I decorate with sound

This post was inspired by listening to A Playful Day’s interview with Felicity Ford of Knitsonik. I recommend it highly! What a great adventure in sound, something I didn’t realize was so important. I am funny about sound, and I didn’t even know it.

I decorate with sound. I have certain bells on different doors in my home.  We’ve moved a lot. I’ve moved a lot. Since I lived in Taiwan I’ve had this little black bell. This to me is the sound of home. I hear the bell and I know I’m home.
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I have small “noisy” decorations on other doors too. These mark going through rooms. They announce if someone is coming. They remind you that you’re home.

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Sound is actually far more important to me than I thought. My husband’s voice is very important to me, and I am very sensitive to “ticking” and “drips” kinds of sounds others find innocuous. Anywho! After listening to the episode, I think I can’t “unhear it,” amazing.
So do listen to this episode of A Playful Day – an interview with Knitsonik. As the host rightly points out you may have to listen to it in two sittings, but it’s worth it! I will likely listen again, to be honest.
Felicity spoke about the soundscape around us. She prompted the listener to remember a sound, and explore sound memory. I paused the podcast and got the most amazing memories. They were mixed up with remembering smells. I can rarely remember smells. Try it!
She also spoke about the connection to knitting. The title “Knitsonik” describes her focus. The connection is about marking time in sound, and marking time in stitches. I really never understood the connection until then.
 Great stuff!

Patterns for handspun part 4: Modular knitting patterns

So far in this series, I’ve covered different ways to make the most out of small amounts of yarn, combining it with commercial yarn, or combining it with other handspun. In this final post, I wanted to focus on patterns which could particularly show off the awesomeness of handspun.

There are many great example of modular knitting patterns on Ravelry. Modular means the knitting is done in smaller parts or modules, usually by knitting a portion, then picking up stitches on a contrasting edge and knitting on. In a similar way, short row shaping will put variegated yarn at angles to itself, making the most of the colour changes.

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  1. Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.
  2. Queen of Diamonds Scarf by Sybil R – freebie.
  3. Mandelbrot by Alex Tinsley – freebie.
  4. Short Row Scarf #70531AD by Lion Brand Yarn – freebie.

 

That concludes my round-up romp through my favourite handspun-friendly knitting patterns on Ravelry. If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear.

Related tutorials:

Best tutorial ever is Carol Feller’s free craftsy class on Short Row Shaping.

With modular knitting, you’ll need to do some picking up of the stitches.

Patterns for handspun part 3: Layering garments

The likelihood that you’ll reach your hand into the stash and come up with a sweater-weight of wool is highly unlikely. It’s more likely to find you have enough for a shawl or a cowl, and that would be a pretty clear solution. However, how many shawls can you wear? I’ve already rounded up some accessory patterns as well as using handspun as an accent yarn.

Another idea is smaller garments. (No, I don’t mean kid clothes.) It’s easy to find sleeveless vests, tanks, shrugs and boleros through Ravelry. There are also some examples using unique construction ideas and shapes. These smaller garments could be worn layered with other clothes.

This is my super favorite, L’Enveloppe by Sally Melville. She has made this work in a variety of gauges. Here’s a quote from the project page.

“Because I want everyone to knit this in whatever yarn they like, I offer this in 5 sizes, 4 gauges (13, 14, 15, and 16 stitches to 4” /10cm) and 2 stitch patterns (seed or the easier garter). AND, it is worth noting that I’ve seen swatches that combined yarns–from a shop or a stash: for eg, a light worsted + a lace yarn will give you gauge, a dk + a sock yarn will give you gauge. (You will need the full yardage for EACH of the yarns you combine.) Because of all these choices, the yarn amount (as shown above) is very inaccurate: the amount of yarn you use will depend upon a) your size, b) your gauge, c) your stitch pattern. All of this is clear in the pattern.”

It’s a funky layering garment, something different than a cowl or shawl. I love looking at the projects, people have taken different approaches to the length and size.

