Dale Knitting Book Clearance Sale

Stop by my Kidsknits.com knitting book page and you’ll see new clearance prices on a great selection of older Dale gems.  Here’s just a glimpse:

Dale knitting book clearance sale

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Littlest hat, biggest honor

Infant's sunhat knitting kit sport or DK weight cotton yarn from Kidsknits.com PDF thru Ravelry.

Littlest Fisherman’s Hat in 3-6 month size, knit in Lerke merino+cotton DK weight yarn.

OMG!  Sometimes I get the sweetest reports back from my customers! I think today’s might top ’em all:

sweet dreams hat email

Isn’t it wonderful, what we can do with sticks and string?!

The pattern was originally written for sport weight Terne (newborn size) or DK weight Lerke (3-6 month size) kits, but this customer used my PDF with some stash worsted weight yarn to create her “Bigger Fisherman” toddler’s hat.  The Dale worsted weight yarns which you might use for a toddler-sized hat would be Freestyle (superwash wool) or Cotinga (merino+alpaca=tremendously soft, gorgeous stuff…but hand wash!)

Have fun…and sweet dreams!

Baby's sunhat knit in sport weight or DK cotton yarn from Kidsknits.com. PDF thru Ravelry.

The Littlest Fisherman’s Hat, in Dale Garn “Terne” 100% cotton, 0-3 month size.

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Peace Sweater Motifs – old mistakes or loveable quirks?

Yesterday, I posted about two types of observations I’ve made regarding the Dale Peace sweater knitting pattern – Dale’s little glitches, which you’ll definitely want to correct, and my opinionated preferences, which you might want to consider. Today, I want to mention yet another type of observation I’ve made regarding the Peace design: an interesting quirk that doesn’t really fall into either of yesterday’s classifications. Today’s topic shows proof of the earnest nature of their hand knitting reproduction of the original, even while it raises questions regarding the process of bringing the designer’s original vision to market.

Look at the cuffs.  Now look at the collar.

Different knitting motifs on Dale Peace sweater pattern

Ever-so-slightly different motifs on the cuffs, versus collar, of the Dale “Peace” sweater design.

Below, I’ve charted out the main motifs from each section, and placed them side by side, for your inspection.  Notice anything just a wee bit different?

Dale Peace sweater motifs on cuffs and collar

One might be tempted, at first, to call the cuff motif that’s between the stars a mistake.  After all, if there is one design imperative that runs rampant through nearly every Norwegian knitting motif, it’s symmetry.  Like so many time-honored Norwegian knitting motifs, the stacked X’s on the collar are symmetrical both horizontally and vertically; the cuff motif …well, not so much.   Does that make it a mistake?  Not necessarily.  Maybe the designer liked the idea of changing things up, ever-so-slightly.  Maybe the cuff motif is a charming nod to the little stick figures we often see in all sorts of traditional folk knitting.  Or, yeah, I guess it could be a mistake.  But, if so, it’s NOT a hand knitting pattern mistake, it’s a ready-made factory mistake.  (Or not.)

Here are the google image results for the search “dale of norway peace sweater“.  You’ll see that very same, ever-so-slight motif difference in every ready-made Peace sweater, too. Was it designed that way, or is that a factory mistake that affected all ready-made sweaters and was carried over to the hand knitting pattern, too?  I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.  But it’s certainly interesting and it gives us reason to appreciate the attention given to the knitting pattern.  Someone clearly put a great deal of work into carefully copying the ready-made’s motifs.  And, hopefully, it opens the door for some of you to further consider what you’d like to keep, or change, in this, or, for that matter, any, knitting pattern.

Have fun!

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My notes for Dale’s Peace sweater knitting pattern

free knitting pattern for Dale Peace sweater

Dale of Norway’s wildly popular “Peace” sweater is finally available as a Dale Garn knitting pattern using Dale Baby Ull yarn.

Last week, as soon as I saw it, I shared the Ravelry link to the new, free knitting pattern for Dale Garn’s lovely “Peace” sweater.  When they issued it, they said it was for a “limited time”, so time was of the essence – I didn’t want any of you to miss this gorgeous pattern!  Since then, I’ve had a little time to go over the pattern. At first glance, anyone could see that they had some chart labels that were obscuring a few rows on some charts. If you had to, you could figure the obscured stitches out, by referring to the sweater photos in the PDF and enlarging the heck out of them. Thankfully, you don’t have to, because they’ve revised those charts and posted the new version, “Peace-Rev1”, on Ravelry.

