Colorwork Baby Pullover

I usually don't write about our free weekly web patterns. But this week I just HAD  to make an exception.

This week’s pattern, Colorwork Baby Pullover, is probably one of the most precious baby things I have ever seen. Now read that again carefully. Not one of the most precious knitted baby things I have ever seen, but THE  most precious baby thing I have ever seen.


In case you couldn't tell…I love this sweater. I love everything about it. I love that it is made from Canyon and Cerro. I love the color palette Susan (our Design Director) chose. I love the little button placket. I love the simple, yet elegant Fair Isle pattern she chose. I love the construction (bottom up in the round). Just…well, perfect.

The sweater calls for 2 colors of MountainTop Canyon and 4 colors of its dyed counterpart Cerro. This is a great yarn to make baby things out of. It’s cotton with a hint of alpaca, which gives the plied yarn a soft hand and a touch of warmth and elegance. Plus it is machine washable. An extra bonus for any new mom (I barely have time to do any laundry, yet alone hand wash things…and I don't have kids. So I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a new mom).

The color palette that was used for the photo sample is a gorgeous gender neutral combination, which is perfect for a first born child – so that the sweater can be handed down to future siblings or maybe even cousins. Or for those parents who want to be surprised at the sex of the child. But since Cerro comes in 12 amazing colors, you can customize the palette with more pinks or blues to accommodate the gender of the child.

  
From left to right: The original colorway featuring Cerro 7157 Sky Blue, Cerro 7188 Coral, Canyon 3716 Milkweed,
Cerro 7115 Bud Green, Canyon 3703 Mesquite & Cerro 7154 Orchid; Boy version: Cerro 7178 Earth,
Canyon 3716 Milkweed, Cerro 7131 Periwinkle, Canyon 3703 Mesquite, Cerro 7115 Bud Green & Cerro 7147 Denim;
Girl version: Cerro 7150 Golden Honey, Canyon 3716 Milkweed, Cerro 7154 Orchid, Canyon 3703 Mesquite, Cerro 7115 Bud Green & Cerro 7156 Pink Violet

The body of the sweater is knit in the round in one piece up to the armholes.  Then the sleeves are knit flat and joined at the yoke. The balance of the sweater is knit from there. This is great for those of us who…let’s just say, aren't fans of finishing. It also makes working the Fair Isle a little easier. There is some Fair Isle knit in flat rows after dividing for the placket, but not a whole lot (and by then you have your Fair Isle mojo going).

All and all this is one of those sweaters that you will want to make and just have on hand for the next person who tells you that they are having a baby. It is sure to become an instant heirloom. It is THAT good.


Knit on!                   

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Woven Scarves

I admit it. When I think of yarn, I think of knitting. Now I used to work in a yarn store and currently for a yarn company - so I should know that when it comes to yarn, there are more things than just knitting. There’s crochet (of course), tatting and macramé. But today I want to touch on weaving.

Woven Scarves is a new book by Jane Patrick and Stephanie Flynn Sokolov. It features some amazing scarves and shawls.


The Chunky Check is made from one of our most popular yarns – Chalet. Using a traditional weaving pattern and 2 colors, this scarf weaves up quickly thanks to the bulky yarn. Because Chalet is a chainette yarn, it is extremely soft and makes scrumptious fabric.


Although we would like to believe that spring is just around the corner, you may still need a winter scarf.  The Log cabin Scarf is a great choice. In this scarf, the designers used 2 colors of Blackthorn and a pattern that looks like squares that are shifted to make a block tile feeling. They accented the scarf with a twisted fringe using both colors to give it an added flair.


Scarfs are so popular today as fashion accessories and not just cold weather accessories. A great example of that is the Posh Plum Scarf. The loom is set with Pirouette and Soft Linen as the warping yarns and Pirouette as the shuttle yarn. It is woven very loosely to give it lots of drape. I can see owning a bunch of these in different colors – maybe one for each day of the week!


Another great scarf that would be fabulous to throw on over an outfit is the Eyelet Scarf. Full disclosure – I am in a Silky Alpaca Lace phase of my knitting, so I am even more biased towards this shawl. Because it is made from Silky Alpaca Lace and Pirouette, the shawl is extremely light and airy. The weaving is pulled to make ‘holes’ in it to give it a lace feeling. Once off the loom, the scarf is lightly fulled (or as we knitters like to say felted) to give it a little more structure. Randomly placed beads and pearls in the fringe give it an added touch of sophistication.


One of things that I love about this book is how clear and easy the directions look. I know about warp and weft…but they also explain things like shuttles, WPI, reeds, ends and picks. And they give a little glimpse into how the projects would look if you changed one or two things. That is awesome for someone who is just starting out!
There are some really amazing projects in this book that have me thinking about weaving and all the different things that I can do with my stash. Not to mention all the yarn in our warehouse…


Weave on!
Photos courtesy of Interweave Press, Joe Hancock, photographer.

