Archive for the “design” Category


Last year at Rhinebeck, after much waffling about which colourway to get and whether my spinning skills would do justice to the beautifully prepared fibre, I bought this braid from Fiber Optic.

2013_rhinebeck_fiber_optic_gradient

It was an absolute pleasure to spin. Rather than going for a laceweight, which seems like the popular thing to do with gradients like this, I spun and chain-plied 152 yards of yarn as a slightly thin worsted weight; it looks similar to the grist of Cascade 220, but feels denser and less fuzzy due to the silk content.

fiber-optics_gradient

One reason that these gradient braids lend themselves to lace spinning and shawl knitting is that the length of each section of colour isn’t equal. There’s a lot less of the lighter aqua than the darker shades. If I were knitting a crescent shawl starting from the center, the stripes of each colour would come out approximately even as each row would take up more yarn.

Fiber Optics Gradient

Instead, I decided to knit a hat from the top down, something I’ve never done before. I looked at patterns on Ravelry, but nothing really jumped out at me to say “This yarn needs to be THIS HAT.” So, I opened up Excel and began to chart out the pattern for my next hat design. That meant delaying the pleasure of casting on for a new project, but ultimately I think I’ll be happier with something I’ve designed myself! It will be slightly textured for interest, but not so complex as to hide the beautiful gradient of colours. Maybe I’ll even put a pom-pom on top! I think I’ll call it the Rego Park Hat, after the place I was born… even if I only lived there for six months.

Comments No Comments »


Acres Wild is a hat with cabled slip stitches that looks more complicated than it really is. The quilted stitch pattern breaks up pooling in variegated yarn, and continues up into the crown to form a five-pointed star.

acres_wild1

Due to the way the stitch pattern comes together in the crown, the hat is knit over 120 stitches – use the yarn and needles you need to get the right gauge for your head! For a close-fitting beanie on my 21.5″ head, I used size 4 needles with DK weight yarn for a gauge of 7 stitches to the inch in stockinette, which yielded 5.5 stitches to the inch in the unstretched pattern stitch. For a larger head or a slouchier fit, choose larger yarn or needles.

~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
All proceeds from the sale of this pattern through 30 November 2014 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research in memory of Rebecca Meyer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YOU WILL NEED: 16″ circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of five double-point needles in the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. Stitch markers will definitely come in handy, both to mark the beginning of the round on the circular needle, and during the decrease rounds.

Get it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acres-wild-hat

acres_wild4

acres_wild3

Important Copyright Information: The Acres Wild Hat knitting pattern is © 2014 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make, and Knitting Pirate would very much appreciate it if credit is given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.

Comments No Comments »


I fell in love with this sock yarn as soon as I saw it, and I’ve finished the socks with plenty of time before winter! I have a daydream of showing them off, warming my toes at a ski lodge fire. They’re a standard top-down 64-stitch sock, no pattern in particular, though I used Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On rather than my usual long tail cast on. It’s a little more fiddly to get the tension right, but it let me start the yarn in exactly the right spot of the colour progression. This might be the first time I’ve deliberately made fraternally striping socks, rather than identical! The stripes were wide enough that I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn to make identical socks. As it turned out, I could have… but I think I like them better this way. I love how the heel takes up exactly one triple-stripe of the same colour. It prevents the “skipping” look over the ankle that some striped yarns have.

skiing1

Michael asked for some slightly more obnoxious socks than his usual subtle blues, and chose some Patons Kroy in Rainbow Stripes. The cuffs, heels, and toes are worked in navy just to make sure that the sock legs would be tall enough. (They’re almost. They could even be an inch taller.) I used the same basic pattern with a dutch heel that I’ve used before on his socks, because I know it fits him well. The second sock is still in progress.

kroy_me_a_rainbow1

And then there’s this… Dragonfly Fibers Traveler yarn, in the “Firecracker” colourway, that I bought at MDSW this past year and in three weeks, designed and knit the most delightful hat. I’m in the process of writing up the pattern so that I can share it. Trust me, you don’t want to try to knit from my notes – they’re covered in scribbles, doodles, design concepts, and lots of things crossed out. But the hat is beautiful, and shows off the variegated yarn perfectly. I hope to have the pattern published soon so that I can post pictures!

dragonfly_fibers-traveler2

Comments 2 Comments »


Last Sunday on the Remrants forum, we were taking pictures of pictures of pictures of looking at our mornings, much like the Infinite Cat Project. I can’t take pictures without a particular spotted cat showing up. “Pictures? We’re taking pictures? Oh boy oh boy! Can I be in the pictures? Can I get really really close to the camera– or should I just stare from across the room?”