But…there are still a few glitches in Peace-Rev1. I’ve spoken to them about what I’ve noticed, and they plan to release a second, revised version with some of my points. Some of my points are necessary corrections anyone would want; some of my points are my own, very opinionated preferences. I’ll tell you about all of them, but keep this in mind: If you ask a dozen different knitters how to knit one pattern, you’ll always end up with a dozen different approaches. So, I’m definitely not telling you to do it my way – as always, do it your way. But consider this food for thought (okay, delicious, home-grown, organic, gourmet food for thought, made with love.) And, as always, feel free to share your comments, below.

The word “border”: The word “border” generally implies a boundary, an edge, or a section along an edge; yet, they use the word “border” as they refer to all chart work to be done, even charts to be worked in the middle of a piece. That has confused some callers. So, if you’re in that camp, wherever you see the word “border”, swap in the words “chart work”.

Restart Diagram A at the sideline: Do not work Diagram A non-stop for a full round. The start and end points for working Diagram A will only work if you start your chart work anew for the second half, right after you encounter the side marker. (Since the other charts deal with fronts and backs separately, restarting on the sideline is not an issue elsewhere.)

Armholes and yoke: The Peace pattern has you work the bottom of the sweater circularly and the top of the sweater back and forth. I wouldn’t. There are a few, very limited, but perfectly sensible, situations in which I think it really does pay to work color work back and forth: The sides of a curvy neckline, the nicely shaped shoulders, etc. But usually, I think it’s a bad idea. In this case, I DEFINITELY think it’s a bad idea. (Unless you’re doing it on a knitting machine, in which case you’ll do ALL of it back and forth. I’m writing with hand knitters in mind.)

If you’re familiar with steeks and their rationale, you can skip the next three paragraphs.

First, a little background: There are a few really GREAT reasons why we usually knit color work circularly: 1) Most everyone’s knit stitches have a slightly differently slant and, occasionally, different tension, than their purl stitches; so, mixing the two stitch types can visually distort motifs. 2) Most people find knit stitches easier / faster to execute than purl stitches. 3) It’s easier to “read” your knitting on the “right” side (pretty outside) of the fabric than on the “wrong” (float-garbled inside) of the fabric. 4) It’s easier to read chart work when it’s flowing in the same, right-to-left, direction as your knit stitches. Reading the chart in one direction, but purling back in the opposite direction, can be quite the annoying mind-bend for some knitters.

Circular knitting solves all of those problems by keeping everything in knit stitches, flowing happily in the same direction throughout. The vast majority of Dale Garn’s traditional Norwegian patterns are done circularly, and they have you manage openings in your circular knitting – like armholes, necklines, etc. – through the use of “cutting stitches” or “steeks”. Thanks to steeks, you can temporarily bridge future openings so that you keep that great all-knit vibe going throughout the project (or maybe about 98% of it – not bad!) Unfortunately, knitters that have not yet used steeks often have a hard time appreciating their worth, and tend to avoid the admittedly-unsettling thought of cutting their knitting.

With the Peace pattern, I suspect some new folks at Dale Garn went overboard to avoid the feared steeks that are central to their old, traditional Norwegian patterns. I’m just guessing that they wanted to broaden their market and felt uninitiated knitters tend to avoid steeked patterns (whereas the steek-initiated know steeks can be a great benefit to color work. Me, when I know something works, I’d rather share it than avoid it. So, if you’re not yet familiar with steeks, you might want to read my old 7-page tutorial on the topic.) Ironically, while Dale went to great pains to avoid any steeks in the pattern, they also mistakenly left their standard line about reinforcing and cutting stitches open in the pattern. I guess old habits die hard! (A minor glitch, really. If you’re following the pattern verbatim, just ignore their line about reinforcing and cutting at the start of the “Finishing” section.)

If you are thinking of steeking your Peace armholes, consider this: Traditional, steeked Norwegian armholes are typically a bit oversized and have straight-edged, dropped-shoulders, so that you can easily add on a few rows of binding at the top of your sleeves, and that will eventually cover the raw, sewn-and-cut edges of your armholes. With the Peace sweater’s lovely, fitted armholes, such binding would create problematic bulk where we want a smooth fit.

