Product Pick: Knitmare on Elm Street Travel/Accent Pillow by KOALA Caddie™

Knitmare on Elm Street Travel/Accent Pillow

Knitmare on Elm Street Travel/Accent Pillow
by KOALA Caddie™

FREE SHIPPING thru 8/4 on our unique travel/accent pillows. A recent Etsy buyer wrote: “Adorable! Very dependent on these little pillows! They make my spinning/knitting chair perfectly comfortable!” Handmade of high quality materials & the size of airline pillows, they have a snapped end closure, a satin or matching cotton back & a faux down insert. They make wonderful, affordable gifts! This Knitmare on Elm Street pillow is one of many knitting theme choices in our Travel Pillow Section. . . . >

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Pattern Pick: Open Hearts Shawlette by SweaterBabe

Open Hearts Shawlette

Open Hearts Shawlette
by SweaterBabe

A gorgeous heart lace edging is the centerpiece of this pretty shawlette. Stockinette Stitch hearts are linked to each other along the long curving length of this shawlette and are framed with double yarn overs.

Stitches are then picked up and knit along one long edge and worked in Garter stitch short rows to create a gently curved shape and provide a nice contrast in textures. . . . >

Available on the SweaterBabe site too.

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FREE Pattern Pick: Breezy Lace and Cable Hat by SweaterBabe

 Breezy Lace and Cable Hat

FREE Pattern Pick: 
Breezy Lace and Cable Hat
by SweaterBabe.com
(free ONLY until 7/26/16. On Ravelry too.)

Warmer weather doesn't have to mean no more knit hats. Not when you can make this lace and cable knit version in a light weight cotton blend!

This hat is knit from the bottom up in the round, so it's seamless and quick! A simple ribbed border transitions into a pretty combination of classic cables alternating with a beautiful intertwining leaves lace design. Reverse Stockinette stitch makes for a nice contrasting background stitch.

Shaping at the cap is done with decreases that taper the lace leaf design and create a pretty floral effect at the crown. The hat is just a little slouchy, so it can be worn pulled down for those who like a closer fit, or a little bit back on the head, so it slouches just so. It will be one of your most versatile and easy-to-wear hats! . . . >

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Join the Top 5 Knit-Along!

TOP 5

It's time for some knitting, along with fellow knitters!

Above are the current Top 5 Best-Selling knitting patterns from my collection. Join us as we KAL these patterns on my SweaterBabe Ravelry Group (must be on Ravelry to participate).

AND UNTIL JULY 24, 2016, use coupon code KALTIME to get 15% off these 5 KAL patterns. Enter coupon code at checkout on SweaterBabe.com or on Ravelry.

[top down, left to right]

1) #230 Marine Layers. A lovely, decadent scarf (especially if knit up in the Madeline Tosh yarn, as shown!). Purchase pattern on SweaterBabe Shop or on Ravelry.

2) #223 Marrakech. A blanket with texture to die for! Pattern includes 3 sizes - baby, crib, and throw. Purchase pattern on SweaterBabe Shop or on Ravelry.

3) #215 Glitz and Glam Shawl. Simple lace combines with a elongated triangular shape to create this pretty shawl/scarf. The yarn used here has a glimmery strand, but many kid mohair and silk blends will produce equally beautiful results. Purchase pattern on SweaterBabe Shop or on Ravelry.

4) #222 Balboa Vest. A thoroughly modern, swingy vest that will carry your through many seasons. Drapes beautifully in the back and combines two interesting, textured stitch patterns. Purchase pattern on SweaterBabe Shop or on Ravelry.

5) #218H Hamachi Cardigan. It started as a blanket with an eye-catching stitch pattern. Rather than tucking it away for a future baby gift, I transformed it into a fabulous cardigan. Purchase pattern on SweaterBabe Shop or on Ravelry (purchase the Blanket pattern + the Cardigan Addendum).

Each KAL will run in it's own thread on Ravelry. Check out the KAL announcement thread on Ravelry to join in on the KAL action and to read all details (cast-on date, KAL giveaways, etc.)!

 

Here are placeholder images for Ravelry Project Pages:

Marine Layers KAL

Marrakech Blanket KAL

Glitz and Glam Shawl KAL

Balboa Vest KAL

Hamachi Cardigan KAL

Pendants Blanket KAL


Pattern Pick: Perfect Poncho by Carol Beliveau Designs

Perfect Poncho

Perfect Poncho
by Carol Beliveau Designs

This is the Perfect Poncho, so beautiful and warm. You could wear this every where. The pattern is simply gorgeous and is the perfect size. It is a one size fits all but you can certainly add inches to the length if you so desire to have it longer. (just make sure you order the extra ball or two of yarn if you do) I love that it covers the butt area and is perfect so you don’t sit on a cold car seat. Alpaca makes this nice and warm but substitute with your favorite yarn. . . . >

