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Coming Wednesday!!!!!!!!

Spring is coming, and so in the Spring 2010 Knitcircus emag.

The color sings Spring.

So does my "Dolce" pattern.

And a first for me—a knitting article for a mag.  This one is the beginning of learning to fit yourself and includes a free pattern.

"Victoria"--a free tutorial on fit

On Wednesday, you can see these pictures undistorted and we can all see the rest of the patterns, articles, etc.  I’m excited.

Of course, this blog will be doing a giveaway.  Details on Weds.


New designs just for fun.

I have been Blogging less than usual. One of those big things I discovered Down Under was that I was more creative and more productive if I spent less time online. I know, Duh! Well, I’ve been working on it and it’s true.

I have a wealth of projects to share with you, but don’t worry, I won’t inflict them all at once.

Earlier I wrote about the “Fluffy Squares” I knit from a pattern on Ravelry by Frankie Brown. Finally I did something with them.

A scarf. So simply made. Because I wanted to work this laceweight up quickly, I chose to crochet the center piece. It would work equally well in a knitted garter or seed stitch. I also chose to work lengthwise rather than widthwise to control the stretch. The squares are heavier than the center strip and would pull it out of shape—or so I thought.

I put the squares together in sets on the table and then walked by them for a day or so. Yes, I rearranged them a bunch and finally decided on what you see. I’m not sure if I found the best arrangement or just got tired of thinking about it, but here you are.

My sewing was somewhat clever and difficult. I put two squares RS out and two WS out to make it more reversible. Had I kept them all facing the same way, sewing inside the RS edge roll would have been a piece of cake. I had to flip it back and forth to avoid showing any sts, but it wasn’t that much.

The center strip is just whipped to the squares, a la those Estonian ladies who knit lace edgings and then sew them onto the shawl.

So, knit 8 squares. Sew them in sets of four (2X2)

Chain a length you like and sc about 6-8 rows for a nice firm edge.  Then switch to a mesh pattern–I used hdc, ch 1–and make the scarf the width of the squares minus one inch.  Repeat the initial sc edge.  Finish off.

Attach the squares to the scarf with a simple whip stitch or mattress st.  Voila!

It’s a perfect portable project, because the patterns are easy and the pieces are small.

What other shapes can you think of for the ends?


Squares are done on size 4 needle in Zauberball.  1 skein

Scarf is in Yipianqing 70% Silk 30% Cashmere 1.3 skeins = 390.0 yards (356.6m) using a F hook.  An awesome yarn.

“The Girls” at Charlotte Yarn

color not accurate–way too blue purple

Cat Babbie is a true artist. She even has a degree, but she was born with a huge need to create beauty. This she has done in many genres, but this new one is hand-dyed yarn, and I get to be part of it.

Cat and Charlotte Yarn owner Remi have combined ideas and resources to create a custom line of hand painted yarn for the shop. The first collection is called “The Girls,” and it honors all of us who work at the shop.

Cat asked me what I wanted my colorway to look like. Jane ain’t no fool! No way I was giving directions to the expert. The result is Jane’s Blackberry Cobbler. It is so me, and I am so pleased that Cat knows me this well.

I love it, love it, love it.  Unfortunately I can’t photograph it.  I’ve tried over and over and I can’t get the color right for you.  I can’t even edit it right for you.  Trust me.  It is blackberry color.

The first project, which will be at the shop tomorrow, is this scarf which combines a basic K3, P1 rib with knit and crochet scrumbles. I used some of my favorite crochet patterns

Fairy wings, Traveling Ivy, Bullions, Irish rings, Leaves, Blackberries ( well, berries)

After I finished the scarf, I played paper dolls with the various bits of scrumble until I discovered something I liked. I tried to vary the pieces, and I had to make a few more to fill in some holes. I just whipped them on with the same yarn. If they had been knit with a contrasting yarn, I probably would have used sewing thread to keep the sts invisible on the back. Was not a problem here though.