You can choose to ignore those raw, sewn-and-cut armhole edges, if you’d like (I wouldn’t, but some would.) You could whipstitch them in place, you could sew thin seam binding over them, you could do a lot of things to make them livable. Or just ignore them. But, if you really want to steek the armholes, there’s one change to the pattern that you MUST make – just add 1 more stitch to the large bind-offs at the base of the armholes (and decrease that same 1 stitch from your next 2-st decrease) so that all of your subsequent armhole/sleeve decreases are only 1 stitch at a time. That way, you’ll be able to cast on steek stitches on the row right after the big, armhole base bind-off and all of your decreases can be done, 1 st at a time, on each side of the steek. You can continue the armhole steek nearly to the top; you’ll just need to bind-off the steek stitches and work back and forth (as described in the pattern) to do the last few rows which involve the short-row shoulder shaping. OR…

A better idea:

IMHO, the armholes / yoke of this sweater would be best if worked circularly, without armhole steeks. Essentially, I’d use the same circular yoke approach that you’d use for any raglan sweater: Work the body and both sleeves through past the armhole bind-off row (remembering to add 1 st to the big armhole BO and take that same st away from the next, 2-st decrease, making everything above the armhole base a 1-st decrease.) Then, join all 3 pieces circularly, as for a raglan, but do NOT make the straight, diagonal-line decreases typical of a raglan; rather, work all the same back, front and sleeve decreases you see in the pattern (except, of course, for that one, PESKY, 2-st decrease.)

While I would NOT steek the armholes, I WOULD steek a couple of other things:

Sleeve cuffs: I’d work the cuff facing back and forth, as described, but, right after the foldline, I’d steek the short, little outside portion of the cuff. I’d cast on a 5-stitch steek, using the motif color for steek sts #2 & 4, the background color for steek sts #1, 3 & 5. Then, on the top rows of the cuff’s Diagrams E & F, I’d bind off the cuff steek. I’d sew 2 lines of teeny, tiny machine stitches down each of those motif-colored steek stripes (#2&4) then I’d cut it open, right up the middle of steek stitch column #3. Finishing it off would be a breeze, since the cuff facing would fold up, right over the raw edges.

Split neckline and neckband: I’d work a similar steek for the front neck split, right above the one BO center neck stitch, except that I’d add about 4 more stitches to my neckline steek – 2 more on either side – so that I could fold my raw steek edges over and slipstitch them in place, making a nice facing on either side of the soon-to-arrive zipper. I’d steek the neckband, too, although I’d use a smaller, 5-st steek, such as I suggested for the cuffs. After all, the neckband has essentially the same architecture as the cuffs – just upside-down – with a facing worked back and forth, to neatly cover any raw neckband steek edges.


The rows obscured by labels on a few of the original charts have been adjusted in Rev-1. But, there are still some issues. The leftmost two rows from Diagram B / Front I, page 8 are missing. They plan to republish those, but if you’re nearing that point before they get a chance to republish, just refer to Diagram B / Back 1 for those same rows – they’re (supposed to be) identical.

There’s one chart column missing from each side of the large, horizontal band of flowers that goes across the yoke (both sides of upper front and upper back.) If you’re working the S size, it doesn’t even impact you. But, for all other sizes, you’ll want move the large floral motifs one column out, toward the nearest edge, to fit in that missing column, which should be identical to the column that’s just 2 columns in toward the center, i.e., the other side of the little triangles that are in between the flowers.  The triangle and diamond motifs above that section are fine as is. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Dale Peace sweater missing column from upper front and upper back.

There’s a problem with the sleeve charts on page 14 of the Peace-Rev1.pdf file.  The problem lies at the base of the hearts. (See my red circles.)

Dale Peace sweater knitting pattern sleeve chart problem

Notice that, in Diagram H, there are only two blank stitches between the dots at the base of the heart. That’s okay, because you want those two dark stitches just where they are, forming the top row of the “X” shape at the top of the big triangle.

Dale Peace sweater sleeve stitches okay at X at base

In Diagram I, there are three blank stitches between the dots. They’re okay, too, because they form the top of the little quotation marks (if you will) at the top of each heart. The stitches are actually correct as charted for their individual locations; BUT…the problem arises with the “repeat”.

Error in Rev-1 of Dale Peace sweater knitting pattern

So, you have to move the bottom of the “repeat” line on Diagram H up one row, so that the 2-st spaced dots can stay above the triangle to make the “X”, you have to add the 3-st spaced row to the top of the repeat section on Diagram H, and you have to remove that same 3-st spaced row from the bottom of Diagram I, so that it’s not duplicated.

