Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Free Pattern: Color Convergence

Anywhere I went to work on this--Binky Patrol, knit night, the doctor's waiting room--everyone oohed and ahhed over the colors, and then they just HAD to feel the softness of the yarn (especially because I kept saying how soft it is), and then they oohed and ahhed over that too.

(One place you can get the yarn, btw, is The Yarn Attic.)

And here's the free pattern:


© 2013 Reyna Thera Lorele
Ravelry: captainhook

This is an EASY pattern--if you can knit and purl, you can make this blanket.

Plus, you can change colors without having to weave in endless ends.  (Let there be rejoicing!)

I used two contrasting colors of James C. Brett Marble Chunky.  Substitute other yarn if you wish.

I chose the Marble because the colors are gorgeous and because I planned to donate this blanket to charity.  It's machine washable and 100% acrylic, but this is not your garden variety acrylic.  It is lofty and super soft.

It also self-stripes, so when you use two contrasting colors, you get lovely color changes as you knit along.

Finished size
36 inches by 36 inches

1 ball (341 yards) James C. Brett Marble Chunky, for color A (I used #MC34, the purple)
1 ball (341 yards) James C. Brett Marble Chunky, for color B (I used #MC32, aqua and lavender)
#10 needles

3 sts per inch

k = knit
p = purl
CO = cast on
R = right
L = left

Note:  To catch the different colored yarns and carry them up the side, hold the first color in your R hand, and the next color in your L hand.  Insert R needle as if to knit a stitch, but don't knit yet!  Wrap the first color yarn counter-clockwise around the R needle.  Then wrap the new color yarn counter-clockwise around the same needle.  Now unwrap the R-hand yarn, and knit the stitch with the L-hand yarn.  See photos below for tutorial.

With color A, CO 111 sts.
Knit 4 rows.

Begin pattern:
Row 1: k across.
Row 2: k 3, p across, k 3.

Change color and repeat rows 1 and 2.  Continue repeating rows 1 and 2, changing color every two rows.  I did 37 "double repeats" of 2 rows of Color A and 2 rows of Color B.

With Color A, do rows 1 and 2 of pattern once more.

Knit 4 rows with Color A.  Bind off loosely.  Weave in VERY FEW ENDS!  Yippee!  Block and donate, give as a gift, or snuggle with it yourself!

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Here is a photographic tutorial for how to change colors.

Color B on left, previous color A on right

Insert R needle into first st

Wrap color A around R needle...


Don't knit the stitch yet!

Grab color B

Wrap it counterclockwise

Unwrap color A
Color A is now caught under color B

Let go of color A
Knit stitch with color B

Take stitch off L needle

Proceed to knit as normal with color B.

I finished the blanket pictured above with a reverse half double crochet on the sides, using color A, but it really doesn't need it.  Here is what the edges look like with no crochet border:

Front, side edge
Back, side edge

I hope you enjoy my first free pattern of the New Year.  More to come!

If you like this one, you might also like these inexpensive patterns:
The Amazing Ribble Blanket
and the adorable Tuck Me In blanket.

Here's my attempt at uploading a slide show of the above tutorial.  Not sure if it will work.  Feedback appreciated!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Beauty, and the Beastly

Home again from a road trip up the coast to gorgeous Pacific Grove, where I lived for three years and worked in the wonderful LYS, Monarch Knitting & Quilts.

Mom and I saw deer in the dunes at Asilomar...

...sea lions and waterspouts of whales off Point Lobos (those silvery torpedo shapes on the rocks are the sea lions, and the whalespouts were so far off, they don't show up well at all, so I won't bore you with the photo).

We saw two hawks circling each other in the sky...

...butterflies fluttering away from their clusters in the trees on a warm, sunny afternoon...

and a hummingbird, ruby-throated, its tiny body glistening iridescent green, flying too fast to catch with my camera.

We also went to the Monterey Aquarium and saw the jellies again...

...the seahorses, including these miniature ones...

