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October 2009

September 2009

Two upcoming patterns and ANOTHER Pattern Giveaway!

Fancy_Pixie_Hat_Flat_350

This super-cute pixie hat pattern is coming very soon!

See the lovely, unique lace stitch pattern?  This is one you'll have to pay attention to as you knit, but the resulting fabric is very pretty.

Plus, this hat looks super cute on (more photos coming when my 11-month old is up for it!) and knits up quick.  The smaller sizes only require 1 ball of Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino Aran yarn.

Also coming soon is another great cowl!  This one in a cloud-soft mohair and very current shade of purple.Mohair_Mobius_Cowl2_350

Cowls are really popular this season and this one is so wonderful to wear and knit!  It's actually a long piece that is seamed to become a mobius strip.  Wear it double looped as shown in the first photo, or as a single twisted circular scarf.

It makes for a fabulous gift project.  Sample shown is knit in the soft super kid mohair from GGH.

Watch for BOTH of these patterns to be released next month!

Mohair_Mobius_Cowl3_350

 

*** Want to WIN fr*e copies of BOTH of these patterns when they are released in October? ***

Just enter a comment below by 9 pm, PST, October 18th.  One comment per person, please.  Three random commenters will be chosen to win a copy of BOTH patterns. 

Good luck!

[Hey - Knitting Club Members - no need to enter this giveaway!  You'll be receiving these as the free monthly downloads for October.  Want to become a Member so you will automatically get these two patterns first?  Join now for just $7.99/month!]

*** November 12 Update ***
And the winners are: Marilyn,Vicki Morgan-Bogart, and Linda Robinson!  Congratulations!  Each winner has been emailed these 2 pattern pdfs.  Enjoy!


Margaux's Flutter-Sleeved Blousy Cardigan!

This version of the #99 Flutter-Sleeved Blousy Lace Cardigan makes me want to knit another one!

Fluttersleeve1

Margaux H. from Hoboken, NJ knit this LOVELY version of the cardigan, extending the length (yea for top-down!). It looks so great!

She used Spud & Chloe yarn, 4 balls in Toast.

Fluttersleeve2

Here is what she had to say about the pattern:

"So easy to follow, this is a great pattern for any beginner or experience knitter. It always keeps you involved which makes the sweater seem so quick to work on. The pattern walks you through each step of the process, which is so great for a beginner knitter.

Working from the top down is also nice because you can try on the sweater as you go to see if you like the length. I decided to increase the length by about 3 inches. which added about 2 more button holes. I also blogged about it!" -- Margaux

Check out her blog post on this project (with a few more photos).

Do you have a SweaterBabe.com Pattern photo (on a body!) that you'd like to submit to the photo gallery?  If we select your photo(s), you get a free pattern!

Details are at: http://blog.sweaterbabe.com/knitting/2009/03/finished-project-photos.html


Julie's First Cardigan!

Julie's first cardigan is a great example of how the top-down designs of many of the SweaterBabe.com patterns allow you to easily fit your cardigans to your own shape and style!

JulieB_VineLace

She knit the very popular #77 Top-Down Vine Lace Cardigan as her very first cardigan project!

She used Rowan RYC Soft Tweed (unfortunately discontinued - too bad!) in color SH 004-Bramble.

Here are her comments on the pattern:

"The pattern was fairly easy to follow, although my gauge was way off so I ended up knitting the xxl size and crossing my fingers that it would come out ok.

The most difficult part of the pattern was making the decreases in the ribbing. I think the pattern should explain this in more detail because it's not easy to do.

I ended up making the sweater longer and added some length to the ribbing at the bottom as well. I also ended up lightly felting it because it grew a lot in blocking. In the end I love the modifications I made and I love the finished sweater!" -- Julie B. from Claymont, DE

JulieB_VineLace2

LOVE the way it turned out. Such a unique and pretty shade of yarn and cute kid too!

