Lunar Eclipse – free pattern download!

Over the past few months, I’ve been working off and on on this pattern, Lunar Eclipse, which has been a really fun exercise in what to do with one skein of luxurious yarn.

From the Mountain asked me to design something with a skein of their worsted weight cashmere, which is hand-spun in a fair-trade agreement with Afghan women.  The stuff is beautiful.  It is a soft, two-ply fiber in a variety of natural colors, including ecru, grey, and several shades of brown.

The final result was this initial offering:


 

And then Abby asked me to add two additional edgings:

You could add your own edgings to this template – we’ve offered it in three charted patterns, two originally from Barbara Walker and one from Book 4 of The Stitch Collection by Lark Books.

This is a free Ravelry download, so feel free to share, and please post your final project photos!

I designed a baby sweater

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! Second of all, here is a little something I designed.

This pattern grew out of a sweater that I knit out of my imagination one day back in January 2007. Finally it is here in professional form!

One Planet Yarn and Fiber released it just after Thanksgiving, as they told me they would, and I didn’t think to check whether it was up! They even posted a blog entry about it. You can see the blue version modeled by a little tyke on the blog.

A few days after the release, I left for Kinshasa again, with little to no internet, and then we were in the thick of the holidays, thus the delay in posting.

The pattern is written in 5 sizes and uses #8US straight needles. The recommended yarn is 2 skeins of Lanas Puras Melosa worsted weight. The colors used in the samples are cornflower (blue) and orchid (purple).

Peanut sweater

I took about ten photos between Saturday and yesterday of the nearly-finished garment, and all of them were badly lit or came out blurry. I think I need a tripod.

But here is a little bit of what I was working on over the long weekend, chez Mary and in between 30 hours and 1800 miles of driving:

The yarn I bought at SAFF and as soon as I find the tag, I will tell you more about it. The important qualities for me were

1) green (ok, it was supposed to be unisex baby color, but turns out it is more blue, so it’s going to the baby that we already know is a boy – I have no problem with switching it up, but I’m not sure that this is the case for all the parents involved);

2) superwash (duh, it’s for a baby! as much as my friends might appreciate handknit woolens, and as much as Elizabeth Zimmerman believed that everyone should have no problem handwashing them, I think it’s best to plan for sweaters that will end up with baby barf on them to be made for machine washing);

3) worsted weight (I seem to be finishing nothing these days, and not finishing baby items can have dire consequences – see Example A of Baby Who Looks Like A Sausage in the sweater that I sent 3 months late. My excuse: I was overseas. I am not this year.)

Example A:

Mary made a comment to me while I was trying to figure out the sizing on this sweater, “I can guarantee you that he’ll wear it at least once!” Wellllll. You see. As much as I love knitting, I would love even more to avoid the situation in Example A. I want him to wear it at least enough times to get thrown in the washing machine! And Peanut will be born in April, in Georgia, which means that there won’t be much cold weather for the first six months. So even though he is only this big

I think the sweater is probably big enough to fit a two-year old. Right.

The good news and the bad

Good news – we harvested a fig tree outside our apartment! And, blueberries are in season – I’ve picked some up the past two weeks at the farmers market, and they are perfect for snacking. I am sure they weren’t as inexpensive as those that Amber harvested, since mine were pre-picked, but I found out that a farm here will give you half the blueberries you harvest, no money exchanged.

figs blueberries

Bad news – I put on the first finished knee sock, and I think I’ll be un-finishing it.

It was a brilliant idea to add elastic inside the band around the top, but frankly I may have made the knee socks tight enough that they don’t need elastic.

kneesock

Also, I was anxious to finish and I didn’t wait long enough to do yarnovers on my picot edge. On the left, the inside of my edging looks nice, but when I tried them on, er, not so nice.

picot edge elastic

My current plan is to redo the bind-off, based on what happens with Second Sock, which I am going to try without elastic. If it stays up, then I’ll save the elastic for a different project.

Bellflower Bluestocking

These photos are actually from last weekend, documenting some of my progress on the first bluestocking, which is really a knee sock.

