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:

Cast-on Monday: Regal Firefly Shrug, Damask Potion, and Pinky Pink Rose Ruffled Scarf

Oh dear, cast-on-itis hit hard this week!

It all started Monday, when I drove to Andover to teach my Steek This class. I was also signed up to staff the brand-spanking-new “Knitting 911” hour right before my class. I thought to myself, Self, you should knit on a project using Unforgettable Yarns yarn, while you are being the Knitting 911 Knitter.   So, I printed out the pattern for the Ruffled and Ruched Scarf, wound up a skein of heathered-pink Cascade 220, and cast on right then and there.

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Then, I went on a weekend knitting retreat to Maine with some awesome knitting friends.  I had a terrible time choosing which WIPs and potential WIPs to take along …. so I didn’t choose.  I brought piles and piles of yarn and projects and patterns — as if it were a month-long knitting retreat with a TARDIS to give us several extra years of knitting time.  While there, I worked on about half a dozen projects, including my Flurry sweater prototype.  I also cast on for my Damask shawl (largest version) with new Stroll Glimmer in Potion.  I absolutely love it.  It’s hard to see the sparkle in these photos, but please be sure that the Stellina is shiny in just the right amount, as well as being unbelievably soft to the touch.

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When I arrived home late Sunday night, there was a Knit Picks box waiting for me!  This box had six balls of Capra DK in Regal — destined to make a Firefly Shrug for my mom.  I have to scoot on this project, because she needs it for a wedding in mid-October.  I cast on today!

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New Pattern Release: Steek This Coffee Cozy

Introducing my latest pattern: Steek This Coffee Cozy! I designed this button-up mini vest to fit 20-oz coffee cups. More important than a stylish accessory for your latte, however, is the opportunity to try out steeking!

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Steeking is technique used to safely and securely cut your knitting to create holes where you want them. It is frequently used with complex colorwork sweaters, because it is easier and faster to knit colorwork in the round. It can be scary to steek a big sweater, so I created this scaled-down steeking project to help knitters try out the technique fearlessly. The cozy is worked in the round with stranded colorwork to create a classic fair-isle pattern. Then follow the step-by-step guide to steeking with a crocheted reinforcement.

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Pattern: Steek This Coffee Cozy

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available:  FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: Cascade 220 Solids and Heathers

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2776 Steek This

Inspiration: This coffee cozy popped into my head when I was thinking about fun, useful classes that I wanted to teach. If we get enough people, I’ll be teaching “Steek This” on Mondays this September at Unforgettable Yarns.

Yarn: Natural fibers, NOT superwash

Design/Skills Needed: This project is best for knitters who have experience with colorwork and knitting in the round.  The tutorial walks you through the process of reinforcing the steek with a crocheted chain before cutting. Stitches are picked up along the two edges created by cutting, and the button bands are knit from there.

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

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.

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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