Wintergreen KAL: Week 4 (Joining Round)

This week’s tips are pretty quick – but hopefully will help you get on with joining your body and sleeves together into a cardigan.

When you’re ready to join to work the armholes, you should have three pieces in front of you: 2 sleeves and your body piece.

(I find circular needles are great for storing sleeves, rather than waste yarn – have a go. When you’re ready to join, you can knit straight off the needles – doesn’t matter what needle size they are.)

Your sleeves are exactly alike, so it doesn’t matter which sleeve you join in first, just make sure you put the side with the increases on the armhole side. If you’ve left your stitch markers in this will be easy to do.

If you just work the joining round as written, you will end up with all your pieces joined together, however I always find talking things through – and a few visual illustrations – very helpful. Here is what we’re aiming for…

joining-round

As we’ve been working on a cardigan, you will start at the front opening of the body, with the RS facing you. Refer to your notes to see what Row of the cable pattern you finished the body on. You will work the next row in the cable pattern as you work across the various body sections.

When you reach the correct number of sts before your side seam marker you will pause – place armhole sts from both the body and the first sleeve onto waste yarn or locking stitch markers.

Then, place a marker for your armhole decreases.

Knit across all sleeve sts (as all your armhole sts have already been set aside).

Place marker for your armhole decreases.

Work across the Body stitches again (this is the back of the cardigan), working the same row of the cable pattern as on the front of the Body. Work up to the correct number of stitches before your side seam again – place the body and sleeve stitches indicated onto waste yarn/locking stitch markers.

Place a marker for your armhole decreases.

Knit across all sleeve sts, then place another armhole marker.

Work across remaining Body stitches (using correct row of cable pattern), to end of row.

You’re now joined in the round.

***

Here’s a picture of how I use locking stitch markers (instead of waste yarn) for the armhole stitches. When you’re ready to finish your underarm stitches, it is really simple to transfer stitches to your needles again. (If you don’t have locking stitch markers, a stitch holder or some slippery, finer yarn would be useful to use as waste yarn.)

locking-stitch-marker

Wintergreen KAL – Week 3 (Sleeves)

Ah sleeves! I know they’re a bit of a slog, but they’re definitely necessary for the cold winter nights…brrr.

I found these went pretty quickly as they’re just Stocking stitch (stockinette for my American friends) – and when worked in the round, this equates to just knitting all the time, which requires even less thought.

I used double-pointed needles (DPNs) to knit mine until they got too big around, then switched to a long circular (80cm) to work in magic loop. You could also use a 40cm circular at that point if you don’t like magic loop.

And rather than transferring stitches to waste yarn after knitting them I kept them on a long circular needle, so they’re already on a needle when it comes time to do the joining round.

Seamless Increases

I really like seamless increasing for any shaping on a jumper – I find a M1R and M1L work really well and blend with the rest of the knitting nicely. Sometimes it can be a bit confusing remembering which is which though…so here is how I teach it on my workshops.

M1R – hint ‘right back’
Using your passive needle, pick up the strand of yarn between your stitches from back to front, now knit this stitch as normal (from the left side of the strand).*

M1L – hint ‘left front’
Using your passive needle, pick up the strand of yarn between your stithces from front to back, now k1 tbl (through the back of the loop). *

*If it’s making a hole, rather than a twisted bit of knitting, then try working the stitch the other way (knit for ktbl, or ktbl for knit).

The picture below shows the bit of yarn you’re picking up to make the new stitch – the long horizontal bit between your actual stitches.

gwen216_14999743935_l

 

Counting Rounds Between Increases

The hardest bit of doing sleeves is counting your rounds between increases, to make sure you’re working the correct number of rounds inbetween.

If you look at the M1 increase that we’re using, just after you’ve made it, you will see that it looks like it is already two rows tall – there is the stitch on your needle, which sits on top of a twisted loop (which is the bit of yarn you’ve pulled up between your stitches).

So, if you’re counting your rows –

First, locate the twisted looking stitch where the new column of stitches begins.

Second, find the stitch above this one – this was your last increase round – and then move up one more stitch. This is your first round of knitting after your last increase.

