Not yet the solstice, but already full on summer. This time of year I love to knit because, well, do I really need a reason? Lots of us knit wooly things all year round, like Jenny and her tribe who are knitting the beekeepers' cardigan. And lots of us going on the retreat are knitting Emma in straight up winter yarns like Shibui Drift. With air-conditioning, there's really no reason not to knit with wool all year round. I mean, how many of us actually finish things we start "in season?" Maybe Emma, which is worked on size 11 needles, but the other stuff? Not so much. Oh, my intentions are good, but the truth is that we finish things when we do and we wear them as soon as we can. Right? So, I love a good all-season fiber that I can wear no matter what. For me, that's silk. Silk is like champagne - it's always the right time for it. So, when I see gorgeous silk, it's hard for me not to buy it. That's why we have this glorious pile of Aine, (pronounced "awn-yah") a spectacular mulberry silk from Juniper Moon Farms.
I love most everything Juniper Moon does. Moonshine, Fourteen, and Findley, to name just a few. They're all lovely, and Aine is a worthy member of the Juniper Moon family. Light and lustrous Aine is everything you want silk to be. It's great in a simple garter stitch, but a yarn this silky is happiest in a fabric that's heavy on the stockinette to show off its smoothness. The Banana Leaf Shawl is a perfect choice.
With its large alternate sweeps of stockinette and reverse stockinette, the Banana Leaf Shawl lets Aine show off on both sides! It's an easy pattern, but not boring to knit. It's also easy to wear with generous length and a crisp angled ends. Takes just three skeins. Once you get your hands on Aine, you'll wish it was more - the knitting is just that good.
If you're a sweater girl, think about Aine in a delicious shell - like maybe this little confection, Bonny, with a draped neck and lace panel.
Most sizes take just three skeins too. Great on its own or under a jacket. You could actually do both the shell and the shawl and turn the whole thing into a wonderful evening set. Black pants, silk shell and shawl - and champagne. I think so, definitely.
Come pick your favorite color and create something beautiful. I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.
These are my tweaks to Amy Herzog's Curlew pattern to make it look like the Maras Cardigan. Purchase the Curlew pattern here on Ravelry. Gauge is 21 stitches/4 inches.
I'm shortening the sleeve to 7" and I'm making the length 26", so these instructions will make those mods. If you want a longer/shorter sleeve, you can adjust the number and rate of increases (and decreases at the other side) accordingly.
Ready? Here goes!
Casting on for the left sleeve
Choose your size and circle that size throughout the Curlew pattern. Then on page 2, look at the total number of stitches on your needle after you've completed your sleeve increase. Subtract 12 stitches from that number. That's the number of stitches you'll cast on.
Work in seed stitch for 2" then work in stockinette for 1/2", ending with a wrong side(WS) row
Increase row: Next row, RS, knit one, make one right, knit to last stitch, make one left, knit one,
Work 5 rows in stockinette and repeat increase. Repeat increase every 6 rows 5 more times, for a total of 6 increases. You should now be up to that total number of stitches you identified in the pattern. Work even until sleeve measures 7" ending with a right side row.
Decide how long you want your sweater. The best way to decide on a length is to find a sweater that is the length you love and measure it from shoulder to hem. I am making the third size, and I want it to be 26" which is 2.75" longer than the pattern, so instead of casting on the number of stitches indicated in the pattern, I will cast on more stitches for the back and fronts. Here's how to figure out how many more stitches you'll need:
The pattern gauge is 21 stitches/4 inches, which is 5.25 stitches/inch. So, for every inch longer you want your sweater, you'll need an extra 5.25 stitches. For example, I want my sweater to be 2.75 inches longer, so I multiply 5.25 stitches per inch by 2.75 inches which is 14.4375. Rounding down, I'll need to cast on 14 more stitches than indicated in the pattern.
Casting on for back and left front:
Purl across all stitches and cast on (your number of stitches). Turn and work 5 stitches in seed stitch, place a marker, knit across existing stitches, and cast on (your number of stitches). Turn and work 5 stitches in seed stitch, place a marker, and purl to last 5 stitches, slip marker, and work last 5 stitches in seed stitch. Continue to follow the pattern working in stockinette stitch with a 5-stitch seed stitch border until you've reached the length indicated in your pattern.
After working the sides to the width designated in the pattern, you'll be working only the back stitches.
