I’ve just cast off the last of a series of 4 shawls which I’m calling the Leaf Cycle.
It started with Winterleaf, quite unintentionally, simply because I’d always loved leaf patterns but hadn’t seen any in my favourite crescent format. Then some time while I was stuck in the feverish stage of the flu, the idea of a series grew.
So there is Summerleaf, with large lush leaves, like the trees in full foliage, and an edging of smaller new leaves peeking out underneath. Shade for lazy summer days, and a living canopy during lingering warm evenings.
And Fallingleaf, with open lacy leaves which flutter away at the edging. Meant for a glamourous, decadent silk, just as the trees deck themselves in their finest hues for their last hurrah before hibernation.
Winterleaf has the smallest leaves, and an edging of twig-like tracery. These are the last echoes of autumn while the trees dream, and the promise of spring to come.
And finally Blossomleaf. I had so much fun designing this one, I really went to town! Inspired by the excitement and playfulness that spring brings, this shawl has a life of its own and can grow into many different things as you play with where, how and if to use the various elements. There are floating blossoms, unfurling leaves and drifts of petals at the edging.
Winterleaf is out already, and the other 3 are in various stages of testing, so they’ll be out in the coming weeks.
winter’s bite has passed
air alive with scent and hum
sap begins to rise
hens have started laying
tiny buds swell on bare branches
spring is coming!
Do you sing knitting ditties? I do.
Actually, singing is an overstatement. It’s more accurate to say I mumble them most of the time.
Maybe its because I’m so used to being around small children who constantly ask ‘what are you doing?’ I’ve been trained into verbalising my actions as I go about the house.
This seems to have carried over into my knitting. Lucky me.. Hopefully I don’t do it when I’m out too. It might be thought out of place at the supermarket.
However, I do think it’s been a helpful habit for my knitting. Whenever I’m knitting a lace row, I unconsciously fall into a quiet litany of my stitch repeat, with an emphasis on the key stitches that need to line up with landmarks on the row below.
I find it helps me keep track of what I’m supposed to be doing, and means I can still knit the lace rows even in the midst of moderate chaos (I do down tools for proper chaos though!) and it also helps me spot mistakes more quickly, as whenever a key stitch doesn’t line up as it ought, it’s like hitting an off note in a song – and like a good little lemming, I go back and carefully retrace my steps until I find the glitch and catch the scent of the trail again!
‘Yo, sisk, katie, yo, K, yo,’ … (Katie is what k2tog has morphed into in my cluttered mind..) The bold k1 is the one that needs to line up with a certain stitch landmark below..
Well, it might be odd, but it saves me from gnawing my own wrist off in frustration while trying to use stitch markers.
How do you manage your stitch repeats?
earth stripped bare to reveal her beautiful bones
dormant and dreaming
I’m in a Mad Knitters’ Tea Party knitalong this month, and I was dreaming of a tea cosy for one of my poor naked teapots, but with all the shawling I’m doing at the moment, it’s not going to happen. So here’s a more manageable project instead – fun and quick, but enough to feel like you’ve achieved something!
I’ve gone with a honeycomb pattern because I’ve always wanted to make a honeycomb tea cosy, and this way, if I ever do, I’ll have a pre coordinated cup.
I started with a 2×2 cabled honeycomb, but it was way too chunky for the DK I was working with (my only yellow aside from a lace weight silk) so I toned it down to a 1×1, which was great because this way you can work it the sneaky way without a cable needle*, which makes this a very quick little knit, especially with the resting rows.
If using DK weight -
CO 20 (I like a cable cast on, but this is mostly out of habit – and it’s the only one I can recall off the top of my head. It seems a good balance of sturdy and stretchy though. Multiples of 2 required for altering the width.
Foundation row: P across.
Row 1: K across.
Row 2: (and all WS rows) P across.
Row 3: K across.
Row 5: C2F, C2B, repeat to end.
Row 7: K
Row 9: C2B. C2F, repeat to end
Repeat rows 2-9
I used 6 repeats of rows 2-9, and then 2 plain rows before BO on the WS. This is for a big mug.
(Using sock/fingering weight? Try co 24 instead of 20. I’ll post a pic as soon as I’ve knit one. )
Now for some variables to play with.
How do you want your cup cosy finished off?
To some extent it depends on the type of handle on the mug. If you have a small handle, stitching the top and bottom corners together is a good quick solution.
If you have larger handles, I like the tab option. In this case I picked up 10 central sts from the more scruffy end, and knit 10 rows before binding off. You can sew 2 little buttons on the corners of the tab and use the convenient little holes in the cable as button holes.
Don’t have handles? Prefer to knit in the round? Try CO 44 instead and then 4 repeats of rows 2-9, more or less, depending on the height of your cup/the size of your hand. This will rotate the pattern 90 deg, but the effect will be pretty much the same (to test this, turn your computer on its side. :)
*The sneaky way is where you cue-jump and steal the second stitch from the front. Knit this stitch (either from the front or back, depending on whether you are cabling forward or back) and then knit the stitch at the tip of the needle. Knitting the stitches out of sequence twists the fabric of your knitting, creating a mini cable. It feels a bit odd, but it works. And it beats using cable needles if you’re cable anything like me. All my needles have the suicidal lemming gene, and an unfortunate tendency to leap off my lap at importune moments. Like when they should be holding stitches. Shirkers.
Did you spot the mistake half way through where I cabled off kilter? I left that there purely as an example, not because I didn’t notice it until I’d cast off and sewn the buttons on. Honest.