November 29, 2012

Junction shawl pattern!

Oh hey remember how I had a mystery shawl knit-a-long last month?  Well, it’s long over and here is the mystery revealed!

Junction

Junction is a modular shawl, made up of 5 parts worked in different directions, all connected with short rows, no picked up stitches or seaming.

Junction

It can be made in any weight yarn, and in any size, in as little as 2 colors, or in as many colors as you want!

Junction

You can use the same color for the whole background, or switch between 2 different background colors, like I did in this main sample:

Junction

You can even used a subtly variegated or a self-striping yarn for the main color throughout, like this variegated sample I made, or like this self-striping by feistykitty, or this partially self-striping by craftzone.

Junction

The way the sizing for this shawl works is that the length you work to in the first section determines the final size of the whole piece… so while 3 sizes are given in the pattern, you can actually work to absolutely any size you want!  (Helpful sizing notes are included.)

Junction

This sample of mine is in Anzula’s For Better or Worsted – in Curry and Pesto as the main colors, with bits of Bark and Navy.  I love this yarn oh so much, yes!!  For this color combo in the large size, 2 skeins each were needed of the yellow and green, but you could totally use this yarn in a different way and/or make a medium size and not have to get multiple skeins of a color.  I think you’d be able to get away with 3 skeins total in the large size and a similar look (but with 3 colors instead of 4) by using 2 main colors (like I did) but not use those for the contrasting at all, and then the third color as the contrasting throughout the whole thing.  You’d definitely be safe doing that in a medium size, or you could go kind of halfway between medium and large…

Junction

And then this small size sample is in beautiful Black Trillium Merilon sock yarn (Star colorway), with a recycled white silk used as the contrasting.  I love it!  The small size shawl makes a great 1 skein of sock yarn project (though you can use any weight!), for a special yarn that you want to show off; you could probably even get a medium size out of 1 skein, depending on how tightly you knit it up.

Junction

So… want to see my crazy design process for this one?  It started with lots of swatching, and then once I had a basic concept figured out, I made up a first prototype, which looked like this:

first Junction prototype

At first I thought I was going to make garter stitch eyelet lines for the contrasting design details, but after using them in the center section, I didn’t like the look, and moved on to what became the chains in the later sections.

first Junction prototype

And I started to try this final sideways section across the top, but quickly decided against that, leaving it in the prototype instead of frogging it just for fun:

first Junction prototype

The shape of this one needed some major adjustment, but it’s sort of wearable… sorta kinda…

first Junction prototype

Then I made all my major adjustments to the in-progress pattern, to make for a better shape, and use the chains throughout, etc, and I had this thought that it could be cool to stripe 2×2 stripes throughout the whole thing.  I had some Quince & co yarn I’d been wanting to use, in 4 colors, so I played around with striping ideas in photoshop and came up with this plan.  Each of the 4 colors are used in 3 out of the 6 sections, paired with each of the other colors, so each section has its own unique 2×2 stripes, blending into the next (from sections 1-6, colors used are A/B, B/C, C/D, D/A, A/C, D/B).

Quince & co color planning

For my first try, that plan became this:

original stripy prototype

First, the stripes were a bad idea.  Second, the shape was still way off.  But this time, it was only the top 2 sections that needed adjusting.  So I frogged the whole top half, re-worked the pattern some more, and this final shawl turned out like so:

Stripy Junction prototype

The design features are totally hidden in those stripes, so I knew that idea was out for the actual pattern.  But this prototype served multiple purposes, and it was successful in its final shape/size.  So this became pretty much the exact pattern for the small size, as worked in worsted weight…

Stripy Junction prototype

And while it’s no good as an official pattern sample, I do like it as a personal accessory, so it will most definitely be getting some use!

Stripy Junction prototype

So, next, I decided to make one more prototype, with a solid background, to finalize everything, before casting on with my good yarn.  So I grabbed some aran weight Cascade Soft Spun (which knits up more like a chunky weight, I think), in order to whip up a quick medium size version.  I switched between 4 different contrasting colors for this one, rotating A, B, C, D throughout the entire piece.