I’ve reviewed these issues with the folks at Dale / Mango Moon, so hopefully, they’ll be able to get Norway to update the charts shortly.  In the meantime, I hope you those of you who are already enjoying this gorgeous project find this info helpful.

One request: If any of you have a magical way of creating free time, so that I can dive into my own Peace project, please clue me in!!  ;)

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New Dale Garn yarns and colors for Fall 2015

Hot off the presses!  Dale Garn just released this new PDF, showing new colors, and even a couple of new yarns, for 2015: DG-Fargekart-150826.  (Yep, it’s in Norwegian.  As you may have noticed from any Dale yarn ball band, “farge” means “color” in Norwegian, so, you guessed it – “fargekart” means “color card”.)  So many beautiful new shades!  And…some I’m kinda wondering about, only because they look different, but they’re using old/existing color numbers.  Hmmm? Stay tuned – that’ll all be sorted shortly.  Can’t wait until all the new shades are in the US.  Should be soon.  In the meantime, having fun scheming with those glorious colors, whatever they’re numbered / called!

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Free knitting pattern – Dale “Peace” sweater!!

FINALLY!!! Dale of Norway’s beloved “Peace” sweater is now available for hand knitting using Dale Garn’s equally-lovable Dale Baby Ull yarn.  Not only that, this pattern is available in English and…are you ready for this?  It’s FREE!  Yep, apparently, for what they say is a limited time, the Dale pattern is now available as a free download, in English, through Ravelry.  GET IT NOW!!!

free knitting pattern for Dale Peace sweater

Dale of Norway’s wildly popular “Peace” sweater is finally available as a Dale Garn knitting pattern using Dale Baby Ull yarn.

I can’t tell you how many sad hours I’ve spent over the years, breaking knitters’ hearts when I had to tell them that, no, the Peace sweater wasn’t available for hand knitting because the machine-knit, ready-made one was knit in 2ply Heilo Norwegian wool – a very fine-gauge yarn suitable only for machine-knitting – whereas the Heilo Norwegian wool for hand knitting was a 4ply yarn = twice the thickness.  Thankfully, they’ve finally re-scaled the design for use with their wonderful, fingering weight washable merino yarn, Dale Baby Ull.

Okay, so now that you’ve got the pattern,  which two colors of Baby Ull do you love the most?  Below, you’ll see their most recent color card. I’ve marked it up to show the handful of colors we’ve been told will be discontinued shortly – see my list at upper left and “D” on the yarn samples.  Those colors should still be available for now, but not for long.  The US distributor has also told us Dale dealers about the several new Baby Ull colors that should be out shortly, but they haven’t seen them yet, and have no images for us to go on.  As soon as I see them, you will, too!  For now, see them listed at the upper right corner on the card.  Any of the colors on the card without the “D” should be around for a good long time to come.  As you pick out your two colors, remember:  the more contrast between your two shades, the better those lovely “Peace” details will show up in your knitting, and on the finished sweater.

Questions?  As always, feel free to either email me directly at: “mas AT kidsknits DOT com”,  or, call my US toll-free number, 1 877 631 3031.


Baby Ull superwash merino yarn color card


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Fair Isle Vest by Yoko Hatta in VK Early Fall 2015 in Dale yarns

There’s a truly lovely Fair Isle vest by Yoko Hatta in the new Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2015 edition.  It uses mostly Dale Alpakka (regulars here know that’s a personal favorite of mine), with some gorgeous Dale Erle accents, all in a very wearable, subtle blend of soft greys and pale, dusty pinks.  If I didn’t already have about 5 different projects on my needles, I’d be casting on for it today!

Fair Isle knit vest by Yoko Hatta Vogue Knitting Dale yarns

Yoko Hatta’s Fair Isle Vest in the Early Fall 2015 Vogue Knitting uses Dale yarns available through my Kidsknits.com shop.

Judging by the Alpakka and Erle yarn orders I’ve received, several of you already took the plunge and are probably making good progress.  But, in the meantime, I’ve also received a few phone calls and emails from knitters who would love to knit Yoko’s vest, but are put off by the instructions given by Vogue Knitting – specifically…are you sitting down?…they have you knit this Fair Isle vest flat.  (“Flat” really is the “F-word” for Fair Isle hand knitting, isn’t it?!)

