Knitting

Cowl Design Complete

A few weeks ago I posted a couple of samples of cowl designs, asking for feedback. Well, one of them is on its way to being my local yarn store’s fall design, while the other one — the one I’m featuring here — I worked up for myself.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios, and it’s perfect for this design. It’s shaded rather than variegated, and the shades of color add depth and interest to this rather simple pattern. (By the way, I haven’t yet written up the pattern.)

Malabrigo cowlThis is a close-fitting cowl, about 21″ around and 8″ in height. As you can see, it drapes nicely around the neck, and while you could wear the lace points on either bottom or top, I demonstrated it wearing them on the bottom. They lay there nicely, and I didn’t even have to arrange them for the picture. That’s just how they fell naturally.

The Rios yarn made knitting it quick and simple, although I did find that when I needed to wrap the yarn for the dropped stitches it tended to pull tightly on the needle, making it difficult to knit the next row. I’ve worked that same stitch with a variety of yarns lately when testing this pattern, and the Rios was the only one with which I had a problem.

So now I have a decision to make. Does this go in the potential gift pile, or do I keep it for myself? Since it’s the same yarn I used to make a shawl earlier this year, I’m leaning toward keeping it. Time will tell.

Malabrigo cowl2

Knitting

Striped Hat

Oh good grief…another hat!! Again from my stash, again my own improvised design.

Striped HatThis was a mix of worsted weight yarns, and frankly, I’m not sure of the brand for most of them. I am quite sure only one of them is superwash, and that is the red, which is Rowan Pure Wool Superwash. The rest, well, the labels were long ago lost. The perils of stash yarn!!

For this hat, I once again did a 1×1 twisted rib, followed by the rolled border (knit 2 rounds, purl 2 rounds, knit 2 rounds). I also added the rolled border at the top right before I started the decreases.

The stripes were fun. On the first row of each new color, I would knit 3, slip 1 (or on alternate stripes, knit 1, slip 1, knit 2), giving almost a stranded knitting look to the stripes. It added a little interest to the overall design.

Confession here — on the first stripe, with the blue, I forgot to slip the stitches, so I went back and duplicate stitched the “dropped” stitch. Better option than ripping any part of it out.

I wish I could say the circle of blue at the top was planned, but I ran out of the orange yarn. I considered doing some more stripes, but decided I didn’t want to weave in all those additional ends. So much for purity in designing a piece.

I noticed that in the picture one of the red/blue rows with the slipped stitch looks like those accent stitches don’t show up in the finished project. In reality, they do, the hat just rolled a bit at that point when I took the picture.

I have a bucketful of hats these days, ready for gift or charitable giving!

Blue striped hat
One more hat, made following the same basic pattern I wrote about here. I think I’m done with hats for the time being!!

 


Image Credit: Winter Sky Background courtesy of Pixabay.
Knitting

Colorado Hat

I’ve been going a little bit hat crazy lately and making a number of knit caps for charity giving next winter. The watch cap pattern has gotten lots of use, and since I’ve already posted a couple of times with Watch Caps, I’ll refrain from boring you and doing it again.

Speaking of boring…those Watch Caps can get tedious to make. I HAD to try something new, and I wasn’t in the mood to forage through all of my patterns and find just the right hat for the yarn in my stash. Instead, I found some designs in one of my oh-so-valuable Vogue Knitting Stitchionaries, this one, Volume III, Color Knitting.

Colorado HatOf course there had to be the right number of stitches in the pattern repeat, and I struggled a little with that one. I finally ended up decreasing two stitches before working on the main design, which they’d named “Colorado” (hence the name of the hat).

(You may be thinking it would have been easier to find a pattern that was already written rather than doing all this calculating, but in this case, it was so much easier to pull that Stitchionary out and put it in my lap rather than search online or go through all my pattern books.)

There are 20 stitches in the pattern repeat, and I had cast on 102 (multiple of six). I did the border at the bottom in a multiple of six, kind of winging it as I went along, but I’m pleased with the results. After finishing that border, I decreased the extra two stitches.

