Category Archives: Designs

When friends knit together

Last year was very intense and creative for me. It was the year of shawls, festivals, meeting  fabulous knitters and making pretty things. It was also the year when I published probably my favorite collection “Impulsive Knits“.

Dieuwke and I met each other for the first time in Brighton at a festival. It clicked immediately and the idea of the collaboration came up pretty fast. A number of emails and Skype chats later we created a small collection of knitwear we’d love to find in our closet – from mittens, through hats and shawls to sweaters.

Impulsiveness can sometimes have negative connotations, but there’s a lot to be said for running with an idea and letting it take you to new and often unexpected places. And as there’s safety in numbers and two heads are better than one, embarking on a spontaneous adventure with a good friend provides a certain sense of security while increasing the creative possibilities.

“Impulsive Knits” was conceived when Justyna and Dieuwke met at Unwind Brighton, hit it off, and impulsively decided, “Hey, why not put together a collection?” Since then they’ve gotten together whenever possible, meeting up at several European yarn festivals and in Justyna’s hometown of Torun, Poland. Their time together has been gleefully spent planning, designing, chatting, laughing, eating, sightseeing, and of course knitting. (OK – there was a little bit of whining, but everybody knows that knitters don’t waste much time on that.)

The patterns in this collection were inspired individually, not based on a certain theme, but rather on each designer’s personality, aesthetics and yes, impulse, and enhanced by their new-found friendship and shared experiences.

And dessert….don’t forget dessert.

There are lots of design photos in the lookbook and the website, so I thought I’d show you some funny ones ;-) Or a peek behind the scene.
From our trip to Malbork Castle. No idea why I was dancing ;-)
These two accompanied us in the photoshoot. Well, actually they fell in love with Dieuwke the moment they met her. I should have taken a photo when they climbed her with giggles (so far as I know it was with her content ;-)

It took us two days to take all the pics we needed. A huge amount of coffee and meringue kept us focused…
…or hyper active ;-)
There was also a little bit of nervous sleeves finishing with hair drier blocking action afterwards ;-)

The whole time we worked on the collection was really nice and brought so much inspiration, laughter and positiveness. We published it during summer and are still very grateful to everyone who helped us, commented, shared and gave it some love.

The moment we published the patterns, we both created a promo so that you could get the patterns from each of us at a discounted price. Simply add all patterns by one designer in your cart and the amount at check out will be $19 (save $10!). Sadly we couldn’t combine promos across the both of us – but buying both halves of the collection will save you $20 in total ;) The promotion will be valid indefinitely so don’t worry, you can use it any time.

Now I’m back to my needles with a new sweater and I’m thinking… maybe there should be a new collection this year too?

Playground Shawl

I’ve been eyeing Catherine’s yarn for a while now and every time she posted pictures of it on her Instagram, I sighed and thought “One day, it will find its way to my stash!” And it finally did.

Catherine specializes in self-striping yarns and she dyes them in two versions: classic striping, which is perfect for socks, and shawl striping, which is good for… well, shawls :-) The latter patterning was something I eagerly wanted to try. I saw many versions of simple triangular shawls made with her yarns, but honestly, what I have dreamed of doing is to see how the yarn would work up in a slightly different shape, namely, a biased shawl.

One day I cast on for the shawl shortly after breakfast to be ready to knit it during the many hours I find myself with kids at the playground. It was meant to be simple and fun, with a maximum of two sections that could be easily memorized – a perfect playground shawl.

I used a smaller skein of Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN in colorway Concrete and Tulips, but it should work out fine in any shawl-striped yarn in Cat’s store. Since the section sizes may vary among knitters and skeins (!), I have not included any stitch counts (just how many sts are added in some rows). Thus, you are the one who will decide which chart to use and when to switch to a new section. Do not fear! Once you get friendly with the yarn, it will easily guide you through the shawl. So let’s go!

Playground Shawl

Pattern Information
adjustable; sample size: approx. 145cm/58” wide along top edge and 55cm/22” high.
1 skein of Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN Fingering – Shawl (70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon; 370m/405y per 115g). Sample show in colorway: Concrete and Tulips.
Needles: 4.5mm/US #7 circular needle (60cm/24″ long).
Other: tapestry needle for weaving, blocking pins.
Gauge: 16 sts and 38 rows = 10cm/4″ in Garter st worked flat.
The gauge isn’t crucial on this project, but differences will affect the finished size as well as the required yardage.
Abbreviations: BO – bind off; CO – cast on; k – knit; kfb – knit one stitch through the front and back loop to make two stitches; rep – repeat; ssk – slip 2 stitches individually as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loops; st, sts – stitch, stitches; WS – wrong side;  yo – yarn over; ** – repeat as noted between asterisks.

Instructions: The shawl consists of two sections: gray Garter stripes and colorful Lace stripes. Each section may have a different length depending on the color changes, thus there are no stitch counts. When working gray sections all RS rows will begin with an increase, and all WS rows will begin with a decrease and finish with an increase. Lace sections will have 1 increase every row: at beginning of RS rows and end of WS rows.  The combination of these two sections worked alternately will create a long, skewed triangle.

Playground Shawl

With needle, 4.5mm/US#7, CO 4 sts.
Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, k1. 5 sts
Row 2 (WS): ssk, kfb, k2.

