. Berroco Portfolio Vol. 2


Berroco Portfolio Vol. 2

Category: vest

berroco-portfolio-v2_mediumToday, I fell in love all over again. It wasn’t love at first sight, because I vaguely remember glancing at it a few months ago during our rep meeting, and we’ve had it in the shop for an entire month. But sometimes the best loves are the ones where you discover that in fact, they’ve been there all along. That is the case for me with the new pattern book from Berroco, their beautiful Portfolio Vol. 2. This latest offering from the Berroco Design Team is so, so beautiful, and it uses yarns from the Vintage and Ultra Alpaca families.

Have you heard of the Rule of Three when it comes to patterns? If you like three or more patterns in a pattern booklet, it’s a worthwhile investment. Three is the magic number, but this book has nine patterns — nine! — that make me want to cast on immediately. The thing that really sealed the deal was that one of these patterns was already on my to-knit list, I just hadn’t realized that Portfolio Vol. 2 was the source. Obviously, it was meant to be. Let me show you some of my favorites:

© Berroco, Inc.

© Berroco, Inc.

The Teeter Totter Shawl by Julia Farwell-Clay is a fun riot of color. Knit in Ultra Alpaca Fine, it will keep me warm despite arctic air conditioning, but it won’t ever be too heavy. I’ve been wanting to dabble in intarsia, and the color options are endless (though I do love the contrast between warm and cool color families).

© Berroco, Inc.

© Berroco, Inc.


This simple, elegant item by Elizabeth Smith is called the Brooklin Vest, and would be a quick knit in Vintage Chunky (and machine washable, too!). Knit seamlessly from side-to-side, it features a checkerboard texture on the back for a little visual interest. The Brooklin Vest is the perfect item to dress up my jeans-and-long-sleeve-tee wardrobe for fall.


© Berroco, Inc.

Speaking of cooler weather, this sweet accessory is called the Marguerite Hat. Designed by Beatrice Perron Dahlen, you already know it’s going to be soft, because it’s knit in Ultra Alpaca. I don’t know if I would do mine with a white background — maybe I would choose a fun magenta with eggplant colorwork, or perhaps a bright blue-green with deep teal colorwork… It would be so warm and cozy!


© Berroco, Inc.

I’ve saved the best for last. This is my absolute favorite, the Addilyn Capelet by Elizabeth Smith. It’s designed for Ultra Alpaca Chunky Tonal, which has soft variations in color that add a beautiful depth to the fabric. And I just adore those statement buttons, and the way you can fold down the collar if you want to wear it unbuttoned. This is the item that was already on my to-knit list, thanks to our Berroco rep, Andra. She’s always a few steps ahead of us, fashion-wise, and she called the poncho trend before it was even a glimmer on our horizon. (You were right, Andra!) In fact, Andra was so far ahead that she had already put her own twist on the pattern: she switched the yarn to North Star on size 11 needles. Look how wonderful it is:


© roentgen

I don’t think I can choose between the two yarns. I think I’ll have to knit both. Berroco really knocked it out of the park with their Portfolio Vol. 2. Stop by the store to check it out — it’s really stunning.

7 Best Knitting Projects For Beginners

Category: vest

If you’re new at this knitting thing, it can help a lot to know where to look for patterns and how to figure out which patterns are going to be suited to your skill level.  So here’s a round up of our favorite patterns for beginners.  For all of these projects, choose a worsted weight yarn in a color that inspires you and US size 7 or 8 needles.

Doing the most basic knitting stitches produces rectangle-shaped swathes of fabric, and you’ll notice that all of these projects consist of simple rectangles.

DSCN1013_resized_small2#1 The Scarf — A scarf is a great way to get started.  There’s no shaping or seaming.  Nothing fancy or difficult.  At is’s basic best, you can knit every row until it’s long enough or you run out of yarn.  If you’re ready for a little bit more of a challenge, you can add to your skill level in gentle increments.  Start this way:

Cast on 24 stitches.  Knit every stitch, every row.  It’s just that easy.  Good old garter stitch has a simplicity and charm that are hard to resist.

To increase the challenge without driving yourself crazy, try adding some stripes.  Just break off the old color (always leaving a 3-4 inch tail to weave in later) and start knitting with the new one.  Or make your whole scarf in Knit 1-Purl 1 ribbing.  It’s just like it sounds; knit 1 stitch, then purl 1 stitch, then knit 1, then purl 1, knit 1, purl 1, k1, p1 (see what I did there?  now you know the abbreviation for 1×1 ribbing)

(Photo from Deb Stoller on Ravelry  with and actual pattern here)
image_6955_small2#2 The Cowl — If you think about it, a cowl is just a scarf that has been attached at the ends.  So you can do that.  Knit a scarf just like the one in #1, and when it’s long enough, sew the ends together.  Keep it kind of short and it’s a neck warmer.  Make it long and it’s and Infinity Scarf.  Flip one end over one time before you sew both ends together and it’s a mobius.

