Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

The Mardi Gras DK Blanket July 23, 2017

The Mardi Gras DK Blanket is only the second of Lucy’s double-knit blankets that we’ve featured as our 1/2price pattern of the week and it’s a real beauty!

Lucy Neatby's Mardi Gras DK Blanket

 

 

 

A spectacularly beautiful and warm double-layer blanket, this engaging knit will hold your interest. The linear nature of the motifs makes the pattern easy to follow, and any portion may be used on projects of all sizes, from coaster to blanket. Small ones are great fun, but a blanket is lovely to knit on; a dependable companion to work on whenever you need it.

Lucy’s Mardi Gras Blanket was knit using Malabrigo Yarn, but any fingering-weight yarn will suit this project. This pattern features detailed written descriptions, as well as diagrams and graphs, as well as PatternGenius and Stitch-map-style charts!

 

 

Here is Part 1 of the Circular Tubular CO method that Lucy uses to begin top-down double-knit hats and all of her DK blankets. It’s so elegant!  See Lucy’s  free YouTube Channel for parts 2 and 3!

 

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Some of you may remember this blanket from our last Pattern-In-Progress Club: it’s hard to believe the official pattern was released over a year ago!

 

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The Mardi Gras DK Blanket is on sale until July 26!

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By the Fireside November 5, 2014

The Fireside

 

After the launch of the Blossom Pattern-In-Progress Club last week, I finally felt free enough to take off to Tancook Island for a few days’ R&R. It’s been a full month since I was able to have my fix of island time. It’s no good going when there are projects undone or hanging over me, that sort of to-do list defeats the purpose.

The Blossom PIP Club has been in the works for a very long time. Its release was delayed by travel, a crazy summer of visitor fun and the launch of our new web site.  Now the time has finally come to choose some lovely yarn, pick up the knitting needles and join me!

On another note, I’m reveling in the prospect of no flying for 3 months. I do have a couple of local classes coming up at two wonderful LYSs: Have a Yarn in Mahone Bay and Gaspereau Valley Fibers in the Annapolis Valley.  It’s fun to have time to do these local classes,  they often seem to fall through the cracks with my travel schedule planned so far in advance. I had deliberately left November unscheduled this year, as my US visa has now expired and I’m awaiting news of the results of my renewal application. I might be retiring sooner than anticipated!

For the first time in what seems like years, I have a little time to think and play. I’m even dusting off an old hooking project and there’s a drop spindle in the drawer with some lovely fiber from Idaho… So much to do.A few Dresden Plates

 

Welcoming the Cooler Days October 22, 2014

We have things pretty good here in Nova Scotia: though our summers do start wet and late some years, the season certainly makes up for it in September and October. We are treated to glorious foliage, our gardens are bursting with the colours of late-summer flowers and ripening vegetables, and we enjoy  an abundance of warm and sunny days. This is the perfect weather for long bike rides along the coast, leisurely strolls on the beach, and invigorating inland hikes. This September was gorgeous, and I was thrilled to introduce another crop of Adventure Knitters to my home-away-from-home on Tancook Island. We had a glorious week, spending much of it outdoors.

Paradoxical Mittens

Paradoxical Mittens

But now the colder months are fast approaching. We are starting to put our gardens to bed, and hunting through the closets for our warmer clothes.
While I like to create and design throughout the year, some knitters feel less compelled when the weather is warm. But with one or two cold snaps under our belts, the needles are coming out and we’re all getting back to work!
For many of us, it’s socks and slippers, blankets and cozy sweaters, and, of course, mittens and hats. This time last year I was knitting the Zinnia Blanket, and  I enjoyed the warmth of a sizeable WIP on my lap. Now I’m working on my Blossom design and, while I’ve focused mostly on smaller sample sizes, I am keen to let this winter flower grow!