Of course with stranded knitting you end up with a tighter weave than straight stockinette stitch, so the hat was a little on the small side, but still within the range for a woman’s hat. Hey, it fits me, and I usually need a larger hat size. Well, sort of fits me. An extra inch or two would fit better.

I used Ella Rae Classic Solids in a Worsted Weight (Red) as well as Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash (Off White), also in a worsted weight. Now, this was a stash project, and I didn’t have two superwash yarns to use, so this hat will have to be hand-washed. I hesitate to donate hand-wash items to charity since I don’t have care instructions on them, but if I do give this one away on our Giving Tree, I’m going to trust that most adults don’t need to wash their hats too often.

I didn’t use all of either skein, in fact, I would guess I used about ¾ of the red and less than half of the off-white.

The ribbing was 1 ½” of twisted rib. I love the look of twisted rib!! I also took a cue from my last sweater project and had a rolled border above the ribbing — since this was knit in the round, that would be Knit 2 rounds, Purl 2 rounds, Knit 2 rounds.

The hat was 7″ before I began the decreases, and generally I’m partial to working at least 8″. However, I’ve discovered a lot of hat patterns have you work only 7″, and I was able to pull this one down over my ears when it is was finished — my all-important test!!

Overall, I’m pleased with the results. This may go in my “gift” pile and not “charity giving” pile! I’m low on gift hats.


Background Image Credit: (Snowy Sky) © striZh – Fotolia
Knitting

Lace Vest

I’ve been wanting to make this vest since I first saw it in the Early Fall 2015 Vogue Knitting. I finally got my chance this spring, and I’m delighted with the finished result. I do plan to wear it as a vest and not a pullover (it easily could be worn as a sleeveless pullover) as age is betraying me and my pale arms are not shown to their best advantage in anything sleeveless.

Pink Lace Vest 2It’s Pattern #18, Vine Lace Shell, and it was a fairly easy pattern to work up, with some nice detail at the ribbing. There’s a rolled edge there made with a reverse stockinette, and even though the pattern didn’t call for it, I added that edge to the sleeves. Debating now whether it was worth it, but I don’t plan to change anything.

The pattern instructions have you working the ribbing at the neck and the sleeves back-and-forth rather than in the round, but I chose to do it in the round, which meant I needed to alter the instructions for the rolled edge. It was easy enough, and if you choose to do the same thing, you’d knit one round, purl two rounds, then knit another two rounds. You’re starting on Row Two of the Rolled Edge pattern this way, as the first knit row would be the stitches you pick up around the edge.

Rather than have three reverse stockinette stitches on each side of the front and back — which makes for challenging finishing — I chose to add two stitches to each piece, one stitch on each side, and work it this way: K2, P2, then on to the 4th stitch of the pattern, ending P2, K2 (instead of P3 on each side). Of course I worked the wrong side P2, K2 and K2, P2 on the edges, in that order. That makes seaming a lot smoother!

Pink Lace VestI also made the body about an inch longer than the pattern calls for, and the pattern is fairly long to start with, but I thought the longer piece would be more in keeping with current styles. It’s also a little more flattering on me.

I made it with Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK in color 674, Shell Pink. I think I have enough pink in my wardrobe for awhile!! This yarn was wonderful to work with and I think worked well with this pattern.

It’s a very stretchy piece, and looks way too skinny when you first finish it. However, it pulls out quite a bit, so trust the finished sizes given. Just be sure to do a swatch!!

 

Knitting

Design Ideas

The owner of my local yarn store asked me to come up with some design ideas for a cowl. She’s interested in making a kit for some yarn that a local woman spins and dyes, particularly for a color she’s making exclusively for “our” shop.

Loralee, the store owner, showed me some ideas she liked, and based on that, I came up with two designs. Since she’s out of town until the end of the month, and I’m anxious to get some feedback on my design ideas, I thought I’d put them out here for feedback.

The bright colors in the first sample come from some variegated yarn by Lorna’s Laces. Their variegated yarns have nice, short blocks of color, so the colors repeat frequently, which I like for this pattern. It’s hard to see in this picture, but I also have a dropped stitch every fourth stitch in every other row, which (almost) makes for a stranded/fair isle effect.

