Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Knitting the Coastline Scarf from 'Making' Magazine Issue No. 4 / LINES

In early February spent most of a Sunday afternoon organizing my yarn and making a list of projects I wanted to work on using some beautiful yarn I have purchased in the last couple of years. A lot of the yarn was purchased when I was on a trip...'souvenir yarn'!

I have a trip planned for March so I decided I really needed to use some of the pretty stash yarn I have on hand before I buy more!  One of the goals in using my stash yarn was to make a few wearable items for myself...it had been a really long time since I've knit something for myself.

Coastline Scarf

The first project I decided to tackle was the Coastline Scarf which is part of the beautiful collection of designs in Issue No. 4 of Making magazine. (See the lovely cover of the magazine included in the photos below.)

I love how my Coastline Scarf turned out! I love the texture...the yarn and the stitch pattern worked beautifully together. Here's how it looks after blocking...

Coastline Scarf knitting pattern from Making magazine Issue No. 4 / LINES.
About the yarn...

For my Coastline Scarf I used the two skeins of Shepherd's Wool in 'Great Lakes' from Stonehedge Fiber Mill that I purchased last fall.  I love this yarn!  It's simply gorgeous.  

This 'Great Lakes' colorway has a subtle tweed combination of rich teal and blue.  I thoroughly enjoyed knitting with this yarn and I'm looking forward to using it again.

Making Magazine - Issue No. 4....Coastline Scarf knitting pattern
This stitch pattern for the Coastline Scarf is easy to remember but it does involve an intermediate knitting skill: knitting...and purling...into the back of stitches.  This twists the stitches to create an interesting appearance and it is a nice companion to the garter stitch stitches.    

I really enjoyed knitting this scarf while watching the Olympics!  I love watching the Olympics...especially figure skating. I'm also intrigued by the cross country skiing and short track speed skating events.

Knitting the Coastline Scarf  with Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill
In case you are wondering....the little wood rectangular tray is from Crate & Barrel. It is sold in the 'appetizer' section....but I thought it would make a great addition to my studio table for corralling my knitting notions.  The best part...this beautiful tray was only about $10! 

In the photo below...I only had a couple more rows to finish on my scarf...

Almost finished with my Coastline Scarf - love the texture!
I made my scarf about 68" long...a bit longer than specified in the pattern.  I was able to keep knitting away because I had plenty of yarn.  Shepherd's Wool comes in generous 250 yard skeins.  I used approximately 400 - 425 yards of yarn total.

This scarf definitely needs blocking for best appearance. I used my inexpensive blocking mats and Knitter's Pride T-Pins. 
Blocking the Coastline Scarf
The Lost Sheep Yarn Shop in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

I first discovered this beautiful Stonehedge Fiber Mill yarn when we were in Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a family wedding last October.  My very first stop after checking into our hotel was to visit The Lost Sheep Yarn Shop...it's a darling shop!  

I had heard a bit about the shop in advance because the shop is owned by "the pastor's wife"...."the pastor" performed the wedding ceremony for my brother-in-law and his bride-to-be!  I had a great time shopping at this cute little yarn shop and I will look forward to visiting again in the future.  Here's a couple photos of the inside of the shop:

The Lost Sheep Yarn Shop in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
I think some of the Stonehedge Fiber Mill yarn is displayed in the metal washtubs on the wall...so cute!  And...note the Green Bay Packers (green & yellow) and University of Wisconsin (red & white) themed yarns offered...since the shop is in Wisconsin!
The Lost Sheep Yarn Shop - Sheboygan, WI.
Look for Shepherd's Wool at your favorite local yarn shop.  There's a handy directory on the Stonehedge Fiber website to check for retailers...sorted by U.S. state.

Working on ideas for my next project...

I have a few other options in my stash yarns that are competing for attention.  I think the yarn that will get used first is this lovely 'Lakeshore' colorway in a super wash option of Shepherd's Wool. I purchased this yarn at The Lost Sheep Yarn Shop also...I have four beautiful skeins (1,000 yards!) to work with...still deciding what I will make. :) 

Shepherd's Wool superwash worsted in 'Lakeshore' from Stonehedge Fiber Mill.
I baked these oatmeal cookies a few days ago.  I had been craving them for a couple weeks...it had been far too long since I made these!  The recipe is not fancy...just the basic recipe provided on the inside of the lid of the canister of Quaker Oats....except I left out the raisins.  I love the cinnamon smell when these cookies are baking!

