Fan the Flames Knitalong—Week 1: Swatching, Chart Reading & Making Friends With Your Knitting Pattern

By Patty Lyons

Welcome to the Fan the Flames Knitalong!

Today we want to get started off right, which means swatching and design, but before we get started, grab a copy of Fan the Flames Cowl HERE for a limited time only. However, if you purchase Patty’s Annie’s Video Class, Circular Knitting Essentials, on sale November 2014, this pattern is part of the download materials provided with the class.

Now, you might be thinking, “Design? I thought we were following a pattern!” We are, but it’s a modular pattern, which means you have lots of options!

Fan the Flames Cowl, designed by Patty Lyons.

Fan the Flames Cowl, designed by Patty Lyons, Creative Knitting, Winter 2014

Swatching & Design

Fan the Flames was designed like the pieces of a puzzle; you can swatch one fan chart and one flame chart in the yarn you like — no need to try to match my gauge! Then you can measure the length and width of each puzzle piece and see what you like.

For example, in Tahki Mesa the cowl has a fan stitch that measures 4 inches wide.

A single repeat of the flame stitch measures 6 inches wide.

A single repeat of the flame stitch measures 6 inches wide.

NOTE:  Look at the at the chart, you’ll see one repeat is a total of 29 stitches (14 stitches for one repeat plus 15 balancing stitches. Visually, one repeat of this chart gives you two flames). Two repeats would have 43 stitches (28 for 2 repeats plus 15 balancing stitches. Visually two repeats of this chart gives you three flames.)

So, if we used two repeats of the flame stitch on each side, and one repeat of the fan stitch we’ll get:

9 inches (2 repeats of flame) + 4 inches (1 repeat of fan) + 9inches + 4inches = 26 inches wide.

They are both 3 1/4 inches tall, so if we repeated the whole pattern three times we’d get a cowl that is 9 3/4 inches high x 26 inches in circumference. You can create your cowl as skinny, wide, tall or short as you like.

Let’s look at one more example:

The swatch below has a fan stitch that measures 3 inches wide.

A single repeat of the flame stitch measures 5 inches wide.

A single repeat of the flame stitch measures 5 inches wide.

 

Flame swatch in Tahki Zara.

Flame swatch in Tahki Zara. Visit Annie’s for the full selection of available Tahki Yarns.

If we used two repeats of the flame stitch on each side, and two repeats of the fan stitch we’ll get:

7 1/2 inches (2 repeats of flame) + 6 inches (1 repeat of fan) + 7 1/2 inches + 6 inches = 27 inches wide.

They are both 2 3/4 inches tall, so if we repeated the whole pattern four times we’d get a cowl that is 9 inches high x 27 inches in circumference.

By now hopefully you’re itching to get swatching. Just remember to lightly spray each piece with water and pin out to desired look and let dry. Since you’re not necessarily trying to match my gauge, just use the needles that create the look you like and open up the lace in blocking as much as YOU like. Isn’t it nice to be the boss!

Here are mine on the blocking board once I’ve removed the pins -- nice and flat and easy to measure.

Here are mine on the blocking board once I’ve removed the pins — nice and flat and easy to measure.

Chart Reading

If you’re new to chart reading, it’s not a scary as you think. Since this pattern includes the words and the chart, you can use one to check yourself to see how your chart-reading skills are coming along.

There are three things I want you to know about chart reading:

  1. The chart is a visual representation of the RS of the work. That’s a fancy way of saying the chart is really a picture of your knitting. Notice how the symbol for a yarn over is a circle, and the symbol for a k2tog (a single right-slanting dec) is a line that slants to the right.
  2. Since you are working in the round, each round of the chart is read right to left.
  3. In a chart, the red bracket is a pattern repeat. It’s the same as an * in the instructions text. In the case of the flame chart, the stitches outside the bracket are the “balancing stitches.”

If you were to work two repeats of the flame stitch, you would start with the stitches outside the bracket. Then, you would work the stitches in the red bracket, repeat those 14 stitches (two repeats) and then end the section with the stitches. You can see that in this case two repeats of the flame chart will create three flames.

Casting On

It’s time for a little myth busting. Have you ever heard “To create an elastic edge, cast on loosely, or cast on using a larger needle”? Hooey. That will just create big or sloppy stitches in your first row. What makes an elastic edge is the spacing between the stitches.

Watch the video above where I demonstrate my favorite elastic cast-on for lace.

Stitch Markers

Stitch markers are sooooo helpful. I would suggest using a unique color for the end of round, and then using other markers as indicated in the pattern to separate the fan and the flame, but you also might want to use another color within the flame section to mark the 14-stitch repeat. It kind of stops you and reminds you, “Hey, don’t finish the section — you have to go back and repeat those 14 stitches.”

Creating the Lace

If you are new to lace knitting, you can check Annie’s StitchGuide.com. From here you can find instructions for all the stitches noted in the pattern.

If you are an experienced lace knitter, I want to address a couple of things that might have always bugged you — perfectly matching yarn overs (yo) and slip, slip, knit (ssk).

