Friday Finds

Happy Friday! We’re staring down a cold and snowy weekend in Colorado, so basically, my plan is to stay inside as much as possible and knit away! Probably on the couch with a movie queue piled next to the blu-ray player. What are your favorite “homebody weekend” movies?

  • Slipping Ridge (free) by Kathryn C. features a slipped stitch pattern that I think would be really great for highly variegated socks. Plus, they look pretty awesome in this solid color as well!

  • You all know I have a mitten problem, but how cute are these Fox in the Snow Mittens (free) from Patons? SO CUTE. I really want a pair.

  • Bonnie Sennot’s Biscuit infinity scarf ($5) features a simple textured stitch and lace edging.

  • Woodstove Season ($6.50) by Alicia Plummer is a classic cardigan shape with simply textured fronts and a chevron texture on the back.

  • The classic Granny Square blanket gets a simple yet contemporary upgrade in Purl Bee’s Granny Stripe Blanket (free). I’ve frequently said I wanted to crochet a yarn-scraps blanket, and I think this stripe version will definitely be a contender. (Let’s face it, I probably have enough yarn scraps to do a traditional Granny Square afghan AND a Granny Stripe blanket, because I’m ridiculous.)

  • The Birthday Shawl (£3.50) from Kate’s Twirl is a lovely little shawl with a garter stitch body and sawtooth-inspired edging.

All photographs are taking from the individual Ravelry pattern pages unless otherwise noted. No copyright infringement intended.


Discoveries in the wilds of the internet

I think part of the reason the yarn-crafting community in general loves Ravelry is that it’s an easy way to keep in touch with The New in Crafting. I used to spend a good amount of time perusing the new patterns features, discovering new and new-to-me designers and the ways in which these folks were looking at knitting and crocheting and garment-construction. I’ve made new friends (and I even get to meet one of them in a few days when she comes into town for Estes Park Wool Market!) and thought about new techniques (backwards knitting, anyone?). So I thought today, being Sweaterday and a day on which I’m “supposed” to share something related to knitting with you, I’d talk about some recent discoveries I’ve made.

First up is The Sweatshop of Love, the brainchild of Allyson and her outlet for some super adorable patterns, particular this tank top:

Photo © Allyson Dykhuizen

If you don’t immediately want to stop what you’re doing and cast on for that tank top RIGHT NOW, well, you have more willpower than I do (I haven’t dropped what I’m doing and cast on for it yet, but I think that’s more of a lack of yarn thing than a willpower thing). I’m not going to lie: When I first saw this pattern come up in the Ravelry “new patterns” page, my knitting heart trilled at the idea of using entrelac as the “neckband” for a piece. What a clever way of combining the eye-catching entrelac with different colors and making a super sassy tank while you’re at it!

Meanwhile, the brain trust at Berroco is up to their usual shenanigans, churning out fabulous pattern after fabulous pattern. Just look at these!

Photo © Berroco Design

Photo © Berroco Design

Photo © Berroco Design

They are, respectively, Phinney, Baudelaire, and Fremont, and I love them all, as well as many other patterns from recent Berroco pattern books.

Now I just need time, yarn, and wrists of steel to make everything that’s caught my eye lately. I’m terrified to ask this, but what recent discoveries have you made?

P.S. — Don’t forget about World Wide Knit In Public week! It begins this Saturday, June 12, though I may get the party started a little early while my friend and I are out and about on Friday.

Two incredibly disparate ideas

I believe I forgot to mention that I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ann Budd. Yes, The Ann Budd, prolific knitwear author and editor at Interweave Press. We didn’t have a chance to speak much, but I feel this is incredibly noteworthy for two reasons: One, it’s Ann Budd; two, we met at the Denver Roller Derby. Ann Budd. Roller Derby. Wrap your head around that. I’m still having trouble with it myself.

But speaking of Ann Budd (who I am happy to report was wearing knitwear to the roller derby!), she recently blogged about the photo shoot for Lisa Shroyer’s upcoming plus-size sweater book. I’m a fan of Lisa as a person and as a knitwear designer, so I’m super excited to see how this book turns out.

Temperatures are starting to seriously warm up here in northern Colorado. I walked outside at the end of the work day yesterday and exclaimed, “Ugh, it’s warm.” Now, the “ugh” part of that was mostly shock—when I left my house yesterday morning, my car told me it was approximately 42 degrees. When we left the office, it was very close to 80. I just wasn’t expecting that much of a difference (though obviously, everyone else does, since they kind of laughed at me and told me I was crazy). At least it’s not humid, though!

Warmer temperatures bring about an adjustment in knitting choices, too. I’m so close to finishing my Vivian (just have to do the hood!), and I’m both excited and downtrodden. Excited because I’ll have finished my Vivian! Downtrodden because the next few months won’t afford many opportunities to wear a heavy, handknit, bulky cardigan.

