Mermaid Goals

If there has been a buzzword project in 2016 it has been mermaid blankets. Every knitter and crocheter seems to be fielding requests for these. Of course, the requests rarely come with specifics on the type of mermaid tail they would like – and there are many options! Being the handy knitting elf I am, I thought I would write up a tour exploring the options, both for you, and to send to those who ask mermaid tails of you.

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In an alternate reality, Ariel would be dreaming of the ability to wear knit sweaters.

Do you want a split-back or conical shape? Open fin that you can stick your feet into or an aesthetically pleasing flat fin? A scale stitch pattern or something more plain? A pattern calling for thicker yarn might make it faster, but more expensive. A thinner yarn may be less expensive, but not give you the stitch definition you like.  All of these factors will help you narrow down what type of pattern you want.

First, let’s begin with the Knitted Options.

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In store, we have worked up Dawn Hamilton’s Mermaid Tail for All pattern (pictured above). This is onedscf0838 of the few that is available for free, and features both child and adult sizes. We chose to use the self-striping Ella Rae Seasons as it lends extra whimsy to the subtle scale pattern (right). This mermaid tail doesn’t have a split back, so you get the costume-style tail that kids especially will enjoy pulling on. Like many of the patterns out there, this one sizes quite large, so that each size will be usable for many years before the child out-grows it.

Looking for something more plain? Cheryl Frances’s Mermaid/Dolphin Tail (above left) is in adult sizes and Melody Rogers’s Mermaid Tail Blanket (above right) is child sizes, using chunky and super bulky weight yarns respectively.

Marta Selter’s Knit Mermaid Tail (above left) has a very distinctive lace scale pattern and fin shape. Angie Hartley’s Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket (above right) looks very similar to Dawn Hamilton’s, but has a split in the back so that it is more open. Both have lots of sizes and request mostly worsted/aran weight yarns.

The last two knit versions we will look at are Caroline Brooke’s Adult Mermaid Tail Blanket (above left) and Black Sheep Wools’ Mermaid Tail Blanket (above right), both playing with different colours for body and tail. Black Sheep Wools’ version is adaptable and free, while Caroline Brooke incorporates an easy mesh pattern and drawstring.

Onto the Crochet Options!
(Crochet is always a favourite option for blankets as it is faster than knitting~)

Both Nadia Fuad’s Mermaid Tail Afghan (above left) and Angie Hartley’s Mermaid Tail Couch Blanket (above right) take advantage of crocheted shell patterns to create fish scales. Nadia Fuad’s version is free, Hartley’s version goes into the particulars of how to stripe in different colours, and each have sizes from child through adult.

One of the uniquely crochet options are the three-dimensional scale effects used in Ruffled Cabbage Co.’s Mermaid Tail Snuggle Sack (above left) and Elizabeth Cala’s free Mermaid Tail (above right). I love how the two side by side really demonstrate how much of an effect deciding to use a variegated or a solid colour can have on the finished look.

If solid colours and basic crochet texture are more your style, consider (clockwise from upper left) Sheila Hunt’s Quick and Easy Mermaid Tail, Crochet by Jennifer’s Mermaid Tail Prop, or Dbnicegirl’s Mermaid Tail. They call for super bulky, worsted, and worsted respectively, and cover  all sizes. Notice how they all have different tail-to-fin shapes?  Every mermaid tail version I have seen is different, and every person I talk to seems to have their own favourite~

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Fall Arrivals

This week we welcomed even more warm things into our yarn family!

Briggs & Little arrived, refreshing our stock of Sport, Heritage, and Country Roving, and bringing with it new-to-us Tuffy! An aran-weight wool-nylon blend, Tuffy is all about thick socks to layer over your cold toes this winter. The new Country Roving means we are ready for our Curling Sweater KAL that begins Tuesday, October 4th. The class is free if you purchase the materials with us, or 15$/class if you’re just looking for a bit of help on a WIP.

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These beauties on the left are Ella Rae Huenique (Hue + Unique, ahaha cute), a washable wool/acrylic blend. While the label says it is a chunky, it feels more like a worsted/aran to me… either way, these 100g balls will work up into gorgeous accessories for gifts!

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Similarly suitable for gifts, we have gotten in Harrap Tweed Chunky, the big sister of popular Harrap Tweed DK. A washable/dryable Nylon-Acrylic-Wool-Viscose blend, Harrap Chunky is ready to be worked up into some last-minute slippers and bed socks. One 100g ball has 184 yarns, so it makes a handy stash yarn for those emergency project situations.

If you’re thinking about baby showers or a new fall sweater for the kid in your life, we have the latest Sirdar Crofter DK & Crofter Baby DK colours! I can’t even put into words how popular our Crofter samples are… the sweaters can be knit over and over and over, with a self-striping yarn that makes the experience painless~

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With the new troops came a cavalcade of pattern books and leaflets – pictured are the books, there are quite literally hundreds of new leaflets that you’ll have to come in and see for yourself!

