For your hands

This knit started back in 2014 when one of my knitworthy nieces traveled to Iceland. She had a great vacation and brought me back Léttlopii by Istex. The real Lopi. The Lopi skeins that have Icelandic labels. Spring Green and Black Heather:

Yes, I know that Reynolds Lite Lopi is essentially the same yarn. But these skeins had traveled far and they needed to be knit into something that honored their Icelandic roots. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it. Mittens, I figured. But I couldn’t initially find a two-color pattern that I liked. And so the yarn made its way deeper into my stash. Then came my current stash down effort. I found Hlekkir by Hildur Ýr Ísberg and decided it was perfect for my Lopi. It’s a freebie on Ravelry. The pattern is available in Icelandic and in English. I chose the English version.

Nice “afterthought” thumbs blend perfectly into the patterning. Hlekkir is an Icelandic word that means “links on a chain.” That perfectly captures it!

My niece and I had an interesting long distance text session on the fit. I had a very difficult time explaining what measurements I needed. She sent me this to help out:

It didn’t help much. The distance from the base of the thumb to the top of the middle finger–in the normal world–is measured this way. But a diagonal measure doesn’t work in the knitting world. I had Steve trace my hand and then I measured his tracing. I thought the man was a bit too much of a detail guy, as he traced every gnarly bump. And he seems to have been a tad more adept on the thumb as compared with the rest of my digits. I assure you that I have all my fingers and that they’re approximately normal looking. But, from this sketch, my niece understood what I needed.

I got back the best reply possible. My niece told me our hand sizes are the same. “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

I thought about adapting Hlekkir’s chain link pattern to knit a hat. You’d think I’d have made enough hats to make that easy. But my design skills failed me and, instead, I made Bethany Hill’s Drips, another Ravelry freebie. So, meet Lopi Drips.

OK, I snuck in yet another hat. I wasn’t supposed to do that. But this is an extra-excellent hat. It’s meant to resemble the drips on the outside of a paint can. Think this:

Reimagined as this:

Very cool!

And, after that digression, back to stuff for hands. These are Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. Mine are knit in Plymouth Yarn’s DK Merino Superwash.

That interwoven cable is a big favorite of mine. This is the 5th pair I’ve knit!

I’ve been known to goof and get one of those twists wrong. But, in this pair, I didn’t fall asleep at the switch. This pair? This pair is finally one for me.

The next pair of mitts is Ann Budd’s In-A-Pinch Fingerless Mitts. Mine are knit in Lion Brand LB Collection Merino Yak Alpaca, an Aran weight. One ball, 126 yards/60 grams, was enough for the pair. Budd herself gave me that skein of yarn and the pattern at a knitting retreat last year. I weighed out the yarn, as Budd recommended, and separated the skein into two equal balls to knit the mitts. And it almost worked! I just had to shorten the mitts by a few rounds.

The mitt pattern has a few difficulties. I’ve added the clarifications that one Raveler says came right from the horse’s mouth/pen (Budd) to my Rav project page. That should help if you’re of a mind to give these a try.

These next mitts are Amanda Scheuzger’s Mt. Battie Mitts. Mine are knit in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool Worsted. I thought possibly the cabling would drive me batty, but the cable work was actually a lot of fun.

Did you notice that the twists reverse from one hand to the other? Nice touch. You only need two cable needles on one of the rounds. The palms of the mitt are knit plain. That works well. The only minor revision I’d make next time is I’d put the 15 thumb stitches on a waste yarn and come back later and knit taller thumbs (in the round). That’s because my thumbs would welcome a bit more coverage.

These fit well and will serve well.

Speaking of hands…

I found this sorting through my box of childhood sentimental stuff. This is my hand back in 1957. I was five. My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Gale. I didn’t like her. Not one bit. I also didn’t like kindergarten. Less than not one bit. One day we were commanded to put our hand in–whatever this is, possibly Plaster of Paris. My mom kept my hand mold in her stash of sentimental stuff and eventually she gave it it to me. I recently photographed the mold and then pitched it. My mom didn’t know what to do with it, so she gave it to me. I decided I’d relieve the next generation of trying to figure out what to do with it. There’s a photo if I want to see it again.

I am satisfied with how my hands grew up. They know how to work. They know how to  play. And they learned how to knit. Good hands.

