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Posts Tagged ‘test knit’

Well, she’s gone and done it again. Laura has designed a stole and scarf version of the Garden Party shawl, and has named it Flower Faire. I was lucky enough to also be asked to test-knit this shawl and since there are 3 sizes to choose from in the pattern, I requested the wide scarf size.

Flower Faire Scarf

Pattern: Flower Faire by Laura Patterson
Pattern Source: Fiber Dreams / Ravelry
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 in Ruby (500 yards)
Needles: US size 5 / 3.75 mm Knit Picks Options (Harmony)
Finished Size: 12.5 x 62 in. (32 x 157 cm)

My Ravelry page

After looking through my laceweight yarn stash, I realized that not only do I have a very small laceweight stash, but that the JaggerSpun Zephyr that I used on my Garden Party shawl was the perfect choice. Since I was using leftovers from a previous project though, my only concern was that I wouldn’t have enough.

Flower Faire Scarf

All sizes are knit in the same manner from the center towards one edge from a provisional cast on. After completing the first side, you pick up the stitches from the cast on chain and knit the second side exactly as the first. Easy peasy.

If you prefer to use a heavier lace weight or fingering weight yarn, then the narrow scarf version will work perfectly for that. If you want your stole or scarf to be longer or shorter, it would be quite easy to modify the pattern to either omit or add extra repeats of the different motifs.

Flower Faire Scarf

I can usually tell when I’m going to run out of yarn when knitting socks, probably because I’ve knit so many of them, but laceweight yarn seems a bit trickier for me. As I neared the border on the second side I repeatedly asked DH if he thought I had enough yarn left, or if I should omit a repeat. He said “you’re fine”. “How would you know”, I inquired, “you don’t knit”. He responded with the obvious “Then why are you asking me?”

Flower Faire Scarf

I fretted and debated during each and every row if I should omit a motif repeat before the border, and as I looked at the dwindling yarn ball remaining, I was sure I didn’t have enough. DH tried to reassure me that I had plenty of yarn, but I kept ignoring him thinking he didn’t know what he was talking about. I remembered thinking at one point that it would have been wise to weigh the first half of the completed scarf and then the remaining ball of yarn to know for sure.

Flower Faire Scarf

I finally decided to omit one pattern repeat of the last motif and knit the border. As I bound off the last stitch of the border, I looked at the ball of yarn remaining and gave myself a swift quick in the butt. I not only didn’t need to omit the last repeat of the motif, but I had to tell my husband he was right. I hate it when that happens.

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I just finished my second test-knit for Laura (Fiber Dreams) and I’m so in love with this shawl, I’m keeping it.

Garden Party 3

Pattern: Garden Party by Laura Patterson (Ravelry)

Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18; Colorway: Ruby

Needles: Knit Picks Options Harmony 3.75 mm / US 5

Modifications: One that I thought was no big deal, but came to bite me in the butt when I was blocking.

There are 2 other knitters who also test-knit this shawl, and the pattern is released and ready for PDF download.

Other than just the overall beauty of the shawl with all the lovely flowers and leaves, the best part of it is the construction. Not that I’ve knit a lot of shawls, but I’ve never seen anything like it. There’s a center panel of leaves that you knit first and it seems like it’s just going to end up being a rectangle, but when you get to the end of that section, it ends in a point. Kind of like a long rectangle with a triangle at the end.

Garden Party Triangle Shawl

Next you knit the rows on the right side of the shawl while you pick up the stitches from the center section. As you get to that center point of the rectangle, you stop and put those stitches on a stitch holder. Since I was knitting with the Knit Picks Options cables, I was able to just leave the cable there, take of the needle points and start the next section.

Garden Party (Right Side)

The left side is knit exactly like the right picking up those center panel stitches until you get to the center point and then you join the waiting stitches from the right side and continue knitting back and forth while working decreases to shape the triangular point of the shawl.

Garden Party 4

The final step is the large border that you start on one side of the shawl and knit back and forth while picking up the stitches along the edge of the shawl until you come to the center. Here’s where I screwed up.

