30 October 2015

Technique: Integrated Button Bands

When I introduced you to Marianne cardigan on Monday, I realized I hadn't talked in-depth about one of my favorite cardigan techniques: Integrated Button Bands.

I picked up the basics of this technique from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket. In that pattern she has you work the button bands on both sides of the jacket, since you might be knitting it before the baby is born and would not know the sex of the child. Once the baby is born you'd be able to sew the buttons onto the jacket on the "proper" side.

When I thought about the technique for an adult sweater, I realized that doing both button holes meant that you would know exactly where to sew the buttons on when you were finishing the garment: over the holes, which would line them up perfectly with the buttonholes!

Since small buttons and lots of them are my preference, basic "baby" button holes using yo, k2tog work perfectly. Garter Stitch works nicely as the base, since the fabric is springy and tightens up just enough to prevent the button band from sagging.

Patterns I've published that use this technique include:
Have you ever used this technique? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

Quadrille c'est fini! #FOFriday #knitscope

from kathleendames's Collection on Katch https://ktch.tv/3yCz

Walk in riverside park #nycfallfoliage quick scope (#FOFriday chat later today)

from kathleendames's Collection on Katch https://ktch.tv/3yt2

28 October 2015

Pattern: Colonel Brandon

Colonel Brandon on Ravelry (no account necessary)

Available in Jane Austen Knits 2015 $14.99 (print and instant dowload)

Manly yet sensitive, in the end Colonel Brandon is the perfect match for Marianne Dashwood. And his sweater embodies their story: Hartshorn Cable is the central motif (Marianne is dosed with hartshorn after she encounters the feckless Willoughby in town), Waves of Honey highlight the sweet reward of Marianne’s hand after all the colonel suffers, and the Alternating Cables embody the dichotomy of Colonel Brandon’s persona: romantic hero with his poor Eliza versus wearer of flannel waistcoats in Marianne’s initial impression. The seamless hybrid yoke allows the cables to wrap up around and square off the shoulders, while garter stitch creates a crisp collar, cuffs, and hem.

What you'll love about knitting Colonel Brandon:

  • Seamless design worked in the round means you are always looking at the front of your work and can better keep track of all those cables
  • The cable patterns are aligned, which means you work the "action" rounds all together - it's easier to keep track of what you're doing this way
  • The hybrid yoke cleverly shapes the sweater to the body while still showing off those wonderful cables

What you'll love about wearing Colonel Brandon:

  • Garter stitch collar/cuffs/hem provide a clean finish
  • Hybrid yoke creates lovely square shoulders
  • Cables tell the story of Colonel Brandon's romantic life

Size/Finished Measurements

38 1/4 (41 1/4, 45 1/4, 48 1/2, 54 1/4, 58 1/4)" bust/chest circumference. Sweater shown measures 38 1/4".


  • Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (100% wool; 140 yd [128 m]/1 3/4 oz [50 g]): birdbook (medium green), 10 (11, 12, 14, 15, 17) skeins.
  • US6 (4 mm): 16" and 29" circular (cir) and set of doublepointed (dpn). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
  • Stitch markers
  • Removable markers
  • Cable needle
  • Stitch holders or waste yarn
  • Tapestry needle


18 sts and 25 rnds = 4" in St st; Hartshorn Cable chart = 3" wide; 16 sts of Double Moss Stitch chart = 4" wide; Alternating Cable chart = 1 1/4" wide; 12 sts of Wave of Honey chart = 2 1/4" wide.

