sprössling

Posted on 69 CommentsPosted in patterns

a sprightly sprout of a sweater to knit in eager anticipation of spring. a lace rib pattern of tiny buds sets a nice vertical line, while inset shaping on the body accents all the right parts. create a form-fitting silhouette or knit it up slightly looser for a more casual shape—the curves won’t be lost.

shown above: size small in lanas puras melosa fingering, colorway fern green, found at one planet yarn and fiber. one planet has received a big new shipment of this yarn just today and will be adding all the colors to their site in the coming hours, as well as making a kit available—click here to view that listing.

my green sprössling is knit to be form-fitting with just an inch of ease, if that; i wanted something that would not feel loose if worn with a thin shirt or a cami underneath. i also cropped an inch off the length at the hem

shown below: rachael knit hers in size medium, using valley sock (i think it’s colorway hematite), a superwash yarn, in a slightly tighter gauge than the pattern calls for (her finished, relaxed chest measurement is 34 inches, which gives her a few inches of ease when stretched).

she and anne marie each used a plied superwash merino yarn and they both found that their sweaters grew a little when blocked (not so with the lanas puras fingering that the rest of us knit with)

this resulted in a slightly looser fit but obviously, still very curvy and sexy!

anne marie (below) loves the fit of her sprossling, which is quite different from mine—looser and more relaxed to wear over a shirt or turtleneck, the way she does here.

she used a gorgeous dark variegated colorway of briar rose grandma’s blessing, chose to knit size large, and was able to get the correct pattern gauge

the tonal variegated yarn does not take anything away from the rib and lace pattern—in fact, the little dashes of color seem to accent it nicely.

and then there’s jocelyn in her brilliant cornflower blue rendition of this adorable sweater, knit once again in lanas puras melosa fingering

jocelyn has been on a mission to get herself into the right shape and size of sweater for some time now and i think she’s succeeded and then some with this one. she and rachael are both petite in stature, so they modified the pattern to adjust for shorter lengths in the body and armhole.

this sets the waist shaping and armhole height at the right spot for them—and goes a long way toward streamlining the look of any sweater.

when barb (below) saw the green sweater on me, she was convinced that it was not at all the right cut for her; she is tall and well-endowed in the bust with very broad shoulders and slim hips (an “apple” shape, if you will). i persuaded her that it would look awesome and she was happy to test knit it anyway (barb really likes to knit).

well, it turns out that this is her new favorite sweater—she’s all set to knit another one. the shaping under the bust eliminates that boxy looseness at the hips that she often encounters in tops and sweaters, giving her a smooth line over slacks.

she followed along with jocelyn and me, choosing to knit her sprössling in lanas puras melosa fingering, colorway charcoal. she knit the 1X size, but knit the sleeves one size smaller, as her arms are long and slim. barb also added an inch to the body length and two inches to the sleeves.

so you see, we have five different body types and five different variations on how to knit this sweater to fit and they all look great. pretty versatile, yes?

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

lis and jodi at one planet yarn and fiber have a beautiful online shop, dedicated to bringing you the best of what the world has to offer, representing artisans and small businesses from around the globe. i’ve worked with their lanas puras melosa yarns several times, as well as a few others and have really enjoyed the experiences.

many, MANY thanks to our inveterate test knitters—jocelyn, anne marie, rachael, and barb—they work so hard, but we have so much fun. this project has been especially cooperative in that everyone finished pretty much at the same time and we’re very pleased to bring you a full range of photographs of each finished piece.

and of course, kudos to david, who did a beautiful photo shoot at coronado beach and moo time creamery in sunny california—a happy pattern release wouldn’t be complete without him.

and now, let’s see some more pictures!

getting organized between trips

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects, yarn and dyeing

with the henley sweater all seamed up, i decided that, since it is knit with superwash yarn, i wanted to get it completely wet to see if that would cause any major sizing changes (it didn’t with this one, but it has been a factor in other projects). while i was at it, i threw in a few other sweaters that were due for a sudsing.

i don’t wash my handknit sweaters very often—maybe twice during the winter? some of my new ones though, had not been washed before, since i steam-blocked them at completion and started wearing them right away. everything came out lovely and i’ll go off to denver this weekend with fresh, sweet-smelling knits.

