Categories
Monthly Round UP

May 2021 Round-up (and a life update!)

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I posted on the blog. I didn’t have much of an April 2021 round up as I only worked on one project for all of April…if you can believe it! So there wasn’t much to talk about.

But May was a little different and I have a bunch of FOs and WIPs to share with you.

Another reason I skipped April, is because it was a pretty busy month for us because we were house hunting! So we spent our weekends in April attending viewings out of town as the city we’re moving to is about an hour away.

We found the perfect little townhome and we’re moving at the end of July 🙂 We have quite a bit of packing to do of course, and that includes packing up (and de-stashing) some of my yarn. I might write a post about my process of organizing and packing my stash, would you be interested? Let me know in the comments!

Please note some of the links in this blog are to Ravelry, links that direct to Ravelry are noted with “Rav link”.

Finished Objects

Mom’s birthday sweater

Pattern: Pure Comfort Cardigan a FREE pattern from Biscotte Yarns

Yarn: Berroco Vintage DK in Oats

Before getting into the details, I have to say the fact this pattern is free is amazing! I didn’t use Biscotte Pure DK for this project, but I have some of their sock yarn and it’s beautiful so I’m sure the Pure DK is the same.

As the title implies I made this sweater for my mom for her birthday, I knit a lot for mom she’s very knit-worthy! In fact I’ve written a whole post with the projects I’ve knit for her 🙂

This sweater was a little late for mom’s birthday…her birthday is April 20th and she still doesn’t have it yet – but it is finished! This was an enjoyable knit, but oh man did I underestimate how long that applied fisherman’s rib collar would take.

One (heel-less) sock

Pattern: Plain old vanilla with an afterthought heel (check out my afterthought heel post)

Yarn: Pattons Kroy sock yarn

I guess this is technically a WIP as it’s not even a full pair being heel-less and all. But I need to round out the FO section a little LOL!

I’ve got a nice green mini set aside to do the heels and I’m making them shorties. The last pair of shorties I made came out a bit longer than I had wanted, so I’m making this pair even shorter. 80 rounds instead of the 94 rounds I did on my last pair.

You can see that pair of socks here (Rav link).

Works in Progress

Cross stitch

I haven’t been cross stitching lately, but my cross stitch mojo came back this month and I’ve been working away on my Vintage Expresso Machine designed by Happy Sloth Patterns.

There’s also matching vintage coffee grinder and stand mixer patterns, I may need to complete the set!

I have my next two cross stitch patterns lined up and my “to stitch” list is growing recently as my cross stitch motivation has returned so I definitely want to finish this project up soon. I’m aiming to be done by the weekend I just have a little bit more to go.

Here’s a sneak peek of the floss for my next project, any guesses what it is?

Cozy memories blanket

Pattern: The Coziest Memory by Kemper Wray (Rav link)

I don’t write about my cozy memories blanket in every round-up post because this is a long-term WIP. I’ve been working on it since August 2019 and I’m not half-way through yet so I anticipate it’s going to take me until 2023 to finish.

But I reached a pretty big milestone this month: square #100!! 140 squares will be halfway and I expect to make it to that point this year.

Scrappy triangle hexagon blanket

Pattern: Bernat Knit Triangles Hexagon Blanket from Yarnspirations (free pattern alert!)

I’ve been watching Bernadette McLaughlin’s podcast (you should check her out!) and she’s been working on a couple of blankets, well that got me in the mood to knit a blanket.

Of course I don’t want to buy any new yarn until after we move, but I also had the challenge of what to do with all the super bulky bits I have in my stash. I didn’t really want to take them with us, but I also didn’t want them to go to waste.

I was sifting through pattern options when I came across this free pattern from Yarnspirations and it gave me the idea to make it a scrappy blanket with my super bulky left overs and some worsted and bulky weight yarns held together.

The plan is a blanket so hideous it’s cute!

