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: 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!

2130 cropped cardi

2126 cropped cardi

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: 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: 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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1204 photog mitts

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.