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Be an Alpaca Direct “Ambassador” at Stitches West!

We love Stitches Marketplace as much as everyone.   With our store and warehouse now in North Idaho the journey is over 900 miles.  So… this year we wanted everyone to know our hearts and minds are with you even though we won’t have a booth at the show.   Instead we have Alpaca Direct ‘Ambassadors’  enjoying the show this weekend and spreading the word about us.   These ambassadors are wearing one of our new “I Luv Alpaca Direct’ t-shirts and also earn a $20 gift card just for sharing their Luv with the crowd at Stitches!
If you would like to be an ambassador we have a few shirts remaining so just email us
and we’ll tell you the secret location (booth) to pick up your shirt at  the show.   As part of the contest we’re running, other folks attending Stitches can enter a ‘Selfie Photo Contest’ where they take a picture of themselves with one of the ambassadors (That’s you!) wearing a shirt and post a comment.  There will be a $100 gift card to the person with the most votes!

Hey folks…that can pay for a nice stash of new yarn!!!

I love alpaca direct
I love Alpaca Direct T-shirt

 

Here’s Jody our first Ambassador who will be hitting the show floor on Friday morning.  Look how great she looks in this nice T-Shirt!

 

jody with an alpac direct t-shirt
Jody – an Alpaca Direct Ambassador!

Project Tutorial: Owl Fingerless Gloves Pattern

These cute & studious little cabled owls will keep your hands toasty & the textbook pages turning!    We’ve included a step by step tutorial along with the pattern for these adorable owl fingerless gloves.

Materials:  Owl fingerless gloves while reading owl-reading-mitts-patternowl-reading-mitts-tutorial-1

Stitches & Abbreviations:

  • dpns— double-pointed needles
  • m1— make 1 new stitch by picking up the running thread from the back & knitting it
  • c4b— slip 2 stitches to cable needle & bring to back of your work, knit 2 regular stitches, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle
  • c4f— slip 2 stitches to cable needle & bring to front of your work, knit 2 regular stitches, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle
  • k2tog— knit 2 stitches together
  • [instructions]— brackets don’t need any special treatment; they are just to help keep instructions organized

Directions:

Left glove:

Cast on 20 stitches & divide evenly between 4 dpns, being careful not to twist the cast-on. Place marker & join.

  • Rounds 1-12: *k2, p2* repeat around (2 x 2 ribbing)
  • Round 13:  knit around
  • Round 14: *k4, m1* repeat around— 25 stitches in round
  • Round 15: knit around

Now, you’ll rearrange the stitches on your dpns to make the counting easier. From the marker, leave 2 stitches on the first dpn. Place the next 12 stitches on the second dpn. Place the next 9 stitches on the third dpn & leave the last 2 stitches on the fourth dpn. The brackets will help you see what happens on each dpn.

  • Round 16: [k1, m1, k1], [k2, p8, k2], [k9], [k1, m1, k1]— 27 stitches in round
  • Round 17: [k3], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k3]
  • Round 18: [k1, m1, k2], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k2, m1, k1]— 29 stitches in round
  • Round 19: [k4], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k9], [k4]
  • Round 20: [k1, m1, k3], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k3, m1, k1]— 31 stitches in round
  • Rounds 21-24: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 25: [k5], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 26: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Rounds 27 & 28: [k5,], [p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 29: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 30: [k5], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 31: [k5], [p2, k8, p2], [k9], [k5]
  • Round 32: knit around
  • Round 33: [k5], [k12], [k9], but don’t work the last 5 stitches on the fourth dpn

Slip the first 5 stitches  of the round & the last 5 stitches of the round onto a piece of scrap yarn & set aside— these will become your glove’s thumb later (10 stitches total). Cast on 1 extra stitch across the gap to connect the remaining stitches in a round, and rearrange evenly on your dpns (22 stitches total).

  • Rounds 34 & 35: knit around
  • Round 36: purl around
  • Round 37: *k2tog, yo* repeat around
  • Round 38: purl around
  • Round 39: knit around

Loosely bind off the 22 stitches from your dpns.

Slip the thumb stitches back onto your dpns & distribute evenly (you may only want to use 3 dpns here). Pick up & knit 1 stitch in the gap where the thumb meets the body of the glove (11 stitches total).

Rounds 1-3: knit around

Loosely bind off all thumb stitches.

Right glove:

Cast on 20 stitches & divide evenly between 4 dpns, being careful not to twist the cast-on. Place marker & join.

