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.

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.

Bounce, in Perfection

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This took me a good bit of time to knit. It’s tincanknits DK weight baby blanket, Bounce. Bounce is available for purchase on Ravelry or direct from the tincanknits website.

I like my Bounce. But I think I made a few poor choices. And they are none the fault of tincanknits.

Thanks to a guildmate who decided to part with five skeins of Kraemer Yarns Perfection DK for fifty cents a skein, I had these five colorways, minus the dark blue:

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Perfection DK is 30 percent wool, 70 percent acrylic. I decided that the five shades I had were a bit too pastel and traditional. Especially with the orange and gold, I now think I was wrong about that. So, I figured I’d shake things up and add a deep, dark, bold color. Here were my choices for the 6th color, the prominent garter stitch ridges.  I now think this would have looked better if I’d chosen a white, as in the tincanknit sample.

So, keeping in mind I still think this is a pretty thing, I chose dark blue as my sixth color. It’s a pretty shade. But probably not so pretty with the other five shades. Where are those color wheel thingies when I should consult them?

Bounce

You know, when I look at it in this view, I like it a little better.

And my second mistake? Unfortunately, it was using Perfection DK. It was totally worth every bit I paid for it. Its list price is $6.75 US per approximately a 260 yard skein. So even the 2 blue skeins I paid full price for didn’t break the bank. But it’s not soft at all. It’s very scratchy. And this is the verdict of someone who has high tolerance for wool scratchy. This is acrylic scratchy. It feels a little bit like the nylon scrubbie I use to clean pots with.

I gave the yarn a 3 stars out of 5 on Ravelry. But that might be too generous. I’m afeared that any babe swaddled in this will get cranky fast. I’m still pondering how to soften my Bounce. I might toss it in the washer on gentle and then toss it in the dryer. So soon after finishing what proved to be a long slog, I haven’t had the courage to try that yet even though Kraemer says “machine wash, tumble dry.”

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The many grains of tincanknits

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These are the large size of tincanknits Rye pattern, part of their free Simple Collection. It’s a collection designed to teach knitters the “basic ingredients” of knitting various items, sized from baby to large adult. Each pattern is complete with tutorials to help knitters over any rough spots. And each of the eight patterns in the collection echoes the same design theme: stockinette with a band of garter stitch.

I knit my Rye with 260 yards of Plymouth Encore. They look pretty goofy off the foot, but tuck the tootsies in and they’re very comfy. I knit these in worsted weight, rather than the Aran weight the pattern calls for. They are still more cabin socks or, better yet, bedsocks. But this cold winter they’ve worked out really well.

The Simple Collection patterns are named after the world’s grains. The cowl in the collection is Oats. I knit mine in Gecko Yarns CashAran superwash, 80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere. This is the “desert wisp” colorway.

oats2

I decided to knit the small-sized cowl because I’ve grown to really appreciate the extra warmth that a fairly close-fitting cowl provides. The pattern includes directions to knit a cowl with more generous circumference.

And then there’s Barley. What an excellent hat!

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Sized for adult, or for a newborn (and all sizes in between). Mine are knit in Lion Brand Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend, a worsted weight yarn with too many words in its name.

Image 23In addition to Rye, Oats, and Barley, the Simple Collection includes Wheat (a scarf), Malt (a baby blanket), Maize (fingerless mitts), Flax (a pullover sweater), and Harvest (a cardigan),

Tincanknits is a collaboration of British Columbians Alexa Ludeman and Emily Wessel. They’ve been energetically creating great patterns and pattern collections for several years now. Their generous release of this free collection is helping to cement their growing influence on the community of knitter worldwide.

Gramps and Hunter

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I know you can tell which one is Gramps. The shawl-collared, elbow-patched cardigan. Hunter is a hat knit from the left-over Berroco Vintage. That mustard shade is “mellow” and the main color is “forest floor.” Easy care (40% wool, 50% acrylic, 10% nylon).

Here’s a few other views:

gramps2

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And a close-up of that great shawl collar:

gramps5Gramps is a pattern by tincanknits, available individually on Ravelry and on their website or as part of their Nine Months of Knitting Collection. This pattern’s been knit and posted more than 1000 times on Ravelry project pages. In its current release, the sizes included are from newborn to 4XL. That really is amazing.

Gramps is a seamless design, knit from the top down. After the body of the sweater and the arms are complete, you work the button band and collar and add the pockets. No sewing except to sew the sides of the pocket in place.

Here’s a closer look at Hunter, another pattern from the Nine Months of Knitting Collection:

hunter_hat_flat

Now for the best part of the post:

isaac_sweater_lowres

I heard (and enjoyed) that collective “awhhh…so cute” and will take that as encouragement. Check out the elbow patches:

isaac_patch_lowres

As for the hat, it’s cute as a bug’s ear but the little guy has a somewhat low tolerance for hats.