If you count stitches moving up from there (including the one on your needle), this will give you the number of rounds that you have knit.

I often find it useful to clip a locking stitch marker into my last increase stitch so I know where to begin counting from.

Promising yourself a chocolate after each new increase round will also make the process more enjoyable – you’ll have your sleeves done in no time!

unnamed

 

Happy sleeve knitting! I’d love to see photos – I’m @petitchoufleur on Twitter and Instagram.

Wintergreen KAL – Week 2 (Body)

Hi there everyone.

I very much hope you enjoyed starting your swatching for your Wintergreen cardigan. If you haven’t already – please do hop on over to my group on Ravelry to say hello and tell us about your plans and your yarn – or on Instagram using the tag #wintergreenkal.

This is Week 2 of the pattern – the Body – and the first installment of tips and tricks.

This week’s post includes some visuals for setting up your cable patterns for the body section of the cardigan – as well as a short film clip with a preview of the adult version and a little ‘how to’ for making the cluster stitches used in the cable pattern. You’ll also get to see my smiling face – though I do appear to be a little red. Not sure why…

Pattern Numbers

You may notice something a little different about my patterns when you first open them up – there are no numbers in them! This may seem a little bit strange (although it is becoming more common).

I have always found it really tricky to make sure I keep working the correct size when trying to knit from a string of numbers. For example,

CO 3 (3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7) sts.

So, instead, in my patterns, where a number would usually go, you will see a lettered blank – e.g., CO A_____sts.

Refer to the table of numbers and find your size along the top of the table, then pick the number for your size for A and CO that number.

img_1557

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually go through the whole pattern and fill in the blanks with the numbers for the size I’m making – then I can just knit away and never find I’ve actually knit the sleeves for the sweater two sizes smaller than the one I’m making. Don’t ask.

Body Marker Set-up

I thought some little visuals might be a good place to start.

The ribbing on the cardigan is really straightforward – cast on and work in 2 x 2 ribbing (k2, p2) until piece measures 3in (for adult version) or 1.5-2in (for child version, depending on size).

Then you’ll do 2 rows in Stocking stitch (stockinette for the Americans in the group) – knit one row, purl one row.

On the knit row, you will place your markers, in preparation for starting your cables on the next RS (right side) row. I think a drawing is really helpful to picture where you’re headed.

img_1554

 

When you begin the Cable pattern on the next Row 1, the cables will be worked between the markers already set-up, and a few knit and purl stitches will be added for cable definition.

On the Right Front (final section of the Wintergreen cable), don’t forget to start working the pattern from the stitch column listed in the pattern for your size. This ensures that both fronts of the cardigan will match.

img_1555

After you’ve established the various cable patterns around the jumper, you will work as set without increasing or decreasing.

Optional Waist Shaping

If you prefer a little bit of waist shaping in your body (useful to provide a bit more shape to a woman’s jumper), you can add this in, but it’s optional, so don’t let it worry you if you don’t want to. It will still look lovely!

If you are adding in optional waist shaping you will have to do a little bit of brain work –

As you begin decreasing stitches, you will not have enough stitches to work the full cable pattern. Instead, continue to work the cable pattern for as long as possible. When you no longer have enough stitches to work it, work stitches ‘as set’ (knit the knits, purl the purls).

Then, when you start increasing for the bust, you’ll slowly get your stitches back until you have the full cable pattern again. When you do you m1 (make 1) stitches at the side seams, look at what type of stitch you need to work next on the cable pattern (knit or purl?) and increase using either a plain m1 (for knit) or a m1p (make 1 purl) for a purl stitch. If you want some more help on these, let me know and I’ll do an extra post.

Cabled Cluster Stitches

Want a hand with your cluster stitches? Check out the video here and get a preview of the adult version of the cardigan. (Promise I’ll get better at the video editing – for now, tonight’s video is in two parts!)

Part 1: Introduction to the KAL

Part 2: Cluster Stitches

 

Happy knitting! I look forward to seeing your progress photos…

Release day! Summer Flies available now as Print and E-book

Release Day!

