Sunday, August 23, 2015

Two Halves -- and a Scale

Last week I took this photo to document the halfway point of my newest Paper Lanterns shawlette.

Paper Lanterns WIP in Frabjous Fibers Mad Hatter

Paper Lanterns is a rather simple, sideways knit, shawlette.  For the first half of the project you have increase rows.  For the second half, decrease rows take their place.

If you think that you might not have enough yarn to knit a two-halves type of pattern as written, but you know that you probably have enough...

Or, if you are using a treasured skein of yarn, and you desire to use as much of the yarn as possible... by making the first half as long and as wide as you can with a minimal amount of wasted yarn...

You will need a scale.

A small kitchen scale like the one that I bought from Amazon in 2010 (still available here) will work quite well.

You should weigh your yarn before you start (as I mentioned in this post).  My yarn weighed 113g.  When I got to the halfway point of the shawlette last week, I weighed the remaining yarn and shot the photo above.  the remaining yarn weighed 58g.  Half of 113 would be 56.5.  This showed me that I did have enough yarn to finish because what remained was more than what was used.  It also showed me that for this particular project, there could be no extra pattern repeats to make a larger shawlette.

Your scale will come in handy whenever you knit a project that has two halves.

I use mine every time I make toe up socks.  Before I start, I take my initial ball of yarn and wind a ball off of it, weighing both, until I get two equal balls.  Mr K likes tall socks.  My scale allows me make them as tall as I like but no taller than the yarn allows.

Fingering Weight TATU Socks FO in Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints

This FO photo of a pair that I knit for him last spring, shows what remains of the two balls that I started out with.  These are the tallest socks that I ever knit.

I currently am knitting Mr K a new pair of TATU socks and I was also at the halfway point with these earlier this month.  Now I am quite far beyond that.

Fingering Weight TATU Socks WIP in Austermann Step 6

I use my scale to check how much yarn I have used (or how much yarn I have remaining) in many of my projects especially when I design new patterns.  It has been a very worthwhile tool in my knitting tool box.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Midweek Meditation

"There are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them."  ~ Henri Matisse

Red Room (Harmony in Red), 1908

Still Life with Geraniums, 1910

Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones, 1944

The Plum Blossoms, 1948

(Please, see some flowers today!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An Invitation (Up Close & Personal)

Paper Lanterns Detail, © Gosh Yarn It!

Ann at Gosh Yarn It! does take the best knitting photos!  This detail shot is my absolute favorite of the photos she took of my Paper Lanterns shawlette while it is (temporarily) a GYI! resident sample.

As part of GYI's Summer Camp 2015, for the month of August, I will be hosting a KAL at the shop & in this Ravelry thread.  I will be in the shop this Saturday, August 1, at 1:00 PM to cast on my newest Paper Lanterns.  The pattern begins "CO 14"...  How easy is that?

My chosen yarn is the lovely Wonderland Yarns "Mad Hatter" sport weight - 344 yds - 4 oz - 100% superwash merino in the 'Crimson Fury' colorway.  [The actual weight of this balled skein is 3.95 oz or 113 g.  This might be helpful to know when I get near the halfway mark.]  It will be interesting to see Paper Lanterns knit up in a semi-solid kettle-dyed yarn.

Paper Lanterns is a great summer knit!  You may use any sock yarn -- sport weight or fingering -- wildly variegated or semi-solid.  My sample (there are many photos on the pattern page) was made with 360 yds of sport weight sock yarn.  The pattern is fairly easy to memorize and the garter stitch body of the shawl moves along quickly.

Please join me in this KAL!  You can start at anytime after the 1st, but the goal is to finish by the end of the month.  Follow the thread and visit with me at GYI! this Saturday.  I look forward to knitting with you!  Happy almost August!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Midweek Meditation -- Churchill Style

Churchill Painting at the Easel, Simon Brushfield

"At one side of the palette there is white, at the other black; and neither is ever used neat."  ~ Winston Churchill

My last "Colorwork Meditation" (#13) focused on black.  I planned (and I still do plan) that my next "Colorwork Meditation" (#14) will focus on white.  

Funny thing is...  I have started that "colorwork" post-to-be twice, and it still is not happening...  Truthfully, now that I have spent all that time searching for quotes on "white", I have found that a lot of them are actually quotes on "white and black" or "black and white".  And many are not so much about art as about racial relations (which is understandable) but I do not remember this at all when searching for "black" quotes. 

