Evergreen cowl pattern, coming soon, it’s knitted in the round, with entwined diamond cables and textured centres.
I am a sucker for cables, they’re interesting to knit, give texture, depth and most of all warmth to any knits. So, I cast on for a short loop cowl, worked bottom-up and in the round using circular needles. I’m using a DK yarn from Stylecraft for version 1 as it will then go with my Campside Cardi knitted with the same colour. The colourway is called Gorse and it’s a yellowy green with heathering in teal, yellow, dark green and the occasional bit of black.
The Evergreen cowl will be a shorter loop approximately 23 inches circumference, but with instructions on how to make the cowl loop longer to wrap twice or three times around the neck, or make it taller for cooler climates.
Sock Knitters, do you leftover sock yarn? Then I have the project for you!
I’ll be the first to admit I am not much of a sock knitter. But I do love to wear hand knitted socks. I do make a lot of hats, cowls, shawls and even sweaters with sock yarns and I have various bags of leftover sock yarn. I tend to store them in colour groups which makes it easy when I’m looking for small amounts to add a bit of colour to a project.
The yarns in the photo below are leftovers from a shawl project, two cardigan projects and a hat.
Then I met Vera and she changed my life
Who is this mysterious Vera? How did she change my life?
Emma Sadler, a very good friend of mine, asked me to test knit her new pattern for the Vera Sweater. I was pleased to help and as most of my personal knitting is sweaters or cardigans for myself, it made a lot of sense. I needed a lighter sweater for layering and that would be suitable for Autumn as well as the cold, Winter weather.
Vera is a Sock Yarn Sweater and perfect for Sock Knitters
The main body of this classic, v-neck raglan sweater is knitted with a solid or semi solid sock yarn. But when you get to the sleeves you can go wild and knit a festival of colour using up your old sock yarns. It’s like a party going on all the way to the cuffs.
I usually have at least half a dozen sweaters or cardigans around the house waiting for sleeves. For those who don’t knit sweaters, Sleeve Island is the usual term for this, my sweater is stuck on sleeve island.
Sleeve Island is a big thing in this house and the oldest WIP (work in progress) I’ve found is a Chic Hoodie by Bonne Marie Burns which needs one sleeve. I can’t find the yarn, but I suppose I could rip out part of the sleeve that’s done and make it short sleeved? I digress, back to Vera.
BUT with Vera, I was so excited to get to the next colour of yarn scraps, the sleeves were knitted in a weekend. If you want to sign up for Emma’s newsletter and be notified when the pattern is released, sign up here. She usually does a discount code on launch, so don’t miss it.
Stanhope Sweater, another sock yarn stash buster
Earlier in the year, Emma released her Stanhope Sweater. Fans of Vera on ITV in the UK will recognise the names of the sweaters are inspired by the detective Vera Sanhope. A no-nonsense woman who tells it how it is.
I am trying to convince Emma that her original sample in a light curry colour is too big for her. She has lost weight and is looking fabulous. Really I’m doing her a favour by taking it off her hands, but so far it hasn’t arrived in the post.
Stanhope is another classic V neck, no fancy shaping, just clean lines and the sock yarn does ALL the work by showing off it’s colours, patterns and stealing the show.
Will you be knitting Stanhope or Vera for yourself this Autumn?
Stay safe, be well and be kind. See you again soon for more crafting, chat and yarny goodness.
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Decisions need to be made, do I go for Mosaic Knitting or Stranded Colour work for my new hat and cowl design? I have a new cowl and hat design in the works and I’d really love your feedback
I had cast on for a simultaneous set-in-sleeve sweater (worked top down and without the need to pick up for sleeves) using some stash yarns from Lanas Stop, their 4ply/fingering weight superwash Prima Merino. It’s buttery soft, has great stitch definition and knits up really well. However, I wasn’t happy with the shoulder and sleeve shaping and had to start again, rip, rip, rip it.
At that point, the yarn was telling me it really wanted to be a colour work cowl and hat set. I have three shades of blue and two shades of green with work with. Who am I to argue with the yarn?
What is Mosaic Knitting?
What is mosaic knitting? For those who haven’t heard of it, or tried Mosaic Knitting. It’s a technique where you only use one colour every two rows (when worked flat) or one colour per row/2rows if worked in the round. You slip the stitches which aren’t being worked. It’s so much easier for a newer knitter than stranded colour work, but you can get some really fabulous effects with it. You can change your contrast and main colours frequently, or use self striping yarns, it’s very adaptable with simpler mosaic patterns, but also you can create complex designs.
