Universal Yarn Company published my Hagakiri Tee in February, but I've been so busy that I'm just now getting around to posting about it.
My husband loves the waist shaping and peek-a-boo underarms, and I am particularly pleased with the sleeve caps (after five attempts!).
"Hagakiri" means "twig pattern" in Estonian. The lace is an Estonian pattern which looks like a branch with twigs coming off it at angles. The twigs are done in decreases, so you need to see a close-up of the pattern to appreciate it. The lace wraps around the shoulders and provides a striking stripe down the back. This tee takes only a few skeins of Cotton Supreme. It works up quickly yet is full of interest!
Universal Yarn just came out with this lovely collection of idiosyncratic wraps, Contrarian Shawls.
Amy Gunderson's cover shawl, Southwest Suns, is crocheted in a yarn I have yet to sample: Good Earth. Besides sharing a name with the Minnesota restaurant where I first had dinner with my now-husband, this yarn attracts me for another reason. I have liked everything else in the Fibra Natura line, and I admire their tendency toward natural, organic fibers (although I notice the organic yarns have been discontinued).
This shawl is contrarian because of its construction: the motifs are worked first, then the border around them, then the shawl body upward, decreasing to form a semicircle. Also the pale stripes are not equally spaced throughout the semicircle, but perfectly balance the motifs at the lower edge.
Holly Priestly's contribution to the booklet is the rollicking Sailor Stripe, with which she claims to have engaged in a few arm-wrestling matches (as if the skipper was proving its contrarianism).
The red triangle is worked first, with a rippling lace detail. Stitches are then picked up along one side of it and worked on the bias with red stripes for flair.
I love this piece. It has an interesting construction and a fun, effortless look.
The last shawl I'd like to showcase is the Forest Floor Stole. I don't normally feature my own designs in my reviews, but this one is special. It works up quickly in dreamy Llamalini and it's extremely enjoyable to watch the leaves pile up. The swinging shape of the heap of leaves is the perfect foil to the plain stockinette end, which you can make as short or as long as you like. I love the way it knits, the way it looks, and the way it wears.
There are eight other designs in this collection, each with its own little quirks. Much as I would like to spotlight them, I need the space to talk about the patterns themselves. Lovingly tech edited by Amy Gunderson, they are in an easily readable three-column format with both charts and written instructions provided for lace patterns.
Shane Baskin of Blackbox Studios contributes her usual proficient photography, with both wrapped and extended images of each shawl modeled by Emma Claris in attractive, natural poses.
This is a unique collection and I'm pleased to be a part of it. Buy the individual patterns or the entire eBook from the Universal Yarn website, Craftsy, or Ravelry.
This is my Forest Floor Stole, part of the Contrarion Shawls collection from Universal Yarns. Knit in luscious Fibranatura Llamalini, it begins with a length of stockinette fabric, then adds leaves one by one until there is a pile of leaves at the end of the scarf.
The cast-on end can roll as much or as little as you like. I personally like a lot of roll, but I blocked it with very little to show it can be done. Unwrapped short rows complete each leaf on the bind-off row.
This straightforward pattern has a great rhythm to it and works up so quickly you'll want to make another right away!
I have another yarn to highlight today---Llamalini from Fibra Natura. This amazing yarn (40% Royal Llama, 25% Linen, 35% Silk Bourette) lies flat in stockinette when knit at the right gauge. It is incredibly soft with a luxurious feel, yet the fabric is relaxed and could be dressed up or down. It has a little bit of a tweed look (due to the bourette?) and is as comfortable as your favorite T-shirt but with the sumptuousness of llama and silk. For more photos see my previous post, Using the Nostepinne.
Usually when my blog goes quiet I've been working steadily.
I can't show you the actual project yet, but I can tell you this yarn is wonderful. It's softer and less splitty than some cotton yarns, and comes in an array of lovely vivid colors. I wish it were organic! It's rather linty, and it doesn't hold up after multiple reknits, but that's because it's so deliciously soft.
A few years ago my wonderful husband gave me an exquisite nostepinne. Ever since, I have been trying to work out how best to use it. I think I have figured it out. I read about it and watched youtube tutorials but it really was trial and error that led to my success.
I know you are supposed to be able to use a film canister or a wooden spoon, but I couldn't figure them out and anyway this nostepinne is a work of art. (And it matches my rocking chair!)
