Posts filed under Pattern Review

Norwegian Elkhound & Windschief

Windschief by Stephen West is one of my favorite hat patterns; it works easily for both men and women, and it’s fun and quick to knit, making it a great pattern for last minute gifts.  The pattern also includes instructions to create a matching cowl, making the pattern even more valuable.  The pattern features ribbing on one fourth of the pattern, with the rest being stockinette.  I created our sample out of Norwegian Elkhound in Muddy Paws.

The pattern starts out with  1:1 ribbing, then goes into the stockinette on the rest of the hat, with the ribbing from the brim continuing up and angling with increases and decreases.  This is a pattern that is easily memorized, and uses measurements rather than row counts to determine when to continue on to the next section, which makes it forgiving for different yarns and gauges.  The main difference between the cowl and the hat is how the bind off is handled; with the hat, there are decreases until 8 stitches remain, whereas the cowl has ribbing to mirror the beginning of the pattern.

I’ve made this hat 3 times now, once with my first colored handspun yarn and twice with Norwegian Elkhound, and I am still in love with the pattern.  There are three sizes available in the pattern, and the pattern is available in English, Japanese, and German.  Find this pattern here!

This was the first time I had knit with any of my handspun, and it's my favorite hat!

This hat is also out of Norwegian Elkhound, in Bark Mitzvah.

Posted on July 9, 2014 and filed under Pattern Review.

Saluki & Cloud Illusions

Last October I got married, and before I even had my dress, I knew that I wanted to make some sort of shawl for the occasion.  I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the delicate-looking BFL & silk laceweight yarn, Saluki, as well as use one of my favorite colorways, Barking Up The Right Tree.  After searching through hundreds and hundreds of patterns, I opted for Cloud Illusions, by Boo Knits.  I have made many patterns from Boo Knits, who is known for versatile lace patterns that can be easily customized to the desires of the knitter or the limits of the yarn.  

Because Boo Knits’ patterns can have a lot of different options, I looked through all of the projects made with the pattern on Ravelry, and see if there are any variations I liked more than others.  For Cloud Illusions, there are options for small and large versions of either a garter stitch body or a stockinette stitch body (referred to as stocking stitch in the pattern), and then the lace or extended lace section, as well as beading options.  I chose to go with the stocking stitch body and the normal lace section, to keep the shawl smaller, and added my own beading option in the lace section rather than just the border.  

The method of casting on is typical for many shawls, in that it starts with 9 rows of 2 stitches, and picks up stitches around the knit area.  The shawl continues on easily with either the garter or stocking stitch option.  When the appropriate amount of stitches have been made for the size desired, it goes on to the lace section in addition to a change to a larger needle size.  As with the rest of her patterns, Boo Knits includes written out and charted lace, for those with preferences.  The lace border, which also is written out and charted, includes instructions for adding beads if desired.  Finally, a picot bind off is used to create a delicate ending to the lace sections.  

Because this shawl was made for a special occasion in mind, I used Swarovski beads, but seed beads work fine as well.  You can buy the pattern here.

And, as a bonus, here's some pictures from our wedding, courtesy of OMG Photography.  You can click on the pictures to see them larger.

This was right after the ceremony. Copyright OMG Photography

We went to the zoo afterwards.  We're petting a goat. Copyright OMG Photography

Of course I'm knitting at my reception. Copyright OMG Photography

We also had giant Jenga.  (I won.)  Copyright OMG Photography

Posted on June 25, 2014 and filed under Pattern Review.

Borzoi & Mica Tam

While searching for hats to show off a skein of our Borzoi yarn, I came across Laura Nelkin's Mica Tam, a beautiful lace hat that incorporates seed beads into the lace motif.  I've been a fan of Laura's designs for years, and I met her (for about two minutes) at TNNA last year.  She designs knitted jewelry patterns and sells beautiful kits, and the yarn store I worked at sold some of them.  She's been published in many different places, including Knitty, Interweave, Creative Knitting, and various books.

The hat starts off with a nice twisted ribbing around the edge, and transitions into the lace section, which was delightfully easy to memorize.  She offers the lace section of the pattern both written out and in chart form, with pretty standard symbols, and clearly notes where the bead placement is.  The decrease section also has its own chart/written section and carries no surprises.  This pattern was very quick to make, and it was very enjoyable.