Spring KALs

Knit-a-longs are always popular. More now than ever, thanks in large part to social media. But did you know that Classic Elite Yarns sponsors a spring knit-a-long every year? It’s true.
Participants from the 2013 Spring KAL hosted by Alamitos Bay Yarn Company
Here’s how it works:
  •  The knit-a-longs are hosted by LYSs, so you will want to contact your LYS to find out if they are participating and sign up with them.
  • You can then choose a project from one of our recent books (Portraits, Cathedral, Oceanside or Sunny Day) or either of our upcoming spring books (Homestead in March and Silhouettes in April), pick any Classic Elite Yarn and get started.
  • Since the KAL is hosted by your LYS, you will want to ask them for their rules.

Classic Elite Yarns will provide a prize of yarn related goodies. Each basket is unique, but is full of items from some of our favorite knit and crochet accessory vendors including Knitifacts, Chic-a, Obadiah Studio, Lantern Moon, Della Q, Buttons, Etc., Namaste, Eucalan, Soak, Yarn Pop, Nelkin DesignsBar Maids and Yarn Lover’s Lotion. Each store participating will get one prize to award how they wish.

Sample prize
Here are some reasons to participate:
  • Chance to win prize
  • By the end the KAL, you will have a fabulous new piece of knitwear!
  • Meet new people
  • Try a new skill set
  • Knit/crochet with a new-to-you yarn
  • Support your LYS

Call your LYS today and find out if they are participating. And get started!

Knit on!

Cerro

Last spring Classic Elite Yarns introduce Canyon, a pima cotton/alpaca blend as part of our MountainTop Collection. There was such a great response; we decided to offer it in colors as well! Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Cerro



Like Canyon, Cerro is 85% Pima Cotton and 15% Alpaca. On the surface one might think that alpaca seems like an unlikely fiber to partner with cotton. After all, one is notorious for being a spring/summer fiber; while the other is known for being a warm fiber – best for cooler climates. However, when combined they both play to each other’s strengths. Cerro is a smooth and silky yarn (thanks to the cotton) with drape and softness (thanks to the alpaca) all while retaining amazing stitch definition. 

Being a sport weight yarn makes it even more versatile. Pullovers and cardigans are warm, yet tanks and tees are cool. And shawls and scarfs made from Cerro are warm, but not bulky.

Our Sunny Day book has some beautiful patterns made in Cerro - a tank, a cardigan (crochet!), a pullover and a couple of wraps. All perfect for transitioning into spring (which I swear is coming…although I am no weather man, nor have I ever worked for the Farmer’s Almanac…so please don’t ask me when exactly).

Clockwise from top left: Arpina, Eliana, Kalinda, Abelona and Marisol

Now…I am not normally a knitter who works with cotton. I knit MUCH looser than most knitters; which makes working with a slippery fiber, like cotton, difficult (this means even smaller needles, as well). But Cerro and Canyon have changed my mind.  Walking though the warehouse and looking at the beautiful colors of Cerro, my mind has starting racing about what I am going to cast on for first.

I took a ball home the other night to play with and am LOVING it. It’s got a great hand to it. The toughest part will be figuring out what to make and in which color!


Don’t forget to revisit some of the great designs from last year’s collection in Canyon (check them out here on Ravelry). Because it is the same base as Cerro, it is an easy substitute.

Clockwise from top left: Ceniza Shawlette, Angelica, Sweet Cicely, White Clover, Canyon Baby Cardigan and Star Lily


Knit on!

MillaMia Cushion Covers

There are some things that just make a house (or an apartment) feel like a home – an oversized afghan to keep you warm, pictures of loved ones and lots and lots of throw pillows.



I love the collection of pillow covers that MillaMia has done in their Naturally Soft Merino. There are a bunch of different styles to choose from. Whether you have a modern Swedish décor, a traditional sensibility or a funky bohemian vibe going on, there is sure to be a pattern to fit your style.

If you have a winter lodge feeling in your home, with a fireplace and cozy chairs (which I would NOT AT ALL be jealous of), then you might consider the Elk Cushion. Made using the Fair Isle technique and 2 colors of the Naturally Soft Merino, this cover is an updated version of classic Swedish motifs.


Love the look of Fair Isle, but need a little more color in your room? Then maybe the Dalarna Cushion is the right choice. This pattern also uses traditional motifs and the Fair Isle method, but with 4 colors to add a pop of color and make it a little more modern.


If your home is a little more traditional and you want something a little more classic and time honored, the Mossa Cushion would be a great choice. It features a center cable flanked by ribs and another cable and would complement many different décor styles. I can also see a bunch of these in different colors to brighten up a room.



Are you one of those people who feel that there is no such thing as too much color or texture? The Tivoli Cushion uses 4 colors of the Naturally Soft Merino, but as many of know…that is just a suggestion. You could use as many as you want. Or knit a couple of them using different color combinations that work back to one another.

I think the thing I love most about these patterns are that they are covers for pillows AND made from yarn that is machine washable. Life can be messy, no matter how careful you are. And when it is, you can take the covers off and throw them in the washing machine.

