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I am posting with my I-pod touch. That’s so cool, but kinda scary too. Is there no escape?

Check out a preview of NGV4:

Sparkling spangles!

For this week’s KnitBits holiday greeting, I whipped up some festive holiday orbs! These yarn balls are so evocative, they simultaneously remind me of evergreens, presents, snowballs, ornaments…all things sparkly and bright! They were very easy to make, if you made Morty or don’t own a ballwinder, you can totally handle these holiday spheres. 

 

yarn-ball2

Start with a round object (Norah notes that crumpled up newspaper is a greener alternative to Styrofoam balls) and wrap as you normally would to form a yarn ball, turning every few wraps to ensure a nice round shape. Turn in small increments for a neat ball or turn at sharp angles for the randomized look featured here. 

I used a selection of Berroco Yarns: Ultra Alpaca, Pure Merino, Palace, Peruvia and Peruvia Quick, Inca Gold and Lumina. I started each ball with two shades of green. The next layer is the ornament layer–I chose jewel tones and bright primaries inspired by the traditional nose magnifying glass orbs. I finished each yarn ball with a few turns of shiny gold Lumina. Tuck each end into the layers so the yarn stays put. 

yarn-tree1

That’s it! To create a treescape stick a knitting needle through a shoebox and spear three yarn balls onto the needle, shish kabob style. Create mini spheres and thread them onto a strong plied yarn (like Ultra Alpaca) to create a colorful garland for your real tree. Attach a paper clip to hang them from the tree or simply display them in a glass vase or shallow bowl. Instant pretty! 

CR

new videos

Cirilia recorded some helpful videos for this week’s Knitbits.  All three relate to the free pattern, Rosebud (a lovely cardigan designed by Tonia Barry) but might be quite helpful if you need help picking up sts, have fear of bobbles or if you forget to put in buttonholes some day.

hints for picking up stitches

an after thought buttonloop

making a 4 stitch bobble

When ice comes to New England

icy tree in Peterborough  Icy tree in Peterborough, NH

 

The ice storm in New England missed Berroco altogether, but affected my home town of Peterborough NH quite significantly.  This reinforced several things I already knew:

1 – Headlamps are an essential knitting tool. …and it’s such a great look for me ;)

2 – Layers of knits are lovely when there is no source of heat in the house.

Norah knits by headlamp - photo, John Ranta

Norah knits by headlamp - photo, John Ranta

 

What to do but knit?
What to do but knit?

Gifting

Pretty much the moment I started at Berroco we’ve been talking about GIFTS. It started way back in September with tiny holiday sweaters and gift sets you could make on a budget. There was a bit of a debate over the propriety of verbing a noun (I maintain that it is okay in the case of ‘gifting’ and Dictionary.com agrees). This week we’ve decided to give our KnitBits subscribers a gift–a chance to win one of four baskets specially selected by members of the Berroco design team. No worries if you’re not already a subscriber, you can enter until 12 p.m. PST on December 15th (your entry will also sign you up for the KnitBits newsletter). 

 

 

Our baskets are totally idiosyncratic, though mine was a little conservative to begin with. It contained the yarn to knit Crotona in a watery blue shade of Cuzco since that is what I have been knitting for myself in between holiday gift knitting. After I saw the masterpiece Donna had whipped up, I knew I had to step up my game. 

I finally settled on a basket stuffed to the gills with two skeins of every color of Ultra Alpaca Fine. I threw in lots of Clover bamboo DPNs and Booklet #275 which is full of basic sock patterns. The idea was that you could knit socks for yourself or your friends all year long but I immediately came up with a billion other uses for the yarn. I think it would be perfect for crewel, the wool embroidery that is making a comeback. It would also totally rock on the rigid heddle loom–the high yardage (I just typed ‘yarnage’ by mistake, tee hee) and the nylon content are perfect for weaving with. 

 

If you can believe it, Elin, a Swedish blogger living in Melbourne is knitting a STRIPED CARDIGAN with it. This makes her a high priestess of patience IMHO and check it out, she’s not cutting any corners. My new year’s knitting resolution is to take a page from Elin’s book (blog) and knit simply but well. 

 

 

And since this is a blog entry about gifts and the holidays I may as well share my stance on it–it’s the knitter’s way, no? I have done exactly one Christmas where everyone got a handknit gift and it was a very harried December. This year I took the Buy Handmade pledge and have had a fabulous time visiting Etsy and places like Craftland. Now that the crafting pressure is off I’m more motivated than ever to knit for friends and family! I’m loving Closely Knit by Hannah Fettig and Knit One, Embellish Too by Cosette Cornelius-Bates.

