New Pattern Release: Clewe Cowl and Minotaur Cowl

Last weekend I taught a class on möbius kntting at the last-ever Granite State Knit-In.  We had an airy lodge all to ourselves: 150+ knitters of every stripe, enjoying a beautiful late-spring morning in New Hampshire with yarn and needles in hand. Lucky me, I even found a few great deals and bought a shawl pin, some laceweight yarn, and enough hand-painted DK (?) yarn for a cardi/shrug.

2384 Decadent Fibers Pulled Taffy in Red Hot Pepper2383 Ivy Brambles Romantica in Pine Tree

But enough about my squishy yarn! Back to the class. I really enjoy knitting on the edge of a möbius strip, and I wanted to share this with knitters who have never encountered this awesome knitted shape before.  My OCD side loves knitting a true möbius, starting with Cat Bordhi’s möbius cast-on. The Clewe cowl uses this cast-on and takes full advantage of möbius knitting with the reversible Labyrinth pattern.

Pattern: Clewe Cowl

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: FREE!

Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Chunky

2138 Clewe Cowl prototype

However, the möbius  cast-on can be tricky for knitters, especially if they are also tackling knitting in the round and/or circular needles for the first time. To make möbius knitting more accessible, I designed the Minotaur cowl, which begins as a flat strip that is joined with a half twist, creating a möbius base from which the knitter picks up stitches. From that point on it is worked on the long möbius edge, following the reversible Horns pattern.

Pattern: Minotaur Cowl

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: FREE!

Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Chunky

2299 Minotaur Cowl

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

 

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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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New Pattern Release: Katydid Drop Everything Scarf

Introducing my latest pattern: Drop Everything! This dropped-stitch scarf is knit on large needles with ribbon-style yarn, so it works up very quickly.  This pattern was designed especially for Classice Elite Yarn‘s free weekly web-letter.

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Pattern: Katydid Drop Everything Scarf

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: free at Classic Elite!

Yarn: Classic Elite Katydid

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Inspiration: When I’m working on a new design, usually I have some idea what I want it to look like long before I settle on a specific yarn. Often the yarn informs the design, telling me as I knit swatches and prototypes what it wants to be.  The finished pattern is very rarely exactly what I started out with in my mind.

But for this scarf, the process worked in reverse on all counts.  I began by fondling the soft ribbony goodness of Katydid at a local Knit Night with my friends. I knew the yarn’s unique flat nature could be hidden by knitting it tightly enough, but I didn’t want to hide it – I wanted to show it off!

The final version of the Drop Everything scarf jumped into my mind fully formed: alternating sections of large horizontal drop stitches between rows of garter stitch, and vertical drop stitches between columns of stockinette.  Worked on large needles, the scarf would be a quick, fun knit that should appeal to experienced knitters and beginners alike.

As I worked up the sample in a stunning orange, I didn’t change a thing from the original plan. The finished scarf has beautiful drape and is lightweight.  Make it in bright colors for the perfect spring accessory!

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Design/Skills Needed: Drop Everything is worked flat.  The horizontal dropped stitches are created with extra yarn-overs (dropped on the next row); the vertical dropped stitches are laddered down from the top of each section. If you can knit and purl and are ready to try something a little extra, this scarf is within your skill set.

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

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New Pattern Release: Rapunzel

Introducing my latest pattern: Rapunzel! This simple girl’s top is designing with color-changing or self-striping yarn in mind, but will work with both plain and variegated colorways. It can be worn alone, or layered over a shirt in cooler weather.

1563 S in Rapunzel top

Pattern: Rapunzel

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 at Knit Picks

Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering

1553 S in Rapunzel top

Inspiration: I swatched for this pattern using Felici Sport, a great self-striping yarn.  I wanted to show off the striping with a wide horizontal band, then work downwards.  When KP accepted the pattern, they offered me the new Chroma yarn … I could NOT resist. I just love how it turned out.  I used mostly-stockinette throughout, to highlight the color changes, with an itty bitty braid to add interest.  As I worked, I was reminded of Rapunzel letting down her braid … just like the off-center braid on the top, hence the name.

1549 Rapunzel top

Design/Skills Needed: Rapunzel is worked top-down, beginning with a large cabled bandeau that is worked sideways from a provisional cast-on and then joined in a circle. Stitches are picked up from the bottom edge of the cable, and the rest of the body is worked in the round. The bottom edge is finished with a simple ruffle. The straps are also mini versions of the main braid, with ruffled outer edges.

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

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/remcat/5536426944/&#8221; title=”1549 Rapunzel top by WoofBC, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5051/5536426944_a6234321f0.jpg&#8221; width=”375″ height=”500″ alt=”1549 Rapunzel top” /></a>

New Pattern Release: Photog Mitts

Introducing my latest pattern: the Photog Mitts! This pattern for palmless, fingerless mitts in squishable Happy Feet DK is all about maximizing warmth while leaving the hand free for work.  Great for photographers, sailors, and anyone who wants to keep their hands both warm and unencumbered.

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Pattern: Photog Mitts

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available for $3.50 at Ravelry

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet DK

Inspiration: I designed these for my friend Donna (of Donna Kelliher Photography) — she specializes in photographing dog sporting events, which means she is outside in all kinds of weather. Handling a camera with full mittens or gloves on is dicey at best, and regular fingerless mitts cover the palm in fabric, which bunches up and makes holding the camera difficult.

Design/Skills Needed: The cuff is worked in the round, starting with a simple scalloped edge that comes to a point and continues in a subtle line of slipped stitches all the way up the wrist and hand. Stitches are cast off at the base of the palm, and the remainder of the mitt is worked flat with slip-stitch edges that hug the palm. A thumb gusset provides superior fit. The top is finished with i-cord edging that runs around the pinky and pointer fingers to hold the mitt in place – the thumb is also finished with i-cord edging.

Yarn: Suitable for the most colorful hand-painted yarn, but stylish with subdued colors too, these functional yet charming mitts are quick to knit and fun to wear.

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