Ravelry pattern link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rain-or-shine
It seems like I'm constantly finishing knits for myself in the wrong season. Winter knits in summer. Summer knits in winter. :) This time, though, I DID actually finish this cardigan in winter. Unfortunately, it also just happened to be the wrong season of life: I was 8 months pregnant and couldn't button it. ;) (I tried wearing it open, but it just looked funny with my baby belly.) And, once I could button it, the tulips were blooming and it was just a little too balmy out for a wool sweater!
So, it sat in my closet waiting patiently for this fall and winter. I have to say, though, that it was worth the wait. I've really enjoyed wearing it! I love the fit and style. Goes with so much!
It really was a fun knit, too. It's knit top down, all at once (with raglan shaping) and it was awesome to be able to try it on as I went and make a few adjustments as needed! (More on the adjustments I made here.) No seaming at the end, too - perfect!
Project: Woodstove Season Cardigan
Pattern: Woodstove Season
Yarn: Knit Picks' Gloss Heavy Worsted (discontinued) - "Parsley"
We have had an unusually dry winter here in Washington. Hardly any rain and no snow. Just lots of dry, cold weather! So, this was a pleasant surprise this morning... 5 inches and counting!
Makes me want to bundle up and knit lots of warm things. :) Easier said than done, though. I've actually been on a knitting hiatus for a while now. Somehow I injured my left thumb by being a mom and knitter about a month ago. Painful and annoying! I toughed it out for a week, then gave up knitting. Still wasn't better, so I bought a brace. That's when I finally started to heal.
For the past 3 weeks I haven't knit a stitch - sad! Since my hand hasn't hurt for about a week, though, today I gave knitting a "go" again.
The project: a bright green sock from my WIP pile. I started this sock months (maybe years? ;)) ago and have only worked on it in between more interesting projects. So, I've only completed approximately 6" of the 2x2 rib cuff. It's just my "work-on-when-I-need-something" project, though, so that's fine with me. The pair will eventually get done. ;)
Project: Simple Green Socks
Pattern: Priscilla's Dream Socks
(See my post long ago about this pattern here.)
Yarn: Knit Pick's Stroll Tonal - "Springtime"
It's great to be knitting again (even if just a little), and enjoying the beautiful, white view from the warm indoors!
I have a confession. Before I designed the Baby Nordik Hat I really hadn't knit much colorwork. Two yarn stranded colorwork, that is. (The Élan Mitts Pattern didn't count, since it's a neat faux colorwork.)
Sure, I knit a few hats with a colorwork band way back when I first learned to knit (here's one :)), but I pretty much limped my way through those:
Pick up Yarn 1, k 2 sts. Drop yarn. Pick up Yarn 2, k 3 sts... and so on. Gets the job done, but talk about slow.
When I got the urge to knit a earflap hat for Annette with a colorwork band, this painstaking method worked fine for the first hat. I had no trouble keeping gauge and it looked great. But, once I decided I wanted to turn this into a design, I knew what that meant: lots of colorwork knitting was on my horizon.
I'd have to actually figure out how to knit colorwork the "proper" way, or get super frustrated with with my slugs-pace skills. ;)
Google to the rescue! One quick search and I'd uncovered lots of articles and videos. I found these really helpful:
I knit English style (my right hand holds and "throws" the yarn) and had only dabbled in Continental style once. So, originally I got a yarn guide thinking that holding both yarn strands in my right hand would feel the most natural. It felt pretty clunky over all, though, and I just couldn't get into a rhythm with it.
Next I tried two handed stranded knitting, (using the information in the links above - the video by Knit Picks being especially helpful). This felt strange at first since it combined both English and Continental style, but eventually I got the hang of it and it felt really natural. Colorwork was no longer a laborious chore (you know, "only 4 more rows until I'm done with the chart!"). It was actually really fun!
I certainly don't consider myself to be a 2 handed colorwork master, but after knitting 5 different Baby Nordik Hats (all part of designing a pattern ;)), I do have some advice from my experience should you choose to try this method:
Relax your left hand!
If (like me) you are not used to Continental style knitting, you'll probably be tempted to keep it super rigid and tense while you learn this. Not a good idea! Your left hand will hurt. So (unlike me :)) take multiple breaks if it starts to hurt and try to just relax it while you are knitting to avoid strain.
Keep the strands/floats the same tension as the knitting!
If you don't, the front of the colorwork will pucker. This sounds scary and hard, but it's really not. For example, when you switch to knitting with Yarn B, you'll "float" the Yarn B strand behind the Yarn A stitches you just knit. All you've got to do is make sure you "float" enough Yarn B yarn behind those Yarn A stitches so that the Yarn B strand doesn't pull them together at all. I found that I got perfect tension on the strands/floats when I:
1) knit in a relaxed manner AND 2) made sure to not pull on each yarn strand too tightly whenever I made a color change and knit the first stitch.
