Weekly Fave!

All Who Wander Cowl – Interweave Knits Fall 2017

The latest issue of Interweave Knits for Fall 2017 is exceptional. Turning the first few pages, this stunning colorwork cowl took my breath away, so reminiscent of a richly, colored, woven textile. The All Who Wander Cowl is worked in the round using the stranded method of knitting with colored yarns (I recently wrote a post on stranding and weaving). I hope you pick up this issue, so full of beautiful knits to wear for years to come.

Weekly Fave!

Crocheted Pouches

These beautiful pouches from Churchmouse Yarns, crocheted in Rowan Handknit Cotton are perfect as makeup bags, for knitting accessories, or for a variety of other uses. I would definitely line the pouch with beautiful fabric. Tip: Make a paper pattern for the lining by tracing the crocheted piece(s) onto light weight paper (tracing paper works well). For this type of project, add a small seam allowance, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch. Cut the lining and stitch together. Hand sew the lining in place (wrong side against the inside of pouch) close to the zipper opening.

5 Posts From My Archives Every Knitter Should Read

It’s All About The Yarn

The following 5 blog posts (one is the e-book It’s All About The Yarn) include critical information that every knitter should read. The contents of these posts discuss yarn types and purchasing yarn, choosing the right needles, pattern stitch categories, gauge swatch, and blocking. This information will help enhance the quality of your projects, and help you become a better knitter. You may have read these posts; if not, I hope you will take the time to read them.

It’s All About The Yarn

What Needles Can Do For You

What All Knitters Know: Knit Fabrics Have The Market Cornered In Pattern Stitch Variety

The Dreaded Gauge Swatch (plus What is a Test Swatch?)

Blocking Is Magic!

Weekly Fave!

Color Collective – Delpozo Resort 2018 Collection

Color Collective is an online color resource for designers. Lauren Wager, the creator of Color Collective takes her inspiration from all types of “artists”. It’s a site that I regularly check out. I love the simplicity of her site – just the image and accompanying color palette. I came across the above sweater, from the designer Delpozo, Resort Collection for 2018. The colors and cable stitches intrigue me, and offers me ideas for embellishing knit garments. Maybe it inspires you to.

“Stranding” and “Weaving” are Fair Isle Knitting’s Best Friends

Prince of Wales 1903 – Fair Isle Jumper

Modern Fair Isle – Dublin Pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2017

The August 2017 issue of In Style magazine includes Fair Isle sweaters as one of the Fall 2017 trends. What is Fair Isle? Off the northerly coast of Scotland in a group of islands known as Shetland, Fair Isle is the most southerly member, 3 miles long by 2 miles wide. This tiny island is the origin of Fair Isle Knitting, a circular, stranded form of color knitting. Since the 1920s, when the Prince of Wales sported a Fair Isle jumper, Fair Isle knitting has enjoyed commercial success.

If you’ve never tried this method of knitting with colored yarns, I’m showing you two important techniques, “stranding” and “weaving”, for successful Fair Isle knitting. For more information on the Fair Isle tradition, Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting is a great resource.

Fair Isle knitting involves changing colors every few stitches in one row. Traditionally, Fair Isle was worked on circular needles so all the pattern rounds are knit, making the yarn easier and faster to manipulate (you can use straight needles to knit Fair Isle patterns). When 2 colors are interchanged often in the same row, it is practical to carry each color not in use across the back of the work. One method for doing this is stranding. The colored yarns are picked up alternately over and under one another as you work across the row. Stranding is suitable for color changes over 1 to 5 stitches, and the result is “strands” or “floats” across the back or wrong side of the knitting. For color changes more than 5 stitch repeats, weaving is the preferable method, otherwise the floats are too long.

It is essential to keep an even tension when stranding. If the yarns are stranded too tight, the work will pucker, and alternatively if the yarns are stranded too loose, the fabric will gape. Note: Carrying yarn creates a thick fabric.

To neaten the work, the joining yarns should be woven in as you knit, or there will be many yarn ends to weave in when finished knitting. Both stranding and weaving are often used together in a project. Note: The gauge for Fair Isle knitting will be different than just working a stockinette stitch sample without color changes. Remember to always check your gauge.

Stranding can be accomplished with one or two hands. With two hands you must know how to knit in the Continental style. (See bonus how-to below).

One Handed Method

  • When working a knit row, yarns are carried across the back of the work or the wrong side. Knit a few stitches with the old color (working yarn) and then drop it in the back. Pick up the new color under the dropped yarn and knit next few stitches. Continue alternating colors this way, carrying unused yarn loosely across the back. It takes practice to get the tension even.
  • On a purl row, work in a similar fashion, but pick up the new color over top the dropped yarn, keeping the “floats” in front of the work.

Stranding yarn on knit and purl rows

What stranding should look like on back side

Weaving in Joined Yarn Ends or Large Color Repeats (more than 5 stitches)

  • Hold the working yarn in the right hand and the yarn to be woven in the left hand. *To weave yarn above a knit stitch, bring it over the right needle. Knit next stitch with the working yarn, bringing it under woven yarn. When you knit the next stitch the woven yarn is already under the stitch. Repeat from * across the row. When weaving in yarn ends, work as above across 7-10 stitches. This alleviates weaving in many yarn ends with a tapestry needle when the knitting is completed.
  • To weave yarn above a purl stitch bring the yarn over the right needle and purl the next stitch with the working yarn, bringing it under the woven yarn. Purl the next stitch with the working yarn by bringing it over the woven yarn. Repeat these steps across the row.

Weaving yarn ends on a knit row

Weaving yarn ends on a purl row

Fair Isle knitting is challenging at first, but after practicing and getting the tension even, it’s a rewarding experience. Non-knitters will wonder how you ever worked something so “complicated”.

Bonus How-To:

Stranding yarn – Continental style of knitting


Weekly Fave!

Easy Pullover – Purl Soho

A classic pullover for children, a free pattern from Purl Soho, is knit in fingering weight yarn. The fiber type is your choice, merino wool, linen, or silk. This design has the perfect neckline to pull over a toddler’s head. For such a classic piece, if you are an experienced knitter, with pattern design skills, you may want to make it oversized to fit an adult. I can see myself wearing this pullover oversized, and knit in a drapey, lightweight yarn.

Weekly Fave!

Cranberries Cardigan – Knitscene Fall 2017

Hills Cardigan – Knitscene Fall 2017

Believe it or not the fall 2017 magazines have started rolling out – Vogue Knitting Early Fall and Knitscene Fall 2017. I particularly like the Knitscene issue devoted to cardigans and essential accessories. Two of my favorite cardigans are shown above – simple stitches and shaping. This issue is sure to please both beginners and experienced knitters.