New Design: Classic Plaits

Today is a really dreary, rainy day in Copenhagen, Denmark. It makes me want to knit with brightly colored yarns in order to get a bit of brightness in my day – and what is better than a summer sun yellow?

Classic Plaits

Today I published the pattern for Classic Plaits, a simple pair of socks that are worked toe-up, featuring instructions for two types of heel: Short row or afterthought. The detail on these socks is a simple cabled braid along the outside of the foot, making them interesting but still very quiet to look at. I can imagine them quite well in a sophisticated grey, or any other semisolid yarn out there!

Classic Plaits

Find Classic Plaits on Ravelry to see more photos, or go directly to buying the pattern here.

 

New Design: At An Angle / På Kanten

At the end of May, I published a new shawl pattern: At An Angle.

At An Angle shawl

As so often before, my love for garter stitch overcame me, and the different colors of this naturally dyed lambswool from (G)uld beckoned to become something fun.

Worked sideways from tip to tip, increases and decreases shape this triangular shawl. The angled stripe in the middle is placed using short rows, which is easy and almost invisible in the squishy garter stitch.

The color choice makes all the difference here! The simplicity of the shawl makes it easy to work and makes it fit for your casual every-day outfit, but can also accent a more dressed-up you.

At An Angle shawl

The pattern is currently available in English as well as in Danish (the Danish name: “På Kanten”). I used a Danish yarn (the Scottish Lambswool from (G)uld, naturally dyed with indigo and madder), which is available in a number of OOAK shades, depending on what the dyers find in nature.

See more photos and projects from other knitters on Ravelry!

At An Angle on Ravelry

Buy Now

At An Angle shawl

New Design: Roland

I know I’m not very good at keeping the blog updated lately. But I’ve been busy – designing stuff for you guys!

Today I published a sweater/pullover pattern: Roland. This sweater I made for my brother (Roland), and after quite a few false starts it ended up more or less perfect.

Roland

Simple stockinette, followed by a basketweave pattern on the body and sleeves. A fun an interesting knit, as well as soothing and relaxing. It’s great TV-knitting!

Even though it’s originally intended to be a men’s pattern, it can be worn by women as well. I included instructions for waist shaping in the pattern, if you want that – or use it with the straight body as a nice comfy sweater with a bit of ease!

IMG_8414

The truly remarkable part of this pattern is that the sweater is truly reversible. The textured basketweave pattern looks good from both sides, and reverse stockinette stitch instead of ordinary stockinette also looks good. Just make sure to pick up those neck edging stitches carefully, and you’re good to go!

IMG_8482

You can find more information on this pattern on the Ravelry pattern page.
Or if you’ve seen enough already – buy it directly here!

Design Process #4: Knitting…

Step 4 of designing in this series is just knitting. Knitting, adjusting my draft pattern, adjusting numbers if necessary. Trying the sweater on now and again to make sure it is all as it should be.

Most of the adjusting and trying on happens when working the yoke. I’m trying it on several times to see if it works. Once I’ve divided for sleeves, the process is smooth sailing from here – the rest of the body is just knitting and knitting, spruced up with some waist shaping and the color changes. I take meticulous notes on the yarn usage for each color, to check if the calculations I made on color use actually work out or not.

In this particular case, it looks like the calculations were on the generous side, which is good. I might need to adjust it a little bit for the final pattern, as the calculations were very generous, but I’m happy that I indeed have enough yarn and did the calculations right so I am sure not to run out. Phew! If it turns out I don’t have enough yarn, it’s a huge turn off and the project risks being thrown in a corner to think about what it has done ;)

Some decisions have to be made at this point as well. And, actually, one of the inklings I had regarding the yarn, which I had ignored for the sake of ease, proves right. I will in no way have enough of the last, dark blue, to make the sleeves the full length I wanted them to be. As the sleeves are around 10 cm longer than the body, I would need double the amount of the darkest yarn for the sleeves to make that length. And I don’t have that, as I worked the required stripe length + the ribbing in that color.