(But maybe it's me and my searching?)

At this point, I would suggest that it does make a difference if you search for "white quotes" or "quotes on the color white" or even "artist's quotes on the color white". 

Funny thing is... when I last went searching... I came upon the quote above by Winston Churchill.  I never knew that Churchill painted.

And that lead to this:  "Although he is best known for his service as prime minister of Great Britain during World War II, Churchill was also a painter and produced many works of art over his lifetime."

A Room at Breccles, Winston Churchill

Daybreak at Cassis, Winston Churchill

And then, I saw this

When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favor of the war effort, he simply replied,

"Then what are we fighting for?"

(Top) Image credit: 

Churchill's paintings:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Design Release: Paper Lanterns

Sample Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts®, Socks That Rock®, mediumweight
Yarn Required: 350-400 yd of any sport or fingering weight sock yarn

On its one year anniversary, the rights to my Paper Lanterns design reverted back to me.  This evening, I released a newly formatted version on Ravelry.

The regular price for the pattern will be $5.00.  In order to (belatedly) celebrate its first anniversary, and to jointly celebrate the upcoming fourth anniversary of my blog, you can purchase it now through June 12, 2105, for 25% off using the coupon code, "happyanniversary".

Paper Lanterns is a great pattern to use with any high-contrast, seriously variegated skein of sock yarn, as well as a solid or lightly variegated one.
The edging of the Paper Lanterns shawlette incorporates eyelet holes and wrapped-and-dropped stitches to create a string of circular lanterns.

This is a really FUN to knit pattern!  And you don't have to take my word for it...  Some of the 2014 Rockin' Sock Club members have given me permission to quote their comments from their Ravelry project pages.

"LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the shawl, amazing yarn! The pattern is very well written, easy to follow and the little lanterns are so pretty. Can’t wait to block it and wear it."  ~ mamayaga"

Enjoyed it much more once Nine Maidens was finished, then did 3/4 of this shawlette in a couple of days. Interesting pattern with a fun edging."  ~ catmama

"I loved making this - the pattern knit up quickly and the stitch sequence was easy to remember."  ~ Amelie31

In a personal message Amielie31 wrote, "That scarf is one of my Blue Moon favorites. In fact, just this week I was looking through my stash for yarn to make it again. I gave the original one to my mom and now I want one to keep! Version #2 is in my queue for later this summer…" 

"I loved this project! I was finally able to memorize it when I was on the last half of the decreases. I think it looks good even un-blocked. It drapes nicely like a scarf."  ~ spaznurse

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Spark & The Reinvention -- "Opulent Cowl"

Shortly after announcing the release of a new pattern, I enjoy putting a post together about its design origins (the "spark") and the design process leading up to its final finished form...

My latest design "Opulent Cowl" was first inspired by this designer inspiration Pinterest page put together by Knitscene editor, Amy Palmer, for Knitscene Accessories, 2015.  The board revolved around three themes to inspire designers: "LBD -- Little Black Dress", "Capitol Couture" and "Around the Home".

"Little Black Dress" caught me and took me to the internet...

Of course, I found Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn... too bad about the smoking... but keep that jewelry in mind...

Next, I did some searching for "little black dress accessories", and before very long I found something that I wanted to recreate...

Photo Credit: Net-A-Porter, +Eleven Everything

I do love this kind of high fashion spark... "Foil Print Merino Wool Snood" (then available at Net-A-Porter for $270)... it made me think of a cowl that was like a piece of jewelry...

It was obvious to me that the ribbing in that snood is fisherman's rib, and the gilded ribbing is two-color fisherman's rib.  I had just seen an article on this kind of ribbing in Interweave Knits, Fall 2014.  (BTW: There is a whole lot that I can write about fisherman's rib and its relationship to brioche, and how cool it is when worked with more than one color, but I will save that for another day.)

I pulled out that magazine and I began swatching (using two colors of worsted weight wool yarn).  Then, I located some Berroco Captiva Metallic in bronze, and Schachenmayr Sun City in black and egg shell.  I made this swatch:

I drew this sketch with two length options (one like a long necklace, and one, a smaller cowl that would stand up like a turtleneck or snood):

I included the swatch and the sketch in my proposal.  About a month later, Amy Palmer sent an email that said that she "really liked" my cowl (Oh, happy day, I really love working with everyone Interweave!)  Amy said that she thought that it would be "great for the Capitol Couture story", and that she would "like to play with untraditional yarns".  Her first suggestion was a tape yarn that came in mostly soft colors and nothing near a metallic.  I told her that I had my doubts, but that I would do my best to find a yarn as close as I could get to that, and do some swatching, ASAP...

