October 31, 2013

8 Rowan Publishes My First Pattern! The Wickery Cowl in Kidsilk Amore




I don't really have aspirations to be a knitwear designer, although I will admit to having tons of ideas lodged in my brain.  I just really enjoy the process of knitting from a pattern and adding my own personal modifications.  I know I'm good at that.

Designing?  Hmm.  First off, I have a problem with bothering to make sizes for other people, cuz I'm selfish like that.  

Second... you know that moment when you are following a pattern and suddenly you know you have to tweak it?  Do the math?  Take a gamble?  Go back a ton of rows and fix it?  That's the moment I usually put down my work and go do something else.

But THEN, Rowan arranged a design contest amongst us 15 Rowan Ambassadors, and I didn't want to miss this chance to bring out the designer hiding in me...  


And wouldn't you know?  My Wickery Cowl won!


Check out the pattern on Ravelry (download link is there)


The competition details: Design something that would use only ONE SKEIN of two new yarns launched this fall: Rowan Kidsilk Amore and Amore Shimmer.

This kid mohair / silk blend is basically the super-bulky i-cord big brother of Rowan Kidsilk Stripe.  It is incredibly light and lofty, yet surprisingly warm.  



Photo by Maria Niedermayer (please check out all her wonderful yarn photos on Ravelry!)


This was quite a challenge... why?  These balls are probably some of the shortest yardage you'll ever find!


Kidsilk Haze Amore: 46yds (70% kid mohair, 30% silk)
Kidsilk Haze Amore Shimmer: 40yds (66% kid mohair, 27% silk, 7% synthetics)

My idea for the cowl was to 1) find a length that would show off the self-striping quality of the yarn, and 2) use a stitch pattern that would make this light-weight yarn firm enough to stand against the neck.




Because the stitch pattern is pretty tight, you do need really wonking-big needles... US 35 (19mm)!

The two buttons can be placed near the edge, or further in if you want a tighter fit around the neck.

You can decide if you like the cowl to be very upright with your buttoning, or you can button it in a way that makes a nice lapelled collar.







It's obviously a very simple piece, but I find myself slipping it on all the time.  The yarn is so warm (I can't emphasize this enough), that I really appreciate easily unbuttoning it if I get too hot.  I really hate unrolling scarves and messing up my hair to pull cowls over my head during an overly-heated bus moment.


Designer's Notes


  • If you are using a less bulky yarn or smaller needles, you should cast-on more stitches, in multiples of two.  Check out these projects on Ravelry for suggestions.  The cowl takes so little time to make, you might just want to 'swatch' the whole cowl and then decide how much you would like to add.

  • If you like, add 4 buttons so that you can decide how you'd like to wear your cowl, based on your coat or outfit.  Use plastic or light-weight buttons as the yarn is really very loose and can be easily weighed down.

  • This stitch pattern would be wonderful in a long ring cowl... if you make one, please show me!



I must say that the other entries for this contest were wonderful!  Rowan thought so too, and has released a free e-book containing 9 one-skein patterns by 6 other Rowan Ambassadors.  **As of Fall 2015, this collection is no longer available. However, you can download my free Wickery Cowl pattern here.

I also designed a set of boot toppers for tight calf boots that I will share as a free Ravelry download, but that's for another time.  ;)



You may be wondering what I won as a prize for this little contest.  Oh man, it is totally totally awesome.  The prize was all the yarn to make any one project from any of the Rowan Autumn/Winter 2013 publications.

Well!  You may know me well enough to know that I picked the most complicated colorwork piece I could find!  OF COURSE, it's by the wonderful Kaffe Fassett.

This is the Kilim Wrap, made with Rowan Felted Tweed DK.




And here I am, drowning in my prize!








ALL RIGHT, let's be serious now...  This serape-style wrap takes 24 balls in 16 shades of Felted Tweed DK, amazing right?!