Ripple crop top

Pattern: Ripple Crop Top by Jessie Maed (Rav link)

Yarn: Dragon Hoard Yarn, Velaris; Bar à Tricot, Blue Horizon; Plank & Stella, The Belcher Family

This is a dream project for me and I’m so happy to have finally cast it on! I started with the Plank & Stella yarn and was on the lookout to find two other yarns to make a nice fade.

I just have the back panel and the sleeves to go and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out. I don’t love the fit of my first Ripple Crop Top (Rav link) because I knit it in a different needle size and knit quite a few sizes up.

I didn’t get gauge for this one either, but it seems to be turning out much better!

I’ve started posting a monthly round-up video on TikTok so if you’re on top of the TikTok trend head over there and follow me to see those videos and more! I am definitely not a TikTok superstar, but I have a lot of fun making videos.

Reads of Steele

Here are the books I’ve been reading/read in May! Links are to Good Reads.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide – I didn’t finish this one and it had to go back to the library so you’ll probably see it on the Reads of Steele list again!

A Court of Silver Flames – if you’ve seen the recent rise in popularity of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series in the knitting community, you can blame Kate of Red Door Fibre Studio who started reading it and inspired a trend! This is the fifth book in the series and now I’ll have to wait until the next one.

Knitflix

Here’s a quick list of the shows I’m watching right now (or did watch in May). All of them are re-watches as I haven’t been in the mood to start anything new. Although the last time I watched Sailor Moon I was a child so it feels familiar and new at the same time!

Deathnote

Fairy Tail

Angel

Schitt’s Creek

Sailor Moon

Thanks for checking in on my knitting adventures 🙂 Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my daily updates!

Categories
Tips

How to Knit Stranded Colourwork

Have you wanted to try knitting colourwork, but think it’s too hard or you don’t have the right skills? Then this post is for you! Here are my tips for beginner knitters to get started with knitting colourwork patterns and let me assure you – you absolutely can do it!

There are so many beautiful colourwork knitting patterns out there, everything from sweaters to hats to socks! Starting a colourwork knitting pattern for the first time can be intimidating. But I assure you, knitting stranded colourwork is not as hard as it looks and if you can knit the basic knitting stitches you can knit stranded colourwork. 

These tips will help beginner level knitters mast the basics of stranded colourwork. 

Tips for Stranded Colourwork: Gauge and Swatching

What is gauge?

If you’re not familiar with the term gauge and what it means, here’s a quick rundown. 

Gauge is how many stitches and rows of knitting fit within certain measurements, usually measured over 4”.  The pattern for your colourwork project should include the gauge and the stitch pattern to measure your gauge over.

Gauge can change depending on many factors, some yarn doesn’t puff up, or bloom, as much as others, certain fibers can knit up tighter or looser. And naturally knitters can have a tighter or a looser gauge as well.

If your gauge is tighter than the designer’s gauge, that means that your stitches are smaller, so it takes you more stitches to knit 4”. If you try to knit the colourwork project at that gauge with the designers instructions, it will come out way too small!! 

The opposite is true if your gauge is too big, your project will come out too big as well as it takes you less stitches than the designer to knit 4”. 

Measuring gauge when knitting stranded colourwork

To measure your gauge you will need to knit a swatch using the yarn you are going to use. 

A swatch is a square of fabric knit in the stitch you need to measure your gauge. Most colorwork knitting patterns will tell you to swatch using the colourwork part of the pattern, the pattern may also include the gauge for other stitches that are used in the design.  

For your swatch, you should cast on more stitches than you need for 4” and knit more rows than needed so your square is larger than 4” by 4” as you’ll want to measure in the middle, not near the edges where your stitches can be tighter or looser. 

Make sure you block your swatch so you have an accurate measurement of gauge. 

Once your swatch is blocked and dry it’s time to measure your gauge. I always start with rows personally! 

Lay your measuring tape down at the top of a stitch and count the number of stitches that fit in 4”. That’s how many rows you knit to reach 4” in length. 