Two Colour Brioche Scarf

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This pattern was our exclusive offering for the 2016 Lakeside Yarn Crawl! Now that it is complete, we offer it up to you faithful yarn lovers for free~ It is a deliciously bouncy brioche scarf using two colours of Cascade Cloud. This yarn has a fun chain texture that compounds the satisfying squishiness of the brioche knit stitch.

dscf0798Requirements
2 skeins of Cascade Cloud (164yds/150m per100g),
1 each of Main Colour and Contrast Colour.
I used Eco Cloud #1801 for my Main Colour and Cloud #2125 for my Contrast Colour
5.5mm circular needle, I recommend a 24″ or bigger, but some may prefer a 16″ if you don’t mind the shorter needle tips.
Beware – you cannot use single-pointed knitting needles for working brioche!
Brioche requires that you can work your knitting from the same side twice, while traditional single-pointed needles have you working on each side one after the other (front, back, front, back, while brioche is worked front, front, back, back)

Pattern Instructions

Cast On 23 stitches (or, any odd number) using Main Colour – I recommend the Long-Tail Cast On Method.

Set Up
First Row: Slip 1 purlwise, bring yarn to the front, *slip 1 purlwise, wrap yarn around needle and back to the front, P1* repeat from * to * until you have two stitches left, yarn should be at the front of work, slip 1 purlwise, K1. Slide Work along needle so that you are back to where you started.
Second Row: Slip first stitch purlwise. Using Contrast Colour, *BRK, bring yarn to front, slip 1 purlwise* repeat to two stitches from end of row, BRK, slip 1 stitch purlwise. Turn work.

Row 1, Main Colour, “MC Knits”: Slip 1 Purlwise, *yarn should be at the front of the work, slip 1 purlwise, BRK* repeat until two stitches remain, bring yarn to front, slip 1 purlwise, K1.

Slide Knitting back to other end of needle, where the Contrast Colour yarn is waiting.

Row 1, Contrast Colour, “CC Purls”: Slip 1 Purlwise, *BRP, slip 1 purlwise, wrap yarn over needle and back to front of work* repeat to last two stitches, BRP, slip 1 purlwise.

Turk work.

Row 2, Main Colour, “MC Purls”: Slip 1 Purlwise, *yarn should be at the front of the work, slip 1 purlwise, wrap yarn over needle and back to front of work, BRP* repeat to last two stitches, yarn should be at the front of work, slip 1 purlwise, K1.

Slide Knitting back to other end of needle, where the Contrast Colour yarn is waiting.

Row 2, Contrast Colour, “CC Knits”: Slip 1 Purlwise, *BRK, bring yarn to front of work, slip 1 purlwise* repeat to last two stitches, BRK, slip 1 purlwise.

Turn work.

Repeat from Row 1, Main Colour through to Row 2, Contrast Colour, until scarf is preferred length (or you run out of yarn!), ending with a Row 2, Contrast Colour.

Cast Off loosely, using a thicker needle if necessary. Slip 1 Purlwise, P1, pass slipped stitch over purled stitch. BRK, pass purled stitch over BRK. P1, pass BRK over purled stitch. Continue in this way until two stitches remain – a purl stitch and an edge stitch. Knit them together, pass the BRK over the K2tog, pull the tail of your yarn through the K2tog to cast it off. Weave in your ends! The Cascade Cloud’s bouncy chained texture is perfect for hiding your ends within. =) Block lightly (for length or width, to taste) and never take off.

On the run? Click here to access a printable PDF copy of this pattern.

Brioche Tips & Tricks


Here is a picture of the right side “Row 1” (left) and wrong side “Row 2” (right). In the pattern I ‘name’ the rows as “MC Knits”, “CC Purls” (seen in the right picture) and “MC Purls”, “CC Knits” (seen in the left picture) as I find that thinking in those terms is what helps me keep track of where I am. Notice that the side where I have MC (White) Knits looks like white knits? And then, on the opposite side, my contrast colour is standing out in the knit columns, while my main colour has retreated to the back as purl stitches. Looking closely at  the fabric and reading your knitting will make a big difference in whether you love or hate brioche!

Your edge stitches are only worked with your main colour, and only when they are the last stitch of your row. When they start your row, they are always slipped, and if you are working with your contrast colour, they are always slipped.

Confused about when to slide back to the beginning of the row and when to turn your work? I think of it as this – if both working yarns are at the same side of your work, Main Colour goes first. Contrast Colour is always playing catch-up to Main Colour. When you start knitting a pattern that features a completely new-to-you stitch, think critically about what kind of cues like this you can use! Everyone notices different cues, and can use them to keep themselves on track~