Monday, September 17, 2018

Washcloths for Safe Passage

This past weekend Rob and I (along with our 2 year old) had the pleasure of being a part of Webs Fall Knitting Retreat held on the University of Massachusetts - Amherst campus. We got to spend time with a fabulous group of knitters and had a wonderful time. 
In the evenings we did the Late Night Knitting Lounge (this included 3 different yarn tastings and door prizes). We were a part of this last year and thought it would be great to add charity knitting for the attendees.
Steve and Kathy Elkins suggested Safe Passage as the charity and along with Amy Greemen (who is an amazing person and organizational force) came up with the idea of knitting washcloths. Safe Passage provides emergency shelter, counseling and support for victims of domestic violence in Hampshire County. Often they have to leave home to seek shelter with nothing.
We donated yarn for all of the attendees to each get a skein of Nifty Cotton in their swag bag. I created a pattern that was inspired by the Safe Passage logo and mission that features a house with a heart on it. The pattern is now available on our website and Ravelry as a free download. Each skein of Nifty Cotton should make 2-3 washcloths.
I was completely blown away by the generosity of the attendees. Not only did they knit 60 washcloths over the course of the weekend but over $500 was donated. Both Cascade Yarns and Webs offered to match the donations.
Most areas have local shelters and support organizations for victims of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, there is a need for it. DAWN is a local organization in the Seattle area that provides shelter and support. This pattern (and any others on our website) are free downloads and available for charity knitting and crochet.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Introducing the Cascade Critter!

This week the Cascade Critter came to be. He came together quickly and is already getting into all sorts of trouble. You can follow his adventures on Instagram as well as on the Cascade Yarns social media feed. To make your own Critter you need 1 skein of Pacific Chunky, US 9 DPNs, stuffing and safety eyes.
- 1 skein Pacific Chunky Color Wave (60% Acrylic/40% Superwash Merino Wool) - 120 yds/100 g - shown in color 415 (Puget Sound)

- US 9 DPNs

- Stuffing/fiberfill

- Safety Eyes

- Yarn Needle
- K - Knit

- Kfb - Knit into the front and back of 1 stitch (increase 1)

 - K2tog - Knit 2 together (Decrease 1)
- 3 Needle Bind off - move stitches to 2 needles with half of work on each needle. With 2 needles parallel, insert a 3rd needle knitwise into the first stitch of each needle. Wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit. Knit these 2 stitches together and slip them off the needle. Knit the next 2 stitches together (same manner). Slip the first stitch on the 3rd needle over the 2nd stitch and off the needle. Continue until all stitches are bound off. 
CO 8 sts - join in round
1 - K
2 - Kfb of each stitch (16 sts)
3 - K
4 - K1, Kfb of each stitch (24 sts)
5 - K
6 - K2, Kfb of each stitch (32 sts)
7 - K
8 - K3, Kfb of each stitch (40 sts)

K in round for 20 rounds
Start head shaping:
K18, K2tog - 2 times (38 sts)
K17, K2tog - 2 times (36 sts)
K16, K2tog - 2 times (34 sts)
K15, K2tog - 2 times (32 sts)
K14, K2tog - 2 times (30 sts)
K 1 round
Distribute stitches to 2 dpns
Stuff body
Attach 2 safety eyes
Use 3 needle bind off when happy with eyes & stuffing
Ears  - make 2 -
work back and forth in garter stitch on 2 needles
CO 3
1 - K
2 - K1, Kfb, K1 (4 sts)
3 - K
4 - K1, Kfb, K2 (5 sts)
5 - K
6 - K2, Kfb, K2 (6 sts)
7 - K
8 - K2, Kfb, K3 (7 sts)
9 - K
10 - K3, Kfb, K3 (8 sts)
11-18 - K
Bind off - leave a long enough tail to sew the ear to the head.
Fold ear in half at bound off edge (with open part facing forward), sew to head

Legs/arms (make 4)
CO 10  sts - join in round, careful not to twist
K for 8 rounds
K3, K2tog - 2 times (8 sts)
K2, K2tog - 2 times (6 sts)
K1, K2tog - 2 times (4 sts)
Cut yarn and weave through remaining stitches - stuff lightly

Sew to sides or bottom of body

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

National Crochet Month - Creating the Bloomfield Shawl By Laura Krzak (Guest Post)

For the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to design crochet patterns for Cascade Yarns, and today I am writing to share how I created one of the most recently released patterns – the Bloomfield shawl.

