Sunday Swatch – Poems Forte

Today’s swatch is in Poems Forte.

Poems Forte swatch

I say “swatch” but it seems to have turned into a scarf.  I cast on at my local knit night and with all the good conversation and company, my little swatch ran away from me.  I found myself at the end of the ball, wondering where the time had gone.  And no wonder – on 10mm(US15) needles, this yarn knits up quickly.

Sunday Swatch - Poems Forte

This 12-stitch swatch used one ball of Poems Forte (colorway 1003 English Garden) and turned out to be 5 inches wide and 50 inches long – the 90 yards of super bulky wool went a long way.

Camilla from Poems Windfall

This is a yarn I’ve been wanting to work with for a while.  Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton uses Poems Forte in her popular design Camilla from Wisdom Book 4:  Poems Windfall.  I love the way she uses a system of yarn overs to create a fabric that is both thick and airy.  What a lovely texture.

Miller 1218's Swirling Cowl

While poking around on Ravelry, I also stumbled across this gorgeous cowl knitted by raveler Miller1218.  She modified the Swirling Cowl, a super-superbulky design to work on size 13 needles with less than a ball of Poems Forte in color 1007 Bursa, and the result is fabulous.  This would be great to knock out at the next knit night.  Based on experience, I know it’ll go quickly.

Afghan Knitalong – Color Selection Part Two

I don’t know about you, but I continue to dither over my Afghan Knitalong colors!  So since we at Universal Yarn have a warehouse full of gorgeous Uptown Worsted at our fingertips, our staff put together Amy Gunderson’s other three color selections to see how they struck our fancy.

Afghan Knitalong - Be GreenI am torn between Rocky Shore (from the last afghan color post) and Be Green.  They’re both muted and adult, and both would look great draped over my couch.

Afghan Knitalong Cupcake Parade

Cupcake Parade is the colorway that Amy is using in her afghan.  Swatches and video demos will mostly feature this group of colors.

Afghan Knigalong Proud Colors

Bright primaries reminiscent of a rainbow or the colors in a crayon box.  Gorgeous.

I’m  considering doing Be Green, but in blue, substituting 318 Navy for the Hunter Green and  a couple of lighter blues for the other two tones.  Uptown Worsted has plenty of color options to choose from, so I think I can find something that will work well.  We knitters are creative folks; we’re not obligated to follow the pack or color within the lines.

The first square goes live on Monday.  We’ll have the pattern, as well as a video tutorial on the technique used in our first square – intarsia!

 

Free Pattern Friday – Starglow Ski Cap

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Starglow Ski Cap in Little Bird

Today, we share the Starglow Ski Cap in Little Bird.  Little Bird is a smooth and soft 100% acrylic perfect for kid designs like this Fair Isle hat.  We love the border around the brim that coordinates with the tassels!

This free pattern is one we’ve waited a little while to share.  The one color of Little Bird we had not yet received from our mill was gray.  Yesterday, we received it (and a lot of other goodies).  For this pattern, the lack of one color could be a problem, but it’s also an opportunity for reflection.

Often when we see a pattern made up, we only want it in the color shown.  And that’s fine – sometimes, we just fall in love with something exactly as it is.  But sometimes, it’s healthy to stretch our imaginations and see it in other ways.  What would you do to make this pattern your own?

Afghan Knitalong – Color Selection Part One

First things first – we originally thought of starting the Don’t Be A Square Afghan Knitalong on the 15th.  Then we looked at a calendar and realized that was a Saturday.  We’d like to be here in the office to answer any questions, just in case, so we’re moving the start date to March 17th.  What are we doing with the extra time?  Picking colors!

Several of us here at the office are knitting along, and we’re mulling over the color selections in Uptown Worsted that Amy Gunderson has suggested.

First:  Moderno!

Afghan Knitalong - Moderno colors

As the name suggests, this is a very modern selection.  The burst of color from the magenta provides a focal point for the afghan.  The lime plays very well with the hot color, tying the neutrals together with the almost neon intensity for a very vibrant finished piece.

Next: Little One! Afghan Knitalong - Little One Colors

Obviously, an ideal pick for a baby or toddler’s room.  Uptown Worsted is very soft, making it a suitable choice for something baby would be playing on or under.  Pastel and sweet, this would look great draped over the arm of a rocking chair – or as part of a blanket fort down the line.

Finally: Rocky Shore!

Afghan Knitalong - Rocky Shore colors

This has been a popular choice in the office.  We’ve had more than one person select this for themselves.  Earth tones with a pop of color, but less showy than Moderno.  Can’t you imagine curling up on the couch under this?

Of course, as Amy herself points out, there are endless color possibilities.  You should make your afghan your own – choose and change whatever colors you wish until you have a selection that speaks to you.

