gosh, i love this birches cardigan—can i say that? i loved knitting it (twice now) and i love its coziness when i wear it. plus, it just screams “FALL” and just at the moment when our weather turned seasonally crisp (finally—the temps dropped twenty degrees last).
and its oversized cut allows me to throw it on over anything—perfect for running out to the store or a quick walk with my doggie. uncomplicated, but with a richly proportioned shawl collar that always falls into place and a cable feature that’s a real focal point.
i knit this prototype sample in our stone soup DK yarn (color marble) because i know how soft and light it knits up, especially on a bigger needle. it’s buoyant, but still falls into lovely folds; just the thing to show off the stitch patterns here.
the cables are distinct yet light and soft, never stiff. the knit/purl texture has great stitch definition and that little bit of poof to accent its wavy tendencies.
and yet, not so springy as to lend the overall fabric an unwanted stiffness. the textures remind me of the thick stands of birch trees in upstate new york, where i grew up.
the construction of this cardigan is quite straightforward, making for some speedy knitting. it has a straight body with a loose, casual fit that is far from “unshaped”. the front panel becomes the shawl collar with a few sections of simple short row shaping near the shoulders.
the drop shoulder stops short of the bicep and some shaping at the armhole does away with the bulk that is usual with a full drop shoulder. a slight amount of cap shaping in the sleeve allows it to articulate without pulling on the whole garment—much more flattering and polished.
wear it loose and open or belted; add toggles or buttons if like me, you prefer a secure closure to keep things neat. the pattern includes four sizes from XS/S to 3X/4X; shown here is size M/L with approximately six to eight inches of ease.
this is another design that will work beautifully with all of our other DK options as well as several of our sport yarn options. i wasn’t very far into my prototype when i decided i’d love another— this time in one of our super-light and frothy mohair yarns. so i knit this second sample in our cabécou sport yarn in color sel gris. it looks so fabulous on ellen that i’m going to corner her on our rhinebeck trip for a mini photo shoot and share that with you when my mission is accomplished.
time to get this winter cardigan on the needles—if you start now you’ll have it done just in time to laugh at the cold.
speaking of time, i’ve got to get going and wrap up a few last details before i leave for rhinebeck. my dear friend kimkimkim is landing here tomorrow afternoon and i want to have everything crossed off my to-do list by the time she gets here. i can’t wait to see her; we’re making the drive to NYS together—we have SO MUCH catching up to do!
have i mentioned that we’ve put together a special week of surprises in the ramp up to rhinebeck 2017? even if you can’t make it to the festival next weekend, we’re bringing it right to your desktop with wonderful new patterns (like the field and shore blanket i released in yesterday’s post) and new kits.
today we are featuring a special kit to celebrate the vivid colors and crisp sensations of autumn in rhinebeck. the kalio cowl, lacinato cap, and colcannon mittens were real favorites among our pairings 2016 clubbies, then knit in deep, black/green shades of late autumn.
for the general release of the patterns, we’ve reworked the color scheme, this time knitting them in the river rock shade of stone soup DK with a feederbrook farms entropy gradient, custom dyed just for us in this sugar maples colorway that is perfect for leaf peeping in october.
we just love the way it turned out! a perfect riot of color and texture—festive, but modern.
The kit has enough yarn to knit BOTH a cowl and a cap (with pom pom) and probably a headband as well OR a headband, cowl, and mittens. each pattern includes two sizes which are well-covered by the yardage. you can use either yarn choice as the foreground color; we’ve knit the cowl and cap both ways—one with colorful leaves and one with the leaves in silhouette. we like both!
worked with stranded knitting technique, the fabric offers body and warmth; the high merino content lends just the right amount of slouch and and next to the skin softness. our sample knitters were enthralled, watching the colors advance.
back in the winter, when i published my dock and cabin cardigan pattern, my good friend nancy said that she wanted a blanket pattern with all the same textures. funny thing was, i already had it in the works!
several months before i had swatched the patterns in our stone soup DK yarn and the result was deliciously smooshy and inviting. i liked my first swatch SO much that i did one in a second shade. i put together a quick pattern, thinking that we could squeeze it into the winter ensemble collection and our friend amina agreed to knit the sample, saying “blanket knitting is my happy place right now!”
in no time at all, we had this gorgeous blanket back in our hands and were snuggling up with it. but by then, we had decided to save it for fall and our october focus on bare naked wools stone soup yarns.
you can imagine my impatience at having to wait so long to release a newly completed pattern, but wow, the time has flown by! here it is, the week before rhinebeck and the perfect time to get a blanket on the needles. field and shore knits up so quickly, it could even make your holiday gift list. the lap size blanket (shown here) is big enough to satisfy for TV watching and knitting, but small enough to be a very quick knit.
the waiting period gave me a chance to make a little youTube tutorial for the twisted rib cable used in the design. i’ve incorporated this cable into several other designs and some knitters find it confusing to learn from the written instructions—better to see it live, so we’ve arranged that for you here.
this is a great piece to toss over your favorite chair or to keep on hand for enjoying those last mild evenings on the porch or deck (or boat). and what baby wouldn’t feel handsome as all get-out sporting THIS blanket over his or her stroller or crib? it’s sturdy, go-anywhere design for that special little cuddle bear.
and the pattern includes several sizes, should you want something larger for a sofa or bed. Not to mention the wrap option—a lovely rectangle long enough to swaddle your upper body but keep the rest of you comfortable for driving.