Remember, these are just samples. The “real thing” would be knit in the round, with the pattern repeated all the way around.

The cable pattern on the red sample is a little difficult to see, but it’s a dropped stitch cable, which resulted in some holes after the twist. When I used a heavier gauge yarn, it had a much tighter result. I really liked the overall result with that yarn, but since I was using whatever I had leftover in my stash, I didn’t have enough of it to do a proper swatch.

Cowl Sample 3

So what do you think? Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear your comments!!

Knitting

New Grey Throw

My new grey curtains required a little more grey in the rest of the living room to balance the color, so I used one of my own knitting designs for this new throw. Combine that change with some art and throw pillow rearrangements, and I believe it did the job for which it was created!!

New Grey ThrowThe pattern is Rolling Waves Throw, which is available as a free download here or on Ravelry. For this throw, I changed the needle size to 7mm and used two strands held together of Plymouth Yarn DK Merino Superwash in Light Grey. The yarn is a dream to work with, and the final product looks good, too.

It took 14 skeins, or 1,820 yards of the yarn. The gauge was four stitches and five rows to the inch, and I cast on 125 stitches. I completed five pattern repeats. The finished throw is 34″ by 40″, which may seem rather small, but is a great size for curling up under on a cold day. It’s also about the right size for someone in a wheelchair.

This pattern knits up quickly and is fairly easy to memorize, although it’s also easy to make a mistake by switching the yarn-overs and decreases, so you may want to keep the pattern nearby. I’ve written it in both graph and written instruction formats. The pattern as I wrote it calls for size 9 needle and a single strand of worsted weight yarn, but it’s very easy to make a change to suit your needs. Just do an 8″ swatch first for the most accurate gauge.

My cats tend to “knead” on the throws I have on the sofa, or even scratch on them as if they’re scratching posts, but I’m hoping to keep this one away from playful paws to preserve its looks and wearability. The last one is so pilled, I don’t even know what to do with it.

Some people have asked if it’s possible to use multiple colors for the different “waves,” and while I suppose you could do that intarsia-style (the throw is placed sideways on the sofa from the direction it was knit), I think that might be difficult. You’d be changing colors between a purl stitch and a yarn-over on half of the rows, and that would be a challenge to keep looking neat.

I’ve seen the pattern knit in variegated yarn, however, and the pattern is perfect for that style!

I love this pattern, both knitting it and the finished result.

Knitting

A Word from Walter

20150821_203241_burst08I just got in trouble for messing with my mom’s very expensive yarn. She told me to sit in a corner and think about what I’ve done.

Actually I didn’t really get in trouble. She just looked really sad and told me she’d saved for a long time to buy that yarn and now she didn’t know if she had enough to make what she wanted to make.

I sat in her lap for a while and she told me it was okay because she knew I was a cat, but asked how I found that yarn. She thought she’d hidden it from me really well. I don’t think I’ll tell her because my deviousness might make her mad, but she should know it smelled like catnip.

Fortunately I’m really snuggly so I get away with a lot.


Yarn

Image Credit: Cat and Yarn drawing © Kamaga — Fotolia
Knitting

Easy Knit Hat for Charitable Giving

My latest design — a modification of an earlier pattern for children, now sized for adults and teens.

Orange HatThis is a super-simple,quick-to-knit pattern I designed specifically for charitable giving. My church has a “giving tree” each year at Christmas, and items donated there are distributed to those who visit the food bank. Over the year, I try to knit up several hats for this project, and they go quickly.

This one is so bright and fun, I expect it will be popular. The yarn I used was Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, and while I prefer to use machine washable yarns for charitable giving, this one distinctly is not superwash. However, adults are less likely to need to wash their hats, so I decided to take a chance.

Besides, the yarn was given to me by a relative who has given up knitting and was clearing out her stash. This seemed like a good use for it.

I added a pompom by creating my own pompom maker. I learned something in the process — don’t add the different colors in layers, or you’ll end up with stripes, like I did. I liked the look well enough to keep it, but it’s not a traditional multi-color pompom.

Making a pompom is easy, although I need to learn a better way to attach it. This one doesn’t feel very secure.

