Monday, December 12, 2011

Warning: Socks are addictive

I liked the results of "Inga Loves Fröderick" so much that they were immediately followed by two subsequent worsted-weight sock patterns which happened almost on their own. Here they are: Larkspur Lane and Bells On Her Toes. (Speaking of the Inga socks, congratulations to KatherineR, who guessed the movie which inspired the pattern name: Young Frankenstein, starring Gene Wilder as Frederick and Teri Garr as Inga.

The "Larkspur Lane" Socks are knit in the round from the top down. They feature a ribbed lace cuff and matching accents at the gussets. The lace rib pattern is easily memorized, with a 4-stitch, 4 row repeat which is provided in both written and charted form. The smooth stockinette foot makes these good to wear with shoes or boots, but they also make cozy, comfortable house or bed socks.

Detailed instructions are included for the Eye of Partridge heel flap, which is especially comfortable for those with wider feet. For a more narrow heel, a plain or slip-stitch ribbed flap could easily be substituted. (Instructions for alternate heel flaps are not included.) Yarn shown: Cascade 220, 100% Peruvian highland wool, 220 yd / 200 m, color 2422 (lavender). Skills: Knit, purl, knitting in the round, following a simple lace pattern, short rows, picking up stitches, grafting. Note: Photo shows size Small on woman’s size 8 foot.

Larkspur Lane: $5.95 from Ravelry or Patternfish

Remember those lace-edged anklets you had when you were 8? These are a grown-up version. The "Bells On Her Toes" Socks are knit in the round from the top down. They feature a ruffled and ribbed cuff which can be worn pulled up with a flare at the top or folded down. The smooth stockinette foot makes these good to wear with shoes or boots, but they also make cozy, comfortable house or bed socks. The majority of the sock is knit in either rib or stockinette, making it a very quick, easy knit - in fact, they were the quickest pair of socks I ever made! From cast-off to blocking, they took about 7 hours. Done in day; can't beat that. They're easy, too - the majority of the sock is worked in either ribbing or stockinette stitch. I like them both folded over and pulled straight up.

The pattern includes detailed instructions for the Eye of Partridge heel flap, which is especially comfortable for those with wider feet. For a more narrow heel, a plain or slip-stitch ribbed flap could easily be substituted. (Instructions for alternate heel flaps are not included.) Yarn shown: Cascade 220, 100% Peruvian highland wool, 220 yd / 200 m, color 7805 (hot pink). Skills: Knit, purl, knitting in the round, short rows, picking up stitches, decreasing, grafting. Note: Photos show Adult Small on woman’s size 8 foot.

Bells On Her Toes: $5.95 at Ravelry or Patternfish 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Inga Loves Fröderick, and a contest

New today is my first official sock design: Inga Loves Fröderick. Knit in worsted-weight yarn with classic top-down, heel-flap construction, they are a quick-knit pair of socks with a lot of impact. The design on the front may resemble a traditional Bavarian or Celtic motif, but the twisted-stitch medallions on the front are actually an original design based on a leaded-glass panel. The finished socks can be left as-is or customized with embroidery in your choice of colors for a truly unique pair of socks. Worked in a dark or subdued color, and with the embroidery omitted, the pattern could be worn by a man, too; sizes are included to fit foot circumference: 7.5 (8.5, 9.5)" / 19 (21.5, 24) cm.

Contest: Why the name? The Bavarian-style stitches made Inga an appropriate name. I thought it needed something more, however, and Inga and Fröderick (or Frederick) are characters from a movie. Here's the contest: the first person to email the name of the movie and the names of the actors who played those characters to knitdesignbycaroline (at) gmail (dot) com wins a free copy of your choice of KnitDesign by Caroline pattern.* See them all here. Rest assured, I won't share your email address with anyone; I only need it to send you a copy of the pattern. If you prefer to receive the patern via Ravelry, please mention that and give me your Ravelry ID.

I enjoyed knitting Inga Loves Fröderick. The pair went so quickly! They're exceptionally cozy, too. The yarn, Cascade 220 Wool, didn't feel exceptionally soft while I was working with it, but after a light handwash and block, it feels very good on the feet. I've been wearing them all day. They may be my first sock design, but they won't be the last. More will be coming soon.

And look at that - 30 years later, ballet lessons are useful in a sock modeling career!

