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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vogue Knitting: Cabled Poncho

I am so excited to introduce to you my latest design, the "#25 Cabled Poncho" that was picked up by Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2011!

Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2011, photo by Rose Callahan
Currently you can enjoy a Vogue Knitting 360 view video of this design.

This is my first design for Vogue Knitting so that I am totally excited about this great opportunity and exposure I received. Yippee!

Although I have worked with their design team before for my Feel-Better-Buddies and a V-Neck Vest for men. And as before, it was a pleasure to work with them. :)

Alrighty, back to the design at hand:  It's the perfect topper for a chilly day (Fall or Spring) when you need just a light but warm layer to take the bite out of the air.

Worked as 2 rectangular pieces with shaping only at the neckline and boasting an intricate cable panel worked with twisted stitches and tasteful bobbles to add a traditional flavor. The generous cowl collar has a ribbing that is repeated on the sleeves.

It is worked in a buttery soft, sport weight baby alpaca yarn by Blue Sky Alpacas, called Melange (100% baby alpaca, 110 yds/101 m per 1.75 oz/50 g) and was a pleasure to work with and just a dream to wear.

The cables and twisted stitches are all worked without a cable needle by either knitting the 2nd st on the left needle before the 1st st or by rearranging a couple of sts before knitting. This made for a quick knit despite the cables and intricate look of the decorative panel.

Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2011, photo by Rose Callahan
The sweater worked up very quickly even though you work across a fairly large number of stitches, because for the most part, you knit in Stockinette stitch and you only need to pay attention during the center section. After a while you understand the pattern flow and don't even need to consult the cable charts (one of  the center diamond pattern and one for the bobble panel) any longer.

The finishing is straight forward with a 3-needle bind off at the shoulders, sewing up the sides and adding the arm cuffs and generous cowl by picking up stitches and working in the round.

This oversized sweater was so feathery light and soft that I just had to try it on before sending it in. Ooohhh, what a delight! I nearly felt like I was naked - it was so soft next to my skin and light... ooohhh! Can I keep it???
photo by NikkisStudio

And there really is some truth to the saying that "clothes make people" because the moment I wore it, I felt like I had to show some attitude and wear it with style. Haha! :D

The back has also the same decorative cable panel.

photo by NikkisStudio
photo by NikkisStudio
I am sure you will absolutely enjoy not only knitting this design but wearing it as well. You will feel like a queen in this Cabled Poncho. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fiori Stole

As mentioned before, I've already had some yarn in my stash earmarked for this flower stole for myself.
photo by NikkisStudio
I had a couple of skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Pima Bunny Bulky (80% cotton, 20% angora; 155 yds/142 m per 3.5 oz/100 g; bulky/12 ply/7 wpi) in Boysenberry and Sunnyside that would make for a bright Spring time stole.

But because I had only two different colorways I did some experimenting with different layouts and eventually settled on a 2-color triangular shape. I ended up with 15 multi-colored flowers and 10 solid-colored flowers (a total of 5 motifs less than for the original rectangular shape).

photo by NikkisStudio
It knit up so quickly that I was done in about 3 days plus 2 days for finishing and blocking. Dang, now that was fast! :D

And just in time to take the stole out for a spin at the Denver Botanic Gardens for a photo op. Besides enjoying a beautiful Spring day outdoors I got stopped multiple times and was asked about the stole. How neat is that? :D

And as it turns out, I only needed about 1.25 skeins (~200 yds) of the multi-colored yarn and just a tad more than a single skein (~170 yds) of the solid color for a total of ~370 yards and for a triangle measuring about ~58" x 33"!

Now that is a bargain and I have plenty of yarn left to make a 2nd stole or to make something different.

LOVE it!

And all of this started out with my little test swatch in Patons Grace  (100% cotton; 136 yds/124 m per 1/75 oz/50 g; sport/5 ply/12 wpi) in colors that haven't been chosen so far for either project I've knit.

photo by NikkisStudio
I did have to adjust the stitch count a bit for my two projects to account for the different yarn weight but it kept the overall shape and feel very well... perhaps there will be a Patons Grace stole coming along in the future...?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interweave Knits: Pebble and Reed Tunic

I was really busy for this issue of Interweave Knits Summer 2011 because I have two designs appearing in it! :D

This first one is titled "Pebble and Reed Tunic" and is a great summer tunic with 3/4 length sleeves that you can wear over a tank top with a skirt, capris or pants to the beach, your farmer's market or garden party.

photo by Interweave Press

The openwork pattern makes for a very loose and stretchy fabric, great for the "stiffer" linen/cotton based yarns. It will most likely grow with wear.

photo by Interweave Press
This model was knit with Rowan Purelife Revive (36% silk, 36% cotton, 28% rayon; 137 yds/125 m per 1/75 oz/50 g) and is made from used garments. Recycling at its best!

It's so nice to finally see it come out because this project got started all the way back during Thanksgiving break. The deadline was pretty tight especially with two projects for this issue, that I actually took the yarn along on my trip to visit my family and friends back in Switzerland and Austria.

It sure made for a conversation starter and felt rather weird to knit on a summer project when the Christmas markets in all the old town squares were just opening up for the season, my kids were baking cookies and build snowmen...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Interweave Knits: Bistro Lace Stole

And this is my second pattern for this Interweave Knits Summer 2011 issue: a Bistro Lace Stole.
photo by Interweave Press
This stole is KNIT not crocheted! The motifs are worked individually on double pointed needles and joined as you go => NO SEWING motifs together at the end! Yippee!

photo by Interweave Press
I always admire the many crochet motif stoles and even though I am an avid crocheter, I just didn't want to fall into the "granny squares" category...

... time to come up with a quick and easy knitted flower motif using thicker weight yarn that would still make an airy, elegant and drapey stole.

When Interweave sent me the yarn, I was in heaven: Loarna's Laces Lion & Lamb Multi (50% silk, 50% wool; 205 yds/187 m per 3.5 oz/100 g; aran weight/10 ply/8 wpi). This yarn was so buttery soft and has this incredible sheen to it... what a pleasure to knit with and then to wrap the stole around you...

photo by Interweave Press
The pattern is very yarn conscious, meaning that you get a rather nicely sized stole out of surprisingly little yardage. For this rectangular layout, ~63" x 19", you needed only 1 skein of each colorway for roughly a total of 600 yds.

At first the chosen colorways were a bit puzzling to me as I wouldn't have chosen that particular color combination and it took some trial and errors to come up with a layout that had the colors all play nice with each others. :) But in the end it was a great look and very satisfying.

I already had some yarn from my stash set aside to make this stole for myself. Now I just gotta find time to knit it...!

EDIT: The stole for myself knit up so quickly (done in 5 days!) and was so yarn efficient that I have plenty of yarn left for more!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Learned Today: Knit Backwards for Bobbles

While I was working on a couple of Fall/Winter designs that involve cables and bobbles and I was researching and surfing the web, I came across this really neat "trick" to speed up knitting bobbles.

In summary: instead of turning your work to work a back row for your bobble and then turning your work back, you knit backwards for those few stitches with the right side always facing you.

Here is a nice video with Eunny showing the backwards knitting (starts at about 3 min into the video):

It really speeds up things and you should give it a try for this fall and winter seaons.