Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Sum of Our Splendid Parts

Davitron and & I (TricotChico) have realised that, though we're definitely on the same page as friends, we're going in slightly different directions creatively. We still have a project or two that have been in development for a while & that we want to collaborate on, but in the meantime, we've decided to publish our patterns individually, rather than as a Splendid duo.

Naturally, you'll continue to see the same innovation & style from us that you've come to love, though it may be presented in slightly different ways. You are welcomed & encouraged to follow our individual journeys via our respective blogs, linked here: Davitron (David Castillo) & TricotChico (Homero Luna).

Yours in yarn,
The Splendor Boys

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pattern Sneak Peak - Schmidt

TricotChico and I (GoGoDavitron) have been working super hard the last couple months preparing some fall knits for you guys. We're super excited to bring these to you, and I'm even more excited to share a sneak peak with you!

Pattern: "Schmidt" by David Castillo for Splendor (on ravelry)
Yarn: Fibra Natura Shepherd's Own in colorway 40004
Needles: Addi Turbo circulars, US4
Gauge: 5 sts/inch in stockinette

Schmidt is part of a collection of argyle-reminiscent knits. That is, instead of making colorwork argyle, these patterns will feature textural argyle. This particular vest features the textural argyle as the central motif, but also has very flattering ribbing at the sides as well as a shallow v-neck treatment, allowing for maximum comfort. This vest is intended to be dressed up or down, As comfortable at church as it is enjoying a picnic in the park!

This pattern will become available for purchase via Ravelry this spring - plenty of time for fall knitting, and will definitely give you plenty of time for Christmas knitting! Don't worry, we'll remind you as soon as it's available!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Wow guys! I feel like things are really picking up in splendorland as we are both happily stitching our ways to some exciting fall knits we're almost ready to share with you! In the meantime, we're trying to put ourselves out on the internet just a little bit more and let you know what's going on with us!

First up on the "what's been going on"-o-meter is my (Davitron's) interview with the PDX Podcast, Knit Happens! Michelle and Kristen were a hoot to be interviewed by, and I had a blast seeing the studios. You can hear the interview in it's entirety HERE. the asked me allllllll sorts of questions about my design proclivities and my history as a knitter and what it's like to be a male knitter. Give it a listen!

Do you guys remember Peppermint Patrick? Of course you do. Well, the pattern is available as part of a most excellent kit from a fabulous local business, Krafti-Kit. They purchase kits from independent and often local designers to sell on their website. Lots of fabulous yarns and patterns are available through them - so check it out! You can find the Peppermint Patrick kit HERE. It's only available in the colors shown in the sample, but it's cool cus they're my favorites anyway :)

I have to get back to my furious knitting and technical editing, so that's all for now! Happy stitching everyone!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I sometimes joke that I knit this sweater five times. That's an exaggeration to be sure, but not a complete exaggeration. Disclaimer: the following is a peek at one man's descent into sweater-knitting-induced madness! Thanks to Steven for taking these pictures, and for allowing his lovely apartment to serve as a backdrop for the photos.

Pattern: Seamless Hybrid Pullover with Shirt Yoke Back by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Cascade 220 Peruvian Highland Wool in RUBY
Needles: Addi Turbo circulars in sizes US4 and US7

As is usual for me, I started out with a very clear idea of what I wanted. I had become enamored of this shade of red from Cascade 220 and wanted a sweater made from it. It would be a Seamless Hybrid with a Shirt Yoke back, and I would use tubular cast-ons and bind-offs for the edging. The fit I wanted was pretty clear to me, but I didn't have any other sweaters that fit the way I wanted, so I couldn't measure one of those (as Liz Z. recommends). Armed with my actual chest measurement and info from a few different sources on how sweaters "should" fit, I did my calculations and cast on.

The ribbing got ripped out a couple of times, and after I'd knit it (30 rounds, as Liz Z suggests) and a couple of inches of the body. First I was doing a 1x1 rib, then I decided that didn't look right, then I switched to 2x2 and decided I liked the way it looked, but wanted to go down a needle size for the ribbing, even though I was already using a needle a couple of sizes smaller than what I'd use for the body (as is customary). I also discovered that using a year-old hat as a gauge swatch was not a good idea, as my gauge had changed. Once I got that sorted out, I knit almost the full length of the body, tried it on, and decided there was way too much ease in it for me. I think I had 1" or 2" of positive ease. I ripped back to the first row after the ribbing and decreased until I had 1" of negative ease. Just right!

