Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Knitter's Daydream

Lysoen was the summer residence of famed violin virtuoso Ole Bull.
Knitting in Art by Annemor Sundbo at Schoolhouse Press
Dale Falk yarn at Woolybaabaa   
*Syttende Mai, May 17th is the day Norwegians celebrate the signing of their constitution. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just in time for Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! 
 I was really excited to get a surprise in the mail the other day.  It contained my copy of 60 More Quick Baby Knits, published by Sixth and Spring books. 
Photographed by Jack Deutsch
 I have 3 designs in the book.  I couldn’t wait to peek.  I love to see how the garments look photographed, and I always love the way the pictures are styled.  It takes quite a bit of time from the time I submit the garments until the books are published, so I always feel like I am looking at the sweaters for the first time.  I LOVE knitting for babies,and my boys are well out of the baby stage so this project was so much fun.  Baby clothes are a terrific way to try out new techniques, or new yarn without spending too much time or money.  I have to say I was so pleasantly surprised with the Cascade 220 Superwash sport yarn that was used in the book, that I tried to track some down recently for another project.  The colors were rich and varied, and the yarn had a smooth, almost cottony feel. None of these sweaters would ever make a baby feel “itchy".  My patterns are #29 Apple Tree Sweater, #32 Parisian Cardigan, and #46 Argyle vest.  
Photographed by Jack Deutsch
 The Apple Tree sweater and the Parisian Cardigan both have some duplicate stitch embellishment, which is an easy way to liven up plain stockinette. The Parisian Cardigan has a Peter Pan collar.
Photographed by Jack Deutsch
 The Argyle Vest is actually not constructed as a “true” argyle which is intarsia knit with bobbins. Instead the diamond pattern is made in a fair isle technique so that there are only 2 colors used in each row.  Much simpler.  I also deliberately placed a few plain stitches in between the front and back of the vest, so that extra stitches could be added to increase the width, without having to worry about the continuity of the argyle.
Photographed by Jack Deutsch
Photographed by Jack Deutsch

 Do you enjoy baby knitting? Let me know- I'd  love to hear about your tiny projects!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Knitter's Daydream

from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2011
*Not only is the bag great looking, look at this...

Jordana Paige will donate 10% of the suggested retail price of The Knitter’s Satchel™ in Pink to the fight against breast cancer. Detect breast cancer early. For more information visit

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Unwound part III

Your mother/ grandmother/ yarn store owner/ Elizabeth Zimmerman was right- always make sure you have purchased enough yarn in the same dye lot…
I am sure that most knitters reading my previous posts about running out of yarn  wondered why I didn’t follow that simple rule and buy enough yarn  to finish my blue Icarus  shawl  to begin with.
Honestly,  it was so long ago, I don’t remember.  I think I bought all the yarn that came in the “Beach Fog” colorway.  I thought I checked the pattern and planned accordingly, although, at the time, I was not that experienced at lace shawl knitting. I definitely had a large tangle of unusable wool left.  For whatever reason, I ran short.

When I looked last week at the Ravelry page about the Icarus shawl I laughed when I saw the following sentence...
 Please note that the yardage in both of Interweave's printed versions is underestimated for the average knitter.
Is that what happened? I don’t recall, but maybe it lets me off the hook!

© Vogue Knitting/Rose Callahan
   As a designer, I know how important a precise yardage measurement is.  I carefully track the yarn that I use as I knit a project, and write down how many balls/skeins I go through as I am working. 
But, yardage can be a grey area.  When I design a sweater I always knit at least one gauge swatch in stockinette, and one for each pattern that is in the garment.  Sometimes I knit the swatches using more than one needle size.  I make relatively substantial size swatches, and block them.  So, when I account for how much yarn I use, I am accounting for the project and the swatches, as well as any mistake knitting ; ) that occurs along the way.  Generally speaking, the amount of yarn I record should be generous enough for most knitters to easily finish a project.  

Even so, problems still arise.  More than once I have had to break into a new skein of yarn to finish a project that is only missing a few rows.  That is not usually a significant problem if the yarn is sold in small skeins. But, what happens when the yarn is a lace weight thread sold only in 700 yard hanks, or a pricey yarn like cashmere?  I know that when I designed the LILY PATTERNED MITTENS for the Vogue Knitting magazine Winter 2011/2012 issue, I literally used up every bit of the beautiful yarn* and actually unraveled my swatch to complete them.  VK made mention of that fact in the  printed directions.

Sometimes yarn manufacturers even repackage and change the amount of yarn put up in a skein. 

So now I try to buy extra, I check pattern pages for errata, and I cross my fingers…

 *Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibers Mongolian Cashmere 4-Ply  in #43 classic purple