Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Release: A New Leaf

I'm happy to release a new shawl pattern today!  This one is called "A New Leaf"

Construction begins with the leafy lace border.  Once you've knitted a long strip of lace, stitches are picked up through yarn-over holes, then the shawl body is worked almost entirely in stockinette stitch.  Once the border is complete and you've moved on to the body of the shawl, it's great "tv, road trip, or social knitting" if you're looking for a fun project that doesn't require too much brain power!

 I wouldn't call the lace border difficult, just takes a little more focus than plain Jane stockinette!

Border instructions are offered in both written and charted form so you can work from your preferred format.

Body instructions (since they're so simple) are only in written form.

 If you knit to pattern gauge, the finished size is a nice, big 70" wingspan and 21.5" at the deepest part of the gentle triangle shape.  If you prefer a different size, or if you would like to use a yarn weight other than fingering (and needles that are appropriate for your yarn weight), instructions are given on how to easily modify this pattern.

Many thanks to Elin76, ekolatch, & DeChertsey, the trio of test knitters who pioneered this project.  I appreciate the time and work that all three of you put into your projects, and the feedback you gave me about your experiences with the pattern!

I am also thankful for my lovely friend who modeled for the pattern pictures.  We took them on a misty evening, and she was a trooper to help me get photos done while there was still light to do it, and not worrying about the possibility of getting an extra shower in the process!
If you are looking for a fun summer knit, you can click here to purchase A New Leaf!

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Release: Wavelength Tee

 You know what the 2014-2015 school year was going to be as far as my pattern writing was concerned?  I had declared it the "Year of Accessories".  After publishing a dozen patterns the previous school year, with six of them being garments, I decided I needed to scale back a little bit this year.  I think I did pretty well....11 patterns published with one more ready to go next month will still make 12 for this year, but only 3 of them were garments.  I really did have fun focusing so much on accessories.  But sometime during the winter my local yarn shop got a new order of Hempathy delivered, and when I saw the blue-green color, I couldn't resist designing a summer top for myself!

My favorite tops are usually loose without looking baggy or oversized.  The fit I chose for this one keeps the upper chest & shoulder areas at close to zero ease, but the body is loose and flowy with plenty of room for one more cookie.  The back is fitted as well, which helps keep the tee from looking oversized.

I also really enjoy the versatility of this style.  I could wear it to church or to a "business casual dress"-type of job paired with dress pants of capris.  But since I work from home, I'll usually be pairing it with jeans or shorts for a more casual look.

The hems of the body and sleeves use a 3-row stitch pattern that creates a gentle wave.  Lay the garment flat after washing for a subtle wave when dry, or use pins to emphasize the waves for a more pronounced undulation.

I used Hempathy for this project, and I can't say enough good things about this yarn.  It's easy on the hands, has no itch-factor so it's very wearable for this sensitive-skinned girl, and it gave a flowy, drapey fabric when knitted to pattern gauge.  It's listed as a DK-weight yarn, but I can't compare it to any DK-weight yarns that I'm familiar with.  (It knits up as a much lighter yarn - look at the photo to the right, under the arm where you can see the light shining through the fabric.  Yes, the gauge I use in the pattern is technically in the dk-weight range, but the fabric is VERY thin when knit to that gauge.)

It's also a pretty unique yarn as far as its fiber content.  Test knitters on this project found it difficult to approximate the fabric density and drape of the Hempathy with substituted yarns.  Often, when I publish patterns, I think it's fine to use substitute yarns and even list them on the pattern page when I am aware of yarns that would be a good match.  But for this project I'm going to recommend that knitters use Hempathy rather than substituting.  (And I say that with no connection at all to the Elsebeth Lavold, the yarn company that makes Hempathy.  They have never given me any sort of payment in the form of money or yarn support for this or any other pattern I've published.  I just think you will not be disappointed with this yarn and want to see you get the nicest finished project possible!)

If you must substitute, do it with this in mind: Hempathy is 34% hemp & 25% modal (both fibers are thin and very drapey like linen), and only 34% cotton.  In this yarn, the linen-like qualities of the hemp & modal far overpower the cotton qualities.  (In my experience, cotton is often "puffy" and sheds quite a bit.  Hempathy has neither of those qualities.)  Finally, there are 153 yards of Hempathy in each 50g ball.  So appropriate substitutes would have fiber content that is about 1/3 hemp/modal/linen and 1/3 cotton.  It would also contain close to 153 yds per 50g ball or 306 yds per 100g skein.  If the substitute yarn has less yards per ball/skein with a similar fiber content, then the yarn is going to be too thick.  If it has more yards per skein with a similar fiber content, it is going to be too thin.  For my personal projects, I use the 10% rule.  If I'm trying to substitute for a yarn that has 153 yards per 50 g ball, I can use yarn with a very similar fiber content as long as it is + or - 10% of that yardage.  So it could contain between 138 and 168 yds per 50g ball, and I am pretty safe assuming that I will be able to achieve gauge (maybe going up or down a little in needle size) AND I will get a resulting fabric that is a reasonably close match to what the designer intended.

I hope that little explanation helps, and I hope you find this an enjoyable summer knit!  I'm happy that mine is all finished and I'm actually wearing it as I type this.  It's perfect for the beautiful "highs in the 70s" sort of day we had in Central IL today!

The Wavelength Tee pattern is available now on Ravelry!