Buy now: $5.95 at Ravelry
Buy now: $5.95 at Patternfish

*Small print: individual design only; pattern collections not included.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In vogue

A bit of knitting history fell into my hands yesterday. Well, to be honest, it didn't exactly fall - what happened is that I bought a number of back issues of Vogue Knitting from DBNY. Often, when a LYS (local yarn shop) closes, they'll sell their inventory, including store copies of magazines. While I am sorry that the yarn shop closed, I hope they'd be happy to know that their back issues of Vogue Knitting are in appreciative hands.

I've been knitting since 2006, a relatively short time. During those years, I've read and subscribed to VK as well as other knitting magazines, but it's rare that I've seen any from before then. These back issues are a selection ranging in date from Spring-Summer 1983 to Spring-Summer 2001. It's been so much fun going through them. They're almost like 18 years of time capsules. I'll flip through one thinking, I was 10 years old when this design was published. I had a sweater in that exact color when I was 16Wow, that's some big hair.

It surprised me that cotton and cotton blend yarns were so populer - a large number of the designs used them, whereas now we see more wool. Novelty yarns really were a novelty. Some of the designs were of-the-moment (as is to be expected from a Vogue publication) and therefore dated now - think wide dolman sleeves or huge intarsia graphics. Peach & turquoise. Slubby and boucle yarns. Primary colors on a white background. I was pleased to discover, however, that a large number of the designs, were true classics; they would look as good now as they did then.

A few familiar names popped up here and there: designs by Adrienne Vittadini and Norah Gaughan, for instance, have evolved since then, but I could see unmistakable evidence of their developing styles. I liked their early designs, sometimes as much as their current ones. I especially liked Adrienne's beaded rib pullover (Spring/Summer 1986, pattern #28) and Norah Gaughan's rose motif fair isle pullover (winter 95/96, pattern #14). It was also a kick to see columns written by VK's "new columnist" Elizabeth Zimmerman.

There were two features of the magazine that I especially liked and wish they would bring back. First, each issue contained a feature called "Then ... and Now". A classic pattern from an older Vogue Knitting (1950s-60s) and showed both the original photo and the same design styled on a current model. It was a great example of how timeless good knitwear can be.

Second, in all the magazines through 1980s, the the non-knit clothes worn by the models were all made from Vogue sewing patterns. The photo description gave the pattern number, and the final page of the magazine was a "Vogue Patterns Guide to pattern and fabric information." As much as I like VK, the current issues are more "fashion-y" rather than knitting for real life. Are you listening, VK?

Anyhow, if you ever get a chance to peruse some old knitting magazines, I recommend you do so. You never know what you'll find, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Perpetual Bliss

After the stranded colorwork post from the other day, you were expecting something Fair Isle, weren't you? Well, surprise: new today for your enjoyment, the Perpetual Bliss cardigan! I designed the sweater around the yarn because my wardrobe was lacking a versatile gray cardigan, and I wanted one. It has quickly become one of my favorites; in fact, it's keeping me warm as I type this. I’ve always liked the way sweaters with allover ribbing fit and shape without too much tailoring, and the borders add pattern and interest without bulk.

The sweater is named for Vicky Bliss, the amateur detective heroine of a series of novels by Elizabeth Peters. Though from Minnesota, the character works as an art historian at a museum in Bavaria; because that’s the origin of the twisted-stitch patterns used in the borders, I thought the name was appropriate. Made in a soft, warm yarn, it should provide the wearer with perpetual bliss too! Unfamiliar with the books? Check them out at the author's official website, MPM or at the Unofficial Vicky Bliss site, Perpetual Bliss.

Have you ever worked a twisted stitch pattern? It's not as complicated as it looks. Usually no more than two stitches cross at a time. The twists are formed by knitting (RS) or purling (WS) into the back of the pattern stitch. The background is regular reverse stockinette - purl on RS, knit on WS. For information and literally oodles of stitch patterns, I highly recommend Twisted-Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher, published by Schoolhouse Press. Ravelry also has a group for knitters of Traveling Stitches, Bäuerliches Stricken, Steierische Strickkunst: twistedstitches. It's a great resource.

Wondering what book you're seeing in the photos? It's the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It was chosen because the binding color coordinated with the sweater, but it is, as I believe I've mentioned, a great read. Despite a truly prodigious number of pages of small type, it goes very quickly. If you've seen the movie, don't feel that the book is spoiled for you; the characters are the same, but the events are often quite different. In fact, it helped me to see the movie first, because it made it easier to keep track of who was who when I was reading the book. Hm. Now I want to go read it again.