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Product Pick: A Ghastlie Night Knitting Bag Apron by KOALA Caddie™

A Ghastlie Night Knitting Bag Apron

A Ghastlie Night Knitting Bag Apron
by KOALA Caddie™

SAVE $10 thru 6/30 on our best-selling Ghastlie Night KOALA Caddie. It is available in sage green, mauve & gray, with a choice of satin lining color. A neat combination of craft apron & knitting bag, the Caddie keeps projects and yarn free from fur, soil, spillovers & tedious transfers. It adjusts in width and length, has extra long ties and an inner pocket. Etsy Review: “5 out of 5 stars - It is absolutely gorgeous! I am over the moon with the quality and ingenious idea.” Free U.S. shipping. . . . >

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Product Pick: HiyaHiya Sharp Sock Interchangeable Set from Knit Bin

HiyaHiya Sharp Sock Interchangeable Set

HiyaHiya Sharp Sock Interchangeable Set
from Knit Bin

High quality HiyaHiya stainless steel interchangeable needles are now available in small sock knitting sizes! The sharp tips are great for increasing, decreasing, and intricate stitch patterns. Flexible cables, and near perfect joins. Five tip sizes (US 0 to 2.5), 4 cables, tip adapter, and grips included. Case is optional. See the Knit Bin website for more details. . . . >

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FREE Pattern Pick: Posh One-Ball Cowl by SweaterBabe.com

Posh One-Ball Cowl

FREE Pattern Pick: 
Posh One-Ball Cowl
by SweaterBabe.com
(free ONLY until 6/30/16. On Ravelry too.)

Here's a super quick-knit cowl in a great yarn from Malabrigo yarns that is surprisingly soft and light. Knit this cowl up quickly on size 10 ½ needles in the round, with a visually gratifying stitch that uses cable knitting techniques to create a pretty, embossed diamond design. A ribbed band gathers the cowl on one side for a perfectly-cinched look. This unisex cowl is easy to wear and easy to gift! . . . >

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Why do I have to do a Gauge Swatch?

Should I check my knitting gauge?

"Do I really need to knit a gauge swatch?"

It's a common question when you knit from a published pattern.

And even me, a (ahem!) well-seasoned knitter, will try to skip knitting a gauge swatch whenever possible. But here are FOUR scenarios where you might not want to skip this important step (sorry!):

ONE: When the finished size matters

The biggest lesson I've learned from past projects gone wrong is that if you really want a finished project to fit correctly, take the time to do the gauge swatch! And I don't mean CO and measure after you've knit a few rows. This is a situation where you will be spending HOURS lovingly knitting a sweater, vest, or what have you, for yourself or a deserving friend or relative. If the end result does not fit - how annoying would that be? To give yourself the best assurance that your finished measurements will match what the pattern has intended, follow these steps to properly swatch: Whispering Leaves Lace Top-Down CardiganFor example, it'd be a real shame if this slim-fitting cardigan was knit up in the wrong gauge - resulting in a cardigan that's too tight or baggy!

    1) With the suggested yarn (or a similar yarn in weight and look and feel if you are substituting) and suggested needle size, knit up a swatch that is at least 4" x 4" in the specified stitch pattern that the gauge is given in.

    2) BO the swatch and then block it however you will plan to block the finished item. You might even wash it if it's to be a often washed item. 

    3) After it's fully dry, unpin and measure it on a flat surface. A tape measure, ruler, or special gauge measuring tools (like the 2 shown here) are all fine.  You can use sewing pins to mark the 0" point and then the 3", 4", 5", or more point (choose whichever of those inch measurements lands most precisely between 2 sts, rather than in the middle of one since trying to count partial sts is too inaccurate).Should I check my knitting gauge?

    4) If you have more sts per inch than the pattern's stated gauge, re-swatch with a bigger needle size. If you have less sts per inch than the pattern's stated gauge, re-swatch with a smaller needle size.  Repeat these last 4 steps until you match gauge.

    5) At any point, if you don't like how the swatch is looking (at gauge or even before you get gauge) you might decide to try a different yarn. Swatching gives you the chance to test out the yarn with the stitch pattern and at the gauge needed by the pattern. 

    6) Once you've figured out what needle size will give you the exact gauge needed by the pattern, you can proceed. Hint: I will still measure as I go to double check that my gauge is good . . . it's never too late to turn back if you see a big problem!

REMEMBER - even being a half stitch off can make enough of a difference in the finished size (esp. for a fitted sweater) that you won't want to skip this step. For example, if the sweater is 4 sts to the inch, but you are knitting at 3.5 sts to the inch. . .  over a 40" bust, that's say 160 sts. With the slightly off gauge of 3.5, those 160 sts at the bust now measures 45 ¾", which turns a fitted sweater into a baggy one. 

