It is time to start planning for our next KAL starting Sunday, June 2 and ending Monday, July 1st. This time we are going to explore cables. I have chosen two patterns for use in this KAL so you can pick one that suits you or your intended recipients best. Since it is finally approaching summer, the projects are smaller and more portable.
Since so many of you really enjoyed using Aimee’s pattern, Sea of Dreams, we are going to use Aimee’s patterns again. One of them is one of my favorites and have knit multiple times, the Off Piste hat. Off Piste is a fun hat with cables, bobbles and a cute little brim. It is a perfect first cables project. The second project is the Barleycove Boot Toppers. Since you have to knit a pair, you will be able to practice the cables more.
I will be knitting the Barleycove Boot Toppers for this KAL. Jamie will be knitting the Off Piste. Aimee will be available in the upcoming Ravelry thread also.
The main goal of this KAL is to learn how to cable. Cables really aren’t that difficult and you will feel brilliant when you finish your first project with them. We will discuss the merits of using a cable needle. There will also be information learning how to cable without a cable needle and when it works best. If you already have conquered cables, these projects are still really fun and we hope you still will join us in knitting them.
So what do you need to join us in the Cables KAL?
Off Piste Hat Materials
Recommended Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, 1 skein in the solid colors (You will need 150 yards of a heavier worsted weight yarn or aran weight yarn)
Needles: US size 9 / 5.5 mm circular needle and double pointed needles, US size 8 / 5.0 mm circular needles for brim (or size needed to obtain gauge)
Note: This pattern was originally written for Malabrigo Twist which we no longer actively stock here at Polkadotsheep.com. I have successfully knit the Off Piste in the BSA Worsted Cotton, it is the purple hat pictured above. This is hands down my favorite cotton and we have 20 colors currently in stock.
Barleycove Boot Toppers Materials
Recommended Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina
Needles: US size 2 & 5 / 2.75 mm & 3.75 mm needles, use your favorite method for small circumference knitting in the round: double pointed needles, 32″ or longer circular needle for magic loop, two circulars or a 12″ circular needle
Perhaps neither of these projects suit your personal taste. I would like to suggest that both the Off Piste hat and the Barleycove boot toppers would make fabulous Christmas gifts. So think, by joining this KAL you will learn something new, have fun with us, and be at least one Christmas gift ahead by the end of June. That is a winning combination in my book.
So join us for fun and discussion over in the KAL Ravelry thread in our group!
Start your summer right with a little knitting, a little learning and lots of fun. Happy Knitting until then1
So you have finished your Sea of Dreams Blanket, now what? Well, with lace, it is especially important to wash and block your knitting.
What is blocking anyway? When you block a knit object, you are shaping it out to specific dimensions or until it has the look you want in the finished object. Blocking is worked with a damp object. For lace, blocking is so important because it looks all rumpled and you can’t really see the pattern when you take it off the needle. When you stretch the lace out you can see the beautiful work. The way to do this is wet your work and then stretch and hold it in place until it dries. The result will be an object that looks like you imagined it to in your mind’s eye.
I talked about washing your knitting in this post. Washing your blanket will be no different from with the hat featured in that post. We love Eucalan wool wash, it is a no rinse formula and works beautifully for hand washing any delicate fabric.
This tutorial is using blocking wires. You can buy a set for yourself from Polkadotsheep.com. Our set comes with plenty of wires for multiple projects. The wires are very flexible to bend around curves.
Let’s get started.
First, find a large enough surface to block your project on such a bed or the floor. You will need to be able to pin into this surface. A mat such as a Block n Roll Mat is ideal. You can also just use the bed itself, towels on the floor, or those foam floor puzzle pieces that your kids might have outgrown (that is what I use at the moment).
Second, your object needs to be washed and have all the excess water squeezed out. So it should be damp.
So you have a flat pin-able surface and damp finished object! Get your wire and some pins and follow this few steps to block your Sea of Dreams blanket.
You will need to complete all these steps along the edges. Pull your blanket outward to the size that you wish and so the lace looks open and clear. The yarn-overs should be open but there doesn’t need to be gaps between the knit stitches themselves.
You can also block using pins only. You will need to put them at closer intervals than in these pictures. Use a grid or a straight edge of some sort to make sure you don’t end up with wavy edges (this is one of the advantages of the wires). Work slowly along each edge pulling out your work. You might find you will need to re-adjust some pins after doing others. This is normal.
If you are planning on knitting a lot of lace, a set of blocking wires will make your life much simpler. They are also excellent for giving you nice straight edges to seam together garments knit in pieces.
I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial about blocking using wires, even if you are not participating in the Sea of Dreams KAL. Like most information in knitting, this does not only apply only one project. Washing and blocking really finishes your knit and crochet projects to their fullest potential.
Happy Knitting to all! I am madly knitting on my Sea of Dreams myself.
We met Karen Canapa through Ravelry in a parenting group. Then we discovered she was a designer as well. When we were looking for a new pattern to knit up for a Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe sample, Karen’s Striped Earflap Hat was a good choice. Stripes and earflaps are such a great combo.
