Knitting | Work in Progress

Subscribe to Knitting | Work in Progress feed
Fast & easy projects for busy knittersUnknownnoreply@blogger.comBlogger432125
Updated: 3 days 11 hours ago

Potato Chip Knits

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 20:00
Every now and then you run across a project that you simply can't put down, and for better or worse, that's precisely what's happened with my simple rectangular shawl. 

In a very short time (comparatively speaking, I'm still a very slow knitter), it progressed 
from this:

To this:
The two deep colors involved in the second section are so closely related, it was often difficult to distinguish one from the other. Yep, this made the knitting a bit challenging (lots of bright light was essential), but I love the effect, so it was worth it.

Finishing the first two sections was so motivating, I decided to continue plugging away, so it quickly grew some more.

As knitters, many of us have our own version of what constitutes an irrisistable potato chip knit. For some of us, it might be complex lace, for others it's anything with cables. For still others, it's intarsia.
It could be anything, but clearly for me, the magic combo appears to be soft yarn, an easy but interesting stitch, and fairly frequent color changes. What's your version of a potato chip knit?

Categories: Knitting Feeds


Sun, 01/12/2020 - 23:21
I hope your new year is off to a great start.

Personally, in spite of the fact that it's not just a new year but the start of a new decade, my knitting goals remain basically unchanged. My top priorities are to limit the number of projects on the needles, finish active wips, frog projects that aren't working, and find creative ways to make use of the many lovely yarns lurking in my stash.

That certainly sounds do-able, doesn't it? It should be, except for one thing. Shortly after the new year dawned, I cast on this:

It's the start of a rectangular shawl/stole using lovely Mad Hatter sport weight yarn by Wonderland Yarns & frabjous fibers in the Shillings & Pence colorway.

Here's how I'm rationalizing this indulgence. Last year, I promised myself I could cast on a rainbow shawl as soon as I finished a few existing wips, which I did. (Technically, I still have some ends to weave in the Ohio Star blanket, but let's not get distracted with details.)

Not only have I been lusting after a rainbow shawl for months, but the yarn is wound and at the ready so it seemed like a no-brainer. Right up to the point where this experimental swatch caught my eye, that is.

And just like that, I switched directions. This yarn is soft, wooly and better suited to colder weather, which makes it perfect for winter knitting. If I can finish the shawl/stole fast enough, I'll undoubtedly have plenty of opportunities to wear it before the weather warms.

I'm opting for a slightly different ombre/gradient approach than what's shown in the swatch, so I hope it works. Meanwhile, I'm happily knitting away and making progress, and where knitting is concerned, that's what counts, right?
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pattern | Healdan Scarf

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 18:02
Longing for a dashing scarf that’s fast, easy and reversible? This design offers that and more. Healdan, an Old English word meaning to care for or protect, is a versatile unisex design suitable for folks of all ages.

Slipped stitches create an attractive fabric with fluted columns on one side and fluted ribs on the other. The stitch is easy to execute, knits quickly and is appealing in one color or many.

Go classic with a single solid or tonal yarn, work a subtle two-tone weave, or craft a custom gradient, ombre or fade. No matter what option you choose, the colorwork is easy, because only one color is worked on a row.

The pattern is written for sock/fingering weight or lace weight held double, but it readily adapts to any yarn weight or fiber. As an added plus, it includes directions for three lengths (48, 60, 72 ins), three widths (4, 6, 8 ins), and five color strategies ranging from a solid and two-tone weave to different gradient effects. Work it as written or use the handy Quick Reference guide, stitch chart, tips, tricks and easy modifications to tailor your project to suit your tastes.
Healdan Scarf | Fast, Easy & Reversible 
Skill Level 2: Easy
Yarn: Sock/fingering or lace weight held doubleNeedles: US 8 (5 mm), US 9 (5.5 mm) or whatever size works for youSizes: Three lengths (48, 60, 72 ins) and three widths (4, 6, 8 ins)
Yardage (approx.): 240 to 645 yards (fingering); 480 to 1290 yards (lace weight held double)
With Healdan, the:
  • Slipped stitch is extremely easy to execute, equally easy to memorize, and it produces a a lovely fabric that's fully reversible.
  • Flat construction keeps your project compact and portable, so you can work it on the go.
  • Colorwork is easy, because only one color is worked on a row.
  • Five color strategies help you tailor each scarf to your tastes or those of the recipient.
  • Pattern is simple enough for any moderately experienced beginner. It's concise but complete, with written directions, stitch chart, stitch counts, yardage and dimensions for each size.
  • Yarn choice is completely up to you. The pattern is written for sock/fingering weight or lace weight held double, but it readily adapts to other weights and multi-stranding.
  • Design is versatile and unisex, suitable for all ages, and can be worked in different yarns and countless combinations. 

