Archive for November, 2009

The Fifteen Minute Scarf

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

100_0790Aptly named Cocoon, for its plush chenille pods spaced evenly between short spurts of tightly twisted yarn, this is a fascinating revolution in yarn making.  Cocoon takes centre stage, creating a buzz in the knitting world as the ‘gotta have it’ yarn of the moment.  A super bulky yarn spun from polyester fibre, Cocoon has the soft, cuddly characteristics that attract knitters like bears to honey.  Available in 100g balls, in a selection of twenty four shades to choose from, in solid and multi colours.  This sample of Autumn #15117, is a warm combination of mossy green, plum, burnt orange and coral.  Diamond Yarn features a new E-book of free patterns to download including a vest, wrap, scarf, beret, and an afghan to whip up in no time at all.

To knit or crochet with this yarn is much easier than it looks, only the sections between the pods are worked on, just like any regular yarn.  I chose the Loopy Crochet Scarf, being a little bit skeptical about the project time (fifteen minutes) and just how easily a 6.00 mm crochet hook could maneuver through the thick and thin fibre.   Surprisingly, it was a delight to work with, soft and flexible, sliding easily on the hook, the pods just naturally work into place without being manipulated by hand.  If you have worked with this yarn and have any thoughts to share, or have questions about it, please feel free to leave us a comment below.

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Five minutes into the project and the scarf has already grown to three feet in length.

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Viola!  Fifteen minutes later, no ends to sew in, one ball of Cocoon Multi, and the outcome is a fun, colourful scarf, ready to wear for evening.

Creative Closures

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

With current pattern books showing knitted wraps, vests and cardigans in every fashionable style, there is an endless supply of creative options to choose as closures.  Try something new, and break away from the traditional zippers and factory made plastic buttons of yesterday.

A large wooden or hand painted ceramic button makes a bold fashion statement and can easily be added as an afterthought on a jacket or vest.  To make a simple crocheted button loop, start with the matching yarn, and a medium size hook, slip stitch to the front edge, chain a few stitches according to the size of the button and finish with a slip stitch to the same edge a few rows higher.   Sew a button to the opposite side to correspond, or try more than one, mix up the shapes.  Many of the handcrafted wooden buttons are available in interesting shapes and compliment each other very well.  When washing a knitted garment with specialty buttons, remember to cover each one with tin foil so they are protected from the harsh effects of water and detergent.  

Ribbon is another creative way to dress up a cardigan, threaded through an empire waistline or attached at the neckline to tie loosely in a bow.  Satin ribbons work best with soft mohair and alpaca yarns.  Vintage ribbons in pure silk or softly faded velvet add an elegant finish to a classic cardigan or evening capelet.  Colourful printed ribbons add a playful touch to children’s knitwear.

Shawl pins have been very popular for the past few seasons.  These are extremely versatile, adding a stunning piece of jewelry to any handknit garment.  From the Diamond Yarn accessory collection, these pins are handcrafted from the shell of a coconut.  With unique colour variation in the grain, no two are alike.  The gentle curve of the coconut shell highlights the natural lustre and makes a perfect shoulder closure  for a winter shawl.   

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Sweater sticks are another stylish option, with a multitude of uses, from neck scarves to wrap cardigans, or the occasional hair accessory, as one knitter pointed out.  These are made of a gorgeous ebony wood with a tiny shell inlay at the top, also available from Diamond Yarn100_0701

 Two different closures can change the look of this neck warmer, easy to knit in an earth friendly fibre-100_0787

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Neck Warmer

Finished Size:  7″ x 29″

Needles:  6.00 mm

Yarn:  2 balls Rainshadow

Cast on 30 sts. 

Row 1- *P2, K2*, rep *to*, end, P2

Row 2- *K1, YO, K1, P2*, rep *to*, end, K1, YO, K1

Row 3- *P3, K2*, rep *to*, end, P3

Row 4- *SL1, K2, PSSO both sts, P2*, rep *to*, end, SL1, K2, PSSO both sts

Rep Rows 1-4 until work measures 29″ or desired length. 

Cast off on next following Row 1. 

Sew in ends. 

Finish with a shawl pin or sweater stick as a closure.

Socks And Ladders

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Sock knitters quite often complain about Ladders, those annoying little spaces that occur between double pointed needles while knitting in the round.  This happens all too often with a tight tension, when the yarn is held taut from one needle change to the next and has no chance to relax into its natural shape. 

Here are three simple solutions to try-

Let the first stitch on each needle loosen up, and tighten only the second stitch. 

