Wayfarer Ruana

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When I began drafting this post over a year ago, it was to take notes on my first attempt at some of the beautiful and colorful knit ruanas I had seen floating around online. Unfortunately for me, that first attempt (which took over a year for me to finish!) just didn’t turn out. It happens. The final product was pretty, but just too big to conceivably wear, even after several attempts at damage control. It makes an incredible blanket, however.  And since the point was to use up small scraps of leftover yarn, it was indeed effective.

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And yet somehow that bag of scrap yarn remained full for the entirety of the two years I’ve been developing this 😛

Maybe it wasn’t so unfortunate. After all, I had an incentive to try to do it again, and this time I had a few additional touches I was excited about trying. So, I started the NEXT one. Good thing too, because if there is one thing I love to have around, it’s a big colorful knitting project that requires zero brainpower.

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My favorite projects do tend to involve recycling and reusing stuff, and this thing has supreme scrapbusting capabilities. Especially on the two skinnier front panels, you can really use up fairly small lengths of leftover yarn with ease, because you don’t have to weave in those ends! At least, not as many ends as you’d think, as long as you change yarns at the end of the row. I mostly hit the mark on this, usually with just a yard or two to spare on whatever tiny yarn ball I was using. Occasionally I gambled on a small length and lost, and had to change mid-row.

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Since the yarn ends on the outside edges of the ruana are left knotted and then blended in with the added fringe, you save a ton of time doing that much-maligned finishing work. But you still have to weave in the ends for the grannies 😛

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I hope you enjoy the free tutorial I whipped up for this project – it’s more of a guide than a pattern, since the dimensions/materials/yardages are left somewhat variable and a lot of it is open for (and it fact demands) personal interpretation and creativity! Of course, if you have any questions about how I did mine, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂 And, if you like it, throw me a favorite on the Ravelry project page.

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Oh, and this thing is COZY. Basically this wrap cocoons you in soothing waves of color and texture and mind-melds you with the universe. Basically.

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Wayfarer Ruana

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Final dimensions: Roughly 65″ x 65″ when laid flat.

Materials:

Part 1 (Knit):

8 mm (US size 11) knitting needles (24″ circular and 40″ circular)
A whole buncha yarn – I used mostly #4 and #5 weight from leftovers. If you’ve got thinner yarn you want to use up, remember you can always double it up with another strand! I used 4 skeins of a silver bulky weight (I Love This Chunky from Hobby Lobby) as my “base” yarn, using a little in the main body and 3 skeins for the trims and collar.

Part 2 (Crochet):
4.50 mm crochet hook
DK weight yarn – I used a variety of colors (20 skeins) from Drops Lima, a wool/alpaca blend, and had plenty left over.

Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques:

Part 1 (Knit):
Cast on (CO)
K (knit)
P (purl)
Stretchy bind off (tutorial video here)
Standard bind off
Picking up stitches from the edge of the row (tutorial video here)
Not absolutely necessary but I found to be extremely helpful: this tutorial on speed knitting by RJ Knits.

Part 2 (Crochet):
Magic Ring (MR)
Double crochet (dc)
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Granny square join-as-you-go (great tutorial here)

Part 1 Instructions: The Main Body

Using spare balls of scrap yarn / orphan skeins / leftover yarns

1.CO 50 sts to the 24″ circular knitting needles
2. Turn, K every stitch across
3. Rpt Step 2, changing yarn at the end of the row whenever you think you don’t have enough for another full row (or whenever you feel like it). Tie the old yarn tail and the new yarn tail into a knot. Work until you have 130 rows. Transfer your piece to a stitch holder – this completes the first front panel, one of the two skinny halves of the front.

4. For the second front panel, repeat Steps 1-3 until you have another full 50 st x 130 row piece.

5. Switch to your 40″ circulars and knit your first rectangle onto the new circulars. Cast on 10 extra stitches, then knit your second rectangle on. You now have both of your front panels, plus 10 new stitches in between for the collar, on the 40″ circular needles.

