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 Très 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.

Brioche beginnings

I'm learning to knit brioche, and I'm absolutely loving it! It's just so thick and squishy, and it makes colour combinations really sing...

I've been wanting to learn to knit brioche stitch for a long time. I even have one of Nancy Marchant's books on brioche, but sometimes my design knitting deadlines don't leave much space for playing with new techniques and knitting other designer's patterns. I finally got the push I needed when I heard about Karen of Wool Gathering Australia's It's New To Me KAL. There are a few of us knitting our first two-colour brioche projects for the KAL this month, and sharing tips and encouragement.

If you're not familiar with brioche stitch, here are some examples of designs from my Ravelry favourites which I think really show off its strengths and possibilities:

  • Really bold stripes and zigzags in two or more colours - Stephen West's Askews Me Shawl and Briochevron Wrap (which I plan to make one day as a sock yarn stash-buster)
  • More subtle two-colour brioche, with garter stitch as a contrasting texture - Andrea Mowry's What the Fade!? shawl, Bristol Ivy's Jemison cowl from her forthcoming book Knitting Outside the Box, and Lesley Anne Robinson's Unda shawl (which has a very subtle colour pairing)
  • Classic, cosy texture in a single colour - Jared Flood's Oshima sweater, and Olga Buraya-Kefelian's Gren mitts
  • More complex texture in a single colour - Bristol Ivy's Lisse shawl and Burke cardigan, and Norah Gaughan's modular Counterpane sweater.

The pattern I've chosen to knit for the KAL is Katrin Schubert's beezee hat. I chose a hat because it's a manageable-sized project (I was tempted to try for a large shawl or wrap, but I have other projects to finish!), and I chose this design because I liked the boldness of the stitch pattern. It's my current weekend project, which I've been chipping away at when I'm hanging out on the couch.

I dug through the DK yarn in my stash and chose a speckled main colour, 'Koi' on Walk Collection Cozy Vintage, and a calm grey background colour, 'Eastern Reef Egret' on Circus Tonic Handmade DK:

I'm knitting the biggest size, and I can tell it's going to be a long, slouchy kind of hat. I've just reached the start of the crown decreases, so there's not much more to go.

If you're keen to try knitting some brioche, I recommend just diving in! Here are a couple of resources I used when I got stuck (for example, the first time I had to work a decrease):

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.

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Pooling on purpose

As promised, here is the tale of how I got the colours to pool so nicely in my smaller Rainbow Cake hat. The pastel rainbow colours of the yarn (Madelinetosh's Pure Merino Worsted in 'Pocket Rainbow') practically demanded that I have a go at controlled colour-pooling, and I couldn't be happier with the way it worked out. :)

The first step, of course, was swatching.

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New pattern: Rainbow Cake

It's been a while since I released a new hat design, but here we go!

Rainbow Cake is a cosy textured beanie designed to complement speckled or gently-variegated yarn. I really enjoyed knitting the two samples for this design, they went so fast compared to my usual diet of shawls (much as I adore them).

The arcs of ribbing remind me of rainbows, and the seed stitch texture looks like sprinkles when you combine it with a speckled yarn. I used two special skeins of madelinetosh yarn for these hats: one skein of Pure Merino Worsted in 'Pocket Rainbow' for the small sample, and one of 80/10/10 Worsted in 'Holi Grunge' for the large one. I really love the colour-pooling in the smaller hat, which I managed to achieve after a false start or two - but I'll tell you more about that in another post.

Because you only need one skein of yarn for either size (including the pompom and gauge swatch), a Rainbow Cake hat might be just the thing for one of the single skeins in your stash...

The two sizes are intended to fit kids with a head circumference between 16-19” / 40.5-48.5cm (Small size), and adults with a head circumference between 20-23” / 51-58.5cm (Large size).

Features:

  • texture made up of arcs of ribbing and seed-stitch panels
  • topped with an an optional pompom
  • a quick one-skein project, perfect for gift knitting
  • two sizes, for children and adults
  • requires one skein of worsted-weight yarn
  • suitable for speckled, semi-solid, or variegated yarn
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

You can see all the details and download the Rainbow Cake pattern on Ravelry.


If you're curious which recipe I used for my delicious photo props, it's the classic vanilla cupcake recipe from the Edmonds Cookbook, with my favourite lemon icing. Serious 80s birthday party nostalgia!