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The Pointers Tutorial

The Pointers is my design contribution to the #titsoutcollective, which means that 40% of what you pay for the pattern goes to Women’s Refuge New Zealand.

I’m thrilled with how this came out – it’s fun, quirky, bold and has an edging with attitude.  Colour choices can make this shawl your own (and with a format specifically designed to support bold colour choices and strongly speckled yarn, the sky is the limit).  I can’t wait to see what you make with this pattern; so to help you on the way, here are some videos to get you started.

Introductory Video

First off, there’s an introductory video.  It shows the shawl and is basically me being chatty and explaining what’s in the subsequent videos.  There’s a bit of useful information tucked in there about why some of my testers used lifelines and the knitted on edging, so I’d recommend watching this one to pick up those tips!  It’s less than 5 minutes, so hopefully you can bear with my chatting for that long.

 

Basic Techniques Video

Next up, as I mentioned in the introductory video, there’s some basic techniques that I think a lot of intermediate knitters will be familiar with.  This covers the following:

  • Garter Tab Cast On (00:03) – bear with me, I am *not* good at knitting in front of a camera, where I can’t put my knitting in front of my face to peer at where I’m sticking my needle when picking up stitches.  Basically, it takes me a few goes to get it picked up correctly and the needles come out of the frame a bit.  I will hopefully get better at knitting on camera as I get a bit more practise!
  • Standard Increases: kyok, M1R, M1L, double yo (05:56) – shows how to make these on a swatch.  I also show how to work into the double yo when you come back to it.

 

Intermediate Techniques Video

Okay, here’s where I start covering the techniques that are quite specific to this design.

  • Increases Over Interesting Stitches (00:03) – how to do the M1R and M1L when you have yarn overs from the previous row.  (Watch out, there’s some increases over interesting stitches in the woven dots section as well!)
  • Woven Dots (02:08) – a bit of guidance on the tension and how to work the woven dots section.  This also covers how to do the M1R and M1L stitches over the woven stitches, this is around the 5:30 mark.

 

Lifelines Video

And the last video, which is a bit of a peripheral technique that my test knitters recommended covering, is lifelines.  In this case, proactive lifelines in case something goes wrong.  Here’s the video for that.

 

I hope these videos have helped you with the techniques in this design.

Happy knitting!

 

An introduction to Mosaic Knitting

This introductory video gives you some tips and tricks and information to help you get started with mosaic knitting.  This is a technique I use in my latest pattern, Starry Night.

Mosaic knitting is so easy that in this video you’re looking at my face instead of my hands, because I can talk you through the points!  Honestly, the only techniques required are knitting, purling, slipping and counting.

The video is right here, but if you want the no-frills version (or to refer to the key points again later), I’ve also got them summarised in this post after the video if you’d like to read them.

There are also a couple of tips and tricks that I didn’t think to mention in the video (in fact, one of my test knitters suggested adding one of these), so I thought I should pop these in up front!  A couple of tricks to consider that might help you with mosaic knitting.

  • Marking out pattern repeats – some people find it helpful to mark out the pattern repeats using stitch markers so that you can check that you are in the right place throughout the row.  This might be helpful while you’re working the mosaic sections (and, if you have different types of stitch markers, it might be useful to have different markers at the ends for the border stitches as well).  Just note that the pattern repeat width is different for the body mosaic and the border mosaic, so if you are using this technique I’d recommend removing these markers at the end of each mosaic section and placing them again on the first row of the next mosaic section.
  • Lifelines – I’ve mentioned lifelines when talking about some of my other patterns – if you are nervous or tackling this pattern without a lot of experience, you may want to place lifelines so that if you do need to rip back and try again on the mosaic pattern, that you can do this without a lot of stress.

 

 

