About Woolly Wits

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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Are You Ready for Stash Dash?

It's the time of year where the avid knitter (or crocheter or spinner or tatter or weaver) gears up for Stash Dash. " What's Stash Dash?" the uninitiated might ask.  SD is the brainchild of Leslie and Laura, and their very popular video podcast, The Knit Girlls, Laura works as a middle school librarian, and so with summers off work, she needed to go a little insane with knitting.  And to quantify that insanity, they started SD.  The objective of SD is to clear out some stash and finish off some lingering projects.  All projects completed during the summer are totaled by the number of meters and entered into a category - 3K, 5K, 7K, 10K or 15K.  (See the full rules here.)

My one linger large project - Skyliner crochet skirt.
Unless you have hands that move like lightning and no fear of carpal tunnel, the way to get high meterage is by finishing projects.  Even if you only knit one row and bind off, all the meters for the project are included towards your total.  This is great for the procrasti-knitter with piles of UFOs.  For the more devious, it's an excuse to work your projects almost to the end and then put them aside until May 27th.

Last year I made it to 10K, but that was with the advantage of a crochet afghan which was well underway.  This year I only have one large lingering project, so I will be burning my wrists to get to that total again.

Here's a review of the smaller projects which will jump start my total:

My Passerine Hat which was worked up to the last row just this morning.  It desparately needs blocking, but will wait until the 27th.

These fingerless mitts were almost done, and then, for an unknown reason, yanked from the needles and set aside.  They are knit a little loosely for my taste, but with a little time investment they will be a good contribution to both charity and my SD total.

I've also got a couple mystery projects.  What?  Who?  Why?  I'll make a guess and finish them off.
 I've got some design work to do this summer, and for the first time in years I am going to knit a sweater for my husband.  Since this is my year to conquer sock knitting, I should have a few of those in the pile, too.

Goo luck to all the contestants in this year's race.  To the starting gate, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This One is Mine

In my last post I told the story of how I knit two very similar sweaters.  Today is the story of how I knit a third.

This was my very first published design that I knit for myself.  It's not that I didn't like my other sweaters.  Or that they weren't fun to knit or flattering designs.  It just that once you've knit a sweater to fit a model, re-knitting it to fit a regular human body with a chest measurement of upwards of 40" is a long slog.  And you also don't have the page-turning mystery of how it will turn out.  The beans have been spilled.

But this one is different.  I really love the shape.  With the angled side edges, the front pieces flare back to create a very flattering v-neck.  And, since it is a modular construction with each piece building off the previous pieces, it's a fun puzzle with no nasty seams.  And, I just happened to have a bag of Silk Garden Lite that had been marinating in my stash for just long enough to be ready to knit.

I've been really astonished about the reaction to this sweater.  Everybody wants to try it on, and, once checked in the mirror, everybody wants their own.  I'll be leading a knit-along at my LYS, Knitch, in Delafield, Wisconsin, beginning later in May.  Give them a call for details or leave me a comment.

Friday, April 29, 2016

My New Favorite, Redux

#12 Waterfall Cardigan
from Noro Knitting Magazine Spring/Summer 2016
copyright sixth & spring

A few weeks I shared with you the reveal of the drape front cardigan which I had designed for the book Noro Silk Garden: The 20th Anniversary Collection.  I am very proud of it, and the folks at Vogue Knitting/Sixth & Spring apparently were, too.  They asked me to knit it again in a slightly modified version for the spring issue of Noro Magazine which has just hit the newsstands.  
Drape Front Cardiganfrom Noro Silk Garden: the 20th Anniversary Collectioncopyright sixth & spring
How are the two sweaters different?  They do use the same shape and modular construction, but are worked in different yarns and vary in their patterning.  The book version is in the lighter weight Silk Garden Sock and Sock Solo.  The back and sleeves are in the solid Sock Solo and the front is worked in the color-changing Silk Garden Sock.  
Noross16cardigans_03_small2The magazine version is worked in one color way of Silk Garden, but in two row alternating stripes.  Some attention needs to be paid to maintaining contrast, particularly because Noro tends to have knots connecting two starkly contrasting segments of the color way.  But, other than that occasional blip, two row stripes are not significantly more challenging than solid patterning, and they do give a big bang for your knitting buck.  
But why stop at two variations?  In my next post I'll show you something I rarely do.


Thursday, April 14, 2016


Alternate Route
Thanks to knitters everywhere for the tremendous support of my new entrelac scarf design, Alternate Route.  Released on Monday, it hit the top five 'hot right now' within a few hours, and had 3,200 downloads within 24 hours.  Wow.

