Phew – it’s busy busy busy around here! I feel terrible for such spotty posts recently, like all I’ve been doing is dropping in to tell you where new patterns are at! My apologies, and I’ll do my best to navigate this crazy year and keep you all abreast of the knitting that’s going on (it definitely is!)

I did a little project for the Classic Elite Web-Letter last week. It’s a one-skeiner and was conceived as a solution for maximizing that little bit of luxury fiber you may have hiding somewhere but have been too afraid to touch. I had a skein of Classic Elite’s Stormy (cashmere tweed… ’nuff said) and whipped this up – I think it’s going to get a lot of neckplay this year!

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The pattern is available HERE [Ravel it] and is written for two different sizes/styles – both shown here. Each piece is knit at a slightly different gauge – the Rust version is knit on US 8′s at 14 sts to 4 inches in Brioche Stitch for a firmer fabric that acts more as a faux stand-up collar and looks great under a jacket or sports coat (You may just fake someone into thinking you’re wearing an entire cashmere sweater…) The purple version is knit on needles two sizes larger for a fabric with a bit more drape with added length for a more slouchy, voluminous style. Wearer’s choice!

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Have you ever worked Brioche Stitch before? It’s a really wonderful stand-by and I love to go back to it every now and again. It’s squishy and feels thick while actually being a very lightweight, lofty fabric. Great for cashmere! In fact, how many stitch patterns are cool enough to warrant their own personal web site? [If you run into confusion or want to read more about what this stitch is all about - be sure to read more behind the link.]

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A word of warning about Brioche – the stitch pattern takes a little knitting to become visible. Blindly knit forward for that first inch or so, though, and you’ll see the tell-tale ribbing start to appear.

Here’s an idea I love – for the really cold-weather days that will be here before we know it, I like wearing these under wool scarves. You get the best of both worlds – rugged, woolie neckwear with a cashmere secret for next-to-skin delight. Also, cashmere has that whole 8-times-warmer-than-wool thing going for it, too.

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The pattern employs some Cast-On and Bind-Off tricks that I like which help compensate for Brioche Stitch’s wiiiide gauge – a double stranded Long Tail Cast-On (exactly what it sounds like – Long Tailing with two strands of yarn) makes for added flexibility and a nice edge… and the Sewn Bind-Off (I recommend EZ’s) is essential for anything being pulled over our heads (also known as the Sweater Collar Savior).

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Aren’t you loving that we can finally indulge in some beautiful Fall weather? It’s really my favorite time of year – you can’t beat that beautiful light, and several of my handknits have already gotten some serious street time. Not to mention prime sweater-watching in the city – very inspiring!

** I’ll be teaching this weekend outside of Pittsburgh in Sewickley, PA – if you’re taking a class, I’ll see you there! **