A few key points about mosaic knitting

  • What is mosaic knitting? Mosaic knitting is a way of doing colourwork where you only ever work with one colour at a time.  The pattern is created by slipping stitches to keep them in the colour that you aren’t working with.  Mosaic knitting can be worked in garter stitch or stocking stitch depending on the effect that you want – my pattern, Starry Night, uses stocking stitch.
  • How do I work in mosaic knitting? Work a stripe (a right side and a wrong side row) in one colour and then switch to the next colour for the next stripe (a right side and a wrong side row).  The pattern tells you which colour you’re working with and which stitches to knit or slip.  (My pattern comes with written instructions and charts, so you can use whichever you prefer).  These stripes always alternate in the mosaic sections, so you should be switching between colours every two rows (1 right side and 1 wrong side row).
  • How do I slip my stitches? Stitches in mosaic knitting are always slipped purlwise, so the stitch is never twisted or changed on your needles, you are simply moving the stitch from one needle to the other without working it so that it stays the same colour.  The working yarn is carried on the wrong side of the item, so that the pattern shows through clearly.  This means that when you are knitting, you slip your stitches purlwise with yarn in back.  And when you are purling, you slip your stitches purlwise with yarn in front.
  • How do I know what to do on the wrong side rows?  The wrong side rows are really easy and all follow the same instructions – you purl the stitches that are the same colour as the yarn that you are working with and you slip all the stitches that were slipped on the previous wrong side row.  (There are still a few border stitches that need to be worked on each side too, but these follow the same pattern throughout the whole shawl and are super easy to remember).  If you do want to check what you are doing on wrong side rows, you can also refer to the chart.  By reading the chart from left to right, you can see what stitches should be worked and slipped on wrong side rows.
  • How do I know what colour to work with in the chart?  The first stitch of every row is in the colour that row is worked in (and, because you can read them in reverse, the last stitch is the same colour, too!).  So by looking at the colour of the first stitch in the row, you can tell what colour you are using for that row.  Once you get going, you will also know because of the alternating pattern that mosaic knitting follows.
  • Help!  My mosaic section is not as wide as my stocking stitch section.  What do I do?Don’t worry if your mosaic section pulls in a little tighter than your stocking stitch – just make sure that you can gently stretch it sideways to the same width.  If so, it will come straight when blocking.  That’s exactly what happened with mine!

Tips to watch out for when mosaic knitting

  • You should never slip a stitch that is the same colour as you’re working with – you should either be knitting or purling that.  If the pattern is telling you that you should be slipping a stitch that is the same colour as the one you’re working with, you have probably got out of sync with the pattern repeats and it’s a good sign for you to check how you’re working on that row to see if something has gone wrong.
  • Another indicator to check that you are working repeats correctly is the partial pattern repeat at the end to get to the stitch marker – if you have more or less stitches left at the end, you may be out with your pattern repeats and it’s another good time to check your work along the row.
  • Colours within the mosaic section always alternate – if you think that your next right side row should be the same colour as the wrong side row that you’ve just worked, it’s a good time to check what’s going on.  Unless you’re finishing a mosaic section and moving on to stripes or a body section, this shouldn’t happen.

After the pattern?  Click on this link to go to my Ravelry store.

After the yarn?  This yarn is from Bleating Art Yarn

Curious to know the story behind this wrap?  Click here to find out the whole story!

Any other questions about mosaic knitting?  Please get in touch – I’m happy to help if I can!

The Story of Starry Night

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that some people were really interested in the story behind my next wrap.  So I decided to make a video to tell you a bit about it.

I also managed to film a whole video without mentioning the name of my wrap once.  No idea how I managed to pull that off, but I did.  It’s called Starry Night and it’s coming out this Friday on Ravelry.  (Since filming this video, I’ve taken photos and everything!).

Also, there’s a bit in the middle of the video where I talk about shadow mosaics.  There’s a note in the video that says don’t panic and I really, really mean it.  I explain this very badly in the video.  They sound confusing and horrible.  I promise the pattern isn’t that confusing, because I take the time to write them carefully.  Please don’t worry – you don’t need to understand shadow mosaics to knit the pattern (I needed to understand them to design the pattern).  The pattern has fully written instructions and is fully charted as well, so all you need to do is follow those and you’ll be fine.  Honest!

I mentioned a couple of NZ knitting events in the video.  Here are the links if you want to learn a bit more about them.

Unwind

KAN (Knit August Nights)

 

Enjoyed the video?  Want to see more of this type of content from Cetus Knits?  Let me know what you think!

Refraction Cowl Tutorial

Oh my goodness, I’m so excited about my Refraction Cowl!  It’s beautiful and squishy and has just the right amount of texture.

This is all about providing you with some support on all the techniques you need to make this pattern.  Based on feedback from my last round of pattern support, I have ventured into the scary world of video pattern support this time!

Side note: saying “twist stitch” and “twisted stitches” was WAY more of a tongue twister than I thought about when I sat down to record!  I did okay, but honestly, I should’ve made up an easier name for me to use when recording this.  I also alternate between calling this twist stitches and twisted stitches in the video – I mean the same twist stitches that my pattern talks about throughout, please don’t think that I’m talking about two different things.

The video turned out to be a bit longer than I expected (14 minutes), so I’ve included some notes below so that if you want to jump to a particular section, that should make it easy for you.  (There’s also some highlights/key points noted in the notes below, so if you  are jumping around, it might be worth reading them in case there’s anything mentioned in a different section that’s useful to know).