Then lay your measure tape across your swatch starting from the left side of a stitch and count the number of stitches across to 4”. That’s how many stitches it takes to reach 4” across.

How stranded colourwork can affect gauge

Just like regular knitting, your colourwork can be tighter or looser, and because you are knitting a different technique you may find your colourwork is tighter or looser than your regular knitting. It’s really common for knitters to knit more tightly when knitting colourwork. 

If you are new to knitting stranded colourwork you should swatch over the colourwork portion of the knitting pattern, even if the pattern hasn’t said to, as you’re not used to what your gauge is over stranded colourwork.

What to do if your gauge is too small

If you are getting more stitches or rows in 4” than the pattern states than your stitches are tighter. To remedy this go up a needle size (or two if you’re really small) and swatch again to get looser, bigger stitches. 

What to do if your gauge is too big

If you are getting less stitches or rows in 4” than the patterns states than your stitches are looser. To remedy this go down a needle size (or two if you’re really loose) and swatch again to get tighter, smaller stitches. 

Tips for Stranded Colourwork Knitting: Reading Colourwork Knitting Patterns

Colourwork knitting patterns can have written or charted instructions. Most colourwork knitting patterns will be charted and may or may not have written instructions. 

Here’s an example with a quick colourwork pattern I’ve just made up on the spot. We will be discussing colourwork knit in the round from now on, as stranded colourwork is most commonly knit in the round. 

Written instructions will give the pattern instructions for the colourwork pattern like this (normally the written instructions would use abbreviation, but I have written them in full so it’s easy to understand):

Round 1: * Knit 7 stitches with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round

Round 2: * knit 1 stitch with colour A, knit 5 stitches with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round

Round 3 & 4: * knit 1 stitch with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, knit 3 stitches with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, knit 1 stitch with colour B, knit 1 stitch with colour A, repeat from * to beginning of round

Round 5: * knit 1 stitch with colour A, knit 5 stitches with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round

Round 6: * Knit 7 stitches with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round

The chart for these same instructions looks like this:

As you can probably tell it’s a lot quicker to read – and to create – the chart. it also makes it easier to avoid mistakes! This is why most stranded colourwork knitting patterns provide charted instructions only. 

How to read a colourwork knitting pattern chart?

The first thing you should note when looking at the colourwork chart is the legend which will tell you which colour is which. The pattern will note how the different colours are labeled, some common ones are:

MC for Main colour and CC for contrast colour 

CA, CB, CC for Colour A, B, C etc.

C1, C2, C3 Colour 1, 2, 3 etc.

The example I’m going to show is just two colours, but stranded colourwork patterns can have 2 or more colours. 

In this legend the colours are marked Colour A and Colour B

You need to keep in mind which colours you are using for each, so you may be using black for Colour A and red for Colour B so where the chart is purple you will use black and where it is pink you will use red. 

The chart is read from the bottom right, it’s the opposite of how you’d read something normally, but it is also the direction in which you knit from right to left and starting at the bottom of a piece. 

The numbers along the bottom label the stitches and the numbers on the side are the rows/rounds. It is also common for charts to show more than one repeat, in this pattern a repeat is 8 stitches, but three repeats are shown to give a better idea of the pattern.

So you will start with round 1 but knitting 7 stitches in colour A, then 1 stitch in colour B and repeat that all the way around. 

Then you’ll move up to round 2 and knit 1 stitch in colour B, 5 stitches in colour A, 1 stitch in B, 1 stitch in A and repeat those 8 stitches all the way around. 

Then you’ll move up to round 3 and continue until you have knit the whole chart. 

Stranded Colourwork Knitting: What are floats? 

So now you know how to read the chart, but how do you actually knit with two colours? It’s a lot simpler than it seems. You will be creating strands, called floats, along the back of your knitting.

Floats are the strands of yarn that will be on the inside of your project. You create a float when you knit the next stitch in a different colour and bring that yarn strand across a section of stitches. 