Karen lives in Southern Indiana with her husband and two small children. She learned to crochet as a child but took up knitting as a bit of a joke when asked what she would do with her degree in Communication Disorders. Karen left her career to become a stay at mom and now devotes most of her free time to fiber related pursuits. Most of her design inspiration comes from having a visual in her head and not finding any published pattern to match the visual. So Karen just decided design her own patterns.
Of course, much of Karen’s story sounds similar to many of us here at Polkadotsheep, little kids, never thought knitting would become an obsession much less a business, dissatisfaction with available patterns, and so forth. So her pattern is a perfect fit for us.
When Jennifer knit up the Striped Earflap Hat, she chose Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton. Skinny Cotton is 100% organic cotton. It is a perfect springtime and cool summer evening yarn. The hat has 6 sizes, newborn, infant, toddler, child, and small or large adult. So you can make matching hats for your whole family. Jennifer knit a toddler size, you can see her project here.
Here the details for the Striped Earflap Hat.
Pattern: Striped Earflap Hat
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch
Recommended yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton (or a DK weight yarn)
A pom pom maker would also be very helpful when making this hat. I love my pom pom makers, yes, I have multiple sizes.
So if you are looking for a fun little projects that someone is sure to love, this hat is perfect. There are some many fun color combinations that the possibilities are endless.
It is okay if you look at this picture and sigh with happiness. I do every time I see it. This sweetly sleeping baby is under Aimee’s newest pattern release, Sawing Logs.
Using worsted weight yarn and a fun combination of twisted stitches and seed stitch, this blanket is a fun challenge for a beginning knitter. It is the perfect mix of easily memorized motif and simple knitting for the more experienced knitter.
Aimee knit the original blanket in Berroco Vintage. Vintage really is our go-to yarn for baby and kids. It comes in such a large color range (currently we have 44 in stock) and knits up relatively quickly in a gauge of 4 to 5 stitches per inch. The other recommended yarns for Sawing Logs are Malabrigo Rios and Berroco Comfort. While Vintage is a blend of acrylic and washable wool, Rios is 100% washable wool and Comfort is an acrylic and nylon blend for those who prefer no wool.
Sawing Logs is designed to be knit to three sizes, lovie measuring 16″ x 16″, stroller measuring 25″ x 33″, and crib measuring 33″ x 41″. All of Aimee’s blankets are designed for these three sizes. The lovie is perfect for just that, loving and cuddling. The stroller size is also perfect for throwing over a car seat. The crib size is perfect for the nursery.
To see some examples of Sawing Logs that have been knit thus far, click here.
One of the most popular Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe patterns designed by Aimee has recently been re-released, Bobbles for the Whole Family. I remember seeing this hat as a shoppe sample when I first went in and learned to knit. It is not uncommon to be out and about in Whitefish, Montana in the winter and see these hats on all sorts of people. We hope that you will discover how fun this pattern is for yourself. Knit up some for your family this summer so you are ready to start winter with a little fun with bobbles!
If you do not have a Ravelry account, you can also buy these pattern from Polkadotsheep.com.
Thanks so much all your support! Be sure to check the Ravelry group, Aimee Alexander Designs for support and more information on these patterns and all other patterns from Aimee.
PS: Sorry for the blog silence for a bit. There was death in my family I needed to attend to. Don’t worry all is well and at peace. Just wanted to let you know.
The exciting Polkadotsheep event is that Aimee Alexander has decided to launch a designer group on Ravelry. For those of you who may not know, Aimee is the owner of the Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe and Polkadotsheep.com. She is also a talented designer. The Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe Ravelry group has been the place to go to for support with Aimee’s pattern and it still will be that. But Aimee decided that it was time for her patterns to have their very own home on Ravelry.
So join Aimee in the Ravelry group, Designs by Aimee Alexander! There will be many familiar faces there if you have spent anytime in our Ravelry group. But there are a lot of unfamiliar (to me) faces as well. Aimee has designed many lovely baby blankets and I am discovering there are a lot of dedicated blanket knitters. I have spent the week looking at those projects. The group project pages will only be featuring Aimee’s designs. We are hoping this will be the go to resource for questions and inspiration. The group will eventually feature threads on each of Aimee’s designs (a work in progress) and sneak peeks of upcoming designs.
The Sea of Dreams KAL continues to move along well. A few participants have finished their blankets. Some have just joined us. We have had some great discussions of strategies for knitting lace. The praises of highlighter tape has been sung by someone other than myself. Here is a list of items that participants have added to their tool kits since they cast on for the KAL.
- Highlighter Tape
- Clover Split Ring Markers
- Blocking Wires (call the Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe to order, 888.262.6396)
- Chart Keeper
It is amazing how much the right tools can enhance your knitting experience. On the best way to make your knitting better is using the right needles for the job. For many, when knitting lace, sharp tips of needles are a must. If you have been bitten by the lace knitting bug, I recommend a Addi Clicks Lace or Lace long tips Kits. These kits are not exactly the same. So you need to consider your knitting and your usual choice of projects and read the product descriptions. Even if you aren’t that into knitting lace but know you like your needles to have pointy tips, these are the needles for you.
