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fresh and airy pullovers with an easy fit are summer essentials, especially for travelers. the aspergillum tunic (or crop top), is a great example—pull it on as a beach coverup or pair it with strappy sandals and a cami for evening cocktails—this piece has multiple lives.

knit here in deliciously cool hempshaugh lace (color buckwheat), it is light and slightly drapey. plus, it packs and unpacks without a wrinkle and dries within hours of washing.

worn loose with lots of ease or just a little, the fabric is stretchy and comfortable to fit a range of sizes from XS to 5X.

the unusual cable-and-lace stitch pattern is a real attention-getter, inspired by the texture of natural sea sponges.  deeply ribbed hems and neck finishes complete the look with a rill of shifting rib that ripples in the breeze.

the garment is knit in two simple, rectangular pieces with a bit of neck shaping; a drop shoulder forms the “sleeves” which are completed with cuffs knit on to the armhole openings in ribbing to match the hem and neck finishes.

shown here is the tunic in size S/M (40 inches)—on ying fen (above) it is worn with eight inches of ease; on raina (below) it is worn with three or four inches of ease.

this top would be equally delicious (and a little bit more glam) in bare naked wools deco lace or chebris lace; i think the mohair option would be super sexy for fall and winter.

want to know more about aspergillum or ready to cast on NOW?

click here to purchase the pattern in our online shop and click here to to purchase the pattern on ravelry.

and don’t forget to add your project to your ravelry notebook and share your progress in our bare naked wools ravelry group—bring yourself and your knitting for a fun, relaxing group chat.

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as spring finally commences with sprouting, blooming, and unfurling a fresh array of colors and fascinating forms, i’ve been busy putting together ideas for my lace³ pattern subscription.

there couldn’t be a more exciting or inspiring time of year to be thinking about new lace projects—if you’ve been following my work for even a short time, you know that translating natural forms into stitches is an important aspect of my designer voice. at this time of year, i am literally surrounded by ideas for motifs and line work with which to fill our rectangular shapes.

now to think about the yarns we might use to bring those ideas to life! one aspect of this project that’s very important to me is flexibility. because it can be resized with ease, the rectangular form is universally friendly to a wide range of yarn types and weights—the same design can be worked in finer or heavier yarns to achieve different effects.

fine yarns produce sheer fabrics suffused with light, showing off delicate line work and semi-transparent shapes; heavier yarns amp up the scale, making for bold, deeply embossed lines and voluptuous forms, along with a gutsier overall fabric. some knitters have a love for one or the other and some of us like to mix it up so that we always have a project going that suits our knitting mood.

as my series of “little nothings” scarf patterns has proven over the years, knitters love this flexibility—these simple rectangular designs have been translated into all manner of larger and smaller projects, from scarves to stoles to baby blankets—and in all types of yarns. and so i hope it will be with the lace³ subscription projects, that knitters will use my basic designs as written, or fiddle with them if they please, to create end results that are just right.

i know that some of you have been dreaming on what you will purchase with your discount coupon—thank you for all of the fun comments you’ve been adding to the discussion in our lace³ ravelry thread!

as promised, i’ve prepared a list to share of the yarns i will most likely work with. for this list, i’ve taken choices from our bare naked wools yarn shop, to offer suggestions for those who’d like to use the $10 coupon included with early signups (click here and purchase now if you’d like to get one too!). i may in the future toss my stash to come up with hand-dyed suggestions and i may even knit a few samples with treasures retrieved through stash diving.

full disclosure though—being that this is a design project that extends a year into the future, it’s possible i may change my mind about knitting with one or two of these yarns myself. if that happens, my intention is that someone in our sample circle will knit with the the yarn from the original list, so that we have an example to show off. note that the list contains more than a half dozen yarns for just six design installments—i like to keep my options open and i feel that any combination of these yarns will work. we’d like to show you several sample options for each installment and i hope to knit more than one for at least some of the installments, while other knitters may help with the rest.

the good news is that even if my choices change or vary, these designs will work with many different yarns; they are excellent stashbuster projects! if a yarn you love is not on the list or drops from my list in the future, you can rest assured that it will still be lovely in almost any of the designs and you will enjoy that project even more for personalizing it with an alternate yarn choice.

