Winding Trail 2 Central Ave

This is a new pattern from Linda Courtney of Knitwise Design: Winding Trail Headband. Courtney writes that “The trail is rarely straight – and neither is this headband!” I knit mine in a long-ago discontinued yarn: Classic Elite Tapestry. It’s a 75% wool, 25% mohair, beefy worsted.

The pattern calls for Malabrigo Merino worsted, but any worsted or Aran weight should work well. Just be sure to keep a sharp eye on the row gauge. Or, if you’re off on the row gauge, adjust the number of pattern repeats. This headband is a one evening project.

Here’s a look, off-head:

The winding trail starts with a provisional cast-on and ends with a three-needle bind-off. A knitter could chose to do garter stitch grafting. I find that a bit of a bear though, and the three-needle bind-off worked well. There’s a tiny extra ridge at the bind-off. Only if wearers suffer from serious cases of “Princess and the Pea Syndrome” will they be able to feel the ridge.

I cast off and soon cast on for a second.

This one is knit in Harrisville Design’s Orchidville Cashmere. It’s a 70% wool, 25% goat mohair, 5% goat cashmere, Aran weight. I’d provide a link but the agedness of my stash strikes again. It’s discontinued too. Orchidville Cashmere, like Tapestry, was a very good yarn.

Here’s another look, off-head:

Headbands are such sensible headgear, since ears are what mostly get cold on many people. And headbands are ponytail-friendly. You can keep one in the pocket of every coat, for the days you didn’t think you’d need a hat.

Recently, while reorganizing my stash, I was reacquainted with two wonderful skeins of worsted. Colorbug and Quaere Fiber:

 

I’d been saving these two beauties for something special. Aimee Alexander’s Central Ave has turned into a bit of an obsession for this knitter so I decided to break out the good stuff. My first two Central Aves (scroll to the end of the post) were very well received by my nieces. So I decided to cast on:

And cast on again:

There are a number of hat patterns, some of them free, that look a lot like this one. But Alexander’s version has a few design sensibilities that I feel the others lack.

And it even has a nicely behaved crown decrease.

I sometimes test knit for Alexander and for Knitwise Design. And I look forward to it every time. Even in the testing stages their patterns are clearly written, without errors.

Knit on!

Drachenfels and Summa Stripes

This is Melanie Berg’s Drachenfels. It’s named after Germany’s Dragon Rock. Wikipedia describes Drachenfels as a hill between Königswinter and Bad Honef in Germany, in the North Rhine-Westphalia area. My, my. This is exciting. I not only made a pretty nice shawl, but I’ve also learned how to type an umlaut on my Mac keyboard. (Option key, the letter “u,” then type the letter you need umlauted.)

Berg’s pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry. But my copy was included in a kit from Craftsy. The kit is still available, for $23.40. $23.40. How can they do that? The pattern alone sells for about $5.40. I purchased the “Air” kit: Caribbean, Moss, and Oatmeal Heather. When the kit arrived I bemoaned that I’d not purchased, Fire, Ice, Energy, Earth, or Water. Because I thought Moss and Caribbean would look awful together. I was wrong. It works.

The yarn is Cloudborn Fibers Highland Sport. 100% wool. I never heard of it before. But at this price, why not? The yarn is actually pretty nice. Much better than I expected. It’s not the softest yarn on the planet. And there are some fuzz balls to pick out here and there. But not many. And there were no knots. In a few places it was evident where a new strand had sort of been woven in. I made my own join instead. A spit splice worked great.

I am absolutely satisfied. I worked mine a bit under gauge because a few folks on Ravelry reported that they ran out of yarn with the Craftsy kit. But I had a lot of yarn left from each of the second hanks of each colorway. I used up 875 yards,

You must love garter stitch for this one. And I do. In fact, here’s another mostly garter stitch small shawl.

This one is by Meiju, of Meiju Knits. It’s her Summa Stripes Shawl pattern. Meiju is a talented Helsinki knitwear designer. I very much enjoyed knitting this one.