Incise times three

This is Hunter Hammersen’s new trio of hats released as one pattern: Incise. Three for the price of one! How cool is that? To “incise,” Hammersen explains, means “to mark or decorate by a series of cuts.” These slip stitch patterns graphically do exactly that. My Incises are knit in Rowan’s Pure Wool Superwash Worsted. It’s a lightweight worsted and proved to be an excellent choice gauge-wise (and otherwise).

Each hat is a slip stitch pattern. No fair isle here. One colorway per row, no more.

This hat is “A. And I give it one.  I worked it exactly as the pattern called for. I skimped half an inch on the length to the crown decreases because I was fearful I’d run out of orange, excuse me, “Citron” in the Rowan world. Actually, I didn’t need to be concerned because the crown decreases happen quickly and only add about half an inch of height to the beanie.

Methinks this is a spectacular finish for a great hat!

Next comes the sensibly named “B.” I had plenty of Charcoal Gray in my stash and paired it with three different colorways for this trio of hats. Here’s “B” pairing the gray with gold.

Once again, the crown is rounded and maintains the pattern all the way to that 16 stitch pinhole ending. This time I began the crown decreases 8.5 inches from the cast-on. All these hats produce a warm, dense fabric. And “B” will keep the wearer’s ears nice and toasty.

I found that each of the hats needed a tepid bath in Eucalan to relax my slip stitches enough to fit a medium adult head. Especially when I finished “A,” I initially doubted I’d get the circumference I needed. But the fabric relaxed nicely.

Here’s “C,” just a tad modified. Knitting gobs of one-by-one slip stitches in Charcoal Gray and Moonstone was fun for a few inches. Then my eyeballs just got excruciatingly tired of gray. That’s when I remembered that I still had some leftover Citron.

I added 4 rounds of slip stitch, but with just one color. That stripe woke me up enough that the gray turned out to be quite tolerable to work with.

And, again, a great crown decrease.

It’s odd that this hat, though it was probably the least fun to knit because it was a bit of a slog, has turned out to be my favorite. Enough so that I’m going to give you a second look at GlassHead modeling it.

You can check out all of Hammersen’s designs at  Pantsville Press and purchase her patterns on Ravelry.

You may be questioning two matters by now: (1) what happened to my resolve to stop knitting hats for a bit, and (2) did all this Pure Wool come from my stash or have I cheated and gone off my yarn diet. As for (1), I just couldn’t resist Incise. Slip stitch and I play well together. And there was the matter of a new-pattern discounted price. As for (2), the stashdown continues.  Every bit of this yarn is left over from my most recent Rambling Rows.

More Doubles

Recently I’ve been fascinated with knitting doubles. I’m enjoying how the same pattern works up in different colorways or in different yarns. You’re looking at Alex Tinsley’s Fructose. I’ve knit both my Fructoses in Malabrigo Rios. These two colorways are big favorites of mine. The green one is lettuce. OK, you’d have figured out that’s the green one. And the purple/orange/red is Archangel. Beats me why. But it’s a wonderful colorway, especially for one-skein projects. That’s because there seem to be very big differences between skeins. But every skein I’ve seen is wonderful.

The strong vertical lines combine with strong horizontal ones to give the hat wonderful structure. And the sweet bonnet-like slit in the back leaves room for a pony tail or allows the hat to be worn low on the back of the neck to keep out winter’s chill.

Each Fructose took 52 grams. I should have had 48 grams left. But both my skeins were “light.” I’ve read that a skein with 10% more or 10% less is considered acceptable. I suppose I should be magnanimous and accept that if sometimes I get more I shouldn’t grouse about getting less. Maybe I would if I ever got more than a dollop of yarn beyond the ballband amount.   Both these skeins were shy about 8 grams.

With my mission of not wasting yarn or leaving it to languish in my oddments bags, I decided to knit up a pair of toddler-sized The Thinker hats.

Susan Villas Lewis has come up with such an excellent all-sized pattern. These are the 8th and 9th Thinkers I’ve knitted. In the toddler size, there are three lines of easy cable that ring this hat.

It’s a seriously excellent use of yarn.

