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As I said before, it’s kinda like the perfect project for people who love swatching, since that’s basically what it is. Introducing my Lace Swatch on Steroids.

Merino Chunky Throw
 

Pattern: Lacy Chunky Throw by Wenlan Chia
Source: Classic Elite WebLetter #63
Materials: Twinkle “Soft Chunky”; 7 skeins in “Mink”
Needles: 42″ Circulars in size US 17 (Broomsticks!)
Dimensions: appox. 54″ x 40″

Started: November 2008
Finished: December 2008


Merino Chunky Throw

I just realized that, with the exception of a few last minute Christmas hats, this beast rounds out my finished work for 2008. And let me take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year – I think 2009 is going to be a good one.

Merino Chunky Throw

This was intended to be a quick knit to beef up the winter home lineup, since it’s been a cold one this year (which I love!) – and it was relatively quick, although not as quick as I had planned because knitting with broomsticks is a bit hard on the hands after a while. Speaking of broomsticks, the pattern calls for size 19 circulars, which I don’t have, so I just used my 17′s. I figured I’d knit a bit looser anyway, given the circumstances with this gigantic yarn.

Merino Chunky Throw

I had one extra skein of yarn than the pattern required (I had 7, the pattern requests 6), so I cast on 80 stitchess rather than the 76 called for. With a few added stitches, an extra skein and slightly smaller needles, my finished blanket came out just slightly bigger than the projected dimensions. Big enough to get under comfortably, but not huge – which is a good thing, cause it’s on the heavier side, despite the very open lacework (yarn overs every other stitch, every row).

Merino Chunky Throw

I really love the color – it’s almost silvery in the way it catches light. The yarn is super bulky, short stapled, and has a low-twist which means it fuzzes a lot…. but it’s so soft that I just didn’t even care. Yarn this thick becomes truly sculptural, which I enjoy profusely, so all in all, I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Merino Chunky Throw

The pattern is free, so if you happen to have a bunch of this yarn lying around, it could be just the thing. I think blankets and throws rather than garments are better suited to super-bulky yarns personally, but I’m easily suffocated in excessively heavy sweaters.

Merino Chunky Throw

I hope you’re all recovering well from the holiday period. I’m taking a much needed respite in chilly Portland, OR this week and reorganizing my life after a crazy couple of months. Enjoy the new year we’ve been given and as always, keep knitting!

PS Just cause I know some of you will be wondering – the sweater in the photos isn’t handknit. It’s just a reeeaally good thrift store find! Huzzah!

My all-time favorite jobs as a photographer are those that involve shooting artists’ spaces, and, of course, the artists that they house. So I was completely thrilled when Knit.1 asked me to pay a visit to designer Wenlan Chia’s studio in Manhattan to spend the day with her for a few portraits and studio shots. We had such a great time together – and I thought I’d share some of the shots with you, as I’m sure there are some big Twinkle fans out there.

Wenlan Chia
A Day at Twinkle
 

In the handknitting community, Wenlan is probably best known for her signature super bulky merino yarn – Soft Chunky (pictured below) (kinda looks like cotton candy, doesn’t it?) and the wonderfully chunky fashion knits she conjures up with it.

 

A Day at Twinkle

She carries two other yarn lines, which I hadn’t ever experienced in person – and let me tell you, being surrounded by handknit samples of throws everywhere you turn isn’t a bad way to experience a new yarn either.

A Day at Twinkle

And while of course I had plenty of delicious knits around to keep my lens busy all day… there were certainly a few other things that I had a hard time keeping away from…

A Day at Twinkle

Wenlan’s dog, Milan, has a huge personality and wanted to be a part of the action all day. Aside from being a photogenic little canine, he serves as inspiration for many of Wenlan’s home designs as I soon found out.

A Day at Twinkle
A Day at Twinkle

I think I mentioned in a previous post about my Twinkle Chunky throw (Finished! Photos soon!) that I had come into a small stash of Soft Chunky in a special circumstance – well this is how. I saw these luscious throws in the studio and had to have one. And since Wenlan basically
forced me to take yarn… what was I to do but gracefully oblige?

