Hibiscus Stripe Pattern and July Color

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First, Sasha is about four months old now, and just getting more fun. Belle has really stepped up and never complains about taking care of her. Starting this weekend, puppy class for our puppy!

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Race to the Cookie Jar: July Colorway

We invited members of the Cookie Crumbs Knitalong Ravelry Group to help us create and name our July colorway, and they came up with a fun one!

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Based on the group’s suggestions and votes, this running shoe colorway was most popular, and they named it “Race to the Cookie Jar.”

So here’s our new yarn! Thanks to all of the Cookie Crumbs members that participated in this fun project.

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Here’s a new treat we’ve discovered that Mike and I are both a little addicted to.

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If you thought Nutella couldn’t be improved upon (like me) here’a a lovely surprise. Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is like an even more sumptuous and grown-up version, with more chocolate punch and the texture of real hazelnuts. It’s not exactly budget-conscious, but a little goes a long way! (Of course, you can see we’ve already eaten most of this jar….)

Hibiscus Stripe Shawl

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I’m very excited to introduce you to my new shawl pattern, Hibiscus Stripe! I wanted to create kettle dyes to complement the gradients so you could stripe them all the way through and never hit a patch where they looked too similar. For this one, I took the soft purple of the gradient colorway and made it a bit darker so that it’s similar, but always distinct in the stripes.

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The pattern was super fun to create; I wanted to take the structure and shape of the Silk Moon Crescent and make it even more intuitive.

 Hibiscus Stripe makes the same crescent shape, but this time all of the increases are inside the body of the shawl in a very easy-to-memorize sequence.

And, of course, what’s not to love about garter and stripes! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, we’re working diligently in the Lair getting ready for Stitches Midwest, and are even planning to release a new gradient yarn color there. All I’ll say is that it’s called Diva. 🙂

Take care, knitters,

Jaala

 

 

Hitch Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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Today I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour AND you can win a digital copy!

Hitch includes 29 patterns from different designers; you’ll find sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks. And shawls!

As you may know, Stephannie Tallent, the editor of this volume, worked closely with me as a tech editor for Knitcircus magazine and helped develop our excellent templates and tech-editing workflows. She can edit a pattern like nobody’s business, designs gorgeous, intricate patterns and has a vision for beautifully-designed and executed garments of all kinds.

I was thrilled when Stephannie released her first book, California Revival Knits, and happy to get a chance to be part of this collection honoring the work of one of her favorite directors. If you look at the cover, my design, the Miss Fremont shawl, was lucky enough to get a cameo there!

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The Hitchcock film I like best is Rear Window, so I looked at Grace Kelly’s costumes, other sketches by costume designer Edith Head and other clothing of the time for inspiration. I was particularly struck by the full New Look skirt with flowers radiating from the waist, so took that as the inspiration for my shawl design.

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The Half-Pi shawl is a favorite shape of mine, so within that construction, I chose a lace pattern to echo the feminine floral of the skirt. Here you can see the original sketch, the lace swatch, and final shawl blocked and pinned. Believe it or not, this was designed before I began dyeing gradients, but you can see that the idea was definitely starting to unfold! The shawl is worked in Blue Sky’s Alpaca Sport Weight, 100% baby alpaca, which was a joy to knit, soft, fuzzy and drapey, so perfect for a shawl.

So many wonderful designers are represented in Hitch, which uses red, white and black to highlight the drama and suspense of the theme. Go check out all the Hitch Designs on Ravelry and tell me which one you’d like to knit first! Leave a blog comment, and the Random Number Generator will choose a winner for us Sunday evening, the 17th of November.

Want to participate in a Knit-A-Long or hear about more giveaways? Join the Hitch group on Ravelry.

The Full Blog Tour

9/28/2013: Sunset Cat Designs
10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/05/13: Knit One, Heart Too Podcast
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts (you’re here!)
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/22/2013: A B-ewe-tiful Design
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami

Balm to the Soul Knitalong Tips

The Balm to the Soul Knitalong got off to a whiz-bang start yesterday, with knitters casting on in beautiful yarns from Cascade 220 to Malabrigo. Many knitters successfully found stash yarn for the project, making it particularly satisfying…

If you’re knitting the shawl, or thinking about it, here are the construction and techniques tips so far:

GENERAL SHAWL CONSTRUCTION
The Balm to the Soul Shawlette is a Double Triangle shawl. That means that you’re going to be increasing in the middle (called the spine) and on the edges (borders) as we go along, creating a large triangle that’s actually made of two smaller triangles.
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It seems funny, but when we cast on, we’re starting at the middle of the long, flat edge of the triangle, and the increases will shape it into the two triangles as we go.

STOCKINETTE START TIPS
The shawl starts with a good long Stockinette portion, so you can get used to the increase pattern before you do anything fancy.

You’ll be increasing along each side (border) of the shawl and at the midpoint (spine) every Right Side row. For the first 44 rows, on the Wrong Sides, you just work in Stockinette stitch, which means you get to purl every stitch on that row.

