Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The surreal knit life (Knitscene Fall 2008)

The preview for the Fall 2008 Knitscene is up.

And I’m a bit flummoxed as to what I should feel, think – and say.

One of my goals this year was to learn how to make a knit pattern submission and then actually make one. I knew that after going through the steps from beginning to end, and only after that, I would fully understand what’s involved.

I had no expectations, especially after chasing the FedEx truck to get my submission to Knitscene in time. I was just happy I had submitted something. It was a learning experience, I told myself.

Then Knitscene accepted one of the two I sent in. I knit the sample and wrote the pattern. Last week an e-mail informed me that my project made the cover.

I’m stuck between being annoyingly over-the-moon and cautiously stoic. This is the first submission I’ve ever sent to a magazine and for it to be accepted and then put on the cover…I know, I’m treading in annoying territory, especially for those who are waiting for their first acceptance.

Please forgive me, and if it helps, who knows, this may be beginner’s luck, and I could be destined for one-knit wonderland. My lifetime’s 15 minutes are now used up and it’s all downhill from here.

But dagnabit, what a glorious moment nonetheless! A crazy, unbelievable, wonderful moment!

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system (but I’m making no promises), I hope there’ll be a few people who’ll like the scarf enough to want to knit it.

I designed the scarf with an adventurous beginner in mind. It’s knit entirely in the round, on one set of circular needles. The lace pattern is simple enough for someone’s first lace, and fair isle in the round is definitely the best way to start with color-stranded work. And don’t worry if your fair-isling is knit too tight – in this pattern, it won’t matter and the scarf will still look good.

The scarf is drapey so it folds and encircles the neck easily – making a lace scarf cozy and warm enough for cold weather.

I can’t wait to see this project in ravelry or out here in the wild. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Slippin' Stripin' socks pattern

“…a sweater for the foot…a very light and cushy sock...”
- Hillary (Celeryknits on ravelry), Sock Madness organizer

Free Slippin' Stripin' socks pattern for men or women makes its public debut! This pattern was part of Sock Madness II.

Click here to download a free pdf of the pattern.
I've moved all of my patterns to ravelry.com and have been assured that you don't need to be a member to download them. Please let me know if you have any issues.

I've modified it to include 5 sizes. And with the predictable number sequences throughout the pattern, you could customize this pattern for a number of sizes.

Bust your stash of lace leftovers - this pattern calls for knitting with 2 strands of lace weight yarn held together throughout. When the pattern calls for a color change, one of the strands is replaced with another color, and knitting continues with 2 strands. The slip stitching eases the stripe transitions so there's no "jogless joins" needed here.

You can also knit these socks with fingering weight yarn. Just use only 1 strand throughout.

Yarn used
Knit Picks Shadow [100% merino wool; laceweight; 400 yd per 50 gram hank]
Colors: Campfire 23659 (heathered orange), 1 hank; Sunset 23661 (heathered red), 1 hank;
2 colors of any lace weight yarn, at least 400 yards of each

Needle size
US 2 / 2.75mm needles

35 sts/53 rnds over 4” in (s1, k3) sl st patt worked in the round
40 sts/53 rnds over 4” in (s1, k1) sl st patt (used for the sole of the foot) worked in the round

Check gauge carefully and in the round.

Size of completed sock
With a 68 st cast-on: 7 1/2" foot circumference, unstretched, and 8 1/2" long from back of heel to tip of toe.
My socks fit a woman's U.S. shoe size 8 1/2, snugly.

Note: The pattern's ribbing and color sequence are not the same ones you see in my photo.

I knit my socks with a k1/p3 ribbing, but the ribbing rolled under so I changed it. Also, the pattern's color sequence splits the use of the 2 colors more evenly than mine did.

But feel free to experiment! Try this with 1 solid colored strand and 1 variegated strand. Use as many colors as you like and change them out as often as you feel like it.

Check out some of these Sock Madness II knitters to see the socks this pattern makes.

Ravelry names but they link to blog entries on these socks:

and check out the super-cool fingerless gloves Cornflake created! Sorry, but I could find these only on ravelry.com.

If you're curious about my inspiration for these socks, go here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sock Madness returns

My pattern's been sent so I can finally talk about it! What pattern? sent? to whom? Well...

Sock Madness is back for its second year. Based on the men's college basketball March Madness, this sock knitting competition has its own rounds and brackets - one free new sock pattern goes out to all participants at the beginning of all “rounds.” Although all participants receive the patterns, only the fastest knitters survive to compete in the following rounds. Winners receive yarny prizes!

I would never make it in a timed knitting competition, I don’t knit that fast, but I went out on a limb and sent in my first-ever patterns to Sock Madness last year. They used two: Mad Color Weave socks and Mad for Fair Isle Batik Style socks.

This year they accepted one of my patterns, and it's just been sent to all the Sock Madness knitters! And here it is:

Because part of the competition is keeping the patterns secret until the round starts, participants get gauge, yarn, and needle specs but don’t know anything else about the socks until they get the pattern.

When everyone read that one of the sock patterns would use laceweight yarn, you cannot believe the amount of discussion! I wished I could have jumped in and reassured them. But hopefully they'll see now that it's a pretty easy pattern once they get the hang of knitting and slipping 2 strands at once.

Trekking XXL sock yarn was my inspiration.

I love my Trekking socks and loved the color changes while making them.

But then I thought: how can I get that look and have some control over the stripe widths and colors? I’m not a spinner, so that wasn't an option.

