I just finished this Clapo-Ktus wrap and it came out beautifully! I was itching to work with some of the Handmaiden Flyss on our shelves, a Canadian hand-dyed blend of Silk and Linen, and I was looking for a one-skein project that wouldn’t take too long and would show off the textile – I think totally NAILED IT.
Clapo-Ktus (terrible name, but the pattern is free) is actually a combination of two popular patterns, the Clapotis scarf/wrap, which involves dropped stitches, and the Baktus scarf, which is knit from side to side. The dropped stitches are gorgeous and make great use of the yarn’s natural drape (linen and silk are both fibres that are ALL drape, and have zero body). The Baktus part of the design give it a triangular shape, and allows you to use exactly as much yarn as you have on hand (hence a one-skein project).
The Finished Product
I wasn’t initially sure the one skein would be enough, but as I dropped the stitches it expanded beautifully, and after blocking it was magnificent. If you are interested, I would definitely also recommend making a Clapotis with this yarn, it would be a stunner! I originally envisioned this project as a wrap for the spring and summer, and I think it will hold it’s own in this department, but when it was finished and I tried it on I actually ADORED wearing it as a spring scarf. The fabric isn’t heavy or dense, and the textile is soft but has just enough texture to make it interesting. The Handmaiden Flyss is definitely knit-worthy, I’d like to make a sweater with it next!
Just one caveat – I ended up with these weird open stitches on one side, where the dropped stitches were initially created (you can see them in the picture below with the hanger). I thought I followed the pattern, so I’m not sure what went wrong or how I ended up with this. With all the dropped stitches in the fabric I don’t think it’s a big deal or unsightly, but if you have any idea what I’ve done please leave a comment!
I loved out first version of the Quaker Yarn Stretcher that we made a second in a lighter, springier colour. We used the same yarn, one skein of Handmaiden Maiden Hair, but we tried some larger (7mm/US10.75) needles this time and got an even lighter, airier effect. It still makes a great, light-as-air scarf, but you can see in the pictures below it’s a perfect wrap for cool summer evenings and chilly wedding halls everywhere. Or just drape it on things around your hose and enjoy the prettiness all year (I seriously used to have a friend who did this – she used to art-direct her apartment long before blogging and the internet. Her for-display-only yarn basket was what got me into knitting).
The yarn, Handmaiden Maiden Hair, is just gorgeous, I absolutely adore working with it before, during, and after the project. Apparently you do to, so we have ordered more in some springier colours and it is on it’s way!
We accidentally changed the pattern and worked e rows of garter stitch instead of reverse-stocking stitch, but it isn’t highly noticeable (see modifications below)
I splurged and got myself a second set of Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers, because I absolutely freakin’ LOVE THEM. Blocking the shawl was a dream with them, they are my favourite new thing.
R 1 to 12: Work Rows 1 to 12 as written in pattern
A client came in last night who wanted to make some granny slippers, and it occurred to me that I’ve NEVER made a pair, and maybe I should step outside my box and try a pair. I’m happy to report that they were SUPER EASY, beginner friendly (like after scarves), fast, and don’t use a ton of yarn, and are super cosy and warm! I whipped up a pair in one evening, so they’re definitely doable for holiday gifts. They aren’t fancy, but they are definitely cosy, warm, and fast!
A. I used 5mm/US8 needles, and it made the tension a bit tighter, 15 sts = 4″ (10cm). My feet are narrow, so this didn’t make a big difference in size, but if you are knitting for wider feet I would add a couple of stitches to the pattern.
B. The pattern, which was not originally written in english, has one phrase that novices might find confusing. It says “K sts tog 2 by 2”. What they want you to do is K2tog across the row (so knit 2 stitches together, and keep doing this to the end of the row. For beginners, the pattern website also has a how-to video on how to knit 2 stitches together.
C. For beginners who do not know how to seam (or for more experienced knitters who may not know how to do this particular seaming prettily), the pattern website offers some handy how-to videos to get you through the project. To make a tidy seam at the back of the foot (because it is a cast-on edge) this may be a helpful video.
D. Please see our Hack below for suggestions on making sure the colour distribution of hand painted, variegated yarns is the same for both your slippers! If you’re using a solid, heathered or semi-solid yarn you don’t need to worry about this, but you might find it interesting and useful information for the future.
And now for the hack! It’s a universal knitting truth that variegated yarns have a tendency for the colours to pool in ways we can’t anticipate. Sometimes it’s fun, funky, and enhances the project, and sometimes we don’t really care for it. It’s random, it happens, and we learn to accept it. You can usually play around with this effect by varying the needle size, the number of stitches you put on, and the stitch pattern you choose. But while knitting these slippers I found out something new – the place in the colourway that you cast on (where you place your slip knot or first stitch), can have an effect.
Option A) Asymmetrical Pooling Approximately half of the colourway in this particular skein is dark, and the other half was colourful (lets say it starts with the dark blue, the moves into a second part, the brighter warm colours). In the picture above, I made the slip knot around where the colour is changing between the two. The colours pooled kind of randomly, and I thought it worked with the skippers once they were seamed – they’re kinda funky.
Option B) Symmetrical Pooling In this picture, I made the slip knot around the centre of the dark part of the colourway (so about 1/4 of the way through the colour repeat). The colours ended up pooling completely symmetrically! All the Blues stacked up on the right and the reds lined up on the left. It was super cool. It also didn’t suit my sensibilities for this project, although I kind of want to make a neckwarmer this way.
Caveat Emptor: every skein of hand-dyed yarn is different, so this isn’t a rule. so much as a factor. Like I said at the start, the number of stitches, the tension and the stitch pattern also have an effect on the colour distribution. But if you are making your own slippers with hand-dyed, variegated yarn, be sure to cast on in the same place in the colourway to get a similar colour distribution.
