March 29, 2017

10 5 Tips for Better Intarsia: The 2017 Kaffe Afghan KAL

5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits


In 2016, it came as a shock that Rowan's Kaffe Fassett KAL would not include "intarsia" -- a way of knitting with an infinite number of colors in one row. After all, wasn't that technique that made his name? The project was actually more of a nod to his quilting persona and ended up truly stripe-tastic.

This was my version:


Rowan Yarns Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL 2016, version by Dayana Knits, from 5 Tips for Better Intarsia, March 2017.


Well, we didn't have to wait long for Captain Intarsia to arrive! The 2017 Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL starts March 30, and it is filled with it. (Join the free KAL at the Rowan Yarns group on Ravelry)

If you thought the first one was hypnotizing and possibly seizure-inducing, this one might really get you to shake.


Rowan Yarns Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL 2017 starts March 30! From 5 Tips for Better Intarsia by Dayana Knits
Order kits at Fiberwild for 25% off


DON'T BE AFRAID! You can do this!

๐Ÿ‘‰ And, with less crazy colors.

I looked at their shopping list, threw out ALL the color and bought 30 balls of the Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted shades that make up the "tumbling blocks" squares. That's 10 balls each of Soft Cream, Moonstone and Charcoal Grey, if you want to carbon copy my future afghan.


Rowan Yarns Pure Wool Superwash Worsted for Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL 2017 starts March 30! From 5 Tips for Better Intarsia by Dayana Knits


Rowan Yarns Pure Wool Superwash Worsted for Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL 2017 starts March 30! From 5 Tips for Better Intarsia by Dayana Knits


Now, I imagine that those of you interested have done a little intarsia in the past. I'm not going to talk about HOW to do intarsia, but I do want to give you 5 tips on how to do it better.


1. Use bobbins


You may be tempted to use the balls themselves while knitting, or maybe even hand-made yarn "butterflies" that don't require equipment, but bobbins are better. (Actually, using the full yarn balls will just make you just want to die and never knit again, so don't even think about it.)

The advantage to bobbins is their weight (to keep tension at color joins) and how easy you can release more yarn to knit with. There are some bad ones and some good ones -- if you do a lot of intarsia, you should try a bunch and see what you like.

My favorites have these elements, but these particular ones are from Susan Bates.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 1. Use bobbins



2. Tug your old bobbin after 2 stitches 


Not zero, 1 or 3. TWO! Sounds picky I know, but I've done a LOT of intarsia.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 2. Tug your old bobbin after 2 stitches


Tugging right away or after just 1 stitch only moves the yarn uselessly around the needles. You simply need two whole stitches worth of loops to have something to tug effectively.

After 3 stitches, it's just too annoyingly far to reach.


3. Don't purl


Huh?

Listen, there is nothing more irritating in intarsia than turning your work and watching every bobbin twist into a intricate cat's cradle. INFURIATING, actually!

The point here is to never turn your work and purl by knitting FROM LEFT TO RIGHT. This technique is not only useful in intarsia, but also when you need to turn frequently, like sock short rows or i-cord.

I can only show you with the English method, yarn held in right hand -- 'you continentals' may want to look around for a good tutorial for yourselves, it's worth it.




PICTURE INSTRUCTIONS

1. When you get to the end of a row, insert your needle into the BACK of the stitch you just knitted.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 3. Never Purl


2. Loop yarn over the needle towards you.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 3. Never Purl


3. Pull the loop through the stitch.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 3. Never Purl


4. Move stitch onto left needle.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 3. Never Purl


4. Weave in ends along color joins only


When you join a new bobbin you are going to get a big wonking hole. You're going to hate that hole while you knit -- but don't worry, the loose end is going to close it up real nice!

JUST DON'T BE TEMPTED to weave in the end into the block of color. Intarsia is unlike stranded knitting, it's only one layer and you can see through it. Not only might you see the totally different color behind it, but you WILL see the change in tension where you wove.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 4. Weave in along color changes


5. Leave a longer cut end than usual


In my opinion, the more color changes in intarsia, the more fun. I'm STILL working on this stained glass madness!


Stained Glass Madness intarsia cardigan, pattern by Brandon Mably from Rowan Magazine, knit by Dayana Knits


You won't have as many ends as I have here, but you'll have a bunch. YOU DO NOT WANT THOSE TO GET OUT, OMG! Just leave the ends a tad longer than usual. I know this is an afghan and I know the back side is showing... but safety first, yo.


5 Tips for Better Intarsia Knitting, by Dayana Knits. 5. Leave a longer cut end


Hell, it will tell everyone YOU made your masterpiece -- not some machine for Urban Outfitters!