Enter the new Spring+Summer Knitty! As usual, with any Knitty issue, there’s a veritable gobsmacking of wonderful patterns. There’s Torreyana, the gorgeous shawl that can be knit in what seems like a million different sizes (a slight exaggeration); Wanderer socks, with their delightfully unexpected sole construction; Miriam Felton’s Anthemion shawl with it’s delicate lace (and how cute is Miriam’s dress?); and the Que Sera cardigan which is just absolutely darling.

But my heart, and indeed my knitting brain (which is different from and takes up more headspace than my regular brain; you know what I mean), has been captured and held hostage by Petrie. I have not been able to get this tank out of my mind since I first saw it.

It’s simple. It’s drape-y. It has just enough visual chutzpah to grab your attention but clean lines and breezy fit to flatter pretty much any body shape. And don’t even get me started on the boatneck hem—I will swoon!

Ever since I first saw this pattern, I knew I had to make it. So I started looking around online for yarn options, thinking “Oh, the Berroco Pure Pima that was used in the sample has lovely drape, and would be a perfect choice for these warmer temperatures, and would look wonderful on me in a blue shade and could be worn with a cardigan or over my new blue and white dress” and on, and on. There was no reason to not knit this sweater, I mean, aside from not having the yarn, wanting to finish my Vivian, and wanting to knit my Whisper Cardigan, for which I do have the yarn. No reason at all.

Today, I asked a coworker if the yarn shop down the street carried Pure Pima. I hadn’t thought about this before, but I should have: I wouldn’t have to pay for shipping and I assumed the yarn in stock would be about the same price as any I found online. She said that yes, in fact, they did. So now I have 9 skeins of Berroco Pure Pima in the Caneel Bay color (it’s a lovely, lovely blue) and a desperate urge to cast on right now.

It’s going to be a long afternoon, working on that Vivian hood. But things must be done in their proper order. Or so I’m going to keep telling myself.

(Ann Budd! Roller derby!)

A debut.

You all know that I knit socks, right? Like, a lot of socks. More socks than anyone living in Florida ever needed to knit. Yeah, that was me.

Well all that crazy sock knitting has paid off in the form of my first published-in-print design: the Wasabi Peas Socks published in the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.

All images from

OF COURSE, my first printed design would be socks. Never mind the fact that when I first began to knit, I naively believed that I would never knit socks. WHY KNIT SOCKS?! You can buy them so easily. Sweaters I can understand because sometimes sweater yarn can be cheaper than a full sweater, but socks?

This from the girl who currently has about 3 pairs in various stages of what I like to call “progress.”

I have been trying in various forms to knit these socks for ages. I loved the stitch pattern, a simple trinity stitch, and when it came into my mind that it should be on a biasing diagonal, well, it just had to be done. Having the idea and making it work are often two very disparate things. Figuring out how to slant the stitches, how to work in the gussets, how to treat the top of the foot, these are things that probably would have kept me up at night if my cat hadn’t cornered that job market for herself.

Turns out, all I need is a deadline and I can Make Things Work. The stitches slant thanks to the paired M1 and k2tog/ssk stitches, and the gusset worked out to be absolutely no gusset whatsoever. I can’t give away all my secrets, though, so you’ll just have to peep the pattern yourself to see what I did there. I wanted the pattern slant to end on the side of the foot, not in a point on the top of the foot, but I do really like the way this turned out (and I think I know how I could have made it slant correctly, but eh).

As for modifying it to fit your own feet, I think it’s a fairly easy process. I’d suggest maintaining the original stitch count for the trinity stitch column and adding stitches to the stockinette portions (being mindful to adjust your heel flap and heel turn accordingly). Those of you with higher arches could knit the heel flap as directed and then purl one less stitch together in the side clusters of the non-gusset (…this probably only makes sense if you have the pattern in front of you). And since the stitch pattern ends towards the middle of a US size 8 foot, you can make it longer or shorter so easily.

I hope that some of you give the socks a whirl and let me know what you think!

Parallel Lines and a Contest

My first “real” design (“real” meaning “translated from my brain to the page”) saw it’s debut on Ravelry earlier this week. My Parallel Lines (PDF download; Rav link) scarf has been well-received (at least to my perception, being a first-time, no-name designer). I’m so happy that so many people are at least interested in an idea that started in my head and ended up a real project. This is a big deal to me, and I want to thank you for reading my blog and especially those of you who commented, favorited, or queued the pattern. I especially want to thank my test-knitter gals, Christy and Lois, and my friend Toni for helping me out with the photography. ::squishy hugs all around::

The idea for the pattern was born from a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park in September, when all the aspens were in their seasonal glory. Shots of gold, amber, and sunshine yellow dotted the mountains that are usually covered in green. I immediately set to work on this scarf when I got home (which would have annoyed my parents who were visiting at the time if they hadn’t had football to distract themselves). The stitch pattern is a variation of one found in an Italian stitch guide–I say “variation” because I’m not sure I’m doing it exactly right, as Italian stitch guides (and apparently patterns themselves) can be a bit iffy. That information comes from one of the Italian knitting groups on Ravelry, it is not my own observation.

