Joining knits 1

This time of year I am usually producing machine knit felt hats for sale, on my 260 Brother bulky KM. They are knit sideways, and require seaming on their completion. Photos of some steps in process, taken a previous year:screenshot_80screenshot_81screenshot_82screenshot_84There is a lot published on methods to graft open stitches using kitchener. Hand knit magazines both in Britain and here have begun to  present joining a variety of pattern stitches with with charts that visually clarify the process. A small portion of such a chart:kitchenerWith bulky knits such as my hats, I like to take open stitches onto circulars and sew them together by hand as shown below, beginning on right, and with the knit side facing me.

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Diana Sullivan offers youtube videos showing how to join pieces with waste yarn endings with their purl side or knit side  facing respectively.

Seam as you knit is an option for joining vertically. It is a technique that may be used to attach bands, parts of a sweater, or strips of knitting, whether for the sake of additional width, changes in color, or attached with purl side facing the knit side if that is the goal.  The piece on the machine is always purl side facing. With each row knit, a “loop” is created on the carriage side, while a “knot” is formed on the opposite side as the row is completed. The process then reverses as the carriage returns to its original position.  The technique  may be done on either, or even both sides at once. The first piece(s) is (are) completed and taken off the machine. Begin the join to piece with a cast on row or waste yarn. For a test, with COR: pick up the first knot or loop on the completed piece. Hang it on the left end needle/ stitch on the cast on work (opposite the carriage). Knit 2 rows. Go to the next knot or loop on the completed piece, place it on the same left side needle/ stitch. You are hanging on the far needle opposite the carriage every 2 rows.

The knit fabric, purl side facing   knot_loopA one eyed tool is inserted from front to back through either a loop or a knot, and hung on the first needle hook / stitch on the right, left, or even both sides of the piece every 2 rows.    knot_loop2bknot_loop2aJoining “loops” generally works well in standard gauge knitting. On the bulky, or where a “tighter” seam line is needed, join “knots”.

The same method may be used to join the side edge of any piece of knit to any portion or location on the one in progress.

MK ladders, and a bit of crochet

I have recently been thinking about collars and edgings again, this time adding crochet detailing to help cut the edge curl and add interest. In a previous post I showed an edging done in drop stitch (double bed lace). Here to simplify things, I decided to work with ladder spaces to create the fabric. If a large width of this fabric is required, multiple bands would need to be joined to achieve it, crochet is then applied in turn to the the finished knit piece. Seam as you knit can make the joining nearly invisible. Using excel, I tried to also create crochet symbols using its shapes menu. The number of rows knit in open pattern or all knit prior to binding off are at your discretion, depending on your needs and planned final product. For my sample I began knitting with COR, and to end with COR for bind off row, I chose to work with even numbered groups of rows. Consider fiber content if the intent is to permanently block as flat as possible, or not.

my chart symbols symbols_70

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needle set up, waste yarn cast on, knit for desired length  setup_62img_4095bring one empty needle into worktransfer_63img_4096knit one row, bring remaining empty needle into work plain-knit_64img_4097knit one row img_4099knit rows desired for top bandimg_4100transfer eon from L to rightallk-transfer_65img_4101latch tool bind off around gate pegs for all needles/stitches img_4102

img_4103do not cut yarn, lift work off machine; turn work over (knit side facing)
chain 5, slip stitch into eyelet created by transfers, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last eyelet space detail_4121turn work over (purl side facing once again), chain 3, 2 double crochet, slip stitch into center of chain 5 space, repeat across the knit, end with slip stitch into last chain 5 space detail_4120unblocked trim, 2/15 acrylic yarn img_4104

img_4105detail after steaming, the trim is side leaning img_4119

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To use: rehang open stitches on every needle (or other arrangement) eliminating ladder spaces and bind off,  join to another piece of knit, etc.