The only limitation is your imagination. Create a timeless look with muted neutrals, or go bold with brights, classic with gem tones, or whimsical with rainbow hues. Add a lush touch with luxury yarn, texture with a rustic tweed, or a trendy feel with speckled yarns. Simplify your color choices by indulging in a gradient or ombre mini-skein collection, or craft your own. 
For dramatic impact with minimal fuss, try a slow-change gradient or rainbow yarn. To tone down pooling, pair a busy variegated with a closely related solid, or add a touch of glam by combining glitter or metallic yarn with a contrasting solid.
If you're feeling brave and want to quickly work up a last-minute holiday gift, substitute a heavier yarn weight or multi-strand lighter weight yarns and use larger needles. Fast, easy and fully reversible, Healdan is suited to any knitter who can cast on, knit, k2tog, ktbl, purl, slip stitches and bind off.

To view the Ravelry description and purchase the Healdan scarf pattern, click here. (And don't forget, you don't have to be a Ravelry member to buy patterns.)
Happy holidays and happy knitting! 

FYIWant to learn more? See FO| Healdan Rose GradientFO | Healdan Plumberry Mitts & Scarf .
Shopping at your favorite LYS? All patterns are activated for in-store sales.
Experimenting with color combos? These articles offer ideas and inspiration.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Kintra Mitts Red Cash Silk

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 19:22
Well, that was a short-lived struggle! Just a few short weeks ago, I was determined to stay focused on the tasks already at hand, but then in a moment of distraction I found myself casting on yet another pair of fingerless mitts, and I realized I'd lost that battle.

And I'm glad I did. Just in time for the holidays, I have a pair of soft, silky red mitts to go with my recently completed Kintra cowl.

To change things up just a bit, I used the rich purple Cash Vero and a three-needle bind-off to seam the mitts with a kiss of contrasting color. Overall, I'm pleased with the effect, and should I grow tired of the purple, I can easily remove it and redo the seam with red.

Kintra Mitts
Yarn: Cash Silk (Zegna Baruffa), Cash Vero (Cascade)
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yardage: ~96 yards
Size: M

For now, however, I like the purple accent, and because the cowl features a removable button, I can achieve a matching look by substituting a purple pompom for the black button. (Yep, it's the same one I made for the Wyndfael cowl, but it works just as well here.)

Christmas is only a few weeks away and there's still much to be done, but meanwhile, I'm ready for the season with my vibrant red cowl and mitts.


 Pattern | Kintra Cowl-Scarf  Pattern | Kintra Mitts

Categories: Knitting Feeds

There's Still Time

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 19:06
As much as I love Thanksgiving, when it comes so very late in the month as it did this year, it can really put a crimp in the holiday season. One day, you're completely focused on family, friends and food (I'm a total turkey addict), and the next you realize Christmas is just a few weeks away. 

The only solution is to take deep breaths and remind myself (over and over again) there's still time to whip up some knitted gifts. Just in case you're in the same boat, I'm here to share some quick and easy gift-giving possibilities.

Christmas Trees
Worked from the top down, these classic reversible Christmas Trees are ideal as ornaments, mug mats, hotpads, table accents and more. As an added plus, they can be knit in any gauge, any yarn weight, and a wide range of sizes from extra small to extra large. 

To buy the Christmas Tree pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Dojeling Shawl
This is a bit more ambitious, but if you choose to use large-ish needles, you could easily create a triangular shawl or bandana scarf in time for gift-giving or holiday wear. Dojeling is reversible, readily adapts to any gauge and yarn weight from fingering to bulky, and features innovative construction to keep work in progress manageable for knitting on the go.

To buy the Dojeling pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Kintra Cowl-Scarf
The Kintra cowl-scarf features a unisex design that's quick, easy and suited to anyone you deem knitworthy. Use shrine of precious yarn for something truly delectable, or opt for sturdy workhorse yarn for durable daily wear. The pattern is written for sport weight but readily adapts to multi-stranding and heavier yarn weights that work up quickly. (For a superfast knit, check out the short version, which takes about 165-200 yards.)
To buy the Kintra Cowl-Scarf pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Kintra Mitts
The Kintra Mitts are not only fast and easy, they feature a versatile unisex design. Choose soft and sumptuous yarn for a woman, or something sturdy and tweedy for a man. As an added plus, the pattern is written for sport weight but readily adapts to any yarn weight, so opt for heavier weights and you can quickly work up several pairs.

