Check out our knockers!

Greetings from Stitches Texas!  We’re having a blast in booth 517, talking to crafters and, okay, maybe doing a little shopping of our own.

However, we want to share something else with you.  While we’re at Stitches Texas, we’re showing our knockers to the world!

knockers-sign

We speak, of course, of knitted knockers, which we made to support knittedknockers.org.  It’s a great organization dedicated to providing knitted prostheses to women who have lost a breast to cancer.  For this contest, each vote is one dollar, with proceeds benefitting the organization.  It’s a creative way to help people in need.

We entered two pairs in the contest.

knockers-on-sign

First, Sparkle Nation!  Designed by Amy Gunderson, these use our 10th anniversary yarn, Universe.  There’s a “best branding” category, so we made sure to brand these knockers.

Not that kind of branding.
Not that kind of branding.

Sparkle Boobs!

Amy put a little “UY” at the base.  We love these fancy sparkly numbers.  Frankly, we’d put our knockers up against anybody else’s any day of the week.

But those aren’t the only pair we’ve got on display!

knockers-in-lingerie-on-sign

Designer Tori Gurbisz is new to our team, but has instantly fit right in with the Universal family.  She designed a pair in Bamboo Pop, complete with frilly Whisper Lace lingerie.

Ooh La La!

Tori used her pair to make the point that every woman deserves to feel beautiful.  The ribboned lace is symbolic of that.

If you’re at Stitches Texas and feel like judging peoples’ knockers, go by the wall and see what’s front and center.  Our knockers could always use support, but however you vote, it’s all for a good cause. There are some truly bodacious entries and more than a handful really stand out and demand attention.

If you’re interested in helping, visit http://www.knittedknockers.org for patterns and more.

Happy knitting!

Free Pattern Friday – One Side Cowl

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

one-side-cowl-loose-blog

 

Today, the One Side Cowl in Bamboo Bloom Handpaints.

Recently, we sent some stitching work to a talented local knitter and teacher, Sandy Harris.  (Side note about Sandy – she’s also a creator of the knitting game Last Knitter Standing.  If you haven’t tried it, you should – it’s a hoot.) When we got Sandy’s project back, we were delighted to also receive this – a new one-skein pattern in Bamboo Bloom Handpaints!  She had picked up a skein of the yarn and been inspired.  It’s not hard to see why – Steven Be’s custom colorways certainly fire the imagination.

one-side-cowl-wide-square-blogSandy has created a moebius cowl with judiciously spaced yarn overs for additional pizzazz.  This cowl-with-a-twist uses a moebius cast-on, which may be a new technique for some of you.  It certainly is for me!  With that in mind, our newest designer, Tori Gurbisz, volunteered her hands to show us how it’s done.  These photos cover Row 1 of the moebius cast-on in the pattern.

moebius-caston-1-blog moebius-caston-2-blog moebius-caston-3-blog moebius-caston-4-blog moebius-caston-5-blogmoebius-caston-6-blogmoebius-caston-7-blog

You’re going to wind up with a loop within a loop.  Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be kind of “tied” to itself like that.  This technique will put a half-twist in your finished cowl.

We hope you get the chance to try something new this weekend.  And if you’ve got questions, let us know – we love to help!

Happy knitting!

one-side-cowl-shoulders-square-blog

 

Deluxe Cable Knitalong – Increasing in Pattern

Hi, Cable Crossers! How’s it stitchin’? If you’re not already knitting along with us during our Deluxe Cable Collection fun times knitalong, you can learn more by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Today I’m going to talk about a topic that drives many a knitter craaaazzzy: increasing in pattern. I touched on  this topic during our Rocked knitalong last year. You can read that blog post here.

