoidea

Designer: Caroline Wright

Available: on Ravelry (£2.00 GBP)

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Sapphire Heather

I was lucky enough to test knit this pattern for the designer. I had been trying to decide what socks to make for my Dad — he’d requested “fancy” socks in Sapphire Heather with his Christmas Knit4UxMe.  Then I saw these, and wow! It’s amazing how the butterfly emerges from the lacy pattern. This is another great pattern by an indy designer: well-written, clear, and definitely worth the purchase price.

2526 sapphire papilionoidea

 

Pictures from my dad, of the socks on his feet! 🙂

sapphire butterfly sock on my dad

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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!

2453 J's dino sweater

2451 J's dino sweater

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

2450 J's dino sweater

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! 🙂

2449 J's dino sweater

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).

2448 J's dino sweater

Back:

2447 dino sweater

Closeup:

2446 dino sweater (closeup)

Front:

2444 dino sweater

FO Friday: Red Seas

2546 Red Seas Shawl

I brought yarn and needles for a number of new projects on my family vacation over the Fourth of July.  I promised myself that I could cast on ONE new project for every TWO that I finished.  Well, I finished socks and a cowl, so I rummaged through my knitting bag (and box, and 2nd bag) and brought out a skein of Stroll Tonal in “Gypsy,” along with the pattern I’d matched it with … at the same time, elsewhere in knitting-land, the Beginner Lace Knitters group on Ravelry chose a tempting pattern for their July Knit-A-Long. I looked at the yarn and needles I had in hand, and realized they were perfect for my very own Rough Seas. Out the window with my original plan! I cast on with glee, and given the results … I’m not a bit sorry. (Shawl is smaller than it appears here, modeled by my almost-9 son.)

2547 Red Seas Shawl

Project: Red Seas

Pattern: Rough Seas

Designer: Preita Salyer

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal

Although I’m in love with my finished shawl — I even wore it while I waited in line for 3 hours for a signing of the new “Game of Thrones” book! outside, in July! — I have to say, with all respect, the pattern as it is currently available is almost unusable.  It is rife with errors, omissions, and confusing instructions.  Were it not for great notes on existing projects on Ravelry, it would have been nearly impossible to follow. Even with those notes, I still had trouble sorting out which parts of the pattern were right and which were wrong.  The lace charts included in the pattern were non-standard and had errors and conflicting design (right vs. left half of shawl). I ended up making fresh charts in excel to show how I decided to do the pattern … I made enough changes that you could argue that my shawl isn’t really a “rough seas” at all.

2551 Red Seas (greenery)

Corrections I used for my shawl:

  • Inserted a WS row between Rows 7 & 8
  • Repeated Rows 1 thru 10, eleven times total — 231 sts altogether, 113 on each “side” (not including 2 edge sts and center spine st).
  • I saw no reason to use the increase rows as written, since I already had the right # of sts.

Lace charts:

  • I used the ssk/k2tog orientation from the “right side of shawl” chart (they are reversed on the “left side” chart).
  • I opted for a s2kp rather than a sk2p, because I like the more centered look with a vertical line.
  • I extended the lace pattern into the corners to avoid a big chunk of un-patterned stockinette.
  • I added an increasing section on the edge (to use the edging YOs).
  • I used my corrected/altered “right side” chart for both sides, thus avoiding the problems with the “left side” chart, including the pattern repeat box being one stitch too large, and also the missing column of ssk’s near the center increases.
  • I decided to do three (rather than two) repeats of the edging to better balance the shawl (and use up more of my skein).
  • I finished with one additional repeat of row #1 to “finish” the points on the pattern.
  • I used a decorative crochet finish rather than just binding off, for prettiness and to avert curling on the FO.

Crochet edge:

  • In the “points” I (DC, ch5, DC) in the stitch below the point.
  • Between points, I (DC, ch3), with the DC going through TWO stitches…
  • … except for the THREE sts at the point of the lozenges, where I (DC, ch3) with the DC going through THREE sts (so it would be centered.

I’ve made my version of the rough seas charts available on Google docs.

2552 Red Seas (point)

I thought this shawl is a great example of how much blocking can change a knitted object.  Here you see the unblocked shawl: you can barely see the eyelet rows in the body, and the lace and crochet edging looks lumpy and curled. You can see that it is about six boards across the wingspan.

2531 red seas (unblocked)

Here is a photo of the shawl while being blocked: you can see that I’ve straightened the top edge, and pulled out the points severely. I kept the triangle shape rather than morphing it into a more curved shape.

2534 rough seas (blocking)

Here is the fully blocked and dried shawl — nearly 10 boards across! The yarn (superwash sock yarn) has held the blocking better than it has any right to. The points especially have stayed crisp and dramatic.  Yay!

2549 Red Seas

Cast-On Monday

This week I added two new projects to my needles.  One is a design project that was accepted for publication through Knit Picks IDP, and the other is a test knit for one of my favorite designers.