Summer Flies Lace Knits:
A Dragonfly Study in Lace

Print and Ebook available for purchase now


I can’t quite tell you how excited I am to be releasing my first book today. It’s so fun that this book is finally done…I can’t wait to see what wonderfully creative projects you all make from this.

If you haven’t joined in the KAL over on Ravelry, please do. We’re going to have loads of fun. I haven’t quite decided which one I’m starting with, but think it will be Demoiselle.

Casting-Party is this Friday, 3rd July, at 6pm BST. Hope to see you there :)

What’s it like?

The book is 8 x 8 inches (approx. 20 cm square), about 50 pages long, and perfect bound. It will fit really neatly into a knitting project bag.

Here’s a sample of what some of the pages look like so you get an idea:

  • There are lots of detailed photos of the knits from different angles.
  • The book includes a short tutorial section along with a special stitches section.
    • The special stitches section has descriptions and/or links to good tutorial videos for more unusual stitches used in the patterns, like short rows (in Anisoptera) and applied i-cord (in Demoiselle).
    • The tutorials section covers how to do lace on both RS and WS rows to make sure your yarn overs come out even on both sides. There is a full explanation of this technique, as well as some pictures to guide you through it.

And, of course, it includes the designs that I’ve been previewing here over the past few weeks:

Demoiselle cowl (double or single loop) and mitts
double loop shown

Anisoptera crescent shawl

Lacewing socks

and the final pattern: this was a definite favourite at the photoshoot.

Damselfly vest top

Don’t be a damsel in distress…always have the perfect top to go with your outfit, no matter what it is. Worked in the round from the bottom up, this top is a versatile transition piece – go sleeveless or use it as a vest as it gets cooler. It goes casual or dressy. This beautifully soft, hand-dyed DK yarn has a slight sheen and halo which creates a lovely finish to this statement piece, adorned with picots and simple, but effective, wrapped stitch edgings.

This top is designed to be worn with 0-2″ positive ease.
Shown in size 32″ with no ease.

What you’ll need…

To Fit Bust:

  • 32 [36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60] in
  • 81 [91, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152] cm

Yarn and Yardage Requirements:

Needles:

  • 3.75mm needles 

Print book (including e-book): £12
E-book only: £10

Print Version with E-book:
Click here to order your print copy on MagCloud. The print book will ship directly to you, and the e-book will be delivered to your email automatically, so you can start knitting as soon as possible. If you’d like the e-book in your Ravelry library too – send me a message on Ravelry, along with your MagCloud receipt, and I’ll gift it to you.

E-book Version: Click the buy now button below to get your copy. It will be delivered to your Ravelry library as a full book, as well as with separate files for each pattern and the tutorials section, to make it easier to print just the pages you want or use on your electronic device.

Summer Flies Lace Knits

Petitchoufleur Knits: Summer Flies Lace Knits

Summer Flies Lace Knits: A Dragonfly Study in Lace. Collection of four knitting patterns.

Find out more on MagCloud

And now I’m going to go put my feet up in the sunshine and drink this…did you try the muddle yet? :)

Summer Flies Lace Knits: Lacewing socks – pre-order available now

Collection Preview #3

Summer Flies Lace Knits:
A Dragonfly Study in Lace

Lacewing socks (Pattern Preview 3 of 4)

Do you recognise those toes? The lovely Katherine at Baa Ram Ewe is my model for this collection, with photos by another lovely staff member there, Joelle.

Next week is the big release – so there’s one more week to pre-order at the discounted rate of £9. The collection will go up to full price on the 1st, along with the release of the last pattern in the collection. One more pattern to go after today.

Thanks to everyone who’s pre-ordered so far. I must say I’m getting quite excited for the release of my first book. :)

(Click the Buy Now button at the bottom of the newsletter to get your copy.)

This week’s newsletter features the third pattern of the Summer Flies Lace Knits collection. But first a little bit about the pattern…

Lacewing socks: Pattern the Third

Lacewing uses a simple 12-st lace repeat that you’ll quickly have memorised, with slipped sts creating the dragonfly body ‘stem’. It’s my take on dragonfly argyle.

