All posts by Amy Gunderson

Creative Director at Universal Yarn

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!

Emergency Monster Hats

Halloween is hands down my favorite time of year. The air is just starting to get crisp, meaning I can finally break out my handknits. There’s always candy. Everywhere. All the time. Cider, campfires, beautiful changing leaves; I could go on.

Clockwise from the top we have Rachel wearing Clarice, Heather wearing Chunk, and me (Amy) wearing Clyde)

But of course the most fun thing about Halloween are the costumes. I finally settled on my own costume idea for this year a week or two ago. But there was a period of panic where I just couldn’t come up with an idea I was happy with. Enter: monster hats (pattern link).

Hi. I’m Clarice. I know it doesn’t look like it but I’m actually very happy.

Now monster hats are really pretty fun any time of year. They’re really not season-specific. But, in a pinch, they can make an excellent costume.

Hhhii, I’m Chunk. I like you.

All three are crocheted in numerous shades of Uptown Worsted, our super-soft anti-pilling acrylic. This is a great hat yarn because it feels good on the head and is not itchy. It’s also quite affordable and buying several skeins in different colors won’t break the bank.

 

I believe she was not in her right mind while making me. I mean, one eye? At least it’s a large eye. I am Clyde, by the way.

There lots of different add-on elements going on in each of these hats. The idea is that you can follow the patterns as written if you like. Or you can come up with your own unique monster using different combinations of spikes, horns, different numbers of eyes, etc.

We want candy. More candy. And not the cheap stuff.

So if you’ve found yourself with out a costume and Halloween only a week away, why not be a monster?

You can find the patterns for all three hats on our website here (pattern link). Happy Halloween!

Let’s Get Happy

Perhaps our most fun pattern collection from this fall is Happy Sock Shawls, featuring 6 super colorful accessories using some of our sock yarns. We photographed this collection in hipster neighborhood Noda here in Charlotte, on a sunny morning this past summer. With such a beautiful smiling model, brightly painted buildings, and vibrant shades, the name “Happy Sock Shawls” was the only title that fit. It’s hard not to feel happy when looking at these images!

Rachel Brockman, our new designer here at Universal Yarn also happens to be an amateur photographer. I think she did an excellent job of capturing this knitwear in all of it’s glory.

The name of each project is a synonym of the word “happy”, all beginning with the letter “E.” I am now kicking myself for this plan of naming because I’m now having a hard time keeping them all straight!

Here’s a little overview of the 6 projects in the collection:

Ecstatic is a crescent/triangle shape, knit from the top down. Instead of having 4 increases every right side row like most triangular shawls, this one has 6, which gives it more of a “swoopy” shape. I like this shape because it sits on the shoulders a little easier than a plain triangle.

Ecstatic is mostly knit in self-shading Poems Sock, with accent rows of Pix. I just love the interest that those Pix stripes create.

 

Energize is a circular shawl knit from the center out. It begins with Pi shaping, and then progresses to having increases that are worked into the lace pattern. It ends with a knit-on border.

I love the way the Poems Sock stripes look in the round, and then sideways on the edging.

 

Exhilarate is a modern and asymmetric take on a traditional log cabin quilt. It’s worked modularly in 4 sections, all worked off the sides of preceding sections. There’s a handy diagram in the pattern to show how it all fits together.

The yarns used are Stanza (one of our striping sock yarns) plus solid colored Whisper Lace.

 

Next up we have another Stanza / Whisper Lace Combo, the Enthuse Shawl. This shawl is knit sideways, and uses the intarsia method to change colors.

I love the color-block effect of this piece. I’m also a fan of the shape – we found at least 5 ways to style it during our photo shoot.

 

Euphoric is perhaps the happiest shawl of them all (okay – it’s a scarf, not a shawl). Worked in easily the most exuberant (hey – another “e” happy word) colorway of Pix, if this scarf doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.

This scarf is knit widthwise with bound-off lace holes, intarsia, and some fun fringey bits at the sides.

 

Last but not least is Elation, using just one ball of shading Poems Sock. This small shawl is knit sideways showing off vertical striping of the yarn. A few stitches are dropped along one side just before binding off to form the loopy fringe.

You can view the full collection on our website here, or on Ravelry here. Let’s get happy!

Dona 2.0 ebook

Topping the shortlist of my favorite of our yarns is Dona, a DK weight housed in the Fibra Natura line of natural fiber yarns. Dona is 100% extrafine merino and soft as butter. And machine washable to boot!