The new project of mine is a “practical” shawl — worked mostly in garter stitch with superwash worsted-weight yarn, it should be warm and cozy, and knit up quickly, too.  I’m using the Danish wrap-style shawl as a basis for the shape.  To make it pretty and fun to knit, I’m adding a bit of lace here and there — but not so much as to make it un-practical, or slow down a knitter too much.  Knit Picks granted my every wish when they accepted the pattern, and then gave me Swish Worsted in Blue Violet:

2389 KP Swish Worsted in Blue Violet
I’m lucky enough to be on Kate Oates (of Tot Toppers) test-knitter list.  Periodically she puts  out photos and descriptions of patterns she needs tested, and it is a tribute to her and her designs how quickly the tests fill up!  Lately I’ve been too slow to respond, and have missed out on testing a number of great patterns, but this time I got lucky! If you read Kate’s group on Ravelry, you already know about her knitpon — a chance to pre-order her fall collection for only $33.  Today (Mon 13th) is the absolute last chance to take advantage of this deal — check out the awesome patterns:

See that stripey boy’s sweater in the top row?  That’s the pattern I’m test knitting. I ordered some great Wool of the Andes in the new Tonal colorways,  and I’m already halfway through the body.  It looks great on my youngest boy, who is very into dinosaurs.  Here’s my pretty yarn, in Blue Yonder, Springtime, and Deep Waters.

2385 Dino Sweater Test Knit

FO Friday: Yet Another Harry Potter Scarf

This Friday, I’m proud to say that I finished the Harry Potter scarf I’ve been working on since January! This is my third time doing one of these.  This one is for a friend-of-a-friend who is going through some tough times … I have to admit, I had a hard time motivating myself to do yet more stockinette, but I designated this project as my penance knitting about two weeks ago, and that did the trick.  Poof, done!

1865 HP scarf the third

Project: Harry Potter Scarf

Designer: (I copied from the movie stills)

Available: short-hand directions below!

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Hollyberry and Gold

1864 HP scarf the third

Short directions:

  • Cast on 70 sts (use Judy’s Magic Cast On)
  • YO at both edges on first round — this will be the sit of your slipped-st edge
  • work in the round in stockinette, slipping the edge sts every other round (except, after a 3-row CC stripe, just knit the MC around with no slipped sts)
  • Stripes like this:
    • 26 rounds MC
    • 3 rounds CC
    • 6 rounds MC
    • 3 rounds CC
  • repeat stripes 13 times, then do 26 more rounds of MC
  • end by ktog the edge sts on one last round, then kitchener together
  • fringe like this:
    • 12-in strands
    • each bundle: 3 MC and 1 CC
    • attach every other st

1863 HP scarf the third

Pattern: Bike Helmet Earwarmers

Designer: Amy O’Neill Houck

Available: FREE! on ravelry

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Dynamite Blue

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.

Yarn Review: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering

This week I’ve been knitting with Knit Picks Chroma Fingering, their brand-spanking-new, slow-color-changing yarn (also available in worsted weight). As far as I know, this was a top-secret project, and Knit Picks kept it quiet for over a year until it arrived just before Christmas with many fireworks and much ado, at least on the Ravelry boards.  There are already over 100 projects listed in Ravelry using Chroma, which is pretty amazing considering it was released just over a month ago.  If you’re curious about the process of creating a brand-new yarn line, check out Knit Picks Podcast #151.

I’m working on a new pattern for Knit Picks IDP.  I’d worked up a sample swatch in Felici Sport in the now-unavailable “Picnic” colorway, and submitted it to a magazine … after the usual epic wait for a decision (knitting magazines have a Very Long Time Horizon), they decided not to use it.  Ever the optimist, I re-did the submission and turned it right around to Knit Picks. It is incredibly reinforcing to submit to KP, because they decide so quickly! I heard back that the proposal was accepted within a week. Of course, nothing is final until they have the sample and finished pattern in hand, but they did agree to give me yarn support.  I was sad to hear that Felici wasn’t an option, but delighted when they agreed to send me some of the new Chroma! Yay!

Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering

Fiber: 70% wool, 30% nylon

Price: $8.99 for each 100-gram ball (396 yards)

Care: hand-wash

Colorway: U-Pick

1404 Chroma (glamour)

First Impressions:gorgeous, soft, fluffy, awesome

I pulled it out of the envelope and ooohed and ahhed out loud.  The balls are squishy round things that show all the gradual color changes. I cast on the same day, starting work on the sample for my pattern.  It begins with a simple braided cable on a garter-stitch background.  This strip is narrow (23 sts), so each color lasts several repeats.  When the cable was long enough, I joined it in a circle and picked up stitches all the way around, just over 100.  At this circumference, each color runs for about an inch. I was a little afraid that the repeats would be too short and make the fabric stripey, but instead I got exactly what I hoped for: slow, beautiful, easy gradations from one color to the next.

1403 Chroma Top

The yarn is spun as a single, and is similar to Malabrigo in texture (though Malabrigo, the king of softness, is perhaps a smidge softer than Chroma). Like every single-spun yarn I’ve ever used, it can be a bit cantankerous: it is splitty, dropped stitches are tricky to retrieve intact, and I had to use a cable needle on my big 5×5 cable crosses. However, once knit, the fabric is soft and smooth, with just a bit of variation (see the slightly bigger stitches in only one row? the yarn was a bit fatter there).

1405 Chroma (stockinette)

The finished fabric has a slight halo, even without being washed and blocked.  I expected it will bloom significantly after washing, and I suppose it would happily felt if mistreated. Even with the softness and halo, I found it had great stitch definition.

1406 Chroma (halo)

Now it’s obvious to me that Chroma is meant to compete with the biggies in slow-color-changing yarn: Noro, Mochi, and the like. I’ve knit one thing, once, with Noro Silk Garden … let us just say, I encountered every problem that Noro haters complain about: knots that interrupted the color changes, harsh yarn that hurt my hands, grass and other prickly junk in the yarn, yarn that pulled apart with very little provocation, and more. I’ve been sad not to knit with Noro, because I love the colors … I just can’t stand working with the yarn.  I am thoroughly delighted to have Chroma, which is such a pleasure to work with.

Rating: 5 of 5 DPNs