Junction

Well, finally it was a complete success, and my prototyping was complete!  The medium was a perfect fit for what I wanted in a medium, and I loved it!

Junction

For my official large size Anzula sample, I wanted to show it in a 2 main color version.  While the 2×2 stripes didn’t work, I was convinced that there was a way to use 2 different main colors, and I wanted to make that idea work, so I did more color-planning sketching (messy touchpad sketching in photoshop)… I tried lots of different ways of switching between the colors, and using the contrasting colors, and this is what looked best:

Anzula Junction color planning

So I knit it up and that plan became this shawl (I love how almost exactly right on my sketched plan was):

Junction

 

Junction

The large size is nice and cozy!

Junction

I like how the 2 color version kind of appears as mostly one color from some angles, and mostly (or entirely) the other color from other angles.

Junction

So that was my design process!  The only thing left to do was to make a small size sample, for which I chose to use sock yarn.  I’d been holding on to this Black Trillium skein for awhile, waiting for just the right design… and I think I made a good choice!  Love how it looks!

Junction

The small size is more of a kerchief than a shawl, really, depending on how you wear it.  But in wool yarn, it keeps my neck a good amount of warm…

Junction

 

Junction

And that’s that!  Junction!  It was a bit tough as a mystery pattern, and I know there were a lot of drop-outs, but I think it’s a much easier pattern when you know what you’re supposed to be doing!  The pattern includes lots of photos, step-by-step shots of how each section should look, and tons of notes to help you along the way.  As long as you follow each line as it’s written, and trust it, it’s not a hard pattern.  It’s all just knitting, after all :)

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting — leethal @ 6:26 pm

November 26, 2012

Holiday gift knitting! (plus mega sale, today only!)

It’s been a busy month!  With all these new patterns, I want to offer a sale on this cyber Monday, so you can collect whichever ones you like with some major savings!  (Like my newest Flying V’s, and Junction, which still has yet to be blogged officially, pictured below.)

Flying V's Junction

So, today only, add as many leethal patterns/ebooks to your cart as you want (through ravelry or my site), and enter coupon code leethalmonday to save 40% off your entire order!!

This code will work for the whole Remixed collection (knocking it down from $20 to a mere $12 for all 8 patterns!) and all the quick knits ebooks, Game Knitting, the Flying V’s collection, etc…

Flying V's

And since it is now indeed the holiday season, I will go on to point you to my many patterns which might make for good (quick) gift knitting!  All of my any-gauge patterns can be made as a quick gift knit if you choose a chunky yarn, like Wobble Bass, which looks very nice in bulky yarns (pictured here in worsted) and is a great gift for a hat-wearing person of any gender:

Wobble Bass

(Note:  I’ll link to the ravelry pages for all the patterns throughout this post, since it’s a little easier and is probably preferred by many, but you can also find all the patterns on my website, and buy them through there with the coupon code if you prefer.)

Any-gauge mitts include Either/Or and Rumours (both from Remixed), which are both quick in chunky yarns:

Either/Or Rumours

Any-gauge cowls include Flippable and Parallel Lines (another Remixed pattern)…

Flippable infinity moebius scarf thing

…and hooded (or optionally hooded) cowls Shapeshifter and Skoodlet both work excellently in bulky or super bulky yarns:

Shapeshifter! big skoodlet!

Custom Tritops and Wild is the Wind (from Remixed) can both be made not just in any weight, but also as either fitted or slouchy styles (both shown here in slouchy), though if you choose to make either super quick in bulky yarn, the fitted style is probably the better choice.

Custom Tritop! Wild is the Wind

Other Remixed any-gauge hats include Gentle on My Mind, shown here in an oversized super bulky version, and Freak Out! (a hat with a surprise hidden underneath!):

Gentle on My Mind Freak Out!

