Pattern Faves

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Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Ken McCamish, a very good friend of ours who lives in Jeffersonville, Southern Indiana. When he told us how his car reacted to his knitting, we wanted to share it with you, so over to Ken!

We call it The Passenger. It’s the name given to my cone of Donegal Tweed I purchased at This is Knit.

The whole thing started out as a simple overseas trip to Ireland with my nephew, Cody. Since I’d never been to Ireland, the first thing I wanted to do was log onto my favorite hotel-finding site and have another window open with knitmap.com in it. Doesn’t everyone use this method to find hotels? I settled on Brooks Hotel, which looked lovely on the website and which was a very short walk to a yarn store called This is Knit.

This is Knit turned out to be a wonderful shop. It’s one of those shops where a yarn enthusiast feels right at home even though he’s 6,000 or more kilometers from home. I dutifully picked up a nice collection of yarn and then I saw a display for Contemporary Irish Knits, by Carol Feller. As I was flipping through its pages, my nephew came up behind me and noticed the Straboy sweater.

“I want one of those! Make me one of those!”

Normally I’d have shrugged it off but as my nephew was starting to express an interest in knitting and since I’m willing to do anything to get another family member into the fold, I agreed to make one for him. Nadia told me that if I wished, the shop could order the yarn on a cone and ship it to my house in America for a little less than it would cost to buy the yarn in skeins. I could get two of the sweaters from one cone! Since I’d never bought yarn cones, I knew I had to do it that way!

The yarn arrived sooner than expected and since it was cheaper than estimated, Lisa gave me shop credit. (Credit in yarn is like good cheese. There’s no such thing as too much!) I packed up the project to take to work that first night after receiving my cone. I had the book, appropriate needles and sundries, and my cone of Donnegal Tweed in the passenger seat of the car. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway I heard a beeping noise. My car was complaining that my passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.

If I wasn’t already a Knitter with a capital “K” for using knitmap to decide what hotel to book in a new city, I think I earned it the night my car mistook my yarn for a passenger. My husband, Dani, dubbed that yarn cone The Passenger and it has kept that moniker ever since.

“Are you taking the Passenger to work?”
“No, I’m going to work on these socks tonight instead . . . .”

The Straboy was not nearly as hard as I’d expected once I’d gotten the mechanics straightened out in my head. However, now that I’ve finished the Straboy sweater, I feel a little lost without my friend. Maybe I’ll wind up a huge cake of yarn or two and see if they pass the seatbelt test. Let’s see if I can get away with my next project counting as a legal passenger for carpooling!

To mark the day, here’s a lovely little lace shawlette, recently knitted by Jacqui. It’s called Fragile Heart, and it’s designed by the wonderful Boo Knits.

It’s lovingly accented with Swarovski crystals – just enough beading to give sparkle to the lace and interest to the knitter.

The yarn is Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca, and Fragile Heart took just over a skein.

And given the day that’s in it, don’t forget about our Valentine’s Day prize draw – it runs until midnight on Monday week, and you’ll find all the details over at that link!

There’s something very satisfying about making a garment that fits its wearer comfortably and well, and this little jacket is a perfect example.

It’s Carol Feller’s Rossbeg and it’s got a massive age range of two to ten years. And since not all wee ones are the same shape, you can customise it very easily.

Knitted from the top down, starting with that pretty curved yoke shaped with short rows, you can make it as long as you want: just finish when you’re done! The same’s true of the sleeves: full length or three quarter length, it’s up to you (and the future wearer, of course).

Carol’s use of such simple and clever techniques is one of the hallmarks of her work, and there’s still a couple of places left for her workshops with us on Saturday February 15th. There’s one on sweater surgery, so you’ll be able to improve and fix a garment that hasn’t turned out as you’d like. There’s also one expressly on short rows. You can find out more about both and book a coveted place by clicking on the links. Carol’s workshops are always popular and fun, and we’ve very excited about these ones.

And for another particularly dotey example of Carol’s short row magic, a Ravi Junior cardigan was featured on our facebook page during the week. Modelled by one of our very favourite young people and knitted by Jen, you can see it here. Aww!

Sometimes you come across a pattern that makes you want to drop everything else and knit it now, because it’s a gorgeous combination of soothing repetition and engaging interest.

Well, this is how we feel about Quadrature for Korrigan, which is a baby blanket for a much-anticipated baby.

Jacqui used Studio Donegal, and the result has to be snuggled to be believed. A quick bath and a block, and it’s perfect for newborn fingers and toes.

The elegance of the pattern means that in finer yarn it would also make a pretty shawl, and in bulky it would be a terrific throw. Stocking stitch for most of the way, with the cables set off by the garter stitch border, means that it’s an easy and satisfying knit.

We can’t wait to see a new wee person wrapped up in it!

Cuddle

New babies like snugness and warmth, and Jen’s just made a wee project that steps right up to the mark. It’s a newborn sleepsack called Owlie.

Knitted in the softest wool, with ample room for little legs to wriggle and kick, there’s no fiddly buttons or ties to get in the way (or puzzle new parents).

Keeping watch all the way round, there’s a line of clever cable owls, with a practical purpose: the cabling pulls the sack in just enough for comfort. What a terrific colour too – Malabrigo Rios comes in a whole paintbox of happy bright hues, with plenty of gender-neutral options, and a single skein is enough for an Owlie.