Skills Needed

  • casting on
  • binding off
  • knitting
  • purling
  • increasing
  • decreasing
  • cabling (I highly recommend learning how to cable without a cable needle)
  • following cable charts


Many thanks to the entire staff at Jane Austen Knits/Interweave/F + W Media

Purchase your copy of Jane Austen Knits 2015 today at your favorite LYS or directly from Interweave.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

26 October 2015

Pattern: Marianne cardigan

Marianne cardigan on Ravelry

Available in Jane Austen Knits 2015 $14.99 (print and instant dowload)

“Mrs. Jennings was perfectly convinced of it. It would be an excellent match, for Colonel Brandon was rich and Marianne Dashwood was handsome.”
—Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Vol. 1, Ch. 8

And so begins the extraordinary fate of Miss Marianne Dashwood. What better attire for our heroine than an Empire-waist cardigan with an intriguing cabled lace skirt and picot edging around the mitered neckline. Stockinette-stitch panels at the side make waist shaping easy, and the garter-stitch hem, cuffs, and integrated button band give a clean finish, allowing the picots to draw attention upward to your pretty face.

The Lace Lozenges pattern uses a novel technique with a cable needle to create the lovely ovals, which remind me of cameos. This is one of the few times I bother actually using a cable needle - generally I find you move along more quickly working cable without a cable needle (or spare DPN). But in this instance, I was unable to find a way to work the Lace Lozenges safely without a cable needle.

As this design was partially inspired by Regency era gowns, the bust area is not as modest as you might prefer. You can wear something underneath (like the model here) that makes up the difference for you, or you could choose to work the front stitches for a few more rows to raise the neckline before holding them aside. Knitter's choice!

What you'll love about knitting Marianne cardigan:

  • Exciting-to-work skirt pattern makes clever use of a cable needle to create pretty cameo shapes
  • Integrated garter stitch button band (matches cuffs and hem) means you'll have minimal finishing work to do - seam the sleeves, weave the underarms, then it's time to go on a button hunt!
  • Pretty picot bindoff at the neckline is fun to work and hearkens back to lace trim on Regency gowns

What you'll love about wearing Marianne cardigan:

  • Waist-shaping in side panels creates a figure-flattering empire shape that you'll love to show off
  • Squared neckline with picots brings the attention up to your face (where it belongs!)
  • Fingering-weight yarn and 3/4-sleeves make this a cardigan you'll reach for year-round

Finished Measurements

30 3/4 (34 3/4, 38 3/4, 42 3/4, 46 3/4)" bust circumference buttoned. Cardigan shown measures 34 3/4".


Madelinetosh Dandelion (90% superwash Merino wool, 10% linen; 325 yd [297 m]/31/4 oz [90 g]): glazed pecan, 3 (4, 5, 5, 6) skeins.
Needles: Size 4 (3.5 mm): 32" circular (cir). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
Markers (m)
Removable m
Cable needle (cn)
Stitch holders or waste yarn
Tapestry needle
7 (7, 8, 8, 8) 1/2" buttons.


24 sts and 32 rows = 4" in St st; 18 sts of cable panel chart = 21/2" wide.

Skills Needed

  • casting on
  • binding off
  • knitting
  • purling
  • increasing
  • decreasing
  • working with a cable needle
  • following chart for Lace Lozenges

If you've knit up one of my other designs, you may recognize some techniques I like to use. If not, here are some links to help you get started:

  • Two-tail Long-tail Cast-on - this method also sets you up nicely for alternating skeins of hand-dyed yarn to ensure well-blended fabric
  • M1 increases (for sleeves)
  • Integrated button bands (hmm, I need to do a post on this for you - they are worked at the same time as the rest of the sweater body but in garter stitch, and I recommend working buttonholes at the beginning and end of the row so you'll know exactly where to sew on your buttons)
  • Centered Double Decreases, sometimes known as sl2k1p2sso or s2kp2 for short - I love how this decrease does away with two stitches at once and stands straight and slender; this decrease is used for the waist shaping and the raglan decreases in the yoke, which is the perfect spot for such delicate lines

Come back on Wednesday to meet Colonel Brandon!


Many thanks to the entire staff at Jane Austen Knits/Interweave/F + W Media

Purchase your copy of Jane Austen Knits 2015 today at your favorite LYS or directly from Interweave.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

23 October 2015

quick + purly: 5 women's worsted pullovers

After a fabulous weekend at Rhinebeck, I have pullovers on the brain! Here are five seamless, 1-color pullovers I found for you this week.

