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Finish-Free Knits — Hope Top

The last sweater knit, and first pattern available from Finish-Free Knits was the Hope Top

Intro from the book:
Designed for seed-stitch lovers (like me), Hope can be worn alone or over a fitted blouse, with a skirt or jeans. It is worked from the top down with beautiful details along the way, including a dainty button closure at the back neck, prominent slipped stitches along the yoke, and a drawstring waist. Knitted in a blend of linen and merino at a fine gauge, this sweater is a joy both to knit and wear.
Hope is one of those designs that transformed itself between conception and completion. As you can see in the sketch it looks a little different from the sweater in the photo. It looked good on paper, at first, but as I began writing up the pattern, some things dawned on me.

I realized that if the yoke slipped stitches ended at the same time as the sleeves, then the dividing line between them would be directly across the bust. That wouldn't quite work the way I'd imagined it, with the drawstring…
I had also originally wanted to put a drawstring through eyelets at the dividing line. But, I felt that the eyelets would pucker the fabric more than I'd like for this design, so decided to knit an enclosed casing instead. This way when the drawstring is pulled taught, the fabric eases in around the entirety rather than pleating as it would with eyelet holes.

This was the very last sweater I knit for the book, and that's sort of how it got its name. All while knitting it, on teeny-tiny needles, I was really hoping I'd get it done on time to meet the deadline. Thus: hope.
Also, for this past season of Knitting Daily TV, I appeared in a segment to discuss the Hope Top, and explain a little bit about its seamless properties, including the tie-casing at the waist. To complement the video, Knitting Daily offered the pattern for this design for free! So, in addition to the pattern being available in the book, it can also be downloaded from their website for free.

Check out the Knitting Daily TV segment below, to learn how I seamlessly knit the casing!
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My Sunday in Pictures

I recently gifted myself a new camera. I love it! So, you maybe seeing more photos around these parts.
early morning snow
fresh squeezed orange juice
a cute kitty in my seat
spread out on the floor, working on the TKGA Master Knitters Program
afternoon snow
fresh gluten free sandwich bread
I couldn't resist a little snack.
And now, back to knitting!

Finish-Free Knits — Calm Tee

The next Finish-Free Knits sweater is the Calm Tee.

Intro from the book:
The body of this comfortable pullover is worked in one piece from the lower edge to the underarms, at which point the front stitches are placed on holders while stitches are cast on for the back sleeves and worked with the back in a single piece to the shoulders. Stitches for the front sleeves are then picked up and worked with the front to the shoulders. For a cool-weather variation, simply cast on more stitches for longer sleeves.
With this type of construction—casting on for the sleeves and knitting them at the same time as the body—it's common for the garment to look like a T when it is completed. The sleeves stick straight out from the body to each side. My problem with that is we never wear sweaters with our arms sticking straight out like that—at least not very often. Most commonly, we have our arms down by our sides. If we are wearing a T-shaped garment, while our arms are down by our sides then there will be some stretching over the shoulders, and puckering at the underarms. I like to avoid that whenever possible.
As you can see at the top of this sweater, there is some shaping along the upper body where an "armhole" might generally be found. As the sweater is knit from the bottom up, stitches are increased for this armhole shaping, allowing for fewer stitches at the underarm, and adding stitches at the shoulder.
And just for fun… here is the photo of this sweater
photoshoped into a bunch of different colors.

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Finish-Free Knits — Ease Tank

We're in the dead of winter now, and I'm about ready to be thinking about some sunshine and short sleeves. So this week, let's talk about the Ease Tank, from Finish-Free Knits.

It's the first pattern in the book because I think it's the easiest—there are no purl stitches!

Intro from the book:
This super-easy top is worked entirely with knit stitches (no purls!), a few decreases, and a few buttonholes. The front and back plackets are worked back and forth in rows, then they are joined and the body is worked in the round to the underarms. The front and back are then worked separately in rows to the shoulders. Buttonholes are added to the front shoulders; buttons are attached to the back shoulders and voilá—a simple beautiful sweater!

Design proposal
I wanted to include something really basic into the book, but I wanted it to have texture and a little bit of interesting detail too.

Originally I planned for there to be no shaping at all, but when I got into the pattern writing I realized that the finished sweater would be much more flattering, especially on the larger sizes, if the armholes were decreased. This way the measurement across the shoulders aligns more with the natural curves of the shoulder and doesn't hang off all floppy-like.

Rather than introducing a three needle bind off to beginning knitters, I opted to introduce the three-stitch one-row buttonhole. We've also included illustrated instructions in the glossary (page 156) explaining how it's done in detail!