that’s the henley, face down in the lower left corner. bottom line on the fit, after seaming and a thorough blocking—the final size is a little narrower than i expected, though the length is spot on. it has a sexy fit, rather than the looser, more casual size i was expecting from the numbers i ran (i.e., the stitch gauge and fabric have more tension across an entire sweater than in the swatches). i would say this is a size smaller than i would normally make, and when i write the pattern, i’ll adjust accordingly, shortening the lengths to make it right for a more petite person.

the thing with a sweater like this (or like the upcoming sprössling), is that you could choose between two adjacent sizes, depending on the fit you prefer—with the fabric being ribbed, a larger size will contract enough that it won’t look too big and a smaller size has some stretch built in. you may have to adjust the lengths when going with the larger size, but that’s fairly easy to do. we’ll show some photos to demonstrate this idea on friday.

i just need some buttons (they are on their way from jennie) and the piece will be complete; i may even wear it this weekend, though it’ll probably be too cold in colorado for it.

with the henley off the needles, i’m finally able to turn more attention to that little shawl i started around the first of the year. i took it with me to california, but—surprise—it was really too complicated to work on while moving around and visiting so much.

since i’ve returned home, i’ve been able to settle into working on the next section above the hem and now have a rhythm established. it does have its tricky bits but i think now i could actually travel with it and be ok, at least when knitting alone in my hotel room. not sure if i’ll take it along or not, but maybe . . .

i’m heading for denver early friday morning to teach a weekend of lace classes organized by fiber experiences. i’ll only be gone for three days and i’m already traveling with a trunk show in an extra suitcase, so i won’t have lots of room for multiple knitting projects. i’d really like to keep it simple and streamlined, despite my instincts (which tend toward overkill, as we know).

of course i have secret knitting that is in progress and probably, one of those projects will go into my bag.

i have one tiny bag packed with a pair of needles and my little ball of fibre isle that i spun on sunday, to knit into a neckwarmer—i figure this could be a very good plane project.

and i think, just to be sure i don’t run out, i’ll take these two balls of yarn, with which i’d like to start a gift for an upcoming birthday. they don’t match, but they “go” really well, and i like that the yarn weights are different. i want to knit a hat that is dense and warm, so the springy, sundara worsted weight merino on the left will be perfect. that skein, in colorway crushed cherries was included in my goodie bag from the knitters review retreat and i’ve been drooling over it ever since. the other ball is some briar rose fourth of july, in colorway black cherries, left over from jackie. i like the lighter, softer hand and variegated colorway of this yarn for the neckwarmer project i have planned to coordinate with the hat.

remember back in december when kim from the woolen rabbit sent me a skein of her kashmir yarn, in a colorway (hanky panky) inspired by one of my summer squash photos?

we’re planning a sock project to be released for SPA in late february, celebrating this new addition to kim’s lineup of yummy yarns. well, i had in mind a certain stitch pattern i wanted to work with all along, and last night i finally got a chance to cast on and start the sock. the cuff is looking great there and the yarn is simply heavenly—silky and soft, but with a really nice density and spring to the fabric.

however . . . once i got into the patterned panel that runs down the front of the sock, i could see that this yarn and motif combination was not going to work. the nupps in the pattern didn’t show up well; they keep getting buried. the lace pattern is knitting up just a little too small—the whole thing looks a bit blurry and insignificant. to top it off, i think it would only be possible to offer one size AND it was less fun to knit than i thought it would be.

bummer. that’s just too many drawbacks for one project, don’t you agree?

this is probably a good thing though—i really need more practical socks right now and will happily search for something that is zippier to knit and shows off the yarn’s gorgeous sheen a little better. i think we all could use a sock like that instead of the other . . .

so that project may not be traveling with me, even if i get it worked out before i go. it will be better to take something that’s further along and finish it up so that when i return, i can focus on this new sock.

the day after we returned home from california, our week-long crate of mail was delivered from the post office. it took me a couple of days to sort through everything, then open the packages included and photograph the contents.

i think there are a few things here you’ll love . . .

our friend deb kessler at fearless fibers has a new smooshy sock yarn on offer—MCN luxury—that is a delicious blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon, shown here in colorway sublime. its 4-ply construction will make a wonderfully smooth, dense sock fabric that resists pilling and is sure to feel comfortable underfoot.

susan, AKA fleegle, started selling her hand-dyed laceweight yarns earlier this year in her etsy shop, the gossamer web and sent me this delicate, lovely skein for you to see. susan specializes in producing an array of fine lace yarns and in an unusual selection of fiber blends which are custom spun for her. here we have tribble, a 2/28 lambswool/cashmere/silk blend in colorway tequila sunrise.

