New patterns: Aether Shawl + Aether Cowl

My final new pattern release of the year is a double shot: a laceweight shawl and a fingering-weight cowl, both featuring a geometric lace pattern inspired by sparkling stars. The shawl is a light, ethereal triangle knit from the bottom up, and the cowl is a quicker knit, worked flat and then grafted.

Aether Shawl

Aether Cowl

I took the name Aether from classical science, where it was thought to be a fifth element filling the sky above the terrestrial sphere. In later centuries, the aether was hypothesized to be the medium through which light travels. My starlight-inspired lace pattern is made up of mesh triangles on a background of garter stitch, forming a mosaic of starbursts - a more complex take on the lace from my Hextile Wrap design.

The shawl requires one 100g skein of laceweight yarn. I used a beautiful merino/silk blend from Miss Click Clack called Shark Bay Lace, which has a wonderful shimmer thanks to the silk. The interesting greenish-gold semi-solid colourway is called Fracta Aurea Olivae, which I think translates to 'broken golden olive'.

Shawl Features:

  • a delicate triangular shawl featuring geometric lace and garter stitch
  • worked from the bottom up
  • the garter stitch border begins with picked-up stitches around the diagonal edges
  • techniques include garter stitch and simple lace, picking up stitches, and a stretchy bind-off
  • a one-skein project in laceweight yarn
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed yarn
  • easy to enlarge by adding pattern repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

The cowl is also a one-skein knit, but in fingering-weight yarn. I used Skein Yarn's Top Draw Sock, a very soft merino/nylon blend, in a calm greyish lavender called Trรจs Chic.

Cowl Features:

  • a light, drapy cowl featuring geometric lace and garter stitch
  • worked flat beginning with a provisional cast on and grafted to form the loop
  • techniques include garter stitch and simple lace, a provisional cast on, and grafting
  • a one-skein project in fingering-weight yarn
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed yarn
  • easy to enlarge by adding pattern repeats
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

The model for these designs is the amazingly talented Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits, who I was lucky enough to meet in person during her recent trip to Melbourne!

You can see all the details and purchase the Aether Shawl and Aether Cowl patterns on Ravelry.

New pattern: Beeswax Scarf

I've combined my love of bees and textured knits once again, and the result is the Beeswax Scarf! Its large-scale honeycomb pattern echoes the cables on my Beeswax Hat, but this is much easier to knit - and most importantly for a scarf, it's easy to knit flat. No cables here, just simple lace and garter stitch. It's so incredibly cosy, I can't wait for winter... ;)

The stitch pattern really is simple to knit, and watching the honeycomb grow is quite addictive. The only skills you'll need are working basic lace stitches (knit, purl, yarn-over, k2tog, and ssk), slipped stitches at the edges, and the Long Tail Cast On (which is optional). Charts are included as well as full written instructions.

Bohemia Worsted by Outlaw Yarn is a snuggly, luxurious blend of polwarth wool, alpaca, and possum fibre. This amazing rich golden colour is called 'Troy', and I used three balls for my scarf with plenty left over for swatching.

The Beeswax Scarf pattern includes three size options - a standard scarf (which is the one I knit), a wider scarf, and a wrap. All are a generous length for maximum cosiness.

Features:

  • an all-over textured honeycomb pattern
  • knit flat from end to end
  • three width options (scarf, wide scarf, and wrap)
  • easy to enlarge by adding extra repeats to the length and/or width
  • requires 3, 4, or 5 balls of Outlaw Yarn's Bohemia Worsted (depending on size) or 611-1018 yards of worsted-weight yarn
  • solid, semi-solid, or heathered yarn is ideal
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

You can see all the details and download the Beeswax Scarf pattern via Ravelry or Loveknitting.

New pattern: Cinnamon Stars

Cinnamon Stars is my final new pattern release of 2016, and I must say it's one of my favourites! It's a very soft and cosy tubular cowl with a liberal dusting of colourwork stars. Knit up in the rich hand-dyed colours of Manos del Uruguay's Silk Blend Fino, it looks almost good enough to eat...

This yarn is a luxurious blend of 70% merino and 30% silk, in a single-ply construction which has enough fuzziness to it to produce a great colourwork fabric. I used one skein of 'Gilt' for the background colour and one of 'Ivory Letter Opener' for the star motifs, with plenty left over for swatching since Fino comes in generous 490-yard skeins.

I've been working on my 'travelling cowl' on and off since March - it even came to Europe with me, and kept me busy on the long train ride through the Alps. After taking it to New Zealand a few months later and then back to Australia, I finished it at last! That's what I call a well-travelled WIP. Now, with my northern-hemisphere knitting friends in the midst of winter, it's the perfect time to release a decidedly cold-weather pattern like a tubular cowl.