Perpetual Bliss Cardigan pattern: $6.95 at Ravelry or Patternfish.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Handling long floats in stranded colorwork

Stranded colorwork: unless you're twisting every stitch, you will end up with yarn floats. I’m not a big fan of long floats. It's tempting to say just leave them, and many do. It's a matter of taste, I suppose. But though the knitter may be the only one to see the inside of a piece, it’s important to me that I be as happy with the inside as with the outside. I had a great-aunt who was a fantastic artist and needlewoman, and whether I’m painting, embroidering, or knitting, I always look at it afterward and ask myself how it would measure up to Auntie’s standards. Here’s what I do, anytime a float is too long for my taste. Hope it is of help to you, too.

Many instructions I’ve seen say that you should “catch” the yarn if you must cross behind more than 5 stitches; I like to do this anytime the gap is more than 4 stitches.

When you’re stranding colorwork, the strands as you hold them should stay in the same positions relative to each other - one closer to the work, one further away. I knit Continental style (with the yarn held in my left hand), so I carry one yarn over the top of my index finger, and the other yarn under it, with the yarn held under the finger being closer to the work. The yarn held closer shows a little more prominently in the design. See how the multicolor stripes look thicker in the light mitten than in the dark one? The cream was held further away, and the brown was held closer.

To catch the yarn float when there is a long stretch of another color, the relative positions of the yarn must change. So I knit to 1 stitch before the halfway point, then move the carried yarn between the working yarn and the fabric. If it’s the yarn you normally held above, move it down. If it’s the yarn normally held below, move it up. Knit the stitch, then move the carried yarn between the working yarn and the fabric back to its original position.

See the little dark lines in the large areas of blue and the little blue lines in the large areas of black close to the center circle? That’s what it looks like from the inside.

This may or may not be how others do it, but it works for me. I hope it is helpful to you, too

The patterns shown above, in case you were wondering, are Alesund (the mittens) and Harmonic Curves Tam (the hat).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harmonic Curves

As you may have guessed by now, I like (and play) the harp. As of today, I've designed, knit and released into the wild two new coordinating patterns: the Harmonic Curves Tam and Harmonic Curves Wristwarmers.

“Harmonic curve” is a mathematical term describing a parabola, or a U-shaped curve formed by the intersection of a plane and a cone. Musically, it is the term for the shape of a harp’s neck (the piece across the top). A curve is necessary so the harp’s strings can change in length rapidly as the notes get higher. The exact shape of this piece varies depending on the luthier (harpmaker). On both pedal and lever harps, the harmonic curve will resemble the design depicted in the new patterns.

One of my favorite things about the design is the difference made by a change in fiber and color. The tam is very floppy, so choose your size accordingly. The brown and white hat is size medium, the black/multi tam is small. Blocked over a bowl, it would be a regular slouchy hat; blocked over a dinner plate (as these were), it becomes a tam. The wristwarmers have a finger loop that keeps them in place without getting in the way of the fingers.

Harmonic Curves Tam: $6.95 at Ravelry
Harmonic Curves Wristwarmers: $5.95 at Ravelry

You may be wondering about that book I mentioned in my last post, The Bride of Newgate by John Dickson Carr. I wouldn't rank it among the great literature, but I did rather enjoy it. There was lots of swashbuckling, and I did not see the ending coming. Set in Napoleonic England, it is considered to be the one of the first historical mysteries. The author includes an afterword of explanation as to how much of the novel is fiction and how much is fact. While the main characters are all fiction, there are quite a few historical personages who make appearances in the background. He also researched speech patterns of the time to make the dialogue as realistic as possible. There's a good no-spoiler summary of the mystery at, and I mostly agree with the reviewer's opinions of it. Wikipedia also has a page about the book. The book reminded me on a very small scale of The Count of Monte Cristo, a massive and sweeping historical novel which I much enjoyed. As thick as it was, I couldn't put it down.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Jukebox in My Mind

... an entry in which there is no knitting, because my hands are too sore from holding a paintbrush.

We are still working on the kitchen. All the trim is now done. It was a HUGE job, and when I say huge, I mean 40+ cabinet doors and drawer fronts. It's a small kitchen, which makes it all the more amazing to me that there were so many pieces. We took them all off, removed the hardware, painted it all and the framework, and then put them back up today. It's looking good! Normally I'd be unhappy about painting over wood grain, but much of this was in very bad shape - uncleanable; painting was the right solution. The white brightens everything up and makes the room look bigger, and when the pale yellow goes on the walls it will all look so crisp. It will maintain the vintage atmosphere of the house (50's / 60's era) and be retro-modern at the same time.

