Cold weather scarves

I’m at it again. Posting about recent scarves I’ve completed when summer is still upon us. This one is an old favorite–Jared Flood’s free pattern, Noro Striped Scarf. It’s more a recipe than a pattern. Select two colorways of a color-changing yarn. Alternate colorways every 2 rows. Slip the first and the last stitch of the second of each set of rows, purlwise. And if you choose Noro Silk Garden, the conventional wisdom is that it’s very difficult to find two colorways that fail to play nice.

I had need of a totally mindless knit. This was definitely it! And the color changing Noro Silk Garden keeps the knitting from becoming tedious. I widened the scarf and cast on 45 stitches. Four skeins of Silk Garden and I ended up with just under 70 inches of scarf.

Such a pretty thing. I’ve been a bit obsessive about knitting this scarf. Here are others I’ve knit since my first one in 2011.

Hmm. As I said, obsessed. In fact, seeing them all again makes me feel like I’d like to cast on for a new one.

Here’s another repeat performer. Antonia’s Scarf, by Aimee Alexander. This is another Noro knit, this time in Yuzen.

Yuzen is a DK weight spun of 56% wool, 34% silk,10% mohair. Honestly, it’s not a yarn with much of a cozy feel. But the colors are rich. And it softened in a Eucalan bath.

I modified the pattern some by casting on 35 stitches. Three skeins of Yuzon is about 350 yards. My scarf ate up that yardage and ended up 7.5 inches wide and 64 inches long.

So far, it’s been all about color. “Now for something completely different…”

This is 100% alpaca. It is soft, light, and will be incredibly warm. It is Jake Canton’s Two-Tone Mistake Rib Scarf, a free pattern offered through Purl Soho. This scarf took me weeks to make. I knit fairly quickly and I knit for many hours every day. I started on New Year’s Eve and didn’t complete this until early April. For sure, I knit a lot of other projects while this scarf was on my needles. I had to. It was almost as boring as knitting Origami, another ribbing purgatory knit. I exacerbated the boredom by using a very light weight sport yarn. To widen the scarf a tad, I cast on 75 (instead of 67) stitches.

But it’s such a classic and will be so comfortable to wear, that the boredom was totally worth it. In fact, I’m petting it at this very minute and I’ve totally forgotten that it was a real slog to complete.

My yarn is YarnDreamer, which is alpaca from Christa Newhouse‘s Michigan flock. Her yarn is beautiful. Her Bois Blanc Insel Haus bed & breakfast is beautiful. And so is Christa.

April 16th? Snow Central (Ave)

This Dark-Eyed Junco looks as if he’s dipped in snow. That’s actually the color of his belly feathers. He’s sitting atop a snow mound on our deck table.

We’d just started to see some grass, once the 10-12 inches of snow that fell a week earlier melted away. Then, this. It’s hard to tell, because the drifts are so high, but we estimate we’ve got about 15 inches of new snow. And the drifts, the drifts are thigh-high on my 5 foot three inch self.

Here’s a look at the deck table without the Junco.

And I’m jumping the gun a bit on this post because predictions are for another 3-5 inches today. It’s been snowing all morning.

This has to go down as one-to-remember. “Up north” Michigan is thinking more about wrestling with snow than tax forms today. Snowmobiles are reporting they’re getting stuck. Some of this snow is the gooey, water-laden kind that sticks to shovels, snowblowers, and snowmobiles.

That’s Steve with a big two-stage snowblower, trying to tame the first wave. We ended up hauling out the little guy for me to work on the cement pad during the third effort to get this under control.

You might be wondering how our snow-fencing effort fared. Good news!  This year it didn’t fall over. It stood there all winter, deep into this difficult early spring. But it hasn’t really done anything to significantly keep the snow off the parking pad. It does add a nice splash of orange though, don’t you think?

We aren’t even thinking about ice-out yet. Last year the last bits of ice were sent packing on April 25th into the 26th. So we have about ten days to go. I don’t think we’ll make it. At this rate we’ll still have snow on Memorial Day!

That’s the lake on the morning of April 16th. It’s been windy enough that the sunflower seeds that are whipping the finch flock into a feeding frenzy at our feeders have scattered around. Those finches who can’t command a perch at the feeders are picking at the snow crust searching for food. Every once in awhile the flock spooks and vanishes for half a minute or so, giving the chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, woodpeckers, and tufted titmice time to feed.

