All posts by Heather

Design Coordinator at Universal Yarn.

Mystery KAL – Clue 5 is live!

It’s here! Clue 5 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

did finish Clue 2 over the weekend, and yes I feel very self-satisfied! I had a minor bobble with one of my cables, but it was my own error and was easily corrected. Whenever I fix a mistake (after grumbling about making the mistake in the first place) I always feel pleased. We all get in little scrapes now and then – the important thing is learning how to get back out of them.
One of the things that keeps me looking forward is seeing the great progress that our office knitters have made! Above is Katie’s Mystery Sweater. She’s using Deluxe Worsted Superwash (100g/220yds), our machine washable 100% wool yarn. She’s only got a couple of repeats to go on Clue 4 and she’ll be ready to spring ahead!

Elly’s using Classic Shades Solids (100g/197yds), a machine washable 70% acrylic/30% wool blend. Check out the side view – the reverse stockinette panel on her Harder Path/Stockinette looks great.

Today’s clue brings another option – pockets! There is a little seaming involved with these, but all the designers in our office who are knitting along agree that this is an excellent method of working pockets. I’m very excited – my sweater is going to be beautiful AND functional!

We’ll see you on Thursday with Clue #6. Happy knitting!

Mystery KAL – Clue 4 is live!

It’s here! Clue 4 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

Llamalini with Y cablesYour humble blogger? I’m about to finish up Clue 2. I have to say, though, the encouragement of folks here in the office and on Facebook and Ravelry guarantees that this will not be another unfinished project on the pile. This is still very exciting!

Last time we showed a Llamalini (109yds/50g) sweater with its Y-shaped cables. Here it is again at right, with the body and sleeves separated. It’s slightly damp, since the knitter gave it a little bath just to see if the yarn would do anything odd. Good news – the Llamalini linen/llama/silk blend came through like a champ. Looks like smooth sailing!

A knitter in accounting is steaming ahead in Poems Silk (109yds/50g), following the Harder Path with a stockinette background. She’s very happy to have Clue 4 in her hands and plans to dive in at lunchtime.

And speaking of Clue 4, there’s yet another branch in the path! Amy provides options for waist shaping. If you’re a curvy type, there’s an option for accentuating your curves. If you prefer a more straightforward line, there are options for that as well. I’m loving just how customized I can make this sweater.

Today I launch into clue 3. I plan to be caught up by the time Clue 5 rolls around –I hear it’s going to bring even more options. See you on Monday!

Knitter’s Toolbox: Lifelines

We’ve had a couple of people who have lost their way along the Mystery KAL Harder Path, and we’d like to make it a little easier for you to find your way back. So let’s talk about lifelines!

Lifelines are one of those McGyver tricks that every knitter should have in their toolbox. They can save you from getting frustrated at a mistake and ripping your whole project out. And they could not be easier to do.

All you’re going to need is your project, a length of smooth contrasting colored yarn a little longer than the width of your project, and a tapestry needle. This swatch and lifeline are both in our Uptown Worsted 100% anti-pilling acrylic (180yds/100g).
Step One
Thread your lifeline onto the needle. Run it through your work, alongside the knitting needle. The lifeline is going to be right where your active loops currently are.

Step 2

On your next row, knit as you normally would, disregarding the lifeline. It’s just going to hang out in your work, staying in the same row of loops you threaded it through.
Step 3

Here’s where it comes in handy. In the next picture, we’ve dropped some stitches! But wait – the lifeline is in place! Instead of unraveling all the way back down to the cast-on edge, the dropped stitch hit the lifeline and stopped. We still have to pick up the stitch, but it’s not the disaster that it could have been.

Step 4

Let’s say I realized I made a mistake about 20 rows ago (gasp!) and need to rip back to the point of the error. Thankfully, I put in a lifeline right before I was starting on the tricky bit, so I can just rip back and the lifeline will keep my stitches aligned and ready to go back on the needle. I just slide my needle through the channel created by the lifeline. I’m good to go!

Step 5

I’m putting in a lifeline as I begin Clue 2 of my Mystery Sweater. If something goes wrong, I can just rip back to that point, reset my needle, and start Clue 2 again. No muss no fuss.

We hope this helps!

ETA: Run your lifeline AROUND your stitch markers, not through. Otherwise you can’t move the stitch markers to the next row. You can guess how I learned this!

Mystery KAL – Clue 2 is live!