the colors shown here are not necessarily the ones i will knit with; i chose photos from our archives that best represent each yarn type.

you may decide that a range of soft silver and blue-gray is right up your alley . . .

or that a soft warm palette suits you and your wardrobe better.

maybe a series of darks are your thing or you like to work with toothy, textured  yarns as opposed to kitteny soft ones.

i find enjoyment and inspiration in a mix of everything; i like to follow one yarn with another that is a different shade and has completely different qualities. i do not make rules for myself about colors or fibers i supposed should and should not wear. and anyway, i like to give away a lot of the accessories i knit, so i allow myself the freedom of exploration. one-skein scarf projects are a great way to try out a yarn that is new to me, especially if i’m considering it for a garment design.

several people have asked about yardages and here i’m going to be a bit vague because it really depends on so many factors—we find that knitterly variations (such as personal gauge and knitting style) can alter yardage by a surprising amount, as can substituting yarn or working at a different gauge than stated. and i want everyone to feel they can take advantage of the flexibility offered here!

while each design will have a stated gauge and yardage for the sample shown, your mileage may vary for a variety of reasons. to prevent knitters from getting bogged down on this point, for the most part these will be the type of projects where you can simply knit til your yarn (or your patience) runs out. you may achieve more or less repeats than i do, but if you start with a skein of equal weight to what i’m using, you should end up with a similar size. scarves and cowls can be knit with single, 4-ounce skeins of fingering or lace yarn, while stoles or blankets will take two or more. if you choose to size up, DK yarns require about fifty percent more yardage. at this point, i really can’t commit to more yardage information than that. to arm yourself with helpful knowledge, i recommend reading through some project notes for my established scarf designs to see how far a single skein of any yarn will go. my lace lessons book also includes helpful information about yarn substitutions and fiber in general.

there is one last last thing—i will almost certainly not be using these yarns in the order they appear below; i’ve got to keep some surprises in my pocket!

are you ready? then here we go!

1. deco lace

deco lace is a tencel/cotton/merino blend with gorgeous sheen that is perfect for summer knitting, as it remains dry to the touch through all weather. never warm or prickly against the neck, its firm twist offers excellent stitch definition and a pearly accent for wool and denim alike, but also drapes into silky, sexy folds. generous yardage allows for a large scarf or stole project.

2. ginny sport (or DK)

ginny is an alpaca/cotton/merino/nylon blend that feels like cashmere. a next-to-the-skin soft yarn with an even softer, fuzzy halo, it makes a remarkably desirable scarf or cowl fabric that drapes into generous, round folds. if you’ve sworn off cotton yarns, this one will make you think again! in the lighter sport weight, it knits up most similarly to our better breakfast fingering yarn; in DK weight it is lush and plump for a warm scarf without the wooliness.

3. better breakfast fingering


better breakfast fingering is an alpaca/merino/nylon blend with all-around appeal. soft, yes—but also sturdy. dehaired alpaca is the magic ingredient, adding ultimate softness without a prickle, for those who may have found other alpaca yarns unwearable. available in eleven natural shades, this signature yarn is a perennial favorite for all types of knits, but is especially lovely for openwork projects with plump stitches—the kind you want for working cable and lace patterns. a smooth profile for easy handling, it blooms with a wonderfully fuzzy halo with a nice bath and some handling.

4. ghillie sock

ghillie sock is spun from 100 percent cheviot wool; if you haven’t heard of it, you can read more about it in this blog post or visit some project pages. this heritage wool fiber has many characteristics that add to its durability, hence its place as the traditional choice for kilt hose, sturdy scottish tweeds, and upholstery. but rarely—and quite unfairly—is a tribute sung to its more delicate characteristics. the lustre and unusual structure of the fiber (helical) makes for a bouncy, airy yarn that simply glows with light when introduced into yarnover patterns. its slightly stiffer hand translates into highly embossed linework and a beautiful blocked finish that keeps its shape for ages. our skeins hold a generous put-up of 600 yards—plenty for a large, lacy piece or one with lots of cables or twist stitches.

