Sunday, October 15, 2017

AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs

I recently received a copy of Andrea Rangel's AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary to review, and I couldn't have been more excited to flip through its pages.

Menagerie of Hats

As a designer, I often rely on my collection of stitch dictionaries to spark ideas. Unlike those already on my shelves, this new book is a little off-beat, just like me! It's chock-full of two-color stranded motifs that range from science-y to silly, and everything in between. Looking for adorable animals, gorgeous geometrics, or priceless pop culture references? Look no further!

Menagerie of Hats

In the back, you'll find an index where all the patterns are sorted by stitch count for super-simple substitutions. Want to liven up a basic beanie? Say you're working with 120 stitches per round. Browse through Andrea's library of swatches for something with a 10-, 12-, 15-, 20-, or 24-stitch repeat, and then just plug it into your pattern. How easy is that?

Menagerie of HatsMenagerie of Hats

Or maybe you don't have a specific garment in mind yet? That's cool too. Andrea has provided five classic designs, along with tips on how to swap out motifs, if you're so inclined. I chose to work up her Bikey Beanie, which she shows with either bicycles or hearts to give you an idea of how of it would look with other designs. I thought it would be cute to make a whole set of hats for my niece and nephews, in coordinating colors and varying motifs to suit each of their personalities. Let's meet the menagerie!

Menagerie of Hats

First, it was elephants for Eleanor. These precious, pastel pachyderms will be perfect for my niece, who is approaching the one-year mark. My family has extremely large heads, so I googled infant head sizes and found the 99th percentile for 12-month-olds is 19 inches - an exact match for the small size for this hat pattern. Worst case, she'll grow into it. Since the elephant chart's stitch count wasn't quite right for the hat’s stitch count, I simply cast on four fewer to get the right multiple. Then for the crown shaping I omitted four of the decreases in the first decrease round. Aren't these little fellas adorable, all linked trunk to tail?

Menagerie of HatsMenagerie of Hats

The middle kid is a climber with a penchant for primates, so monkeys were the only logical conclusion. I know from gifted hats of Christmases past that the nephews' heads are now about the same size as my own, so I used the larger size of the pattern for the boys' beanies.

Menagerie of HatsMenagerie of Hats

Finally, the soon-to-be 13-year-old nephew. What better way to win the heart of a adolescent boy than with Poopin' Pigs, am I right? Yeah, you read that right. Andrea provides plenty of giggles throughout her book with some her more off-the-wall designs that are at least 9 kinds of awesome. I think these squattin' swine are sure to please!

Menagerie of HatsMenagerie of Hats

The yarn I used was Louet Gems Fingering Weight in Terra Cotta, Pewter, Fern Green, and Navy. I've found this line to be an excellent workhorse yarn, available in several truly lovely solid shades with the extra bonus of being machine washable!

Menagerie of Hats

For all three hats, I used a tubular cast on because I love how it looks with ribbing. In the sections of colorwork with large swaths of a single color, I locked my floats by twisting the two strands every two stitches because baby fingers.

Menagerie of Hats

Cheers to having three holiday gifts finished by October!

Menagerie of Hats


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Birthday Pattern Sale

Tomorrow is my birthday, so let’s celebrate! Use promo code HAPPY35TH at checkout to get 35% off all my downloadable knitting patterns available through Ravelry! Click here to peruse my patterns and purchase before midnight (US central time) on Sunday October 8 to take advantage of this sale!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wonder Woman Wrap: The Sequel

Following last month's release of my Wonder Woman Wrap knitting pattern, I have been absolutely inundated with requests for a crochet version as well as a child's size. Of course, I am only too happy to oblige!

Wonder Woman Wrap - Crochet
Wee Wonder Woman Wrap - Crochet

So I've spent the past several weeks making calculations, working up swatches and samples, and obviously, having my very first crochet pattern thoroughly tested by experienced crocheters to make sure it's up to snuff.

Wonder Woman Wrap - CrochetWee Wonder Woman Wrap - Crochet
Wonder Woman Wrap - CrochetWee Wonder Woman Wrap - Crochet

Now, I am pleased to announce the release of a crocheted Wonder Woman Wrap, in addition to the re-release of the knitting pattern - and both versions now include two sizes! The original "Wondrous" size is perfect for wrapping up all cozy-like, while the "Wee" size is ideal for children, or maybe just an adult who fancies more of a scarf than a shawl.

