Pattern Spotlight:  Blackstar Cowl by Andi Smith

I have to admit to being a huge FanGirl of Anzula yarns, and when I was designing for the book, I’d planned on creating this cowl in Dreamy, but fate had plans.

I’d found this obscure star cable that intrigued me, and was somewhat obsessed with designing something very graphic with it. I grabbed my yarns, caked, and swatched like a crazy person! I think this motif broke my record for number of swatches to make it perfect!

I was so happy with it though; sometimes, the yarn, the color, and the pattern just gel to create the perfect trifecta. This was one of those times.

When you’re working with two colors, and a tricksy cable motif, having an uninterrupted field of purl bumps in the background can be hard to achieve. A stitch that was one color became a different color on the next round, and that differently colored purl bump became all- encompassing problem for me for longer than I care to admit!

After much playing around, and experimentation, and frogging, fixing that issue on the round before solved was the solution, and I was crazy happy with the results.

I sat down to write the pattern, and that is when disaster struck! In my mad rush to knit-all-the-things, I’d inadvertently picked up a skein of Cricket for the cables, not Dreamy! What’s worse, is that I didn’t have another skein of Dreamy in the One Red Shoe colorway!

 

I know the amazing ladies at Anzula would have sent one out to me right away, but I wanted to knit this cowl NOW! Waiting was NOT an option! Do you ever have a project like that? I know I do.

So, I broke my must use the same weight for the cables and background rules, and went with what I had.

I’m so glad I did! Using a DK for that red pop of deliciousness was such a great choice. I’m thrilled that my impatience paid off! I love how the star pops out majestically, how graphic and understated it is; how just a few cables makes such a big impact!

If you want to knit Blackstar, you’ll find it in my new Color Cables book, (©Cooperative Press 2018), which also includes full color tutorials for all the techniques featured in the book.

Stay up to date on all things Andi:

ravelry - https://www.ravelry.com/designers/andi-smith

Ainsley & Bridgitte from Wood House Knits

Every year I see a lot of advertisements for sophisticated holiday clothes, as though most December days are spent in sequins and heels. While there can be plenty of opportunities to dress up, there are plenty of moments for which something more casual is more appropriate. Jennifer Wood of Wood House Knits has designed a couple of sweaters that are both casual and elegantly special.

Ainsley was designed in Oasis, our camel and silk blend. It's a simple and polished tunic sweater worked from the top down, shown here in Kale. 

© Jennifer Wood

© Jennifer Wood

The slight shaping is worked on the back of the sweater, and can be omitted for a straighter fit. The seed stitch at the cuffs and hems adds interest. 

© Jennifer Wood

© Jennifer Wood

Brigitte is another cozy, easy-fitting sweater. You can choose a more neutral or subtle color for a more refined sweater, or grab something punchier for more fun!

© Jennifer Wood

© Jennifer Wood

This sweater was designed to be knit from the top down in Dreamy, a fingering-weight Superwash Merino, Cashmere, and Silk blend, shown here in Arizona. 

© Jennifer Wood

© Jennifer Wood

Either of these sweaters is perfect for so many cold-weather occasions, from early morning soccer games to decorating the Christmas tree!

Click here to visit Jennifer's Ravelry store, or click the photos above to take you directly to each pattern's page. To find Oasis and Dreamy, visit our website to find a local or online retailer. If the yarn you're looking for is not available at your LYS, you can place a special order through any store that carries Anzula. 

Continuing the Little Cable Knee Highs

So now you've knit the length of the foot and are ready to start the gusset of your sock. (Not there yet? See the first post explaining our Little Cable Knee High knitalong, get the pattern from the Purl Bee, and cast on!)

Kim's Slate sock is looking comfy already!

Kim's Slate sock is looking comfy already!

The gusset is made with simple yarnover increases. Don't forget to knit the yarnovers through the back loop as with the toe. You're increasing the number of stitches around your sock in preparation to start the heel.

Sylvia is just starting to turn the heel on her Chiva sock. 

Sylvia is just starting to turn the heel on her Chiva sock. 

Once you've finished the gusset you are ready to turn the heel. Turning the heel means creating the small half-circle of stitches that makes the bottom of the sock extend to cover the heel and meet the heel flap. You turn the heel by using short rows. The Purl Bee offers a great tutorial here that takes the mystery out of this shaping technique, or check out the video at New Stitch a Day, and just wrap and turn! If this is your first time using short rows, you'll be excited to learn that you need not be intimidated, and as you use them you'll find that mastering them opens up a world of new pattern options!

Turning the heel creates the little wedge of stitches that is just under the heel flap, seen here on Charlie's Petunia sock.

Turning the heel creates the little wedge of stitches that is just under the heel flap, seen here on Charlie's Petunia sock.

One of the things that may seem strange if you haven't done this before is that you aren't knitting all the way across Needle 2 and Needle 3. Some stitches are left unknit on each side. As you follow the pattern, those stitches will be picked up. Also, during the process of turning the heel and knitting the heel flap, you are working only on Needle 2 and Needle 3. The stitches on Needle 1 will just wait until you are finished with the heel.

Up next - the leg, the cable, and the cuff. Rebecca's already finished one of her Coco socks!

Up next - the leg, the cable, and the cuff. Rebecca's already finished one of her Coco socks!

No matter what stage you're in, come join the conversation on Ravelry - we've been talking about color choices, calf increases, needle sizes, and more. As you can see from the pictures, we are all in different places in the project so come join us!