A Day at Twinkle
A Day at Twinkle
A Day at Twinkle


If you’d like to read up on Wenlan’s inspiring story, check out the article in the current issue of Knit.1 for more. My very own Chia-designer-throw will be featured here in just a few short days… if I can pull myself out from under it long enough for a photoshoot.

Wenlan Chia

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and giving your knitting some extra special face-time. It feels like the first time I’ve been able to take a breath and truly enjoy my knitting for some time. And it’s wonderful.

[If you haven't gotten enough of Ms. Chia, see more photos from Twinkle here]

I’m so happy to finally be able to share this project with you all – I’ve been starry eyed for it for months, but didn’t want to feature it here until the pattern was all set with t’s crossed and i’s dotted. She’s all set now, though – and just in time for wintry knitting!

Girasole

May I introduce my new favorite thing to have on my person at all times. In fact, I knit this in August while I was in the PNW (summer knitting is bearable there), but only recently, since the cold weather has hit us hard have I been getting to indulge myself. You’ll see two versions shown here – the Blanket version (Yellow) is worked in an aran weight Wool/Llama blend (Cascade Pastaza) and the Shawl Version (Light Brown) is worked in fingering weight Shetland wool (Jamieson’s Spindrift)(Swoon). They’re both fantastic and so very different.

Girasole (Shawl Version)

I’m consistently fascinated by how incredibly important yarn choices are when we knit, and how, especially with lace, a project can completely change in nature solely based on yarn construction, weight and fiber. My goal here was to provide a pattern that could have flexible function – if you want a big woolly throw to keep you warm this winter – you got it. If you want a more traditional, Shetland lace shawl – light as a feather and shockingly toasty – you can have that too!

Girasole

The pattern is worked in the round with a traditional circular shawl construction – started in the center and increasing outward towards the edges as you work. A circular cast-on is recommended but not required – and if you’ve never tried one, I highly recommend it. You’ll never go back! [Great tutorials here and here] My favorite thing about circular shawls is, as you may have guessed, absolutely no purling(!) – and this one is no exception. Also, every other round is plain knitting, so essentially half of the knitting is mindless stockinette, and that’s always a plus in my book.

Girasole (Shawl Version)

The pattern utilizes a knitted-on edging to finish off. Because elasticity is a prized quality in lace, any and all bind-offs should be avoided like the plague. Knitted-on edgings are a completely wonderful solution to this problem – not only are they equally elastic as the rest of your knitting, but they look great and add an interesting contrasting element (worked perpendicular to the rest of the shawl) to any design.

Girasole

For you first time Knitted-On-Edgers, this is how it works: when you’ve reached the last official round of the center section of the shawl, you will no longer be working in the round. With the working yarn you cast on directly the number of sts for your edging (in this case 4) and begin working back and forth on those stitches in the edging pattern, joining the edging to your live shawl sts around the circumference as you go. It’s a fascinating technique and a whoooole lot of fun. Read more about circular shawl construction + edgings here [Thanks, as always to Eunny for these exhaustively thorough, wonderful lace compendiums].

Girasole (Shawl Version)

As with many of my other patterns, the bulk of the motifs are charted (I’m a chart freak, what can I say.) If you’re new to knitting from charts, or want to brush up your skills here is a wonderful tutorial with lots of visual aids that I find very helpful. The pattern includes yardage/dimension/gauge information for both weights listed above, but I always encourage creative yarn choices and love to see how patterns play out with different yarns. Gauge in stockinette for the blanket version is approx 4 stitches per inch, and 6 stitches per inch for the shawl version. As always, though, gauge in lace is variable and should always be determined by your personal preference for the finished fabric.

The pattern is available for 6.50 (USD) in my Ravelry Store, for Ravelry members, or through Paypal. Just follow the buttons below.

