Sunday, 3 November 2019

Triangulation hat and mitts set - INCLUDING INTRODUCTORY OFFER!

It is definitely autumn here in the UK right now - mornings are dark, evenings are dark, and sometimes there's not all that much daylight in between the two! Time for a bright and colourful kit to add a little cheer to those darker days... Handily for the time of year, my Triangulation hat and fingerless mitts also make perfect quick Christmas gifts!

I've always been a fan of simple geometric patterns, and spent hours colouring books full of them when I was little. Now I like to knit them, and find their repetitive nature meditative to knit. Add a bright contrast pop and you have a real stand-out item of knitwear!

The hat is knitted in the round from the bottom up, starting with a section of ribbing that is folded back on itself (perfect for keeping your ears cosy when the cold weather arrives). The main body of the hat is knitted using stranded colourwork, and the colourwork pattern is continued right into the crown decreases. The hat pattern is written for 3 adult sizes, and is designed to fit as a beanie with 2.5 cm negative ease.

The mitts are knitted in the round from the cuff up, starting with a deep ribbed section, then the main mitt is knitted in the same colourwork pattern as the hat. The thumbs are added using the afterthought method with waste yarn added during the knitting of the mitt. The mitt is finished with a ribbed cuff that can be folded back on itself or worn unfolded for extra warmth. The mitts is written for 4 adult sizes, each with 1 cm negative ease.

Both items are knitted in a lightweight aran yarn, so you could use DK, worsted or aran yarn - this project is also a great stashbuster as only small amount of each yarn is required. Get stash-diving and start playing with colours!

Both patterns are available in my Ravelry store now, and if you use the code TRIANGLES you can get 75% off until 11.59pm GMT, Monday 4th November 2019. If you've missed that window, don't worry, after Monday the code will give you 25% off until 11.59pm GMT, Saturday 9th November 2019. Happy knitting!

Triangulation hat

Triangulation fingerless mitts

All images copyright Practical Publishing; this pattern was first published in Knit Now magazine, issue 92.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Afterthought thumb tutorial

In this photo tutorial, I show you how to knit an afterthought or 'peasant' thumb.* This type of thumb is used instead of a gusset, and is great for colour work designs where you don't want to disrupt the colour work with a gusset.

Before you begin:
  • I refer to 'mitt' throughout this tutorial, but the technique also applies if you're knitting mittens.
  • You can use DPNs or the magic-loop technique to create an afterthought thumb; if you are using a long circular needle for magic-loop, just use the two tips of the circular needle in place of the DPNs when picking-up the stitches above and below the waste yarn in Steps 6 and 7.
  • In addition to the materials needed to knit your mitts, you will also require a length (or two, if you're knitting both mitts before adding in the thumbs) of smooth waste yarn in roughly the same weight as the yarn used to knit the main body of the mitts.

What to do...

Step 1: Knit the mitt according to the pattern as far as the thumb placement point.

Step 2: Using a length of waste yarn, knit the thumb stitches from the left to the right needle. Use a smooth yarn of roughly the same weight as the main yarn (you'll be unpicking these stitches later, and you want the waste yarn to be easy to remove).

Step 3: Slip the stitches you knitted using the waste yarn from the right needle back to the left needle.

Step 4: Using the main yarn, knit the waste yarn stitches in pattern.

Step 5: Continue to knit the main body of the mitt as given in the pattern.

Step 6: Using a DPN, pick-up the thumb stitches in the row below the waste yarn (pick-up one stitch per stitch knitted in waste yarn). You should be picking-up the right leg of each stitch. If you are using a long circular needle for magic-loop, pick-up the stitches from the right end to the left, as shown.

Step 7: Using a second DPN, pick-up the thumb stitchess in the row above the waste yarn (again, pick-up one stitch per stitch knitted in waste yarn). You should be picking up the right leg of each stitch. If you are using a long circular needle for magic-loop, pick-up the stitches from the left end to the right.

Step 8: Carefully unravel the waste yarn from between the two rows of picked-up stitches.

Step 9: Using DPNs and the yarn that you will be using to knit the thumb, knit the stitches from the bottom DPN.

Step 10: Continuing to use the working yarn, pick-up and knit one or two stitches in the gap between the bottom and top DPN (the pattern should tell you how many stitches to pick-up at this point; if the pattern does not mention picking any stitches up at this point, I would recommend picking-up and knitting at least one, then decreasing it away on the next round - this closes up any gaps that could appear at the base of the thumb).