  • Introduction (00:00-00:57): I show you what the cowl looks like (so squishy!) and tell you what techniques are in the video
  • Cast On (00:57-02:55): I show you how to do the long tail cast-on PURLWISE (and tell you that if you’d rather use another cast on, that’s fine too!)
  • Joining to work in the round (02:55-05:23): I show you that my method requires an extra stitch, so I start by casting that on and then joining to work in the round.  If you have a method you already use, go ahead and use that, this is just how I tend to join my pieces.  Also, please excuse the fact that this section looks super awkward – I always find the first few stitches in the round a bit awkward to work and trying to do them holding my needles under a camera only added to that.
  • Intro to twist stitches (05:24-07:59): I show you what the twist stitches look like on the swatch I set up for this tutorial.  I mention it takes a couple of rounds for the pattern to start appearing, that these are the same as 1 over 1 cables, that they always represent two stitches and are never an increase or decrease, and lifelines might be a good idea when you start.  I also promised a link to the Vogue Knitting site, which shows some alternative ways of making these stitches, so here it is: link to Vogue Knitting (Left Twist and Right Twist – these are always on the knit side for this pattern).
  • Left Twist (08:00-10:04): I show you how to work a Left Twist stitch.  I also mention (which is really quite important for all the twist stitches) that the two loops that are made are always worked as two stitches when you come to them again.  This is also true for the Right Twist and Right Twist Across Marker stitches!
  • Right Twist (10:04-11:31): I show you how to work a Right Twist stitch.  (I also learn that scribbling down notes on my swatch frantically fast because I was trying to catch the light for the video was NOT MY BEST IDEA EVER because I managed to leave a section out of my notes when jotting them down on a piece of paper from my phone. Duh.  Also, I have test knitters so that this doesn’t happen in my patterns – thank you test knitters, I love your work!).
  • Right Twist Across Marker (11:32-14:04): I show you how to work the Right Twist Across Marker stitch, which is awfully similar to the Right Twist stitch, except that you have to move the marker a bit!  I also show you right at the end how the pattern of the twist stitches is starting to show through.

Okay, enough with the notes.  Here’s the video.

I hope that you enjoyed my first ever pattern support video!  I am very open to constructive feedback – please feel free to comment or email so I can make the next one even better…

Aurora

I have been absolutely blown away by the response that Aurora has had.

Aurora is my third pattern and is all about the brioche knitting.  A long, pointed wrap, worked sideways from point to point, Aurora comes in a two colour and three colour version.

The pattern is also accompanied by a brioche technique booklet that supports all of the techniques required for the pattern in photo tutorial form.  I truly believe that this pattern is a brilliant way for intermediate knitters to add brioche knitting into their repertoire.

For all the information you need on Aurora, you can check out the Ravelry listing by clicking here

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Blocking Aurora

Due to the fluffy nature of brioche stitch, Aurora is not straight-edged when it comes off the needles.  In fact, the increases and decreases used to create the points at the start and finish also make it look odd.  The i-cord edging helps create a bit of structure, but Aurora definitely needs to be blocked!

Blocking works wonders to open up the fabric and create a much more structured shape (though the brioche means that it will always be a little irregular).

I found that blocking wires worked wonders and allowed me to get exactly the shape I wanted to block Aurora to.  Conveniently enough, these even slipped beautifully into the hollow core of the i-cord edging, making them super easy to use.

How I blocked my two Aurora shawls

First, I soaked the shawl in cold water with a few drops of wool soak for about 20 minutes and squeezed it gently in a towel to get rid of excess moisture.

Then I lay it out into the approximate shape I wanted on the blocking mats.  (You’ll see from the photos that it’s my custom to put towels on top of the blocking mats).

I then threaded short blocking wires through the edges relating to the points of the shawl and down both sides.

I started by pinning out the very points to get the length I wanted and the shape I wanted for the pointed parts at both ends.  Then I pinned out the width for the main body of the shawl.  Here’s what the shape looked like for both shawls (excuse the lighting and colours – indoor blocking really isn’t designed for flattering photos of your knitting!)  You’ll see the elongated point option on the two-colour shawl and how it differs from the straight edge option in the three-colour shawl.

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Once I had the shape, I threaded short blocking wires through the garter sections next to each of the points to create a straighter line.  Especially with the decrease end, it won’t lie fully straight and it’s a trade-off between a straight line and how bunched the brioche gets, but you can see the effect I went for in the photos below.

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At this point, I checked that the width of the shawl along the straight section was fairly even the whole way down and I wasn’t making part of it wider than any other point.  I also played around gently with the tension to get the overall effect I wanted.

Right at the end, I checked the intersection of the points with the straight edge to ensure that I wasn’t creating any strange jagged shapes.  You’ll see how I handled this in the photo below.

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Then I waited impatiently for it to dry!  Because that’s always the frustrating part of blocking (I can’t wait to wear my newly finished items).

Getting gauge for Aurora

Let’s start with the good news: gauge isn’t critical for Aurora.  If you want to get started and see if you’re happy with the fabric you’re getting and adjust needles in the early stages of knitting, this is an option.  The pattern contains notes on how to weigh yarn as you go to ensure that you’ll have enough left to finish the pattern and support this approach.

