Category Archives: Pattern Design

Betty & Veronica pattern goes live today!

A new published pattern, the Betty and Veronica Scarf, goes live today! After a month of testing on Ravelry (I had eight fabulous testers helping me out), we’ve worked out all the kinks and come up with an accurate estimate of yardage to make it easier for everyone else to enjoy knitting.  I’m thrilled to report that one of my testers likes the pattern so much that she is starting a knit-a-long for it on Ravelry, in the Fun KALs – Shawls and Such group that she runs.

You’ll notice that currently I only have links to Ravelry for downloading my patterns. Well, that is going to be changing soon as I want to be a gateway drug for Ravelry give those who aren’t on Ravelry the opportunity to download my patterns as well. After all, I clearly remember trolling the Internet looking for great free patterns to knit up for myself, so it only makes sense that I would give others the same courtesy.

Also, for those of you interested less in the knitting aspect of this project and more in the owning of said scarves, I am selling two of the finished projects in my Etsy shop. The Raspberry Cheesecake Souffle one was the scarf that was actually the first of my final design prototype, and was knit in an extra-ruffly style that really makes the Veronica version of the scarf stand out. The second one I am selling is Veronica’s Dark Secret, and it was inspired by the fictional character Veronica Mars, from the television show of the same name. There’s just something lovely and deep about that scarf, and it is the first fine-tuned version of the pattern. The others have been traded and given away in turn as promotional efforts for the pattern.

Again, I want to give a huge thanks to all of my testers and everyone who willingly helped me out by knitting one, or two, or even  more of these for me! In truth, this pattern is slightly addictive, and many found that they couldn’t resist doing a second or a third to see how different it came out every time! I’ve actually knit this scarf six times already, and I’m currently on my seventh scarf. As soon as I get a chance to push aside my other deadline knitting projects, that is. This is a great stashbuster – my favorite kind of project!

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On hold and dreaming

As I sit here listening to Stephanie Dosen‘s dreamy, whimsical music, on hold with something for work (frowns at phone) I decided that this would be the best time to update everyone on what’s going on in my fibery world. My dream of a scarf that would show off complementary handspun yarns and be cool and cute is nearing completion. The Betty & Veronica Scarf is in it’s testing phase! I’m still looking for testers, so if you are interested, go check it out here.

It took a lot of prototypes to get it exactly right. One of the first things I realized was that I couldn’t block the scarf, because it only flattened out the ruched look I was going for:

My next foray was great, except that I pulled the ribbed edging together too much, making it look rather ruffled instead of simply having a gentle edging:

Now that I’ve knit this scarf four times, I’ve finally figured out how to make it look “juuuust right,” as Goldilocks once said. After everyone finishes testing it and gives me feedback, I’ll be able to tweak the pattern and publish it for everyone else to make! Ok, the phone is ringing and the music has ended, so I’m diving back in!

P.S. – Almond Crush Pocky is delicious.

Image by Robert Otani

Betty & Veronica are rockin’ it

I’m sugar and spice and everything nice but if you wanna mess with me you better think twice.

I knit this scarf twice – once with the general idea of the pattern I wanted, and then a second time after I realized what I had done wrong the first time. UGH. I hate frogging. It was only sheer determination that kept me going. Basically, what I wanted to do was pair together two complementary yarns in my stash. Because one was handspun and the other a very expensive skein of yarn, they didn’t have much yardage, and therefore weren’t worth much by themselves. But together, they were more than the sum total of themselves alone.

I split the Rapture yarn evenly into two balls based on weight (which weighed about 22 grams each). Then I cast on with the Rapture yarn. Ik nit four rows of k2, p2 ribbing to create a loose ruffle. At this point I was torn – my original idea was to create short-rows a la Laura Chau’s Just Enough Ruffles, but I wasn’t sure I’d have enough. As I sat and envisioned how the final project would look, I got more and more mentally frustrated by things not knitting up properly, and decided that a short scarf with the added problem of having narrow ends probably wasn’t a good idea.

