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Crunchy Leaves: a Strange Brew Example

November 15, 2018

I’m a seeker after beauty. I find it in the everyday, which is very useful. As a parent to small children who works from a home office, there’s a lot of everyday to be had! I manage to squeeze in a little exceptional between wiping sticky tabletops, clearing away Lego, and doing battle with the inbox.

My morning jog, in the autumn, is often interrupted by beautiful moments.

One way that I find beauty in everyday things is dressing my children in handmade items. No matter how snotty and contrary they are on a given day, a hand-knit sweater can make it seem a little better. Not always great (I’m not gonna lie, kids can be tough), but better. Even if you can’t enjoy their behaviour, you can at least appreciate the great knitwear!

When we were developing the Strange Brew pattern, a year ago, I made a pair of little sweaters for Max and Neve to test the sizing and yoke shaping after we decided to add aran and sock weights into the recipe pattern.

Kids playing at the park, in all of the hand knits! It doesn’t get much better than this!
These sweaters were just intended as ‘little swatches’ – opportunities for me to trial colour combinations and concepts, test out motifs, dipped hems, and colour combinations.
I loved the ‘bubbly’ shape of this colourwork motif, and this grapic idea eventually worked its way into my design for the Almanac sweater, which incorporates a similar motif at both yoke and hems.

A disclaimer : Jess, dyer at Ginger Twist Studio, is a friend of mine. So… obviously I’m gonna big up her sweet sweet product. But I wouldn’t be working with it if I didn’t love it! When Alexa and I decided to embark upon a colourwork collection, I’m not gonna lie, I knew that I’d need to amp up my stash big time. So I collected quite a great collection of colours, and used a little of each of them in these sweaters!

In preparation for knitting these prototype sweaters, I collected a pretty fabulous rainbow of Ginger’s Hand Dyed Masham Mayhem Aran and Sheepish Aran

I LOVE the main colour I used for Neve’s little yoke. It is so rich, so vivid, but such a great ‘neutral’ at the same time. It’s called ‘crunchy leaves’ which feels so very appropriate for autumn days. Lately it feels like every day I have to stop to capture another photo of the brilliant morning light shining through the blanket of leaves in the park near my house that I run through in the mornings. Or perhaps I’m just stopping to catch my breath?

I made Max’s jumper first, and discovered that the ‘crunchy leaves’ colour played very nicely with the bright teal, the warm yellow, and both the cobalt blue, the deep grey-blue.

In making Neve’s yoke, I simply picked some lovely little colourwork motifs, and played with them, alternating colours quite often to add richness to very simple patterns.

When we shot this little example yoke in Iceland, I ripped out the bottom hem treatment (which you can see in the earlier photos above) because I thought it was better without.

The Strange Brew pattern is a recipe for designing your own unique colourwork yoke sweater, and it includes 3 gauge options and both top-down and bottom-up construction methods! Check out our in-depth tutorial on how to use the pattern to design a yoke, and our other posts on the process of knitting a colourwork sweater are listed here.

An Example Yoke, created using the Strange Brew recipe pattern

This little example was worked as follows, using top-down aran weight instructions in size 1-2 years:

  • Neckline: Cast on per the pattern, worked 1×1 ribbing
  • Increase Round 1: worked in MC following pattern instructions
  • Pattern Section 1: Worked chart A (it is 3 rounds, not the 4 called for in the pattern)
  • Increase Round 2: worked in MC following pattern instructions
  • Pattern Section 2: Worked chart B (it is 9 rounds, not the 4 called for in the pattern)
  • Increase Round 3: worked in MC following pattern instructions
  • Pattern Section 3: worked chart A; but flipped it (it is 3 rounds, not the 4 called for in the pattern)

So I worked a total of 3 + 9 + 3 = 15 pattern rounds, whereas the pattern called for 4 + 4 + 8 = 16 pattern rounds. The increases fell at slightly different points than the pattern called for, but it WORKED OUT JUST FINE.

This is an important illustration of the fact that you can adjust the Strange Brew recipe pattern, moving the increase or decrease rounds up or down, and your yoke design will very likely still work out! The numbers are SQUISHY.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2019 10:06 am

    These are adorable sweaters (and adorable children!). I loved that bottom pattern on the brown! I’m going to follow your links and learn more. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Mary Wilson permalink
    December 5, 2018 10:46 am

    Loving this recipe for wonderful wooly sweaters❤️

  3. Donna Heron permalink
    December 5, 2018 5:48 am

    I have a request. I want to use the same motifs in my Strange Brew sweater that r in the photo on the Ravelry pattern page. It’s the photo of the woman taking a selfie with the cup in her hand.
    I’m having trouble identifying them. Can u tell me which ones she used? Thank u so much!!!

    • December 6, 2018 11:55 am

      Hi Donna – From bottom to top (neckline) it looks like she used:

      The motif on the top right of page 37
      9 down far left on page 35
      First motif on the far left on page 35
      The top left motif on page 36
      Then she flipped the first motif on the far left of page 35
      She’s used her own tree chart (maybe something like the one in the North Shore pattern)
      I’m not sure what the chart is after the trees
      The motif at the top I believe is the second from the top, far left on page 36

      Hope this helps! Her sweater is beautiful!

  4. Linda Stoner permalink
    November 30, 2018 10:17 am

    Love it!

  5. Olivia permalink
    November 19, 2018 6:21 am

    The children’s sweaters are stunning. Can’t believe they were just samples. Lucky kids.

  6. November 17, 2018 8:19 pm

    LOVE these sweaters, they’re beautiful! One day I will get to make my kiddos some sweaters.

  7. Meredith MC permalink
    November 17, 2018 9:03 am

    Gorgeous and inspiring!

  8. Christy Campbell permalink
    November 16, 2018 7:25 pm

    Ok this really helped me see the idea of squishy numbers!! Thanks!!!

  9. Jess permalink
    November 16, 2018 7:32 am

    Amazing sweaters and yarn! The “Crunchy Leaves” colorway is perfection, as are your design choices. Since you used a hand dyed yarn, I’m curious to know if you alternated skeins on the plain stockinette sections? You got a perfect blend of colors, so I’m thinking you probably did!

  10. November 16, 2018 6:53 am

    I love the ‘dipped hem’ effect! You inspire me to develop my colour work skills. Perhaps that’ll be my 2019 knitting resolution? Either way, great post!

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