Category Archives: cables

Sanely overboard

So, here’s the thing. As of today it’s exactly two weeks until Rhinebeck weekend, which is pretty freaking great. The last time I had an actual vacationy weekend trip, or a trip of any kind outside of my own country for that matter, was Rhinebeck last year, so it’s a nice thing to look forward to. It’s also going to be pretty neat to see so many of the knitting friends I normally only “see” via the internet (Twitter and blogs and email are super, but not as super as face to face chatter, sadly). And keen knitters love to knit sweaters to wear new for Rhinebeck, and boy howdy is my Rhinebeck sweater coming along. I am still loving the orange cables and Cascade 220 does zip along nicely as a worsted weight.

Oct5-CabledCardi

The sweater now has two sleeves, a back, and the start of one front piece, and after that it’s just one more front piece and the finishing. It’s not exactly a negligible amount of work (there will be button-bands to deal with), but it’s an extremely reasonable amount of work for 2 weeks of potential knitting time.

And well, here’s the other thing. This week I find myself, for the first time in about four or five months, without any deadline knitting. I’ve got upcoming projects to work on and no shortage of ideas and knitting plans swirling around, for sure, but this is an oddly refreshing feeling. And then last week my Ravine pullover was out in Skein Theory, and one of my internet knitting friends (hi, Blair! Say hi to London for me!) was saying how she wanted to knit it in some yarn she was just waiting for the right pattern for, and something in me snapped. I wanted one too. I like this sweater, dangit, and after a time there are only so many knits you can send off never to be reunited with ever again. So, in conclusion…

Oct5-Ravine

…I cast on a Ravine pullover for me. I’m not going to lie – in my head this is totally Rhinebeck sweater #2. I joked on Twitter that this really is going insanely overboard, but fellow knitter Megan chimed in that it is, in fact, quite sanely overboard, because even if I don’t make it in time for Rhinebeck, I’ll still make it for some time this season, and who doesn’t need another cabled sweater in their life? Not me, that’s for sure. More cabled sweaters. All of them!

Happy knitting this fine fall weekend! And Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.

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Filed under cables, sweaters

Royale revised

A little over two years ago I released Royale. It was one of my early sweater patterns, and one which still represents my great affection for twisted stitches and travelling cables. I designed the original sweater for a deep scoop neck and 3/4 sleeves as modern details at the time. After a time I realized a few folks were modifying it to their own preferences, for full-length sleeves and a higher neckline for more versatility and cold-weather comfort, and so I thought, hey, I can make that a bit easier for people. Why don’t I just update the pattern? And while I’m updating the pattern, why don’t I knit myself another one?

And so, I did.

Royale3

This new sample (nicely modelled by fellow knitter Lisa) shows off said full sleeves and a more modest scoop neck that, with the ribbing, ends a little above the beginning of the armholes. I asked Lisa to model for me for a fresh set of photos since she’s about the same size as me, and this one actually fit her so perfectly I told her she would have been totally justified in stealing it. (She didn’t, though, which I appreciate).

Royale1b

Royale is available here on Ravelry, and here on Patternfish. The new pattern contains not only two options for sleeve length and neckline depth, but also an additional size in the 3XL range, for a total of 7 sizes ranging from 31 to 53 inches at bust circumference. It uses your preferred worsted weight wool (shown in Cascade 220 heathers) at a gauge of 21 sts/4 ins over twisted moss stitch in the round (noted in pattern instructions), and I definitely recommend doing a swatch and gauge check before starting to make sure you’ll get the right fit. This is a sweater that works very well with a close fit, and zero ease or negative ease would be the ideal. As shown here, the sweater measures the same at bust circumference as the body of the wearer at the bust (in other words, it is being worn with “zero ease”), which is one reason it looks so awesome on Lisa. Negative ease would also be fantastic though, and show off the twisty cables even more.

