February 27, 2015

Friday Notes

The week comes to a glorious end with the arrival of the big yellow bus this morning to take children to school after their having been out for 8 of 10 school days.  Mama is ready for a break!

This morning also brings the featuring of one of my very first sock patterns to have been published--I remember working this pattern up during a long week of supervising AP testing at the last school for which I was an AP coordinator and my daughter was ... 6 going on 6 instead of the current 11 going on 25.  Those were the days ...  But I digress.  HandmadeFuzzy has featured my Tutti-Fruitti Butterfly Knee Socks pattern for girls in her Friday post today, and it's worth checking out! The pattern is also available on Ravelry, if you are interested in working up a pair for a young girl in your life.

I would also like to direct your attention to a little promotion that I am doing for my newsletter (which is free, by the way).  During the month of March, all new subscribers will receive a code for one free pattern from my Ravelry store.  I have some really great patterns in there, including my insanely popular Sportsman and Sportswoman fingerless glove patterns and the newest pattern, the Wicker asymmetrical shawl.  All you have to do is click on the "subscribe to my newsletter" link on the left-hand side of the page or click here:  Subscribe Now!

Subscribers to my newsletter receive monthly subscriber-only discounts plus advance notice of new colorways, bases, and pattern releases.  There are some changes going on this year, so some yarns are being discontinued and that means that subscribers also receive advance notice of those sales.  What could be better than advance notice for sales and special discounts delivered to your inbox? All you have to do is, really, enter your email address in the form and click submit.  I hope you'll be my next new subscriber!

And speaking of pattern releases ... I have 3 on the horizon, so be looking for those!  The first is a crescent shawl for single-ply yarn with a stunning knit-on vintage edging and the second is a drop-shoulder, mock-cable cardigan that will make you feel warm and cozy no matter how cold the temperature is!  Finally, soon to be released in the next Spring/Summer Knit Picks is my Strand Hill Cardigan, a lacey, light-weight cardigan that is sure to be your go-to summer knit.

Now off to enjoy some time with my knitting.  Happy crafting everyone!

February 25, 2015

Bias Knitting Made Easy

You know, knitting in a sideways direction is really quite easy.  Some of the easiest and most interesting patterns en vogue right now are worked up sideways.  It's all in the increase or decrease, depending on where you put them.

 I think that many knitters, even a large percentage of veteran knitters, are confused by or daunted by the term "knitting on the bias".  I had been doing it for years and years before I even bothered to find out what that term meant.  In fact, my kitchen sink has been home to bias knitting since I was in college; my mother's and grandmother's sinks far longer than that.  The first dish cloth that I learned to make was, it turns out, bias knitting.  If you increase at the beginning of every row with a YO or an M1, whether you are working solids or stripes, you are knitting on the bias. As a matter of a fact, all you have to do is to keep knitting in garter stitch until you have an equilateral (all sides equal) triangle.  Then, you just work in reverse: instead of increasing at the beginning of each row, you increase and then decrease at the beginning of each row.  I almost always knit my dish cloths, or should I say do my bias knitting, as follows:

CO 4 sts. K one row.
R1: K2, YO, K across. Repeat for all rows until all sides of the triangle are equal. (That's about 52 rows for me in dish cloth weight cotton with US 8 needles.)

R1: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K across. Repeat for all rows until you have decreased to 4 sts. BO. Weave in ends.

Is that not the simplest pattern you've ever seen in your life?  And it's bias knitting to boot!

But there's more to do with bias knitting than just to make a dish cloth.  You could make a bazillion squares, seam them together, and have an afghan.  You could make them smaller and have coasters.   Or you could modify this pattern just a wee bit and make a garter st (change WS rows to purl for stocking st) bias scarf. I'll also say that the increase method is totally flexible. If you don't want to do a YO, do a Kftb or an M1L.

Set Up:
CO 4 sts.
R1: K.
R2 (RS): K1, YO, K to last st, YO, K1.
Work these two rows until you end up with the width that you like--I'm an 8-inch wide kind of gal, so my scarf would be about 36 sts in a worsted weight yarn on a US 8 needle.