Single bed slits aka horizontal “button holes”

There are many good instructions online for producing buttonholes in doubled over knit bands. This version is from the Brother Knitting Techniques Book, now downloadable for free online

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Many hand knitting patterns are published, often in garter stitch, using slits that one may think of as larger “buttonholes” to create a range of interesting fabrics. Trying to produce such slits single bed, without the use of additional strands of yarn and in turn having yarn ends to weave in, leaves few options.

This method may be used when creating multiple slits across a row as well. Holding is used to break the knitting into segments. The drawn illustrations show steps taken, not needle positions.

COR, for the bottom of the slit: 1. transfer the first stitch in the buttonhole group onto the adjacent needle to its right

bhole_012. transfer pair of stitches together onto the now empty needle to their left. The knit carriage, holding the yarn, will be on the right

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3. push the needle forward until the first stitch (green) passes over the needle’s latch bhole_044. push needle back to work position

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5. the forward stitch (red) is now knit through the one behind the latch

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This essentially binds off a stitch. Repeat steps 1-5 until for the number of bound off stitches required; the last stitch in the group is then transferred onto adjacent needle to its left. The bottom edge of the “buttonhole” is now complete. bhole_06aTo make the top edge of the buttonhole/ slit bring its corresponding needles out to hold, cast on desired number of stitches with latch tool from right to left.bhole_07aIn order to best accomplish this with COR set KM for holding, push empty needles back to A position, knit up to now empty “buttonhole” needlesimg_4069bring empty needles out to hold img_4070insert latch hook from back to front through below the last stitch now knit on the right screenshot_36twist tool clockwisescreenshot_37bring empty needles out to holdimg_3966come up between the first 2 needles on the group’s right screenshot_38continue with latch tool bind off, last loop in chain is hung on needle already holding 2 stitches from the last bind off transferimg_4071tighten up loop 
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return “buttonhole”  stitches into needle hooks, back to B position
img_4073COL: set KM to slip in both directions, move to right img_4074COR: cancel holding, adjust tension, knit across remaining stitches to Limg_4075COL: cancel slip <–>, continue knitting screenshot_08

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For hand knitters: my new favorite hand knit buttonhole in video format
in written/ illustrated form
two fabrics using slits: a free Ravelry pattern 
my blog post in response to a Pinterest request: variations in rib with holes

Not knitting, a touch of politics

Since I began my blog I have deliberately stayed away from topics other than pure knitting, with occasional references to other textile techniques. I happen to live in the US. A movement  post Brexit in the UK is beginning to take hold here. This is a small, visual way to show support for those who will be and are already being affected in an atmosphere where bigotry, misogyny, and privilege win out.

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Thread Lace on Brother KM

Thread lace has also been called punch lace over the years. The “lace holes” are formed by knitting a fine thread with a significantly thicker yarn as the “second color”. When the fine yarn knits (B), a larger stitch in it alone is formed, with the thicker yarn floating behind it. The thicker yarn goes in Brother’s A feeder, the thinner in B.  As in FI patterning, the unpunched holes/ blank squares/ no pixels knit yarn in feeder A, punched holes/ black squares/ pixels are knit in B feeder yarn. In this instance however, both yarns  knit the unselected needles, corresponding to blanks in card or blank squares/ unmarked pixels. Tension may need to be adjusted due to this fact.

Test swatches for tolerance to pressing/ steaming to make certain final garment will bear blocking and cleaning. I had a sweater front finished using an industry “clear” thread, thankfully tried to iron it before finishing the piece, and discovered a lovely melting quality to the clear “thread”. In theory clear serger thread should be safe to use, there are 2 easily available manufacturers. YLI brand (nylon) is stocked at most chain stores that carry sewing supplies.  One “light / clear” is “whiter” than other; there is a “smoke” version as well, sold on cones. Both produce a bit of a sheen on the surface of the knit fabric. Sulky (polyester) clear is sold on spools, is superior for sewing pieces together, zippers, etc with no “sharp” when cut ends poking at the skin, but in a different price point and quantity.