to accent your lace knitting or finished beauties, julie at hearts of gratitude is always making something lovely—besides a variety of very pretty pins and pendants, which she creates using combinations of healing stones, she has a couple of new items to add to her store soon.

shown above, heart pendents to store stitch markers or a cable needle while working (i know i’m always looking for somewhere to put my cable needle!). hang one of these around your neck when you sit down to work and the third stick is unlikely to end up down in between the couch cushion . . .

and then there are the stitch markers themselves—beautiful stones with simple, snag-free fittings to slip on your needles in between repeats or to section off parts of a shawl or sweater. she also sen along a key chain charm, which i immediately put on my own key ring—as far as i’m concerned, there is no such thing as too much protection while driving these days.

remember when cookie was visiting and dangling that really fun skein of copenhagen yarn in front of us? well, now that jeanne at destination yarn has recovered from the watershed of orders for it, she and i made a trade for a couple of skeins of yarn. of course, i wanted my own skein of postcard yarn in colorway copenhagen, but one is never enough, is it??

i also noticed a dark, mysterious blue skein in her semi-solid series that i had to have as well. harvest moon is a great color for my “guy sock” stash, with the added bonus that it has 25% nylon in the blend—a must for knitting mansocks, in my book. a rich skein in gray-blue tones will have them fighting over the resulting sock, you wait and see.

last but not least, i made an acquisition from afar, back on new year’s eve, with the help of my dear friend gail, who was such a good sport to shop for me at the blue moon barn sale of rare gems mill ends.

i may have mentioned that my newest pair of holidazed socks in STR lightweight (you can knit them in mediumweight too) are the warmest socks i have right now. i need that in my life—our floors (and therefore, my feet) are perpetually chilly. when i saw that tina was having a sale of rare gems, i had to get my hands on some (you know, in case i run out of socks to knit). here and there, i hope to sneak in a new pair for myself so that by next fall, i will will be armed with an appropriate arsenal of warmth for my poor feet.

so anyway, did she do a standout job or what?? i love every single thing she picked out. PLUS, she got me an extra skein that i wasn’t expecting . . .

hahah, i bet you think that’s not me at all, right?? well, truthfully, i would be shy to buy it for myself, but when gail was knitting up something similar at sock summit last summer, i was completely smitten and she remembered how much i liked her “chiclet socks”. when she saw this skein at the sale, she grabbed it, yay! chalk one up for gail; this is just the thing to lift my spirits during this gray, gray week.

i think i’ll have one more short post before i go and we will definitely be ready to release the sprössling pattern while i travel on friday; look for it then . . .

fishbone gansey sock

Posted on 20 CommentsPosted in patterns

is it cold where you are? do you need to create a little shot of sunshine to brighten up your knitting? here’s a cozy sock that might solve both of those dilemmas—as fun to knit as it is cozy to wear. a little gansey styling with a progression of patterning in a bright, unexpected colorway will work wonders to cheer you up as you go.

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shown here: size medium in dye dreams classy sox, colorway a sockwork orange, offered as the winter installment to the dye dreams four seasons sock club (or purchase any colorway separately from a full array of choices).

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to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

mona and stephanie at dye dreams have many more wonderful yarns to share in their online shop. i have been very fortunate to partner with them on several projects and have immensely enjoyed sampling their beautiful yarns; a peek at their full selection is highly recommended.

many thanks to my dear friend beckie, who is a delightful model with a real feel for the task—i so appreciate the chance to get behind the camera and let her work it for a change; thank you, beckie!

i have to mention too, how much fun it was to photograph the sock at someone else’s house—we took a little time during a visit to our friend kris’s inviting cottage, filled with natural textures, to take the photos for today’s release; thank you for lending us your wonderful home for a while, kris!

gray areas

Posted on 20 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects, spinning and fiber

well toto, we’re not in in the garden of eden any more—all we have of it is the fruit.
i was going to start out with a compare/contrast photo to describe what we came back to on friday, but i just couldn’t do it. a little slice of california orange seemed so much more generous (and YUMMY).

but just so you know—once i found my way across the bedroom on friday morning in the deep, dark chill of 8 am, i pulled aside the curtain to reveal something akin to this:

“oh”, i thought (as if i haven’t lived through seven ohio winters), “surely it will brighten up later”. but by late afternoon, the best the sky could produce was this:

not exactly the brilliant display i was hoping for—let’s just take a peek at what the sky looked like to us one week (and 3000 miles) earlier

the contrast is shocking, right? thank goodness for friends who live in warm places. i’ve had a hard time getting back to reality, heh.

so yes, the last few days have been tied up in adjusting back to real life and getting my email box squared away. almost done with that; just a couple of the more complicated emails left to answer.

i’ve also been sorting through the knitting i finished and the knitting i made progress on, as well as the knitting i didn’t touch while i was away.

i’m still working on secret projects, but i’m happy to say i got a lot done on those in between trips to the beach and visiting friends. they won’t be hanging around much longer.

by the time i got home on thursday evening, i had half of the front for my henley finished. i worked on the other half friday evening and by midnight, it was ready for blocking and seaming

i was a little worried about how narrow the finished pieces looked; i know it’s a rib knit, but still—it’s a little scary to think the whole thing might be too tight, especially after the struggles i had to start out with. but you gotta have faith . . .

last night i pinned each piece out for a steam blocking and sure enough, they all stretched easily to the size they are supposed to be. even after unpinning, they sprang back very little

here you can see the blocked front piece next to the unblocked back piece. now you can actually tell that there is a bit of openwork running through those cables, too.

the fabric now feels much lighter and drapier (which will feel more comfortable in warm weather than a tightly-cabled fabric)

and the darts are opened up so the shaping looks more shapely.
the process takes a lot of pinning and measuring to get each piece right, but taking the time to do it makes the seaming go much more smoothly.

i apply just a light shot of steam over all the piece at this point—just enough to relax the fabric and make the edges lay flat. i don’t want a hard finish on anything yet—in fact, with a texture like this, the best final blocking may very well involve washing the whole garment to get an accurate picture of the final fabric.

as with most sweaters, once i pin and steam one sleeve, i lay the second one right on top and pin it out to match, then steam again.

none of that took very long at all— surprisingly, i was all done in about 45 minutes. i then seamed the shoulders and added the neck trim and button bands. i stitched the sleeve caps to the armholes while we watched late night TV.

this afternoon i’ll press the shoulder areas and trims, then sew up the long underarm seams for a fine finish. i am on pins and needles to know how if the fit is what i’m expecting and what i visualized.

the night before i went away, i finished up this cité neckwarmer i knit up in laceweight cashmere. i cast on the small size using a 3.25 mm needle and worked as per the pattern adding another repeat of the body section to the length, so that it would fall into soft folds.

once i was back home on friday, i soaked it and laid it out to dry; now it’s ready to wear.

i love these lighter-weight neckwarmers—with less bulk, i can throw them on under a shawl or jacket to go out, or over a sweater to wear indoors for just a little extra layering warmth, mmm.

i don’t think i showed you this treasure that i received from sylvie at fibre isle while we were talking at TNNA last weekend

it’s spinning top that she creates at the end of a run at the mill, using whatever loose fiber is leftover from making yarn. she knows what fiber is in it, but can’t say what percentages of each one it contains (so every batch is different). this batch has cashmere and bison, along with some soy fiber and bamboo (i think; i didn’t write anything down!).

whatever it is, it’s delectable. it’s not listed on her site, but maybe with a little pressure from us, she’ll start selling it. she wound off a small amount for me to sample and i decided to spin it up in class this morning for a quick, one-session project.

oh my.
can i just go on a bit about how lovely an experience that was? the fiber was a smooth blend that practically spun itself—resulting the most consistent yarn i think i’ve ever produced.

i had approximately .8 ounces of fiber to start and no waste whatsoever from spinning it. i ended up with 90 yards of a heavier laceweight yarn—almost fingering, but not quite. it reminds me a little of her pearl bison in texture, with a nice springy ply twist, yet soft and drapey, too.

i got all the singles spun during class time and plied it after everyone left, then put it on to soak. i just took it out of the water and hung it up to dry—it falls in a straight silky skein that has nice body and beautiful sheen.

i can’t wait to knit with it—i’m feeling another neckwarmer coming on . . . that might make a nice travel project for my trip to denver next weekend.

several packages arrived while we were gone and i have a small heap of goodies to show you that i’ll save for tomorrow. we’ll also be releasing the fishbone gansey sock this week and hopefully, sprössling, once it comes back from its final review with our tech editor, tana.
stay tuned.

ps: dont’ get me wrong—t’s always nice to be home again . . .