Salty dishcloths

saltsetfull

I know. I know. Pretty soon I’ll have to change the name of this blog to longlakedishcloths.com. I couldn’t resist Aimee Alexander’s Ravelry invitation to test knit her collection of cloths: “Salt.” “Salt” is an ebook of 4 cloths, 3 worsted weight and one DK weight. But I wanted to see a few in different yarns so I ended up knitting some of the patterns more than once.

First, is Himalayan Salt, knit here in Knitpicks Dishie.salt2

Such a nice easy lace. And it knits up quicker than two shakes of a lamb’s tail which is the equivalent of about two shakes of a salt shaker. Well, not that fast. But if a knitter can’t complete this in two hours, she’s taken a little nap between casting on and casting off.

This next one is Sea Salt. The green one is Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream and the pink one is Knit Picks Dishie.

seasalt_both

I’ve never done this tucked stitch before. Alexander’s instructions are spot on. The only thing that seems to confound people is they aren’t sure whether they should photograph their cloths so that the stitch looks like “v’s” or like arrows pointing upward. Not that it matters, but it develops like arrows on your needles, so I figure that’s the way to go.

Here’s another look at Sea Salt, so you can get a closer look at the tucked stitch.

newgreensalt

Alexander has worked up a series of other patterns in this same stitch. It’s fun to do.

Finally, here’s two versions of Infused Salt.

infusedsaltpair

This is the easiest of the bunch, as I see it. It’s a slipped stitch (mosaic) pattern, worked up in a DK weight. What was fun to see, and quite unexpected–at least to me–was how different the two cloths are when you simply swap Color A and Color B. These cloths are both knit in the same two shades of DROPS Muskat. These two skeedattled out of my house almost as quickly as they popped off my needles. When it comes to dishcloths, it’s ask and ye shall receive.

I tamed the Oopado!

PicMonkey Collage

What’s the Oopado? The first question is what’s the Ravelry GAL. The GAL is the Ravelry Indie Design Gift-a-long, an annual event where knitters and crocheters prepare for the holidays as only fiber folks can. With support and encouragement from others on Ravelry, and with a beginning two weeks or so of discounted patterns, the GAL runs from the week before U.S. Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. There are eight categories of paid patterns to choose from:

  • Hats & other head things
  • Cowls, scarves, & other neck things
  • Shawls & stoles
  • Sweaters & other garments
  • Hand & arm things
  • Kids & baby things (except toys)
  • Foot & leg things
  • Toys, home, & other miscellaneous things

And taming the oopado? It’s when a knitter knits at least one item from each of the 8 categories before the GAL closes.

The smaller items? Piece ‘o cake. But also finishing a shawl and a garment? I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Some forced idleness over the holidays was quite a boon to my knitting and I finished all I’d planned.

Starting with the small stuff, this is Coffee Klatch, by 10 Hours or Less. It’s a fun mosaic dishcloth, knit here in Knitpicks Dishie:

CoffeeKlatch

Regular readers know I’m a sucker for mosaic dishcloths and this one is definitely a keeper!  Actually, though, I gave it away. I’m quite sure another is in my near future.

This is Jennifer Boot Cuffs, by Kate Bostick of Cowtown Knits.

Jennifercuffs2

You can probably tell from the pristine condition of my boots, that we haven’t had much snow in Michigan yet this year. My cuffs are knit in humble, very serviceable Lion Brand Heartland. Actually, they aren’t my boot cuffs. They are now my niece Melanie’s boot cuffs. Here’s a closer look.

JenniferCuffs

My choice from the hand category is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. Mine are knit in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s Wool DK, a wonderful yarn that’s been discontinued.

Farm2Market

I’ve knit Farm to Market Mitts three times before and haven’t yet kept a pair for me. These are mine. They are tucked in my coat pocket. It’s very odd. I didn’t notice until just this very minute, that I’ve got a major goof on the first cable on the right mitt. That must be why I kept them for me.