One of my favourite mosaic hats is from 10HoursOrLess and is called Chorus of Cats, if you click the image below it’ll take you to the Ravelry pattern page, link opens in a new window. The hat features an all over mosaic pattern of cats with a striped crown (garter stripes for texture), a pompom in a contrast colour and a simple garter brim in the grey MC. The cats are knitted in a creamy white colour. The pom pom is in the denim contrast colour.
What is Stranded Colour Work Knitting? It’s colour work knitting, usually with 2 or 3 colours per row/round of knitting. It’s called Stranded Knitting because you carry the yarn which isn’t being used at the back of the work, creating strands or yarn floats of the unused yarn. These are in the back of the work and are not seen when the garment is worn but you can create simply or complex patterning with them.
In the photo below, I’m wearing my Frosty Morning Hat, which uses two colours of Blue Faced Leicester Aran to create a colour work pattern using stranded knitting. I used Burnt Orange for the main colour and Mustard for the contrast colour. The hat has a ribbed, folded brim knitted in the main colour, then you join the contrast colour and commence stranded colour work knitting. It’s a simple pattern and an easy beginner pattern as long as you’re comfortable knitting in the round.
What do you think?
Stranded Colour Work or Mosaic? Let me know which you’d like to see for my next pattern.
Last weekend, almost by accident, I cast on for a Ranunculus Sweater. I was using some very deep stash, Sirdar Romance in colour 150 Khaki which has a fine gold thread running through it and feels almost cashmere soft. It’s a surprise as it’s a very cheap yarn bought in the sales.
Ranunculus Sweater – about the pattern
It’s by Midori Hirose and has two files for the English version one up to a 49″ finished chest and the other to cover plus sizes with the largest finished measurement being 65″ chest. Depending on the fit you want, that could fit up to a 65″ chest with no ease or a 48″ chest with a LOT of ease.
Ranunculus Sweater Neckline Options
It’s knit top down, in the round with two options for the neckline, a narrower neck and a wider neckline. I chose the wider neckline and I’m very happy with that. My first cast on, which I ripped out, was the narrower neckline but I soon realised that I needed to go up to a 7.5mm needle for the body and 8mm for sleeves. I didn’t do the front neck short rows but I did do the back neck short row shaping.
Ranunculus Sweater Sleeves
I didn’t pick up as many underarm stitches for the sleeves as I knew I was going to be very tight on yarn, other than that, I knitted the sleeves to 9 inches, changed to 5mm needles and worked 5 rows k1, p1 ribbing then cast off in rib pattern.
Ranunculus Sweater Body
I knitted the body to 14 inches from the underarm, worked 4 rows in k1, p1 ribbing using the same needles as the body, then used a stretchy bind purl bind off.
I am super pleased with it, as those of you who watch our videos on YouTube or Facebook will know, I am a Slimming World member and losing weight gradually. I tried the sweater on and it’s a good fit with very little ease, but on Victoria who is a 38″chest it’s just nice. It’ll fit me for a while and as I drop a few sizes, it’ll still be a good fit.
In the UK we call fingering weight yarn 4ply, as typically it was a finer yarn spun from 4 plies of yarn, but many 4ply yarns are now spun from only one or two plies.
4ply yarn is great for socks, shawls, gloves and other accessories such as shawls, wraps and scarves. It is lightweight but depending on the wool content can also be lovely and warm.
It is wonderful for Fair Isle and colour work projects using 100% wool to give a lighter garment despite the almost double thickness of the resulting patterned fabric.
It produces beautiful lacy knits and often blocks well to show the resulting lacework pattern.
It can be stranded double to knit a heavier garment or to achieve ombre type effects in the garment or fabric.
Superwash sock and fingering weight yarns are fantastic for baby clothing as busy Mum’s will appreciate a machine washable garment which is both easy care and hard wearing. Sock yarns often contain up to 25% nylon to add strength, think heels and toes that get a lot of wear going in and out of your shoes, to the yarn.
