I’ve uploaded another new cowl pattern on Ravelry. I’m in the habit of designing a special cowl for each of my Knit For Fun Retreats, and sourcing a special yarn colorway to go with it. Ice Ripples Cowl was designed as the free pattern for my Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Alberta (November, 2017). There are two versions–one short and one long–of this cozy cowl to protect against the long, dark frozen days of Northern winters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The long version is suitable for double wrapping; the other version is short and wide. Both options use a lofty tuck stitch pattern that reminds me of ice ripples, hence the name.

The tucks are formed by working the purl bump fine rounds below together with the stitch on the needle. Each tuck is made up of 6 stitches; the placement of the tucks shifts brick fashion. The cast-on and bind-off edges are hemmed to echo the tucks throughout the cowl.

This easily memorized pattern makes a great showcase for River City Yarns Eden (81% merino, 10% polyamide, 9% cashmere) in a semi-solid icy colorway, called Snowdrift, that was dyed specifically for the retreat.

Use the code IceRipples20% to get 20% off the $6.00 purchase price until midnight Friday, November 24.

A couple of weeks ago I held my first-ever international Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Alberta. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t go so far north in November but I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to partner with River City Yarns, a delightful shop in Edmonton where I’ve taught before.

In preparation for the event, I took a few minutes to gussy myself up with a shoeshine at the airport. With guest teachers Susan B Anderson and Joji Locatelli, and special guest podcasters Tracie Millar and Jodi Brown (MrsBrownsBags), aka The Grocery Girls, I don’t think anyone paid any attention to my bright boots.

Click here for a YouTube video of the weekend (be prepared to be jealous!).

Subscribe to my website by clicking here if you’d like to receive my monthly newsletter in which I announce future retreats and travels. I’d sure like to see *you* when there’s fun to be had!

The star-shaped toe in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting is unusual in that it sits on top of the foot. It’s worked by decreasing eight times in each decrease round to form eight wedges that come together in points at the top of the foot. After all the decreases are complete, just 8 stitches remain.

All that’s left is to draw the yarn through the remaining 8 stitches twice, pull tight to close the hole, and fasten off on the wrong side.

I’m anxious to knit the mate — these slipper socks may be my best friends this winter!

Thanks to all of you who gave me advice on which skirt to cast on next. The vote was surprisingly close with 44% of the votes going for a repeat of Putting on the Pleats in Blue Moon Socks That Rock in the Antequated Systems colorway (below left), versus 56% of the votes going for a new skirt pattern in Shibui Cima and Pebble in the Fjord colorway (below right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problem is, I still can’t get myself to choose just one. So, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to cast on both (I certainly have enough needles) and work on them simultaneously. Perhaps at some point I’ll focus on one or the other. For now, I’m anxious to knit with both yarns! I think I’ll call it dueling skirts. Stay tuned…

As for the raffle, the winner is Michelle Brown who wrote:

“That blue is to die for!!! If I had to pick just one, it would be the blue 🙂”.

Congratulations Michelle. I’ll email you personally to find out which skirt pattern you’d like.

The foot in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting basically continues in the same pattern used for the Heel Turn, but the piece finally is worked in rounds after all of the leg stitches have been joined to foot stitches.

To maintain pattern continuity, one stitch continues to be increased each side of the center sole stitch and a centered double decrease is worked at the top of the instep. It’s all very clever.

The foot is worked longer than usual because the star toe sits on the top of the foot, not at the tip of the toes as is usual. In the photo at left, I’ve placed 8 markers to identify the positions of the decreases for the toe.

The end is in sight!

I’m in a quandary and need your help deciding which skirt to cast on first. Yes, I already have eight skirts, but I find I wear them everyday, especially when the weather is cool. Besides, skirts are much easier to fit and knit than sweaters so they’ve become my go-to projects when I’m traveling (which is a lot of the time!).

 

On the left is Blue Moon Socks That Rock in the colorway Antequated System. I plan to use this yarn for a repeat of my Putting On The Pleats skirt — there’s too much going on colorwise to add any decorative stitch pattern.