This bouncy, beautifully hand-dyed yarn brings to mind the iridescent colours of sleek dragonfly bodies, as they flit in the sun. Shown in: Azure Damsel colourway.


What you’ll need…

Finished Measurements and Sizing: 

  • S (UK 3-4/US 5-6) – 220m (240yds)
  • M (UK 5-6/US 7-8) – 300m (330yds)
  • L (UK 7-8/US 9-10) – 400m (435yds)
  • XL (UK 9-10/US 11-12) – 480m (525yds)

Yarn: 

Needles:

  • 2 mm (US 0) DPN needles (or long circular for magic loop)

E-book Pre-order: £9 (RRP will be £10 once released on 1st July)

Next week on the 1st July the Print book (including e-book) and full ebook will be released with all pattern details and tutorials.

Click the buy now button to get your pre-order. You’ll be sent a PDF to your Ravelry library with details about the patterns so you can get all your supplies together, ready to start when the colleciton’s released on 1st July.


Click here to see all the featured colourways of the Summer Flies collection, specially dyed by Katie at Sylvan Tiger Yarns.

Summer Flies Knit-A-Long

Fancy doing a KAL with us? Hop on over to Ravelry and add your thoughts – it would be great to see the pattern your planning to knit and the yarn you’ve got. Post up a pic! :)

Casting-on party on Ravelry and Twitter will be Friday 3rd July after the patterns are released. There’s a special Yarndale surprise included too…think discounts and prizes.

Lace Workshop – bit of help to get you started…

Near to Leeds and fancy a hand getting to grips with lace (or socks)? I’ve got some workshops coming up with will help you get started:

Hope everyone has a lovely week – fingers crossed for some sunshine!

Summer Flies Lace Knits: Pattern Pre-order – Anisoptera

Collection Preview #2:

Summer Flies Lace Knits:
A Dragonfly Study in Lace

Anisoptera Crescent shawl

Pattern Preview 2 of 4

Ebook Available for pre-order now

This week’s newsletter features the second pattern of the Summer Flies Lace Knits collection. Today I wanted to focus on the yarns used in the Summer Flies Lace collection and I thought, what better way to do that than to get Sylvan Tiger Yarns herself to tell you about them. But first a little bit about the pattern…


Anisoptera Crescent Shawl

When I started dreaming about this collection, I could picture perfectly the shawl I wanted – with dragonflies in flight along the border. It took awhile in the making to pick (and design some of my own) lace patterns to get the look I was after. I hope you’re as pleased with the effect as I am. The name, Anisoptera, comes from the scientific name for dragonflies and means ‘unequal-winged’. If you want to find out a bit more about dragonflies, check out the British Dragonfly Society website.

This shawl features short rows to shape the crescent shawl body, followed by three stacking lace patterns which continue the gradual crescent shape at the edges through gradual increases, framed with dragonfly wings. Some of the lace patterns are Shetland-inspired and feature lace on both sides (RS and WS rows). The full pattern collection and book will have a tutorial covering yarn overs on the WS of your work – how to make them and how to work them on the next row.

The sample is made in Sylvan Tiger Yarns Methera Lace in colourway Anisoptera. This is a beautifully soft knit with nearly equal amounts of silk and wool. The silk lends this piece a particular sheen that reminds me of dragonfly wings flashing in the sun. Perfect.


What you’ll need…

Yarn and Yardage Requirements:

Needles:

  • 3.75mm needles

Finished Measurements (after blocking): 

  • 11in (18cm) deep by 60in (152.5cm) along top edge

E-book Pre-order: £9 (RRP will be £10 once released on 1st July)
Print book (including e-book) will be available 1st July

Click the buy now button to get your pre-order. You’ll be sent a PDF to your Ravelry library with details about the patterns so you can get all your supplies together, ready to start when the colleciton’s released on 1st July.

Interview with Katie from Sylvan Tiger Yarns

G: Tell me about yourself. How did you get into dyeing yarn? How did you start your company?

