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If you are looking to knit the Stitch Diva Endless Cardi Shawl primarily for warm weather wearing, I would recommend Soysilk or Bamboo fiber.

The Cardi-Shawl can even be worn backwards!

I swatched up SWTC Bamboo, which makes for a very thin, EXTREMELY drape-y garment. Perfect for extra-hot climates or layering this garment with a more fashion forward outfit. I got gauge on a size 6, but would recommend stepping down a needle size to counteract some of the stretching that can occur with bamboo. This yarn has a beautiful barely-there sheen for an extra dash of polish.

In the soysilk camp there are two ways to go: Plied or Tape construction. Both are breathable and easy to care for. For those of you un-initiated to the world of soysilk knitting, I can tell you it is best looked at in comparison to the more familiar cotton.

The plied option is called “Pure” by SWTC. The swatch has the hand of the llama or even the yak/bamboo, shockingly enough. It has a very slight cotton-y halo and is incredibly light in the hand. Like cotton, this option lacks stitch memory. If tugged on, the fabric will stretch and hang the way cotton does. However, because it is so light, it will not pull itself out of shape the way cotton can.

The tape option for this project would be “Oasis” by SWTC. The tape structure adds 2 key feature to this project: texture and bounce. Tape yarns show textured stitches, such as cables, in high relief. This project does not a have a particularly textured stitch pattern, but the tape yarn does give it a little extra personality. Each stitch has perfect stitch definition and those drop stitch rows really stand out. The bounce come from the knitted structure built right into the yarn itself. You can tug on the fabric pretty good and the whole garment just pulls right back into shape with this yarn. The tape yarn does add a bit of weight to the fabric. The heaviness of the yarn balances with its own springiness to create a beautifully draped, bouncy garment.

I have yet to knit up the swatch, but I can tell you this project would also be a joy to knit with SWTC Terra. The cotton/bamboo blend comes in a rich palette of earth tones. This yarn has an intriguing interplay between the earthiness of the cotton and the sheen of the bamboo. In fact, the idea of this garment knit up in this yarn is begging me to go swatch it up right now!

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I am so over the moon to make this announcement:

I have my first pattern for sale on Ravelry!

Honeycomb Shawlette

The pattern is the Honeycomb Shawlette. I cast this on during my student teaching when I just wanted a project to meditate over. It needed to be simple to memorize but require my rapt focus. It needed to be small and smash into my purse without complaint. It needed to be absolutely beautiful. After a year, almost 2 years, on the needles I finally finished it. I wear it everywhere. It is lofty, soft, squishy and exactly what I wanted. I get tons of compliments on it everywhere I go. I have to thank Barbara, a customer at one of the shops I rep at. She went absolutely ga-ga for it. Her enthusiasm and support really pushed me over the edge to write out and code up the pattern and make it available to the public. And here it is! The first of many Knest Designs!

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Joanna, modeling the amorphous garment "right side up"

On Thursday I was at Sister Arts Studio in Chicago to kick off a the Cardi Shawl Knit (and crochet) A Long. I first knit this garment (designed by Stitch Diva) last September. After raving about it to Donna at SASI over the pone and e-mail, I knew I just had to drop in wearing it. Just as I suspected, when she saw it in person, Donna decided that we must do this project as a Knit-A-Long.

The whole thing is knit up as one looooong rectangle, knit along the long edge instead of the short. The magic is in the 3 needle bind off. The resulting garment can be worn right side up, upside down, belted, pinned, open, even backwards!  Of all my garment projects, this is my most frequently worn item.

Please Note: photos never do this garment justice, though Donna and Joanna made a valiant effort! She is wearing the XS, which is generously sized enough to be tried on by significantly larger women. Customers who normally knit a size L or even XL are knitting this project in M.

To prepare for the Kick Off event, I knit up a small army of swatches. It was amazing how much there is to think about when planning a garment yarn choice. I admit, I usually don’t spend as much time on this step as I should. That will certainly change now! The key word you’re going to hear over and over with this project is “Drape”. This is not a densely knit wool sweater, it is an exciting foray into the sensuous world of slinky knits. Today I will cover the protein fibers I swatched up.

"Upside Down" and shawl pinned, my personal favorite way to wear this!

The most luscious choice by far was definitely the Lhasa Wilderness by Bijou Basin. It is a 75% yak, 25% bamboo DREAM of a yarn. I was in love before, but after this swatch, I am really dying to knit this garment again with this yarn. The swatch was unbelievably light and soft, but with spectacular drape and a barely-there sheen. The stitch definition was clear. This fiber combination is both breathable, hypo-allergenic, and warm. Considering this project would need just a hair over 4 skeins for the generously sized XS, this is a great “Bang For Your Buck” yak project.

If the Yak/Bamboo is just not in the budget, the new Llama Luxury from South West Trading Company is a spectacular substitute. It comes in a subtle palette of neutrals. The llama fiber is remarkably light, yet insulating (think alpaca). It drapes wonderfully, but has enough stitch memory to keep from looking saggy. The swatch had a slight halo, making it look oh-so-inviting to squish!  Soft and lovely next to the skin, you would need 7 skeins to make the XS.

Wearing it backwards; feels crazy, and yet it totally works!

The most popular choice at Knit Night was the Yin/Yang combination from SWTC. These are sister yarns, each 60%wool, 20% bamboo, 20% silk. Yang also has a iridescent mini-sequins held on by a silk thread. With these yarns you can knit most of the garment in the plain Yin, and then throw in some Yang on the ribbing and drop-stitch rows. It adds some extra sparkle and interest. The yarn itself has great stitch memory and knit up to a rather dense, bouncy swatch compared to the rest. The bamboo and silk contribute enough drape to keep the project hanging as it should.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Swatched With Love; Cellulose Strikes Back!

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Nameless Mitts

I need your help. I’m working away towards my goal of putting together a collection of patterns, and also my goal of getting my holiday knitting done. I have knitted these mitts/fingerless gloves/hand cozies/whatever you like to call them. They were a special request from my darling lil sister. While the knitting is done and the pattern-writing is underway, I need help deciding what to call them. Please help me out by voting and leaving comments!

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This is Emmery from Jordana Paige.
This super-cute felted sweater is sure to jump to the top of your queue. With its fun ruffle edge and practical full collar, this garment has a perfect of whimsy. It is knit in mostly stockinette with minimal finishing so this project is well within the reach of the average knitter. This sample is shown in Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight, but I bet it could be knit in SWTC Karaoke or Mountain Meadow Wool Cody!
Shopowners, this pattern is available now so if you are interested please contact me! Knitters, ask your LYS owners to contact me or just leave me a comment telling me what shops you think should carry this pattern.

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