To buy the Kintra Mitts pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Wyndfael Mitts
A combination of classic two-stitch mock cables and ribs make Wyndfael fast, easy and versatile. Because the pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, these mitts work up very quickly. Simply follow the pattern as written, or use the tips, tricks and easy modifications to tailor each pair to a range of recipients.

To buy the Wyndfael Mitt pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Graefen Cloth & Towel Set
This fast and easy pattern produces a set of reversible cloths and towels. They work up quickly in DK weight, but you could speed things along even more by using worsted, aran or bulky weight yarn for a single towel, set of cloths, or both.

To buy the Graefen pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots
Designed to function as coasters, hotpads, placemats and decorative accents for your table or tree, Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots are ideal for gifts. Celebrate the season by working them in holiday colors, use rainbow hues for a range of recipients, or get a jumpstart on Valentine's Day using rose, pink and red.

To buy the Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

Whimsy Owls
Know someone who loves owls? This design works up quickly, and the pattern includes instructions for three different sizes, so you can create an entire owl family if you wish.
To buy the Whimsy Owl Family pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.

From afghans and accessories to holiday and home accents, there's something for everyone. Each pattern includes a range of sizes, detailed yardage breakouts, and handy tips, tricks and easy modifications. For many of you, this means you can dip into stash to make the most of yarn on hand, to save time, money and shopping hassles.

It's crunch time, fellow knitters, so let's get busy. Christmas is coming!

Want to acquire several patterns? Click here to go straight to my Ravelry pattern store.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pattern | Kintra Cowl-Scarf

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 18:11
The name says it all. Kintra, an early American colloquialism for family, friends and folks nearby, is a versatile unisex design that’s also fast, easy and fully reversible — perfect for yourself and every knitworthy person you know.
Slipped stitches create a plush, ribbed fabric that’s stretchy and identical on both sides. Integrated I-cord edges add a polished look and minimize finishing, while optional button closures make Kintra easy to grab, wrap and go.
Written for sport weight yarn with a bit of memory, the pattern readily adapts to any yarn weight and multi-stranding. So, whether you're eyeing a special yarn at your favorite yarn store, seeking the perfect pattern for a treasured mini-skein collection, or using great stash yarns, Kintra offers a host of possibilities.Go classic with muted neutrals, bold with brights, timeless with rich gem shades, understated with earth tones or whimsical with rainbow hues. Break out your favorite gradient or ombre yarn, or choose a family of closely related shades to craft your own. Add a luxe touch with premium yarns, texture with rustic tweeds, an on-trend feel with speckled or variegated yarns, or a soft sheen with wool-silk blends. 

Use a slow-change gradient or rainbow yarn for high impact with minimal fuss. Tone down a busy variegated by pairing it with a related solid, or add a touch of glam by doing the same with glitter or metallic yarn. 

Kintra Cowl-Scarf | Fast, Easy & ReversibleSkill Level 2: Easy
Yarn: Sport weightNeedles: US 7 (4.5 mm)  and US 8 (5 mm), or whatever size(s) work for youSizes: Two lengths (25 ins, 50 ins) and three widths (5 ins, 7 ins, 9 ins)
Yardage (approx.): 200 to 760 yards
With Kintra, the:
  • Slipped stitch is extremely easy to execute, equally easy to memorize, and it produces a plush, stretchy fabric that's fully reversible.
  • Flat construction keeps your project compact and portable, so you can work on it anytime and anywhere.
  • Elements like simple accent stripes allow you to tailor each pair to your tastes or those of the recipient.
  • Pattern is simple enough for any moderately experienced beginner. It's concise but complete, with written directions, stitch chart, stitch counts, yardage and dimensions for each size.
  • Yarn choice is completely up to you, but for best results choose something with a bit of memory (wool and wool blends work beautifully). Written for sport weight, the pattern readily adapts to other weights and multi-stranding.
  • Design is versatile and unisex, suitable for all ages, and can be worked in different yarns and countless combinations. 

The pattern includes directions for two lengths (25 ins, 50 ins), three widths (5 ins, 7 ins, 9 ins), and four color strategies ranging from solids and stripes to blended gradients.
The choice is yours. You can work the pattern as written or use the handy Quick Reference guide, stitch chart, tips, tricks and easy modifications to customize every version you make. 