Garden Party triangle border tip

Somehow my counting was “off” (won’t be the first time, won’t be the last) and as I approached the center point, I discovered that I was on the wrong row and the center border panel wasn’t going to be centered at the triangles point. So I tried to fudge. Let me emphasize that word “try”. Instead of figuring out where I went wrong and ripping back, I continued on, and omitted a lot of the “knitting into the same stitch twice” rows. Because of this, when I blocked, I didn’t have enough ease at the point, so I had to stretch that yarn into submission like it was on some kind of torture device from medieval times. Although it worked overall, it was a great learning lesson and I’ll never do it again.

Garden Party 5

Obviously after you get through the center point, you continue knitting the border along the next side and then block and enjoy the masterpiece you created. I’m very pleased with how this shawl turned out, but honestly all the credit goes to the designer. Bravo Laura!

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Designer spotlight

This was going to be a post about my adventures at TNNA in Long Beach, but it makes no sense telling you what I saw at this tradeshow, without first explaining why I was there. For those of you who are unfamiliar with TNNA, it is the National NeedleArts Association which is a trade association for professionals in knitting, needlework, and stitching. Each year they have two trade shows for members and it is huge! For our purposes, I’ll only discuss the knitting side of things. If you are a yarn store owner, a TNNA tradeshow is the perfect venue to go check out what’s new in the industry, place orders with vendors, meet designers, etc.

So lets get back to why I was there. My dear friend Laura is a very talented designer and a member of TNNA. She graciously asked me to attend with her so she could meet with yarn companies, show them her patterns, and hopefully gather enough interest from them to possibly design some patterns in their yarn. It’s really a win/win situation.
One of the items I was wearing on the 2nd day we attended was a pair of socks that she designed that I failed to post about when I finished them in November. I’m going to remedy that problem right now because this is a pattern I definitely would like to show off!
Pattern: Candy Wrappers by Laura Patterson of Fiber Dreams

Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight in Rose Quartz
Needles: 24″ circular 2.25 mm (US 1) and 2.5 mm (US 1.5)

Modifications: I cast on with the 2.25 mm needles to work the ribbing and then switched to the 2.5 mm needles to knit the rest of the sock. I didn’t do this because of any problem wit
h the pattern, but because I was too lazy to swatch & realized when I completed the ribbing that I better go up a bit in needle size if these were going to fit.
I also added an extra 1/2 repeat of the pattern on the leg because I’m somewhat strange and always like my socks a bit longer than any pattern I’ve ever knit. It seemed like a good idea at the time until I figured out that I had to shift my stitches on the needles to work the heel flap in the pattern stitch. It took some math skills on my part to make it work, but I think I executed it fine.
Notes: The cabling technique in this pattern is beautiful and very unique and something I’ve never ran across before. I was unable to figure out how to do it without a cable needle, but when I knit this pattern again, my goal is to figure it out. That is, unless someone does it for me first, which would be wonderful.

I don’t recall ever knitting this type of toe decrease before, especially since I usually knit all my socks toe-up, but it’s so pretty I felt it needed its own close-up. At TNNA I got compliments left and right every time someone saw these. In fact, the VP of Brown Sheep Company was practically gushing over them and said if they weren’t on my feet she’d steal them. The glint in her eye at one point led me to believe that she may indeed be serious.

As can be the case with some patterns, you have to be careful as to what yarn type and colorway you choose, so that the stitch pattern doesn’t get “lost”. I think this skein of Socks That Rock showed off the pattern very well, and I was very lucky to win this skein in a blog contest awhile ago from Tiennie Knits.
The pattern is written top-down (cuff to toe), on dpn’s, but I found it extremely easy to modify it for two circular needles. Dare I say that it would be just as easy using the Magic Loop?
Now if this fabulous sock isn’t enough of a designer spotlight, I’ll tease you a bit here by showing you her current design that I’m test-knitting. It’s called the Garden Party Shawl, and with all the beautiful flower and leaf motifs, I can definitely see why. Some of you may remember her last design, Pacific Islands, which can be knit into a shawl or a scarf. It got quite a bit of attention when Wendy Johnson (Wendy Knits) test-knit it for Laura, and the pattern went flying out of Laura’s online store. I suspect the Garden Party Shawl will too … once it’s available.

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