This will be a relative quick knit for me because once I get the gauge of 7.5 stitches/inch, all I have to do is follow the existing pattern.

 

 

 

On the right is Shibui Pebble and Cima, both in the Fjord colorway. Because the fabric will be a uniform color, I can add a stitch pattern to the pleats, as for Take-Two Skirt, Lacy Pleats, or Traveling Pleats, or add a stitch pattern to the gores, as for Tavia.

Either way, this skirt will take longer to complete because I’ll have to design a new pattern.

 

Please help me decide by responding to this post with your vote! Respond by midnight November 4, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free skirt pattern.

I have to admit that the Heel Turn in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting is a bit odd. But it works!

To begin, the heel is worked on about one-third of the stitches, not one-half as is typical. The slip-stitch pattern is continued through the heel turn to provide comfortable and sturdy cushioning at the bottom of the heel.

The heel turn is worked in a series of short-rows with yarnovers added to help close the holes at the turning points. At the end of the short-rows, all of the yarnovers are worked with neighboring stitches one after the other. The only tricky part is the last wrong-side row, where the yarnovers are worked together with the neighboring stitches as ssp. I had to work to get the ssp’s — it would have been easier to work p2tog, but that would have caused the decreases to lean the wrong way.

I didn’t take time to photograph the end of the heel turn and was well along the foot before I stopped to take a photo.

The center heel stitch becomes the “seam” stitch along the center of the sole. In very unusual shaping, stitches are increased each side of the sole “seam” stitch every right-side row, and one heel gusset stitch is worked together with an instep stitch at the end of every row. It’s a little odd at first, but a rhythm is quickly developed and the knitting progresses fairly quickly.

I like it!

I’ve finished the Gusset Increases for my version of Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting.

It’s quite nice how the gusset fits in between two ribs of the leg pattern for an organic flow. The increases are worked into a heel-flap stitch pattern of skip-one-knit-one, but to make it extra strong and cushy, Jennifer works the slip stitches through the back loops on alternate rows. It take a bit of getting used to but is really quite simple (and quite lovely!).

Wednesday I returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest where I held my Knit For Fun Retreat in Vancouver, Washington, then spent a few days in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Knit City Fibre Festival. I left with my share of yarn.

Now I’m home long enough to unpack and repack, then I’m heading to Columbus, Ohio, where I’ll teach two days (Tuesday, October 17 and Wednesday, October 18) at 614 Knit Studio.

At 614 Knit Studio I’m scheduled to teach Matching Cast-Ons And Bind-Offs, Intarsia In The Round, Conquering Kitchener Stitch, and Intro To Sweater Design. There may still be a few spots left in each class.  I’d love to meet up with you there!

 

From Columbus, I head to Hamilton, Ohio, to teach at Lambikin’s Hideaway Friday, October 20 (Reading Your Knitting and Charts), and Saturday, October 21 (Knitting Steeks And Inserting Zippers and Custom Socks At Any Gauge). Call the shop at 513-895-5648 to sign up. Nothing beats a day knitting with friends!

 

In November, I’ll be in Billings, Montana, because everyone wants to go North in November (wink). Honestly, I’m looking forward to sweater weather. You’ll find me and color expert Jennifer Miller at Off the Needles’ first-ever knitting retreat November 18 and 19. I’ll teach Knitting Steeks And Inserting Zippers, Intro To Sweater Design, Fixing Mistakes, and Custom Socks At Any Gauge. You get two classes with each teacher and a VIP dinner and fashion show. What a great place to show off your handknits!

I’m moving along on my version of Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks from New Directions in Sock Knitting and have completed the leg. The diagonal “lace” stitch pattern in the leg is a simple 2-round repeat that’s easily memorized (as long as you remember which round you’re on…). I’m thinking this might make a nice pattern for a scarf or cowl!

The only trick is that the end of the round moves one stitch to the right (for the left sock; one stitch to the left for the right sock). For the mate, I think I’ll place a removable marker on the knitting at the end of the round to help me keep track of it.

I’ve just worked the set-up round of the gusset increases. Stitches will be added for the heel gusset between the two white markers. Easy!