Demeter

Knitted skirts…you either love them, or hate them. But no one can deny that their popularity is on the rise. Case in point – Demeter by Alison Stewart-Guinee from the newest issue of Twist Collective.



This cute skirt is knit from one of our favorite all season yarns, Chesapeake. Made from organic cotton and merino wool, it is the ideal yarn for a skirt. The cotton makes it light and drapey, while the wool will help the garment keep its shape (no droopy bottoms here!)



The pattern is written top-down in one piece (have I ever mentioned on the blog before that I hate seaming and love making things in one piece?). The only trick to this pattern is that the correct side is reverse stockinette, so there is more purling than knitting…but think of all the purling practice you will get!



I really love that the ‘stems’ of the leaves are on the diagonal. It helps give the illusion of the skirt being knit on the bias…which is extremely flattering for most body shapes.


The picot bind off is the perfect finish to the skirt. It helps ensure that your bind off has a little extra give, which will complement the a-line shape of the skirt.



I think this could be the perfect knitted skirt. I can see it now with a long sleeve t-shirt and some flats. It would also be great in the summer with a tank and some sandals. And you don’t dare pack it up come fall…just throw a pair of tights and boots on underneath and pair it with a long sleeve blouse and a jacket.

Knit on!

Photos courtesy of Twist Collective, Linus Ouellet, photographer.

Tips for Carrying Yarn Up the Side of Your Work

A few weeks ago I told you I was starting a Nymphalidea shawl. I have been plugging away on it and have made some good progress.



I wanted to share a little tip that I figured out along the way about carrying yarn up the side of your work.

When you are working stripes you don’t have to worry about catching the yarn that you are carrying every row. But if you are working more than 2 rows before changing colors, it’s a good idea to catch the yarn in the side of your work, so you don’t get an ugly pull.

In this pattern you work 2 rows of the contrast color (in my case the multi-color pink Alpaca Sox) and 4 rows of the main color (the kettle dyed purple Alpaca Sox). So I will want to catch the multi-colored yarn on the side between rows 2 and 3 of working with the purple.

It’s so simple and only takes a few seconds. I promise. And so worth it!

I work rows 1 and 2 of the purple just like I normally would. When starting row 3 I will insert my needle into the first stitch, just like always

BUT…I will pick up my multi-colored yarn and wrap it (DON”T TAKE IT OFF THE NEEDLE YET!)



Then I pick up the purple yarn and wrap it clockwise (from front to back) while still leaving the stitch on the needle. I now have 2 yarns wrapped around the needle



Now, I don’t want my stitch to be knit with both yarns, so I unwrap my multi-colored yarn



And then I finish the stitch like I normally do.



This will case your first stitch of that row to be twisted, but it makes such a nice wrap, that it is worth it.

Wrong side

Right side


It’s a simple trick that only takes a few seconds, but can take your FO from being homemade to HANDMADE.

This is also a great tip when you are working a Fair Isle pattern that have more than 6 or 7 stitches between color changes.

Backside of Fair Isle with floats "caught"

Now I only need to decide how much bigger to make my shawl…


Knit on!

Dye Lots…why they are important and how to work around them

Most of you already know the importance of dye lots. But it’s always good to have a refresher!

Each time a yarn is dyed, there is a chance that the lot will be slightly different from the last time it was dyed.  Of course, the mills and the dyers do their best to keep it consistent…but they (and we) can't guarantee that it will always be the EXACT same color.

When buying yarn for a project, you want all of the yarn to come from the same dye lot. Makes sense, right? No one wants to make the bulk of a project, run out of yarn and have it be a different lot number. It wouldn't be good if the sleeves of your sweater were a slightly different color. And believe me…many knitters before you have had this happen (see below).

Now there are times when you innocently don't buy enough yarn…during a crazy yarn sale when you just can't pass up those few skeins; when you are on vacation and see some yarn you love, but don’t know what you want to make; buying yarn for one size and then deciding to make another or if you can’t afford all the yarn for your project at once and have to buy a little here and little there (If this is the case…talk to your LYS, they may be willing to hold some for you; we have all had economic hardships at some point in our lives and they might be able to either hold some or do a layaway plan).

But what happens when you are a few skeins short of the perfect sweater that you MUST make?

Don’t despair…there is a solution! It’s referred to as stranding.

The first thing you should do is figure out how much more yarn you are going to need. This will help you figure out how much stranding you will have to do. For example, if you only need 1 or 2 more skeins, you could only strand on the sleeves. But if you need yarn for half your sweater, you might have to strand the whole project.

Great! But…what is standing?

Stranding is when you work 2 rows from dye lot A and then 2 rows from dye lot B. What you are really doing is making very subtle stripes with your 2 different lots.

I will be the first to tell you that stranding isn’t ideal. You have to carry 2 balls of yarn around with you and carry it up the side of your work as you go (I have a knack for getting the 2 balls tangled together). But trust me…it is way better than having part of your project be a different color. Case in point…this sweater I made several years ago, when I didn’t realize I had 2 different dye lots going.


Not really an ideal spot for a color change. Needless to say, this project was frogged.

I also highly recommend stranding if you are working with hand or kettle dyed yarn (unless it is a one ball project). Even though these lots are small, it can be difficult to get a consistent color through the lot. Better safe than sorry, I always say!

If you need to buy more yarn for your project, let your LYS know that you have a dye lot you are looking for. They can always ask us (and other suppliers) when they call to place the new order if we have that lot in stock. If we do, we are happy to send it (we are knitters too and understand the frustration of not having enough yarn for a project).

My hope for you, dear knitter, is that you will always have enough yarn in the right dye lot. But if you don’t…now you know how to deal with it.


Knit on!

Silhouettes

April is finally here…which means that I get to tell you about our newest book, Silhouettes.

For this book we decided to focus on easy-to-wear garments with unusual construction and details.

The perfect example of this is the Salina top designed by Tonia Barry. At first glance it looks like a simple v-neck top. But if you look closer you will see that it is knit from side-to-side.

 

Using two colors of Cerro, it’s knit from the center out, starting with a provisional cast on. The stripes change in thickness giving it the illusion of waist shaping, even though there isn't any. Which makes it…wait for it…even easier!

Derby designed by Susan Mills is waterfall cardigan that is knit is 3 pieces…2 really small ones and one REALLY big one. Simple lace keeps this piece from being too boring, yet can be a Zen-like experience (go ahead and rent that movie with subtitles, each row of the lace stacks nicely on top of the previous one).



Knit in Sanibel this cardigan can be a staple for any woman’s wardrobe. You know…that piece that you will grab as you are running out the door, no matter what you are wearing (jeans and a t-shirt or a spring dress).

One of the more popular pieces from this book is the Wellington, knit in Bella Lino designed by Tian Foley.



From the front this tank is a simple silhouette with just a touch of lace at the neckline. But turn it around and you will see the split back and the button and tie details.



If an open back isn't your style, Silhouettes lets you know how to make Wellington with more traditional closed back too.

There are lots of other good pieces in the book. Make sure to check them all out!

Knit on!