Using stitches 2 to 6 in round 3 of our sample chart here’s an example: 

Stitch 2 is knit in colour B followed but three stitches in colour A. When we switch back to knit the 6th stitch in colour B a float is created behind the 3 stitches knit in colour A.

Catching floats

If you have to bring your yarn across a lot of stitches it is common to use a technique called catching, or trapping floats. This makes it so you can avoid having such a long loose float. This helps with the overall tension so a long float doesn’t pull too tight or be left too loose. 

You won’t need to catch your floats every time, only when you have a lot of stitches to cross. It’s recommended to catch floats when the float is going across 7 or more stitches, or longer than an inch. 

So in rounds 1 and 6 of our example, you’d probably want to catch your floats. You’ll catch your floats by trapping the non-working yarn behind your working yarn when you knit a stitch. 

Using round 6 as an example:

Knit 3 stitches with colour A (the working yarn). Then before working the fourth stitch, take the non-working yarn (colour B) and put it over the working yarn before knitting your next stitch. 

Now when you knit the next stitch with colour A the non-working yarn (colour B) is trapped by your working yarn, creating a shorter float. 

Managing the tension of your floats

When knitting stranded colourwork it’s important to manage the tension of your floats. If your floats are too tight then your knitting will be pulled in by the floats and pucker, it won’t lie flat. If your floats are too loose your stitches will be loose as well and won’t lie evenly in your knitting. 

To avoid tight floats stretch out your stitches along the right hand needle when you are creating your float so the float is going across the stitches at their full width and not bunched up. 

In the picture above I’m stretching out the three stitches in colour A so that when I knit the next stitch with colour B the float is not too tight. 

To avoid loose floats make sure the float is lying taunt, but not tight, against the back of your work and the stitches on either end are even and not loose. 

How to hold your yarn when knitting stranded colourwork

How you hold your yarn to knit colourwork will depend if you’re an english or continental style knitter. I knit english style and I will hold my yarn in one of two ways depending on how I’m feeling that day (LOL) and depending on how often I have to switch colours. 

One hand

If I don’t have to switch colours too often, I will just drop the working yarn and pick up the next colour with my right hand and keep going. So this means I just keep knitting normally in english style pausing every now and then to drop the working yarn and pick up the next colour. I only use my right hand to hold the working yarn. 

Two hands

If I have to switch colours frequently I will hold a strand of yarn in each hand and knit a combination of english and continental style. 

How you hold the yarn will depend on what you’re comfortable with! Experiment with different techniques as you learn. You can also use tools like a Norwegian knitting thimble to help manage your yarn strands. 

Don’t cross the streams!

Except for when you are catching floats, avoid crossing your yarns strands if you can as it will cause them to tangle and it will eventually be difficult for you to pull from your yarn. 

To avoid crossing the strands always take your second colour from underneath the first so you’re not crossing it over the yarn coming from the ball (except of course when catching floats and you want to cross the non-working yarn over the working yarn). 

There you have it! Those are the basics of knitting stranded colourwork, not so bad right? Now you’re ready to go out and tackle your first stranded colourwork knitting pattern. If you need a suggestion I’ve recently released a beginner friendly colourwork hat pattern called Brigand – you can find it on Ravelry! It’s worsted weight and is has instructions for three sizes: baby/toddler, child, and adult. 

Categories
Knits of Steele Designs

Brigand Pattern Release: New Hat Knitting Pattern

Hello everyone! Today is a very exciting day because I’ve just released a new knitting pattern! I teased this knit colourwork hat back in my January 2021 round up post and it is finally out.

This cute colourwork knit hat uses two colours of worsted weight yarn and comes in three sizes, baby/toddler, child and adult. I think it would look great on anyone and there are so many fun colour combinations that you can experiment with.

The colourwork is simple and engaging, the colourwork portions are charted in the knitting pattern. This pattern is great for beginner level knitters who are looking for a first stranded colourwork pattern and learning how to read charts.

