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.

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Knitting

These Chickens Don’t Lay Eggs

Look for “chickens” in a pattern search on Ravelry and you’ll find more than 300 patterns each for knitters and crocheters, but none is as charming as “Esther, Ernie and Enid.” Their added value is just how easy they are to make.

chickensWhile there’s one size only for the yarn given in the pattern, simply by changing the gauge of the yarn and/or the needle size you can make them bigger or smaller. The biggest here is about 6″ tall, the smaller one, a little over 4″. I used a sport weight cotton for the smaller and Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for the larger.

The beauty is they take less than 100 yards of yarn each, not including the accents, which can be made with scrap yarn of any type. In fact, you could really have some fun by using novelty yarn there.

The legs and the crown are a simple chain stitch, and the eyes and circles on the body are embroidered on. Just think how cute a little bow tie would be! You could garter stitch or seed stitch a small rectangle, wrap some yarn tight around the center and sew it on. Easy!

My little chickens perch on top of the microwave in my kitchen, and they add a lot of character to that small space. They sit flat because, while they’re mostly stuffed with regular poly fill, the bottom is rice.

They don’t lay eggs, but that’s okay, what would I do with all those eggs anyway?

Knitting

Bandana Cowl

Another sample for the yarn store, and this one’s a winner — the Bandana Cowl. It calls for a bulky weight yarn, but for this project I used two strands of worsted weight yarn held together. The look, along with the colors, are fitting for the bandana style.

bandana-cowl-3I used Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool, which has worked well for me with other projects, in the colors “Red” and “Beaches,” the latter being a bit more taupy than sand-colored, as the name would imply. One skein of each was more than enough, in fact, it likely would come close to being enough for two cowls.

The gauge is 4 stitches and 6 rows to an inch, a somewhat standard bulky weight gauge, and, as I mentioned, easy to achieve with two strands of a worsted weight yarn.

The pattern is from Purl Soho and is available as a free download on Ravelry. I can’t provide the link for the download here since it isn’t my pattern, but you can find the link to the Ravelry page for the Bandana Cowl  here. It’s well-written and easy to follow. The “pointed” section is made with short rows, and the rest is worked in the round with some simple decreases.

bandana-cowl-2It’s a quick and easy pattern with satisfying results. The yarn you choose is going to determine the look more than the pattern since it’s such a simple style, but the shaping adds a special touch, suitably named after bandanas.

One thing to make note of: this is worn close to the face, great for cold weather, but beware of anything scratchy. Everyone has a different tolerance level for the various wools available, so if you’re making it as a gift, I’d suggest erring on the side of super comfy.

The project worked so well and I’m looking for gift ideas for Christmas, so I knit up another cowl today (it took most of the afternoon and evening) using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted and Noro Kureyon. It knit up a little tighter than the first cowl (I used the same size needles), but the gauge is the same. It’s just a bit stiffer, but still attractive and probably warmer. I’m a little concerned it may be scratchy, but when I tried it on that didn’t seem to be a problem.

 

 

Knitting

Charm Dresses for Barbie

At last! I’ve been promising this pattern for some time now, and finally it’s available on Ravelry. These are my Charm Dresses for Barbie, and dare I say they are beautiful!

Renaissance dress double III originally titled them “Renaissance Dresses” because they remind me so much of the types of dresses you see worn at Renaissance festivals, but finally decided against that since I’m not sure they’re true to the styles of that time.

I knit them with Rowan Wool/Cotton, sadly (I’m grieving this loss), Rowan has discontinued that yarn. (Why, Rowan? Why?) However, any DK yarn and some sport yarns will work. I did make one with Bamboo Pop and it was adorable.

You can find the pattern for sale on Ravelry.

Knitting

Rainbow Scarf

I’m in love with this scarf! I made it out Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn combined with two different colors of Spud and Chloë sock yarn. The variegated is the Lorna’s Laces and the solid colors are Spud and Chloë.

scarfThe pattern is a free design available on Ravelry called The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief. Now, the pattern calls for a stitch gauge of 18 stitches to 4″, and I made this scarf with a gauge of 26 stitches to 4″. I used about 2 1/2 times the yardage the pattern called for because of the finer gauge.That’s a rough estimate. I’d recommend having three times the yardage if you were using the same gauge just to be sure.

When changing colors for the solid color sections, I chose to knit the eyelet rows in the solid color on both sides of the larger block of color. It’s important if you do this that you knit the row before the first row of the eyelet pattern in the solid color. That’s because when you switch to the garter stitch, you’ll be picking up the yarn from the row below in the knit stitches.