When you are working without background noise, what goes through your mind? Of course there are things to think about, and I do. But when I'm not actively concentrating on anything, there is apparently a jukebox in my mind that is set to "random." Here's a sampling from the past few days:

Minnie the Moocher
If I Had a Hammer
The Crawdad Song
Danny Boy (as sung by the Muppets)

I have heard that the technical name for this (getting a song stuck in your head) is "earworm." Maybe that applies here and maybe it doesn't; each song stays around for a little bit, then eventually changes to something else. It amuses me to no end.

Here's another positive thing about working on an older house: sometimes you find cool stuff. I came across a 1950 mystery novel in the basement. It's entitled "The Bride of Newgate," by John Dickson Carr. Here's the description from the flap:
Dick Darwent, ex-fencing master, was waiting in a dark cell of Newgate Prison -- waiting to be hanged.

While Dick waited for the hangman, Lady Caroline Ross, rich, cold and beautiful, prepared a champagne breakfast to celebrate her marriage to him, a marriage which would cost her fifty pounds, and which would be ended an hour after it had begun.

But a shot through a bathroom window, where a lovely lady sat in a tub of milk --
a riot in the opera, led by champion pugilists --
a pistol duel at dawn --
and a mysterious coachman, whose cloak was shiny with graveyard mold --
changed everything!

As did Napoleon Bonaparte!
I was intrigued. (I think it was the "As did Napoleon Bonaparte!" that did it.) The story could be fabulous, or it could be fabulously terrible. Or it could be so terrible it's fabulous. Now I must read it to find out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Redoing a kitchen, and a new pattern

So sorry haven't blogged - too tired! Helping redo a house for eventual resale. It's a 50's house with lots of character. This stage: the dreaded KITCHEN. The (orange and green!) wallpaper has now been removed from above the (pink!) stovetop. Took all cabinet doors & drawers off yesterday; today, emptied them. So. Many. Mugs. Tomorrow: painting doors, drawers and facings - first coat, maybe second. Wouldn't that be great?

Meanwhile, I have two pieces of happy knitting news for you. First, Patternfish's 10,000th Design Competition is nearing its end. All the patterns are in and the finalists have been chosen. Head over there now to see the designs and cast your vote. It's hard to choose. My favorites: Angela Juergens' Magic Lace Cardigan, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer's Dragonfly Dreams beaded scarf, and Lotte Wackerhagen's Shawl With Plaited Border. There's also a Contestants' Collection with 19 more designs. You'll find my latest, Inca Glory, there, along with 18 other patterns. While I was a ittle disappointed that my design isn't one of the finalists, I feel I'm in good company - some of the other runners-up are drop-dead gorgeous. (I'm looking at YOU, Cherry Blossom Haori!) Inca Glory is a flutter-sleeved stockinette-based cardigan with a large lace sun medallion on the back. It's knit top-down and is seamless; the only sewing needed is for the buttons and (optional) snaps. Fit is easy around the middle, and the light weight and short sleeves make it a practical project to work up now so it will be ready for the spring and summer months. Bring some sunshine into your life?

Now for Knitting News, Part 2: if you visit the Sylvia Woods Harp Center website, you'll find a new category of products: Craft Pattern PDFs! Three of my patterns are now available there: Octavia's Garlands Lace Shawl, Octavia's Armwarmers, and Harpstrings Double-Knit Scarf. For those of you who like to cross-stitch (or if you know someone who does), Sylvia also has PDF patterns by Amy Clough of Bonnie Thistle Designs. Her amazing patterns show different types of harps from around the world - Celtic, Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, and Egyptian. Check them out - they're pretty!

Inca Glory, $6.95 at Patternfish

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Inverboy, Hero o' the Hielands

Long before I learned to knit, I loved all things Scottish. (I still do, and it pains me that when I visited there I did not yet know the joys of yarn.) Shortly after a trip to Scotland, I drew these cartoons. I had almost forgotten about them, and when I came across them this evening they made me smile. Hopefully they will do the same for you. Without further ado, I present for your viewing pleasure the complete (to date) adventures of Inverboy, Hero o' the Hielands. Links in the explanatory text will take you to the Wikipedia articles for each item.