However, if you do want to get gauge, here’s how I’d recommend swatching for Aurora.

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Use the i-cord cast on as per the pattern instructions.  Knit so you have 30 stitches to pick up along the i-cord edge before unravelling the provisional cast on.  With the i-cord edging on both sides, you’ll have a total of 36 stitches for your swatch.

Go to the brioche increase section and follow rows SU1-SU6 in the pattern.  This doesn’t actually get to the increase rows, so you’re creating a straight brioche section in two colour brioche.  After knitting these rows once, continue knitting rows SU3-SU6 to continue producing a straight brioche section.  I would repeat SU3-SU6 12 more times after the first time you knit SU1-SU6.

Once you’re done with that, you’re going to skip ahead to the bind off section in the pattern and use the i-cord bind off instructions that are written there.  You should be on the right side, but use whatever colour suits you – don’t worry about the colour in the bind off section on the pattern.  Given it’s a swatch, it’s up to you whether or not you can be bothered kitchener stitching the i-cord together (it could help improve the quality of your measurement a bit) or simply bind these stitches off.

After getting your swatch off the needles, you need to soak and block it.  I’d pin it out fairly hard like you would with the finished shawl and let it dry completely.  Once it’s dry, unpin it and lay it on a flat surface to measure it.  The blocking is important, because my gauge measurements are taken after I blocked my shawl under tension and opened the fabric up – it made a huge change to the drape of the finished item.

I have two gauge sets below, because I used different yarn bases for the two colour and three colour shawl.  These are both measured across 10cm.

Brioche is hard to measure, because it’s such a fluffy and malleable stitch.  This is why both the pattern and the swatch have an i-cord edging – to help it hold its shape.  I laid it out on a flat surface, smoothed it out, and let it lay naturally and I tried not to rearrange it as I measured.  I found I could easily change the results by scrunching the fabric up or pushing it out very slightly without apparently distorting it.  I have done my utmost to get good measurements!  The swatch should be big enough to let you measure from the middle of the swatch with a bit of room to spare on either side stitch and row-wise.

How to count stitches and rows in the swatch

To count the stitches, you want to count the “v” rows created by the brioche knit stitches in the main colour and the other colour purl bumps between them.  In the photo above, the brioche knit stitches in the dark colour count as 1 stitch and the space between them in the turquoise count as 1 stitch.

To count the rows, you want to count each “v” created by the brioche knit stitch as a row.  As the pattern is written, you’ll actually only create 2 of these each time you work SU3-SU6.  This is because each row of brioche is worked twice, once in each colour.  So that’s why it feels like you’ve worked way more rows than you see when counting your gauge – each row works only half the stitches.

Two-colour

Across 10cm, I had 20 stitches and 21 rows in two-colour straight brioche stitch after blocking hard.

Three-colour

Across 10cm, I had 22 stitches and 19 rows in three colour straight brioche stitch after blocking hard.

The pattern isn’t sensitive, has tips about weighing and brioche is hard to measure; so if you are getting anywhere between 18-22 rows and 19-23 stitches, I would recommend getting started with those needles and keeping an eye on weight to track yarn usage!

Star Trails

I am very pleased to announce that my second pattern, Star Trails, is live on Ravelry.

Star Trails is an asymmetrical triangle shawl which is easy to wear and relaxing to knit.  The lace pattern is easier to knit than it appears and is ideal for beginner lace knitters who are looking to move beyond eyelet knitting.

For all the information on Star Trails, click here to see it on Ravelry.

If you’re coming to Unwind this weekend, there will be printed copies of the pattern available for purchase from the Dark Harbour Yarn stall as this is made in Nikki’s beautiful yarn.

I hope you enjoy knitting this pattern as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Midwinter Sky – Errata

Unfortunately, even with the best will in the world, errata often slip into a pattern.

One of my lovely customers drew my attention to a couple of errors in the written instructions for the lace repeat section of Midwinter Sky.

These are as follows:

In the lace repeat section, all the “Rep from * to last of lace st” are 1 st short. These should be as follows:
R1: Rep from * to last 3 lace st
R3: Rep from * to last 4 lace st
R5: Rep from * to last 5 lace st
R7: Rep from * to last 6 lace st
R9: Rep from * to last 7 lace st (please note, another correction for R9 is below)
R11: Rep from * to last 8 lace st

R9 also had a stitch missing in the written instructions and should read:

R9: yo, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog, yo, *(k1, yo, ssk) twice, (k1, k2tog, yo) twice, rep from * to last 7 lace st, (k1, yo, ssk) twice, k1, yo

Edging table – R13, middle column, should read “rep from * to 7 st before second m”.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.  And please get in touch with me if you have any questions, concerns or feedback about the pattern.

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