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Cloud Peak KAL + Designer Spotlight: Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs

Fall is just around the corner, and we're celebrating summer's last hurrah with a fun KAL featuring a new design by Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs! We've asked Simone to share a guest post with our readers - read on for more info about this KAL, a special coupon code just for Knitter's Pride fans, and a chance to win the special prize, too!

Hello there, my lovely knitting friends! 
I am Simone Kereit, but you may know me better as OwlCat Designs, and we’ll be doing a fun KAL together! And before anything else, I want to thank Knitters Pride for sponsoring this event and letting me take over their blog as well as providing a number of cool prizes to participants, but more on that later!
But before we get into any more details, let me introduce myself a little, in case you don’t know that much about me:
My name is Simone and I was born in Switzerland where I learned to knit when I was around 5 or 6 years old. My mom always had a project going, so the concept was with me from a really young age. And then of course, we all learned to knit in school, though I am sure my brother would not remember how if I asked him these days! When I started to knit, there were not a lot of patterns, especially for kids or teenagers, and so I learned to knit socks by asking my Mom how to do it, and knitting a sweater by picking out yarn which at the time would have convenient notes on the label about how many balls of yarn it might take for a size 38 etc. You would then take the yarn home and swatch the stitch you wanted to use and then doing all the math off of the swatch. As you can imagine, there was  a bit of a learning curve and not all my projects turned out fabulous right from the start. I distinctly remember one where I decided to put a band of colorwork into the bottom third on the front and since this was the first time I worked a stranded design and was teaching myself by making ALL the mistakes, the band was a whole lot tighter than the rest of the sweater. So smartly, when I knit the back, I made sure to make it extra loose, which ended up making a big ol’ pouch than hung below my butt! I still wore the sweater, I had made it after all, but luckily it was a really warm number and there wasn’t all that much occasion to wear it except in the woods!
When I moved to the US in 1999, I was surprised to learn that not everyone was knitting the way I was taught and publishing designs was almost the logical conclusion.
I really love to knit and so I enjoy a variety of techniques and items, from shawls over smaller accessories (like the Mitts we will be knitting together) to sweaters and cardigans. I design things that I would like to wear (and I often do, though sometimes I have to wait for the shawl or sweater to make their way back to me after travelling in trunk shows to shops around the country) and so the things I am inspired to design change. I have many more ideas than hours or energy in my hands to knit, so I have to structure and plan, but I do like to leave a bit of room for the unexpected, if I can. I find having the freedom to design something on the spur of the moment just because I had this amazing idea really helps my creativity and my happiness. 

I love wooden tools, knitting needles included and have more needles than I care to admit. I probably have the entire size range of Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Interchangeable needles twice over, because they give me so much flexibility and because I always seem to need needles in the same sizes and end up adding another set of tips. I love that the wooden tips now come as Natural, because sometimes you just need a light colored needle to be able to really see your stitches. When I knit small circular things I prefer using DPNs, but I do quickly go over how to adapt your longer (40” /100 cm) circulars to knit these mitts using magic loop. 