Whether you're knitting for yourself or others, you'll find the Kintra cowl-scarf is fast, easy and suited to any knitter who can cast on, knit, k2tog, ktbl, purl, slip stitches and bind off.
To view the Ravelry description and purchase the Kintra cowl-scarf pattern, click here. (And just a friendly reminder, you don't have to be a Ravelry member to buy patterns.)
FYIWant to learn more? See FO | Kintra Nearly Neutral Cowl-ScarfFO | Kintra Red Cash Silk Cowl.
Shopping at your favorite LYS? All patterns are activated for in-store sales.
Experimenting with color combos? These articles offer ideas and inspiration.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Kintra Red Cash Silk Cowl

Sun, 11/17/2019 - 19:42
Just in time for cold weather, the Kintra red cowl is finished. Over the past month or so, you've seen glimpses of this project, but for the most part, it's been something I've quietly been knitting in the background. 

With the first version, Kintra Nearly Neutral, I worked a longer length that could be worn wrapped and buttoned as a cowl or open as a scarf. For this version, I went with a shorter length and a large statement button. The bright red will spark up my neutral wardrobe, while the button will coordinate nicely with the black sweater and turtleneck with which it will likely be worn. If I grow bored with the look, the button can easily be replaced since it's removable
Cash Silk, a sport weight blend of extra fine merino, silk and cashmere, is wonderfully soft and it knits up beautifully, The reversible rounded rib is plush and stretchy, and the finished fabric is light, soft and luxurious. To preserve the deep, cushy ribs, I opted to lightly steam rather than wet block this piece.
Kintra Reversible Cowl
Pattern: Coming Soon!
Yarn: Cash Silk (Zegna Baruffa)
Needles: US 8 (5 mm) and US 9 (5.5 mm)
Yardage: ~165 yards
Dimensions: 5 x 25 ins

For the most part I don't do matchy-matchy accessories, choosing instead to change up the stitch or color mix. I'm so pleased with this simple cowl, however, I'm fighting the urge to cast on a pair of bright red Kintra mitts and create a matched set ideal for the holidays and winter weather ahead.

Since there's no such thing as too many mitts, I strongly suspect this is a battle I will lose.


 Pattern | Kintra Cowl-Scarf  Pattern | Kintra Mitts
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Tips & Tricks | Easy Removable Buttons

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 23:07
For cardigans, cowls and other handknits that require closure, buttons are an easy, go-to option. There's one significant problem, however. Eventually most handknits need to be cleaned, and many buttons are not designed to withstand washing, dry cleaning or other methods.

I can't speak for you, but there's no way I'm going to detach buttons, wash the item and then reattach the buttons. Life is truly too short for such fuss, so for many years, DIY removable buttons have been my preferred solution.

Luckily, removable buttons are not only easy to make, they open up a range of possibilities that make it easy to put buttons from stash to good use. The basic process is simple:
  1. At every location where you want a button, work paired buttonholes (i.e. work buttonholes at both ends of a cowl or on both button bands of a cardigan.
  2. Choose decorative button(s) that look good and suit your needs.
  3. Choose backer button(s) that fit through the buttonholes you've worked.
  4. Use coordinating thread to attach each decorative button to a backer button.
  5. Be sure to leave enough distance between the decorative and backer buttons to span the depth created by two layers of overlapped knit fabric.

My red Kintra cowl is a good example. After auditioning a range of looks and options, I decided in favor of a large, black button for the public side and a small, narrow white barrel for the backer button. The slim backer button fits through a single, unobtrusive button hole worked at both ends of the cowl.

Since backer buttons can be either purely functional or decorative for a reversible look, I decided to create another version. I chose two long, narrow shanked buttons and connected them using a standard jewelry jump ring, taking care to make sure the jump ring was smooth and wouldn't snag the yarn. 

Between the black, red and gold buttons, I've kept my options open and can change the look of this simple cowl to suit my mood and the occasion. I think the black button will get the most use, but we'll see how that unfolds over the course of the winter.

This isn't the first time I've used a removable/reversible button strategy. Many years ago, I made a loosely cabled cowl for a dear friend who had moved far away and was feeling bereft. The result was A Very Braidy cowl, which featured a pair of matching turquoise buttons backed by natural wood, so she could vary the look as she preferred.

