Revivify (plus giveaway)

So I know your life is perfectly in order. You never need a plumber, or an electrician, or whoever it is you call to do something about that funny spot on the garage roof.  And I bet you have healthy dinners every night and your laundry is all put away and your yard looks just great right now.  But I? I sometimes have weeks where life gets the better of me…and when I have one of those weeks, I need my knitting to be simple.  That usually means I find myself knitting little flared cuffs.  They’re quick, they’re easy, I love wearing them, and they remind me that at least my knitting is under control (we all need small victories).

The last time I had one of those weeks, I knit these.  And now I’m bringing them out in case you ever find yourself in need of a bit of distraction as well.  The pattern is called Revivify.

These are pretty much everything I want in my knitting if I’m having a challenging day (or week…).  They’re pretty (I love a good spiky lace).  They’re quick (I knit each one in a few hours).  And they’re flexible about yarn (they took less than 100 yards for the pair, and you end at the bottom so you can just keep knitting until you’ve used up all your yarn without any worry about running out partway through).

And to stick with the theme, I tried to make the pattern everything you might need if life is being a bit frustrating.  It’s full of tips for using lace charts, fitting cuffs, and blocking something this shape.  And of course it’s written in three sizes and for three gauges (so you can use pretty much any fingering, sport, DK, or light worsted yarn and fit most anyone you might be knitting for).

And, to make it even easier to get this on your needles, I’ve set it up so you can get the pattern for free.  If you buy Revivify at the same time as any of the other books or patterns in my ravelry shop, Revivify will be free.  To get it, just put both Revivify and whatever else you’d like from my shop in your ravelry cart (the only even slightly tricky bit is that you have to use the cart, not the buy now button, but you can totally handle it), hit the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code DISTRACTION.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.  (Psst, if you’re on my mailing list, check your mail before you do this…you have a message from me you should see first!)

And to make somebody’s day even better, I’ve got two lovely little mini skeins of Miss Babs’ Yummy 2-ply to send to someone.  Now full disclosure, I used the 3-ply when I knit mine, and that’s just a shade thicker.  But the 2-ply is every bit as lovely and would work perfectly for the pattern (it’s written to work for 3 different gauges, so you can be pretty flexible with yarn).  And with 2 colors you could either make 2 pairs or do 1 long pair with awesome helix stripes on the wrist…how cool would that be!

If you think it should come live with you, just leave me a comment telling me what your go to knitting is when life is hard.  Do you like something with miles of plain stockinette?  Is a plain vanilla sock better?  Or maybe you want giant lace charts to distract you from your troubles.  There’s no right or wrong answer, I just like knowing what makes you tick!

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, June 2, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winners).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them. Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

 

Distractions

So you know I love flared cuffs.  Sort of a lot.  I tried to count, and it looks like there are at least four as individual patterns and some fairly alarming number in various books (I officially have enough patterns in enough places that it’s kind of hard to sort them all!).  And so it should be no surprise that I have another pair fresh off the needles.

These really are a tiny, quick project (I knit each one in a few hours while trying to distract myself from the horrible and expensive things a pipe in my basement was doing…the pair only used 100 yards of yarn).  And I’m bound and determined to get everyone else on the flared cuff bandwagon.  So just for fun, I’m going to send these out free to folks on my mailing list some time in the next week or so.

If you’re already on the mailing list, you’re golden, you’ll hear from me when they comes out.  If you want to join, you can do that over here.

And if you’re feeling very thorough and you want to double check and make sure you’re signed up (because the list will take you off if you never, ever, ever open messages from me…though really if you never open my messages I sort of doubt you’re hanging out on my blog reading this), you can do that right here.  If you are signed up, it will tell you so, if you’re not, it will let you sign up.

And done

And this lovely bit of business is what happens when you pull up all those pins and see what your blocking has done!

Now, the other fun thing about blocking is you can actually make some pretty big changes in how the finished piece looks.  So for example on this one, I could have pinned the whole edge out evenly (instead of pulling out points) and it would have been more of a circle.  But I’m a sucker for making points pop on things like this, so that’s the way I went.

