Do you ever have one of those days where you browse through your Pinterest board in hopes that there’s an exciting new pattern you forgot about? Today is one of those days for me, and I wanted to share my reunion with this gorgeous shawl: Durrow!
This shawl is absolutely gorgeous, and the projects people have put on Ravelry are a real treat as well! It’s been on my to-knit list for a while, and though I’m not sure if I would end up using all 4 colors it recommends, this Malabrigo and Ultra Alpaca Fine certainly catches my eye.
I’ve been playing with color combinations in the store again, can you tell?
Let me sing praises to one of my favorite finishing techniques: hemmed edges. Our sewing projects get hem treatments, so why not our knits? Hemmed edges lend a polished look to your hand-knits, the concept is simple, and the benefits are numerous:
You can knit stockinette stitch right to the edge without any curling.
It forms a placket into which you could insert elastic or a drawstring.
It’s always nice and stretchy.
Your edges are reinforced against wear and tear with a double-thick fabric.
Your edges are warmer – a hemmed edge on a hat will keep the cold wind off your ears.
There is no wrong side near the edge.
You could add a secret accent color on the inside.
It just looks nice!
There are a few styles of hemmed edge. Any of them can be worked in the round or flat:
Basic Hem: Cast on, knit twice as long as you want your hem (in stockinette, ribbing, seed or whatever stitch you like), then knit every live stitch together with the cast-on stitch directly below it.
Turning Purl Row: Cast on, knit as long as you want your hem, work a single purl row, knit the same length again, and knit your live stitches together with your cast on stitches. You’ll find that the purl row will cause the fabric to turn neatly and flatly all on its own.
Turning Eyelet Row / Picot Hem: Cast on, knit as long as you want your hem, work a row of (yo, k2tog) all the way around, knit the same length again, and knit your live stitches together with your cast on stitches. Like the turning purl row, the row of eyelets will also turn all on its own, and when folded in half it will appear as a dainty picot edge.
Provisional Version: Use a provisional cast on instead of a regular cast on with the above styles, transfer the provisional stitches onto a needle and knit the live stitches together with the corresponding provisional cast on stitches. This might be easier if you have trouble finding the cast-on stitch directly below the next live stitch.
Sew At The End Version: Turn your edge over and sew it down at the end of your project. You can do this with a basic hem or a turning row hem – whatever suits your fancy!
A few super-cool and popular projects with hemmed edges from the Ravelryverse:
This week’s blog post is kind of a follow-up on last week’s blog post, in which I wrote about the fade, a trend inspired by Andrea Mowry’s “Find Your Fade” shawl. The fade is all about gradients made from hand-painted, speckled, and highly contrasty colors. The speckle-dyed look is so hot right now, and I think it’s because it screams “hand made”. It usually is, but even the odd machine-dyed speckled yarn suggests hand-crafted quality.
At the same time, neutral tones are surprisingly modern looking lately. There’s a connection between the rainbow speckles and the neutrals that didn’t occur to me until a few days ago. Neutrals are the colors of wool and other natural fibers, even if they are in fact bleached or dyed. We want our yarn to be straight from nature, raw and real, and we want it to be hand-made. I think both impulses are a reaction against mass-produced things, harmonious with the ethic of slow fashion.
Now, here’s another observation about contemporary color schemes in the knitting universe. It’s the combination of neutrals and super-brights. It’s that one neon stripe incorporated into a classic design that bridges the gap between the 19th century and the 21st. Maybe it also bridges the gap between handcrafts and mass production.
I found so many examples of this type of color scheme on Ravelry that I’m not even sure where to begin with examples. It’s everywhere when you look for it. It has an undeniably contemporary look. I feel like all the cool kids are doing it. Meet a few of the cool kids:
Above: Nine gorgeous designs by Purl Soho. Purl Soho is a super-trendy yarn shop in New York City that puts out impressive free patterns with tutorial-style instructions on their blog on a regular basis. Their color choices and photo styling are to die for, right?
Above: Casapinka is an ER-doctor turned knitwear designer who claims she loves pink too much. I disagree. Her use of bright pink combined with soft neutrals is so on-point it makes my heart swell with joy just to look at her designs. I was inspired to knit her Rainbow Warrior shawl in bright pink Malabrigo sock. You may have noticed that I am typically a fan of more subdued hues, but Casapinka turned me over to the bright side.
Above: Joji Locatelli is a knitwear-designing mama from Argentina. She designed the gorgeous neon-edged shawl at the top of this post. I am kind of enthralled by her East or West sweater (bottom left). It’s sleek but unusual, with its side-to-side construction. I’d love it even without the hot pink accents, but I think they take the pattern from clever to brilliant. Joji’s 3 Color Cashmere Cashmere Cowl (bottom right) is one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry. Not everyone chooses to knit it in neutrals with a neon stripe, but I would contend it’s that stunning stripe that drove its fame.
Above: Veera Välimäki is a Finnish designer whose designs “focus on simple and clean lines with small modern details” according to her website. That’s exactly what I’m on about with this blog post: those small modern details. Veera says yes to classic, neutral colors and yes to bright, surprising accents at the same time.