This was my garment’s test swatch, the black is a wool rayon yarn.

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The fabric is much quicker to produce than traditional transfer lace. Cards can easily be drawn by filling in solid shapes over a mesh  ie repeat seen in the 1X1 card. Double length may produce an interesting fabric as well.  End needle selection needs to be cancelled. If end needles are selected because of the pattern repeat, push those needles back to B position manually before knitting the next row. The latter step insures that both yarns will knit together. Either side may be used as the “public side”, depending on personal preference. The thread lace option is also available in the 260 bulky machine. Here a very thin acrylic was used as the “thin” at the start of the swatch, monofilament for the remainder (bulky KM)

img_3851once again, with monofilament as color 2 img_3852

Taking it to a garment (standard KM): color 1 = wool/rayon blend, color 2 = sewing thread. Note the difference in color where there is no needle selection for pattern, and how one color is more prominent on one side than the other. Sometimes the latter may be used to advantage when the goal is a plaited fabric, but no plaiting feeder is available. Simply program in a blank row, and position threads using thread lace setting to produce the knit.

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For more details for some unconventional uses for setting see post. I knit on a 910 electronic, with no option for such fabrics built into knit carriage. I was able however, to modify and use my punchcard carriage with the intent of producing yet another “unconventional”, ribbed fabric.

 

Lots of swatches

I have unearthed some of the hundreds of swatches that managed to  move with me when I downsized. They were produced when I used when teaching, often during class experiments and demonstrations. The yarn colors were chosen so I could spot them a mile away as my own (there were shared/public use yarn shelves in studio), and “different” enough so as not to tempt their being taken at any workshops ;-). I am adding them to my photostream as and when I can, and in turn shifting them into albums. In case anyone is interested the link is https://www.flickr.com/photos/drina2/ I am not certain I will have any opportunity to teach again, am hoping if people see them they may be inspired to try some of the techniques in materials and colors of their choosing. I would gladly explain more on any of them if any questions come up when viewing them.

Knitting in pattern with 2 carriages, Brother punchcard KMs

I touched on knitting with 2 carriages in some previous posts:
http://alessandrina.com/2011/03/30/knitting-with-2-carriages/
http://alessandrina.com/2011/03/29/lace-meets-hold-and-goes-round/
http://alessandrina.com/2015/03/31/combining-tuck-stitches-with-lace-2-automating-them/

If 2 carriages are in use for patterning extension rails are a must. For this discussion we are excluding the lace carriage as the #2, the intent is to use 2 knit carriages with each set to desired cam functions. As one carriage is put to rest and the other one is set to move from the opposite side, the card does not advance, so the last row selected is repeated one more time. In one of those lightbulb moments today (any excuse not to do laundry) it occurred to me that starting out with an odd number repeat pre punched card, coming from the opposite direction at the end of each odd row repeat, an even numbered repeat would actually be knit. The card below is Brother issue with all standard knitting machines. Card number (2 in this instance) may vary, depending on year of purchase. Color changes here as well would have to be planned for an every even number of rows, so respective carriages can travel to and from each side.

punchcard

The swatch below begins with locked selection row on punchcard row marked #1 (standard location); tuck setting is used in first 2 segments, FI on third; pattern produced is “OK”, but not actually tucking for 4 consecutive rows; note how much narrower FI is than tuck. Tuck tends to be short and fat, slip and fair isle short and skinny when compared to plain knit in same yarns 500_326

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Since Brother preselects for the next row of knitting, setting the first selection row one locked below the usual spot on in this case #48 got me what I wanted, each color now tucking for 4 rows

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Then something a bit more exciting occurred to me; one is an odd number, so any card where single rows are punched could be executed in theory, changing color every 2 rows (remembering to start with first selection row one row below # 1 row mark on card). This sample was knit with 2 carriages, using a maze card, illustrated in a previous post , in which each row had been punched only one time, requiring for the repeat to be elongated X2 500_319500_320

the image from the previous postgrey_slip

Using 2 carriages allows for combining yarns using different tensions, cam settings, fiber content, or sometimes using materials that the single bed color changer is not “friendly” with. Also, there is no pushing the wrong button, causing errors in sequence, or dropped knitting if no yarn is picked up.

