Monday, December 28, 2009

Sparkly Yet Manly

Sparkly Yet Manly Scarf
Yarn: Dream in Color Stardust, in their darkest colour
Needles: 3mm Addi lace turbos
Pattern: plain mistake rib, in a parallelogram shape

Notes: A few years ago, I knit The Limey a fairly plain 3x3 ribbed scarf, in aran-ish weight dead-muppet acrylic yarn. He loved it and wore it everywhere until last winter, when we (ahem, I) left it at a pub. I kept promising to knit him a new one, but he really liked the dead-muppet acrylic, which had been discontinued.

This stalemate continued until I found a skein of Dream in Color Stardust (Ravelry link), in its "Experimentals" range at the iKnit stall at the iKnit weekender in September. I got it in its darkest colour, which is black-ish, but actually has lots of dark purples and blues in it. Most importantly, it was sparkly! There was no way The Limey wasn't going to like it.

(Turns out it's really hard to photograph sparkle.)

The problem? It's sock-weight yarn and I only got one skein. It turns out I was lucky, and just managed to eek out a decent-length scarf. I'm not sure if you can see it in the top picture, but it's not a rectangle- it's shaped like this:

I started with just two stitches, increased one stitch every other row until it was the width I wanted, knit straight until I felt I had just enough yarn to do the end, then decreased every other row back to two stitches. I did this to get as much length as I could out of the yarn, and I think it worked- he can wrap it once around his neck and still have the ends hang down long enough to be comfortable and not unwrap. I think if I'd just done a plain rectangle, it wouldn't have been long enough.

Now he can stop looking pointedly at me while whining about how cold his neck is.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lookit me go!

All right, folks, number three of four designs for Fyberspates. Meet Arachne.

A lightweight, go-with-everything cardigan in a classic shape, with the addition of just enough lace to make it interesting to wear and knit. The lace motif kinda reminded me of spider webs, hence the name.

Worked in one piece up to the armholes, with set-in sleeves knit in the round, the only seaming is sewing the sleeves to the body. The bottom edge of the body and the edges of the sleeves are hemmed to give a clean finished look.

The lace is fully charted and continues on across the back. There's also a single motif at the wrists...wouldn't want you to get bored with all that plain stockinette!

The collar is finished simply with attached i-cord. The button bands are knit as hems, so are double thickness and present a smooth stockinette face.

One of the sad things about knitting these designs is that all the samples go to Jeni. But I love Arachne so much that I was reaching for more Scrumptious 4-ply with one hand as I gave her the sample with the other. I've got some in darker blue/purple that is going to be gorgeous. And it only takes 3 skeins of the stuff for the smaller sizes!

Finished chest/bust size: 31 (34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55) inches at bust
78.5 (86.5, 94, 101.5, 109, 117, 124.5, 132, 139.5) cm at bust
Yarn: Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply (55% merino wool / 45% silk, 365m per 100g skeins):
3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins
Needles: 3.5mm / US4 straight needles, or size needed to get gauge; 3.0mm / US2 straight needles;
3.5mm / US4 dpns for attached i-cord and sleeves (or magic loop them)
Notions: stitch markers, stitch holders or waste yarn
Tension: 24.5 sts & 40 rows per 4 inches / 10cm in stockinette stitch
Cost: £4.00

Available to buy from Ravelry, from the Fyberspates site soon, and with the Buy Now button at the bottom of this post.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This stuff is wasted on kindergarteners

Paper, scissors, glue...

LOTS of glitter...

...and our little tree gets some personalized ornaments.

(Snowflakes are made with proper six-fold symmetry rather than the eight we did in school.)

Even the cat felt like participating.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Selene Pullover

I'm happy to release the second of four designs I've done for Fyberspates. This is Selene.

An easy-to-knit, easy-to-wear lace v-neck raglan. Wide ribbing, simple lace, easy shaping- I've tried to make it fun to knit as well as fun to wear.

The body and sleeves are knit in the round and then joined for the yoke, so there's no seaming. The ribbed neckline is picked up and knit after the body is done. Subtle waist shaping is achieved by changing needle sizes.

Because the v-neck gives lots of room at the bust and the lace is stretchy, knit the size closest to your bust measurement.

It's modelled here by my lovely friend Joana. We had lots of fun at the "photo shoot".


Finished measurements: 30 (33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57) inches at bust; 76 (84, 91.5, 99, 106.5, 114.5, 122, 129.5, 137, 145) cm at bust

Yarn: Fyberspates Superwash Merino dk (100% merino wool, 220m per 100g skeins): 5 (5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9) skeins

Gauge: 1.5 inches / 3.8 cm per horizontal lace repeat; 1.4 inches / 3.6 cm per vertical lace repeat

Needles: 4.5mm / US7, or size needed to get gauge, 24 inch / 60 cm circulars; 3.5mm / US4 24-inch / 60 cm circulars; 4.5mm / US7 dpns for sleeves (or magic loop them)

Notions: stitch markers, stitch holders or waste yarn

Price: £4.00

You can buy it from Ravelry, or with the "Buy Now" button at the bottom of this post. It will also be available from the Fyberspates shop site soon.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Mongkok Cardigan (again!)

With the imminent disappearance of The Inside Loop, I have to re-jig my Mongkok Cardigan pattern and republish it. I figure it's as good a time as any to think about the layout of my patterns and get them into better shape. With that in mind, I've re-done Mongkok with what I hope is a more professional look and feel. Over the next few weeks, I'll gradually re-do all my patterns in this new format. If you have an opinion about what you consider good pattern layout or have a pet hate about them, I'd love to hear it!

Mongkok is now available as a free download on Ravelry, and also here, for those not on Rav.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Dude, what the heck is happening?

I just found out that Stash Yarns, in Putney, is closing this month. I only managed to stop in a few times, but it was a lovely shop, and the people were always helpful. I'm sad that the choice of yarn shops in London is narrowing.

This follows closely on the heels of news that The Inside Loop will be shutting down its website in January. It hadn't been putting out new issues for a while now, but the disappearance of the website is an impossible to ignore sign of the loss. I'll have to get my Mongkok Cardigan pattern into shape and make it available elsewhere.

Right before I heard about The Inside Loop's shutdown (Kate and Diane e-mailed the designers to give us time to get our patterns off the site), I learned that Knotions has stopped producing new issues as well, although Jody is keeping the website up for now.

People, what is going on?! Has the knitting world contracted? Are there now too many resources for knitters? I know the three closures I talked about are unrelated (right?!) and they were closed down for all sorts of reasons which make sense for those involved. I have no doubt that they were the right decisions and I can only be grateful that I had a chance to work with Jody, Kate and Diane, and that I was able to shop at Stash at all.

Still, I'm a little sad.