Sunday with Kipling

The greatest part of doing this is that I grabbed the only knitting in the living room at the time for the picture – the grey armwarmers that have been languishing in the cabinet for months, while I felt more and more guilty about not working on them. Then the project was right there on the table in front of me, so I finished knitting the first of the pair – hooray! I need those DPNs to do the decreases on the hat I’m designing, which I hope to finish knitting over the weekend so I can write up and publish the pattern.

After that, I can knit the second armwarmer… and write up that pattern for publication as well, though it will be necessary to knit a second pair using a yarn with better stitch definition for the photographs. This first pair is made of KnitPicks Andean Treasure, which is a lovely soft yarn… but between the fuzz of the yarn and the dark grey colour, it’s really hard to see the stitch pattern.

I’m looking forward to sharing both of these patterns soon!

Comments Comments Off


Introducing… the Choppy Seas socks!

choppy-worn

These textured socks are reminiscent of the ocean on a stormy day, and the stitch pattern rolls and breaks like choppy waves. The darkening sky is represented in the contrasting toes, heels, and cuffs. Knit with Patons Kroy Sock over 60 stitches on US2/2.75mm needles, it works up fairly quickly.

choppy-heel

Although the stitch repeat begins with a purl stitch, the pattern draws in like ribbing, and so laddering is not an issue. Because of the stretchiness, one size should fit most. Because I’ve only written the pattern for one size (though its stretchiness will accommodate a wide range of foot widths) and because of the potential annoyance of beginning needles with purl stitches, I’m offering this pattern for free!

Get it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/choppy-seas

And here are some more pictures:

choppy2

choppy1

choppy-cuff

choppy-pair

Comments Comments Off


One of the works-in-progress that I want to finish during the Olympics is a project that I started a few months ago – my next sock design! It has a nifty twelve-row textured pattern that draws in like ribbing for a cushy snug fit. Knit with Patons Kroy Sock (one of my new favourite sock yarns!) in “Camo Colours” over 60 stitches on US2/2.75mm needles, it works up fairly quickly.

The only potential issue with this pattern is that each needle begins with a purl stitch. While this isn’t really a problem for me, I know that many knitters don’t like to do that. Fortunately, the pattern pulls in well enough that any looseness is taken up, and I’m sure a good soak or wash and wear would take care of uneven stitches. When knitting the foot, a few of the stockinette stitches from the sole can be rotated around so that the needle begins with the preferred knit stitch.

I’m reluctant to show this one off while it’s still in progress, so here’s a picture of the ball of yarn, half-knit up. I love the pattern made by the criss-crossing strands and gentle gradient. One day I’d like to see the machinery that winds balls of yarn. I’m fascinated by how the winding pattern on the inside of the ball is so different from the outside.

Sekrit Sock

Because I’ve only written the pattern for one size (though its stretchiness will accommodate a wide range of foot widths) and because of the potential annoyance of beginning needles with purl stitches, I’m going to offer this pattern for free! I hope to have it all typed up and formatted for publication in the next month or so. Keep an eye out!

Comments Comments Off


I’m making slow and steady progress on the Dancing Cranes stole, and last night I finished the leg of the second Cakewalk sock whilst watching the Cowboys make up for last year’s losses against the Giants. (Wooo! How ’bout dem Cowboys!) I’m planning to get a lot of knitting done on Sundays for the next few months now that the football season has begun! Football and sock knitting go together so well. It may be 90 degrees today but I’m already thinking about cozy afternoons by the fireplace, flannel shirts, warm knit socks, the colour of autumn leaves, and bowls of stew…

I’ve been thinking about something else, too, as the year comes to a close: writing up new patterns. At the end of last year I set a goal to design and publish at least two, so I’d better get working on that!

Yesterday I sketched out the designs for two stranded colourwork hats from this Lang Merino Superwash. I love these colours! I have two skeins of black as well, but no pictures of them all together. I should have enough for two hats here. A third hat design is tying my brain into knots and I think I’ll just have to knit it in order to understand it, but the armwarmers I’ve dreamed up should be easy enough for me to chart and knit up. I looked up stitch patterns and started to draw them together for a scarfy-shawl, but that one will probably need to be swatched so I can see how the different stitches go together; my mind’s eye can’t quite visualize it.

The yarn that I’ll need for the armwarmers and scarfy-shawl (stole? shawlette? wide scarf?) is already in my stash, so making up these designs will also help with the goal of using up more yarn than I bring in this year. I’m not quite sure I’m going to meet that goal… but I’m trying!

Comments Comments Off


This is the official end of the year tallying-up post!

Incoming fibre in 2011:
33.5 ounces fibre acquired at Maryland Sheep and Wool

Outgoing fibre in 2011:
Er… I spun a little bit. Not a lot. Way more came in than went out.

