Jack-O Garter Mosaic Knit Washcloth

It’s almost here folks. The best time of the year. You know, falling leaves, pumpkin spice, rain, football, crisp air. And Halloween. And to  celebrate, I’ve got this jolly jack-o-lantern washcloth pattern to get you into the spirit.

Jack-O Pattern

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Jack-O is a garter stitch, mosaic knit washcloth that is created by working one color at a time and slipping stitches to create the design.  It’s an easy and entertaining  method that uses only one color per row, making it a great colorwork technique to start out with.

Size and gauge aren’t critical. The sample turned out at about 10 x 10 inches.

Materials

I like worsted cotton for washcloths. For this one, I used Peaches & Creme in colors Black (50 yards), Bright Orange (40 yards), and Rosemary(8 yards). Traditional, I know, but maybe you want to make a purple Jack-O. Now that I think about it, that’d be pretty cool.

Peaches & Creme yarn black orange rosemary

You’ll also need size US 7 Needles or whatever is recommended for your yarn.  And a tapestry needle comes in handy for weaving in those ends.

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The Jack-O pattern includes a color chart AND line-by-line written instructions. It can be purchased here for $2.50.

Please feel free to contact me at tara@megapteraknits.com with any questions or comments.

Happy Autumn!

Rubus Sleeveless Top – Knitting Tutorial

I’ve got another great summer top tutorial available: Rubus Sleeveless Top. It’s worked sideways and has a cute little stitch pattern that runs down the front. It reminds me of raspberries. They’re all over at the markets here now.

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Rubus top

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Check it out:

Rubus stitch pattern

The stitch video is here.

Rubus is a stockinette garment worked sideways, from side to center, in four separate panels, with underarm rows added later. Short rows and increases/decreases are used for shaping. I created this tutorial so that it could be made in pretty much any size and gauge. I’ll repeat: no specific sizes and gauges are provided. You get to take your own measurements, determine your own gauge from a knitted swatch, and calculate your own numbers. I like to be flexible that way.

Rubus top

Materials

Yarn: Whatever you like to wear for summer. The amount will depend on your yarn, size, and gauge. I used Plymouth Yarn Tussah Kissed. My gauge measured 5 stitches and 7 rows per inch, with a 39-inch chest circumference.

Approximate amounts at a similar gauge are as follows:

Finished bust size (inches)  

36

 

38

 

40

 

42

 

44

 

46

 

48

 

50

 

52

 

54

Total yarn amount (yards)  

810

 

870

 

960

 

1040

 

1110

 

1180

 

1230

 

1280

 

1330

 

1380

Thicker yarns will require less yardage; thinner yarns, more. I’m happy to help you determine amounts for significantly different gauges.

Needles: Long circular needles in whatever size is appropriate for your yarn to give you a nice drape. I used size US5 for the main body and US4 for the neck and bottom edgings.

Other items needed are stitch markers, tapestry needle for weaving in ends, and a good notebook to keep track of everything. And a calculator. But don’t worry, the math is easy.

Construction of Rubus

Rubus is worked in several pieces sideways, in this order:

  1. Work front right panel from side to center of front.
  2. Work front left panel from side to center of front.
  3. Graft front right and left panels together.
  4. Work back left panel from side to center of back.
  5. Work back right panel from side to center of back.
  6. Graft back right and left panels together.
  7. Sew front shoulders to back shoulders.
  8. Pick up stitches from left front side and work desired number of rows, then graft to back left.
  9. Pick up stitches from right back, work desired number of rows, then graft to front right.
  10. Add neck, arm, and bottom edges if desired

That’s it! Once you have your measurements and numbers, you’re ready to roll.

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You can purchase the Rubus tutorial here for currently only $1. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments at tara@megapteraknits.com

Have a great rest of the summer.

Frozen Mocha Maple Pops Recipe

Warning: non-knitting post ahead. But a delicious one instead. These frozen mocha maple pops are the perfect treat for cooling off this summer.

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Frozen Mocha Maple Pops

So I could eat about a hundred of these a day. I don’t suppose they’re the healthiest food in the world, but that’s why I don’t eat a hundred a day.

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It’s been hot here in the Seattle area lately. I by hot, I mean hot for here. Although it got a little insane here a few weeks ago. These frozen mocha maple pops are perfect for the summer and hot weather. But whatever. I’m going to be snacking on these during Christmas break.

As you know, I’m no food blogger. So I don’t have post full of pretty magazine-worthy pictures (I do love me a blog post full of gorgeous food pictures). But I promise the taste of these will more than make up for my lack of shiny pics.

You’ll only need a few ingredients and some molds to freeze the pops in:

Frozen mocha maple pops ingredients

I always add a little gelatin to all of my frozen pops; it makes them a bit less melt-y and drippy. It’s optional, but I like the texture it adds.

Also, I make my chocolate syrup.  There are about a thousand recipes on the internet for it; I use this one. But any store syrup will work too.

After mixing your ingredients, you’ll need some molds to freeze the pops in. Paper cups works well, or Amazon carries an unlimited selection of different styles. As a fan of stainless steel, I use these:

Onyx Stainless Steel Popsicle Molds

I also like these (the recipe makes about 8 or 9 popsicles, so I use these for overflow. They also make good frozen yogurt push pops).

Mirenlife Silicone Ice Pop Molds

BUT. If I ever need to order popsicle molds again, I’m totally getting these:

Tovolo Zombies Ice Pop Molds

Are these not the best thing you’ve ever seen?

