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New Pattern - Daisy Wrap

Blue Sky Alpacas has announced their Spring 2013 Metalico Wrap collection. Among the three beautiful wraps is my beautiful brown, floral-lace, crocheted Daisy Wrap.

The pattern is written for three different sizes, using 5, 7 or 9 hanks of Blue Sky's Metalico (baby alpaca and silk) yarn. The sample is shown in the largest size.

The pattern includes a chart and written instructions. I recommend following the written instructions and using the chart as a guideline for how the stitches relate to each other.
Something a little fun about this design is the blocking… I think it's essential to block this wrap. Before blocking the wrap is very bouncy and the lace pattern remains hidden. As you can see in the photo, it stretches a ton when pinned out to block, and the lace pattern really opens up.
The first few rows of this wrap required a lot of my attention, but as I figured out the stitch pattern and was able to work on it from memory instead of referring to the pattern for every stitch, I happily buzzed right along.

This was one of those finished projects that I was sad to send away. It's definitely something I'd love to have for myself.

Finish-Free Knits — Beauty Cardi

Beauty was the very first sweater I began knitting for Finish-Free Knits. I was psyched to get started on this one, and tackle that seamless set-in sleeve/armhole shaping…

Intro from the book:
The beauty of Beauty is its seamless set-in sleeve construction. The body and sleeves, which are worked separately to the armholes, begin with a bit of lace followed by broken ribs. The yoke is shaped with decreases worked on the body to draw in the armholes, then the sleeve stitches are decreased to shape the caps. A few short-rows are worked to finish the caps and shape the neck, then the shoulders are joined with a three-needle bind-off.
I originally designed Beauty to be knit using a hand-dyed yarn from a company that did not include dye-lot numbers on their yarns. This sweater is how I learned the lesson to ALWAYS alternate skeins of hand-dyed yarns when using more than skein.

How did I learn this, you ask? Well… I didn't alternate skeins, and it resulted in a really obvious dye-lot change, right across the chest.
I had a reason why I didn't do it—because when alternating skeins of yarn every other row the unused skein of yarn floats along the point where the skeins are switched. Usually this is at the end of a row. Because this sweater has the button band worked at the same time as the sweater the edge of the row will not be hidden by picked up stitches, and I didn't want the floats to be visible.

Now, if you love the idea of knitting this in a hand-dyed yarn, don't fret… since I've knit this, I figured out that the yarn can be switched anywhere, and doesn't have to be at the edge of the row. Therefore, I'd suggest switching your yarn between the button band and the body stitches to make it less visible. To do this, be sure to twist the yarns together as you would when working intarsia to prevent any gaps from forming.

Or, of course it's also really elegant in a solid-colored yarn, like the one I used in the sample that was photographed for the book.
This is a relatively simple design, with a touch of elegance at the lower edge and cuffs. The garter stitch ribbing worked throughout the body helps tie the body together with the edging, and gives the sweater a bit of visual interest.
The most fun part about knitting this sweater, in my opinion, is the seamless set-in sleeve and armhole shaping. The body and sleeves are knit separately from the bottom up, then joined at the underarms like you would for a yoke or raglan sweater. But instead of working those familiar types of shaping, instead we begin by decreasing the body stitches, then the sleeve stitches, then working short rows to finish up the top of the sleeve cap and shoulders. It's really amazing to watch it knit up into a familiar seamed-sweater shape, but without picking up a tapestry needle. I just love it!
If you've never tried it, I highly suggest giving this design a try. Or, the Trust Pullover… a different style sweater, made with the same sort of construction, AND a cool seamless pouch pocket.

Read all posts about Finish-Free Knits.

Finish-Free Knits — Harmony Dress

The next design from Finish-Free Knits is the Harmony Dress.

Intro from the book: 
A surprisingly simple lace pattern yields striking results in this little dress. Progressively smaller needles are used in the lace pattern between the hem and bust to create flattering flare in the body. To help prevent mistakes, place a marker after each 10-stitch pattern repeat and count stitches often to ensure errors are caught early on. For a chic accent, weave a colorful ribbon between the garter ridges at the top of the lace pattern. 

This sporty dress was designed around the same time I designed the Classic Silk Beret. As I was swatching for the beret, I fell in love with the stitch pattern and really wanted to make it into a dress, but was initially discouraged because I didn't want to deal with shaping the lace.