Good luck to all us gift knitters! Remember to rest! 

CR

wedgette instruction home

The bits and pieces of Wedgette, the sweater I’m designing for my Raverly fan group, seem to be all over the place and even I am finding them difficult to compile.  So, here is a digest of all of the instructions so far. I’ll be writing the sleeves and finishing soon. I’ll add them to this post, so all the bits will be together. Somehow, publishing the pattern booklets stalled my progress – go figure!

 

First, the schematic, in 7 sizes:

A fun way to test your gauge is to knit the wedge scarf, free pattern on the Berroco web site. Ok – TIME TO GET STARTED :) 

Some useful info: 
lace wedge bottom edge – 2.5(3-3.5-4-4.5-5-5.5)” 
empire seam edge – 1.5(2-2.5-3-3.5-4-4.5)” 
2,1”runs of garter 
1.75(2-2.25-2.5-2.75-3-3.25)“ between 
6 wedges, 5 betweens

scarf as gauge (using Pure Merino dk, as written): 
40 sts seven and a half ” across widest point 
40 sts = a generous 7” in garter st 
size 5 needle 3.75mm

ST ST GAUGE: 
5.75 sts = 1” 
23 sts & 32 rows = 4” (10 cm) 
garter st 23 sts = 4”

YARN AMOUNT I’d say this will take about the same amount of yarn as Calvert

to fit bust size 30(34-38-42-46-50)”
finished measurements
Bust (closed) – 30(34-38-42-46-50)”
materials
Berroco Pure™ Merino DK
color 4576 – 10(11-13-14-16-17), 50 gr balls

WEDGETTE CARDIGAN “SKIRT” 
Cast on 68(70-70-72-74-74-76)sts 
Wedge with garter: 
Knit 12 rows. Purl one row. 
Short row lace wedge (starts on a RS): 
1&2 – (Yo, p2tog) to the end, turn 
repeat rows 1&2 4(6-8-10-12-14-16) times more- 10(14-18-22-26-30-34) rows total 
3&4 – (Yo, p2tog) 32 times, turn 
5&6 – (Yo, p2tog) 24 times, turn 
7&8 – (Yo, p2tog) 16 times, turn 
9&10 – (Yo, p2tog) 8 times, turn 
Knit 12 rows. 
Stockinette st Separator: 
Work 1.75(2-2.25-2.5-2.75-3-3.25)“ in stst (starts and ends with a RS row). Work wedge with garter and separator 4 times more, then work wedge once more, Binding off on last row of garter st. (last knit row).

VERSION 2 – MORE FLARE 
WEDGETTE CARDIGAN “SKIRT”
 
The bottom edge will be approximately 12” larger than the high waist. (In the original version the bottom edge is 6” larger than the high waist.) 
Cast on 68(70-70-72-74-74-76)sts 
Wedge with garter: 
Knit 12 rows. Purl one row. 
Short row lace wedge (starts on a RS): 
1&2 – (Yo, p2tog) to the end, turn 
repeat rows 1&2 4(6-8-10-12-14-16) times more- 10(14-18-22-26-30-34) rows total 
3&4 – (Yo, p2tog) 32 times, turn 
5&6 – (Yo, p2tog) 28 times, turn 
7&8 – (Yo, p2tog) 24 times, turn 
9&10 – (Yo, p2tog) 20 times, turn 
11&12 – (Yo, p2tog) 16 times, turn 
13&14 – (Yo, p2tog) 12 times, turn 
15&16 – (Yo, p2tog) 8 times, turn 
17&18 – (Yo, p2tog) 4 times, turn 
Knit 12 rows. 
Stockinette st Separator: 
Work 1.75(2-2.25-2.5-2.75-3-3.25)“ in stst (starts and ends with a RS row). If you prefer a more finished bottom edge, you may want to work the last 4 sts of the WS row as knit to make a garter edging on the st st section. 
Work wedge with garter and separator 4 times more, then work wedge once more, Binding off on last row of garter st. (last knit row).

BODICE In diagram form: 

alt text

BODICE: 
With RS facing, pick up 172(196-220-244-264-288-312)sts along top edge of “skirt”. First row – K 43(49-55-61-66-72-78)sts, place marker, k 86(98-110-122-132-144-156)sts, place marker, k remaining 43(49-55-61-66-72-78)sts Knit 4 more rows. Buttohole row – knit 6, bo 2 sts, knit to end. Knit the next row, and cast on 2 sts over bound off 2. Knit 3 rows. Next row (WS) – K 6 sts and place them on a holder. K to last 6 sts, place last 6 on a holder. Change to st st and work 4 rows straight begin neckline shaping. 
Neckline shaping:
Dec row (RS)- k3, k2 tog, k to last 5 sts, ssk, k3.
Repeat dec row every 6th row 2(3-0-0-0-0-0) times. 
Then, Repeat dec row every 8th row 9(9-12-13-13-13-14) times. 
(Meanwhile you will be shaping the armholes, and later the shoulders.) 
When piece measures 2.75(3-3.25-3.5-3.75-4-4.25)” from top of skirt, ending with a wrong side row it’s time to separate the fronts from the back. Directions assume you are working one section at a time.