Do you have a SweaterBabe.com Pattern photo (on a body!) that you'd like to submit to the photo gallery?  If we select your photo(s), you get a free pattern!

Details are at: http://blog.sweaterbabe.com/knitting/2009/03/finished-project-photos.html


Elegant Shawl Pins - A new product review!

Romi_PinsThese distinctive and delicate shawl pins are from Designs by Romi Rosemary ("Romi") sent me a few of her beautifully handmade pins to try out and here is my official review!

I'll be honest.  I haven't worn a shawl in years, so the idea of shawl pins has never really caught my attention.  As a busy mom of 3 little ones, shawls are just not practical for my day to day.  And date night, what's that?

However, I've been thinking about designing a pattern with lovely draped fronts.  You know, the kind you see all over the place called "wrap cardigans" or cardigans with attached scarves or shawl fronts.  They are all the rage.Bird_Pin_on_Green_Cardi  

I finally had the time to knit and design my own version!  I liked how it looked with the fronts open and left to drape, but wanted a way to close the front sometimes for warmth and variety.

I wasn't keen on using buttons - even light ones would affect the drape of the cardigan. And where would I place the buttons and NOT limit how the cardigan could be worn?

Well, it turns out that shawl pins are the ideal solution!
 

And how are the ones from Rosemary?  Are they versatile enough to use on my drape-front sweater?  Read on for my thoughts!

Romi_Pins_Pinned
Pictured here are 3 different designs from Romi: a Bluebird, Swirl, and Heart pin.

As you can see from the photo, all are delicate and eye-catching.  And as a knitter, I can certainly appreciate the handmade quality of these pins just by seeing them!  Up close, you can tell they are hand formed (in a good way!) and are really little pieces of art that you can use to embellish your knitwear.

The edges are all smooth and there are no weird corners that can catch and snag your knitwear (unlike your basic safety pin).  You can tell from seeing all of her designs that this was a very deliberate consideration! All of her pins have gently curved corners so they will work well with delicate open lace scarves/sweaters (though you still have to be gentle in securing the pin).

It does take a little bit of practice to attach them, and each one works differently.  The Bluebird design has a separate stick that you weave in and out of the bird to secure.  The other two designs have attached sticks that slide around to lock.

All of them feel quite secure once you get them in correctly. 

They worked nicely to hold the front pieces of my draped cardigan in place (see all the different ways I used it!). AND I tried them on a bulky yarn cowl to see how it worked. It was secure, although the delicate design is a bit more of a contrast when wearing the chunkier styles, so you would want to consider that.

And what do you do with the pin when you leave your sweater open? Stash it in your purse OR just attach it somewhere like an accent pin. No problem!

So, overall, I think these shawl pins are great and would be an awesome gift! I definitely have expensive tastes (Ask my husband) - and these pins are not at all "cheap" looking. They are well suited to your fine knitwear.

And yes, any kind of decorative broach could generally be used to close a sweater, but these are specifically designed to do that better with the smooth edges and ability to "grab" more or your fabric, so they can be used for heavier-weight knits or for some creative closures.

Here's an example of closing the drape-front sweater by gathering at the waist. Drape_Front_Cardi_Waist_500This would not be easy to do with a broach that has the usual small pin, but it was a cinch (ha ha) to do with the larger Bluebird pin.

See all of Rosemary's MANY shawl pin designs at www.DesignsbyRomi.com (her sheep ones are my favorite!).  Tell her SweaterBabe.com sent you!

DO YOU HAVE A PRODUCT FOR SWEATERBABE TO REVIEW?  If you do, please email me at: reviews@sweaterbabe.com.  Read the submission details.

*** SHAWL PIN GIVEAWAY ***
I will be giving away the heart-shaped shawl/sweater pin to one lucky commenter. 

Just leave a comment about these shawl pins on this blog post by 9pm PST, September 30, 2009, to enter the drawing.  One commenter will be chosen randomly as the winner!  One comment per person, please.