That’s also true of Clara Parkes Hill Country Hat. Hill Country is a bulky-weight freebie available on Ravelry. It’s also included in Parkes’ excellent book The Knitter’s Book of Wool. Hill Country is another pattern I return to whenever I have about 110 yards of bulky asking to be knit up. This brown one is knit of Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky.

One of the strengths of the hat is that, depending on the yarn and sometimes the colorway, it’s a definite unisex design. This white one is knit in Valley Yarn’s Berkshire Bulky.


As ever, hats don’t get beyond first base with me if they don’t have well-behaved crowns. Plus they get extra points if, like Hill Country, they have something interesting going on in the crown section. I think this swirl works well.

I knit this next pair quite awhile ago and didn’t get around to showing them off. This is Elena Nodel’s bulky-weight freebie, Tega. An excellent pattern. It’s only available in one size, adult, but that’s easily adjustable by using a less beefy yarn weight and smaller needles.

My first Tega is knit in Reynold’s Lopi Bulky. I used size 6 for the ribbing (that was pushing it) and size 9 for the body of the hat. Those extravagant cables are wonderful. And the thoughtfully planned crown is a winner for sure.

As for what head will wear a bulky-weight Lopi hat, it needs to be a very cold one. And a head with a very high “but it’s scratchy” threshold. I washed it in Eucalan to try to tame the itch factor, but not with much success. It’s much softer but still scratchy as heck. And I actually have a high tolerance for such rustic yarn.

If you decide to knit Tega in a good superwash bulky, like this Valley Yarns Superwash, there won’t be any complaints about itchy heads. The yarn also has great stitch definition for a bulky, which is a big plus for this pattern.

At some point, I promise, I’ll stop concentrating so much on heads and will let your eyeballs feast on something else. Not today though. I recently hatched plans for how my knit hats can tempt teens to put something on their heads and, with that, my hat knitting went into high gear. Even Glasshead is beginning to voice boredom with all these hats.

This one is Agnes Kutas-Keresztes’s freebie, Christian. My gray Christian is knit in about 130 yards of Berroco UltraWool.

And this pink one is knit in Plymouth Encore.

Crowns can make or break a hat. Check out this wonderfully organic one. If you’re up for an easy, rewarding (and free) pattern, definitely consider Christian.


Just when you think I can’t possibly be assaulting you with any more hat twins, I’ve still got more. This set is Susan Mills Harriet. Quite uncharacteristically, I knit my Harriets in exactly the yarn the pattern calls for: Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool.

The multi-color Liberty Wool means that every Harriet will be unique. My 50 gram balls weighed closer to 40 grams, which was a disappointment. But two balls still ended up with two Harriets, just one large and one medium.

The hat is meant to be a beret. But I think most heads would want to wear it as a beanie.

I made some sizing modifications on this next pair of hats, but I am totally liking the look. It’s Benjamin Matthew’s On the Grid Beanie. I was lucky enough to secure a copy of the pattern during its few days when Matthew released it free. But this hat pattern is totally worth the 6 dollars he’s charging for it now. By the way, to keep an eye on designer short-term freebies, join the Free Stuff Rocks (f/k/a Lovin’ the Freebies) group on Ravelry. The group forum will also alert you to new forever free patterns and to discounts that are available from designers.

Back to On the Grid. Both mine are knit in Plymouth Encore. The pattern calls for a more lightweight worsted and 19 stitches to 4 inches using garter stitch as the gauge. Encore required some sizing mods.

I knit 10 rows of ribbing. In Encore, needle size 6, that was about 1.5 inches. I knit 4 repeats of the triangle pattern instead of 5, which gave me a bit over 6 inches of triangles. From the start of the decreases to the top added about 2.75 inches. So, even modified, this is quite a long beanie–9.25 inches. But I can already tell that this quick knit is a pattern I’ll return to regularly.

You know that means it’s got an interesting crown.

GlassHead is weeping. Maybe you can hear her? Both Fructose have already been given away and she wanted to hang on to the Lettuce one and keep wearing it for awhile. I’m consoling her at present with the Encore Sour Apple On the Grid, a similar colored hat.

 

Headband Doubles

I’ve been in a bit of a knitting stutter lately. I knit one and then I knit another. And sometimes I knit even more anothers.

