b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  The Usual Shift
As has become customary in the past with my knitting, in times of trial or heightened activity, the knitting swings back to its roots, and garter stitch projects starting sprouting up like little winter flowers.

For me, it comes down to the question of how to continue making projects that are smart and interesting while running on much less fuel than I'm accustomed to. And where garter stitch is concerned, no one is safe, including my lace-weight stash.

Garter Garter

This slinky little number is a whole lot of fun, and perfect for countering temporary feelings of knitting inadequacy. There will be lace incorporated into the finished piece, but for now, it's knit knit knit. The great thing about garter stitch with such a lightweight yarn is how fluffy and airy it becomes, while still maintaining the squish factor that I so shamelessly crave. The fiber has a lot to do with it (always) - Silky Alpaca Lace is a relatively new yarn from Classic Elite and a total treat to work with. Sort of feels like it's made of butter... and I mean that in such a good way.

New Sweater...

And for the slightly better days, when I want something to bring my A-game to (or pretend I have an A-game with)... there's a sweater of similar sensibility. I call it my "Yes-I'm-In-Grad-School-But-Still-Want-A-New-Sweater" Sweater. Simple simple, but with some interesting shaping and construction things that I'm having fun playing with. Not to mention the
edible yarn (doesn't it kinda look.... food-like? I'm thinking... Oreos.) (Or... have I finally gone crazy?)

You may remember me starting a new sweater design with my Kathmandu stash a few months back. Well... I finished it. I liked it well enough, but wasn't absolutely floored by it. And the nagging question of "is this really good enough for this awesome yarn?" was proving to be quite a nuisance. Well, giving it time, which is the only thing to do in that situation, the illumination did come - a dear friend of mine was caught working up a Tomten Jacket in the same yarn and once I felt the soft, tweedy garter-squish of it, I knew what had to be done.

Instead of taking the time to rip out the entire sweater (always a bit depressing), I just pulled out the bind-off and started making a new one straight away. A nice trick to employ when searching for some sort of redemptive experience to erase our non-brilliant knitting moments and transform them into (*cross your fingers*) something better [See below for new sweater being harvested from old]

New Sweater...

And if I've learned anything from my knitting, it's this: a good yarn deserves the right treatment. If that means biting the bullet and re-knitting a sweater, then so be it. (I should remind you that it usually takes a couple months for me to say that.)

But enough of my soapbox jabbering. In design news, I have a couple new patterns coming down the pike this winter, which I'm so happy to get out to you. And speaking of winter, we're down to 40 degree temperatures over here - the big woolies have been busted out and that means giant, happy smiles from me. Enjoy your knitting, it's finally time!
  Morningside Neckwarmer
Phew - it's busy busy busy around here! I feel terrible for such spotty posts recently, like all I've been doing is dropping in to tell you where new patterns are at! My apologies, and I'll do my best to navigate this crazy year and keep you all abreast of the knitting that's going on (it definitely is!)

I did a little project for the Classic Elite Web-Letter last week. It's a one-skeiner and was conceived as a solution for maximizing that little bit of luxury fiber you may have hiding somewhere but have been too afraid to touch. I had a skein of Classic Elite's
Stormy (cashmere tweed... 'nuff said) and whipped this up - I think it's going to get a lot of neckplay this year!

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The pattern is available HERE [Ravel it]
and is written for two different sizes/styles - both shown here. Each piece is knit at a slightly different gauge - the Rust version is knit on US 8's at 14 sts to 4 inches in Brioche Stitch for a firmer fabric that acts more as a faux stand-up collar and looks great under a jacket or sports coat (You may just fake someone into thinking you're wearing an entire cashmere sweater...) The purple version is knit on needles two sizes larger for a fabric with a bit more drape with added length for a more slouchy, voluminous style. Wearer's choice!

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Have you ever worked Brioche Stitch before? It's a really wonderful stand-by and I love to go back to it every now and again. It's squishy and feels thick while actually being a very lightweight, lofty fabric. Great for cashmere! In fact, how many stitch patterns are cool enough to warrant their own personal web site? [If you run into confusion or want to read more about what this stitch is all about - be sure to read more behind the link.]

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A word of warning about Brioche - the stitch pattern takes a little knitting to become visible. Blindly knit forward for that first inch or so, though, and you'll see the tell-tale ribbing start to appear.

Here's an idea I love - for the really cold-weather days that will be here before we know it, I like wearing these under wool scarves. You get the best of both worlds - rugged, woolie neckwear with a cashmere secret for next-to-skin delight. Also, cashmere has that whole 8-times-warmer-than-wool thing going for it, too.

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The pattern employs some Cast-On and Bind-Off tricks that I like which help compensate for Brioche Stitch's wiiiide gauge - a double stranded Long Tail Cast-On (exactly what it sounds like - Long Tailing with two strands of yarn) makes for added flexibility and a nice edge... and the Sewn Bind-Off (I recommend EZ's) is essential for anything being pulled over our heads (also known as the Sweater Collar Savior).

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Aren't you loving that we can finally indulge in some beautiful Fall weather? It's really my favorite time of year - you can't beat that beautiful light, and several of my handknits have already gotten some serious street time. Not to mention prime sweater-watching in the city - very inspiring!

** I'll be teaching this weekend outside of Pittsburgh in Sewickley, PA - if you're taking a class, I'll see you there! **

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