Kudzu Redux

Kudzu has been refreshed and re-released in Issue 330 of the CEY web-letter! Of course, you already know this, because you subscribe to the web-letter, right?  (What? You don’t? Go sign up right now!  Free patterns every week, designed for awesome CEY yarns, delivered to your inbox!)

I’ve always felt grateful to CEY for taking a chance on me when I was just getting started.  Kudzu was instantly my most popular pattern on Ravelry, and it has held that position without serious challenge ever since.  I’ll admit I was a little sad when the original yarn was discontinued. I’m so glad that CEY decided to have Kudzu re-knit in the soft and beautiful Cerro.

The fiber in Cerro isn’t new — it’s been around as Mountaintop Canyon for about a year.  Canyon comes in four natural un-dyed colorways.  Cerro takes this fantastic base to twelve lustrous spring colorways — really delightful.

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Kudzu Inspiration

Of all the patterns I’ve released to date, the most popular by far is the Kudzu Shawlette.  As of this writing, it has 207 finished projects in Ravelry — a order of magnitude more than any of my other patterns.  I wish I knew what helped it make such a splash — surely being published in CEY’s web-letter helped a lot, as did being chosen for several lace KAL’s. I really have enjoyed seeing the variations people have made, such as this beaded Kudzu and this extra-deep Kudzu.

Recently two designers asked my blessing for their patterns, which were inspired by Kudzu but definitely and distinctly their own design.  Adeline Too  designed a girl’s summer top with Kudzu leaves as the body. I think her Kudzu Top is charming!

Of course not everyone has an adorable little girl to knit for, but as long as you have hands, you can make yourself some Kudzu-inspired mittens.  Rahymah Bintmichael used the ribbing and leaf motif for her Mittens with Leaves.  I think they are very pretty!

 

New Kudzu KAL; Alternate Pattern for Steek This

If you have been meaning to knit yourself a Kudzu, but haven’t quite gotten around to it …

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… I thought you might like to know there is a current (and VERY active) KAL going on right now in the “Dozen Shawls in 20Dozen” group on Ravelry.  Kudzu was chosen as their February Advanced Shawl, and some people are already well into the knitting (I think some have even finished!).

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In other news, a clever knitter who made my Steek This Coffee Cozy! has released an alternate pattern for the colorwork section:

The Psyched-Out Pineapple chart is available on Ravelry, and you can read more about WickedSharp Designs at the blog of the same name.  Also available from WickedSharp?  A Cylon Basestar — that’s just too cool:

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

 

Kudzu Knit-a-long

I’m absolutely delighted to report that my Kudzu Shawlette pattern made it up to #16 on on Ravelry’s “New and Popular” top 20 list on the Patterns page. (The list refreshes often, so Kudzu may not be there now.) I am quite certain this is due in no small part to the Beginner Lace Knitters group on Ravelry, which chose Kudzu for their June 2011 KAL. Before that KAL was finalized, I also started a KAL on my brand-spanking-new Remily Knits group on Ravelry.  Of course I’m running the KAL on my group, but I’m also lurking in the other group to answer any pattern-specific questions.  Join both, for the best of both worlds!

Mostly, I’m just plain SUPER EXCITED that people like my pattern. It is a huge thrill to see other knitters make something I designed.  Here are a few of the wonderful WIP Kudzu Shawlettes:

Kudzu by the Numbers

My latest pattern, Kudzu, has gotten a lot of positive attention on Ravelry!  Today, it hit 1000 favorites, making it by far my most popular pattern today. There are already 26 projects, including many from two separate knit-a-longs (more on that Wednesday).

In honor of hitting that milestone, I give you (as requested) a row-by-row stitch count for both the full and midi length of the shawlette.

Please note: these stitch counts are for AFTER the row(s) are complete.

Section Row(s) Sts (Full) Sts (Midi)
Cast On 0 253 178
Rib 1 – 4 253 178
Open Twist Rib 1 – 2 303 213
Open Twist Rib 3 – 4 253 178
Leaves 1 – 2 303 213
Leaves 3 – 4 403 283
Leaves 5 – 6 503 353
Leaves 7 – 8 603 423
Leaves 9 – 10 605 425
Leaves 11 – 12 607 427
Leaves 13 – 14 609 429
Leaves 15 – 16 611 431
Leaves 17 – 18 609 429
Leaves 19 – 20 607 427
Leaves 21 – 22 605 425
Leaves 23 – 24 603 423
Leaves 25 – 26 601 421
Lattice 1 – 2 599 419
Lattice 3 – 4 597 417
Lattice 5 – 6 595 415
Lattice 7 – 8 593 413
Lattice 9 – 13 591 411

 

New Pattern Release: Kudzu Shawlette

Introducing my latest pattern: the Kudzu Shawlette! This dramatic lacy shawlette, worked in soft, luminescent Cotton Bam Boo, is a versatile accessory for all seasons.  This pattern was designed especially for Classic Elite Yarn‘s free weekly web-letter.

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Pattern: Cotton Bam Boo Kudzu Shawlette

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: free at Classic Elite!

Yarn: Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo

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Inspiration: In the southern United States, Kudzu flows over the land like waves caught in time. When I lived in Virginia, I loved to watch the daily progress this “weed” made, overtaking trees and buildings alike. I tried to capture the impression of motion in this shawlette, using lace patterns that transition organically from one to the next.

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The top edge begins with a twisted rib that expands into the first round of leaves.  The second round of leaves, slightly larger, develops from a column of twisted knit stitches left-over from the rib. The third and final round of leaves, larger still, expands to take over the lattice at the bottom edge.

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This lacy shawlette can be worn over the shoulders with a fancy accent button or shawl pin to hold it in place. The full length version can also be wrapped twice around the neck for a more casual look. The midi length is just long enough to go once around the shoulders. 

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Design/Skills Needed: Kudzu is worked flat from the top down.  Because there are so many stitches (especially in the full-length version), I highly recommend using circular needles. In addition to the slightly unusual wrapped stitch in the twisted rib pattern, the pattern also includes more common lace stitches (yarnovers, decreases, double decreases), and knitting and purling through the back loop. The pattern is fully charted, but also has complete written directions. Ambitious beginning knitters will find this a challenging but achievable introduction to lace knitting; intermediate and experienced lace knitters should enjoy the ever-changing pattern.

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

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I thought it might be interesting for knitters to see a little bit of the design process for this pattern. This is my final sketch for Kudzu, made after swatching, but before the sample was knit. Close observers will notice how much longer the finished sample is, compared to the sketch. In fact, the Cotton Bam Boo stretched much more than I anticipated, even after careful swatching.  The resulting sample was significantly longer than I had anticipated, but I found myself really liking the length.  I showed it to a fashionable younger friend of mine, as well as several different knitting friends, and they all gave it a bit thumbs-up.  I included the “midi” length in the pattern, which is closer to my sketched version.

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I’m also sharing scans of some of my notes and charts from false starts and final versions. I don’t have much commentary on these — just sharing!

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