Mar 242014

Slip Sliding Away cover | The Knitting Vortex

This graphic, topdown shawl begins with a garter tab, then is worked in narrow, two-color stripes with slipped stitches in reversed colors on each side of the central spine. The lower edging is a complementary slipped stitch rib which curves around the point and extends to each tip, emphasizing the strong linear elements of the shawl. Visually complicated but easy to work, only one color is used at a time, and the slipped stitches result in the pattern looking different on each half of the shawl. Increases on every row create a long v-shaped wingspan which accentuates the strong lines and showcases the changing optical interplay of colors.

Techniques & Skills Used: garter tab CO, knit/purl, slipped stitch colorwork; this pattern is both written and charted.
Size: 64” wingspan and 27” depth, after blocking.
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock (100% superwash merino wool; 395 yards/100g), 1 skein each, MC and CC. Sample shown in MC Wood Violet and CC Victorian Gothic. This pattern may be adapted to any amount of yarn in two colors, see Designer’s Notes.
Other Materials: US 7 (4.5mm) 40” circular needle; US 8 (5mm) needle for edging; scrap yarn for provisional CO; Stitch markers (4); Yarn needle.
Gauge: 20 st and 40 rows/4” in Body slipstitch pattern, after blocking. Gauge is not critical for this project, however a different gauge may result in a smaller or larger finished shawl, and different yardage requirements.

See it on Ravelry, to read more or purchase the pattern.  

Slip Sliding Away | The Knitting Vortex  Slip Sliding Away crossed closeup | The Knitting Vortex  Slip Sliding Away bandanna style | The Knitting Vortex

Mar 132014

I buy all the knitting magazines, and my favorite by far is knit.wear from Interweave – so modern, with beautiful, simple photography and exactly the kinds of things I like to knit. Having a design published is always exciting, but I’m extra-jazzed about my Box Pleat Scoopneck sweater, which is in the Spring/Summer issue of knit.wear.

Box Pleat Scoopneck | The Knitting Vortex

Box pleats can easily bring to mind classic schoolgirls with blazers and penny loafers, so the challenge here was to design a clean updated look that a modern girl would want to wear. I kept the fabric simple stockinette, and gave the boxy sweater shape that’s so popular right now a feminine spin by shaping only the back with princess seams, and leaving the fullness in the front to be consumed just below the deep neckline in the pleats. One large center box pleat flanked by two small side pleats keeps the whole look streamlined, and the seamless set-in sleeves maintain neat, fitted shoulders – I love the dropped-shoulder, square and boxy look, but this sweater is a bit more refined. Plus, the construction is modern and simple too – worked in the round from the bottom up, with seamless short-row sleeves.

Box Pleat Scoopneck pleats | The Knitting Vortex

The Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu that was my suggested yarn is a great wool/bamboo blend that knits like wool but adds a little extra drape and sheen perfect for a warmer weather sweater. It was ideal for the early fall, too, when I took these quick photos.

Box Pleat project | The Knitting Vortex

    Box Pleat project | THe Knitting Vortex

For all the pattern details, see the Box Pleat Scoopneck on Ravelry; and check out all the other fabulous designs in knit.wear Spring/Summer as well – I love them all!

Mar 022014

Probably my all-time favorite movie is Gone With The Wind; I love everything about it – the period costumes, the sweeping narrative, the human frailties. And of course the heroine, Katie Scarlett O’Hara. As flawed a human being as she is, with her childish, manipulative, selfish temperament, she is also unflinchingly strong and unfailingly loyal to the people and places she considers her own. Certainly she qualifies as a heroine in my view.

Last year, Anne from Wooly Wonka Fibers invited me to design two shawls for her 2014 Heroines Shawl Club, and asked me to pair my choice of heroines with her lovely hand-dyed yarns. And so I designed two shawls, using Artio Lace and Aerten Sock to depict two admirable heroines. The first of these is the design in the March 2014 club kit, Katie Scarlett.

Katie Scarlett front view | The Knitting Vortex   Katie Scarlett arty view | The Knitting Vortex

It’s a semi-circular laceweight shawl, knit from a garter tab cast on, with four tiers of lace patterns that represent Miss Scarlett’s trajectory through life. The beautiful, jewel-green color is the exclusive Twelve Oaks colorway, meant to recall the infamous velvet curtain dress. Always resourceful, our girl Scarlett; and always a lovely, nuanced color sense from Anne.

All the design details are on Ravelry, where the pattern will also be available for sale as a downloadable pdf as of June 1. Hard to wait, I know . . . but after all, tomorrow is another day.



Feb 262014

With a little break in the snowing action, I took the opportunity for a bit of thrifting. Unlike my last Radiant Orchid haul, this interlude was all about the greys.

Thrifty Shoesday 2.24.2024 | The Knitting Vortex

Look at the pieces de resistance – the Carlos Santana heels! I’m putting them on as soon as I dont need snow boots anymore. Some nice knits, too; a curvy black sweaterdress with huge ribbed portrait cowl, an open-front long cardi from Old Navy with silver metallic bling, and a cashmere crew with black contrast sleeves. Add a couple tops and some really nice White House/Black Market black and white tiny check pants, and it’s a wardrobe. With snow leopard!

