Fractured Hearts

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I realised the other day that I hadn’t yet updated the Fracture MKAL pattern into a single PDF, but it is now done and I had a few requests for written instructions so I have added those too. The final single pattern has been renamed Fractured Hearts and is now available to purchase on Ravelry.

I really enjoyed running my first ever mystery knit-a-long, I was so worried before starting that it came as a bit of a shock how much fun it turned out to be. I am now considering running a mystery knit-a-long every spring, I’m already thinking about possible designs, but there are so many considerations, laceweight again or perhaps 4ply, single colour or multiple colours, and then what elements should I add, lace or cables, twisted stitches or ripples, the possibilities are endless!

Keep an eye on the blog next week as I am planning on a running a little questionaire with regards to KAL’s and would love you input.

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Fracture Shawls

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So now that my Fracture mystery knit-a-long is finished I can post some pictures, the one above is my sample, but below are some finished shawls from knitters that joined in. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is seeing all of the great finished projects and how the shawl looks in different yarns and colours.

How lovely is this white version, would make a great shawl for a bride.

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Pink and hearts are a perfect combination

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The next two are by the same person, I’m in awe, they both look amazing.

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I’ve enjoyed the MKAL so much that I will definitely do it again, possibly towards the end of the year.

 

Fracture MKAL progress

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The Fracture mystery is the first ever knit-a-long that I have run and one of my favourite things about it is looking at everyone’s progress pictures and so I want to share some with you all.

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These pictures all show progress up to clue 3, there is 4 more clues to go.

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The only¬† problem with seeing all of the photos is that it makes me want to go out and buy more yarn in every imaginable colour, I especially love the beautiful blue of this shawl…

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I’ve been considering running a mystery KAL for over a year now, but being a natural born worrier I had all of the doubts: would anyone join in, what if everyone hates the pattern, etc. But I am really glad that I decided to go ahead with it, I’ve enjoyed the interaction and seeing everyone’s pictures and I’ve had some wonderful messages from people too. Sometimes I need to stop fretting and just get on with it!

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A huge thank you to the knitters who let me use their photos in this post.

A beginners guide to knitting charts

I know that some knitters don’t like working from charts, but I want to show you that they are not so terrible and once you master following a chart you may even prefer them.

How to read a chart:

Lets start with the basics, all right side rows are read from right to left and all wrong side rows are read from left to right. If you are working in the round then all rounds are read from right to left.

Quite often on a lace pattern only the right side rows are shown and the pattern will explain what you need to do on the wrong side rows (this is often the case if WS rows are all purl).

But if the pattern doesn’t fully explain what the chart shows you should be able to tell from where the row numbers are placed on the chart.

So for example this chart has right side rows only, you can tell because the chart only has odd numbers on the right side:

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Whereas this chart shows both right side and wrong side rows, you can tell because the chart has numbers on both sides.

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A good chart should guide you to which direction you need to follow the chart, always start with the stitch next to the row number.

Chart symbols:

Not all charts will use the same symbols so it is very important to refer to the key. A good chart should be a visual representation of the pattern, so right leaning decreases (K2tog) should have a symbol that leans to the right and left leaning decreases (SSK) should have a symbol that leans to the left. The same goes for yarnovers which are often represented by an O which looks like a hole. Those empty squares are usually knit on the WS but do check.

A key for one of my charts would look something like this:

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Before you start to follow the chart:

Before knitting from a chart always, always, read the accompanying instructions which should tell you whether the chart needs to worked once, twice or more, or if the edging stitches are included on the chart.

So for example the charts below are for a triangular shawl and the chart needs to be worked twice ever row, also the 3 edging stitches are not included in the chart. This is explained in the pattern like this:

All RS rows: K3, SM, work row of chart to M, SM, K1, SM, work row of chart to M, SM, K3
All WS rows: K3, P to last 3 sts, K3

M is marker and SM is slip marker, the K1 in between the markers in the middle of the instructions is the central spine stitch.