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Close-up of the collar area

6. Turn, knit every stitch across, continuing to change & knot yarn as before. Work 130 total rows.

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5. Bind off. My favorite is the stretchy bind-off, directions for which are in this great video from Knitting with Cheryl Brunette.

Trim:

1. Using the the 40″ circular, pick up sts along the edge of the piece – I used my  bulky “base” yarn and got about 180 stitches (1 stitch per 2 rows). Here’s a great video from the indomitable Purl Soho on picking up stitches from the side of garter stitch rows.

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Picking up stitches from the side of the rows, front side

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Picking up stitches from the side of the rows – view from the back. Notice the ridge formed by the side of the rows on this side – this is where we will attach the extra fringe later.

2. K for 10 rows. Bind off using the standard method – to make the Part 2 joining easier, I would not recommend stretchy bind-off here.

3. Repeat trim on the other side, making sure that you work the second edge with the same side facing, positioning all ends to the back of your work (so that the fringe will be all on the same side).

Collar:

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1.  With 40″ circular needles, pick up stitches on the side of the rows beginning on the inside of the front panel up to the collar, then around and down the inside of the of the opposite panel (remember only 1 stitch per 2 rows)

From this row of picked up stitches we’ll work a 4×4 rib. If you are picky about not ending up with partial ribs, you could go to the trouble to make sure the amount of stitches you pick up is divisible by four, but I didn’t – and was divisible by four anyway! Lucky me.

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2. For the 4 x 4 rib, *K 4, P 4* across the entire row. Work 8 total rows in the rib by knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches in every row. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in any ends from the main body left on this inside edge.

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PART 2 Instructions: Granny Square Trim

4.50 mm crochet hook
Assorted DK weight yarns
Gauge: 1 square = 6″

Next we’ll make TWO separate strips of 11 granny squares (about 6 inches in length each). You can definitely use scrap yarn here too, but I used a set of colors from Drops Lima yarn for a more uniform appearance.

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To begin the granny square, make a magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into the ring, ch 3. (3 dc into the ring, ch 3) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rnd 2: Join new yarn to any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same sp, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same sp, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rnd 3: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same sp, Ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Round 4: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice] 3 times. Join with a slip stitch to the first dc of the round. Do not cut yarn.

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Rnd 5:

If this is your first square for the strip, work as normal. If this is not your first square, connect ONE of the sides to the previous square on the strip by beginning with any chain-3 corner and ending with the next, using this join-as-you-go method from Attic 24. If you prefer, you could also make all squares individually and seam them later 🙂

Sl st in the next 2 dc and in the next ch st so your hook is positioned to begin the next round at the ch-3 corner. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times] Repeat [bracketed] instructions 3 times total. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Joining Seam

Once you have your 2 strips of grannies, check to see if they are roughly the length of the sides of the ruana by laying the strip against the edge of the trim. Ballpark is fine here, you just want to make sure neither piece is overly stretched or scrunched to match. You may end up needing one more or less granny, depending on your gauge and yarn choices.

Weave in all your ends and block if desired. Lay out the main body of the ruana and settle your granny strip up against the trim, the RS of the granny facing the same side as your ridge (where the fringe will be). Thread a tapestry needle with some spare DK weight yarn and use a simple whip stitch to attach the granny squares to the trim of the ruana all the way down across. Repeat on the other side.

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Clean up any ends remaining from your joining seam.

Fringe:

Using a 6″ piece of cardboard, book, or other object to wrap yarn around, cut a bunch of lengths of yarn for your fringe. Fold each length in half, then loop through the ridges made from picking up the stitches along the edge of the main body.

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Catch the leftover ends of knotted yarn in your fringe as you go, repeating across the edges on either side of the ruana. Once you have finished, cut the fringe down to just a little longer than the garter edge trim (you don’t want it covering your pretty grannies too much).

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Hunt down any stray ends that may need weaving in, then sink into the cozy rainbow bliss.

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Kudos to model Daisey Denson for keeping that hat on her head like a champ despite the very GUSTY winds coming off the lake!

