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Wabi-Sabi Mitts

This pattern is an oldie-but-goodie. I've made a few pairs of these mitts as gifts, and I still wear my original pair each winter. My mitts have been pulled from their summertime hiding place and are back in use (pretty much) daily!
Because I love mine so much, and I'm thinking of making some more with some of the hand-spun yarns I've finished recently. Did I tell you? I got a spinning wheel last January! Which means lots more yarn for Wabi-Sabi mitts… or, I'm going to have to come up with another clever design that uses a whole hank of handspun yarn. hmm…
In case these mitts are new to you, let me explain what makes them so awesome. They can be knit using a single skein of handspun yarn. The yarn is wound into a center pull ball so both ends of the yarn can be used at the same time. Each end is used for one mitt and they're both knit at the same time on straight needles. The mitts begin at the fingers and you can basically knit until you run out of yarn!

The mitts shown use about 94 yards of yarn, though I've seen people on Ravelry use more or less depending on what they have available.
Oh, and did I mention that this pattern's free? Enjoy!

Finish-Free Knits — Balance Pullover

For this week's Finish-Free Knits design, I'm continuing with the cold-weather garments. Here's some behind-the-scenes info about the Balance Pullover:

Intro from the Book:
Beginning with a provisional cast-on along the back bodice and sleeves, the yoke and sleeves of this pullover are worked in ribs that run up over the shoulders—with a few increases and decreases to shape the sleeve caps—then down to the lower front bodice. The sleeve stitches are joined with a three-needle bind-off, then the body is worked in rounds in a relatively simple Fair Isle pattern for a fine balance of texture and color.
The foundational concept for this sweater design came to me from something designed by a friend of mine—Melissa LaBarre. While we were walking around the show floor at TNNA we came upon her sweater and she described its construction to me. I fell in love with it and immediately asked her if I could use that idea—she said of course! I continued to expand upon the construction to make the design seamless and fitted around the shoulders.
Interweave Knits recently published a similar design of mine (the Blooming Forest Pullover) in their Fall 2012 issue. Eunny Jang goes into detail about the construction of it in a Sweater Workshop post on Knitting Daily. The Balance Pullover is constructed very much like the Blooming Forest Pullover and the Sweater Workshop post does a great job at explaining, with illustrations and all!

The first swatch I knit for the Balance Pullover was knitted in different colors from the finished sweater. There were so many great color-combinations to choose from! 

If you're interested in knitting your sweater in similar colors of the swatch, the brown and green colors are:
A: Chocolate #011
B: Moss #006
The yellow color is no longer on the website, so unfortunately I do not know it's name and number info
My suggestion for working with multiple colors is to always knit a swatch in the pattern to get an idea of what they'll look like together. If you have three colors you love, play with them in different places to see how they interact with each other. For example: I wanted to be sure colors B and C were contrasting to each other so it would be obvious in the Wave Pattern that there are two different colors. For the colors in the finished sweater, I tried a swatch with the dark grey and the green switched, but the green and light blue didn't contrast enough to make the wave pattern visible.

Read all posts about Finish-Free Knits.


Pattern available on Ravelry from O-Wool.

The body of this cozy cardi is knit from the lower edge to the armholes in one piece, then divided to work the back and fronts separately. The shoulders are joined with a three needle bind off. Sleeve stitches are picked up around the armholes, caps are shaped with short rows then the sleeves are worked down to the cuff, making it easy to try on and adjust the length to your individual arms! 

It's simple and mostly seamless. The only seaming necessary is to set the pocket linings into place.
Finished Measurements:29¾ (33½, 37, 40¾, 44½, 48¼)" bust circumference, buttoned with 1¾" overlapped button band. Garment shown measures 33½".

O-Wool Legacy Bulky (100% certified organic merino; 106 yds/9 7m 100g/ 3.5 oz); 9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 14) skeins, shown in 4199 Rutabaga.

13 sts and 20 rows = 4" in Moss St; 15 sts in Vine Panel = 3½". Take time to save time, check your gauge

Size US 10 (6 mm): 32" circular and double-pointed (dpn). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Cable needle, stitch holders or waste yarn, stitch markers, six 1" buttons, tapestry needle.

Budding Forest Cowl

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving yesterday. I had a nice, relaxing time with family. I'm now focusing on holiday knitting, so I've been thinking a lot about accessory projects that will knit up quickly. I'm reminded of the Budding Forest Cowl that was published not too long ago by one of my favorite yarn companies—Quince & Co.
This past Spring—as the forest began coming back to life, as flowers bloomed, and baby leaves were born—this cowl was imagined. The combination of stitch patterns reminds me of what I saw as I watched the forest bloom. While in Spring, the weather is becoming warmer, I thought a cowl would be a great use of this stitch pattern to remind us throughout the chilly Autumn and Winter that come springtime, the forest will bloom again.