Instead, I retreated to my favorite knitting technique – ruching! Unlike most of the ruched patterns on Ravelry, I stuck to all stockinette stitch in order to show off the handspun look of my center yarn, as opposed to hiding it with garter stitch. Then I created a second ruffle at the other end, cast off, and viola! The Betty & Veronica Scarf. Now it’s time to write this pattern up and get it out there to share with the world! Ok ok, just with like-minded knitters on Ravelry. 😉 I’m also going to knit it again with slightly different yardages and weights in an effort to gauge how differently it can come out. Yey!

Playing around with handspun fun

So, I recently received some lovely handspun in the mail as a gift. It’s truly lovely. I mean gorgeous. It’s a great, super-soft blend of seacell and merino, with a nice, even twist, great color depth and gentle variations.  I think it’s fabulous. For those of you interested, it was handspun by a fellow Raveler named capsforqueers, and her yarns are amazing.

Anyways, this yarn is great but it has one little flaw. There isn’t much of it. At 98 yards, it’s only about 65 grams worth of yarn. This, obviously, doesn’t make many knitted items. I had a couple of appropriate “small skein” patterns picked out for it, but when the yarn arrived I realized that the patterns I had thought were so great for the yardage, they weren’t really appropriate for the handspun.

So I made up  my own pattern! Well, to put it correctly, I am currently “making” up my own pattern. It’s not quite finished yet, and every once and a while I hit a roadblock and find myself scolding it quite ferociously. This yarn stands up to frogging and tinking quite well!

I’m pairing it with some lovely Reynold’s Rapture in a dark pink and the two together look amazing. The idea is to take two yarns that have very short yardages but complement each other and put them together to create a truly unique and “stinkin’ cute” design. Stay tuned for more news shortly!

An epic cat’s paw lace sampler (and review thereof)

Well, tonight I watched the Count of Monte Cristo (2002 version) and knit myself a handy-dandy lace sampler, featuring the ubiquitous cat’s paw lace stitch, which apparently can be made out of anything and everything (stitch-wise). Or just about. I only chose to look up and knit eight variations of the pattern, so this sampler can be considered expansive but certainly not all-encompassing. For the fibery freaks out there, this sampler was knit using KnitPicks Telemark in the Drift colorway on a nice pair of vintage size 4 US 10″ aluminum needles.

Cat's Paw Lace Sampler

The top two stitches (which were the last two I knit, naturally) both feature a k2togtbl stitch. The left one is from Jennifer Jones’ blog,  The Knit Monster, and has a stitch called a double decrease, which I’d never done before. The double dec was interesting in general, as it creates a very straight bar running through the center between the yarnover. However, for the purposes of the cat’s paw motif itself, I thought it made the yarnovers below it look uneven.

The right one is Elizabeth Lovick’s version, from her website Northern Lace, which has, in addition to the k2togtbl, a k3tog in place of the double dec. I think this stitch, while it created an even-looking design, was not my favorite. The k2togtbl made one side look a bit “wonky” (there’s your techy term for the night) and the k3tog was quite simply, just a pain to do.

The bottom six cat’s paws were all knit directly from the chart compiled by Wendy Knits, as I have cited previously:

Courtesy Wendy Knits

The top two motifs on the chart, as well as the bottom-most right one, all feature a sl1, k2tog, psso stitch between the final two yarnovers, and I rather like the way this stitch creates a nice roundness to the center knitted portion of the design. The top right one seemed to be most effective at this, in part because of the alternating k2tog and ssk stitches around the yarnovers. Every motif that used the mirror design of the ssk stitch (symbolized in this chart by the “\ ” mark leaning to the left) created a more round, even appearance in the final lace.

The second stitch down on the left side in the chart had a unique center yarnover, which I thought was interesting. However, it did not create the appearance of either a cat’s paw or a flower, but rather a simply honeycomb design. The two stitches that I found looked the most like cat’s paws were the bottom left design and the right motif in the second row up. The placement of the k2tog and ssk stitches caused the yarnovers to stretch toward the highest point, making the midle yarnovers so small they are almost nonexistant and creating very large holes at the base. They look like the arching, flexing claws of a cat.

