Dancing with Bears

“Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstance.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright


Where will your ursine guide lead you … on a midmorning romp or a full moonlight bacchanal?

Either way, you’ll fit right in. This crescent-shaped shawl has a simple garter stitch ground. And my own stitch pattern, inspired by the classic bearclaw pattern, forms the border. (Enjoy the playful picot claws!) Not too primitive. Not too refined. Just right!

The knitting begins with a picot cast on, and border and is worked flat (lots of stitches, not so many rows), with short rows shaping the garter-stitch crescent.


3 Sizes: 3 Sizes: S (M, L) measuring 18 (20, 22)” deep mid back by 71 (80, 89)” long from tip to tip across the top. Shown in size M.

Gauge: 18 sts and 31 rows = 4″ in garter stitch.

Yarn: Sunday Knits 5 ply (worsted weight) in Angelic (merino angora), Nirvana (merino cashmere), Eden (merino) or Brigadoon (merino tweed); 125 m / 137 yd per 50 g: 5 (6, 7) skeins. Shown in Angelic bone.
Dancing with Bears can also be made using a thinner or thicker yarn; use a needle size that creates the desired fabric and work a smaller or larger size to compensate for the difference in gauge.

Needles: Size US 7 (4.5 mm) for garter, 8 (5 mm) for border and bind off, and 9 (5.5 mm) for cast on only. Circular needles are recommended to accommodate the large number of stitches: 474 (540, 606) sts on longest row.

Notions: Stitch markers.

Techniques used: Picot cast on (explained), simple lace knitting (the only stitches used are ssk, p2tog and yo).

Pattern includes: Written instructions, border stitch pattern in both written and charted formats, schematic.

Knit Dancing with Bears

© Sunday Knits 2016. All rights reserved. Design and photography by Carol Sunday.
Edited by Sandra Whittaker. Modeled by Kaitlyn Oliver and Francheska Brzazgon

birthday raffle!

O frabjous day! Calloh! Callay! – Lewis Carroll

It’s my birthday …

… and as you know, I usually like to celebrate by sharing some freebies and prizes with you all,

so this year we’re having a raffle!

There are lots of opportunities to win:

First prize is a Sunday Knits gift certificate for $250!
There are two 2nd prize gift certificates of $100 each
three 3rd prize gift certificates of $75 each
four 4th prize gift certificates of $50 each
five 5th prize gift certificates of $25 each
and twelve prizes of a free pattern of the winners’ choice.

To enter: Entries are limited to Sunday Knits newsletter subscribers only (to subscribe, email: newsletter@sundayknits.com).
On every Sunday Knits purchase from now through August 21, you will receive one raffle entry for every $50 spent.
If you’re not making a purchase, you may enter by sending a letter or postcard to: Sunday Knits Raffle, 240 Lovesee Rd, Roscoe, IL 61073, and please let us know your name and the email address to which your Sunday Knits newsletters are being sent.

Winners will be selected in a random drawing on August 21, with each entry having an equal chance of winning. I look forward to notifying each winner a month from now, and will also post a listing of winners on my website (it will be at the “events” tab on the home page upper toolbar).

Good luck to all!!

Fun and games aside, I want you to know how much I’ve appreciated your support, friendship and encouragement over the past year. I’m able to work doing what I love, and that is because of you!

xoxo, Carol

Buttonhole-stitch buttonholes

The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging. – Molly Ivans

Sewing buttonholes using buttonhole stitch

With a tapestry needle and a little yarn, you can make pretty and professional-looking buttonholes.

With tapestry needle threaded, begin by weaving in the end … it’s easier now than it will be later.

Draw needle through to the front, at the bottom of where the buttonhole will be positioned.

Draw through at the top of where the buttonhole will be, creating a buttonhole loop.

Draw yarn back to the bottom to create a second buttonhole loop.

Check to make sure that the loops are the right size and just snug enough for the button.

To begin buttonhole stitch *insert needle underneath the buttonhole loops,

Draw the yarn nearly through, then insert needle through last bit of loop,

Pull stitch snug.

Repeat from * inserting needle underneath the buttonhole loops,

Draw the yarn nearly through, then insert needle through last bit of loop,

Pull stitch snug. Repeat buttonhole stitch until buttonhole loops are full of close-together stitches.
To finish, draw yarn to wrong side, weave in end and trim.

Nice!

Madam Secretary

“There is no time but the present” – Oscar Wilde

Comfortable and elegant garter-stitch cocoon with dolman (batwing) sleeves and wrap-around shawl collar that forms a yoke in back.
Easy and fun – a nice first-sweater project.