One thing that I think absolutely rocks about the Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles is the end caps. Do you use them much? If not, you should! Each cable comes with two of them and even though I tend to not often put something aside on the cable to use the needle tips for something else (see above and my mention of my needle collection) though they are great for that as well (just make sure to use the size tags which come with each set, for you won’t remember the size when you find your project 2 years from now and the sticky notes do fall off, trust me).
No, what I use them most often for is travel safety and sleeve stitches
Let me explain the first: When you travel on planes these days, you never know if they might take your needles. Fingers crossed, I never had an issue using my wooden Dreamz tips, but it depends on the country and the airport and you just never know. If you should be so unlucky as to have to give up your needles, simply unscrew the tips, put endcaps on and when you get to your destination, unpack the set of tips that was in your checked luggage! Sure it is sad that you couldn’t knit on your lace shawl while flying, but the stitches are safe and you get to enjoy it when you are on vacation! 
The other is sleeves: When I knit cardigans or sweaters in the round, (anything circular yoke or raglan shaped) instead of putting stitches on waste yarn, I simply knit them onto a short cable, add endcaps and voilĂ ! When it comes time to knit the sleeves (or join the sleeves to the body for bottom up designs) all you have to do is unscrew the endcaps and thread on the proper needle. No more stitches that got all tiny and are hard to pick up, no slipping this way and that. Just screw on those tips, and knit right off the end! I am probably a bit giddy, but I do love this so much, I probably have 8 sets of 16” and 20” cables just for that!
But let’s get back to designing. Often my inspiration comes from nature, I love hiking and being outside in general and anything in nature from a misty sunrise to an intricately twisted branch can just hit you and take your breath away. The Cloud Peak mitts that we are going to knit together, were inspired by those high peaks up in the mountains, the ones that often wear a cap of clouds when the wind is right. I settled on the name on our recent vacation, when driving across Wyoming towards the Big Horn mountains, the tallest peaks are in an area known as the Cloud Peak Wilderness, and from a distance, there are many smaller peaks visible as you approach across the lower country. The name seemed just perfectly fitted to the stitch pattern reminding me of mountain ranges back home with multiple peaks jutting high into the blue sky.
I hope many of you will join me as we get started, the official cast on date is August 25th, so you have 2 full weeks to shop for the perfect yarn or dig through your stash for that perfect skein. You need sport weight yarn and if you like, beads. I have tutorials that will show you all the parts that might be new to you, so if you’ve never used beads in your knitting, just follow along, it’s super easy! And all the details on materials are below. 

The socializing part of the KAL will be happening online and we even have our very own #hashtag: #CloudPeakKAL 
We will virtually knit together in my Ravelry group and on Instagram 
And on the Knitter's Pride and OwlCatDesigns Instagram profiles.  

So come over, give us a follow and say hi in my Ravelry group!


When I started designing these mitts, I wanted them to be versatile, but also something that has a few details that perhaps are new to you and where you can add a new knitting skill to your bag of tricks. I designed them to be knit in Sport Weight yarn so it would go quickly and the beads add an elegant little detail to the back of your hand! The pattern comes in a couple of sizes and I want to quickly go over how to measure your hand to find the perfect size and fit. 


As shown in the picture, measure the circumference of your palm, holding the tape measure snug. On the pattern you will find two measurements, one is the actual finished size, the other is the hand circumference it is meant to fit. Just like when you make a hat, you will want some negative ease (the actual measurement of the knitted item is smaller than the size of your hand) as knitted fabric has some stretch. This is so the mitt doesn’t fit all floppy and loose in the end but fits you ‘like a glove’.
The Cloud Peak Mitts can be knit with a regular or a long cuff, since I like mine long to tuck into a sweater or inside a jacket sleeve without cold wind getting to you. And the pattern is written in multiple sizes, so you can make one for the rest of the family too! As we go along, I have a couple of hacks and adaptations that I think would make these fun for a guy to wear as well (unless of course they are fond of beads, no tweaking necessary then).
A quick word on yarn: For this stitch pattern, a smooth plied yarn works best, and since mitts usually get a good bit of use and friction, you may want to opt for Superwash while you’re at it.
Ok so now that you know a bit more, here is what you need to get to be ready for cast on!
Pattern
Yarn
Approx. 155 (165, 180) yds / 140 (150, 165) m of sport weight yarn
Needles
US 4 (3.5mm needles) Knitter’s Pride either DPNs or 40” / 100 cm circulars needles for magic loop
Gauge
28 st and 32 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette st
Finished Sizes
6 (7, 8)” / 15 (18, 20) cm palm circumference
to fit hand with palm circumference up to 7 (8, 9)” / 18 (20.5, 23) cm
Notions
Tapestry Needle
0.75mm Knitter’s Pride crochet hook or preferred tool to add beads
approx. 95 (105, 120) size 6/0 beads
5 markers (2 color A for Cloud Peak pattern panel, 2 color B for thumb gusset, and 1 marker for EoR)

For the sample I used Dragonfly Fibers Damsel in Silver Fox and less than 1 tube (20g) of size 6/0 beads in matte metallic silver grey.