A punchcard carriage may be used on electronic machines. I work on a KH892, and a 910. The 910 is from a much earlier model year than the punchcard machine. The back rail for the KH to travel on, is a different shape, with slits as opposed to smooth, and a bit more raised. The electronic carriage set on KC locks on the belt, and advances the card appropriately, but the fit is quite snug, making it hard to push, while the 892 behaved well on the 910. If borrowing carriages and sinker plates from different model years or type of machine to use on another, proceed with caution and listen to your machine. Sometimes the span of time between model issues is irrelevant, even if model years are only a year apart, and the swap is not the best for successful knitting, may “work” in one direction, but not as well in the other.

sample back rails: 910 910892rail2

Pintucks or ripple fabrics 1

Another ravelry question is bringing me to a new topic and thread. The information will be edited and added to as I have time and can gather corresponding swatches. Information, at least initially, will pertain to Brother brand machines.

The size of the pleat creating the ripple/  pintuck depends on the number of rows that can be knit on the all knit bed before the fabric begins to ride up and becomes difficult to retain on the needles in work. Tolerance depends on knitting machine brands as well as yarn used. Bold patterns read better than smaller ones. Weights are usually helpful. The term is commonly used in reference to fabrics created in every needle rib and their variants. The Brother Ribber techniques book (now available for free online) addresses the topic on pp. 20-23.

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I have added a few patterns from published sources in a flickr album , most take into account any one stitch not being slipped for more than 4 rows. Doubling the length if using electronics is not recommended.

These fabrics may be created in combination with needles out of work. Charting out ribber needle set ups requires brick layout graph paper. The images below may serve to illustrate needle set ups. Print and add needle arrangements by hand, or use image processor to add symbols for needles both in and out of work on either bed. The first series begins and ends with needles on the ribber (Passap front bed), the one below it with needles on the main bed (Passap back bed).

ribber needle set up

ribber needle set up

 

A bit of holding 5: intarsia and more 2

So you have some shapes you love and know: wanting to go large, mixing them up, requires thinking things through. Testing on small swatches will help determine holding sequences and whether the results are predictable or even liked. I no longer have access to Adobe photoshop or illustrator, so some of my image editing is now achieved in gimp. Labeling below is with Skitch, and charting is with Excel.

A starting freehand swatch experiment and some observations: shape variations in red areas occur by altering sequence for knitting first and last 2 shapes in hold

tulip_knit

tulip_purl

Planning possible sequences out in charting can be confusing. The image direction will be reversed on the knit side. Approaching the technique like intarsia with individual yarns or bobbins eliminates the need for some of the concerns where 2 row sequences or specific starting sides are necessary to keep yarns continuous or for execution of the desired shape. Trying to imagine the shapes that create the larger one together in a simple 2D drawing can get one started, but  then shapes need to be rearranged. I usually began by “playing”, trying to figure out steps needed, and follow that by trying to produce an executable chart. Making the process as easy as possible to track is always a consideration.

screenshot_09possible stitch counts and adding a center line “stem”/ stripescreenshot_10its knitting sequence tulip_numbereda resulting swatch, stitch counts not consistent with chart
labeled_075

600_076

In the chart below the design is worked with 2 needles brought out to work or pushed back into work at any one time, making tracking changing numbers in hold unnecessary. Pink rows indicate starting and ending knit rows, orange “stitches” are cast on and bound off in turn, creating a shape extending out from the edge of the knit. Arrows indicate where shapes meet to create forms.