The sleeves & shoulder shaping were pretty straightforward, but when I tried on the fully-knit sweater, I noticed an issue with the ribbing at the hem (see pic above). I had knit the 30 rounds that Liz Z recommends, though I discovered an unflattering effect of doing so. Since her sweaters fit a bit differently than mine, she probably never saw this issue. The ribbing (I think it was 4" wide....or see the issue) accentuated my tummy as it stretched over the lower edge of it. Not flattering. Not even a little! My solution was to cut the ribbing off, unravel it to about 2", and knit in plain stockinette up from there. Once that was done, I grafted the ribbing back to the body of the sweater, as you can see below.

For the initial sleeve/body decreases (the ones you make in the armscye before you make the "saddles" across the shoulders) I used the one that Elizabeth notes as a sort of alternate double decrease in Knitting Without Tears: "work to within one stitch of the marked stitch, slip marked stitch & the one preceding it together as if to knit, knit the next stitch, pass both slipped stitches over it. This forms a very attractive chain running up the decrease line."

Indeed, it does. I think this is the decrease most often used here when people make this sweater, and with good reason. It's so pretty!

To get the tubular edge on the collar, I decided to knit the ribbed collar separately, then graft it to the collar of the sweater. There were a few moments when I was sure I was insane for trying this, or that it would somehow come out looking nothing like what I'd hoped for, but look! It's amazing--if I do say so myself!

The fabric of yoke across the back was strangely mis-shapen when I finished knitting; it was what I called "poochey"--it bowed outward and looked a little over-sized and like it wasn't quite the right size piece of fabric for where it was meant to be. Granted, this was only a small issue, and the kind of thing a lot of people would probably not noticed, but...see previous re: obsessive knitter. I hear (after all is said & done), that people sometimes decrease a few stitches as they approach this bit, in order to adjust for the difference in height vs width in a knit stitch. For mine, though, it fortunately smoothed out to suit my tastes with nothing more than a basic blocking.

I like how this picture makes it look like I have some kind of athletic "V" shape to my back or something, but I assure you it's all trickery of the camera angle and fancy lighting.

I've worn this sweater quite a bit, though. I've also decided that I most definitely need more hand knit wool sweaters!

And now...we can all get back to our knitting.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Short Rows Wavy Hat by Lee Meredith

This one is a relatively old fact, I think it might be a year old now, but I've finally gotten around to getting photos and so it's show-and-tell time!

Pattern: Short Rows Wavy Hat by Lee Meredith
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Black and Pearl Ten (grey)
Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars in size US8

I remember seeing Lee's orange & green sample on display for a while at Twisted in Portland, OR and I was really intrigued (enthralled, fascinated, obsessed get the idea) by the wavy stripes. I chose black & grey for mine (naturally) in remnants of yummy, soft, smooshable Malabrigo Merino wool that I had leftover from a couple of different projects.

The wavy shaping of the fabric is achieved with some really clever use of increases, decreases, and short rows. The hat is knit flat, so it's a very simple and natural option to create stripes by changing colors at the beginning of every right-side row (if striping is your goal).

I used the provisional cast-on/kitchener close option for knitting this hat (one of the options described in the pattern). I planned to knit the hat at a slightly tighter gauge than indicated in the pattern, though, so I added a few stitches to add the necessary length and knit more wedges to add circumference. I remember taking very good notes, but they've disappeared into the ether somewhere. I believe I added 6 or 8 stitches, spread out over several "sections" of the pattern, and I knit 13 wedges total.

To be completely honest, David ultimately completed the kitchener stitch finish for this one. I finished the knitting before I had ever tried kitchener myself, and everyone made it sound so scary! By now I've done my share of kitchener stitch, and I kind of wonder what everyone was complaining about, but whatevs. For this project, David was visiting one day and noticed that the fully-knit hat was still sitting (unseamed) in my project pile (one of many). Out of some kind of frustration (and maybe a desire to practice his kitchener stitch skillz?), he picked it up and made short work of the seam (which looks great, by the way; I can't even locate it to get a picture of it now).

This was one of those projects that's a sheer pleasure to knit because it takes shape before your eyes as you work. I was really delighted to see the curve of the fabric come about as I knit each wedge, and the gentle variegation of the grey Malabrigo definitely adds interest. Each grey stripe is completely singular, as the lights and darks play off each-other.

I love how this is the sort of project that can take on a very different look, depending on the colors you choose for it. I have plans to knit one with black and orange (like a tiger--RAWR!!!) and one with black as the main color and multi-coloured neon stripes. We'll see how that goes, though. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Worldwide Splendor

Such exciting things are happening over here! You may remember our previous post in which we mentioned some of the exposure and love we'd gotten by getting mentioned in other blogs & forums. Well, it's just! Getting! Better!

The Wild Thing hoodie has recently been featured on fanblog dedicated to the Where the Wild Things Are book & movie. It was incredibly flattering to discover this, somehow. I think the extra flattery (for me) lies in the fact that, since this is a fan site, the interest & excitement are coming from fellow nerdy fans--and I mean that in the most becoming way possible. I mean, I definitely count myself as part of that group!