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream

Method

  1. Mix gelatin with water and let sit for a couple of minutes until the consistency of applesauce.
  2. Place hot coffee in a saucepan on medium low heat. Whisk in gelatin mixture until gelatin is dissolved.
  3. Slowly whisk in rest of ingredients.
  4. Cool briefly, then pour into molds and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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Frozen mocha maple pops

Clan of Two – Free Knitting Pattern

I’ve got a free knitting pattern for all you Star Wars/Mandalorian fans. Clan of Two is worked from the bottom up and includes a corrugated rib cuff and thumb gusset.

Clan of Two knitted mittens

The Mudhorn signet was granted to our hero by the Armorer in the final episode of the first season of The Mandalorian, after she declares Dyn Jarren and Baby Yoda a “clan of two.”

I used US1.5 needles with a gauge of 9 stitches/inch, which made the mittens about 7 inches in circumference. If you need them a bit larger, use size US2 needles with a gauge of 8 stitches/inch.

The pattern has only been tested by me, so feel free to contact me with any questions or errors.

Enjoy!

Download here: ClanOfTwo

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How to Use Short Rows for Shoulder and Neck Shaping

Sooo….my Fall Vest that I started knitting back in September? Yeah, well, I just recently finished it. I might have to to re-name it since it’s, you know, almost Spring now.

Tabard Vest knitting

The pattern is Tabard Vest, by Lion Brand Yarns. The front and back are worked, then seamed together at the shoulders. Collar and side button bands are then added at the end.

The pattern is beautiful and well-written, but of course, I had to make modifications. I changed up the collar, and worked and attached the pocket as I went (rather than seaming it onto the vest).  But let’s talk about how I shaped the shoulders and the back neck.

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Shaping with Stair Steps

For the shoulder shaping, the pattern calls for binding off stitches at the end of each row for a stair-step look. Once the shoulders are bound off, the pattern instructs to bind off stitches at each end of the neck to create a dip.

Stair step bind off

After the stitches are bound off, the front and back can be seamed together.

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Shaping with Short Rows Instead

Short rows can be used for So. Many. Things. Carol Feller’s book, Short Row Knits: A Master Workshop With 20 Learn-As-You-Knit Projects is an amazing resource for all things short rows.  Feller describes in great detail the different types of short rows as well as the many techniques they are used for.

Short rows are utilized for creating 3D shapes, turning a sock heel, and of course, for garment shaping.

Subbing short rows for stair steps in a pattern is easy. Instead of binding off stitches at the beginning of each row, instead, knit to the END of the row, stopping short of the number of stitches the pattern calls to bind off.

For example, if the pattern calls for binding off 3 stitches at the beginning of the row, instead, work to three stitches before the end of the row, and work a wrap & turn. Keep working this method until you end up with the same number of rows the pattern calls for.

My Tabard Vest Example

The following sample shows how I shaped the shoulders and neck of my Fall Vest, using the Small size of the Tabard Vest.

I started with 93 stitches, which is the number of stitches on your needles in the pattern before shoulder shaping. Before beginning, I marked off the center 57 stitches and the center 19 stitches. The center 57 stitches are for neck shaping and the outer 18 stitches on each side are for the shoulder shaping.

For shoulder shaping, the pattern instructs to bind off 3 stitches at the beginning of each row for 12 rows (6 right side rows and 6 wrong side rows).

My method:

Knit across to last 3 stitches, then wrap & turn.

Short Rows knitting

Work across the wrong side to last 3 stitches and wrap & turn.

Short Rows Wrap & Turn

On the next right side row, knit across the last 6 stitches; wrap & turn.

Short Rows Wrap & Turn

Continue in this manner until you have 10 short rows, with 15 stitches on each side with every 3rd stitch wrapped:

short rows

Rather than working the last 2 shoulder short rows, THEN working the neck short rows, I worked the neck shaping while I was in the middle of the last set of shoulder rows rows. Sort of like short rows within a short row. 🙂

Short Row Neck Shaping

The neck shaping is worked over the center 57 stitches. The center 19 stitches are the ones that are bound off in the pattern to make the dip in the neck.

There are 4 markers. From left to right on the right side, let’s call these markers A, B, C and D.

Short Rows
Neck shaping is worked between Markers A and D

Short rows are first made between Markers A and B, then between Markers C and D as follows:

Right side: Knit across to 3 stitches before Marker A, wrap & turn.

Short Rows

Wrong side: Purl across to 5 stitches before marker B (since the pattern called for binding off 5 stitches at neck edge); wrap & turn.

Right side:  Knit across to 6 stitches before marker A, wrap & turn.

This was for the left side of the neck. The right side was worked similarly as follows:

Wrong side: Purl to 3 stitches to Marker D, wrap & turn. (As you purl to the other side of the neck, pick up the wrap that is 5 stitches before Marker B and purl it with its stitch.)

Right side: Knit to 5 stitches before Marker C, wrap & turn.

Wrong side: Purl to 6 stitches before Marker D, wrap & turn.

Now that the neck shaping has been worked, the last set of shoulder short rows can be completed. Knit to Marker A (which is 18 stitches from the end), picking up wraps and working them with their stitches; wrap & turn (you can remove the marker also):

Purl back to Marker D, again picking up wraps; wrap & turn.

Finally, the last step is to knit back all the way to the end, while picking up all wraps on the left shoulder, then purl back to the other end, again picking up all wraps on the right shoulder.

What results is a smooth curve that can either be bound off or left with live stitches.

On my vest, I left my stitches live and used the 3 needle bind off to join the  front and back shoulders. I also used the live neck stitches to add the collar.

Tabard Vest

What do you think about this shaping method? It can be used on pretty much any pattern that calls for binding off stitches for shoulder and neck shaping. Try it out!

Happy short-rowing!