#1: Introductions

The name Inverboy came from the misreading of the place name "Inverroy" on a road sign. "Wouldn't that make a great superhero name?" we said, after realizing our mistake. "Hielands" is "highlands" with a Scots accent; "coo" is, of course, "cow". Highland cattle have long shaggy hair and horns; they're adorable. Click here to learn more about them at wikipedia. "Morag" is the Gaelic version of the name "Sarah", and it is commonly heard in Scotland. No disrespect is intended to any Sarahs or Morags; I just thought it was a nice name. The pattern on the kilt really is the Kincaid tartan. BTW, haggis really is good with steak sauce; don't knock it till you've tried it.

Inverboy #2: Inverboy Meets Little Miss Muffett

For some reason, I latched onto nursery rhymes and their characters as subject matter. They just seemed to fit. Oh, and I want a coo to rescue me from spiders, too.

Inverboy #3:

The sheaf toss is an event that is found at many Highland games. Contestants toss a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar. After all have had a turn, the bar is raised. While Bo Peep's sash should technically go from her right shoulder to left hip, note the authentic kilt hose and flashes (ribbons) worn by Inverboy. Had I been a knitter then, I'd have decorated them with some cables or at least moss stitch.

Inverboy #4: Old King Cole

Cullen Skink (great name, isn't it?) is a traditional Scottish soup made with haddock, potatoes, and onions. Angus' friends are all named for places in Scotland - Penicuik (pronounced penny-cook) is an area in Midlothian; Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles, and of course the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond are familiar from the song. I do, in fact, like the sound of bagpipes.

Inverboy #5: In search of Nessie

Drumnadrochit is a town about halfway up the west coast of Loch Ness. Its name comes from the Scottish Gaelic "Druim na Droichaid" meaning "ridge of the bridge." There is a Nessie museum there, and you can take boat rides on the loch. The silhouette of Urquhart Castle as seen from the boat is accurate, or at least it was when I was there. We did not see the monster, hard as we looked. Loch Ness is a mile wide, a mile deep, and 26 miles long, with an exit to the sea. I formulated the theory that Nessie actually lives in the ocean and just goes to Scotland on vacation, like the rest of us who aren't fortunate enough to live there.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Film Noir goes live

Remember when I promised you a pattern release on October 14? Well, here it is, October 14, and here is the pattern: Peter Lorre, the Mysterious!  I love Peter Lorre, and I’m glad the folks at Sanguine Gryphon chose to name the pattern for him. He was versatile - Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Kentaro Moto (a Japanese detective) in a series of movies, including “The Mysterious Mr. Moto.” According to, in the 1960s, he and Vincent Price costarred as as crimefighting antique dealers in the unsold pilot, “Collector’s Item.” That’s a series I’d like to have seen!

Designing a Film Noir inspired pattern was fun and came naturally. From Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Moto to Charlie Chan and The Thin Man, I grew up with the classic mystery movies. (Thanks, Mom!) The detective characters were always our favorites, especially when they had a sense of humor and personality to spare. With this vest, I wanted to design something that wouldn’t be out of place in the wardrobes of Nick Charles, Archie Goodwin, or Sam Spade, but would still have something a little unexpected. The traditional argyle pattern becomes subtle and modern when it uses varying textures instead of colors. The base diamond pattern is easy and intuitive, with the surface chain-stitch applied after knitting and before seaming. The vest could as easily be worn by a gentleman of today as by a noir detective.

Sizing info:
Men’s Sizes S (M, L, XL, XXL)
To fit Chest Circumference: 34-36 (38-40, 42-44, 46-48, 50-52)”/86-91 (96-101, 106-111, 117-122, 127-132) cm
The pattern allows for two inches of positive ease. It is written with straight sides to be flattering on your favorite gentleman, but it could easily be worn by a woman. Choose the size according to your bust measurement and add your favorite method of waist shaping if you want a more structured fit.

Click here for the Ravelry pattern page
The pattern is available for download from The Sanguine Gryphon for $6.00.

Peter Lorre was born László Löwenstein (aka Peter Lorre) was born 26 June 1904, Rózsahegy, Hungary.  See a list of his credits and his bio and trivia at the Internet Movie Database.

Meanwhile ...

I also released two accessory patterns last week. The Garden of the Mind's Eye is a lightweight hat knit in a  reversible chain-link pattern. Sizes are included ranging from infant to large adult. Dreams Are Quite a Thing is a scarf worked in a reversible wrapped rib pattern which enhances variegated yarns. Each piece uses less than 1 skein of sock or fingering-weight yarn. Both are shown at right knit in Fire Lizard Studios "Joy" sock yarn, colorway Garden. Louet Gems Fingering Weight would also work well.