By adding buttons, the shoulders can be sealed without needing to actually seam (or seamlessly seam, as I prefer) the two pieces of fabric together. 

To make the sweater even more fun, I added little daisy buttons to the shoulders.

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Wrapture - a giveaway!

Kristin Omdahl recently sent me a sample size bottle of her Wrapture delicate-wash soap. I've since used it a bunch of times on my hand-knits, and am absolutely in love with it.

I'll usually drop just a tiny bit into the sink as the cool water is running, then let the sink fill up with beautiful, fluffy suds before adding my hand-knitting to the wash. 

The jasmine scent fills the air while it soaks (for at least 15 minutes), adding a peaceful, serene and calm atmosphere. Something I can really use sometimes at this point in the project, as I'm usually knitting on a deadline and am coming pretty close to it.
The aroma lingers on the garment even after it's been washed, so that serene atmosphere comes back each time I interact with the project again.

I've begun to really look forward to my wet-blocking days, relishing that my hands continue smelling like Jasmine throughout the day.
This particular green project is still a secret, but keep your eyes on Quince & Co. this spring to see it in all its glory.

Kristin has graciously offered to share one of her sample bottles with one of my readers! If you'd love to give it a try, leave a comment and I'll announce the winner on Friday February 15, 2013.

Love is in the air… and on the hooks & needles

Valentine Mug Cozy
I love giving little things for Valentine's Day. In past years I've knit up a Fair Isle and cabled mug cozy, and little crochet hearts.
Little Crochet Hearts
This year I've made a ton of these little hearts, stuffed them with sage, lavender, rose petals and a Reiki-charged rose quartz crystal. They can be stuffed with anything. I love that about stuffed things.

Enjoy each of these patterns for FREE!

Valentine Mug Cozy
Little Crochet Hearts

Finish-Free Knits — Bliss Top

On the cover of Finish-Free Knits, is the Bliss Top.

Intro from the book
This striking tunic features lace panels, wide ribs, and garter stitch worked in two different directions. The yoke is worked first from the cast-on at one sleeve, across the bodice, and ends with the bind-off at the other sleeve, with the underarms shaped with a few short-rows along the way. Stitches for the body are then picked up around the lower edge of the bodice and worked in a single piece to the hem. Lovely!
Bliss is another one of my favorites. Its construction is a little similar to the Lace and Cable Top sweater I had published in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of Vogue Knitting. Both begin at the cuff of one sleeve and the bodice is worked sideways across the upper body to the end of the other sleeve.
Lace and Cable Top
The difference between Bliss and the Lace and Cable top is in the seamless construction and Bliss has the addition of some simple short rows at the underarm.
I decided to add the short rows so the edge of the lace and garter stitch portion of the bodice would align with the shoulders without extending into the ribbed sleeves, and add width around the bust for a fitted look and feel—like set-in sleeve shaping.
In addition to the armhole shaping for a flattering fit, I also focused on vertical lines. On the bodice, the sideways-knit garter stitch creates delicate vertical lines between the panels of lace, and on the lower body, the ribbing helps visually lengthen the sweater as well as creates a natural waist shaping as they hug the body.

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Book Signing at KnitWit in Portland, Maine

KnitWit Yarn Shop in Portland, Maine will be hosting the next book signing for Finish-Free Knits! Come join us on Saturday, February 16 from 2 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.

There will be 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.

Finish-Free Knits — Whisper Tunic

As I continue to dream of warmer weather… let's discuss the Whisper Tunic, from Finish-Free Knits.

Intro from the book:
Knitted with two strands of linen yarn held together, Whisper is an elegant warm-weather cardigan. It easily adapts to a variety of styles—over a simple dress for a splash of lacey class or as a simple cover-up while wandering the beach. Knitted from the bottom up, it is shaped by changing to progressive needle sizes along the way. The sleeves and neck are shaped without interrupting the lace pattern. Easy!
For the sample in the book I choose to use a 100% linen yarn, and knit while holding two strands together. The 100% linen is machine washable, and after a wash or two the sweater should come out super soft and have an elegant feel and drape to it.
The all-over lace pattern makes Whisper look a lot more difficult than it really is. To help make this sweater as simple as possible I was sure to keep the stitch multiple of the pattern whole throughout all the shaping. That means there is no complicated adjustments to the lace pattern while working the shaping—it's always worked whole, without interrupting the stitch pattern.

As mentioned in the introduction, this sweater is shaped using a variety of different size needles, beginning with the largest at the hem, and the smallest at the bodice. If you look closely, you can see that the lace at the hem is much more open and loose than the lace at the bodice. This gives the sweater a beautiful drape and flow.

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