Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bracken Pillows Kit: Techniques & Tips for Knitting Cables & I-Cord

We are delighted to announce another kit we have just launched, the Bracken Pillows Kit by designer Therese Chynoweth. This kit features 3 skeins of Himalayan Trail yarn in your choice of colors, a copy of the Bracken Pillow pattern, and 3 stitch markers from Purrfectly Catchy Designs. These pillows are timeless, yet contemporary and will add just the right touch of elegance and luxury to your home.

The pattern includes instructions for how to knit and assemble both pillows pictured and enough yarn to knit the pillow of your choosing, and today we’ll talk a little about about the techniques used in the pattern and share some tips and tricks for managing them.

The square pillow pattern features a beautiful cable panel across the center. If you haven’t worked cables before, this is a fairly simple pattern to start with. Cables are created by adjusting the order in which you knit your stitches. In the simplest terms, when you create a cable, you will be pulling a few stitches off the needle and holding them aside (either to the front or back of your work) and then knitting the next few stitches. Then you will go back and knit the stitches you have pulled aside. This essentially twists the stitches together to form your cable.

When you are first learning cables, the easiest way to practice is by using a cable needle. You can find these at your local yarn store or favorite online retailer quite inexpensively; there are a few different styles, but a cable needle is essentially a short double pointed needle. Some cable needles have a slightly bent shape to help keep your stitches from slipping off the needle until you are ready to use them. If you don’t have a cable needle handy, you can always use a spare double pointed needle (DPN) in its place.

For this pattern, you will be working 3 by 3 cables, which means that your cable section will be 6 stitches wide. When you come to the place for a cable in your work, you will take the next three stitches (stitches 1, 2 and 3) and put them on your cable needle or DPN:

You will hold these stitches to the front or back of your work as directed by the pattern, then knit the next three stitches on the left-hand needle as normal (stitches 4, 5 and 6). Finally, you will go back and knit the 3 stitches on your cable needle (stitches 1, 2 and 3):

Congratulations, you have successfully knit a cable!

For those who have knit cables in the past and wish to try something a little easier and more efficient, you could try cabling without a cable needle. In this technique, rather than pulling the stitches aside on a cable needle, you’ll be removing stitches from the needle and pinching them together with your fingers. It sounds scary, but it’s really quite easy for smaller cables. For a great tutorial on how to cable without a cable needle, check out this Interweave post by Sandi Wiseheart.


The rectangular pillow in this kit features a mini-lattice pattern, as well as some artfully placed I-cords for visual interest. In this pattern, the I-cords are created by picking up stitches at the cast on edges and then knitting those stitches into I-cords of a certain length. Then the I-cords you create are twisted, then tacked down and secured.

Which begs the question, what is an I-cord? An I-cord is a knitted tube created by knitting the stitches in the round using DPNs. This is done by knitting a row of stitches on your DPN, then sliding the stitches to the right-hand end of the needle, bringing your yarn around back, and then knitting them again. Bringing the yarn around the back of your work will join the edges of your work together creating a hollow tube, or an I-cord. For a nice photo tutorial on how to knit an I-cord, check out this Purl Soho post.

If you're new to this technique, try picking up your stitches and knitting your I-cord on one of your gauge swatches first! Begin by picking up 3 stitches from your cast on edge with the right side of the fabric facing you:

Turn your work so that you are ready to knit the increase row from the I-cord instructions with the wrong side of the fabric facing you:

Turn your work for the last time so that you can continue knitting the I-cord for the specified length:

It's that simple!

We look forward to seeing your finished Bracken Pillows - please share them with us on Instagram by tagging them with #bijoubasinranch and follow us at @bijoubasinranch where we post customer projects, new products and other fun ideas.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

A Most Addictive Slipped Stitch Hat Pattern Kit: Make it Your Own

Recently, we were delighted to launch kits with a lovely hat pattern designed by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter using our Himalayan Trail Yarn. The A Most Addictive Slipped Stitch Hat Kit features a ribbed brim which can be worked in either one or two colors, and then a slipped stitch pattern that is worked in two colors.  While we love a good pattern, sometimes we know you want to make a knitting project uniquely yours. What follows are a few ideas on how you might make a few changes to the pattern to make your own one-of-a-kind finished object.

More Art for Your Start

Want to make your hat a little different? The pattern is written for a standard K2/P2 brim in a single color or a corrugated rib in two colors. For those who want level up just a bit more, add a Latvian braid at the bottom or top of your ribbing section (this Latvian Braid tutorial may help you there). You could also add a fun pom-pom using your leftover yarn, or top things off with a fluffy faux-fur pom if you so choose!

Trim Your Brim Do you like to knit your hats so they fit snugly? Try going down a needle size to make the ribbed brim a snugger fit. Want extra warmth? Try a folded brim. You can simply knit the brim twice as long and fold it, or you can do a hemmed brim to start. Add a touch of elegance and warmth, not to mention “ooooo” factor, and knit the inside brim in one of our lusciouslace weight bases

Customize Your Size

As written, the pattern yields a hat approximately 8.5 inches/21.25 cm tall. Do you prefer a slouchier hat? Add extra repeats and inches to get where you want to be. Like your hats snug? Omit a few repeats before the crown decreases to make a snug, more beanie-like hat.

Choose Your Hues

Pick two muted colors for an elegant piece, two bright colors for a more fun statement, or go crazy and pick a variegated colorway and complement it with a solid that makes it pop!  

Check out all of our colorways of Himalayan Trail Yarn.
Fashion Your Passion
Are you looking for something other than a hat? Turn this great pattern into a cozy cowl! If you want your cowl a bit wider than the hat, cast on extra stitches in multiples of 6 and knit as tall as you want, omitting crown instructions - simply finish with your chosen ribbing before binding off!

Want to make one of those crazy messy bun hats? Knit the crown decreases through Decrease Round 5 or 6 and then bind off your stitches, leaving a hole at the top with finished edges for your messy bun or ponytail.

Or, take the colorwork chart and mash it up with your favorite mitten or fingerless mitt pattern!
You can mix and match any of these suggestions to create a project that is uniquely yours - click here to get your A Most Addictive Slipped Stitch Hat Kit. Please share your projects with us on Instagram by tagging them with #bijoubasinranch and follow us at @bijoubasinranch where we post customer projects, new products and other fun ideas.

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