5. cabécou lace

cabécou lace, our finest lace offering is the ultimate choice for romantic, heirloom lace pieces. you might think that this kid mohair/silk/coopworth lamb blend, with a whopping 1000 yards per 4-ounce skein will require knitting on toothpicks—but no! in fact, i highly recommend a much larger needle to achieve a gossamer fabric that catches the light on each and every blooming filament. here too, a slightly stiffer fiber blend yields distinct stitch definition and a lasting blocked shape. not to mention a fabric that is virtually weightless and devastatingly sheer.

6. hempshaugh lace

hempshaugh lace, a merino/silk/hemp blend, offers a more rustic, quirky texture than many of our other yarns and is a personal favorite for lots of reasons. it is my summer yarn of choice for tops that i practically live in and for certain kinds of shawls and scarves. its fluid, drape is wonderfully forgiving in garments, but could prove challenging for rectangles that keep their shape. i’m choosing this yarn as a wild card with a special project in mind, with a plan to counter its naturally too-soft tendencies with a clever construction strategy. hoping some of you will play along with me, but if the prospect sounds daunting, be assured that alternate yarns will prove equally compelling.

7. fresh lace

fresh lace is a combination of silk and linen—if you’ve heard that linen is too hard on the hands, then this yarn will rescue its reputation. unimaginably soft to knit with, the fiber also..

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“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
– Dwight D Eisenhower (former president of the United States)

hello doggie fans, i’m back!
anne was telling me that some of you have been asking and asking how i’ve been doing and that you miss my posts and since she was gone to a teaching gig the last couple of days, i decided it was probably time for me to dust off my paws and type up a blog.

first—thank you so much for thinking of me these last few weeks; i have been doing really well. this is a picture from the morning that i got my fixator out; i didn’t know it was THE DAY, but anne was up extra early, telling me we were going on an adventure.

now, i don’t know about you, but i’ve come to be a bit suspicious when she starts throwing around that word—it could mean something fun, but it could also mean something i’m not quite prepared to do. i mention this because i see her using it to describe some of her “work”, so i think you know what i’m talking about.

anyway, i also found out that the “adventure” would involve a ride in the car—i love the car! so far, so good. it was very cold that day, so we bundled me into my puffy vest and cowl and brought my favorite blankie along.

next thing i knew, we were back at the hospital where i spent a few days in november.
RUH-ROH—i told you there was reason to be suspicious!

that said, the waiting room was simply filled with interesting creatures! and SO many of them were doggies; i couldn’t get enough. we walked the whole place several times to introduce myself around, even to the ones i could barely see, hidden inside their carry boxes (i love other doggies; more on that later).

pretty soon a really nice vet tech came out to see us and chat a little. she took all of us into an exam room and then she took me by myself into the back room and there was dr. collins (he’s a REALLY nice man who calls me “cutey-patooty”—a little geeky, but i might have a bit of a crush, hee-hee).

i don’t know what happened next because they put me to sleep, but while i was going under, i heard them talking about an x-ray.

anne and david waited for me long enough to start a sweater and knit the hem! to be honest, i’m not sure what happened to me for the next 45 minutes or so—i was knocked out cold, but i’m always happy to find out that somehow i helped with getting some knitting done.

the next thing i knew i was stumbling around, following dr. collins. anyway, he brought me back to exam room and everybody swooned over me. they were all very excited and i got nervous because i could only see double like; i tried to follow him back inside but i bumped into the door. then i heard anne’s voice and i went to her instead. she took some pictures and cuddled my face and that’s when i realized that the stupid fixator was gone—woo-hoo! my head felt two pounds lighter.

it must have happened while i was sleeping, because i don’t remember giving anyone permission to touch me. and also, my nails were cut and i definitely didn’t agree to that.

what happened for the next few hours was a bit of a blur; i couldn’t walk straight to save my life and my face felt funny and was puffing up like a football. i was leaking blood where the pin tracks were opened up again and i remember everyone laughing because i pooped and peed in the waiting room three times while we were leaving (SO embarrassing; i never do that at home).

