Après Ski Wine Cozy

So, now I take requests.  Well, at least I took this one.  A particularly nice person who just so happens to be an absolutely wonderful knitter (funny how those two pop up together so often) asked me to design a Nordic wine cozy.  Here you go, Debbie!  Cheers!

Après Ski Wine Cozy knitting pattern

My “Après Ski Wine Cozy” – a ski sweater for your wine bottles – was knit in Dale Garn Heilo.  The PDF is available through my Ravelry store.

May thoughts of deep, sparkling powder keep everyone cool this summer!

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TBT – What’s old is new again! Dale 13801 ladies’ cardigan

ladies fair isle knit cardigan dale 13801

This beautiful, old shawl-collared cardigan, Dale 13801, looks very “fashion forward” today.

Turns out plenty of us traditional knitters are quite the forward thinkers!  The topic of the week around here: “What can I knit this summer that I’ll just love to wear this fall and winter… and every fall and winter to come?” We’re all looking for an interesting project that’s timeless, but stylish, too.

I’ve looked into my store library and found a bunch of Dale gems that fit the bill nicely.  Speaking of “the bill”, you’ll be glad to know that many of these gems are out-of-print Dale designs that qualify for their FREE pattern program, as long as you purchase the suggested Dale yarn for the project.  I’ll be doing a series of TBT‘s (Throw Back Thursdays) throughout the summer to discuss these designs with you, to get your wheels turning and your needles happily humming along.

Of course, finding the right pattern is only half the battle; what about the yarn? So many OOP patterns call for discontinued yarns. Eh, not a problem!  I’ll show you my current yarn recommendations, and I’ll discuss my color selection strategies, too.  (But, as always, you’ll be free to do your TBT project in whatever Dale colors your heart desires.)

Here’s my first recommendation, Dale #13801, an elegant, shawl-collared, ladies’ cardigan that could look perfectly at-home in the best Fall 2015 fashion mags:

Dale 13801 ladies' knit cardigan

Dale 13801. Originally knit in “Freestyle. I’d recommend their glorious, new alpaca / merino blend, “Cotinga“.

When coming up with substitutes for multiple colors in one project, I find I’m happiest in the end if I first stop to appreciate the conceptual framework that tied all of the original colors together, rather than merely focusing on each closest one-to-one color alternative.  The original #13801 used four shades of Freestyle worsted weight washable wool – a gradient of 3 related shades that ran from Natural 0020 (a warm off-white) to Sand (a light, yellowish beige) to Celery (a medium, ever-so-slightly greenish beige), with a medium-dark contrast, for that bold motif you see dancing around the bottom, from Grey Heather 0007.  Freestyle Natural and Grey Heather are still available, but Sand and Celery are long gone.  Here’s what I’d pick today, to get a similar vibe:

Dale Freestyle color choices for knitting Dale 13801

One possible current Freestyle colorway. The #s shown refer to the color #s in the pattern.

Running light to dark, we have the same Natural #0020 (Color 2, in the pattern, and on the card, above), Mushroom #2621 (Color 3), Sand Heather #0002 (Color 1 – it’ll be your trim color, too) and the same Grey Heather #0007 for Color 4 …or maybe 5651.  There’s really not another, deeper beige in Freestyle these days, but 0004 works in the same light-to-dark neutral gradient and I think that 0020, 0004, 2621 and 0007 could play nicely together.  Or, choose any other 4 Freestyle colors you like.  Here’s the entire Freestyle color card for 2015 – you tell me!  OR…

Want something really luxurious?  I’d choose Dale’s lovely, new “Cotinga”, a magnificently soft 30% alpaca / 70% fine merino blend in the very same worsted weight, 18sts over 4″ / 10cm.  Here are my Cotinga choices for another harmonious, neutral look:  Below, running light to dark, we have our beloved Natural 0020, more Mushroom 2621, a nice, rich Fawn 2643 (or you can use the same 0004 we have for Freestyle) and good, old Grey Heather 0007.  Or not.  Here’s the full Cotinga color card for 2015 – you’ll see quite a few different combinations of three that play nicely together and several nice contrasting shades – tell me what you think!

Sizing and measurements below.