Why are patterns written with the confusing instructions of “maintain increased stitches in pattern” or other similar sounding garble? Well, there are a couple of reasons I do this in some patterns:

  1. In my example below with the Greensboro Cardigan, I could have had the pattern running only up the center part of the sleeve and had the sides of the sleeve worked in stockinette or reverse stockinette. This would have made “maintaining increased stitches in patter” much easier. But I didn’t want to do that here. I wanted this sweater to have an all-over cable and rib patterning, gosh darn it.
  2. If I was writing a pattern for only one size, I could easily explain in detail how each newly incorporated stitch should be treated. But when writing a pattern for 5-6 sizes, this is tough to do and keep the pattern a reasonable length.

As you may recall, Jannie (a new knitter here in the office) decided to knit the Greensboro Cardigan.

Greensboro_095_hires

She did a little swatching, and then cast on for her sleeve, shown below:

greensboro_sleeve-in-prog

Now that she’s done with her cuff ribbing, it’s time to move onto the pattern. Because Jannie is doing all kinds of new things with this project (making a garment, reading charts, doing twisted crosses), I didn’t want to add increasing in pattern to the mix. So I made her a special chart for her sleeve that shows all of the increases.

Here is what the chart looks like in the pattern:

The chart shows you the pattern repeat, and where to begin and end for your size. Once the increases begin, you must incorporate these new stitches into the already established cable and rib.

I’ve found that for some knitters, the idea of doing this just clicks. After learning a new stitch pattern, they’ve memorized it enough that intuitively they know what the next stitch should be. Of course this will depend on the complexity of a stitch pattern, as well.

With other knitters, it’s a struggle to wrap their head around. It’s just the difference in how our brains visualize and process. If you’re in the second group – don’t fret. You can do what I did for Jannie – make yourself a custom chart.

greensborocardigan_janniesleeve

If you don’t have a graphics program or know how to make charts like this, it’s okay. You can do it by hand on graph paper. You can even use a spreadsheet program to make charts. After all, we’re just talking about a bunch of symbols inside of squares.

Happy cabling!

 

Free Pattern Friday – Interlacement Sweater

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

interlacementsweater2_deluxeworsted_hires

Today, the Interlacement Sweater in Deluxe Worsted.

The weather’s cooling down, and you know what that means.

At last!  Sweater weather! Who doesn’t love sweater weather?

Revenge will be mine.
That was a rhetorical question.

interlacementsweater4_deluxeworsted_hiresWell, we have something pretty and polished for you.  The Interlacement Sweater is designed for our Deluxe Worsted 100% wool (220yds/100g), which means it would work equally well in Deluxe Worsted Superwash or Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash if you’re looking for something you can toss in the washing machine.

Knitted flat and seamed, this pattern is written and charted and contains a schematic.  The lace inserts are right and left twists – no cable needle required.

We hope you enjoy this lovely project, and that you get to enjoy the Autumn breeze at least once this weekend.

Happy crafting!

corgi-in-sweater
Yes! Sweater weather!!

Free Pattern Friday – Storytime Cardi

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

ddk-tweed-storytime-cardi_square

Today, the Storytime Cardi in Deluxe DK Tweed Superwash.

Is it storytime, then?  I think it is!

dw-tweed-and-dk-stacked-100Once upon a time, there was a yarn named Deluxe DK Tweed Superwash.  It was just a bit smaller than its big sibling, Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash.  DK wondered, “What can people make with me?  I’m littler than you are!”

And DW answered, “Ah, but you’re just right for so many things!  Lots of people want a littler yarn for littler people!”  And DW was right!  People did want DK for kid projects.

Continue reading Free Pattern Friday – Storytime Cardi

Catawba River Poncho – Picking up Stitches

Greetings knitalongers! After joining shoulder seams on my Catawba River Poncho last week, I’m all set to pick up stitches for my side ribbing.

At this stage, my poncho is starting to look like a wearable thing. Which is exciting! All that’s left now is the side ribbing and then the collar. The side ribbing is more of the mock eyelet ribbing pattern, the same stitch pattern that’s used on the hem.

