May 16, 2013

New pattern: Biratu, a cabled shawl

Cables!  Shawls!  Cabled shawls!  Let’s go!

Biratu shawl

Biratu is here!  Using the same basic construction as Betiko, all modular, no picked up stitches, no seaming, just short rows, increases, and decreases.  And cables!

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

If you like it, and feel up to the possible knitting challenge (it’s not exactly hard, really, just a lot to keep track of!), you can knit the fully cabled version…

Biratu shawl

…but if you prefer a more simple style, or you want to ease into the design, or you want to use any weight yarn, or get a different custom shape, there’s the simple variation!

Simple Biratu Shawl

The simple one has cables only around the edges, with stockinette and seed stitch worked in the body, and it can be made in any weight yarn with more custom sizing options.  My sample here is in Quince & Co Lark worsted weight yarn (3 skeins frost with 1 skein split pea for the edging):

Biratu shawl

This sample is the medium size, as given in the pattern – the pattern gives small{medium, large} sizes, and then explains how you can get any size you want, and adjust the shape as well, making it longer or deeper/taller, fitted to your shawl style preference.

Simple Biratu Shawl

For the simple variation, you can work the cables from charts or from written cable patterns, your choice.

Simple Biratu Shawl

You can get really different looks depending on your weight choice – my wonderful test knitters made this shawl in weights ranging super bulky to aran to worsted to dk to fingering, for a range of different cable braid thicknesses and fabric qualities.  Fun!

Biratu shawl Simple Biratu Shawl

As for the fully cabled shawl, that is designed to be knit in aran weight, but it’s definitely flexible.  It’s pretty freaking huge, so you can easily make it in worsted and still get a good size cable-tastic shawl.  In fact, Maria tested it in worsted just to be sure, and it looks lovely.

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

My sample is the standard aran weight gauge, in Quince & Co Osprey (3 skeins in storm with 1 skein frank’s plum for edging), in the medium size.  The pattern gives small{medium, large} sizes (which are different measurements from the simple variation), but you can basically just keep knitting the main body section until you like the size and choose to stop, or until your yarn runs out.

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

The shaping of this one is different from the simple variation, as the first couple sections are not adjustable (since they must be a set stitch count for the cables), so the shape will always be fuller/taller, and the whole thing grows outwards in all directions for as big as you want.  All the cable designs repeat, so there’s no set end point.

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

The medium is pretty darn large, as you can see – this shawl, with all of its twists and turns, is meant to be big to show off the cable designs, big and squishy and warm and fun to wrap up in!

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

The body cables for this shawl are charted only, not written out.  A tutorial is included for cabling without a cable needle (and there’s my new video too!) – the cable descriptions are given as right/left, to make more sense without using a cable needle, and I also included cable needle directions, for accessibility to all knitters.

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed me crowd-sourcing for cable chart advice… I re-did my chart symbols several times throughout the building of this pattern, and I’m really happy with my end result.  This pattern includes lots of uneven cables (not the same number of over and under stitches), which turned out to be really hard to represent with hand-made chart font symbols!  Anyway, here’s a snippet (the grey gives some extra help by representing the number of top stitches in the off-balance twists):

new cable symbols

Want to take a peek at my design process for this one?  Well, I already told you about the chart re-do’s, that was a big (boring) part of creating this pattern, but as for the design itself, that took months of swatching!  Oh man, so much design swatching!  Here’s a look at my pile of swatches, which doesn’t even include alllll the first tries and ideas which failed and got frogged…

Biratu design swatch Biratu design swatch Biratu design swatch Biratu design swatch

Biratu design swatch Biratu design swatch Biratu design swatch Biratu design swatch

But it was all worth it, because after all the planning through my swatches – figuring out the cable designs, as well as how those cables would relate to the short rows in the construction, and to each other throughout the sections, etc – I was able to make the single samples of each of the two versions, with minimal frogging, and no wasted prototype sample knitting.  (If you follow my blog, you know how I usually always have several prototypes to show you, as I work out a design by knitting it over and over!)

Simple Biratu Shawl

So yeah, I’m really happy with this design!  It’s kind of outside of my normal design style / comfort zone, with all the intense cables, but I enjoyed designing it, and it was pleasing for me to take an old construction and use it in a new way!

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

In case you missed the Betiko post, this is part of a collection – there will be two more designs in the future which use the Betiko construction, so you can pre-order that now to get this design, Betiko, and the future slip-stitch colorwork design and lace shawl design.  Both of those will also have complex patterns and simple variations included, like this one.  (They will be more spread out, released in the later part of the year.)

Oh and in case you’re wondering, Betiko is a Basque name meaning eternal, as that shawl is forever customizable, so I decided to stick with a Basque naming theme for this collection – Biratu is a Basque word for twist or rotate, as cables do.

Filed under: knitting — leethal @ 1:28 pm

May 14, 2013

New leethal knits technique tutorials!

So after I finished all my recent leethalknits.com style/layout updates, I worked on improving my techniques tutorials section… including the addition of video!  Yeah I know, knitting tutorial videos are nothing new and I should have started doing it long ago, but now that I have a quick+easy camera I plan to make more…

So I got all set up with an official leethal YouTube channel and uploaded my first video – let’s see if it’ll embed into my blog…

If you can’t see that here, just head to the youtube page or my cabling tutorials page – it’s a 9 minute long how-to on cabling without a cable needle, showing several different stitch counts.  Please forgive all the moments of blur and stitches being worked off-screen – it was my first time using my new i-camera so I’m just getting used to it, and I was too eager to get this how-to made so I didn’t want to re-shoot everything over again… my videos will get better with practice!