Royale5

Even though this is more of a re-release than a regular release, admittedly I would normally choose to release a full length pullover like this a little closer to actual cold-weather time (speaking as a Northern Hemisphere resident, at least), rather than in the spring. But on the other hand, I always think it is one of the great ironies of knitting that we often knit items during the season we want to wear them – inevitably this ends with some projects being completed just as that perfect wearing season has ended. (Said the gal who just cast on a laceweight shawl that will probably take most of the summer.) So, at least if you start on a sweater in the spring or summer, you know it’ll be ready and waiting for you in the fall when you need it.

I’ve also heard tell that a couple of folks are planning to use this as a summer Olympics knitting project, which – go ahead with your mad skills, knitters. I salute and support you! Also why didn’t I think of that.

Royale6

Since this sweater does use quite a lot of those twisted stitches and travelling cables, as per usual I include in the pattern instructions some tips on how to work these without a cable needle. If you can get the hang of that technique, it will likely make your knitting proceed much more efficiently, and I’m a big fan. In fact, look for an updated photo tutorial from me soon on this technique as well – I’m planning a new one dedicated just to these little 2-stitch travelling cables so familiar to Bavarian twisted stitch work like in these motifs.

Other notes about this sweater – it is worked in the round up to the armholes, from the bottom up, then worked flat across the back and fronts separately. The sleeve caps are also worked flat, then the sleeves are sewn into the set-in armholes. All told there’s only small amounts of seaming involved, and working mostly in the round is a great approach for twisted stitch cables like these, because ktbl (knitting through the back loop) is a lot more fun that ptbl (purling through the back loop), I can tell you that.

Royale2

Finally, if you’re just tuning in here this week and would like a chance to win a fabulous little zippered notions purse from Pog Totes, check out my previous post which also holds a book review of Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Radcliffe. I’ll post a winner sometime after noon tomorrow.

Happy knitting this Wednesday! May you have a refreshing beverage waiting for you at the end of it.

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Filed under cables, design, finished object: sweater

Urban Collection: Queen St. Mitts

I think I’ve officially lost track of the weather around here. Afternoons are starting to get warm and sunny, but overnight the temperature still plunges towards freezing, which makes getting dressed in the morning a bit of a challenge. It occurred to me that, you know what? This is exactly the time of year that fingerless mitts are meant for. Some days you need that extra bit of insulation around your hands, only to tuck them away in your purse or pocket later on on the day.

On that note, I’m pleased to present the seventh pattern of eight in the Urban Collection (Ravelry link), the Queen St. Mitts.

Mitts1a

Since I wanted the pattern collection to be versatile both in garments and in yarn selection, I decided to use sock-weight yarn for something that wasn’t socks. After all, many of us are frequently tempted by that single skein of sock yarn purchase in a shop or at a knitter’s fair, and some times you want something to do with it that isn’t socks. At the same time, I was having a hard time putting away the aran-style cables that appear in several other pieces in the collection and thought, you know? Let’s just do that on a pair of mitts. Aran sweater styling in miniature, but with the chance to let loose with some crazy colour, too.

Mitts6a

These mitts are worked in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight (superwash merino/nylon), in the bold ‘Lemongrass’ colour. I’ve been wanting to do something with this colour for so long, and decided to break it out for this project. You can get away with bright colours like this more easily with small accessories, since it’s less of a risk than something that might cover your whole upper body like a sweater. (But man, if any of you knit up a full sweater in Lemongrass, call me. I want to know what that looks like.)

The main pattern along the back of the hand is a spring-like combination of cables, bobbles, and texture, while the palms are more modest with a cable and rib combination. I’m quite pleased with how these turned out, and might have to go back for a second pair in another colour.

Mitts4a

I enjoy the way fingerless mitts offer a small and relatively quick canvas to explore various techniques – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how fast these will knit up – and am going to keep it in mind for future projects. More fingerless mitts, fewer cold hands!

Also, it’s fitting that I post about these today, since it’s Tanis‘ birthday, from whom the yarn comes. Have a great day, Tanis!