It’s an unusual and practical gift for a new baby, and oh, how cozy it’ll be to cuddle up in!

Hot off Jacqui’s needles comes this divine little shawlette. It’s called Jackson Square, and it’s a Beth King design. It’s got it all – a lovely twisted rib body, a delicate lace border and a sweet picot cast off.

This example is made in Hedgehog Fibres Sock (the colourway is Petrol), and only takes a single skein.

Jackson Square starts with a garter stitch tab, and if you haven’t worked one before, you’ll find our photo tutorial at this link. The picot cast off is both decorative and practical – it gives the lace edge plenty of ease (and we have a tutorial for that too). But most of all, we love the clean etched quality of the twisted stitches.

A quick pretty knit in a luxurious yarn, with just the right amount of interesting technique? Yes please!

Well, it’s not actually snowing, but these little hats have the dashing part all wrapped up – if you need a quick project for a baby before Christmas, there’s plenty of time to knit one (or even two)!

This is the Little Scallops hat by Maria Carlander. You’ll find a link to the free pattern at that Ravelry link. This wee hat has all you could want – a little colourwork, a simple stocking stitch fabric, a practical slouchy shape.

Our examples are made in Debble Bliss Baby Cashmerino, so they’ll wash and wear like a dream. They’re the smaller size of the two sizes, and they took about a third of a ball of the main colour and a fifth of the contrast, so they’re perfect for using up those odds and ends.

And best of all, they’re fast! The two of these took a couple of leisurely evenings to make, so they’re the perfect relaxing knit in front of the TV after a day’s rushing about.

We’ve talked about blocking techniques before, and about how magically it transforms your hunched and lumpy work into something smooth and beautifully professional, with practically no effort at all.

That neat and orderly finish is what you want for knitted and crocheted gifts, and since time is getting on and a lot of hats are being made for Christmas, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about how to block them.

The trouble with hats, put simply, is that they’re very rarely flat. You can’t pin just them out like a scarf or a shawl. But help’s at hand, and the picture below shows all you need.

After you’ve soaked your hat well and blotted out most of the moisture in a towel, take a moment to consider: is it flat, like a beret or a tam, or is it round like a beanie? If it’s flat, like this wonderful Neep Heid by Kate Davies, simply pop a plate inside it, one large enough to smooth out the knitting. Since our Neep Heid is adult-sized, we used a dinner plate, but smaller hats would need smaller plates. Let the hat dry, and slip the plate out.

If your hat is curved, like our own Thistle pattern, then you need the balloon. Soak your hat and blot it as before, and then blow up the balloon to the size you need (smaller for a child, larger for an adult. Crown it with the uniformly damp hat.

Wait for it to dry completely and remove the balloon (it can then find a deserving home!).

Ta da! Perfectly blocked hats, with even stitches, smooth fabric and impressed recipients. And another thing crossed off the To Do list!

This is Jen’s latest shawl, just off the blocking mat a few days ago, and it’s a while since we’ve seen so many gorgeous components come together to such effect.

First of all, there’s the two yarns: Katia Airlux and Hedgehog Fibres Sock. It’s an unusual combination for a shawl, but Airlux takes to lace like it was born to it (remember it as a Swallowtail?), and these two colourways work so well together.

And then there’s the pattern. It’s Shaelyn, and it’s perfect for working in two colours. The alternating lace and stocking stitch sections adapt beautifully to striping, and if you’re looking for a very simple and effective shawl pattern, Shaelyn’s perfect. The stocking stitch sections are the easiest thing imaginable and the lace keeps the project interesting.

But that’s not all the prettiness in this project. Jen found perfect matching beads and beaded the scalloped border. The beads add a little touch of sparkle and a bit of weight to the edge. If you haven’t beaded your knitting before, this is a perfect introduction.

We’re always looking for new yarn and pattern combinations, the ones that venture outside the box a bit, and we love seeing your finished objects – why not leave us a comment below sharing your good ideas? We’d all love the inspiration!

Here at This Is Knit, the best part of the Christmas season is the presents! We get such a kick out of helping our customers choose the perfect gift, whether for the yarnlovers in their lives or for themselves.

But what to choose? This year we’ve made that fraught decision much easier with a hand-picked range of kits. From beginner to accomplished knitter, there’s something for everyone.

If you can knit and purl, then our Mistake Rib scarf makes a terrific project. In Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky, it grows in front of your eyes and will be done in no time at all. What’s more, this is the sort of elegant and understated scarf that makes an excellent gift for a man.

To make our Bread and Buttoned Mitts, the only thing you need to add is garter stitch – speedy to work in Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran, this kit is very popular as a “first project” gift, and we’ve even included a pair of knitting needles, along with toning buttons.

Everyone needs a jolly hat, and here’s our Thistle kit, with two toning yarns, Louisa Harding’s Akiko and Debbie Bliss’s Milano, to brighten up winter (including enough for the all-important pompom). Knit in the round, this hat’s fast and fun.

And for a touch of unabashed luxury, what could be better than a kit for ysolda’s stunning Marin shawlette, featuring 400 metres of Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply? It’s a straightforward knit, and that silk and merino blend complements it beautifully. And the finished object is so beautiful – the sample on display in the shop is breathtaking.

There isn’t even any need for gift wrapping – that’s already done, with a bow for extra pzazz! And that makes the Christmas shopping a little easier!

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