K: I’ve been knitting since I was little, taught by my mum. Then I discovered the wonderful world of Ravelry and started reading about all the processes involved with making yarn. Initially I tried dyeing with Kool Aid, who knew?! Then once I’d read about natural dyes that was it, that was the medium I wanted to work in. I started the business as the house was getting filled with more and more yarn so I thought I ought to have a go at selling some of it!

G: I love your logo. What led you to pick your company name and logo design?

K: I love tigers and trees, woods and forests. Sylvan means ‘of the woods’ so Sylvan Tiger seemed right. We went through a few drafts of the logo but once I saw this version I knew it was the right one straight away. He was always going to be a happy smiley tiger!

G: What is your favourite part about hand-dyeing yarns? Tell me about your process.

K: Working with natural dyes I love the subtle variations of colour you get using different modifiers. The colours never look flat; there’s always a depth to them. No two dye pots are ever quite the same. I Iove dyeing bright jewel colours, especially purples. My customers seem to like those too. Solid colours are dyed in large pots on the hob, whilst variegated colours are either hand painted or dyed in trays with the dye dribbled on. It’s messy and fun. So far nothing in the kitchen has been permanently dyed that I didn’t intend to dye!

G: What got you interested in working with Petitchoufleur Knits and how did that come about?

K: I wanted to approach some designers to see about getting some patterns designed using my yarn as people at shows had asked if there were patterns to go with the yarn. Being a shy person, this was a bit of a daunting task! Petitchoufleur Knits came to mind though as Gwen is local to me and we’d met once or twice at Baa Ram Ewe. The world of social media is great in that you can be in touch with people all over the world, but it felt important to work with someone local and as it turns out, you can’t hand over soggy bags of freshly dyed yarn over the internet! Location aside and most importantly, I admired Gwen’s designs. Gwen had quite a few patterns for smaller quantities of yarn, and since I dye in small dye lots the partnership seemed a good fit. A hot chocolate (or two!) later and here we are with a collection and I’ve been on my first photo shoot, darlings!

G: What was your inspiration for the dragonfly colours you’ve dyed specially for this project?

K: When Gwen told me that her collection was to be themed around Dragonflies it sounded a perfect match for my yarns as the jewel-like colours of Dragon and Damsel flies are my kind of colours. So of course I googled images of Dragonflies and came up with a selection of ideas.  All the yarns in the Summer Flies collection are dyed using a small palette of natural dyes (mainly Logwood Purple, Cochineal and Saxon Blue with a little bit of pomegranate and fustic). One thing I love about natural dyes is that all the colours produced seem to go so well together without clashing, but by using a small palette of dyes, I hoped that all the colourways would work well together as a collection.


Click here to see all the featured colourways of the Summer Flies collection, specially dyed by Katie at Sylvan Tiger Yarns.

Marrying the two… a Summer Knit-A-Long

Katie and I put our heads together this past week and thought that you all might enjoy doing a KAL for the Summer Flies Knits. What do you think?

To find out more, jump on over to my group on Ravelry and join in. We’re looking forward to meeting everyone there and having some fun knitting these patterns together. We’ll be having a casting-on party on Ravelry and Twitter on Friday 3rd July after the patterns are released. There’s a special Yarndale surprise included too…think discounts and prizes.

Summer Flies Lace Knits Available for Pre-order

Summer Flies Lace Knits: A Dragonfly Study in Lace

Demoiselle cowl and mitts – Pattern Preview 1 of 4

Ebook Available for pre-order now

It’s been quiet around here for a long time – but that’s because I’ve been hard at work pulling together my next collection of lovely patterns for you to knit. We had the greatest time doing the photoshoot for these patterns at Tropical World, a local attraction with exotic fish, birds and butterflies. When we shot in the morning, the koi fish were busy catching bugs (unfortunately very difficult to show in photos) and we spent a lot of time ‘keeping still’ to see if a butterfly would land…but they were a bit shy!

Starting today, you can  pre-order the Summer Flies Lace Knits collection at a discounted rate – as a thank you for taking a risk on the collection without knowing what all the patterns will be like. On the 1st July, when the full collection is released, the price will increase.

