Day 5 of Winter

Today we’re introducing the Nutmeg Hat and Mitten Set. The neutral set is incredibly wearable for men and women alike. Personally, I love working with undyed wool. It is rustic in appearance and goes with nearly anything. While I’m a lover of color, I equally adore the natural shades of wool. You can see more of our Deluxe Worsted Naturals collection here.

This set features all over cables and a contrasting cuff. I wanted to give this set a professional finish, so I used the long-tail tubular cast-on method.

I can easily recall a time when I felt intimidated by the Tubular cast-on method. Like many things in knitting (and in life), we often perceive new things to be more challenging than they really are. This cast-on method is one of those things. If you look at the Nutmeg set, you’ll notice that the 1×1 Ribbing seems to run seamlessly from the right side to the wrong side. Notice the lack of a cast-on edge in the photo below. You can’t tell where it was cast-on. That is the beauty of a tubular cast-on.

It takes more time than most other methods and it feels a bit fiddly at first, but it’s well worth it. It’s by far my favorite method when I’m using 1×1 Rib.

If you’d like a closer look at each photo, simply click it.

To begin, place your yarn over the needle, leave a long tail as you would with a traditional long-tail cast on. You can use a slip knot, however; I do not so that the cast-on stitches are as invisible as possible.
Hold your yarn in place with your index finger.

Separate your tail and working yarn with your thumb and your index finger. You’ll do the same way you would for a regular long-tail cast-on.
Notice that I’m tensioning my yarn the same way that I would for a regular long-tail cast on.
Working from front to back, bring your needle under the yarn around your thumb.
Bring the needle up through the center.
Working from front to back, bring the needle over the yarn around your index finger and dip underneath it, then underneath the yarn around your thumb.
Correct the tension in your yarn. You now have two stitches. Notice how there is not a bump across that stitch? This will be a knit stitch.

The motion for a purl stitch mirrors the knit stitch.

Working from front to back, bring the needle over the yarn around your index finger, dipping below it and bringing the needle back through the center.
Working from back to front, bring the needle over the yarn around your thumb, dipping below it and then below the yarn around your index finger.
Correct your tension. Notice that this stitch has a purl bump. This is a purl stitch.

Continue in this manner, alternating between knit and purl stitches until you have the required number of stitches.

Notice the difference between the knit stitches and the purl stitches.

Once you have the correct number of stitches, carefully turn your work. I highly recommend using your index finger to hold the last stitch you cast on in place. Now you’ll begin working the first foundation row.

Once you’ve turned your work, grab your working yarn and slip the first stitch purlwise with your yarn in front.
Bring your yarn to the back.
Knit the next stitch through the back loop. This will untwist the knit stitch.

Continue to slip the purl stitches with your yarn in front and knit the knit stitches through the back loop to the end of your work. Turn your work. Now you’ll begin the second foundation row.

Just as in the previous row, slip the purl stitches purlwise with yarn in front.
Knit the knit stitches normally–there is no need to knit them through the back loop because these stitches should no longer be twisted.

Repeat the last two steps to the end of the row

On the next row, simply work in K1, P1 ribbing by purling the purl stitches and knitting the knit stitches.

This is what your finished cast on should look like.

Once you’ve finished casting on, you can join your work in the round (as would be the case for the Nutmeg Hat and Mitten Set). There will be a small space you’ll want to seam. Typically I do this just before weaving my tail into the project.

This method works for projects that are knit flat or in the round. It gives your projects such a neat finish. It’s also much more stretchy than a traditional long tail cast-on.

You can find the link to the Nutmeg Hat and Mitten set here.

Day 4 of Winter

Day 4 of Winter brings us the matching Latticework Hat and Scarf  set in washable Adore yarn.

Though there are some traditional 2×2 cable panels in both hat and scarf, most of the crossed stitches are actually twisted stitches.  Right and left twist stitches are a way of crossing stitches that doesn’t require a cable needle. And with just a bit of confidence, 2×2 cables can be crossed without a needle, as well.

I love love love twisted stitches and use them frequently in designs. Through the magic of (simple) needle acrobatics, a lovely texture can be made across your knit fabric. These types of stitches were used a few years ago in our Uptown Afghan Knitalong. Here is the video showing how to do right and left twists.

Remember, each of our 12 Days of Winter projects come packaged in a very giftable bag tied with ribbon. So if you’re shopping for one of your knitting buddies, these might just fit the bill.

I have no plans of taking this off any time soon. It’s freezing in our office! You can find this kit here (link).