We’ll be back with a look at Amy’s other choices.  Personally, I’m torn between Rocky Shore and Be Green, which we’ll show next time.  Maybe I can do both…

Sunday Swatch – Nettle Lana

Today’s swatch is in Nettle Lana Solids.

Nettle Lana Swatch

 

Nettle Lana Solids is a luxurious blend of 70% organic wool and 30% nettle with a braided construction.  This is the first nettle yarn I’ve worked with, and I like it!  Some plant fiber yarns can be tiring to knit with, but I didn’t have that problem with Nettle Lana, perhaps due to the wool content.

This yarn has a particularly rich color saturation.  The plant and animal fibers take the dye at different rates leading to an almost heathered look.  Decadent.

Starcrossed CardiganI picked the shadow cable for this swatch because I liked how it looked in the Starcrossed Cardigan (above) from e-book Nettle Lana: Behind the Curtain.  Doing cables over the knit side of a stockinette background instead of the purl side gives a subtlety to the texture.  They fade into the background more than they would in a traditional Celtic cable.  The shadow cable is a simple 8-row repeat of two over two crosses that’s easy to memorize.  Like last week’s smock stitch swatch, it’s the same thing on rows 4 and 8, just staggered.  Very easy to keep track of, and an excellent beginner’s cable.  On US Size 7 needles, I got about 5 stitches per inch in pattern, but of course your gauge may vary.

Woven Stitch Cowl in Nettle Lana ExpressionsNettle Lana Solids would look great in a larger garment.  Nettle Lana Expressions, the multi version of this yarn, would be well-suited for a smaller project.  I’m eyeing the Woven Stitch Cowl at right, a free two ball pattern on our website.  A four row repeat with great texture?  Looks like another great stitch to try for Sunday Swatch!

 

 

Free Pattern Friday – Lace Edge Garter Stitch Shawl

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Lace Edge Garter Stitch Shawl

Do you recognize this shawl?  Today, we’re releasing a “pay” pattern into the wild! The Lace Edge Garter Stitch Shawl is a popular design also found in our leaflet Poems Sock Shawls and Accessories.  This is a pattern we get a lot of requests for, and we’re delighted to be able to share it with you for free.

The shawl is knit from the top down, letting the Poems Sock self-shading yarn create a dramatic effect as the color repeats thin out while the stitches on the rows increase. The charted lace edging is knitted on at the end.

This would be a great project to occupy your hands when you need to focus your attention elsewhere.  The garter stitch isn’t hard to do, but leads to a great finished object.  The perfect project!

 

Sunday Swatch – Jubilation Kettle Dye Worsted

Today’s swatch is in Jubilation Kettle Dye Worsted.  This is a buttery-soft single ply spun from extra fine merino.  It comes 208 yards per 100g, enough to make a nice accessory from just one skein.

Sunday Swatch - Jubilation Kettle Dye 

I decided to try a smock stitch today, just to see how the long wrap would look going across the variegated stitches.  I like it!

The swatch uses the smock stitch over 2×2 rib.  For our purposes, we treat each section of eight p2,k2 stitches like one unit.  We purl 2, then do the smock stitch: with yarn in back, insert right hand needle between the sixth and seventh stitch on left hand needle (this should be between a knit and purl stitch), wrap working yarn around right hand needle and pull it through.  Then put the yarn on the left hand needle, and knit the wrapped stitch with the next stitch on the left hand needle.

This is one of those things that’s easier to demonstrate than explain, so we made a video.

Make better sense?

Here’s how this swatch was made.

Rows 1-3: k1 [p2, k2] to final stitch, k1.

Row 4: k1, [p2, smock stitch, pull smock stitch wrap across and knit together with next stitch, k1, p2, k2] across row to last stitch, k1.

Rows 5-7: k1, [p2, k2] to final stitch, k1.

Row 8: k1, p2, k2, [p2, smock stitch, pull smock stitch wrap across and knit together with next stitch, k1, p2, k2] across row to last five stitches, p2, k2, k1.

Really, you’re doing the same thing on rows 4 and 8, you’re just alternating which sections of the ribbing you wrap to stagger the appearance of the smocking.

Jubilation Kettle Dye AccessoriesThis swatch is 8” long unblocked and only took a quarter of a ball of Jubilation Kettle Dye.  I can definitely see using this pattern to make a one ball scarflette or cowl.  In fact, we’ve got an inexpensive e-book of accessories that take one or two skeins of Jubilation that you can find on Ravelry or Craftsy.

Although I made this swatch on size 7 (4.5mm) needles, I think next time I might use size 8 (5mm) and maybe try eight fewer stitches to narrow it just a little.  Extending this swatch would be an easy way to keep warm!