Louet euroflax yarn giveaway for Drop Dead Easy Knits

Head over to She Shoots Sheep Shots, Gale Zucker’s blog, to win enough Louet Euroflax linen yarn to make the Pompano Tank from Drop Dead Easy Knits.

knitting, book, hand knit, models

Gift Bag Knitting

I am well known in my family for not wrapping gifts.  I wrapped gifts one Christmas season in a jewelry store.  It ruined me for life.  (What kind of ribbon would you like on this teeny, tiny, cheap-ass ring box, sir? The oversized silver plated tray with no box, madam?) Mostly, now, I either put it in a brown paper bag or a paper gift bag with some tissue paper.  The reusable paper gift bags are perfect for me.  Sometimes I weaken if there is a child involved.  Great kid story –on his 5th birthday, my nephew had a small party.  Most of the gifts were presented in paper gift bags.  He “whispered” to his mother “I guess they don’t know how to wrap packages.”  That’s me.

The Galworthy Gift Bag, which Kirsten Kapur designed for Drop Dead Easy Knits, might be a little something to keep in my knitting-on-the-go pouch for some mindless knitting that could turn into a part of the present, as well as the gift bag.  (Hey, I see that Amazon has dropped the price of Drop Dead Easy Knits.  Not sure why, but that means it comes out to about .40 US per pattern!!  So go buy it! You won’t be sorry!

Kirsten designed the bag in Neighborhood Fiber Company Penthouse Silk Fingering for a truly luscious, special gift. Silk sure does take the color, doesn’t it?  You could use any fingering weight yarn for it, though.  Perfect for leftovers.

knitting, book, hand knit, models

I was reminded of this pattern by Barbara Benson – the clever mosaic and lace knitting podcaster in her latest episode, Favorite 5 – Knitted Market Bags (mostly).  (Although she missed the real market bag in the book, Searsport Market Bag.)

Here’s some action/detail shots of the gift bag Kirsten made before the book photo shoot:

You could even put yarn in it to give away.  Is there a word for a yarn turducken?

 

Abide with me — and my shawl.

I was working on yet another Abide, (designed by the talented Kirsten Kapur) in my regular knitting class this week. This version is my fourth, I love this pattern.  (Photo below is by Gale Zucker.)

AudKnits snowflake scraves

People in class were taken with it, but there was a lot of eye-rolling at the idea that it was at all easy.  (From Drop Dead Easy Knits, of course!)  The projects in DDE were not necessarily designed to be beginner projects, but projects that are easy to work on and follow.

What makes lace drop dead easy? Symmetry for one thing.  And no shaping on wrong side rows.  Here’s how that works in Abide. (I’m using Wollemeise Pure in the color Cassis. )

Photo May 25, 7 53 50 AM

It is a simple long triangle. Easy. Regular increases along one side. Easy.  Except “regular ” does not exempt you from knowing  what the pattern means by regular. For instance, I got careless and started increasing every right side row instead of every other right side row. (I was watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  This is playoff knitting.  Go see what Natalie thinks is playoff knitting — a Herbert Niebling doily!  For real.) So the class got to watch me rip it back. It is always fun to see your teacher brought low, isn’t it? I also think watching me rip out helps less confident knitters to see that every one rips back.  Every one of us.

I was initially skeptical of the long triangle look, but I really like it.  It is very wearable.   I’ve worn the version I made in Malabrigo Sock quite a bit.  Kirsten even demonstates how to make it into a cowl in our silly video.  And look how cute it is on this model, in Quince and Company Finch:

Abide_quince_medium

Abide begins at the narrow end, and you complete several of the leaf edging repeats in fairly short order, so the pattern is memorized easily, or at the very least you become really familiar with the chart in no time at all.

knitting, book, hand knit, models

Plus, the leaf pattern itself is symmetrical. You can see the shape you are making, so you know right away if you haven’t done a decrease you were supposed to. I missed a decrease the other night, too, so I know it is easily spotted.

And the picot edging? If you can cast on and bind off, you can make little picots. I don’t care for bobbles, but those picots are pretty darn cute!

I think I convinced them. I mean, other than the edging, it is all garter stitch!

Glama Wrap – Malabrigo Mecha Giveaway

Lucky you! Malabrigo is offering enough Mecha to make the gorgeous Glama wrap from Drop Dead Easy Knits, designed by Ms. Through the Loops, Kirsten Gustafson Kapur.