As you can see before the ribbing is added, I have an unattractive rolled stockinette thing going on here at the sides of my piece. But this will soon change.

PickingUpStitches_1

The instructions in the pattern state to “pick up and knit 162 (167, 177) sts. To pick up and knit stitches, I am going to pull through loops of yarn and place them on my knitting needle to form my base row.

But first things first. How in the heck do I figure out how to pick up that many stitches evenly along this thing? It can seem like daunting task, but I’m going to share a few of the little tricks I like to use when doing this.

I’m making the small size, which means I need to pick up and knit 162 stitches. I’m going to break this down into more manageable numbers.

My usual method is to cut the length in half, then in half again, and again, until I get to a small enough section that doesn’t hurt my head. If I wanted in the illustration below, I could have halved the 20 stitch sections to 10, but I’m comfortable with 20 stitches at a time.

PickingUpStitches_3.5

162 / 8 sections  = 20.25 stitches per section. I’m going to solve this by making 2 of my sections 21 stitches instead of 20. In the scheme of things, a stitch here or there rarely makes much of a difference. I placed safety pins at each of my divisions

Next, I need to figure out the rate at which I’m going to pick up my stitches. I counted the rows in a couple of my 20-stitch sections, and found that each of these had 24 rows. I will be picking up 20 stitches over 24 rows.

Now I’m going to put some of my fancy math skills to work with fractions! 20/24 can be reduced to 5/6. This means I’m going to be picking up 5 stitches for every 6 rows. For you, this number could be the same, but it could also be different. It all depends on your row gauge.

To pick up and knit, I’m first going to start at the right-hand side of the piece. In most cases when I’m picking up stitches, I like to pick up between the outermost stitch and the next stitch in. In a super chunky yarn, I might pick up in the center of the outermost stitch to reduce the bulky of the seam. But Deluxe Chunky isn’t too heavy, so I’m going one stitch in as usual.

PickingUpStitches_4

 

Insert your needle into the space between those first two stitches. Wrap yarn around the needle,

PickingUpStitches_5

 

And pull through.

PickingUpStitches_6

 

Here we are with a few picked up stitches on the needle.

PickingUpStitches_7

 

And with the first 21 stitches on the needle. My markers make it easy to see my sections and to count back to make sure I have the right number of stitches.

PickingUpStitches_8

 

Here are all the stitches on the needle:

PickingUpStitches_9

 

What you can’t see here, is that I picked up an extra stitch on one half of the piece. If this happens, it’s no big deal. Just k2tog or p2tog over the next row to adjust.

 

And, the edging completed:

PickingUpStitches_10

 

All that’s left is my other side edging, a collar, some blocking, and it’s done!

As I was sitting outside enjoying my evening the other night, I could smell the autumn in the air for the first time this year. It’s coming, people. It’s coming! How is your knitalong project coming?

 

Free Pattern Friday – Sunbeam Tunic

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Good Earth Multi Sunbeam main hi-res

Today, the Sunbeam Tunic in Good Earth Multi.

And now, the weather.

Hurricane Hermine 2016-09-01t22-31-18-9z--1280x720__790188.nbcnews-ux-1080-600

That’s Hurricane Hermine, bearing down on us like a very wet, very angry freight train.  Chance of rain: 100%.  Chance of us holing up with some good yarn: also 100%.  It’s time to bring a little sunshine indoors until this all blows over.

Good Earth Multi Sunbeam detail square

The Sunbeam Tunic in Good Earth Multi features sunny motifs to brighten up a dreary day.  Good Earth Multi linen/cotton blend (170yds/100g) is a great choice for this – the plant fibers let the tunic drape and fall without bunching up or grabbing onto an inner fabric layer.   Thsi should keep you busy enough to forget about the weather, but on a size 9 (5.5mm) hook, it won’t take forever to finish.

If you’re in the path of the storm, we hope you stay safe, warm, and dry.  We wish you all sunbeams and rainbows!

Happy crafting!