Our KAL runs August 25-Sept. 22; I hope you will join me as we knit the Cloud Peak Mitts together over the next few weeks! 

August Giveaway! 

One lucky reader will win a Deluxe Royale Interchangeable Needle Set. To enter, leave a comment telling us what your favorite pattern is from Simone's back catalog! Don't forget to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We'll randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Friday, August 31. Good luck! 

Tips for Working With Hand-Dyed Yarns

There are so many beautiful hand-dyed options available for yarn lovers, but they can sometimes be a challenge to work with. On today's post, we'll cover four key areas to consider before starting your next project with a hand-dyed yarn to ensure maximum satisfaction with your FO (finished object)!


1. Buy a "safety skein."

Buying enough yarn for your project may seem like obvious advice, but judging by the number of #yarnchicken posts on Instagram, it can be easier said than done! A good rule of thumb is to add an extra skein to the amount of yarn you think you need to ensure that all of your skeins are from the same dye lot. With the amount of variation amongst hand-dyed yarns (not to mention, the number of unrepeatable/one-of-a-kind colors out there), you'll be glad you did! If you end up having that safety skein of yarn left over, you can always make a matching hat, or enter it into your Ravelry stash as for sale/trade - chances are, someone will be interested in giving it a new home.


2. Pick the right pattern. 

#Specklesaresohotrightnow, but they don't go with everything! Many of those variegated color ways that look so pretty in the skein can be difficult to pair up with patterns, as more complex stitch patterns can get lost when they compete with a variegated colorway.

More complex lace and cables are generally better suited to shaded solids, but if there is a pattern that you've got your heart set on for that special skein, do a little research first. Check Ravelry to see other people's projects - it's likely someone else has made that shawl pattern with a variegated yarn, and if you like how theirs turned out, yours will probably look great, too! Of course, you can knit a swatch with your yarn as the final determination of whether or not to proceed, but checking Ravelry first can save you a little time!

Lastly, a pattern with lots of shaping or slipped stitches will minimize pooling, which is when colors stack up while knitting to form larger splotches of color. This may or may not be a desirable effect - just check the Planned Pooling thread in the Yarn & Fiber Ravelry group to see some stunning examples of both ends of the spectrum.


3. Alternate Skeins.

If you'll be using more than 1 skein of the same color in your project, alternating skeins is the best way to ensure that any variations between those skeins are minimized - otherwise, you might have a very visible line where the new yarn was joined. Here is a great blog post about methods for alternating skeins:

What if you forgot to buy that safety skein of yarn, and lost at yarn chicken? Alternating skeins is also a great way to introduce a different dye lot of the same color into your project with minimal detection (just make sure that you have enough of your original yarn to alternate rows for at least a few inches).

Image via Handmade by Stefanie; used with permission.

Sure, you can take your chances and hope for the best, but alternating skeins really isn't as fussy as it sounds, and the results are worth it.


4. Test Color Fastness.

Reds, pinks and yellows are the hardest dyes to set properly. Newbie and experienced dyers alike have this problem! While these three hues are the most prone to bleeding, ANY color can be at risk. Especially if you are using multiple colors and/or pairing light with dark, checking for color fastness is a month before you begin your project. There is nothing sadder than those crisp white stripes becoming tinged with its neighboring color. It's better to be safe than sorry!

Staci Perri of Very Pink Knits has a super simple method for testing for color fastness:



We hope these tips help you to plan your next project with hand dyed yarn, and we would love to hear your own ideas and tips in the comments!

Like this post? Pin it!



Winner + Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL Round-Up

First, let's announce the winner of our June blog giveaway - congratulations to caffeine72 with this comment:


We'll be in touch via Ravelry to coordinate the prize delivery. Thanks to everyone else who took our quiz and entered the contest!

Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL Round-Up
We had a great time seeing all of the clever home decor patterns that you all knit or crocheted over the last couple of months.

Here are just a few of the projects that caught our eyes.

#1. Dishsoap Bottle Dress and Cloth
The moment we saw these dresses, we thought they were super clever, and a fun way to bring a little fun into the kitchen.


What a great idea, and we are sure to see more of these popping up on Ravelry! Thanks to LeilaEvelyn on Ravelry for sharing these with us.

#2. The Spa-Riffic Wash Cloth
Many of you took to this delightfully textured pattern, and the results were fabulous!
This one by 55yrknitter looks great with that hand poured bar of soap.


Knittingdancer made hers in this stunning bright orange!


#3. Fronded Trivet
We thought this dual colored pattern deserved some attention. The subtle patterning makes this a great addition to your kitchen or even a botanical inspired bathroom, Great work CornucopiAmy!


Here are the winners for our prizes, as chosen by the Random Number Generator:
2. kshufelt from Ravelry - Knit Blockers 
3. Asteride from Instagram - Reverie Fabric Bag

We will get in touch with you via Ravelry to arrange for the delivery of your prizes. Thanks to everyone who entered our KAL/CAL!

What Does Your Knitting or Crochet Project Say About You?

There are many types of crafters out there - what kind are you? We've created a fun quiz for our fans, click START below to see what your crafting preferences say about you!

Share your quiz results in the comments below for your chance to win your choice of these 2 prizes: a Royale IC Starter Set or a Waves Crochet Set- we'd love to know just how accurate our quiz is!

Don't forget to also include your email address or Ravelry ID so that we can contact you if you win. We'll randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Friday, July 14th. Good luck!



Share this quiz with your crafting friends to see their results using this link or the sharing links at the bottom of this post! 

How to Square Off a Circular Crochet Motif


If you love making crocheted motif blankets, you probably know that it is difficult to join circular motifs together without leaving gaps. In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to square off a circular crochet motif.

First, count the number of stitches around your circle.

If this number isn't divisible by 4, then single crochet around the circle while evenly increasing  the number of stitches necessary to reach a stitch count that is divisible by 4.

If this number is divisible by 4, then work 1 round of single crochet around around the circle.

Why do we need a stitch count that is divisible by 4? We will be treating the circle as a square, dividing it into four "sides."

Example: 
A circle with 42 stitches will need two more stitches to reach a stitch count that is divisible by four.

To do this, *work single crochet for 20 stitches, increase in the next stitch, ** then repeat from * to ** to the end of the round. You will now have 44 stitches, which is 4 sections of 11 stitches.


Before we move on to the next step, it may be helpful for you to look at this image of the finished shape you are trying to accomplish, as compared to the current shape of your piece:


You'll be creating the edges of the square by adding taller stitches to the areas on the circle which correspond to the corners of the square shown above. As you might have guessed, the sides will need less fabric to complete the transition.

To make the squaring off round easier, the beginning of the round will be in the center of the square side, as seen in the illustration above.

In the sample shown below, the following pattern was used:
sc2, hdc, dc, dc2 in next st, ch2, *dc2 in next st, dc, hdc, sc5, hdc, dc, dc2 in the next st, ch2, repeat from * 2 more times, dc2, in next st, dc, hdc, sc3. Slst into first st to join round.

When you work this round, notice that the hdc and dc stitches create wedges which build the corners when paired with the other wedges.


For larger or smaller circles, you will need to adjust the pattern by either adding a sc, hdc, or dc to the pattern. This may require a little experimentation one your part as you try out different types of stitches to get your ideal shape.


Below are two free patterns to modify and turn into square motifs using this technique!

The Little Spring Mandala



Roller Coasters


We'd love to see what you make with this tutorial; share your results with us on Instagram using the hashtag #knitterspride in your post.

