Introducing Beachcomber, from Coastal Knits

The Coastal Knits Collection is now ready for purchase! With names like Driftwood, Ocean Lights, Inlet, Beachcomber and Abalone, the designs conjure up images of beaches, waves, and summer breeze. Walking the coast and combing for treasures.

beachcomber from coastal knits

Beachcomber is just one of the five new spring 2015 designs in my Coastal Knits collection. It’s an easy cardigan to make with flattering drape fronts that move and swing with your body. The stitch pattern may look complicated, but it’s really quite easy. All these factors make it a perfect addition for your knitting wardrobe. Plus it’s a great year round sweater to wear, too!

Even though it’s been labeled intermediate, I would urge any confident beginner to take the leap. I think of it more like an “intermediate beginner” rating! It is knit in 5 pieces with very little shaping. The fronts and back are simple rectangular shapes. With a modified drop styling, it only requires a bind off where the armholes are. The modified drop is easy to work and takes the excess bulk out of the armhole that a drop shoulder style would add.

Remember I said very little shaping? That brings me to the sleeves:  no “keeping in pattern” when increasing the stitches, which is a real worry for those not as experienced. The increased stitches are worked in stockinette stitch until 4 stitches have been increased. Because the stitch pattern is a repeat over 4 stitchess, after the 4 increased stitches are added, you just begin the pattern as before.  Plus, if you knit the back and both fronts first,  you should have the pattern memorized by the time you get to the sleeves and it will be easier to deal with the added stitches.

Mrs Hunter's Pattern

That brings me to the stitch pattern. This is an old favorite of mine, called “Mrs Hunter’s Pattern” that I discovered in Barbara G Walker’s “A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.” If you’re wondering who the heck Mrs Hunter was, Barbara explains she “was a member of the famous Hunter family of the Isle of Unst. The Hunters began and developed the art of Shetland lace knitting…” Pretty impressive! It is a beautiful mesh-like stitch. I love it because it adds texture and interest to an otherwise stockinette stitch base by simply slipping every 4th stitch and passing it over the following three. The next row replaces the passed over stitch with a yarn over.

Here it is: Give it a try and then you’ll be all ready to cast on for Beachcomber when you’re ready!

Cast on a multiple or 34 sts. It needs to be a multiple of 4 plus 2, but if you go with 34 sts, you’ll have a nice swatch when you’re finished to check your gauge for Beachcomber!

Row 1: (RS) Knit

Row 2: Purl

Row 3: K2, *sl 1, k3, psso the 3 knit sts; rep from *to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 4: P2, *p3, yo; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.

Repeat these 4 rows for pattern.

Note: Abbreviations used in pattern above:  K or k: knit; P or p: purl; psso: pass over; rep: repeat; RS: right side; st(s): stitch(es); WS: wrong side; yo: yarn over. Psso might stump a beginner, but it’s really just a matter of picking up the slipped stitch with your left needle and pulling it over the 3 sts just knit. It creates a little “necklace” around the 3! For a yarn over, take the yarn over the right needle and then between the needles to the front again. This creates an extra loop on the needle, replacing the stitch that was passed over from the previous row to restore the stitch count.

If you’d like to purchase Beachcomber, or any of the collection, they’re available now in my ravelry shop.

The scoop on the Knitting Monthly

The Knitting Monthly lives right here on this website, wildflowerknits.com.

No, it is not free. It is an ongoing monthly subscription, not unlike a magazine. But it’s more than that; it’s also a community of knitters. And a new class every month!

Each month I focus on one featured technique, such as Fair-Isle and stranding techniques, or short-rows, grafting, and on and on. In introducing the technique, I write an article or series of articles on the aspects of the technique. My husband then video tapes me working the featured techniques or stitch patterns. The videos are close-up and easy to follow.

Then there are the projects. Yes, I design a new project every month. These are normally smaller projects, such as accessories, like shawls and cowls – and home items, but sometimes we do a larger project. The larger projects are normally a design I’m working on for an upcoming season; members get exclusivity (an aded plus) with the first chance to knit it.