and the next thing i knew, we were home and i was in my bed. and also on the sofa. anne stayed very close by the whole time, watching me; i guess i was acting pretty dopey.

man, i was so high. i did NOT feel normal. but then everything about that day was not “normal” as i had come to know it. for instance, i was not at all hungry.

anne and david had to go out for a couple of hours in the evening so i slept and slept and when they got home i surprised them by being mostly back to my old self. i jumped out of my bed and did a dance and drumrolled my feet in front of my food bowl. they were so happy they fed me a nice big meal.

by the next morning i was well enough to go to work, even though my face was very swollen. dr. collins had explained that i still had a couple of fractures showing in the x-ray which needed to heal, but that they would mend without the fixator, as long as i continued on soft food and was careful about playing with friends and toys.

my face was very puffy and tender for quite a while actually; i was starting to feel sad that i’d never be back to 100 percent again. but little by little it healed. and in a couple of weeks i was ready for the paparazzi.

here’s my “before” photo . . .

you might not notice this, but the surgery actually corrected a little overbite that i had and now my lower jaw is set a bit further forward and my teeth line up the right way. this makes eating much easier and much less messy; no problem picking up tiny bits of food now. it’s a small change but i’m glad they took care of it while they had the chance.

and here’s my “after” photo

my favorite thing about having my mouth free again? we got right back to to regular toothbrushing at night!! a lot of people who know me might assume i’d hate toothbrushing, but i actually love it and i really missed it those last couple of months; i am not proud of having stinky dog breath . . .

i had to continue eating a soft diet for quite a while though after, i was able to eat it on my own. i didn’t mind—anne makes some pretty yummy combinations with all the new foods i now enjoy. she promised to continue those delicious soft snacks and also my soft food mix along with the crunchy food when the time came.

we never stopped our long walks, even when it snowed a lot. but they sure felt lots better without that freezing metal brace weighting down my head! and that week after the removal surgery, we had some spectacular weather for february.

that made me feel well in a jiffy and soon i wanted to begin visiting friends. we started with the gentlest and smallest ones . . .

here i am with my friend zippy, who is a cairn terrier. can you believe how warm and sunny it was that day? 73 degrees!

zippy’s mom, linda, is one of my favorite humans. she can pet me any time, because she knows not to go over my head and to start along my back. her real talent lies in ear scratches though—she’s got something special there.

plus, she is SO entertaining! her house is a treasure trove of doggie delights; all sorts of bones and toys that zippy knows how to play with. i’d be jealous but i honestly don’t get the toy thing; i just love watching zippy go crazy with that stuff. the games involving treats though, are definitely interesting—zippy tries to teach me how to use them, but i always end up retrieving the rewards she forgets about and being happy with that.

sigh, i wish it would get that warm again, but actually it’s snowing like december right now. it’s hard to get around on my short legs in the snow, but we always go out anyway.

there’s plenty to sniff and i don’t want to miss any of it.

having my nose and mouth completely available again is like heaven.

which reminds me—i have finally figured out that treats are highly desirable and that a great way to get some is to work on my new year’s resolutions, which are challenging.

as i mentioned, i just love other doggies and especially my neighbors, like booker here and emily, his human. that said, for some reason i had developed an over-excited reaction to seeing them. i am fine indoors, but once we leave the house, i become a wild, unrecognizable creature upon seeing a dog or person from blocks away. it was making the walks not so much fun for anne, with all the pulling and barking.

she would try to take me someplace nice and i would be unbearable! plus, i still wasn’t really down with being petted, even by friends i see all the time. so we started working a lot harder on that, which is where the treats come in.

now, when i see booker and emily from down the block, i still get excited, but anne tells me to look at her and holds a treat up and if i can walk all the way to them without going berserk, i can have it!

of course i ham happy to share.

this has led to meeting SO many more doggie friends. this is macy; she is actually even crazier than i am, but lots of fun. and we have coordinating jackets, which i find completely cool. she lives at the end of a road near a lake and doesn’t get to play with many other kids so our visits are much appreciated.