If I've inspired anyone to further pursue entrelac, I do have several other patterns in my Ravelry shop.

Panier Purse

In return, you all have inspired me.  My entrelac hat pattern, All Squared Up, is my oldest pattern, and could use an update as some of the sample yarns have been discontinued.  I am pushing this higher up the priority list, and hope to have the re-release to you soon.
All Squared Up
Again, thank you!!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Alternate Route: An Entrelac Scarf With a Different Approach

What happens when you give a pile of Noro SilkGarden yarn scraps to an entrelac knitting instructor?  Well, in this case, a great new scarf design, Alternate Route.

When this pile of Silk Garden scraps called out to be a scarf, I turned to my teaching pattern.  This creates an entrelac scarf worked in the standard manner - narrow rows worked over and over to grow to a six foot long rectangle.  Since some of my scraps were much more colorful than others, I realized that this approach could result in a very scrappy looking scarf.  My solution was to turn the scarf 90 degrees and work along the long edge.  This approach leaves the same color touching only at the points with the blocks/triangles surrounded by highly contrasting colors.  The effect is to highlight each color while simultaneously blending them all together.

To create greater contrast I did change colors at the beginning of every row.  This left me a few ends to weave in, but I could hide them by working under the single crochet edging.  As I worked across a row I frequently had to deal with ends since I was working with scraps of yarn.  I simply spit-spliced the ends together, while not worrying about abrupt color changes.  And, yes, I did successfully spit splice even though Silk Garden is composed of only 55% feltable animal fiber.

To celebrate the release of this new pattern, I am offering it free for one week.  The deal ends at midnight on Monday, April 18th, 2016, so run over to Ravelry and download Alternate Route now.  Please also 'favorite' it to help other knitters find the pattern.  After the introduction, Alternate Route will be available for $4.00.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My New Favorite: Modified Swing Cardi

Drape Front Cardigan
from Noro Silk Garden
copyright sixth & spring
Last week two of my designs were published in the Noro Silk Garden 20th Anniversary book from Sixth & Spring, the book publishing arm of Vogue Knitting Magazine.  I am very excited about the cardigan, because it's a new shape which is very flattering.  It is also a modular design, so it is joined-as-you-go with no seams to sew at the end.  The knitting is rather simple, as the angled front pieces are just simple rectangles with no shaping.

The key to this design is the shaping of the back piece.  It begins with a narrow bottom edge and increases rapidly up to the armhole.  That armhole is extra-wide as it incorporates both the back and the front armhole bind-off stitches.  To add some interest, I changed texture across the upper back and carried that down the front shoulder piece.  Did I mention that the back continues over the front and decreases down to two stitches in width at the front armhole depth?  Or that you then attach the tip of the piece to the point of the armhole bind-off?

It gets a little more straightforward from here.  After connecting the points, the stitches for each arm are picked up and knit in the round to the cuff.  Then the front are worked by pickup up stitches along the edge from the side neck down to the back hem and working a big rectangle.  The cardi is finished with a little continuous ribbing along the upper edge of the rectangle and back neck.

Have I confused you?  The design and construction are non-traditional, but not difficult in execution.  And, the result is a flattering sweater.  The angled edge forces the front piece into a deep v-neck, which is a slimming line.  The overlap of the front pieces also helps disguise any wobbly bits in the tummy area.

Ravelry: TheresaSchabes' Upcycled Cashmere Swing Cardi:

I love the design lines so much, I've also worked this shape into one of my reinvented sweaters.  The base is a man's cashmere cardigan with the front pieces worked in a slip stitch pattern using recycled cashmere yarn.  It is the center piece of my Thrifty Knitter/Sweater Reinvention class.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Plaid Your Own Way

Mad for Plaid by HerdingCats
Last week the front page of Ravelry featured a knitted pattern close to my heart - plaid.  And, among the many beautiful recently finished projects, I was thrilled to see one of my own designs, Savoye, reinterpreted by HerdingCats.

By reinterpreted I mean that she took the plaid patterning from Savoye and put it onto a set-in sleeve sweater.  The change up in sleeve makes the sweater much more fitted and creates a trim look.  I chose the original drop shoulder to not only simplify the knitting, but because it is more of the fashion moment.
Savoye Pullover
From Knitscene Spring 2016
copyright Good Folk Photography

HerdingCats used Amy Herzog's CustomFit program to create the pattern for her sweater, and it worked great to form a beautifully-fitting sweater.  The drawback of CustomFit is that it creates a limited number of basic shapes.  However, by overlaying the windowpane plaid pattern over the simple sweater, HerdingCats made her own great mash-up.