Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 35
Lucy Tradewind Knitwear Designs Newsletter


September, 2010

The Paintbox Scarf
Dear Knitters,
St. Lawrence Seaway

I'm writing this from the north shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway; I'm overlooking L'Isle-aux-Coudres and the main shipping channel and it's really enjoyable to watch the marine traffic (as the fog and rain permit). I've been whisked off by my husband on a 'working vacation' to Quebec, where he is drydocking a tug. After all the summer craziness we never seemed to get a moment together, so I've come along for the ride: that's at least 10 hours of knitting time each way. John did look a little concerned when I mentioned that I might have underestimated my yarn needs, as north of Quebec City it is a bit of yarn desert. This could be a dangerous situation!

It did occur to me, though, that once I got to serious pattern writing, blogging, newslettering, tweeting etc. that my yarn consumption would fall to more normal levels. So with luck, all should be well for me; but what about the local knitters?

It was a beary good night, indeed.
I had an interesting night last night: a surprise nocturnal encounter. (We had noticed that several very large piles of scat had recently appeared in the garden.)
In the wee hours of the morning I happened to be up, and decided to take a look at the beautiful starlit sky. I was on the point of pushing the door open to step out, when I decided that it was really pretty chilly outside and I could see just as well from within. Then my eye fell on a large black shape at the far end of the unfenced deck: most likely the moon-shadow of a chair, which was moving. I walked slowly along towards the object (from within the cottage) and then stopped dead: only 6 feet away was a good-sized bear mounting the deck and sniffing under the picnic table! I could make it out quite clearly in the pale moon-glow. The black bear wandered soundlessly on the far side of the table, not moving a chair, gently sniffing, and then hung around by the sliding door for what seemed like ages, before ambling off into the night. Whew! I've never stood so still or thought glass so thin!

Signs of bear

Brrr. where did summer go?
It pains me to say it, but I've broken out the long trousers. Generally, it's a point of honour with me to sport shorts or a skirt with bare legs until the end of September. Only four days ago, even a sleeveless top seemed way over the top, worn only for public decency's sake! Then came Hurricane Earl, who thankfully stuck to the Atlantic coast where we are well accustomed to strong winds (he left the fruit trees as well as the big old trees in Kejimkujik National Park mostly shaken but not stirred).
We lost a few trees, but it was much less exciting than when Juan flattened us five years ago. The following day was bright, sunny and much cooler: the thermometer dropped from 35 degrees Centigrade (plus humidity) into the low teens. That does make for better sleeping and knitting conditions. And makes one look for warmer clothes.

Good news for all of you who asked about the Finishing Book ...
The finishing book is really, honestly, truly almost done. There have been many, many hours of editing throughout the summer, both by me and a number of wonderful friends, each friend with their own particular specialties. It's been fascinating to observe how we each have our favoured areas of grammatical passion: however, please don't speak to me about commas, semicolons or consistency right now!

Editing in progress
Some of the most pleasing periods of editing have occurred on Big Tancook Island, at the table overlooking South East Cove, accompanied by the noise of the never-ending stream of hummingbirds at the feeder. Just can't avoid traffic noise anywhere!
We are running into a slight slow-down now (but withing sight of the finishing post) with my editor, a very busy Lynda Gemmell (in her Cabin Fever role, she was exhibiting at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair this last weekend and is hosting a tradeshow in Orillia this coming weekend).

The new book cover
The Challenge Cardigan

We have overcome a last-minute hitch with the cover photos, which cost us a couple of days. The original photos, taken months ago in preparation, turned out to be too blue and lost definition when used as we had planned, so we now needed a hasty reshoot. This sounds simple enough, but the 8" squares of natural colour stocking stitch required had a been incorporated into the Challenge Cardigan (also used and photographed in the book).
Now, besides a re-shoot, a hasty re-knit was required. But wouldn't you know it: more gremlins erupted. I had grabbed the original Blue Faced Leicester Aran weight yarn originally used, and started to knit, and my mother-in-law grabbed another skein and also set to. Fortunately we compared the fabrics early on: it turned out that the second skein had come from a new batch of yarn and the resulting fabric looked significantly different. A third swatch was embarked upon, there being no more of the original yarn to be found, despite intensive hunting.

