Friday, November 20, 2015

A Tiny Flock of Sweaters for Good


Hi, Knitters,
Today I am publishing four free and tiny animal sweaters as a small contribution of added fun for the Heifer International fundraiser being driven by Susan Gibbs and family of Juniper Moon Farm. Susan's husband is the one cutting out the animals and I have a feeling he is going to be a very busy guy!

A portion from each sale of the wooden animals is being donated to Heifer International. The cut-outs can be ordered until December 15th, 2015 (of course check with Susan Gibbs for any new or different information on this sale). Their goal is to raise $5,000 for the organization through this fundraiser.

To make your own adorable sweater-ed flock the first thing you'll need to do is order your wooden animal cut-outs, and the stands if you'd like, from Juniper Moon Farm. The stands are optional, of course, but I love them and they give you more options for displaying the animals. The animals would make great ornaments with an added hook or string or they could be used as little gift-toppers or stocking stuffers as well.


Click here for the Juniper Moon Website and blog! The blog shows different ideas for decorating the animals, which is fun to see.  

The following patterns will remain only as a blog post right here on the blog and they will remain free. Please feel free to copy the text and paste it into your word program to create your own documents or pdfs if you'd prefer that. 

The pattern for A Tiny Flock of Sweaters for Good is on Ravelry! Click here!

The animal cut-outs and stands were gifted to me from Susan of Juniper Moon Farm. I created the tiny sweater patterns to boost interest and to hopefully bring more attention to Susan's creative fundraising idea. Thank you, Susan Gibbs, for including me in your amazing and creative idea to support Heifer International's fantastic charity work all over the world.

Click here for the Heifer International website! This one is so cool it will bring a tear to your eye.



I've added A Tiny Flock of Sweaters for Good to Ravelry! Click here for the project page!

Yarn: Bits and bobs of sock or fingering weight yarn. Mini-skeins will work. 2-3 grams will be enough per animal.

Needles: US size 2 dpns or circular for magic loop or size to obtain gauge

Gauge: 7 stitches per inch in stockinette

Materials: 
Scissors
Ruler or tape measure
Stitch Marker
Yarn needle

Please read the pattern notes before starting!

Pattern Notes: 
~ All sweaters are started at the bottom edge.
~ All sweaters are worked in the round starting at the bottom up to the front leg. 
~ Once you reach the front leg you will be working back and forth or flat up to the bound-off neck edge. 
~ After knitting the sweater, the wooden animal is put into the sweater by putting the head and front leg through the cast-on bottom end and then arranging the sweater on the body. 
~ You will be sewing your animal into the sweater.
~ The cut yarn end from the bound-off stitches on the neck is placed on a yarn needle and the ribbed neck is held in place together around the animal and is whipstitched together down to the front leg. 
~ All ends are pulled to the inside and trimmed to stay inside, no weaving in of ends is necessary.


Lamb Sweater
Cast on 16 sts. Join to work in the round being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnds 1-4: (K1, p1) repeat to the end of the round.
Knit every round until the body measures 1-inch from the cast on edge.

Now begin to work back and forth or flat. You will begin with a purl row. 

Tip: I placed all of the stitches on 1 needles for this part. The first couple of rows are a little tight this way but it loosens up after working a few rows. It's up to you! You can continue working on all of the needles back and forth, too.

Work back and forth for 5 rows, beginning with a purl row.

Rib neck:
Rows 1-6: (K1, p1) repeat to the end of the row.
Bind off. Cut the yarn leaving a 6-inch end. Pull the end through the remaining stitch.
Follow the instructions in Pattern Notes (at the start of the pattern) for finishing.


Yearling Sweater
Cast on 18 sts. Join to work in the round being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnds 1-4: (K1, p1) repeat to the end of the round.
Knit every round until the body measures 1 1/2-inches from the cast on edge.

Now begin to work back and forth or flat. You will begin with a purl row. 

Tip: I placed all of the stitches on 1 needles for this part. The first couple of rows are a little tight this way but it loosens up after working a few rows. It's up to you! You can continue working on all of the needles back and forth, too.

Work back and forth for 7 rows, beginning with a purl row.

