Free Pattern Friday – Window Paint Throw

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

adore-squares-blanket-main-square-blogToday, the Window Paint Throw in Adore and Adore Colors.

Cute, right?  I love this creative use of self-striping yarn.  You start each square at the center, then work your way out to the edge.   It ensures that each square will coordinate, but still be different than its neighbor. Despite being a larger piece, this is a great carry-along knit because each square is worked separately and then pieced together.

The pattern calls for two of our newest yarns, Adore and its companion Adore Colors (273yds/100g), a DK-weight blend of soft superwash merino and acrylic that’s perfect for projects like this, that you’ll probably find yourself tossing in the washing machine sometime.

Beachcomber Blanket in Adore ColorsAlso on my list to try in Adore Colors: the Beachcomber Blanket pictured at right.  It makes such clever use of individual panels stitched together, to be sure those color repeats stay nice and long, rather than thinning out of the width of a blanket.

No matter your plans for the weekend, we hope you take some time to make something beautiful, just for you.

Happy knitting!

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Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong – Tillery Socks

Knitalong graphic hi-res

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, a brief update from Heather, who is knitting Tillery Socks from the collection.

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Heather is no stranger to sock knitting, and she knows she maaaayy have a tendency to get bored after the first sock. That is why she’s knitting her socks two at a time on a long circular needle. It’s the best SSS (second sock syndrome) buster I’ve found, too.

Tillery socks on hand

You can see the other sock in the upper left corner in the photo above.

Heather turned her heels last week and is now almost ready to shape her toes. So close!

tillery-socks-heel-interior

Heather told me she was happy to see this pattern designed with a slip-stitch heel flap, since this will make them nice and sturdy. She plans on wearing these as around-the-house slipper socks. Since Heather is knitting these in Deluxe Worsted Superwash, the care will be super easy, too!

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tillery-socks-heel-turned

The one thing Heather does point out about working socks two-at-a-time, is that when it comes time to work the heel, only one sock can be done at a time. Stitches for the other sock can stay on the same needle, but have to wait until the first sock’s heel is complete. And since Tillery Socks are knit in worsted weight, this section takes no time at all!

How about you – are you knitting along? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Guest Blogger: Dora Ohrenstein (and a Giveaway!)

Please help me in welcoming crochet maven and designer extraordinaire, Dora Ohrenstein to the Universal Yarn blog! Dora is the author of numerous crochet books, including her latest, “Top-Down Crochet Sweaters.”

topdowncrochet-cover

I’m going to let Dora take it away, but I’ll be back at the end of the post with details on how you can win a copy of her new book plus yarn to make one of the gorgeous projects inside!

One of the constant themes in my new book, Top Down Crochet Sweaters, is the importance of choosing great yarns for crochet garments. We all know that crochet is sometimes compared unfavorably to knitting when it comes to garment-making. Why is that?  Crochet stitches were born in the 19th century to imitate hand-made laces and were worked with very thin threads on slender hooks. As the 20th century unfolded, hobbyists turned increasingly to yarn, and some of the nuance of crochet, blown up to larger proportions, was lost. Of course crochet can look great even at a larger scale, but one has to choose pliable yarns, usually in weights thinner than worsted.  My favorites are DK, sport and fingering weight yarns.  

Today we have so many choices of yarn weights and fibers that one can make absolutely stunning crochet garments. Fibra Natura’s Infusion Handpaints is a great example of a DK that works beautifully in crochet.  Its fibers are acrylic and wool, and in this case they have been spun to such perfection that the resulting yarn is as soft and supple as one could wish for.  That’s why I chose it for the pullover called Zora from my book.

doraohrenstein_zora_infusionhandpaints

Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © Dora Ohrenstein. Photography by © Melinda DiMauro

It uses simple double crochet clusters as the main stitch, adorned with vertical panels of more open lace. Increases are plotted throughout each row, rather than at raglan points, resulting in a yoke that ends with a smooth curve with no raglan points. Because of this, you can divide it up for body and sleeves in any way you like. It’s a great way to get the dimensions that work best for you.

I used another Universal Yarn, Whisper Lace for the garment called Rosina. 

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Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © Dora Ohrenstein. Photography by © Melinda DiMauro

Here I wanted to feature a large lace pattern called Peacock Stitch. The size of the stitch pattern dictated the choice of a thinner yarn. I love how Whisper Lace looks with this stitch — it’s slight fuzziness lends a softness to the stitch pattern. To make a more solid fabric for the body I used double treble stitches so the garment works up suprisingly fast. 

As the title implies, all the garments in my book are worked top down. If you’re inspired to get going on Zora or Rosina, please join me at my ravelry group for a CAL on this sweater and others from Top Down Crochet Sweaters. Here’s a link:

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/crochet-insider/topics

I think you’ll be very pleased with these fabulous Universal yarns, and how lovely a crochet sweater can be!

Thanks, Dora! This really is a beautiful book with extremely wearable garments inside. Want to win a copy? How about some yarn? We’ve teamed up with Dora to offer two lucky winners a copy of her new book, Top-Down Crochet Sweaters plus enough Whisper Lace or Infusion Handpaints to make Rosina or Zora (love those project names!).

Here’s how you can win:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite thing to crochet is. Be sure to enter your email address so we have a way to contact you!
  • This offer is only open to US residents.
  • You have until Friday, October 7th at 12:00 am EST to leave a comment.
  • Two comments will be selected at random. Winners will be announced the following Monday back here on the blog.

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!!