Step 11: Continuing to use the working yarn, knit the stitches from the top DPN.

Step 12: Continuing to use the working yarn, pick-up and knit the same number of stitches in the gap between the top and bottom DPNs as you did on the other side.

Step 13: Work the thumb in pattern, remembering to decrease away any extra stitches you picked up between the DPNs.

Step 14: Fasten off to reveal your completed thumb.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. You can find this type of thumb in these patterns, which are all available in my Ravelry store:

*Technically this is a 'forethought' thumb, as you use waste yarn to hold the thumb stitches while you knit the main body of the mitt/mitten, but it is still referred to as an afterthought thumb. For a true afterthought thumb, you'd skip the waste yarn placement and snip the live stitches to create the hole for the thumb.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Marathon Sock KAL 2019: We have crossed the finish line!

A huge thank you to everyone who got involved with the Marathon sock KAL this year. I am delighted to announce that we have crossed the finish line!

The KAL took 91 days (we finished at the end of September), 41,897 m of yarn were knitted, and there were 157 entries. The KAL was completed much faster than last year, so a huge round of applause is deserved! I have drawn the winners from Instagram, the chatter thread and the finished objects thread, and the winners prizes are on their way to them as I type.

If you still have socks on your needles that you cast on for (or before) the KAL, if they're finished by the end of October, you can add them to the warm down thread in my Ravelry group to be in with a chance of winning the final prize package.

If you missed all the excitement of the KAL, don't worry, I'll be running it again next year.

Happy knitting.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Cloud along...

Got a new baby, or nephling arriving in the near future? Bored of the wet weather and want a project that will brighten up your day? Want to skip winter altogether and leap ahead to Spring? Hiding from all the Brexit news coverage? I might have just the thing...

Starting October 18th 2019, and running until the end of the year, I’m hosting a Cloud along… in my Ravelry group. You use either of my cloud blanket patterns to either crochet or knit a cloud blanket during this period, and I’ll be drawing one winner at the end from the chatter thread.

From the start date until I finish my cloud blanket, you can get 20% off either design with the code CLOUDALONG

Both options can be found here:

I'll be casting on over the weekend, and would love for you to join me! Head to my Ravelry group to find out more.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

WIP Wednesday: 9th October 2019: Turns out I knitted a *really large* gauge swatch!

Before Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I shared the yoke for my Starfall sweater. Yes, I had planned to have a jumper knitted in time to wear to the festival, but a poor combination of yarn and pattern in the form of Bright Above Me, and therefore a late start on my EYF jumper meant that in the end I wasn't in any hurry as I knew I'd never have it finished in time.

I'd done some heavy modification of the pattern: I started with the yoke, casting on provisionally as I wanted to knit the coursework as-written, but knit the sleeves and body top-down to make it easier to adjust the lengths as I went. I'd done a bit of guesswork on which needles to use for the sweater: I had a gauge swatch from knitting Bright Above Me, but knew I needed the gauge to be a bit tighter, so I dropped a needle size and cast on the size I thought would fit.

I really enjoyed knitting the yoke. The colour work was engaging, with some rows using three colours, and I loved watching the pattern emerge. Once I'd completed the colourwork section, I picked up the stitches from the provisional cast-on, and knitted the yoke as far as the sleeve separation. I decided to make a modification to the sleeve placement, putting the sleeves further back to accommodate my bust (the pattern is written to have the sleeves placed such that the front and the back of the sweater are the same width, which doesn't work for everyone). As I wanted to check that the sleeves were in the right place before knitting the rest of the sweater, I put the whole thing onto waste yarn and blocked what I had knitted so far.

The blocking did the desired trick, evening out the colourwork and showing me how large the finished jumper would be. I put the jumper on, and could immediately tell that while my sleeve placement modification was perfect, the jumper was going to be too big, especially the sleeves. Boo.

I left the jumper alone for a few days (just in case it suddenly shrank, or I suddenly grew, and it would, by some miracle, fit), then sat down and measured the actual gauge of the knitting I'd done, and compared the final measurements at that gauge to my measurements. I needed to knit a size smaller.

When I first cast on the Starfall sweater, I had planned to omit the colourwork at the cuffs and hem, but, having looked at the completed yoke, I now know that I do want to do all that colour work too.

All in all, this means that I had to start again, and actually knit the pattern as written (from the bottom-up, with colourwork everywhere!), and that happening this weekend. I've really enjoyed picking this up again. I've switched the lighter shade of grey to a slightly different one as I didn't have enough for all the colourwork, and so far have most of a sleeve. I'll block that first sleeve while I'm knitting the second, so that I can check the length. Fingers crossed this attempt at the jumper is more successful than the first!