I used Shalimar Yarns Breathless, a DK weight in 75% wool, 15% cashmere goat, and 10% silk. Decadent, I know. In my defense, I purchased the yarn quite awhile ago, on sale. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Meiju uses a very interesting technique for carrying the yarn along the edge. You do a two-color knit in the front and knit in the back. Clever. I’ve already gotten a lot of wear out of this shawl.

Cooper’s Hats

So, there’s a little guy I’ve not met named Cooper. But I know his uncle. He’s six years old. Cooper, that is. Not his uncle. Cooper needed some hats pretty quick. Fun ones. Sporty ones. Ones to cover up some bad hair days his doctors have decided he needs. Cooper’s not an “off-the-rack” kid, so finding some not-off-the-rack hats seemed like a good idea.

This is Capitan Hat, a free pattern by Rosie Garmendia. Cooper’s is knit in Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky, the Webs house brand. It comes in 26 colorways and, unfortunately, what I had in my stash was not the most exciting of them. But I pressed “tan” into service anyway and I’m quite pleased with the results. I was concerned if the two-surface brim would hold up without stiffener inside. It does.

Here’s a view of the interesting crown decreases:

Just the thing for a baseball fan, I’d say.

This next one is an old stand-by. Cooper has a connection to Michigan State University so the Sparties were the inspiration.

This is a vintage (but still available) Fiber Trends pattern: “School Colors Hat, AC-53,” by Betsy Lee McCarthy. That’s a double roll brim. You start out with the green and do reverse stockinette. Then you do the white, in stockinette, then the green at the top. You sort of pull the white down and roll it back on itself, so the reverse side shows, and then the green from the first band of knitting falls in place.

Bottom line: follow this pattern exactly as it’s written and it will all work out. There are no errors.

I wanted something very comfy so I used Berrocco Comfort, worsted weight. No scratchiness.

Very well-behaved crown decreases.

Bet you can’t make just one!

This next hat is another Susan Villas Lewis’s “The Thinker.” I have knit so many Thinkers it’s getting kind of embarrassing to keep linking to them all. But search for Thinker here on my blog and up they’ll pop.

Cooper’s is knit in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Soft. Easy care. Great stitch definition.

My trusty Clover pompom maker worked overtime on this batch of hats.

I know, The Thinker in this size doesn’t fit Glass Head really well. But Cooper’s a little guy.

Cooper like clowns. So I bought a skein of clownish-looking Plymouth Yarn Toybox Candy. It’s  an acrylic that can’t help but put a smile on someone’s face.

This is Purl Soho’s “Classic Cuffed Hat,” another freebie available on Ravelry and on the Purl Soho website. Everything this designer produces is classic. Sophisticated. So I gave in to the temptation to knit her design in a gaudy colorway. That’s because Purl Soho patterns go to art galleries. In New York City. They practice yoga. But Cooper’s Classic Cuffed Hat shouts.

And this last hat is Clayoquot Toque, a modern fair isle freebie from tincanknits that tincan says is a great blank canvas for testing yarns and color combinations. It really is. I wasn’t sure about whether these three colorways of Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK would play nice together.

But I think they did. And this 75% merino, 15% cashmere goat, 10% silk concoction is so soft it should keep a little guy’s head brightly covered but not overheated.

Cowls…lots of cowls

This little package definitely caught my eye at one of my local yarn shops, Skeins on Main in Rochester, Michigan. It’s a great shop. But more important, for present purposes, this was a fun kit to knit up. There was plenty of yarn, in all the colorways. The yarn is Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool worsted. It’s a “pure Michigan” product, in next-to-the-skin soft merino.

I had 63 grams left, which I calculate as about 135 yards. The pattern is “Yipes Stripes Cowl” by Ann Weaver. My kit didn’t tell me what color to use where in the pattern. It looked to me, though, that the yardage for each color was the same. I used: A=wine, B=white, C=black, D=pink, and E=gray.