...and my favorite spot in the building, the sardines circling above our heads in their circular tank.  I noticed that even the rowdiest tourists grew hushed when they entered that room.

I didn't use a flash, so these streaks of silver are the swimming fish.  Cool, huh?

You may be thinking, with all these critters, these are the beasts I mentioned in the title to this blog entry.  Well, no.  The beastly thing is, Monarch Knitting will be closing later this year.  Joan, the owner, wants to retire, and no one stepped up to buy this very successful shop.  Like most people, I greeted the news with moaning and whining, thinking only of my yarn needs and desires, and not Joan's happiness in the least!  So, with apologies to Joan, I wail, "Oh, nooooooo!"

I hope to stay in touch with her and my former co-workers, the exceptionally talented and delightful Koryn and Diane.

If you get a chance, visit before October!  There is still yarn to be had there!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Planning Stages

The reason I haven't blogged yet this year is that I had a brilliant plan.

I was going to post a simple FREE PATTERN, and at the same time, I was going to advertise that I take custom orders for this same lovely blanket.

What a perfect way to start the new year, with a free pattern that some knitters might even use for charity--what cosmic goodness!  Yet it would be in conjunction with a special introductory offer that might bring a little extra cash into my home, sweet home.

So this was supposed to go up January 1st, or 2nd, or at the very latest, the 3rd.

Well, it takes longer to write a pattern than some people might think, especially if you want it to make sense to another human being, to say more than, "Cast on however many stitches you think you might need, change colors every two rows, and knit until you drop or run out of yarn, whichever comes first." And good-bye and good luck.

Then I took lots of pics of the finished blanket.  I'm still blocking the edges, but so?

I drafted the "custom order" page to put up on Etsy.

Then I realized there's a technique for carrying the yarn almost invisibly up the sides that the experienced knitter probably already knows, but that beginners who might be drawn to this VERY EASY FREE PATTERN might not already know.

I wanted to make a video of myself doing it, but I didn't have anyone to hold the camera.

So I took a bunch of stills, holding the camera in one hand and the knitting in the other, which is a skill in itself.  The first photos came out a tad blurry, so I did it again, and they are great, and I want to make a slide show of them too, so people can sort of see the technique in action, but I haven't done it yet.

Because all these things take a lot of time, especially when you are trying to do all the other things one does in order to live, like eat healthy (which requires shopping, cooking, and washing dishes), exercise (which means you need new running shoes because the old ones have lost their tread, and a new swimsuit, because let's face it, once those swimsuits start to sag and turn translucent, well, my life may be an open book, but these days my body stays just between me and God), and then of course, I want to knit, crochet, spin, quilt, write, look for a part-time job, make new friends, keep the old, and keep up with everything else, like the bills and Downton Abbey.

A charity project from the past

Put me on a tight schedule, and not only does my body shut down in ways we will not detail here, but my spirit shuts down as well.  I lose all sense of fun, creativity, and joy.

And I'm the one who put myself on the tight schedule!

Well, that's just plumb crazy!  (I mean, necessities of life put us on enough schedules, doncha think?)

and another

A few months ago, I thought how clever it would be to come up with, say, 13 charity patterns in 2013, the way some people decided to knit 12 shawls in 2012, for example.  Wouldn't something clever like that draw people to my blog?

Maybe, but if it's at the expense of my sanity--well, needless to say, I decided against it.  Not every clever idea has to actually be done, after all.

I also remembered along the way that even though it's nice to make money from art, giving away the beautiful things I make to someone in need gives me even greater pleasure.

and another

I even love the anonymity of it.  I don't know who receives the gift, and they don't know me.

and another

and another
It's a simple soul to soul transaction.

And I don't have to impress anyone or sell anyone on my ideas.  I don't have to turn what feeds my soul into a marketplace.

And don't we all need time to stop and smell the sea?

So, the wonderful free pattern will show up here sooner or later.  The link for custom orders will be provided.  And in the meantime, many joy-filled, creative things will be happening at my house, and I hope at your place too.

And maybe we will have way more than 13 serene moments in 2013.