Day 3 of Winter

Let me set the scene for you: It’s snowing outside. You’re curled up on a sectional sofa with freshly made hot-cocoa (with a nip…and marshmallows), the sun just set, and your favorite furry friend has his head on your lap. You have no worries, no place to be, you’re on vacation, and you can sleep as late as you like tomorrow morning. The fire is crackling, but it’s still a bit drafty. Cool enough that knitwear is very much required. You’re just about to turn on the first episode of a TV series you are quite sure will be binge-watched. You have just cast on for your next sweater project that you’re fantasizing about wearing this year still. And last but not least, you’re already wearing your Cozy House Socks that were started just yesterday because they go crazy quick!

Sound like a dream? Well, at least one part of that fantasy can be very real. Knit in Deluxe Chunky Naturals, these socks are a truly quick project. I know, because I personally knit the sample over part of a day! Each sock pictured took about 60g of a 100g skein, leaving plenty of room for giant man feet or to make the leg a bit longer.

These socks are knit from the top down with a gusset and short-row heel. The cable pattern is both written and charted. You can find this kit, Day 3 of our 12 Days of Winter collection here (link).

Day 2 of Winter

Day 2 of Winter brings us the Broken Garter Scarf. The stitch pattern in this scarf will look familiar to anyone who owns or has read a copy of the brilliant Sequence Knitting book by Cecelia Campochiaro. If you don’t own this book yet, run out and buy it!

This book explores the concept of simple knit-purl texture in a variety of thought-provoking ways. There are many chapters in the book, each expounding on previous ideas. It is fascinating! And it’s easy to read through, fall in love with an idea, and just cast on.

The idea of this particular stitch pattern is a concept in the book that is presented in a variety of ways. I cast on several times with different combinations of knit and purl columns until I finally settled on one that felt right. It’s dead simple – it’s a one row repeat!

That is how the Broken Garter Scarf was born. I wanted to create a project easy to knit that was giftable for women and men alike. Just two balls of Deluxe Worsted Superwash and a few evenings of mindless knitting, and this scarf can be yours.

You can find this kit, Day 2 of our 12 Days of Winter collection here (link).

 

Day 1 of Winter

Over the next 12 days, we’re releasing a series of kits designed by the Universal Yarn Design Team. It’s a cozy, wintry collection of accessories that make perfect gifts–for yourself and your loved ones. To accompany the kits, we’d like to share a blog post each day. This series will highlight special aspects of each pattern and include inspiration, tips, tricks, and a few tutorials. For Day 1, we’re introducing the Blue Spruce Socks.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved evergreens and conifers. I’m not sure if it’s because of their fragrant needles and bark, or if it’s because their beautiful colors brought me joy during long and endlessly grey winters. Whatever the reason—I’ve always been drawn to them, so it’s no surprise that I designed the Blue Spruce Socks for our 12 Days of Winter collection.

These socks are warm, cozy, and a joy to knit. If you aren’t a fan of stranded colorwork, don’t fret! The Blue Spruce motif is achieved through slipped stitches. One color is carried at a time and only the stitches requiring the working yarn are knit—the rest are simply slipped purlwise. It requires twice as many rows, but the overall effect is very similar to the appearance of stranded knitting.

In addition to colorwork, the small details make this project ever so special. It features a 1×1 Twisted Rib cuff and an Eye of Partridge heel. My favorite detail is the slip-stitch stripe just before the contrasting-color toes.

You can find this kit, Day 1 of our 12 Days of Winter collection here.

 

 

The Plaza Collection

Have you seen our latest fall ebook, Classic Shades Book 5: The Plaza Collection?

Perhaps my favorite fun challenge in designing knitwear is when I’m working with self-shading or patterning yarns. Much has to be taken into consideration in anticipation of these color changes. Some of my favorite things to do with shading yarn (like Classic Shades) happen in these projects – slipped stitches, intarsia, stripes, motifs, and directional changes.

This grouping of 11 knit & crochet accessories and throws was photographed by our own Rachel Brockman in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood here in Charlotte. It’s a hip section of the city that is full of graffiti and character.

You can find this collection on our website here or on Ravelry here.

Happy knitting & crocheting!

Free Pattern Friday – Cozy Kid Set

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Today, the Cozy Kid Set in Adore (pattern link here).

This too-cute set features cables without a cable needle!  Left and right twists and mock cables save you the trouble of fiddling with too many notions.

This cute hat and zippered cardi are sized from newborn through 13-years.  Machine washable Adore is a good choice here – it’s always nicer to give someone a luxury knit without worrying that all your effort will be lost in the wash.

We hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Happy knitting!