knittable_marked

Holding sequence for each shape may be worked begin with carriage on either side; with experience this may be planned at times to eliminate some of those cut yarn ends that later must be woven in. Getting back to arrows indicating carriage moves, using the center shape for illustration purposes and beginning with COR

directionif beginning with COL, simply flip the image horizontally direction flip

labelled_077600_078

The yarns used were “throw away acrylics” in white and red. The green is a rayon chenille, which required a looser tension, resulting in the other colors looser than I would want in a final fabric

idea for a larger image in the process of being editedscreenshot_07

A possible sequence in knitting if it is to be executed as shown. The arrow marks rows that knit all needles across the width of the piece. The piece segments are  numbered to create a starting line for later joining.
numbered1If the goal is knitting as close to a flat circle as possible, eliminating rows will create a smaller center hole as well after the form is completed and seamed. Knitting segments 1-6 should be adequatecircle2In larger pieces ie shawls, adding knit rows without adding stitches can be done by altering #8, 1, 6, 7. Red line indicates changing angles. Blue and green lines below indicate increasing rows knit at center of shapes as a result. exteded

Knitting and cast on sequences flow around left purl edge, straight or diagonal edges on a chart such as above may become foundation rows that are later seamed. Sort out your sequence and preferences on smaller swatches, keeping notes as you go. Additional shaping can happen along the edges of any plain knit rows between shapes by increasing or decreasing on either or both sides to create crescent shapes  or triangle variants.

Now a quandary if gauge matters: knit stitches are not square. One option is to generate a grid appropriate graph paper. In holding sequences happen in 2 row sequences. Graph paper cells may be created at twice the height desired. Each rectangle will represent a single stitch, 2 row sequence. To create your own knitting graph paper in excel please see post as a place to start. A common knit ratio is 4W X 6H. An editable workbook in 2W X 6H ratio that takes into account following outline in 2 row holding sequences: landscape2X6. Links for designing knit graph papers online:
http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/matrix/e-index.html
http://www.theknittingsite.com/knitting-graph-paper/
http://sweaterscapes.com/lcharts3.htm
http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/KnittersGraph.html
http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/asymmetric/

Using the 4X6 model reduced to 2X3 this is a sample generated using excel, with borders in a 2X6 ratio, so in execution, each single cell represents one stitch and 2 rows knit. The shape is one from the shape menu in the program, easily resized. The yellow bars show the gradations in holding. These cells are too small for adding text within the program itself. The math can be double checked: there are 70 stitches, 34 rows in the rectangle at the center of the shape. Holding happens over 5 chart units (10 rows actual knitting) at the top and bottom of the center shape; 70/5 = 14 X5, matching the drawing shape on grid

the accompanying, editable workbook Excel 2008  landscape2X6

So the goal is a shawl or garment, graph paper is becoming impractical to follow? Time to pull out your knit leader. Draw out each wedge or piece full size, number  segments breaking sections into knitting sequences, and let the KL guide you. For consistency, if the same shape is to be repeated many times and accuracy matters, it may be worth “air knitting” it while noting shaping as you go, keeping a row by row flow chart. An editable workbook to help track holding patterns, increases, decreases, etc. as a starting point for your own preferences: tracking knit.

Gauge or shape do not matter? time to scrumble it all and be surprised!

 

 

A bit of holding 4: intarsia and more

Picture knitting / intarsia may at times be achieved using holding techniques. As in any such knitting, supplies include extras such as bobbins, clothespins or weighted clips, but no separate carriage. If the ribber is in use and one is working on a large piece, ribber covers allow the yarns to hang in front of the ribber bed.

Some of the rules for accomplishing this using short rows: it is helpful to work from a chart. Two row sequences are required, so having the working chart double length makes the process easier to visualize. “Follow” knitting direction with any tool to determine that the pattern is executable, with no long floats or slits.

The bottom of any diagonal lines is always knit first.