Since the yarn comes in a 250yd skein, one skein was plenty. The base yarn is 100% merino wool ( yum) in a worsted weight. I used a size 8 US needle and various crochet hooks.

Turtlegirl76 aka Cristi has a feature about her Tabby Tuesday colorway here.

The other colorways, all gorgeous, can be seen here. I’ve already started a shawl with the one for Patsy.  The ones here that Cristi shot are closer to the correct color.

I’m sorry, Cat.  Just shows a photo is nothing compared to the original.

FO: Freeform Headband

Beautiful, yeah?  And the headband isn’t bad either.

I’ve been working on some headband ideas for several months.  Too lazy to get them out in public and now the idea doesn’t seem so new.  But this one I love and it is so easy to do.

First you make the base.  You can see the grey filet structure of the headband in several places in this picture.  If you don’t crochet, consider knitting a strip of garter st to the dimensions you want.  This one is 4 inches wide and 18 inches unstretched, 22 stretched.  Look carefully at the front edge near Cristi’s ear and you can see that I wove some strands of yarn through the edge to restrict it from stretching further.

Then you make motifs, shapes, swatches, spirals, flowers, ruffles, whatever.  Get out the stitch dictionaries.  Throw them into a pile.  Make lots using scraps or planned yarns.  Consider an old broach or a neat button.  A piece of ribbon that you just like.  Then start pinning them on wherever.

Take your time here.  Make an arrangement and then leave it on the table for a while.  I sewed the motifs together using whipstitch and sewing thread.  Worked just fine.  I basted things on using scrap yarn and a tapestry needle, removing whenever I wanted to.  Basically I just played and it was fun.

A few folks even laughed at me and thought I had lost it.  But when I look at this in Cristi’s magnificent hair, I just pity them.

I wear it as an earwarmer with my short hair.  It makes me feel spunky and fun.

Make one, but please share a picture with me if you do.  It is so freeing.

Thanks, as ever, to Prudence Mapstone for reminding me how much fun this can be.

Yarns used were Malabrigo silk/wool blend for the base.  Motifs and swatches were mostly cottons, cotton blends, linen, bamboo, and some leftover Punta wool.  Needle sizes varied and were just random.  Really—random.

This might be a fun party idea.  You could even serve wine.  Errors make no difference.

Yoke Sweater Sleeves

The top down yoke sweater, my first ever yoke sweater, is almost finished.  Nothing like going from 80 degree weather to 17 degree and having no coat to give you the push you need to finish knitting a sweater.  Yes, I plan to wear it home.

What have I learned?

First, that Amy Herzog was right.  My body type can wear this style.

Yokes are fun because you can do some fancy stuff there and then keep it simple and non-chunky around your my chunky body.

The armcye.  Well, that’s the place I am still experimenting.  I took my basic design from a general plain pattern.  I knit one size for the back based on my shoulder measurements and a size larger for the front.  The yoke was short rowed for the front in order to cover the girls like I wanted while keeping the shoulder seams equal.  This means the front of the armscye is a bit longer than the back.

Well tailored jackets do not create fronts and backs the same as do most knit patterns.  That is because—I’m preaching here—fronts and backs are the same size only on prepubescent children.

I am doing top down sleeves starting with picking up around the armscye and short rowing for a cap, etc.

I think this first sleeve used too many short rows.  After all the cap part of this sleeve is very small because much of the over shoulder onto the arm is done by the yoke.  Also picked up a few more stitches on the front than the back.  It seems to buckled a bit, just a bit, there.  Remember that I’m making these judgments about an unblocked sweater.

Looking at it again, I think that the short rows should start wider than I did.  I just used the same ratio I always use and that was the error.  I think!

Second sleeve will differ from the first in to correct these things.  No!  I will not frog the first sleeve.  I’ll wear it and remember what I learned.