While coming up with the designs for this book, I sifted through some of my hybernating designs and found this. It dawned on me that the lace didn't need to be shaped in order to draw in at the waist. Instead I opted to use a smaller needle size at the waist and a larger needle at the hem.
For the bodice, there are 2 garter ridges and an increase round. The increase round is written out for each size, so you don't need to figure that out on your own!

Then the bodice is worked even in Stockinette Stitch until the armholes divide. The front and back are worked differently, with the back armhole shaping drawing a bit closer together to create a subtle sport shaping.

The shoulders are joined with a three needle bind off. The trim around the neck and armholes are added, and that's it!

Obviously because of the lace portion at the lower part of the skirt, I'd want to wear something under this. I can see myself wearing it with a pear of leggings and some matching legwarmers if it's chilly, or over another longer skirt to dress it up a little more. Or with the warmer weather approaching, this could be worn as a beach cover-up, over just a bathing suit!

Read all posts about Finish-Free Knits

What people are saying about Finish-Free Knits

The response to Finish-Free Knits has amazed me. It's quite pleasing to see how many of you love the book, and are talking about it! Below are a few links to what people are saying about FFK. If you know of more (your own, or from others), please share them in the comments!

• A review from KnittingScholar.com.

• A blog post from Hillsborough yarn shop in Hillsborough, NC.

• There are some great, thorough reviews on Amazon.com.

• Kathleen from Knitting Daily included the Warmth Top in her top 12 from 2012!

• Kathleen also posted a review about FFK on the Knitting Daily Blog.

• The Knittin' Kitten included FFK in a blog post about enjoyable books.

• Domic is knitting Beauty! Read the translated version of her post. Or the original in German.

And, a few of you have even contacted me directly to say:
Jenny: It looks absolutely lovely. It's sure to inspire many, many people. Just looking at the pics of your gorgeous pieces gets me all excited to pick up my knitting needles again. Plus, you've touched a place in my heart that revved me up to knit in the first place many years ago… of seamless, often-circular construction. Elizabeth Zimmermann not only showed me the possibilities over 30 years ago, but she truly was an author who inspired me to write. Thank you for continuing down the exciting seamless path with designs that will turn the heads of new generations and get them to pick up their knitting needles, as well!
Vivien: You make it easy to follow and easy to change. Thanks for a great book.

Updated 1/22/13:
• Tina from Peacefully Knitting bought the book and posted a review on her blog.

• One of the knitters who helped me with the book (Kim Haesemeyer), shared her experiences on her blog.

A Touch of Wool finished knitting a Warmth sweater and shared a bit on her blog.

FaveCrafts.com posted a review of the book!

• Andria received FFK for Christmas and has knit the Warmth Top. She has shared a little bit on her blog.

• The Spicy Knitter is (definitely) considering knitting the Bliss Top in her blog post.

A Simple Cowl… on the needles

Back in October, I attended a Yarn and Yoga event weekend at A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm, where I was introduced to the greatest little shrug.

Marty (one of the farmers at A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm) has a great go-to pattern that she, and many other knitters, have used to create a shrug… It's worked from the bottom up by alternating a few knit rounds worked in a *base* yarn, with a few purl rounds worked in a *fun* yarn, and shaped with some decreases. But you know me… I can never follow something exactly. So, I've taken the idea of the shrug, and am running with it…

I'm not exactly sure where it will go. But, it's started as a cowl. I'm beginning from the top, and will work down. My neck has been chilly a lot lately, and I've realized I don't own many neck-warming devices. I have one scarf that I received from an International Scarf Exchange that I participated in years ago (see the June 4th post)…

My cowl will be long enough that I can pull it up over my nose if I want. And when it's not pulled up, the extra fabric will warm my neck nicely. At least, that's the idea
My *base* yarn is some grey, hand-spun alpaca that I spun up last year, once I figured out how to use my spinning wheel.
The base yarn will be visible from the inside of the cowl. My hand-spun yarn is soft and warm, and I think it'll feel great next to my skin.
My *fun* yarn is created from tying together all those little ends of yarn that are left over after weaving in ends. I began saving these ends years ago.
All those knots will remain as shown here. I love the wabi-sabi nature of them… Some strands are longer than others, so there are clusters of knots, then long sections without them.

This side is what will be visible to everyone.
I have visions of making a bunch of separate pieces… a cowl, a shrug, arm-warmers, leg-warmers and then if I get even more ambitious: a skirt… but I may be thinking too far ahead. 