Happy knitting this weekend, everyone!

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Filed under accessories, cables, design

The finish line is worth it

It’s done! Gwendolyn is done! Guys, I can’t remember the last time I took seven months to finish knitting something. I mean, I did knit other things in that same seven months, so I can cut myself some slack there, but still. That much time between start and finish can mess with your head a little. And I had some gauge indecision in there, and changed sizes, and modified the sleeves a little bit, so by the time I got to the sewing up I think my brain was genuinely curious to see what was going to happen next. It also occurred to me that since I know Fiona, there was every likelihood that if I messed it up, I would personally have to tell her about it. (Kim even wrote me a note about it in case I ended up needing a permission slip, which I thought was really very considerate.)

As it turns out, I don’t think I messed it up at all.

Mar9-Gwendolyn9

Cables, cables, CABLES. Gimme gimme.

What can I say but this is a lovely pattern – which shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that over 100 other folks on Ravelry have knitted it. I wanted it as a comfortable, wear-anywhere-you-want sort of sweater, and I am well pleased with the result. The yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers, in a nice turquoise colour. The trim (a detail included in the pattern) is also a Cascade 220 Heather in a brownish/purplish/reddish colour, leftover from a past sweater.

Mar9-Gwendolyn6

In choosing the size, as it turns out, all I needed to do was choose the actual pattern size that I wanted as listed, and then just knit that size. (One needle size down, though.) It blocked out to the intended size after washing, but then over a period of drying actually sucked back up a bit of width, then somehow worked out just fine. I am very glad that I made the decision back in January to stop knitting the original size I had chosen and go back up one size. It lost me some knitting time in the bargain, but turned out to be the right move.

Mar11-GwendolynSleeve

I did, as per usual, do some modification.

I’d heard feedback from a couple of friends/Ravellers that their sleeves had turned out a titch larger than they wanted, so I modified the sleeves to be a bit slimmer by a few stitches, but also added in some ribbing at the inside of the sleeve. I accomplished this by simply continuing the ribbing from the cuff just at the edges where it wouldn’t interrupt the main cable panel, and gradually incorporated more ribbing as I increased.

Mar9-Gwendolyn1

I also added about 3 inches in length, which is a pretty typical modification for me since I am 5’9″ tall. Especially for cardigans, I like making sure it hits me just nicely over the hip. Modifying for length is one of the easiest modifications you can do for yourself, and I am a big fan – just take the tape measure out one day when you’re with a fellow like-minded knitter, and measure from your shoulders down to where you want things to stop. Or, measure a sweater that fits you really pleasantly, and measure how long it is. (also possibly how wide, etc).

Finally, I worked the button-band to be the same as the trim around the cuffs and hem, with just the outer 2 rows and bind-off done in the contrast colour, rather than working the entire button-band in the contrast colour.

Mar9-Gwendolyn8

In conclusion, HURRAY I HAVE A NEW SWEATER! I’ve worn it the past 2 days and may well wear it again today to Niagara Falls, for Elspeth’s last day Canada-side. If wearing the same outfit 3 days in a row is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

Happy knitting this fine Sunday!
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49 Comments

Filed under cables, fearless knitting, finished object: sweater

Event Horizon

You know, sometimes, when you start a sweater and then blink and discover that almost six months have passed since you started it and you still haven’t finished it yet, you then discover that you are actually pretty close to finishing it after all?

Me too.

Feb16-Gwendolyn2

I have started to feel a bit of unease with this project, because it’s been on my needles off and on for so many months now, and I’ve gone and changed the size I’m making halfway through, and then there’s the whole cable on the sleeve fix that I still have to go back and do, and (because I decided my 2011 self didn’t need to worry about that, and I’d let my 2012 self handle it instead)… and it actually occurred to me the other day that should I (stash forbid) end up running out of yarn and needing another skein, this will actually end up being a minor challenge since I’m pretty sure I neglected to keep any of the ball bands with dye lot numbers on them when I wound up all the yarn (self, that was not wise)…

But the thing is, and this is the most important thing, is that I am currently one front piece and one hood away from having a finished cardigan, and that is close enough for me to taste the sense of accomplishment. I have been loving working with this colour (it’s a Cascade 220 Heather, in a beautiful turquoise, edged in a dark reddish brown), and it finally hit me that, wait a second, soon I’ll actually be able to WEAR this colour, not just look at it on my needles.