If you're joining in the KAL fun or just want to watch the progress, join us over in the Rowan Yarns group on Ravelry. I'm sure I'll think of some other tips, too.


See my Captain Kaffghan on Ravelry


Rowan Yarns Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL 2017 starts March 30! From 5 Tips for Better Intarsia by Dayana Knits



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February 27, 2017

10 Putting Handspun Yarn to Use -- Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits

Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


Whoa horsey! Before you think I've started an entirely new hobby -- spinning -- I'll stop you there. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Thankfully, there are plenty of hand spinners out there who have made their craft available for us lowly followers to purchase, and let me tell you -- Maine is the perfect place to find it. Just look at these two skeins I scored at my favorite source for Maine yarn (in my favorite town of all, too): Heavenly Socks Yarn in Belfast! You'd be a fool not to sign up for their newsletter, it's famous.


Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog


Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog


What I love about this is that it isn't a brand -- it's just a "hey, I spun this!" from Andrea. I don't even know Andrea's last name, though I'm hoping she'll find us, or some typical Maine thing will happen where Andrea's sister or cat will come by and leave a comment.

One is Polwarth wool, one is Merino. The Polwarth is rougher, but they are the same width:


Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog
Don't you just love hand-written labels??


Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog


What could I make? As with all handspun you find -- there's usually only 1 skein of 1 colorway;  there was no getting more. So I consulted the trusty Ravelry Advanced Search engine, and narrowed down 668,443 patterns to 23!

How on earth did I do that? You might be curious, so I'll show you. Note the "Colors used (typical)" search box which is my new best friend. OMG, revolutionary.


How to use the Ravelry Advanced Search Engine, Dayana Knits blog


How to use the Ravelry Advanced Search Engine, Dayana Knits blog


The Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits came up 3rd and I LOVED it.


Reason #1: It was going to be more fun than all the other options because of the short rows.


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, Dayana Knits blog


Second, I was curious to see whether you'd be able to see the subtle differences between the 2 handspun yarns, which had very little contrast.


Handspun yarn by Andrea of Winterport, ME, Dayana Knits blog


But it definitely worked! I can see the 2 yarns surprisingly well!


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


Lest you be daunted by the major short rowing here, do not be. I found this pattern to be right along the lines of other garter stitch short row shawls (wraps never showing!) -- just follow the instructions and you will be fine. It's fun to do and will keep you addicted to the very end.


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


I did change to a picot bind-off, though, because I wanted to use as much yarn as possible and craved a less geometric shape. However, when I went to block the shawl, I found that my edge was ruffling and didn't want to block flat. So I took out my trusty flexible blocking wires and made a scalloped edge that I love! It may look difficult, but with these blocking wires, it's a piece of cake:


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


Now. You might be thinking that Maine is an incredibly mild place in the winter with trees that no longer lose their leaves, heh heh, but these pictures were taken in the autumn, because I'm waaaaay behind on showing you my FOs.




It really looked like THIS last week!




Through a winter with no snow to speak of, we suddenly got 4 FEET IN ONE WEEK!! Naturally, my husband was away for this entire time, leaving me to shovel what I could.

But hell no, I was NOT going to shovel his car.  ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜…


4 feet of snow in one week in Maine, Dayana Knits blog




4 feet of snow in one week in Maine, Dayana Knits blog
35 minutes later...


For those of you curious about the license plate, it's the DNA sequence of a "restriction enzyme" which is used regularly by scientists in genetic engineering.


EcoRI restriction enzyme site, Dayana Knits blog


He wants me to get the sequence of the sister enzyme, Mun I, which cuts to make "compatible ends", hee hee.


MunI restriction enzyme site, Dayana Knits blog

I am more inclined to get this one!


Possible Maine vanity license plate, Dayana Knits blog


Speaking of kittens... Tiger Shrimp is a camera hog and is making an appearance in almost every Instagram post. Nuisance, yes. But this video of me unboxing my February KnitCrate will definitely make you smile!




February 2017 KnitCrate with Tiger Shrimp, Dayana Knits blog


February 2017 KnitCrate with Tiger Shrimp, Dayana Knits blog
SAVE 20%, CATS NOT INCLUDED ๐Ÿ˜น

FYI, that was my first regular KnitCrate, and it was absolutely worth the cost, in my opinion. It had (3) 164yd skeins of Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play: Steamer Trunk, a 100% merino worsted yarn. There was a pattern for 2 purses and a lavender bath bomb. If you want to try a KnitCrate, you can get 20% off your first one with code "DK20" here.

