Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the Collar, a continuation on a theme

Sometimes it takes getting a baby back to bed at 3am for a girl to do her best thinking. I learned growing up in a house full of people that the best way to shut out noise is to start thinking about the things I'd like to do. As an adult that translates into a to do list so it was somewhere between 3 or 4am that I realized I didn't post the pattern for the Collar. Here goes:


Yarn, you're probably thinking, "let me guess!" and you would be right.... Cascade's Magnum (less than one skein; color 9431 was used here). I do use other yarns, I'm just in love with this one! 
#15 circulars at least 32"
a crochet hook & darning needle for finishing 
1 large button
Gauge: 2sts & 2.75 rows = 1"
This was knit with an adult in mind. As you can see it's a little large on my model here. The neck opening measures @17" from end to end (not including the buttonhole loop). Consider this the frame work for any sort of modifications like casting on fewer stitches for a smaller size; casting on the same amount but with more decreases again for a smaller size; using a lace pattern; adding short rows to create fullness in the back etc.


Cast on 270 sts and work in Stockinette St for 8 rows.
Row 9: k7, k4tog, k1, *k5tog, k1* end with k4tog
Row 10: purl
Row 11: k 6, *k2tog*
Row 12: bind off using the purl st to last 5 sts. Cut yarn leaving a long enough tail to feed through the last 5sts. With a darning needle come back between 2nd & 3rd st (back to front) and with a crochet hook, chain enough sts to form a button hole loop. Slip stitch the loop together. Weave in ends and enjoy!

And if you get a chance, check out this video on hyperbolic crochet.... to continue the theme.

Monday, April 19, 2010

creative mathematics

If hyperbolic geometry was as easy to understand as hyperbolic crochet is as easy to do I wouldn’t have failed math. I enjoyed arithmetic as a kid. I got that, the theories were easy to understand 2+2=4. The higher maths I never enjoyed. What I did enjoy was a workshop last weekend on hyperbolic crochet hosted by The Little Knittery in my neighborhood, Atwater Village.

Taught by David Orozco (of That Yarn Store fame) in a way that made me think I could understand it, in fact made me want to understand it. Though I have to admit once I started to crochet I lost myself to the meditative nature of repetitive actions; thoughts of how to incorporate these forms into my current designs and of a past design… the very first piece for the Knit 1 store window. For the display I placed this simple collar on a vintage dress form, that was it. I was surprised at how many people responded to it, it seemed almost too simple of a thing to me. But I'm sure what captured their attention was the natural sculptural quality of the hyperbolic form.

They're simple to create and beautiful to see... what can you do with them? For a vivid peek at the potential of hyperbolic crochet: http://crochetcoralreef.org/

If you're looking for a more dry " it is impossible to isometrically embed the hyperbolic plane as a closed subset of the Euclidean 3-space" exploration look to Cornell University

Thanks to TStone of Sknitter to turning me on to this workshop. Go to her listing where you'll find these and other links to hyperbolic creativity.

My sample from the workshop.

David showing one of his many samples. The section he's holding between his fingers took him at least a movies length to complete!

Friday, April 09, 2010

it's still a simple shrug

Well after a couple of crazed months we've landed in Los Angeles and while I would love to have something new to share with you from my new locale (virtual & real) I'm afraid it's still a simple shrug.
Meanwhile back in Chicago Knit 1 lives on! My dear friend and unofficial partner of 4 years Lynn Coe has taken the reins and is currently revamping to really take the store to the next level. Knit 1 Chicago Keep on supporting a great local small business!

This was a shrug I did for the store window a couple years back. I had forgotten about it but was going through things to pack up and thought I would resurrect it.

It's a simple shrug with a couple more advanced techniques thrown in to make it challenging. A provisional or invisible cast on is used to create seamless sleeves by grafting (kitchener) the 1st & last row together; while short rows are used to create a slight shawl collar.

Hope you all enjoy!

A Simple Shrug

2 skeins Misti Alpaca Super Chunky or @100-120yds of the equivalent yarn
#19 (24" or 29") needles
darning needle for finishing
stitch markers
gauge: @1.5sts = 1" in stockinette stitch
note: always slip the 1st stitch of each row purlwise
Size: one size; the finished width 36" slightly stretched, if you want longer sleeves cast on extra stitches. This piece is worked until it can circle your upper arms.

