My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for October 2012

Unbound

First of all, thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for a copy of Sock Yarn Studio: Hats, Garments, and Other Projects Designed for Sock Yarn. and the yarn to knit my “Kitteh Mittens” pattern — the winner of the giveaway is Alice Moisen, who has been emailed. Thanks also to Sheri at The Loopy Ewe for supplying the yarn for the giveaway!

Last week, I completed the back of my Rainbow Coat and put all the stitches on holders for the neck and shoulders.

The above photo shows the piece before I cut the steek. Here it is cut open:

And a close-up of the steek edge:

I have started on the front:

This piece has two steeks because the piece needs to be cut into two side fronts.

Lucy sez:

“I’m watching you!”

Sock Yarn Studio

I have in my possession the latest book from Carol Sulcoski: Sock Yarn Studio: Hats, Garments, and Other Projects Designed for Sock Yarn.

This book contains 28 patterns for non-sock projects using sock yarn and features designs not only by Carol, but by a list of guest designers: Veronik Avery, Barbara J. Brown, Anmiryam Budner, Erika Flory, Ruth Garcia-Alcantud, Tanis Gray, Laura Grutzeck, Franklin Habit, Hunter Hammersen, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Elizabeth Morrison, Brooke Nico, and . . . oh yeah . . . me.

A while back, Carol contacted me to see if I would contribute a design to this book. Because I love the idea of using sock yarn for non-sock projects, I was happy to give it a go. At that time, I was in “mitten mode,” so my contribution is a stranded colorwork mitten pattern: Kitteh Mittens.

These mittens are knit from The Loopy Ewe Solid Series, The Loopy Ewe’s “house brand” sock yarn that comes in a dizzying array of colors. I used one skein each of “Cerulean” and Coffee.” You could of course use any color combo and any fingering weight yarn you please.

Apart from my mittens, this book has a great variety of patterns and they are great for holiday knitting. There is something for everyone — men, women, and children and babies. There are hats, gloves & mittens, shawls and wraps, sweaters, and a blanket. A few of my favorite patterns:

This is Carol’s “Alexander Street Hat” and it uses two different colors of yarn.  There is the option to knit it with a dainty picot edge or a plain edge, so this is definitely a unisex pattern. It looks wonderful knit with a combination of a solid and a coordinated variegated yarn.

This is Carol’s “Lizalu Blanket” — a project perfect for using up oddballs and leftovers.

Another design by Carol: the “Furbelow Shawl,” which uses a sock yarn yarn for the body and a mohair/silk blend for the ruffle.

Check out the fabulous “Autumn Walking Scarf” by Anmiryam Budner (another knitter I know in Real Life). It is fair isle knit in the round and steeked and is another great way to use up odds and ends.

Carol’s “Gumdrop Raglan” is adorable (is is her little model!) and cleverly uses self-patterning yarn for the sleeves and a semi-solid for the body.

Apart from the great patterns, there is a section in the front all about sock yarns with a great deal of useful information about the different types of yarns and how to use them to their best advantage, including how to translate variegated and self-patterning yarns into non-sock projects.

The publisher sent me two advance copies of the book. I am, of course, keeping one, but I am offering the second copy as a giveaway here.

But that’s not all!

Sheri at The Loopy Ewe offered to supply yarn to knit my Kitteh Mittens to the winner of the book. The winner can pick any two colors (in stock, of course) from The Loopy Ewe Solid Series so will receive both the book and yarn to knit my mitten pattern.

To be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment to this blog post by 11:00am Eastern time on Sunday, October 14, 2012. I’ll draw a winner at random at that time.

There is a link under the title of the blog post that you click on to leave a comment: that is the only way to enter the contest: entries emailed to me will not be counted.

Lucy sez:

Did you know that I am the model for the Kitteh Mittens?

Find the Rainbow

After my last blog post, a couple of European readers wondered where to find the rainbow yarn I am using. I know of a couple of sources in Europe.

One is the first place from which I purchased Kauni: Astrid’s Dutch Obsessions. Located, not surprisingly, in the Netherlands, they ship worldwide.

The second comes from reader Pam in the UK: Scandinavian Knitting Design. A nice feature of this website is the Kauni Shade Map, where you can match up your multicolors with solid colors.

Here in the U.S., there are a number of retailers that sell it, my favorite being The Loopy Ewe.

Here’s my progress on the back of my coat:

I haven’t quite decided how long to make it, but I do know that I’m not there yet.

It’s a cold rainy day here. Lucy is having brunch:

Her fur is ruffled because I had just picked her up and in doing so mussed it. And food was more important than grooming at the moment!

I Blame the Internet

Once upon a time, back in the dark ages before the internet was available to the general population, I purchased a book: Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting. (This is the original 1988 edition I’m talking about so I have cleverly deduced that this was in the late 1980s.)

I flipped through the book and decided I wanted to make the Wave Cardigan. I ordered a bunch of Harrisville shetland wool, matching the colors as best I could to the Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight the pattern called for. I noticed that the pattern instructed you to knit the cardigan in the round, and cut open the front and the armholes. “How cool, ” thought I, and did just that. I followed the instructions exactly, and the cardigan turned out great. Here’s a photo of it, taken all those many years ago before the days of the digital camera and scanned.

Nowadays you mention steeking to a group of knitters and 75% of them react with horror at the thought of cutting into their knitting. Me? I had no fear because I didn’t know to be scared. Alice Starmore told me to do it, and my experience was that she knew what she was doing. She did.

I blame the internet. People have passed on their fear of steeking in online forums and blogs. And I think a lot of this fear stems from mis-information.

I have steeked quite a few sweaters in my day. When you steek a knit made from shetland wool, it will not unravel. Shetland wool is a sticky, hairy beast, as anyone who has tried to unravel colorwork knitted with Shetland will tell you. If you wet or steamblock your finished garment, the cut edge will felt slightly and adhere to the inside of the work, and it is not going anywhere. I knit the Wave Cardigan in 1989, I think: 23 years ago. I have worn it quite a bit, and the steeks have not unraveled at all.

Back in the early days of this blog, I did a step-by-step demo of cutting a steek and picking up stitches, here. When I get to cutting the steeks for this project, I’ll be sure to document it.

If you want to steek a garment knit with non-hairy wool, you need to reinforce your stitches before cutting. I did a couple of tutorials on these techniques, here and here. And I did an article on steeking for Knitty ages ago.

Bottom line — if you have interest in knitting and steeking a sweater, please don’t let fear of steeking stop you. There are many many internet resources on steeking to guide you if you do not have an “in-person” mentor at your side.

Here is my progress on the back of the coat since my last blog post:

Here’s a close-up of the steek stitches:

When I cut, I will do so down the center where there are two columns of stitches in the same color.

Time to go play with Lucy. She has a paper ball and she knows how to use it!