Madam Secretary is knit sideways in one piece beginning with a provisional cast on at the back and working sideways in one direction then the other. Short rows shape a gore down the center back.

More provisional cast-on’s begin the front sleeves, which are worked along with the back and shaped with simple decreases to form a miter.

The resulting rectangle is folded diagonally at each end and seamed to form sleeves. The collar/yoke is picked up from provisionally cast-on front stitches and back yoke stitches, with decreases shaping the center back yoke.

Sizes: XS (S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)”
to fit chest sizes 28-32 (33-36, 37-40, 41-44, 45-48, 49-54, 55-60)”. Shown in size S.

Yarn: Sunday Knits 5 ply yarn (137 per 50g skein): Angelic (merino angora), Eden (merino), Nirvana (merino cashmere) or Brigadoon (merino tweed): 10 (11, 12, 12, 13, 14, 15) skeins.

Shown in Angelic smoke.

Needles & Notions: Needles Size 7 / 4.5 mm straight or circular needles for body of shrug and circular needles with long cable for collar; size 10 / 6.0 mm needle for bind off; tapestry needle, removable stitch markers, crochet hook size 8 / 5.0 mm or larger for provisional cast on.

Gauge: 17 sts and 34 rows = 4″ in garter stitch.

Techniques used: Provisional cast on, simple short rows (explained), knit, k2tog, ssk, pick up and knit, bind off.

Pattern includes: Written instructions, schematic, glossary.

Available as a pattern download or as a kit

Knit Madam Secretary

© Sunday Knits 2015. All rights reserved. Design and photography by Carol Sunday.
Edited by Sandra Whittaker. Modeled by Rebekah Smith

Italian bind off

The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging. – Molly Ivans

The Italian bind off, also known as knit1-purl1 bind off or Kitchener bind off is a sewn bind off technique that yields beautiful, professional-looking results.
It’s excellent for binding off a traditional knit 1 purl 1 rib, and also lovely for shaker rib and other slip-stitch ribs.

Here’s what it looks like worked with a contrasting color yarn.
And Here’s how to work it:

At the end of the last row worked, cut yarn leaving a tail 3-4 times as long as the length of fabric to be bound off; thread yarn onto tapestry needle.

Draw threaded tapestry needle purlwise through 1st st,

bring needle around to the right then behind 1st st, insert between 1st and 2nd sts,

insert and draw knitwise through 2nd st;

*bring needle behind and around, insert knitwise into 1st st removing st,

passing in front of new 1st st draw purlwise through 2nd st;

pass needle in front then around to back, insert purlwise into 1st st removing st,

passing behind new 1st st insert tip between 1st st and 2nd st,
insert and draw knitwise through 2nd st;
(For illustration purposes, the picture shows the yarn being first drawn between the stitches then inserted and drawn through the 2nd st, but in practice, and using the needle tip, these can be done in the same motion.)

Repeat from * until all stitches have been bound off.

I hope you will enjoy both the process and the results of this technique!

the dreaded ssp

The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging. – Molly Ivans

Of all the decreases, the ssp (slip slip purl) is the most troublesome. We would avoid it altogether if it wasn’t for the fact that once in a while we need to decrease on the purl side of the fabric AND we want the decrease to appear to slant to the left neatly – with no twisted stitches – when viewed from the knit side … a tall order!

There is a common way of achieving this – slip 2 stitches individually knitwise, slip them together back to left needle purlwise, purl together through back loops. While this method does the job, it’s often unpleasant to work because each move requires the wrists to twist in a different direction. The finished appearance of the decrease is also not very satisfactory, because the stitches tend to get stretched out in the process.

Here are two techniques that achieve the same end, but with smaller and more comfortable motions, and with tidier results to boot.

The first:
In a nutshell: Slip 2 stitches individually knitwise, slip them together back to left needle KNITWISE, purl together through FRONT loops.

First to clarify what we mean by knitwise and purlwise … when we knit or slip stitches knitwise, the needles are in agreement. They approach the stitch from the same direction.

When we purl or slip stitches purlwise, the needles are in conflict. They approach the stitch from opposite directions.

So we slip first one stitch then the next one knitwise from left needle to right. Notice how the stitches have changed direction – on the left needle their right shoulders were forward, now the left shoulders are in front.

Maintaining needles in their knitwise position, insert the left needle into the 2 slipped stitches, removing them from the right needle. Notice that, in being slipped back knitwise, the stitches are now back in their original right-shoulder-forward postions, untwisted, but they’ve changed places.

Purl the 2 stitches together – through their front loops as usual.