Doesn't it look great with my speckled Blank Canvas jersey? I think I've found my 'look' for Winter 2017. :)

Features:

  • an all-over pattern of colourwork stars
  • knit in the round beginning with a provisional cast on
  • grafted into a seamless loop to finish
  • one size, with easily adjustable circumference
  • requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn in contrasting colours
  • solid or semi-solid-dyed yarns are ideal
  • pattern includes tips for swatching in the round, a crochet provisional cast on, and Kitchener Stitch or grafting
  • the colourwork motif is charted only. 

I have a couple of tutorial posts coming up for you, on swatching colourwork in the round, and the crochet provisional cast on. And this is the Kitchener stitch tutorial that I always go to when I need a refresher: Knitty's Kitchener Stitch tutorial.

You can see all the details and download the Cinnamon Stars pattern via Ravelry and Loveknitting.

The biscuits were a fun little project - edible photo props are definitely the best kind. I used the Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) recipe from one of my favourite baking sources, Ladies A Plate. They were actually easier than I anticipated after examining the recipe, I had no trouble rolling out the almondy meringue dough and cutting out the little stars. They taste amazing too, and the remaining ones are still crisp now, after almost two weeks. Pssst Mum - they're gluten free! ;)

A perfect pair of socks

The Gift-A-Long has been an absolute whirlwind so far, with a whopping 13,000 finished projects as of this morning! I've been busy hosting the Hand & Arm Things thread, plus giving out prizes for project photos each Thursday.

I even managed to finish a GAL project of my own, a pair of Grellow Love socks knit in leftover Vintage Purls Sock. Just to make things tricky for myself, I experimented with making a stop-motion video of my second sock, snapping a frame after each half-inch (very roughly) of knitting:

I made a stop-motion vid of my second Grellow Love sock to help push me along. Yay for trying new things! I used the OSnap! app on my phone to create the video. There will definitely be more experiments to come, but I'll probably go slightly less ambitious next time. ๐Ÿ˜ The excellent sock pattern is by @knitsharelove. โœจ #newtoy #stopmotion #sockfootage #sockknitting #toeupsocks #knitsharelove #vintagepurls #giftalong2016 #secondsocksyndromeisnotthebossofme

A video posted by Amy van de Laar ๐ŸŽ„ (@amyvdlaar) on Dec 12, 2016 at 3:34pm PST


It came out pretty good for my first stop-motion attempt! I did have a bit of trouble with consistent lighting, since I recorded it over the course of a few days and at different times of day. I used the iPhone app OSnap!, which can also be used to make time-lapse videos. I can tell I'm going to have a lot of fun with this app. :)

Back to the socks, here's what the finished pair looks like - I really love the contrast toes and heels. I have plenty of odds and ends of sock yarn left, so I'm keen to make more pairs using this pattern. It's a nice easy one, especially once you've knit the first sock.

A triumphal shot of both socks. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ Except for the fiddly toe-up cast on, this was a very straightforward knit for this semi-newbie sock knitter. I liked the Fleegle heel construction (which I hadn't tried before), and they fit bloody well too! The pattern is Grellow Love by @knitsharelove, and the yarn is Sock by @vintagepurls. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ #giftalong2016 #sockknitting #knitsocks #knittingfromstash #knitsharelove #vintagepurls #grellowlovesocks

A photo posted by Amy van de Laar ๐ŸŽ„ (@amyvdlaar) on Dec 14, 2016 at 1:18pm PST

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I'm not sure I'll have time to tackle another Gift-A-Long project, since I still have one-third of a giant lace shawl to knit this month. But if you fancy jumping in with a project or two, the GAL is still on until December 31st!

Heartpops Revisited

Sometimes I get the urge to re-knit an older pattern and tweak a few things - the colour, the length, various aspects that don't fit my current preference. And sometimes I just really want to add a pompom! My Heartpops hat was released back in February, and I was (and am) super proud of the stitch pattern I invented of 3D hearts in a delicate cabled lattice:

What I didn't love so much, especially when it came time to photograph the hat, was the extremely bright, almost fluorescent colour I'd chosen. It's a fun colour, but it was seriously hard to photograph, especially in sunlight. I also wanted to showcase the hat's other blocking option, which is beanie-style rather than beret-style (blocked over a balloon instead of a dinner plate).

It's the same pattern, but the effect is so different:

First version (Feb 2016)

Second version (Nov 2016)

This second version is much softer and calmer looking, thanks to the change of yarn. This time I used Scout, a lofty DK-weight organic merino from Wool Days, in the colour 'Winter's Day'. The cool neutral grey shows off texture and cables beautifully! Two balls was enough for both hat and pompom.

Another tweak I made was reducing the height of the ribbing a little, because if I'm adding a pompom I want the hat to fit snugly on my head without extra room at the crown - I don't want the pompom to flop around up there. But aside from the yarn change and shortening the ribbing, the pattern is exactly the same as before.

Happily, I still had some of the heart-shaped lollipops left over from the previous photoshoot! If that's not proof of my lack of sweet tooth, I don't know what is. ;)

The updated Heartpops pattern is available on Ravelry.