I’ll be putting out a blog post next week with some tips for getting started with stranded colourwork for anyone who wants to try, but feels a bit hesitant about the skills involved.

Spoiler for that post: it is easier than it looks and you can totally do it!!!

I went out with my dad for a cute photo shoot in the park before all the snow melts and we got some great photos! He even modeled Brigand for me.

You can find the Brigand hat knitting pattern in my Ravelry store and if you purchase before end of day on Februay 28th (eastern time) you can save 30% with the code BRIGANDRELEASE2021.

Categories
Monthly Round UP

January 2021 Round Up

Hi everyone! We made through the first month of 2021. I know this round up post is coming a little bit late, but I was really focusing on the tips for knitting your first sweater post and it was a beast!

That post ended up being so much longer than I originally planned, but I really hope that anyone who wants to knit their first sweater will find it useful.

January 2021 works in progress

I’m still working away on my For Fox Sake. I knit the sleeves this month, sometimes I like to do my sleeves first! I’m so ready to take on the rest of the body. Mindless stockinette is my go-to for knitting while reading and I have been doing a lot of that lately!

I’ve also been making progress on this baby blanket, I was trying to work on it for 30 minutes a day this month. I’ve been slacking recently, but I just need to do two more pattern repeats.

In February I’m setting a goal to knit a row a day and hopefully I’ll be finished by the end of the month.

January Finished Objects

I was so close to not having any Fos this month, but I finished my vampire vibes socks on January 31! I started these on Halloween and this has been my other go-to project lately for knitting and reading.

There were new cast ons in January!

Unless you count….

New design sneak peek

I have been working on a colourwork hat design for the past couple months! This is the Brigand hat. It uses worsted weight yarn and has a cozy double brim.

There are instructions for three sizes baby/toddler, child, and adult. By the time this is posted hopefully this pattern will be in testing. Keep an eye out for this pattern release sometime in February!!

New yarn!

I did some shopping this month!!! I don’t want to go too wild with buying yarn this year, however, I want to buy more yarn this year, specifically buying form indie dyers and local yarn stores.

Breaking Yarn

I won a gift card for Breaking Yarn from a knit-a-long hosted by Knitty Natty. Definitely go give Breaking Yarn a follow on Instagram. And the dyer just started a new podcast, so you should check that out too.

I picked up a skein of worsted and a sock set (showing significant restraint might I add because sooo many beautiful colours). As soon as I saw this yellow I knew I had to have it. It’s going to be a hat, I’m thinking something with cables.

Dragon Hoard Yarn

I am obsessed with the A Court of Thorns and Roses book series by Sarah J. Maas (more on that below) and Dragon Hoard yarn has a Sarah J. Maas inspired collection.

This is Valeris and it’s one of the mystery colourways from January. As you can see it’s beautiful, I will definitely be ordering more yarn from Dragon Hoard Yarn in the future (like maybe I already have some in a cart lol).

Shirley Brian Yarns

When I saw this this adorable knitasaurus bag from Shirley Brian Yarns I could not resist! I love a good dinosaur pun and while I was there I had to buy some yarn. This is Aperol Spritz on the slub base. I have been planning a faded sweater using slub yarn and this just fit right into my colour scheme I had to have it.

Reads of Steele

I have been reading a ton lately. At the end of December I read the whole A Court of Thorns and Roses series and it really brought back my love of reading. Here are all the books I’ve read this month (cheating a bit to include some I read at the end of December).

This is more books than I’ve read in the last two years! I used to love reading as a kid I devoured books, but lately reading didn’t hold much interest for me, which made me sad. I’m so happy to have my love of books back!

What’s my secret to knitting and reading? Ebooks! I read ebooks on my tablet propped up on a stand so it’s hands free, I just need to lift a hand every now and then to flip the page.

Knitflix

I was getting so bored and running out of things to watch, but I’ve re-discovered an old favourite and started some new shows with Matt.

