Posts Tagged ‘mosaic’


December 3, 2013

Oh, the blogger guilt hangs heavy around my neck.  So many FOs to tell you about, and so little time to actually write about them.

I’m going to dust off the old soapbox and talk about one of my favorite techniques.  It gives maximum effect for minimum effort, and if you haven’t tried it ~ well, shame on you.  Let’s talk about colorwork.  I’ll do you one better, though: let’s talk colorwork without stranding.  Let’s talk mosaic knitting.

Sofya Cowl

Sofya Cowl

Simply explained, mosaic knitting, also called “slip-stitch knitting,” allows you to work one color at a time in each row you knit with results that look like you positively slaved. Often, depending on the colorways involved, mosaic knitting has a distinctive look that mimics stained glass.

Here you see it in the Sofya Cowl, knit in Spirit

Corrugated rib up close

Corrugated rib up close

Trail Fiberworks Verdande.*  The background color (green) is Crete; the brown is one of my perennial favorites, Kestrel. This was a really quick knit other than the 40-odd rows of corrugated ribbing (Knit the knits in one color; purl stitches are worked in the other color, see?)  Even with the ribbing, I was able to knit the larger size  in less than a week.

Here is the 411:

Mosaic up close in Sofya Cowl

Mosaic up close in Sofya Cowl

Pattern:  Sofya Cowl by Jennifer Dassau, size Large

Yarn:  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Verdande,* one skein each in Crete and Kestrel

Needles:  US 7 Signature Needle Arts circs because I know Verdande will grow when it meets water and I tend to knit colorwork (of every kind) a little loosely.

Mods:  None.  I had enough of both colors left to have made a 2nd one reversing the colors.  (Putting the brown in the background and the green on top.)  Maybe even enough to repeat the whole thing if I felt adventurous.

Project Marriage Score:  9  ~ I just wanted to squoosh this around my stubby neck.


Bubble Wrap Cowl on display

Bubble Wrap Cowl on display

Similarly, I used Verdande’s thinner DK sister, Birte, to make the Bubble Wrap Cowl, with Winter Solstice in the background and Sorbet in the “bubbles.”  This is another mosaic pattern where you’re working one color per row.  Period.  That’s all she wrote.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me about executing Row 5 – which is what creates the “bubbles.”  If I get a lot of requests, I’ll haul out the camera for some new snaps, but I would explain it thus:

  • Insert the tip of your right needle in the 5th loop down ~ the last one you knitted in the background color you are now working (the blue, in this case)
  • Using your fingers, unpick the four “bubble” loops, leaving them laying across your right needle, behind the loop you are holding.
  • Now insert your right needle the rest of the way through the stitch and knit with the background color, catching the loose strands behind the new stitch you made.
Bubbles of sorbet

Bubbles of sorbet

Sanity check: these dropped stitches always occur over the middle stitch of the bubble in the sequence below.  If you’re not aligned there, something’s gone awry.

Pattern:  Bubble Wrap Cowl by madelinetosh

Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte,* 2 skeins Sorbet (bubble color), 1 sk Winter Solstice

Needles:  US 6 Signature circs for this booth sample.  I am making one for myself now, and I’ve gone down one needle to a US 5 very comfortably.  It is making the bubbles “pop” more.

Pattern marriage score:  9.5. This is both drapey and smooshy in Birte.  In my own iteration, I’ve removed a few pattern repeats to make it a single loop about 37 inches around that I will work a full 12 or more inches deep.  The original finished size (44 inches) sort of fell between the easy-around twice /or not size for my liking.

There’s more blocking to do, more cowls, more shawls ~ oh, and the holidays and Owl Manor and … you get the general idea.  But do yourself a favor and pick up a mosaic knitting pattern and give it a test-drive.  You’ll be pleased that you did; I won’t tell a soul it isn’t stranded.

* If you’re reading this before Dec. 18, check the home page for a 25% discount on these yarns at Spirit Trail Fiberworks, and tell Jennifer that Nutmeg Owl sent you!