RIGHT FRONT 
(While continuing neck shaping) work to first maker. turn, begin armhole shaping. 
Armhole shaping 
Bind off at armhole 4 sts once, 3 sts once, 2 sts 1(1-2-3-4-5-6) times. Dec one st (following neckline necks as a model) 3(5-6-7-8-9-10) times 
When piece measures 7(7.5-8-8.5-9-9.5-10)” from beg of armhole shaping, begin shoulder shaping. (You may still be shaping the neckline).

Shoulder shaping 
Bind off at shoulder edge, 3(5-5-5-6-7-8) sts 2(1-4-2-4-1-1) time(s), then 4(4-0-6-0-6-7)sts 2(3-0-2-0-3-3) times.

BACK 
With RS facing, join yarn to back and work armhole shaping at each edge. Work shoulder shaping at each shoulder as described above.

LEFT FRONT 
With RS facing, join yarn to left front and work armhole shaping at beg of RS rows. (Continue with neckline shaping as well). Work shoulder shaping at beg of RS rows as described above.

FRONT BANDS 
With smaller needles (2 sizes smaller) and WS facing, slip sts for right front holder to needle. Join yarn, p1, k1 (m1p, k1) 3 times, p1 – 9 sts. Work 1/1 rib for the same # of rows as the front edge. 
Trick – work the rib until you think it’s about right. Don’t’ bind off. Sew it to the front using the mattress st – one full st in and taking one row at a time. When you get to the top adjust the # of rib rows as you complete the sewing and bind off. For the left band, begin with RS facing, join yarn, k1, p1 (m1k, p1) 3 times, k1.

FRONT BANDS (revised 2/20/09)

With smaller needles (2 sizes smaller) and WS facing, slip sts for right front holder to needle. Join yarn, p1, k1 (m1p, k1) 3 times, p1 – 9 sts. Work 1/1 rib  for the same # of rows as the front edge + 3(3-3-3.25-3.25-3.25-3.5)”.

Trick – work the rib until you think it’s about right. Don’t’ bind off. Sew it to the front using the mattress st – one full st in and taking one row at a time. Then continue sewing the band to the back neck until you reach the center back. When you get to the center back adjust the # of rib rows as you complete the sewing and bind off. The neck line will lie more nicely if the band is stretched across the back neck, so too few rows is better than too many. For the left band, begin with RS facing, join yarn, k1, p1 (m1k, p1) 3 times, k1. Sew the bind off ends of the bands to each other.

 

LONG SLEEVE (make 2)

With larger needles cast on  46(49-52-55-58-61-64) sts. Knit 6 rows. Change to stst and work ½” straight, ending with a WS row.  Inc row (RS)- K3, m1, k to last 3 sts, m1, k3.  Repeat increase row every 14th(12th-10th-10th- 8th-8th-6th) row 8 (9-11-12-14-15-17) times more – 64(69-76-81-88-97-100) sts.  Work straight until piece measures 18” (or desired length to undersarm). Shape sleeve cap – Bind off 3 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows. Bind off 2 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows. Work dec row (as for bodice) every RS row 6 [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] times. Work dec row every 4th  row 2 times. Work dec row every RS row 8 [9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] times. Bind off 2 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows. Bind off 3 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows. On next RS row, bind off remaining 12 [13, 16, 17, 20, 25, 24] sts.

Harlotted!

Along with Lorna and Laura at CosmicPluto, we’ve been Harlotted! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer yarn, check out Just Enough Ruffles knit up in Cuzco, one of my favorites: 

samruffles11208

 

I love how quickly Cuzco knits up, and I love the patterns that are available right now (I had nothing to do with these, btw, not tooting my own horn!). I think a great gift for a knitter would be the yarn to make Charles and Bark–they could keep one and give one away! Cosima is adorable of course but I’m craving the versatile simplicity of Crotona. It’s always the looooong sweater coats I fall for! So far all I’ve had thetime to knit is Cuzco for my Brûlée Scarf.

CR

Oh, P.S. I’m the first interview for the Knitting Contessa’s Knitting Contrissmas! 

 

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