New Pattern: Nahant Stole/Scarf

Who loves handspun? I do! I’m pleased to share this new design via Knitty.com.

I give you … Nahant!

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I read about fractal spinning and had to try it out. Like magic, colorful high-contrast fiber fluff became self-striping-ish prismatic handspun. I absolutely adored the finished yarn, but it needed to be knit up into something special.

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Pattern searches left me unsatisfied — the only solution was to design the perfect stole. My requirements: mostly stockinette, with just enough pattern to keep my interest without distracting from the colorful yarn.

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Nahant highlights the color changes of my fractal handspun with a subtle leaf pattern that doesn’t fight for attention. Knit on the bias, it resists curling. Use any weight yarn (just choose the appropriate needle), and make it as wide or as narrow as you like. Length is flexible too, so you can make the most of that precious handspun yarn.

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Extra thanks to Donna (who helped me get photos at Nahant Beach for submission to Knitty) and Rebecka (who modeled “springier” pictures for me, as per Knitty’s quite reasonable request).

 

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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New Pattern: Rapid Eye Movement Wrap/Cowl

This design has been in the works for more than a year!  I’m pleased to bring you Rapid Eye Movement — a wrap, or a cowl, or a little bit of both:

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Many thanks to Dream in Color for their generous yarn support, excellent photography, and pattern layout! Rapid Eye Movement is part of the upcoming “Duets Collection” — kits will be sold through local yarn shops starting in early 2015.  (Ask yours to carry the kits!)

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This shape of this design is inspired by the rhythms of dreaming. Sleepers alternate between periods of deep sleep and periods of lighter Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep is associated with creativity, learning, memory, and dreams. Coincidentally, my initials growing up were REM. I shared this monogram with my Grandpa, who is a philosopher, a doctor, and a maker of things. I learned a lot about creative thinking and science from him; he’s always encouraged me to dream big.

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This design uses alternating rings DIC Classy with Cashmere and Wisp. The Classy forms the arches of the wrap, and gathers the Wisp ruching together at three equally spaced locations. The wrap can be worn with one set of gathers at one shoulder for an asymmetrical look, or doubled up as a cowl. I would suggest a dark tonal colorway for the Classy-with-Cashmere, and a lighter, more variegated colorway for the Wisp.

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New Pattern Release: Mind the Gap Cowl

Introducing my latest pattern: Mind the Gap!

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Pattern: Mind the Gap

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: FREE on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Danu, Squonk (sample used  about 175 yards)

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Design/Skills Needed:

Mind the Gap is especially designed for hand-dyed yarn. The puffs consolidate colors, making a finished cowl with color properties similar to the original skein of yarn. Even highly variegated skeins can pop in this fun-to-knit, three-dimensional stitch pattern.

The short pattern repeat makes this an easy pattern to adapt to a variety of yarn weights and sizes.

This cowl may be knit flat or in the round – full directions for both methods are included! Full written directions for all charts are also provided.

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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: Babylon Shawlette

Introducing my latest pattern: the Babylon Shawlette!

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Knit from a single skein of sock yarn, this shawlette started out life destined to be a pair of socks … but the yarn wanted more. In sock form, the colors pooled and flashed in an unacceptably foul manner. No matter what I did, the yarn would not cooperate.

 

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PatternBabylon Shawlette

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (biggie skein)

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Design/Skills Needed: This sinuous shawlette is designed to show off unusual colorways while fighting pooling and flashing with a varying-width edging and tapered ends.  Short rows at the center back curve the shawlette into a shoulder-hugging crescent and add interest to the pattern.  Babylon is worked from tip to tip in one piece — no finishing or picking up stitches! The neck edge has a worked-as-you-go i-cord border for comfort at prevent too much curling.

The trickiest bit of the edging is the yarn-over at the beginning of each wrong-side row.  It’s important to wrap the yarn the same way you would to do a normal stitch–that way, it stays open and creates a pretty loopy edge. The extra effort is worth it: a pretty edge that doesn’t roll and isn’t garter stitch, yay!

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New Pattern Release: Cadet Cropped Cardigan

Introducing my latest pattern: the Cadet Cropped Cardigan!

