Colonel Talbot and Wellington

wellington3This is Wellington. Not Colonel Wellington. Just Wellington. A Susan Mills Classic Elite pattern. My version, worked up in the yarn the pattern calls for (4 skeins of Classic Elite Camelot), is the first finished project on Ravelry at the moment.

It was fun to knit. And I definitely like reversible patterned scarves. Especially if you gift a scarf, if it’s not reversible you’ll see it worn backwards every time you see it worn. Same goes for hats with seams–they’ll always be worn by the giftee with the seam smack dab in front. And, though I try to gently educate the recipients of afghans that they are warmer public side up, they’re almost sure to be folded backward on the couch. (But at least that means they’re being used.)

Just under 400 yards of Aran weight. It needed a rather aggressive block to open up those middle ribs a tad.


I enjoyed knitting it. The color-shifting yarn holds a knitter’s interest even when the billionth jigsaw puzzle piece starts wearing thin.

So, that’s Wellington. And this next scarf really is Colonel Talbot.


Colonel Talbot, in the library, with a candlestick. Oh, no. That would be Colonel Mustard. This is an excellent unisex scarf pattern by Joan Janes of Littleredmitten. I knit mine in String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn’s Caper Aran. I’m not sure if Caper Aran is currently available. But it’s 80% merino,10% nylon, and (ahem) 10% cashmere. Quite special.


It’s a simple pattern, for sure, but with some excellent design features, including I-cord knitted-on edging and an interesting bunch of raindrips to break up the garter stitch.

Sometimes I have trouble wearing scarves. They dangle into the velcro flap patches on my coats and get stuck. But I definitely enjoy knitting them.

Lots ‘o cowls


This skein of Knit Collage “Pixie Dust” was a Christmas gift. I love the colors but have no experience knitting with this type of yarn. Thirty-five yards, 97 percent wool, 2 percent mohair, and I’m thinking that sparkle is the 1 percent “other.” So, clearly this needed to be something very simple to just let those yarn blobs pixie away.



I very much like to wear close-fitting cowls. They are the no-nonsense coziest. So, all I did was cast on 28 stitches on size 19 needles, in the round. Yep, I own a pair of size 19 circulars with fairly short cables. No one will mistake this for “off the rack!” I like the pebble look of this.

The consistent theme for my recently knit cowls has been close-fitting. This is the Augustine Cowl, a free Classic Elite pattern by Susan Mills.


Here’s a better view that shows the construction more clearly, despite my use of this difficult-to-photograph black shade of Berroco Flicker.


Laying flat, my Augustine Cowl somewhat resembles a lampshade. But it’s actually a nice-fitting, well-behaved cowl. The slight bit of easy open work at the top folds back gracefully at the neck. The flared-out bottom fits nicely over the shoulders. Flicker is a chainette yarn, in 87% baby alpaca, 8% acrylic, with the remaining being the sparkly bits.  It is unbelievably soft, with absolutely no scratchiness from the tinsel-like filaments.

The next two cowls are both knit in Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere, a 20% cashmere, 70% merino, 10% nylon concoction. It’s a very soft worsted weight. I liked everything about working with it, except that this Amethyst Ink colorway inked my hands and everything in the vicinity of the work (including rubbery stitch markers) a deep purple. Ick. A Eucalan soak seems to have solved the problem.

This is Purl Soho’s Structured Alpaca Cowl. It is a super-easy free pattern. My only modification was to work eight rather than nine repeats of the pattern. I wasn’t sure I had enough yarn left for the 9th repeat and it seemed to me to be tall enough with eight.


Again, the construction isn’t evident, but check out the Purl Soho link for a look at it in a light-colored yarn. The tab in front is one-by-one rib, knit through the back loop. You cast on stitches to continue working in the round. The front section is stockinette with some interesting decreases at each edge. And the back section continues the same ribbing as worked in the tab. This one is going to be great for chilly mornings in the kayak.

Here’s the same Dream in Color, knit in an easy meandering cable. It’s Angela Hahn’s Serpentine Cowl. The pattern is included in the Craft Tree Collection, “Easy Knitted Accessories,” and was also published in Interweave Knits 2011 Accessories magazine. Again, what I most like is the way the cowl hugs the neck and lays nicely on the shoulders.