Change the arrangement of stitches on the needles, every two or three rounds, so there is no consistent line between needles. 

Take a break from stocking stitch and try a ribbed or textured sock pattern.  This blurs the ladder line considerably.

After a few washings those sock ladders will be next to invisible.  

If you have any helpful knitting tips to share with our readers, we would love to hear from you.   Please feel free to leave a comment.

100_0774For sock knitters who enjoy the transitioning colourways of Noro and crave a bit of rustic charm, this diagonal rib pattern gives a subtle textured effect.  Why not knit a pair to tuck in a special friend’s stocking this Christmas, or keep a pair for yourself in a secret cupboard to wear on weekends.   Wherever they end up, they will be in demand.

Noro Silk Garden Socks

Size:  Women’s Medium

Needles:  2.75 mm double pointed

Yarn:  100g ball Silk Garden Sock col # 268

Cast on 60 sts.  Divide sts evenly onto 3 needles.  Join in round.  Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 1″.  Cont in Pattern as follows-

Rnd 1-4:  K1, *P2, K2*, rep *to*, end with, P2, K1

Rnd 5-8:  *P2, K2*, rep *to*

Rnd 9-12:  P1, *K2, P2*, rep *to*, end with, K2, P1

Rnd 13-16:  *K2, P2*, rep *to*.  Rep these 16 rnds until work meas 7″.

Make Heel:  K across first 15 sts, turn, P across 30 sts, cont on these 30 sts only for Heel.

Row 1- *SL1, K1*, rep *to*

Row 2- SL1, P across row.  Rep these 2 rows until heel meas 2.5″ ending with WS facing.

Shape Heel:  P15, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 2- K3, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

Row 3- P4, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 4- K5, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

Row 5- P6, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 6- K7, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

Row 7- P8, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 8- K9, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

Row 9- P10, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 10- K11, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

Row 11- P12, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 12- K13, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

Row 13- P14, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 14- K15, SL, K1, PSSO, K1, turn = 16 sts

Shape Instep:  With RS facing, pick up and K 15 sts along side of Heel, cont in Pattern St across 30 sts from holder, pick up and K 15 sts along opposite side of Heel, K across 8 sts.  Divide sts- 23 sts on 1st needle, 30 sts on 2nd needle, 23 sts on 3rd needle = 76 sts.

Rnd 1- K to last 3 sts of 1st needle, K2tog, K1, work in Pattern across 2nd needle, K 1st st of 3rd needle, SL1, K1, PSSO, K to end of needle.

Rnd 2- Work in Pattern as set.  Rep these 2 rnds until 60 sts remain.  When Sock meas 7″ from Heel-

Shape Toe:  Divide sts as follows- 15 sts on 1st needle, 30 sts on 2nd needle, 15 sts on 3rd needle.

Rnd 1- K to last 3 sts of 1st needle, K2tog, K1, K1 st on 2nd needle, SL1, K1, PSSO, K to last 3 sts of same needle, K2tog, K1, K 1st st on 3rd needle, SL1, K1, PSSO, K to end of rnd.

Rnd 2- K across all needles.  Rep these 2 rnds until 20 sts remain.  Cut yarn and graft sts together.  Sew in ends.

On the Needles: Chunky Cowl

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

As the blustery days of November set in, knitters everywhere are inspired by the woolly accessories showing up on glossy pages of fashion magazines, in window displays of big chain stores, and on self-proclaimed fashionistas strolling about town. This season highlights a knitwear trend straight from the runway—The Chunky Cowl, also known as the Infinity Scarf, aptly named for its endless loop design, which has been re-invented from the close fitting neckwarmer of last winter.

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On The Needles, is an exclusive Diamond design for a Chunky Cowl, knit with Viking Naturgarn. This oh so simple project will whip up quickly on 10.00 mm circular needles with no seams to sew and all for under thirty dollars. Wear one over a jacket as a mini shawl, tuck it inside a coat collar like a scarf without ends to tie, or pull it up over your head as a hood on windy days. A great gift idea for a daughter or niece away at university (think of those chilly winter walks around campus). Or for a friend who works in a drafty office and needs a little warmth to pull over her shoulders while she sits at her desk. Men are wearing them also, as a fashion accessory over fairisle sweaters and leather jackets.

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Chunky Cowl

Finished Size: 15 in x 36 in

Yarn: 6 balls Viking Naturgarn #612

Needles: 10.00 mm – 80 cm circular

Cast on 64 sts with double strand of yarn. Join in round. Place marker. Work in rounds of K2/P2 ribbing for approximately 14.5 in. Cast off sts loosely on next row. Sew in ends.