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-MF

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Bernie Beanies, etc…

Right, so, this is the type of post where I picture-dump some of the projects I have been working on lately but haven’t had time to talk about individually. I’ve been creakily trying to finish up some of the colder-weather projects that had remained in limbo before I switch gears and everything turns all bright and cotton and mandala-y!

So here’s the third Bohemian Fringe Poncho, worked with an alternative yarn to Bernat Roving, to great success…

This one, like the other two ponchos I made while designing the pattern, are for sale in my Etsy shop!

Next up is a rare thing on this blog… a finished knitting project. I love knitting, but I am woefully neglectful of my knitting projects since I am always so busy with crochet / spinning / dyeing. But since this one was a commission, I was obliged to finish it in a timely manner.

I was stoked on this project when it was requested, because I support Bernie for President, because I am pretty obviously a liberal hippie feminist pinko commie.

Whew, okay. I also made this blanket over Winter Break.

My notes can be found on the Ravelry project page for this! I used 8 different colorways of variegated yarn, 15 skeins total. It was mega fun.

The weather here was great today, continuing the tradition of a mid-January Indiana warm-up to really mess with our sunshine-starved heads before it dumps more snow out of the sky. I took advantage of the mild temps to do a photoshoot for my upcoming pattern.

But you’ll just have to wait and see!

-MF

Tidbits Linen Stitch Bag

Remember Tidbits Linen Stitch? That was only my second post, from what seems like a million years ago (but was only 6 months). Well, that delightful diversion remained hanging from the knitting needle at the very bottom of my WIP basket since I posted that little tutorial. I’ve been cleaning up old hangers-on and scribbling their names out of my project notebook. In the case of this little swath of linen stitching, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it… it was just a matter of getting it done.

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A simple envelope style bag. The ultra-bright colors and the woven look-alike stitch reminded me of the beautiful textiles of South America. The use of various yarn weights and russian joining (which produces some frayed ends poking out here and there) adds to the folksy, rural feel of this piece (aka – messy looking), which I accentuated by adding little tassels made from my handspun, Andean-plied Targhee sample and finishing with an I-cord strap, from the same handspun.

Andean plied Targhee

Andean plied Targhee

The awesome thing about this bag is that it is made exclusively from yarn bits that were under 20 yards in length. I love projects that challenge me to use things that are otherwise doomed to non-usefulness.

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Watching different colors blend together using linen stitch is fun, with the added advantage of a simplistic stitch pattern to zone out on. Linen stitch creates a right side (the woven looking side) and a wrong side (the bumpy garter stitch looking side), so a fold-over bag like this is a great way to use the fabric so that the right side is featured and the wrong side stays hidden.

-MF

Pattern Gallery: Scarves for Spring

Spring Scarves Gallery

Maybe you live in a place where the changing climate has already settled into a warm, sunny paradise of April breezes and bright flowers and days stretched out in the sun. Congratulations. I live in Indiana where ‘spring’ is normally a three month long epic battle between Cold and Hot that always dumps you on the other side of May, sweltering and wishing you could crawl inside your air conditioning unit. We still need scarves ’round here.

Although I’ve picked this collection for their springtime look, many are also great for autumn if you live in the southern hemisphere!

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Atlantic Lace Shawl from Make My Day Creative – I happen to be working on this one right now, and it’s a fantastic pattern – looks super fancy but with a relaxing repetitive stitch pattern. And it’s FREE!

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Mountains Cowl from Gleeful Things – Fringe is so in style right now that we might have already outpaced the 70’s. Also FREE!

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Blooming Vine by Yumiko Alexander on Ravelry – Gorgeous concept for a scarf that makes a statement rather than just sits on around your neck in boring rectangle form. 6.50 USD.

Lesmiserables

Les Miserables by Cynthia Parker on Ravelry – One for the ambi-crafters. This FREE knitting pattern is a fantastic, gritty urban detour from the usual flowery lacy spring shawl fare.

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Sunday Shawl by The Little Bee ~ Alia Bland on Ravelry – I love the bright colors on the version of the shawl pictured, but it would look just as nice in sleek neutral tones. Awesome spring wrap, especially if you make it in a cotton blend. 6.50 NZD.