Over the next four weeks, I’ll be previewing one of the patterns in the Summer Flies collection each week. The full collection will be released in PDF and print on the 1st July.

  • Print books will be delivered through MagCloud. You’ll get the ebook included when you buy the print version.
  • Ebook will be delivered through Ravelry.

I want to keep the patterns a surprise each week, but I can tell you in addition to this cowl and mitt set, the collection also includes a pair of socks, a sleeveless vest top, and a crescent shawl. The patterns use a range of yarn weights from lace to 4ply to DK. Each pattern uses lace knitting – some patterns have more than others, with varying complexity. Lace patterns include both written and charted directions.

Summer Flies Lace Knits: Casual Summer Elegance and a Study in Dragonflies

Last summer when I visited my home stomping grounds in upstate New York, I was inspired by dragonflies – their colours, the delicacy of their wings, and their fickle, flitting nature (!). Since then, I’ve been exploring the best ways to replicate their distinctive wings and beautiful colours in yarn. After some experimentation, I decided on lace motifs to mimic the distinctive lace-like pattern on their wings.

And then for the colours, which had to be just right…

I’ve worked with Katie from Sylvan Tiger Yarns on the collection. She’s created some special new ‘dragonfly’ shades with her natural dyes just for this collection. They mimic the waves of colour in dragonfly tails and evoke the feeling of summer sun, sky and sea. (Also, her yarns are really lovely to knit with!)


Pattern the first: Demoiselle cowl and mitts 

Demoiselle includes a single or double loop cowl and some wonderfully lacy matching mitts, perfect for a summer tea party. It’s all about the little details on these – a picot cast-on, wing-shaped lace patterns, and touches of applied i-cord. I think they go perfectly with a glass of lemonade in the summer sun…read to the end for a quick recipe for a ‘posh’  muddled lemonade perfect for a tea party to give you that summer feeling (no matter what the weather’s doing!).

The double loop cowl (shown in pictures) can be worn as a long loop, as a doubled loop for a flowing neck accessory…or as a shawl, held round the shoulders and fixed at the front with a shawl pin to keep the evening chill off as the sun goes down. It’ll look lovely any way you choose to wear it – and it’s a versatile accessory. Did I mention it’s fun to make too?

The generous double loop cowl and mitts samples were made from 200g of 4ply, with some leftovers – so pick your two favourite skeins of Yan Sock here, pre-order the book and get your needles ready.

What you’ll need for Demoiselle…

Yarn and Yardage Requirements:

This is enough to make a full set of larger size mitts and double loop cowl. Pre-order page has more specific info about yardage needed.

Needles: 3.75mm needles
Sizing:

  • Mitts – XS/S (M/L)
    • Circumference: 6(8)in / 15(20.5) cm
    • Height: 7in / 18cm
  • Cowls – Single (Double)
    • Circumference: 20(50)in / 56(127) cm
    • Height: 7in / 18cm

E-book Pre-order: £9 (RRP will be £10)
Print book will be available 1st July

Lemonade Muddle: A Taste of summer

I love a muddle – and they’re easier than you think. I was first introduced to it as a Brazilian drink made with sugar, limes and vodka. While that’s yummy, these lemon and lime varieties will keep you cool in the sun and evoke that summer feel.

What you’ll need:

  • a muddler (if you don’t have one – I don’t – use a pestle or the end of a rolling pin or something else with a wide base and a convenient handle)
  • 2 lemons
  • raspberries (fresh or frozen) – or other berries you like
  • water (optional: use soda water…or vodka for a summer cocktail)
  • sugar or agave nectar (optional)
  • ice

To make:

  • Cut your lemon into slices (de-seed). Add to the bottom of your glass
  • Use your muddler to start to squeeze out the juices – press down and do a quarter turn. Repeat a few times.
  • Add your raspberries and muddle the same.
  • Once your juice level reaches the top of your fruit, you’re ready to add your liquid – water or soda water.
  • Add sugar/syrup and ice as desired

Want to muddle like a pro? Check out this blog for a few tips.

Here are some other summer muddles I think would taste great:

Muddle along until we meet again…