New patterns: Ensata Scarf & Cowl and Ensata Hat

I hope you’re in the mood for some texture and lace, because my Ensata Scarf & Cowl and Ensata Hat have just been published as part of Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People 13! This is my fourth time contributing to Wool People, which is BT’s annual collection in collaboration with guest designers.

The stitch patterns in my Ensata designs are inspired by the gently curving pairs of leaves on my moth orchids. The working title at the time of submitting my ideas was the slightly clumsy ‘Orchid Leaves’, but we switched to ‘Ensata’ after the elegantly curved petals of the Japanese Iris, Iris ensata. The twisted ribbing, which flows into and out of the lace, provides a textural contrast and echoes the structure of a grand domed greenhouse.

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

The scarf is knit flat from end to end, and the cowl, which is included as a variation together with the scarf pattern, is worked in the round from the bottom up. The hat, available as a separate pattern, is also worked in the round from the bottom up. If you’re not a fan of knitting lace on both right-side and wrong-side rows, the cowl or hat might suit you better than the scarf. I know I found these stitches much more straightforward to work in the round!

The Ensata Scarf has been designed for either laceweight or fingering-weight yarn, and is shown here in Brooklyn Tweed Vale in the colourway Klimt. You will need 3 skeins of Vale or 6 skeins of Peerie to knit the scarf. The cowl and hat are both designed for fingering-weight yarn, and are shown in Brooklyn Tweed Peerie in Patina and Fleet (respectively). You will need 2 skeins for the cowl and 1 for the hat.

Both Vale and Peerie have wonderful springiness and stitch definition, which make them ideal for showing off knitted texture. I love the way the twisted ribbing almost looks like it’s been carved into the surface of these knits.

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

Ensata Scarf & Cowl features:

  • a delicate scarf knit flat from end to end, and a short cowl knit in the round from the bottom up

  • alternating bands of lace and twisted ribbing, with organic transitions between the two

  • scarf dimensions: 68” [172.5cm] in length and 15½“ [39.5cm] width

  • cowl dimensions: 26¾“ [68 cm] circumference and 12” [30.5 cm] height

  • scarf requires 1070 yards of laceweight or 1065 yards of fingering-weight yarn

  • cowl requires 375 yards of fingering-weight yarn

  • pattern includes charted stitch patterns only

  • pattern includes both scarf and cowl versions.

Ensata Hat features:

  • a stretchy beanie knit in the round from the bottom up

  • a ring of lace contrasts with the all-over texture of twisted ribbing and clean lines of the crown shaping

  • hat dimensions: 17¾“ [45 cm] in circumference and 8½” [21.5 cm] length, to fit adult head sizes ranging from 19-23” [48-58.5 cm] circumference

  • requires 163 yards of fingering-weight yarn

  • pattern includes charted stitch patterns only.

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

Photo by Brooklyn Tweed

You can purchase the patterns on Ravelry, or from Brooklyn Tweed’s website (Ensata Scarf & Cowl, Ensata Hat). A kit including the Scarf & Cowl pattern and three pre-wound skeins of Vale is also available. And be sure to check out the always-beautiful Lookbook for the collection!

New pattern: Anagram

I'm so happy to finally be able to share this pair of projects with you! The Anagram Hat & Wrap are part of the new amirisu Winter 2018 issue, along with seven other patterns celebrating texture in knitting.

Photo by amirisu

The Anagram Hat is a cosy beanie with crisp texture, and its sibling the Anagram Wrap is a large dramatic rectangle with an all-over lace pattern. The stitch patterns combine modern geometric lace with garter stitch for texture and squish factor.

Geometric stitch patterns have become a real signature of mine - I find them very satisfying, both in the designing stage and the knitting. Because of the small repeating elements in their stitch patterns, the Hat & Wrap are very rhythmic and meditative to knit. I rearranged the little 'blocks' of pattern, with diagonal lines travelling across the garter stitch background, just like rearranging the letters in a word - so I think of these two stitch patterns as 'anagrams' of each other.

Photo by amirisu

The Anagram Hat & Wrap are both knit in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in the delicate wintery shade 'Thaw'. Arbor's beautifully crisp stitch definition really lets their texture shine. You will need 7 skeins for the wrap and 2 for the hat (including a pompom if you wish).

Photo by amirisu

Hat Features:

  • a cosy textured beanie in modern geometric lace
  • can be topped with a pompom if you wish
  • knit in the round from the bottom up
  • techniques include the long tail cast on, and lace knitting including the occasional double increase and decrease
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed DK-weight yarn
  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats around
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

Wrap Features:

  • a long cosy rectangular wrap in modern geometric lace
  • knit flat from end to end
  • techniques include the long tail cast on, lace knitting, and a stretchy bind off
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid-dyed DK-weight yarn
  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats across or lengthwise
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts. 