Let’s start by asking ourselves, what is a swatch? A swatch is a smaller piece of knitted or crochet fabric we use to ensure we have met the stated gauge/tension required by a pattern. It can be a sleeve, a hat, a mitten or just a square in your chosen pattern.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 1 you want your sweater to fit a person, not a doll
Whether you knit or crochet, if you are making a garment for an adult, you need to swatch and find out what size needles/hooks you need for your yarn. If you don’t, your sweater could end up with so much positive ease that you could use it to cover the car on a cold day. Or, even worse, it might be so small and tight that you can’t fit into it. You’re investing time, lots of it, and cash in terms of your yarn purchase. So, please make a swatch of a decent size and block it the way you intend to block your garment so it behaves the same way.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 2 You are substituting the yarn
If the garment or item you’re making is a Summer top knitted with hemp/cotton, that yarn will behave very differently to wool, alpaca, acrylic or silk.
Silk has very little memory but combined with wool (which does) the cables will be springy and the item should hold it’s shape well.
Alpaca grows, sometimes a lot, it’s very warm but also very stretchy. If you knit or crochet a swatch and then wash and block it the way you intend to take care of the finished item, it’ll give you a better idea of how it’s going to behave.
The designer, should, and probably has, taken the qualities of the yarn they used into account when designing the pattern. If you use an acrylic yarn, it may not have the same stretch as wool, you may need to consider making a larger size, or going up a needle size for cuffs and other elements that could end up being too tight.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 3 You’re using a different colour to the designer and you aren’t sure if it will work with the stitch pattern.
Busy yarns don’t always work with lace or cables, sometimes they drown out the pattern you’ve spent many, many hours to lovingly create. Using a very dark or very light colour can also obscure the pattern. It’s worth doing a swatch to see how it looks with your yarn, you could save yourself a lot of heartache and time.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 4 You’re making modifications to the pattern
Adding an extra cable, adding length, making an item shorter are often easy modifications to make. You may need more or less yarn depending on those choices. A swatch can help you figure out any changes that should make to the finished item in terms of width, yarn usage etc to guarantee it will still fit.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 5 The designer used dk yarn and you want to use aran weight
Great, make a swatch, find your stitches and rows per inch in the designated pattern stitch. You could wing it and make one or two sizes smaller, or you could do that little bit of mathematics and be certain. If the gauge/tension is 22×28 and my swatch is 18×24 and I knit my usual size, I’ll end up with a much bigger garment. I could end up with a garment that has over 40 stitches and 8 inches wider than I need.
I worked on a 44″ bust and at 5.5 sts per inch that is 242 sts cast on, with 4.5 sts per inch I’d only need to cast on 198. Look for the size that has the closest stitch number and give that a go. You’ll need to make sure you check your length for underarms and any shaping, but it’ll be pretty close. A swatch can tell you so much.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 6 You’re adding bust shaping, darts or short rows
It’s worth you understanding how that will look on a patterned sweater, how will it affect cables, stripes etc? A swatch can help with that. You might choose to do short rows and not bust darts, but it’s best to know up front, pardon the pun, and save a lot of re-knitting and/or tears.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 7 You don’t have the right needle size
If you don’t have the right needle size to get gauge/tension (number of stitches per inch and rows per inch), you need to know whether to make a larger size, a smaller size or just order the right needles.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 8 It’s your first time making a large item like a garment
If this is your first garment and all your other projects are small items, this is a bit investment in time, yarn, emotionally and mentally. You want it to a) fit your body and b) look great. Make a swatch of a decent size in the given stitch pattern, get to know the stitches and understand the pattern first. If you are short of yarn, you can rip out your swatch and use that yarn. Ask me how I know, lol.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 9 You usually knit or crochet toys/amigurumi
Why does that matter? Because you need to knit/crochet at a tighter gauge/tension for items like toys which are then filled with a stuffing so that the stuffing isn’t seen through the stitches. When you come to knit a garment and you’re still in toy mode, your garment will be too small and you may have to go up one or two needle sizes to get gauge.
10 Mysterious Reasons Why You Should Swatch – 10 To Understand the Yarn and how it behaves
What do I mean by that? Does it work well with your cables or lace? Does it have the right drape, do you need to go up or down a needle size? If the fabric is too tight, even though it says it’s the right weight, will you like it? Learn about the yarn and that yarn will help you.
I hope that’s been a useful round of of all the reasons I love to swatch, let me know if you’d like to see more articles like this one. I’ve embedded a link to our YouTube video where we talk about swatches and what is a swatch.