Thrifty stack 2.24.2014 | The Knitting Vortex


Feb 242014

The Fisher Queen cover | The Knitting Vortex

A modern take on the fisherman sweater, The Fisher Queen blends classic cable and rib elements with a non-traditional shape and construction. The modified dolman sleeves, scooped neck and curved hem are all updated details on a classic silhouette. Worked seamlessly from the top down, the shoulder saddles are knit first, with stitches picked up for front and back and worked flat to below the armhole, then joined to work in the round. Long, skinny sleeves are picked up and worked in rib, then finished with twisted rib cuffs, matching the hem and neckband. The Fisher Queen mixes traditional and modern, in a contemporary classic.

Techniques & Skills Used: backwards loop CO, knit/purl, cables, decreasing, short rows, picking up stitches, grafting. Body stitch patterns are both written and charted.
Size: 31 (35, 39, 43, 47, 51, 55)” bust; shown in third size with 4” ease. For a similar fit, choose a size with several inches of ease; the cables and rib will conform gently to the body, while still maintaining a relaxed silhouette.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool (100% wool; 478 yards/250g), shown in 8014 Natural; 2 (2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4) skeins, or approximately 875 (965, 1115, 1200, 1375, 1475, 1650) yards of heavy aran weight yarn. The yardage requirements for sizes 35, 47 and 51 are very close to requiring an additional skein of Eco Wool; consider purchasing an extra to be sure you have enough.
Other Materials: US 9 (5.5mm) 32” circular needle or size to match gauge; US 8 16” circular needle for picking up stitches; Cable needle, Stitch markers; Stitch holders; Yarn needle.
Gauge: 16 st and 22 rows/4” in stockinette stitch and in slightly stretched rib, with larger needle, after blocking. The central cable panel is 5.5” wide.

See it on Ravelry, to read more or purchase the pattern.   

The Fisher Queen right front view | The Knitting Vortex  Fisher Queen back view | The Knitting Vortex  The Fisher Queen left view | The Knitting Vortex

Feb 212014

Fireside Last Look | The Knitting Vortex

The Fireside blanket cardigan, my other design from Clotheshorse digital magazine which I posted about here, is now also available as an individual pattern.

A woolly mantle knit as a simple rectangle with sleeves, Fireside features seamless construction in a light-as-air alpaca blend yarn. The textured top edge is worked as a garter-based loop stitch, and becomes the collar of the sweater; the body is a canvas of stockinette with purl ridge details along the front, hem, and sleeve cuffs. The comforting shape, and modern bulky yet featherweight yarn come together in a new-fashioned garment to wear both at home and out into the chill.

Techniques & Skills Used: knit/purl, decreasing, picking up stitches.
Size: 30 (32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44)” bust; shown in third size with no ease. This blanket sweater is designed so that the cross-back measures 2” less than the front bust. For a good fit, choose a size with 0-2” ease at cross-back.
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Techno (68% baby alpaca, 22% silk, 10% extrafine merino; 120 yards/50g); 10 (10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) skeins, shown in #1970 Fame.
Other Materials: US 10.5 (6.5mm) 60” circular needle, or size to match gauge; Stitch markers; Yarn needle.
Gauge: 12 st and 20 rows/4” in stockinette stitch; 12 st and 10 rows/4” in Garter Loop stitch, after gentle blocking.

See it on Ravelry, to read more or purchase the pattern.  

Fireside front view | The Knitting Vortex            Fireside sketch | The Knitting Vortex          Fireside bonus front view | The Knitting Vortex

Feb 192014

Snug cover | The Knitting Vortex

I first posted about Snug when it was published in Clotheshorse digital magazine, and I’m pleased to say that it is now also available as a self-published individual pattern download on Ravelry, with updated yarn information using Malabrigo Worsted, and a separate photo tutorial for the Tuck stitch.

A cozy sweater with ample tucked funnelneck, Snug is knit in one piece from the bottom up with flattering shoulder shaping. Gentle waist shaping and short dolman sleeves flatter the body, while grafted shoulders and an integrated slouchy funnelneck ensure seamless knitting. Short rows make the sleeves and shoulder comfortable, eliminating excess fabric at the underarm. Each front and back is knit with one continuous strand of yarn, with no binding off or picking up stitches at the neck. The substantial cowl frames the face with a series of narrowing tucks at the front neck, gently pulling down the front edge below the chin. Wear it alone in the transitional seasons, and as a Snug extra layer in the depths of winter.

Techniques & Skills Used: knit/purl, short rows, increasing/decreasing, picking up stitches, tucks. A tutorial is included for the Tuck stitch.
Size: 30 (32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44)” bust; shown in fourth size with 2” ease.
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Worsted (100% wool; 210 yards/100g); 3 (3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins, shown in Coco.
Other Materials: US 8 (5mm) 40” circular needle, or size to match gauge; US 8 (5mm) 16” circular needle or dpns for tucks, cowl and grafting; US 6 (4mm) 16” circular needle or dpns for cowl hem; Stitch markers (4); Stitch holders (3); Yarn needle.
Gauge: 16 st and 22 rows/4” in stockinette stitch, after blocking.

See it on Ravelry, to read more or purchase the pattern. 

Snug | The Knitting Vortex  Snug bonus shoulder view | The Knitting Vortex  Snug Last Look | The Knitting Vortex