LEnveloppe_pattern_by_Sally_Melville

Here are some more interesting projects from my Ravelry faves. I tend to pick ones which use heavier weights because I’m not able to spin that thin yet myself. Handspun is more textural so it doesn’t need complicated knitting stitches, plain stockinette or a garter will do.

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  1. VuxenVinkel by Yarn-Madness – freebie. Uses 350 – 580 yards (320 – 530 m) in Aran.
  2. Simplicity Cardigan by Mary Annarella
  3. Villeneuve by Espace Tricot – freebie
  4. Casablanca Side to Side Shrug by Cheryl Beckerich
  5. Verdant by Gina Bonomo. This is similar to the boleros, but without something that closes across the front.
  6. Alpinia by Claire Slade – There are many cap sleeve cardigans, I like this simple yoke pattern.
  7. All About The Yarn Jacket by Iris Schreier – This is only available in a pattern book purchase with yarn.
  8. Diagonal Shell by Laura Bryant – freebie

There’s some interesting ideas there!

Also see:

Patterns for handspun part 2: Contrasting yarn

I still can’t seem to spin anything lighter than Aran/Worsted weight. So the yardage I get from a 100g braid of fibre is going to be pretty low. As I mentioned in my first post on Patterns for Handspun, Part 1, the obvious thing to do is simply search for patterns are 150 yards or less. However that will ignore many projects which combine contrasting yarns.

Using handspun as the contrasting yarn means you can get a larger project by combining with commercial yarn. You could pick from many striped patterns and the many colorwork patterns, but I’ve tried to find ones which would make the most out of nubbly bumpy handspun and variegated colours, and not compete with the colourwork. Of course not *all* handspun is coloured! But that is the focus in this post.

Loop by Casapinka is a perfect example. This pattern does indicate 400-600 yards. But actually it only requires contrasting yarn 130 yards for the small version and 200 yards for the large in a 4ply/fingering/sock weight. I’ve just completed Casapinka’s Dot shawl which requires 225 yards of fingering weight for the contrast yarn, and this is a great example of a hand-spun loving pattern.

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Selected contrasting colour work patterns to show off handspun

Colourwork is a gigantic category, there are some useful projects for “scrap yarn” too. However, I tried to think of how plain commercial yarn would work with a more textured and coloured handspun. These are some of my favourites.

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  1. Moonraker by Melanie Berg
  2. Cap Sleeve Lattice Top by Purl Soho – freebie. This would be cool with the handspun as the bodice, and a plain commercial yarn as the yoke.
  3. Loop by Casapinka – love this! It’s been outlined for fingering, but there are examples of heavier even worsted weights, you can stop whenever ya like.
  4. Pop Spots by Juju Vail. That looks like fun.
  5. Dot Shawl by Casapinka. I knit this and I can attest to the addictive nature of this pattern. I really miss working on it.
  6. West Desert Hood by Virginia Catherall – freebie.
  7. Pigment by Lee Meredith – Pigment can worked at any gauge in any weight yarn, which is a nice bonus!
  8. For the Love of Remnants by Kate Hiester – freebie. This was made specifically for remnants, but I think handspun would work for the yoke too.
  9. Fibonacci Twist by Ela Torrente
  10. Col Très Perso by Camille Coizy – freebie. How cool is this? A simple idea where the creative hand spun yarn with tortillons really makes this project special.

 

Patterns for handspun part 1: Small projects

As I’ve been sampling and building my stash of handspun, I keep an eye out for patterns which would show off handpsun very well. So I wanted to make a round-up post of some of my favorite patterns. I’m breaking this post up into parts so it’s slightly more digestible. I have a habit of super-long posts!