Even as I begin to finish cataloguing and describing the different traditional cat’s paw lace motifs I’ve knit, I am seeing where I could have tried other variations of the stitch. For example, you could substitute the k3tog with any of the other patterns, or moved the k2tog to the other side of the “honeycomb”-looking one for a more even appearance. Really, the combinations and possibilities therein are nearly endless. I shall leave that for others to take on, however, as I am quite satisfied with my own results. Enjoy!

Nothing is ever simple

I’ve been knitting a Flutter Scarf for my mother for Christmas. Ok, I lie. It was for her birthday, but I discovered, shockingly, that I couldn’t knit as fast as I thought that I could. So, since her birthday was yesterday and the scarf is only 1/3 of the way done, it has become a Christmas gift.

This reminded me of other “Christmas” gifts I’d like to make. Like my Forget-Me-Not Shawl for my grandmother. I’m not in the mood to wrestle anymore with mohair this week, so I decided to look up a nice cast-on, pick a number, and start knitting some soothing rows of stockinette stitch. I feel that this project would make me feel accomplished because I could get through 100 rows of stockinette in a finger-snap. Unfortunately, there are multiple methods of casting on. I’m undecided which is better and what I should use, or how many rows of a knitted border I should have.

So I moved onto looking for examples of the lace pattern – the Shetland cat’s paw lace. The cat’s paw lace creates six holes that resemble petals, and even though a forget-me-not flower only has five petals, a cat’s paw only has four main digits, so I think that I can be as “imaginative” as the Scottish people were and say that this is the abstract idea of what a forget-me-not flower looks like.

Unfortunately, there is not one single way to knit the cat’s paw lace pattern. Oh no. It could never be that simple. There are oodles of ways to make the lace pattern that causes the lace holes to shift and slide in different directions. Wendy Knits’ blog has a nice diagram that outlines most of them. And by “nice,” I mean, “it hurts to look at it too long.” Then there are a couple others that involve strange things like k2togtbl that I found other places. So now, before I cast on for anything, I must knit myself multiple little swatches of the Shetland cat’s paw, using all sorts of methods, until I hit on the one that creates the nicest, most round version. headdesk

A pocket, a posy…

…a ring around the rosy…

Obviously I have  pattern design on the brain now. This week, it’s the contemplation of the perfect shawl for my grandmother. Well, I suppose I’ve been building toward this. First I had to acquire the perfect yarn:

Check.

Then I had to find some inspiration:

Check.

Then I had to find the perfect pattern:

Uhh…

See, the problem is that the yarn’s colorway is called “Forget Me Not.” The yarn itself looks like the flowers from a forget-me-not, and I was immediately drawn to the idea of creating a shawl for her that looked like forget-me-nots. At first I thought Miriam Felton’s Seraphim Shawl would be divine, but hers used fingering weight yarn and I really wanted something a bit more flowery. Unfortunately, the only flower-like shawl patterns are either ugly, or, in the case of the Forget-Me-Not shawl patterns on Ravelry, look nothing like the petals of this flower.

So I’ve done some research today. I wandered through my favorites first, looking for something that might look like a flower, and then through the other flower patterns on Ravelry. And I found something! As I was wandering through one of my lace books, Victorian Lace Today, I noticed a really intriguing edgework that implemented a design feature that looked like the six petals of a forget-me-not flower.. “A Curved Shawl with diamond edging” apparently uses the traditional Shetland lace stitch “cat’s paw” with some success. I think the best picture of the edging can be seen here, on jeanneknits2’s Ravelry project page. I don’t think “cat’s paw lace” looks anything like a cat’s paw. Well, ok, it remotely resembles a cat’s paw, but what it really resembles is a small button-type posy of a flower. After seeing it knit up on some other shawls I’m excited by the idea of a whole shawl knit out of it:

Photo courtesy the blog, "Knitting Through the Looking Glass" by Pamela Lee

I tried to find a pattern that used the petals like I wanted them to be used (starting at the shoulders with just a few and eventually scattering outward until the shawl is covered with them), but that pattern just doesn’t exist – except in my mind. I’m not sure I’m experienced enough yet to actually physically design this pattern, as currently my only lace shawl, the Ishbel, is sitting in purgatory until it learns to behave itself, but…we shall see. My grndmother is old, and doesn’t have many years left, so that should spur me into learning how to do this quickly!