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This stylish little cardi is my first sweater design project, so I am especially pleased that it has been released into the world.  The pattern is available through your local yarn store as part of Plymouth Yarn’s new fall pattern line: ask for Pamphlet #2325.  Photo credit for the modeled shots in this post all go to Plymouth Yarns — thank you for letting me blog with these awesome pix!

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Pattern: Cadet Cropped Cardigan

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: in Pamphlet #2325 at your local yarn shop

Yarn: Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solids

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Inspiration: This is one of the first projects I did after deciding to carry around a small sketchpad, everywhere.  I saw a commercial on TV for an adorable fabric jacket that I thought would translate well to knitwear, and starting drawing little ideas madly. That’s as far as it went, until one of the designers at Plymouth (for whom I had been doing a lot of sample knitting) asked if I had any designs that might suit their fall line.  I worked up a proposal and it was accepted — I was thrilled!

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Design/Skills Needed: This cardi is worked flat, in pieces.  The all-over diagonal lines are formed by knits and purls; the vertical lines on the front, center back, and sleeves are right twists and left twists. The sleeves begin wide deep turned-hem cuffs, and have set-in sleeve caps. The center plackets are worked from picked-up stitches and are also deep turned hems.  The cardi is finished with i-cord at the neck and bottom edge.  The button loops and faux epaulets are also made with i-cord, then sewn in place.  It’s worth noting that there is a lot of “finishing” work on this cardi — some of my test knitters found it a bit daunting to complete the basic pieces, and then still have so much work to do.

Speaking of test knitters … check out this AWESOME use of the Cadet Cropped Cardi as part of a steampunk costume!

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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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New Pattern Release: Berrie Pie

Introducing my latest pattern: Berrie Pie! This adorable sleeveless dress for babies and toddlers has a knit-as-you go flower stitch pattern that is perfect for colorful hand-painted yarns.  Design features include a button-up back, scalloped collar and hem, and an optional built-in diaper cover.

Pattern: Berrie Pie Baby Dress

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: in Knit Magazine #38

Yarn: Wild Fire Fibres Tempo

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Inspiration: I love buying hand-painted colorful yarns, but sometimes it can be difficult to match them with a pattern. The flower-stitch pattern on the skirt of the baby dress breaks up pooling and flashing nicely, and takes full advantage of high-contrast hand-painted colorways. The scalloped neck and hem use short rows to play with color too.  I designed a built-in diaper cover with snaps to make it an easy-wear garment and prevent riding up.   I designed this garment with my friend’s baby girl in mind, and the prototype (in pink, below) found a home with her.

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Design/Skills Needed: This is a challenging pattern with a lot of little quirks! The diaper cover is worked flat, then set aside.  The skirt begins with short-row scallops and is then worked in the round using a slip-stitch flower stitch.  The diaper cover is knit in at the hip.  After the waist, the bodice is worked flat.  Button bands and holes are worked as you go. The collar is knit separately, then joined to the neckline.  Knitters should be comfortable with a wide variety of stitches and garment construction, and be willing to read the pattern closely.

I would be delighted to answer any questions or help any knitters working on this project.  I made a quick video to help explain the flower stitch:

New Pattern Release: iPod Nano Wrist-Strap Cozy

About a week ago my fourth (!) iPod gave up the  ghost.  It was a great little 5th-gen Nano in shiny purple.  But, three of the four directional buttons no longer worked, so off to the recycling plant with it!  I bought a 6th-gen Nano — newly tiny, and (joy of joys) with only a touch screen and no button wheel at all. Yay!

And what does a cute lime-green iPod need? A cozy, of course!

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I used a few dozen yards of left-over sock yarn from my Electric Kool-Aid Socks. The cozy begins with a provisional cast on and a few rows of stockinette. Then stitches are picked up all around the starter strip. The rest of the cozy is worked in the round in a slipped-stitch rib that serves two purposes: it looks cool, and it provides extra padding. The top is finished with an i-cord BO that leads into an i-cord wrist strap.

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This is the third iPod cozy I’ve made, and by now I know what I like in one!  I decided to write up the pattern and share it with the world.

Pattern: iPod Nano Wrist-Strap Cozy

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: FREE!

Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight

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I would be delighted to answer any questions or help any knitters working on these patterns.