In addition to this, we've been getting visitors from a couple of websites that appear to be Japanese ( and, which is also flattering and very curious. Neither of us is able to read any Asian language, so if you can help us discover how we're mentioned on these sites, we'd be most appreciative. Regardless, though, it's incredibly nifty to know that there is interest in our little blog all over the World!

Speaking of global interest, a Francophone reader recently offered to translate the pattern for The Natural into French, and this translation is now available here! Many thanks to Mélusine for this translation! I also hear that an Italian translation of the pattern is in the works. HOW COOL IS THAT!?

We'd both like to extend a warm Thank You to all of our readers for showing us love in all the ways that you do. Stay tuned; there's more super fun knitting in the works!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Visual Texture

I'm not gonna play; I'm one of those guys that knitters complain about: I unabashedly enjoy stockinette sweaters in grey, blue, or black...maybe with a stripe across the chest? [full disclosure: I mostly choose greys or black, which means that most of my 'sweater quantities' of yarn are varying shades of grey, with an occasional bundle of black yarn]

However, I don't believe that stockinette fabric needs to be boring to look at, so I bring you examples of yarn with what I call Visual Texture. These are just a few examples of swatches I've been playing with that use yarns which create interest without a complex stitch pattern.

Yarn: Fibra Natura 'Mermaid' in colorway 'Turkish Tile'

The interest in this yarn is the result, in part, of its composition. The blend of pima cotton, superwash Merino wool, seacell, and silk creates subtle variances in tone, as the different fibers absorb dye to varying degrees. On top of that, the silk and seacell give it a really yummy sheen. Seacell is made from cellulose (read: wood pulp) and seaweed, and the buzz is that the seaweed content transfers nutrients when worn against the skin (osmosis FTW!!!). Between that and the lovely feel of the yarn and fabric, I'm bent on uncovering the manly accessory that I'm sure is hidden in a ball or two of this fab yarn.

Yarn: Universal Yarn Classic Worsted Holiday in colorway 'Silver Bells'

Ok, I give! I'm easily distracted by shiny objects! I don't know that there's anything guy-friendly waiting to happen with this yarn, but I do enjoy the challenge of looking for it. This machine-washable (79% Acrylic, 19 % Wool, 2% Glitter) yarn has a metallic element with a shine that's hard to resist. That, alone, is really enough to give some 'oomph' to a piece of "plain knitting". I'm showing the Reverse Stockinette side of this ribbed-border swatch to demonstrate how simply displaying the side of the fabric that we don't normally see can create some intrigue. What is that pebbley fabric, anyway? Right?

Yarn: KnitPicks City Tweed Heavy Weight in colorway 'Orca'

Here is another yarn whose mixed fiber content (Merino wool, superfine alpaca, & Donegal tweed) contributes to multi-tone appeal. Tweedy yarns, in general, are great for visual interest, as the tweedy bits--usually multicolored, and typically brightly-hued--break up what might be an otherwise-solid (or -semisolid) fabric. In this case, though, I really appreciate that the 'tweeds' are neutral tones. Davitron and I are of two minds on this one, but I truly enjoy the visual appeal of tweed without the distraction of bright colors amidst grey or black yarn.

Yarn: Fibra Natura 'Oak' in colorway 'Pewter'

This swatch (that looks like it's on its way to becoming a scarf, no?) illustrates that very complicated stitch patterns are not necessary to create very interesting fabric. You can see in the ball (background...a little bit) that the yarn itself (a blend of linen, silk and superwash Merino wool) has a respectable amount of color variation going on in it. Here you can see seed stitch (center), sandwiched between ol' reliable garter stitch (above & below the seed stitch sections), and at the top and bottom there's a very simple stitch pattern that I've been thinking of a lot lately. It's a variation on the Mistake Rib stitch that might actually have a name, though I'm unaware of it. The stitch pattern repeats over a multiple of 3 stitches, and you just knit 2, purl 1 on both sides of back-and-forth knitting. I added a slipped-stitch edge to my swatch, though, cuz I'm fancy like that! :o)

Yarn: Dream In Color Classy in colorway 'Cocoa Kiss'

Just when it's starting to seem like the only way to get visual interest is to blend some fibers, here's an example that is pure, delicious superwash Merino wool. Dream In Color's Veil Dying process and color palette create some pretty freakin' amazing yarns! Cocoa Kiss is an example of one of their yarns that combines different hues artfully to create a pleasing color combination, but you can bet your biddy that I have a sweater quantity of yarn stashed in their newer 'Grey Tabby Cat' colorway! Whether you're talking about one of their semisolids or multi-hued colorways, though, the gorgeously subtle variations in color create a lovely 'textured' fabric out of plain ol' stockinette fabric.