DropDead Easy_Glama

Glama is named for the longest river in Norway, winding along as the stitch pattern does. (Apologies to linguists out there – we didn’t use the diacratic å.) The yarn that inspired it is from the other end of the world – Malabrigo Mecha, but in an appropriate color – Polar Morn.

810A1512_9_POLAR_MORN

Mecha is that rare, single-ply superwash yarn. Merino takes color in the most vivid, rich way. Mecha is vividly dyed. Even in the lighter shades, it has multi-layered hues.   Squishy and soft, it has a slight thick-and-thin texture, a fantastic loft, and is described as “the perfect size for quick but not-too-heavy projects.” Which describes Glama perfectly.

Here is a close-up of the stitch pattern in the original idea for a color:

DSC_0090

Kirsten said she envisioned a project that worked up quickly, and saw someone “knitting a warm shawl by the fire on a cold night. As the Glama Wrap grows, you can spread the finished end across your lap to keep you extra toasty. Worked in bulky yarn with a simple stitch pattern, this cozy wrap knits up so quickly you’ll find yourself wanting to cast on another one as soon as you finish the first.”

This project has really beautiful drape, and is cozy. The poor model was wearing it on a steamy July day in Connecticut while Gale Zucker took photos. You can’t tell, can you?

knitting, book, hand knit, models

To have a chance to win the Mecha, leave a comment on this post and we’ll use a random drawing for that lucky someone.

Yarn Substitution Star Eyed Julep Blanket

At my regular Monday night class at the Yarnery last week ,there were three students with yarn sub questions. It got me thinking, so I thought I’d think here.  I keep putting off this type of writing on the blog, but I need to do it to keep my ideas somewhere I can find them!

The topic  of yarn substitution could cover an entire book. Or at a bare minimum a 3-hour workshop. I thought I’d start discussing it because one of the premises of Drop Dead Easy Knits is that the patterns use basic yarns (yarn-store yarn) at a basic gauge to allow for easy subbing.

I’ve re-knitted a few of the projects in other yarns. I’ve been happy with the results and learned a few lessons. Always more to learn in life, isn’t there?

knitting, book, hand knit, models

For this initial bit of chat, I’m focusing on the Star-Eyed Julep blanket from DDE. (Photo by Gale Zucker.)

It is an extremely clever bit of log-cabin construction from Mason Dixon Knitting, one of our guest designers. Guest designer sounds like we put them up in a lovely cottage and fed them treats while they worked. Not hardly. Lots of email and airmail and they had to provide their own snacks..

Let’s unpack this, shall we? I just said that because ‘unpack’ is the current phrase I love to hate. I want to smack the people who use it constantly in work meetings, like the zillion I sat through this week. I hate unpacking my regular suitcase or even grocery bags. I’m not going to unpack a perfectly explained bit of a project.

Ok, rant over.   The obvious first place to start when looking to sub is the yarn label. If the pattern calls for a worsted-weight yarn, look at the yarn shop for yarn labeled as such. Warning – what yarn companies say about their yarn and what others who have knit with it believe is not always the same thing. More on that in a future post.

The blanket was designed with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, but I’m currently knitting Star-Eyed Julep in Berroco Ultra Wool.   A change in distribution has made it harder for some US shops to stock the Rowan at the moment, so we wanted to show it another yarn.  Also, the Ultra Wool is really nice yarn and widely available in the US and Canada.

There are plenty of other popular worsted weight wool yarns that could work, and acrylic blends, as well. (Canadiana, Vintage, Encore come to mind.) Check the label, talk to the sales person, and most of all, SWATCH.

Does it feel the way you want it to feel? Drape in the right way?  Only you can decide that.

If you decide to purchase yarn online, think about buying only one skein initially, or make sure you can return it. I have a couple of bins of yarn that didn’t work as intended…

Back to the yarn label. From the Rowan website for Pure Wool Worsted:

Yarn Ball Weight: 
 100g
Yarn Meterage/Yardage: 
 200/219
Tension/Gauge Stitches: 
 20
Tension/Gauge Rows: 
 25

From the Berroco website for Ultra Wool:

Ball Weight:
 3.5 oz / 100 g
Ball Length: 219 yds / 200 m
Knitting Gauge #1:
 4.5 sts = 1" on size 8 US / 5 mm needles
 18 sts & 24 rows = 4" (10cm)
Knitting Gauge #2:
 5 sts = 1" on size 7 US / 4.5 mm needles
 20 sts & 27 rows = 4" (10cm)

Both yarns are 100% superwash wool. Looks like a close match to substitute. Easy decision.