  • Rounds 1-12: *k2, p2* repeat around (2 x 2 ribbing)
  • Round 13:  knit around
  • Round 14: *k4, m1* repeat around— 25 stitches in round
  • Round 15: knit around

Now, you’ll rearrange the stitches on your dpns to make the counting easier. From the marker, leave 2 stitches on the first dpn. Place the next 9 stitches on the second dpn. Place the next 12 stitches on the third dpn & leave the last 2 stitches on the fourth dpn. The brackets will help you see what happens on each dpn.

  • Round 16: [k1, m1, k1], [k9], [k2, p8, k2], [k1, m1, k1]— 27 stitches in round
  • Round 17: [k3], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k3]
  • Round 18: [k1, m1, k2], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k2, m1, k1]— 29 stitches in round
  • Round 19: [k4], [k9], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k4]
  • Round 20: [k1, m1, k3], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k3, m1, k1]— 31 stitches in round
  • Rounds 21-24: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Round 25: [k5], [k9], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k5]
  • Round 26: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Rounds 27 & 28: [k5,], [k9], [p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p2], [k5]
  • Round 29: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Round 30: [k5], [k9], [p2, c4b, c4f, p2], [k4]
  • Round 31: [k5], [k9], [p2, k8, p2], [k5]
  • Round 32: knit around
  • Round 33: [k5], [k9], [k12], but don’t work the last 5 stitches on the fourth dpn

Slip the first 5 stitches  of the round & the last 5 stitches of the round onto a piece of scrap yarn & set aside— these will become your glove’s thumb later (10 stitches total). Cast on 1 extra stitch across the gap to connect the remaining stitches in a round, and rearrange evenly on your dpns (22 stitches total).

  • Rounds 34 & 35: knit around
  • Round 36: purl around
  • Round 37: *k2tog, yo* repeat around
  • Round 38: purl around
  • Round 39: knit around

Loosely bind off the 22 stitches from your dpns.

Slip the thumb stitches back onto your dpns & distribute evenly (you may only want to use 3 dpns here). Pick up & knit 1 stitch in the gap where the thumb meets the body of the glove (11 stitches total).

Rounds 1-3: knit around

Loosely bind off all thumb stitches.

 

Diving in Deeper:

What is with all the brackets?

Yeah, I know… knitting patterns aren’t supposed to look like math textbooks, right? But bear with me here for a minute. If you haven’t started a pair of these gloves, this probably looks super threatening & you can’t imagine how such ugliness could ever be helpful. Here’s the dealio, though: when you reach that part of the pattern, you have your 25 stitches split very strategically across 4 double-pointed needles. The brackets help you see what is happening on each of the 4 needles— they’re just a way to visually break up the round into bite-size chunks!

“Split very strategically?” Want to elaborate a little there?

In my Holly Holiday voice: I thought you’d never ask! While the gunk inside the brackets looks like word soup at first glance, there really is a pattern from round to round. Take a look at the left glove, for example.

  • The first & last brackets correspond to the stitches on your first & last dpns. They start off with only 2 stitches each, but increase every other round until they hold 5 stitches each. Then, they sit tight & get knit until it’s time to turn those stitches into the thumb of your glove.
  • The second bracket is where your owl will take shape. The written-out directions are hard to visualize, but the chart below might help you see what’s really going on under all that purling & cabling.owl_chart_1

 

  • The third bracket is plain-Jane knit stitches, every single round! This chunk of stitches will become the palm of your glove.
  • Then, to make your right glove, it’s the same process, just with the 2nd & 3rd brackets switched!

Why the floopy yarn-overs at the end of the glove?

This is a purely stylistic choice that you are, of course, welcome to modify or leave out altogether. From round 37 onward, you’re creating some raised eyelets for the top edge of your gloves. They are there for two reasons: first, to combat the rolling tendency of plain old stockinette stitch, and second, to look classy as hell. Who wants ribbing at the top of fingerless gloves, right?

Finishing:

Weave in ends & trim. Sew buttons into place as the owls’ eyes— the little square of purled stitches marks where they belong. Now slip them on & never choose between cute & smart again!owl fingerless gloves

Ready to turn your screen off & start knitting?

Download Owl Reading Mitts tutorial for a printable version of this post, or

Download Owl Reading Mitts pattern for a no-nonsense printable pattern.

XOXOXOXO, Meg :)

These pretty little gloves were knitted with Cascade Yarns Chunky Baby Alpaca in Cafe Au Lait.