What to do? The project gets to hibernate a little bit while I contemplate whether I should do something fun with the yarn left overs in other colors, or just stop the sleeves after the second to last color and work a ribbing for 3/4 or bracelet length sleeves. Tough decision here.

 

Next up: Step 5: Taking a final decision, blocking, and sending the pattern off for tech editing.

Design Process #3: Casting On

Swatch and calculations done, I’m finally ready to start knitting. This is my favorite part!
I usually write the pattern alongside the knitting of my sample, as I want to remember exactly what I did. With all those calculations done, sometimes I can actually already write a draft for most of the pattern at this point. As the calculations are based on the pattern process/flow, it’s more or less a matter of writing down each step and plotting in the numbers.

Casting on and knitting

While I knit, I adjust the pattern instructions I wrote to start with. Sometimes it looks better when done slightly different, or the plan I had simply doesn’t work out.

There is also quite often some ripping out happening at this point. As I knit, it might suddenly turn out that the numbers I calculated are wrong, make it look odd, or just should be adjusted a little bit. In this particular case, casting on and knitting for a while happened 3 times, as I didn’t like the look of the yoke to start with. Working this sweater top down (my favorite method – you can try it on while working on it, it’s so handy!), the cast on and yoke is the most complicated part of the pattern, so I can just as well get it right straight away.

Next up: Step 4: Knitting…

 

New Design: Little Sowa

After a lot of requests and comments on my Sowa top from the Impulsive Knits collection, I decided to make a kids’ version of the pattern as well. I had a perfect little model in mind, my darling niece, who is just as jumpy and crazy as I am at times!

Little Sowa is available in the sizes 2-12 years, with the biggest sizes overlapping the grown up Sowa top sizes a bit, with some slight mods like waist shaping removed. Also, there are instructions for working it in a fingering weight yarn only, so you’re not limited to using a lace weight yarn. The use of fingering weight yarn will however make the ruffles a little heavier. This isn’t a big issue for the kids’ sizes, as the ruffles are smaller, but it would make the grown up top look less light.

I made the size 6 years for Frida, as I hope it will fit her for a while. She’s only 4 years now, but big for her age – despite that, I was surprised by the perfect fit!

See the Ravelry pattern page for Little Sowa for more info – and you can buy it straight away right here.

If you want to make a matching kid & grown up set, purchasing Sowa as well as Little Sowa will make you eligible for a $2 discount on Ravelry – which counts towards previous purchase as well, should you have already bought Sowa. Discount is applied automatically upon check out.

And, just because I loved my little model’s own ideas for how to model stuff, here is a bit of picture spam:

         

Design Process #2: Calculating

Having done my gauge swatch, it’s time to do some calculations.

For the calculating, I use Excel spreadsheets. I could of course calculate everything by hand with a pen and a piece of paper, and that would also work fine – but knowing the right formulas and notations in Excel, that just goes a lot quicker. An additional plus is that it will be a lot easier to do the grading (= calculating other sizes) later on, as it will be a matter of copying the same formulas used into the same places in another column, using different numbers for the size only.

Calculating stitch numbers

Now I’m usually doing the grading simultaneously with my calculations for the sample I’m working on. There’s a very specific reason for that: This way, I can find out straight away if the plan I have will also work out for other sizes. It’s pretty handy, as it will make it possible to make sure I don’t need to do all kinds of things specific for one size or the other.

Step 2B: Calculating yarn use per color

Apart from calculating the stitch counts needed for the sizes, I also needed to calculate how much of each color I could use in order to have enough for both body and sleeves. This includes calculating the area of the fabric (cm2, square cm), and multiplying it with the amount of yarn used per cm2 (calculated on grounds of the size and weight of my gauge swatch). A little simple math later, I could see that I could make stretches of around 11-12 cm per color, and only use the 5 skeins I have in the gradient. Hurray! Now I just hope my calculations actually are right (which isn’t always the case at this point in time) :)

Next up: Step 3: Pattern writing, start knitting, ripping out, re-calculating, starting over…

Design Process #1: Planning

For a long time, I have been wanting to share the process I (usually) go through when designing something.

