About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Freebie: MoreEnds

MoreEnds done with a gradient kit
Welcome back for the third Friday in January 2017 and my third new pattern of the year.  I believe I have something novel here - the first pattern that begs for more yarn ends.  Stripe away, use up all your fingering weight scraps and it only makes your hat better.









MoreEnds done with leftovers in even stripes


My inspiration for MoreEnds came as I was developing a new class on dealing with yarn ends.  This primarily meant tricks for weaving in ends, but I did want to include the old Fair Isle technique of gathering the many, many yarn ends into a braid that ran along the side seam inside the sweater.  As I was thinking about this, I wondered about rather than hiding the braid, what if it was a feature?  Put it on the outside of the garment.  And, what if it also could serve another functional purpose (besides securing loose yarn ends)?  What if it decoratively gathered the hat fabric into a ruched side?  A little knitting later, and I had a fun hat.

MoreEnds allows for lots of knitter creativity.  Have a decent amount of a few colors?  Knit regular stripes and braid by color.  Have lots of little bits of yarn (and who doesn't)?  Go crazy with random stripes using up every bit.  The only rule is that they have to make it all the way around.










Begin with a provisional cast on and knitted band for maximum stretch, minimum (no) purling and and easy way to hide that initial yarn end.  Knit round and round, changing yarns at will until it's time to decrease.  When all the knitting is done, tidy up your yarn ends by working them into a braid, trim it up, and your're done!

Get this pattern for free during its introductory weekend, Friday, January 20th through Sunday, January 22nd at midnight Central time.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Freebie: So Steek'n Simple

Last Friday saw a very successful launch to my 'Friday Freebies' for the month of January.  My updated and revised entrelac hat pattern, All Squared Up 2 had 4,346 downloads.  Fingers crossed today's freebie will be as successful.

So Steek'n Simple is the project for you if you've always wanted to try steeking (cutting into your knitted fabric) but were afraid to try (and who isn't?).  Mohair yarn is the fiber to choose for steeking because it clings to itself with a nearly unbreakable bond.  (That also makes it hard to rip, but that's another story.)  As a result, all your cut ends really don't want to go anywhere but where you tell them to stay.

So what's the benefit of steeking this project?  The body of the shawl can be knit in the round, avoiding any nasty purl stitches.  And, you can change colors as often as you like because all those yarn ends will be cut away.

I forgot to mention that this pattern makes either a shawl or a scarf.  Start out with a scarf and if you have more yarn and more ambition, keep going until you hit shawl width.

So Steek'n Simple is a great project to use up any scraps of silk and mohair lace weight yarn you may have about the house.  What if you don't have any?  Buy a couple different colors and knit simple repeating stripes, or work the ribbing in a different color than the body, like the gray and black scarf.

I hope you'll like this new design as much as the knitters at Monday night's Madison Knitter's Guild meeting.  They got a sneak preview and had lots of kind words to say.

Another story:  if you do need to rip your shawl/scarf in progress, put it into the freezer and get it cold.  (Putting it on the front porch would also work in Wisconsin this week.)  This reduces the static and makes it easier to rip the mohair yarn.



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fashion Forecasting Presentation Links

Missoni Spring 2017
Thanks to the Madison Knitter's Guild for their warm reception last evening to my new 'Fashion Forecasting for Hand Knits' talk.  With a lot of material to cover, I sped right along so some of you might have missed some of the links to information sources that I mentioned.  So, here they are:

Runway show photographs and analysis:  Vogue (formerly style.com)

Pantone
Pantone Color of the Year 2017
Pantone Spring 2017 Fashion Colors

The Yarniacs podcast
The Yarniacs Pantone Colors of Fall contest
PrairiePoppins (Colors of Fall contestant)  and her podcast, Imagined Landscapes

Fashion forecasting mood boards: Fashion Vignette

Trade Shows:
Pitti Filati
TNNA

And for anyone who really wants to dive into the topic, I also drew from several textbooks:

Fashion Forecasting by Evelyn L. Brannon, Bloomsbury Publishing
Fashion Trends: Analysis and Forecasting by Eundeok Kim
Color Forecasting for Fashion by Kate Scully

Enjoy!



Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Freebies

Knit in Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag in Bahama Woodstar

New year 2017 housekeeping revealed that I have a handful of written and drafted but never published patterns.  As motivation to get them out, I will be releasing a new pattern every Friday in January - and it will be free for the first weekend!

The first Friday Freebie will be All Squared Up 2.  This pattern was the very first pattern I wrote up and it was sold through a few Chicagoland yarn shops before the arrival of Ravelry.  It is based off of the same pattern I use to teach my beginning entrelac class, so it is definitely an easy intro.  That said, it does have several techniques (provisional cast on, three-needle bind off) that make it appropriate for more skilled knitters.

What makes All Squared Up unique is the finishing at the top.  Look closely at most other entrelac patterns and you will find one of two less satisfactory options for handling the top-of-the-head decreases.  Either the entrelac patterning stops at the decreases, or the squares become smaller and smaller and ever more fiddly.  All Squared Up has full-sized squares up to the top of the head because it uses a clever method of bind off.  (That's the secret sauce that I am not giving away the recipe for here!)