First: A note about using Ravelry

With Ravelry hitting 5 million members, I’m still surprised when I meet people who haven’t tapped into the rich ore of their pattern search tools. The pattern browser on Ravelry is super powerful. I have no idea of the mechanics behind the platform, but my guess is that it’s easier for them to optimize to logged in users, so you won’t be able to use the pattern browser unless you login. Even just checking the numbers of projects with < 600 yards, we’re taking about hundreds of thousands of patterns.
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Best knitting patterns for handspun

In a blog post on working with handspun, Camilla Fiber Company says you can knit anything as long as you get gauge for a specific pattern. But there are some patterns that show off handspun better than others.  Depending on the handspun, even a plain stitch pattern would come out pretty exciting. In fact, more complicated stitches will compete with the yarn. I made the mistake of using a garter stitch on my first handspun knit, and I don’t think you could really see the yarn very well which had a special plying technique.

The main issue for me is the amount of yardage you can get.

  • Find projects with lower yardage. The obvious choice is the array of lovely cowls, hats and mitts.
  • Work in the round. I just learned that working in the round will take up less yarn than working flat. That makes sense, since you don’t need a selvedge.
  • Plain knit or garter stitches look super fine.
  • Modular knitting and short rows can contrast variegated yarns or stripes well.

Some of my favorite handspun-friendly knitting patterns

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  1. Simple Chevron Stripe Scarf by Karin Martinez – freebie. This is set for fingering, but you could do it in any gauge and stop when you like.
  2. Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho – freebie
  3. Non-felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura – freebie. This uses super-bulky yarn, 100 – 102 yards (91 – 93 m).
  4. Bulky Mobius Cowl by Haley Waxberg
  5. Luuk by Annis Jones
  6. toast by leslie friend – freebie
  7. Straightforward Cowl by Bethany Hendrickson – freebie
  8. Allways the same by Tuna 🙂– freebie. This is so cool because it would show off the variegated yarns really well. And it works for ANY gauge!
  9. Hoodie Cowl by Susan Sheby
  10. Best Friend Cowl by Ela Torrente

 

More info

Knitty.com – 3 tips to get started knitting with handspun

Raverly round-up: 18 Knitted skirt patterns

A knitted skirt is a socially acceptable way to wear a warm blanket around yourself. knit-skirt kit

I saw this knitted skirt on Pinterest ages ago. It’s a kit in mohair. I love the loose knit transparency, and having knit with some of the Blacker Yarns 4-plys I knew that it could be very warm, even if transparent. The pattern doesn’t seem to be on sale in English/Ravelry. But judging by the look- I assume it’s got a waistband elastic and all some bulk at the top.

One thing I like about it is the simplicity, but I suspect the tedium of the same stitch would eventually force one to try something a little different, or possibly combine colours. For example, the feather and fan pattern in the Spencer Dress skirt or the chevron on this amazing knit dress.

So I started looking up patterns on Ravelry for knitted skirts – there are over 2,400 skirt patterns. I came up with 18 which I really like, and give me an idea of the knit skirt I’d like to make.

  • I like the patterns which use ribbing to make pleats.
  • I like the ones which combine colours in different stripes.
  • I like the modern/graphic looking patterns more than the floral patterns.

However, none of the patterns have the exact shape and construction I’m looking for, so I might be (dangerously) winging it!