"The Garden of the Mind's Eye" Hat, $5.95 at Ravelry
"Dreams Are Quite a Thing" Scarf, $5.95 at Ravelry

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sanguine Gryphon Presents ... She Was All in Stitches

Hello, all! Sorry for the complete lack of posts for the past month and a half. Too much going on, and none of it relating to knitting ...

I'm breaking my (inadvertent) radio silence with some exciting news for you: The Sanguine Gryphon's Fall 2011 Film Noir pattern collection is being released October 14th, and you can see a preview now! Where? Here! In keeping with the Film Noir theme, they've made a mystery for you to solve. Email your best guess to them, and you have a chance to win all the patterns. (Details are with the preview photos.)

Why is this exciting news to me, you ask? And why do I want to share it? Well, the mystery theme and chance to win all those patterns would be enough in themselves. In addition, though, I'm excited because one of the designs is mine! In keeping with the theme, I should keep it a mystery and ask you to guess, but I couldn't do that to you. It's the green vest worn by the detective. Wanna see a pic? Click here to see a whole bunch! The vest is the textured argyle in photos 9-14. The pattern is more subtle than a traditional multicolor, but with the same classic lines. The yarn was Sanguine Gryphon Traveller in colorway "Belize", and it was a pleasure to work with. So what are you still doing here, reading my blog? Go check out the designs!

Monday, August 15, 2011

And now for a footnote

Have you sent in your measurements yet for Knitty's foot size survey? They're working along with Sock Summit and Cooperative Press to make sock sizing in patterns more accurate. Designers, knitters, & recipients benefit with better-fitting socks. There are no two ways about it, it's win-win-win! Info and instructions can be found on the Knitty blog.

A versatile bias-knit scarf: Scattered Snowflakes

The Scattered Snowflakes Lace Scarf is an easy accessory that combines bias (diagonal) knit fabric and an easy snowflake lace pattern. Variegated yarn accentuates the diagonal lines, and pooling and flashing enhances the simple lace. The scarf shown used less than two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in colorway “Icehouse.” Solid-color yarn could be used instead if desired.
  Gauge is not critical - the scarf can be worked in any yarn using appropriate needles.

Available now for $5.95 from Ravelry.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Haven't you always wanted a night-cap?

I know I have! That's why I designed Abigail, a ruffled and beribboned night-cap. An old-fashioned design meets modern practicality and a bit of whimsy. The Abigail nightcap warms your head, covers your curlers, or makes a unique chemo cap. It's comfortable for sleeping, and I especially look forward to using mine when the weather turns cooler.

The project is an easy knit that takes about 230 yards of yarn. Skills required are: knit, purl, yarnover, knit 2 together, and working in the round. Gauge is not critical - any yarn and appropriate needles may be used and knit to the dimensions shown in the schematic diagram. The project is begun on dpns. When the piece becomes large enough, it is transferred onto a circular needle.

 Until next time, happy knitting!

The Abigail Nightcap
$4.95 at Ravelry
coming soon on Patternfish

Friday, July 29, 2011

Princesa de los Andes: from start to finish

First, the concept sketch:

Then charting and swatching possible lace motifs. I was aiming for a "feather"-looking yoke and sun-rays around the hem. I like pencil and graph paper for my preliminary charting. The computer comes later.

A preliminary schematic, and then the math. Oh, the math! But don't worry, the finished pattern is much more understandable.

Then knit, knit, knit, and knit some more, tweaking the math as the knitting goes on. Once the knitting is complete, block the garment. This, in case you've ever wondered, is why a gauge swatch is important:


The finished garment, which I look forward to wearing:

... And as of today, the end result is available to you as a PDF pattern.

Princesa de los Andes*
$6.95 at Ravelry

*Princess of the Andes

Yarn shown: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Lace, colorway "Incan City". Any heavy laceweight or light fingering weight yarn could be substituted.
Gauge: 22 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch
Needle size: US 1 - 2.25 mm (circular & dpn) or size to achieve gauge

Sizes and yarn requirements: The sweater is designed to have 2-4 inches of ease for a body-skimming, not overly tight fit. The pattern includes 6 sizes ranging from Women's XS - 2XL.