This is Knitwise Design’s Triple Crowner Headband. Mine are knit in one skein of Berroco Artisan, an 80% merino wool, 20% silk worsted weight. At 123 yards per skein, my two orphan skeins hung out in my stash for quite awhile before I came up with the perfect project. Ninety yards is all it took to work up one of these beauties.

Here’s a closer look at this excellent unisex pattern:

There are two rows of the cabling that require using two cable hooks. But the pattern explains exactly how to manage it and it’s great fun!

The Heads were in a keen competition for who got to wear which headband. They were under the impression that the reference to “crown” in the pattern name suggested something about royalty and both wanted to wear the gold one. I explained that “Triple Crowners” are hikers who have thru-hiked all three of America’s long distance trails: the Appalachian, the Pacific Crest, and the Continental Divide. The heads were humbled at the thought of walking nearly 8000 miles and piped down.

My stashdown continued, this time with another fun Knitwise Design pattern: Earbuds. I knit these in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky and am very pleased with the results:

You might say I got a bit carried away with these. But considering that I now have only one pair left, I guess it wasn’t too many pairs to knit.

Earbuds fit easily in a coat pocket and really come in handy on a chilly day. Just be prepared when the thin ones among us look at them in a puzzled way because only the thin would see them as bikini tops.

So, what more can I say about the great freebie pattern, Calorimetry, that I haven’t said before? More than 19,000 of these headbands have been knit and posted as projects on Ravelry. That puts it among the most-knit patterns on Rav.

This is the first time I’ve knit this headband in Noro Kureyon. I like the way the short rows make the color pool in such an interesting way.

Recently, a friend pointed out that in a pinch Calorimetry serves quite nicely as a cowl.  I’d not thought of that. This pair is my 22nd and 23rd Calorimetry, but I’ve not had time to experiment with one. My tradition is to let family and friends choose holiday gifts from my stash of accessories and Calorimetries always get picked. I believe I will keep one of these for me.

The stashdown continues!

Doubles

A major stash-down is underway. That means getting reintroduced to lots of fun wonderful yarn that’s been lolling about in my stash. It also means deleting all those wonderful yarnie emails I get–without even opening them. Ok, that’s a bit militant. But I’m going to attend a few knitting events in the next several months and my plan is to be sure there are major holes in my stash by the time I get to the marketplaces. So, I’m not feeling one bit deprived. Well, maybe one bit. Still, stash-downing is turning out to be fun.

I’m tending to knit small projects and patterns that I’ve knit before.

These first two hats are Jo Klim’s Totalee Slouchee, knit in Merino Extrafine Color 120 by Schlachenmayr. That’s a DK-weight superwash merino. Here’s a closer look:

I know. Not everyone’s cup ‘o tea. But what one set of eyeballs sees as garish another sees as daring and colorful. These are my 4th and 5th knits of this pattern, in this yarn. And my friends and family chose all three original knits as holiday gifts. In fact, the one with the orange highlights already walked out my door as a birthday present for a friend’s head.

I enjoy that the crowns of these hats, in this yarn, create that flower or bulls-eye. I suppose that what you see might depend on whether your head prefers shooting or gardening. I don’t like either. But I do like this hat.

I had three skeins of each colorway and used up the remaining yarn with a simple freebie pattern that showcased this yarn to good effect. These next hats are Janet D. Russell’s Child’s Self-Striping Hat. The pattern name throws you a bit of a curve on the sizing. Russell’s pattern includes from an extra small to an extra large. I knit the large, figuring it would work well even for the young ones and used just under 180 yards, DK-weight.

Here’s glass head looking all cheerful, as if it hadn’t just recently reached twenty-five below at our water’s-edge weather station. And that’s real degrees, none of that wimpy wind-chill stuff.

 

Again, this yarn rewards knitters with an excellent crown. Children are the likely recipients of these hats. I decided to add a pompom to both. Yep, I know that even grown-ups can stick pompoms on the top of their heads if they want to. The pompoms ended up ringed by that nice splash of color.

Such fun.

This week, what with February 14th coming up, is a good time to show off a pair of Knitwise Design’s Young at Heart Hats.

Rather than work with traditional heart motif colors, and consistent with the stash-down underway, I knit these in pastels of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. It works. Good yarn. Great pattern. Those slip stitch hearts are the best.

Well, maybe the little dangling heart toppers are the best.

How would we smile our way through the long cold winters without knitting?