Girasole Preview
Purchase Via Ravelry Purchase Via Paypal

The Brooklyn Tweed Guarantee: As a self-publishing designer, I strongly feel that it is my responsibility to you to present a quality product free of errors that is pleasing both from an aesthetic and practical point of view. All patterns that are self-published here at Brooklyn Tweed have been test knit by multiple knitters using various manufactured yarns to ensure the most pleasurable and intuitive knitting experience. I have personally prepared all diagrams and charts as well as knit/photographed samples and designed pattern layouts – soliciting the opinions of knitters prior to publication in an effort to streamline this product. I have done my very best to bring you a pattern that I am proud to stand behind fully. I do my best to respond to concerns or comments as soon as possible and, as always, thank you for your support and encouragement. Happy knitting! -Jared

Ah, super bulky yarn – you really come through on the rare occasion that I need you.

I recently came into a small stash of Soft Chunky by Wenlan Chia (more on how that happened later) and was trying to find a responsible use for it. I’m not big on super bulky garments – while they’re awesome to knit and faaaast, I find they rarely ever get worn, by me at least.

So when the recent CE Webletter dropped, featuring a chunky throw also by Wenlan, also in Soft Chunky, it was wonderful timing! My obsession with handknit blankets is receiving it’s regular feeding! [One step closer to my ultimate fantasy of being buried under a mountain of woolie afghans]

Chunkfest 2008

Soft Chunky is just that: Really soft. Really chunky. It’s a single ply virgin wool – no coarseness at all. It does feel odd knitting with little aluminum broomsticks, but dang if I don’t feel like a productive little knitter. Which right now seems miraculous.

The pattern is about as straight-forward as can be – a rectangle of the simplest of all lace patterns, trimmed in garter stitch. It’s like a swatch on steroids.

Chunk-chunk-chunk

The lace is key – it keeps the weight down and plays up how soft and snuggly this stuff can be. The best part: I’m about half way in and it’s already functioning as a blanket while I’m knitting. The photograph above is the “WS” of the fabric, which in this particular pattern I think looks better (so I guess it’s the right side for me. Oh so right).

And in other news – check out these cocoon like bats that I received from a friend in Michigan last week.

Crosspatch Batts

Texture-philes beware! They’re a mix of Romney, Corriedale, Bombyx and Tussah Silk with plenty of tweedy bits for super textured spinning (from Crosspatch Creations) – Hopefully I can squeeze some in soon…

Isn’t knitting awesome!?

Of all the things I’ve knit, I can’t remember a time when I’ve been more smitten with a project. Sure there may have been things that we more exciting or eventful to work on but nothing (and I mean nothing) is better for wrapping yourself up in than this. (I realize the timing of this post is absolutely ridiculous as I’m writing in the middle of this summer’s first heat wave, but there it is)

Lovefest Realized (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)
Pattern: Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket in Sheepsdown (Ravelry)
Source: The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Materials: Cascade Eco Wool (100% undyed Peruvian) #8063; yarn held double
Amount: Just over 9 skeins; approx. 4500 yards, 5lbs (!)
Needles: US13 circulars (although straights will work too)
Finished Dimensions: 80 x 53 inches

Started: October 2007
Finished: May 2008

Squishy Lovefest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)
Here is another example of how far a simple, clever design can go. The pattern originally appeared in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s 9th Wool Gathering Newsletter in the Fall of 1962. It is available now in The Opinionated Knitter (a collection of Elizabeth’s newsletters) with both the original texts (typewritten and all) and diagrams alongside Meg’s present-day suggestions and updates to each pattern.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

The original pattern calls to be knit in Sheepsdown, Schoolhouse’s super bulky, lightly spun, undyed wool. Gorgeous stuff, and I had grand plans of knitting with it before I got economical and turned to my stash to find a plethora of Eco Wool begging for attention. Holding Eco Wool double gave me a bulky gauge (not as bulky as Sheepsdown, but close) and a wonderful squishy, cozy fabric that seemed like a dream to work up a whole afghan with.