Count your stitches and write that number down.
Divide that number in half and write that number down.
With RS facing, knit across half the stitches on your needle and put the remaining stitches on hold. The stitches on hold is your left front.
Turn work and work back neck decreases as indicated in the pattern
Then work even in stockinette to the back measurement indicated in the pattern for your size
Work back neck increases as indicated in the pattern.
Break yarn and place those stitches (sweater back) on holder.
Return to your left front stitches. With RS facing cast on back neck trim stitches as indicated in the pattern for your size (remember this number because you will need it for your right front) and knit across previously held left front stitches.
Count your active stitches - this is the total number of stitches in your left front)
Work in seed stitch for length indicated in the pattern for your size. Bind off in pattern. Be sure your bind off is as stretchy as your fabric or it will pucker.
With fresh yarn and a fresh set of needles, you will cast on your entire right front. The number of stitches you cast on will be half your original total number of stitches (written down above) plus the number of stitches you cast on for your back neck trim per the pattern .
Count your stitches. It should be the same as the total number for the left front
Work in seed stitch for length indicated in the pattern (the same length you worked for the left front) ending with a WS row.
With RS facing, bind off back neck trim stitches and knit to the end of the row - remember you're keeping 5 stitches in seed stitch at each end of the work
Purl across right front stitches and then across held back stitches. You will now be all in one again with you original total number of stitches
Work in even in stockinette (keeping 5 stitches in seed) until back measures correct length for your size as indicated in pattern ending with a WS row.
Next RS row, bind off the number of stitches you had cast on for your back after sleeve increases. Knit to end.
Next WS row, bind off the number of stitches you had cast on for your back and purl to end.
You should have the same number of stitches on your needle that you did when you had finished your sleeve increases
Work 6 rows (or the number of rows you worked after final sleeve increase). Work sleeve decreases at the same rate at which you did the increases (every 6th row 6 times)
Work 4 rows in stockinette then switch to seed stitch and work for 2". Bind off in pattern.
There are all kinds of knitting and all kinds of knitters. I, for one, am primarily a relaxation knitter. I tend to knit boring fabrics in simple shapes because I don't have to think about it. I don't knit as a mental challenge, but rather to clear my mind of stress, be calm, and let my brain work on things I need to sort out. That's fine, but it's not good for me to do _only_ that kind of knitting. In the same way that different exercises strengthen different muscles, different kinds of knitting projects strengthen different knitting muscles. You don't have to be good at it. In fact, messing up is important because mistakes are where the learning happens. When everything is smooth sailing, we don't have to think about what works and what doesn't or why. Especially with lace. With lace, stitch markers are your friend, but they can only tell you something is wrong, not what is wrong. When you find your count is off, you're forced to analyze it a little bit. Two few stitches, and you have to think, Did I miss a yarnover? If so, where? Too many stitches, and it could be an extra yarn over or not enough SSKs. You have to look at the pattern and look at your knitting and go stitch by stitch to figure it out. Looking at your fabric that closely is an excellent way to learn to read your knitting. Ginni and I teach an excellent class on reading your knitting and fixing your mistakes, but it's not until you actually use those skills in the context of a project that you really get it.
Not only does knitting lace help stretch and build your knitting muscles, it helps keep your mind sharp. Whether your 30 or 60, mental exercise is an important part of wellness and staying healthy all the way around. That's why we've introduced the Lace Shawl Series, starting with three lovely Boo Knits patterns. Each lace pattern is a little different with something to teach and challenge, the next just a little more challenging than the last. First in the series is Drift Away, one of the easiest of her designs. In this class you'll learn the tricks (and ways around) the infamous tabbed cast on, the clever edge increase technique that seamlessly incorporates new stitches into the lace repeat, and much more. Ginni will go over the tricks and give you lots of tips on how to ensure your shawl is a success. After Drift Away, there's the lovely Sweet Dreams, followed by Promise Me. These are all lovely designs that work up pretty quickly and make wonderful little accessories and spectacular gifts for the knitworthy in your life.
I never got into the whole scrapbooking thing. Although I admire those lovely testaments to life and times, it was not a hobby that called to me. And yet, the idea of collecting and displaying mementos is enormously appealing. Whether it's a lovely decorated album, a playbill collection, or a shelf of travel souvenirs, we all want more