Photo by amirisu

The patterns are available as part of amirisu Winter 2018, Issue 15. You can purchase a print copy from their website or your favourite yarn shop, or a digital copy from amirisu's website or Ravelry.

How to embiggen your shawl

Do you like your shawls and wraps to be as big and cosy as possible? Many patterns are easy to enlarge, if you have extra yarn on hand. And if you'd like to make a smaller shawl, because it would suit you better or you're short of yarn, the principles are exactly the same. I like to include suggestions for customising the size in my patterns wherever possible, so your project will come out Just Right.

The designs which are simplest to re-size have an all-over stitch pattern, and I'll be focusing on these since several of my shawl and wrap patterns are in this category.

Read More

New pattern: Leadlight

It's always exciting when I can finally share one of my secret projects! Today Leadlight gets its big reveal, as part of Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 11. This is my third Wool People outing, and the third of my designs in Brooklyn Tweed's wonderful yarn (the first two being my Amarilli and Kea shawls).

Be sure to browse through the WP11 lookbook, which is completely gorgeous! I like to save them up until I have a little uninterrupted time to soak up the inspiration. :)

Leadlight, photo by Jared Flood

Leadlight is a rectangular stole in laceweight yarn, featuring large-scale geometric lace. I was inspired by the image of sunlight streaming through glass panes, and the memory of a small geometric stained-glass window I had in my room which my Dad had made (picture framers are good with glass, after all).

(Photos by me, before I sent Leadlight off to the USA.)

The lace is simple to knit, while the construction and finishing methods keep things interesting: beginning with a circular cast on, the centre of the stole is knit in the round as a square. After placing some of the stitches on hold, the two ends of the stole are each knit flat to create a rectangular shape. Finally, a garter stitch border finishes off the edges.

The centre of the stole, worked outwards from the pinhole cast on

The garter stitch border keeping things crisp

Vale is a new laceweight yarn from Brooklyn Tweed, a springy, plied yarn that's light and soft, but substantial and full of personality. It blocks easily and drapes beautifully, which makes it just perfect for lace knitting.

I knit my Leadlight stole in the colour Heron, which is a calm, neutral, mid-toned grey with a subtle sheen to it. The whole Vale colour palette is beautifully subtle - I definitely plan to use this yarn for more lace projects!

A close-up of the centre

Features:

  • an all-over geometric lace pattern
  • constructed from the centre out, with two sides extended to form the rectangle
  • a circular cast on (instructions for the Pinhole Cast On are included)
  • a garter stitch border all around the edge
  • a stretchy bind off (instructions for the K2tog-tbl Bind Off are included)
  • easy to alter the length by working a different number of repeats
  • requires 3 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Vale, or 1170yds of laceweight yarn
  • the lace instructions are presented as charts only.

Drapery studies...

You can purchase the pattern for Leadlight on Ravelry, or from Brooklyn Tweed's website. Their Summer of Lace KAL is coming up very soon, beginning later this month.

Simple lace: a love letter

I have a confession to make. Relatively simple lace made up of basic stitches is one of my favourite kinds of knitting! I love to look at complex lace as much as the next knitting-obsessed person, but I really enjoy the process of knitting simpler lace. It just flows off my needles! And you can do a lot with simple lace stitches, with a little inspiration.

I've designed a few scarves and shawls that fall into this category of deceptively-simple lace, most recently my Hextile Wrap:

Its basic elements are garter stitch with some areas of yarn-overs and k2togs, and once you get the gist of the pattern you really don't need to check the chart/instructions very often. The speediness of simple lace means you can see the shapes emerging quickly, which is really satisfying. I find it keeps me wanting to knit "just one more repeat"...

Two of my lace shawls which I think also hit this sweet spot of simple-but-satisfying are Folia Crescent, which has a nice small easily-memorised lace repeat, and Silverwing, which has a closely-related lace pattern elongated into feathers.

Keeping to the bird theme, I have two more examples in my Tailfeather scarf and Kea shawl. Once again, one of these stitch patterns is a variation on the other. Simple stitches; endless possibilities!

These two designs aren't quite as straightforward, since their vertical ribs mean no 'rest' rows on the wrong side, and they also require the occasional double decrease stitch in addition to knit/purl/yo/k2tog/ssk. But they do share my favourite characteristic of simple geometric lace in that you can always tell what comes next, just by looking at your knitting.

I'll be casting on a new simple lace shawl tomorrow. :)