Well, that was quite a bit to get you started. Don’t worry if you run into any problems while you work, because guess what Week Two is about? You guessed it — fixing mistakes in lace. If you do get in a jam, just set your work aside and I’ll meet you back here next week.

Happy cowling!

Patty

Just joining the knitalong? Check out this post to get started! 

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The Editor Wants to Know- Scarves or Sweaters?

With the fall season upon us, and depending on how you look at things, it’s that time again to either time to make a tried and true scarf, or pull out the big guns and create your annual sweater project. Which one is it for you? One or the other, or both?

Are you a forever scarf/accessory maker, or do you love making sweaters and can't get enough? 

Are you a forever scarf/accessory maker, or do you love making sweaters and can’t get enough?

On today’s edition of The Editor Wants to know, my question to you is:

Are you a sweater fanatic, or does the idea of creating a garment make you want to run away screaming?

Above the Clouds Scarf Knit Pattern

Above the Clouds Scarf Knit Pattern on Annie’s. Made with Andean Mist, from Berroco.

If you’ve yet to venture into the realm of making your first sweater, is there a reason? Is there something you struggle with that keeps you feeling stuck?

Nijo Top Knit Pattern on Annie's, made with Berroco Folio.

Nijo Top Knit Pattern on Annie’s, made with Berroco Folio. I’m making this now and I’m loving it! It’s a great foray into your first sweater project, and you also get a taste for openwork.

I can’t wait to hear from you! Please comment on this post, or take it to the Creative Knitting Facebook page! 

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Mindful Mondays – How will You Make Today Meaningful?

A great way to start the week is to make a gratitude list. If you haven’t given this a try, I highly recommend it because you will instantly see just how fortunate you are!

Start with a sheet of paper and start writing whatever comes to mind when you think about gratitude. It can be silly. No one needs to see this but you!

Take the first step in faith!

What a gift to be passionate about knitting!

My Monday gratitude list–

  • Beautiful, healthy family
  • Smell of morning coffee
  • Witnessing the sunrise
  • Running every morning
  • Fall leaves
  • Sunny days
  • Yarn, yarn, yarn
  • Knitting needles galore
  • My decades-long passion for knitting
  • Two legs, two eyes and a clear mind

The more you keep at this list, the more things you’ll find to be grateful for, and the more you’ll forget your worries!

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Join Creative Knitting and Patty Lyons for a Three-Week Knitalong– 1 Pattern, 3 Different Yarns, Amazing Results!

Creative Knitting, Winter 2014

Creative Knitting, Winter 2014

Each time we launch a new issue, I get goosebumps. I love seeing a shiny new issue come across my desk! As I flip through the pages, I’m amazed by all the effort and hard work that it takes to pull this off.

Putting together one single issue of Creative Knitting is a huge undertaking. It takes a team of dedicated individuals, and my hats go off to all of them for producing such an amazing magazine!

Here’s the biggest thrill of all– bringing this excitement to you, the readers of Creative Knitting. If you love this magazine, then give me a shout out. You can reach me by leaving a comment on this post, or by sending a quick email to: editor@CreativeKnittingMagazine.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Online learning with Patty Lyons

It was a great honor to sit with knitting teacher and designer, Patty Lyons for this issue’s featured video. We spent some time together chatting about an exclusive design that she created for the magazine and some highlights about her upcoming Annie’s video class. Click the image below to watch this video.

In this video, Patty shares the juicy details about her cowl design, Fan the Flames, which is a special gift to the Creative Knitting readers for as long as this issue is available on the newsstand. This pattern is also a supplement to her new Annie’s video class: Circular Knitting Essentials, on sale November  2014.

Fan the Flames Cowl, designed by Patty Lyons.

Fan the Flames Cowl, designed by Patty Lyons.

1 Pattern, 3 Different Yarns

Fan the Flames was made with three different yarns to illustrate what happens when you work the same pattern with very different yarns. In the photo below, you can see how the stitch patterns translate with yarns that are fuzzy, or those that produce more stitch definition.

3 different yarns, same pattern, different results!

3 yarns, same pattern, different results!

When Patty discussed the concept of this design, I got really excited because I’m such a big fan of picking apart one pattern and exploring every option possible. This form of “knitting investigation” enables learning on several levels, because it opens a world of discovery that you can’t get from following a pattern with just one kind of yarn.

There’s something magical that happens when you pick up two needles and just start. When it comes to taking a risk with your knitting, I’d say this approach is pretty minimal and the payoff is huge!

Get ready for a three week knitalong with Patty!

Here’s what you need to do to get started:

  1. Visit CreativeKnittingMagazine.com and click on the “Featured Pattern” tab. There, you’ll find Fan the Flames, available for as long as the Winter issue is on the newsstand. Click “download,” and it’s yours!

  2. Visit Annie’s to purchase Tahki Mesa in the color of your choice. (Patty’s cowl was made with the color Cascades)

  3. On October 17th, come back to this blog for your first tutorial and video instruction from Patty.

I can’t wait to get started. See you on October 17th!

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Mindful Mondays – Simple, Silly Knitting Sayings

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