Rib neck:
Rows 1-8: (K1, p1) repeat to the end of the row.
Bind off. Cut the yarn leaving a 6-inch end. Pull the end through the remaining stitch.
Follow the instructions in Pattern Notes (at the start of the pattern) for finishing. Note that for this sheep I cuffed the neckline.


Ewe Sweater:
Cast on 20 sts. Join to work in the round being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnds 1-3: (K2, p2) repeat to the end of the round.
Knit every round until the body measures 2-inches from the cast on edge.

Now begin to work back and forth or flat. You will begin with a purl row. 

Tip: I placed all of the stitches on 1 needles for this part. The first couple of rows are a little tight this way but it loosens up after working a few rows. It's up to you! You can continue working on all of the needles back and forth, too.

Work back and forth for 8 rows, beginning with a purl row.

Rib neck:
Rows 1-11: (K2, p2) repeat to the end of the row.
Bind off. Cut the yarn leaving a 6-inch end. Pull the end through the remaining stitch.
Now follow the instructions in Pattern Notes (at the start of the pattern) for finishing. 


Alpaca Sweater:
Cast on 24 sts. Join to work in the round being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch.
Rnds 1-4: (K2, p2) repeat to the end of the round.
Knit every round until the body measures 2-inches above the cast on edge.

Now begin to work back and forth or flat. You will begin with a purl row. 

Tip: I placed all of the stitches on 1 needles for this part. The first couple of rows are a little tight this way but it loosens up after working a few rows. It's up to you! You can continue working on all of the needles back and forth, too.

Work back and forth for 9 rows, beginning with a purl row.
Decrease Rows:
Row 1: Ssk, knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog. 22 sts.
Row 2: Purl.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 once more. 20 sts.

Rib neck:
Row 1: (K2, p2) repeat to the end of the row.
Repeat Row 1 until the rib section measures 1 1/2 inches.
Bind off. Cut the yarn leaving an 8-inch end. Pull the end through the remaining stitch.
Now follow the instructions in Pattern Notes (at the start of the pattern) for finishing. Note that I cuffed both the hem and the neckline for the alpaca's sweater.

Please let me know if you make a flock with sweaters! I would love to see what you do. Post on Instagram and tag me, #susanbanderson, if you think of it. That would be wonderful. 



Enjoy, dear friends! We are heading fast and furiously into the holiday season. Let's all hang onto our hats and needles together.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Waiting for Winter Mittens ~ Bigger and Now Little, too!




Hi, Knitters,
It has definitely been mitten knitting season in my house recently. I have been knitting little mittens and big mittens and measuring hands around here. I've even darned a beloved mitten. I've concluded that I basically love knitting mittens. And little mitten knitting is really the best thing ever.

I have a mitten pattern called Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts and it has become the most popular pattern in my Ravelry Pattern Shop. The sizes for the adult-size Waiting for Winter Mitten pattern included adult small, medium and large. The medium-size fit me perfectly. 


Yesterday I updated the adult mitten pattern with added sizing instructions for mittens that will fit larger women's and men's hands. I added extra-large and xx-large sizes. I think these new sizes round out the pattern nicely. 




And now I've just released the Little Waiting for Winter Mittens pattern which includes baby-sized thumbless mitt, kids mittens for ages 2-12 years old and kid-size fingerless mitt instructions! 

Here is some information you might like to know:


Pattern information:

The adult-size Waiting for Winter Mittensand Fingerless Mitts pattern has become the most popular pattern in my RavelryPattern Shop. I’ve recently updated the original pattern with two larger sizes that will fit extra-large hands. Now it’s time to tend to those tiny (and squishy) hands in your life.
This pattern for little ones includes children’s mitten sizes for small, medium and large kids. Plus, I’ve thrown in two thumb-less baby-size mitt instructions found at the end of the pattern. It’s nice to have these little sizes all in one place.
Let’s get started before those little fingers get cold!
Size: Child’s Small (Medium, Large) to fit a 5 (6, 6 ½) inch hand circumference measured across the knuckles at the base of the fingers and at the top of the palm.
To Fit: Approximately 2-4 (4-8, 8-12) years old – this will vary!
Baby Mitts (pattern on page 9) sizes: 6-12 months (12-24 months)
*The length of the hand and thumb can easily be made shorter or longer. Suggested lengths for each size are given in the pattern.
Yarn: 100 yards of a worsted weight yarn.
Note: I weighed the samples in grams for the 6-12 month size baby mitt and the child’s size small and medium.  
6-12 month: 11 grams
Small: 20 grams
Medium: 28 grams
The samples in the photos are striped in Noro Kureyon yarn. If you’d like to make the stripey version alternate 2 contrasting skeins of Noro Kureyon every two rounds. The thumbs and the top of the hand decreases are not striped and are just knit from one skein.
Note: There are options for customizing the length pointed out in the pattern. Be sure to note if your mittens are longer than the suggested lengths in the pattern the yardage requirement will be greater than listed.
Suggested needles: US 7/4.5mm double-pointed needles, set of 4
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch

To celebrate the new mitten sizes big and small, I am hosting a knitalong on my Ravelry group. Please join us. There is a thread stickied at the top called Little Waiting for Winter Mittens & KAL (knitalong). All you have to do is post a photo of any pair of Waiting for Winter Mittens (baby, kid or adult-sized) you have knit at any time (you could have knit them yesterday or a couple of years ago)! Super easy! You can post as many times as you have pairs of mittens.

I'll pick some winners from the photos that are posted along the way and at the end of the knitalong, December 21st. You can chat in the thread, too. No big rules, just a celebration of mitten knitting.



If I'm knitting the stripey version of the mittens where I am alternating skeins every 2 rounds I will count the stripes when I am knitting subsequent pairs. I have knit so many of the medium adult-sized mittens that I have the number of stripes memorized for the cuff, hand and thumb. This makes it so easy and fun. I don't even have to look at the pattern.

Here are some mitten-y photos for you!

The baby mitts are the smallest size and the kids mittens are knit in the small and medium sizes.





Thank you, as always, for the support! I hope you love your mitten knitting this season as much as I do. If you have both of these patterns you will have every size covered from baby to xx-large adults. 

Here are the links one more time:





One last thing, at the end of the week I am posting free patterns to make little sweaters for the wooden cut-out sheep and alpacas from Juniper Moon Farms. These wooden cut-outs are an effort of Susan Gibbs and her husband to raise $5,000 for Heifer International this season. She is having an update for the animals this Thursday in her Etsy shop if you are interested. 

I'll talk more about all of this later in the next blog post with the free sweater patterns for the animals. These make super cute ornaments and gifts! I have all of the sweaters knit and on my cut-outs now and they are just adorable. I used mini-skeins of fingering or sock weight yarn. I can't wait to share more.


Click here for the JuniperMoonSheepShop on Etsy! Thursday, Nov. 17th is the update.

Happy mitten-knitting season to you all. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Antrorse ~ the details and mods


Hi, Knitters,
Quickly, I have a couple of teaching announcements. I will be at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC 2016! I'd love to see you there.  




Mark your calendar for Vogue Knitting LIVE New York January 15-17! I’ll be teaching there! Register here: http://bit.ly/1GIsIy4 #vklive

Also, the registration for the DFW Fiber Fest, April 1-3, 2016, has just opened. I can't wait for this one. Click here to find out more about the classes and more! Here is another link with lots of event information: click here.

Last one for today, I am teaching at A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida from March 19-21, 2016. Contact the shop if you are interested in attending my classes! Click here for more info.

Now for the business at hand. Today I am sharing the details of how I knit my Antrorse sweater by Shannon cook. I have talked about it a bit already but I like to have a blog post with all of the information in one place. So let's start with some general links for the pattern and materials.

Pattern: Antrorse by Shannon Cook of soveryshannon.com

The Antrorse pattern is sold individually but it is also part of a collection book called Journey.

The pattern is written in a fill-in-the-blanks format where all of the numbers are written in large charts. The knitter finds the numbers for the size being knit on these charts and then fills in the numbers in the blanks in the written pattern. The pattern is written in 11 different sizes, ranging from a 30-inch to a 50-inch bust. 

As you can imagine the wide range of sizes makes for a lot of numbers and I suppose that the charts and fill-in-the-blank pattern style makes things simpler for the knitter. This may be true but I didn't enjoy the extra steps of finding my size numbers on the charts and then filling in the blanks before starting the knitting. I also worry that there is more opportunity for errors to be made when transferring the numbers to the pattern. I think a couple groupings of sizes in parantheses and/or brackets would suffice fine and would eliminate these extra steps. That's just my opinion and I know others enjoy this type of pattern style.

