Let’s talk about colorwork.

image © tincanknits

image © tincanknits

We’ve been seeing lots of stranded colorwork in the crop of fall knitting designs, and this week, Tin Can Knits updated the Strange Brew colorwork sweater “recipe” to accommodate three different gauges, in twenty-five sizes (newborn through men’s 4XL), and either top-down or bottom-up construction.

The sweater recipe is available as a standalone Ravelry In-Store pattern for $10, or is part of the Strange Brew e-book, launched this week. The e-book is $22, and contains the original “recipe” pattern, plus eight additional sweater patterns, and several hats and cowls. (It’s a heck of a value.)

I’ve decided to plan for a colorwork sweater knitalong after the new year, but to prepare, I’ll be hosting a Strange Brew swatchalong on the first four Fridays in November. (The last Friday will be, as usual, Project Circle.) Using the FREE Anthology pattern from Tin Can Knits, we’ll design and knit colorwork hats or cowls. Just like the Strange Brew recipe, Anthology offers a wide variety of sizes, and three gauge options. Held in the knitalong format, there will be no charge to participate beyond purchase of materials.

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...to learn

above: Turbulence Cowl; below: Garter Geometry Hat

above: Turbulence Cowl; below: Garter Geometry Hat



Turbulence (Short Row) Cowl [LAST CALL!]

October 6, 10:00am-2:00pm | $40 + materials | Sandy Buzzelli

Combining short rows and two colors, the Turbulence Cowl creates playful waves, wedges and
stripes that dance along the surface of the cowl. While the pattern uses Wrap & Turn short rows, we'll learn how to substitute German short rows to create this fun-to-knit cowl. Here, we combined Cascade 220 (what’s left is still on sale!) with West Yorkshire Spinners The Croft (which I used for one of my favorite sweaters last season). Other great combos might be a semi-solid skein of Malabrigo Rios with one that is variegated.

Prerequisites: You should know how to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off.

(View pattern here.)

Primer in Lace

October 10, 17, 24, 5:00-7:00pm | $30 + materials | Ann Miner

The Primer in Lace pattern introduces the increases and decreases which are the basis of lace knitting by combining four patterns of increasing complexity. We’ll cover the use of lifelines, markers, and more while knitting a cowl.

Prerequisites: You should be comfortable knitting, purling, casting on, and binding off.

Thrummed Mittens [Two Spaces Remaining]

October 13 & 27, 10:00am-12:30pm | $40 + materials | Sandy Buzzelli

Thrumming is a technique that involves knitting bits of unspun wool into stitches to create ultra-warm, ultra-cozy, insulated knitwear. In this class, we'll learn how to make thrums and how to knit them into stitches, how to knit a pair of mittens, and we'll explore several different methods for knitting thumbs.

Prerequisite: you should know how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off and how to knit small tubes on double-pointed needles, two circulars, or magic loop.

(View pattern here.)

Garter Geometry Hat

October 13 & 27, 1:00pm-3:30pm | $40 + materials | Sandy Buzzelli

The Garter Geometry Hat is an intriguing twist on modular knitting, a technique in which a larger piece is created by knitting a series of smaller pieces that are joined as they are knit. In this class, we'll learn many useful knitting skills: short rows, double decreases, picking up stitches, and pattern reading.

Prerequisite: you should know how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off and how to knit in the round on
a 16" circular needle.

(View pattern here.)

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...to anticipate


Fresh on the shelves from Knitted Wit: Polwarth Shimmer, the polwarth wool and silk blend featured in the Beekeeper Cardigan KAL in July.  Everyone who worked with this yarn raved about how nice it is to knit with, and it’s incredibly comfortable to wear. There are sweater quantities of nine gorgeous colors available, including Tupelo Honey, which was the color Marie Greene featured in her sample sweater.

Also new to the shelves is the September HerStory color, Invasive Invaders, which pays tribute to the work of Dr. María del Socorro Flores González, whose work to study invasive amebiasis has made it possible to diagnose and treat the parasitic infection, frequently found in poor areas with compromised water supplies. You can read more of her story in the monthly love letter here.

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...to inspire


Circular yoke sweaters represent one of several ways to knit a seamless sweater in the round, either from the top down, or from the bottom up. In either case, circular yokes are one way of addressing how to transition from the circumference needed at the sweater’s largest point, where it circles the chest and the upper arms, and the smallest part of the main body, the neck.

Raglan sweaters do this too, by using regular increases (or decreases, if you’re knitting bottom-up) at four specific points, which results in very defined angular lines. However, when there is colorwork at the top of the sweater, it’s often better to distribute the increases more evenly, with more rows in between. This often happens in a solid color row in between the color motifs, and allows the motifs to continue uninterrupted, without the identifiable raglan lilnes.

The one possible downside to this construction method is that all the fun stuff happens at the beginning of the project! Increases, sometimes short row shaping to raise the back of the neck, and the colorwork. One of the things I loved about the Treysta sweater (mine is pictured above, in Studio Donegal Soft Donegal) is that there were a few rounds of colorwork at the bottom hems of the main body and sleeve, almost as a reward for persevering through the many rounds of plain stockinette between the yoke and hems!

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...to stitch

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Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove begins in a somewhat unusual way: you cast on, work a few short rows, and knit the back to a specified depth. Then you return to the cast on edge, pick up stitches for the left and right fronts, and work them to the same depth as the back. At that point, the fronts and the back are joined, and the body is worked in one piece to the hem. The pattern instructions for how to achieve this are exceptionally clear. Upon finishing the second ball of yarn, I put the back on hold, and picked up for the left sleeve. (You can just barely see its beginnings here.) Another enjoyable aspect of this pattern is its economical use of charts—the main chart is for the back, and there are separate charts for the front increase sections, but after the increases are complete, you use a well-defined part of the back chart for the left and right fronts, and also for the sleeves.



Zweig with one arm done! The sleeve style used in this pattern does not require tracking of sleeve decreases—you knit without them until the long (5”) section of ribbing begins. I hope to finish the second sleeve this week, then return to the body. It looks like a sweater, and I’m very close to wanting to wear a sweater!

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