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New Threads Tuesday April 23, 2013

There is only one way to describe today in Portland: SPARKLING!

The weather is so crisply sunny it almost hurts the eyes while it is inviting one to frolic…

Just the kind of weather for a bike ride, a run, a stroll

A little time at a sidewalk cafe…

A little time in a little dress topped with a happy new FO!

Chic Knits Vonica

Pattern: Chic Knits VONICA
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: UNK Italian Wool/Cotton DK
Color: Muted Turquoise

This has been one of my famous start-n-stop projects, looked at longingly but knocked out the way by deadline knitting and then! Colder weather and the longing for warmer “lap robes” (that’s my pet name for top-down all-in-one-piece projects).

Two curious things about this: first, I have no idea what the yarn is. I do know i bought it many many moons ago on ebay and it was a cone end from an Italian factory. I also had it in olive (made the Sandrine cardigan sample with that) and have happily been wearing (and washing) that ever since.

It has a lightness both in weight and the wearing, a very nice combo of fibers. Somehow it seems to be self-adjusting – just enought wool for warmth; just enough cotton for cool.

The second interesting thing is this dress!

It is one of the few surviving garments from my student days in San Francisco – a design I put together for a class. I wore it constantly in the day – now it’s a little tight and WAY too short but I like to leave it on a hangar on my bedroom door. Just a talisman to wish for the muse to linger…

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off-roading April 4, 2013

For many, many years, I drove a little white Jeep.

It was not only a great city car (parallel parking was a Breeze!) but it was great off-road as well. There was always the confidence that if I just HAD to drive across that field (or over that dry riverbed), No Problem! I knew the car could handle it and I just might have some fun trying something new.

I feel the same way about knitting.

Call it mod off-roading – making changes, No Problem!

My current project is ready to jump the path right about now…

Chic Knits Brynna

Here’s my curry-colored BRYNNA up on the mannie for a measuring session.

Although I’ve been measuring this periodically to make sure I’m on track with gauge and dimensions, the end of a pattern section is always a great time to make sure the garment is correct before going forward.

Probably 50% of the fit problems people write to me about are due to the fact a knitter did not Measure-As-You-Go.

BETTER to do a general well-being check every few inches and every section to avoid those nasty surprises.

This gives you CONFIDENCE that the end result is going to be what you desire.

This lovely is at that point where it’s almost 2/3′s of the way done and now what’s left is quite routine.

So, what about going off-road?!

I have extra yarn. How aboutmaking this Brynna longer and with 3/4 length sleeves?

First, we’ll need to pick up stitches along the bottom and make the hem…

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The Muse speaks (gauge) April 2, 2013

Every year, it seems, in early winter, I get spring fever.

A little early you might ask?

Perhaps, but this is the time my little knitting Muse begins whispering in my ear and it seems I keep having visions of filigree and eyelets and lovely lace…

Maybe seeing party wear is a trigger. Holiday fashion is more daring, more elegant, more bare…

And I almost always want to make a shawl. And sometimes, I’ve tried.

But it’s been proven over & over in my KIP basket that these lanquish and run out of steam for me.

It seems I prefer something with shoulders – still a cover-up but still slightly sheer and fancy.

Such was the case with BRYNNA.

This would be a piece that would look lovely on most figures over a dress (or top) and be open enough not to be too heavy – a great transitional piece, an easy take-along for travel.

Choosing the yarn for Brynna was a lot of fun!

Chic Knits Brynna

on the top of the mannequin:
Citrine then Turquoise HEMPATHY

from l. to r. clockwise on the body:
Golden Rod MERLIN SPORT; (top) Granite SILKY WOOL; (bottom) Driftwood LINSEY; Curry SERENA; more Turquoise HEMPATHY

For many openwork designs, a range of similar yarns can bridge conventional gauges.

The gauge for this style is 5.5 sts per inch (DK) but some of these yarns are either sport or light worsted.

For this type of fabric in this style, we’re looking for slight drape and openness, with good stitch definition.

The best stitch definition was the LINSEY yarn – but as you can see, it produces a larger swatch, with equal cast on. Very nice body too, would love to find this blend in a DK. (But no worries, it’s now morphed into a different design. Swatches ALWAYS earn their keep here at Studio Chic Knits!)

The HEMPATHY (used in the pattern photos) was wonderful for this design. It is a blend of hemp, cotton, and modal (synthetic) that has all of the characteristics from above, with the addition of a slight sheen that makes it look a little more formal, a little more “dressy”.

Currently, on my needles, is a Brynna wip using the SERENA yarn. It is a blend of baby alpaca and cotton that is lovely! Because of the alpaca’s halo, this sportweight can function as a bridge gauge – that is, instead of 6 sts per inch, it can be knit at 5.5 sts per inch, easily. The cotton gives it the stitch definition, the alpaca gives it body.

So, the bottom line is, start with yarns that have the characteristics described above in the DK range, but if you find a sportweight you love, swatch over the lace pattern to see if it delivers the goods: gauge, hand & body. Double your fun!

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