December 30, 2009

In which NutmegOwl takes you on a tour of knitting past …

Once upon a time, when NutmegOwl was a new knitter, she churned out many a project, but never documented a thing.  She knitted and gifted and knitted and gifted some more.  A holiday visit home, and now we can see fossils from my knitting past.

Fluted rib wrap with bobbles c. 2000

Fluted Rib Wrap with Bobbles, the “Very Easy Very Vogue” from Fall 1997 Vogue Knitting was my second knitted project.  Ever.  It was my first experience knitting on a circular needle (and I’ve never gone back) and knitting with alpacaClassic Elite Inca Alpaca, to be precise.  The photo does not show the fluted rib pattern, but it was an excellent tutorial in learning how to work pattern texture into knitting, and how to read knitting.  I made it for Mom, who is perennially chilly.  It warms my heart to know that around the house, this is her go-to wrap.  If she’s on the couch, chances are, this is around her shoulders or over her feet.

Cleckheaton Cowl-neck tunic

This followed maybe a year  later.  It’s an old Cleckheaton flyer pattern worked up in a very splitty sport-weight merino called Baruffa Aerobic.  The knitting seemed to go on and on and on.  But the finishing went very well, with the raglan sleeves coming together perfectly.  Another project to keep cold Mom warm.  Cowl-necks look especially good on her, too.

Over the years, dozens of children’s projects made for the nieces have disappeared.  That makes my knitterly heart hurt just a little.  But I cannot expect others to care as much as I do.  There are a few things left that will be passed along to Darling Bebe during the toddler years, but most have seemingly evaporated.

Chain Link scarf from loop-d-loop

When the nieces got a little older, they loved the pair of these knitted in opposite colors:  Chain Link Scarf from the cover of Teva Durham’s Loop-d-Loop.   I loved the construction of the interlocking rings, though I could pull it off MUCH faster today using magic loop than I did with mohair on DPNs.  That’s right, Classic Elite La Gran pink mohair.  The last time I used it – or ever will.  (And those of you who know me know how much I despise pink.  I must love those nieces.)  Unless it’s part of a really good blend, mohair hates me and the feeling is mutual.  I also found it interesting that the rings naturally turned themselves purl side out.  If this looks a little worse for wear, well, it’s now on its third niece.  It’s been loved, and that counts for everything.

Mosaic Mitts

Let me state for the record that I have never been accused of being a trend-setter.  Never will be, either.  Nope.  Sheer geek here.  So I think it’s wickedly funny that I taught Sandy Cushman’s Mosaic Mitts a couple of years before anyone was making mitts.  Also for the record: Barbara Walker was a genius to invent mosaic knitting (and for a host of other reasons …).  If you have a chance to take a class in it, do it.  Throw some unusual color match-ups on the needles and get swatching and you will be surprised by how effortlessly you can create something stunning.  (Owl gets down from soapbox) These are special because it was the first class I ever taught.  Yes, I taught colorwork on DPNs as my first class.  Amazingly arrogant and/or stupid.  But everyone save one finished their projects, and I was asked to come back to teach more, so I guess I did okay.  It started my passion for empowering other knitters to try things and bring their knitting to the next level.  The yarn, Mirasol Miski, was lovely to work with; the photo does not really do them justice, but I enjoy them very much.

Silky Cashmere Fetching(s)

Finally, these have been one of my favorite gifts over the years: Fetching made from Elsebeth Lavold Silky Cashmere.  Three skeins yields one pair.  The yarn feels nice enough to work with, but you  need to let it soak in a warm bath to see it really perform.  I made these for Mom during the weeks she spent helping me after the birth of Darling Bebe.  Her hands were always so cold before – but not after these.  Mods: I use a sewn bind-off to give the top elasticity without the flaring that the as-written picot bind-ff produces.  I’ve made these at least three times and sent them off on their merry way without so much as a little pic to show that they ever happened.  Oops.

As I pause before posting, I suppose it’s really no surprise that so many things I knit are for my mom.  She is simply the best.

So ends our little archaeological dig this afternoon.  Be well, be merry!

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