Wooly Lovefest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Now, about the simplicity and the genius: the entire blanket is composed of four interlocking pieces, all of equal width, which are formed by simple mitered corners. The beauty, to me, is that throughout the entire process you always have 24 stitches on your needle. Always. And there is nary a purl stitch to be found. Netflix Knitters Dream Project? Yes.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Because my gauge was 3 sts per inch and the pattern calls for 2sts per inch, I upped my stitch count from 24 to 36 in hopes of having a very large, very substantial piece of knitting upon finishing. Another benefit of the design is its complete ease in resizing – because the only shaping involved is a mitered corner and you only have one number to worry about (24sts), you can essentially knit this in any weight of yarn at any size depending on how many stitches are cast on. I think a baby-blanket version in a nice soft DK weight wool would be lovely.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan Edging Detail (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Whenever there’s this much garter stitch, and this much weight, stretching and distorting of fabric can become a valid concern. Another built-in advantage of the design is that the fabric’s consistent directional changes due to the mitered corners gives more structure while mainting wonderful stretchiness. The addition of the I-cord edging also frames the entire piece with added structure to keep everything in shape, and I think cleans up the design for a very nice finish. The I-cord edging is a suggestion from Meg, and one I definitely think is worth the extra time at the end – I love how it turned out.

Wooly Lovefest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

The directional patterning also makes a wonderful texture and a wonderful play with light and shade, as different parts of the whole catch light differently (see photo below). The finished dimensions on mine came out to about 80″x53″ – nice and big, and fits perfectly on the surface of a queen-sized bed. Also a favorite for snuggly folks on couches.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)


Finishing on this one is a big job and also entails some important decisions. There are many ways to seam up garter stitch, and I tried different methods to see what I liked best. I first tried an invisible garter graft, which looked nice on the RS, but not as nice on the WS, and was too weak in my opinion to hold this beast together. I decided in the end on using a single crochet chain seam to join all the pieces. The crochet seam has some major advantages here: first and most important, because the geometry is strong and completely carries the aesthetic, I wanted a visible seam that accented the construction in a clean way (and had an acceptable WS look). Aside from the aesthetic aspect, a crochet chain is strong and can really take a beating without a flinch. Because this thing weighs about 5 lbs (!) a strong, sturdy seam is essential.

As I mentioned above I trimmed the whole thing with a 3 stitch I-Cord, both for looks and structural help. After all the pieces were sewn together, I knit up one stitch for every ridge and attached the I-Cord all the way around, grafting the first and last row together invisibly.

Wooly Lovefest <3 (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Another quick tip: I recommend a sewn bind-off on all pieces. It keeps the ends of each piece stretchy and matches the cast on (I did a long-tail).

I’m totally enamored and think this is a lifer – good sturdy wool in a good sturdy pattern is sure to hold up for the long haul. I want to thank my models, Ryan and Joelle, for being total champs and swathing themselves in this thing during 96 degree heat without complaint. That’s a feat unto itself.

And although you’re folded up for summer, dear blanket, when September rolls around again you’ll know how truly loved you are. Happy knitting one and all.

Edited to Add: Oops! Looks like I forgot to take a picture of the beast in its entirety! Had to strap on the wide-angle lens and clear out the living room… but I got it. You can see the full shot here.

Well, I’m officially on Spring Break and feel like I can actually take a nice deep breath, knit profusely, and talk about it. So today I get to share with you some of the knitting fun that has been sporadically plodding along behind the scenes.

The most exciting undertaking to have begun in the last couple of weeks is the second project in the ongoing process of project provocation that Adrian and I seem to continually dish out, or as we officially call it, our 2-Person-Knit-a-long.

I think we’ve probably been waxing poetic about Alice Starmore’s Na Craga [via Ravelry] pattern for well over a year. Armed with lots of wool (this thing is a beast) it’s a wonder that we’ve finally taken the plunge and started the knitting. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have tweedy cables back in my life.

Gimme The Good Stuff

We’re both heavily modifying it from its sack-like origins. Since the fabric is thick like a jacket, and I’m pre-disposed to being warm, this is undergoing a full cardiganization. I also have hopes of making it hooded, the thought of which makes me positively giddy, but this of course all depends on how much yarn I have. Yarn which, as naturally happens, is discontinued.

Twisted Ribbing

I’m dipping into my last sweaters-worth of the lovely Skye Tweed from Classic Elite (may she rest in peace). This will be my third sweater with this yarn… wow, maybe it’s good that I’m being forced to move on?

