In my last post I demonstrated how to catch floats in stranded colorwork. Here are the Right Sides of the swatches:
And these are the Wrong Sides. It's easiest to see the strand catching at the tops of the swatches. The little Contrasting Color bumps across the tops of the backs don't have corresponding stitches on the front. That's where I caught the floats to reduce their length.
I love stranded colorwork, and I hope you will, too!
My Garden Windows mother-daughter cardigan set is finally out! I really love this design. Worked in Daily DK from Willow Yarns, it features a circular yoke worked in garter stitch stripes, with window frames formed from slipped stitches.
These two sweaters practically flew off my needles---worked in one piece with the yoke pattern repeated at the cuff, it was great meditative knitting with always something to look forward to.
My daughter is wearing the size 4. She loves the cropped look and 3/4 sleeves. To replicate the look on a less diminutive body, simply start the cuff and waistband earlier! This pattern is really flexible that way---you could also knit it past the hips for an open tunic.
In anticipation of the next issue of Clotheshorse magazine, I thought I'd post a tutorial from one of my designs that appeared in last winter's Clotheshorse.
This is Baroque, a double-breasted capelet with contrast color facings, done in stranded colorwork using steeks.
One way to prepare steeks involves a sewing machine. You can also sew them by hand or crochet them---or simply leave them to felt. For this design, I chose a knotted steek. The knots fill in the space between the facing and the colorwork, adding insulation.
Below is a photo of the back panel before cutting. The stripe running up the center is the steek itself---a bridge of stitches which will not appear in the garment itself. The narrow black line marks the center, and it is where I will cut.
Whew! Now for the knots. I gently unravel the stitches all the way to the solid white line. Then I choose one black strand and one white strand and knot them together. I pair a black strand with a white in hopes that I will get two strands from the same row. Perplexingly, it doesn't always work out this way and I end up with an extra white strand and have to knot three strands together, then root around for the black strand that escaped earlier.
I used an overhand knot---maybe a half-hitch?---for most of the knots. But in spite of my clever color-coding of the steek itself, some strands were too short and had to be tied in square knots. Below are action shots of the half-hitches in process . . .
. . . and the final fringe, which is to be tucked in neatly under orchid-colored facing.
I'm pleased to be able to present my Ingång Pullover design from Willow yarns. "Ingång" is the Swedish word for entryway, and since the yoke of this sweater features Bohus-inspired arches I thought the name fit.
Bohus knitting is stranded colorwork with fistfuls of color on one row, slipped stitches, and purl stitches. This design only calls for two colors per row, but the slipped stitches and purls give it the impression of having more.
My husband doesn't like a lot of flashy colorwork, and I assume many people share that feeling. These colors look subtle, but it took quite a bit of swatching to come up with a pattern that looked subdued and still read as a pattern. At first I was surprised by that, then became frustrated (and whiney) as nothing seemed to be working. The whining (specifically, the complaint "I need a color between these two colors") inspired a technique that led to the final design. You can see it working between the upper two sets of arches where two background colors are blended with purl stitches.
The sample size of Ingång (Medium) is too small for my husband, but my son and Willow's professional model are pictured below wearing it. I think it fits my son better, and there are weird shipping wrinkles on the model, but both men look great!
The rights to sell my first Clotheshorse patterns, Hestia and San Graal, returned to me a while ago. I finally got around to proofreading the tech edited version (yes, I'm one of those) and posting it on Ravelry. So if you've been putting off buying this pattern, now would be an excellent time to take the plunge.
As I wrote before, San Graal looks amazing but is really a perfect first stranded colorwork project. Trust me. Just remember to admire your work frequently so you can catch any obvious mistakes.
Plus, the pattern includes instructions for lengthening the garment if you're a little shy. But look at the pictures below before you decide. The fuzzy-faced chick is me before I learned how to focus the camera when using the timer.
I'm well known for my generous hips and thighs, but this skirt makes me look downright slim. Maybe it's all the alligators. . . .