With that being said, it was all fine and the pattern is wonderfully well-written and clear.  

Yarn: Quince & Co. Osprey in the Peacoat colorway, 100% wool in aran weight

Needles: US size 10, 32-inch circular and double-pointed needles 

Size: I made the 36-inch bust size which has a 38.25-inch finished measurement. 
This gives me a little over 2-inches of positive ease. Be sure to check the finished measurements when selecting your size because they are different than the listed size measurements. 

Buttons: From Wooly Moss Roots on Etsy, 1.25 inch buttons in Black Walnut

 

Pattern Notes: 

~ The sweater is worked from the top-down starting with the funnel garter neckline. The neckline is worked flat, back and forth, and the  three one-row buttonholes are worked in as you go. Then the flat garter neckline is joined to work in the round. Increases are made yoke-style, where the increases are spread out across the rows/rounds. 

~ Once the shoulders are joined to work in the round you start a simple Chevron panel chart that is worked down the entire front of sweater. The chart is just simple knits and purls and it is fun and keeps things interesting. I really enjoyed it. The start of the round is the first stitch of the chart which keeps things easy to knit and follow.

~ When the yoke is completed the sleeves are separated and the stitches are held on waste yarn. The body is then worked down to the hem. I shortened the body quite a bit. The pattern is written for more of a tunic-length garment. If you look at the posted projects on Ravelry for Antrorse you will see that many are made much longer than mine coming down past the bottom to the top of the legs. This length does not work well on my figure so I shortened it up. 

~ The final body length measurement from the underarm to the bottom bound-off edge on my sweater is 14-inches. I worked 10 garter ridges, which is less than in the pattern. 

~ I did not include any waist shaping. 

~ After the body is completed the sleeve stitches are placed back on the needles and the sleeve is worked from the underarm to the cuff. My sleeves measure 17-inches from the underarm to the bound-off edge of the cuff. I did 9 garter ridges for the cuffs, which is less than in the pattern.

~ The pattern gives you measurement increments instead of round counts for the sleeve decreases. Instead of using the measurements I figured out how many rounds would measure the same as the given increment and kept track of the sleeve decreases that way. So for example (this is just an example not exact to the pattern), if the pattern says to decrease every 1.25-inches, I figure out that 7 rounds equals about 1.25-inches. Therefore every 7th round I worked the sleeve decreases as written in the pattern.  


The part I love most about top-down sweater patterns is that you can try them on as you work. Here I am trying the sweater on after I completed the body and before getting ready to start the sleeves.


Top-down construction is really great for figuring out the perfect length for the sleeves and the body before binding off. When you are wearing the garment the lengths tend to shorten up compared to the lengths when the garment is measured flat.




Before sewing on the buttons I washed and blocked the sweater by soaking it in Twig & Horn Wool Soap in the Rosewood scent. I just laid the sweater flat to dry on my blocking boards without any stretching or pins, kind of as is. The wool really relaxed and softened up to make a cozy fabric. 

Antrorse is a beautiful and wearable sweater. The Osprey yarn from Quince & Co. is lovely aran weight wool. It is smooth and fast to knit.  

 

The only other thing I did to clean up the neckline opening is that I stitched the base of the opening closed for about an inch and using a length of the yarn. This helped to hold the edges closed and in place a little better. I used matching thread to sew on the the lovely handcrafted wooden buttons from Wooly Moss Roots.

Well, there you have it. Antrorse was a pleasure to knit and it is a pleasure to wear. If you'd like to see me wearing the sweater I wore it in stages in Episode 20 of my video podcast.

Click here to see my podcast on YouTube!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I'll be back soon with much more.
xo ~ susan

Friday, November 06, 2015

1-2-3 Chickadee Shawl Pattern!


Hi, Knitters,
I have a new shawl pattern release for today! I am so in love with this wearable, squishy and extra-long shawl. I am excited to finally get to share the pattern with all of you.

