Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wonder Woman Blankie

When one of my coworkers announced her pregnancy last summer, I was really hoping it would be a girl. She, her husband, and their daughter are all a bit obsessed with superheros, so I was itching for an excuse to knit up a modified Wonder Woman Wrap Blankie for the occasion. Shortly thereafter, she found out it was indeed another little girl, so I got to work! I've heard from several other crafters who've wanted to modify my patterns for other purposes, so I thought I'd share my blanket mods with you, just in case you're looking to do something similar. I used the knitted WWWrap as my starting point, but similar tweaks could also be made to the crochet version, if you're so inclined.

Wonder Woman Blankie

First off, I knew it needed to be machine washable since baby blankets are susceptible to all sorts of stains. I found just what I needed at my local Joann store in the form of Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted Solids. They have a wide array of colors, but I was drawn to their Really Red, Lemon, and Royal Blue. I grabbed two skeins each of the red and yellow and one skein of blue for the border. Then I went home and set about swatching!

Wonder Woman BlankieWonder Woman Blankie

With my worsted weight yarn and size 8 (5mm) needles, I cast on using the Wee size instructions in the pattern. Since I didn't want my blanket to grow in width quite as quickly as the original wrap does, I chose to only work the kfb increase at the beginning and end of every other row, rather than every row. I also slipped the first stitch of every row for a nice clean selvage edge - makes it easier to pick up for the border later! When I reached my desired blanket width, about halfway through the side stripes, I stopped doing the kfb increases altogether so the blanket width would stay constant after that. After finishing the Upper Triangles, I simply continued to knit even in garter stitch until I was almost out of red yarn, leaving enough for just one more row. Next, I made second piece exactly the first and grafted the two halves together in the center with kitchener stitch to form a hexagonal-ish blanket.

Wonder Woman BlankieWonder Woman Blankie

Finally, I grabbed my size H (5mm) crochet hook and worked a border all around consisting of four rounds of half double crochet stitches. Along the cast-on edges, I worked one hdc in each cast-on stitch; along the straight vertical sides, I worked one hdc in each selvage stitch (so 1 hdc per 2 garter rows); and along the angled increases edges, I did 3 hdc for every 2 selvage stitches (so 3 hdc per 4 garter rows). As I worked my border rounds, I did a double increase at each corner as well. I probably could've stood to pick up fewer stitches and/or do fewer increases since the border got slightly ruffly toward the end, but I think it still turned out fine. If you'd rather, you could certainly do a knitted border instead, but the thought of binding off that many stitches was not a pleasant one, so I opted for crochet.

Wonder Woman Blankie

I hope that helps give you some ideas of how to adapt this pattern to other uses. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Modern Tapestry Crochet

I am not just a knitter. I'm a Knitter. Capital K. Everywhere I look, I see knitting. How I can I recreate that woman's sweater? Oh, that brick pattern would translate nicely to a knitted shawl! I'm a bit obsessive.

My crochet status, however, is strictly lowercase. Technically, I've been crocheting longer than I've been knitting, but once I picked up the needles, the hook just hasn't gotten as much love as it deserves. I've been trying to work on that lately because I do, in fact, enjoy crocheting and want to get better at it, to try new techniques and see what the craft can really do. With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to review a copy of Alessandra Hayden's Modern Tapestry Crochet.

Everpurple Country Cowl

To practice this new-to-me technique of crocheted colorwork, I chose her Evergreen Country Cowl pattern because its two-color southwest-esh design seemed like a fairly simple start to get my feet wet. I used some stash yarn - Patons SWS Soy Wool Solids in Natural Raisin and Natural.

Everpurple Country CowlEverpurple Country Cowl

The author explained everything so well. As a matter of fact, because I had actually read the instructional pages at the beginning of the book, I knew immediately what I'd done wrong when I noticed my cowl was developing an upside-down-funnel shape, narrowing as it went upward. I had been holding the unused color too tightly when crocheting around it causing the fabric to get tighter and tighter. That wouldn't do at all if I wanted it to fit over my huge head, so a'ripping we will go! My second attempt, holding the yarn a little differently for a looser gauge, turned out much more even (and wearable!).

Everpurple Country Cowl

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to level-up their hooking skills, or even experienced crocheters on the hunt for stylish, modern accessories. I already have my eye on a few more designs in this book for future projects.

Everpurple Country CowlEverpurple Country Cowl

Monday, November 20, 2017

Deflection Shawl

My latest obsession: Brioche stitch. Ask my knitting group - it's all I've been doing lately. It's such a simple technique to achieve striking results! You can make you stripes bright and bold, or more subtle and understated, just by choosing higher or lower contrasting yarns. I especially love mixing brioche with basic garter stitch, as in my latest pattern, the Deflection shawl.

Deflection Shawl
Deflection Shawl

Beginning at one point, the shawl is divided in two halves along a center spine, with each stitch pattern section slowly expanding. As you near the midway point, the brioche begins to encroach on the garter section while a second garter section appears on the opposite edge. After the brioche stripes reach the other side, you begin to decrease again, slowly tapering to a point once more.

Deflection Shawl

This shawl is very easily adjusted for different sizes. If you weigh your yarn before you start, you can simply work the increasing rows until you have used up roughly a third of your yarns, or until the center spine measures roughly a third of your desired final length. Then follow the rest of the pattern as written (though your stitch counts may vary), and you’ve got yourself a custom-sized shawl. I've even experimented with making it much smaller for a neckerchief/headwrap and or even a tiny little wrist cuff!

Deflection ShawlDeflection Shawl

SIZE
One size, easily adjusted

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 78 inches
Height at center: 17 inches

MATERIALS
Fingering weight yarn, approximately 400yds/366m each of two colors
LC: Meadowcroft Dyeworks Yarn Rehab Rockshelter Sock [100% merino; 400yds/366m per 100g skein]; color: Apothecary; 1 skein
DC: Meadowcroft Dyeworks Yarn Rehab Rockshelter Sock [100% merino; 400yds/366m per 100g skein]; color: Belgische Chocolate; 1 skein
US #3/3.25mm circular needle
Tapestry needle
2 stitch markers

GAUGE (after blocking)
23 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch
18 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in brioche rib

Buy the pattern on Ravelry now!

Deflection ShawlDeflection Shawl

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!