It's knitted using 3 hanks of their ultra soft and bouncy yarn, Lark. There's a little lace, and a few cables, and even some bobbles to top it off. It's like an ice cream sundae.
33¾" (85.5 cm) in circumference and 10¾" (27.5 cm) deep

Quince & Co. Lark / split pea 130
3 skeins

32" circular in size US 7 (4.5 mm)

32 sts (1 patt rep) = 6¾" (17 cm) and 24 rnds (2 patt reps) = 3½" (9 cm) in budding forest pattern, after blocking.

Finish-Free Knits — Grace Cardi

The Grace Cardi from my Finish-Free Knits book is one of my favorites! Well, I really love them all, but there are a handful of them that are just a little special to me. This is one of them. What makes this one of my favorite designs is its visual simplicity, but how so-much-fun it is to knit! And, I've used my favorite brioche stitch pattern around the cuffs and lower edge. 

Intro from the book:
Side-to-side construction makes this cardigan interesting in style and technique. Beginning at the center back, each half of the bodice is worked outward to the sleeve cuff. Stitches for the body are picked up around the lower edge of the bodice and worked downward to the lower edge. The sleeves and lower body are bordered with pearl brioche stitch—one of my favorite patterns for simple texture!

There are a variety of techniques used in this cardi that may be new to some people. Please don't let that frighten you away!

The pattern calls for using the Long-Tail Cast-on Method, but really your favorite cast on could be used in place of this. There is also a provisional cast on used at the center of the back. I choose this method of casting on because it maintains live stitches at the cast-on edge that can be picked up and worked in the other direction, without it being visually obvious! There are illustrated instructions for this and the Long-Tail method on page 151.

The crochet provisional cast-on that I use is slightly different from what's in the book. Here's a great tutorial I made once upon a time for Classic Elite.

There are also a bunch of short rows worked to shape the shoulders into sleeve caps. If you've ever knitted a sock with short row heel shaping, it's very similar to that. If not, don't fret—there are detailed instructions and illustrations on page 157 explaining what we mean by "wrap and turn" and "working together with the wrap". There's a little bit of counting, but it doesn't last long. Once you're past the cap shaping it's simply knitting through the rest of the sweater!

And my very favorite thing about this sweater is the Pearl Brioche Stitch pattern at the cuffs and lower edge! It's such a great feeling stitch with extra thickness and bounce—I just love it! To get an idea what this brioche stitch pattern is like, think of garter stitch, except on one of the rows every other stitch is slipped and the yarn is wrapped over the needle instead of through the stitch. The next row is just knitted, but we work that yarn over together with the slipped stitch from the previous row. There are detailed instructions for that too—for both in the round and working back and forth in rows.

I love this sweater so much that even though I asked another knitter to make the sample for the book, I'm in the process of making another one right now!

Read all posts about Finish-Free Knits.


Introducing Purna—the newest addition to my eco-friendy Caterpillar Knits collection!

One day last winter, while sitting in my cold living room, I drempt up this cozy every-day cardigan. It's exactly what I wanted to wear that day. It's perfect to throw on over practically anything! I can't wait to get it back from the photographer so I can start wearing it on these chilly Maine mornings.

The body of this everyday cardi is knit in one piece, from the bottom up. At the armholes the back and fronts are divided and worked separately to the shoulders where they are joined with a three needle bind off. The sleeve stitches are picked up around the armhole edge, short rows are worked to shape the sleeve cap, then the sleeve is worked in the round to the cuff.

No seaming is required to make this piece.
Finished Measurements:
33 (36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51)"
84 (91.5, 99, 106.5, 114.5, 122, 129.5) cm

Yarn Requirements:
Shown in Plymouth's Homestead yarn
100% Peruvian wool
100 gram hank = approx 191 yards
5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8) hanks in color 101 Light Grey Heather, or approx 900 (970, 1050, 1130, 1230, 1300, 1390) yards in a comparable earth-friendly yarn.

Knitting Needles:
One 32" circular and one set of double pointed needles size US 9 (5.5 mm).
Or size to obtain gauge.

Gauge: 16 sts and 23 rows = 4" in St st. Take time to save time, check your gauge.