Needles are brought out to hold on the carriage side, pushed back into work opposite the carriage; one exception to this rule is if “automatic wrapping” is used. In the latter one less needle is brought into hold than needed opposite the carriage, the row is knit, then with the carriage on the alternate side the first needle in hold next to stitches just knit is brought out to hold, resulting in a “wrap” and correcting the count to the desired number. Any number of needles may be pushed back into work at any time. More than single stitches brought to hold on the carriage side will produce floats.

When knitting shapes the only needles in work are those being worked to create that shape.

Base rows of knitting, whether in waste yarn or as part of the pattern, are needed prior to working in hold.

Remember that you are working on the purl side, so any image will be flipped horizontally on the knit side. Reverse chart horizontally before working it if direction matters.

Begin with a simple shape. Letters indicate knitting sequence for short row sections. Patterning in these charts begins with COR, bold lines separate areas of plain knitting, letters indicate order for executing short row segments. The fabric produced lies flat, with no noticeable 3D protrusions.

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screenshot_07marking sequences with numbers is easier for me to follow; color changes help define segments, do not reflect final colors in design diamond_29

diamond_sequence

a super mini swatch: holes are typical both in intarsia and in short rows if no wrapping occursIMG_2439be prepared to weave in a lot of yarn endsIMG_2901going larger, note “steps” created when larger number of needle groups are used500_717stripes500_716more complex geometry:  line drawing on “graph paper”complex_30the start of color placement screenshot_01sequence for executing segments at completion of designcomplex_number_01in actual knitting the pattern must be elongated X2

I find it helpful to use familiar yarn and to work variations of a familiar shape prior to taking on more complex patterns. Below is a cousin of the first shape illustrated in this post, with pattern worked beginning COL, repeated across the row, increments in number of stitches worked in short rows, but mirrorred on both shape sides (shown in first swatch segment).

screenshot_01filling in to produce a flat fabric, with straight sides: bottom segmentscreenshot_02top segmentscreenshot_04the amended chartscreenshot_05

Some of the same shapes may be placed on a shaped edge. The repeat will likely need some editing; arrows indicate direction of knitting for that row. If the background color is used for casting on and binding off, then the isolated shape floats on the ground, and the horizontal line of contrast color is eliminated.

screenshot_18edge 1creating an outline of shape with Color 1screenshot_23edge_21

horizontal rotation to achieve “leaf” shapescreenshot_05melding shapesno wrap_28don’t like wrapping? for smaller holes offset return to work position upper half of shape by one needle less at the start, added at endno wrap_28knitting direction leaf_25stacking shapes, with bound off stitchesstacking leaves

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the yarn used is an acrylic, so pressing helps to make the shapes lie flat. Once again, using wool or any other yarn with “memory” will result in considerable curl at side ant top and bottom of knit piece, so that is a consideration in putting in the effort. The more striping, the more yarn ends to weave in and row counts to watch. Using space dyed or sock yarns may produce pleasing though unplanned stripe patterns in any of the shapes. My samples are not resolved final fabrics. There are many inspiring patterns available for purchase or at times free on the internet for hand knitting, usually in garter stitch as well as holding, resulting in a nearly square gauge, flat lying knit.

Taking it to garments: accessories are easiest, since gauge may not be significant. Shawl shapes in HK are often knit on circular needles, without the constraint of the fixed number of needles on any particular model KM. Sometimes, with adjustments, the same shapes may be rotated sideways on the KM. Segment sizes may differ due to the resulting change in gauge. Sampling techniques and shapes in smaller versions helps work out the kinks.

Sources for inspiration: large scale shapes

http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7365&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7543&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7375&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7099&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6729&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6333&cid=17
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6001&cid=17

more details, varying concentration and placement

free pattern
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7606&cid=17

for purchase on ravelry
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/endless-rainbow
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rigoles
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dreambird-kal
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/scarf-with-flames
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/phoenix-wing—phoenix-flugel
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spring-plumage
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hundertwasser-neptunia
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/swingtrelac