I also have some simpler bulky weight patterns, like Brimming with Color and Haka, which is the ultimate quick knit hat, in either super bulky yarn or 3 strands of worsted held together – perfect for one-night gift knitting!

Brimming with Color! haka!

And Twisted Ankles are cabled legwarmers knit up in bulky weight:

Twisted Ankles

And then there are my official quick knits patterns – those hats and other accessories might be quick compared to shawls and sweaters, but these projects below are QUICK!  There are the Ten 10 yard Cuffs:

ten 10 yard cuffs! cuff501

Lots of good potential gifty items in my quick knits ebooks, like these Drink Sweaters and Pen Tube Bookmarks

Drink Sweaters! pen tube bookmarks!

…and the Guitar Pick Keyring Pouch and CD Gift Case, which are together in the same ebook:

April's quick knits club stuff! April's quick knits club stuff!

And then there are my older quick knits patterns, compiled into 3 volumes – these Pinwheel Earmuffs and Cabled Frame are from vol. 2, the Garter Strip Light-switch Cover is from vol.3

Pinwheel Earmuffs Cabled Frame Garter Strip Light-switch Cover

…and these Stiffened Chevron Bookmarks and holiday-themed Wee Gift Bag below are from vol.1.  Browse through ravelry or my site to see all my quick knits patterns (47 of them!).

club #2: Bookmarks Nov quick knits club patterns

Lastly, if you need to stick to freebies, I have some of those as well!  My new hat Scant knits up quickly, especially if you choose a chunky yarn.  Cassady and Buttonhead are also simple knits for any gauge, and the Buttony Chevron Cuff is super quick and fun:

Scant in handspun Cassady! Buttonhead! 08orangeon

And then there are these Gradient Mitts and leethal Mary Janes, both in bulky yarns for quick gift knitting.

knit mitts booties1.jpg

Hope I gave you some good options if you are trying to pack in lots of knitting over the next month!  You should be able to whip up several of these in time, no problem!  Happy holidays, and happy knitting!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knitting,quick knits — leethal @ 5:00 am

November 24, 2012

Scant, a free pattern!

Scant in handspun

Happy holidays!  I have a gift to you all, a free hat pattern!  It all started when I offered to knit my brother any accessory he wanted for his birthday, and he requested a plain “brown beanie”.  Well, if you know me, you know I wasn’t exactly excited about the thought of this project… but I decided to use it as an opportunity.

Scant hat Scant hat

While making this plain, brown beanie, I wrote it up as an any-gauge pattern for you!  It serves as both an easy, simple pattern for a basic hat, perfect for using up a single skein of a special yarn, like this one, made from this handspun that I’d been saving for just the right project:

Scant in handspun

And also as a good introduction to any-gauge patterns.  I know my patterns for any weight yarn can be intimidating to some knitters, who have only had experience with traditional patterns, but this basic hat pattern may serve to show that it’s not difficult to use an any-gauge pattern.  And it’s fun to pick out any yarn you want to use, and then make a custom fit item with it!

Scant in handspun

This twisted rib brimmed hat is knit from the top down, so you don’t need to make a gauge swatch.  You just started working outwards, and measure your gauge when you have enough fabric to do so, then determine your stitch count using that, and your own head measurement, continuing on to your ideal height.

Scant in handspun

The pattern is all on my website itself (something new I wanted to try out), and the notes include sizing info for gift knitting, and for making either a fitted or slouchy style.  I’ll stop talking about the pattern now, since you can just click over to see the whole thing for yourself.  And it’s on ravelry here.  Enjoy!!

Scant in handspun

Filed under: hats,knitting — leethal @ 3:35 pm

November 21, 2012

Flying V’s!

Flying V's

New pattern collection!  Flying V’s fingerless mitts, full mittens, legwarmers, and cowl!  4 different items, all in your choice of chevron block colorwork pattern (all the same stitch pattern, just changing colors at different points).  Any color pattern works for any item, and 16 different options are charted for you!

