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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

6 Inning Pixie - Anthem

This year my older son was part of a Little League baseball team. It has been a truly wonderful experience for him. The team did quite well during the season - and then it was the playoffs. Regular season had games that were up to 2 hours in length. Championship playoff games were 6 innings. His baby brother was at almost every game strapped to me in an infant carrier... which meant my hands were free. So I was able to get some knitting done. Most of this hat was completed during 2 of the playoff games (until Baby Brother decided he was done with sleeping and wanted to watch).
Anthem is one of our newer yarns - and it is great for baby projects, charity, crochet, and anything easy care. It is a soft acrylic that reminds me of wool. Each 100 gram skein contains 186 yards and is available in 33 vibrant colors. The medium size hat used less than 1/2 of the skein - so you can easily get 2 small or medium hats out of 1 skein.
Gauge & Measuments:
4.5 sts = 1"
Shown in 18" (9" long) size

K - Knit
P - Purl
K2tog- Knit 2 Together

- 1 skein Anthem (100% Acrylic - 186 yds/100 g) - shown in 33 (Cockatoo)

- US 8 16" circular needle

- US 8 DPNs

- Stitch Marker

- Yarn needle
CO 72, 80, 88 sts

Join in round, careful not to twist. Place marker to show beginning of round.

K2, P2 for 1,5", 1.75", 2"

K until meaures 3", 3.5", 4" from cast on edge

For Large size only (start here)
1 - K20, K2tog
2 - K
3 - K19, K2tog
4 - K

For Medium (start here)& Large size (continue):
1 - K18, K2tog
2 - K
3 - K17, K2tog
4 - K

For all sizes (start Small size here) (continue larger sizes):
1 - K16, K2tog
2 - K
3 - K15, K2tog
4 - K
5 - K14, K2tog
6 - K
7 - K13, K2tog
8 - K
9 - K12, K2tog
10 - K
11 - K11, K2tog
12 - K
13 - K10, K2tog
14 - K
15 - K9, K2tog
16 - K
17 - K8, K2tog
18 - K
19 - K7, K2tog
20 - K
21 - K6, K2tog
22 - K
23 - K5, K2tog
24 - K
25 - K4, K2tog
26 - K
27 - K3, K2tog
28 - K
29 - K2, K2tog
30 - K
31 - K1, K2tog
32 - K
33 - K2tog

At this point you can cut the yarn and pull through the remaining stitches or you can knit the remaining 4 stitches for 2-3" before you cut the yarn and pull through the remaining stitches. Then you can tie the I-cord into a knot.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Lil Darlin' Hat - Luna

Luna is a single-ply Peruvian cotton with a wrap that gives a nubby texture while maintaining the cottony softness. It works up beautifully for hats, blankets, washcloths, and shawls. Each 50 g skein contains 82 yards and is enough for a quick baby hat or washcloth.

- 1 skein Luna (100% Peruvian cotton - 82 yds/50 g) - shown in #724 (Lemon)

- US 7 16" circular needle (for larger 2 sizes)

- US 7 DPNs

- Stitch marker

- Yarn needle
- K - Knit

- K2tog - Knit 2 Together

- Shown in 16" circumference
 (pattern for sizes 12", 14", 16", 18" circumference)
Cast on 56, 64, 72, 80 sts

Join in round - Place marker at beginning of round.

K for 4.5", 5", 5.5", 6"

Begin decreases
1 - K7, K2tog
2 - K6, K2tog
3 - K5, K2tog
4 - K4, K2tog
5 - K3, K2tog
6 - K2, K2tog
7 - K1, K2tog
8 - K2tog

Knit remaining stitches in the round for 3" (or longer if desired) - cut yarn, weave yarn through remaining stitches
Weave in ends

Tie I-Cord in a knot

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fixation - Rhythm-a-Ning Hat

Fixation is great for hats for all ages - especially for those that need something with a little bit of stretch. Each 50 g ball contains 100 yards which is plenty for a quick baby hat or chemo cap. The little bit of elastic helps the cotton hold its shape. In addition, there is a wide variety of solids and spray-dyed colors to choose from.
- 1 ball Fixation (shown in 2706 - Showcase Teal)

 - US 5 16" circular needles (for larger sizes)

- US 5 DPNs

- Stitch marker

- Yarn needle
- K - Knit

- P - Purl

- K2tog - Knit 2 together

- P2tog - Purl 2 together

5.5 stitches = 1" in stockinette
Cast on 72, 80, 88, 96 (13", 14.5", 16", 17.5")

Join in the round, careful not to twist. Place stitch marker to mark beginning of round.

K2, P2 4 times
Start Pattern:
1 - K2, P2
2 - P1, K2, P1
3 - P2, K2
4 - K1, P2, K1

Cont until 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6" from cast on edge
Start decreases
1 - K2, P2, K2, P2tog
2 - K2, P2, K1, K2tog
3 - K2, P2, K2tog
4 - K2, P1, P2tog
5 - K2, P2tog
6-K1, K2tog

7 - K2tog

Cut yarn and leave a 6" tail. Weave yarn through remaining stitches. Weave in ends.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Guest Post - The Cloud Wrap – from Concept to Pattern by Laura Krzak

For the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of being one of several crochetdesigners for Cascade Yarns. I’ve had a good run with coming up designs that Cascade has chosen to add to their crochet pattern line, and in honor of National Crochet Month, they asked me to explain how I design a crochet pattern.