can’t you just feel the depth? trust me it is all that and more . . . our stone soup blend is a velvety combination of four heritage wools—rambouillet merino from montana, churro, lincoln, and columbia wool—with some alpaca and a smattering of luxury fiber like silk, bison, and tencel to add those tweedy neps. it knits and washes to a flannelly soft surface that gets better and better over time. there’s no wonder that stone soup blend my favorite of all our yarns (don’t tell the other yarns i said that!).
hello friends! i’m so excited to be back in my blogging chair and writing about one of my favorite knitspot projects—our annual red scarf scholarship fundraiser. funding our scholarship has become a warm and inspiring tradition in our community, one that knits us together across the miles. i feel like it commemorates the fast and solid friendships we’ve nurtured through our years of knitting, chatting, clubbing, confessing, and laughing together here at the knitspot. it’s our chance to share the good fortune and support we’ve enjoyed, passing it on to an aspiring young person who is becoming a success on their own.
plus, it involves RED YARN—what’s not to love?
for those who are new to this, let’s start with the specifics. our scholarship is offered each year to one student (studying in a field related to our industry whenever possibly) participating in the foster care to success (FC2S) program for kids who have aged out of the foster care system and who aspire to continue their education. the fund provides and administers scholarships, life guidance, and help with handling the challenges of higher education.
the red scarf fund was created through the knitting community to support FC2S students with emergency money for costs not covered by tuition and scholarships; the red scarf project is a way for knitters to contribute warming gifts and care packages to hardworking students as a special valentine’s treat.
this year, in an effort to exceed all previous funding efforts, we are ginning up the fun factor with yet another new twist—MORE DESIGNERS AND PATTERNS! i am very please to announce that THIS year i am joined by the talented and generous Kerri Blumer, Kate Atherley, and Mary O’Shea in bringing you some red letter pattern choices for the holiday season. we’ve put together a crackerjack portfolio of people pleasing textures and color for quick, fun, last-minute gift knits as well as those to invest with love. the entire price of each and every pattern with be placed in the scholarship fund.
the first patterns are this gorgeous andiron scarf and andiron cowl designed by kerri blumer—read on for more purchasing details and kit options!
a few years ago, we started offering a special red yarn to go with the annual scarf design, for which we also donate a percentage. we call it festivus and it’s offered as a one-time, seasonal batch that is not repeated; when it’s gone it’s gone! what began as a mill accident has evolved into a MUCH anticipated competitive dash to acquire at least one skein—festivus usually disappears quickly, never to be seen again.
our 2017 festivus 4.0 yarn is dyed on our new patchwork gradient base by the very popular julie asselin, in her custom-for-us cranberry crush colorway. available in both festivus 4.0 worsted and festivus 4.0 sport weights, this cushy 2-ply yarn, is spun in 100 percent merino from varying shades of natural wool, which produces a slow-fade gradient fabric and subtle striping. the shading in each skein is completely random; every one is a unique work of art. this year’s yarn reminds me of red glass tree ornaments; they catch the light in such a variety of shades.
we are making all the festivus that we ordered available NOW; we know everyone looks forward to getting some as soon as it it’s available. we’ll keep the fun going by offering the patterns on a continual rollout—every week or two another option will be presented to keep your fingers happily working in that gorgeous festivus yarn.
this is a nice, long scarf as shown, but as with any scarf the length is up to you and easily adjusted. the pattern is a soothing repetition of knit/purl texture, bordered by a simple cable at the edges.
its horizontal orientation makes the most of the slow-fade gradient yarn, resulting in subtle color transitions, even in a narrow piece. a super-squishy muffler for the coldest winter days and sure to be appealing to women and men alike.
i would like to thank kerri so very much for designing these pieces for the scholarship fundraiser; she’s just awesome and she has lots of beautiful designs to share—be sure to check out her ravelry shop.
want a lil peek at some of what we have in store for you from our other designer contributors?
lots of clever detail, schmooshy texture, and FUN to come!
now, let’s talk about goals . . . last year we set a goal of $5000 but unfortunately did not meet it, falling rather short. i would love, love, LOVE to make it up this year and top the charts with the best fundraiser ever.
let’s try to exceed last year’s goal of $5000—can we get to $6000 this year??
to do that, we need to sell all the yarn and tons of pattern too—want to be part of it? you can help out in several ways:
purchase a scarf pattern or cowl pattern and/or add an extra donation on our website—use the pulldown menu to increase your gift and we will donate the entire pattern price PLUS that extra amount. we are happy to add the pattern to your rav library if you let us know!! (but we have to do it manually, so please tell us)
please, please, PLEASE tell everyone you know about the fundraiser—they don’t need to be a knitter to throw $6 or $7 (or more!!) at this wonderful cause. please mention it with a link and hashtag on your Instagram, Facebook page (and link it), tweet it (with a link!), pin it (yes, with link) and finally just drag your friends over to look at the blog, haha. we’ll even give them a “knitter for a day badge” if they help out.
cardigan is a HUGE fan of this fundraising project by the way—as a former street dog, she knows all too well how tough it is out there on one’s own. you have to have to be smart and have guardian angels or be incredibly charming to snag a good gig. so she’s completely on board with what we’re doing.
hmmm, red or natural?? cardigan has been sniffing to decide which she prefers, but it’s a tough decision; she might have to knit a project in each one.
and with that, i’m going to sign off and go work on my own design contribution to the cause—secret for now, but i think you’ll like it.
oh, i guess cardigan decided she likes ALL the yarn and wants to keep it. she’s swatching now to figure out which to knit with first . . . and after that, scarf or cowl? or maybe she needs a blanket more.
thank you all so much in advance; let’s make 2017 our biggest year yet!