As you can see, I tend to lean toward oblong buttons, but that's primarily a design choice. A few weeks ago, I shared my Wyndfael cowl with two types of removable closures, one an oversized but more sedate button and the other a whimsical pompom.

It's hard to argue with the practical benefits of removable buttons, but clearly they also allow you to have fun and experiment. Just be sure your backer button is both small enough to fit through the designated buttonhole and large enough to not pull out at the slightest pressure. If that happens, tighten up the buttonhole with a small tack stitch in each corner or swap the existing backer button for one that's slightly larger.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Why We Swatch

Sun, 09/22/2019 - 21:31
As eager as I am to start my rainbow shawl, I'm still weaving ends on the Wyndfael cowl and Ohio Star afghan, and I have a feeling once the shawl is on the needles, I won't want to work on anything else. So, I decided I needed to cast on something relatively small to work on between bouts of finishing. For some time, I've been longing for a red scarf to brighten my basic black wardrobe and offset the gray days of winter.

This delightful red yarn (Cash Silk by Zagna Baruffa) has been slumbering in the stash for close to two years, and now seemed like the perfect time to put it to use. I love my reversible Kintra Nearly Neutral so much, I decided to follow those working notes. (Be forewarned, these photos were grabbed on the fly, but bear with me, it's been one of those weeks. Colorwise, the first photo is most accurate.)

The recommended needle size is US 6, but I knew I wanted a drapier fabric so I swatched first with size US 7 for the first inch and US 8 for the remainder. Because I love the way this stitch looks when twisted, I worked all the knit stitches through the back loop (tbl).

Very quickly, I realized the fabric at this gauge was not as fluid and lofty as I wanted, so I cast on with larger needles (US 8 and 9), and started over again, working all the knit stitches through the front loop not the back.

You can't really see the difference in the photos, but the ribs are more rounded, the fabric is stretchier and significantly more flexible, and blocking will even out the stitches and maximize drape.

For now, this is my travel and pick-up-lay-down project for days when I have just enough time for a few quick rows. I've not decided how long I want this scarf to be, but I'm very fond of long skinny scarves that can be wrapped multiple times, so we shall see.

Meanwhile, as frustrating as it can be to start over once a project's on the needles, it's often the right thing to do. I'm certainly much happier with how things are progressing, which is why we swatch. Right? Right!

Surprise Ending

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 19:45
Last week, I was moaning about the hot mess that was my red, white and blue afghan, but since then a lot has been accomplished. The border has been finished and bound off, and for now, the afghan is cooling its heels while I gear up to weave ends (to do this well, I have to be in the right state of mind) and prep for blocking.

To stay productive and continue to chip away at the WIP pile, I picked up my Wyndfael cowl. Designed to match my Wyndfael mitts, this was supposed to be a super-quick knit. Somewhere along the way, I was tempted by another project, so it was set aside. Now, 11 months later, I'm finally ready to buckle down and finish it.

Similar to the mitts, I'm incorporating accent stripes in rich purple, a color I love with this shade of turquoise. I also decided to work rounded ends for visual interest, a bit of a surprise ending if you will.

The first end is completed (sorry, bad photo of the wrong side) and I've begun working the second. With a bit of luck and some knitting time, I'll soon have this piece bound off, and ready to finish and block. (Update: Done!)

Once both the afghan and cowl are done, my WIP list will pared down to three active projects, a feat I plan to celebrate by immediately casting on a rainbow shawl. With that motivating factor in mind, I'm heading back to my knitting!

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Hot Mess

Sun, 09/01/2019 - 19:42
In the US, it's not just a holiday weekend, it's the last major red, white and blue celebration of the summer. Combine that with the fact that several weeks ago, I publicly promised to finish two WIPs before I cast on something new, it seemed appropriate to devote some attention to this afghan.

Unfortunately, it looks like a hot mess right now. I'm tackling the border, which in this case means working with four pairs of circular needles, so knitting is quite the juggling act. Several times, I've gotten distracted and continued working past the point where it was time to switch to the next needle. Last evening, I did this not once but twice, which meant I spent almost as much time rearranging stitches as I did knitting.

Frustrating? Yes. Fiddly? Yes. But I'm trying hard to keep my eyes on the prize, the opportunity to cast on a much-wanted shawl once this project is off the needles.

If you're in the US, have a safe, relaxing holiday filled with family, friends and fun.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pattern | Herlacyn Afghan

Sat, 08/24/2019 - 19:32
With its crisp lines, subtle textures and vivid colors, Herlacyn offers unlimited possibilities. Named after an Old English term for harlequin designs, this fast and easy unisex afghan represents a modern take on a traditional form.