Knitting & listening to… 

Certain other blogs that I love, share things about their day-to-day life that extends beyond what they have on their needles… such as what they're reading, etc…

I like it.  I love the peek into their lives.

And, since I often can't really share about the projects I'm knitting, I can share with you what I'm doing while I'm knitting them… like today. Today I'm knitting while listening to the Gregg Braden replay of Healing with the Masters.

I do this a lot… I really love these recorded shows. They're usually available for free for 48 hours after each recording. Which is GREAT, because I knit a lot, and there always seems to be a new show available for me to listen to. Each one is educational, inspiring and uplifting. I always seem to feel great after listening…

If you want to see what it's about without signing up, the password is "healing", but I recommend signing up. Jennifer sends out e-mail reminders of the new shows, which I always find useful.

Welp… back to knitting.

Finish-Free Knits on Amazon.com!

For those of you who have ordered (or are planning on ordering) my book, Finish-Free Knits, from Amazon.com: today Amazon.com has changed my book's status from Pre-Order to Available!

Also, Amazon.com has a "look inside" preview available. 

Just thought you'd like to know.

Keep an eye on those mailboxes!

See all the posts about Finish-Free Knits.

Crochet Reiki Hearts

I'm currently in the process of going through Master/Teacher Reiki training. It's a 9-week course, and we're just about half way through.

Just for fun, last week I got the idea to crochet up a bunch of little hearts and stuff them with crystals and herbs relating to the topic of that week's class. I had some hand-spun yarn on hand that I wasn't sure yet what to do with, so I started with that. I crocheted a bunch of hearts from that hank of hand-spun… then I kept going! I've made a ton of these things…
Because there are so many, and they're a lot of fun for me to make, I'm starting to sell them in my Etsy store and at a local farm down the road.
Please feel free to use this idea for yourself and as gifts, and I ask that if you do choose to sell anything made from any of my patterns, that 100% of the proceeds go toward a charity.

Finish-Free Knits — Honor Pullover

Keeping up with the theme I began last week, this week I'll share a little about the Honor Pullover, from my new book—Finish-Free Knits!

Intro from the book:
Beginning with stitches cast on for the outer edge of the collar, short-rows are used to shape the ribbed collar and V-neck as stitches are increased along raglan lines for the yoke of this flirty pullover. The body and sleeves are worked in rounds to the lower edges. A bit of waist shaping and elongated ribs add style to this wear-everywhere pullover.
Honor was born one afternoon when I wanted to see if it would be possible to design a top-down sweater with a collar and begin at the edge of the collar! I wanted the pattern to be as simple as possible to follow, so I drew out a chart in Adobe Illustrator for each size and was able to write the pattern in a manner that does not include any "and at the same time" instructions. I try to do this whenever possible throughout the book, because it's something I'll often overlook in a pattern and need to end up ripping back—even with my own designs.

I was sure to knit this sample myself because I really wanted to be sure I worked out any unanticipated kinks that might show up while working the collar or neck. And there were a few that popped up! I realized that the back neck stitches needed to be bound off for this sweater (as is important with many sweaters). Without the back neck stitches bound off the neckline stretched out and fell over the shoulders. Also, an odd gap formed at the center of the front V-neck that I had to come up with a clever way to remedy.

But you won't have to worry about any of that stuff! It's all included in the pattern now. There are a lot of short rows for the collar and neck shaping, but each one is written out for you to follow and there are illustrations and instructions on how to do short rows in the Glossary. Once the neck shaping is completed, it's smooth sailing throughout the rest of the body and sleeves!

If you're eager to get started on this sweater, Green Sheep Shop has this yarn on sale for 20% off throughout November! 

See all the posts about Finish-Free Knits.

New Knitscene, Winter 2012 designs!

Have you seen the Winter 2012 issue of Knitscene

In it you'll find two of my designs—the Friday Slippers and the Trillium Capelet!

Friday Slippers—Winter 2012 Knitscene
Join the KAL on Ravelry!
Friday Slippers
Sizes 8½ (9, 9½ )" foot length, to fit woman’s U.S. shoe sizes 5–7 (7–9, 9–11); shown in size 9"

Yarn Tahki Yarns Montana Print (100% pure wool; 130 yd [120 m]/100 g):
• #021 woods print, 1 (2, 2) hanks
Yarn distributed by Tahki-Stacy Charles Inc.