Another bonus? You can easily change your décor! Make some in fall colors and some in spring. The covers are small, easy to store, and can really update your home in a matter of minutes!

All these patterns (plus a few more) are available on Ravelry. Check your LYS to see if they stock the Naturally SoftMerino and cast on right away!


Knit on!

Guest Blogger – Kathy North

Have you ever wondered how some designers come up with their ideas? What inspires them? Me too!

Today I asked Kathy North, a Classic Elite Yarns contributor to tell us a little about her 2 designs (Abelona and Nahara) in our newest book Sunny Day and her inspiration. Here is her behind the scenes story:

It's a Sunny Day!

When the call for spring/summer designs was received, my mind started dreaming up ideas. Having recently completed the most challenging piece of my life so far (Maxime) I thought this time around it would be a "breeze" to design a sleeveless garment (well, not exactly a "breeze" ... there is a lot of work involved in creating designs for six sizes.) The first idea that kept recurring was a "smock top" featuring a lace pattern above an openwork mesh section that would feel lightweight and cool on a summer day, as expressed in this rough sketch:



Searching through a favorite stitch dictionary and some vintage pattern booklets in my collection, I selected the interesting 'Lacy Chain' panel pattern for the bodice and decided to combine it with a simple openwork mesh fabric that was spotted in a photograph of a vintage shawl. I worked up swatches and put together a sample of the idea in a design submission:

  

Was I ever surprised and delighted at the result: it's one thing to be happy about having a design accepted, but it's even more exciting to see one's finished garment appear as a cover girl!



Abelona is knit in CEY's newest yarn Cerro, an oh-so-soft blend of cotton and alpaca that was a dream to work with. Its fine quality translated beautifully into the lace-patterned vision for this garment, which is worked in two directions. The front and back bodice pieces are worked separately and seamed at the shoulders and sides, then turned upside down where stitches are picked up and worked in the round to form the lacy mesh body.



The second design in Sunny Day is a crocheted tunic. This idea began with a lacy flower motif:



My initial sketch was for a tank top featuring a line of motifs down the front, bordered with single crochet rib on the sides.



I worked up a rough sample of the idea for the submission:



Again, to my surprise it was accepted. Credit for the tunic goes to Susan Mills, CEY Creative Director, who asked if the tank top idea could be lengthened. Another challenge presented but eventually accomplished!

Thanks in part to the availability of a Christmas gift to myself (a mannequin nicknamed "Molly") I was able to work out the idea satisfactorily, incorporating side shaping within the ribbed sections by working the crochet stitches lengthwise in graduated heights. This tunic is crocheted in one of my favorite CEY yarns, the high-quality mercerized Egyptian cotton Provence.  Since I've had the good fortune of working with this yarn in previous designs (Ambu, Fresh Air Bag, RidgelineKerchief) the crocheting in this cool blue shade sped right along.

When I placed the finished garment on "Molly" I was rather amazed that it turned out exactly as envisioned:


 
  
The tunic appears as Nahara in the Sunny Day booklet. My first inkling that the pattern had been publicly revealed were messages from Ravelrymembers commenting positively on the design. Even DM remarked on how beautiful Nahara looks in the garden setting in the fashion photograph:



Thanks again to Classic Elite Yarns for the opportunity to contribute to their excellent pattern collections (and especially for making Abelonaa cover girl.) The release of Sunny Day certainly made the sun shine for this designer!



Some of Kathy’s previous designs:
From left to right: Maxime, Ambu, Fresh Air Bag and Ridgeline Kerchief  

Sunny Day

The ground hog says 6 more weeks of winter. Honestly, I am not surprised. The Farmer’s Almanac said we were going to have a long hard winter this year. Personally, I put a little more faith in that than the ground hog anyway. And if you don’t put your faith in either of those, just look at the record lows that North America has had over the past few weeks.

But while we are waiting for the snow to melt and the temperature to rise, we can start thinking about spring…right? Right.

Our newest collection, Sunny Day, is full of fun flirty projects, with lots of feminine details. All of these pieces are great layering pieces that will work with your current wardrobe as you transition into spring which will be here soon (the first day of spring is March 20….but who’s counting?)


Savita is an open front lace cardigan with ruffle details knit in Soft Linen and a great transition piece. Soft Linen is made not only out of linen, but also wool and alpaca…which makes it an ideal year round yarn.  Made using a bottom up construction and yoke design, this piece has minimal finishing.


Another great cardigan in this book is Arpina. Made from our newest yarn, Cerro, it features a one button closure at the neck and a double ruffle at the hem. But what is really great about this piece is that it is crocheted.


So often crochet is over looked, but we are featuring not 1, not 2, but 3 amazing garments in crochet in Sunny Day.

The other 2 are Orli , a maxi skirt with lots of lace detail out of Firefly, and Nahara, a ribbed tunic with granny square motifs down the center, in Provence.

 

Take a peek at some of the other garments in the book in this short video -


I hope I have your mind racing towards longer days and higher mercury. It won’t be long before spring is here. And I know you will want your hand knitted wardrobe to be ready!

Knit on.