19 Dec 2012

Reversible Stripes

Autumn just wouldn't be the same without a visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show in "Allie Pallie" (Alexandra Palace in London.) The show has its own special character, with three halls overflowing with display booths, shops, classes, student shows and so on. Every year there is also a special event such as a quilting display or a Japanese knitting exhibition. Always magical.

And then there are the remnant boxes - my downfall. Bargain end-of-line yarns just asking to go home with you. Last year, already laden with packages, we came across a remnant box filled with Lang Gobi yarn. The super-soft mixture of extra-fine merino and baby camel hair was stunning. The colours were wonderful and set me in mind of a recent visit to a favourite town we love going to, Asheville in North Carolina. The beautiful russet colour of one of the yarns was just like the autumn leaves with their warm, glowing tints.

Unfortunately there wasn't enough for a large project but it got me thinking about colours. After my return home I found a very similar combination with Valley Yarns Amherst which is a beautifully soft 100% merino wool. So I set to with some stitch swatches. 

By great good fortune, I had also recently discovered a stitch pattern which might just become one of my favourites - a reversible stitch called Roman Striped Lace. It is a lovely stitch even when worked in a single colour, but really comes into its own when two different coloured yarns are used.

Usually a stripe will look good when seen from the right side, but turn it over and there is a little line of two-colour "purl bumps" which mar the wrong side. You can try to ignore them or even embrace them and make this line part of your design, but they are almost always there. But here.....

Ta-Da! No bi-colour purls. No off-colour lines at the transition points. In fact it is really hard to see which is the right side and which is the wrong side. A perfect stitch choice for such a gorgeous yarn. As I worked, the scarf was so soft and warm in my hands and I knew this was a winner. Winter chills around the neck are a thing of the past!

The pattern is now available for this scarf: the Chalfont Scarf. I have included three different sizes and also three colourways to give lots of knitting options. Click here for a blogpost giving details about this pattern and to see photos of the different colourways.

Happy Knitting!


Last Blogpost: Rare Earth Cushions

. 17/5/17

6 Dec 2012

Rare Earth Cushions

You can never have too many cushions. Scattered over a comfy sofa they add a homely touch to any room, softening the look of a bare area and making it feel warm and welcoming. 

The colours used here are reminiscent of a New England winter, the rich natural tones harmonising with the beauty of the world outside.

I have worked these ones in a soft natural-coloured handspun yarn using Corriedale fleece.

I started with one white fleece and one coloured one, and then divided the coloured fleece into separate tones. I then blended these together to give five different shades of yarn. This gave a lovely range of yarn colours to work into the cushions. 

Of course you don't need to use handspun yarn to knit these cushions for yourself - any worsted weight yarn in 5 co-ordinating colours will work. I can imagine these cushions in other colours too - in bright tones to suit a child's playroom or seasonal Holiday shades.

The Rare Earth Cushions pattern includes five different looks giving a co-ordinated set of cushions. Knit just one or two cushions to add to your existing collection or all five for a brand-new look. 

The covers are easily removed as they are buttoned over the cushion pad underneath, making it easy to change the look in your room as you move from season to season. 

They also co-ordinate with the Rare Earth Rug - a super-cozy rug invented with New England winters in mind. 

To see both of these patterns, together with other cushion and rug patterns, please visit my website. I hope you enjoy making these fun knitted items for your home.  

Happy Knitting! 


. 17/5/17

26 Feb 2012

Either Way Up - The Elizabeth Scarf.

I love scarves that you can just throw on and don't have to worry about whether you have the right side or the wrong side showing.

Several years ago I started investigating reversible stitches and worked a sampler with about 100 different stitches that I found and I discovered an interesting fact that I hadn't seen written down before: reversible stitches tend to lie beautifully flat.

The corollary was also often true, that if a stitch pattern was described as giving a flat result, then it was quite often reversible. 

Both pretty obvious statements once you think about it, but it hadn't occurred to me until that point. It's the imbalance between knits and purls that make a Stocking Stitch fabric curl inwards after all; the forces between a knit stitch wanting to go in one direction and a purl stitch going in the other that causes Garter Stitch to become so compressed, and so on. 

Reversible fabrics, though, have a wonderful balance between knits and purls on both sides and the fabric lies compliant and flat while showing stunning textural effects. Simple!

In the Elizabeth Scarf shown here I have used one of my favorite reversible stitches, Hatfield Check. This is nice easy stitch to work but still has a lot of interest as you work. The ends of the scarf are defined with extra bands of Garter Stitch giving an added touch of interest, and the pattern includes a remedy for the splaying out that can happen in this situation.

In the green scarf, I used fine, fingering weight yarn with two ends held together. There is a lovely yarn made by Swans Island made from 100% organic merino wool that would be great here. This weight of yarn is perfect for a scarf that will be worn under a jacket without being bulky.

The maroon scarf is worked in a slightly heavier yarn, a Knit Picks DK superwash wool yarn called Swish DK. It has a wonderful drape and this has already become one of my firm favorites this year. This scarf is a super long length of and lends itself to all kinds of fancy scarf tie-ups. 

The third version, a plum-colored scarf, is in a chunky acrylic/wool mixture giving an altogether softer and bolder appearance. The added bulk will be good to stop those wintry draughts at your neck when you are waiting at the tram stop. 

To see more details about the Elizabeth Scarf pattern, please click here

Please also see the Blogpost: How long shall I make this scarf? which features this scarf.

Happy Knitting! 


Prevous Blogpost: Mentmore Socks

. 17/5/17


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