Gauge 15 sts and 23 rows = 4" in slip st patt on larger needles; 14 sts and 25 rows = 4" in St st on smaller needles

• Size 13 (9 mm): straight needles
• Size 9 (5.5 mm): double-pointed needles (dpn) and 16" circular (cir) needle
• Markers (m)
• Yarn needle
• Two 1" buttons

Trillium Capelet—Winter, 2012 Knitscene
Trillium Capelet
Sizes 47 (55½, 61)" lower edge circumference, 15¼ (18, 18)" neck circumference; shown in size 47"

Yarn Tahki Yarns Montana (100% wool; 130 yd [119 m]/100 g):
• #01 natural, 3 skeins
Yarn distributed by Tahki-Stacy Charles Inc.

Gauge 11½ sts and 17 rnds = 4" in St st

• Size 13 (9 mm): 32" and 16" circular (cir) needles
• Cable needle (cn)
• Markers (m)
• Yarn needle
Woman’s capelet knit from the top down with cables and short-rows in a singles yarn.

I'm featured in Interweave Knits, Winter 2012!

About a month (or two) ago, Eunny Jang—editor of Interweave Knits—contacted be about being interviewed for their winter issue. The first time I read the e-mail from Eunny part of me was terrified. That happens sometimes when something just seems a little too big and overwhelming to think about… But, it didn't take too long for me to shift into feeling flattered and excited about the whole thing.

When interview day came I was nervous, and didn't know what we'd talk about or what I might say… But, when the phone rang and I began speaking with Spike, everything went smoothly. It was like talking with an old friend. I felt open and honest and just said whatever came to mind.

I still haven't gotten a copy of the Winter 2012 issue, so I haven't read the article yet… but, I've been hearing about it from friends and folks on Twitter. I'm haunting the mailbox and searching through local stores to find a copy (or two) so I can read what was written. I may break down and order it online, or get myself a digital copy!

Have you read it? What did you think?

Finish-Free Knits - Serenity Shrug

Since my book, Finish-Free Knits, is now available (squee!!!), I'm going to share with you a little bit about the creation process of each of the designs, sharing one design from the book each week.

With the holidays coming, I figured a great place to start would be with the Serenity Shrug.
Intro from the book:  
This is the perfect garment to add a touch of evening-night-out elegance. It begins with a cable panel at the center back, which is worked with two strands of yarn held together, then stitches are picked up along the sides of the panel and the sleeves are worked (with a single strand of yarn) to the cuffs. A stretchy picot bind-off around the cuffs and body opening provides a feminine edge with a comfy fit.

I love this lacy cable panel. I've also used it in my Petal Socks pattern. This shrug was designed with the intention of highlighting this elegant lace and cable panel, with pretty picots and simple garter stitch. 

Knit with 2 strands of yarn held together the bulky yarn enlarges the panel to spread beautifully along the center back. The single strand of yarn used for the garter stitch and picots adds a more subtle and finer touch to the shrug.

The stitches for the sleeves are picked up along either side of the lace cable panel and some stitches are increased along the neck edge. I opted to include these increases so the center back panel could be short and sweet—fitted, and without extra fabric. To make it so the underarm circumference would also fit comfortably, these stitches needed to be added before working the sleeves.
I choose to work a picot edging around the body because binding off in this manner gives a nice stretch to the edge. I tried out a few different ideas for a stretchy bind off, and this one seemed to give the nicest stretch with an appearance that flattered the rest of the design. To tie it all together, I added the picot to the sleeve cuffs as well.

To help with picking up the stitches for the body trim, the book includes a tip for how to pick up a lot of stitches!

My book is printed!

Last week I received a yellow package in the mail from Interweave. Immediately I felt my body shiver with excitement! I knew exactly what was in there!

As I ran from the mailbox to the house, I couldn't wait. I was picking at the corners of the envelope eager to see if I was right.

I peeled back the sticky flap enough to peek inside.
YES! I was right! It's my book!

I could hardly contain my excitement to stand still long enough for J to get a picture of me holding it.

All the projects have been updated on Ravelry, and here on my website. I'd love to know which ones are your favorites! Please feel free to comment below. I love hearing from you guys :)
I've also noticed that Interweave has moved the release date from December 11th to TODAY, November 5th! Order now to be the first to get it! Just in time for Holiday gift-giving!

A new type of blogging.

Months ago the RSS option I was using for my HTML blog was discontinued, and I haven't been able to find another one that was as user friendly as I'd like. Plus, the way I was coding the old blog was WAY too time consuming, and not worth the effort. So, you may have noticed I stopped blogging so much.

Well, I've decided it was time to get something going again—something easy to use and that could be followed easily through an RSS feed. So, here I am again. I'm using Blogger now!

All the old posts are still available here.