Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dictynna is now available and THANKS!

Single skein version in Arco Iris
 My Dictynna shawl pattern in Malabrigo Rasta has just been released! This is just the thing if you need to knock out some quick holiday gifts. Super bulky yarn means that these shawls knit up in hours, not days or weeks. The split square shape is interesting to knit, it helps it stay on your shoulders and creates cool shapes when wrapped around your neck.
Two-skein version in Azules

New to super bulky yarns? Check out my previous post, Working with Super Bulky Yarn. It includes tips for knitting with super bulky yarns, brands of large circular needles and helpful notions.

Since this is a time in the US that we take to be thankful for what we have, I just want to say thanks to you! I know I often neglect my blog and take some publishing hiatuses, but without you guys I would have given up long ago. Thank you for supporting me so I can do what I love! Now through 11:59pm EST on November 28 2014, use the code "thanks" in my Ravelry store and receive 25% off your purchase...all self-published patterns and eBooks are included.

Also, since I have totally spaced on posting about it here, I am participating in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long. It is a huge event featuring close to 300 inde designers. There are multiple daily prize drawings, KAL/CALs and tons of fun. The event runs through the end of December so there is still a ton of time to join in!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Working with Super Bulky Yarn

Malabrigo Rasta in Azules shown with KA US19 circulars.

So super bulky yarn...seems to be a bit of a love/hate thing (though, I guess that is pretty much everything in the fiber arts world)? Personally, I love it! There is nothing like whipping up a lace shawl in a few hours. Plus, the colors of yarns like Malabrigo Rasta and madelinetosh A.S.A.P. are gorgeous. However, I see complaints all the time about working with knitting needles that could double as broom handles. Now, I can't promise to make you love knitting with broom handles, but I do have some tips that might make it marginally more enjoyable!

Choose your needles well. I almost always use circular needles, even with super bulky yarns (SBY from here on out). Of course, circular needles size 19 (15mm) aren't the easiest thing to find. Most big box craft stores will carry plastic Lion Brand circulars, I have a pair but I almost always use my KA Bamboo circulars. Addi makes metal circulars in size 19. Quite a few other brands including Knitter's Pride and Susan Bates make larger circulars. Find a pair you like and it will make knitting SBY easier on you!

Figure out the stitch marker situation. I know not everyone likes or uses stitch markers, but I always include them in my patterns because it gives any easy reference point for me to refer the knitter to. I use these stitch markers that I picked up one of my local craft stores. They are nothing fancy, but they do the trick. The main thing to watch out for is super bulky yarn overs jumping to the wrong side of the marker or the yarn getting caught under the markers. If you find it easier, you can just use loops of waste yarn.

madelinetosh A.S.A.P. in Moonstone shown with Clover jumbo stitch markers.

Gigantic plastic yarn needles! Big ol' ends need to get woven in somehow. I suppose wood or metal work too, but I have only ever seen the super huge plastic ones locally...again at the neighborhood craft store.

Malabrigo Rasta in Arco Iris shown with Susan Bates plastic yarn needle.

Finally, take your time and take breaks. Knitting with SBY is already super fast, so there is no need to try to set a new knitting world record! Big needles, big yarn and big stitch markers are clumsy and awkward...best to take it slow so you don't have to rip out any work and breaks will help keep your hands (and wrists and arms) happy.

I give you these tips to prepare you for the release of my next SBY pattern, Dictynna, which will be available next week. Dictynna joins my other two SBY patterns: Ovate and Cordate. To date Ovate is my best selling pattern, so maybe not as many people hate SBY as the forums would have you believe...or maybe they just tolerate it for an FO in no time? What do you think of super bulky yarns?