From top left, clockwise: a) heel turned, side view; b) side view with foot inside; c) close up of bellflower design; d) not-so-great attempt to show where I increased for the calf.

a) b)

c) d)

The first knee sock is complete, but may require editing. I made a picot edging intended to enclose an elastic, to make sure the knee sock doesn’t slouch down to my ankles, since the lace would be a muddled mess and in that case I might as well just have knit a rib.

The picot edging worked out just as I had planned, but slightly too narrow for the 3/4″ elastic.

On the next sock, I may do without the elastic, even though I waited two whole days to finish the first until I could find some at Mulberry Silks.

This is not the first time I have used this style of picot edging, which I really like (not to mention it is super easy to work) but I would like to credit Lene at DancesWithWool for giving me the idea to use it to encase elastic for my stocking.

Here’s a question for designers and knitters

The question actually has several parts.

1a. If you were knitting a specific pattern stitch, would you rather knit it from a chart or from written-out instructions?

1b. If you were designing a pattern stitch, would you write it out or chart it or both?

1c. If you were publishing a pattern stitch and you were writing and charting it, would you chart it so that right side and wrong side rows alternated?

[Here is an example: stockinette. Row 1 = knit. Row 2 = purl, if you’re knitting flat and had to turn it around to the wrong side. Row 3 = knit, Row 4 = purl, etc. Thus the chart would look like this if k = knit and p = purl and we are knitting from bottom right corner:]

pppppppppp
kkkkkkkkkkk
pppppppppp
kkkkkkkkkkk

Here is what happened. I was knitting my Trekking sock from the work basket, and I was super excited to get past that twisted stitch rib that was so time consuming, and I wanted to incorporate this pattern – sorry, repeat photos:

sock lace

You can see that the triangles are either reverse stockinette or ribbed, which ought to be represented, triangles aside, as:

RIB
* = k on RS, p on WS
o = p on RS, k on WS

*O*O*O*
*O*O*O*
*O*O*O*
*O*O*O*

REVERSE STST
o = p on RS, k on WS

oooooo
oooooo
oooooo
oooooo

Right? Are you still with me?

But they were represented differently from what I am accustomed to:

RIB
kpkpkpk
pkpkpkp
kpkpkpk
pkpkpkp

REVERSE STST

kkkkkkk
ppppppp
kkkkkkk
ppppppp

And unfortunately I was so frustrated when I realized my mistake that I immediately unraveled!!!! so you can’t see that I ended up with garter stitch and seed stitch triangles?!?! rather than rib and reverse stst.

I am sure that in the introduction to the book indicated that all charts were intended to represent flat pieces, but tell me if I’m crazy when I expect the chart to represent the front side of the design, the piece that was photographed??

Bellflowers came from the same book, I’ll have to see if I can decipher the chart.

Progress

I’ve made some progress on the items in the work basket lately (see previous entry). One brown sock is finished, and I’ve turned the heel on the second.

Andrea asked about the Wyvern sock(s), a valid question as we had planned a knitalong. Oops. Well, here is as far as I got – one toe of a toe-up sock. The problem is obvious in the second photo, the problem being that not following the tutorial, never a good idea, may lead to unexpected eyelets. I considered continuing, and then thought – nope, this mistake does not qualify as a happy accident. It’s getting unraveled!

wyvern toe

And my plans for a new pair of socks, knee socks I think, are coming along, although I’ve got about 3 pairs to complete before I can embark on that. Around Christmas, I asked my grandmother if I should knit her socks. Of course, she said yes, even though I doubt she has plans to wear them. I liked the idea of designing some for her anyway, even if I’m the one to model them later on. I chose Gems Opal yarn in French Blue, into which I am going to incorporate this Bellflowers design.

blue bellflower

Some progress also on the baby pullover. I decided to go the extra mile and use a separate small needle to knit what will be the bottom edge, designed to roll.

garter

And, oh yes, forgot all about that backordered yarn that magically appeared on my doorstep the other day. I swatched this teal Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed for Interweave’s Blissful Jacket. The teal is not as bright as I anticipated, but it will still work out nicely for this piece. I haven’t chosen a contrast color yet.

aran tweed blissful jacket

Work Basket

Hey, I’ve updated the gallery (see the sidebar) so you can see my finished objects. I think for organizational purposes, I have to create a workbasket link too. It’s getting a bit out of hand, I really have to finish something before I start More New Projects!

