Tag: knitting

The Chunky Alpaca Cowl Knitting Pattern

New release!  This Chunky Alpaca Cowl is a satisfying quick knit, made from an utterly soft super bulky alpaca yarn. You’ll be warding off the cold in no time.  There’s some cabling.  There’s some texture work.  But a dedicated beginner will do fine.

The Chunky Alpaca Cowl. Make it!

Abbreviated Materials List:

Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky Alpaca or Gedifra Highland Alpaca 3 skeins

Size 17 knitting needles

Crochet needle K

Cable needle (optional)

Two buttons, 1 5/8″

This quick knit cowl features a cable stitch that almost feels like lace.

Chunky Alpaca Cowl Pattern 5.

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Designing Fall

My version of heaven may just involve a crisp chilly night, curled up in my favorite chair with a good mystery and a glass of wine. My dogs scattered comfortably around me (and not trying to regain my favorite chair). The alternative, however, might be a crisp autumn morning with everything the same except for coffee replacing the wine. Either way, my head is daydreaming of lush knits and–um, yes…. Soup.

I confess, if I could create a world that was singularly Fall, I’d be in heaven. Soup is my soul food that carries me through 9 mos of the year, and Autumn heralds the return of the Soup Days. As you may or may not know, I Cook. My kitchen gets a much better workout than I ever do. That said, I don’t agonize over my cooking like I do my stitching. I may re-knit the same 3 inches a dozen times to achieve perfection, but I have never made the same sauce twice—merely close approximations of favorite flavor combinations. I refuse to measure. My cooking style is decidedly rustic. I will only peel a vegetable if I’m seriously doubtful of the outcome otherwise. My potatoes, carrots, and apples hit the pot as clothed as the day they sprouted.

Designs progress eagerly, but slowly while the soup simmers.

I frequently wish myself able to tackle my knitting with the same reckless abandon as my cooking. But knitwear design is more about undoing than doing most days, and swatching only tells half the tale. Each stitch needs to be carefully plotted and counted, deeming each soft undulating cable a math equation rather than a recipe for comfort. All that said, the thick luxury of the woolens beneath my fingers inspire me to keep knitting and tinking and knitting and tinking. Much like soup, it feeds my soul. And I always have the joyful wild freedom to add to my stash carefree to balance out the duties of design, whether my wallet appreciates that or not.

The buttons remain to be chosen, and I think I'm going to ask Dave to make something special for this.

Knitting Kits

I’ve been mulling over this one for a bit:  making my patterns into knitting kits.  It took me a bit, but I finally came up with a presentation I’m happy with.  This first release is the Newborn Knit Kit for the Cabled Earflap Cap.  The kit includes the printed full color pattern with numerous photos along with a skein of the luxury yarn, Terra by the Fibre Company.  It is all packaged in a sweet eco-friendly gift box that is perfect for giving or receiving.

The Newborn Knit Kit for the Cabled Earflap Cap
Choose your Color

A Grandmother’s Gift

A grandmother's gift still working its charm.

I still have the afghan my grandmother made me for my first “big girl” bed. Babci is long gone, but this comforting relic remains and is still put to good use. Over the winter I tucked it in tight around my feverish husband–a man she never knew, but I’m pretty sure she would have loved. And the other day I caught the elderly lab we recently rescued snoozing on it in the dappled sun. The muted yellows and pinks have likely faded over the years, but the meaning of the gift has only magnified with time. If she only knew how this labor of love she gave to the three year old me continues to take care of my grown up family.

Creating in the Eye of the Storm

Recycled wool starfish are hand sewn one by one.

We are hunkered down here with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on us.  But really, it is a rather normal day.  A meeting was canceled and water bottles were filled, but other than that, things continue much as they always do in the studio.  Pillows were made, patterns cut out, a bunting is on the knitting needles, and starfish are being hand sewn.  The work is meditative.  It is a quiet but busy day.  Just the way I like it.

Steeked in Catastrophe

An Organic Fair Isle Cardigan for Your Toddler

Admittedly, I’m no adrenalin junkie.  I get my highs from rather low-key pursuits.  A perfectly baked loaf of bread.  A chapter successfully read before falling asleep at night.  Excitement around here is limited to keeping the dogs and my boy (the husband) out of trouble.  And most decidedly, knitting has always been meant to be a means of self-expression and an exploration of color and texture.  It never should have had me tied in knots of apprehension.  But it did.  And then it started un-didding. — That is a very technical knitting term, by the way.

So, my knitting in the round with the intention of cutting a steek to turn this baby into a cardigan was well intended, but the organic merino blend yarn had a bit too much silk for this steek’s liking.   Disaster was staring me down.  Of course, being a purist in these matters, I had done a crochet steek.  Sewing machine doesn’t computate with hand knitting in my book.



I’ll start again.

However, faced with calamity, I asked Bernina for a helping hand.  She owed me. Besides, if sewn steeks are good enough for EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman), they are (temporarily) good enough for me.

So.  Catastrophe ends in success.

Victory is mine.

And there is one darn (would you have  been offended if I swore here??) good sweater ready to warm some unbearably adorable child somewhere.

Grosgrain ribbon neatens everything up beautifully.

Portrait of an Heirloom

What makes something an heirloom?  This is a question I typically ask myself when I start any new design, but especially when it is for a newborn.  When a child enters this fast paced, do it yesterday, mechanized, computerized, factoried, harried world, it seems to be all the more important to have one little piece of quietude to wrap them in.  Something that was made slowly, meticulously, and with great care.

my recently finished Aran Cabled Baby Bunting in a new color, but the same beautiful organic chunky yarn

Russian Join

One of the most irksome parts of knitting is attaching a new skein of yarn after finishing the first.  This is especially true for me since I do so much knitting in the round.  I rarely have a seam I can hide a tail in.  Then the clouds parted, the gloom lifted, and yarn join nirvana descended from the heavens.  I was in love.

I can only guess that the Russian Join originated if not in Russia, then at least someplace in Eastern Europe (a quick Google search failed to elucidate me).  That could explain why this Polish girl gravitates towards it.  In truth though, everyone should add this simple technique to their repertoire as it offers a near invisible  yarn join for so many different types of yarn.  In the example below, I’ve used two different colors of cotton yarn for visual clarity.  Other than that, the only tools you need are a yarn darning needle and a pair of scissors.

Thread the first yarn through your needle. Cross the tails of the two skeins of yarn you are joining.
Loop the first yarn back over itself, capturing the other yarn. Thread the needle through the center of the yarn for about 3".
Pull the tail of the yarn, tightening the loop snugly down against the other strand.
Repeat the same steps with the other yarn tail.
Trim off any excess tails.
And there you have it.