Flying V's

The collection is all together as one pattern – make the mitts/mittens in fingering weight or the legwarmers or cowl in worsted weight.  All items are given in 3 sizes, and lengths are easily adjusted for all of them.

Flying V's

Because I had so many samples to show all the different items and a variety of the chevron patterns, I took a ton of photos (with much help from my awesome husband/assistant!!) – I’m taking this blog opportunity to show a bunch of the shots that didn’t make it into the actual pattern or rav pages…

Flying V's

So yeah, colorwork, that’s new for me!  A few months ago, I had this vision for making a chevron stitch pattern in which the V’s are off-kilter, at first thinking maybe I could make it happen with slip stitches (more my knitting style) but I eventually decided the only way to make my vision really come to life was to teach myself stranded colorwork.  Like, for reals.

Flying V's

I’d done bits of colorwork here and there (like in Wobble Bass, and in some game knit items), but I’d always done it with the drop-and-pick-up method, slowly and awkwardly.  The thing is, I’m a thrower, and I’ve never been able to work the yarn with my left hand well, so I’d tried two handed stranded knitting a little and couldn’t swing it.

Flying V's

So I was determined to figure out a way to really knit stranded colorwork, and after trying a few different holding techniques, I found that the best for me is holding both strands in my right hand, one strand over my index finger and the other over my middle finger.  After much practice, I’m still slow, and get some hand cramping if I’m not careful, but it works!

Flying V's

I made my first prototype of the design idea in some scrap yarn, in my original off-kilter chevron block idea.  (I later decided not to do the thumb in stranded colorwork, as I’d done here!)

first Flying V's prototype

And in the process of making that, I realized there could be so many more possibilities based on that concept of working a chevron stitch pattern and changing colors for each V.  So I started sketching!  Well, I made a couple chevron base sketches, then had fun with photoshop color filling:

chevron sketches

Then I had more fun plugging specific color block patterns into a chart spreadsheet, eventually ending up with the 16 different chevron block color patterns which are included in the pdf.  7 of the options are shown in my samples (and the pattern tells you exactly which ones they are), and my testers worked from some of the other charts as well, so you can see more patterns by looking through the ravelry project pages.  And you can even play around and come up with your own variations!

Flying V's

The different color patterns can use anything from 2 colors up – the charts go up to 5 colors, but you can easily stash-bust leftover mini-balls by making non-repeating color rows of chevron blocks / V’s.  Or use self-striping yarn for one or more of the block colors!

Flying V's

As for the samples, all the mitts are in Knit Picks Palette yarn, which is an affordable way to use lots of different colors.  All the colors I used are listed in the pattern.

Flying V's

The legwarmers are in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed – I used exactly one skein of each of the 4 colors (I had about 20 inches left of the green!), so if you’re making the legwarmers in this yarn and might want to add some length or just be safe, I’d recommend doing a 5 color pattern…

Flying V's

The large size green cowl is in Knit Picks Swish merino and Chroma self-striping for all the V’s.  By using the same self-striping yarn for all the V’s instead of different solid colors, you can carry the yarn up the entire thing and have hardly any ends to weave in!

Flying V's

Side note about the large size (especially if done in a floppy yarn like this soft merino) – it will want to flop open, revealing the wrong side, which you may or may not care too much about… a way I found to solve this problem is to fold it over on itself and stick a pin in it (a button like this, or a shawl pin), holding it up, and preventing it from flopping open:

Flying V's Flying V's

The medium size cowl sample is in gorgeous Quince & Co Lark worsted weight.  I had small leftover balls of these colors, so I bought a skein of the Egret for the background, and I absolutely love how it turned out!

peek at upcoming design...

The mitt/mitten thumbs are worked modularly, with some picked up stitches to close up the hole where the thumb joins the hand.  The fingerless mitts thumbs have a garter stitch edge to match the top and bottom edges.

