Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

The Urban Collection: Armour Road Socks and Hunter Street Cowl

As March continues to, well, march on, it’s time to update you on the full complement of March patterns in the Urban Collection! (Ravelry link) the Water Street Cardigan got things off to a good start earlier in the month, and I’m pleased to add a couple of spring accessories to the mix as well. As always, these patterns take their names from cities I’ve spent time in as a knitter, and Peterborough, Ontario streets are up this month.

First, allow me to introduce the Armour Road socks (Ravelry link):

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I have a confession to make. When I first started planning this collection, I gave myself a rule: no socks. I figured, heck, I’ve done a lot of sock designs in the past, so why not push myself towards other ideas? But then I got to thinking and couldn’t resist a pair of quick ones. I’ve lately been enjoying reaching for the DK or sport-weight yarns for socks every so often, since they make for relatively quick and very comfortable socks indeed.

This pair uses 1-2 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label DK (the line between 1 and 2 skeins is around a Size 10 Ladies’ foot, with ankle circumference of 9″ or less. Those knitting for a longer foot or wider foot/ankle circumference should grab a second skein for safety), and also shows off a lovely and simple twisted stitch pattern running down the instep and the back of the leg. They are shown here in the ‘Dove’ colourway, but would be beautiful in just about any colour you like, I think.

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These are worked in the round from the cuff down, on 3.25mm needles or your preferred needle size for 6 sts/inch. I quite like the way these show off the twisted stitch motifs, because they look sleek and elegant enough that you’d hardly know they are a slightly bulkier sock than normal. I could see these becoming an easy pair to reach for instead of slippers, on a chilly morning, or worn inside clogs or boots when out and about.

Socks2

One of my goals in for the Urban Collection was a set of garments that would give the knitter a diverse enough wardrobe of knitwear to dress for any occasion. I also wanted to use a variety of yarn weights, since Tanis has several beautiful yarn lines to choose from. (There are one or two yarns that haven’t popped up yet – you might take a guess from there as to what you’ll see in the April patterns! ;) ) So, this meant taking a crack at something using laceweight yarn.

Laceweight wool yarn is, no doubt about it, one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ yarns you can get. A skein of TFA Pink Label laceweight costs less than a skein of sock yarn and has yardage for days. On the other hand, I wanted to avoid using this for a shawl pattern, since I know laceweight shawls can often be intimidating, and since I’ve pulled out several cabled patterns already in this collection, I wanted to make sure I left one or two towards the simple end of the spectrum. And last year I remembered seeing all these girls on campus wearing these loose lacy cowl/scarf things, and thought heck, that’s what I want to do with this yarn.

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Worn ‘single’, the Hunter Street Cowl (Ravelry link) has the appearance of a loose scarf, and worn ‘double’ wrapped around the neck it collapses and scrunches a bit into a comfier and easy accessory. Once again, this piece is shown in the ‘Dove’ colourway, but I could see it being pretty fantastic in a lot of colours. In fact, I might just snap up another skein of Pink Label for just this purpose when I cruise Tanis’ booth at the Knitter’s Frolic next month.

HunterStCowl4b

In thinking this pattern though, I played around for a bit with some all-over lace patterns, but in the end I decided to simplify it even further than that. What resulted was the light and lofty accessory you see here. Worked in the round with a few vertical lace panels placed on a field of stockinette, this is believe it or not a pretty speedy pattern. Completing this one (to a height of 8 inches) took me about a week, and before I’d cast it off I knew I was going to start a second one. It turned out about how I wanted, but I definitely had some leftover yarn. I thought to myself, “dude, why didn’t you just use the whole skein? So I’ve started another one (what with a fit of start-itis this past weekend), and man, this time I’m not stopping until that whole 1000-yd skein is used up. (And I include notes in the pattern about how you can do this to, and still make sure you’ve got enough to use in the final edge and bind-off.)

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Thanks to Bridget for obliging me with cowl photos this past Saturday “on location” in Peterborough, and to Austen (model) and Jane (photographer) for photography help once more with the socks. Thanks also to Kate Atherley for technical editing and to Tanis once more for the collection yarn support.

And thank you, knitting friends, for your interest in these patterns! Working on this collection has been a great project and I will almost be sad to unveil the final 2 patterns in April. (Well, except I will also be happy to show them off, heh).

Happy knitting this fine Tuesday! I hope spring is treating you well so far.

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Filed under accessories, design