I have been knitting on my Sea of Dreams blanket and my son’s birthday sweater. I must admit due to other unplanned circumstances, my son’s sweater might not be done by his birthday. To be honest, I am hoping it is too warm to wear sweaters by the end of this month (it has been rather chilly where I am the past two weeks). But we observed two bluebird pairs in front of our house last week, so I know it is spring!
Last year when my son turned 4, I swore I would not try to knit my son a birthday sweater again. He refused to wear that cute little vest with a hood. I decided that birthday knits were fine when he was two with no opinions. But since he had rarely willingly wore the three-year sweater and was now refusing the four-year vest, the birthday knitting was at an end. Well, I succumbed to whatever it is that makes mothers think “But I have done this for the last three years, I must do it again” and have started this year’s (5 years old) birthday sweater.
I am knitting Spud Murphy designed by Carol Feller. It has stripes, pockets and I cord trim which I love. The pattern is available on Ravelry and in the Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe for local customers. This sweater doesn’t have very many projects listed in Ravelry, I am not sure why. I am knitting with our favorite yarn for kids, Berroco Vintage. The inspiration for the colors is “pirates.” Overall, the pattern is very straight forward. The sleeves are knit in the round to the point where they are joined with the yoke of the sweater. The body of the sweater is knit in one piece from the bottom. The pockets and trim really do set it apart from other sweaters in my opinion.
I am using US 5 / 3.75 mm needles for the cuff ribbing and US 7 / 4.5 mm for the body. Vintage behaves beautifully at this gauge (18 stitches per 4″/10 cm). The cuffs are a bit tighter than called for because I know my son does not like sleeves hanging over his hands. I am trying to up the odds he will actually wear this sweater more.
My son has started to express more interest in items that have been made just for him. My mom also knits and sews and he is liking those items more these days too. I will let you all know how it goes. I do expect as my boy gets bigger that knitting garments for him will be more of challenge. That is okay. Now I have to meet the April 29th deadline. He was born at 11:56 pm so I have the whole day to get it finished, right?
This awesome shawl is my current “brainless” knitting project. It is my favorite kind of simple knitting project combining with a few details with a favorite yarn. It is the Groovy Shawl by JumperCablesKnitting (available on Ravelry and in store). I was just looking around for a triangle shawl that I could throw around my shoulders easily when this shawl showed up in my Ravelry “friends activity” page. Aimee had favorited as a possible shoppe sample for the Knit ‘n Needle. I knew it was exactly what I was looking for and I had the perfect yarn in the perfect amount sitting in my stash. This Madelinetosh Tosh DK had been in the stash since last spring. The colorway is Opaline (since you will want to know) and it is no longer in stock. But we have many other amazing Madelinetosh Tosh DK colorways. A number of yarns we stock would look great knit into the Groovy Shawl. The other yarn I have my eye on is Berroco Remix, a great 100% recycled fibers yarn (non wool).
Of I am also working on my Sea of Dreams blanket as part of our current KAL. The KAL is moving right along with new people joining us still. A friend just told me that two ladies at her knit night knitting alone with us too. So the three of them worked on it together. I wonder if next week some more will have joined them. Read the KAL details in these posts (1, 2, 3, 4) here on the blog and chat with us on Ravelry.
I will leave you with a pretty picture. It is a close up of my Groovy Shawl with some color manipulation. I just really like it and wanted to share it with you.
Tell me what your current projects are and do you make birthday knits for children (yours or someone else).
Happy Knitting and enjoy your spring if it has come to you. It is taking its sweet time in my neck of the woods.
By the way, I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that my youngest child is going to be five. How did that happen?
I put together a simple picture tutorial for the knit in hem as it is written in the Sea of Dreams Baby Blanket pattern.
You will need a spare set of needles for this technique. It is best if they are the same size or smaller than the working needle size. For example, I am knitting the hem portion of my blanket on a US 5 / 3.75 mm needle and my spare needle size is a US 4 / 3.5 mm. If you have used the three needle bind off technique, you will quickly see that the knit in hem is done in the same fashion.
Please note that I used a long tail cast on. If you used a different type of cast on, your edge might look a bit different. You will still pick up stitches and then work the stitches the same way; however, the loop you initially pick may differ. Work a few stitches and see if you like how your stitches look when you have completed step 4.
When you have finished, your hem should look similar to mine shown below.
If you haven’t started your blanket yet and would rather have live stitches rather than picking up stitches across the cast on edge, you can use a provisional cast on. My favorite provisional cast on is clearly demonstrated in this fabulous Lucy Neatby video. Sorry, I can not embed this video, but it is really the best, so go watch it and then came back here.
Questions or comments, talk to us in the KAL Ravelry thread or in the comments below.