Spring Sprint Update: Halfway through the month, I am working faithfully on my “official” Sprint project, Elizabeth Smith’s Summer Soundtrack*, every day now. Will I finish it in two weeks? Probably not, but I’m trying! I have the dreaded condition “Knitter’s Startitis,” and I’ve put my Soundtrack* aside once already, just long enough to start and finish an irresistible project, these Seamless Garter Baby Booties*:
The pattern is my adaptation of the 0-3 mos. size of Stay-on baby booties from Ravelry member “KnitgirlinNorway.” The original is knit flat and seamed. My version is worked (mostly) in the round and closed with a 3-needle bind off across the heel. I used a sport weight yarn, Alpaca Yarn Co. Symmetry, on US 2/2.75mm DPNs. If you’d like to be a beta tester for my rebooted bootie, I’ll happily send you my instructions.
Could we be in the middle of a new baby boom? Perhaps because we have a new bébé in our family, I’m hearing about new arrivals everywhere. (Congratulations, Ann! Congratulations, Bonnie!) There definitely has been an uptick in the number of customer requests for baby sweater and blanket patterns — so a shout out to my favorite blanket source, Fifty Four Ten Studio.
My current favorite quick and easy baby sweater is this Norwegian Fir Top Down Cardigan* from OGE Designs. I knit it in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in a week in February, so it doesn’t qualify for the Sprint, but yours could — even with just two weeks to go! It is that simple, with the raglan increases built right into the lacey panels and no underarm stitches to cast on or pick up. As a bonus for all the chart-phobic knitters out there, the directions are clearly written out, row by row.
One last baby knit, my Ellen’s Coming Home Set* from PetiteKnit. The bonnet has Berroco Aerial silk/mohair added to give it extra coziness. This was knit in ancient stashed yarn, but Berroco Ultra Wool DK would be my choice for a washable soft wool, Modern Cotton DK for a summer weight.
Despite last Saturday’s snow storm, warmer weather is on the way, of course. You can be ready with our lighter, seasonal yarns that have just arrived, Isola and Remix Light. And don’t forget our favorite 100% cotton worsted weight Pima 100.
ISOLA — Made in Italy; 284 yds/100g; Suggested Knitting Gauge: 5.25-5.5 sts = 1″, 21-22 sts & 29-30 rows = 4″ (10cm); Needle Size: 5-6 (US) / 3.75-4 mm; Crochet Gauge: 4.75 sc = 1″, 19 sc & 24 rows = 4″ (10cm); Hook Size: F (US) / 3.75 mm; Fiber Content: 38% Cotton, 36% Linen, 26% Viscose; Care: Machine wash in cold water on delicate cycle. Lay flat to dry.
Elizabeth Smith (there’s that name again) wrote a blog post recently about swatching the newest Berroco yarns, including Isola, to find a replacement yarn for her Castaway* sweater, designed originally for Quinoa, a yarn that’s been discontinued. Isola tied for first place! Read the full article here — a fascinating look behind the scenes at how designers pick their yarns. Here’s Castaway*, her boxy tee.
Another simple summer top that would be perfect for Isola is A Slice of Linen* from Susan Barstein. Knit sideways, you could use two or just one color of Isola. The yarn’s long ombré gradient shading would create subtle vertical stripes.
You, too, can be a yarn detective, whether, like Smith, you have a pattern and are looking for a yarn for it or you have a yarn and are pattern hunting. Here’s how:
With a brand new yarn such as Isola, a search on Ravelry for “Pattern Ideas” can yield no results, since the yarn is just too new for folks to have posted projects using it. Likewise, a new pattern might have very few “Yarn Ideas.” Stephen West’s latest Corrugation Shawl*, for example, released only 5 days ago, has only 3 projects listed on Ravelry and just one yarn option other than the suggested yarn, which is a hand-dyed yarn, priced at over $38/skein, with 5 skeins required — yikes!
My simple solution for yarn substitution? Go to YarnSub.com. In the Search Box, enter the yarn you want to match or replace in a pattern. Like magic, this amazing resource site will give you a list of comparable yarns. For Isola, I picked Zooey, the 5th suggested yarn and an 89% match, because I knew it’s been available long enough to have been widely used. Sure enough, there are 35 pages of Pattern Ideas for Zooey on Ravelry — plenty to choose from for Isola! Working in reverse to find a substitute for the suggested yarn for Corrugation Shawl*, I discovered the 3rd suggested yarn, a 91% match, was our very own Kelbourne Woolens Scout!
(Please note that not all of YarnSub’s suggestions will be available in the U.S.)
Come to think of it, Remix Light would make a fantastic summer weight version of Corrugation Shawl*. There are plenty of other Pattern Ideas on Ravelry for Remix Light, though, in addition to Berroco’s own designs. We’re welcoming it back for spring with the newest colors, including Irish Moss and Blue Moon, below. Recycled non-wool fibers make it a comfortable year-round yarn. I love having it in my hands every day now — thank you, Spring Sprint!
REMIX LIGHT — Made in France; 432 yds/100g; Suggested Knitting Gauge 5.5 sts = 1″, 22 sts x 32 rows = 4″ (10cm); Needle Size: 5 (US) / 3.75 mm; Crochet Gauge: 5 sc = 1″, 20 sc x 22 rows = 4″ (10cm); Hook Size: F (US) / 3.75 mm; Fiber Content: 30% Nylon, 27% Cotton, 24% Acrylic, 10% Silk, 9% Linen; Care: Machine Wash in cold water, delicate cycle. Lay flat to dry.
WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE MAKING…
Sharon chose Malabrigo Rios in the kettle-dyed color Candombe for her Low-key Cowl* from Elizabeth Smith (3rd mention!). It’s a one skein project that uses a technique possibly new to many knitters, the split hem. Fear not! Smith has a video that explains exactly how to work it. If you’d like to jump into the Spring Sprint, this pretty cowl could easily be started and finished by the end of the month.
Stephanie brought in two completed sweaters recently, both designed by Thea Colman, a.k.a. Baby Cocktails. (Like finding a clothing brand that fits you really well, when you knit your own clothing and find a designer whose patterns seem tailored just for you, you become a fan!) This is Stephanie’s magnificent Dolin* cardigan. She used Kelbourne Woolens Scout in Blue Heather. Just look at that stitch definition.
And don’t you love those cables?, how they match at the shoulder seam? She did some beautiful seaming here. Her second sweater is Lillet* in Lana Grossa 365 Cashmere, a cotton blend. Short rows worked right into the lacey neckline invisibly extend the back for better shaping and fit. Stephanie even added lace detail to the original ribbing at the hem. This one will be getting a lot of wear very soon!
And finally, here is Francie in her Weekender* from Andrea Mowry — that is one happy knitter! Her yarn may not have come from GYI, but we celebrate every finished sweater here!
Note: Patterns marked with an asterisk (*) are available at Gosh Yarn It!