  1. Vistoire by Emily Ringelman $6 USD 
    flattering fit and great central cable
  2. Tweedy Dan by Olivia Pelaez $6 USD 
    such a nice collection of cables
  3. Dallas by Amy Miller $6 USD 
    lovely tunic with special cables
  4. Brassica Pullover by Elizabeth Smith $6 USD 
    lovely, subtle details
  5. Such a Winter's Day by Heidi Kirrmaier $6.80 USD
    love the funnel neck and all-over stitch pattern
All images from patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended. I just want to share the love!

And one from me!
An Aran for Anne by Kathleen Dames $7 USD
story-telling cables plus a flattering fit

Do you have a favorite pullover to recommend? Let us know in the comments below :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

21 October 2015

Jane Austen Knits 2015

It's Jane Austen Knits time, my darlings! The new issue is live and printed copies are winging their way to your LYS (might even be there already).

I have two lovely patterns for you: Marianne cardigan and Colonel Brandon. Aren't they a lovely pair? I was tickled to learn that a photograph of the two together would be on the Table of Contents...

photo: F + W Media

Next week I will share all the details on these two. But right now you should know that Interweave is having a Friends and Family event until Friday 10/23/15: Save 30% at Interweave with Offer Code FANDF30 You can order the print edition or magazine download (or anything else you like) and get 30% off.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

19 October 2015


Wow! What a fantastic weekend! I am wiped, so you get lots of pretty pictures. There are some Periscope broadcasts over on Katch, and I think I'm going to upload all of them to my YouTube channel once I look/listen to them to see if they are worth preserving (I have no idea - I was so excited to be there that I'm not sure the video or sound was at all useful).

Coherent words to follow when I am more coherent. Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.

If we met this weekend, "hi!". If we missed each other, :( I saw many other lovely fiber folks but was too busy enjoying myself to take the proper pictures.

I'm off to do laundry and get myself organized, even though all I want to do is knit all the things (starting with some long arm warmers - it was cold!). Hope you had a lovely weekend, too :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
Tone Poem Photo: reflected foliage and blurry coffee mug

So excited to be here at Building B!

Annie and I fussing over our handknits by a favorite tree
Cider donut stand in the background

Modeling - smize and show your footwear!

With Annie and her girls

I heart wool

I think this ram was flirting with me

So fun to meet Gaye of GGMadeIt in person (and all the other knitters/periscopers/bloggers/podcasters/wool lovers)!

View of the posing tree from the other side with delicious lamb barley soup

How cool is this jacket? She made all the flowers then sewed them together.
Her beau (not pictured) had one flower pinned on his jacket as a boutoniere.

Captain meetup: Liz Gipson (weaver extraordinaire known as Yarnworker), Lisa Check of Flying Goat Farm (that's her booth of rainbow-organized gorgeousness), Lisa Barnes (LMB Designs). Thanks, Tara, for bringing us together!

OMG! That's my Sotherton as a sample in the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth
My talented test knitter, Jennifer, told me she'd spotted it.

Frost on the windshield - glad I packed mittens and a hat!

Saturday night's frost caused all the trees to start dropping their leaves like mad -
some parts of the smaller roads had thick carpets of leaves on them

Another Captain meetup in Lisa's booth, this time with Ariel Altaras

I'm sure this lady thought I was crazy going on about her Bohus hat
but she was kind enough to let me photograph it

Tough decisions in the Fiber Optic booth. I went with Vitamin C over Au Naturale,
since I found myself going crazy for yellow sweaters at the Fair this year

See those white things on my cape and hat? Snow. It was cold enough to wear my
Caught in the Rigging (again) over Sailor's Valentine, which is a crazy-warm sweater.

Meeting a pet bird. Like you do. This little one had fallen out of its nest and been rescued
by this lovely woman. She cuddled it and kept it the rest of the time in a cozy pouch. So sweet.

So lovely to meet yet another Captain, Corinna Ferguson of PicnicKnits,
and check out her wonderful all-season book, Warm Days, Cool Knits

This. I have to work up the right idea for Catskill Merino's Pure Indigo yarns - there were three different "strengths".
I was a little fried by this point so will have to visit them at the Union Square Farmer's Market some time.