The final width of the scarf is 68″ and the depth is 20″. It’s not quite big enough to be a shawl or shawlette, but plenty big to wear as a scarf.

It gets a bit tedious knitting this pattern with the smaller gauge because you’re increasing 6 stitches every two rows and end up with a LOT of straight knitting. However, because it’s a relatively small project, it still goes fairly quickly.

The Lorna’s Laces yarn I used was purchased from Jimmy Beans Wool in Reno, Nev., which is important to note because they have exclusive, limited edition hand-dyed colorways, although the colorway I used is not one of those.  Take a look at what else is available because they have lots of fun colorways to choose from! I was thrilled when the Spud & Chloë yarns I chose turned out to match perfectly.

Take a look at some of the other projects knit in this pattern on the Ravelry site. The choice of yarn makes a huge difference in the finished style, and there are lots of opportunities for a little flare.

 

Knitting

Noro Hat

Still plugging along with the lace shawl, as well as a project I’ve been working on for my mom for some time…I needed a quick fix, so I whipped up this hat using (mostly) Noro Kureyon wool a friend had given me a few months ago. The ribbing is leftover Rowan Pure Wool Superwash from the Watch Cap I made my brother back in April (which I never heard back from him about…so I’m not sure how it went over…).

Noro HatI also did two rows in ribbing in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride in a dark green and one row in some leftover worsted weight wool of an unknown brand in what turned out to be too bright of a red. I duplicate-stitched with leftover Noro on the knit stitches on the outside of the cap; you can still see the red peek through. If I don’t tell anyone it was a mistake, they’ll assume it’s a design element, right?

I followed the same watch cap pattern (Classic World War II Watch Cap pattern, by Helen Waittes) which is available for free on Ravelry.com. However, I modified it some in this manner: while I cast on 112 st, I only did the 2×2 rib for 2″, then did the 6×2 rib for 7″. I then decreased keeping the rib pattern. This is a large size cap, which is the size my family members tend to need.

A note about this Kureyon wool: my friend gave me what amounted to about 1 1/2 skeins of the yarn, and I have no idea how old it is, or what condition it might be in. In fact, I’m holding on to this hat for a little bit in case the yarn is moth eaten. I don’t think it is, but that’s always the risk you take with donated yarn. I believe she likely took good care of her yarn and stuff, but she told me she hadn’t been knitting in years, and we all know how priorities can shift.

This whole thing took me one long evening to finish, but the satisfaction of finishing something was well worth the time I didn’t spend on my other projects.

 

Knitting

Traditional Watch Cap

Last week I saw my brother for the first time in four years (yay!) and told him I’d like to make him a cap for his ski trips. His immediate response was, “you mean like a watch cap?,” so I knew what my project would look like.

Watch CapI got on ravelry.com and found this free pattern for a traditional watch cap. The pattern claims this cap has been made millions of times, as far back as WWII. It has a number of stitch variations, but I stuck with the basic 6×2 rib in the main section.

Of course calling that the “main section” is a little misleading since you knit six inches of 2×2 rib first, then go to only three inches of 6×2 ribbing. After that you decrease every round, which I think came to about 16 rounds. It took me two evenings to knit this up, and if I weren’t having so much pain in my hands these days it probably would have been quicker.

I used Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, which is a superwash that still has that traditional wool feel.

The pattern is well written, includes instructions for both circular/dpns & straight needles, and has stitch variations for the main section. It’s an ideal beginner cap. Not only is the pattern easy to learn, it’s a classic style that looks good on just about everyone.

With the ribbing the finished project looks pretty slim, but it stretches to fit.

So I guess the Nordic style cap I had in mind is out. Oh well. Give the gift they want, not the one you want, right? I may knit one up anyway and include it in the package. If he doesn’t like it, I trust him to find someone who will appreciate it.

 

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Knitting

My Favorite Gift to Give

Alec in sweater
Alec (a few years back!)

I love to knit sweaters for my friends’ babies, and over the years I’ve developed a particular fondness for this cable knit cardigan pattern. I generally make it in a size 3 (they’re likely to outgrow smaller sizes in faster time than it takes you to knit the sweater!) and a gender-neutral color so future siblings can wear it, although exceptions have been made. My friend Brianna’s little girl Lydia looked so much like a girl who “needed” to be wearing pink, I couldn’t resist making it in that color for her. (I’ve never seen a picture of her wearing it so I have no idea if my choice was right.)