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back in november and december when the temperatures were well below freezing and it looked like the winter ahead might be rough, i decided i needed a warmer oversized sweater—something in a heavier weight. my fingering and sport weight sweaters get the most year-round wear and those knit in our lofty BNWs are especially cozy, but when the temps hit the teens and below, i reach for DK and worsted weight ones.

since i hadn’t yet knit myself something with our stone soup DK in the marble shade, i pulled six skeins and sat down to design a cardigan along the lines of my caïssa or my dock and cabin designs—longer, easy-fitting, and textured.

i swatched a few stitch patterns, picked one that i liked and, as we set off to spend thanksgiving with my mom, i cast on for one of the sleeves. i knit maybe three-quarters of that first piece during the trip but once we got back home, the project was laid aside as the work on the winter ensemble picked up and the deadline for another sweater design drew near. with not much knitting time to spare over the next few weeks, my cozy sweater languished a while, sadly.

it ended up well, though—the time away gave me a chance to choose and chart up a large cable pattern to place along the front edges. the sinuous background texture and the branched cable gave me the idea to call the design birches. and in the marble shade, it is the color of white birches, one of my favorite trees.

during christmas week, anxious for some time off to knit, i settled back in with this project and enjoyed some progress—working with lofty, soft stone soup DK on size 8US (4.5 mm) needles, i was able to gain inches in a single sitting, which was just what i needed.

i was liking the front panel an awful lot—the large cable segued to simple, lush ribbing at about chest height and once i got to the shoulder, i began to muse about turning the lapel into a shawl collar.

i threw that out on instagram and wow—the response was immediate and unanimous. shawl collar it is. the shaping didn’t even require much experimentation; it practically knit itself, for which i was awfully glad. i know it looks weird, but when you bend it and stitch it down . . .

shawl collar origami!

in january ensemble once again cut into my knitting time considerably, but with just this one project on the needles, i was still able to make progress through a second front.

then, shortly after the last ensemble piece rolled out and the club patterns were done and dusted, i gave myself a couple of knitting days to catch my breath and by that sunday morning, i had a satisfying stack of completed pieces. i was truly going to stop there and write a long overdue blog, but the call of the steam iron was too strong and i caved (sorry blog, next time i will be stronger).

could not resist of shot of the strange and wonderfully shaped front piece.

it actually took a bit longer than i’m used to spending, but was so worth it—as the sun was setting, i folded up the last blocked piece. would i be able to resist seaming them that night??

no i would not (i am so weak).
actually we did go to a movie too, but i spent the rest of the evening grafting my collar and seaming. another advantage of a looser knit sweater on big needles—seaming is super easy.

now this cardigan could be shorter (i will probably offer two lengths), worn loose and overlapping, or belted, or you could add buttons. i like buttons, so what i did was to add three eyelet buttonholes for public buttons on the right side, secreted away in the rolled edge and one buttonhole on the opposite side to secure an inside button. my thinking was that the buttonholes don’t show, so even if i decide to wear it open or belted, they would be tucked away out of sight.

i finally got around to giving this one a good soaking bath the other day. the toggles i ordered had arrived and i wanted to put that final touch on.

i have a choice of these kind of flattish ones made from horn . . .

which have a bit of warm brown along with the charcoal

or these antler tip toggles (i even have a choice of colors with these)

these are more true gray with streaks of a lighter, yellowy color and they are round rather than flat.

what do you think? i’m leaning toward the flatter ones because i like the contrast, but either one is really good-looking.

i don’t have modeling shots yet; every time i think about doing them, i feel like i’m just not looking my best right then, haha.

i still have to finish writing up the pattern and then send it through tech editing; i’m thinking that once it’s all done, it will be truly spring and this sweater won’t be in such demand. so we’ll probably save it for a fall release, maybe during rhinebeck month. we’ll see . . . one thing is for sure, i am going to knit another one of these from our cabécou brillant sport—i have been drooling over this yarn since we first received it in the sel gris shade and now i’ve found its match. can’t you just picture that collar in our minky mohair cabécou  or chebris blend??

gosh i just ran on and on about that project, sorry . . . i think i’ll hold off on sharing more right now because there is at least that much to say about my current couple of projects.

i’ll leave you dreaming about deliciously juicy mega cables.

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