Winter’s last gasps

This is Aimie Alexander’s Antonia’s Scarf. In her Polka Dot Sheep Stumptown DK it looks very refined and totally sweet. Check it out here. In my version, knit in Noro Yuzon, it lost its sweet. It turned out definitely more savory. Yuzon is a 56% wool, 34% silk,10% mohair DK. And where that mohair is hidden, I surely don’t know. My version of Antonia’s Scarf is not next-to-skin soft, but I love the color-changing quality of this yarn. Softness can be overrated. I plan to recommend that the wearer keep it on the outside of her coat.

I cast on 35 stitches instead of 29. Without stretching at all, and with a light steaming, mine is 65 inches long. This thing grows on the needles faster than bamboo. The elongated stitch does wonders for the time it takes to knit a scarf.

Here’s another look.

Spring is finally arriving here in Michigan. We’ve got buds on the trees to prove it, though nighttime temps are in the mid-30’s. But I’m still working my way through a nice wintry mix of knitting.

Here’s a pair of Paved boot cuffs, by TinCanKnits.

I even polished my boots to show them off. Actually, I didn’t. These boots hurt my feet so I don’t wear them. They make a nice photo prop for showing off, well, boot cuffs. My cuffs are knit in Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted.

Over the years I’ve had great success with TinCanKnit patterns. They are well-tested– before, not after– we knitters buy the pattern. The patterns are usually straightforward enough for newer knitters, but with interesting design features to keep more experienced knitters interested too.

I have never worn boot cuffs. To me, they seem an odd accessory. I gave this pair away. But maybe someday I’ll make a pair for me and see if I take a shine to them.

This next knit is Battlements by Karalee Harding. She describes it as a “slightly asymmetrical, virtually reversible, and completely cozy” unisex cowl in a texture combination “reminiscent of the notched parapet of a castle wall.”

I see the slight assymetry. The reversibility is very nice. And knit up in Blue Sky Extra, a 55% Alpaca, 45% merino Aran weight, it definitely is completely cozy. I knit the shorter version. In the longer version, you knit enough to make a double loop or a nice long dangle.

Glasshead isn’t exactly seeing the notched parapet. But no matter, because this is one excellent cowl.

Rusted Roof

This is one of my new pretty things: Rusted Roof Shawl, by Martha Wissing. It’s available for purchase here on Ravelry. Rusted Roof, not to be confused with one of the best bands ever, Rusted Root. The recipe for Rusted Root is a blend of rock, acoustic, world, and heavy percussives. The recipe for Rusted Roof is to take two highly contrasting worsted weight colorways and just set to knitting.

I knit mine in Berroco Ultra Alpaca in carrot and eggplant. Sometimes I do think I choose colors mostly to entertain my eyeballs while I knit, but I’ve actually worn this in public and gotten apparently sincere comments that folks like it.

Here’s another view.

The patterning on the edge is mosaic stitch a/k/a slip stitch. It’s super easy. A lot of bang for your knitting buck. I love the way the interior edge can be curled back to fashion a collar.

Well done Martha!

Dishcloth Diva: Deb Buckingham

Each of these cloths is from Deb Buckingham’s great book: Dishcloth Diva. She’s already released Dishcloth Diva II–but I didn’t find even her first book until Steve gifted it to me this past holiday.

Let’s see, from top yellow diagonally down to the bottom yellow and back up to the tan, it’s Neutrals, Cutting Edge, Organic, Glamour, Contemporary, Stonework, and Linear. Most of my set is knit in Drops Paris (yellow, green, orange). And the tan ones are KnitPIcks Dishie. Both yarns are great dishcloth cotton. Paris has a little more body to it. Dishie is a bit more refined.

These are obviously all very quick knits. You could knit the entire set of seven in a good solid weekend of knitting.

Here’s a closer look at Neutrals, followed by Stonework:

Each of these is generously sized. So is this next one, the tic-tac-toe board that Buckingham calls Contemporary:

Linear is a tad daintier in size:

Linear has great texture for doing whatever you have your cloths do: wiping away stuff in the sink or wiping away stuff in your spa.

Glamour is a fun knit.

I’m not sure I see the Glamour. But…maybe. There is sort of an Art Deco look to this one.

I can definitely see Organic in a spa setting. I knit mine in Dishie, which isn’t an “organically” grown cotton. But you could take the plunge, pay tons more for the yarn, and surprise a friend with organic sensibilities.

And this last one is Cutting Edge.

I don’t block any of my dishcloths. Not even if I gift them. They are, after all, dishcloths. But if you’re more fussy, all of these will square up nicely with just a bit of blocking.

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.