My hat choice was another Susan Vilas Lewis (Stay Toasty) interesting knit: Vitruvian Man, again in Shepherd’s Wool DK.

vitruvian_hat

Here’s who inspired the hat’s main motif:

url

Honestly, I didn’t know his name. But I’ve certainly seen the image many times, the Leonardo da Vinci guy with the extra limbs, with his arms trapped in the square and his legs trapped in the circle. You can read all about Vitruvian Man here. For present purposes, he’s an excellent hat.

Here’s the top of his head.

vitruvian_hat_top

My neck category selection is Nocturne in M, by Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs. It’s a one-skein, asymmetrical keyhole scarf. The “M” thing is because Kereit designed it for Malabrigo Rios. Rios is wonderfully soft. It’s one of those I can’t-say-enough-good-things-about-this-yarn yarns. Especially when yarns and necks will be rubbing elbows.

nocturne

I’m told that the Archangel colorway I used is very popular. I definitely like it. You can clearly see how the shades and colors evolved throughout the skein.

Next, in the baby & kids category, is Georgie Hallam’s Milo. There are 10,144 project pages on Milo. It’s an amazingly versatile little garment, sized from newborn to 6 years. Mine is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, sized for a nine month old.

milo

When the Masterpiece Theatre production of Jane Eyre came out in late 2007, Ravelry was abuzz with discussion of Jane’s rustic shawl. Carol Sunday came to the rescue and soon developed and released “To Eyre…,” complete with that great garter stitch ruffle.

eyre

eyre4

Keep in mind that what is itch to many people is cozy to me, but a rustic shawl needs a rustic yarn. Harrisville Design’s WATERshed fit the bill. This is the Mallard colorway. I really like this shawl. But as a friend commented, I won’t be mistaken for Kate Middleton when I wear it. To Eyre satisfied the shawl/stole GAL category.

This is my GAL selection in the garment category: another Georgie Hallam (TIKKIknits) design: Summer Carnival. It’s such a sweet and simple thing.

carnival4

There’s a lovely brooch pattern in the heart position. And another set of three medallions (carnival/ferris wheels) on the right front near the bottom ribbing.

carnival

My Summer Carnival is knit in Classic Elite Fresco, a 3-ply sportweight mix of 60% wool, 30% alpaca, 10% angora. The colorway is 5306, which isn’t showing on the current CE product page. They would usually mean it’s been discontinued. I hope not because straw is an interesting vintage shade.

Hallam’s pattern has a 1950’s sensibility to it. I can see Doris Day wearing this.

carnival3

Thanks to all the Indie Designers who worked so hard to make the third annual Ravelry GAL so much fun. They organized giveaways, gave away lots of encouragement, and gave gobs of discounts. They’re a talented and generous bunch and the knitting universe is fortunate to have them.

Opadoo2

Polka Dot Sheep hats

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This is Polka Dot Sheep designer Aimee Anderson’s newest hat pattern: Maeve’s Hat. I was part of Alexander’s test knit on Ravelry. The pattern hasn’t yet been added to her website, but it’s available for download on Ravelry.

When you check out the pattern you’ll notice I modified it some. Everywhere there’s one of those beefy bobbles, Anderson’s pattern has a bead. In the test-knit phase, bobbles were an alternative in the pattern. The beaded version is elegant. My version is, well, not elegant. Mine is funky and fun.

This is a fingering weight pattern. I didn’t want puny bobbles, so I knit one, purled one, three times into the stitch, to create six from one. Then I turned and knit back on those six stitches, turned and purled those six stitches, then passed each of the 5 stitches, in turn, over the one nearest the right needle tip. In the body of the hat, I placed a bobble at each spot where the pattern called for a bead. In that first set of bobbles near that sweet picot edge, I spaced the bobbles four stitches apart.

Here’s another view, with a bit of the pentagon-shaped crown showing.

polar_sun2

Ah, what’s that yarn? It’s Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin (80% merino, 20% nylon) left over from my kayak shrug I knit a few years back. I was saving it for a special project and decided the time had come.

This next hat is Evelyn’s. The pattern, though, is Margot’s Hat. And again it’s a Polka Dot Sheep pattern by Alexander.

margo_hat2

The pattern calls for DK weight, but the DK I had on hand didn’t want to get to gauge. So I knit it instead in Malabrigo Rios, a worsted weight.