I say “usually”, as it can vary a lot from design to design. Sometimes I start knitting and see what happens, sometimes there is more planning involved. It very often depends on the type of pattern I’m writing: Is it a shawl, a sweater, socks? A shawl can be pretty simple, but may require some calculations. A sweater most definitely requires calculations, and also swatching, so you can do the calculations properly.

Also, what is the inspiration?

John Arbon Knit by Numbers

In this particular case, for the design I am using for this series of blog posts, I was inspired by the yarn. I bought it at Unwind Brighton in July 2014, when I fell in love with the shelves full of gradients at the John Arbon stand. You can take a look at the Knit by Numbers merino yarn range here, they even ombré’d it on the website! I am a sucker for that kind of gradients/ombrés, so I just HAD to have it. I bought a grey gradient (the KBN01-KBN06) and a blue gradient (KBN80-KBN84). 6 skeins of the grey one, 5 of the blue one. I can’t for the life of me remember why I only bought 5 of the blue!

In any case, it’s the blue I will be using for this sweater. It’s going to be a sweater, you see – a simple sweater, which can show off the awesome gradient, but at the same time not boring to knit.
As I love texture, I was thinking: What about Half ‘n Half? Half stockinette stitch, half garter stitch?

I didn’t even make a sketch for this one, which I usually do. I was simply so convinced it would work out, that I wanted to get started straight away.

Step 1: Make a gauge swatch!
My thoughts about the stitch patterns I wanted to use keyed in to this. Garter stitch, when done at a loose gauge, will stretch an awful lot. At a tighter gauge, it is better at keeping its shape. Stockinette stitch on the other hand is flat and lovely, and is a bit less prone to change much if done at a right gauge. So I grabbed my 3,75 mm needles for this Sport weight yarn and got going, seeing if I could fabricate a fabric that I liked.

swatching
30 sts is my usual swatch size, and that’s what I did this time as well. A couple of rows of garter stitch, and then the real deal: stockinette and garter stitch. I chose to be lazy and make half the swatch in one, the other half in the other. To get an accurate gauge measurement you need at least 10×10 cm to measure on freely, but in my case it would be around 5×10 cm (5 cm in width). It won’t be exactly accurate, but that doesn’t matter a great deal, as it can be fudged as we go on with the design. I am thinking a garment with no ease, and it’s okay if it turns out with a little bit of positive ease or negative ease.
Done with knitting, I measured my swatch. The stockinette stitch part was 18 sts & 27,5 rows per 10×10 cm, the garter stitch part 19 sts & 35 rows. So some blocking was needed if I wanted it to be alike.

Measuring my swatch
A little bath and a block, gently stretching the garter stitch but not the stockinette stitch part.
Funnily enough, after blocking, I ended with 19 sts & 26 rows for the stockinette stitch part, 19 sts & 28 rows for the garter stitch part. So – the stockinette stitch shrunk in width. Good to know! The garter stitch part kept it’s shape when I had stretched it, which is also a good result in this case. If not, the sweater would become longer on one side than the other, and that would look a bit odd.

Next up: Step 2: Calculating!

New designs: Impulsive Knits Collection

About a year ago, I met Justyna Lorkowska in person. She is an awesome knitwear designer, and I am a huge fan of hers. We hit it off pretty well instantly, and decided that hey, why not do a little project together?

That little project grew and grew, and we ended up having to limit ourselves in order to not make it too huge. Which might be a good thing, right?

As a theme, we pretty much instantly agreed on “Impulsiveness”. We’re both very impulsive people, and the whole idea of working on a project like this was impulsive to start with. Thus Impulsive Knits was born!

