Martin Storey KAL square 3 – Textured Tree

They say that three is the magic number and with Rowan’s Martin Storey KAL I’m convinced! Clue 3 has arrived and you can download it here. On a similar vein to clue 1, the new clue has a garter stitch border around a stocking stitch panel with a simple but effective textured pattern using just purls and knits. This time it’s a stylised tree and I think it looks really great, the stitch definition in Pure Wool Worsted is excellent so the tree stands out very nicely. The shade for this clue is new to me, in the Calm colourway it is Mole which is a lovely, soft, grey-brown colour. This is definitely my favourite square so far!

Again there’s a very clear chart this week which has made knitting these a doddle so far. I’ve finished two but only one was blocked in time for me to photograph it. Looking good against clues 1 and 2, don’t you think?

Square 3 - Textured Tree

I did a lot of blocking last weekend so I’m just about up to speed so far, only a couple of squares currently not blocked. Pretty good, I hope I can keep that up and not get swamped under tons of unblocked squares! How is you progress coming along?

New summer yarn – Rowan Softyak DK

Rowan’s most exciting spring/summer release this year is Softyak DK, a gorgeous yarn perfect for the warmer and transitional months. I’m sure yarn made from yak must exist, I’ve never seen it before so it was a real surprise to me when I saw this. Blended with yak and cotton, the yarn has a chain construction and slightly mottled effect due to the differences in why the dye is absorbed by the mixture of fibres. Even more surprising is how wonderfully soft the yarn is, I expected yak to be a bit scratchy but thatcouldn’t be further from the truth! It’s really comfortable against the skin.

Softyak DK

The palette contains a mixture of pastels and brights, making it versatile for your summer wardrobe.

Softyak DK 230 CreamSoftyak DK 231 SteppeSoftyak DK 232 PlainSoftyak DK 233 PrairieSoftyak DK 234 SavannahSoftyak DK 235 PampasSoftyak DK 236 LeaSoftyak DK 237 MeadowSoftyak DK 238 HeathSoftyak DK 239 PlateauSoftyak DK 240 PastureSoftyak DK 241 LawnSoftyak DK 242 PeatSoftyak DK 243 Terrain

To accompany the new yarn is the Softyak DK Collection of new designs. These are a few of my personal favourites.

Karma

This is quite a simple jumper, but the gathered hem at the bottom gives it a really interesting line.

Karma 1Karma 2

Nambu

The simple lines make this easy to wear and allows the block colours to be the key focus of this cardigan. The relatively short body will make this great for showing off your nice summer dresses and skirts.

Nambu 1Nambu 2

Jumo

A really cute tunic with some interesting textures, I especially like the ribbed cap sleeves. I’m also a sucker for a keyhole on front or back neck, so that’s a winning detail for me.

Jumo 1Jumo 2

Tinley

Another example of simple lines allowing the colours to do the talking. I really like the exaggerated shoulder shaping and the flattering neckline on this.

Tinley 1Tinley 2

Ketu

I fell in love with this jumper the second I turned the page and saw it. Something about the chunky garter stitch edges, the little buttons on the neckline and the overall shaping really capture my imagination.

Ketu 1Ketu 2

I was so taken with both Ketu and Tinley that I already have the yarn to knit both! I swatched for Ketu over the weekend and I’m now ready to cast on. I’m knitting it in the same shade as featured in the photo (Plateau). For Tinley I have chosen Plain as the base colour and will be using the remaining balls of Plateau for the stripes after I finish knitting Ketu with it.

DSC01599

I hope this has inspired you to check out Softyak DK, it really is a lovely yarn and I can’t wait to have a finished garment to wear!

Martin Storey KAL square 2 – Slip Stitch Nordic Stripe

Clue 2 is here already, it’s come around fast! You can get the details here. This square might look intimidating if you’ve never done colourwork before, but this is actually a very clever cheat! Instead of true stranded colourwork like Fair Isle or intarsia, this uses slipped stitches to carry colour from one row up over following rows.

I was very glad to see Moonstone featured again this week, it’s such a gorgeous colour. Against the dark of Charcoal Grey it really glows.

The first repeat of this was a little tricky as I got used to how the slipped stitches worked and switching between the garter stitch and stocking stich rows threw me off a little to start with. After I’d done the whole repeat once, I finally understood the construction and after that I knitted the rest of the square completely from memory. I also carried my yarn when changing colours so that I didn’t have to cut and sew ends every time. In this square I carried either 2 or 4 rows depending on where the colour change happened. The 4-row carries were a bit messy especially because they carried up from a purl stitch on the right side, which doesn’t give as neat a result as if you carried from a knit row. If this was going to be the visible edge of the finished product I wouldn’t have been happy with how messy the carried colours are but because all these edges will be seamed to another square or the blanket edging, they will never be visible. Lucky me! With the pattern memorised and knowing I can carrying the colours between stripes, finishing the rest of the squares for this clue should be a breeze.

Square 2 - yarn carries on reverse

 

If you’ve never done slipped stitches before, the trick is to not pull the yarn tightly across the back of the stitches, otherwise you’ll pull them too tight. This will make your knitting look puckered and also throw off your gauge which will give you squares of the wrong width. Speaking of gauge, I did knit a swatch for square 1 to get the right needle size because my knitting is very loose and I always have to go down at least 1mm in needle size to get the right fit! I winged it with this square and just used the same needle size that I gauged for on the first square. If you often have awkward gauge or want to be absolutely sure you’re using the right needle size, do take the time to make a gauge swatch. But if you’re brave, just go for it! Some good blocking and then the final sewing together should even out any minor gauge mismatches.

Square 2 - Slip Stitch Nordic Stripe (detail)

As this design doesn’t have a garter stitch border, you’ll find that the top and bottom roll over a lot. When blocking, make sure to use plenty of pins on the top and bottom edge (if you aren’t using blocking wires) to make sure it lies flat and doesn’t curl back inbetween the pins, otherwise you’ll get really scalloped edges. The fact that the squares will ultimately be sewn together or attached to the border should help keep those edges straight in the finished product, but the more you can help yourself now via blocking the less trouble it will be later and the better the final blanket will look.

Square 2 - Slip Stitch Nordic Stripe

Let me know how your KAL is coming along. What do you think of this faux-colourwork technique?

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