14 October 2015

Rhinebeck? Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck!

It's that time of year - the last big fiber festival is this weekend up in Duchess County, New York! New York Sheep & Wool Festival is an annual get-together of fiber folks from the farmers who tend the lovely creatures giving us wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, etc. to the dyers and spinners who turn fiber into yarn to all of us fiber lovers, whether we "just" knit or crochet or weave or are designers and "industry" folk.

I wasn't able to go last year (due to some not-fun stuff) so am extra excited to get up there this year for cider donuts, turning leaves, staring at sheep, and trying to decide which yarn HAS to come home with me (um, all of it).

My plan is to drive up Saturday morning and do the Ravelry meetup at noon. I'll be at that meetup on Sunday, too, because it's so much fun to see all the knitters. The rest of the time I plan to visit the sheep, fondle the yarn, hang with my dear friend/former roomie, and hug all the people I don't see often enough. I'm also going to talk with a small group of knitters my friend is bringing up on Sunday morning.

If you will be there, I'd love to see you! I will try to do a Periscope broadcast or two, if Verizon puts out a decent signal. Otherwise, I'll take some videos and post them on YouTube.

Now to just decide what to wear to what someone on the Rhinebeck Ravelry forum called "Yarn Prom"! Here's what I'm thinking...

Saturday: Benwick

Hoping I will have finished my Benwick cardigan (working on the shoulder shaping now) to wear on Saturday. It should be cool and sunny according to my weather app, so a fitted, worsted-weight sweater seems like it will work. And once the sample is knitted up, I'll be able to publish my version of the pattern for you!

Hoping the me-sized Benwick will be ready for Saturday
This is the original from Jane Austen Knits 2013

Sunday: Caught in the Rigging

It's supposed to be chilly on Sunday, so something like Wavelette with Caught in the Rigging on top. "Layers" is always a good game plan for things like this. Plus, it will be fun to take Caught in the Rigging back to where she originated (I bought the yarn from Miss Babs in 2013). Wavelette is a fingering-weight pullover, which seems like it will give me the right amount of wool with some ventilation from the lace. Thistle Leaf Pullover is my other thought, though its shorter sleeves might leave me chilly, or maybe Bloc Pulli with those orange cuffs peeking out.

I'm thinking Caught in the Rigging cape for Sunday (high of 48F!)
I'll probably bring my red boots, too, since there's a chance of rain :)

Will I see you this weekend? Let me know in the comments or just say "hi!" on the Fairgrounds. I can hardly wait!!!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

13 October 2015


Last week I set myself a challenge. I didn't say it out loud or tell anyone because I just wanted to see if I could do it at all. What was it? I aired five live broadcasts on Periscope for five days in a row. And guess what? I loved it! I think it's my new thing.

Catch me and Lady Jane on Periscope @kathleendames

What's periscope?

Periscope is an app that was acquired by Twitter that allows anyone to live-stream a video broadcast from wherever they are. Viewers can watch "live" or catch the replay for 24 hours; they can share it with their friends on Periscope, Twitter, and Facebook; they can tap the screen to show how much they enjoy the broadcast; and they can type messages delivered in real time to the other viewers and the periscope-er.

What's in it for me, the viewer?

You can interact with people around the world! You can hear what I sound like and see the funny facial expressions I make when I get all excited about knitting. You can ask me questions in real time. We can have a conversation. But you don't have to broadcast yourself (like in some conferencing apps). Lurking is also a totally acceptable option, as is watching online from a browser, though you can't get in on the interactive part.

Lots of periscope-ers are showing viewers how they make their art. There are also really honest conversations about feelings-as-makers and business and whatever you might be interested in. And I'm sure there are lots of other things going on. It was started to share events live in real time, after all.

What's in it for you, Kathleen?