  • Gilmore Girls – I started a re-watch of the series and it’s so nice to remember how much I love it. The early seasons are so fun! I’m halfway through season 3 now.
  • My Hero Academia – Matt and I were in need of a new show so he put this on the other night, he’s seen it before, and I was surprised by how much I got into it.
  • Marvel movies – we’ve been watching a lot of Marvel and other superhero movies lately. It’s a phase!
  • Wandavision – and of course with all the Marvel we’ve been watching we had to start this new Disney+ original

Thanks for reading the January round up! And as always you can follow my day-to-day knitting adventures on Instagram. I’d love to connect with you 🙂

Categories
Knits of Steele Designs

Cass Cowl Knitting Pattern

Introducing the….Cass Cowl knitting pattern!

Hello friends, today on the Knits of Steele knitting blog I want to tell you a bit more about my latest knitting design the Cass Cowl. This knitting pattern is squishy, it’s cozy, it has a big braided cable and twisted rib. This knit cowl design has everything I love and that’s why I named it after me!

This chunky knit cowl came to be way way back, I’m not even sure when. I think it was some time in 2019. I knew when I designed it that I eventually wanted to release the knitting pattern, but I lost my confidence a bit and even though I wrote the pattern up I never put it through testing or had it released.

But I set a goal in 2020 that I’m continuing this year to design more knitting patterns and release more of the knitting patterns that I already have written and ready to go. So starting of 2021’s schedule of releases here (finally) is the Cass Cowl knitting pattern!

I named this pattern after myself as a joke at first. It was a placeholder name until I could think of something better, but it just stuck and so it has remained the Cass Cowl. It feels like the right name for this knit design.

And the reason that it is a fitting name for this knitting pattern is that this knit cowl has so many of the design features that I love. Starting of with twisted rib. I’m not sure why I love twisted rib so much, but I do! It just adds a little something extra to a hat brim or sock cuff, or in this case the edges of a knit cowl, over traditional ribbing.

I designed this cowl knitting pattern when I was going through a cable phase. The big braided cable is offset to the side and starts right from the beginning of the cowl and goes right to end integrated into the twisted rib. For obvious reasons, this giant braided cable is my favourite part of this knit design.

And it’s all knit out of super cozy and squishy super bulky yarn!

I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick for this cowl, it takes just over 2 balls to complete. I used the colour Spice Market for this pattern, I’m in love with the rose gold, pink and yellow tones in this yarn! Unfortuantely, I think this colourway has been discontinued 😦

But no need to worry because this cowl looks great in any colour! It suits variegated and solid yarns just fine.

This knit cowl is honestly so squishy and cozy. It’s one of the warmest knit accessories I own and I always pull it out on super cold days. It’s large enough to come up and cover half of your face to ensure warmth, but also that you can still see! But it’s not so bulky that it’s uncomfortable and you can easily push it down to sit under or around your chin.

It keeps the wind out when it’s tucked into the collar of your coat and when paired with a hat it keeps your head and neck totally warm and covered from wind and snow.

Basically, the Cass Cowl is a Winter necessity!!

Cass Cowl Knitting Pattern Details

Yarn

  • 120 – 130 yds (110 – 120m) super bulky (6) weight yarn. 
  • Sample used 120 yds (110m) of  Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Spice Market.

Needles

  • US size 15 (10mm) circular needles 16-24” or size needed to obtain gauge

Notions

  • Yarn Needle
  • Cable needle
  • BOR Marker
  • Scissors

Gauge

  • 9 sts and 12 rows = 4” in stockinette st. 

Finished Measurements

  • 12.5” x 13.5” (32cm x 34cm) folded flat

You can purchase the Cass Cowl on Ravelry. Make sure you check out my release post on Instagram for a special discount code that’s valid through January 13th (Eastern Time).

I can’t wait to see your projects, make sure you tag me in any photos so I can check them out!

You can find my other designs and knitting patterns on Ravelry, and follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on new designs, sales and discounts, and knitting pattern releases!