(This is beginning to look a lot like knitting a dish cloth, isn't it?)

Now the bias fun begins:
R1 (WS): Knit all sts.
R2 (RS): K1, YO, K across to last 2 sts, K2tog, YO, K2tog.
Work these two rows until your scarf is just shy of the total length that you desire, and then you'll cap it off by basically working the set-up in reverse.

Decreasing to the Finish Line:
R1 (WS): Knit all sts.
R2 (RS): K2tog, YO, K2tog, K across to last 4 sts, K2tog, YO, K2tog.
Repeat until you have 6sts remaining.
Then, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog. 5 sts remain.
Knit next row.
K2tog, K1, K2tog. 3 sts remain.

Weave in ends and block.

As an afterthought to this pattern: if you make a bazillion bias scarves, you can seam them together for one nifty blanket, too. This little bit of bias knitting that I've done for the photos comes out to be just the right size for a Barbie bath mat. If I had made it a little larger and then made a second, I could have sewn the 2 together for a little phone pouch.

So that's about all there is to bias knitting.  It's pretty much just simple increases or decreases. You should try it.  You won't believe how long it took you to learn to knit sideways when it's been so simple all along!


KFTB:  knit through the front of the st, knit through the back of the same stitch, slip off left-hand needle.
YO:  yarn over
M1L:  increase by picking up the bar between stitches from the front of the bar and knitting into the back of the twist.

February 24, 2015

The FOs are piling up!

With all this dreary, crazy, make-a-girl-have-to-stay-inside-and-knit winter weather that we have been subjected to lately, I've managed to whip out a few FOs.  Unfortunately, my most amazing FO will have to wait for its reveal until I find out whether or not it will be picked up by a magazine, but in the meantime, I can share these Hiker Chick socks made in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock (color way is Sugar Shack)

and these Sportswoman Fingerless Gloves that I made in my Rocket Sock Mad Hatter for my friend Whitney

and my version of Palazzo, knit in Noro King (the label says the color way is "Color No. 1, Lot B")

I've already started a new pair of Garden Gate socks for my March pair of socks, so more to come on that when I get enough cabling done to make for good pictures and I've gone back to that crescent shawl that I was working on in December/January so maybe I can get this sideways-knit edging done and have that to show off, as well.

And I leave you with a picture of this morning on the farm.  The animals are not happy and the sheep are particularly aggressive today. They have informed me that all this crazy weather (i.e. gale force winds that flip their 500+ lb. sheds, sleet, ice, torrential rain, below freezing one day and near 70 degrees F. the next, and now snow) was not part of the contract.  They would like Mother Nature to give them a break!  The horses and I share their sentiment.

Oliver, Stella, and Blanche

February 20, 2015

Palazzo makes it's book debut!

Because I know that you are going to want to check this out right now, and then come back to read the rest of the post, this is one of my newly published patterns, Palazzo, and you can find it here and here.

It's digital and it's available in PRINT!!!!

Pattern book containing Palazzo
The printed version is the best because it's contained in an actual book--a buy-it-in-the-bookstore-book--and I couldn't be more excited!

This pattern is a favorite of mine because it is soooooo very versatile when it comes to which yarn to choose.

Originally, I did the test knit in a self-striping Noro King, and then I did a second in a solid Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn, and then Knit Picks had it knit up in this gorgeous mustard-y alpaca (Diadem: 50% alpaca/50% silk). Any yarn you knit it with gives you a FABULOUS result, but I wish they would have sent me this silk/alpaca one just for giggles! You can really knit it to whatever length you like, as well, and if you're adventurous, you can seam the ends together and make a sexy cowl.

The pattern can be worked up into really any weight, so you can work up one for every season, not just for stepping out in the Spring. Remember, though, that the heavier the yarn, the wider the scarf.

So skip on over to Ravelry or Knit Picks and order one of these patterns or the book for yourself because, seriously, just between us girls, this is a scarf that you NEED in your closet.


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