I’ll be doing the standard seamless treatment on this one too, meaning lovely knitting done all in one piece, just the way I like it. Rather than steeking this time around, I’m knitting back and forth (all the cabling happens on even rows, so it’s nice and clean) with a buttonband worked in as I go.

Cables Everywhere

The cables in this thing are spectacular – those cheese-grater-like honeycombs not only run up the body, but also right up the center of the sleeves and flow into one of the best saddle-shoulders I think I’ve ever seen. The braided plait cables, while being the biggest hand-haters of any motif in the pattern, look so good I can’t complain (that much). And how about that twisted ribbing?! It really makes it.

Knitting a sweater like this is always an up and down saga, but so far we haven’t had any major snags, aside from sometimes being so brain dead at the end of the day that the thought of even looking at the thing sometimes seems outside of my human capacity. In these cases, it’s good to have a back up. To that end, I’m still plugging away on my ginormous garter stitch afghan which I can now safely use to keep me warm whilst I work on it – a huge bonus in my book.

Workhorse

I’m getting out of the city for the week and couldn’t be happier. For those of you who are lucky enough to get a break this week – I hope you enjoy! Tomorrow my knitting and I will be spending some quality time on a train speeding along the Hudson and away from Gotham. Have a great week!

I know I said that I would be sharing small, Christmas knits with you first… but I finished this last week and have been too excited to keep it under wraps any longer. Of all my knitting projects, this one has got to be up there in my all-time favorites (despite it being my own personal Everest for the last three months). So good in fact, it’s keeping me warm while I write – it’s cold out there!

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)
 

Pattern: The Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann (on ravelry)
Source: Knitter’s Almanac (July)
Materials: Ístex Plötulopi Unspun Icelandic Wool; just uner 6 wheels (1800 yards)*
Needles: 36-Inch US 8/5.0 mm Addi Turbo Circulars
Dimensions: 78″ diameter after blocking; 64″ diameter unblocked
*See bottom of post for additional details on yarn and blocking

Start Date: 19 October 2007
Finish Date: 9 January 2008

 

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Notes on the pattern: Of all the many genius ideas of Elizabeth’s, to me, the Pi Shawl is one of the most mind-blowing. If you aren’t familiar with the pattern I urge you to read it, for the pure enjoyment of how clever it is in all its glorious simplicity. Worked from the center out, the entire piece has no more than 6 (or 7 in my case) increase rounds total – meaning 99% of this shawl is straight knitting (save whatever lacey embellishments you’d like to incorporate) which gets major points in my book.

The other beautiful thing about the Pi Shawl is its endless potential for individuality. Spend a little time trolling the web for completed Pi Shawls (there are hundreds) and you’ll see what I mean. The beauty of the pattern is it’s blank-canvas-like nature – consecutive rings of set stitch counts (144, 288, 576, etc.) which just beg you to plug in any old lace motif that’s giving you an itch.

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

If you aren’t feeling all that creative, or have your heart set on one of the versions EZ suggests (like I did) – that’s just fine too. There are two beauties already laid out for you in both Knitter’s Almanac and Knitting Workshop. I have always loved the straight forward and classic beauty of the ‘consecutive YO ring’ version and knew that I wanted to give it a go. This is basically a stockinette circular shawl with a *YO, k2tog* round thrown in every 6th row. I love how these “sham rows” completely camouflage the actual organic increase rounds. The shaping is invisible in the entourage of lace rings. So great!

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Elizabeth talks about how there is never a need to increase beyond the 576 stitch section, as the shawl will already be nice and big (she says something about not having a need to cover a football field?). I had a lot of yarn though, and really wanted to see how far I could push this, with the ultimate goal of having a big blanket for the couch. My calculations showed that I would have enough wool for about 22 rows into the 1152 stitch section (oh the horror), plus an attached (9-stitch) garter side-to-side edging.