Do you keep a knitting journal?  You know, with pictures of your projects, the data about needles and yarn and gauge.  If you do, good on ya.  We all should.  Another thing you should add to this journal is a reflection on what you learned from the project, what you wish you had done differently, what you will try next time.  You think you will remember and you won’t.

You could add that to your ravelry notes.  Then the rest of us could learn from you.

More later—

Home in a week.

Walkabout Lace

Don’t you love the name?

Even though Prudence’s scrumbling class did not do anything like this, I still have to credit her with the “push” that led me to this idea.  I’m sure it isn’t new; nothing in fiber art is.  However it is new to me and I had a blast making this scarf.

The yarn is what was left over from my Daybreak Gold Adaptation shawl.  I used a size B crochet hook.  I chained a length that seemed good for a scarf and began.  Actually I just began because I had no finished project in mind when I started.  I just wanted to see how the yarn reacted crocheted on a size B hook.  I was simply scrumbling.

It grew.  There is no repetition or pattern in here.  I just crocheted side to side and tried to keep each row different while keeping the width about the same.  Sometimes I failed.  I discovered how easy it is to just rejoin the yarn and do some filet or double crochet shell like things along the side to correct the width.

Partway through I thought about front post double crochet (treble for the rest of the world).  I did a few motifs with that which were actually planned.  Then I began to plan a little for where I would create solid bits.  You only have to plan that one row ahead and you can change your mind (or forget to do it).

If you make one of the holes too big, you can go back later and fix it.  This is no pressure.  Just make stitches and later you can adjust if you need to.  Heck, you don’t even need to keep the selvedges straight.  Looks more “artistic” if you don’t.

Win-win project.  If you have leftover lace weight, give it a go.  Works up fast and you look like an expert.  Never, ever tell how easy this is.

Walkabout is exemplary of the best of my trip to Australia.  It represents how creative and free I have felt here.  I have pages of items to make or explore.  None of them are designed for a class or a pattern to sell or a project to submit.  They are just things I’d like to try to make and there will be no penalty if they don’t work out.  I wish this joy for all of you.

My Handmade Dress

Here it is.  Yes, the same fabric I used for the bag demo earlier.  Everyone here wears maxi dresses.  Even the escalators have signs reminding you to lift the hem of your maxi dress.  Honest.  Most of them are halters; all are sleeveless.  I decided to make one.

These are my sewing tools.  Straightening the fabric was not easy, nor was working on a 15″ high coffee table, but “making do” is my motto.  I’m proudest of this–the armhole.  I used the same procedure I use for fitting sweaters and started with the shoulders.  Then I cut and shaped the armhole.  I have an article about armholes in the next Knitcircus, so I knew I had better get this right.

I copied the curve of a favorite Tshirt for the neckline and added some beads just because I had them.  The black fabric is a gauze I found in a remnant pile.  I don’t know how this will launder, but right now I don’t care.  I’m just looking for a bit of detail.

Steve took the pictures.I asked him to take a bunch so I could find some I wasn’t ashamed to post.  He did.  He took about 15 and it wasn’t until I looked at them that I realized neither of us had noticed I was still wearing my MP3 player.  Meghan says men have tunnel vision;  I think she’s right.

This one is for Vicki who asked me to smile more.

I really have a lot to smile about.  The project manager has asked Steve to stay.  He told them he could and would work the project from Charlotte, so they are looking into setting that up.  I just love it here, but it isn’t home.

I wish everyone could have a few months to live somewhere new and different.  Kate and I talked about how when you move to a new place you can reinvent yourself.  I feel I’ve done some of that.  What I’m interested to see now is who I’ll be when I return.  I hope I’ll keep the serenity I feel here.  I know that is what is fueling so much creativity.  Maybe I need to just create and not worry about marketing it.

Charlotte friends, please email me privately your holiday plans so I will know how soon I can catch up with you when I return.  I’m sure I’ll be a jet lagged basket case for a few days after the 20th, but that could be fun for you.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

More later—

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