One of the things that can scare people away from patterns with beading is that beads look very complicated to add to knitting; delightfully, they're not!  Beads are usually added beforehand and incorporated into the knitting, or added during with a crochet hook or floss.  This pattern was very mindful of the possibility that readers might not know how to deal with beads, and included a link to an instructional video in Laura’s pattern.  And, if you don't enjoy beading, they are entirely optional!

The addition of the seed beads to the Borzoi (colorway: Rolling in the Grass) made the hat sparkle and shine, showing off the luxurious nature of the BFL and bamboo.  While the style of the hat doesn't work for my head (I think I have too much hair...), it's adorable and great for spring or fall weather.  Click here to purchase the pattern!

Posted on May 14, 2014 and filed under Pattern Review.

Bluetick Coonhound & Andrea's Shawl

Andrea’s Shawl, designed by Kristen Kapur, found its way onto my radar through a casual search on Ravelry, and once I saw it I knew that it would be a perfect colorwork pattern to show off a few skeins of Bluetick Coonhound.  The shawl offers itself in three sizes, and because it’s knit from the bottom to top, the differences in size are mostly noticeable in the edging.  I chose to make the smallest size out of one skein of Pavlov and one skein of Hushpuppy, two highly contrasting but delightfully compatible colors.  

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The shawl starts out with a provisional cast on using the first color, the 7 stitch edging is worked to make the size specified.  I found that it went rather quickly, and it was easy enough to tell where in the 4 row pattern I was at if I lost track.  After the edging completion, the yarn is cut and stitches are picked up along the straight side of the edge. Once the stitches have been picked up, the lace pattern begins; although the lace looks somewhat complicated when looking at the finished project, the pattern was very simple to complete.  After the border section is completed, the second color is switched in every other two rows in stockinette, decreasing until there are only a few stitches left.  A final edging is added to match the bottom edging, with stitches picked up all along the body.

I found this pattern to be very fun to make because of the lace edging and the visual interest of using more than one color, and it only took a week to make.  The shawl really stands out in Bluetick Coonhound because of the yarn’s incredible stitch definition, and the texture of the shawl very smooth and smooshy.  It’s heavy enough of a shawl to keep shoulders covered on chilly days, yet it was light enough to wear while I was in Florida in the springtime.  Plus, when there are so many great color combinations waiting to be made in our line, what’s stopping you from casting on?  The pattern can be purchased here.

 

Posted on January 1, 2014 and filed under Pattern Review.

Afghan Hound & Saethwr

After the October Yarnbox containing Fiber Hound’s yarn were shipped out, my friend and owner of Annie Yarn, Annie Riley, began designing a pair of mitts with the two skeins of Afghan Hound.  She set out to design a colorwork pattern with the two colorways, Sirius and Hushpuppy, that would gracefully feature both colors as well as a striking design.

 Annie's version of Saethwr in Hushpuppy and Sirius

Annie's version of Saethwr in Hushpuppy and Sirius

“The word saethwr is Welsh for archer and is pronounced (roughly) sigh-THOOR. As I looked at the finished design, what immediately came to mind was archery, and therefore, an archer. I tossed around the idea of simple naming them Archer Gloves, but I felt it was too boring. So I looked up various translations of the word and settled on Welsh.

The shaping in the rows, made with well-placed decreases and increases, creates arrow-like stripes pointing toward the knuckles as you alternate between two yarn colors. Ribbing on the under side provides plenty of stretch for a snug yet comfortable fit, and the gusseted thumbs allow for range of motion while still being easy to knit.”

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I was very eager to start my own pair of mitts with Every Dog Has Its Day and Old Yeller, a combination I found surprisingly beautiful.

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The cuffs start out with a 1:1 ribbing and transitioning into stockinette.  On the front side, the pattern starts a decrease and increase routine that results in a chevron design with the back side being horizontal stripes.  After completing the desired amount of stripes, a common thumb gusset is introduced, which is the first time the pattern differentiates between the left and right hand.  The mitts are finished with the color they started with and completed with a simple bind off.  The best part is that the mitts don’t require blocking and can be worn right away!

These mitts were a ton of fun to make, and simple enough for me to be able to work on while distracted with other things. I was also able to make them fairly quickly which makes them a wonderful weekend project.  I’m very excited to finally wear these gorgeous mitts out this winter!  You can purchase the Saethwr pattern here.

Posted on December 25, 2013 and filed under Pattern Review.