If you live near Sumner Maine, on January 13th A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm is hosting a "Simple Shrug Sunday" for $20.They'll even serve you a home-made lunch, and a bit of yoga throughout the day!

Finish-Free Knits — Divine Vest

We've discussed more than half the projects in Finish-Free Knits! I began with the cold-weather sweaters, and we're now moving on to the transitional and warmer-weather sweaters—getting ready for spring! This week is the Divine Vest!

If you would like to read the previous posts, they can be found here, with all the Finish-Free Knits blog posts.

Intro from the book:
Beginning with a provisional cast-on, this vest features unusual construction. The pockets are shaped with short rows, then the hem is folded to the wrong side and joined to live stitches for the body. After the body and hood are completed, stitches are picked up for the front band while joining the pockets to the body seamlessly. Like the ubiquitous hoodie, this super-comfortable vest is sure to become a daily favorite.
One of my favorite things about writing Finish-Free Knits was figuring out how to make seamless pockets. In fact, it's so much fun, I'm still playing with different ways of doing it.
The pocket for the Divine Vest was swatched about 3 different times—each slightly differently. I played with getting the angle of the short rows into the shape I wanted, and a variety of different ways of getting the garter stitch edge to look just right!
Other than the pocket shaping, the vest is constructed pretty normally: the body is worked in one piece to the armholes, with a little waist shaping; the back and fronts are divided and worked separately to the shoulders; the shoulders are joined with a three-needle bind off, and the remaining stitches are used for the hood. 
And, even though this is totally too small for me, it didn't stop me from snapping some photos…

Knitting another one of these—me sized—is definitely on my to-do list! Though, I'll probably add sleeves. I don't own enough long-sleeve shirts to warrant knitting any vests for myself.

Read all posts about Finish-Free Knits.

Book Signing & Trunk Show - Sumner, ME

A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner, Maine will be hosting the first book signing for Finish-Free Knits! Come join us on Sunday, January 27 from 1 to 4 PM.

I'll speak a little bit about the seamless techniques that were used in the book and answer any questions you may have. Then you can get all touchy-feely with the sweaters and try them on.

A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm has yarns spun from their own sheep's wool, and we can work together to substitute the yarns in the book. I'll have copies of the book available to sign, or you can bring your own copy with you.

I'm looking forward to seeing you there!
If you're not local to this area, contact your local yarn store about having me come for a visit! They can contact me at knitt AT kristentendyke DOT com (note that there are two (2) T's in knitt) so we can arrange the details.

I'll keep you guys updated with more Finish-Free Knits events as things are finalized.

Autographed Copies of Finish-Free Knits - and a Giveaway!

I've ordered a whole bunch of Finish-Free Knits books to have on hand for book signings, etc…

I'm pretty sure I ordered way too many… so, I'm selling some of them on Etsy—autographed!

There are a limited number of books available, so get them while they last!
Also, if you comment below with your favorite Finish-Free Knits sweater, and why you love it, you will be entered to win a free autographed copy!

On January 11th I'll have a random number generator pick a winner.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Edited to add: The contest is now over. The fourth comment, by Indegoeddy has won!

Finish-Free Knits — Tranquility Tunic

Happy 2013! Let's talk about the Tranquility Tunic for this week's Finish-Free Knits sweater, shall we?

Intro from the book:
This super-soft tunic has an interesting construction that begins with the body and sleeves worked separately in an easy-to-memorize cabled feather-and-fan pattern. The sleeves are joined to the body with decreases positioned along the body "armholes" and the back neck is raised by decreases positioned along the back sleeves. The remaining yoke is worked in the round with some raglan shaping before the bind-off at the neck.
I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to think of warmer weather knits! Maybe not an all-out sleeveless tank top… but maybe something for weather with a little bit more sun.

I see this as a great transitional sweater. It's lacy, which is great for warm weather. It's knit in a yarn blended with warm animal fibers, which is great for cool weather. It's short sleeve, which is great for warm weather. It has cables, which are great for cool weather.
When I designed this I decided that I really wanted a short raglan section at the front neck. But, from past experience, I knew that the back neck would need to be raised in order to prevent the sweater from falling off the shoulders. So, I had to get a little crafty with the shaping on this one.
The body stitches for the back are worked back and forth while working a decrease stitch at each edge to join the sleeves. Then the whole yoke is worked in the round with raglan shaping.

Read all posts about Finish-Free Knits.