Below is the the rather breathtaking that was in the "Sock" Knitcrate. I'm only getting one of those because I rarely knit socks, but the Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play: Train Case is truly beautiful, and the pattern was better than in the regular KnitCrate.


Socks KnitCrate, Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play Train Case, February 2017, Dayana Knits blog


Consider it, because you'll have a lot of fun making it. And if it's in handspun, it will be squishily delicious, I guarantee it.


See my Handspun Aggregate on Ravelry


Aggregate Shawl by JimiKnits, knit by Dayana Knits in Maine handspun


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February 12, 2017

2 Wow Everyone Around You With This Yarn Bowl Transformer!



Admit it, you love walking into your knitting group with a special item and watching everyone drop their jaws! Ok, well I certainly do -- and the second I saw this little number on the internet, I knew I had to have one, even though I hadn't gotten to see it in FULL TRANSFORMER ACTION yet.   ⚡️


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


This convertible project caddy/yarn bowl is the latest knitting accessory by Lazadas -- and if you don't have time to read through this review, it's available here.

You may recognize the name "Lazadas" from my raving review of their flexible blocking wires. Three years later, I am still in love with those things. If this is any indication of the quality of the project bag, I'm in.


Lazadas flexible blocking wires on Dayana Knits


This sweet little yarn bowl shapeshifter is made of 100% odorless silicone. This means it's waterproof -- as long as you don't spill your coffee through the 4 needle/yarn holes, lol.  It also means it's heatproof, should you forget your project bag in the oven. Kidding! (unless you have a very interesting story to tell me...)

The silicone is stamped with sweet little knit stitching along the outside:


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


But the inside is perfectly smooth, and will certainly never snag on anything.

Using silicone is an interesting choice, because it has enough rigidity and weight to stay smartly in place when open (the bottom is shaped so it will sit flat on any surface). Conversely, it has enough flexibility to easily mold into a purse AND accept a lot of the odd shaped objects associated with crafting.

It's not gigantic inside, but I'm impressed with everything I have in there right now: 2 skeins, a measuring tape and a seamless double front + back cardi I'm working on:


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


In case you're curious (especially with that ball of fur in there), the project is my Constantine by Louisa Harding:


Constantine cardigan by Louisa Harding, on Dayana Knits


Let's talk a bit about the little holes. There are 4 total, 2 on each side. The original purpose of the holes is to insert needles from the inside to the outside of the bag so that they don't snag on anything:




That could snag on things outside your purse, of course, so you decide! I prefer blunt needles because of the way I knit, so I personally don't have snagging problems when I store projects.

The other way you could use these holes is like a classic yarn bowl, threading the yarn through the holes so that ball doesn't fly away while you pull:


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


Note: the center hole does not actually hold my DK weight in the center while I knit, it does end up slipping into the smaller adjacent hole. Therefore, it requires a light effort to pull as you knit  (i.e. it's not like pulling yarn smoothly through a ceramic yarn bowl). I'd guess that a chunky yarn would stay in the center, but it would still run against the hole as you pulled.

If you do use these holes for yarn, don't forget that if you stick yarn through one of these holes and start knitting, you'll be "locked in" to knitting until the ball is done! There is no exit hole like some yarn bowls provide:


t & h yarn bowl by Quince and Co. on Dayana Knits
t & h yarn bowl from Quince and co.

It's more like this type ๐Ÿ˜‚:

somethinglucky13 on Etsy yarn bowl on Dayana Knits
From somethinglucky13 on Etsy

I think most of the time I'll use it as designed, with the yarn coming out of the top openings:


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


Yes, there are other colors!


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits

I also wanted to mention a couple of other things to be aware of about silicone. I found that knitting with a highly dyed yarn left some coloring around the holes. DON'T WORRY! Just wipe with water and it disappears immediately (so easy to clean!).


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits


Another heads up: like all silicone products (I see this on my potholders, coasters) -- when there is a static buzz around, such as on this bone dry February day in Maine, hairs and fuzz will stick to the silicone. Static guard spray or rubbing the silicone with static-free microfiber will help with that.

I was super lucky to have been given this yarn bowl to review from Lazadas, because it's exactly the kind of easy to clean, hard-wearing bag my click clacking knitting hands need. And it's actually my first yarn bowl, I've joined the club! Even though it was a freebie -- I really truly recommend it. It's a fabulous little piece, especially for those of you who like to collect one-of-a-kind project bags.

THIS TRANSFORMER IS OFFICIALLY DAYANA KNITS APPROVED! 
Visit the Lazadas project caddy shop here (and don't forget about those blocking wires!)


Lazadas project caddy review by Dayana Knits



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