Using a provisional cast on, cast on 48sts (Theresa Vinson Stenersen has a good tutorial on knitty.com provisional/invisible cast on

Knit 1 row marking 11 sts on each side for the sleeves (k11, pm, k26, pm, k11).

Begin short rows: short rows assistance if you need it.

Purl 24, pm (to mark the center; I find this helpful to have a visual to divide the work as I'm making short rows.), p2, wrap & turn (from now on referred to as w/t).
K4, w/t
P4, pu wrap & ptog with stitch it's wrapped around, p2, w/t
K7, pu wrap ktog, k2, w/t
P10, pu wrap ptog, p2, w/t
K13, pu wrap ktog, k2, w/t
P16, pu wrap ptog, p3, w/t
K20, pu wrap ktog, k3, w/t
P24, pu wrap ptog, p to end
K36, pu wrap ktog, k to end

Work in stockinette stitch for as many rows needed to circle your upper arms. Graft/kitchener (again Theresa has a great tutorial on grafting) as many stitches needed to have the sleeves reach your armpits; 11 is average @ 8.5". Starting at the outer sleeve edge work towards the center. Bind off loosely or Julie from knittedbliss turned me onto this great video tutorial with Cat Bordhi for a springy bind off.

Magnum Reversible Vest/Wrap

This is by far my most popular design to date. I think the simplicity coupled with the versatility make it so appealing. The versatility being for a larger collar and a shorter vest wear with the longer side up and for a smaller collar and longer vest wear with the shorter side up.

This takes @2.5 skeins of Cascade Magnum. A Ravelry pal of mine Ronda of Main St Yarn Shop told me her mom just used 2 skeins when making one. The 3rd would be used towards reinforcing the armholes. Or you could scale back the size and use the extra for the armholes.

Needles: #19 circular 29"
Gauge: 1.25sts = 1"
One size fits all though you can use the schematic in the pattern to easily make adjustments.

Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Misti Brioche Honeycomb Sweater

 Ahh, the Brioche Honeycomb Sweater! I love this sweater. The luxurious feel of Misti Alpaca's Super Chunky combined with the dramatic sleeves makes a girl feel so chic!

This sweater is not for the passive knitter. The sizing is based on one size with notations on how to make adjustments using your gauge & your measurements for a more personal fit. There are also a few challenging techniques in the construction of this sweater that make it an intermediate project. Invisible or provisional cast on, brioche honeycomb stitch & kitchener stitch (or a 3 needle bind off option) are all used. If you're an advanced beginner and like a challenge this would be a good piece to challenge yourself with. 

So we've already talked about the yarn and you'll need @605-715 yds of it... that's between 11-13 skeins of Misti's Super Chunky.

A #17 circular needle at least a 29".
Gauge: 1.3sts = 1" in Brioche Honeycomb Stitch
Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Magnum Capelet #1

This is the original top down Magnum Capelet I designed for the store. When you're feeling that little bit of chill and a jacket or sweater are too much these capelets are fantastic! 

Kids version included in pattern. One skein will make one each of the sizes with very little yarn left. The smaller one fits 24-30mo's & the larger fits 4-6yo's.

 Yarn: 1 skein of Cascade Magnum (123yds; 2 if more length is needed)
#19 24" circular needles; #17 24" for the kids version.
Gauge: 1.5sts = 1"; kids version 2sts = 1"

Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Magnum Capelet #2 or the Beehive

Another top down 1 skein "make it tonight, wear it tomorrow" wonder 

1 skein of Cascade Magnum
#19 24" circular needle
Gauge: 1.5sts = 1"

Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Magnum Capelet #3

This capelet is a 2 skein variation of Magnum Capelet #1. Featuring a wider more open neck with a thicker roll, this capelet is also roomier in the shoulders and chest. 

Kids version included in pattern. One skein will make one each of the sizes with very little yarn left. The smaller one fits 24-30mo's & the larger fits 4-6yo's.

Yarn used: between 1.5-2 skeins of Cascade Magnum depending on length (180-246); 1 skein (123yds) for kids.
#19 circulars 24"-29" in length; #17, 24" for kids version.
Gauge: 1.5sts = 1"; kids version: 2sts = 1"

Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Magnum Capelet #4 (crochet)

This was another piece I was trying to translate into crochet and I must say I'm in love with this one. I don't know if it's the color (#9454)? Or the collar? Or the ease in that it worked up?! Do you ever make something and when you finish look at it and think, wow! not bad!  That's how I felt with this one.

