All posts by Amy Gunderson

Creative Director at Universal Yarn

Day 7 of Winter

Day 7 of Winter brings us the Slip Stitch Cowl in three chilly shades of Deluxe Worsted.

The pattern is written for the smaller size as shown, and also a large size, long enough to wrap around your neck twice. The yarn included in the kit is enough to knit either two small cowls, or one large. So – bonus!

The main body of the cowl is super-duper simple. The complex looking color pattern is just slipped stitches. Colors are changed every two rounds, and only one color is used per round. It hits that sweet spot of knitting where the pattern is just a bit more than stockinette – enough to keep you interested – but easy enough that you can work on it anywhere.

My favorite detail of this cowl is the picot edging along both edges. This could have been done with a knitted picot bind-off, but I chose to use a crochet picot instead. For me, it’s just less fiddly than doing its knit counterpart. Let’s learn how to do it!

If you need a little closer view on any of the following images, just click on it and it will open in a new browser window.

In my swatch, you can see that I’ve already done the picot edging along the lower edge. I’m going to be using a contrast color for the top edge so it’s easier for you to see.
Begin by pulling up a loop onto your hook. Be sure to work through both loops of the knit stitch from the cowl as you do this.
Step 1: Chain 3. To make a chain, first yarn over as shown.
To complete the chain, pull the yarn over through the loop already on your hook.
All 3 chains complete.
Step 2: Slip stitch into the same knit stitch from the cowl body. To do this, first insert your hook into the stitch, going underneath the same two loops again.
Yarn over and pull through the knit stitch.
Then pull this second loop through the first loop on the hook to complete the slip stitch.
Step 3: Skip the next knit stitch from the cowl body, and slip stitch into the next knit stitch.

Repeat Steps 1-3 for the edging. So you’re going to be working [slip stitch, chain 3, slip stitch] into every other stitch along both edges of the cowl. No big deal, right?

Here’s my swatch after a few more little picots.

Again, you can find the kit for this cowl on our website here (link). Here’s to learning new things!

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).

 

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!