Ideal for mini or partial skeins, the geometric shapes require just two color changes per row. Choose related shades for a custom gradient or ombre as shown, opt for classic neutrals, or pair soft gray with a single contrast color for an on-trend look. 

Herlacyn Afghan  | Fast & EasySkill Level 2: Easy
Yarn: Worsted weight; adapts to any weight and multi-stranding
Shown: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Sizes: 3 sizes (baby, lapghan, throw)Yardage (approx.): 820 to 1400 yards               

Fast, easy and reversible, this afghan sports a subtle texture on the front and plush texture on the back. Strip construction keeps your project contained and portable, while the modified three-needle technique makes seaming a breeze and preserves drape.

 With Herlacyn, the:
  • Crossed stockinette stitch is easy to execute and creates a stable fabric with an appealing texture.
  • Color work is a breeze and just two easy color changes per row produce crisp diagonal lines.
  • Strip construction keeps your project compact and portable, so you can work on your afghan anytime and anywhere.
  • Pattern is simple enough for any moderately experienced beginner. It's concise but complete, and includes a schematic along with directions, stitch counts, yardage and dimensions for three sizes.
  • Yarn is worsted weight or its equivalent, so your project grows quickly.
  • Design is versatile and unisex, suitable for all ages, and can be worked in different yarns and countless combinations. 

The pattern includes written directions for three popular sizes ranging from baby (28 x 36 ins) to lapghan (35 x 44 ins) and throw (43 x 54 ins). Designed for worsted weight yarn, the pattern readily accommodates other yarn weights and multi-strand strategies. It’s your decision. You can work it as written or use the handy Quick Reference guide, schematic, tips, tricks and easy modifications to customize the result.

Herlacyn is a quick, fun knit suited to anyone who can cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, ktbl, k2tog, k3tog, slip stitches, pick up stitches and bind off. 

Ready to get started? Click here to buy the pattern nowHappy knitting!

To read more about this design, see FO | Herlacyn Heatwave and FO | Herlacyn Breeze.
To explore possible neutral color schemes, see 9 Nifty Neutral Combos.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Not-So-Scrappy Scrap Blankets

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 13:00
As much as I love the look of a nicely executed scrap blanket, you might have noticed random is not a thing I do well. 

Unfortunately like most knitters, I have an abundance of scraps, leftovers and partials tucked in the stash. The challenge for me, therefore, has been to create a variety of ways to put these leftovers to good use. These afghan designs have helped me do just that, and they might help you do the same.


Worked on the bias, Angletyn's large-scale chevron design is highly adaptable. If you have lots of leftovers of similar weight, simply arrange the colors in a sequence you find visually pleasing, then knit each strip in a series of two-row stripes. If you have varied scrap amounts, try knitting stripes of different depths based on how much you have of each color. 

Color Check

Designed as a multi-color project, Color Check features a simple slip stitch that's ideally suited to burning through scraps and leftovers. Pick a unifying color for the check outlines and use scraps and leftovers for the fill colors. Since this reversible design consists of two panels seamed together, you can change colors as often as you choose without worrying about lots of ends to weave — simply bury them inside.


Worked with another easy slip stitch, Drumlin is a versatile, quick knit and is fully reversible. The stitch creates a fluted texture on both sides, and its attractive worked in a single solid color or in alternating two-row stripes. For each strip, try pairing two solid colors (like the example above) or match a solid with a complementary confetti, speckled or variegated yarn.


From the beginning, Herlacyn was designed to help use up some of the many partial skeins lingering in the stash. In the example shown, colors were arranged in a diagonal pattern to create an ombre or gradient effect, but there are countless ways to adapt this pattern to accommodate yarn on hand. Try working the triangles in a single contrasting solid, rich or bright rainbow colors, or various shades from the same color family.


Worked in strips rather than individual blocks, Lucben offers a fresh take on the timeless look of a classic 9-patch blanket. You can do what I did and mix various shades from the same color family to create a custom gradient, or choose a light and dark color, then alternate them for a checkerboard effect. Try a tonal approach using closely related hues for the blocks and borders, or try a simple two-color strategy, using one for the blocks and the other for the borders. 


With its charming pindot stitch, Tikkyn offers a host of scrap-busting possibilities. Keep the emphasis on the cozy texture by working each strip in a different color. Tone down a busy variegated, speckled or confetti yarn by pairing it with a related solid shade. To accommodate different amounts of yarn, try working long stretches in one color combination and shorter sections in another, similar to Tikkyn Flagstone.