Wonder Woman Wrap - CrochetWee Wonder Woman Wrap - Crochet

CROCHET SPECS:

SIZE
Wee[Wondrous]

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 64[94] inches
Height at center: 15[24] inches

MATERIALS
Fingering weight yarn - 220[400]yds/200[365]m each of two colors
   Wee sample:
      Louet Gems Fingering [100% merino; 185yds/169m per 50g skein];

         2 skeins Navy, 1 skein Pewter
   Wondrous sample:
      Lazy Cat Yarns Radiance [50% merino, 50% silk; 437yds/400m per 100g skein];
         1 skein 102 Sweet Dreams, 1 skein Amber Waves
H/8 or 5mm hook
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
12 hdc by 13 rows = 4 inches by 4 inches, after blocking

Download the FREE CROCHET pattern via Ravelry!

And check out the miniature knit version too!

Mini Wonder Woman Wrap
Mini Wonder Woman WrapMini Wonder Woman Wrap

KNIT SPECS:

SIZE
Wee[Wondrous]

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 60[86] inches
Height at center: 11[22] inches

MATERIALS
Fingering weight yarn - 175[360]yds/160[330]m each of two colors
   Wee sample:
      Lazy Cat Yarns Endurance [75% merino, 25% nylon; 231yds/211m per 50g skein];
         1 skein 102 Sweet Dreams, 1 skein Amber Waves
   Wondrous sample:
      Lazy Cat Yarns Opulence [70% merino, 20% silk, 10% cashmere; 437yds/400m per 100g skein];
         1 skein 102 Sweet Dreams
      Hedgehog Fibres Sock [90% merino, 10% nylon; 437yds/400m per 100g skein];

         1 skein Pollen US #4/3.5mm circular needle
Tapestry needle
5 stitch markers

GAUGE
17 sts/33 rows = 4 inches by 4 inches in garter stitch, after blocking

Download the FREE KNIT pattern via Ravelry!

Mini Wonder Woman Wrap

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Classic Knit Shawls

Hey, everyone! It's time for another book review! Classic Knit Shawls is a collection of 20 beautiful shawl patterns from the Interweave archives, and like any good collection, the editors made it so difficult to choose a favorite. They're all just plain gorgeous! So my approach was to imagine I had infinite knitting time and plan out several of my top picks.


First, there's Junius by Corrina Ferguson. It's so cozy and wrap-up-able, don't you think? It calls for 960 yards of sport weight, which I do not have in stash, sadly, at least not all in one color. So if I were to knit this, I'm thinking I might create a manual gradient effect using four neutral hues of Classic Elite MountainTop Vail (Parchment, Sand, Adobe, and Camel).

Classic Knit Shawls

Next, I came across Diospyros by Andrea Jurgrau. This long, lacy, beaded stole feels so elegant. Though it doesn't quite meet the prescribed 800 yards, I would love to knit this up with my ball of Cascade Yarns Forest Hills in Silver, and maybe throw in these tiny pearl beads to add to that air of elegance.

Classic Knit Shawls

Then I turned (well, swiped) to the very next page and found Carol Feller's Orangery. I loved the way these colorful ripples felt playful and, at the time, still sophisticated by keeping the colors tonal. I'm sure I could mix and match a few different brands in my stash to make up the 1275 yards of fingering weight for this pattern, but since we're just daydreaming here, I would adore this shawl in a mix of pinks and oranges, like Manos del Uruguay Serena in Hummingbird, Flamingo, and Canyon. Unfortunately, I only have 510 yards of this sport weight yarn, so not even close. But I maintain it makes a gorgeous hypothetical shawl in my head.

Classic Knit Shawls

Corrina Ferguson had another winner in this collection with the Lale shawl. I thought its sweet floral motif would be fantastic in the Fern Green colorway of Louet Gems Fingering. Again, the weight is all wrong - the pattern calls for 675 yards of DK yarn - but with 924 yards of this fingering weight yarn, I bet I could work more repeats of the motif to scale it up a bit.

Classic Knit Shawls

And a second score for Andrea Jurgrau as well with The Purple Shawl. She must love beaded lace, huh? Not that I blame her. If I were to cast on right now, I would use my skein of Heavenly Fingering by The Uncommon Thread in their Azurite colorway. And it's spot on with 440 yards compared to the pattern's recommended 430. To offset the in-your-face blue, I'd keep it simple with little silver glass beads.

Classic Knit Shawls

Manda Shah's Trillium caught my eye also. It looks like the perfect autumn shawl, so I pulled out my Phoenix Rises gradient set of Luxe from The Unique Sheep. Unfortunately, I'd be short-changing myself again with only 600 yards of fingering weight, a good bit shy of the 770 yards needed to knit up this beauty, but hey, this is my fantasy world, so don't judge.