Today...winter weather has returned...ice and freezing rain.  Hoping we don't loose our power and internet!  

Thanks so much for reading!  Happy knitting!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio



Monday, February 12, 2018

New Cable Blanket Knitting Pattern - Childhood Wishes

I'm so happy to announce my new cable blanket knitting pattern - Childhood Wishes!

This cable blanket knitting pattern is designed for use with worsted or Aran weight yarn.  The pattern includes instructions for four sizes: Small (baby blanket), Medium (Crib/Lap blanket), Large Throw, and XL Afghan.

Childhood Wishes cable blanket knitting pattern is available on Ravelry.  The pattern is also available on Etsy, LoveKnitting and Craftsy.

Childhood Wishes - cable blanket knitting pattern
LION BRAND KIT 
Lion Brand Yarn is offering a kit to make either the Large or XL afghan blanket!  Pick from a choice of four yarn colors...'Ice' (as shown in my photos), 'Cafe au Lait', 'Cream' or 'Slate'.  You can check out all of the pretty shades of Lion Brand New Basic 175 on their website.

CHILDHOOD WISHES

When we are children...our wishes seem so simple.  We hope for a new toy, a visit to the ice cream store, an afternoon playing at the neighborhood park, a big snow storm (so school will be cancelled for days), and candy on Halloween.

When we are adults....our wishes for our children and grandchildren...are so much bigger.  We hope they are healthy and safe...and happy.  We want to provide all those fun opportunities our children dream of...but we know that what is really most important is the bigger picture...that they are safe, healthy and loved.

I know that my customers enjoy knitting blankets for their children and grandchildren (of all ages!) and in doing so they create a lasting gift...and a visual reminder of their good wishes and love for the children in their lives.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FOUR SIZES:

Approximate blanket sizes after blocking...

Small (4 cables): 29.25" wide x 32.5" long
Medium (5 cables): 35" wide x 36" long
Large (6 cables): 40.75" wide x 46.5" long
XL (7 cables): 46.5" wide x 53.5" long

All dimensions are after blocking...using blocking mats and pins...and allowing the blanket to relax a bit after it is dry and pins are removed.  Blocking is essential for the best appearance of this blanket pattern!  

Any of the blanket sizes may be made longer by adding additional cable pattern sequences.  Each additional cable pattern sequence will add about 3.5" to the length (after blocking).

Cable knitting with Lion Brand New Basic 175 in 'Ice'.
WORSTED OR ARAN WEIGHT YARN:

Amount of yarn needed for each size....

Small: 620 - 650 yards
Medium: 820 - 850 yards
Large: 1250 - 1300 yards
XL: 1650 - 1750 yards

I used Lion Brand New Basic 175 in the lovely color 'Ice'.  This yarn is 25% wool and 75% acrylic.  It has a soft, woolly feel....a very classic texture.  New Basic 175 is available on the Lion Brand Yarn website in a wide selection of pretty colors.

This blanket pattern will work well with many worsted or Aran weight (or similar) yarns.

KNITTING NEEDLES & GAUGE:

I used US size 9 knitting needles and had a gauge in stockinette stitch (after blocking) of approximately 14 stitches x 22 rows = 4".

Pick the needle size that works best for your yarn and knitting tension.  Exact gauge is not essential but if your gauge is significantly different it will alter the finished blanket dimensions and could result in needing more or less yarn than indicated above.

The yarn listed above are 'cushioned' to allow for variations in gauge, etc.....but, it never hurts to buy a little extra yarn just in case.

Childhood Wishes - cable blanket knitting pattern by Fifty Four Ten Studio
STITCH MARKERS:

When I was working on my River of Dreams cable bed runner blanket pattern a couple of knitters asked me what the clip on stitch marker is for when I'm knitting cables.  Great question!

I clip a stitch marker to the first stitch of the first cable in the row when I work the cable pattern.

When I was knitting my Childhood Wishes blanket...I worked 20 rows and then knit another cable row.  Instead of marking on the printed pattern each time I complete a row...it's easy to look at the stitch marker and know exactly where to start counting the 20 rows.  The stitch with the marker is on row 1.