XS fits 28–30” (71–76 cm.) bust, requires 920 yd of yarn
S fits 32–34” (81–86 cm.) bust, requires 990 yd of yarn
M fits 36–38” (91.5–96.5 cm.) bust, requires 1130 yd of yarn
L fits 40–42” (101.5–106.5 cm.) bust, requires 1350 yd of yarn
XL fits 44–46” (111.5–117 cm.) bust, requires 1500 yd of yarn
2X fits 48–50” (122–127 cm.) bust, requires 1700 yd of yarn

Notes: Top-down, seamless construction. Lace motifs are provided in chart form only. The pattern includes instructions for side shaping. These may be omitted for straight sides, which will require more yarn.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

KnitPicks IDP

... aka the Independent Designer Program, of which KnitDesign by Caroline is now officially a part! They've been a pleasure to work with. The patterns now available through KnitPicks are:

Octavia's Garlands Lace Shawl (abridged version) - $4.99 US

Octavia's Armwarmers - $3.99 US

HarpStrings Double-Knit Accent Scarf - $4.99 US

So, you ask, what are the differences between patterns sold through KnitPicks versus those sold through Ravelry or Patternfish?

For one thing, the prices. KnitPicks has set prices from $1.99-$4.99 (US). Purchasing one of my patterns through them means you get a bit of a discount. However, I want to be fair to those who buy the patterns at the higher prices. The KnitPicks patterns, while producing the same garment, have a different layout and different photos. They are "Special KnitPicks Edition" versions. The yarn colors have been changed to reflect colors that are currently produced. As a knitter, something I appreciate is the Kit Builder option on each pattern page. It makes it easy for new knitters to find and order appropriate KnitPicks yarn for the pattern while showing images of the available colors for the chosen yarn.

Also, The Octavia's Garlands Shawl available from KnitPicks has two song options - Twinkle, Twinkle and up-and-down scales. The full price version from Ravelry and Patternfish contains seven musical options plus a blank chart to insert your own music. Choose your priorities. :)

And now, my little chickadees, you may be wondering why there haven't been new patterns in awhile. Rest assured, there will be some soon, once blocking and photography are completed. The past few weeks have involved working on the three KnitPicks patterns and a forthcoming yarn company pattern. That project shall remain nameless until such time as it is officially released this autumn, but I'll post about it then all right! The yarn is absolutely yummy, and I'm really enjoying working with it. Meanwhile, I've been helping clean and paint a house containing a "Mamie Pink" bathroom. The tiles are a combination of white and warm pink. It was a bit hard finding a way to decorate it that neither looked overwhelming nor required us to remove the vintage tiles. We chose "Coconut Scent" (pale warm yellow) for the walls and white curtains with battenburg lace edging. The end result was warm, pleasant and airy - I think we met our goals. Here's a photo:

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry Diamonds Scarf

Traditional Orenburg patterns (large strawberries and diagonals) grace a delicate yet substantial reversible lace scarf.

The 3 page PDF includes color photos, including closeups of the lace medallion. Though it looks complex, the pattern works up quickly. Patterning occurs only on right side rows - all wrong side rows are knitted. The lace medallion pattern is included in both charted and written form. You can use whichever format which is easiest for you.

The scarf shown used 2 skeins of Reynolds Kids Wash-Day Wool (100% superwash) in color Red. Since gauge is not critical for this project, the scarf can be worked in any yarn. Using needles appropriate for your chosen yarn, follow the pattern until the scarf is the desired length or you run out of yarn.

Strawberry Diamonds Scarf
$5.95 at Ravelry

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Busy busy busy! and a new pattern: Victoria's Violets

Despite the lack of new patterns, the past 3 weeks have been busy for me design-wise. Three of my already existing patterns will soon be available on KnitPicks as part of their Independent Designers Program. This is exciting to me as a long-term KnitPicks customer (I love their yarn, and I'd say that even if they weren't going to sell my patterns) and a relatively new designer. Since the original designs were knit with discontinued colors, they needed to be made again with colors that are currently produced. I hope you like the new color choices - I do!

The patterns that have been submitted are the Octavia's Garlands Shawl and Armwarmers and the Harpstrings Double-Knit Scarf. You'll find that the prices are different with KnitPicks - lower, though not by much. I do want to be fair to those who have already purchased (or who will purchase) these patterns at the higher prices. The KnitPicks versions are special editions, with different layout and photos than the originals. The shawl contains two music options (Twinkle, Twinkle and the scale), as opposed to the 7 options plus blank staff chart contained in the full-price version. I hope everyone will find a choice that works for them!

In other news, one of my designs has been accepted for a yarn company's fall pattern line. I can't say any more about it now, except that I'm very excited about this, too. The pattern is coming along well, and k nitting of the sample will hopefully begin within the week. I'll be sure to post when the pattern is released.