What's currently on your needles?

Project page for the Starfall sweater.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Marathon Sock KAL 2019: Last call for entries...

We are almost three months into the Marathon Sock KAL 2019, and, drumroll please, we have completed 41,407 m of the marathon! That's 98.1% of the target!

We really are nearly there - I reckon 3 or 4 more pairs and we'll have done it! Hopefully by the end of September. If your socks aren't quite ready to be posted, don't worry: the chatter thread will stay open for a few weeks after the end of the KAL, and, as soon as I close the FO thread, I will open a warm-down thread for all the socks finished after the final pair has been knitted. These don't have to be Marathon socks - they only have to have been cast on before the KAL ends. This is your chance to finish off all those odd socks you abandoned to join in the KAL! I'll be drawing one prize winner from the warm-down FO thread at the start of November 2019.


Want to know more about the Marathon Sock KAL? Keep reading...

Knit a Marathon's worth of socks: 26.219 miles of sock yarn converted into socks.

  • Socks must be cast-on on or after July 1st 2019
  • Socks can be knitted or crocheted in any yarn weight
  • All socks must have a proper heel (no yoga or tube socks)
  • The KAL will close once the full 26 miles of yarn have been knitted
  • You must post a photo of your pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group and/or following vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019
  • Double-dipping is permitted
  • Socks must be knitted as pairs (no single sock entries)
  • If you are entering via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account/do not use Ravelry, you can enter by posting a photo of your socks on Instagram (on your grid, not in your stories), and filling in this form (you can also use this form if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to create an FO thread entry); I will create an FO thread entry based on the information you provide
Prizes (kindly sponsored by LoveCrafts***)
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread

*Ravelry link. This link will not work if you are not a member of Ravelry. If you have found out about this KAL via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account, but still wish to enter, please post a photo of your finished socks to your Instagram grid (remember to use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019 and tag me, @vikkibirddesigns), then fill in this form and I will create an entry in the FO thread for you

**26.219 miles = 42 195 m; each of my pairs of socks uses approximately 300 m of yarn (assuming sock weight yarn at 400 m per 100 g)

***Affiliate link

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

WIP Wednesday: 18th September 2019: Nothing to see here...

You know the theory that once the kids are back at school, you'll have all the time in the world to get *all the things* done? Well, that hasn't really happened after the summer holidays this year: I was away for a weekend, one of the kids had a sickness bug, and suddenly all the 'September' deadlines were upon me. All of which means, I haven't had much to share with you recently.

I've been having a bit of stash guilt recently: there is yarn in the cupboards that I love, and fully intended using way before now, and yet it's still sat there, waiting for its moment. That guilt did prompt me to cast on a new pair of socks, in some seasonal yarn that I picked up a couple of years ago from Strawberry Fields Yarns (she has some in stock at the time of writing), so, fingers crossed, by Halloween, I will have some suitably Halloween-y stripey socks to wear! I'm knitting the socks as a single tube and adding the heels, toes and cuffs at the end. To make sure I use as much of the yarn as possible, I have done a few rows at the start in some bright pink waste yarn. I'm undecided on the colour for the toes, heels and cuffs, but, the longer I stare at it, the bright pink is starting to look like a contender.*

The other thing I have on the needles this week is a sample for a collaboration between Knit Now and Deramores, which I'm knitting in Deramores Studio Chunky, a surprisingly nice acrylic yarn: it is wonderfully round and has amazing stitch definition.* The pattern will be published in an issue of Knit Now later this year, so keep your eyes peeled.

My Lush cardigan has seen some work: the body is complete, and I have knitted the first three inches of one sleeve. I know a lot of people complain about being on 'sleeve island', but at the minute that seems like quite a good place to be! I'm really hoping to get the cardigan finished by the end of September, so it can have at least a couple of wears before Winter comes, but at this point that is feeling more like an optimistic wish!

One thing that I am excited about at the minute is the return of sock-weather! I wear sandals all summer, so my sock drawer has been completely neglected, but I've worn hand-knitted socks on three days this week and it's only Wednesday, so hooray for that!

What are you working on this Wednesday? Share in the comments below, I can't wait to hear from you!

*These socks will count towards my Marathon Sock KAL, a knit along that is currently happening in my Ravelry group. If you want to find out more, read this blog post.

**Yarn supplied by Deramores as yarn support.