November KAL- Planning for Upsized Lace

I’m participating the November KALs for Tanis Fiber Arts, which is one holiday knitting KAL and one accessory knitting KAL. I’m knitting two things (one is a Christmas gift, shhh!) but the other is an experiment!

It has been raining and really overcast for 5 solid days. Good photos? What are those?
That skein on the far left is the Cobalt Colourway (Red Label) and the three skeins are the Deep Sea colourway (Green Label)

The Green Label is for Nashira, which I’m planning on upsizing. The pattern is originally for fingering weight yarn and a size 3 (3.25 mm) needle, but I’m going to knit it with aran weight yarn and a 5 mm (US 8) needle  for a big, wintery version. I can see how it will look in my head, and I hope that the awesomeness translates into reality on the needles! 

Happy Halloween!

 ZOMG! Run, Lila, RUN!!

Little Lila is a baby tiger for halloween! Her costume fits her perfectly, and I’ve had fun dressing her up in it. I may have had her in it a few times already (and also took her to a playdate this afternoon in it as well). I had fun adding a spooky touch to the photos using PicMonkey. If you haven’t heard of PicMonkey before and you blog, I highly recommend. It’s makes very fun collages and effects.

Modification Monday How To: Plan for a Matching Set

 This is the first post in a sub-series that I’ve been thinking about
writing, which is to give ideas on how to modify knits by subject, and
referencing past Mod Monday knits for guideance. I’m a little nervous, since there are definitely lots of different ideas and it’s impossible to cover everything in a cohesive blog post, but I’m going to give it a try (gulp!). This is a huge subject of course, so I’ll be breaking them into
bite-sized chunks and sprinkling them in between regular Mod Mondays.
Sort of like sneaking vegetables into cupcakes.

Modifying a knit starts with the big picture view and then works down to the details- you’re envisioning what you want to change about an existing pattern to make it suit your needs. I think a good gateway into  modifying knits on a small scale is using a stitch or pattern from mitts and making a matching hat (or cowl, or scarf, or making matching mitts from a hat pattern, etc. Oh, the possibilities!).

Ideas and Examples:
 Super simple, but high impact stripes are an easy way to create a matching set for accessories (dont forget textured stripes, using moss or garter stitch!). Here is the Mod Monday from Sept. 26, 2011 as an example, using the Ships & Seaside Cowl as inspiration:

  Mimicking the same striping pattern as the cowl is an easy way to modify these Toast mitts. Keeping the gauge the same for both knits (both original patterns call for aran weight and similar needle size) makes it easy to add stripes.

Patterns that have elasticity (variations on ribbing, tight cables, etc.) Are a great way of incorporating a textured stitch motif. Use at the cuff for mitts, or at the brim of a hat. Here is the Mod Monday from Jan 31, 2011:

The brim of the hat is from Stockholm Scarf. It features a 7-stitch repeat that has a lot of stretch. How do you figure out how many stitches your repeat needs to be to get around the brim of a hat? You can use the size information from an existing hat pattern (say, 20″ head circumference for example) and knit a gauge swatch of the stitch pattern you plan on using. Then measure your swatch, counting how many stitches are in one inch. Here comes the math! stitches per inch x circumference= total cast on stitches. In our example, let’s say we have 5 stitches per inch. 5 x 19= 95 stitches to cast on. BUT- our stitch repeat is 7 stitches. So: 95 divided by 7= 13.57. Not good. We need to round to the nearest whole number. Here is where you need to decide if you think your knit would be better a few stitches smaller or a few stitches bigger. 7 stitches x 13 repeats is a cast on stitch count of 91, and 7 stitches x 14 repeats is a cast on stitch count of 98. Important: if you are using a swatch to calculate gauge, I really recommend blocking your swatch like you would the final knit. Otherwise you’re in for a not great surprise.

And who says it even has to be an elastic sort of edging? If the original pattern is simple in its details, those same details can be carried off well into other knits, like this cowl from Mod Monday Nov. 14, 2011:

Same details about calculating the stitch repeat apply to cowls!

 Colourwork from mitts can be repeated for a hat (or shorter cowl). Examples from Mod Monday July 6, 2009:

and Mod Monday Jan 18, 2010:

One uses a tam hat of the same gauge for the colourwork template, and the other is a slouchier style. You are not hemmed in by hat styles at all, pick whatever suits you best. Don’t forget to make sure to count the stitches you’ll need for the full colourwork motif repeats!