Most of the time, my inspiration starts from the yarn. Heritage Wave is a super fine weight yarn, and the lightness of the yarn just begged to be made into a shawl. After deciding what I would be creating with the yarn, the next step was the shape, and I knew I wanted to challenge myself to try a new shape.
 A close friend of mine, who is also a knit and crochet designer, had recently designed a half circle crochet shawl for another yarn company. After asking for some tips on how to create that shape in crochet, I knew that sometime soon I wanted to try designing a half circle shawl in crochet myself. A couple of months later, I received a skein of Heritage Wave yarn to swatch with for design proposals, and I knew this would be a good yarn to use to try designing a new shawl in a new shape.

So, I have the yarn, the idea of what to make with the yarn, and what shape it will be. The next step is choosing the right hook size. Normally with this weight of yarn, you would choose to work with a smaller hook size, like an F/3.75mm, but since I was looking for a lacier look, I also swatched with a few more sizes. After making swatches with the 3.75mm, as well as a 7/4.50mm and H/5.00mm hooks, I liked the lightness that the H hook created best, so that was the hook size I would use for this design.
In starting the half circle shape, I decided to use the method I learned for hat rounds increases and adapt it for this use. One of the points I like best about using this method is that the round/row numbers correspond with the number of stitches in each set. For example, Row 3 had a stitch repeat of three – 2 double crochet stitches in the first stitch and 1 double crochet in the next stitch. Using this method is a great memory trick to keep your stitch counts on track; if I’m doing Row 4, there are 4 stitches in the repeat. Since I started Row 1 with 9 double crochets and the starting section was going to only be 5 rows, my final row of the starting section would have 45 stitches. This information is important, because it determines what stitch patterns you can use.
 I knew I needed to alternate the solid stitched sections of the shawl, where all the increase stitches would be created, with a lacy stitch pattern. My stitch pattern had to fit two requirements – I wanted it to open up as much as possible when it was blocked out, and it needed to have a pattern repeat of 5 stitches, based on my Row 5 ending stitch count. It was time to turn to multiple stitch dictionaries, find lacy stitch patterns that have a 5-stitch pattern repeat, and swatch. After much trial and error, I was down to a choice of two stitch patterns, which you see above. These two stitch patterns meet the pattern repeat requirement, and they can both be described as lace, but how much will they open up?
An easy way to check if you will get the effect you want is spread the stitching out, in order to simulate how the stitch pattern will look after it has been blocked. I pinned out the swatch and discovered the bottom stitch pattern opened up much more than the top pattern. Since I wanted that look of openness to offset the solid stitched sections of the shawl, the bottom stitch pattern was the better choice for the design I was creating.
And this was how the shawl was created – deciding the shawl shape, finding the hook size that creates the effect you want with the yarn you are using, and making multiple swatches to discover the best stitch patterns to compliment the overall design. I’m very pleased with how this shawl came out, and I look forward to creating more designs with this shape in the future. Thanks for taking time to discover how this design was created, and thank you to Cascade Yarns 

Friday, December 2, 2016

YOM - Baby Alpaca Chunky - Wine & Roses Cowl

Baby Alpaca Chunky is the perfect yarn for holiday gifts. It is soft, luxurious, and works up quickly. There are over 40 colors to chose from to work up something special for someone deserving - or even better, yourself (it makes a great reward for all of the holiday knitting and crocheting). Mitts, cowls, and scarves are my favorite projects for Baby Alpaca Chunky.

I decided it would be fun to do a 2 skein striped cowl. I picked 2 trend colors - Damson and Grape Compote and settled on using Fibonacci to inspire my striping repeats. It is a simple 2 stitch, 2 round repeat and works up fairly quickly.

- Baby Alpaca Chunky (100% Baby Alpaca - 109 yds/100 g) - 1 skein Color A - 647 - Grape Compote & 1 skein Color B - 648 - Damson

- US 10 Circular needles (16-20")

- Stitch Marker

- Yarn Needle

- K - Knit

- P - Purl

- K1b - Knit 1 through Back Loop
Cast on 80 stitches in Color A - join in the round - careful not to twist stitches
Place marker to show beginning of round

1 - K1b, P1
2 - K

Change to Color B - do 1 repeat of pattern
Change to Color A - do 2 repeats of pattern
Change to Color B - do 3 repeat of pattern
Change to Color A - do 5 repeats of pattern
Change to Color B - do 8 repeat of pattern
Change to Color A - do 5 repeats of pattern
Change to Color B - do 3 repeat of pattern
Change to Color A - do 2 repeats of pattern
Change to Color B - do 1 repeat of pattern
Change to Color A - do 1 repeat of pattern

Bind off loosely.
Weave in ends.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