Some designers start with a concept. They will draw out what they want to make, choose the measurements, choose the stitch pattern to use, and then they pick up the yarn and hook. Other designers, like myself, start with the yarn and hook and work from there. Personally, as a designer, I look for a stitch pattern that will work with the yarn, and once I have a stitch pattern fixed, I start to brainstorm on what finished item to make.

The Cloud Wrap pattern all started with the yarn – El Cielo. I was originally given a sample of the yarn to make a crochet swatch for a completely different pattern idea, but I had enough yarn left that I decided to propose another idea as well. After some trial and error, I came upon a stitch pattern that worked well with the yarn.

The nature of the El Cielo yarn is that it is super lightweight, but the halo of the alpaca provides tons of warmth. Knowing these characteristics, I decided to propose a rectangle shawl. I figured out the dimensions and how much yarn it would take to make a full size shawl, and then sent the pattern proposal for the Cloud Wrap along with several others.

Shortly after Cascade Yarns received my proposals, they contacted me to let me know on which patterns they wanted to move forward. They decided to pass on the crochet design they had me re-stitch with the El Cielo yarn, but they like the swatch for the Cloud Wrap design. However, they wanted a modification. They had already accepted a rectangle shawl design with this yarn, so they wanted to know if I could use the same stitch pattern but in a different shawl shape. Being up for a challenge, I said yes.

I decided to create a triangle shaped shawl. That would mean modifying the pattern with either increases or decreases. In looking at the shape of the stitches themselves, they are wider at the top than at the base. That shape lends itself more easily to increases rather than decreases, which also helped determine how the shawl would be made. When increasing stitches, a triangle shawl will be shaped one of two ways – bottom up or top down.

I also looked at how the stitch repeat itself was made to determine which direction I wanted the tops of the stitches to face. In reviewing all of the information about the stitches, I decided that a center start, top down shawl would be the best way to create a triangle shawl shape with this stitch pattern.

It was finally time to start crocheting! The nature of the yarn itself doesn’t have a lot of stretch or give, so to create enough of an increase to develop the triangle shape, not only would increases be created along what would be the top edge of the shawl, but I would need to figure out how to create increases along the shell spine. My original test stitching had only 2 and 3 chain spaces on either side of the center spine, but after 8 rows, there wasn’t enough give and the lack of increases in the center was pulling the top edge down. I carefully ripped back several rows and decided to add sections of 4 and 5 chain spaces. Those extra chains provided enough give in the center that the top edge of the shawl would lay straight.

Still, something wasn’t right. Those extra chains created the stretch I needed for the shawl shape, but I also needed to increase the stitch pattern as well or it would be nothing but chains and the center shell by the time I got to the bottom – not the look I was going for. A little more juggling with stitch placement on the chain spaces and the final design was complete. I worked two full sets of increases, and then sent a picture to Cascade Yarns for approval. They said yes, so I picked up the swatch and kept crocheting on it to create the shawl.

Once I finished crocheting the shawl, I decided it needed an edging to finish it off. I still had enough yarn left in the skein I was using to make an edging, so I was determined to make this a one skein shawl. After trying a couple more complicated edgings and not liking either the look or the amount of yarn usage, I decided to go with something simple. I chose to alternate single crochet stitches with large shells created from 9 treble stitches, with a larger shell at the center point.

After completing the first couple of edging shells, I knew I had made the right choice. After finishing stitching the shawl, I wet blocked it out, then wrote up the pattern from the notes I took while stitching.

And there you have it – all the behind the scenes details of how the Cloud Wrap Shawl in El Cielo was created. Thank you for going on this design journey with me. Please check out all of the wonderful crochet patterns that Cascade Yarns offers to crocheters for free. I’m sure you will find several new favorites to love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Buzzy Hat in Longwood

Longwood is a treat to work with. The extra-fine merino superwash is soft enough for a baby and is spun into a complex twist that loves cables. Each squishy ball contains 191 yards and there are more than 40 luscious colors to choose from.

Baby hats are a great way to play with a yarn as they work up quickly and the recipient usually will not complain. The hard part is if you take too long they will have outgrown it before you do the decreases. As an added bonus, you will get 2 of the smallest size hats out of 1 ball.
 - 1 ball Longwood (100% Extra-fine Merino Superwash Wool - 191 yds/100 g) - shown in 15 (Green Olive)

- US 8 16" circular needles

- US 8 DPNs

- Cable needle

- Stitch Marker

- Yarn Needle
Gauge & Sizing:
- 4.5 sts = 1" in stockinette

- To fit 16", 19", 22"

- K - Knit

- P - Purl

 - C4B - Put 2 stitches on cable needle, hold in back, knit next 2 stitches, knit 2 from cable needle

- P2tog - Purl 2 together

- K2tog - Knit 2 together
Cast on 72, 88, 104
Join in round, careful not to twist.
Place stitch marker to show beginning of round

K4, P4 for 2", 2.5", 3"

Begin Pattern:
1 - 2 - K4, P4
3 - C4B, P4
4-6 - K4, P4
7 - C4B,P4
8 -12 - K4, P4

Do Rows 1-8 2x , 3x, 4x
 Start decreases
1 - K4, P2, P2tog
2 - K4, P1, P2tog
3 - C4B, P2tog
4 - K3, K2tog
5 - K2, K2tog
6 - K1, K2tog
7 - K2tog

Cut yarn, weave through remaining stitches. Weave in ends.