    7) Matching the pattern's exact row gauge is generally not as important as getting the right stitch gauge, but it does depend on the pattern. Needing to work a few extra or less rows here and there won't matter for most patterns, but read through your pattern and you might decide it matter enough to change yarns.

TWO: When you are substituting a yarn

This is probably the most common reason to knit a swatch. You'll be able to check your gauge AND test if you like the look and feel of the yarn for the pattern. Different textures will result if your yarn weight is a little different, if the yarn content is different, if you are using a smooth yarn vs. a textured one, etc. Swatching is the BEST way to decide if you like your yarn choice before you've knit (or purchased!) a bunch.

THREE: When you might not have enough yarn

Yardage estimates in patterns are BASED on the stated gauge! Particularly for patterns that are "one-ball" patterns, you can't expect the yardage estimate to be accurate if you are knitting at a different gauge. For example, if the pattern gauge is 4 sts per inch and you are knitting at 3.5 sts per inch, you will end up with a larger scarf (or whatever) than intended in the pattern. You'll definitely use up more yards of the yarns to finish the instructions, so plan accordingly. Many published patterns will pad their yardage estimates 10-15%, but that is not an industry standard you can rely on. PLUS, yardage estimates on ball bands are estimates based on the weight of the ball or hank, so there's always some room for error there too.

FOUR: When there are new stitch patterns or techniques in the pattern

Challenging yourself with a new and interesting stitch pattern with this new project? Swatching in that pattern will allow you to learn it before you work it in the actual project. Maybe you'll discover that it's too easy (and therefore "boring") or too hard (which means frustration and/or ripping out rows later). Great things to discover while swatching vs. after you've already started the project!

Hope the above has been helpful. While I'm with you in wanting to skip the step of checking gauge, I'm too aware of the risks, so I almost always swatch first!

FYI - All of my SweaterBabe patterns state the gauge on the pattern sell pages. I find that it helps my customers to select their yarns for my patterns. 

OTHER RANDOM TIPS ON GAUGE:

Why is it better to measure across 3 or 4+" vs. 1 or 2"? Less room for error and/or slight inconsistency in knitting tension or stitches. If you measure across just 1" of sts, you may not get an accurate measure that would match if you measured 1" elsewhere. But measuring over 4" or more of sts will average out all those slight variations.

Don't measure too close to the CO, BO, or the edges. How loosely or tightly you CO or BO could skew your measurement, so measure in the middle for best results. This is also why you don't measure when sts are still on the needle, as how they are spread out or bunched up on your needle can skew your measurements easily (plus, you're supposed to block the swatch first!)

Pattern gauges will not always be to the 4" measure.  . .  sometimes, a true gauge will be something like 23 sts = 5", or 4.6 sts = 1". This does not convert nicely to a 4" measure, as it would have to say 18.4 sts = 4". How does one measure 18.4 sts??

Try to swatch using the actual needles you'll use for knitting the project. For some people, their knitting tension (and therefore their gauge) will vary on bamboo needles vs. ultra smooth aluminum, etc. Even working in the round vs. rows can change your gauge a little.

Happy Successful Knitting!


Gorgeous One-Ball Knitting Projects!

One_Ball

One-Ball Knitting Projects are ALWAYS on my needles. I LOVE to use up stash yarn and have a project that's pretty quick to knit for fast gratification! Plus, I always need a few projects that are grab and go. Whether I'm in the school pick-up line, or at one of my kid's classes, I like to get my knitting in whenever possible, don't you?

Above are some great One-Ball Projects. Want more options? Check out the FULL selection of One-Ball Knitting Patterns or One and Two-Ball Knitting Patterns.

[shown above, left to right, top to bottom]

  1. #200 Woohoo Pompom Hat. Fun to knit and fun to wear! Also on Ravelry.

  2. #211 Chalice One-Ball Scarf. Beautiful lace that is surprisingly simple to do. Charted and written out. Also on Ravelry.

  3. #160 Meandering Cables One-Ball Hat. Chunky cables knit up into this warm, cozy hat. Also on Ravelry.

  4. #231 Adina One-Ball Scarf - a NEW RELEASE! Gossamer, all-over lace with uniquely rounded ends. Also on Ravelry.

  5. #193 "Don't Ruche Me, I'm Knitting" Scarf. A MKAL winner! Lace and some strategic shaping to create the ruched look on the ends. Also on Ravelry.

  6. #207 Quick Chunky Book Cuffs. Fast and great for topping your boots! Also on Ravelry.

  7. #225 The One Hat. Oh so knitable - I made four of these in 2 days! Also on Ravelry.

  8. #214 Shawl-Collared Shrugette. A lovely option to feel a little more covered up when wearing skinny-strapped tops. Also on Ravelry.