DK Hats Bundle

DK Hats Bundle

To start off the season, we’ve created a new Bundle to help get some of those needles clicking and entice you to knit a few double knit accessories in the round: the DK Hats Bundle is on for a special introductory price for the rest of the month. It includes four of my double-knit hat patterns and my DK Hats Tutorial. A worsted weight DK hat is an easily achievable gift size project to practice on.

Who knows? With a few smaller dk projects under your belt, you might want to try working on a really large one this winter. You may even wish to join my upcoming Blossom PIP Club!

Happy stitches to you, wherever you are.

 

Evolution overtakes Blossom: a Change of Species! August 26, 2014

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Blossom with petals Side A

 

Blossom with petals Side B

Blossom with petals Side B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been happily knitting away for about six weeks on a blanket version of Blossom. I had been loving it, but of late I have noticed a gathering lack of satisfaction (the fact that I don’t find I’m grabbing it at
every spare moment is a dead giveaway, I think).

I took a good long look at it today, to see if I could figure out what put me off knitting on it. An answer was not long in coming: I made a
poor choice of the type of colour change. I simply do not look forward to knitting this way for several more months till I have a blanket!

Let me explain…

In Blossom, I opted for quilted colour changes throughout, probably influenced by the fact that I wished I had used them on my Zinnia
blanket. The threaded colour change involves pulling the far layer stitch through the front layer stitch before working the stitches in
their matching colours. This locks the layers together, creates an indentation and makes a colour change.

However, they are slightly less pleasing when used in close proximity to one another, such as at the top of a petal, and–perhaps more
importantly–they are rather tricky to read as to on which row they were made. In a design like this with such frequent pattern shifts this was leading to frequent grumbly fixes and reworking of stitches to fix errors (Grrr… not another one!). A regular colour change, where the pair of stitches are each simply worked in the opposing colours, is easier to count and easier to fix, if necessary.

This piece is no longer destined to be a blanket and I feel much relieved for having made the decision. I’m not about to waste the
knitting thus far, however. I am going to repurpose it as a table-cover and try something experimental with each of the eight sections in turn.
My plan is to work each of them as a flat piece tapering away as the next petal is completed and try something altogether new!

Now that I’ve completed the petals, I’m delighted by the effect! The unexpected issues forced me to try something new and another exciting finishing option has been created. Below are a few more of my Blossom experiments.

Phew!! It’s time to cast on another blanket now!

IMG_7246 IMG_7247 IMG_7253 Blossom Chair Pads 1

 

It isn’t really double knitting? July 7, 2014

The Bubbles DK Scarf

The Bubbles DK Scarf

“It isn’t really double knitting! – I can’t separate the layers!”

This is one of the most common comments I hear from muggle* knitters as they try to separate the layers of two-colour patterned fabric. *A muggle knitter is one is as yet not fully aware of the mysteries and marvels that the parallel universe of DK offers!

You can work DK with entirely separate layers, however, this can only be achieved in single colour DK when making tubes or an open-at-one-edge fabric.
To achieve unconnected layers if using two colours, each one must be used only on one side. The edges can be open or connected.
Whenever you have two-colour DK with a pattern you will join the fabrics at the sides of each colour block. However the middle of each colour block area will be separate – this is what allows the bubbles in my Bubbles Scarf to be stuffed.

I often use the connection of the layers to secure the fabrics together. In my Cape Spear Blanket the area between the big motifs would be entirely unconnected and probably baggy if I didn’t add the bands of chequered turquoise/lime across the width of the design.

Cape Spear DK Blanket (Side B)

Cape Spear DK Blanket (Side B)

Cape Spear DK Blanket (Side A)

Cape Spear DK Blanket (Side A)

 

For more about double layer knitting try my Double Knitting Delight DVD or my Craftsy class Foundations of Double Knitting.