Giveaway & Free Knitted Wash Cloth Pattern

There’s still plenty of time to join our Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL here on Ravelry! Today, we share a free knitted wash cloth pattern you can knit up in a jiffy using your favorite cotton yarn for your chance to win one of our fabulous KAL prizes. We also have a special bonus giveaway just for our blog readers (keep reading for more on that!).

If you prefer not to work two strands of a fingering weight yarn together in your project, you can substitute in a single strand of worsted weight cotton to make an equally lovely wash cloth.


Spa-Riffic Wash Cloth
By Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter
Finished measurements: approx. 10.5” square

Gauge: 18 sts & 24 rows = 4 inches St St

Supplies:
  • US 8 Needles (single point or fixed circular; cloth is worked flat)
  • 1 skein Kraemer Patti Yarn (100% US Organic Combed Cotton, fingering weight, 350 yards/100g), split into two balls and held double throughout
  • Darning needle
  • Blocking Mats
  • Knit Blockers

To make cloth:
CO 46 sts.

Work 6 rows garter stitch (knit every row).

Begin Patt Stitch:

Row 1 (RS): K3, *K5, P5, repeat from * to last 3 sts, K3.
Row 2 (WS): K7, *P5, K5, repeat from * to last 9 sts, P5, K4.
Row 3: K3, P2, *K5, P5, repeat from * to last 11 sts, K5, P3, K3.
Row 4: K5, *P5, K5, repeat from * to last 11 sts, P5, K6.
Row 5: K3, P4, *K5, P5, repeat from * to last 9 sts, K5, P1, K3.
Row 6: K3, *P5, K5, repeat from * to last 3 sts, K3.

Repeat Rows 1-6 a total of 10 times, or until cloth has reached desired length.

Work 6 rows garter stitch (knit every row). Bind off.

Weave in ends and wash with your favorite fiber wash. We recommend using Knitter’s Pride Blocking Mats and Knit Blockers to block to finished measurements like so:


Allow to dry, then enjoy during your next spa day!

Giveaway
We have a special BONUS giveaway, just for our blog readers! Leave a comment on this post telling us what project you plan to knit or crochet for our Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL for your chance to win the yarn & needles to knit this wash cloth pattern! Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can notify you if you’ve won.

We’ll randomly select 1 lucky winner to announce in this Ravelry thread on Friday, June 2. Good luck!  

ETA: We have a winner, congratulations to Raveler knit-frog-knit!

Join Our Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL!

With Spring and Summer comes warmer weather, and the desire to knit or crochet cozy woolens is gone. You don’t need to put down your hooks or needles though, it’s time to make home decor!

From now until June 30th, we’re hosting a home decor CAL/KAL - just knit or crochet something for your home and share it with us in this Ravelry thread for your chance to win great prizes (more on that in a bit).

During the month of May, we’ll be sharing pattern ideas on our Facebook page, so be sure to check those out. In the meantime, here are 3 of our favorite home decor patterns to inspire you:

This blanket is amazing because it allows to create any size of blanket all the while only having 10 stitches on your needles at a time. This is a variation on the rectangular blanket, made famous by Staci Perry’s tutorials on her Very Pink Knits YouTube Channel.

This is a trend that continues to be popular, this crochet pattern by Nadia Fuad is so fun. It would look especially great in a semi-solid yarn.

We love this basket pattern with the chunky braids and handles! Now you can have a knitting basket that you knit yourself!

As previously mentioned, there are some great prizes up for grabs for anyone participating in our CAL/KAL:
Winners will be selected from the Ravelry group thread and from Instagram, using the event hashtag #KPSpringKAL. You can make as many projects as you like for multiple entries in the contest drawing; double dipping with other KAL/CALs is ok, too!

Once the KAL/CAL closes, we'll announce the winners here on our blog at the beginning of July.

Be sure to share your projects on Instagram with the hashtags #knitterspride and #KPSpringKAL. We can't wait to see what you make, and don't forget to add our blog to your reading list because in our next post, we’ll share a free knitted wash cloth pattern!