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Crystal Chandelier Shawl by Maria Magnusson on Ravelry – Sweet lace knitting pattern so airy it goes right on into summer. Only 4.00 USD!

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Alpine Shawl from Cascade Yarns – FREE crochet pattern, nestled amid a bunch of other free patterns on the Cascade page. Get in on the forest-y, elf-y style with this sweet leafy green shawl.

-MF

Pattern Gallery: The Scoodie Collection

Some of my favorite things to make are patterns featuring creatures of all sorts… mythical, fantastical, or real life. Monsters of the deep, ancient lizard lords, beasts spotted or striped or maned. And hey, spring is a good time for small but still-warm accessories… soooooo here’s some animal scoodies for my first pattern collection.

Scoodie Pattern Collection

Cat Scoodie:

From the Grand Master Funk of crochet blogs herself! Free pattern from Tamara Kelly on Moogly.

Dino Scoodie:

ULTRA adorable Dino scoodie from Shelley Moore on Ravelry for $4.95 USD.

Bear Scoodie:

Free pattern from Niftynnifer – I’ve never seen this yarn before but I would love to get my hands on some.

Panda Scoodie:

Cute panda hood complete with pawprints from Ira Rott on Ravelry,  C$6.50

Kraken Scoofie:

Whatever a scoofie is, this one is FABULOUS. Check out Rhea Richardson’s badass kraken scoofie pattern on Ravelry for $6.00 USD!

Lamb Scoodie:

Because I’m an ambi-crafter, this one’s a knit from TwoofWandsShop on Etsy, available for $5.50 USD.

Patterns take a lot of time, planning, and focus, so please leave feedback to the artist if you enjoy their work!

-MF

Tidbits Linen Stitch

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I hate throwing craft supplies away. Take, for example, the two dollar bag of scratchy vintage tapestry wool in the absolute nastiest colors in the universe that I purchased from a garage sale three years ago. Oh, and tapestry wool apparently means “chopped into little pieces for you already.”  Useless. Still, have I yet unburdened myself of this fibrous disaster? Of course not. I have an illness.

Ew.

Ew.

And eventually every crocheter or knitter ends up with a basket or bag or drawer or whatever filled with little yarny leftovers – and there are multitudes of patterns online for 100 yards or less. Honestly, though, most of them aren’t to my taste. That, and most of my scraps are MUCH less than 100 yards, further limiting my options for them.

ENTER THE RUSSIAN JOIN! (Tutorial here)

As soon as I learned about the Russian join the gears started turning with plans for my little leftover yarn-ball buddies. Scary plans involving Human Centipede style freak surgery, ending in this Frankenball.

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Technically speaking, Russian join isn’t really any more time-saving than weaving in the ends on a finished piece, and it certainly isn’t prettier – you end up with small tufts and lumps during the color changes, but I had a specific plan for this Frankenball where that wouldn’t matter much. I needed a stitch that would create a soft transition from color to color, a gentle gradation that would camouflage the disparity in weight between the different yarns. I needed the Linen Stitch.

Linen stitch is a knit stitch with a right side and wrong side (it can be done in the round as well) that alternates between working a new stitch and slipping a stitch purlwise while simultaneously weaving your yarn from back to front. Slipping every other stitch carries color UP from your previous row, “mixing” it in with the current color and creating color blends as well as a firm woven-looking texture (without all that pain-in-the-ass loom warping).

It’s a lot easier than I just made it sound. Click here for a great tutorial on this stitch!

For those of you who just need a quick reminder, the linen stitch goes like this:

(Over an even number of stitches)

Row 1: Knit 1, yarn forward, slip one, yarn back. Repeat.

Row 2: Purl 1, yarn back, slip one, yarn forward. Repeat.

The slip ones in linen stitch are all done purlwise. And so you just repeat that, ad nauseam.

Color strategy is fairly important if you want the palette to come out looking streamlined. I recommend lining up your variegated yarn bits first, and then finding solids that match those tones to fit in between, using the variegated yarns as sort of a bridge between colors. Once you’ve got your tidbits lined up, start splicing! Lightning storm not required.

Linen Stitch

-MF