A new lace scarf and some pattern links

Lace scarf in progress

I’ve been working on a new scarf in some Malabrigo laceweight.  The yarn is lovely stuff.  The pattern is Japanese Feather Lace from Barbara Walker’s first treasury, and it’s much simpler than you would think for a 28-row repeat.  There are really only 5 pattern rows.  The wrong-side rows are not plain purl, but they are nearly that simple, a k1 p10 rib across the back.  I made my own chart using Jacquie’s KnitChart applet and my computer’s screen capture program.  The lace pattern has an alternating bias which makes pretty wavy edges without requiring extra work.  It’s always gratifying to find a pattern that looks more complicated than it really is.

I haven’t been doing much blogging these past few weeks, because there hasn’t been much opportunity for knitting.  Little Fox is going through one of those toddler phases where he’s not leaving me much in the way of time to sit and knit.  I’m hoping to go through soon and fix some of the links to patterns from the now-defunct MagKnits archives.  In the meantime, here’s a collection of links to patterns from my Ravelry favorites.

Free Patterns:

A Better Bucket (pdf download)

Feather Stole (crochet)

Inca Alpaca Fair Isle Mitts

Frothy Gothy Wristwarmers

Retro Wedge Felted Bag

Lace Ribbon Scarf

Tipsy Rib Scarf

Ballband Dishcloth Reusable Swiffer Cover

For Sale:

Solstice Bag

Granny Smith Cardigan

Lucy in the Sky Cardigan

Flutter Scarf

Scheherazade Lace Stole

Rivendell Sock

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New Sock

Wavy Rib Sock

Here’s what I’ve been doing with my knitting time. This sock has surprised me, it’s just something I doodled together by putting a 2×2 wavy rib pattern into one of the sock formulas from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is STR Lightweight in the Backstabber colorway. Somehow the combination of the yarn and the simple stitch pattern is really working for me right now. I keep thinking I’m going to come up with another project, stash the sock in the diaper bag for on-the-go knitting, and move on to something big and interesting, but it hasn’t happened yet. I swatch and look through my ravelry favorites and play with different ideas and pull various things out of the stash to consider, and still, the sock remains my sole work-in-progress. I’m amazed how much having nice yarn in my favorite colors and a simple stitch pattern makes sock knitting so much more interesting, yet also soothing. I may yet turn out to be one of those crazy sock knitters. We shall see.

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My new socks

Corded Rib Socks

Here they are. Finally finished. For posterity, they were knitted in Knit Picks Essential Tweed on US size 0 needles from a pattern out of Sensational Knitted Socks. This was the very first time I knitted traditional cuff-down socks with heel flaps and grafted toes and it went pretty well. I used a Twisted German Cast-On which I learned from this helpful video, and I am now a huge fan of this cast-on. If you need a stretchy edge, it is a great cast-on to use. To graft the toes I just followed Charlene Schurch’s instructions in the book, and they were pretty straightforward. I like the yarn and would use it again, except in the non-tweed version. You can’t really see it in this picture but the socks are covered with little tufts of fiber in contrasting colors, which apparently is what makes the yarn a “tweed”, but the tweedy flecks are in bright primary colors, which has a somewhat clownish effect. Still, the yarn is soft and nice to work with, and of course, you can’t beat the price. I’ll have to see how they wear over time.

Urchin

Urchin modeled by lamp

This is my version of Urchin, knitted in Wool Ease Thick and Quick which was a Christmas gift from my youngest brother (who also gave me the yarn for the Quick No-Purl Keyhole Scarf). I love the pattern, and already want to make it again in a more softly colored yarn that is all wool. It is a fun hat, which I think is pretty cute. My little bedside lamp turns out to make a pretty good hat model. I attempted to get a modeled shot by letting my 4 1/2 year old–we’ll call her Willow on the blog–attempt some pictures. Alas, while smart, charming, and practically perfect in every way, she is not a photographic prodigy. Attempts at self-portraiture were also unsuccessful. One of these days I may do one huge knitwear modeling session with Bear, but for now, knitwear will be modeled by lamps or stuffed animals or the furniture. I know my dear readers will forgive me. If you are wishing to practice short-rows, or show off some variegated or handspun bulky yarn, this is a great pattern. I rarely knit from others’ patterns, but this one was quick, well-written, fun, and came out charming. It might also be fun to do a baby-sized version as a matching hat to go with a baby surprise jacket. I think it would work out baby-sized knitted in sportweight yarn, although swatching and math would be required to find out for certain.

Quick No-Purl Keyhole Scarf

Quick No-Purl Keyhole Scarf

This is a quick scarf pattern I came up with.  Enjoy.

Yarn: 1 skein Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Cranberry
Needles: US size 15 knitting needles (10mm)
Note: slip all stitches purlwise with yarn held in front

CO 15 sts.
Row 1: *K3, sl 1; repeat from *, end k3.
Row 2: K 1, *sl 1, k3; repeat from *, end sl, k1.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 24″ (60 cm)

For keyhole: work first 5 stitches in pattern, bind off 5 stitches, then work remaining stitches in pattern.  On following row, work in pattern to bound off stitches, cast on 5 stitches using backward loop cast-on (or desired method), then work remaining stitches in pattern.