Cotinga yarn

Dale 13801 sizing and yarn requirements for kit from Kidsknits.com

If you’d like to order the kit, you can either go right to my Kidsknits online shop to select your yarns and just add a note to your order that you’d like the free 13801 pattern, or you can email me at “mas AT kidsknits DOT com” or call my US toll-free number 1-877-63-3031 and I’ll help you directly.  Whatever is easiest. Have fun!

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NY Nordic Hat

fair isle hat knit in dale yarn from kidsknits.com

NY Nordic Hat, knit in Dale Garn Freestyle washable wool from Kidsknits.com, sized for teens / adults & XL adults.

It’s not easy for an old knitter to capture the interest of a frenetic teenage boy. But, when a few bags of Dale Garn Freestyle came through my door, sporting unmistakably neon colors, my youngest son, Mikey, practically pounced on them.  He promptly let it be known, “You have no choice; you WILL be making me a neon hat!”  I promptly replied, “Love to! And YOU have no choice; it WILL be stranded!”

As it turns out, he loves it.  (And, don’t let him know this, because he thinks his hat is oh-so-cool, and this would really ruin everything for my sweet little hipster, but I think it’s pretty great knowing that I won’t lose him in the crowd. ;) )

Teen wears NY Nordic Hat knit in neon Dale Freestyle yarn

The NY Nordic Hat is a fitted beanie knit in three contrasting shades of Dale Garn Freestyle worsted weight washable wool, one ball for each shade.  Two sizes are given – teen/average adult and XL adult.  Both sizes use the same instructions – just tweak your gauge, as indicated, to target your size.

norwegian / fair isle knit hat "NY Nordic Hat"

I think it’s a nice pattern for experts and novices alike, for each section has something interesting going on, without complications – all short floats, no weaving in necessary;
never more than two colors at once; all decreases are kept within the solid-colored section. A fun knit for all!

neon fair isle hat NY Nordic Hat

Here’s a link to the $5 PDF on Ravelry.  And here’s a link to my Freestyle yarn page.   Choose any three favorite, contrasting colors that your heart desires.

yarn colors for fair isle / norwegian knit hat NY Nordic Hat

Colorway I = neon green, neon yellow & grey heather. Colorway II = orange, natural & red.

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Ladies’ “Spice Route Gloves” knitting kits

My ladies’ Spice Route Gloves Fair Isle knitting design, already available in PDF format through Ravelry, is now available as a knitting kit, too, through my online yarn shop, Kidsknits.com.

Fair Isle knitting pattern for gloves

Ladies’ Spice Route Gloves, in the Ginger colorway. A Fair Isle knitting pattern using Shetland fingering weight wool.

And yes, as always, feel free to request custom colors.

Happy knitting!

knitting kit for ladies fair isle gloves available at kidsknits.com

Orchid colorway for the Spice Route Gloves

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The Littlest Fisherman’s Hat

Baby's sunhat, "Littest Fisherman's Hat", knit in sport weight or DK yarn for 0-3 month or 3-6 months sizes, respectively.  Yarns and pattern available through Kidsknits.com.  PDF available through Ravelry.

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

The inspiration for this hat is eighteen years old.  Back in March ’97, my now-hulking son Alex was a newborn.  Waaaaay too much of that spring was spent in a frustrating search for a sunhat for my bald-as-a-cueball little fellow.  No luck at all!  Tons of frilly, flowery, flouncy affairs in every shade of pink for all the little Alexandras of the world, but there was not a single sunhat to be found that was worthy of my Alexander the Great Baby’s sweet, shiny pate.   Why the heck didn’t I come up with this back then??

Who knows?!  But here it is now, to shade the sweet little one in your life today, be they Alexander, Alexandra, Zachary, Zoe or anyone in between.

Littlest Fisherman's Hat, a knitting design from Kidsknits.com.  Yarn and pattern available through Kidsknits.  PDF available through Ravelry.

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

Littlest Fisherman’s Hat PDF for $5 on Ravelry.com.  (And here’s my Ravelry PDF store.)

Dale Terne 100% cotton, used for the navy+white 0-3 month size, available through my on-line yarn shop, Kidsknits.com.  (Get 2 different-colored, 50g balls. If you prefer the sheen of 100% mercerized cotton, use Dale Vipe – same gauge!)

Dale Lerke 52% merino / 48% cotton (used for the blue+yellow 3-6 month size) available through Kidsknits, too.