The view from the knitside shows a tidy left-leaning decrease with no twisted stitches.

The second:
Another method that’s possibly quicker, although a bit more unorthodox, is a slip-drop technique.
In a nutshell:
Bring the right needle behind the 1st stich and into the 2nd stitch purlwise, slip the 2nd stitch off the left needle; this will force the 1st stitch off also … slip the left needle tip into it making sure that it stays in its right-shoulder-forward position, slip the 2nd stitch back onto the left needle purlwise, purl 2 together.

And here’s what it looks like:

Right needle behind the 1st stich and into the 2nd stitch purlwise; slip the 2nd stitch (along with the 1st) off the left needle;

Slip the left needle tip into the dropped 1st stitch, making sure that it stays in its right-shoulder-forward position;

Slip the 2nd stitch back onto the left needle purlwise, and purl the 2 stitches together – through their front loops as usual.

Again, the view from the knit side shows a tidy left-leaning decrease with no twisted stitches.

changing colors – a tutorial

The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging. – Molly Ivans

Joining Colors

While there is no wrong way to change colors, when working flat, a splice, in addition to saving time later on, will reduce bulk at the selvedge edge.
Russian splice is particularly recommended

When working in the round, the appearance of a color jog can be reduced by weaving in ends later.

To minimize a jog by weaving in:

When joining a new color make a slip knot,

tighten it,

snug it up to the work,

and begin working with it.

It will look like this from the back,

And like this from the front.

Weave in ends from the back, laying the old (lower) color strand down to the right and the new (higher) color strand up to the left.

With the new-color strand threaded, weave the yarn into the back of the last stitch on that first new-color row as shown – like duplicate stitch worked from the rear …

Then weave through a couple of purl bumps to keep the end in place.

Trim the end.

With the old-color strand threaded, weave the yarn into the back of the first stitch on that last old-color row as shown – like duplicate stitch worked from the rear ….

Then weave through a couple of purl bumps to keep the end in place.

Trim.

Be sure to work the duplicate stitches firmly so that the fabric is pulled into place.

Tubular cast on


This technique is perhaps the loveliest way to cast on for a k1-p1 rib. The edge is firm but stretchy and so very professional looking. I’ve just learned to do this and am so glad I did! My Fisherman’s Daughter is the first of many projects I’ll be using it for. Here’s how to do it:

With scrap yarn in a different color than the main color cast on half the number of stitches called for.
Switch to working yarn and, beg on WS purl 1 row. Cont in St st for 3 more rows.
WS: P1, with LH needle pick up purl bump from first row of working yarn and knit into its back loop (see drawing below), *p1, pick up next purl bump from first row of working yarn and knit into its back loop; rep from * to last st, purl last st, pick up the next half-bump of working yarn and knit into its back loop.

Remove waste yarn and work ribbing.

Machu Picchu

Der Weg ist das Ziel … The journey is the goal.

Birds zig and leaves zag across the stranded yoke of this Peruvian-inspired top-down fitted pullover.

The multicolored diamond shapes are worked as duplicate stitch. Short rows shape the yoke, and a tidy attached I-cord finishes off the neckline.

It’s worked in one piece from the top down with darts front and back for a nice lean fitted fit.

Sleeves and sweater bottom are ribbed with a tubular bind off (explained in instructions).

Finished measurements: 32 (36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56)” chest circumference. 0-2″ ease recommended. Shown in size 36 with 0 ease.

Yarn: Wool or wool blend yarn in 10 colors.
Shown here in Sunday Knits 3 ply (246 yds/225 m per 1 3/4 oz / 50g skein): Nirvana (92% merino 8% cashmere): 5 (6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9) skeins in charcoal, 1 skein in earth;
1 mini skein (99 yds/90 m per 3/4 oz / 20g skein) each of Nirvana in berry; Angelic (75% merino 25% angora) in tomato and buff; Eden (100% merino) in curry, grape, lagoon, sage and pickle.
Substitute any fingering weight yarn in a wool or wool blend that works to gauge.

Needles & Notions: Size 4 US / 3.5 mm circular needles 24″ / 60 cm or 32″ / 80 cm long, second set of circular needles the the same or any smaller
size (for tubular bind off only); size 4 US / 3.5 mm double-pointed needles for attached I-cord trim; tapestry needle, stitch markers, waste yarn.

Gauge: 28 sts and 34 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in stranded Stockinette stitch;
26 sts and 34 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in solid color Stockinette stitch.

Skills used: Stranded knitting, tubular bind off (explained), attached
I-cord (explained), duplicate stitch.

Available as a pattern download for $7, or as a kit

Knit Machu Picchu