“I read every project note and was terrified to start… After knitting one repeat of the flowers, I didn’t need the printed directions. This pattern became a joy to knit… watching the design unfold. It looks so complicated but isn’t.”
That’s how one knitter on Ravelry described making her Pressed Flowers* shawl. Jill said much the same thing about hers—this Amy Christoffers pattern quickly makes intuitive sense and is a totally addictive!
Jill’s black and grey version is currently on display as our store model. We’ve already had another Pressed Flowers* sighting at GYI. Tina brought in her elegant cat’s-eye yellow and black shawl yesterday. She also used Rowan Felted Tweed but chose to knit to a slightly lower gauge, making it a bit larger overall than Jill’s.
I’m loving the clever patterning details of this design.
Have you tried mosaic knitting yet? It’s no more than slipped stitches. If you’d prefer a smaller first project than a shawl like Pressed Flowers*, I’d recommend Meg Gadsbey’s Arrochar* cowl, which calls for a DK/light worsted (below, in grey and white). I knit mine with a silk/mohair held double (Berroco Aerial and Sugar Bush Yarns Drizzle), but it would be gorgeous done in Woolstok from Blue Sky Fibers or Malabrigo Rios.
I finished my Astrid* hat, my first solo stranded knitting project. Why did I wait so long? From now on, I will always have a colorwork project going. What I learned is what I always tried to teach in my pre-pandemic knitting classes at the shop: everything is hard until it’s easy. Practice, practice, practice.
Think you’d never be able to knit a Fair Isle pattern? Think again! Yes, your hands will have to learn a new skill, not easy at any age. New muscle memories must be created. You’ll feel like you’re learning to knit all over again. But once you work out the most efficient, most comfortable way to hold your hands and yarns, away you’ll go!
That said, there are 2 videos I can recommend that address stranded knitting yarn management, trapping floats, and color dominance—did I mention there will also be some new terms to learn? In her tutorial on color dominance, Jen Arnall-Culliford demonstrates different ways to hold your yarns. As I watched my own fingers fumbling, I found it encouraging that even she doesn’t perform all three methods perfectly.
Suzanne Bryan shows how to trap the floats of both main and contrast colors, a technique that comes up quickly in the Astrid* pattern. This is a skill easily mastered once done. The catching and carrying of yarn across the back of the work makes sense once the knitting is in your hands; you may not “get it” just by watching the video.
There may be starts and stops… you may try one way of holding yarn and then switch to a completely different way… you may question your color choices once they’re knit into stitches, as I did when I got this far with a blue as my second color and said, ummh, no.
But keep going! And when your colorwork piece is finished, give it a nice bath. Soak rinse-free wool wash made me look like a much better stranded knitter than I am—yet. The Felted Tweed plumped and softened, as if the stitches were reaching out to greet one another, and the fabric visibly relaxed. There actually are scientific reasons why washing wool is such a game changer; they’re entertainingly explained by Jillian Moreno here. Naturally, you’ll find Soak at GYI.
I was asked the other day about the difference between directions to “pick up” stitches vs. “pick up and knit.” This was in connection with another of our KAL options, the 7 Color Scarf* with its long edge borders, above. One of the best explanations I’ve found is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s in her Yarn Harlot blog.
For the scarf, you’ll find it easiest to pick up stitches first, as per The Yarn Harlot, place them on your left needle, then knit into them with the working (contrast) yarn. The key is to be consistent. First, take a few practice pick-ups to audition each of your garter edge stitch options and choose the one you like best. Is it the stitch that looks like a “(” ? Is it the one that looks like a “)”? Maybe it’s the one that looks like “—”. Whichever you choose, pick that one up every time, down the entire edge of your piece.
REMINDER: our Play With Color Knit Along ends March 20. You don’t have to finish your project to be eligible to win one of the KAL prizes. To be entered in the drawing, all you have to do is purchase 4 or more balls of Rowan Felted Tweed, plus you’ll save 10%!
More finished customer projects? Yes, please. Tina also shared these exquisite Late Bloomer Mittens by Kristin Ledgett with us. Her yarns are Berroco Aerial and Kelbourne Woolens Scout, held together. The pattern can be found in the 10th issue of Making magazine, Intricate.
Catherine S. was kind enough to send us this shot of several of her recently completed crocheted afghans. All were worked in easy-care Berroco Vintage. The textures and patterns are all different and all beautiful. They look so cozy!
Bonnie knit another adorable Cache Pullover* in Cascade 220 Superwash for her younger granddaughter. The design comes from Laura Spargo Anderson. She added to the sweater’s length to make a toddler-friendly tunic.
Big sister will be enjoying this Children’s V Neck Down Pullover #293* from Diane Soucy. Bonnie used soft, washable Berroco Ultra Wool and clearly had fun with the striping.
Way back in 2018, I started a PetiteKnit Anker’s Jacket* in Fibre Company Arranmore Light. I finally got around to working the buttonhole bands a few days ago. Languishing so long in the WIP basket means that although it was intended for my older granddaughter, it may now need to go to the younger. Maybe I’ll anticipate possible future delays by making the next one a couple of sizes too big!
Note: Patterns marked with an asterisk (*) are available at Gosh Yarn It!