YOM - Pure Alpaca

A skein of yarn has so much potential. First you consider the fiber, gauge and twist and then there is the color - although, sometimes there is a certain color that just grabs you. Baby Alpaca is one of those fibers that just needs to be touched. The color that spoke to me was Mineral Red (3063) - a color I have been seeing in the trends.
Pure Alpaca is a light worsted to DK weight baby Alpaca yarn with 220 yards in each 100 gram skein. The hand is heavenly and paired with the classic 4/8 twist is a joy to work with. It is important to be mindful of the nature of Alpaca as it does not have the memory of wool. The luscious, soft fabric has a propensity to grow.
I decided that I wanted to make some form of a shawl. Originally I had thought a simple triangle top-down shawl would work and then I started to swatch. 
I found that I really like the structure combined with openness of the Irish Net stitch. In the process of swatching, I decided an asymmetrical triangle would be a better fit and took part of the Irish Net stitch to get to where I was happy with the shape and look.
I ended up with a US 8 needle to allow some drape with the stitch. The main body of the pattern is a 6 row repeat and very easy to memorize. I still have yet to decide on an edging, but have a while to go until I need to....

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

YOM - North Shore

I am one of those people that actually enjoys swatching. It gives me time to get to know a yarn. It can talk to me and tell me what works really well and what is probably better used with a different yarn.
North Shore is an acrylic that has a similar look and feel of mercerized cotton. The DK gauge yarn comes in 27 solids and 12 prints. 
The yarn has lovely drape and sheen. North Shore is easy care (machine wash & dry) and quite durable.
I cast on with US 6 needles and tried a variety of different stitches. Since North Shore is an acrylic, I have to remember that you have to like the way it knits up before you block. Acrylics don't usually respond very much to blocking. Knit and Purl combinations tended to not pop as much as they would on a springier fiber. Ribbing was a bit drapey. Stockinette worked well. 
Eyelets and garter were fine but it did not show the drape of the yarn. My favorite stitch pattern that I tried was a Fern Lace. I plan to swatch some moss and garter stitch to use the Fern Lace for a blanket.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sunseeker Shade - Lullaby of Birdland Blanket

Baby blankets make wonderful gifts. It never hurts to have extras and there is nothing quite like a hand knit blanket. Sunseeker Shade is a DK weight cotton-acrylic blend that is the perfect weight for a warm weather blanket. Each 100 gram skein contains a generous 246 yards. The easy-care (read machine wash & dry) cotton blend is available in a wide range of colors that vary from rich jewel tones to soft pastels.
- 2 skeins Sunseeker Shade (50% Cotton/50% Acrylic) - 246 yds/100 g - shown in 21 (Sunlight Yellow)

- US 4 needles

- Yarn Needle to weave in ends

Gauge & Measurements
- Gauge approx 5.4 sts = 1" in stitch pattern

- Finished Measurements: Approx 20" wide x 27" long

- K - Knit
- P - Purl
Cast on 108 sts

1 - K
2 - [K1, P1]
3 - K
4 - [P1, K1]

Do edge for 8 rows (do rows 1-4 2 times)
Start pattern:
 1 - K6, *[K1, P5, K5, P1]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, K6
 2 - [K1, P1] - 3 times, *[K2, P4, K4, P2]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, [K1, P1] - 3 times.
 3 - K6, *[K3, P3]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, K6
 4 - [P1, K1] - 3 times, *[K4, P2, K2, P4]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches,  [P1, K1] - 3 times
 5 - K6, *[K5, P1, K1, P5]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, K6
 6 - [K1, P1] - 3 times, *[K6, P6]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, [K1, P1] - 3 times.
 7 - K6, *[K6, P6]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, K6
 8 - [P1, K1] - 3 times, *[K6, P6]; repeat from * to  last 6 stitches,  [P1, K1] - 3 times
 9 -  K6, *[P1, K5, P5, K1]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, K6
10 - [K1, P1] - 3 times *[P2, K4, P4, K2]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, [K1, P1] - 3 times.
11 -  K6, *[P3, K3]; repeat from * to  last 6 stitches, [K1, P1] - 3 times.
12 - [P1, K1] - 3 times, *[P4, K2, P2, K4]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches,  [P1, K1] - 3 times
13 - K6, *]P5, K1, P1, K5]; repeat from * to  last 6 stitches, K6
14 -  [K1, P1] - 3 times, *[P6, K6]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, [K1, P1] - 3 times.
15 - K6, *[P6, K6]; repeat from * to  last 6 stitches, K6
16:  [P1, K1] - 3 times, *[P6, K6]; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, [P1, K1] - 3 times.
Continue until almost desired length

1 - K
2 - [K1, P1]
3 - K
4 - [P1, K1]

Do edge for 8 rows (do rows 1-4 2 times)

Bind off loosely
Weave in ends

Pattern can be made wider by adding multiples of 12