18 Knitted skirt patterns on Raverly

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  • Lanesplitter: Knitty – Free pattern. This is a modern graphic pattern.
  • Carnaby skirt: Knitty – Free pattern. Click through to see some projects, this uses contrasting stitches to get pleats.
  • Bulgarian knitted skirt: Free pattern. Also uses ribbing to make pleats.
  • Leaves skirt. This is just so pretty, the leaf stitch pattern in the gores are so nice. The stitch pattern is what makes the increases.
  • Between the clouds. I love this contrasting colour lace edge, feather and fan there.
  • Shetland skirt: Similar to others with a contrasting stitch in the gore.
  • Heichi skirt: This one has a lower back hem, and are those drop stitches? Like that transparency.
  • Lee’s skirt. I like those wide “pleats”.
  • Sidewinder: Knitty – Free pattern. This one has a cool construction.
  • Claudia evilla – I like the effect with the contrasting colours, this uses a little arrow shaped lace design in it.
  • Pleated skirt. More pleats!
  • Swing. This combines bias knit, thin stripes and short rows. The project photo is dark an hard to see, but click through to see projects!
  • Elderflower skirt. I like that diamond lace pattern.
  • Zig Zag Skirt: This is done in crochet, but I like those Zig Zags.
  • Herringbone skirt – Di Gilpin – Free pattern. This is a kind of wrap skirt. Looks like it would be quite thick, but I like the textured stitch.
  • Green bias skirt. Cool construction.
  • Flirty Skirt. Love the graphic shetland lace pattern panels. LOVE it. Shetland lace doesn’t look twee to me, somehow. This grows into a proper circle skirt so it’s swingy.
  • Klukka skirt– yeah yeah! Love this combo of lopi making the gradient at the bottom with a combination of colours.

With that said, I won’t get much done if I stay on Ravelry. I’m going to start knitting and see where it goes 🙂

Lightfrost shawl in all Fyberspates yarn

This pattern, Lightfrost by Louise Zass-Bangham, alternates silky stripes with translucent stripes. My recent attempts at other knitting projects reminded me I’m still very much a beginner. So I decided to try this super simple triangle shawl. The graphic effect of the stripes is a good pay off for something rather simple. I’ve also learned I really like sh*tloads of stockinette, and I’m OK with that.

lightfrost shawl finished

Some modifications

The original pattern calls for Debbie Bliss Party Angel, (4% Metalized Polyester, 72% Mohair, 24% Silk) for the contrasting (transparent) colour. But around the time I started thinking about this pattern, Fyberspates came out with Cumulus, (74% Alpaca, 36% Silk). It’s a heavier weight and less yardage than Party Angel.

It’s also *exactly* the same colour as the main yarn. This means the design has a more subtle effect. Because of the yardage, I needed two balls of Cumulus. I wasn’t able to finish 8 rows of the final repeat. So it was pretty close. You could possibly just skip the last repeat if you wanted. But I really wanted to stick to the pattern.

I cast off with an “Icelandic bind off” which I found in the “Cast on, Bind off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting” book. It comes out sort of “round” on the end, and it blends nice with garter. It was listed as a stretchy bind off.

icelandlic-bindoff

I hadn’t worked with something so light and fluffy before, but I loved Cumulus. Though it was hard to read. I did realize much later that I had dropped stitches, which meant ripping out 10 rows of knitting

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dropped two stitches. trying to show where this was.

I was at a knitting meet-up at the time, and generally we all thought it would be impossible to rip out. But it came out smoothly, which was shocking. Maybe it’s because of the loose gauge? Frogging was bit of a set back, but I learned to be more careful in checking my stitches more frequently.

I liked the idea of buying the yarn from the same company, and supporting them. Here’s a nice interview that the designer Louise did with Jeni from Fyberspates. Jeni’s very driven and works pretty hard. Her mother also works with her dyeing yarns. Though I think Jeni is stepped back from hand dying so she can grow and scale her business. Pretty exciting!

About the designer: Louise Zass-Bangham

Under the label “Inspiration Knits” and for her clients, Louise has 50 tempting patterns. Many accessories, which is nice! I also bought the Song of the Sea cowl pattern. I had seen the stitch pattern elsewhere, but I liked how she had graduated the sizes of waves.

Louise is hosting a mystery cowl KAL, which released clue-by-clue on her blog. The Fyberspates team recommens some yarns for the mystery cowl KAL. We’ll see how I get on with other projects, but it would be nice to pick up some Fyberspates in person at Unwind 🙂 Which is tomorrow!

I wanted to post this FO so I can say I have at least something done. I suspect it’s so I can justify a yarn purchase. Eeek!

 

 

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