Sunrise Side Bear

I live on what Michiganders (don’t laugh, that’s what we are) call the “Sunrise Side.” That’s the northeastern section of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Almost all the sections of the Sunrise Side are less affluent, more rural, just a wee bit less scenic (being honest now) than the western side of the northern lower peninsula. We have our share of big homes, beautiful homes, interesting shops, and jaw-dropping natural views. But we also have a lot of children taking backpacks of food home for the weekend. And my town has more vacant storefronts than occupied ones.

After I worked out the pattern for this little guy, Sunrise Side Bear seemed the best name for it. The pattern is free on Ravelry.

My pair of fraternal twin bears is knit in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. In this beefy worsted, knit at a tight gauge on size 5 needles, they turn out to be about 9 inches tall and 6 inches across the arms.

Sunrise Side Bear is knit flat. Totally flat. In one piece. His face, head, tummy, and butt are formed by short rows. In case you’ve not yet learned how to work short rows, all the instructions are included.

These little guys just keep leaping off my needles. Even with sewing up and stuffing I complete one in about 4 hours.

Here’s another one I recently knit for newborn Sophia. Again I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

I like to gift them wearing duds of some sort. For a newborn, a scarf seemed like a bad idea. Instead, I knit Georgie Nicholson’s Dolly Milo. Dolly Milo, knit in DK weight, is actually designed as a vest. But Sunny wears hers as a dress. 

Sophia also received her own Milo vest. Hers is knit identically to the doll’s version, but I chose a different cable panel.

I knit the vests in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. The set made for quite a sweet newborn gift.

I recently knit a fingering weight hat out of some very special light fingering weight yarn: Fiber-Isle’s Buff. It’s 25% cashmere goat, 25% rayon, 25% bamboo and 25% “other animal.”  According to Fiber Isle, Buff is “made once a month from fibers left over from our blends. Never the same but always nice.” They spin bison yarns, so maybe some of the other is bison? Anyway, I had a smidge left after completing my hat (47 yards, actually) and thought I’d have enough for a tiny wee Sunrise Side Bear. “Close but no cigar…”

Running out of yarn created a patchwork bear. And once my bear already had a green front leg and a green front foot, it seemed to need some clothes to blend in the mish-mash.

I am inordinately fond of this little guy.

Read more about the Sunrise Side Bear’s construction here.

Stay safe, everyone. Knit on!

Knits for feet

We’re all looking for something homey and comfy to help sooth that savage beast who wants to yell “enough already.”  Knitting stuff for feet, actually knitting anything, will help us knitters stay grounded in trying times.

This is a pair of socks I knit from one skein of Schachenmayr Regia Arne & Carlos Pairfect. There’s a pattern inside the ball band. It’s printed so tiny I had to get out the magnifying glass that I use to read the warnings on pharmacy products. Once I read it I saw it was just your basic sock pattern, so I decided to rely on a pattern that I could read easily: Vanilla Latte socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes.

Vanilla Latte is a Ravelry freebie that over 14,400 Ravelers have knit and posted on their project pages. It’s a bit of a sock recipe, where you pick your heel style and your toe style. I picked an eye of partridge stitch for the heel and what the designer calls a “rounded toe wedge.” This pre-dyed yarn isn’t going to show up properly without stockinette. So I worked the rest of the sock plainly, instead of relying on the pattern stitch that is the signature of Vanilla Latte. I guess I made a very plain Vanilla Latte.

Perfect fit!

When I saw the pattern for Katerina Mushyn’s Two Needle Socks appear on Ravelry I quickly acquired some bulky yarn and set to work. The pattern calls for Aran weight, but I figured I’d be using these as slippers or boot socks and I wanted to knit a tight gauge. So I tried a new (to me) bulky yarn, Sirdar’s Harrad Tweed Chunky. It was ridiculously discounted and I figured I’d give it a go. The yarn is very messy to work with, because slubs fly all over the place, so I can’t recommend the yarn. But the socks? Well check them out.

First, let me show you my feet wearing my new socks. I’m doing this to convince you, from the outset, that this pattern really does work.

This pattern results in a sock that is a good fit for human feet. But here’s what you have when you complete your knitting.

I just had to knit them to see how that turned into this:

As you can tell, there’s a fair bit of sewing to pull this off. It’s nothing challenging though. They aren’t going to win any beauty contests, but they were a hoot to knit! And the pattern is a Ravelry freebie.