Worked in yet another reversible slip stitch, Twegen is an attractive, easy way to put leftovers and partials to good use. For an interesting effect, choose a unifying main color and work each strip with that and a mix of colorful scraps and leftovers, both solid and variegated. For lighter weight yarns, try multistranding to create a fun marled fabric. For an ombre effect, sort yarns by color family and work each strip with the darkest shades at the bottom, medium ones in the middle, and lightest ones at the top.


With its compact geometric shapes, Valere readily lends itself to scrap-busting. Try a strategy similar to the one shown above, using a single color for the background and vivid contrasting colors for the banners or flags. If you have a lot of similar leftovers in a single color family, work all the banners in these varied shades. To use up small bits of yarn, work the banners in alternating two-row stripes. 

Keep in mind most of these ideas will work with a wide range of patterns. While you think about what type of scrap-busting project you prefer, take time to organize and inventory your scraps, leftovers and partials. That alone may be enough to prompt ideas and inspiration.

Some knitters, of course, are hyper-organized with yarny leftovers, but I'm not one of them. If I have lots of a specific type (I'm looking at you Cotton Fleece), I store all of them in the same small bin. With more limited leftovers, I tend to tuck them in with other yarns of the same or similar weight and fiber makeup, while super-small quantities often live out their last days snuggled with other small bits in a plastic container or ziploc bag.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you found some of these tips useful. Each pattern highlighted here includes directions for three sizes (baby, lapghan, throw), along with detailed yardage breakouts, and easy modifications to help you transform all the yarn into something pretty and practical. Happy not-so-scrappy knitting! 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Herlacyn Breeze Afghan

Sun, 08/11/2019 - 13:00
I'm delighted to report my Herlacyn Breeze afghan is finished. Blocking worked its usual magic, so stitches have relaxed, small bumps have disappeared, seams are straighter, and the borders lay flat.

Worked in Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep), this version features a cool gradient with six shades ranging from rich purple to mint green set against a neutral off-white background. The colors are arranged on the diagonal from the lower left to upper right, and they were worked in this order:
  • Left strip: Sugar Plum, Lapis, Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Sky
  • Center strip: Lapis, Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Sky, Light Sage
  • Right strip: Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Sky, Light Sage, Mint

From the beginning, Herlacyn was designed as a stashbusting alternative to a scrapghan, using partials and leftovers from projects such as Lucben TidepoolValere Summer Rainbow and Tikkyn Rainbow.

Herlacyn BreezeYarn: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
Needles: US 8 (5.5 mm)
Size: Small / baby
Dimensions: 27 x 35 ins
Yardage: ~670 yards
Twisted stitches create a subtle texture on the front and an interesting texture on the back, while the colored triangles almost appear appliqued rather than worked as part of the fabric.

Much like its sibling Herlacyn Heatwave, Breeze has fantastic drape. It's also the ideal weight for chilly weather, so it will be perfect as we transition into fall, when a soft, light lapghan is welcome on a cool morning.
This project lingered way too long in its almost-done state, so it's exceptionally satisfying to finally have it completed. With one long-standing WIP now officially a finished object, it's time ot tackle the others skulking in the background!

Looking for the pattern? Buy it now and save 30% (through midnight Weds, Aug 28 DST). Enjoy!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Let the Finishing Begin

Sun, 08/04/2019 - 21:21
Turns out, there's nothing quite so potent as making a public promise to finish a few WIPs to prompt some action. It also helps that like a parent waving a lollipop in front of a wayward toddler, my reward for keeping that promise is the opportunity to cast on the rainbow shawl I've been craving. 

This week, I buckled down and wove in the last of the ends on my Herlacyn Breeze. It's soaking now in preparation for blocking, which I hope to tackle this evening.

Dazzling progress? No, but for a project that's been stalled for far too long, it's a start, and I'll take it.

Looking for the pattern? It's in my tech editor's capable hands, so it should be ready for release soon.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Let's Make a Deal

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 20:29
Under most circumstances, I'm a semi-monogamous knitter who prefers to limit the number of fiber projects active at any given time. My rules, such as they are, are pretty simple. I strive to have no more than three projects on the needles, ensure one is small and portable to grab and go, and focus and finish before launching a new project.

