free pattern

Squam Teacher Feature

I mentioned before how excited I am to head out to New Hampshire this summer to take part in the legend known as Squam.   If you really knew how excited I was, you would know that I visit the Squam blog almost daily, stalk the Squam Ravelry group page, and get a little giddy when a new post from Squam Art Workshops pops up in my Facebook feed.

Now that you have all learned that I can get a little obsessed inspired by upcoming events, it is safe to share why I am excited about today.  Over at the Squam blog, guess who holds the Teacher Feature for February 15th 2012?!  That's right, yours truly.  Make sure you hop on over to say hi and learn a little more about me from my Squam interview.

On another (albeit related) note, have you had the chance to check out the Squam store?    There is always a new handmade offering, available for a limited time.  In the past weeks I have seen the most beautiful hand thrown cups and tumblers, gratitude journals, and now something specifically catered to us knitters.  A kit featuring a fingerless mitts pattern and yarn inspired by the beauty of Squam Lake.

The pattern comes in three sizes, two length options, and two cuff options- making it versatile for a range of knitting skill levels.  The designer of the pattern, Natalie Selles, and the dyer of the yarn, Jill Draper,  will both be teaching at the Spring Squam session (have I mentioned how excited I am to be included in such a talented group of teachers?).  Didn't make it into Squam before it filled up (and it happened so quick!)?   Ordering this knitting kit may be exactly what you need to tide you over until next January when the Squam 2013 session opens up!

Kits are available in your choice of one of the two colors shown above.  It is $30 for the kit (you'll receive the pdf pattern immediately upon ordering, your yarn will arrive in a couple weeks), but you can also buy either the yarn or pattern separately.   Find more details over at the Squam Store- and make sure you keep your eyes open in the coming months for other creative handmade offerings!

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Plaited Headwrap for Selfish Knitting Month

With the holiday season behind us, I believe it is once again time for some selfish knitting!  Last year I kicked off January with selfish knitting along with a free pattern- and I thought that 2011 should start the same way.  I know I have been promising it for a while- and I'm finally ready to share the Anthropologie-inspired Plaited Headwrap (like the one I made myself to wear to Rhinebeck):

*mmm... still thinking about those fried pickles (and I'm not even pregnant anymore!).

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 skein Malabrigo Worsted (or another worsted or aran weight yarn you love)
  • Size US 10 needles (either circular for magic loop, or dpns)
  • Safety pins for assembly

You will basically be knitting a very long tube.  For this project, I learned how to use the magic loop method (look under small diameter circular knitting here for a video tutorial) and loved the results.  I would encourage you to give it a try- getting it started will be the hardest part, but once you get in the groove, you'll fly.  If you don't feel comfortable, just use double pointed needles. 

Cast on 14 stitches, join for working in the round
Knit all stitches until piece wraps around your head loosely three times (about 72")
Bind off


Here comes the tricky part. Although this headwrap looks like a braid, it's technically a knot because you are using only one piece of fabric instead of three. 

Step 1:  Divide piece into thirds, marking with safety pins

Step 2:  Make a circle that fits around your head loosely, pin together (this will be right near where you already have one safety pin, you can use this safety pin to close the circle)

Step 3:  With second section of headwrap, wrap around the first section circle.  Using safety pins, pin together the first two sections in six places, evenly divided around the circle.  With each pin, criss cross the two sections:

With the second section, seperate it from the first piece to the right first, making the first criss cross go from right to left. 

With two wraps completed, the head wrap should look like this:

Step 4:  Then end of section two will be on top of the first section.  Without twisting the piece, take the final section to the left.  Feed the piece under the first section, through the space between section one and two, and over the second section to the right. 

Step 5: Repeat step 4 going from right to left instead of left to right (still going under section one and over section two). 

Repeat these two steps until the end of section three comes together with the start of section one:

Step 6: Seam the ends together (make sure braid lays 'flat' and there are no twists before seaming) and remove safety pins

Because the assembly is a little bit of a challenge (but pretty fun once you get it), I decided to start a thread in the French Press Knits Ravelry group in order to have a place for people working on the headwrap to discuss their progress.  I figured there is strength in numbers- so why not create the first ever French Press Knits Knit-A-Long?

I will be checking in and answering questions on the KAL thread throughout the month.  I'll also share whatever hints and tips I can think of (like how to get two headwraps out of one skein of Malabrigo worsted).

I'll also turn this tutorial into a pdf download for easy printing and add it as a pattern on Ravelry so you can add it to your projects page. I'll keep you posted here and on the KAL thread

So grap your needles, teach yourself how to maximize on the magic loop technique, and start your selfish knitting.  Who's in!?