Back to fall, back to travel ...
I've been preparing for my first fall trip, which is going to take me from Fun Knits on Quadra Island off Vancouver Island, eastwards via Kelowna, Valparaiso IN, Columbia MO and on to Buffalo, by which time I'll be nearly home in the east. (Note to self: I must not buy a house on Quadra or be tempted to move there.) I'm relishing my new fully completed workshop notes that are also all fully and easily pdf-able (inventing a word here), this accomplishment having been one of my summer goals.

Karen, Lucy and a Sourdough

Yearning for the Yukon?
Good news: there's a second chance to join me in the Yukon! Yes, we were fully booked for the Yukon knit camp next summer. But, just when we thought that we had everything nailed down, someone threw us a curve ball. Thankfully, Judy was up in the Yukon, fine-tuning the last details of our trip, when she went to visit our planned accommodation, only to find that mayhem and chaos have descended there! It transpired that some of the cottages that we had booked (and filled) had just been sold out from under us. Gone. In addition, there were various other newly arisen unacceptable issues. And bless their little hearts, they had said not a word to us about all this. Thank heavens this is a year before the event, not a month before. As a result, we've had to breathe slowly and deeply, and now have, of course, regrouped. Thanks to the solid support of a large percentage of our attendees who voted 'Yukon or bust', we are going full-steam ahead, but we will now be based in downtown Whitehorse.

Whilst this is not what we originally planned, Whitehorse is a real frontier town and very colourful; this change of venue will open up numerous other opportunities that would previously have been logistically impossible. We are still sorting the precise accommodations, but we will be in a downtown hotel. We naturally offered full refunds to any who were not happy with the changes, which results in us now having a few spots open. Please email Judy (or phone: 604-999-0075) if you are interested! She is currently renegotiating the arrangements, so it may be a few weeks before we can give you full and exact details, other than that it will be fun, with good food and great companions, in a spectacular part of Canada's north. If you haven't been to the Yukon, you just don't know what you are missing!

New Patterns:
Patternwise, I do have something to show for the summer, in the form of four new designs: Baby Venus, Paintbox Scarf, Infinite Entrelac and, getting well ahead of the holiday season, the handsome Fiesta Stocking. All have been in the works for a while, awaiting a few consecutive hours of lucid thinking time.

Baby Venus is a great little cardigan, ideal for child or teddybear, and an excellent practice piece for those wishing to tackle a larger Venus Rising for themselves. It would also make a brilliant in-store class project: the baby cardigan can be knit from one ball of Kauni in a couple of evenings, as the gauge of the stitches is large.

The Infinite Entrelac is a bit of knitting I have been wanting to do for years: it's an offshoot of the older Garter Stitch Entrelac Scarf pattern which was great as far as it went, but there was so much more that could be done with this fabric. The new pattern may be worked with any size of square (I wouldn't go smaller than 6 stitches myself) to suit the dye length of your yarn, in any weight of yarn. The new pattern includes 4 different designs, from scarf to blanket, but the options really are infinite. It is really addictive and easy knitting once you've done the first couple of squares, and can see where you are going!

The Bubbles Scarf pattern continues to attract attention and gather followers. We truly have never had a pattern launch to equal this one! For those bitten by the double knitting bug, the Paintbox Scarf, a sequel pattern, is ready: the sample is currently being blocked in the basement. That scarf has been really fun to carry around with me this summer; it was so much fun I had to force myself to stop knitting it before it reached Dr. Who scarf length.
The Bubbles Scarf knit-a-long on Ravelry has started, but feel free to join in anytime.

I think I had better draw this letter to close so that I may attend to the Pinstripe Mitten pattern that has been stalled for far too long, and which I'd like to see out in time for the winter knitting season.

Happy stitches,

Product News

New Patterns from Lucy Neatby

Baby Venus Cardigan Baby Venus Cardigan (#683) by Lucy Neatby (Available as a PDF from Patternfish.)

Here is an adorable baby sweater which is also very quick to knit! Constructed from sleeve to sleeve in one piece, it is possibly the most entertainment you can get from one ball of Kauni: a mini-class in great techniques. Minimal finishing required. An excellent practice project to whet your appetite for the adult Venus Rising Cardigan. Pictured in Kauni EE and RR7.