Amelie & Alec2
Amelie & Alec

The pattern is from Double Knits by Zoë Moeller. I usually knit it in Rowan Wool Cotton, which wears so beautifully and seems to be just the right weight for active toddlers. Here you can see the same sweater first worn by my friend Melanie’s son Alec and now modeled by her adorable daughter Amelie (that’s Alec by her side).

As always, I only give hand-knitted sweaters to those I know will appreciate the work that went into making them and will care for them properly. Obviously Melanie is one of those people!

I’m inevitably told by the moms who get these sweaters that cardigans are the sweaters of choice (as opposed to pullovers). They’re much more practical and versatile.

Of course there are always reasons to make other sweaters, but the practicality of making a larger-size cardigan in a gender-neutral color for a first born baby is overwhelming, so I wanted to share these thoughts with my fellow knitters who may find themselves knitting for the expectant moms & dads in their lives (rather, you’re knitting for the baby, but the gift is for the parents, too).

Knitting

Cotton Tank Top

I recently went through my stash and pulled out a variety of sport and DK weight cotton yarns that I was able to use to make this cotton tank top for my cousin’s daughter. I hope to give it to her next week, although I may need to re-do the neck. It’s a little tight.

Jaeger JB25 Handknits coverThe pattern I used was “Tizzy” from Jaeger Handknits JB25. It’s the cover pattern you can see here and uses primarily DK weight yarn, but I was able to get away with one sport weight in the pattern. That’s obviously a case-by-case thing, since the gauge on any given yarn can vary depending on needle size and some yarns have more flexibility with that sort of thing than others.

I’ve made this pattern before and it’s adorable on. I’d model this one for you, but it’s too small for me. The one I made for myself has long since gone to sweater heaven, as cotton sweaters are so easily prone to do. Wool sweaters tend to live a lot longer!

tank topAnyway, this is a great go-to sweater; it can be dressed up or down and worn in all but the hottest days of summer. With these colors it may have to be put away in the fall, but you see a lot of pastels worn in the winter, and if she wants to, my cousin’s daughter could wear this as a vest in the colder months.

I’m not sure if this pattern is still in print, but a good, basic tank top pattern like this should be easy to find. I’d recommend something with sleeves like this, that look like the armhole openings for a fitted sleeve, for a more tailored look.

Note that this main pattern uses a wide rib — I believe it’s 6 x 2 — and a stripe design. Those are elements that could easily be factored into a basic tank top pattern. You just need to do a little math to make the repeats for the rib accurate. In this case, a 6 x 2 rib, so the number of stitches in the widest part of the sweater could be a multiple of 8+ 6. You’d knit 6, purl 2, to the end, then end knit 6.

The waistband ribbing is a 2 x2 rib (k2, p2). If the number of stitches for the main pattern is not a multiple of 4, you can always k2, p2 to the end, then end with k2. Frankly, I like doing it that way, it can make seaming cleaner.

 

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Knitting

Grey & White Nordic Hat

Decided it was time to knit a hat for my brother, but I’m not sure this will end up being it. Turned out a little slouchier than I anticipated, and I don’t think that’s his style. However, I think it looks kind of cute on me! It will find a home somewhere.

Grey & White Nordic HatI used Cascade 220 Superwash, and was really pleased with it for this project. After completing it, however, I’m thinking I maybe should have gone down a needle size. I used a size 8 needle, and a size 7 may have been better. Not a big deal. Certainly wouldn’t have been as slouchy, but I don’t think that was the determining factor there.

However, then it might just have been a big hat, without the style that comes with the slouch.

I did use a size 4 needle for the band, and I’m glad I did, since the rest of the hat is so big. It keeps it snug.

Grey & White Nordic Hat flatThis was a fairly easy stranded pattern, with very little to carry in the back (only one spot where you had to carry it over 7 stitches, so you’d want to catch it there to keep it from pulling). There were several rows of 1×1 colorwork, and that makes my wrist sore after a bit. The perils of an aging knitter, I suppose.

My brother has his annual ski trip to Jackson, Wyoming typically in January, and I’d love to surprise him with a hat for his next trip. I actually have no idea what his style for hats might be. Nordic? Cable? I may have to knit up a couple and ship them off to him in the fall so he can choose.

I’ll throw in one really silly choice just to test his reaction. Ha.

The pattern for this hat can be found on Ravelry (and it’s free!) under Reynald by Drops Design.

 

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