Begin with an "in the round" project!
If you've never knit Continental style before, knitting is going to be challenging enough. You don't want to also have to learn how to purl. So, do yourself a favor and knit your first 2 handed colorwork project in the round. No purling!
Understand it won't look amazing right off the needles!
It takes a good blocking to even out those colorwork stitches and give it a finished look, so don't be disappointed if it doesn't look amazing once you finish it! As long as the strands/floats aren't too tight, blocking it should make the design really "pop".
So, have you tried colorwork?
Have you mastered the art, are you working on it, or are you still scared off?
Comment below! I'd love to hear about your experience!
This past year was Annette's first Christmas and I really wanted to knit her a present. I was originally thinking something she could wear, or maybe a stocking (but then I'd have to knit them for my husband and me and I wasn't sure I had that much stick-with-it ;)). Then I saw this stuffed bunny pattern by Julie Williams and about died from the cuteness. Polka-dot dress, Mary-Jane shoes, and striped tights. Love the details! Must. Knit. NOW! :)
I dug through my stash and found just enough yarn in the right yarn weights and colors and got knitting. (Side note: After knitting it, I was amazed at how little yarn it used!) It took me a few weeks to finish it, but I was also designing/knitting the Baby Nordik Hat while I knit this, so I can't say for sure how many knitting hours that was. The knitting itself was pretty easy, but all of the seaming and stuffing made it pretty fiddly (which the designer herself warns about). All of the careful stuffing and the little details that made it fiddly (Mary-Janes, stripes, etc.), though, are what made it turn out so cute, so it's hard to complain. I LOVE the way it turned out (and so does Annette :)), but I think it'll be a while before I knit another one. Probably once it falls apart due to my teething baby. ;)
I'm a fan of raglan, top-down sweater knitting. You get to try it on as you go, there are no seams, and you don't have to worry about all the pieces fitting together at the end. Awesome! While seamed sweater knitting has it's place, there are just major perks to a seamless knit.
There are a number of top-down baby cardigan patterns, but very few that are completely seamless. Lots have raglan sleeve construction, but then they include an after-thought button band. And, picking up 100 stitches evenly up and down each button band and making sure they line up just isn't my favorite thing. :)
And, that's where I got the idea for the Baby Belle Cardigan.
What if I designed a baby cardigan that was *completely* seamless?
Now, I realize that designing a cardigan with an integral collar and button band isn't an earth shattering idea :), but I also wanted it to look a certain way.
For instance, seamless cardigans can have the propensity to "droop". Plain 'ol garter stitch button bands tend to sag out of shape and limply hang around buttons. No thanks!
I wanted to design a cardigan for my little girl that had a classic silhouette and feminine details. (I imagined puffy pockets. :)) I wanted it to be one of those knits that was simple enough to go with lots of outfits, but special enough that it seemed like an heirloom knit.
So, with a rough image in my mind and a determination to knit-it-all-at-once, the Baby Belle Cardigan gradually came together.
My major break-through on the design came when I discovered the Linen Stitch. Love this stitch! It makes knitting look woven - so cool! It was too rigid (and monotonous :)) for a whole sweater, but it ended up being just perfect for the edging of the cardigan. I loved the subtle texture difference, too, between the sturdy, "woven" band and the soft, stockinette stitch body.
As I started working up the first prototype, I was loving the results. The style was turning out just as cute as I'd hoped, and it was wonderful to have everything coming together at once: collar, button bands, body, and sleeves!
Once the cardigan was finished, it still needed a little flair, so I decided to try my hand at designing those puffy pockets I'd envisioned.
Once again, I was going for a seamless knit here, so I knew I didn't want to knit them separate and then try to seam or whipstitch them on. (From past experiences, it's also insanely difficult to sew a pocket onto the front of a garment and *not* have it look sloppy!) After multiple attempts, I finally discovered a way to successfully knit the pocket while simultaneously knitting it to the front of the cardigan. You initially had to pick up a few sts on the cardigan for the bottom of the pocket, but that was as close to completely seamless as I could get. ;)
With that, I called the cardigan a success and calculated out 5 different baby and toddler sizes, wrote up the pattern, had it test knit, and now I hope *you* enjoy it!
If you've knit the Baby Belle, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Yep, in case you've found your way here before and are wondering if you typed the URL in correctly, BekahKnits.com has recently undergone a major facelift. :)
It's the same site - just hopefully a whole lot better!
New features include:
- Detailed sizing, yardage, and gauge information on each pattern page
- Info on how Bekah Knits the biz came about
- An all-new pattern deals page!
Buy patterns bundled together, and save!
Hoping you like the new look and features as much as I do!
Welcome to the Bekah Knits blog!
The official site for Bekah Knits news, updates, and general knitting musings!