Lately, I've been ignoring these guidelines, and not only is it driving me crazy, it's time for a reality check. Last fall, I started a simple little cowl that should have been a fast finish, but I allowed myself to get distracted. There it sits, waiting for just a bit of time and attention to bring it to completion. (Update: Done!)

To complicate matters, I have another cowl and the better part of a full shawl sitting on the needles. I don't have a good overview shot, so we'll have to make-do with a picture of the swatch. 

All would be well if that was my full project lineup, but it's not. There are three afghans in various WIP stages. Herlacyn Breeze is off the needles, but there are still a few ends to weave before it can be blocked. (Update: Done!)

The Ohio Star afghan is seamed and ready for a border. (Update: The border is done. Next up: Weave ends and block.)

A third, unnamed afghan is also more than half done, but it's currently in timeout while I think about whether or not I like the overall effect.

That's a total of six active projects, or twice as many as my ideal max. Nonetheless, I'm still itching to cast on another shawl and start putting this silky rainbow yarn to good use. 
With all that in mind, let's make a deal. I'm going to stiffen my spine, do the grownup thing, and focus on turning these WIPs into finished objects. Once at least two of them are finished (or frogged), I can succumb to tempation and cast on the rainbow shawl. What do you think, does that sound fair?

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Winding the Rainbow

Sun, 07/07/2019 - 22:41
We've had so much rain lately, I can't recall the last time we had a clear, sunny day. To combat the gloom, I've been gradually winding the rainbow yarn. 

The rich, saturated shades are the perfect antidote, and the touch of silk imparts a sheen that's especially appealing when the skies are gray.
This yarn is destined to become a shawl or wrap or cowl or some combination thereof, so while I wound, I took the opportunity to play a bit with color options. The assortment above features five colors (no magenta), for example, while the others feature six. 

I freely confess I lingered over the caking process, partly to simply wallow in this soothing task and partly to think through some issues I'm having with one of the designs I'm working on. Now that all the yarn is wound, I'm chomping at the bit and eager to cast on, but hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Several projects either on the needles or in the final finishing stages could in a relatively short period of time go from WIPs to FOs, if I could simply muster the discipline to make it happen.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Touch of Rebellion

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 21:06
It's a busy week in North America. Monday, our neighbors to the north celebrated Canada Day, and today, Americans are celebrating Independence Day. 

In the US, red, white and blue are the unofficial colors of summer, so through the years, I've managed to build a rather substantial collection of coasters and cloths suitable for these occasions.

It's been quite awhile since I've added to this collection, so this seemed like a good time to rectify that oversight, plus the prospect of a quick FO was difficult to resist. The simple color-block heart from several years ago has always been a favorite, so I knit another to keep it company, using the Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots pattern. 

Has my guage radically changed? Did I grab the wrong needle size? Was the yarn simply feeling quixotic?
I truly couldn't say, but there's no denying the new heart (foreground) is noticeably larger than its siblings. And that's okay. A tiny touch of rebellion seems perfectly appropriate for Independence Day.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

No Regrets

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 20:36
Not long ago, I ordered yarn for what will hopefully become a light-weight, season-spanning shawl worked in a rich rainbow of vibrant gemtones. (Charlemont by Valley Yarns)

Because the price was right and online color selection can be tricky, I included a safety skein of a subdued purplish shade in case some skeins refused to play well together. It's a perfectly lovely color, but as you can see, it's significantly softer and less saturated than the ones above.

While I have no clue what I'm going to do with this lone singleton, I have no regrets. With 439 yards to play with, there's plenty of latitude to either use it on its own or pair it with another wayward orphan or odd ball from stash. I'm willing to live with that uncertainty for now, while I focus on swatching and casting on the next big thing, my rainbow shawl.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

The Check is in the Mail

Sun, 06/09/2019 - 13:00
Thanks to your response to last week's pattern sale for tornado relief, the check is in the mail (metaphorically speaking).

Every cent earned through that sale (plus a bit extra) has been donated to the Dayton Foundation, a solid regional organization that has created a centralized fund designated specifically for tornado relief. I chose this option because it helps ensure funds stay local and are disbursed more rapidly to those who need them.

It's been almost two weeks since Memorial Day, when the Miami Valley was hit by a record-breaking 15 tornadoes. A series of subsequent storms have continued to hamper efforts, but power and water service has been restored to most areas and cleanup is underway.

Rebuilding and recovery are going to take a very long time, but thanks to you and people like you, that process will be faster and easier than it would be without your support. I'm grateful for many things, including generous knitters like you. Thank you!

Categories: Knitting Feeds