In the photo below....I have worked 14 rows.  When I completed 20 rows I worked another cable sequence row.

I use clip on stitch markers when working a cable pattern.
These clip on 'lock ring' style markers are made by Clover and available on the Lion Brand Yarn website...and so are the little ring markers on my knitting needles.  These ring markers are very durable...and extremely helpful with many knitting projects!

SKILLS NEEDED:

Experience with cable knitting is highly recommended.  This is a very easy cable design but it's important to have some experience with cable knitting before diving into a blanket project.  Other skills needed: cast on, knit and purl confidently (changing back and forth from knit to purl), cast off, weave in ends....and blocking!

BLOCKING HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Blocking of this blanket is essential for the best appearance of your finished project.

Blocking trains your knitting to be the shape that you want it to be.  It's a process that might sound challenging but it's actually very easy.

Click here to see my blog post for lots of tips on blocking your blanket.

Due to the nature of the cable pattern...the blanket has a strong tendency to bunch together in the center.  See the before and after photos below...

Childhood Wishes cable blanket - before & after blocking.
Here's another view of my Childhood Wishes blanket before I blocked it....honestly...it didn't look great!
Cable Blanket - BEFORE BLOCKING!
Blocking mats and pins are essential to block this blanket.  I used rust resistant T-Pins but you can also use sewing pins.

It's important to pin all the edges in place...and make sure the edges are straight. Remember you are training your knitting to be the shape you want it to be!

Notice how the shape of this blanket changed dramatically!  Before blocking it was long and narrow...after blocking it was almost a perfect square....and looked a lot more attractive.

Blocking my cable blanket.
KEEPING WARM THIS WINTER!

We've had some cold days in Kansas City this winter so my collection of chunky hand knit blankets has been put to use.  We keep our house pretty cold by most standards so we keep several throw blankets handy in all rooms to cozy up and keep warm!

Here's a photo of me holding a few of our favorite chunky blankets.  I talked my daughter into taking this photo a couple weeks ago when we had a few snowflakes one afternoon.  Unfortunately the snowflakes didn't show up in the photo!  I much prefer being behind the camera...or a stack of blankets!

A few of my hand knit blankets I've designed.
All of these blankets were made with super bulky yarn. Here's a list of the blanket patterns from the top of the stack down...click on links to read more about each pattern on my blog:

Over the Rooftops Blanket (gray)
Belleview Blanket (light blue)
Winter Dance Blanket (dark blue)
Westport Blanket (gray)
State Line Blanket (ivory)

WHERE TO GET THE CHILDHOOD WISHES PATTERN

Childhood Wishes cable blanket knitting pattern is available on RavelryEtsyLoveKnitting and Craftsy.

Hopefully spring is right around the corner....maybe wishful thinking?!

Happy knitting!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio

Childhood Wishes cable blanket knitting pattern.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

State Line Blanket Knitting Pattern Updated - Now Six Sizes!

My State Line Blanket knitting pattern was one of the first blanket patterns I designed...back in 2015.  I'm happy to announce that I have completely updated the pattern to include instructions for six blanket sizes!

State Line Blanket knitting pattern is available on Ravelry.

You can also find the State Line Blanket knitting pattern on Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

State Line Blanket knitting pattern by Fifty Four Ten Studio
The State Line Blanket is easy to knit!  You will need to know how to cast on stitches, knit and purl confidently, read a row by row knitting pattern, cast off stitches and weave in ends.

The border of this blanket design is simple garter stitch.  The center of the design is mainly stockinette stitch with purl stitch 'stripes' of alternating lengths.

The simple, linear design of this blanket will add nice texture to any decor style...modern, eclectic, traditional, etc.  Plus...this chunky blanket is very cozy!

SIX BLANKET SIZES:

The updated pattern includes instructions for six blanket sizes.  Approximate sizes after blocking blanket:

Baby Blanket: 30" wide x 31" long
Small Crib/Lap Blanket: 33" wide x 36" long
Medium Throw: 37" wide x 46" long
Large Throw: 41" wide x 51" long
XL Afghan: 45" wide x 56" long
XXL Afghan: 49" wide x 61" long

It's easy to make any of the blanket sizes longer by adding additional pattern repeats.  Each repeat adds about 5" to the length of the blanket.