Heather Dixon's "Glastonbury"
This issue of Clotheshorse is so enticing, I just had to post about it. (All photos are by Peter Demuth and courtesy of/copyright Clotheshorse magazine.)
The collections are each introduced with a runway report by Creative Director Heather Dixon. In two pages, Heather conveys the essence of the story---the colors, shapes, patterns, and textures she and Editorial Director Mindy Brown were looking for as they put together each issue.
The reports are brief editorials followed by analysis of several designers' current lines along with inspiring and representative runway photos.
The first collection this season is Ice Cream, with "lighter than air fabrics." The Raspberry Ripple skirt, by Mindy Brown and Mari Chiba, is a quintessential example of this texture. Worked in cool linen with tiers of lace at the lower edge, this garment clings to the form without sticking. Linen actually wicks heat away from the body---a perfect choice for a story inspired by cool treats.
Also featured is Marika Simon's Peach Melba, a crochet confection with puffed sleeves. It's so cute, it makes me want to learn how to crochet! Other notable patterns in this collection are Lidia Tsymbal's Very Vanilla and of course my own Cherry Cheesecake.
The Tribal Sport collection is full of items that would be fun to knit as well as wear. I absolutely adore Rene Dickey's cardigan, Della (click on the photo at right for a larger view). The diagonal rib provides chevrons that fit your form as well as the theme. The buttons are also perfect.
Susanna Ferguson's Naana is a cool cotton dress that looks extremely comfortable. Mindy Brown's Ogo is a swingy purse with tassles, and Gyorgyi Suta's Sapelle, below right, is a work of art.
Skirts, a hoody vest, T-shirts, and a fringed clutch make up this issues Festival story, the next collection in this issue.
Mountain Jam is Jane Howorth's contribution---a crochet lace fringed top which looks great over a camisole. Clotheshorse provides no descriptive text to accompany the designs, putting pressure on the photographer to show crucial elements. In this case, you have to go to the magazine itself (not the pattern archive) to see a good view of the sleeves, which have shoulder slits in the tops.
I adore Elena Ferrari's Field Day skirt. I'm clearly going to have to learn to crochet.
Besides the pattern collections, Clotheshorse also runs personal interest stories, product features, yarn shop close-ups, and interviews.
The last collection in this issue was inspired by the art game Spirograph. Mindy Brown's Equation looks like it would be warm but soft next to the skin in a silk-cashmere blend. Modeled over a skin-colored camisole and black pants, the crossover stitch and attractive color pooling really make this top stand out.
My Transverse didn't fare quite as well over the same camisole---perhaps the celery green of the lovely ribbon yarn is too pale to make the pattern pop, but I was able to get some photos of my own before shipping it off, and I can assure you it's a cool and versatile garment.
The entire collection is noteworthy, but Melissa Lemmon's Tangent, with I-Cord loops, deserves special mention. A fun piece that would be a blast to knit!
When I first started swatching Chatsworth, my slip stitch stripes were coming out funny. Instead of sitting level with the rest of my knitting, each stripe stuck out from the swatch, making a ridge. I went back and studied the instructions and found I was holding the yarn on the incorrect side of my work.
The instructions say to insert the crochet hook from the front, but they don't specify where the yarn should be. I just blithely put the yarn in front along with the hook. The instructions then go on to say to draw a loop of yarn through the fabric. Through the fabric.
I felt a little silly for not being able to put that together before, but it's all right now.
Two more swatches! What do you think?
Clotheshorse Magazine is hosting a cardigan knit-a-long. I thought I might participate because I've been admiring Chatsworth and Silvana and Valois. I just had to choose one and buy yarn.
I don't have a real stash to dive through---just lots of odds and ends which I thought might be good for the Chatsworth stripes. In fact, I had several combinations of colors which might have looked good. The problem was, when I got to Knits by Nana, only two stripe colors coordinated with any of the main color choices. I need four.
