TIK Knits

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On Tuesday, we announced the winner of our Spring Knit-Along (congratulations again, poppylillious!), and gave you a clue about our next KAL. You see, part of the prize was Kate Davies new shawl pattern, A Hap For Harriet.

Our KALs so far have had us all working on the same pattern. This time is a bit different, because we’re focussing on a style rather than a pattern. A hap is a traditional type of Shetland shawl, originally intended for warm everyday wear and worked in relatively substantial yarn.

Haps are traditionally square in shape, with a centre panel in a simple stitch pattern (very often lovely squishy garter stitch). Around the square centre there’s a lacy border, often in feather and fan pattern. Our two samples are like this – Jacqui’s cream version is Jared Flood’s Tweed baby blanket and Lisa’s calm blue and neutral one is Gudrun Johnson’s Hansel. The original Hansel pattern features a third section, a pretty toothed edging, that was omitted in favour of an i-cord cast off in this case (this is one of the techniques that we’ll post a tutorial on during the course of the KAL).

But nowadays there’s many, many variations on the theme – Kate Davies’ A Hap For Harriet is crescent-shaped, for instance, and Veera Välimäki’s ¾ Hap is three quarters of a square. You can use a hap as a wrap yourself, or a baby blanket, or a sofa throw, simply depending on the size you make. And there’s crochet versions too. Endless variation, and every single one gorgeous!

So our Hap KAL works like this: choose a hap pattern (you’ll find dozens of patterns at this Ravelry link) and join in the fun! When you’re purchasing the yarn for it, you’ll get a 10% discount. Just mention the Hap KAL in the shop or on the phone, and if you’re ordering online, use the code HAPKAL.

We’ll have a stickied thread in the This Is Knit Ravelry group for support and for chatting about patterns and yarns, and we’ll be blogging tutorials and regular updates about our progress. Every KAL member that posts a picture of a finished Hap in the Ravelry thread before September 7th will be entered in to a Prize Draw too.

It’s going to be enormous fun, so jump in!

Next up in our continuing series of staff posts, Maria tells us about a gorgeous jumper, the power of persuasion and the joy of knitting garments that fit!

When it comes to knitting, I have a tendency to go for shawl patterns involving a single skein of sock yarn and a very loose interpretation of gauge. This approach has generally yielded more pretty neck pieces than I can reasonably expect to get around to wearing. But hey, they’re fun to knit, and that’s the point! Right?

Okay, confession time… years ago, after a few disastrous attempts to construct a garment that actually fit (tension square? what tension square?), I gave up. I decided handknit sweaters were not in my repertoire. I became a knitter of shawls, (and the occasional pair of socks), and that was that. However, it turns out you’re never too old to be susceptible to peer pressure, and when Jen and I came across this pretty little pattern, we decided that we would do it. Both of us. At the same time. So I couldn’t chicken out!

The pattern is called Snowflake, from TinCanKnits, and it’s just lovely. Jen used a beautiful combination of Louisa Harding Orielle and Malabrigo Arroyo (she has a thing for the hand-dyes!), and I plumped for Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (because I already owned some. Okay, a lot. And I wanted an excuse to buy some of the purple. Cuz it’s pretty).

A top-down knit, try on as you go, pretty lace yoke for a bit of interest and detail. Using a finer yarn on slightly larger needles, it knit up surprisingly quickly! (Even more quickly when you’ve Jen in your ear constantly nagging. I mean encouraging. Yeah. Encouraging).

The end result? A finished garment. And it fits me! I am ridiculously happy with this FO! It turns out I know how to knit stuff that fits, who knew?

Of course, given the temperatures at the moment, it’ll probably be a while before either of us get to wear our sweaters in the shop! But we’re okay with the sunshine… we’re just a little better prepared for the autumn now, too.

And sure if we start to feel chilly, I think there might be a shawl or two hanging around that we could use…

Today, we feature the latest in our continuing series of staff projects. This one’s already gone viral here, and we’re always happy to spread the word, so over to you, Jen!

If you have visited This Is Knit you might have noticed there is, a lot of the time, more than one sample of the same pattern hanging from a shop wall. (*ahem* Color Affection!)

Sometimes more than one of us TIKer’s get taken by a certain pattern for its beauty, cleverness and downright handiness…. Introducing said pattern in this case: Zuzu’s Petals. It’s a clever cowl that looks like a shawl and it is such a quick, adjustable (with a bit of playing) enjoyable knit.

Maria knit her Zuzu in Malabrigo Rios in the highly variegated Arco Iris, Jacqui used self-striping Amitola by Louisa Harding. I decided to stray from the written pattern and use gorgeous heavy lace weight yarn, Mirasol Sulka Legato with added Swarovski crystals (you can see them shining in the first picture). I loved knitting this, and I love the finished object.

Have I tempted you? What would you knit yours from?

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!

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!

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