***Added as a pdf to Ravelry- find it here***

Frosted Glow Tutorial

This was the tutorial I posted last month on luvinthemommyhood for the big comfy knits vs. cozy sews roundup.  Since I never actually posted the pattern here, I figured there was no better time than now.  This is how I will wrap up the past two weeks of tutorials. Hope you've enjoyed International Craft Day as much as I have!

Comfy Knits vs. Cozy Sews.  Nothing fires up designers and crafters more than a good old fashioned blog 'battle royale.'  I can't tell you how excited I am to be here today.  As a knitter, summer is my training season- I've spent months preparing for my time in the ring.

Of course, as a knitter, I already feel like we have the 'one up.'  You see, knitting allows us to create our own fabric, taking one dimensional natural fibers and creating two or three dimensional garments.  And with just one simple knitted garment, an entire ensemble can so easily be endowed with a touch of luxury.

Let's jump right in, shall we?

Today I have prepared a pattern that is perfect for the colder weather lurking around the corner.  Even on a drab day, this 'Frosted Glow Cowl' will be sure to add that touch of luxury (not to mention warmth) to your outfit. 

What You'll Need:
 1 skein Rowan Alpaca Cotton
 Size 8 US needles 
 Needle and Thread

Gauge:  4" = 16 sts

K: Knit
P: Purl
k2tog: knit two together
yo: yarn over
ssk: slip slip knit
rep: Repeat
RS: Right side
WS: Wrong Side

Cast on 27 stitches

Rows 1-6:  Work in moss stitch pattern (*K1, P1, rep from * to end)

Row 7(RS):  K1, P1, K2, *k2tog, k4, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1: rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 8 and every following WS row: K1, Pl, K1, purl to last 3 sitcthes; K1, P1, K1

Row 9: K1, P1, K2, *k2tog, k3, (yo, k1) twice, ssk, k1;  rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 11:  K1, P1, K2, * k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, ssk, k1; rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 13: K1, P1, K2, *k2tog, (k1, yo) twice, k3, ssk, k1;  rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 15: K1, P1, K2, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k4, ssk, k1; rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 17: K1, P1, K2, *k2tog, (k1, yo) twice, k3, ssk, k1; rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 19:   K1, P1, K2, * k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, ssk, k1; rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 21: K1, P1, K2, *k2tog, k3, (yo, k1) twice, ssk, k1; rep from * to last three stitches, K1, P1, K1

Row 22: K1, P1, K1, Purl to last three sts, K1, P1, K1

More of a chart person (me too!)?  This one's for you:

Repeat rows 7- 22 until scarflette measures 24". End how you started, with 6 moss stitch rows, and then bind off.

Add buttons, you can use the yarn overs within the pattern as buttonholes.

If you are on Ravelry and want to add this to your project page, just search the patterns for "Frosted Glow".
You can also take a look at my project page for this project done in a different yarn/gauge for more ideas.  

Surprise! A New (Free) Pattern

You may remember the little competition I filled you in on a couple weeks ago.  All this month over at luvunthemommyhood there has been a battle raging between comfy sews and cozy knits.

Earlier this month Shannon invited me to take a turn in the ring to duke it out in the name of handknits- I couldn't be more thrilled to get involved!  For this special occasion, I did up a tutorial for a simple (yet oh-so-comfy-cozy) cowl.   Presenting:  Frosted Glow

Show your support of handknits by stopping by and checking out the tutorial- say hi to Shannon, she's a fellow Raveler (imstitched)!

The pattern is also activated on Ravelry now, so whip one up and add it to your Ravelry project page (in support of the knits, of course!).  You can find the pattern and more information here.

Name That Cowl Contest

As I mentioned last night,  next week marks the first blogiversary of French Press Knits.  In honor of this occasion, today we will start a little contest that will lead into a new pattern release next week.  I've been holding back this cowl for some time now:

  With October Stockpile starting in the Malabrigo Junkies Group on Ravelry, I figured there's no time like the present to launch a pattern that utilizes just one skein (yes, one!) of Malabrigo Worsted.

This pattern is worked in the round with a classic fan and feather pattern.  The hood is shaped with short-row shaping within the infinty-cowl style.  Knit on size 10 circular needles, this is sure to be another great last-minute gift idea.

And here's where you come in.  This cowl does not yet have a name, and of course it would love one.   In the comments section, please leave me suggestions for a name.  If I choose the name you suggest, you will win the cowl pattern upon release, and a skein of Malabrigo Worsted in purple Mystery to get your WIP started!

And that's not all!  Be one of the first 5 people to leave a comment with a name suggestion, and you will automatically win a pdf of the pattern emailed and/or gifted to you on Ravelry when the pattern is released next week. 

The winning name will be announced on Tuesday, October 5, with the pattern going live soon after.  Comment by Tuesday morning for your chance to win!