Good Earth Multi Sunbeam side hi-res

Catawba River Poncho – Joining Shoulders

Our Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong has been going strong for about 3 weeks now. If you’ve been thinking about joining, you can begin by reading through some of the blog posts here. It’s not too late to start! You can take part in sharing and conversation over on Ravelry in our knitalong group here.

Knitalong graphic hi-res

Today I want to cover a technique used in the Catawba River Poncho, the 3 needle bind-off. In this pattern, it is used to join the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces.

Here is my front piece of the poncho. My neck stitches have been bound-off already, and my shoulder stitches are sitting on the needle.

3ndl_1

 

And here are my front and back pieces with shoulders touching. They’re ready to become one!

3ndl_2

 

To begin, place the pieces with right sides together. You can see that I left my yarn attached to one of my pieces – one less end to weave in later!

3ndl_3

 

It’s important for each shoulder to be on a needle. I’m going to be knitting a stitch from each needle together to join them.

3ndl_4

 

Insert your right needle through the first stitch on the front needle, then through the first stitch on the back needle. Here, I’m just using the needle from the other end of one of my working circular needles. But if you find this awkward, you could use a spare double point or straight needle.

3ndl_5

 

Step 1: Knit the 2 stitches together and slip to the right needle.

3ndl_6

 

Step 2: Knit the next 2 stitches together and slip to your right needle – you now have 2 stitches on your right needle.

3ndl_7

 

Step 3: Bind off 1 stitch by passing the first stitch on the right needle over the second stitch.

3ndl_8

3ndl_9

 

Repeat steps 1-3 for a 3 needle bind-off. Here’s what it looks like after a few stitches have been bound off:

3ndl_10

 

Here is my first shoulder after joining:

3ndl_11

 

Both shoulders:

3ndl_11.5

 

You can see that this method produces a ridge, which is why it’s typically worked with wrong sides of pieces held together. But every now and then I like to use it as a design element and work it with wrong sides together.

 

And here’s my shoulder viewed from the right side:

3ndl_12

 

There are a few reasons I love a three needle bind-off. For one, I don’t have any seams to sew. I don’t really mind sewing seams, but I don’t just totally love doing it, either. I’d always rather be knitting than sewing a seam.

Second, a three needle bind-off makes it easy to line up pattern stitches, such as in the Catawba River Poncho. I could acheive the same look with a mattress stitch seam, but I prefer this method when possible.

Third, I find it easier to get a seam with good tension as opposed to a sewn seam. Oh, and fourth, a 3 needle bind-off makes for a very stable seam. Shoulder seams see a lot of stress. Especially in a piece like this worked in a bulky weight yarn, think about how much stress will be placed on the shoulders as the garment is hanging down from it.

Next time I’ll be back to talk more about this poncho! I’m going to be picking up stitches along the sides for my eyelet ribbing.

Are you knitting along? I would love to hear how you’re doing!

 

Free Pattern Friday – Corner to Corner Throw

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Classic Shades Corner to Corner Throw 1 hi-res

Today, the Corner to Corner Throw in Classic Shades.

We are so, so lucky to work with so many amazing LYSes.  Case in point:  we can enjoy the talents of  Alice Gossette and Kat Koeller of The Thankful Ewe in New Bremen, Ohio.  This dynamic duo have appeared here before, with the free Summer Shawl in Bamboo Pop.  They’ve graciously shared this design with us as well.

Classic Shades Corner to Corner Throw detail blogIt’s called the Corner to Corner Throw because it’s crocheted… wait for it… corner to corner!  We love how they coordinated Classic Shades 731 Natural Glow with solid Uptown Worsted in 328 Dijon for the fringe.  It’s a great choice that takes the throw up a notch.

Working corner to corner means that the bands of color change height as the rows lengthen and shorten, an excellent use of self-striping yarn.  It’s a simple way to give even more interest to an already striking pattern.