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

The most miraculous part of the whole process is probably that I was able to keep a treacherous number of stitches on a 36″ circular needle. It got a little rough on my hands towards the end, but when that frantic finishing fever comes over you just about nothing can stand in your way, right? Having a huge round of knitting on a circular needle also makes it impossible to predict just how big the piece will be. Before working the edging, you have nothing more than a big rumpled sack of holey wool sitting in your lap that looks more like an oversized rasta cap than a lace blanket. Some days it took all my control to keep from bucking my calculations and indulging in the bind-off, just to be able to free the lace from the needles.

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

The edging of the shawl is the only section that got a little bit of fancy lace (not that fancy, but relatively). I think a little hint of laciness around the edge makes the simpler ring pattern really shine. After my final increase round I switched into a gull stitch pattern and worked 5 vertical repeats around before starting the attached garter stitch edging aaaaall the way around.

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Some notes on yarn: Unspun Icelandic is a wonderful, wonderful thing. If you’re a fan of wooly things, you must get your hands on some (I received mine as a gift from a friend in Iceland, but you can purchase it online through Schoolhouse Press). Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a yarn you’re gonna want around your neck – it’s a far cry from merino – but it has its own unique qualities that I could go on and on about. First of all, because it’s an unspun, long-stapled wool, it’s as light as air and very warm. Even in a thin piece of lace full of holes, it works surprisingly well at trapping warmth. The blanket is huge and light and toasty -exactly the combination I was looking for. The other benefit is the yardage. Each wheel seems to go on and on and on – I made a blanket that covers a queen sized bed with less than 6 wheels of the stuff (it’s about 300 yards to 3.5 oz) on a US 8.

And if you fear knitting with something so “delicate”, you can get rid of that idea straight away. The wool staple is longer than the distance between your needle and your fingers, so while knitting it feels just like any other yarn, and if it does break coming out of the skein (rarely happened, unaided by dogs or human feet) it’s no problem. The yarn sticks to itself like velcro – so to join a break just overlap about 2 inches on each end and knit right past it. That’s the other bonus – no ends to weave in, and no spit splicing necessary. It’s like knitting an 1800 yard cone – carefree and seamless. And to dispell any rumours, the knitted fabric is just as strong as any other yarn out there on the market.

Pi Shawl Blanket (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)
I guess this counts as my first official finished knit of 2008. It’s already taken some serious self-control to keep myself from purchasing more of this wool (the natural colors are amazing) and cast on for another. It became an immediate crowd-pleaser in my home, so another one might not be such a bad idea.

Edited to Add: The following information has been added to the post in response to questions I’ve received via e-mail about this project. I hope they are helpful.

First, more specifics about the color of the wool. I received this yarn as a gift from a friend in Iceland. She purchased the yarn there in person. Schoolhouse Press does sell this yarn, but in a limited palette – which I should have mentioned earlier – and does not currently carry the color that I used.

The color of my wool is titled Sea Green Heather and listed as product #1422 on the Istex official color card – viewable here. You’ll notice they have a lot of wonderful colors! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In researching, we think that the best bet for possibly acquiring this yarn by mail order would be the Handknitting Association of Iceland, but can’t say for sure. All of their contact information is available behind the link. NOTE: it seems that the colorcard listed on their site is an older version and sites Sea Green Heather as #9736.

Blocking: Yes, blocking was quite a challenge in our hardwood-floored, tiny apartment. I was hoping to be able to block the shawl on the queen-sized bed but realized very soon that this would not be possible. After some creative brainstorming, we tried a rather unconventional but nonetheless effective way of blocking – involving the box spring. The picture says it all.

And finally – a few of you asked if I worked with the unspun Icelandic wool single stranded or held it double stranded. I worked single stranded.

Well I’ve been somewhat of a knitting schizophrenic lately, working on all sorts of little projects intermittently between my larger chunks of movie knitting, which have been religiously devoted to The Pi Shawl. It’s good though because now I’ll have at least a few small things to dole out from underneath my gigantic icelandic lace blanket come Christmas.

Ginormous

Concerning the Pi Shawl, there’s not a whole lot to say other than that I’m still enamoured and that it has already reached gigantic proportions – certainly much too large for photographs (there’s a lot of fabric not shown in the photo above). The most amazing news is that I’m only halfway through the yarn. Although the project couldn’t be more perfect for my lifestyle right now, it isn’t a superstar for blog material. Good thing for you I have a few other instant-gratification-types to share.