Sock Madness competitors are lucky I didn't have any cobweb lace because I wanted to try it with 3 strands. But two strands of regular laceweight worked just fine and the double strand knit up to a fingering weight gauge, perfect for socks.

I used KnitPicks Shadow in orange and red, put in slip stitches to ease the stripe transitions, and used heel stitch on the heel flap and sole to reinforce the sock.

Originally, I used a k1, p3 ribbing on top to match the slip-stitch pattern of the leg.

But the ribbing curled under annoyingly when I wore these socks. I changed it to a k1, p1 rib.

Last night, I cast on a new pair so that I could play with more colors.

Some of the Sock Madness participants are using one strand of solid and one strand of variegated. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

So good luck, Sock Madness knitters! and remember to take care of your wrists :)

NOTE: When Sock Madness ends, this pattern will be made available for free in extended sizes.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ruffled Scarf Pattern correction

It seems new knitters need more confidence, and seasoned knitters need to tread more cautiously :) A commenter asked me to clarify for new knitters my ruffled scarf pattern - but it didn't need clarification, rather a correction. Good catch, and thanks for letting me know! I've added in one more line to make it a 7-row repeat: Row 7: Knit all sts, turn. I've corrected the pattern page, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mad for Fair Isle Batik Style Socks pattern now available

This pattern includes instructions for knitting the sock top-down and toe-up, and uses a short-row heel. Charts for the ankle and foot motifs also included.

Getting good tension while color-stranding takes practice. Elizabeth Zimmerman says in Knitting Without Tears that you can never strand too loosely. After stranding loosely and blocking, the pictured socks fit a US size 8 foot. If a smaller or larger size is needed, I've included in the pattern where to add stitches or what to cut out. Going up or down in needle size is also an option.

If out of practice or inexperienced at color-stranding, take a look at these links for help:

Knitty article on color-stranding

Knitting in Color blog by Nanette Blanchard

This pattern was used in Sock Madness 2007. The organizers requested a fair isle pattern, but I decided to go to southern isles for inspiration. The motifs are based on batik cloth my mother brought back with her from a trip to Indonesia.

$3.25 for this pattern in pdf format

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mad Color Weave pattern now available

ERRATA: Work the following row once at the end of the heel flap before beginning to turn the heel. By working this, you'll end up on the right side, ready for the next section.
Row [WS]: S1, p1, k1, p2, k2, p(18, 22, 26, 30), p1, k2, p2, k1, p2.

10/05/07: To correct the math in the toe decrease instructions:
Decrease on every odd-numbered round for 12 (14, 16, 18) rounds; then decrease every round for 4 (5, 6, 7) rounds.
Finally, graft the last 9 sts on the top with the 9 sts on the bottom.

I adapted a diagonal weave pattern from Barbara Walker for the weave stitch panels. Two twist stitch cables run down either side of the ankle. One cable continues down the heel flap, the other down the side of the foot.

I chose weave stitch because I wanted to highlight the colors in a variegated yarn. But try this in a solid color and the stitch pattern itself pops.

This pattern contains written directions and a chart. Four sizes are provided; directions for making additional sizes are included.

This submission to Sock Madness 2007 received corrections and feedback from Hillary, one of the Sock Madness originators, and the competitors themselves. Thanks go to them for helping me to clarify and clean this pattern up for anyone else out there who'd like it.

Click here to download a free pdf of the pattern.
(PDF corrected to include above errata.)

Monday, February 26, 2007



First I thought it was Great Adirondack yarns, then I thought it was Kona Superwash, Hand Dyed by Woolbearers, but I'm not sure now.
3.75mm / US 5 needles

Used short rows to make side ruffles – didn't want to pick up sts afterward to make edge ruffles. This was the very last skein of yarn I bought at Stitches East 2006, and the first skein from that shopping extravaganza that I've used. When I saw it, I adored the feel and colors. Now I'm glad I was so weak!

And I learned something new – blocking can make a difference. Uh-huh, late to the game as usual (and you have no idea how apt that phrase is!). It's not that I didn't know blocking's importance, and that I've never blocked before. But it sure seems I haven't – maybe I've been blocking the wrong yarns and stitch patterns.

I finished this garter stitch scarf, wondering if it was too dense. After soaking and then drying flat on the ironing board, the garter stitch relaxed and it's now perfect.

We had more snow here yesterday and I was thrilled – winter's sticking around just so I can wear my scarf! So sorry if you're waiting for spring cotton tanks, I'll let go of winter soon enough.

Click here to download a free pdf of the pattern.

Click here for a German translation of the pattern on a German Web site. Thanks go to Angela Muhlpfordt for the translation.

Note: kf&b = knit into the front and then the back of one stitch (increases 1 stitch OR creates 2 stitches out of 1)
CO 90 sts. [8 + 74 + 8]

Knit 16 rows.

Next row: k8, k2tog * 37 , k8. [8 + 37 + 8]

Repeat the following 7 rows for the length of the scarf:
Row 1: Knit all sts, turn.
Row 2: K4, turn.
Row 3: YO, k4, turn.
Row 4: K4, k2tog (yo and next st), k3, turn.
Row 5: YO, k8, turn.
Row 6: K8, k2tog (yo and next st), knit to the end of the row.
Row 7: Knit all sts, turn.

Next row: k8, kf&b * 37, k8. [8 + 74 + 8]

Knit 16 rows.

BO all 90 sts.