All Squared Up is being re-released in the 2.0 version because in the time since it was written, the yarns used in the samples have been discontinued.  There's also some slight modifications to the pattern that make it easier to follow, and the formatting is more tech friendly.
Knit in madelinetosh Tosh DK  in Heartbeat

So, go grab it for free on Ravelry from Friday, January 6th through midnight on Sunday, January 8th.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Holiday Shopping 2016

I am trying something new.  For those readers wholly unrelated to me, feel free to peruse for your amusement the following collection of knitted gift items.  For those readers related to me, it's time to shop.

Below are the assembled items which I am gifting this holiday season.  Rather than in the past when I made the decisions about who got what, I am putting the power in your hands.  Take a look, and make your claim in the comments section.  If you are slow on the trigger and someone else beats you to the knit that makes your heart sing, let me know.  I might be able to do something, but no guarantees that it arrives by December 24th.  Happy hunting.

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Kaiya Mei hat
wool
gifted
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Dovetail Scarf
knitted in bulky alpaca & wool scarf

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Passerine hat
wool, nylon
claimed by Maggie
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Another view of Jeweled Cowl

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Jeweled Cowl
cashmere, possum, silk
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Baa-ble Hat
wool, mohair
gifted
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Hermes Baby hat
merino wool
runs large
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Coloration Fingerless Gloves
wool
(actually are finished)
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Tiger Stripe Mitts
wool, nylon
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Nejiri Wrist Warmers
wool
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Mag Mile hat
bulky cashmere

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PowderPuffs headband
wool
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Betsy hat
alpaca
Claimed by Rachel
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Lowlands hat
handspun yarn
wool, mohair, alpaca
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Zebra striped mitts
wool, nylon
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Purple mittens
wool




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Eileen Fisher Sweater Save?

In the past I've had great success (and savings) repairing Eileen Fisher sweaters, so when I came across an incredible bargain at my TJ Maxx store, I was ready for another save.

A large hole on the right front of this sweater had driven the price down from $298 to $6.  A quick look at the yarn convinced me that the texture would help hide my repairs.  What I didn't see is that this isn't simple stockinette stitch, but a slipped stitch pattern with two yarns - a hand knitting weight black and tan marled yarn and a heavy black thread.  The thread's breaking was what had caused the hole.

A much longer look still didn't leave me with much more insight into the structure of the stitch.  While it was clearly a slip stitch pattern because not every stitch was worked in a row of the black thread, I could not get a sense of any regular pattern, i.e. k1, sl 1 or k2, sl 1, etc.  So, I collected the dropped stitches onto a size US #7 needle, since that seemed about right.  I thought that the length of the yarn strands from the dropped stitches might give me a clue as to how many of the stitches had been knit vs. slipped, again it didn't seem to be a regular pattern.

So, I just kinda re-knit as many stitches as I had yarn to work and recreated the rows up to the point at which the break occurred.  Then I took two strands of a heavy upholstery thread to simulate the original black thread/yarn and worked a Kitchener seam.

In all this maneuvering, I had not found the other end of the broken heavy black thread.  So I continued with my upholstery thread and ran it back and forth through the back of the thick stitches to anchor my repair.  This resulted in a somewhat stiffer fabric, but less concern over future unraveling.  The finished appearance is not seamless with the surrounding fabric, but, as I had determined up front, the heavy texture does help hide the repair.

To test the success I sent the sweater off to my daughter at college since she (and not I) wears an extra small.  She has had it a week with no comments or  questions, so I think it has passed.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

PowderPuffs


Have you ever come across a fabulous designer accessory in a high-end shop and thought, "I am a knitter.  Why would I pay over a hundred dollars for something I could make myself in an evening?"  So you went home and searched Ravelry, certain that there would be many patterns similar to this accessory from which to choose.  Only you discovered that, although this accessory seems so basic in its construction, there was actually no pattern like it.  Which meant that you had to write it yourself.  And maybe other knitters would like it, too, so why not share?

This is the story of PowderPuffs.  To me, the concept of two pompom 'ears' on a chunky headband seemed so obvious that I could not imagine that no one had ever written down instructions to make it.  So I did.  You are welcome.

PowderPuffs is a great stashbuster project.  Designed with super bulky yarn, it can be knit by substituting multiple strands of thinner yarn.

1 strand super bulky = 2 strands bulky = 3 strands worsted = 4 strands dk, etc.

And those multiple strands don't have to be the same color.  Mix strands of different colors for a marled effect.  The brown sample has two shades of brown to give it more depth, and that richer appearance is a better background for the faux fur pompoms.

Of course, it goes without saying this time of year that PowderPuffs makes a great gift.  Sized for toddlers through adults, you could make one for every gal on your shopping list.  Worked in a earthy color, I could also see this suited to the imaginative boy who becomes a bear - polar, brown or black - pick your favorite.


Thanks to my technical editor, Sara Byron, and my test knitters, Katie Carpenter, Katherine Jones and Barb Larson.

And a special thanks to my friend, Mike Lantz, who came up with not only the winning name, but most of the runners up.

Be sure to download your PowderPuffs pattern before midnight on Friday, November 11th while it is at a bargain introductory price - free!  After that date, it will be regularly priced at $3 USD.
Here's the link to the Ravelry page.