So everyone's on the same page, I'll start by saying yarn often comes not in balls, but in skeins like this one.
In order to wind the skein into a ball or cake, the first step is to stretch it out. Some people have handy collapsible umbrella swifts, some people just turn a chair upside down on a table and stretch it out over the four legs. I have an Amish adjustable swift--another gift from Hubby. The advantage of a swift over a chair is that the swift turns as you wind. I tried using the back of a swiveling counter stool, but it just wasn't as good.
Once the skein is stretched out, I wind the yarn around the handle of the nostepinne, then several times around the shaft. For a nice flat cake, I started with 2"/5cm for a 50g, 100m skein. A skein with more yardage or more weight might need a longer initial winding.
Then I wind the yarn in a criss-cross pattern. I have seen both criss-cross and single direction windings recommended. The way that works best for me uses both.
After I build up some bulk with the criss-crossing I switch to single direction winding. How do I know when to switch? Well, eventually the crissing starts falling off the tidy little bundle of yarn and that's when I restrict myself to crossing.
I continue with single-direction winding until I have a lovely center-pull cake like the one at the top of this post. I also know how to wind the yarn into adorable round center-pull balls and elegant center-pull eggs. And if I'm using a slithery yarn like linen I don't have to pull from the center. It's just nice to have the option.
I enjoy winding my yarn by hand because it allows me time to get to know the yarn. Knots make themselves known, and color repeat patterns reveal themselves. When I have a deadline coming up, nine 250yd skeins can be daunting, but winding them allows me time to mull over aspects of the design or just take a break from knitting and computering.
It's all good.
I had an interesting experience buying yarn online recently. I was looking for a self-striping yarn in red and shades of gray from light to black. I found Wisdom Saki Silk and ordered it in color Big Volcano. Little did I know, it was not only self-striping but self-patterning.
This is in some ways better for the project I have in mind (which must remain top secret for now) but I could have easily seen this on the Universal Yarn website. To be fair, I was in a real hurry, but it doesn't take that long to be sure what comes is what's expected. Luckily, in this case it was a serendipitous mistake.
photo by Shane Baskin/Blackbox Studios
Last but certainly not least in the Summer Party series is the ruffle front mock turtleneck. Of all the designs in this trio, this is the one I most regret not taking a photo of before I sent it away. As good as it looks on the model here, it looked even better on me! This top broadens narrow shoulders and enhances flat chests, though the ruffle is not so dimensional as to be overpowering on fuller figures.
I am especially delighted with the collar. It took me several tries to find a way to use Flora and not have it sag, while keeping it stretchy enough to fit over someone's head. This version looks great and stretches to 26"!
I would like to make this for myself in a longer length with sleeves, maybe using Oak (instead of cotton) in color Sky and Flora in color Stormy. Although the blue is really pretty, too. . . .
photo by Shane Baskin/Blackbox Studios
Here is my Summer Party Bag in Flora and Garden 3. Layers and layers of ribbon cover a cotton purse knit in Twice Knit stitch. The little flowers are knit in Flora as well and help separate the drawstring loops.
Twice Knit is a variation on the knit two together decrease without the decrease part. To work it, knit two stitches together but only slide one of them off the needle. It takes a little longer for me to work, but for some knitters it is just as fast as plain knitting and it makes an incredibly sturdy base for this cute bag.
You can see the front of the Summer Party Shrug in this photo. I love how the frill edging looks like rosettes, and how it drapes over her elbows.
Next up: Summer Party Top
Universal Yarn is getting ready to publish Summer Party Trio, which will soon be available on my homepage. Of the three designs in the series, my favorite is this shrug. It's the first garment I designed not as something I would wear, but as a vehicle for Flora. And this self-ruffling yarn does look particularly sweet as a border for the Summer Party Shrug. My goal was to find ways to use it besides simply knitting flat ruffles.
After some trial and error, I found a stitch that turned out to be the perfect companion to the garment. I had a teenage friend (one who avoids anything pink and ruffly) try on the sample and it looked really good with her casual style. I myself am not known to wear shrugs, but I was surprised to find that this one is very comfortable---and flattering, no matter how wrinkly your (my) face is.
It was really quick to knit---less than half a sweater. The frilly edging takes time to do, but it's worth it. I can imagine wearing one of these in black (I am an orchestral musician). Even though I didn't design it with myself in mind, I'm in love with this piece!
Hi! I'm Kangath---
knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
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