Compelled to Knit

Above we have the beginnings of an aviator hat with this handspun merino; Below a garter stitch scarf in one of my favorite handspuns yet. I swatched about 80 different stitch patterns in search for something perfect for this scarf and ended up *surprise surprise* with garter stitch. Such is my curse. I should just resign myself to the power of garter already and be done with this incessant wandering.

Espresso Knitting

And finally, Koolhaas III has made its way onto my needles. I’ve seen so many of you knitting the pattern in Malabrigo and I just had to try it myself. It’s a thick squishy poof of cables and I’m loving it.

The Third

I’m not usually one for knitting a pattern twice (and especially not thrice) but the request for this came with such sincere sweetness that I couldn’t resist. I’m also happy for opportunities to nip away at the cavernous yarn storage under the bed. Take it where you can get it.

I’m rather excited that it’s December in spite of the fact that the last month seems a blur. Good thing we have knitting to remind ourselves that good things do happen each month. I hope you are all doing well. Next time: knitted Christmas ornaments and more handspun creations. Stay warm!

Well, midterms are over. And the BrooklynTweed tumbleweeds are blowing again. How is it November already? We gained an hour yesterday and the first early sunset really makes it feel like winter doesn’t it? My sincerest apologies for neglecting blog updates. With my current schedule I can still cobble together time to knit (it’s a must for my sanity) but time to write about knitting… that’s where I’m suffering. But I’m trying. Today I promised myself I’d give you all a status report – it may not be the most exciting thing on earth, but a report nonetheless. And I’m thoroughly enjoying myself with new projects so I guess I should share!

Sweater knitting has come to a temporary halt in favor of more appropriate projects for overworked, tired student types. Not only has sweater knitting (or any other remotely complicated knitting for that matter) stopped, I’ve temporarily removed purling from my knitting altogether. It’s just straight knitting knitting knitting on two new, big, mindless projects.

I received 6 beautiful skeins of unspun Icelandic wool from Sigga when she visited a few weeks ago. I’ve never knit with this stuff before and have always wanted to. It’s beautiful and the wooliest stuff I’ve knit with in a long time… not the type of thing you’re dying to rub passionately against your neck, but amazingly warm and even more amazingly light.

Unspun Icelandic

The new acquisition inspired me to start a project I’ve wanted to undertake for a while: EZ’s (genius) Pi Shawl. Pure mindless bliss. Stockinette in the round with very little shaping (only 6 increase rows in the whole number). I like the look of the simple Pi Shawls that utilize concentric rings of yarn overs. Liz shows some really gorgeous ones in the lace episode of Knitting Workshop, which I’ve been known to watch (obsessively) from time to time.

Pi

Never satisfied with only one EZ project, I also have something in the works to satisfy my garter needs, and to downsize my stash (although as it turns out, I’ll need to acquire more yarn to finish this project).

Beefy

I’m knitting a big, beefy winter blanket on US 13′s, following Elizabeth’s pattern in The Opinionated Knitter. Her pattern calls for Sheepsdown, knitting at 2 sts per inch, and while I have dreams of an entire blanket made out of that stuff, I’m using what I have and knitting up a bevy of Cascade EcoWool. My gauge is 3 sts per inch, so I’ve modified the pattern a bit to compensate for that. The most important information, I guess, is that I’ll never have more than 36 stitches on the needle at one time. You can’t get much more mindless than that. This thing is gonna be warm, squishy … and HUGE.

I’ve been spinning to, but I’ll save that for another post (I gotta stretch out my material!)

I hope you are all well and enjoying the chill we deserve after that long, dreadful summer. My apologies if you’ve e-mailed lately and haven’t gotten a response – I’m doing my best but don’t think I’ve ever been this behind in my inbox.

Happy knitting!

Walking around Brooklyn the last few days, I’ve noticed the slightest change in the air. Autumn is beckoning and this knitter can’t think of any better reward for making it through another hot summer. My inaugural Fall project is draped over my lap as I type and I find myself ready for cooler winds, wooly knits and fresh transitions.