In addition to the video, I made a new tutorial page for locking in carried yarn strands, while working with stripes over several rows, and/or stripes together with short rows.  These are the techniques which are used in my Short Stripes Trio patterns (tutorials are included in those patterns) but they can be used in pretty much any project in which you want to carry yarns neatly along the back side and avoid lots of ends to weave in.  The techniques might seem kind of complex at first, but once you pick up the needles and actually do it, it’s quick and easy!

leethal knits tutorial photo leethal knits tutorial photo

I’ve also added other tutorials over the last several months, which I think I forgot to ever mention in the blog, so I’ll mention them now!  I have tutorials for grafting both with stockinette stitch and with garter stitch…

leethal knits tutorial photo leethal knits tutorial photo

…crochet provisional cast-on (below), and my older tutorials include the aforementioned cabling without a cable needle, twisted stitches, and make 1 increases.  (Get to them all here.)  If there are any of these that you’d reeeeally like to see a video for, let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

leethal knits tutorial photo leethal knits tutorial photo

That’s my only announcement for now, but I’ll be releasing my new cabled shawl pattern later this week!

Simple Biratu Shawl

In case you missed it, I now have a mailing list (sign up on the leethalknits home page), so you can hear when I release new patterns without having to check the blog (or twitter, or ravelry…).  Hooray!

Fully Cabled Biratu Shawl

(More peeks at the new shawl are on flickr if you want to see more!)  Happy Tuesday!

Filed under: knitting,leethal.net,tutorials — leethal @ 11:29 am

May 8, 2013

Website makeover! Complete with new faq page, mailing list, and more…

There are more changes I’m still working on, but I just can’t wait to show you this huge update I’ve made to leethalknits.com!  First, brand new home page:

screenshot of leethalknits.com makeover!

Above is a screenshot on my big monitor, and below is in a smaller browser window – some of the background photos on the left may overlap too much on your screen, so just hit refresh to see a new photo if you can’t read things.

And now I’ll list all the new things…

Down there at the bottom right you can see that I’m starting a leethal knits mailing list!  I’ll only be using it when I release a new pattern (or have some other big exciting news I suppose, but it’ll mostly just be pattern releases), and I’ll basically just link to the blog post for the pattern release, so it’s meant for if you want to be sure to learn about new patterns… I know how hard it is to keep up with blogs these days!  (Sign up on the home page.)

screenshot of leethalknits.com makeover!

New navigation!  My patterns were outgrowing my old system, so now you can link from the home page to pages with all head accessories, all neck accessories, all hand/wrist accessories, all other accessories, and all quick knits, so that covers everything, plus I’ve put patterns in multiple accessory categories if they apply (like Game Knitting, Flying V’s, Haka).  So you can find everything that way if you want to browse by pattern type…

screenshot of leethalknits.com makeover!

…and I’ve also majorly updated my all patterns page, so that’s a more convenient way to browse as well.  Now, not only are there the thumbnails for every pattern all on one page, but there’s also an alphabetical list of every accessory pattern down the side, plus links to all collections, solo patterns, free patterns, quick knits, all head, all neck, etc… so you can reach everything from this page (linked at the top of the home page).

screenshot of leethalknits.com makeover!

New faq page!  I’ve written up lots of questions + answers that I get from knitters, and/or that I see people saying, wondering, etc, in forums and stuff like that, or just that I want to say an answer for just in case anyone is wondering… it’s a wide variety of things, from “Something is weird with my knitting, this isn’t looking how it should, what am I doing wrong?” to “Can I test knit your patterns?” to “Did you get my email?” to “Where did you get your glasses?”.  That last one is literally the most frequently asked question :-p

screenshot of leethalknits.com makeover!

Also, update to my info page.  I’ve added some fun new feedback quotes (they are all taken from ravelry project page notes, so I hope no one minds me quoting them!) – my personal favorite is “the pattern is wicked clevah” -Jennifer in Massachusetts.  The other thing there that I’m really excited about is that I made a huge update to my list of shops that carry my patterns – I tripled it, since becoming distributed by Deep South Fibers, hooray!!

screenshot of leethalknits.com makeover!

Those are the major changes.  I made a bunch of minor formatting changes as well… Then, after uploading the update, I checked in with netrenderer to make sure everything looks fine in Internet Explorer, and I learned that I have some major font issues.  So, if you’re viewing the site on IE, things won’t quite look how they look above (at least as I’m writing this on Wednesday night).  I think it works fine on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, iOS.  Anyway, I figured out what the problem was, and it is requiring a huge amount of behind-the-scenes code work to fix it, but it’s for the best since it was a result of sloppy coding decisions in the first place, and now I’m forced to fix things.  I’m hoping to finish tonight, so probably by the time you’re reading this it’ll be fixed!  The main reason I’m telling you is, well two things, first because all the coding changes I’m making are causing the site layout to change slightly, so the screenshots above aren’t going to exactly match what you see, and more importantly, since I’m making all these changes to every page of the whole site, there’s a chance I might miss something.  So if you notice anything weird, especially any text that looks really wrong, please let me know!  Thanks, all!

And besides all this, I’ll actually have another big website update happening within the next few days – new technique tutorials!  So I’ll blog about that when it’s done, because I’m excited about some stuff I’ve been working on for that :)  (I’ll give you a hint… I just got an iPhone, and it has really good video quality!)  So, I hope you have fun browsing the site for now, and remember to sign up for the mailing list if you like mailing lists, and I’ll drop in here again very soon!

Filed under: knitting,leethal.net — leethal @ 9:00 pm
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