Size: 6 (12) months, chest 18 (20)inches
Yarn: 150 g Kauni (used triple), or chunky.
Needles: 8mm, (US #11) circulars and dpns.
Techniques: Navaho plying (optional), short-row shaping, tubular cast-on onto two needles, grafting using waste yarn and a neck insertion (all is explained).
Level: Advanced
Pattern: $9.00
Infinite Entrelac Blanket Infinite Entrelac Blanket (#488) by Lucy Neatby (Available as a PDF from Patternfish)

A reversible, infinitely expandable, blanket or scarf, knitted in garter-stitch entrelac. Fun to knit and most attractive when knit in hand-dyed yarn or one with a long colour gradation. The size of the units may be adapted to suit the colour repeat of your yarn. Requires only minimal finishing. After a few repetitions, this becomes an easy project; each square is worked until the available stitches are used up and then it time to move on to the next square! Very detailed instructions.
Kit: Contains pattern and yarn (2 x 150g Kauni Effectgarn in colour EF)for Blanket as pictured.

Size: Entirely up to you and your yarn.
Yarn: Fingering to Aran (Shown in Kauni Effektgarn.)
Techniques: Garter stitch entrelac.
Pattern: $9.00
Kit: $47.50
Paintbox DK Scarf  Paintbox Scarf (#493) by Lucy Neatby (Available as a PDF from Patternfish)

Oh wow, this was so much fun to knit, I had to force myself to stop! Two-layer double-knitting in a negative/positive design with the added zest of textured, contrasting Reverse Stocking Stitch motifs. Easy to memorize, and a blast to knit. Impress your friends and baffle your enemies with this one!

Size: 6" wide, length adjustable.
Yarn: 75g each of two colours of Kauni Effectgarn (one solid, one variegated).
Techniques: Two-colour double layer knitting in Stocking and Reverse Stocking Stitch, with the option to use a Tubular Cast-On, Tubular Bind-Off.
Level:Intermediate / Advanced
Pattern: $6.00
Kit: Each kit makes two 60 inch scarves. Pattern plus approximately 150 g each Dark (EQ) and Light solid (NN), as pictured. $45.90
Split your kit with a friend: after all, it is double knitting! Add an additional pattern (or substitute the Bubbles Scarf pattern) for only $3 extra. $48.90

The Works: Make it the Works: add a Double Knitting Delight DVD for $25 extra, a four dollar saving.
$70.90 (with 1 pattern included) OR
$73.90 (2 patterns included).
Fiesta Stocking Fiesta Stocking (#493) by Lucy Neatby (#494) (Available as a PDF from Patternfish)

A decorative, non-traditional Christmas or Holiday stocking. A variant on the perennially popular Fiesta Socks, the design is modified to suit a chunky yarn with a small short-row heel to allow it to hang nicely. It is a delicious sampler of knitting stitches and techniques. Best of all, you only have to knit 1 (unless people find out you know how to make these)!

Size: Giant - to fit many presents!
Yarn: Chunky, use solid and a contrasting variegated.
Needles: 5 - 6 mm / US# 8 - 10
Techniques: Grafted sideways sock cuff, Star and Flying Swallows stitches, Garter-stitch short-row heel.
Pattern: $6.00
Kit: Pattern plus Celestial Blue Faced Leicester Aran (2 x 120g skeins natural, 1 x 120g skein Fiesta) to make one stocking. $64.95

Knitting Tip

Adjusting Stitch Numbers with Waste Yarn Thumb Openings.
(See Knitting Venus 1 DVD.)

Many mittens use what is often called the 'sore thumb' opening. For an example, see my Paradoxical Mittens.

At the position of the thumb, waste yarn is set in over the number of stitches that will be required to open. You then return to the working yarn at the right-hand side of the waste yarn stitches (slip them back to the left-hand needle), pick up the working yarn and work into the waste yarn stitches.
This method works quite well, provided that you have discontinued two-colour patterning on the row worked into the waste yarn stitches (if necessary, simply weave the non-working yarn in at the back across the thumb-hole). The Australian Cousin stitches (those going in the opposite direction, found between the waste yarn stitches) can easily be picked up.

For instance: if 26 stitches are required for the thumb, a twelve-stitch waste yarn section could be used, which, when opened, would give 12 regular direction stitches and 11 Australian Cousin stitches above the waste yarn, with the additional three stitches being knitted up at the sides of the thumb opening.

This method is generally not used where more (or fewer) stitches are eliminated than are required afterwards. However, there is no reason why not.
Should you wish to get rid of 12 stitches and replace them with 5 afterwards, work a 12 stitch waste yarn section as usual, then turn the work, and, in waste yarn, knit or purl back into the first row of waste yarn stitches making 6 decreases, leaving you with six waste yarn stitches on the needle. Pick up your working yarn, and off you go again.
When the waste yarn is snipped away, there will be 12 regular direction stitches and 5 Australian Cousins.


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