Machine knitters might be thrilled to see the instructions in flat pieces; however, most of us are hand knitters and those of us hand knitters who knit Fair Isle projects generally prefer knitting them in the round, for several excellent reasons.  Some might do the bottom half circularly, then split the front and back at the base of the armholes, and work back and forth to the top, to avoid steeking such soft yarns.  I wouldn’t!  I’d much rather go circularly, bottom to top, and have all of my stitches looking as consistent as possible.  I’d have no qualms about steeking these yarns, as long as they’re reinforced with double rows of small, machine-sewn stitches, before being cut open.

There are a few other things I’d do differently, too.  I’ll tell you what I’d change, but, of course, you’ll still need to get the pattern from VK to do either version.

In addition to consistent stitches, I like consistent motifs.  And, while I know some of you couldn’t give a fig about how your motifs line up on the sidelines (after all, 99% of the ready-made clothing made these days shows no one paid any attention to that little nicety) to me, and I know more than a few of my fellow Fair Isle-style knitters, there’s beauty in a consistently laid-out design and there’s joy to be found in knitting the same motifs, unbroken, for an entire round.  Yes, by stopping and restarting partial motifs at the sidelines, you can delineate the sizes precisely as you’d like them.  But, interestingly, in this case, by using entire motifs throughout, while the breakpoints between sizes are a bit different, there are just as many options for sizes as are given in the pattern.  Some might even be a better fit for you!  (Or not…see my stitch counts and sizes, below.)  Here’s an outline of what I’m thinking about:

Yoko’s large, argyle motif has a 16-stitch repeat.  The little motif (on the darker grey bands) is a 6-stitch repeat.  While I love the look of this vest, the math nerd in me bristles at the idea of two clashing multiples in one design.  I’d really love to see the motifs line up vertically, too.  Yep, maybe I’m a little too obsessed with lining things up “just so”, but that’s a big part of why I love knitting – I can make all of my things “just so”!  Here are a few ideas I have for 8-stitch motifs (well, the middle one is a 16-st motif – still an 8-st multiple) that could substitute for the original 6-stitch motifs, so that things will line up, unbroken, both vertically and horizontally:

fair isle bands with 8 or 16 stitches per repeat

Just a few of the possible motifs that could line up, unbroken, in this design. The 4th band shows a 16-st repeat; the others have 8-st repeats.

Not only is it nice to have things lined up vertically and horizontally, it’s also important to keep things symmetrical, with the same layout on the front that we have on the back.  To get there, we’ll want an even number of repeats.  Here’s how I’d size things, with even repeats:

Layout and measurements for Mary Ann's version of the VK Early Fall 2015 Fair Isle Vest, designed by Yoko Hatta

Measurements shown in inches.

When you steek armholes, after you make the large bind off that corresponds with the bottom of the armhole, it’s best to decrease only 1 stitch per side of the armhole thereafter.  (That’s what works for the v-neck, too.) So, we’ll have to tweak our process a bit versus VK’s.  But, again interestingly, the changes really won’t change the profile significantly.  Here’s what I’d do:

Armholes: I’d combine the large # of sts decreased in the pattern’s first two armhole decrease rows so that I’d have the armhole base bound off in one shot.  Then, on the next round, I’d cast on my steek stitches right over the armhole bind off, while decreasing one stitch on each side of the steek.  If you want to do the type of steek that gets folded over and sewn down to cover the raw edge, you’ll probably want to cast on 8 to 10 steek stitches; or, if you’d like to try the covered steek technique I often use, 6 sts will do.  (And, if you’d like to read my steek article from the beginning, it starts here.) Whenever two stitches are decreased over two rows in the flat-knit pattern, that translates beautifully to decreasing one stitch each round circularly.  Above the multiple-stitch decrease section, I’d follow the pattern’s single stitch decreases for the armhole the rest of the way up to the back neck shaping.  Don’t forget that the v-neck starts shortly after the armholes!

V-neck: I’d circularly knit the very same decreases; the only difference would be that I’d have a column of steek stitches (same # of sts as armhole steeks) and I’d cast on for them on the 2nd neck round, right over the center stitch.

Shoulders: Looking at the photos of the vest on the model, from the little I can see of the shoulders, I’m pretty sure that they’ve shaped those shoulders, to give them a nice, gentle downward slope.  Unfortunately, the pattern provides no such instructions.  The back neck shaping is done over just the last six rows/rounds.  Coincidentally, it’s just six rounds that we’ll need for shoulder shaping.  So, bind off your steek stitches before starting the back neck shaping.  Then, for just those last six rounds, I’d recommend working f-l-a-t (excuse the profanity.) I’d decrease 1/3 of the shoulder width in each pass, starting from the outside and working in.

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