New Pattern Release: Full Bloom Bag

Introducing my latest pattern: Full Bloom Bag!

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PatternFull Bloom Bag

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: $3.99 at Knit Picks / $4.50 on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in three shades of green, and three shades of pink

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Design/Skills Needed: This cute little bag packs a lot of knitting technique into a single project: stranded colorwork, steeking, and applied i-cord work together to create a colorful bag inspired by old-fashioned wallpaper.

In order to achieve the vertical stripes on the finished bag, the body is worked sideways, in the round, using stranded colorwork to make the stripes and roses. The body is then steeked and the first and last rows are grafted. The bottom is worked in the round from picked-up stitches, and the top edges are finished with applied i-cord, which is then extended into i-cord handles.

Directions for a simple lining are included in the pattern, but (dear reader) you may remember I blogged about how I sewed a lining with built-in pockets. If you make this bag, I urge you to give pockets a try!

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The bottom of the bag has mitered corners in garter stitch — sturdy and perfectly square.

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I had a really hard time letting go of this sample so it could sojourn to Knit Picks for review.  I am anxiously awaiting it’s return, so it can be my cute purse and project bag for some time to come!

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Cast-On Monday: Maluka, Steek This, and Kumara Two-Color Cowl

I weathered a bout of castonitis this week, starting three new projects.  Fortunately for my WIP list, they are all smallish projects. In fact, one of them is already done, and another is an i-cord bind-off away from completion.

Last week Monday I cast on for my Maluka, the August KAL in the Lace Knitters group.  This pattern falls directly into my current favorite category: one-skein fingering-weight lace shawlettes.  This one begins with a sideways-knit lace edging, with the body picked up along the full length.  The gently curve is achieved with short-rows.  I used a skein of Three Irish Girls McClellan Fingering that I had left-over from a design project.  I am in love with the pattern AND the yarn for this project, so it’s no surprise that I’m almost done.  I started binding off this morning, and plan to finish tonight.

2682 Maluka in progress

I also cast on for a new design project: Steek This, a colorwork coffee-cup cozy for a steeking class I’ll be teaching in the fall.  My idea is that it will be less scary to cut a teeny-tiny colorwork project like a coffee-cup cozy, instead of making a whole colorwork cardigan and then taking scissors to it.  I used Palette held double to simulate worsted-weight yarn, and a classic Fair Isle pattern from a stitch dictionary.  I finished the knitting, steeked, and put on the button bands in a single evening.  Alas, the prototype is a smidge too small, and the button band flares.  I’ll fix both those problems in the next prototype.

2680 Steek This (v1)

2683 Steek This (inside)

My third new project this week is another design project: Kumara Two-Color Cowl. I’m upgrading my son’s Two-Color Cowl to adult size, using gorgeous soft Kumara from Classic Elite.  This pattern is destined for the CEY Web-letter — look for it in the fall.  I’ll be looking for test knitters in a week or two.  If you want to learn how to knit flat in the round with cables …. post below!

2681 Kumara Two-Color Cowl

Fantasy Queue: Knitty Spring+Summer 2011

Oh pretty-shiny! The latest issue of Knitty came out a week or so ago, and as usual there are far too many lovely patterns for me to ever actually knit.  For the duration of this post, I will suspend disbelief and indulge in a fantasy queue.  If I had unlimited time and money, what would I knit, and with what yarn?

#1: Corinne

This is a pretty little swingy cardigan knit side-to-side in garter stitch with short rows for shaping. I love the belled half-length sleeves.  It seems like the perfect throw-on cardi, and good “mindless” knitting too.  To help it stand up daily use, I’d use a superwash yarn.  I think it would show off variegated colorways nicely, so perhaps some Happy Feet DK? Colorway #59, “Gems,” is awfully pretty.

#2: Verdant

I’m drawn to this more for the interesting modified intarsia technique than anything else.  I think I’d be happiest with some gorgeous fall colors, even though this is the “spring” knitty. My favorite go-to lace yarn is Alpaca Cloud, but Knit Picks hasn’t released their 2011 colorways yet, so right now it’s slim pickings. I think I MIGHT make this wrap out of Palette … which would certainly provide a multitude of colors to choose from!

Main Color: Camel Heather

Leaves: Merlot Heather, Salsa Heather, Kumquat Heather, Autumn Heather,

 

#3: Susanna

I love complex cabled and/or lacy socks, and I also love crazy sock colorways.  It’s been a hard lesson, but I have learned over the last half-dozen years that these two loves rarely mix well.  For intricate socks like “Susanna” I will have to stay true to the design and choose a plain colorway that allows the pattern to come to the forefront.  Even a tonal colorway would be too much, but I think I could get away with a heathered color like Basalt Heather (Stroll).

#4: Rivercat

This sock, in contrast, can totally handle a tonal colorway.  I love the big jive-y lines and bold pattern. Since I am in love with Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, I’d pick up some Deep Waters and make this socks in a jiffy.

FO Friday: Toy Gromit

1541 toy Gromit

Introducing …. my very own toy Gromit!  I stayed up (too) late Friday night to finish, even though I had an agility trial the next day (which means rising at ungodly early in order to drive two hours to the trial, arriving there by 7 AM). The satisfaction of leaving this sweet little toy dog completed instead of in parts was well worth the delayed bedtime.

1539 toy Gromit

Pattern: Border Collie

Designer: Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

Available: in Knit Your Own Dog (available for $8.49 on Amazon)

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (leftover Cream, Merlot Heather (I think), plus tiny scraps of Semolina, Edamame, and Ash)

As I mentioned in my review of Knit Your Own Dog, the pattern is made up of a billion tiny pieces, all worked flat.  After I seamed and stuffed the first leg, I thought it would be fun to show the bits that go into a toy Border Collie.  Right next to the penny is the left rear leg.  Above the leg, you can the top of the head.  The rest is just a big muddle!

1534 KYOD Border Collie bits

In this photo, the legs and body are all seamed and stuffed. I used pipe cleaners chenille stems to provide structure for the legs.  (I learned from making some cool amigurumi last year that this is absolutely necessary.) The ears are still waiting to be sewn on, and the original tail is looking awfully big … I ended up chucking it and making a smaller version than called for in the pattern, to better match my dog. I’m very impressed with how the designers achieved a very dog-like shape.  Often knit toys approximate real shapes with blobby shapes and imagination — but this one looks like the real thing!

1536 KYOD Border Collie (in progress)

For the eyes I pulled apart two strands of Edamame and Semolina, and re-plied some of each into a single strand of greeny-gold yarn to match Gromit’s eye color.  Simple French knots make surprisingly convincing eyes.  I embroidered the nose with satin stitch … I’m still not 100% satisfied, but I have decided to call it done after cutting out the stitches once or twice and starting over. The collar is made out of Ash — again, to match the real Gromit’s awesome collar (a D Dogs Designs original).

1546 toy Gromit

1547 toy Gromit

1545 toy Gromit