Paralle Lines Scarf

The slant to the pattern comes from Left Twisting stitches. If you’ve never worked with twisted stitches, a brief explanation: twisting stitches is very similar to doing an itty, bitty cable pattern, where you’re knitting stitches out of order. A left-twisting stitch has you knitting the second stitch on a needle through the back loop, and then knitting the first stitch on the needle through the back loop. A right-twisting stitch does the same, except you’re knitting through the front of the loops, not the backs. I’m thinking about doing a mini-tutorial about twisting stitches, complete with pictures, so let me know if anyone’s interested in that.

Parallel Lines Scarf

The title “Parallel Lines” was inspired by the Blondie album of the same name. I like to name my projects after musical influences–many of my projects share names with songs that I like at the moment or that seem to fit the project. And this disclosure leads me to some more news: the first ever Threadpanda contest!

Leave a comment to this post, telling me about a favorite album of yours. One from your childhood, one that you’ve listened to over and over to the point of wearing it out, whatever. No comments that only say “Hi.” The contest will be open until Friday, November 13, 2009, at which point I’ll use a magical Random Number Generator to determine a winner.

Can’t have a contest without a prize, right? The winner of the Parallel Lines contest will receive two skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, the same yarn I used to knit the scarf. (It’s aztec turquoise; I have a picture of it but I didn’t get a chance to upload it yet and I’m impatient. I’ll post it later.) Disclosure and disclaimer: Yarn was purchased at a LYS, as I am in no way, shape, or form affiliated with Brown Sheep or any of its distributors.

Please please please, let me know what you think about the pattern, if you have any questions, if you want to be entered into the contest, whatever. Knit on!

Gold rush

I’ve mentioned before how excited I am for the arrival of my first “real” Fall. It’s really starting to hit up here. Any tree that isn’t an evergreen is turning some shade of yellow-green, gold, orange, or red. My parents were in town this past weekend for a visit, and we got to see some of this Fall business up close.

Old Town Fort Collins

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

(I think the red in that last photo comes from an outbreak of Mountain pine beetles that are attacking the pines, but I’m not sure.)

Is it any wonder, then, that I immediately had to grab up that gorgeous gold colored Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted I bought at the KnitWear Extravaganza and started knitting it up into a scarf?


I got about that far before I realized that I was using the wrong size needles, so I started over again.


Much better. See?


The stitches are easier to work with and I like the length of the rows. I’ve started drafting up the pattern and sent it to a couple of gals for test-knitting. I’m hoping to have a complete pattern posted here on the blog by the end of the month, so stay tuned!

Come on Fall!

I’m from Florida. Our “Fall” is mostly just rain, rain, rain, with the possibility of lots of rain and really strong winds. None of the iconic images that come to mind when one thinks of Fall.

Yeah, that doesn’t happen in Florida. But now that I live in Colorado, I am anxiously, eagerly, with-bated-breathedly wishing that Fall would hurry up and get here. And it’s trying, it really is. This weekend is supposed to be much cooler than the weather has been, and this has me in mind of what one wears in cooler weather (Floridians tend to wear flip flops year around–it really made the whole sock knitting thing somewhat irrelevant.)

I have been adding patterns and projects to my favorites folder on Ravelry for a while, so I took a little bit of time to find some of my favorite favorite Cardigan patterns and decided to share with you. All links lead to Ravelry!

Phildar’s Cherry Jacket, made by Rav member Irinka-Kozulecha. I love the color and the buttons she chose, and it’s just a super cute little cardigan.

The Mrs. Darcy Cardigan designed by Mary Weaver. Okay so I might just be a sucker for anything related to Jane Austen, but I love the ribbing at the waist and the cuffs.

Courtney Kelley’s Tulip Cardigan is just so cute. I love the stranded colorwork in the yoke.

More colorwork, this time with Jenn Jarvis’s Argyle Jacket from the new Twist Collective. Simple, clean lines with a dash of argyle edging.

Katya Wilsher’s Chevron Trinity Cardigan from the newest KnitScene just looks comfy and cozy with a “varsity jacket-esque” edge.

I am absolutely in love with this super sweet Paletot Point de Broderie cardigan. The problem is, the pattern is in French. I’m going to attempt to translate it…eventually.

Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight Cardigan looks like the perfect transition piece between a warm day and a chilly evening. Plus, the pattern calls for Malabrigo Lace. Well, if you insist…

The Grotto Wrap by Karen D. Kendrick-Hands (Interweave Summer 2009) looks like another great transition piece, with a little bit of ethereal lightness added.

Speaking of ethereal, this cardigan by Sublime Yarns is actually called Ethereal. I love the shaping of the yoke and the bright yellow color is always a favorite.

And finally, who wouldn’t want to curl up on the couch wearing the Garter Yoke Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre (Knit.1, Fall/Winter 2008)? A cozy cardigan, a mug of cocoa, and my cat sleeping (hopefully peacefully) on my feet to keep them warm… sounds delightful.

I don’t think my mother reads my blog, and that’s probably a good thing right now. She’d probably get rather cranky that I’m talking about cardigans and cool weather when their A/C broke the other day.

So, what are you knitting in your neck of the woods? Preparing for the chilly weather, or trying to figure out how to stay cool?