(Photo from Patons Yarn on Ravelry with actual pattern here.  NOTE: this pattern uses chunky yarn and bigger needles, but the principle is the same.)




l0336ba_small2#3 The Hat — Once again, if you think about it, a hat is a tube that has been gathered together at one end.  And a tube is just a rectangle with its ends sewn together.  The only challenge here is that there is some fit to a hat.  A human adult sized head is about 22 inches around.  So you’ll need to make sure you cast on enough stitches to go around.  Pick a worsted weight yarn and try it this way:

Cast on between 90 and 100 stitches. Obviously, the bigger the head, the more stitches you cast on.  Knit every stitch, every row until you have 9-12 inches (9 inches if you don’t want to roll up the edge, 12 inches if you want a deep cuff, in between if you want in between.)  When you’ve gone far enough, break off your yarn leaving a really long tail (about two feet long).  Sew the tail through all the stitches on your needle (before you even bind off) and pull tight, like a drawstring.  Then sew the sides together until it looks like a hat.

To increase the challenge, you can work the same variations you worked on your scarf from #1.

(Photo from Lion Brand Yarn on Revelry with pattern here.  NOTE: this pattern uses a chunky yarn and bigger needles, but the principle is the same.)
DSC_0006#4 The Fingerless Mitts — And if you think about rectangles and how they can fit around your neck and head, it’s not such a leap to figure out how they fit around your wrist and hand.  The only tricky part is the thumb…and even that isn’t all that tricky.  Try this…

Cast on as many stitches as you want to to make it as long as you want your mitts to be from the base of your fingers up your arm (usually about 8-10 inches, so 40-50 stitches.)  Knit until your piece will go around your hand.  Bind off and sew the edges together leaving a hole in your stitching for your thumb to stick out.

Are you sensing a pattern here?  Simple rectangles can make almost any kind of garment.

(Photo from Erin Amelia on Ravelry with pattern here)

photo (2)#5  The Boot Toppers/Leg Warmers — Just like the mitts in #4 only make it big enough to go around your leg and when you sew it up, don’t leave a hole for your thumb.  Try this…

Cast on enough stitches to go from the top of your foot to as high on your leg as you want the warmers.  Knit until your piece goes all the way around your leg.  Bind off.  Sew the bind off edge to the cast on edge.

(Photo from Crafty Times blog with pattern here.  NOTE: Again, this pattern uses chunky yarn and bigger needles.)



8257451486_8ff892e2fa_z#6  The Slippers — You can make a rectangle into a slipper.  Of course you can.  Try this…

Cast on 5 stitches for every inch your foot is long.  Knit until your piece is long enough to go from the inside of your ankle, down under your foot then up to the outside of your ankle.  Bind off.  Fold your piece in half with the cast on edge touching the bind off edge.  Sew one side together just as it’s laying.  Sew over-under through the stitches of the other side and pull them together like a draw string.  Then sew up from the gathered toe across the top of the foot until it is as closed as you want it, leaving an opening big enough for your foot to go through.

(Photo from handepande on Ravelry with pattern here.  NOTE: This pattern has decrease at the toe.  You can do them or not as you choose)

Batiste-9_medium2#7 Part A:  The Vest/Sweater — Okay, this one takes a bit of math, but a vest is, at its most basic, two rectangles; one for the front, one for the back.  And a sweater just adds two more rectangles; one for each sleeve.  Try this…

Measure around the widest part of your chest.  Round up to the nearest whole number and add four inches for ease.  Divide this number in half.  Cast on 5 stitches for each inch and knit until it’s as long as you want from neck to hem.  Then do it again.  Now you have a front and a back.  Lay these two pieces flat with the bound off edges touching each other.  Sew these edges together leaving an opening big enough to put your head through.  Voila!

(Photo from Elizabeth Smith on Ravelry with pattern here)




genser3_medium2#7 Part B: Add Sleeves — If you want to make a complete sweater, measure around the widest part of your upper arm and add 4 inches for ease.  Cast on 5 stitches for each inch and knit until it is as long as you want your sleeves.  Bind off.  Now do it again.  Lay each sleeve so that the center of the bound off edge meets the shoulder seam you have already sewn on the body of your sweater.  Sew each sleeve to the body.  then sew the long seam on each side that runs from the wrist edge of the sleeve up to the body then straight down to the lower hem.  You’ll have a perfectly lovely drop shoulder tunic with kimono style sleeves…beautiful and right on trend.

(Photo from Dorthe Skapple on Ravelry with pattern here.  NOTE: this pattern has ribbing at the cuffs, but you don’t have to do it.)

As your skills grow, you’ll be able to add increasing and decreasing to shape your pieces and make more complex garments.  But you don’t need to wait.  Go ahead and try your hand as these simple projects and see how far you can get with basics.