Feb16-Gwendolyn

Come on, cardi, you and me – and I know I said this back in October, and then November, and then again in January, but this time I mean it – LET’S DO THIS. February is for finishing! (And hey, if Steph’s Gwendolyn can survive a little re-knitting as well as a little singeing in the oven, mine can survive a bit of neglect. Probably.)

What will you finish in February, dear knitters?
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Filed under cables, fearless knitting, sweaters

Urban Collection: Aberdeen Ave. Mittens and Hat

One of my goals as I began putting together ideas for my Urban Collection was to offer a set of patterns with balance; In theory, I wanted a person who might knit all of these items to have a knitted object for any occasion. In other words, if you had all these knitted items, you could get dressed in something knitted no matter what the weather or wardrobe requires. I also wanted a balance of items in terms of required execution time and effort, and as I stagger the releases over a few months, each month’s release will have one larger, more time consuming item, and one or more smaller or less time consuming items. Some times you just need the instant gratification! (Well, or at least, instant-er.)

AberdeenAveMitts2

Some times, like right now around these parts, you also need a few quick and warm things, and that is where the Aberdeen Ave. mittens and hat patterns come in. I knew the Locke St. cardigan would be first up in February, and these likewise take their name from a Hamilton street name – Aberdeen Ave. and Locke St. intersect with each other, and with such Scottish place names to work with as inspiration, how could I resist working with cables? I loved the knotty twists and turns on these so much I couldn’t keep them to just one item, and just had to spread the cabled awesomeness to both a hat and a pair of mittens.

In a collection of knitted items, it would be a crying, crying shame to overlook the winter accessories, don’t you think? And it’s especially pleasing to have a matching pair. There is something very satisfying about feeling put together like that when you leave your front door, even if it’s a blustery chilly day that makes you need to bundle up. I reached for the heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn for both of these, to help with both warmth and speed.  A single skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran is all that’s needed for either the hat or the mittens, and either one would be great for that single skein of worsted or Aran yarn you’ve got hanging around waiting for a project!

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If you have more than a passing familiarity with a cable needle, you’ll have this hat finished in a snap. There’s just enough interest for you on the central cable panel running along one side to keep you from getting bored, and before you know it you’ll be decreasing and finishing up the top and reaching for another skein of yarn to make the mittens to match. If you’re still new to cables, these will be small canvases to practice on while you prep yourself for larger cabled projects.

As with all items in the Urban Collection (currently available on Ravelry – will be made available on Patternfish as an e-book and individual patterns once the collection is complete), both the Mitts and the Hat are available to be purchased individually in my Ravelry store, or as part of the collection. Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive all patterns that are added to it with each update, until it is complete.

AberdeenHat1

I am grateful once again to my friends Austen (for modelling) and Jane (for photography), and to Jaya Purswani for the technical editing on these two projects. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Now that I’ve introduced you to all three February releases in the collection, I”ll be happy to report back on some other ongoing knits next time. I hate to jinx things, but I might just be getting close to finishing my Gwendolyn cardigan after all – and possibly even a pair of socks. Dare I say it, I may get some more warm knits finished in time to wear them in the chilly season after all.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

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Filed under cables, design, finished object: accessories

Urban Collection: Locke St.

What can I say, folks, but that it’s a great relief to finally get to show off a few designs to you after keeping them under wraps for so long. February marks the first wave of releases of my Urban Collection, which will be a collection of eight knitting patterns in total. Between February and April I’ll add 2-3 more patterns to the collection each month until it is complete. (My previous post gives a good visual snapshot of the first five designs – the rest are in the works!) My goal for this collection was a set of patterns that would sit well in the “urban classic” realm – designs that will be comfortable and wearable now as well as a few years from now.

