Regency Christmas Scarf

I posted my latest scarf on Ravelry today.  I think it’s lovely.

Christmas leather

Here’s the little story I wrote about it:

Jane set down her pen to blow into her aching hands. Despite the fire in the fireplace, the room would not release winter’s chill. Jane resolutely picked up her pen again – she had left her characters in tangled heartache, and she could not bear to allow them to remain so for longer than necessary.

A soft warm scarf was lain across her shoulders. Jane turned to see her dear sister. She fingered the silky material, marveled at the lovely winter design.

“I made it for you,” Emma said. “Happy Christmas.”

“Thank you,” Jane said, pulling the scarf closer around her neck. “It’s perfect.” And she resumed crafting her story of Lizzie.

Christmas close up

Christmas close up II

This elegant design with evergreen trees, flowers and winter berries is based on a lady’s embroidery pattern printed in 1825.

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Double Knitting Is Not Hard

Really, it isn’t. I promise.

“Double knitting” means producing a piece of fabric that does not have a “wrong” side. It is a fabric where both sides are “front” sides. For instance, if you have a sweater made with more than one color yarn, you might have noticed that the inside of the sweater does not look the same as the outside – on the inside, strands of yarn run along, so you can’t actually see the pattern. It’s not very pretty. That sweater is not double knit, since no one is meant to see the inside of it. But a double knit item, even using two or more colors, does not have that. You can see the pattern on both sides, though one side will have the dark yarn as the background color, and the other side will have the light yarn as the background color.

Basically, double knitting is knitting in the round squashed flat, if you can picture that. Picture knitting a hat, or socks. You are knitting in the round, using circular or double pointed needles. If you flattened that round circle in your hands and then looked at both sides, you can see how an item could be knit so that both exposed sides are the front side. The color changes with the unused yarn being carried along is squashed on the inside, where no one sees.

That is the essence of double knitting. You knit in pairs of stitches, always a knit stitch first, then a purl stitch second (you might recognize that knit one, purl one pattern – it’s normally called 1×1 ribbing). And you knit with two colors, always the knit stitch in one color, the purl stitch in the other color.

If you did only that, and did not cross the yarn at the end of the row, you would end up with two separate pieces of fabric for your effort – one in one color, the other in the second color. But there’s really no point in that. The magic of double knitting comes in using the two colors to create a design in your knitting. Still sticking to pairs of stitches, knit one, purl one, and making sure that you use one color for the knit stitch, and the other color for the purl stitch, you can create any two color design you want – like a heart or a tree or a hobbit hole or a tardis or any abstract or geometric design. Cross the two yarn colors at the end of the row, and the fabric holds together as one piece.

You know that a knit stitch, if you turn it around and look at it, is a purl stitch on the other side, and a purl stitch, if you turn it around, is a knit stitch on the other side, don’t you? If not, surprise! Purl stitches are just backward knit stitches. Every time you make a little V of a knit stitch, the loop you put to the back is the bar of a purl stitch. That’s knitting magic and it is what makes double knitting work the way it does.

Interestingly, getting back to double knitting, though the stitches are all in a straight line on your needles, knit, purl, knit, purl, little pairs of soldiers all down the row, as soon as you start knitting the next row, the pairs of stitches coming off the needles line up one behind the other (almost – there is a slight offset). On either side of the fabric you are making, knit stitches are the side you see, and the purl sides are back to back on the inside of the fabric. This means double knitting is thicker (and warmer) than other kinds of knitting, and the back-to-back stitches means that double knitting will not curl like normal garter stitched items, where only knit stitches are on the face of the knitting. And voila! You now know how to do it your own self.

I hope that was clear. If I did my job right, you should be able to picture double knitting in your head right now and see that it is not hard. Yes, it’s still magic, I agree. But it’s not hard.

It’s easier than knitting lace. I always get lost trying to knit lace.

Whimsical in the brainpan – CONFIRMED

I always suspected it to be so. To be honest, it’s a relief just to know for sure. I am bananapants. Nutty as a fruitcake. Loony tunes. Wandered round the bend and can’t find my way back.

There’s been a wonderful response to the Dr. Who “The Name of the Doctor” scarf on Ravelry! I’m getting flattering and amazing feedback. And, speaking slowly and kindly, several people have explained to me that only crazy people make doubleknit anything with lace yarn on size 0 needles.

Oh. I didn’t know.  Though, come to think of it, this explains so much.

And I like my distinctive reality; I think I’ll stay. Join me here – we’ll have fun!  🙂

The Name of the Doctor

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Announcing my latest design – inspired by Dr. Who!  It has my interpretation of the name of the Doctor, the Tardis, a Dalek constellation and a Weeping Angel constellation, as well as a nebula I reinterpreted from a NASA picture, as well as planets, stars, and lots of swirly bits to indicate the Doctor’s travels. Isn’t it fun? I’m so pleased with it. I designed it for a gift for a family member who once dragged me all the way across town to a pub just because it was Dr. Who themed. I think she just might like it. 🙂

If you like it too, feel free to make your own. I am putting the pattern up on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy, like my others. If you want me to make you one instead, we can talk about that. Send me a message on Ravelry or email me at FrivoliteHandcrafts AT gmail DOT com. (Replace the AT with @ and DOT with an actual . to email me.)

