Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chocolate Syrup Poncho

I liked the way Rose's Slytherin-By-the-Sea poncho turned out, so I decided to make another one for myself. I know the yarn says it's named "Coffee," but the dark brown color reminds me more of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup.

Here I used an i-cord tab cast on of 4 rows, then picked up 3 stitches in the center for a total of 9 stitches on the needle. Worked following the Sheep Wagon Shawl pattern instructions on the 3 center stitches with the addition of the 3 i-cord stitches on each side. (I-cord: Knit 3 at beginning of row; sl3wyif at the end of each row.)

Joined to work in the round after row 57. Yes, this pattern requires a lot of purling while working flat (have to purl every return row), but that's the price you pay for wanting a design in classic, classy stockinette. Once you join to work in the round, however, you're on all-knitting easy street.

Update 5/14/15: I started out knitting this poncho with size 9 needles (5.5 mm), but the fabric was just turning out to be way too dense. So somewhere around row 70, I ripped the whole thing back and started over with size 10 needles. Painful to lose that much work, but I'm much happier with the fabric the second time around.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Slytherin-By-the-Sea poncho for Rose

Here's a cozy garment stylish enough that even Bellatrix Lestrange herself might wear it! Our friend Rose was sorted into Slytherin House, but when she isn't away studying at Hogwarts, she lives in the chilly, foggy Bay Area ... hence she needed a Slytherin-By-the-Sea poncho to keep her cozy.

I started this project working the same as the Sheep Wagon Shawl but joined to work in the round after row 46 to produce a poncho instead of a wrap.

At the join, I worked another "spine" in the same manner as established between the other stockinette sections to make the join basically invisible and to provide another place for increasing the stitch count.

Since you don't turn your work anymore after joining to work in the round, I continued to emulate the Sheep Wagon Shawl stitch pattern by knitting all rounds and increasing on every-other round. Stockinette without the purling! W'hoo!!

After knitting about 94 total rows/rounds, I used a stretchy knitted cast-off but didn’t break the working yarn. I then continued working with a 5.5 mm crochet hook in the bottom loops of the knitted cast-off edge to crochet the lace edging from Kim Guzman's Cinnamon Fling to give the poncho a lovely finish. To work the lace edging in the round requires a stitch count in a multiple of 15; this poncho has 390 stitches around the hem.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sheep Wagon Shawl

I was lucky enough to grab the Sheep Wagon Shawl pattern by Joanna Johnson while it was free during its first days on Ravelry. Now the pattern costs $4, but that's still a small price to pay because it's a lovely, well-executed design.

This is the shawl I referred to in my previous post that I worked using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease yarn.

I varied from the original pattern by incorporating some gradient striping based on the chart in the Gradient Mitts (free pattern) to transition from top color (Taupe) to bottom color (Charcoal), making this a simple, two-color striped shawl. I doubled the number of rows in the gradient stripes, so instead of being worked across 30 rows, I worked them across 60 rows, starting after row 62 of the shawl pattern.

Bottom edge stitch count: 535.

Update 4/10/15: I added a crocheted lace border adapted from Kim Guzman’s Cinnamon Fling wrap (free pattern) to accomplish two things. One, to alleviate the inevitable hem curl with stockinette fabric. And two, to add a few more inches in length.

The funny story here is that I ran short of the Charcoal Cotton-Ease yarn. This is visible in the above photo, where you can see a color variation in the bottom knitted rows of the shawl. I wasn't able to find anymore of that shade in my local stores, and I wasn't able to find anymore of it to buy online (not any that was reasonably priced, at least). I was about to give up, but I reached out to yarncraft designer Darleen Hopkins of Crochet by Darleen Hopkins. Darleen has made a lot of her designs using Cotton-Ease, so I explained my problem of running short of the Charcoal yarn. She did have a newer skein of that color and generously offered to sell it to me. We all know how yarn companies like to mess with their dye processes, so naturally the two versions of Charcoal weren't an exact match, but at this point in my big shawl project I was not about to give up! Thank you, thank you, Darleen, for saving me!!!

I was able to complete the Sheep Wagon Shawl pattern to length, but this is how close I came to using the entire skein Darleen sent me - just 1.4 ounces left (including the label band):

So a few days later when I decided to add the crocheted lace border, I opted to do that in black Caron Simply Soft - something STILL AVAILABLE IN MY LOCAL STORE. Hahaha!

Friday, March 27, 2015

HoB Mitts free pattern

I've been itching to make something using Lion Brand's Cotton-Ease yarn ... but it has been nearly impossible to find it. I guess all the yarn stores in my area just don't carry it. Yeah, I know, that doesn't make sense to me, either.

But I finally found some in stock at JoAnn. I'm not too sure about the color (Taupe), but I bought what I hope is enough to make a shawl.

In the meantime, I decided to experiment with a pair of fingerless mitts. This HoB Mitts pattern by Mechee Meador is very nice - quick and easy.

I used a provisional cast-on of 35 stitches so I could add an i-cord edging to the finger opening and also graft the side seam after working the thumb gusset. The other thing I did differently was to work the entire mitt in garter stitch, omitting the stockinette panel.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Asymmetrical Lines free pattern

Asymmetrical Lines by Miwa Kawamura is a very nice (and free) knitting pattern for a triangular scarf in squishy garter stitch. It's a great way to show off the colors in some striping or variegated yarn.

I had a small amount of the Hobby Lobby Jazz Stripe left over after finishing the Jazzy Infinite Granny Square blanket, so I used that yarn here and added some Boysenberry Red Heart With Love for contrast.

The designer’s third photo is very helpful in figuring out the instructions to the start of part B row 3.