Green the Whole Year ‘Round

This yarn was pulled from my stash – one of the “on vacation” purchases.   I think I purchased it when in Palm Springs several years ago – we took an outing to a nearby historic (and touristy) district and found “The Wool Lady” store tucked in a corner.  I picked up a few hand-spun and hand-dyed hanks and never found the right project – until now.

The yarn is Teeswater/Wensleydale by Feathergrass Fiber.  Unfortunately, I could not find information about either the store or the fiber producer, so either may or may not still be in business.

The pattern is Green the Whole Year ‘Round by Anna Yamamoto, available as a free Ravelry download.  The yarn I used was a bit fuzzy, so tthe pattern in my finished project is not as distinct as the author’s pattern suggests, but I think it turned out nicely.

The pattern was fun but challenging – the author rates it as “advanced”  The pattern is both charted and written out, and the author provides clear directions, but one needs to be very comfortable with some of the more advanced stitches and the pattern requires attention.

Changes:  I did not include the “nubs” – I don’t particularly like that feature in most patterns, and I don’t miss it in the finished product.  The pattern also calls for short rows for shaping – I used my favorite German Short Row technique, instead.

Also note:  I think the term is “severe blocking” and is required to make sure that the shawl is shaped properly.

 

I was concerned about the yardage, but I had plenty, and wish I would have carried the pattern on for a bit more length.  But, that sometimes happens with hand-made and dyed yarn, and having yarn leftover is better than not having enough.

Note in the pictures that the yarn has more pink tones at the bottom (right side in the picture) of the shawl, and more evenly purple at the top – that is the difference in the two skeins used to make the shawl, and a cautionary tale in purchasing yarn by unknown fiber artists – even though clearly the same dye lot, purchase at the same time, and looked the same on the hanks, the dye process on the two hanks resulted in a clearly different product for each hank.  Fortunately, the shawl pattern lent itself to this and the color change looks like it an intended feature.  Had this been a sweater or some other more fitted project, it would have been a noticeable flaw in the construction.

 

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Bart & Francis – Brioche Knitting

I was certain that I had posted a “casting on” photo, or at least a WIP photo, but I may have only thought I did.

Here is another Nancy Marchant project, Bart & Francis, published in Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns, available from Amazon.

Continuing as before, I selected a pattern that would use an entire skein of Lion Shawl in a Ball yarn, this time in color Cleansing Quartz, along with the companion Knitpicks Stroll Fingering in color Black.

Also, continuing as before, it took multiple tries to get the hang of the pattern.  I wish I could figure out what my problem is with these patterns – It’s like that “Magic Eye” picture – it makes no sense until, suddenly, it does, and then it’s a great project and lots of fun.

Completed Project – Champagne Bubbles

I wasn’t sure about the lace version of a Nancy Marchant pattern, but I decided that I was ready to try.

Champagne Bubbles is published in Vogue Knitting, Holiday, 2014 (available as a digital magazine).  Again, using Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, in color Peaceful Earth, with the contrast color of Knit Picks Palette in color Camel Heather.

I intended this to be a light and casual wrap, and I believe that is how it turned out.  Very enjoyable project, and now that I’ve knit several of these, I can follow the pattern and fix stitches that are missed.

Note on the picture with two side-by-side projects.  The one on the right is not blocked – same yardage as the one on the left.  What a difference a little warm water and stretching can make!

Latest Brioche Adventure: Champagne Bubbles Brioche Lace Scarf

Champagne Bubbles is another pattern from Nancy Marchant, this time published in Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2014 (available as a digital purchase).

I’ve looked at brioche patterns by other designers, but Nancy Marchant’s pattern format is the easiest to read.  I’ve noted in earlier posts that it seems to take me a while to get the hang of a particular brioche pattern – though it shouldn’t, since for every four knitted rows, there is only one “pattern” row – the rest all are knitted (or purled) in a standard manner.  Other patterns I’ve read have detailed every row as a “row,” rather than 2-sets-of-2 or a set of 4, which (IMHO) makes them far more difficult to read.

In the case of Nancy Marchant’s patterns (at least as far as I’ve knit them), once I get the hang of the major pattern, I can easily memorize the format and knit more quickly and confidently.

That is, “once I get the hang of it.”  As usual, it took me no fewer than 6 attempts to “get the hang” of this pattern.