Start knitting:

This is the chart that we will be looking at whilst keeping in mind the row instructions above:

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Firstly we know what to do for all WS rows from the instructions so only need to concentrate on RS rows, so remembering the written instructions and reading the first row from right to left row one will be:

Row 1: K3, SM, YO, K3, YO, SM, K1, SM, YO, K3, YO, SM, K3

The instructions taken from the chart are in bold. That was a simple row, so lets look at row 11 as well:

Row 11: K3, SM, YO, K3, YO, SSK, YO, S2KP, YO, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, SM, K1, SM, YO, K3, YO, SSK, YO, S2KP, YO, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, SM, K3

Remember that the chart is worked exactly the same on that row, knit from right to left the first time and exactly the same way the second time.

Repeated sections:

Once you get past the first few rows some charts will then have a section within them that needs to be repeated. The repeat section of the chart is quite often denoted by a thicker or coloured line around it, sometimes by a different method (check the key!) I use a thick red line around repeat sections like this:

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If you are used to following written instructions then the repeated section of a chart is the same as following instructions from a *. So for example row 1 of this chart would be:

Row 1: K3, SM, YO, K2tog, YO, *K1, YO, SSK, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, rep from * to last 3sts, K1, YO, K2tog, YO, SM, K1, SM, YO, K2tog, YO, *K1, YO, SSK, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, rep from * to last 3sts, K1, YO, K2tog, YO, SM, K3

Again the instructions taken from the chart are in bold and the chart is worked exactly the same before and after the central stitch.

If you struggle at first with repeated sections count how many stitches are after the repeat and make a note of these on the chart. So on the above chart you repeat the red section until the last 3sts on row 1, the last 4sts on row 3, the last 5sts on row 5 and so on.

‘No stitches’:

Because charts are a visual representation of the knitting you will sometimes encounter ‘no stitch’ on a chart, as a symbol this is often represented by a coloured square. A ‘no stitch’ is basically exactly that, there is no stitch there and you can ignore that little box. Designers use the no stitch to keep the chart pattern straight.

The chart below includes ‘no stitch’ boxes which are represented by the solid blue squares.

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So remembering that those blue boxes can be ignored row 1 will read as follows:

Row 1: YO, K1, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K1, YO

Remember that although you don’t need to worry about the blue ‘no stitches’ don’t miss any stitches in between the them, so on row 1 don’t forget about that K1 in between those no stitches.

Best practises:

Keeping track of where you are on a chart is important, if you read you knitting pattern on an ipad or similar it’s a great idea to highlight the row you are currently working on. If like me you prefer a printed pattern then use a ruler/ magnetic strip/ sticky note to ‘above line’ the row. Marking above the row you are working on as opposed to below will help you to visualise the pattern better as you can see the previous rows you have just worked. I use a chart keeper from knit picks.

Finally:

Don’t be afraid of charts, start with something simple and practise, I promise that it will get easier and using charts, especially for lace knitting, is an excellent way of learning to ‘read’ your knitting, which is very useful when trying to spot a mistake.

I hope that this has been useful, if you have any questions please do ask in the comments. In the coming months I’ll be adding more tutorials including one on reading cable charts.

It’s getting warmer

OK so not a whole lot warmer but the evenings here in the UK are lighter now so I am hopeful of warmer weather, which has made me think about knitting something light and airy. I’m also trying to knit from stash (as the stash boxes are taking over!) so I found this laceweight yarn from Eden Cottage, its Theseus Lace which is a merino / silk blend and the colour is stunning, I now just need to decide what to knit with it, I’m thinking perhaps a flower themed shawl, although the blue makes me think of caribbean seas.

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A Cocktail Cabinet of Boot Toppers Giveaway

I’ve just released my very first ebook – A Cocktail Cabinet of Boot Toppers

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This ebook contains patterns for four very different boot toppers in four different weights of yarn. Try twisted stitches, cables, stranded colourwork and lace in DK, worsted, aran and bulky yarn. The four patterns are all available to purchase individually too.

Would you like a copy of A Cocktail Cabinet of Boot Toppers? Just comment below and I’ll get my youngest son to pick someone in a couple of days time and I’ll get a copy sent to you.