Another added plus: many of the projects can be done with stash yarns so it’s a great club for stash-busting, too. However, I do also have kits available most months. For example, the Striations cowl below uses 7 colors of Mesa, from Tahki yarns. It was first introduced as a Knitting Monthly pattern.

striations in mesa

Ok, so I’ve mentioned the articles, the videos, the projects. There’s also a private forum. Oh- and I throw in a recipe each month just for fun, too.

It used to be that you could just jump in at any time, but I have recently moved my website to a new platform that enables me to offer so much more in terms of a membership site. In this transitional phase, I have closed the signup for new members, but it will be opening up again very soon.

The best way to get in on the details is to sign up for the waiting list - or if you already get my newsletter, you won’t miss out. Either list will give you the scoop when it’s open again.

Get the scoop!

Chevron Stitch Patterns

chevron st st

I wrote not long ago about Stash-Busting and organization; this time I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite stitch patterns to use with odd bits of yarn. Chevron stitch patterns are great for using up small bits of different colors and/or textures in one piece. And that makes the Chevron stitch pattern a great choice for stash-busting projects.

The Chevron stitch pattern is created by alternating increases and decreases, resulting in a zigzag effect. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the Zigzag Stitch. An added plus and distinguishing feature is the scalloped edge that forms from the shaping. This makes a nice beginning and end to items such as scarves and throws with no extra effort. Depending on the placement of the increases and decreases, this can result in very angular edges or more rounded.

Another great feature of the Chevron stitch patterns are the seemingly endless variations. They can be knit all in Garter Stitch or alternated with Stockinette Stitch or any combination. Even the type of increase and decrease can be varied.

While Chevron stitch patterns look complicated, they really aren’t.

You’ll just need to know a few techniques:

  • knit 2 together (k2tog)- knit two stitches together
  • slip, slip, knit (ssk)- slip 1 stitch as if to knit, slip next stitch as if to knit, insert left needle into the front of the 2 stitches and knit them together
  • slipping stitches (sl)- slip stitch from left to right as if to purl without knitting the stitch
  • pass over (psso)- passing stitch(es) over another stitch
  • yarn overs (yo)- creating an extra loop on the needle
  • knitting into the front and back (kf&b) – knitting both into the front, then back of a stitch

Another decrease that is often used in Chevron stitch patterns is a double decrease. It decreases 2 stitches at once. It is made by slipping 2 stitches as if to knit, knitting 1 stitch, then passing the 2 slipped stitches over the knit stitch (p2sso). This is used in the Basic Chevron below and the photo at the top of this post.

 chevron with scrap yarns

Basic Chevron

Worked over a multiple of 12 stitches plus 3.

Row 1 (RS): K1, ssk, *k9, slip next 2 sts, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over the knit stitch; rep from *, end k9, k2tog, k1.

Row 2: K1, *p1, k4, (k1, yo, k1) in next st, k4; rep from *, end p1 k1.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern. Change colors every 2 rows as desired.

Here’s a variation of the same Chevron Stitch pattern where the increases and decreases are all on the same row:

Row 1 (RS): K1, k2tog, * k4,  (k1, yo, k1) in next st, k4, slip next 2 sts, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over the knit stitch; rep from * to last 3 sts, ssk, k1.

Row 2: Purl.

chevron garter stitch

Garter Stitch Chevron

Worked over a multiple of 11 stitches plus 2. Even rows are RS rows.

Rows 1-5: Knit

Rows 6, 8, 10,12: K1, K2tog, k2, kf&b of next 2 sts, k3, sl1, k1, psso; rep from * to end.

Rows 7, 9, 11: Purl

Both the number of garter rows and chevron rows can be altered to change the look of this one, too.

Yet another variation is the Feather and Fan stitch pattern. We see the yarn overs used as a decorative feature in Feather and Fan. Rows 3 and 4 can be repeated any number of times to add longer sections of stockinette stitch in between the chevron shaping row (Row 1).

feather and fan swatch

Feather and Fan 

Worked over a multiple of 18 stitches plus 2.

Row 1: K1, *[k2tog] 3 times, [yo, k1] 6 times, [k2tog] 3 times; rep from *, end k1.

Row 2: Knit

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: Purl

I’ve dubbed this “Sally’s favorite” over the years because it IS my friend Sally’s favorite! Check out Sally’s Favorite Scarf pattern.