So far, I'm in it for the fun. And the chance to connect with knitters. People all around the world use my patterns. While I would like to meet all of them (and give them hugs), that's not really feasible. But I still love the opportunity to communicate with knitters and find out what they're working on, what questions they have, how I can make what I do more helpful.

What started as a brief #WIPWed 'scope (below - hopefully the "embed" code works), where we talk about our works in progress (WIPs) turned into an hour-long conversation about knitting styles, the Shaker community, what to do with shed antlers, and a few other topics that swam into our ken. It was so much fun, and I want to do it again!

I also got to do a scope last Thursday morning "live from New York". My neighbor let me know that they were filming not too far away from our building, using a bunch of antique cars, so I walked down there and shared what I saw, which was kind of the original purpose of Periscope (to share what's happening in the moment).

What are you going to do with it?

Good question! This platform is still in its infancy*. And I've only done 14 'scopes (my first was less than two minutes, and I had no idea what I was doing). But the 'scopes that have been the most fun (for me) are the ones where we had a conversation, and I'd love to keep that going.

My current plan is to broadcast on weekdays focusing on knitting and design with occasional "adventures" (like checking out the cars down the street last week or other NYC things I'm excited to share with you - Rhinebeck this coming weekend!). If there are topics you'd like me to chat about, let me know! Tweets, messages on Ravelry, comments on this post - oof, there are lots of ways to get in touch with me :)

I also need to figure out what to do about my broadcasts' ephemerality. I could upload them to my YouTube channel, if you were interested, but they are just quick videos made with my iPhone. They're archived on Katch, but that's one more thing to sign up for. Clearly I need to give it some more thought (so if you have an opinion, let me know).

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. I'm going to do a little sneak peek of my new Jane Austen Knits patterns this afternoon on Periscope! Catch it live around 1:30 or view the replay for the next 24 hours.

P.P.S. In case you forgot: Lady Jane is my dress form. She's wearing Sailor's Valentine in the photo, and I'm wearing Thistle Leaf Pullover.

*And I mean really in its infancy. You can't search for broadcasts on Periscope by hashtag, even though it's owned by Twitter. You can search for hashtags on Twitter and then follow someone over on Periscope (it shouldn't be that difficult though!). There's no fast-forward or rewind, and no way to know how long a replay is. You can gauge how long a replay is by starting to watch it and noticing how long it takes the little white progress line at the bottom to advance across the screen. The good thing is you can delete a broadcast right away if you're unhappy with it. The "bad" thing is that 'scopes only stick around for 24 hours. I say "bad" because the ephemerality allows for a more relaxed experience for broadcasters and viewers, but when it's gone it's gone. I signed up for Katch (and am really annoyed that it's spelled that way), so I do have an archive of all but the first two.

09 October 2015

How to knit m1 increases (and why)

how I knit m1 increases (and why) VIDEO by Kathleen Dames

For those of you who never get around to watching videos:

Today I'm going to show you how to work my preferred make-one increases. While some knitters prefer knit-front-and-back or working into the running thread between stitches, I have issues with both of those, particularly when knitting something with paired increases.

The issue with kfb is that you get a purl bump. There are times when this is great, like doing increases for ribbing or seed stitch, but if you're working a smooth stockinette fabric, those bumps may stick out in a bad way.

Picking up the bar between stitches (the running thread) is ok, but I find it pulls at the fabric at those points since you are literally pulling the running thread from running between stitches to bring a whole new stitch. You can work those stitches as pairs, but sometimes it can be a wrestling match.

So making one out of whole thread, as it were, is my preferred technique. To do it, you make a backwards loops with your working yarn and place it onto your right needle. To make paired increases, twist your loop in one direction for the first increase and the other direction for its match. Simply work into the new stitch normally on the next row or round. Just remember to be consistent on which direction you twist your loops.

So there you have it. Matched increase that are nearly invisible! I use this technique on all of my sweaters, as well as some accessories (Sly Maid Stole comes to mind). And it works on flat knitting and in the round.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. Did you enjoy this video? Yay! Newsletter subscribers got to see it a week ago. Sign up here to get the good stuff first.