For further arcana for the initiated, there is my DK Club which offers an ever expanding selection of clips relating to DK

 

To further illustrate this, look at the red/grey DK swatch on the left.Striped DK fabric, needle removed. photo 3

The same swatch is shown opened up on the right, the vertical pockets are unconnected except at the sides. To create horizontal closures a threaded /quilted colour change is needed. (More another day….)

 

Spring, the DK Club and a Sale! June 16, 2014

Spring on Tancook Island: my home away from home!

Spring on Tancook Island: my home away from home!

 

I hope you’ve been enjoying the spring as much as I have this year! My last teaching trip, which took me to Ontario and Saskatchewan,  was a  huge success: I knitted with old friends and new and, happily, had some time to visit with my younger daughter in Toronto.  Upon my return to Nova Scotia, Holly and I headed out to the Island, armed with buckets of paint.  My little Tancook home is certainly becoming a bright oasis!

 

A bright welcome: my back door is almost colourful enough for me now!

A bright welcome: my back door is almost colourful enough for me now!

 

 

In other news, I have uploaded another video to my Double Knitting Technique Club:

In Video #22: Perfect Graft of a Single DK Tube in the Round, I demonstrate a way to invisibly join two ends of a tube using my Perfect Grafting Technique and brightly contrasting waste yarn.

This is a larger version of grafting I-Cords into hoops!

 

Video #22 of my DK Technique Club.  It's never too late to join this ever-growing Club, and you will have access to all of the Videos filmed and yet-to-be-filmed!

Video #22 of my DK Technique Club. It’s never too late to join my ever-growing Club, and you will have access to all of the Videos filmed and yet-to-be-filmed!

 

 

As with all of the DK Club Videos, I have included an accompanying set of Notes.  It includes links to two of my free Youtube Clips, which demonstrate Perfect and Imperfect Grafting in even more detail.  Remember, too, that it’s never too late to join the DK Technique Club!

 

We have announced our online Canada/Independence Day Sale, which will run from June 29 to July 6, 2014!

This week-long event will feature our downloadable products: you will find discounts on selected Patterns, e-Books, Tutorials and more!  We may even add a few special Sale Bundles to our new Bundles Section at LucyNeatby.com!  Please do check in, you’re sure to find some fantastic deals.

We are also planning a second sale for later in the summer: this one will include shippable products such as yarns, paper patterns and some kits.  We will keep you posted with those dates once they are finalized.

The Little Joey Bag is a clever and quick DK design

The Little Joey Bag is a clever and quick DK design

For today, I wish you Many Happy DK Stitches!

Lucy

 

Changing the World One Knitter at a Time! (Guest blog) April 16, 2014

Every now and again, I receive a letter about, or am otherwise made aware of, a knitter’s journey which resonates with me.  Today I’d like to introduce you to Liz, who is currently working on an ENORMOUS project inspired by one of my patterns.  She has been keeping us updated through the DK Techniques Club on Ravelry, where we keenly await her progress pictures and cheer her on her way.  This has been a thoroughly enjoyable conversation:  I love watching how other knitters approach such a project (she has gotten a multitude of helpful advice from the start), from casting on to advising on broken cables to the invaluable virtual hand-holding essential to the pains of ripping back several weeks’ worth of work.

Here, then, is Liz’s story in her own words:

 

the-knitting-lesson.jpg!xlMedium

 

Over 30 years ago, when I was a child, my mother taught me to knit. I really wanted to, but was terrible at it. I was persistent, but terrible. For the most part, she would try get me to make a jumper or cardigan, and by the time I was less than half way up the back, still on the first piece, I’d be starting to grow out of it. I was painfully slow.So I  gave up, but held on to how much frustration I had experienced trying to knit and thought I hated it. I learnt to do a few other crafty things, including making my school uniform one year. I learnt to do lace making, tatting, and even made some large hand-sewn patchwork quilts. All this, but nothing grabbed me.

Around 7 years ago, I was in a phase of serious online gaming: 20 hours a day if I could manage it, 7 days a week. But one Saturday, I woke up thinking how my tombstone would read “Liz led a Virtual Life” or such. I got onto eBay and decided that, as I hated knitting, I would try crochet..