Margo_hat

Alexander’s patterns are very attentive to small details. In this hat, it’s the way the picot edge is created and how the earflaps are tucked in place. My only modification was to use I-cord ties instead of twisty cord ties.

Of course, little ones look very sweet in pastels. But, I enjoy seeing them in earth tones.

Alexander’s two daughters are Maeve and Margot. Now they each have a hat pattern named after them. Both my creations will end up in Evelyn’s collection.

Farm to Market Hat

Farm2Market2

This is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Hat. Her pattern, a Polka Dot Sheep publication, is available via Ravelry. I’d knit the Farm to Market mitts and was very pleased to be included in the test knit for a matching hat. Even in the test knit phase, the directions were clear and very sensibly presented. The minor corrections have all been incorporated in the final pattern.

The pattern includes directions for heads sized from 17 (basically newborn) to 23 inches. As with the fingerless mitts, the cables are the star, but the turned-under brim is a really nice touch. It’s very gentle on the ears!

My hat, actually, Isaac’s hat, is knit in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK–a yummy concoction of 75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk. No scratchiness here!

Isaac actually did wear the hat outdoors, under his hoodie. But the little guy is not fond of hats so I had to press another model into service for this one.

Farm2market_hat

I have no idea what this yellow fellow is. But he’s quite heavy. Not at all cuddly. And kind of creeps me out. But I love the hat! It even sort of tames the toy and makes it easier to take.

Farm to Market Mitts times three

mitts_on

Ravelry Indie designers have been staging the second, hopefully annual, “Gift-A-Long” (GAL) since November. The event started off with zillions of patterns discounted. It’s meant to help knitters get their holiday knitting in high gear and, in the process, to learn about designs and designers we might miss in the highly competitive knitting pattern environment. It’s been lots of fun. And I’ve been especially productive, finishing 17 projects from ten different designers, including eight whose patterns I’ve not knit before.

These fingerless mitts are the Farm to Market Mitts by Aimee Alexander of Polka Dot Sheep. I’ve knit three pair during the GAL. The pattern is downloadable on Ravelry. These are worked up in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK, a superwash blend of merino, cashmere and silk. The tamarillo colorway is beautiful and the 15% cashmere (10% silk) makes for a wonderfully soft fabric.

The cable, which needs to be knit with two cable needles, is the star of this mitt, for sure.

mitts_on2

I prefer mitts with a thumb gusset rather than just a hole, or even less attractive, a stovepipe thumb that juts out from the mitt with not a touch of grace.

Here another sample, this time in Classic Elite Chesapeake. Chesapeake is a lightweight worsted and I used the same size needle thoughout (a US 5) instead of the 5 and 6 I used on the DK weight ones. It’s 50% wool/ 50% cotton and has excellent stitch definition.

green_mitts

Yes, I know you see it. The beautiful chain cable is screwed up on the right mitt. I didn’t see it until I cast off and I was too lazy to rip back. They will not be less warm than if they were error-free. Hopefully a non-knitting recipient will not be as bothered by the botched cable and I am.

The next set was my first pair–before Aimee decided to increase the number of yards a typical knitter will need to 140. I had the bare minimum recommended in the original version of the pattern (130) and it was just barely…not enough.

So I decided to make this mismatched set, knit in wonderful Plymouth Yarns DK Merino Superwash Select DK. This yarn has amazingly great stitch definition.

farm_mitts2

It’s getting to be my new “go to” yarn. This is my first time using the DK, rather than the worsted. No knots. No slubs.

farm_mittsAlexander’s pattern is totally error free. It’s also very intelligently laid out, with both line-by-line and charted directions. The key abbreviations–for the cables–are repeated on the page with the chart. Such a good feature, because you don’t have to keep flipping pages. She even helps the knitter out by telling you exactly how many stitches you will have in the gusset increase rows and includes a table (on the same page as the chart) that shows the stitch count and what row of the chart you’re supposed to be for each of those rows. The gusset increases in alternate rows, and then changes to every third row, so she signals the increase rows with an asterisk. Much appreciated!