© 2011 Meghan Bosanko

meghan123

Project tutorial: Cristaria Shrug with Cascade Ultra Pima

Named for a pearl mussel that produces freshwater pearls, the Cristaria shrug is a quick, pretty knit shrug that complements formal summer ensembles or casual looks alike. Add beads or pearls for a piece that is truly your own!back of christaria shrug

Materials:

Stitch abbreviations:

  • yo— yarn over
  • k2tog— knit 2 stitches together

Directions &  Hints:

Cast on 108 stitches, leaving at least a 12˝ tail. This will seem longer than it needs to be, but don’t fret! Take a look at the picture to the right. Imagine taking your straight cast-on edge & bending it into the wavy bottom edge of the shrug. That’s why your finished piece won’t be anywhere near as wide as it seems now.

  • Row 1: knit across
  • Row 2: purl across

Here comes the exciting part: the lace row. This sequence of increases & decreases is what turns a fairly ordinary stitch pattern into something visually interesting (and, in this case, wavy!). During each repeat, you are going to decrease a total of 6 times (the k2tog stitches) and increase a total of 6 times (the yarn overs). So, even though you’re subtracting stitches in some places & adding them in others, your total stitch count at the end of each row should always be the same (108, to be precise).

  • Row 3: k2tog 3 times, *k1, yo* 6 times, k2tog 3 times. Place stitch marker. Repeat across row 5 more times.

Phew! Take a step back & congratulate yourself— you just finished the tricky part & I bet it looks like a rat’s nest, doesn’t it? Just remember: you’re taking a wavy row & straightening it out onto your needle, so it really should look a bit confused.

  • Row 4: knit across

And that’s really all there is to it! You’ll repeat those 4 rows about 14 more times, depending on how big around you’d like your armholes. To finish, bind off & break yarn, leaving at least a 12˝ tail.

ontheneedles
Don’t panic when your work-in-progress looks bunchy!

Diving in Deeper:

The lace row sure does have a lot of counting— wouldn’t it be a lot easier to use more markers?

A tempting proposition, no? Normally, I prefer to use markers like big red flags to remind me when it’s time to change stitches. In this pattern, though, the markers are smack dab in the middle of a bunch of k2togs! There is method to my madness (well, this time, at least…). This is an atypical lace pattern in that the increases are all bundled together & the decreases are all bundled together. A more regular (rectangular) pattern usually peppers them across the row in pairs. Because of this, if you plunk down markers willy-nilly, they will actually migrate across the row & mess you up! So, the short answer is that markers are only useful to a point on this pattern. Think of them more as error correction tools— if you end up with anything other than 18 stitches between markers, you know something has gone wrong in that section.

The “short answer?” That didn’t seem very short at all. Out of morbid curiosity, what was the long answer?

Plate tectonics!

Excuse me?

No, really! The stitch markers show you the center of a double-sided stitch “subduction” zone— basically a stitch gobbler. It’s like the stitch markers are hovering over very aggressive black holes that pull stitches in & make them disappear. Conversely, in the middle of each increase section (right after the 3rd yarn over, to be precise) is a “mid-ocean ridge” of stitches— a place where new stitches bubble up to the surface & spread out. If you placed a stitch marker at each of these spots,  you could imagine them hovering over tiny stitch factories, creating new stitches & pumping them outward. The whole row would look something like this:

pacman1

Which, to me, looks a whole lot like this:

red-yellow

Wow, this is really getting out of hand. Anything else you’ve been dying to get off your chest?

Well, since you asked… The idea for how & where to use stitch markers (as a way to catch & isolate mistakes instead of to tell you when to change stitches) came from the mathematical basis for error-correcting code. Also, the function y(x) = 2.5 cos (2π x/13), with x & y in centimeters, describes each row of this pattern. Whee!

Finishing:

String a single freshwater pearl onto each of about 25 head pins. Trim pin ends & bend into loops. Attach pins at the bottom of the soft U-shaped rows of the center 3 columns of stitches (see picture), or use whatever arrangement strikes your fancy.

closeup

Use reserved yarn tails to attach corners of finished piece to create armholes. Weave in ends & trim.

Now throw it over a sundress & go put Audrey Hepburn to shame.

meghan123

Ready to turn your screen off & start knitting?

Download Cristaria Shrug tutorial  for a printable version of this post, or

Download Cristaria Shrug pattern for a no-nonsense, 1-page printable pattern.

XOXOXOXO, Meg :)

This shrug was knitted with Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima in Heathered Pansy #3705.

© 2011 Meghan Bosanko