Take a look at the awesome website created by Marcin Lorkowski (Justyna’s husband), and the lookbook created for this collection as well: www.impulsiveknits.com

Here are a couple of compositions of the designs in the collection, modeled by the person who designed them:

Impulsive Knits - my designsImpulsive Knits

 

Read more and see more about each design on www.impulsiveknits.com or on the pattern pages on Ravelry!

Feather & Fan-tastic – explanations on sizing

When I published the Feather & Fan-tastic pattern, I chose to make it available in 3 sizes that I called S, M and L. However, these sizes might not necessarily correspond to your usual sizes – it was just a naming I used to distinguish between them. The notes I added to the pattern:

Size: S/M/L
Actual garment measurements: 79-113-146,5 cm / 31-44.5-57.75 inches.
Garment is intended to be worn with quite a bit of positive ease: 10-15 cm /4-6 inches is recommended.
Sample shown is size M on a 94 cm / 37 inch bust.

A note on sizes:
There are only 3 sizes between which the span is pretty large – this is because of the nature of the Feather & Fan pattern and the number of repeats. You can’t just size the pattern up or down by adding or subtracting a number of repeats. However, some testers have successfully substituted heavier yarn weights (and larger needle size), thus scaling up one of the sizes given. Check your gauge before you begin, so you can calculate the final size!

As people have been asking, the longer explanation is:
In order to keep the garment looking the same in different sizes, I calculated the sizes upon a modification of the feather & fan pattern (being a repeat with either 4 holes, 6 holes, or 8 holes). There is a difference of 6 stitches per size – and with the lace pattern being repeated 7 times across the garment, the total difference in width is 42 stitches. For bust circumference of the sweater that makes 84 stitches difference per size!

Yes, I did think about doing the grading for different sizes in another way, by for instance omitting a repeat of the feather & fan pattern or adding one. But doing that would affect not only the width of the garment, also the size of the neck opening and the final look of the sweater. It would complicate the pattern too much too my liking, so I chose this method.

However, there are ways to get around these very limited sizes!

Beware: Math coming up!

These are the measurements of the sweater if you work it exactly as in the pattern:

Feather & Fan-tastic sizing schematic

A couple of my testers have done gauge substitution by choosing a heavier weight yarn and working a smaller size. The calculations are made like this:

The pattern requires a gauge of 25 sts over 10 cm / 4 inches. Let’s say you swatch and find that your gauge is 20 sts over 10 cm / 4 inches. Your calculations will be:

25 (pattern stitch gauge) / 20 sts (your stitch gauge) = 1,25.
divide the pattern stitch gauge with your stitch gauge.

This means your gauge will give you a finished garment with a bust measurement that is 1,25 times as large as the one in the pattern.

So if you work the size S at this gauge, that would give you a final size of approximately 98 cm / 38.5 inches around the bust:

79 cm (pattern size) * 1,25 = 98 cm (your size at your gauge)

One note to be aware of: Substituting for a heavier yarn weight and changing the stitch gauge will also affect the row gauge. This means that if you follow the instructions with the number of repeats stated in the pattern, your neckline depth will become a little different as well. You might want to check that your neckline doesn’t become too deep by making that little calculation as well. The same as for the stitch gauge:

36 (pattern row gauge) / 30 (your row gauge) = 1,2.
divide the pattern row gauge with your row gauge.

Your neckline depth will then be 1,2 times deeper than the one in the pattern – in this case 8,4 cm / 3.25 inches.
It most likely won’t be a big issue, it’s just something you need to be aware of if you like your necklines to be at the high end. There are ways to remedy it; Work a couple less lace repeats over the shoulders, or add some extra rounds to the neckline finishing.

Personally, I used to hate swatching and found it the worst chore ever. But in situations like these, I am happy that it is an option!

Take a look at the Ravelry pattern page for Feather & Fan-tastic, or you can directly buy the pattern right here.