So there you go, you learn something new every day! For more information on colour distribution in variegated yarns, I highly recommend the book Artful Color, Mindful Knits.
While Rose was making worsted weight mittens last week, we were working on something a bit thicker, in a Bulky weight Fleece Artist Back Country. The yarn worked out perfectly, and I kinda love the colours – they’re bright and funky and cheer me up on those dreary winter days. If you want an even faster knit mitt, try the Burly Mitts we made a few years ago with Fleece Artist Merino Stream.
Modifications & Size
The pattern calls for an unusual amount of yardage, I think because the cuff is so extra-long. Because we weren’t sure about how far the yarn would go (based on the pattern requirements), we made the cuff shorter (18 rows). In the end, we were fine and had LOTS of yarn left (35% of the skein) … Fleece Artist Back Country comes in generous 125g skeins. We made a Ladies size small, but I think it fits a ladies Medium (it fits me). I have a feeling 2 skeins will make 3 pairs of mittens in this size (or smaller).
My friend Rosie just finished a set of mitts made with Cascade 220 Superwash Wave and I think they’re really cool! She used one skein to make all three mitts with the World’s Simplest Mittens pattern (a freebie from the lovely ladies at Tin Can Knits, she made a size Women’s Medium). Why three? Why not?! There was more than enough yarn left to make a third, and you inevitably always misplace or lose one mitten. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool, having three mitts that match but aren’t exactly alike – it’s like having extra wardrobe options!
The pattern is excellent; a basic mitten knit in the round. It is very straightforward, well written, and the instructions (like all of the Tin Can Knits patterns) are easy to read and follow. It is written for sizes Toddler to Adult Large, and accommodates four different sizes of yarn (fingering, DK, worsted and chunky weight).
Alternatives to DPNs
If you don’t like making mitts because you don’t enjoy using double pointed needles, you might want to try using the new Addi Flexi-flip needles – they’re a great alternative to traditional double pointed needles (Rosie has been using hers since they first came out, and she’s become a convert, despite not having a huge issue with double points to begin with). You could also try using Chaigoo’s 9″ circular needles(you can get them as singles, or if you really like them invest in their interchangeable set) but you will still have to finish the thumb on double pointed needles.
Knit Hack: Matching the Thumbs
Sometimes matching the thumb to the rest of the mitten is tricky with yarns that change colours in stripes or as a gradient. This is because you knit the body of the mitten first, and then go back and do the thumb last – the colourway will have changed by the time you go back to do the thumb. You can see this in the centre mitten in the image above.
If you want your thumb to match the mitten better, wind off a little bit of yarn after you’ve put the thumb gusset on hold, and before proceeding with the body of the mitt. You won’t need a lot of yarn (maybe 5m of worsted weight yarn?), it doesn’t take much to knit a thumb. When you go back to finish the thumb you can use the yarn you wound off and your thumb will blend in beautifully.
As a run-up to the holidays, I’ll be sharing lots of smaller projects that make great handmade gifts. Liane whipped up this cute beanie (which is a free pattern) on 9mm/US13 needles in like a day, and I think it turned out great! We used Fleece Artist Merino Stream, a super soft, super bulky weight single ply merino wool that hails from Nova Scotia.
The pattern is the Amelia Slouch Beanie, and it’s a freebie, which is always sweet. We made some modifications because it just feels wrong to cut corners. If you aren’t already familiar with the ins & outs of ribbing, 2×2 ribbing (k2, p2) is looser than stocking stitch and is usually worked on a needle 1mm smaller than normal.
We cast on 44 sts on 8mm/US11 needles and worked ribbing according to the pattern.
We increased 1 stitch after the ribbing (for a total of45 sts) and went up to a 9mm/US13 needles.
I just finished this cowl, and I’m super pleased, it worked out beautifully! I just finished another incarnation of this cowl Fleece Artist Back Country, and I found it was a great, simple knit that looks amazing and just about anyone can do. Plus, it’s a great way to see how a yarn knits up, especially yarns that stripe or change colour. I used one skein of Cascade 220 Superwash Wave (colour 107) and it made a super gorgeous knit! I love the yarn’s European look, it has a sophisticated aesthetic but it still has fun look and does interesting things with colour.
The only hitch with this yarn is it is hard to visualize how it is going to work up. Cascade has posted photos of how each colour works up, but the colour in the photography doesn’t really communicate the colours accurately. Sometimes I find doing a little research in the wild is helpful and I look up other people’s finished projects on Ravelry to see how a particular yarn or colour of yarn works up. Of course, the photography in others people’s pictures won’t necessarily be great, but looking at a bunch of samples gives me a rough sketch of what I can expect.
And this is how it looks knitted up. We used the entire skein, so this should give you a good idea of how the colourways of Cascade 220 Superwash Wave knit up. All the details for our project (including pattern modifications and size measurements) are in our Ravelry Notes.
I love this yarn (Handmaiden Maiden Hair) SO MUCH, that I don’t feel like it matters what you make with it … but I am also very happy with it (Capture) too. Embodying the best of two worlds, Maiden Hair is sumptuous, but also an interesting texture. It’s a strand of stunning silk swaddled in the loveliness kid mohair. It has both sheen and aura, an unusual but delicious combination. The pattern was simple, effective, and fairly easy. I worked 12 rounds for each section. Overall, I am very, very happy with this project, and I’m itching to make something else with this yarn!
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel the holiday pressure – only two weeks away! Don’t worry, it’s doable, you just need to shift your focus to projects that work up fast with thick yarns. We designed the Really Quick Mitts a few years ago for just this purpose, and they’re still going strong!