Hemolock Ring Blanket
 

Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket*
Source: My modification of the Hemlock Ring (link no longer works, see note below) vintage doily (1942), with added chart repeats and heavy weight yarn. [See full post below for details]
EDIT: THE ORIGINAL VINTAGE DOILY PATTERN IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE AT THE SUGGESTED LINK ABOVE. TO FIND A PDF OF BOTH THE WRITTEN PATTERN AND MY CHART, FIND ONE HERE, AT THE RAINEY SISTERS BLOG.
Materials: Cascade Ecological Wool in “Latte” (8063)
Needles: US 10/6.0mm 40″ Circulars; KnitPicks Options
Amount: Approximately 311g/11oz; About 600 yards (less than 2 skeins)
Finished Measurements: Just shy of 4 feet in diameter
*Ravelry users, queue it up here.

Start Date: 27 July 2007
Finish Date: 9 August 2007

 

Hemolock Ring Blanket

This project was born from my love of working heavyweight lace and my desire to spruce up my new place. And probably also from a sale on Cascade EcoWool which, in my eyes is the lord of Yardageland and the true definition of a wooly workhorse.

Hemolock Ring Blanket

I searched high and low for a lace pattern that would both size out right and have a repeatable chart that I could work ad nauseum until I felt like binding off. I love how Feather-and-Fan Stitch looks and had that in the back of my mind too while searching around. I found a lot of great circular shawl patterns but most were already huge when worked in lace. Knitting one of those in a heavy worsted yarn would result in a room-sized blanket which, as intriguing as that sounds, wasn’t what I was going for.

Hemolock Ring Blanket

I was pretty set on Meg Swansen’s “Feather and Fan Shawl” from A Gathering of Lace. This shawl, however, epitomizes the idea of giant lace, so for my own sanity I ruled out modifying it. Doilies, though, are a great place to look for hidden gems and perfect for working up a bit bulkier than directed. So when I came across this vintage doily pattern from The Canadian Spool Cotton Company (1942) I felt like I hit the jackpot: a repeatable 5-row lace chart, a whole lot of feather-and-fanning, a perfect size for tweaking and some great vintage accents to play around with (oversized wool floral motif anyone?) – perfection.

Hemolock Ring Blanket

I was shooting for a lap blanket, something not too large that I can use to warm up while knitting or watching movies (or both, they’re usually happening concurrently anyway.) A lap throw is also a great size for doubling as a table cloth, shawl, or general decorator-in-a-pinch (see photo below to dress up a bowl of yarn). When you live in a small space, multi-purpose knits are a wonderful thing. After blocking, the diameter of my blanket measured just an inch or two shy of 4 feet. The pattern as-is guides you through 87 rows of lace knitting, which I expanded in order to transform the doily into a blanket. The great thing about feather-and-fan is that you can just keep doing it in order to make a larger piece. Also, it’s purdy.

Hemlock Ring Bowl

As far as ‘expanding’ the pattern that’s given you, I’ve already done the grunt work of charting out the expandable feather-and-fan section here for your convenience (When it comes to lace, I have a serious aversion to line-by-line pattern writing). A special note about the chart: I did not chart out the entire pattern, only the feather and fan section. Row 1 of my chart corresponds directly to Row 47 of the original doily pattern. (You’ll still have to do a little line-by-line knitting). Also, the beginning of the round in the pattern starts in the CENTER of my chart. This will be more clear while knitting – just follow along with both pattern and chart until you orient yourself to the new setup.

Pattern Detail

I worked through row 55 of my chart (highlighted in Orange) before working the edging bind-off. I have included additional feather-and-fan repeats beyond where I concluded mine for those of you who would like to work a larger blanket. You can easily continue adding repeats beyond the final row of my chart – it’s all up to you. (You’ll need more yarn, though)

Lace Edging

The lace edging in the pattern is awesome. The most beautiful thing about it, though, is that you can work it whenever you want. Just finish your last pattern repeat and work the edging. It blocks beautifully.

Hemolock Ring Blanket

And warm under the newest creation here at BT headquarters, I welcome Fall with open arms. Happy knitting one and all.