Meanwhile, a new pattern has been released today for your enjoyment: Victoria's Violets Lace Collar, available for $5.95 from Ravelry. It's dressier than a cowl and stays in place better than a shawl. It would make a lightweight yet very warm layer beneath a coat, thanks to the laceweight alpaca yarn. The 6-page PDF includes charts and written directions for the lace collar, border, and inset patterns, as well as closeup photos of each lace section. Detailed instructions guide you each step of the way.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tree of Life Through the Seasons: My first pattern collection

The Tree of Life Through the Seasons is a set of five fichu patterns depicting the Tree in spring, summer, autumn, winter, and paradise. The basic outline, a crescent with a wide lace edge at the hem, remains the same for all five. The difference is in the details - what surrounds the tree? How dense are the leaves? How much has the trunk grown? What type of edge detail fits each season?

Each fichu begins at the back of the neck and is increased on every right side row until the fabric forms a wide crescent. The stitches are left on the needle without binding off. The lace edging is knit sideways and attached as you go, so no sewing is necessary and the hem remains elastic. Mix and match to create your own shawl: because the lace edge is knit on sideways, you can use the chart for any lace edging with any of the body patterns.

Each of the patterns included in the collection is available separately, but if you want the best value, purchase the pattern collection. See footnote The 29-page PDF includes all five patterns for the price of four, plus an introduction and extra photos of each shawl. Each fichu pattern in the collection includes charts for the border lace, the entire body of the shawl and color photographs.

buy now for $27.80 at my Ravelry store
buy now for $27.80 from Patternfish

Tree of Life in Paradise Fichu - Fifth in the Series

The fifth and final (for now) fichu pattern in the Tree of Life Through the Seasons depicts the Tree in in Paradise. Rays of light emanate from the center of the Tree, and lush flowers fill the outside corners. The lace border is composed of flowers and leaves. Glimpses of tropical blue sky peek through warm, lush jungle colors. The fichu shown is knit with two skeins of Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi in Color 119.

The Tree of Life in Paradise Fichu is a crescent-shaped shawl with elongated “wings” which help it sit securely on your shoulders. The shawl is cast on at the neck edge and worked downwards, culminating in a 4 1/4”-wide sideways lace border which is joined progressively to the live stitches along the bottom edge of the shawl. No sewing is required. Increases are worked along the front and sides of the shawl to avoid a pronounced triangle point at the center back.

The 5 page PDF contains charts for the border lace, the entire body of the shawl and color photographs.

buy now for $6.95 from my Ravelry store

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fourth in the Series: The Tree of Life in Winter

Brand new today: the fourth entry in the "Tree of Life Through the Seasons" series.

These fichus been incredibly fun to design and make. It's endlessly fascinating to me the way variations in color and border and rearrangement (or redesign) of simple background motifs make an entirely different piece with a completely different feel. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

buy now for $6.95 at my Ravelry store

This isn't all, either. Soon to come, one more pattern: The Tree of Life in Paradise. For a limited time, here's a special offer: if you purchase the first four fichu patterns, you'll get the 5th free.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Knitter's Graph Paper

You can chart knitting on regular graph paper, of course, but remember: knit stitches are wider than they are tall. It's much easier to get an idea of what your finished product will look like if you use graph paper with blocks that are rectangles rather than squares.

Click the image above for a full-size JPG of knitter's graph paper. Feel free to print or save the image for your own design use. Happy knitting!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tree of Life in Autumn - Third in the Series

New today, the Tree of Life in Autumn! The third fichu pattern in the Tree of Life Through the Seasons depicts the Tree in Autumn. The difference is in the details: the dense leaves have thinned into an openwork feather-and-fan texture. Falling leaves and flowers surround the tree, and a border of leaves edges the hem.

Like previous designs in the series, the Tree of Life in Autumn Fichu is a crescent-shaped shawl with elongated “wings” which help it sit securely on your shoulders. The shawl is cast on at the neck edge and worked downwards, culminating in a 4 1/4”-wide sideways lace border which is joined progressively to the live stitches along the bottom edge of the shawl. No sewing is required. Increases are worked along the front and sides of the shawl to avoid a pronounced triangle point at the center back.

The 5 page PDF contains charts for the border lace, the entire body of the shawl and color photographs.

The winter fichu, next in the series, is well on its way. Design is complete, and knitting is in progress. It should be ready late this week.

buy now for $6.95 in my Ravelry store