Row 1 (RS):
k2, kfb, k to end. (+1 st)
Row 2 (WS): ssk, k to last 3 sts, kfb, k2.
Rep the last 2 rows until you run out of gray color, ending with a WS row.
If you see that a new color will be introduced in the middle of a Row 2, work the final row as follows: (WS): ssk, p to last 3 sts, kfb, k2. (See notes below.)

Playground Shawl

Odd-Numbered Section (odd # of sts on needle before working 1st RS row)
Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, *yo, ssk*, rep to end. (+ 1 st)
Row 2 (WS): k1, *yo, ssk*, rep to last 3 sts, kfb, k2. (+1 st)

Even-Numbered Section (even # of sts before working 1st RS row)
Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, k1, *yo, ssk*, rep to end. (+1 st)
Row 2 (WS): k1, *yo, ssk*, rep to last 4 sts, k1, kfb, k2. (+1 st)

Rep these 2 rows until you run out of the contrasting color, ending with a WS row.Lace sections

To work the shawl, simply alternate gray Garter stripes and contrasting Lace stripes until you run out of yarn. When you reach the last color, which is gray, work the final Garter stripe then BO all sts in pattern fairly loosely (or with a bigger sized needle).

Finishing: Weave in ends and block the shawl giving it a triangular shape. Enjoy!

When working in Caterpillargreen Yarns you will notice that sometimes the color changes occur in the middle of a row. There are two options for dealing with this situation:

  1. Ignore. Yes, just ignore! However, this may result in two-color Garter ridges or gray lace. All depends on you! If it doesn’t bother you, just embrace the beauty of the yarn and leave it as is.
  2. Switch the stitch patterns. This is what I tried to do. When you work in Garter st and you see a new color approaching too soon to make it to the end of the final row, just purl the last WS row in that section (making sure to keep all increases and decreases as per pattern!). If the gray sneaks up faster than expected in the last WS row of a lace section, just work the color lace as per pattern and immediately when the yarn turns to gray, start purling.Sometimes the color change may take place near the beginning of a RS row. In such a case, if the change is from gray to contrasting color, just begin Lace section using gray. However, if the change is from contrasting color to gray, it’s okay to change pattern stitch mid-row – work the color sts in lace and knit all the gray sts. Count this as Row 1 of the next Garter stripe. All these tricks result in really awesome and clean patterning.

Playground Shawl

Finally, I’ve been asked by many people if this shawl can only be knit in Cat’s yarn. Although I strongly recommend enjoying “the Caterpillargreen experience”, of course not! You can grab any yarn you wish – any color, any weight – and just play with the instructions to create your own beautiful Playground Shawl. Your imagination is the only limit here!

Playground Shawl

Happy knitting!

You can dowload PDF version of the pattern here.

Copyright 2015 (c) Lete’s Knits.
Pattern is for personal use only. Please respect designer’s copyright.

Garter, Babushkas and Mad Max

Seems at the moment my blog should change its name from Lete’s Knits to Lete Travels ;-) Yes, yet again I’ll be talking about a festival – this time in Berlin.

We loved this trip a lot and I’m saying we as this time I was accompanied by my Hubby. I’m so grateful he was with me as thanks to him (and my car ;-) we could easily move around Berlin.

And I could focus on more important things :-)

I always have a big problem with what I should take with me in my WIP bag when I travel. In Edinburgh I learned a very important lesson. I took two WIPs with me back then, the first one were just sleeves, easy peasy but ehm I forgot they were attached to a sweater and that involved carrying a fairly BIG bag; the second was a cardi, a dark green one… well I sort of had to rip a little when I came back home. Dark yarn and pub knitting are not the best combination ;-)

So this time I took yarn for shawl designs that I’m asked to make – mostly in Garter stitch, and that means only knits! Clever huh? And no, I didn’t need to rip anything after coming back home :-)

In case you are wondering what the yarn in the first photo is going to be…yes, a triangular Masgot :-)

But the festival… It was so lovely to see all my friends and introduce my husband to many of them.

We tried to document all the people we met but I bet there are still some fabulous knittters missing in the pics.


With Dieuwke and Fides <3
Big thank you to Mia for taking me to button heaven (or hell if you have problems choosing only one thing in the sea of choices like me) :*
All of us petite girls ;-) With Rililie and Isabell (aka lilalu)

The trip to Berlin was also a treat to us as a couple as we could spend some time alone without worrying about our kids or curfew. On Saturday we had a really nice dinner with Victoria and David (the lovely crew of Eden Cottage Yarns): no rushing, just chatting, good food and… a little bit of rain on our way back to the flat which made us look in our shawls like Babushkas :-)

On Sunday evening we went to see Mad Max. I’m not a huge fan of this series of movies but I must admit it was one of the coolest action films I’ve seen in years (and it’s not only because I was focusing on the plot instead of knitting ;-).

The festival also introduced a new shawl design to my store. It’s called Silke and was created in collaboration with Cathrin from WalkCollection.

Silke is a traditional hap shawl, which means its construction is slightly different from other trangular shawls. First you work the Garter middle and then, once you pick up the stitches along its edges, you work the lace part. It uses only one skein of WalkCollection BFL Silky or any other fingering weight (400m).

It’s light, airy and will be reminding me of my German trip for sure :-)