Drape-Front Lace Cardigan

Here are some of the many ways to wear my new Draped-Front Lace Cardigan (pattern coming soon)!

It's another top-down design using Knit Picks Swish DK yarn in a wonderful green heather shade.

Drape_Front_Cardi2_500

Here it is with the fronts pinned lightly at the top so the rest is left open to drape:


 



And here is what the cardigan looks like without any pin closure:

Drape_Front_Cardi_500 


Then, you can have lots of fun with this cardigan by pinning the fronts closed in different ways - off-center, a little lower to allow the top to drape, or gathered at the waist! The shawl pin used in these photos is a beautiful silver bird pin from DesignsbyRomi.com (I'll be reviewing her Shawl Pins soon!).

Drape_Front_Cardi_Closed_500


Drape_Front_Cardi_Cowl_500


Drape_Front_Cardi_Waist_500



Drape_Front_Cardi_SideClose_500

This pattern has yet to be written up, but is in my queue!

Enter to win a fr-ee copy of this pattern! Just enter a comment on this post by 9pm PST, September 20th. Three winners will be randomly selected to win a fr-ee copy of this pattern emailed to them as soon as the pattern is released. Limit one comment per person, please. Good luck!


13-Year Old Emily's Vine Lace Cardigan

"My name is Emily and I'm 13 years old. Quite a few months ago I found your web site through google, and the second I started looking at the patterns I fell in love with the vine lace cardigan.

It took me about 8 months to make it and it was a little trickier than I was used to, but it was worth it. I love how it came up. I did it all by myself, mum only had to show me how to pick up sts for the collar, the rest I worked out alone. I'm about to start the Talia vest. Cant wait! lots of love," -- Emily S. from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Emily_Vine_Lace 

Wow - thanks, Emily! You did a terrific job! When did you learn to knit? I was making sweaters too at 13, but I'm not sure I tackled ones like this! You are a talented knitter!

Here are more details from Emily: "I used three strands of spotlight 8ply in chocolate brown. I found it a little tricky to get my head around at first (because I'm not a very experienced knitter) but after a little bit I was ok."

Do you have a SweaterBabe.com Pattern photo (on a body!) that you'd like to submit to the photo gallery?  If we select your photo(s), you get a free pattern!

Details are at: http://blog.sweaterbabe.com/knitting/2009/03/finished-project-photos.html


Kate's Falling Leaves Scarf

The VERY POPULAR pattern, #95 Falling Leaves Pull-Through Scarf, looks great in this Debbie Bliss yarn!

Kate A. from Stockport, United Kingdom sent in this photo of her modeling her lovely knit scarf.

She used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky (a favorite yarn of mine too!) in #17012 Lime Green.

"The pattern is great! Easy to follow and knits up super quick; perfect for last minute presents!" -- Kate A.

Kate_Falling_Leaves2_500

Thanks for sharing your finished project with us, Kate!  The stitch definition is so striking in that shade of green.  Hope you get lots of use out of this pattern and project!

Do you have a SweaterBabe.com Pattern photo (on a body!) that you'd like to submit to the photo gallery?  If we select your photo(s), you get a free pattern!

Details are at: http://blog.sweaterbabe.com/knitting/2009/03/finished-project-photos.html


Chic Cowl Neck Cable Question

Hi Chic Cowl Neck Sweater Knitters (pattern #90)! 

 

I occassionally get questions about the Cabling on the Cowl and thought I would share some of my answers that have helped clarify how the Cowl is worked.

 

At the beginning of the pattern, the Cowl cables are established.  Here is Round 5.

 

Round 5 [Cable Twist]: [P6 (6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8), Work Round 5 of Braided Cable over next 14 sts, p6 (6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8), Work Round 11 of Braided Cable over next 14 sts] 3 times.

