Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ironwork Mitts

I am so jazzed to get this pattern up for sale. 
It's the Ironwork Mitts!
I am a little obsessed with Fair Isle knitting these days, and if you are too, then this project is a good one for you to use for practicing your two-handed Fair Isle technique. That's why I originally came up with this design a couple of years ago. I love the look of Fair Isle, and while I'm learning the complex color choice process involved with real Fair Isle, it's fun to work these mitts, which are easy, thanks to the hand-dyed yarns I chose and the simple color pattern. 

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you know I like combining sock yarns in knitting projects. When you knit a lot of socks and gloves and mittens, there's usually leftover yarn, right? Sure, you could knit a hexipuff blanket or a stripey hat (which I've done!), but you can also just knit more socks and gloves!

The fun is in choosing yarns from your stash that work well together. 

Of course, the easiest match would be two of the same yarns in different colorways, like these.
Cascade Heritage in buttery 5611 and heathery grey 5631

I was inspired by the tester of this pattern, Amanda, to try a dark main color with a lighter contrasting color. While this yarn is a little too smooth for two-color knitting, I just had to try it. This picture also gives you a look at how uneven colorwork can look until you block it. Giving the fabric a wash and either laying it out flat or placing the mitts on a form allows the fabric to relax into itself. I'll definitely be back to show these after blocking.

Here are some more tips for choosing two different yarns for colorwork:

1. Choose two yarns that have the same fiber, like two superwash wools, or two similar blend yarns (like wool/bamboo).

2. Make sure the yarns have the same ply structure, as in 2-ply, 3-ply, etc. For instance, I would not recommend using a single-ply sock yarn in conjunction with a plied yarn of any kind. They just won't play well together.

3. Choose compatible colorways. For example, you might want to use two hand-dyed yarns or two heathered yarns, or just two pure single-color yarns that you like together. 

I've chosen these two yarns from my stash to use for my next pair of Ironwork Mitts. 
This is Universal Yarns Pace (discontinued) in taupe 08 (more like an oatmeal) and SRK On Your Toes in ON222001, another heathery grey. They are both 4-ply fingering made of 75% superwash wool and 25% synthetic.

Freeing the ends and laying them out together for a closer look reveals that they are quite compatible. They even have the desirable hairy, somewhat scratchy factor desirable in colorwork. This allows the yarns to grab one another and facilitate the colorwork process. However, these are both very soft yarns. And the On Your Toes has aloe in it--even better! This time it will be On Your Hands, or rather, on the hands of one of my gift list folks, because these last two are for Christmas gifts. 

I hope you will try the Ironwork Mitts. It's a fun, fast project allowing you to use about 150 yards of main color and about 50 yards of a contrast color--a great sock yarn stash buster!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brackenhill PDF is Up!

So happy to announce that my Brackenhill Shawlette is now up for sale as a Mirth PDF download. 
Not only that, but it's improved, with larger charts and an easier-to-read format.

The kit, which includes yarn and pattern, may still be purchased from Ravenwood Cashmere, because if you can, you should make the shawl with their wonderful 2-ply cashmere lace yarn. There's nothing like it. It's spun with fiber from only the Ravenwood goats, who frolic happily on a hill outside Spokane, WA. 

Thank you for supporting small business and local farms!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Knit Fit One

This past Sunday I had the privilege of teaching at the very first Knit Fit event in Seattle, but specifically, Ballard. My class was on beginner pattern writing and I was graced with some amazing ladies to yammer on to about writing knitting patterns. I got to spend three hours jamming them with info and throwing all sorts of handouts and things at them. And they didn't mind one bit! Not only did they not mind, they seemed to eat it up! It was so comforting to be in a room with other people who want to do the very selective (sometimes lonely) thing that I do. These folks made the class so much fun!

One is missing from this picture (we tried to catch them all before they got away), but here are five of the six stunning designer/pattern authors that took the class--Brooke, Heather, Meghann, Kristin, Jessica, and Nicole. These are some dedicated women. I feel quite certain that they will be putting out great knitting patterns in the very near future and I can't wait to see what they do!

This past weekend was like a mini Knitwear Design college course, because besides my class, there was also a two-part class on The Elements of Hand Knitting Design taught by Andrea Rangel and one on Self-Publishing Your Own Knitting Patterns by Lee Meredith. I think four of the students in my class were taking the whole lineup of classes. That's a ton of great information gathered in just two days.

Hannah and Sasa did a wonderful job of scheduling fun and informative classes, gathering up a gaggle of vendors for setting up a gorgeous market, and having lots of cute swag for us to buy. There was even a very tasty-looking concessions stand that I had to hold back buying from--not junky stuff, but what looked like real food! Imagine that! 

I also did a very good job of resisting buying from all the deliciousness in the market. If I hadn't made a vow to myself to cut way back this year on purchases, I could have warmed up some plastic in here. So many treats of such variety!

The only thing I allowed myself to buy was a remembrance of the day...this little T-shirt and a pin that says, "Wind up at Knit Fit." I hope this happens every year and I hope I wind up there, because there's always room for more ways for fiber lovers to meet up and have fun, right?

Thanks go to Sasa Foster and Hannah Ingalls and all the volunteers for all your hard work. 
I think you can claim it a rounding success!