I can't tell you when I'll start this wrap... I definitely have some things to finish up first before I can tackle this leviathan.  If you don't want to miss my progress, go ahead and follow this blog by e-mail or with Bloglovin'!





October 28, 2013

11 When Screwing Up a Stitch Pattern is for the Best - Wilderness


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


So, tell me. Have you ever knit the entire back of a sweater before realizing you were DOING IT WRONG?

This is Wilderness, a pattern by Martin Storey from his wonderful new Rowan booklet Pioneer (more on that below).



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, blogged by Dayana Knits



This is basically a ribbed sweater that extrudes the ribbing in bumps down the knit columns. I like to call them 'square bobbles'.  



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits



Normally, bobbles are stitches you knit back and forth on a small amount of stitches to make a little ball. This involves increasing into 1 stitch a bunch of times and then decreasing back to one stitch. I love bobbles and they are often featured on my Knitspiration board on Pinterest.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, blogged by Dayana Knits
I've made this Anthropolgie sweater, see it here.


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, blogged by Dayana Knits


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, blogged by Dayana Knits



These "square bobbles" are really just the same thing, except that you don't increase and decrease at the beginning and end. I suppose that officially they are called 'tucks', but I've decided that all my new stitches should rhyme with wobble. 😅

So now let's try and understand my mistake. As you can see, my bobbles aren't on the knit columns, but the purl columns!



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Oops. Instead of pushing the little bobble to the right side while knitting, I let it pucker out while it was facing me on the wrong side. And yes, I did this for the WHOLE BACK and only noticed when I re-checked the photo when it was time to do the front!!



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


So, why was this a good thing, in the end?  Well, before casting-on the front, I decided to try out the real stitch.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits



Pros of the correct stitch:

  • Smooth surface
  • Not messy on the edges of the bobble
Cons of the correct stitch:
  • Looks like melting wax
  • Forces reverse stockinette seams instead of smooth stockinette seams
  • KEY DECIDING ISSUE: Bobble protrudes much more than if it is in the purl column
I ran this comparison by my husband and he much preferred my purl bobbles. In fact, the stitch pattern is quite manly really, and both he AND my father said they wanted a sweater just like this!  

(As you may know, my man helps me regularly with my knitting decisions and photography. Well, not all the time.)


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Just a note on the stitch. Whether or not you do the original stitch pattern or my own reversed version, there is an easier way to do it than described. Believe me, you want it to be easier... those bobble rows take foreeeeever to get through.

Pattern to the strip that will have the bobble:


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


With the left needle still in place, slip a short small-sized circular needle through the 5 stitches of the strip.


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Let the needle hang (in front or in back, depending on what type of bobble you are doing) while you knit the strip back and forth.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Now, instead of guessing where the stitches "6 rows below" are, just slide you circular needle so the stitches are at the right end of the needle, and knit or purl those stitches together with the stitches on your main left needle.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits



VoilĂ !  A much faster bobble experience.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Here is the underside of the pattern, in case you are curious.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


The original pattern uses Rowan Creative Focus Worsted, which is a 75% wool, 25% alpaca yarn that has quite a fuzzy halo.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, blogged by Dayana Knits



I used smooth, marled madelinetosh DK for my sweater, giving it an entirely different texture that I liked a quite a lot.  Without the fuzziness, I decided it should be called the "Stegosaurus Stitch".



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits




Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Other than the stitch modification, I did some complicated fiddling around with the sleeve.  First, I knit them top down so I could get a good fit.  I have skinny arms, so I ended up with 40 sts at the wrist instead of 47.

Second, I wanted to keep the bobbles away from the seam for neatness. 



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


(By the way, a friend of mine has informed me that the instructions on how to add bobbles as you increase the sleeve from the wrist are not clear.  My advice to you bottom-up sleeve knitters: as you increase, continue the k5, p5 pattern, and only add bobbles if there is an entire strip available plus one selvedge stitch.)