What about colors?

I rarely make something with the colors shown, even when using the suggested yarn.   In this case, I wanted to try and match the colors in the book photos, since that is so often what knitters want. Plus, in addition to being Drop Dead Easy, it is Drop Dead Gorgeous.  Those MDK folks are geniuses.

I opted for Ultra Wool, and Berroco generously supplied yarns that appeared to be an excellent match for the colors. Did I take my own advice and swatch? I did not. Well, I did for gauge, but not for colors. I have even participated in a silly video  of tips that reminds knitters of an easy way to check for adequate contrast.  I should know better.  I did know, within a few rows of introducing the medium grey, Fog, that the contrast wasn’t going to work. Also, Fog looked more blue in when knitted up with the other colors than it did in the skein. (Color theory explains the why, which I don’t remember, although it has been explained to me.  I just know it does.)

What did I do? I kept knitting. “And still she persisted.” isn’t always a good thing, I guess. I even took a picture at one point to convince myself that it would work. The black and white to show lack of contrast is on the right.  If it weren’t for the blue tone, which I can’t quite reproduce here, I might have kept going, because I didn’t want to stop.

 

contrast Collage

The worst thing about ripping out log cabin-style construction? So many little balls of yarn. Such much more ripping that a few rows of normal knitting. SWATCH!!

Photo Mar 10, 7 40 25 AM

I tracked down another grey, Storm, that I think is working. Really. It is.  Storm isn’t a heathered color as the others are, but that is ok with me. I know it bothers some people to mix heathered and solid, but I have never understood that preference.

Before, the mix with Fog

Photo Mar 12, 12 48 44 PM

After, with Storm – Partially used skein, so it looks a bit flat.)

Photo Mar 12, 3 18 27 PM

A redone square, in progress.

File Mar 12, 4 24 54 PM

Are you looking for other color ideas?  Drop Dead Easy Color Genius Kirsten Kapur pulled a few together to get you started thinking. Remember, we chose these from colors on a monitor.  Your mileage may vary.

Alt Colors Star Eyed Julep 2

Alt Colors Star Eyed Julep 1

 

 

Milliners to the Resistance

That’s what my non-knitting long-time dearest friend called me when she asked me to make four more pussyhats!  (I made one for her and one for her sister to wear in DC.) I love that –  we all are milliners to the resistance. Here’s the latest New Yorker:

nyer

Better late than never, here are photos from the Minnesota March.

When I boarded a city bus there were plenty of other hats.  A favorite, but blurry photo, was a knitter finishing her hat.  “I wish I had finished this last night.”  Lament of knitters everywhere.

So many hats, all handmade.  I thought about the images and visual statement of the Suffragists.  Color served as a means of instant recognition then, and now.

The Saturday Night Live on the night of the march used this, when Olga Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon) appears behind Putin.  Everyone in the audience immediately recognized it and applauded.

snl

The kids I saw and talked with were the most fun, and were happy to show the signs they made ‘by myself.’

I initially had mixed emotions about going to the march, but I am so happy I did.  I was supposed to meet up with friends, but it in a crowd of nearly 100,000  (20,000 expected at the most) that was a challenge.  My friend Jill waited for me at the bus stop, or we wouldn’t have found one another either. (Fort Tryon keeping me bundled up.) And some girls just wanna demonstrate and have fun all around.

One last hat I stalked at the march for a photo.  My Tendrils Hat, seen in the wild!

photo-jan-21-12-12-10-pm

 

 

DROP DEAD EASY KNITS DRINKALONG✨

Join in the fun and win fabulous prizes!  Over on Instagram it’s the

🌟DROP DEAD EASY KNITS DRINKALONG✨

Through Dec 31, post a picture of your beverage of the moment- tea, coffee, hot mulled wine, or refreshing spring water – on our coaster.

Here’s one with my water glass at work.

photo-dec-13-2-27-16-pm

Didn’t get a coaster?  Use a facsimile DropDeadEasyKnits coaster, the cover of the book or even a knitted item. Use our hashtag #DropDeadEasyKnitsDAL .✨

We’ll be doing giveaways of the book, yarn packs to make projects, plus some additional e goodies.

Here’s a jpg of the coaster to use if you don’t have a real one!

Drop Dead Easy Coaster WordFrame White

It is supposed to be -20F tomorrow evening.  Knitting at home is the plan!