Well, I have started More New Projects, so in addition to Bjerk, the bobble cardi, Grandma’s cardigan, and the top-down leaf cardi, there are the following things in the tote box purse backpack sockbag another bag ‘work basket’:

Almost one embossed leaf sock [pattern from Interweave Knits Winter 05]. This photo from the bush outside, which had newly sprouted, er, sprouts, and made my yarn smell all piney! And then some progress (I’ve turned the heel now.)

brown socks sock

There is also a garter stitch pullover from Weekend Knitting for Amber’s friend’s twin (Amber gets to knit the other twin’s, in apricot) that will be made from Knit Pick’s ShineSport, which I LOVE and says it’s machine washable:

pullover knitpicks

My TrekAlong project, which I am making up as I go along and adding some patterning:

trekking sock diamond pattern

And…some more homespun!

alpaca

Any encouragement or related thoughts more than welcome.

How many projects in your basket?

Top-down leaf cardigan

I’ve been plugging along on this cardigan, which I’ve had in my head for several months. So far, it looks as though a size 40 or so will take 6 skeins of Misti International’s Pima Silk.

The cardigan begins at the collar with raglan increases for the sleeves, with sleeve stitches set aside to finish the body.

leaf cardi

I’ve gotten that far, and am now working on the left sleeve, which has the leaf design continuing down the top.

top of sleeve

I think the leaves and the natural curves down the front of the sweater will be much crisper after blocking. Here is a detail of the leaf pattern at the waist.

detail

After learning the Magic Loop method for socks, I started using it on other parts knitted in the round, such as these sleeves. This needle was a bit too short, so I thought I’d substitute in a longer one, only to find that they’re both the same exact length!

needles

Upcoming design deadlines

For those of you who may be interested, there are two June deadlines for submitting designs.

The first is June 14 for Interweave Knits for their Spring 2007 issue. Contributor guidelines can be found here.

Here is a little piece of what I am thinking of sending in [some of you have seen this before]:

leaf motif

The second is for June 19 for the next Debbie Stoller book, presumably in the style of Stitch ‘n Bitch, Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation, and The Happy Hooker.

Her recent announcement, sent out to SnB groups everywhere, says:

Dearest stitchers ‘n bitchers:

I’m gearing up to get cracking on my next Stitch ‘n Bitch book. It’s going to be an advanced knitting manual, and I’m looking for patterns that incorporate a bit of fancy-pants knitting such as cables, lace, color work (either intarsia or fair isle or, hell, both!), beading, etc. The book will be covering these techniques in great detail, as well as much more.

Patterns can range from clothing to accessories to household items to baby things and pet items. Even first-time designers are invited to contribute. I’m looking for lively, fun projects, and I’m especially interested in sweaters and socks.

So put on your thinking caps, cause submissions are due June 19, 2006!

To submit, please send the following:
1) If you have a completed project, please send a few good-quality photos of the item, along with a detailed description of it.

OR

2) If you can’t get a large project done in time to meet the deadline, don’t worry. Just send me a very clear, detailed sketch of your project idea (include basic measurements, fit information, etc), along with a photo of a rather large swatch (at least 10″ x 10″) made in the yarns and stitch patterns you plan to use.

Photos of projects and swatches can be emailed to me at stitchnbitch@bust.com, or mailed to me here: Debbie Stoller, BUST Magazine, 78 Fifth Ave, 5th floor, New York, NY 10011.

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to include your full name, email addresses, daytime and evening phone numbers, and mailing address, along with our submissions. Include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) if you’d like me to mail your submission back to you after I’ve made my selections.

It will take me at least 2-3 weeks to make my selections. If your roject is accepted, you will be provided with the yarn you need to produce a sample, which will be photographed for the book and kept by me (to take on tour, ‘natch!). You will also be paid for your submission, your pattern will be credited to you in the book and will run alongside a brief bio, and of course, you will receive a free copy of the book once it is completed.

Debbie Stoller
http://www.knithappens.com

Yeah, I don’t have anything to share for this one. And maybe I shouldn’t be putting my ideas out there anyway?