Later that day, I went to Gosh Yarn It!, my LYS, to see what they had -- and they did not.  However, the shop owner, Jill, had some very lovely ONline, Linie 346 Arona tape yarn in her personal stash and she kindly gave me a skein for my swatching.  I wound off a small ball of lighter tones in order to have two colors, and then later I tried some spool ribbon from my local Jo-Ann's.  Sad to say, but it just wasn't right.

I included this photo in my next email to Amy:

I wrote, "I am mostly back to where I was before the [latest] swatching. I would [still] like to use a metallic with a solid color."

There were a whole lot more back and forth emails with Amy. I am grateful for her relentless search to find just the right yarns.  We decided on Prism Elise in 'antique' with violet and orchid shades of Prism Petite Madison (for more information see my Ravelry project page).  Amy let me choose the length for the cowl.  I think that both the lovely yarn, and my decision to go with a l-o-n-g length, eventually lead to a very opulent cowl, indeed.
My last photos are my own from right before I sent the cowl to Knitscene.

I love the piece and am looking forward to getting it back one day!

Opulent Cowl is just one of 33 beautiful new designs in Knitscene Accessories, 2015 which is available online and on newsstands everywhere. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

First Look --> Knitscene Accessories 2015

Opulent Cowl

My newest published design is available right now!!!  The digital version of Knitscene Accessories 2015 just became available at the Interweave online store.  Physical editions will be on newsstands and in yarn stores in early June.

Knitscene Accessories 2015

As always is the case with Knitscene & Interweave, I am quite impressed with the styling and the photography throughout the entire issue.  But even more than that, I loved working with editor, Amy Palmer.  Her early enthusiasm for this design, and her relentless search for just the right yarn (I was pretty well set on using a metallic) were followed by a final decision of mine to go l-o-n-g and narrow.  The results are kind of breathtakingly beautiful... (don't you think?)

Opulent Cowl is only one of 33 amazing designs in this gloriously gorgeous 2015 edition of Knitscene Accessories!  

Photo credits:  Knitscene/Harper Point Photography

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Midweek Meditation

"A design isn’t finished until somebody is using it."    ~ Brenda Laurel

A couple of my designs will be finished/used very soon!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Knit Tip: What to do with mixed dye lots & kettle dyed yarns?

I have named my red vest project "Crimson and Garnet" and I have made a project page for it on Ravelry.  I ripped out the entire piece that I showed you in my Reentry post last month.

My latest photo shows my color blending in progress.

Garnet Lite Lopi & Garnet Létt-Lopi

The Garnet Létt-Lopi in my previous knitting was a bit lighter and pinker than the Garnet Lite Lopi.  And the Garnet Lite Lopi was a bit deeper red with a hint of purple.

I could not see these differences when I laid them out in the grass (approximately two years ago).

Two Reds (or was it Four?)

But it did show up in the knitting.

Two Dye Lots

"Knit Tip":  Whenever you DO need to knit with two or more skeins that are not from the same dye lot, knit two rows with dye lot ball #1, and then knit two rows with dye lot ball #2.

You could alternate with each round if you are knitting in the round.  But when knitting back and forth in rows, alternate knitting a right side and then a wrong side row from one skein and then from the other.  Just carry the unused yarn up the side.

I used this same technique when knitting my Color of Flowers pullover with the kettle dyed Canopy Fingering yarn.

Detail Kettle Dyed Canopy Fingering

From the Kelbourne Woolens website:  "The unique blend of fibers [in Canopy] are spun into a smooth yarn and then kettle dyed, and the different way the fibers absorb the dye creates a beautiful depth of color with subtle heathered tones."  And on the yarn label: "This yarn has been intentionally hand-crafted with subtle texture and color variances... In order to achieve optimum results, we encourage you to alternate skeins for an overall blended effect."

That is why you can see two balls of yarn in my work in progress photo.

And that is why the colors blend as well as they do in the finished sweater.

The Color of Flowers