Back-to-school knitting

The Rainbow Cowl by Lisa Shroyer

I've been noticing a change lately, mainly with the seasonal products in some of the stores I shop in. Summer supplies are being replaced with school supplies! Our weather here in Spokane is hovering around the high 70s so it feels much to early for back-to-school! But I'll bet some of you riding the heat wave in other areas are more than ready for the cooler weather of fall.

Seeing the school supplies did get me excited about something, though—fall knitting! Back-to-school season is also knitting season, so I thought I'd share a couple of school-girl patterns with you.

First off is an easy knitting pattern: The Rainbow Cowl by Lisa Shroyer. If you have a schoolgirl in your household, she'll love the versatility of this cowl, and you'll love how quick this knit is.

You work a simple rectangle in garter-stitch, then twist it and partially seam to make a mobius cowl. The real star here is the self-striping yarn, whic creates a beautiful rainbow effect. (It's a great beginner knitting pattern, too!)

And to really get you motivated, we're selling the Rainbow Cowl download for just 10 cents!

The Isobel Skirt by Cia Abbott Bullemer
Terrina is happy with her skirt!

The next back-to-school pattern is the Isobel Skirt by Cia Abbott Bullemer. Every girl needs a first-day-of-school skirt!

My friend Sucia knitted this skirt, and she's here to tell you all about it!

When I saw this skirt, I knew I'd enjoy this pattern; it seemed so complex, yet simple at the same time–the perfect juxtaposition!

I love the concept of a knitted skirt, and this one looked both feminine and rustic and it reminded me of my friend Terrina. I'd been wanting to knit something for her, and the Isobel Skirt was just the thing. Terrina has an artistic, fun style, and I thought this skirt would fit nicely into her wardrobe.

In order to make this pattern work for her, I made a few modifications. I added negative ease on the waistband by making it smaller than her measurements and reinforced the waistband with elastic thread. I added the elastic by threading it onto a needle and using it in a whipstitch on the inside knit rows of the waistband.

I also made the skirt a little shorter so it would fall at the top of her knees. I thought that this would keep the swing in the skirt and keep it looking young, like Terrina!

Terrina's waist is 31" so I made the size 31" but I had to make it smaller after Terrina and I had a waistband fitting. I ripped out two inches so the final waistband measurement was 29".

The pattern really shows off the beauty of the yarn, Manos Silk Blend. I loved feeling the finished garment as a fabric and seeing how it created a flowing bell of a skirt.

One thing I learned from using this yarn is that it has some spring to it, so when you're sizing, I urge you to take that stretchiness into account. Therefore, it's best to add negative ease for the waistband by knitting it with less width than your body's measurements (I suggest 3 inches for the size 31" that way, you won't have to add elastic thread).

Another useful tip I learned from reading other knitters' suggestions on Ravelry was to knit the piece from the inside-out for the skirt portion. This way, you'll be knitting in the round instead of purling in the round. This tip will save your hands if you are a thrower like me.

Knitting for a friend is always exhilarating and a little nerve racking—what if she doesn't like it? Fortunately, Terrina loved it and pulled it together in a darling outfit. It's cuter than I could ever have imagined!

—Soucia Dhillon

Get yourself or your schoolgirl ready for school with the Rainbow Cowl and the Isobel Skirt. It's the time of year for some fun, fresh patterns, and these two fit the bill!


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