It’s here! Clue 2 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

So, how’re we doing? Personally, I love it so far. The reversible right twists look great and are easy to keep track of. I’m feeling good about the path that I’ve chosen… and now it’s time to choose again!

Amy Gunderson gives Harder Path followers another fork in the road – choose stockinette or reverse stockinette. “One reason the reverse stockinette path might be a good choice for you is if you’re working with a variegated yarn. I happen to prefer the look of variegated yarn over a reverse stockinette fabric rather than stockinette, but it’s your choice!”

We have people in the office using both solid and variegated yarns. Above is Jennifer’s collar in Poems Silk. I may just wander over to her office and try to nudge her in the direction of reverse stockinette – I really want to see what the yarn is going to do!

This weekend will be a good opportunity to stay (or get) caught up on what we’ve done so far. We’ll be back on Monday with Clue #3!

Mystery KAL – Clue 1 is live!

It’s here! Clue 1 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

True to her word, Amy Gunderson has written two versions… and hints that there will be further twists and turns down the road for those who wish to choose their own adventure.

Amy: This pattern is going to be a bit of a “choose your own adventure” sweater. There will be different “paths” to choose along the way to having your very own seamless sweater. At the very beginning of this pattern, you will find yourself at a large fork in the road. In one direction you will find a slightly more complex path. There will be right twists (RT) and reversible cables. In the other direction, you will encounter a more pared down version that involves 2×2 ribbing and garter stitch. Choose your path according to your experience level and willingness and ability to keep track of rows.

Your humble blogger and most (but not all) of the participants here at Universal Yarn are picking the harder path. Where that will lead us? We’ll just have to see!

The first clue, including charts and abbreviations we’ll need for the entire sweater, are available on the pattern page. Ravelers, we also have a Ravelry group going.

We’re planning on releasing another clue on Thursday. Cast on and join in the fun!

Mystery KAL – FAQ and Poor Wool-Allergic Jackie!

First things first – we’ve had a couple of very good questions!

Q: What’s the difficulty level of this sweater?
A: Amy tells us that it’ll be customizable from “easy to intermediate.” It’s written in such a way that you can be flexible and choose to include or not include some of the details to fit it to your personal comfort level.

Q: How much knitting should I expect to do per night?
A: Some of that will depend on you, of course. We’ve got both hares and tortoises here in the office, but we’re feeling pretty confident that the pace will be reasonable. The designer, Amy Gunderson, is estimating about 45 minutes per day of knitting.

My personal plan is to crank up the first season of Downton Abbey and watch an episode a night to get caught up (again) while knocking out a few rows in the evening. Perhaps while sipping some tea. It’s a sacrifice, but I’ll soldier on.

Now on to Jackie! Jackie is tackling the Mystery KAL as her very first sweater project. Unfortunately, Jackie is allergic to wool. To me, that seems like being allergic to air, but Jackie isn’t letting that stop her.
Good Earth Swatch
Jackie’s chosen to do her sweater in Good Earth cotton/linen blend (204yds/100g). Good Earth Multi is in the swatch pictured above, although Jackie settled on a solid color for her sweater. The drape on Good Earth is naturally different than a wool blend, but it’s got a great hand and knits up beautifully.  Jackie’s going to make the simpler version of the sweater.

We’re all very proud of her for stretching her wings by trying something new. We should all try to learn something new every day – knitting-related or not!

Mystery KAL – Swatching Deluxe Worsted for Gauge

Deluxe Worsted
Soaked in cool water and lightly wet-blocked, this swatch is 18 sts = 4″ on US size 7 needles.

And we’re off! Folks in the office have made their yarn selections. Bags of yarn have arrived at our desks and we’ve ripped into them and started swatching.

Deluxe Worsted and Deluxe Worsted Superwash seemed like the classic choices for a sweater. Both are 220yds/100g 100% wool. Based on the dead-on gauge swatch in Deluxe Worsted pictured at right, it’s going to be a good fit.

Deluxe Worsted SuperwashWe’ve had some people ask how well Deluxe Worsted Superwash actually stands up to washing, so we put a couple of gauge swatches to the test before starting an entire sweater. Machine washed and tumbled dry, the swatches looked just fine. We feel comfortable casting on with confidence.

We can’t wait for the clues to start rolling in. There’s a Ravelry group going where you can share your progress.

Happy knitting!