Free Pattern Friday – Ambling Cardigan

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

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Today, the Ambling Cardigan in Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash.

A few days ago, a friend of mine in New York State worried that he might not appreciate his upcoming trip to the Florida Keys because it was still so warm where he was.  Today, it’s snowing there.  I think it’s safe to say that sweater weather has settled in.

deluxe-worsted-tweed-409-raisin-ball-shot-ccToday we present the Ambling Cardigan.  Ambling, because this would be the perfect thing for a relaxed stroll just after the frost has burned off in the morning.  Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash gives it a rustic look in keeping with that feeling of outdoors in Autumn.

dw-tweed-ambling-cardigan-alternate-blogFor the record, we have swatched this yarn here in the office, thrown it in the washing machine and dryer, and had it come out just fine with its tweedy bits intact.

This cardigan is sized from XS to 3X.  The body is worked in one piece from the bottom up, and is then separated for raglan shaping.  Sleeves are worked flat.

We hope you find time to crunch through some leaves this weekend.

Happy knitting!

 

Weaving Wednesday – Sparkle Windows

Last time on Weaving Wednesday, I talked about warping for my lace stole in Universe.  Once I got over relearning how to warp my floor loom, it was smooth sailing!

Here are the specs on this project:

  • Yarn: Universe, color 10-07 Woolen
  • Reed: 10 dent
  • Total ends: 241
  • Width on loom: 24″ (desired finished width is 20″)
  • Warp Length: 100″ (desired finished length is 60″)

(Update: There is now a written version of this pattern available here)

My warp is 40″ longer than my desired length. I know that there will be a good 10% take-up in finishing. Plus I left plenty of extra length at each end for fringe.

Since I knew I was going to be doing some different lace patterns, I actually kept good notes on just what I wove in my beginning header so I could repeat it on the other end – go me!

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After tying on to the front rod, the weaving fun began. I started out as I usually do, with a few picks of waste yarn to even out my warp, followed by some hem stitching.

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I knew I wanted to do some kind of a lace sampler for this project. I decided to do a “header” at the beginning of the project, a matching header at the other end, and an all-over pattern for the main body of the stole.

I began with a type of “finger controlled” lace at the beginning called Brooks. “Finger controlled” means that I am literally moving the warp threads with my fingers and passing the yarn between it, rather than using the shafts to raise and lower warp threads.

The first type of Brooks I did is worked on an open shed, meaning I pressed down on one of my treadles that holds half the warp threads. This caused half the warp to raise.

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I found Brooks lace quite simple to do – easier than I had imagined. I passed the shuttle containing the warp yarn around a section of the raised warp threads (6), along the entire width of the piece.

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I adjusted each of the wrapped sections so they were at about the same height and then worked 3 rows of plain weave. They look like little bows – so pretty.

After this first pass of Brooks, I decided to do another row, but offset from the first row.

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And then another row offset again.

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As pretty as this was, I was getting a little bored and was ready to move on. That’s half the beauty of a sampler!

And look, so it’s so sparkly!

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Next, I tried Brooks lace, but worked on a close shed. That means when I wrapped my weft yarn around the warp, I went around all threads across the width of the piece. I did two repeats of this with 3 passes of plain weave in between. I was less impressed with the appearance of this on the loom, but decided to keep it in the piece in hopes that I’d like it better after finishing (and I did!)

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Next, it was time to move on to my main lace pattern: Atwater Bronson. This type of lace produces little blocks. I warped my loom for the most basic of Atwater Bronson – a single repeating block of lace. There are many incarnations of this lace. And it is quite possible to reproduce this on a rigid heddle with use of a pick-up stick.

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While the Brooks lace is considered a finger controlled lace pattern, Atwater Bronson is a type of “loom controlled” pattern. That’s because the loom is doing all the work of raising and lowering the warp threads. Well, at least my feet are doing the work of pushing the treadles to make this happen!

I really enjoyed the weaving part of this. I’m sure much of this was the ease of weaving on a floor loom, and the wonderful rhythm of the beater bar, treadles, and boat shuttle. But it was also easy to memorize and just overall very pleasant.

Here it is after a few repeats. Not too exciting!

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After more repeats, I could definitely see the pattern forming. But again, not that visually stimulating. I had to keep reminding myself that the magic would really happen off the loom and after washing.

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From an angle, you can kind of see the blocks in the pattern.

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When the back bar with the end of my warp tied to it almost reached the back beam, I knew it was time to weave my other header. I reversed what I did for the beginning header and cut it off the loom.

Because my yarn, Universe is several elements – cotton, linen, and metallic – all wrapped with a sliver of nylon, I knew I didn’t want to leave loose fringe. If I had, that nylon would have come unwrapped and the elements would have splayed out. Which, now that I think of it, might have looked cool. But it wouldn’t have worn well. So I busted out my handy fringe twister and made twisted fringe. This allowed me to knot the ends, securing the yarn without fear of it unraveling.

After doing the fringe, I was excited to dunk my stole in a bath to see what happened. And what happened was a much more intense transformation than I anticipated. Both the Brooks lace and the Atwater Bronson lace opened up a lot. The Atwater Bronson looks like little windows that the Brooks iterates above and below. I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out!

On Molly:

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When it’s laid flat, I can really see those little “windows” formed by the Atwater Bronson.

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And somehow this turned out larger than I imagined it would. Finished measurements without fringe are 23″ x 66″. Which is fine with me – that’s a great size for a stole!

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Join me next time for my biggest weaving project yet – matching woven motorcycle jackets made from Deluxe DK Tweed Superwash!

 

 

 

Free Pattern Friday – Swift Current Scarf

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

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Today, the Swift Current Scarf in Classic Shades Frenzy.

I’m a sucker for blues and greens.  The beauty of multi-colored yarns is that I don’t have to pick between one or the other.  They’re both there, as in color 911 Stranded of Classic Shades Frenzy.  It reminds me of the rushing aquamarine waters of the  Soča river that runs through Slovenia and Italy.

I want to go to there.
Photo: Andreas Resch – Everyone grab a WIP and let’s go.

swift-current-scarf-detail-blogThe Swift Current Scarf uses crochet shells and open spaces – along with some aggressive blocking – to create an airy texture.  For symmetry, the scarf is worked from the middle out in two halves.  It’s a two-ball project- make one half with one ball, then go back to the first row to start the second half in the other direction.

We hope you have a glorious weekend, dreaming of beautiful places and making beautiful things.  As they say in Slovenian, se vidimo kasneje!

Wheeeeeee!

Just for you – Garden Metallic Lacy Knits

If you’re a good little crafter, you’re already busy making your holiday gifts.  Or you could be more like me and have the best intentions, but then somehow it’s the last minute and you’ve knocked out an emergency pair of Felted Scuffles and are frantically drying them with a hair dryer.

Somehow it seems that every year, one thing is true:  in all the confusion, I never wind up knitting for myself.

Not this year.

Kristin Hansen's Garden Metallic Lacy Knits

Ever since this gorgeous book of Kristin Hansen knitted lace for Garden Metallic came out, I’ve had my eye on… well, on all of the patterns.  I had the pleasure of helping prepare the garments for this photo shoot. Touching each delicate masterpiece was enough to make me fall in love.  The one that sets my pulse racing, though, is the Midnight Sun Shawl, perhaps because it shares a name with one of my favorite songs.

Fetch my wrap, dear. The night is young and so are we.

The printed book is now also an e-book, as well as individual patterns.  So this year, I’m going to myself something beautiful.  I’m telling myself there’s still time this season, although realistically, I know myself and it will probably be next year before this sees the light of day.  And I have nowhere to wear something this glamorous – but I have faith that if I make it, then the opportunity will present itself.  Or perhaps I’ll be more likely to make my own opportunity.

If you’d like a lovely length of lace to call your own, don’t wait until everything else is done.  It never will be.  Do it now, just for you.

You’re worth it.

Happy knitting!

Free Pattern Friday – Cozy Cardi

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

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Today, the Cozy Cardi in Major.

We’ve had a lot of fun with Major this week…

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Bad Amy! Bad!

…but our week of Major is drawing to a close.  Don’t worry, though – we’ve already got more designs in the works.  There’s a poncho that I’m just dying to try out, plus – well, you’ll see.  But for today, we share this sweet little 1-2 ball hooded baby cardi.

major-cozy-cardi-detail-blogWork the fronts and the hood in one piece side to side.  Then work the sleeves and attach, make the lower hem, and add a crochet edge and three little loops to accommodate your cutest buttons.  There’s an included schematic to show you how the whole thing folds together.  It’s a quick and cute pattern without a lot of frills.  Let the yarn do the work while you take the praise.

We’d love to hear – what kind of things would you like to see in this self-striping bulky yarn?  We’ve got some ideas in the works, but there’s always room for more!

Happy crafting!

Free Pattern – Woven Sky Throw

Our Week of Major Patterns continues!

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Today, the Woven Sky Throw in Major.

Entrelac is one of those techniques that seems tailor made for self-striping yarn like Major.  Here’s it’s taken one step further by using two complementary colors.

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117 Graphite
104 Pebbles
104 Pebbles

The gray tones blend beautifully, making the blue a subtle contrast against the background.  Is this a cloudy sky, or a clear night with the first bit of blue beginning to show?  That’s for the viewer to decide.

There are a lot of ways you could go with this.  Instead of gray and blue, how about gray and green for more of a stones-in-grass feel?

101 Verdant
101 Verdant

It’s all up to you.  Happy crafting!

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Weaving Wednesday – Getting my Sparkle On

Ever since we added Universe to celebrate our 10th anniversary last year, I’ve wanted to weave with it. A mix of linen, cotton, metallic, wrapped together with nylon, I swear there’s a bit of magic in every strand. The combination of plant fibers and sparkle mesmerizes me.

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It’s beautiful in knitted items, such as the Planetary Shawl:

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Or the delightful Universe of Snowflakes:

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But I knew Universe would make beautiful weaving, too. I decided this was the project I would finally warp up my poor, neglected floor loom. My Fanny Leclerc has been sitting as a backdrop for my rigid heddle weaving these last few years, as though I’m mocking her abilities as a workhorse weaver. She’s a sturdy 4-shaft loom procured a number of years back at a reasonable price via my local Craigslist.

But first things first. It’s been years since I wove on Fanny, and I needed a refresher on warping. Luckily, I had my trusty copy at hand of “Learning to Weave” by Deborah Chandler.

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I bought this book when I first acquired ol’ Fanny, and it has proven to be an indispensable  resource. Deborah has so many little tips “woven” throughout this book, along with super helpful illustrations. Though the book covers warping a floor loom front-to-back or back-to-front, I’ve only ever done the back-to-front method.

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Rigid heddle looms are wonderful and can typically be direct-warped. This is not the case with a floor loom. So off to my warping board I went to begin the process.

This part of my warp shows the ultra-important figure 8 cross at the end. This will help me keep all my strands aligned when I take the bundle over to the loom.

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I like to look head-on at the cross periodically as I’m winding my yarn to make sure things are going accordingly. As you can see below, I made a mistake that had to be taken out:

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Get a load of that shimmer!

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It’s crucial to tie the cross end in 5 places to keep it intact during the warping process.

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That board with the nails in it that’s clamped to the back beam – that’s called a “raddle.” It’s just another tool that helps to separate the warp every inch-worth of warp threads.

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After attaching the warp to the back rod, it’s time to thread the heddles. With rigid heddle weaving, the heddles are all part of a rigid piece of plastic (usually). With my floor loom, all the heddles are individual little pieces of metal.

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So shimmery!

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The main lace pattern that I’m going to be weaving is a repeat of 6 (more on this later). So I have to thread the shafts in this order: 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 2. After each group of 6, I tie the 6 ends together in a little bundle to help keep them separate, and also so they don’t accidentally slip out of the back side of the heddles.

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Once my warp was attached to Fanny, it was time to get ready to weave! I love to use boat shuttles with my floor loom, especially when my weaving width is wider than 12″ or so. With a flick of the wrist, the shuttle glides effortlessly over the warp threads. Though I don’t mind a stick shuttle and can eventually get a nice rhythm going, a boat shuttle just feels easier.

My boat shuttle takes small bobbins that the weft yarn must be wound onto. I could do it by hand, but it goes super-fast if I use the bobbin winder on my sewing machine. So that’s what I do!

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Join me next time when I get down to business and start weaving!

(Update: there is a written version of this pattern on our website here.)