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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!

Monday Morning Mirth January 28, 2013

It’s Monday! And it’s time for a little party…

One of our most beloved authors is Jane Austin and one of our very favorite stories is her Pride and Prejudice…

Today is the 200th Anniversary of this incredible novel of high culture meeting modern hearts and here at Studio Chic Knits we Celebrate Romance with a little number named after another of her amazing heroines:
Chic Knits Miss Dashwood

Chic Knits Miss Dashwood

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Pattern: Chic Knits *Miss Dashwood*
Gauge: 20 sts/28 rows over 4″
Needles: #6

This lovely lace shrug is named, but of course, after Elinor Dashwood, who, like many of Austen’s women, embodies someone who is tied to cultural propriety yet in the end, is shaped by the authentic passionate heart.

Sigh…

Happy Anniversary, Miss Austen, and happy knitting! :)

As say not Do July 17, 2012

This summer has been a whirlwind thus far!

Lot’s of traveling, presenting, organizing, writing and sampling…

Add a heaping dose of torrid weather, and, maybe, just maybe, I have SOME kind of excuse for not being finished with this:

Here’s my black cotton CINNIE that I started few weeks ago.

Now, if you have the pattern, you might notice there’s something a little screwy with mine. :)

All was going really well until I started to realize something potentially embarrassing: either I’d lost a ball of yarn or horrors of horrors!

I didn’t get enough to make the project!

It would’ve been perfect to blame this discombobulation on the 100+ degree temperatures, day-after-day of screaming weather, here in the Big Windy, but no.

After a thorough hunt around the hut, and a look-up of the original sales receipt, it was all me. I simply didn’t read my own directions!

I was unoriginally (and pathetically), in a word: short.

Now comes the part that I hope you will always choose to miss: trying to rationalize HOW one can squeeze it out of what’s on hand ANY WAY.

Sidebar: this is one of the top 5 support email requests that land in my mailbox. Usually it’s fine – the knitter is off by a few yards and I can suggest a couple of quick tweaks to make it fly.

But this?

Witness my denial: this pattern includes top down sleeves. That means you can stop at any old point that you like. So, instead of following the pattern to the sleeve hem, in my confabulated state, I decided to go as far as the underarm joins, then try for the win.

The sleeve stitches were put on scrap yarn and the Body of the sweater was then next in line.

Pretzel Logic or Clown Knitting?: I figured if I could make this about an inch shorter (typical tweak to stretch low yardage) I could appraise what yarn was left to finish.

Now you can do this a few ways, but I like to weigh things.

I have a postal scale and can measure the ounces left in a partial ball pretty quickly.

Then, using the yardage on the ball band one can do some basic algebra (I love math!!) and get it going.

For instance, here’s the equation:
 
135 yds per full ball divided by 1.75 oz (in 50g) = X (where X is the unknown leftover yardage) divided by 1 oz (example weight)
 
Solving the equation for X, in this example, means there’s about 77 yds left.

And sadly, I discovered, that even with this algorithmic magic, I was not going to be able to pull it off.

SO: I decided to do what I should’ve done to begin with: get on the phone and order more yarn!

AND: get an extra ball, because now, I’m all about making some longer sleeves…

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