Saturday, October 23, 2010

Twist Flower

I flagged six flower patterns from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowersthat only use the knit stitch:

Twist Flower - page 14
Fringe Loop Stitch Flower - page 32
Florets - page 48
Pop Daisy - page 76
Les Fleurs - page 84
Lazy Daisy Spiral - page 90

The first one I tried was the Twist Flower. It went quickly so I made it three times. Here are some suggestions. First, DON'T use a bulky yarn (5). You might think it will make the flower thick and lush (she used a Lion Brand Lion Suede yarn to knit hers) but it simply knits up too big for the pattern to be discernible. Second, DON'T use a variegated yarn (my second trial was a Sugar 'n' Cream cotton variegated yarn). The thinner yarn worked better for the pattern but the colors looked muddy and jumbled. The cotton also didn't have enough elasticity to be springy. It worked up stiff and you could see holes through the flower, which is a little disconcerting.

My third attempt worked better. I used a medium weight (4) alpaca/wool blend called Alpaca Love, colorway Lotus. This yarn was at my A.C. Moore, where I had a delightful shopping spree yesterday afternoon, but is also online for $3.49 a ball. One ball will make many flowers. The pattern is only 8 rows.

For fun, I tried making the center of the flower a contrasting color (once I made the outside petals with the Lotus color). I thought this would be nice since we can't make the bobbles that Nicki Epstein has in the center of her flowers (required the purl stitch). I used a lovely soft luxurious 100% organic cotton yarn - Lion's Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton in colorway Strawberry. (Here for $5.24 per ball.) This yarn is the same weight as the Alpaca Love, which is important, but it's a softer textured yarn which was lovely as the center. It only takes a tiny bit for those last few rows so you could use any contrasting color yarn that you like but keep it the medium weight. Cut your petal color and tie on your center color after completing row 5.

I liked this pattern because it was quick and fun, gave a good result, and gave the children practice in reading patterns (there's a part where you have to repeat the * directions to the end of the row). It also has you k2tog which is easy to learn.

I think this would be a good choice for after a scarf (which may or may not have had color changes in it, depending on the child) and before a more complex pattern like the Lamb.

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