Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Pattern: Spindler Mitts

Spindler Mitts

Today I'm pleased to share the first design I've created with handspun yarn: the Spindler Mitts. They're now available on Ravelry.

Spindler Mitts

A pretty mix of lace, garter stitch, and stockinette, the Spindler Mitts are just right for small amounts of handspun yarn, or for those partial skeins of fingering weight yarn we all have in our stashes. Using only 125 yards for the small/medium size (140 for the large size), they're a quick knit—perfect for a last-minute Mother's Day gift or for end-of-the-year teacher gifts. (You could get three pairs out of a typical skein of sock yarn!)

Spindler Mitts

Spindler Mitts

For the sample pair, I used Ashland Bay Mixed Bluefaced Leicester, spun and plied with drop spindles (16 wpi). As I mentioned in my last post, I found BFL pleasant to spin and was really excited to see how the 2-ply developed a soft, attractive halo after I blocked the mitts. 

Spindler Mitts_1

At Rhinebeck last fall, I picked up a bag of Cormo/alpaca fiber from the Foxhill Farm booth. I've started spinning and plying it, with good results. So now I'm pondering design ideas. Maybe a cowl to go with the Spindler Mitts, in time for Rhinebeck 2017? We'll see! Stay tuned here on the blog—or follow me on Instagram—to see how that works out.

Spindler Mitts

Heartfelt thanks go to Jenny Sennott for editing the pattern and Betsey Sennott for modeling. (Another Sennott Sisters production, yay!)

I hope you enjoy the pattern. Thank you very much for reading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pretty, Pretty BFL

What a busy month! With Calliopsis just published, a large secret project for a magazine under way, a new sock design in progress, and a new fingerless mitts pattern almost ready to publish, I basically have knitwear design on my mind 24 hours a day.

The mitts—a pretty combination of lace, stockinette, and garter stitch—are my first design with my own handspun yarn.

Handspun Mitt Beginning

The fiber is Ashland Bay Mixed BFL Top, which I spun and plied with drop spindles; the resulting two-ply yarn is fingering weight, 16 wpi.

Handspun BFL mitts

I had about 140 yards to work with. So I weighed the yarn carefully as I knit, making sure I wouldn't run out. In the end, the small/medium size used about 125 yards. There's also a large size, which requires about 140 yards.

Spindle-spun and Spindle-plied BFL

I think there will definitely be more BFL in my spinning future! I enjoyed both spinning and knitting it. But what I loved most was how, after a good soak in Eucalan, the fabric developed a really pretty halo. And it's so soft!  A delight to feel against your skin.

My sister Jenny, an accomplished spinner with years of experience (far more than me—I'm still a newbie), says BFL is her current favorite sheep breed because "it is a pleasure to spin and finishes up soft and lustrous, not as fussy or pill-prone as merino." So far, with my limited experience, I'd have to concur.

Handspun BFL and Mitts

They're called Spindler Mitts, and I hope to publish them next week. To get news about these and all my new patterns delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for the monthly Blue Peninsula newsletter.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

New Pattern: Calliopsis (and Cowl Sale!)

I'm excited to share a lovely new cowl for spring: Calliopsis.

Calliopsis_3

Knit in two colors of Fibre Co. Meadow, Calliopsis is a light and airy lace confection. It can be styled lots of different ways, depending on your mood, your outfit, or the weather.

The pattern is on sale—along with my other cowl patterns—through Sunday, April 9. Use the coupon code COWL25 to save 25% on cowls in my Ravelry store (magazine patterns are not included). The code can be used as many times as you like.

Calliopsis_1

Named after the flower Coreopsis (also known as Calliopsis or—less romantically—Tickweed), Calliopsis features two pretty lace stitches, each knit in its own color, separated by striped bands. These bands, knit back and forth on a circular needle, employ a really fun technique of sliding the stitches across the cable and knitting them again with the other color on the same side of the work. I first encountered this technique back in 2008 when I knit Norah Gaughan's Almost Garter Scarf. It's so clever!

Calliopsis_5

Calliopsis is worked flat from end to end, from a provisional cast on. After blocking, the two ends of the piece are joined with a three-needle bind off to form a loop. Instructions for these techniques are provided in the pattern, and the lace stitches are given in both charts and line-by-line written instructions.

Calliopsis_6

It's easy to customize this design. Aside from choosing any two colors you like, you can also vary the lengths of the two lace sections, to make a cowl that's uniquely your own. 

Calliopsis_7

Knit in a laceweight or light fingering weight yarn, Calliopsis is the perfect accessory for spring. I knit the sample in Fibre Co. Meadow—a luscious blend of merino, baby llama, silk, and linen—in Prairie (for the main color) and Bergamot (for the contrast color). As I mentioned in my previous post, after I swatched with Meadow I felt no need to look at other yarns for this design. It has an exquisite softness and drape—it's almost weightless—but a really pleasing rustic quality, too. This was my first time knitting with Meadow and I'm sure it won't be my last.

Calliopsis_2

If you get bored knitting scarves or cowls that are "the same thing over and over," you'll love Calliopsis. The lace and color changes are engaging and keep the knitting fun. 

Calliopsis Cowl

As always, I am grateful to Jenny Sennott for her careful tech editing. I'm so fortunate to have her eyes on my patterns, making sure they come to you error free.

Thank you very much for reading!