Monday, August 31, 2009

At long last... Steps to Stranded!

Special note: from now until 2/14/10, I will donate 50% of the proceeds from all my pattern sales to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief efforts.

Cardigan A ($1.99): buy now

Cardigan B ($2.99): buy now

Cardigan C ($2.99): buy now

Or the packet of all three ($5.99): buy now

I'm pleased finally to present a pattern I'm really excited about: Steps to Stranded Baby Cardigans!

This package of three top-down baby cardigan patterns is intended for all ranges of knitters, from beginners who only know knit and purl to intermediate or advanced knitters who have been wanting to try stranded knitting but are a little afraid to try.

Cardigan A has a circular yoke worked in contrasting self-striping yarn for a big effect with very little effort. Cardigan B uses Barbara Walker's "mosaic knitting" to achieve a two-color yoke while only working with one yarn at a time. And Cardigan C... is the one I'm really stoked about: it uses a modified mosaic technique worked over one row at a time to achieve what looks like fair isle... but without ever having to use more than one yarn at a time, and without steeking!

Cardigan A

Cardigan B

Cardigan C

The 16-page pattern includes detailed, illustrated instructions for every technique included in the pattern except knitting and purling, as well as lots of other photos, hints, and charts to make everything totally clear. It's written for thee sizes, from 3 months to 12 months.

Best of all, these three sweaters use up extra sock yarn and are also the same gauge and measurements as my Sock Yarn Stranded Sweater, so you can graduate from these to that! And in fact, the Sock Yarn Stranded fair isle yoke never has more than 3 stitches at a time of one color, so you could use the same modified mosaic technique from Cardigan C to knit it!

There are two ways to buy: you can buy the individual sweater patterns, or you can buy the packet of three patterns at a discount ($1.98 less than buying all three individually).

Cardigan A ($1.99): buy now

Cardigan B ($2.99): buy now

Cardigan C ($2.99): buy now

Or the packet of all three ($5.99): buy now


Phew, that was a lot of knitting for no particular recipient!

The second and third of my trio of circular-yoke baby sweaters are finally finished, and I'll be posting the pattern pronto! But first, a moment for boasting.

I am so excited about the technique I hit upon for working the yoke of this seemingly "fair isle" sweater. It achieves quite complicated, one-row color changes (whereas mosaic knitting requires pairs of two rows each), but without ever having to knit with two colors at once!

I am sure I am not the first person to have thought of this, but I did some poking around the internet and couldn't find any other examples. It's so simple, and yet so cool! If you're wondering how it works, check out the Purl Bee's Treeline Cardigan, which exploits the fact that circular needles have two working ends all the time to achieve one-row stripes in flat knitting. That's what got me thinking about how one could work one-row fair isle patterns, slipping stitches as if to work mosaic knitting, but instead of turning the work and purling back and slipping the same stitches, pushing the work to the right and knitting over the same row with the second color! It only works for patterns that have no more than three stitches in a row of one color, but it's an awesome trick! Now I want to use it as often as I can.

Anyway, be on the lookout for the pattern later this afternoon. Yay!

Actually, first a question, though: I am bundling them and selling them as one unit, with a price significantly cheaper than if I sold each individually. But would you want them also sold individually?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mental knitting = dealbreaker

Once again, knitting proves to be my litmus test, I think.

So I broke up with the boyfriend -- the one for whom I knit the OXO cable scarf for Christmas. That was actually good, as good as it could possibly be: the first real, mature adult breakup I've ever had, and we're on really good terms.

But that means I'm back to the internet dating. And it happened AGAIN: I was out on a (second) date with this guy who is in fact really quite sweet. And I started daydreaming about knitting. I mean, I was calculating sizing and gauge for patterns in my head. I was mentally assessing the virtues of a few different yarns for my next project.

Clearly a sign, n'est-ce pas?

Some possible ways of reading it: a) I'm clearly not into this guy. b) I am obsessed with knitting. c) Both of the above.

Or, I suppose: d) I'm not as ready to be dating again as I thought I was. e) I'm sublimating with fiber arts. f) Both of the above.

The poor guy. Thank god he didn't know the real reason I was dreamily smiling while he was talking.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A lot of circles

Finally got a chance to photograph a few of the projects in the works. Everything on the needles at the moment is circular! I've got now two baby yoke sweaters in the works and one finished:

I'm quite pleased with how this one came out, though there's some noticeable difference in the dye lots of the two skeins of "Grasshopper" -- most noticeably where the button band meets the collar.

Then there's a really simple garter yoke cardigan, using some leftover Knitpicks Felici self-striping yarn and Knitpicks "Bare":

And then there's the one that caused me the most consternation: a "fair-isle" yoke sweater using a super-secret trick to make it look much more complicated than it is to knit (which is why it's "fair isle" instead of fair isle). I had to rip and redo this yoke a number of times until I was satisfied with the way it looked.

And even when I was satisfied, I went back in and duplicate-stitched one row with the MC yarn (Knitpicks Stroll in "Tidepool Heather") because I was afraid there wasn't enough similarity between the yoke section and the body section (which is the old standby Knitpicks Essential/Stroll Kettle in "Grasshopper" and Lorna's Laces in "Gold Hill" -- the same two colors, in other words, that I used in the mosaic yoke cardigan pictured above). That combo looks quite different in single-row stranding rather than mosaic knitting, huh?

But it looks quite nice now! I'm busily knitting these as I write up the patterns, hoping to publish all three in one packet (they all have the same gauge and measurements). It's my hope that knitters could work from the garter-yoke one through to the "fair isle" one, gradually becoming more comfortable with stranded knitting. Then they could graduate to my Sock Yarn Stranded (which also has the same gauge and measurements) or to any other fair isle pattern! I'm a little frantic to get the pattern finished by the time Sock Summit is over, because even though I'm not going to Sock Summit, I figured that people would come home loaded up with beautiful sock yarn and be looking for projects to knit with it!

Then lastly, to continue the stranded knitting fiesta, there's one of these:

Which I am sure you all recognize as a Selbu Modern in the works, using a popular color combination. It took me a while to hit on the right color of blue, and I'm still not satisfied with it -- I was looking for "Tiffany Blue" or robin's-egg blue, but this is a little greener than either of those colors. I was inspired by haveyouanywool's version on Ravelry. She used Louet Gems fingering, but that was a little out of my price range and I don't like working with it -- too heavy and not springy enough for my taste. This is Knitpicks Essential/Stroll in "Glacial," a discontinued color, and the red is Valley Yarns Huntington (color 4150). I think in combination the two yarns look better than separately, and the Glacial looks sufficiently Tiffany-esque to cut it. Last year I had so much fun knitting and then wearing my Chevron Beret that I figured another pretty beret was just the ticket for getting ready for hat season!