Happy Thanksgiving!

Free chart for "Thank You" cards or needlework

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Sagebrush Chullo

Earflap hat knitting pattern

Sagebrush Chullo, a new Fair Isle knitting design for an adult’s earflap hat, by Mary Ann Stephens.

That’s my new Sagebrush Chullo, knit in seven shades of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift fingering / jumper weight wool.  As I did with my old Polar Chullo design, I knit Sagebrush  at an extra warm and highly detailed gauge of 9 stitches/inch.  I added some textured/purl stitches here and there, for a little fun – but, they’re entirely optional…as are the pompoms…kind of…Oh, come on!  You NEED those pompoms!  ;)

The kit, which comes with 7 balls of Spindrift + the pattern (your choice – printed or PDF)  is available here.  The PDF is sold here.  Here’s the Sagebrush Chullo page on Ravelry.

Have fun!

Sagebrush Chullo Fair Isle knitting kit and knitting pattern

The usual suspect.

Posted in Fair Isle Knitting, Knitting, Mary Ann's Designs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Dale Baby Ull colors for Fall 2015

new baby ull colors for 2015

The eight new Fall 2015 colors added to Dale Baby Ull, a fingering weight, 100% superwash merino yarn.

Dale Garn has added eight lovely new colors to their beloved Baby Ull line for Fall 2015.  Wow, this brings our count of different Baby Ull colors in stock at the moment to more than fifty – nice!  And, they’re all in stock and available at our perennially-discounted Kidsknits.com price.

dale baby ull colors added for fall 2015

Let me introduce them to you!  They are, from left to right:

#3820 Retro Red

#2835 Saffron

#2226 Golden Olive

#2235 Pale Yellow

#8222 Light Green

#5303 Light Lavender

#5305 Thistle

#5625 Soft Grey

I wish they’d just keep adding Baby Ull colors infinitely – the more, the merrier – I’d take ’em all!  But, I guess they like to keep things manageable. Darn!  So, while most of the Baby Ull colors remain unchanged, nine more of the older colors have been discontinued.  (And, we still have a few earlier, oldies-but-goodies on the shelf, too.)  All of the discontinued colors, ancient and recent, are designated by an asterisk* on our Kidsknits Baby Ull page, telling you that they’re endangered species, in limited supply. So, if you’ve been thinking of making something using any of those discontinued* shades, now is the time to swoop in and scoop them up!

Here’s last year’s Baby Ull color card, with the newly-discontinued colors marked with a “D”:

Baby Ull superwash merino yarn color card

Posted in Fair Isle Knitting, Knitting, New From Dale of Norway, Norwegian Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Knitting, Mary Ann's Designs, Miscellaneous, Norwegian Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Fair Isle Knitting, Free Knitting Patterns, Knitting, New From Dale of Norway | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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!!  ;)

Posted in Fair Isle Knitting, Free Charts, Free Knitting Patterns, Knitting, New From Dale of Norway, Norwegian Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments