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Aves Hat and Charmed Fall Accessories collection!

Woohoo! A mystery project of mine is finally releasing today, so now I can tell you all about it. It’s so hard to keep these secrets, but I admit, it’s fun at the same time. I’ve really been enjoying working on a small and growing pile of secret things this year.

Read on for the details, an announcement, and a giveaway!

Aves Hat pattern by Amanda Schwabe, part of the Charmed Fall Accesories collection from Knit Picks. #knitting #aknitica

The Aves Hat is now available in Knit Picks’ new Charmed Fall Accessories collection! And oh my goodness, you guys, I’ve been pouring through the book today, and it is adorable. It’s full of cute hats in all sorts of yarn weights, and I notice that most of them (including mine) feature fun pom poms this year. They’re colourful and fun, whimsical, and yes, completely charming. The collection is aptly named. ūüôā


I’m also delighted to see a selection of perfect mitten patterns. In fact, they’re basic and versatile enough that you might find yourself knitting them year after year. The designs have beautifully arranged stripes and just make me so happy.

Okay, and there’s more. More! Boot toppers with garden vegetables….!!!… cowls with feathers, with diamonds…. socks with foxes…. a scarf with a gnome on it (hilarious!), and then I found more gnomes as I flipped through the pages. And for the more subdued tastes, there are beautifully textured accessories that will be classics, like the Rectrix Scarf and the Eclate leg warmers and cowl (love!). I think I might need to make the Yarn Chase Hat with the kitty chasing a ball of yarn, at least for my daugher.

A more whimsical, charming, delightful collection I could not imagine. Knit Picks really knocked it out of the park, and I’m so thrilled¬†to be a part of it. It’s just loaded with quick, perfect projects that make me smile.

My fellow Ottawa Knitting Guild peeps might especially like the Circus Hat, which features a bit of light 2-colour brioche stitch in the ribbing. (Our theme this year is brioche, so how perfect is that!) It is super sweet to boot.

Now, my Aves Hat features some light colourwork, just enough to keep things interesting, but not so much to make it scary, I hope. Once the little section of birdies is done, the dots are worked only every fourth row, so you’ll have 3 rest rows in between to knit mindlessly around in circles. It has a nice, slouchy fit and a fluffy pom pom on top that will make it drape just perfectly when worn. I made¬†the ribbing around the bottom to be snug and cozy, and the pattern comes with 3 sizes so everyone can achieve a great fit.

Aves Hat by Amanda Schwabe in the Charmed Fall Accessories collection from Knit Picks. #knitting #aknitica

If you’ve never tried stranded colourwork¬†before, don’t worry! Here are a couple things I’ve written with tips for you, and if you have any questions, just ask. Quick Tips for Knitting Fair Isle Colorwork¬†and¬† Choosing Colors for Your Knitting.

The nice thing about this hat is that choosing the colours is a bit easier since there are only three. Heck, you could even knit it in just two if you like. I bet it would look awesome in black and white, or maybe black or grey with one of the Stroll Brights. I love those fluorescent colours! I wrote the pattern for Knit Picks Palette yarn, but you could easily knit it in Stroll instead, which is so super soft and lovely in a different way. Honestly, it’s hard for me not to knit 5 of each pattern I make, just to try out different colour and yarn combinations. I need more knitting hours!!

And now, another fun announcement:

If any of you would like to join me in a knitalong of¬†any of the patterns in this collection, I’m inviting you to come and join my new Facebook group. The aknitica group¬†is for anyone who likes to talk about knitting, of any kind, not just my patterns or classes. But obviously, we can talk about those, too, and if you have any questions about techniques or anything, I’ll be there to answer them as often as I can. And I’m sure there will be other knowledgeable knitters there, as well, who can help when I can’t get to the computer fast enough. ūüôā

So come join the aknitica community and let’s knit together! There will be a giveaway¬†of the Charmed Fall Accessories ebook,¬†and I’ll tell you all the details of how to enter in the group.


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Quick Tips for Knitting Fair Isle Colorwork

Fair Isle can be an intimidating technique, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, all you need is a little encouragement and guidance to get you going. At least, that’s all I needed. A few years ago, I took a 3-hour class with Sally Melville, and my knitting life suddenly expanded.

Tips for knitting Fair Isle. #knittingtips #write31days

Tips for Knitting Fair Isle

1. Try holding your yarn in different ways until you find a way that feels comfortable to you. (Read: least awkward.) Then, keep plugging away at it until your fingers hit their rhythm and you gradually speed up.

2. Some ways to hold your yarn:

  • with one color in each hand, knitting continental on one side and English on the other. (ie, alternating picking and throwing.)
  • with both colors in one hand: You can hold them together like a ribbon, side by side on your finger. You can have one strand wrap under your finger and the other over your finger. You can have one strand on your index and one on your middle finger. You could keep them on the same finger but separate them with a ring or a hair elastic.

3. Whatever way you hold your yarns, always keep them in the same positions in relation to one another. For example, if I hold my foreground color in my left hand, I keep it there for the entire project. I usually need to write it down because when I set it down for a while, I forget.

4. The color you hold underneath will be the more prominent¬†color. The strand that runs overtop of the other will recede slightly. This is why, if you switch hands or yarn positions halfway through a project, it will look like your design has changed. So, whatever color you want to pop out, hold it in the bottom¬†position. (In my case, that’s my left¬†hand.) Actually, whatever way you hold the yarn, the strand that’s held to the left will be the bottom, popping-out one.

5. To prevent bunching of stitches between color changes: Every time you switch colors, spread out the knitting on the right-hand needle, then start with the next color. Actually, keep spreading out your knitting as you go. I think Sally recommended doing it every 3 stitches or so.

6. Your colorwork might look uneven at first, even if your tension was pretty good. Washing and blocking it will help.

7. Fair Isle gauge won’t be the same as your plain knitting gauge, even if you’re using the same yarn and needles. The floats¬†tend to pull the fabric a bit tighter, making the stitches more like squares than little short rectangles. You must measure your gauge over a colorwork swatch, preferably in the same pattern as your project.

8. If your color changes happen further than an inch apart, you might want to “catch” the strand of the dormant color halfway across the gap to keep a long strand (float) from forming. This just means that you’ll bring the floating yarn in front of the working yarn (but not the knitting needle) before knitting one stitch. Then, you’ll return it to its original position and keep knitting.

9. Wool is more forgiving and is the best fiber for Fair Isle.

Sources: Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman and Two Hands, Two Colours Class by Sally Melville.

31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. #write31days #knittingtips

This post is part of my 31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. Every day, I’ll post a new tip or trick to make your knitting nicer. You can follow along easily by subscribing. If you have any knitting problems you’d like me to fix, let me know and I’ll try to answer your question as part of the series. You can find all the posts in the series here.