You can download the pattern here or find it on Ravelry as “Millie’s Kids’ Cap for Adults.”

Knitting

Pink Basketweave Sweater

A new top for spring! And the way it’s been warming up lately, just in time. Sigh. I don’t really feel I got full use out of my winter wardrobe this year. It took so long for any cold weather to arrive, and it’s been so warm so often.

Pink Cable Sweater 2But I digress. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2012, pattern #28, “Cap Sleeve Top.” It was designed by Wenlan Chia for Twinkle Knits, those big chunky yarns that were popular a few years ago — and have since been discontinued. Oh well. I had a stash of Rowan Wool Cotton yarn (also discontinued) and I put it to work, using two strands to get the desired gauge.

Actually, the Twinkle yarn the pattern calls for also used two strands held together. I didn’t know that Twinkle had ever made a DK weight yarn, but that’s useless trivia now.

Anyway, I used size 11 needles for the body of the sweater, just as the pattern suggested. The ribbing required size 8 needles, but I used 9s for the bottom band. I did use 8s for all the rest of the ribbing, including the bands that were knit separately and attached.

Attaching those bands was a tiny bit tricky, You’re knitting two separate pieces together, and it’s easy to miss — and drop — stitches.

I’ve done this basketweave stitch before, and while I like the look, knitting it is a tiny bit tedious. You’re using that cable needle A LOT. The chunky yarn compensated for that, however, and it’s only in the front, so overall, this sweater knit up very quickly.

Even though I had the same yardage and weight as the suggested yarn, I was concerned it wasn’t going to be enough (as I said before, this was stash yarn that’s been discontinued, so I couldn’t get any more), so I knit the sweater two inches shorter than the pattern length. As it turns out, I was really close on the yarn, so that was a wise decision, but I think I would have liked the extra length.

Pink Cable SweaterI expect this to be a great transition weather sweater, one I could even wear as a vest over a blouse (I have one that would be just right, I think), but it will be far too heavy for our very hot summers.

I was surprisingly happy with the neckline. That’s such a tricky part of knitting, knowing whether or not the neckline will work for you.

Overall, this project was a success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting

Lovely Grey Shawl

Just finished this shawl, and I’m looking for a place to wear it. (Of course the weather has just gotten very warm here in my area, but I trust it will cool off again before spring truly arrives.) Great design, one that looks more complicated than it was to make.

Grey Lace Shawl

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016, pattern #4 “Faux Cable Shawl.” I’m not sure I’d really call it a “faux cable,” more of a “medallion lace,” but no matter, the result of this lace pattern is desirable. As you might guess, you knit the same pattern repeat for the bulk of the piece. It’s a twelve-row pattern, one that increases by 12 stitches with each repeat. It knit up very quickly and was a pleasure to work on. I seemed to get through each pattern repeat so quickly, despite the increases!

I used five skeins of DK Merino Superwash by Plymouth in Light Gray (love the simple way they name their yarns!), which knit up to gauge with a size seven needle. The pattern called for a 48″ circular needle, and while I eventually outgrew my 24″, the 40″ I ended up with wasn’t necessary to comfortably accommodate all the stitches. I believe a 32″ would have been fine, and maybe a little easier to work with. But, to each his own.

The yarn I used isn’t as dressy as the yarn used in the pattern, but it knit up beautifully. I’m very pleased with my choice.

I wet-blocked the shawl, and initially it stretched out several inches wider than the finished size listed in the pattern. However, as it dried, due to the nature of the lace pattern, it regained some of the “bubbly” texture it had as I was knitting it, which pulled it back to the listed size.

The picot edge didn’t come out quite like the picture in the magazine, however, it did pull those points out and give it the intended swoopy-edge (you can’t really see that in the above picture, but the final result had the swoops).

I was going to put this on my sofa and use it as a convenient decorative piece I could wrap myself up in on cold evenings, but once I took a good look at the throw currently serving that purpose, I changed my mind. My cats somehow think knit pieces on the back of the sofa are akin to scratching posts, and that poor throw is so pilled from being clawed. I don’t want that to happen to this shawl!