I’m sort of suspecting I’m going to write this one up as a tiny little pattern (with some tips on working lace charts and on blocking flared cuffs) and send it out free to folks on my mailing list.  I’m not sure when exactly, but probably some time later this summer.  If you want a copy when it’s out, you can make that happen here.

Blocking 201 – Flared Cuffs

So, I’ve given this lecture before, but everything you knit can benefit from being blocked.  Everything.  And if you’ve been around long enough to hear that lecture, you’ve been around long enough to know about my love for flared cuffs.  So of course I have a way to block them too!

Let’s break this down.  You’ve got a few goals here.  One is to stretch the lace out evenly so you can see the pretty stitches you worked so hard on.  Another is to make sure the wrist is nice and straight.  And the final one is to have the whole thing dry without any creases (which you’d get if you pinned it out flat).

You can totally pull this off, you just need a few tools.  First, and most magical, some custom graph paper.  I make mine here (it’s free and awesome).  For this cuff, the main stitch pattern is repeated 5 times, so I had the graph paper have 5 main spokes and 20 secondary spokes.  That let me pin out the edges and the middle of each stitch pattern repeat.  It’s so much easier to use this as a guide than to try and eyeball it.

Second, you need your usual blocking stuff.  You’ll need a mat and some T-pins (do yourself a favor and get the long ones).

And finally, you need something to go in the middle.  This is the one bit I can’t tell you exactly where to find.  Here I’m using a bottle of hair stuff, but I’ve used all sorts of things in the past (shampoo bottles, a bottle of fancy vinegar, a vase…look around in your bathroom or pantry, I bet you have half a dozen things you can use).

All you need to do is put the graph paper on the mat, plop whatever you’re using for the middle on the center of your graph paper (you can hold it in place with a loop of tape if you want, but it’s optional), slide your knitting over it, and start pinning it out.  I start by finding the main points I want to pin (in this case the start of each pattern repeat) and pinning them out under just a bit of tension.  Then I work my way around the circle, moving the pins out one ring at a time, until I get the tension I’m going for (make sure all the pins are on the same ring when you’re done).  Once that’s done I sometimes pin a secondary point (in this case the midpoint of each repeat, pinned one ring closer to the center than the other points).

That’s all there is to it.  It takes about ten minutes (half of that is finding something to use in the middle).  And it makes a huge difference!

And, if there’s just absolutely no way you’ll ever ever ever do this, at least take a look at yesterday’s post for some discussion of a simpler alternative that accomplishes some of the same magic.

You can find similar blocking rants for hats and cowls in earlier posts, in case you want more of me being super bossy and telling you what to do!

 

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Option one

So, I hear from a lot of you that you’re scared of blocking or that it’s hard or that you just don’t want to do it.  And I sympathize…but I sort of need you to get over it.  If you have the skill to knit the thing, you have the skill to block it.  And your knitting will look so much better if you do.  I promise.

Remember, at its heart, blocking is just ‘get the thing wet…let it dry in the shape you like.’  That’s it.  That’s the minimum necessary requirement.  You can get all fancy and use pins and mats and rulers and all sorts of other props.  But at its most basic, you only need water and a place for the thing to dry.  You can’t tell me that’s too hard.

Here’s an example of the sort of difference this most basic level of blocking can make.

I took the finished cuff, threw it in a sink full of cool water, squeezed it a few times to help it get properly soaked, and left it there for half an hour.  Then I squeezed out the water (I didn’t even use a towel, I just squeezed it tight in my fist) and laid it out smooth on the counter by the sink.  I tugged on it a bit here and there and made sure it was folded evenly in half and that was it.  I left it until it was dry.

Is it perfect? Nope.  Perfect takes a bit more effort, and I’ll show you how to do it in the next post (but really…it isn’t all that much harder).  But compare it to the one still on the needles.  The blocked one is so much better.  You owe it to yourself to do this much at least.  And I’m going to give you such a dirty look if you tell me you can’t.

 

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Tell me when it's out!

If you're reading this shortly after it was posted, the pattern's probably not out quite yet. But if you'd like an email when it is, click the link above and sign up!