We’re worried about the trees on the property. We’ve been losing branches from some of the tall pines. So far, nothing has landed on the house. And nothing so major has fallen that we think the trees won’t pull through. But spring cleanup is going to be a major event. That’s assuming spring is eventually going to put in an appearance.

Here’s me, in my snow-covered Central Ave hat by Aimee Alexander. “Cheese.” We’d gone out for a second time to knock snow off the low-lying pine branches. Such a great hat. Knit in Swans Island Merino Worsted in the bittersweet colorway, it even matches the snow fence. I strive to be color-coordinated at all times.

Hat weather is here

The lake hasn’t frozen yet, though it’s getting close. On cold mornings there’s a skin of ice extending out from the shore. And the foam that the winds froth up is sort of smoothie texture. Without a hat, ears will soon be feeling pretty frozen.

This hat is “Hungry Horse Hat” a newer DK-weight pattern from Aimee Alexander of Polka Dot Sheep. I don’t know the origin of the pattern name. But I still know that I like the hat. It’s an interesting mix of garter stitch and mesh, designed to be tri-color.

Here’s a look at its well-behaved crown.

Alexander definitely knows how to tame the crown decreases. No pointy head syndrome here.

My Hungry Horse is a mix of critters-of-origin. The gold is Anzula Cricket, 80% merino sheep, 10 percent cashmere goat, and 10 percent nylon chemistry lab. The mesh section is Mountain Goat by Mountain Colors, described on the Mountain Colors’s site and on Ravelry as 50% merino and 45% mohair (which is where the goat comes in). Apparently it’s 5% unidentified something else. And the earband is Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK. Breathless is 75% merino, 15% cashmere goat, and 10% silk. I hesitated before mixing and matching yarns, but I was trying to get a proper color scheme. I’m completely pleased with the outcome. I guess it wouldn’t be too good a hat to test a person’s fiber allergies, though. If your head itches, you could be allergic to just about anything.

This next hat is Jo-Anne Klim’s new fingering weight slouchy: the Woodmere Slouchy Hat.

There’s always a lot of knitting (and yardage) in a fingering weight slouchy, but Woodmere is worth the time and effort. From twisted rib at the start, through that soothing ribbed waffle stitch, and finishing with another well-planned crown.

I knit Woodmere in Wollmeise Twin, a bouncy 80% merino, 20% nylon that worked up very nicely in this pattern. Great stitch definition. And that deep saturated color. I might not be able to put this one out for my holiday pick-your-gift baskets. Klim’s KBJ Design patterns are always keepers!

Here’s another hat from Klim that I’ve knit before: Araluen 

This is knit in one of my personal favorite worsted yarns, Malabrigo Rios. It’s their Purple Mystery colorway. I guess it’s no big mystery why it turned my hands and stitch markers purple while I knit it. That’s not my favorite part of the yarn. And it’s not normal in terms of my experience with Rios. I’ll just need to be watchful if any of the bald men in my circle reach for this one in my holiday gift baskets. I’ll need to steer them to another hat because I’m not sure this one is done bleeding yet. And, yes, another excellent crown decrease.

In fact, an extremely well thought out crown.

And now, for something completely different.

This is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Maltese Fisherman’s Hat. She is often quoted as saying that the good thing about knitting hats is that some people will put anything on their head. This must be a prime example.

Mine is knit in the Sheepswool Super Bulky that the pattern calls for, available from Schoolhouse Press. It’s actually Bartlettyarns‘ superbulky.

I’m waiting to see if any of my holiday guests reach for this one. Laying flat it looks innocent enough. It isn’t obvious at that point that the hat makes you look like a royal airhead. But there’s nothing warmer than this hat. Maybe ice fisherman should adopt this look. Ice fisherman who actually fish out on the ice, not in a heated ice shanty. Ice fisherman who fish out on the ice alone without any companions and who keep this hat in their pick-up truck and only put it on once no one will see them.

Maltese Fisherman’s Hat is actually a quick fun knit. It puts a knitter in touch with her knitting ancestors. You just have to be brave and wear it with pride.

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.

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!