Classic Knit Shawls

Lastly, there was Emmylou, a third home run for Corrina Ferguson. She might be cheating with the orange though. She knows my weakness. To prove I am not a slave to my knitting urges, I would instead go with a pretty purple-red, Madelinetosh Sock in Sun Rose. I'm hoping the sample didn't use every last inch of that 400 yards though, so my 395 yards would still get the job done.

Classic Knit Shawls

Boy, if I could knit as fast as my imagination can, there'd be no stopping me!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Wonder Woman Wrap

I've discovered something over the last few months. When life gets stressful, I knit. I don't sew. I don't cross-stitch. I don't really do any other crafts either. They're all fun, of course, but I guess they each take more energy or something. At the end of a looooong work day, all I want to do is sit on the couch and knit. Even if it's a new design that still requires brain power, I'm much more relaxed with yarn in my hands than anything else.

Wonder Woman Wrap

You know what else I've discovered? I'm pretty badass. Wonderful, in fact! And hey, so are you! I say we all knit ourselves a little affirmation accessory right away.

Wonder Woman WrapWonder Woman Wrap

I tried to keep this pattern as simple as possible so it would be accessible to a wide range of knitters. However, some fairly basic short-rows were required to get the logo right. With that said, I think an advanced beginner, or even an adventurous newbie, could still handle it.

Wonder Woman WrapWonder Woman Wrap

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 86 inches
Height at center: 22in

MATERIALS
Color A: Lazy Cat Yarns Opulence [70% merino, 20% silk, 10% cashmere;
400m/437yd per 100g skein]; color: 102 Sweet Dreams; 1 skein
Color B: Hedgehog Fibres Sock [90% merino, 10% nylon;
400m/437yd per 100g skein]; color: Pollen; 1 skein
US #4/3.5mm circular needle
Tapestry needle
5 stitch markers

GAUGE
17 sts/33 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch

Download the FREE pattern via Ravelry!

Wonder Woman Wrap

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Geode Shawl

Well, my work-life balance is still decidedly unbalanced lately. It turns out, when I finally sign off for the evening, all I want to do is Netflix and knit. Not so good for exercising my sewing machine, but I do feel like I'm putting a dent in my yarn stash at least. I'm not sure I am putting a dent in it, but I feel like I am. So there's that. And there's this: a new shawl design!

Geode Shawl

When the hard, cold, sharp beauty of nature meets the soft, warm, gentle touch of yarn, you may discover a desire to wrap yourself up in a little rock candy. This geode-inspired shawl is perfect for those gorgeous gradient yarns that are everywhere these days. Pick up one in a brightly colored hue for the interior crystals and another in a neutral grey or brown for the border.

Geode ShawlGeode Shawl

A mix of simple lace, ripples, and garter stitch make this pattern a fairly easy yet interesting project perfect for those evenings on the couch after a long, hard day.

Geode ShawlGeode Shawl

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 54 inches
Height at center: 22in

MATERIALS
Color A: KnitWhits Freia Ombré Fingering [75% wool, 25% nylon;
294m/322yd per 75g skein]; color: Nightshade; 1 skein
Color B: Panorama Fiber Arts Socky Bombs [75% wool, 15% nylon, 10% tencel;
402m/440yd per 100g skein]; color: Grayscale; 1 skein
US 6/4mm needles
Tapestry needle
14 stitch markers

GAUGE
20 sts/28 rows = 4inches in stockinette stitch

Buy it now through Ravelry!

Geode ShawlGeode Shawl

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Death Star

Oh, I am so behind in blogging, you guys. It's been a work- and fun-filled couple of months, and I promise to tell you all about it. In between it all, however, I did have time to whip a quick bit of knitted geekery for my brother's birthday gift. And you get to benefit as well! You can download the FREE PDF for this pattern from Ravelry!

Death Star

As many kids our age did, my brother and I grew up loving Star Wars, so a cuddly little Death Star ball seemed a perfectly appropriate present. I used some pale grey DK weight yarn I had on hand, but you can feel free to substitute as you like. If you use a different weight yarn, just increase or decrease your needle size accordingly to get a fairly dense fabric, so your filling doesn't poke through your stitches.

Death StarDeath Star

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Circumference = 12in/30cm
Height = 4in/10cm

MATERIALS
Plymouth Yarn Encore DK [75% acrylic, 25% wool;
150yds/137m per 50g skein]; Color: 466 Grey; 1 skein
US 1/2.25mm circular or double-pointed needles
Stuffing (fiber fill, waste yarn, etc.)
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
24 sts/32 rows = 4in/10cm in stockinette stitch

Download PDF through Ravelry!

Death Star