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Archive for September, 2009

Fall

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The leaves are turning a bit. As our weather becomes crisper, I am reminded of what inspired me to knit. The fall always brings back memories of when I was a young girl and wanting to play outside. I would dash out the door without my gloves or hat, and barely a jacket. Feeling the burn on my little ears from the biting cold, I’d try to ignore the fact that I needed anything besides my little legs. My mother would quickly call me back to the house. I’d be fitted with a thick hand knit hat and cozy knit gloves. As a child, we try to ignore the fact that we need comfort and that playing is the center of our world.
As an adult, I keep going back the memories of how I was loved and cared for. Learning to knit was a part of that for me. Now as I full time knitter, I cherish the fact that I can outfit my loved ones with the same simple accessories that I needed as a child. I want to cloak then with hand knits, to shield them from the cold. Though, in the back of my mind I feel my mission is more than that. Secretly I want to protect them from the harsher times of life. Of course, I would never tell my family this! But if the world could be a little more knitted, I think we would all feel a little warmer.

Cowls, Cowls, Cowls

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I am thrilled at the current hot thing for Fall 2009.  Cowls are all the rage!  The wonderful thing for knitters is that they are very simple to make and look great in big yarns on big needles.

Trabaojos del Peru is the perfect yarn for a fall cowl.  The yarn is soft, cozy, and warm around the neck and works up fast on size 13 needles for a gently draping cowl.  The blending of colors makes the knitting a joy to watch develop.  The size of this cowl makes it quite versatile- around the neck, or over the head as a hooded scarf.

Follow this pattern from Carol Crowley of Carol’s Needleworks to quickly knit a mobius cowl you can wear this weekend!

JoAnne

 

Trabajos del Peru Mobius Cowl

Trabajos del Peru Mobius Cowl

Trabajos del Peru Mobius Cowl

Materials:  2 hanks of Trabajos del Peru.

Needles:  #13- 32” circular needles,  1 stitch marker.

Gauge:  Not too important- about 3 sts =1″.

NOTE:  Usually when working in the round, you’re instructed NOT to twist your stitches.  This pattern is an exception.  When you join, you are to insert a twist to make the mobius hug you!

Pattern:
Loosely cast on 100 sts, place stitch marker, and join with a twist,

Round 1:  Purl.    
Round 2:  Purl.   
Round 3:  *K1, P1* around. 
Round 4:  *P1, K1* around. 
Round 5:  Knit.
Round 6:  Knit.
Round 7:  *K1, P1* around.
Round 8:  *P1, K1* around.
Repeat these 8 rounds 6 more times. 
Repeat round 1 & 2 once more. 
Bind off loosely on next round in ribbing. 
Weave in all ends.

Design!

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

It has now been several weeks since I started at Plymouth Yarn Company. I’ve been working closely with Creative Director JoAnne. Many of my patterns have been designed and made. It has been so thrilling to see the final product! The process to go from idea to finished pattern is definitely not short. I wanted to talk about the basics of how a pattern is made.
I usually get my ideas late at night, between half awake and almost in dream land. My sketch pad is right by my bed side just because of this! Usually my ideas come from what I observe in nature and from the past. I love mixing modern and new together to form a completely new and joyous knit; a hand knit that looks as much fun to make as it is to wear. I’ll sketch several versions of the knit I have in mind, tweaking each one… perhaps changing the trim width, making the collar larger or smaller, working on the stitch details. I’ll swatch the stitches I plan on using from my sketch with the yarn I have in mind. Sometimes, the swatch I make is perfect. However, sometimes it takes practice to perfect that one stitch. Like a fellow knit designer once said, “It takes many frogs to make the perfect prince.”
Once I have the perfect stitching and the best silhouette, I begin the process of technical design. This is where the mathematics become involved. Many options and questions need to be chosen and answered. Like, how fitted is this knit? What sizes are available? Is this tunic, standard, or cropped length? Once all of these questions are answered I can get down to the knitty gritty. I calculate the gauge and work it into the sizes and stitch pattern. Next, I tweak the pattern so that if selvedge stitches are needed, then they are added… or if a particular increase/decrease is not attractive with this garment, I will research a different or more attractive way to shape. If a pattern is really unusual, say a puffed sleeve with pleats, I usually will make the sleeve just to make sure the drape is enough and the pleats/shaping occurs precisely where I want it to.
Are you still with me? After all that is done, and the math is checked for accuracy, I pass the working pattern onto my trusty test knitters. They make the prototype garment and let me know of any changes that need to be made, or something that needs tweaking. At this point, I work very closely with the knitters and it is important that we understand what the finished product needs to be. This is so important, to help keep the integrity of the design as well as the future look of the finished knit. After the knit is finished, JoAnne and I schedule a photo shoot. Then the best pictures are chosen out of each set to ensure the best look for the knit as well best definition for stitch details. The pattern is ready, the picture is ready, and they are merged into a beautiful finished product.

DIY

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Do It Yourself

An era of DIY’ers has emerged, not just as a popular cable network, but as a way for people to express themselves.   It will make you feel as you have accomplished something.  You feel proud for trying something.   Try a new yarn or a new pattern.  Take a class – learn something new.  Experiment with color.

Our Hand Dyed – Trabajos Del Peru, 100 % Fine Merino Wool, is a perfect yarn!  I just love the subtle texture and the color – OMG – just beautiful.  Try this 2 skein cabled scarf!

Trabajos Del Peru - F260

Trabajos Del Peru - F260

Materials:
2-100g Hanks of Trabajos Del Peru.
Size:
Approx 7 x 62”
Knitting Needles:
US 10 needles, cable needle.
Gauge:
14 sts = 4” measured over st st.

RC Sl 2 sts to cn and hold to back, k2, k2 from cn.

Cast on 30 sts
Knit 4 rows.
Then begin pattern:
Row 1: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 2:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 3:  K2, *(p1, RC, p1, k4); repeat from * once more, end p1, RC, p1, k2.
Row 4:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 5: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 6:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 7: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 8:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 9: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 10:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 11: K2, *(p1, k4, p1, RC); repeat from * once more, end p1, k4, p1, k2.
Row 12:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 13: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 14:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 15: K2, *(p1, k4, p1, RC); repeat from * once more, end p1, k4, p1, k2.
Row 16:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 17: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 18:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 19: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 20:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 21: K2, *(p1, k4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end p1, k2.
Row 22:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.
Row 23:  K2, *(p1, RC, p1, k4); repeat from * once more, end p1, RC, p1, k2.
Row 24:  K2, *(k1, p4); repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3.

Repeat rows 1-24 until total length is about 60”, or until almost out of yarn, ending with a row 23.  Knit 4 rows.  Bind off loosely knitwise.  Weave in all ends.

Note:  When working with hand-dyed yarns, for best results, alternate skeins every few rows (work 2 rows with 1 hank, 2 rows with another).  Do not cut yarn, just carry up side of work.
©2008 Plymouth Yarn Company.