Due to my excitement for the 1-2-3 Chickadee pattern release I am offering a discounted price for the first week. I have set the pattern price at $1.00 off the regular price per pattern starting today and going through Nov. 13th. To keep things as simple as this shawl, you don't need a code or coupon! The discount is automatic. 
The 1-2-3 Chickadee Shawl is now priced $4.00 per pattern. On November, 13th, 2015, the price will be at the regular price of $5.00 per pattern.  



The easy to memorize shawl pattern (it's so simple you won't believe it!) is worked on the bias and side-to-side.  The finished shape is long with a slightly asymmetrical shallow triangle.

Here is a little background and introduction to the new shawl pattern:

The 1-2-3 Chickadee Shawl was inspired by my collection of many skeins of the lovely Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn, some in the same color and many in different colors. I wanted to create a simple shawl that uses up all of three skeins of the Chickadee or 543 yards of a sport weight yarn. The long asymmetrical triangular shawl is knit side-to-side with very little stitch counting at all. You are basically keeping track of garter ridges and sets of garter ridges.  

The last page of the pattern is a checklist for each of the three sections. This comes in handy if you are one to keep track of things or if you are motivated by checking things off your list! The shawl can be made smaller by stopping at any point and then completing the final border or larger by continuing on in the pattern as set before completing the final border. It’s a very flexible design. I tell you exactly what I did but you can choose the size of your finished shawl.

The 1-2-3 Chickadee Shawl is just the easiest breeziest knit where the number of the skein you are on literally tells you what to do. For each of the 3 sections the number of garter ridges in a set matches the number of the skein you are on, 1, 2 or 3. 

It’s that simple.


Here is some specific pattern information you might like to know:


Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee (100% American Wool;181 yards/50 grams), 3 skeins OR 543 yards of a sport weight yarn

One-color shawl:
Sample 1: 3 skeins in Aleutian #148

Two-color shawl:
Sample 2: 1 skein in Dogwood #135 and 2 skeins of Chanterelle #118
For the two-color version, use the 1 skein of one color for Section 1. Before starting make a tassel and also measure out 10 grams for the final border as in the sample.

Three-color shawl:
Another color suggestion is to have 1 skein in each of 3 different colors, either coordinating for color-blocking or gradient colors. Before starting make tassels and if you want a contrast color for the final border, reserve about 10 grams of the color of your choice.

Needles: US size 7/4.5mm needles, 32-inch circular or longer

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch before blocking

Notions:
Yarn needle
Scissors
Optional: 3-inch piece of cardboard for making tassels
Optional: Kitchen scale that weighs in grams to weigh the yarn for the tassels and for the final border. *If you don't have a scale you will have to estimate saving enough yarn for 4 rows and a picot bind off.

Abbreviations:
K  knit
P  purl
St(s) stitch(es)
Row(s) row(s)
K2tog knit two stitches together.
Kfb knit in the front and back of the same stitch.


Miss Molly, my son the photographer and I headed to my favorite woodsy path not far from our home to take some gorgeous and scenic fall photos. In the photo above Molly is wearing the Baa-ble Hat and the Louise cardigan both made in Quince & Co. Osprey. It's a true Quince & Co. outfit!

Here is the shawl made in three colors from my test knitter! It's gorgeous! Click here to see Kriste's project page and the colors she used!

photo from Kristebee on Ravelry

Here are some more of the photos from our beautiful autumn walk in the woods:


 I think the tassels are my favorite part. They are so sweet.

The picot edging adds just the right touch.

The shawl is perfect for wrapping lots of times. It is a lot like a long scarf!


 Above you can see the pattern changes. The garter ridges become more spaced out as you go!


1-2-3 Chickadee Shawl is such a fun and sweet knit. The shawl is light and airy. The Quince & Co. Chickadee sport weight yarn and the wide range of colors to choose from are just as sweet as the shawl itself. It is a perfect holiday gift shawl because the knitting is fast and simple for you as the knitter, and the shape makes it easy for anyone to wear and understand even non-knitters. 

I hope you take advantage of the discounted price if you are interested in the pattern. Just a reminder, the lower price is being offered from today, Nov. 6th through Nov. 13th, 2015, $1.00 off and no coupon or code is needed.

Click here for the pattern information or to purchase 1-2-3 Chickadee!

Have a fantastic fall weekend. I really appreciate all of the support, dear friends and knitters. You couldn't possibly know what it means to my family and me. 

I'll be back soon with much more.
xo ~ susan