You can use a great stitch pattern for all-over texture and high impact, like this Mod Monday from Mar 26, 2012:

Keeping in mind that it’s worth it to check your gauge if you are using all over stitch pattern, and especially with all-over cables.

Finding the Right Pattern Mash Up
Sometimes you won’t want to reinvent the wheel. You want to have a hat/cowl/mitt pattern to work from, as well as add the stitch or colourwork in. If this is you, I reccomend doing a pattern search for something that is simple in design but is the same yarn weight as the original knit. This will eliminate recalculating gauge (we’ll save that for later posts!).

I know, I know- how many of us really bother with a gauge swatch for an accessory (or maybe that’s just me, totally not swatching when knitting mitts!), but check your gauge if you are counting on using a  repeated motif, either for colourwork or for a textured stitch. Otherwise you might end up with a too-skinny cowl, or a too-big hat. Trust me, it happens.

Keeping Track
If you are making changes as you go along, keep track. You might want to do it agian, or make a second modified mitt. Write down what you’ve done, it’ll make things loads easier when everyone is messaging you asking how to make the same mods so they can imitate your fabulous style. 

Some (probably unwanted, feel free to disregard) Fashion Advice
There is such a thing as too much matching. A hat, cowl/scarf, AND mitts all featuring the same motif is overkill. Pick two and have a different third. It creates visual interest and automatically makes you look more put together, oddly. Beware the opposite- sometimes totally differing colours/patterns for each hat/scarf/mitts is too chaotic and takes away from the loveliness of the individual knits.

Giveaway Winner and New Goodies

The Giveaway winnner is….. Lindsey! Congrats!!

When I was in Montreal last week, I was in the area of Espace Tricot and couldn’t resist a visit. I loved the store, and I obviously wasn’t alone- it was filled not only with awesome yarn and stunning sample knits, but also lots of knitters! I snapped up the following goodies:

lousy photo, but it was dark & rainy for a couple of days.
incandescent lamps are the death of a good photo.
I had been wanting to pick up the Jane Austen Knits for months now, and was a little disappointed when I got it home and realized it was the fall edition, not the summer one (sidebar: I had no idea there was so much interested in ‘What would Jane knit?’ that it could spark multiple issues a year of Austen-inspired knits). I had wanted the summer one specifically for this bonnet pattern, which I adore. Oh well, this issue also has another bonnet pattern (which is annoyingly not in Ravelry yet, and the Interweave website photo shows absolutely no detail whatsoever), so all is not lost. It’s still lovely.  Okay, enough complaining- I’m super stoked about the Hiya Hiya needles, and the Mudra Cuff kit. I saw these kits at the cash register, and couldn’t resist! I have never tried beading with my knitting before, and this project seems like the perfect gateway. I’m excited to try it!

Holla Knits! Accessories Collection: Review and Pattern Giveaway

The recent publication of Holla Knits! Accessories Collection 2012 features 6 striking, fashion- forward knits that I’m almost positive will have people asking, ‘where did you get that?’.  I don’t think I could pick a favourite, they are all awesome. There is the Knight Service shrug, which features almost medieval beading on the shoulders that would look perfect topping any sleeveless top during the holiday party season and beyond:

Scallop of the Sea not only features great colourwork, the shape of the bag is very current. And for those that would prefer a tote, you could easily add a strap:

Black Swan would be great on top of a tank at a yoga or dance class:

Snowball Bonnet is a fabulously retro bonnet very reminiscent of the 50s, with great texture and a lot of flair:

The Wallpaper Cowl is a bright pop of colour, or you could stay classic and work it muted neutrals:

Multiplicity is an easy-to-wear everyday purse, with fun colourwork, and it even has a side pocket!

For those of you beginning to think about your holiday
gift knitting, maybe you know the perfect fashionista that would love
one of these items. Each pattern is $4, or you can get all 6 for $12. OR you could win your choice of a pattern above by leaving a comment! Let me know which is your fave, as well as your contact info (email or Ravelry ID) by midnight on Thursday evening. Winner will be announced on Friday!