A very important note: because you’re using yarnover increases that make the shawl bigger (not paired with decreases) you will be actually adding stitches at the sides and midpoint of the shawl every right side row. This means that, if you use regular stitch markers, they will get moved away from their target stitch every time you increase. This can be VERY confusing.

It is sometimes hard to see the midpoint stitches among all the purled stitches on the Wrong Side, so I recommend using a coilless safety pin or latching marker and attaching it to the midpoint stitch. Just move it every few rows so you can tell which stitch is the midpoint. You’ll work a YO on either side of this marked midpoint stitch on the Right Side of your work, and purl the stitches on either side of it on the Wrong Side.

This is no big deal in the Stockinette section, because you’re purling everything on the back side already, but when you get to the texture stitches, you’ll continue to work the Spine and Border stitches in Stockinette, so you’ll want to be able to see the midpoint stitch. In the texture sections, you’ll work seed or garter stitch for all of the shawl body stitches, then purl the three Spine stitches and two Border Stitches on the Wrong Side of the work.

GENERAL PATTERN NOTES
The new, updated version of the pattern contains a lot more information than the original, including many more line-by-line instructions and stitch counts. It also has expanded construction and techniques notes for all of the sections of the shawl.

If you’re not very familiar with following a pattern, it’s very important to read all of the Notes in the Pattern Notes section first, so you’re ready to work the instructions when you get there. It’s also important to know that the line-by-line instructions for the basic Crest of the Wave lace pattern are in the Pattern Notes, so you’ll need to turn back to that page for written instructions if you’re not comfortable reading a chart.

The one tricky section in the shawl is the Lace section, because you have to follow the written instructions for each line, and at the same time follow the lace chart. The line-by-line instructions tell you how to work the stitches on either side of the lace chart, which is repeated six-and-a-half times. But don’t worry! By the time you get to the lace chart, you’ll be familiar with the shawl construction and will do just fine.

WORKING THE LACE PATTERN
This is where the shawl can get tricky if you’re new to lace, or new to the idea of a double triangle, but no worries! You can totally do this.
The most important thing to remember is that the shawl is increasing by four stitches every right side row, which means one stitch on each side of the lace pattern every RS row. But the lace pattern stays the same! The number of stitches in the lace pattern does not change as the shawl gets bigger. This means that you will be adding stitches on either side of your lace pattern, but they won’t be part of the lace pattern, they’ll be worked in Stockinette Stitch. You’ll start with 3 stitches on one side of your lace panel and 2 on the other, and the next RS row, you’ll have 4 and 3, then next 5 and 4, etc. You get little Stockinette Stitch triangles on either side of your lace pattern, and that’s how it’s supposed to look. 🙂
Here’s a chart showing how that happens. This just shows one lace repeat, and has it starting with one stitch on each side (in blue).
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The other thing to know about the lace pattern is that you’ll be working half of the lace pattern just before the stockinette stitches on either side of the spine. Instead of 4 yarnovers and 4 matching decreases, you’ll only have two on each side. These are mirrored so that you have yarnovers and k2tog on the first side and yarnovers and ssk on the second side, so they look symmetrical. It’s just the same as for the regular lace repeat, only you stop in the middle!
Here’s a photo of the lace pattern, St st triangle and spine where they all meet up.
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Enjoy your weekend, everyone! By a miracle of sports scheduling, today is game-free, so we can do whatever looks fun in the 90-degree temps. Water, popsicles and/or ice cream will be involved…

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Balm to the Soul Knitalong

Today’s the day, the start of the Balm to the Soul Shawlette KAL! The pattern includes directions for both DK and worsted-weight yarn, taking only 220 yards of worsted or 300 of DK. You begin with a nice stockinette section to get used to the increase pattern, then add a bit of texture, and filnally, finish with one lace repeat.

This is going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see the projects unfold!

Here’s my DK version, worked in Berroco Vintage DK. The worsted lilac shawl above is in local favorite Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mills‘ Mer Maid kettle-dyed yarn.

We’ll have prizes and surprises throughout the KAL, which goes until August 1; here’s the first one now!

A big prize for a lucky finisher: two skeins of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the color Damask, more than enough to complete another shawlette!

Please join us in the KAL for some good ol’ summer fun.

Silk Moon Knitalong Surprise: Knitty Bawdon!

The Silk Moon Shawlette Knitters are amazing; we have Silk Moons now in solids, kettle-dyed and self-striping yarns, and even a watermelon slice shawl!

The next KAL surprise is from one of my faves:

Knitty Bawdon is a Madison talent who makes these lovely beaded, snagless stitch markers (she also makes the small ring markers I find myself using all the time). One lucky member of the Silk Moon KAL Group will be chosen at random tomorrow to receive this set of 6 handmade stitch markers with filigree trim. Whether you’ve finished four shawls, or just cast on your first one today, you could win!

There are still eight days left of the Knitalong, and many people have finished in less than that amount of time. If you’ve cast on by May 25th, your project will still be counted as part of the KAL.

ETA We have a winner! The Random Number Generator picked cathey on Ravelry. Woot!