Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Snow Queen: start your engines...

Yarn: I am using ColourMart 2/28 10/90 cashmere wool. I have 150 grams which is just over 2200 yards. My original intention was to use a fingering weight yarn, but I started swatching with this yarn and the swatch grew into a shawl. It was less than intentional. I actually ordered a different yarn from the UK, but it did not arrive in time for my cast-on...

I chose to work in a natural white color for this project. You can stick with me and use one cone of a 2/28 colourmart yarn or you can use any other yarn of your choice. That means weight, color and fiber content. Please refer to the swatch section for a good discussion about figuring out how much yarn you will need. I would like to make some suggestions about both fiber content and color. Nupps and some of the other stitch manipulations in this pattern require a yarn with some elasticity. For me, that means wool. Better yet, merino. As long as you select a yarn that has some lambswool or merino on board, you should have a pleasant knitting experience. If you choose to use cotton, silk or other yarns without that “give” you might fight with your nupps and thow your knitting across the room. I suggest that you swatch and decide for yourself.
As for color, I suggest something light and solid or nearly solid in color. There is a lot going on in this design and contrasting colors would (IMHO) detract from it. The exception might be a yarn with long color repeats. I think even that would be distracting, but feel free to prove me wrong because you are so good at that!

Beads: I am using 8/0 Japanese crystal rainbow beads. If you use all the bead placements and knit the full Chart F you will need about 33 grams of beads (based on 350 beads per 8 grams which is approximate.) To break it down, you will need 64 beads for Chart E and 448 beads for each repeat (there are three) of chart F. You will need 48 beads for the final section of Chart F. This takes us to a grand total 1456 beads. You have the option to omit any of the beads that you choose. You also have the option to replace any of the nupps with beads. If you do that you will need 6 beads for chart B, 192 for Chart D, 464 for Chart E and 944 beads for the full Chart F. This would be IN ADDITION to the beads mentioned previously. That is a bunch of beads! These numbers work for any size beads you choose, but the weight mention above is approximate and only for 8/0 beads. Finally, the last 48 beads, used for the edging and part of Chart F, can be different from your original beads if you choose. Something a tiny bit large with more flash would be suitable. I am not sure what I will use.

Needles: I am using US 2, 3 and 4 needles. You need a set of four or five double points for the center (smallest size) and a 32 inch circular for the final chart (largest size.) What you use in between is up to you and based on what you have on hand. I used a 16 inch and a 24 inch circular as the piece got larger. Use your smaller needle size up until the final rows of chart D, switch to your mid-size needle and finally to the largest needle for the final rows (82-99) of chart F. I do not usually suggest needle brands, but choose something with an excellent point. See the swatch discussion for more thoughts on needle sizes. You will also need a crochet hook that fits into the beads you are using. For me, that is a US 14 (Tulip brand.) You might also need one straight needle in a size smaller than your main needle size, to help with nupps if you work one too tightly.

Other Stuff:
-You will need stitch markers if you like to use them. I suggest 16 markers, with one being unique to mark the start of the row.
-You will need stainless steel T-pins to block.
-You will need a ruler to measure yarn (see swatch section.)
-You will need a calculator
-You will need a yarn needle to weave in ends

The Swatch
If you are using the same yarn as I am using, you might get away with skipping this next part. . You will have to swatch just a little to select your needle size. Pick the size that gets you the look you like (and consider blocking when you decide.) Once you have your needle size, choose one size smaller and one size larger and see discussion in the materials sections about needles. If you want to use any other weight yarn you should knit the full swatch chart and follow my logic. You can use whatever yarn you choose! Isn’t that liberating? But how many yards will you need? I have no clue, but I know how to figure it out. Take the yarn you would like to use and grab the Swatch Chart. Cast-on 37 stitches and work rows 1-24 (24 is a return row.) Cut the yarn and cut the tail from your cast-on. Rip your swatch and measure your yarn, down to the inch. You will need about 86 times your swatch yardage for this project. Round up. DO NOT omit the nupps from your swatch. They use a good amount of yarn. You may choose to stop knitting before you complete Chart F. There are two places to shorten that chart and you will decide for yourself, based on your yarn weight and how large a piece you want. The number above should give you enough yarn to complete the project in full, but don’t skimp. It is better to have too much than not enough.

The swatch is posted in the files sections of our group tonight, so cast-on and begin your decision making. We can discuss yarn choice!

I am closing our group tonight, but if you missed this project do not despair. The pattern will be available as a lovely booklet once the group is done. AND I am already planning a really cool Summer 2010 project...meow.


  1. Wow, the amount of work you are putting into this project is phenomenal. Thank you so much for such a lovely and well thought out project. Renate

  2. Not to be greedy...but....plans for the really cool summer project?!?!?!? How do you manage to come up with such fabulous designs one after another like that?

    Oh, who cares about how...I am just very glad that you do and that you share so well with others!

  3. looks like it will be beautiful! karen