SUPER BULKY YARN:

Amount of yarn needed for each blanket sizes...

Baby: 350 - 370 yards
Small: 450 - 475 yards
Medium: 650 - 680 yards
Large: 800 - 830 yards
XL: 960 - 1000 yards
XXL: 1150 - 1200 yards

Be sure to purchase additional yarn if you plan to make your blanket longer than the dimensions listed above.  The pattern includes estimates of how much yarn is needed to make each size longer.

State Line Blanket - knitting pattern for super bulky yarn.
I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in the color 'Fisherman' for the blanket shown in the photos.  This ivory color yarn reminds me of a classic fisherman style cable sweater I had back in college! Wool-Ease Thick & Quick is available in a wide range of colors.  A solid color or subtle tweed yarn will show the texture of the blanket best.

Another great yarn option for this blanket is Lion Brand Hometown USA...I have used this yarn for many of my other blanket designs.  It has a soft silky texture...with a subtle sheen that gives it a modern vibe.  This yarn is available in so many colors! Choose a solid color or subtle tweed yarn for this blanket design to show off the pattern best. Some of my favorite colorways in Hometown USA are 'Dallas Grey', 'Chicago Charcoal', 'Washington Denim' and 'Houston Cream'.  The tweed options like 'Aspen Tweed' and 'Cape Cod Tweed' are also lovely...I can't want to try those soon!

If you are looking for the most economical option for your blanket project...check out Lion Brand's new bonus yarn bundles in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick...as well as their 100% acrylic Thick & Quick bonus bundle.  These yarn skeins are giant!

KNITTING NEEDLES & GAUGE:

This blanket is knit flat, in one piece, back and forth on long circular knitting needles.  Circular needles are highly recommended to accommodate the large number of stitches.  You may use either US size 13 or 15 knitting needles with super bulky yarn.

Approximate gauge in stockinette stitch (after blocking): 8 stitches & 12 rows = 4"

Exact gauge is not essential for this project.

Select the needle size that gives the best appearance for your yarn and knitting tension. Try a little test knitting of 20 stitches in stockinette stitch.  (Cast on 20 stitches.  Knit one row. Purl next row. Repeat until knitting is about 4" long.)

Preferably, you don't want the knitting to be too loose...but at the same time if your stitches are really tight your finished blanket could be a bit stiff.

State Line Blanket knitting pattern - easy to knit with super bulky yarn.

BLOCKING OF BLANKET RECOMMENDED:

Confession...when I designed and knit this blanket back in October 2015, I did not block the blanket!  I didn't discover the benefits of blocking a blanket until the following year.

Last week...I soaked this blanket in some cold water and finally blocked it!  While my State Line Blanket looked fine without blocking...I think it looks much better after blocking!  (The photos in this blog post are all new...showing the blanket after blocking.)

Click here to see my blog post with lots of tips on blocking a blanket.

Blocking of finished blanket recommended.
WONDERING ABOUT THE NAME OF THIS BLANKET?

In case you are wondering....the name for my State Line Blanket knitting pattern is inspired by one of the key streets in Kansas City...my hometown.

One of the first things to know about Kansas City is that about half of the two million people in the K.C. metropolitan area live in the state of Missouri and the other half live in the state of Kansas.  As the name implies, State Line Road is the dividing line between the two states (at least in the southern part of the city).

I grew up just a couple blocks east of State Line Road on the Missouri side.  As an adult, I've always lived in Kansas....a couple blocks west of State Line Road.

There are times State Line Road really is a "dividing line" for our big city...different state governments, different public schools, different taxes, etc.  But, most of the time it's not a big deal....we drive back and forth from one state to the other...across State Line Road...just about every day.
State Line Road in Kansas City
WHERE TO BUY THE PATTERN...

State Line Blanket knitting pattern is available on Ravelry.

You can also find the State Line Blanket knitting pattern on Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

I can't believe it's already February!  I'm looking forward to watching the Olympics starting next week and...of course...I'll be knitting while I'm watching!  I'm also making plans for other knitting projects to work on this year.  My list of ideas is longer than I can probably accomplish!

Thanks so much for your interest in my knitting adventures!  Happy knitting!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio

State Line Blanket - chunky throw/afghan knitting pattern