We hope you find time to work on something beautiful this weekend, either for yourself or for someone you love.

Happy crafting!

Classic Shades Corner to Corner Throw flat blog

Deluxe Knitalong – Status Updates

How are my fellow knitalongers doing? We’re all plugging away on our Deluxe Worsted Cable projects here in the office. I think we’re all enjoying the laid back nature of this knitalong. There is no pressure. No deadline. No rules, really. Just fun and learning!

If you haven’t joined us yet but think you’re in the mood for some cable knitting, it’s not too late to start! You can begin by picking a project from our latest ebook: Deluxe Worsted Cable Collection. You can read back through my other blog posts talking about the knitalong:

Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong (launch post)

Deluxe Knitalong: Gearing Up

Twists and Cables

The Mighty Spit Splice

Set-in Pockets, Part 1

You can also find all posts related to this knitalong by going the home page of our blog (http://blog.universalyarn.com/) and locating the category “Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong” on the left side of the page. And be sure to join the discussion over on Ravelry in our dedicated knitalong group.

Let me catch you up with how we’re doing with our projects over here.

Remember Angie who has never done cables before? She is now the proud owner of her very own Cold Mountain cabled hat. She also might kill me for posting this goofy picture of her.

ColdMountain_goofy

Angie made a couple of mods to this hat. She decided to knit the brim shorter than the original so it is not folded. She also eliminated the lace part and stuck with stockinette instead. I’m so proud of Angie – her cable and hat look so good. She’s waffling on a very important finishing decision: to pom-pom or not to pom-pom.

ColdMountain_flat

 

Heather is making progress on her two-at-a-time Tillery Socks.  She’s modeling them on her arm here so we can see the patterning better. Seeing them like this, I could definitely imagine these being turned into fingerless mitts or mittens, too.

Tillery socks on hand

 

Jen has cast-on for her Ballantyne Tee, modified to be knit in the round. This project is a nice balance of mindless reverse stockinette along with a little bit of patterning to keep things interesting.

Ballantyne_1

 

Tori has also opted to go for a one-piece project. Instead of knitting fronts and back separately, she cast on for the body to work it as one. Here’s her Eastover Vest after a few rows, sitting next to her swatch:

Tori's Eastover

 

If you remember, Jannie is a very new knitter, and this will be her first garment project. So exciting! She started swatching for her Greensboro Cardigan using Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash. Jannie was mostly getting the patterning right, but we discovered one little thing – over the twist cable stitches she was knitting these stitches on wrong side rows instead of purling them. But she’s not discouraged and is ready to continue on swatching and practicing the stitch pattern. Good attitude!

Greensboro_1

 

Yonca started on her Cumberland Poncho using Smoke Heather in Deluxe Worsted.  As is her usual way when working sleeves, fronts, or any other identical pieces, she’s working both rectangles of the poncho on the same needle at the same time. Unfortunately, Yonca discovered an issue with some of her twisted stitches so she’s going to have to rip out and start over. But as we all know, ripping is just part of the process sometimes! Luckily she’s not too far along.

 

Speaking of ripping, I’ve got quite a bit of this to do myself. I happily bound off the fronts of my Wesley Heights (modified to be a cardigan) the other day. I washed my fronts along with the back piece and laid them out on my blocking mats. So tell me, what’s wrong with this picture?

WesleyHeights_fronts_oops

Er, yeah. Even though I made myself a very clear note that to match length from the back piece, I needed to work 3 pattern repeats + 14 rows, somehow I managed to work 1 entire extra pattern repeat before moving to my armhole shaping. I thought I was ready to start seaming and knitting a collar. But alas, to the frog pond I go.

I’m also making progress on my Catawba River Poncho. Look out for tutorials related to this over the next couple of weeks.

Catawba_inprog_2

And I decided I also need a Dilworth Shawl in a nice bright color:

Dilworth_1

 

And that’s it from us? How are you doing? I’d love to hear about it!