Third, I realized I'd have a weird Bobble Bald Spot if I didn't end up having a bobble centered across the seam!  (I tried it and frogged it, I'm sorry I didn't take pictures).  I suppose you could do a half bobble on each side of the flat sleeve, but I don't see how it would ever look right.  

The fix?  Just start knitting circular!  See?  A nice bobble across the seam.



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Let's talk a little bit about this amazing new pattern book by Martin Storey, Pioneer.  It is probably my favorite book from this Rowan Autumn/Winter 2013 season.  I rate a book as really worth buying if there are 3 patterns I would seriously consider making.

I would make five out of 16!  (that could be a Dayana record)

Quilt

Blogged by Dayana Knits

Almanac

Blogged by Dayana Knits

Dwell

Blogged by Dayana Knits


And my personal favorite at first glance in the book... Settler.



Blogged by Dayana Knits


Fall photo shoots are always grand fun. I live in Mile End, Montréal.

The great grafitti backdrops under the St-Laurent bridge under the railroad tracks...


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits



The gritty abandoned containers in railroad parking lots...



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


Alleys behind brightly painted houses and their shadows...



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits



All the shadow pictures were done by me with my tripod.


Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits


If you think you can make it through some serious bobble rows, this sweater is totally worth making. I wear it all the time, and it just has this quirky interest you don't see in sweaters off the rack. It grabs the attention and somehow doesn't at the same time.

The only downside (upside?) has been that sometimes, when I'm sitting for a long time, I wonder if I'm on one of these! 😋



Blogged by Dayana Knits


Update: I just received a note from Martin Storey on Facebook: "Beautiful Dayana.  Even better than the original...!  A happy accident.. All the very best.."  /totally starstruck, thanks Martin!!/


My Wilderness, Reversed on Ravelry



Wilderness by Martin Storey in Madelinetosh DK, knit by Dayana Knits

October 25, 2013

3 A Friday Knitting Snack - Mirk Wood Mitts







Stash busting is an art, don't you think?  Well, I need to be an artist, because I'm that person in the knit group that always takes the lonely ball of giveaway yarn that no one wants.  I'm also the one who comes home with a pile of dubious thrift store mohair to stick in the freezer.  And yes yes, I'm the one who always says yes to that cone of bulky acrylic bouclĂ©.





(by the way, always freeze thrift shop yarn twice to prevent moths!!)

One of the reasons I got into pattern testing was to stash-bust.  I try to never buy yarn for any test knit.  I've only failed to follow this edict once, for my anatomically-correct clarinet socks.  You can see why I just had to go out an buy the right colors!


My Clarinet Thigh-High on Ravelry





About fingerless gloves.  I said recently that I was picky about cowls.  Well, I'm even more picky about fingerless gloves.  Actually, I don't really like gloves, I like wristlets.

But I made an exception for the lovely Mirk Wood Mitts by Natalia Demakova (which have a thumb hole but no thumb) because I like that pointy cuff thingy that lithe young things had on their gowns in medieval times... 


Emerald Empress's Mirk Wood Mitts on Ravelry


Is it a leaf, or a Star Trek alien skin, I wonder?




Good things about this pattern:

First, it only used 90 yards of fingering weight yarn.  Yesss!  Second, it's quite fun to make as the stitch is changing all the time.  Third, it has this nifty little ring on the finger to stop it from twisting... something which is a pet peeve of mine in fingerless gloves/wristlets.





I attached the ring to the point to keep it even more aligned.  




I'm not sure it worked, the point still flips up a bit.  But I feel like it flipped up even more without the attachment.





If you attempt this pattern, it's really important that you have a nice slip stitch edge, especially for the leaf points.  To do this, always slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in back, and then purl the last stitch.

In MontrĂ©al, there's not much time to wear a fingerless glove.  Maybe for that one week of fall before winter, lol.  Here it is with the coat I wear 2 weeks per year (spring/fall):





I've been thinking though, should I jam the glove under a mitten for more warmth??

Yeah, let's force our knits to work for us!


My Leafy on Ravelry 




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