Incoming yarn in 2011:
7 skeins of Red Heart for my first crocheting project
1 sock yarn for Michael
3 Lang Merino DK for Winterlude-inspired colourwork hat and armwarmers
1 skein sock yarn at Rhinebeck
2 balls Patons Kroy Socks FX
5 balls Sugar ‘n Cream for washcloths
1 ball Serenity Sock Weight in navy for heels and toes on socks
4 balls Elann Silken Kydd for shawl

24

Outgoing yarn in 2011:
1.5 – Baby Surprise jacket
2 – Michael’s Fleeps
3 – Winterlude Hat ™
2 – time traveling Jaywalkers
7 – Hexagon blanket
6 – Sweaters for the twins
1 – gave a ball of sock yarn to Mom
1 – white washcloth
1 – blue washcloth
1 – argyle washcloth
1 – greens washcloth
1 – Quick Relief socks

27.5

There are some fair amount of leftovers from the hexagon blanket and the twins’ sweaters, unfortunately. On the other hand, the leftovers may come in handy for swatching, experimenting, or knitting little toys. Still, more yarn went out than came in, and I’m pleased with that!

The Year in Knitting (and Crocheting):
2011 Projects

Favourite project:
I think that prize would have to go to the Winterlude Hat(tm), for being the only thing I knit this year of my own handspun. Between the wool and the fleece lining it’s a super warm hat, even if I think I made the lining a little on the small side. It stays on just fine when I tie it under my chin!

Least Favourite project:
Unfortunately, it was the Presto Chango sweaters. I am a little sad that I didn’t put as much love into my niecelets’ sweaters as I wanted to. Had I used a different yarn, I might have felt differently about them. The pattern was great, but the KnitPicks Swish and I didn’t get along very well.

Patterns Published:
None. But I have ideas! Many, many ideas…

For Next Year:
I know it’s a mistake to make too many resolutions, so here are the things I *want* to do, and if I get some of them done I’ll be happy!
– spin more
– knit something with handspun yarn
– design and publish two new patterns
– try a new sock architecture
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks
– finish the Dancing Cranes stole in time to wear to a wedding
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase
– get some stock in the Etsy shop

Comments Comments Off


There is absolutely no progress to report on the Dancing Cranes stole. I spent Wednesday after work configuring my new computer (yay, new computer!) and so didn’t have time in the evening to knit. Last night when I sat down to put my two rows on I completely misread the chart and knit, then painstakingly unknit, about 80 stitches. Unknitting the SSKs was not particularly enjoyable, but eventually I’d gotten back to my mistake and worked forward again until I realized that my eyes were crossing from tiredness. Since sleepy lace knitting is a recipe for making mistakes in lace knitting, I put the stole down halfway through a row and went to bed.

I’ve been thinking about design again! The weather is getting colder and that makes me want to knit cozy warm things. I had the idea for a double-thick fingerless glove/convertible mitten, with colourwork on the outside mitten. Already I’m sketching out how it would be constructed. Both the inside and outside would be worked in DK weight yarn, possibly using different yarns for each. The outside would use a strong and smooth yarn so the colourwork would show up well, while the inside could be made of a softer luxurious yarn.

Happy Feline Friday! Could these two be any cuter?

Yes, Floyd does have bald spots around his lips. When he was a young kitten he had an allergic reaction that gave him horrible skin crusties in his ears and on his pawpads and lips. Poor little guy! We’re still not sure what caused it, but fortunately the crusties cleared up quickly and have never come back. Usually it’s difficult to notice that the fur doesn’t grow well around his mouth; the camera flash reflecting off his skin makes it seem worse than it really is.

Comments 2 Comments »


Day Six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to.
Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.

There’s very little that scares me about knitting anymore. Even the most complicated lace pattern can be broken down to doing it one stitch at a time. Turning a short-row heel, a process which once left me nervously knitting a scarf while procrastinating on the sock, no longer fazes me. Colourwork with three colours in one row? No big deal. (Slow going, but not intimidating.) Entrelac? Doesn’t interest me, but I bet I could do it. Steeking? Sure, why not?

No, for me the aspiration is design. I have so many designs in my head that I want to knit up and write up and publish. I have both well-imagined patterns and vague ideas to work from. But I knit slowly, and often get frustrated with poorly-written patterns. What really intimidates me now is the time it would take to figure out the complex patterns I want to knit, and the idea of knitting them not just from a poorly-written pattern, but from no pattern at all.

So what’s on my list to design?

The green lacy sock that I began in Cookie A.’s class several years ago
Several more simple sock designs, one with a little bit of colour and one with texture
A Winterlude-inspired hat and armwarmers or gloves/mittens set
A pattern inspired by the geometric shapes of a bridge I crossed on a road trip
A shawl that uses the same motifs in both a triangular and a rectangular version

It’s going to take me *years* to get these things done, and that’s what’s most intimidating about it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments 5 Comments »