In my last post, I shared how to modify the size of a stranded colorwork motif. In this post, I'll share how to use it in a repeat with a simple mitten design.
In this pattern, the dark gray/black square represent no stitch. There are decreases in the pattern to form the mitten top which are not noted in the chart - this is to give clarity in the colors.
The set of five stitches at the left and right edges of the pattern form a border at the sides of the hand. They do not change, but as the decreases shape the top of the hand, they will slope inward.
The first step in setting up a pattern repeat is to simply repeat the pattern. Here, I'm using a variation on the pattern I shared in my last post.
Stacking the pattern on top of itself, we get two repeats of the rose. The outer corners at the top of the rose are cut off. This is fine, as long as the rose itself fits fully into the pattern. (If it didn't we'd need to go back and adjust.)
It seems like the white of the rose petals falls off the edge of the pattern. However, because the borders are edged in the background color, there will be a purple border around them.
Usually, when you repeat a large motif, there are places that end up with very long floats. The next step is to create new, smaller motifs to prevent these floats. Here, I've added a small cross and two dots between the motifs to prevent long floats. At the top, there is a lozenge shape to fill in the space. Your options at this step are limited only by the number of stitches you have and your imagination.
And that's really all there is to it!
Have you ever fallen in love with a stitch pattern, but it's not quite the right size? In this post, I shared how to resize a cable pattern. Today, I'll share one approach to modifying the size and design of a stranded colorwork pattern.
This is a great technique to use if you're using handspun yarn that doesn't exactly match the gauge of a pattern, or if you need to substitute yarn. In this example, I'm sizing down, but it would be just as easy to make the stitch pattern larger with these same ideas.
In this example, I started with a 29-stitch-square repeat of a traditional Norwegian 8-petal rose. I liked this pattern, but needed a stitch pattern that would fit into a 25-stitch square.
The easiest, and most obvious choice in my situation was to remove the border of solid color stitches, which took me down to 27 stitches. I still needed to reduce 2 stitches on each side, and chose to start with the petals.
By drawing a petal that has one less row and one less column, I've reduced the size of the pattern. Expanded over the entire repeat, this will get me to the right number of rows and stitches.
At this point, it would be totally fine to draw out the rest of the pattern by hand. However, a little bit of copy/paste/rotate action saves a lot of work. This also helps to make sure that any inconsistencies get repeated (which is how patterns are made).
The next step is to fill in the outer petals. You'll notice that in the image on the left, the petals touch the outer edges. This isn't a problem if they touch a border that is the same color as the background. However, to make sure the pattern is clear, you can make the outer petals thinner, as in the image on the right.
Now it's time to fill in the corner patterns. Because there are fewer stitches to work with than in the original, this pattern must also be adjusted. There are lots of options - I've placed a different pattern in each corner to show the possibilities. Normally you will choose one pattern and repeat it in each corner.
At this point, the pattern is fully resized and you're free to use it in your pattern, or you can continue to play around with modifications.
Here I've updated all the corner patterns with my favorite design, modified the center of the rose to be a little less busy, and added dots at the center of each petal.
It's easy to play all day with modifying stitch patterns on graph paper or on the computer, but nothing beats a swatch! Because a knit stitch isn't exactly square, it's important to check your pattern in a swatch to make sure it will turn out the way you want it to.
After that, the next step is to place your new design into the pattern you want to use, which will be the topic of the next post.
A couple of years ago, I finished spinning a laceweight yarn that I had been trying to replicate for years. Naturally, the yarn had to sit in the stash for a while before I cast on. The pattern for this shawl isn't written down anywhere - it's just a square shawl, worked from the center out, with three different motifs that I liked.
Since it's a square shawl, it can be worn like a cape, or folded in half like a triangular shawl.
Now that the weather is finally starting to get cooler, I'm looking forward to getting to finally wear it!
Here's a close-up showing the lace patterns.
P.S. - You might have noticed that I haven't been blogging as much lately. I'm still writing, mostly in my email newsletter. So if you haven't signed up and want to hear from me, that's the best place to go.
This year I've been working on chipping away at my stash of wool fleeces. I've amassed quite a few over the last four years. When I get one home after a fiber festival, I scour it, which is a time consuming task in itself. Once that's done, I'm properly sore from hauling hot water all over the place, and the clean fleece sits on the shelf for an embarrassingly long time!
This year, with no fiber festivals or other bright shiny things to distract me and plenty of stash to work from, I've turned an eye to these fleeces. Follow along as I spend some time making roving from my swing picker and drum carder!
This past month, I decided to create a gradient of colors on my drum carder. It's almost all the colors in the rainbow (leaving out yellow and orange). Most tutorials show how to create a single batt that contains a gradient. However, I knew that I wanted a large amount of yarn of each color, so in this instance, I created a single batt that contained each color, and then pulled the batt into roving using my Spinner's Multitool.
My gradient starts with green, and ends with a dark pink. These were created from Spring and Confetti. The blues and purples in the center were created from Orion's Nebula. Where I had similar colors lurking in my stash, I blended those in too.
To start, I carded three colors - the pale green, the middle blue, and the pink. Then I blended each together with its neighbor to create an intermediary color, and then once again, for a total of seven colors. I'd meant to create a video tutorial showing how this is done, but after spending a whole day recording, the video was out of focus! Maybe next time.
I did manage to get a video (with no narration) showing how the colors are blended on the drum carder - in thin layers to promote a heathered effect in the final yarn. There's more detail on how layering colors works in this post.
Once all the fiber was carded and pulled into roving, I spun it into singles. Most of the fiber in this blend is Falkland, which is a medium wool with lots of bounce. I also knew that I wanted a bulky yarn. Mostly I spin very fine yarn, so this was a challenge for me, but I took my time and checked my yarn thickness with my spinner's multitool. I spun the singles at 18 wraps per inch, then chain-plied them . After wet finishing (with a good thwacking), the final wraps per inch measurement is between 6-9 wraps per inch - a nice thick yarn like I wanted!
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