Archive for the “design” Category
On April 4, this blog will be TEN YEARS OLD. Ten! Can you believe it? As my grandma used to say, “Who’d’a thunk it?” (And, as I’ve heard elsewhere, “how much could there possibly be to write about knitting?!” Quite a bit, as it turns out.) I’d like to release a new pattern to celebrate this significant “blogiversary,” but obviously that means starting now so that it has a chance of being ready for release in a few months.
I knew I wanted the hat to be stranded colourwork using four colours of yarn, which is outside the realm of my usual knitting – but a special anniversary calls for a special design! So I opened up Excel and started slapping colours into cells. Then there was a lot of rearranging, cutting-and-pasting, scowling, adjusting, centering, shifting, and re-adjusting. Eventually I had something I liked, so I retrieved the yarn I wanted to use (Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool) and some US size 4/3.5mm needles, and started knitting a swatch.
I knit several inches of stockinette to get a feel for the yarn, and then decided to swatch one of the motifs I’d charted. Unwisely, I failed to record the colourways and dye lots when I bought the yarn a few years ago, but the colours are a rich brown, cherry red, pale blue, and creamy white. It doesn’t quite matter, as I’m writing the pattern in two different sizes that will work with four different gauge tensions, so knitters will be able to pick the yarn they like best. This is the colour combination I like for myself, but I’ll offer a few other combination ideas in the final pattern.
Yep, I think that’s going to work just fine. The back side of the swatch is nifty-looking, too.
Once I’d measured and taken pictures, I unraveled the yarn and wound each colour back onto its respective ball. The swatch is pretty, but ultimately useless – and I might need that yarn before I’m done with the hat!
The hardest part of designing a pattern isn’t the charting, the writing, or the test-knitting… it’s coming up with a good name. “Four-Colour Hat” is all right for a working title, I guess, but it won’t do for the long term. Suggestions are welcome, of course! (Just not “Blogiversary Hat”. That would be silly.)
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Over on Ravelry, the Remrants group is hosting a Colour Your Winter Craft-A-Long challenge – to finish a colourwork pattern before 31 March. Works-in-progress are acceptable entries, but I decided to start my year off with the challenge of designing a new hat in four shades of DK-weight yarn: brown, tan, red, and light blue.
My first attempt at two-colour ribbing didn’t have a nice edge, so I started over. My second attempt curled up far too much, so I started over. For the third attempt, I changed tactics and tried a two-colour brioche rib, a technique that’s completely new to me. Unfortunately, the instructions I found had left out a bit of important information, which is that even on knit rows, stitches are slipped with the yarn in front. So I started over. Again.
The fourth try was the charm, and I have some two-colour brioche on the needles now. It’s reversible, so my plan is to knit enough to have a fold-up brim, which allows for the wearer to adjust the length of the hat…
…but my gauge for the width was totally off, and I think the finished hat might end up being two or three inches too large for my small head. That’s okay, because I’d wanted to write the pattern for two sizes, so I guess this one is going to be the larger. I’m also planning to design and knit a matching set of fingerless gloves and/or mittens!
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Knitting the bicolour hat went quite a bit faster once I transferred it from the DPNs over to a 16″ circular, though my colourwork tension still leaves something to be desired. There’s a little bit of a difference where I switched needles, but blocking helped make it look less obvious. Something to note for next time: even if you’re not using the most ideal needles, stick with them for the rest of the project.
(Did anyone else hate having to change pens in the middle of an essay? I never liked to see half a page written in one shade of blue, and the other half written in another shade.)
This project’s trial and error has taught me a lot about designing colourwork hats, and I will definitely be putting the lessons learned to good effect the next time. The lined brim came out exactly how I had envisioned it, but the ‘seam’ where each round ends and the next begins is not something I’d expected. A solid colour at that junction would have hidden it better. It took me a few attempts to figure out how the crown of the hat should come together, and I’m happy with how it looks – although I think I might need a larger model head! I have my fingers crossed that it will fit Michael’s head perfectly, and I’ll find out in just a few days when I see him at Thanksgiving.
Since I only used about half of each ball of yarn to make this hat, I’m planning to make another in a slightly different pattern. I have lots of other partial balls of Cascade 220 left over from a number of previous hats, and I’m thinking about branching out into something with more than just two colours in the future!
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I’m very excited to be able to share my latest design, the Carved Lines Armwarmers! This project has been in the works for several months and is finally ready for release.
Inspired by the sinuous shapes that skiers and snowboarders leave in the snow as they carve down the mountain, the Carved Lines Armwarmers are meant to close the gap between your jacket and your gloves, keeping the snow off your wrists and keeping you out on the slopes longer! The slipknot cast-on and sewn bind-off are stretchy without being floppy, giving neat finished edges to your work.
~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
Through August 2015 the Carved Lines Armwarmers will be available at a discounted price of $1.49.
On September 1, the price will go up to $1.99. Get your copy today!
Check out the Carved Lines pattern page on Ravelry or click the button to purchase the pattern:
YOU WILL NEED: A set of five US 4/3.5mm double-point needles (or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn), and a darning needle to weave in ends. Optional: stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round.
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: The stitch pattern has some stretch to it, and should fit hands 7 to 7.5″ around.
YARN and GAUGE: Approximately 1.5 skeins (160 yards) Jo Sharp Classic Wool DK, or any DK-weight yarn you like, to get a gauge of 26 stitches to 4 inches/10 cm in stockinette. To make a larger size, a light worsted weight such as Cascade 220 and US 6/4mm needles is recommended.
Important Copyright Information: The Carved Lines Armwarmers knitting pattern is © 2015 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the armwarmers 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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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.
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.
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!
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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?”
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!
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Introducing… the Choppy Seas socks!
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.
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:
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Posted by Pirate in design, sock
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.
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!
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