I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks to post this one; I’m so, so happy to finally put it up. My daughter tells me this scarf will get me many Karma Points on Reddit. No doubt I’ll begin to feel the good effect of that in a minute.

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You can buy the pattern here.

Who on earth worries about yarn? Me, that’s who.

Clever me, I have found something to worry about. My favorite yarn is from a company called KnitPicks. They have been selling a delicate lace weight yarn that is part soft merino wool and part silk. It’s inexpensive and it is gorgeous and I use it in my scarves. The problem is that it seems that maybe they are phasing out this yarn, or at least they are not paying it much attention. Colors are gradually disappearing, as far as I can tell. Yarn, just like any other commodity, is market driven. If people are not buying something, the manufacturer and the seller stop providing it. Makes perfect sense. Someday I may go to KnitPicks and it will just be gone.

Lace weight yarn is very, very fine. The only thinner yarn is called cobweb, and beyond that, thread. I think it does not sell all that well, compared to thicker yarns. People use it to make lacy shawls, generally, and that’s about it. I love this particular yarn because its thinness allows me to add fine detail to my work, it’s light, soft, has a pretty shine, feels great to squeeze in your hands and it’s warm. And, amazingly, it’s affordable. It’s just about perfect. Except for the limited color choices. And the last catalog they sent me didn’t even mention it. That’s getting to me a bit.

What I hope is that people might get excited about double knitting, and start making scarves like I do, and increase demand for the yarn, and ask for more colors and KnitPick’s Gloss Lace yarn makes a dramatic comeback and I can finally get rose pink and a nice soft yellow. Could I be the catalyst for such a transformation? Stranger things have happened. I’d be my own hero! Yay!

Or, someday, I will have to wander lonely and afraid until I find another yarn I want to use for my patterns. Has this happened yet? No! Why do I worry about it, then? I don’t know.

Why do we focus on the ‘what ifs’ instead of what is right in front of us? Imagination is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it is a pain in the posterior. Makes me worry about yarn like a crazy person. Not that I have anything against crazy people. Just don’t really want to be one in a way that anyone else would notice.

Don’t worry about me. I’ll be all right in a minute.

The Key to Jack’s Heart

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This is a fun scarf. It is double knit, which means like all my scarves it is double sided. I used three colors for the portrait, and a tiny bit of needlework – to make his smile and outline his head.

The motifs are in honor of the game Kingdom Hearts, and the key is probably my favorite: it’s got a pumpkin head and a little bat where the key teeth usually go!

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Look at the little bat eyes! I love when a design looks just the way you want it to, just how you pictured it. Well, I don’t mean you, you – I mean me. But I bet you recognize the feeling, if you’ve ever created something from concept to completion.

It took me all evening to get the pattern collected and completed. It is surprising me how many pieces I need to remember to make sure I have the pattern ready for someone else to read. It was less fun than designing it in the first place. An interesting sensation.

This is another in the Christmas gift series of scarves I made this fall. I can’t wait to pass it on, though I will miss it. But I know the recipient is going to really like it. That makes me feel good!

Numbers

I was sitting thinking last night. While knitting. Of course. Most of my scarves are about 800 rows long, and 50 double knit pairs of stitches wide. That’s 80,000 stitches per scarf, give or take. I think normal people make lovely scarves with a couple thousand stitches, using normal sized yarn and needles. I don’t know why I gotta be so complicated. I just like it that way.

For the record, I have some stores going, all with the same name:

  • Ravelry: FrivoliteHandcrafts
  • Craftsy: FrivoliteHandcrafts
  • Etsy: FrivoliteHandcrafts

My little corner of the internet. We’ll see what happens with my fledgling scarf designing career. I’m not asking for much. I’d like to make some new crafty friends, have some fun sharing, get rockstar famous and become a multimillionaire with a team of minions to bring me chai tea lattes, poolside. I’m probably expecting too much. No one becomes a multi millionaire making craft patterns.

I have two more scarves to show – I just need to go over the patterns and finish my instructions, select the pictures, all that fun stuff, and then I will post.  They are both fan art, inspired by well known properties. I’m excited to show them. They’re pretty geeky!

I’m finishing a seekrit gift project this week, and designing two more scarf things that I hope to have out before the end of the year. One, I need/want to have done before December 13 this year. That’s a hint. A really obscure hint, unless you’re a fantasy geek who likes movies. Then, it just jumps out at you.

I’ll give you a minute.