Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sizing Up


Symbiotic relationships are seen throughout biological species.  Sharks and Cleaner fish, Rhinos and Oxpeckers, my seven year old Pixie and myself.  I love knitting for my daughter, she loves wearing the hand made knit wear, a perfect symbiotic relationship.

A few years ago for her birthday I made her the Top-down Baby and Children Cable Yoke Jacket by Kyoko Nakayoshi.  After wearing it religiously for three years, she outgrew it last fall. 


Pixie needed a new sweater, I was sure of it.  Happily, she said she would love a new one.  Enter Snap, an adorable little sweater pattern designed by Julie Weisenberger for Coco Knits, add a few skeins of Yarn Hollow's Quest, and we were on course for a new sweater. 

 Snap is written for up to 24 months, calling for US 6 needles, using Sublime Soya Cotton, with a gauge of 22 sts and 28 rows = 4 " in ST st.  The finished measurements are bust of 18-20" and a length of 12-15". 

The pattern needed to be sized up.  I wanted the sweater to wear more like a jacket, a jacket that she could grow into (she keeps getting taller) wearing for more than one season.  Using US 8's with bulky cotton yarn Quest, I knit the pattern according to the directions for the 12-24 months.  My gauge ended up being 13 stitches over 18 rows = 4".  The length ended up being 27" and the bust 25".

 After ripping out half of the sweater my first time around, apparently migraines and knitting patterns do not mix well, the sweater turned out well.  The size works great as a sweater/wrap. Snap's short rows give the sweater a beautiful drape.  Quest's color variegation is lovely, making the sweater quite eye catching.  Most importantly, Pixie loves it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jane Austen Knits Pattern Mash-Up


I have always had a deep love for Jane Austen.  From the first time I read it in junior high to this day, Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite book.  The first "grown-up" movie my mother took me to was Emma, starring Gwenyth Paltrow.  My senior high school choir award was the "I'd rather be riding horses while wearing pretty dresses", my friends knew me and my adoration for the aristocratic class of the regency era well.  I don't think I have moved too far away from that award.

Recently at my LYS, my friend handed me a copy of Jane Austen Knits.  Oh. My. Wow.  Totally captivated, I bought that magazine right then and there.  Not only does the magazine have lovely patterns but it also includes history of Regency England.  After reading the magazine cover to cover later that evening, I began reading sections of it out loud to my husband.  Finally, when I had finished he smiled at me, "Karly, I am so glad you are happy with your magazine." I love that man.

When I found out that there are actually three Jane Austin Knits magazines, I went on the hunt.  With the Fall 2012 edition in my possession, I next purchased the Summer 2012 issue.  Unfortunately, I cannot find the 2011 edition in anything other than a digital edition. 

Within a week of my acquiring my Jane Austen knitting magazines my cousin graduated from college.  My gift to her was a knitting IOU.  She requested a pair of elbow length fingerless gloves, with lace and cables in a blue color.  Immediately I thought of making her something out of JAK.  I knew that both of the magazines had patterns for fingerless gloves, although neither pattern quite matched her request.  Why then not combine the patterns?

For the gloves I chose a new-to-me faceless fiber, Berroco Floret.  Made from 75% acrylic and 25% cotton, this yarn is so, so soft.  With US size 4 double pointed needles I CO 36 stitches and worked the lace charts of Hetty's Sunday Cuffs by Danelle Sorensen, from the Summer 2012 JAK.  Once I had finished the lace charts I began the thumb gusset using the established thumb gusset pattern from Longbourn Mitts by Danielle Chalson, from the Fall 2012 JAK. The Stitches not being used for the thumb gusset I worked in straight stitch, decreasing 12 stitches evenly over the next 2 rounds.  The final length of the gloves ended up being 13 inches.


*I learned by trial and error that deciding to rip a project bottom up, ESPECIALLY if it is a lace work, doesn't go as smoothly as ripping top down.  I won't try that again, I ended up spending two hours ripping out stitches when it only took a half hour to knit back what I'd ripped.*

Friday, June 7, 2013

Yarn for my Tea

a : a sweet crystallizable material that consists wholly or essentially of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative of other foods
b : any of various water-soluble compounds that vary widely in sweetness, include the monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, and typically are optically active

While on vacation last summer I ducked (alright, I dragged my mother, sisters and daughter) into a  yarn shop.  As I perused the yarn I was drawn to a particular skein's color variation, reading the label I found that the fiber was made from 100% sugar cane.  I had always just associated sugar with something I shouldn't eat too much of, or what my Southern branch of the family used to create "Sweet Tea".  Once I started researching sugar cane I found a multitude of creations and uses for this plant []. One of my favorite creations being yarn.
image courtesy of

 'When the fluid used to make edible sugar is extracted from sugar cane, there is fibrous plant material left over, called the bagasse. In a process referred to as the viscose process, the bagasse is shredded, broken down, and shot (while in liquid form) at high pressure through small holes. The long strand of fiber is then solidified and spun into yarn, and dyed to add color.'

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss! 
While I would never consider dipping a hand knit shawl in my tea, over the last year Araucania's Ruca yarn, which is 100% sugar cane, has become one of my favorite yarns to knit with.  The colors range from soft neutrals to vibrant primaries. Light in weight, Ruca's texture is so very soft, providing a beautiful drape.  I keep finding that this yarn lends itself very well to lace, it blocks beautifully.  The gauge calls for a US 4-7 needle but I have used US 8's to knit shawls with and they have turned out lovely.  Who knew that sugar wore so well?!

Left and upper middle : Ruca color # 7 Print O'The Wave Stole by Eunny Jang
Middle: Ruca # 7
Bottom middle and right: Ruca #1 Gail (aka Nightsongs) by MaweLucky/Jane Araujo