So against my better judgment I bought another two colors in my chosen yarn (Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool). When I tried the color combination in Swatch #1, I was dissatisfied with the vertical stripes. They look okay in the photo above, but in real life the orange stripe was way too bright next to the green.
So I duplicate stitched the orange over the top of the blue stripe, pulled the blue out, and slip stitched it next to the green.
The orange fits in better sandwiched between two slices of tomato. I like the variegated yarn when it runs horizontally, but I'm not so sure about the vertical stripes. The individual colors jump out at me more when lined up vertically.
Maybe a companion stripe would be a good idea. (Sorry for the blurry photos.)
But now the left stripe was too strong---same problem as in Swatch #1. Then I saw the solution.
Designer Amy Gunderson used 5 colors of tweedy yarn for the original Chatsworth. The colors were well chosen and the plaid chart worked. For her.
But my plaid is missing that over-and-underness common in tartan patterns. I can provide that!
Still, I found myself wishing for a little more strength in the green stripe. I went back to the odds-and-ends bag I had taken to Knits by Nana.
And I found a dark brown Shepherd's Wool that I had discounted previously. What a difference that makes!
Swatch #5 is my pick. What's your preference?
Moon Mirrors in Tide Pool and Fire Thorn
My most recent tapestry knit design, Moon Mirrors, received a little bit of attention when I first posted about it, but I wanted to point you to this tutorial detailing one method of tapestry knitting.
There are several things I like about this technique. First of all, I love the look of strands! Worked in a pattern as in the upper portion of the scarf at left with just little sprinkles of raspberry peeking through, they're simply delightful. The purl side is also pretty cute.
But it's the ability to make large shapes that really excites me. Those long horizontal lines in the moons are done by stranding the moon color in front of the work instead of catching it on the back side. Watch the video! I still have some refining to do, but I'm enjoying the construction of designs that read well on both sides.
Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters by Lori Ihnen, photography by Corean Komarec, pub. Creative Publishing international, Inc., 2012.
When my daughter saw the title of this book, she exclaimed, "Mama, that's you!" But the title doesn't refer to knitters like me, rather to knitters who only have experience with single-color knitting and are wanting to go beyond. My first project was a striped baby blanket, so this mindset is alien to me, but I understand it exists, and this book is a valuable resource for such people.
Actually, it's a valuable resource for anyone---even fearful knitters---who would like to try a more controlled use of color than is available with variegated yarns. Ihnen starts slowly, with stripes, offering stitch patterns with a more complex appearance than plain straight-across stripes, tips for working stripes in rib or in the round, and three easy projects to whet the appetite for what's to come.
Photography is clear, though faces tend to be better lit than the knitted item and there are some dubious styling choices. But I would not buy this book for the projects (though some are truly fetching). I would buy it for the colorwork instruction.
This book is loaded with clear photos of techniques as they are being worked and after they have been finished---right side and wrong side---and tips to straighten them up if they look a little wonky.
It covers stripes, slip-stitch colorwork ("mosaic knitting"), stranding (including fair isle and steeking), intarsia (including intarsia mixed with stranded knitting), and embellishments such as embroidery.
Ihnen lays out the different techniques in a straightforward way, explaining various methods of working each one and including bonus material (like spit splicing!) along the way.
She covers the pros and cons of using various methods and suggests instances where one might be appropriate and others when another might work better.
If she seems to oversimplify in a couple of cases, or if her wording is less than felicitous at times, this book is still the best resource I have found for beginning colorwork.
The Child's Cardigan at left and the Intarsia Owl Hat above are two projects out of the 16 in this book that I would consider making. Since these are supposed to be introductions to each technique (as opposed to lengthy and involved conversations), the projects tend to be small: coasters, bags, and pillows which do not call for much in the way of sizing options.
Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters is also spiral bound, so it will lay flat without coaxing. Congratulations to Lori Ihnen and Creative Publishing for turning out a well-thought-out book!
Disclosure: This copy of Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters is from Kangath's library. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Creative Publishing international or Lori Ihnen.
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