I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favorites from ebook Dona 2.0 which was released this fall:

Traveler’s Sweater

Named for traveling rib and eyelets

 

Side split for ease of movement
Collar can be worn up or folded down

Astray:

Layer with long sleeves or short
Saddle shoulders, asymmetric patterning placement
Flattering A-line shape

Calibrate:

Asymmetric patterning
Knit sideways and seamed in the middle

Pulse:

Oversized boxy shape
Can you tell we like asymmetry?
Super duper cozy!

There are 9 more projects for a total of 13 garment and accessory patterns in this collection. You can see them all on our website here. All patterns are available for download via Ravelry – individually or together in the full ebook. I hope you love Dona as much as I do!

 

Attire to Adore

Attire to Adore isn’t only the name of our recent Spring 2017 ebook, it’s also what we hope you think of it! The six knit garments in this collection run the range from vest to pullovers to cardigans. All projects are knit in one of our newer yarns, Adore.

Adore is a blend of superwash merino and anti-pilling acrylic. The anti-pilling acrylic component is the key in a garment that is easy to care for and still looks great after wearing and washing. Adore is a great basic – it has both a luxurious and a practical side, is fantastic to work with, and doesn’t break the bank.

Let me walk you through the projects, all designed by Tori Gurbisz and myself (Amy Gunderson):

Sienna Vest is the quickest knit in the book because – no sleeves! If you ever get worn out by a full sweater project by the time the body is done, a vest might just be the garment for you.

The lower hem is split in the front and a cable starts twisting up the center front like magic! Okay, it’s not magic, but it’s cool. This same cable eventually diverges at the neckline, maintaining the same ribbing as the cable. This ribbed edging that is worked at the same time as the shoulders means there is no need to work an additional neck edging.

 

 

Aurelia Peplum is a sweet little raglan pullover shaped through the inherent nature of dense cables.

This sweater is knit from the bottom up. The peplum portion of the sweater could easily be made a bit longer if you prefer to wear this with leggings.

 

A short-row curved hem and traveling cable panels are the defining features of Crisanta.

Slightly oversized, you’ll want to snuggle the day away in this cozy sweater. A fun little detail is the traveling cable which is echoed in the folded turtleneck collar.

 

Willow Cardigan has the benefit of set-in sleeves without the actual setting in part.

This sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down using Barbara Walker’s method of simultaneous set-in sleeves. If you’ve never tried this technique before you’re going to love it – trust me!

 

A nondescript cable running up each sleeve brings subtle interest to Jora.

Jora is knit from the bottom up in pieces and seamed, making it a great travel project. This raglan sweater is another wardrobe staple that’s easy to throw on with just about any outfit.

 

The collection’s second cardigan, Sorrell rounds out the group.

The drop shoulder design incorporates two lace patterns for easy knitting without the stress of much shaping in pattern. Who doesn’t love a lace cardigan, particularly one you can throw in the washing machine?

Free Pattern Friday – Mingle Cowl

Today, we have a small piece of heaven for you in the Mingle Cowl.

This cowl soothes my psyche with its shades of blue and gray. Two strands are held together throughout the cowl making this a pretty quick project, too. Knit up in our new fall yarn, Bella Cash, this piece is soft as a newborn kitten making it perfect for a piece that will be worn against bare skin.

 

Bella Cash is a 2/sport weight, comes in 20 solid colors, and is machine washable. Oh wait, and did I mention – there is cashmere, too! Mmmmm.

Blue not your thing? How about 102 Blush + 109 Snow?

Or 107 Coffee + 106 Oat?

I also like classic 108 Ebony + 109 Snow.

Happy knitting and happy weekend!

Color Pooling, Ocean Style

Last year, I wove a scarf utilizing the variegated effects of Bamboo Pop. You can find that post and all of my warping and weaving photos here.

This is the first version of the color pool scarf.

For my second go at this scarf, I decided to try one of our tonal multis in Bamboo Pop. I chose 205 Brilliant Blues + 120 Graphite for the warp. I wove with Whisper Lace 104 Fog as weft. This project takes just one ball of each color for a substantially sized scarf.

So soothing.

This blue-gray version is a more understated look than the original. I was hoping to show that this fun technique can be used to achieve more or less impact – it’s all about contrast.

I love the twisted fringe finish with hemstitching. It’s so tidy!

You can see both scarves in person at Stitches United next month. Stitches United is a new kind of multi-craft stitches. In addition to knit, crochet, and yarn, there will also be sewing, weaving, beading, and a lot more! If you’re in the Hartford, CT area at the end of April, you should definitely check it out.

See you next time here on the blog with more fun weaving!