Flying V's

The mitten thumbs are worked at an angle, and the then grafted closed, making them thumb-shaped at the tops.  The mitten tops are also grafted closed (grafting instructions are included; none of the other items require grafting).

Flying V's

Some colorwork experience is recommended going into the project.  While shaping is minimal, making it a pretty simple pattern, working the colorwork along with the increase/decrease chevron pattern is a but tricky, especially if you’re new to colorwork.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s not hard, but it is important to carry your strands evenly across the back, and catch floats as you work each color block.

Flying V's

The sizes can vary a bit depending on how tightly/loosely you carry your strands, and you can make size modifications by slightly adjusting your gauge if you want.  Sizes of all the items, and fit notes, are all included in the pattern, and also on the ravelry pattern pages for each item.

Flying V's

The pattern collection pdf is 17 pages total – the written pattern is on 5 photo-less pages, the charts are on 3 pages, 1 page of abbreviations/chart notes, and 8 pages are notes and photos (not meant to print).  You can buy it through ravelry or my website (and next week through Knit Picks as well).

Flying V's

Happy knitting!

Filed under: knitting — leethal @ 12:59 pm

November 2, 2012

Knitting-related events and updates for this busy time of year…

Quick post here to just show+tell you a few things… first, super last minute, but I’ve mentioned it before, if you’re in Seattle I hope to see you at Knit Fit! this weekend!  I’ll be teaching Self-Publishing on Saturday (tomorrow) afternoon, then hosting a Game Knitting night Saturday night, then teaching the Sideways Edge Cast-on and Bind-off techniques on Sunday morning.  I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to sign up last minute for any of these if you want to (this doesn’t go for all Knit Fit! classes, but I believe mine have room for last minute students), plus the market is open to the public all day Saturday and Sunday.

Game Knit dishcloth

This is the dishcloth I made last night in preparation for the Game Knitting night – I game knit this to Say Anything… using short rows for my game pattern.  I really like how it turned out!

Game Knit dishcloth

Moving on to other stuff… I was recently interviewed for the Happy Knits blog!  Go check that out to read me talk about my love of knitting, design, music, and more.

new leethal.net header picture

I finished a minor update to leethal.net!  (which includes the blog)  I need to give it a major update, but can’t find the time this busy season, so I settled for changing some of the colors and the headers for now.  Now the colors match leethalknits.com (sort of, not totally) and the headers feature these drawings, just to mix things up, hooray for change!

new leethal.net header picture new leethal.net header picture

Another bit of news for pacific northwest locals – I’ll be heading down to Corvallis for a trunk show at Stash later this month!  I’ll be hanging out (with my knits) for the knit night on Wednesday, November 14th, and then my stuff will continue to hang at the shop for about a week.  So, if you are in the Corvallis area, come by on the 14th if you can, or stop in any time for the following week to see my knit goodies, yay!

design progress...

You know how I’ve been talking about how I’m working on my first stranded colorwork design?  Well here are some peeks at my first samples!  It’s still very much in progress, but I’m hoping to be able to start having it test knit next week, and release it mid-month if all goes well!  (If you are an experienced stranded colorwork knitter and are interested in test knitting, check out the testing info here and let me know!)

design progress...

And lastly, the mystery shawl knit-a-long is coming to an end!  These are some peeks at my small size Black Trillium sock yarn sample…

finished sock weight mystery shawl

All 5 sections have been released, and you can see lots of finished shawls in the forums and the project pages… if you like what you see, you can buy the pattern now and get all 5 sections in the separate mystery pdfs (totaling the complete pattern).  Next week (hopefully on Tuesday), I’ll be releasing the final complete pattern, all in one file with photos.  I think this knit-a-long went pretty darn well, I hope everyone had tons of fun!!

finished sock weight mystery shawl

Filed under: knit-a-longs,knitting,leethal.net,portland stuff — leethal @ 11:40 am
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