Catkin KAL

Welcome to the official Mountain Hollow Farm Catkin KAL page!

If you have not purchased your pattern and yarn yet, call us so we can get you on your way to making this gorgeous capelet.

This page is designed to support you throughout your project.  The KAL dates are October 27 – December 15, 2018. As a KAL participant, you are welcome to add comments or questions to this post and I will respond ASAP during that time.

Live KAL support will also be offered in our store during the following times:

  • Thursdays 2-4 pm
  • Thursdays 6-8 pm
  • Saturdays 10-noon

This page is laid out in the order that the pattern is written. It is broken into sections so you can easily find the section you are working on.

Recommended Supplies

    • Approximately 400 yards fingering weight yarn in each of 2 colors (800 yards total)
    • Size US 4 circular knitting needle, 36” or longer, or size to obtain gauge
    • 8 buttons, approximately ⅝” in diameter
    • Stitch markers
    • Highlighter tape (optional, but highly recommended if you are using a paper pattern)
    • Tapestry needle
  • Row counter

Errata

Errata for this pattern has not been discovered to date. If you think you have found a mistake in the pattern, please comment below. If there is, indeed, a mistake, we will update this post.

General Tips to Make Your Knitting Easier

    • Stitch markers are one of the most useful knitting tools. Refer to our Using Stitch Markers blog post for a full explanation of how and why to use them. In this pattern:
    • Lifelines aren’t just for lace knitting; if you are concerned about making mistakes in the pattern work, use a lifeline. If you don’t know how to insert a lifeline, check out this Lifelines are Lifesavers! blog post.
  • Note the “Knitting Directions” section on Page 1 of the pattern where it explains what is meant by “in pattern” throughout the pattern.

Modifications & Tips Suggested by Ravelers

    • Knit Row 25 as a regular knit row and to make the increases in row Row 27 instead. This will prevent the stitches being misshapen on the garter ridge row with the contrasting colored yarn.
    • Start the buttonholes in Section 1 on rows 55 or 65 to make a smaller neck opening
    • Move the buttonholes one stitch farther from the edge
    • Work the stitch(es) in the row before an increase(s) loosely to allow room for the increase(s). For example:
        • Work row 10 in section 1 loosely because row 11 has a lot of increases that will pull the stitches in row 10 tighter than normal.  
      • The 6th stitch in from each edge on the wrong side rows should be worked loosely since there is an increase there on each right side row
    • Be careful to keep the floats behind your slipped stitches loose. This is especially important when:
        • An increase is next to a slipped stitch because the increase will take up slack from the float.
      • You are slipping multiple stitches in a row, as in the catkins at the bottom of the cape. Short floats will narrow your catkins. And remember, you need room for them to spread when you block your cape.
  • If you want to make your cape larger, Carina Spencer gives this advice, “You can extend section 2 by 20 rows (if you have enough yarn) which will give you an additional 20 st repeat in each quadrant. Section 3 should be pretty easy to figure from there.”

Swatching

The recommended way to check gauge for this pattern is to work the swatch chart provided on page 5. Working the swatch chart also gives you a chance to:

  • See how different yarns and colorways will work together
  • Become familiar with the stitches used in the pattern
  • Get used to reading a chart

If you are new to reading knitting charts, read this post for helpful tips on chart knitting.

For more detailed information about swatching and calculating your gauge visit our Calculating Gauge in Knitting blog post.

Knitting the Set-Up Section (Garter Tab Cast-On)

The pattern calls for a Garter Tab Cast-On, and explains how to do it in the instructions. There are two basic methods to do a Garter Tab Cast-On: with a provisional cast on or with a regular cast on. Each of those methods can have variations. In this pattern, you are instructed to use a provisional cast on and slip the first stitch of every other row.

If you struggle with doing a provisional cast on, do a regular one. It won’t make much difference. The following instructions are for straight garter stitch – not slipping the first stitch of every row – so they are slightly different than what the pattern calls for, but you will get the idea.

Section One

Once you have the Garter Tab Cast-On mastered, it’s time to move on to Section One where you will knit the crescent shape part of the shawl. If you are using two colors of yarn, be sure to read the helpful Twisted Edges Tutorial that the designer provided with the pattern so that you can carry the yarn without showing it along the edges (and, to avoid weaving in all those ends!).

There are 70 rows of knitting in this section of the pattern. You may wish to use a row counter to help keep track of your rows.

You can also use stitch markers as described in our Using Stitch Markers in Knitting blog post. I suggest that you place stitch markers as indicated in the pattern, AND at each slipped stitch. This will help you keep your place in the row, especially on the wrong sides where the slipped stitches are not so noticeable.

On Page 2, right after row 1 of Section One (and throughout the rest of the pattern), remember when the designer indicates to “work. in pattern,” she is referring to her directions immediately to the left in the shaded box.

You may find it helpful to knit Row 10 loosely (and all subsequent rows before increase rows) to avoid tight knitting and stress on your yarn on the next row when you are increasing after every (1, 3, or 4) stitch(es).

A few knitters on Ravelry noted that it is best to knit Row 25 as a regular knit row and to make the increase row on Row 27 instead. This will prevent the stitches being misshapen on the garter ridge row and with the contrasting colored yarn.

Note that on row 23 of Chart 1, the increases create another complete 20 stitch repeat. You can place another marker to denote this 20-stitch section since it matches the already established 20 stitch repeat.