So the yarn, once again Cascade Magnum, 2 skeins. 
S Hook. 
Gauge: 1 sc = .75”-1” 
This was worked top down and is one size although modification is easy and is noted in the pattern.

Available as a PDF download. $6.50


Magnum Reversible Vest/Wrap (crochet)

 The knitted version of this was so popular I wanted to try a crochet version.
 The reversible part of this vest is if you wear it with the longer section up it creates a shorter vest with a fuller collar; worn with the shorter section up it creates a longer vest with a smaller collar.

This wrap used all but a tiny ball of the suggested yarn. I wanted to go around the armholes to reinforce them and make a border to clean up the edges but I was trying to be conservative in yarn consumption. If one wanted those touches and didn’t want a 4th skein cut back on the length you make the front panels and that should leave you enough.
3 Skeins of Cascade Magnum (@369yds). Hook size depends on gauge. 
Gauge: 32 stitches = 30 inches or less than a stitch per inch
 The hook I used for this piece didn’t have a size on it. Measuring it the shaft measures 2” around. If 1” = 25.4mm that’s a big hook! Lion Brand makes an S hook and this site: jenkinswoodworking.com makes U & V hooks.

Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Magnum Cable Rib Mittens

I wrote the pattern for these mittens a few years ago for a class we were having at Knit 1 
in Chicago. The cable goes all around the cuff, which I made longer than the usual mittens. My Mom made our mittens with longer cuffs so they stay tucked into our coats and I always wondered why more mittens weren't made this way. 
The palm of the mitten is Stockinette Stitch.

Yarn used is Cascade Magnum
knit on #15 DPN's
Gauge: 2sts & 3 rows = 1" in Stockinette Stitch
Although I would rate this for an intermediate knitter it's a quick knit.
Available as a PDF download. $6.50

the Knit 1 Lid

the Knit 1 Lid is a hat within a hat, reversible made in one piece with very little finishing. This is probably the toastiest hat I've ever worn because of the double thickness.

For the hat pictured here I used Di.Ve Autunno. It's a gorgeous (striping) heathered, worsted merino. And the solid brown is Misti Alpaca Chunky (as you can see 1 ball of Misti wasn't enough to complete one of the hats! Oops!). The loftiness of the Misti compressed nicely into a worsted but don't use a chunky weight yarn unless you can get gauge. Speaking of gauge a #8 16" circular was used to get 5sts & 7 rows = 1" in Stockinette Stitch. 
 Normally I like to use 2 circulars instead of DPN's but because you're starting at the top I would use DPN's again #8.
Total yardage for hat: @300-350yds
Sizes: Sm, Md, Lg
Size shown is a large. On the husband it fits fine, but as you can see on me it's more of a bucket hat.

Available as a PDF download. $6.50


the Baby Lid

the Baby Lid is naturally the baby of the Knit 1 Lid. A reversible hat making it double the thickness for extra warmth. 

Using Misti Alpaca Chunky (@180-210yds) and a #10.5 16" circular it works up just the way you like it, nice and quick! Size 9-36mo's  Gauge: 4sts & 5 rows = 1" Stockinette Stitch

Available as a PDF download. $6.50

Big Heart Cowl


It was a particularly cold day in Chicago and I couldn't find the neck warmer I made the previous year for my daughter Wilhelmina and since 2 1/2 in kid years is much older than 18mo's I decided she needed something much more sophisticated than just a neck warmer (which I did find and of course handed it down to her younger sister). The cowl, what all the big girls were wearing this year was perfect for her (and I was asked, so I tried and yes it did fit this big girl!)

Knit in the round with half a skein or less of left over Cascade Magnum (@55-60yds) and a #15 16" circular. The gauge: 2sts=1" in Seed Stitch
Finished measurments: 6" high X  10" (laid flat so maybe @21.5" around)

Available as a PDF download. $6.50


Wilhelmina's Baby Sweater

This unisex baby sweater is a great introduction to top down knitting. Knit in one piece it's an easy, quick knit with very little finishing. 

The size shown is 6-12 months. I used about one and a third skeins of Cascade's Venezia worsted (@315yds) with a #8 16" circular. I used that size needle for the whole sweater and added a second 12" #8 for the sleeves instead of DPN's.

The gauge: 5sts=1" although the gauge isn't super important on this one. Generally I've found that most people tend to make this a little on the big side, which for yourself you might not want but for the little ones a little bigger never hurts.

Available as a PDF download. $6.50