So, the Cowl patterning looks like this:

[Rev St st] [Cable A] [Rev St st] [Cable B] [Rev St st] [Cable A] [Rev St st] [Cable B] [Rev St st] [Cable A] [Rev St st] [Cable B] [end of Round marker]

i.e. sections of Rev St st separating the 6 Cable Panels.  The 1st, 3rd, and 5th Cable panels (Cable A) just did a Round 5 Braided Cable Twist, whereas the 2nd, 4th, and 6th Cable panels (Cable B) just did a Round 11 Braided Cable Twist.

Working in patterns as established means this:

On Round 6 of the Cowl, cont with Round 6 of the Braided Cable for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Cables and Round 12 of the Braided Cable for the 2nd, 4th, and 6th Cables.  Keep purling the Rev St st sections.

Then, on Round 7 of the Cowl, cont with Round 7 of the Braided Cable for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Cables and Round 1 of the Braided Cable for the 2nd, 4th, and 6th Cables.  Keep purling the Rev St st sections.

Then, on Round 8 of the Cowl, cont with Round 8 of the Braided Cable for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Cables and Round 2 of the Braided Cable for the 2nd, 4th, and 6th Cables.  Keep purling the Rev St st sections.

etc., etc. through Round 48 of the Cowl.
 
You'll notice that all the NON-Cable Twist Rows are just k2, p2 ribbing (essentially) for the Cable Panel stitches.  So, it's only on the Cable Twisting Rows (every 6th Row) that you need to REALLY PAY attention and do the correct Cable Twist.
 
I hope this helps clarify any confusion!  I staggered the Cables this way to make it LOOK more complicated and textured, not to confuse knitters ;-)

Although the cable-lover in me thinks the end effect is totally worth the extra effort!

Grafting the Cowl

My chunky cowl pattern, #103 Luscious Cabled Cowl (available to Knitting Club Members now and coming to the Pattern Shop in 1-2 weeks) is joined together as a cowl using a "grafting" stitch that is like doing a Kitchner stitch (commonly used to do the toe seam on socks!).  Here are some diagrams to show how I did it.

(Of course, those of you who like to do provisional cast-ons can do that with this cowl pattern.  Then, use the Kitchner stitch to join the "live" stitches of the cast-on to the last row of sts left on the needle.)

Anyhow, back to how I grafted it:

Here is a photo showing how it looks after grafting a few stitches.  Basically, grafting it (or using a Kitchner-like seam stitch) makes it look like you have no seam at all and just continuous knitting (see the photo below after a few grafting stitches have been done). 

So, your seam will follow the path of a knit row and blend right in to the fabric.  It's similar in feel to doing a duplicate stitch (if you are familiar with that).

Step0_500 


You will have the RS of the work facing you AND you need to have a yarn tail that is approximately 4 times the width of the cowl to make sure you have enough to complete this seam.

Each "grafting" seam stitch begins by going under the base of a "knit" stitch from the cast on row (which you see above the knitting needle).  The yarn tapestry needle is inserted under the base of the "V" of a stitch, so it's under 2 strands of yarn as shown below.

Step1_500 

Then, pull the yarn through.  Now, insert the tapestry needle under the LEFT strand/half of the knit stitch that just came off of your knitting needle and then into the stitch on your knitting needle (as if to purl it) as shown below. 

Step2_500 

Pull the yarn through.  That's the basic seam stitch.  Here are a few more seam stitches repeating what you just did to continue illustrating it.

Insert needle under the next st to the left under the 2 strands of the "V".

Step3_500 
Pull yarn through and insert needle under the LEFT half of the knit st that just came off your knitting needle and into the next st on the knitting needle as if to purl. 

Step4_500 

Pull yarn though.  And another time:

Step5_500 

Step6_500 

And so on, and so on.

Be very careful with this project that you don't miss the 3 sts that are kind of hidden under the cable twists of Cowl Row 1.  You need to dig in a little to find them and make sure you catch them.  There are 48 sts on the cast on row and 48 sts on your knitting needle at the end... you want to be sure to match each stitch for stitch so the seam lines up nicely.

Good luck and enjoy the finished cowl!!