Locke Street Cardi

Rather than overwhelm you all at once with the whole sha-bang, I’ll be staggering the releases so that they are a bit more seasonally appropriate – as a result, the warmest patterns are the first ones out of the gate in February. Closer to April, you can predict a few lighter accessories and lace pieces to make an appearance. The complete collection will contain two sweaters, two lace items, and four smaller accessories. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do! All of the patterns feature Tanis Fiber Arts yarn, in a variety of yarn weights from Aran to laceweight.

As the patterns are released, you’ll be able to purchase them individually at any time in my Ravelry store, but if you’d like to take the plunge for the whole set, the collection may be purchased now for a few dollars cheaper than the final collection price, and I’ll keep that ‘preview price’ available until the March patterns are posted (around March 12th, a month later than today.) Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive updates as patterns are added.
(I’m working on making these available on Patternfish as well, as an e-book, for non-Ravelry users – stay tuned for updates there!)

LockeSt2

Since I was working with the aesthetic of “urban classic” in mind, when thinking about pattern names I decided to draw on the cities in which I have lived as a knitter. The patterns are all named after streets that I am familiar with in these cities. The first pattern I’d like to introduce you to is the Locke St. Cardigan. This is named for a favourite street of mine in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (if I’m hanging at a cafe or heading off in search of poutine or organic chocolate bars, or even a run to the bank – chances are, this is where I’m doing that.) This is a buttoned cardigan in the style of a classic cabled knit, including modern details like waist shaping and v-neck collar. Using DK-weight Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label yarn at 5.5 sts/inch, it is also a little lighter than a traditional Aran cardi might be, which means you’ll be able to get good wear out of this as a layer underneath your jacket in the cold seasons, or wear it as a layer itself when it’s a bit warmer.

LockeSt1

Friends Austen (above) and Emily (in the detailed shots) helped me out with modelling this, and both were pretty comfortable in it. In fact, I think it fit Austen so nicely that I am a little surprised she didn’t try the “hey! look over there!” trick, only to have me turn around and discover she was missing.

How about the cables? Let’s talk about the cables. You want cables, hoo boy, this sweater has cables!

LockeSt-Detail1

I like using symmetry and structure in my designs when I can, and the big show piece of this sweater is the way the cables lend vertical focus and visual appeal, especially down the back of the piece. Two diamond cables twist down the centre and are flanked by a few smaller twists and claw cables, for accent and delicate appeal. There is a blend here of cables and twisted stitches (mostly sneaking in in the ribbing and in between the cable placements – I just can’t give up my precious twisted stitches entirely, it seems!).

LockeSt-Detail2

Sizing for this pattern runs between 35-55 ins around at bust (when closed), and is intended for slight positive ease between 2-4 ins or so, according to preference. As usual, I provide some suggestions in the pattern notes about how to work cables without a cable needle, if you’re interested in that method as a potential way of building speed and efficiency. (Having said that, though, I know there are knitters who are speed demons with cable needles, so choose whatever method floats your boat!)
And also as usual, feel free to consult the pattern schematic and gauge if you prefer to modify your patterns for a more customized fit for yourself.

Thank you again to Jane D. for the photography on this project, and Stephannie Tallent for the technical editing, and to friends Tammy and Kelly for providing test-knitting feedback during the knitting process!

Now that I’ve said a mouthful, I’m looking forward to taking a break for a couple of days to knit and let these February projects be out in the world a little bit. When next we meet I’ll formally introduce you to the Locke St. cardi’s companions – the Aberdeen Ave. hat and mittens. They are just as warm and toasty, and the weather seems to agree – we finally have snow around these parts!

Happy knitting this fine Sunday!
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29 Comments

Filed under cables, design, sweaters