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.)

This 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

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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

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

Storytelling through Design

One of my favorite fellow knitters, Rita, uses her art & design training in the pieces she knits. She’s only been knitting for two or three years, yet the projects she’s designed are advanced beyond what you see in many magazines.

Rita's penguin outfit III thought my favorite was the little penguin-themed snow outfit she made for a friend’s baby until I saw her phenomenal fair-isle scarf. Each section has meaning for her. It may be the pattern, such as a symbol celebrating her daughter’s marriage, or the colors, personal choices that reflect moments in her life.

It’s knit entirely in sock yarn and took her some time to finish, in part because she had to research the designs, and in part because it was knit with such lightweight yarn & small needles. She took it section by section, never really knowing what she’d be doing a few rows down the line. It’s incredible.

The only “problem” with a project like that, to me, would be the fear of losing it.

Rita knit two hats last year with Blue Sky Alpaca, taking the same care in color and design choices she always does, and they were lost in the mail during the Christmas season. You so rarely hear of that these days. She had them tracked and insured, but it didn’t matter. They were lost.

That hasn’t stopped her, though. She continues to design and knit, every piece more stunning than the one before.

I can’t wait to see what she does next.