Section Two

The instructions for this section sound a little confusing, but they’ll make sense as you knit and carefully follow them.

I found it helpful to place stitch markers as indicated in this photo:

Some people prefer to place stitch markers at every slip stitch, since you do the slip stitches on the wrong side, and it is hard to see them on that side.

A float is the yarn that runs behind the slip stitch, from the stitch worked before the slip stitch to the stitch worked after the slip stitch.

Note that on every right side row, you do increases around the “double” markers (the ones that you are instructed to place in the pattern, and are outlined in red on the chart), and right inside the beginning and ending borders. Therefore, on each wrong side row, you should leave a little extra room in the float behind the slipped stitch since that is the yarn you will be using to create the increases. I also knit the stitch before and after those slip stitches loosely. You’re increases on the next row will be easier and look better with extra slack in the floats.

Pay attention to the buttonholes. I use Knit Companion for my patterns, and enlarged the chart on my iPad to see it better, so the borders were off screen. I didn’t need to see them since I had them memorized – except I forgot about the buttonholes! Oops! I guess I’ll be sewing my cape shut when I sew the buttons on and just slipping it on and off over my head.

Speaking of buttonholes, many Ravelers suggested moving them one more stitch in from the edge to create a more stable buttonhole.

Note that on row 23 of Chart 1, the increases create another complete 20 stitch repeat. You can place another marker to denote this 20-stitch section since it matches the already established 20 stitch repeat.

If you would like to make your Catkin larger (make sure you have enough yarn), after you finish Chart 1, knit rows 2-21 one more time. This adds an extra pattern repeat in each section of Charts 2A, 2B, and 2C. I added these extra rows to mine.

Section Three

Chart 2A is one edge, Chart 2C is the other edge – there are TWO sections between them that are identical, thus, Chart 2B needs to be knit twice for each row in that section.

You’ll start this section on an even numbered row, which is a wrong side row. Therefore, you’ll read the charts from left to right starting with Chart 2C, then 2B (twice), and finish with 2A. For odd numbered rows (right side rows), read the charts from right to left starting with Chart 2A, then 2B (twice), and finish with 2C.

It might look like you have to carry both yarns on all the rows, but you don’t. You’ll knit 2 rows with one color, then 2 rows with the other color throughout these charts. The color of the edge stitches will tell you which color to use. When the opposite color appears in a row, it is because it is a slip stitch from the row(s) below.

The markers for the 20-st repeat sections in Chart 1 no longer apply for the repeat sections in Chart 2. In Chart 1, I used st markers for the 20-st repeat sections to keep track of where I was, which really helped. But the repeat sections on Chart 2 are offset to the left (on the public side) by 3 sts from their positions for Chart 1. Since row 42 is a WS row, you’ll need more markers as the repeat section for Chart 2 starts 3 sts before you get to the marker used for Chart 1.

KEEP THE FLOATS LOOSE. NO, LOOSER!

I actually pulled all the floats out looser after I’d made the following stitch, and a few of them are still too tight. Most of them are good though. Loosen the ones around the corners. Loosen the ones behind the leaves. Loosen them all. EVEN LOOSER! If your floats are too tight, your catkins will be oval instead of round.

The floats need to be EXTRA EXTRA loose around the catkins on rows 46, 50, 54, 58, & 62 because they are spanning 5 or 7 slipped stitches AND both the stitch before and the stitch after the float are slipped in the next 2 rows, pulling some slack from the float.

Notice also all of the double slipped stitches between the quadrants. Try to knit more loosely in the stitch below the stacked slip stitches, since it will have to stretch over 2 more rows.

Blocking

If you have blocking wires, this is a perfect project to use them since each of the quadrants makes a straight line. Using blocking wires speeds up the task of blocking. I simply inserted a wire in each quadrant and pinned it out with T-pins. I wish I had been a little more careful about pinning the edges; you can see in the photo that my edges are a little wonky, but I doubt that it will be noticeable when I wear it. I did not use any pins or wires on the “inside” (neck and button band) of the Catkin.

My Catkin grew quite a bit in blocking. This could vary depending on the yarn you used. I used superwash merino, and superwash yarns tend to grow quite a bit when they’re blocked. I also blocked mine aggressively (meaning I stretched it quite a bit) because I wanted it to be as large as possible.

Note also that you can change the shape of your garment somewhat in blocking. My catkins (the circles) are more wide than tall, which I did not notice as I was blocking it. Had I noticed that, I may have adjusted my blocking to make them taller. When I block it next time, I’ll probably do that.

I did the extra 20 rows in section 2 (as mentioned above) to make my Catkin larger.

Pre-blocking measurements: 16” from back of neck to bottom tip, and 85” around the bottom edge.

Post-blocking measurements: 20.5” from back of neck to bottom tip, and 105.5” around the bottom edge.

Catkin, pre-blocking

Catkin, after blocking

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed knitting your Catkin!

If you have not already done so, add your project to Ravelry, post your finished photos, and share your project with the Mountain Hollow Farm & Studio group using the box on the right-hand side of your project page. To join the Mountain Hollow Farm and Studio Ravelry group, click here.

If you found this page helpful, please go to Beth’s Ravelry Page, and click the “Yes” button beside the “are these notes helpful?” question below the notes section.

Lastly, sign up for our email list to be notified of future knit-alongs. 

Edit History

11/25/18 Added sections 2 & 3
11/28/18 Added more detail to section 3
12/14/18 Added last 2 paragraphs to section 2; added blocking section

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