Continue in pattern for 10″ (25 cm), then bind off.

FireFlower’s Trend Report for Fall (with Free Pattern Links)

I am the first to admit that I am not exactly a style maven. I am a stay-at-home mom of young children, I don’t read fashion magazines, and I choose my clothing in large part for its ability to survive frequent washing. However, I do have a long-standing interest in fashion as a cultural phenomenon, and I do my own particular brand of trend-watch each spring and fall. I canvass several of my favorite online stores, and come up with what I see as the trends for the season. This season, I decided to match these up with some free pattern links and post them for the benefit of my readers.

Here is what I am seeing:

  • elbow-length and 3/4 sleeves
  • empire-waisted and babydoll silhouettes
  • sweater coats
  • short sleeved pullovers and cardigans
  • cardigans cropped to level of natural waist or bottom of ribcage

Cari’s latest design, Trilce, gets special mention, even though it is not yet available for purchase. This is a fun design which is exactly on-trend for this season. How on-trend? Well, look at this one from Nordstrom. I bet you can knit your own wool version for less than it retails for. I’ll update with a link to the finished design once it’s up for sale.

Free Patterns

(and a few special designs available for sale online)

Sunkist Cardi— a great 3/4 sleeve raglan cardi, which you can customize to fit. (Scroll down to find a link to the PDF file in the sidebar).

Summer Sky— a short-sleeved cropped cardi, be sure to get the errata here.

Reversible Lace Rib Shrug— you can use this pattern from Elann.com to make your own out of any yarn between dk and bulky weight.

Lara Pinwheel Sweater with Crocheted Edges–another sweater from Elann. You could easily modify it to be a twin for this one. If you don’t crochet, you can be like Wendy and knit on an edging. See her finished version in this post. Her original edging pattern is available on her free patterns page.

Circular Shrug–an innovatively constructed vest or cap-sleeved cardi similar to this one from Anthropologie.

Anthropologie-inspired Shrug–quick, versatile, customizable, and it’s back for spring.

Cloud Bolero–a lovely cropped cardigan, see a photo of a finished bolero here.

Vino Cardigan–a great sweater coat pattern available for sale from Laura Chau of Cosmic Pluto.

Brennan Cardigan–a great shawl-collared sweater coat design, and the pattern is available for free.

Serrano–a lovely lacy cardigan pattern made with sock yarn, also by Laura Chau.

Stardust–a lacy cropped cardigan with a tie closure.

Something Red–a charming short-sleeved cardigan pattern available for sale from Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic.

Starsky–a shawl-collared sweater coat with leaf-themed cable panels.

Brompton–free sweater coat pattern with neat reversible cuffs you can fold down to keep your hands warm or fold up to keep out of the way.

Just as a bonus, here’s a new men’s pullover pattern from Tiennie, the Fog Sweater.

How to Wash and Block a Circular Shawl

1. Weave in all the ends using duplicate stitch.
2. Fill washing machine with warm (not hot) water.
3. Dissolve a small amount of gentle shampoo (I just use what I use for my own hair) or wool wash (such as Eucalan or Soak) into the wash water.
4. After turning off the washing machine to prevent agitation, gently lower the shawl into the wash water, and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.
5. Carefully set the washing machine to “Spin” and allow it to go through its spin cycle, stopping it when you stop hearing water draining from the machine.
6. If you have used shampoo and the shawl requires rinsing, lift the shawl carefully from the machine, refill the machine with warm water, turn it off to prevent agitation, and gently lower the shawl back into the clean warm water. Run the spin cycle again as in step 5.
7. Spread out a clean blanket on the carpet or a guest bed, and spread the clean, damp shawl over the top of it.
8. Place a single pin in the center of the shawl.
Shawl Center
9. Tie a loop in a piece of cotton thread or string, and measure out the desired shawl radius (this is half the desired circumference, in my case the radius was 30″). Mark this length with a knot in the opposite end of the string.
10. Place the loop around the center pin in the shawl.
11. Use the knotted cotton string to measure out the position for pinning each point or scallop of the shawl, starting with each of the four compass points. Placing each pin in the knit fabric adjacent to the yarn-over will make soft open eyelets and scallops instead of harsh points.
Edging being blocked
12. Continue pinning each point, placing pins at the 1/8 points, the 1/16 points, and so on, until all the points have been pinned out. Take breaks from time to time to prevent injuring your back or knees. (This process took me about 2 1/2 hours, so plan accordingly.) Now is a good time for taking pictures.
13. Leave to dry for several hours or over night, until shawl is completely dry.
Shawl blocking
14. Remove pins, careful to ensure that none are left in your carpet or bed to be found later by unsuspecting persons.
15. Admire your completed shawl. Happy twirling, and self-congratulatory remarks are acceptable, and, in fact, encouraged. Consider that it took you months (or possibly years) to reach this point, and enjoy your success. It will help you to have the motivation later to embark on another one.