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Alpakka “Lilac” #4435 is back…for now

Dale Alpakka in Lilac 4435 Dale Garn’s lovely “Lilac 4435″ Alpakka 100% alpaca yarn is back in stock at Kidsknits…for now. It’s been a tremendously popular color, and it’s a key shade in a recent design of mine.  It took me quite a while to get seven different shades, including Lilac 4435, to play nicely together in my “Gentle Hat” (below). Just as things started humming along, up popped the “D” word.  When they told me it was “Discontinued!”, I nearly fell off my chair!  Boy, was I ever happy when they told me I could still get three more bags of it!  :) Now, those of you awaiting your “Gentle Hat” kits, get your needles poised – they’re on their way. Those of you teetering on the brink of ordering, now’s the time to strike – sadly, lilacs don’t last forever.

UPDATE:  4/17/15 I just found out from the distributor that Lilac has been in such demand that Dale has done a second run of it and the distributor should have more of it shortly.  :) Yippee!!

Gentle Hat, a ladies' Fair Isle hat design, by Mary Ann Stephens.  Knitting kits in 100% alpaca available through Kidsknits.com.rough

Gentle Hat

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Woolly Lilies, a free knitting pattern

Free knitting pattern, "Woolly Lilies". Use it to give new life to old scraps, or to inspire your next, new masterpiece! Free pattern available on the Two Strands knitting blog; yarn available through the designer at Kidsknits.com.

Now that so many of you have wrapped up your winter sweater knitting, I’ve had lots of requests for a small, portable knitting project that uses up a rainbow of leftovers.  Time to do some knitter’s composting!

After the long, dreary winter we’ve had, I’m too impatient to sit around through all of these April showers, waiting for May flowers.  So, I’m making my own. If you can knit circularly, know a few basic lace stitches and have yarn scraps to spare, you can, too.

Use anywhere from one to four different-colored, smooth yarns of the same weight -any one weight will do.  I used three shades of super-bulky Hubro for the big, lone flower on the left. The smallest flowers, on top, were knit from just one ball of self-striping Hakkespett, a new Dale sock yarn we recently started stocking.  I added some background rounds and used sport weight Falk to create the hexagons.  The variegated blue flowers, below, were made from one ball of Hakkespett, (in a range of blues) along with spring green and yellow Daletta.

What, nothing quite right in your stash?!  Step right this way!Asterisk Blossoms, a free knitting pattern from the Two Strands Blog.  Knit with Daletta and Hakkespett yarns, available through the designer at Kidsknits.com.

I’m not sure yet if my Woolly Lilies will become a pillow or an afghan or…heck, I might just blanket the countryside with ’em!  Once you get the hang of these, you might not want to stop, either.  And who says you have to?! You could tack one onto a hat; line a bunch up to cover a belt; link some together for a sweet, spring scarf; make that cozy afghan you really should have had this past winter; or, get carried away with the yarn bomb of your dreams.

Sure, it’s fun to see the surprising effects from just one ball of self-striping yarn. (And it cuts down nicely on the loose ends, too.) But, it’s also nice to have painterly control over which colors go where, and that works best with solid-colored yarns. If you haven’t tried stranded knitting yet, this might be the quickest, lowest risk chance you’ll get.  There are just two very short, easy-peasy, optionally-stranded rounds near the center (#10 & #11 on the chart). Give them a try and I think you’ll see, stranding with two colors can really make a lovely difference in how articulated the centers / stamens appear.

Gauge isn’t a sticking point here. Start with needles in your yarn’s recommended size and see what blossoms.  What matters most is that you’re happy with your result.

Here’s to hoping that your yarn sprouts into something far more delightful than those rain clouds on the horizon.

Click here to download “Woolly Lilies“.  Click here to see more of my designsClick here to visit my online yarn shop. 

Happy gardening knitting!

P.S. Within minutes, several people have asked about Hakkespett.  The rainbow & blue versions used, above, are in stock.  We’ll have them listed on the Kidsknits site shortly and I’ll update the link at that time.(And here it is now!)  In the meantime, here’s the color card: hakkespett.  It’s $23.25 per 150g / 426 yd ball.  (Yup, that’s one big ball!) Feel free to email (masATkidsknitsDOTcom) or call (US toll-free 877-631-3031).

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