Well, crochet grabbed me by both hands and I began making many blankets and other things. I designed my own patterns pretty much from the start, as I am a geek! I just viewed stitches as pixels in a picture. However, crochet, while really adaptive, has one limitation: it doesn’t stretch. So, it doesn’t have the same fit when it comes to clothes, and socks. And although I do like making crochet blankets, there are only so many you and your friends, acquaintances, family, friends of friends you’ve never met or spoken to can need… I had pretty much run out of recipients and the ‘done’ pile was stocking up.

 

pileofblankets

 

In May 2013 I seriously injured my knee at karate. The resulting pain gave me chronic insomnia. So, what do you do all night and all day when you can’t go to work? The obvious answer is craft! But my brain needed something new. A friend on Google+ showed me a couple of pictures of double knitting.  I had never heard of it but wanted to give it a try. From this explanation, all I ended up with was a yarn barf. Then I discovered a double-knitting class at craftsy.com .

I bought Lucy Neatby’s Foundations of Double Knitting Class, and watched it in the wee hours of the morning in bed. It was like that moment in the Wizard of Oz when the world changes from black and white to full colour!

 

wizard-of-oz

It was like that moment in the Wizard of Oz when the world changes from black and white to full colour!

 

 

My main issue when I first tried to double knit was that it was knitting and, well, I didn’t like knitting, did I…

But this looked good and it had to be tried. The next problems were, of course, how to work with 2 yarns, then keeping tension and reading what was on the needle not what was visible in the work, and remembering that everything is a pair!

My first success, if you can call it that, was done in black and white (the most contrasting colours I could find) in thick, chunky wool. I made a motif I found in one of my books. I made mistakes, but realised, like with my first ever crochet piece, that I really liked this. I followed Lucy’s suggestion of one yarn on each hand, and learned to knit continental. Well, wasn’t that a revelation: pick knitting, where had you been all my life?

 

my Moonstone Scarf

my Moonstone Scarf

The first official Double-Knit item I made was Lucy’s Moonstone Scarf, a lovely simple repeating pattern which I could memorise and then concentrate on what I was doing. It became easier to think in pairs, and I got faster; it looked good, really good.

 

Casting on for a much BIGGER version!

Casting on for a much BIGGER version!

It looked so good, in fact, that I then wanted to make a bedspread based on it. I can hear you now, “Oh that would be nice..” – Yes, yes it would…  but mine is a kingsize bed!  361 pairs of stitches, progress is slow, but I have ideas coming out of every pore… I just can’t knit quickly enough! I have never been this inspired by anyone or anything, and I only have Lucy to thank, or blame, depending on your viewpoint.

The first rows: the design becomes clear...

The first rows: the design becomes clear…

 

Some time later: the blanket is growing...

Some time later: the blanket is growing…

Over Christmas, to get some finished project to cheer me up, I made a pair of socks. I am wearing them today: they are perfect. A year ago I would never have thought to make socks; it was crochet for the win! Of course they are just standard toe up socks in normal stockinette stitch. I have started a second pair, I have a bookmark in double knitting as a wip too… and a cabled jumper I started… I am a dog with two tails, I can’t wag enough.

Lucy has so many amazing patterns! She has truly changed my life. I have taken the journey from avid knitting-hater to double-knitting obsessed loon. I’ve got many designs and ideas in my head, each one cascading and triggering yet more ideas. From little bookmarks to thinking of a kingsize bedspread made in cobweb weight wool… Double-knit, of course.

I look forward to going home and knitting, I dream of knitting, and daydream of knitting.

Happiness was just the cost of a Craftsy class or a Lucy DVD away. Who knew! Of course, I now have all her DVDs, as Lucy could inspire me to try anything!

-Liz K.

 

 

 

 
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