More than 1500 Ravelers and many members of my Black Sheep Knitting Guild, have knit Kirsten Kapur’s Chickadee. It’s an easy linen stitch cowl. The pattern’s available free on Ravelry. Mine is knit in Mirasol Maylla, a next-to-the-skin soft yarn of 45% alpaca, 40% wool, 15% bamboo.


False Creek is an interesting quick-knit, worked up here in Cascade Lana Grande on Size 15 needles. The design is by tincanknits’ Emily Wessel and is available as a single pattern or as part of the Pacific Knits ebook.


There’s a lot of “give” in those size 15 stitches. In a pinch, this cowl can do double duty as a head-hugger.


If you’re wondering, those are JUL Designs “pedestal” leather buttons. They screw in place with that center brad.

This next cowl is a return to the close-fitting style: tincanknits’ Alexa Ludeman’s Lions Gate. Like False Creek, the pattern can be purchased individually or as part of the Pacific Knits collection.


I knit the 96-stitch version, shown here in Cascade Yarns’ Alpaca Lana D’Oro.

Mac the cowl


This is Mac, by Susan Mills. It is a Classic Elite pattern contained in the company’s booklet #9151, “Harvest.” The seed stitch can get a bit tedious. But it makes a wonderful mindless knit for times when you need one. The star of the cowl is that great fringe. I won’t spill any copyrighted beans about how it’s made, and you can probably figure it out just be studying the photo, but it’s super easy. You knit the cowl on straight needles, twist the work to form a mobius, and then seam the cast-on to the bind-off.

I used the yarn called for in the pattern: Classic Elite’s Chesapeake. It’s a 50% merino, 50% organic cotton worsted weight. The colorway is 5986, golden brown. Apparently, it’s a discontinued colorway, because it’s not showing on the company’s website. Chesapeake feels great against the skin.

If you knit this up, be sure to hide the joins in the fringe. Seed stitch and yarn with this much cotton content are very unforgiving and my first join, mid-row, stood out most unpleasantly.


Hoodie #92120

Congratulations to Susan Mills on this sweet but somewhat obscure design. I am the only one who has posted it to Ravelry. This is Hoodie #92120. No goofy-named hoodie. Just hoodie with a pattern booklet number. It’s an Artful Yarns pattern that is meant to be knitted in their now-discontinued “Virtue.” Virtue was a 100% cashmere yarn. Not your typical baby yarn.

My Hoodie #92120 is knitted in a very sensible Cascade 220 superwash. No need to baby this. I am fond of knitting little girl stuff in colors that are not pink or purple. Hunter green definitely qualifies as not pink or purple.

This is a 12 month size, but it knitted up very roomy. My very slightly built 4 year old neighbor tried it on and it fit just fine. She liked it. But I think she found the color, well, disappointing. I told her I was thinking of knitting a brightly colored flower to add to the sweater. She thought that would be a good addition. I was visiting Cynthia’s Too, a great shop in Petoskey, and spotted some sweet crocheted flower pins. I could not resist. My little neighbor will approve.

Toddler poncho and bonnet

This is a Susan Mills pattern released in 2004 when she was designing for Artful Yarns. It’s  called Virtue Poncho #92120. Virtue, now discontinued, was a 100% cashmere worsted weight yarn. Isn’t it the height of decadence to think of cashmere for a child’s garment?  I didn’t knit mine in any form of cashmere. This is Cascade’s 220 Superwash Quatro in the Chocolate Tweed colorway. A child can eat a nice drippy ice cream cone wearing this and all a parent needs to do is throw it in the washing machine and then throw it in the dryer.

I made a few modifications on the poncho, including knitting it in the round instead of in halves. I put a stitch marker at the start and mid-point of the round and knit the decreases just as the pattern called for. I decided to work on straight needles until I got through the ruffle.  With more than 500 stitches cast on, I didn’t want to risk the dreaded mobius twist. And when I got to about 10 rows left in the poncho, I worked straight, just using the same circular needles but turning at the midpoint where the neckline is needed. The pattern calls for sewing the front seam to about one inch from the collar. I thought that might look kind of ragged and fretted that the stockinette might curl, so I worked 5 stitches in garter stitch at one edge, then cast on another 5 at the other edge, and basically knitted a garter stitch placket.

Except for casting on 500 stitches, the ruffle was the most fun. Those stitches disappear superfast with decreases upon decreases and out pops the beautiful ruffle.

It can be such fun to knit small stuff in surprisingly unbaby-like colors.