The pattern’s directions for the Latvian braid are excellent. I hadn’t done the braid in a month of Sundays, but I didn’t even need to consult a video. One hint? Try to work the 2nd row of each braid without untangling the yarns, because the 3rd row is worked with an opposite twist, which untwists the yarns as you work. There’s one 3-color Latvian Braid, in a prominent mid-cowl placement.

Blocked lightly, this is a 12.5 inches square cowl. Here’s a closer look.

Next up is Callowhill Cowl, by Erika Flory. It’s available here and seems to be an exclusive to Craftsy.

Craftsy is kitting the pattern with Cloudborn Superwash Merino DK. I’ve not knit with it before this. In fact, I never heard of the yarn before seeing it on Craftsy at such a low price that it was an offer I could not refuse. At the moment, the pattern and the yarn sell as a kit for $11.70. $11.70? How does that happen?

I can’t given the yarn a rave review. But, I didn’t encounter knots. There was an occasional bit of fuzz that clung to the yarn. But it picked off easily and didn’t compromise the integrity of the yarn. And, good golly, Miss Molly, they are practically giving this yarn away! My colorway is Ocean.

This is a small circumference cowl. Be sure to use a very stretchy bind-off. I used Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off and that turned out to be an excellent choice. If you haven’t used JSSBO before, Cat Borhi’s “how to” video is excellent.

This next one is a super-easy, knit-while-you-chat cowl: Melissa Sibley’s Grinchy Cowl.

Again, this is Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool Worsted. The only modifications I made were that I cast on 120 instead of 110 stitches and knit one extra repeat of the 15-round section, to give the cowl some extra height.

If I make this again, I will end the slip stitch sections (yes, there is a tad more to this pattern than first meets the eye) after a knit row. I think that will decrease the bit of bunchiness on the underside of the purl row sections.

An extremely simple cowl to knit. And there’s something to be said for that, for sure.

Oh Juicy!

Black Sheep Knitters Guild had its annual “Brown Bag Swap” a few months ago. You probably already know how that goes. Bring a gift, pick a gift, steal somebody else’s gift, or pick a new one. I generally favor the strategy of picking a gift that isn’t nicely wrapped. After all, maybe you can tell a book by its lack of cover. It’s a fun diversion.

I’ve never knit with Bad Amy. This Indie dyer‘s yarns tend to sell out quickly. And she runs yarn clubs that have a lot of competition to get into. Someone-who-will-not-be-named put this self-striping skein of the “Oh Juicy” colorway into the swap. Oh Lordy! A gift can only be stolen twice and then it lands where it landed. Oh Juicy was chosen. But the giftee didn’t get to keep it. Steal #1. When my swap number was called soon after, it was Steal #2. And so Oh Juicy stayed with me. Lovely stuff. 80% merino, 20% nylon. Should hold up well.

This is my Oh, Juicy knit up in Virginia Rose-Jeane’s great free pattern, Vanilla Latte Socks. It’s one of the most knit free sock patterns on Ravelry: 7685 projects posted. It is top-down knit, designed to be worked on magic-loop or two circulars. But it is very easily adaptable to double pointed needles. That’s my preference.

I knitted the largest size, on 72 stitches, using US size one needles. I chose the “eye of partridge” stitch for the heel and the rounded toe.

A perfect fit.

And, if the sock fits, wear it. These are mine, for sure.

The skein is generous. I needed only 14 grams of the 25-gram contrast yarn. And I had 20 grams left of the 100 gram skein of the main color.

There was enough yarn left for an Oh, Juicy bear.

This is my old stand-by bear pattern, from Lesley Ann Price’s “Kids Knits” book. You’ll have to search the library stacks to find that one. Thirteen of the eighteen Rav project pages on this bear are mine. And that’s not all I’ve made. In the last 20 years or so, I’ve probably knit a hundred of these guys! The bear is knit flat, in one piece (after you join the legs on the needles). Very little seaming. Piece ‘o cake. My Juicy has already been gifted to a little guy.