This is my first attempt (and a rare version of Nancy’s patterns) to incorporate lace.  It took a while to be able to “read” the double-yarn-overs on the 2-of-4 row and knit (or purl, or slip) properly.

Even though Nancy Marchant’s brioche patterns take time to read, understand, and properly execute, they make beautiful projects, and the unique light and fluffy fabric is wonderfully inviting to the touch.

Yarn:  I’m still enjoying my “Shawl in a Ball” binge, this time with color Peaceful Earth.  I’m augmenting the pattern with a second color from Knit Picks Palette in color Camel Heather.

One twist:  I purchased the downloaded pattern via the Vogue Knitting App, and haven’t been inclined to try to figure out how to print out the pattern onto paper, so I’m only using a digital version.  Since the pattern (now that I’ve started over several times) is fairly easy, I’m OK with not having a paper pattern.

Now, if I could just find time to do more than one round of four at a time!

 

Casting On – Lace Shawl

I promise, I only went into Hobby Lobby to get Thanksgiving paper goods for next week!  I did not intend to buy yarn!  You must believe me!  Yet, three balls of this interesting yarn jumped into my cart, and I had to take them home.

Introducing, “Shawl in a Ball,” by LionBrand.  This is a two-ply, acrylic/cotton blend yarn.  The yarn band says “medium weight,” the website says “worsted weight” and recommends size 8 needles, but I’m using size 5 needles, and I would class it as a light worsted weight.  The band says 518 yards – hence the name, “Shawl in a Ball,” as 518 is enough to make a small shawl or wrap.

LionBrand has a selection of terrific free patterns that go with this yarn.  You can find it here:  Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball Patterns.  However, as I have perused knitting magazines (or Pinterest or Ravelry- and don’t we all do this?), I have tagged a collection of patterns I would like to try, and I selected Lace Shawl, published by Interweave Knits.  I think I obtained this pattern via one of Interweave Knits’ periodic free booklets.

Though labeled as “Intermediate,” I would call it more “easy,” since the pattern is a 16-stitch, 8-row repeat, with 1-sided lace (purl on the wrong side).  It’s great for quick knitting while binge-watching Arrow on Netflix (I’m two seasons behind).

 

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Like a lot of shawls, this seems to be knitting up small, but should block to size.

 

 

Diamond Shawl Complete

Blocked, ends tucked in, and completed.  This was a nice way to use the novelty yarn, and I think the end result worked well with the pattern.  It took a while to get onto the pattern, but it was simple enough that I had it memorized by the time I got to the second skein.

Yarn is Lang Sol Degrade in green.  This is a 100% cotton, ribbon style yarn.  Aside from watching that I didn’t split the yarn with the knitting needle, it was fairly easy to work.

Pattern is Diamond Shawl, free from Lion Brand.  While it is considered “intermediate,” in difficulty once you get onto the pattern, it’s  pretty easy (if you pay attention).  The pattern would work up well with about any DK or heavier yarn.

Little Girl’s Poncho

I’m visiting my adorable great-nieces next week, who are (nearly) 3 and 5.  I made the ponchos below for them to wear when they play.

Pattern:  Feather and Fan Girl’s Poncho (adapted from classical version of adult ponchos)

Easy “feather and fan” pattern with an 18-stitch repeat.  Started by casting on 80 on Size 8 circular needles and K1,P1 ribbing for 4 rows, with markers placed every 10 stitches.  At this point, I added the fuzzy novelty yarn.

Then continued with straight-stitch, increasing before and after each stitch marker on alternate rows until 180 stitches on the needle (another 8 rows).  End the novelty yarn and continue with the feather and fan pattern for three repeats, switch to novelty yarn for one pattern repeat, switch to main yarn for three repeats, and switch to novelty yarn for 6 rows and bind off very loosely (I use the K1, YO, K, Pass YO and K1 over method).

Feather and Fan pattern (4 row repeat)

  • Row 1:  Knit
  • Row 2:  Knit
  • Row 3: *[K2tog] 3 times, [YO, K1] 6 times, [K2tog] 3 times, repeat from *
  • Row 4: Knit

Ties are made with a 4-stitch I-cord, woven through the ribbing and pom-poms attached.

Yarn:  Loops and Threads Impeccable worsted (Leftover afghan yarn) and novelty Patons Cha-Cha in color Jazz.

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