The Russian designer’s English version of the pattern is easy to work with. But if you have any trouble, I very much enjoyed her video on how to knit the pattern. From watching the designer’s video and examining her sample before it’s sewn together, it’s clear that the designer slipped the first stitch of each garter stitch row (purlwise) and purled the last stitch of each garter stitch row. That’s what the English pattern is referring to as the “edge stitch” in the decrease and increase sections (the toe and the heel). The instructions for sewing the socks up are especially useful and that starts about 19:45 minutes into the video. Knitting hands speak a language we all understand.

These past few months have also found me replenishing the big guys’ bootie supply. That doesn’t sound right. I’ve been knitting Kris Basta’s freebie Better Dorm Boots. Versions of these dorm boots have been kicking around the internet from the early days of the old Knitlist. I like Basta’s version. My only modifications are that I use a chunky weight yarn rather than two strands of worsted. And I knit the ribbing through 60 rows rather than 45 because I like them cuffed.

My favorite yarn for these best dorm boots is Plymouth Encore Chunky. The 75% acrylic 25% wool makes for easy care.

Patons Shetland Chunky works well too:

I knit mine using size 10 US needles and they fit a size 10-11 manfoot. Be sure to bind off loosely on the cuff so you don’t cut off a fellow’s circulation!

More cowls

Isn’t this a pretty one? It’s Kim Sequeira’s Earth Weave Cowl, a Ravelry freebie. The pattern calls for one skein of Malabrigo Rios and one skein of Noro Silk Garden. My, my. I had both in my stash. The Rios is the “apple green” colorway and, of course, the Noro is responsible for the color-changing blues and greens. This is a slip stitch cowl, a/k/a mosaic knitting. That means there only one color on each round.

Here’s another look.

Earth Weave Cowl is a fun knit and a great cowl. It has a tendency to flip over to its “wrong” (non-public) side when worn. But that’s not any big deal.

This next cowl, tincanknits Undertone, does the same flip-over. Again, no big deal. If the flip bothers the wearer, they can fold the cowl in half lengthwise. Presto! No flip.

Presto? I believe it’s been decades since I wrote, said or even heard anyone write or say that word. A bit of quick research reveals its origins are traced to the late 1500’s when conjuror patter incorporated the phrase from the Italian where it sort of meant “quickly.” OK. Enough digression.

I knit my Undertone, this time, mostly in oddments of String Theory DK. That’s the orange-red shade in the center section. The gold and the green are MadTosh DK left-overs. It’s a very satisfying knit. I’ve knit Undertone once before. (You’ll need to scroll down beyond a beauty of a wrap to see how my first Undertone worked out.) Here’s another view of my new one.

This next cowl is a rather new Ravelry freebie that I just couldn’t resist knitting. It’s loop knallerbse designed by Petra Peinze. I knit mine in Why Knot Fibers Stardust. My skein of Stardust is a beautiful gray fingering weight, with 5% stellina, 20% nylon, and 75% merino. The yarn is next-to-the-skin soft with no scratchiness from the silver sparkly stellina.

Your’re surprised by the shape, I assume. That’s what drew me to the pattern. How on earth would that shape work out? But it does.


Loop knallerbse is an excellent accessory for a blustery winter day. I’ve already gotten a good deal of wear out of it. Hopefully, by June or so, I’ll be able to pack it away for next winter!

Wonderland Yarn cowls

A great knit shop in Petoskey, Michigan closed a few years back. It was a destination shop for me for many years, even when I lived 4 hours away. It was a very sad closing. But, of course, it was also an incredible stash enhancement opportunity. I was able to purchase these sets at a very deep discount.

Then came the search for appropriate patterns. Mad Hatter is sport weight yarn. I decided to knit a free pattern specifically designed for the yarn: Stephanie Shiman’s Accent on the Upbeat Cowl.

Hmmm. It doesn’t look like much, does it? It’s a very simple knit–great for social knitting, but as the knit unfolds it doesn’t send you into spasms of praise. And the color change jog, where the new yarn starts, is more noticeable than I’d like. If you give it to someone they’ll surely manage to wear the cowl with the jog smack dab under their chin.

Hmmm…for a second time.

This is quite a bit improved now, don’t you think?

This cowl looks so much better worn than it does while laying flat. The cowl has a beautiful drapey look. And the way the colors fold and flow. I like it!

This next sport weight cowl is another specifically designed for a Mad Hatter set: The Fab Five Cowl by Sarah Schira.

Again, it looks odd laying flat. But around the neck it’s a different story.

This final Wonderland Yarns cowl is Rainbow Road, by Jenna Krupar. Mine is knit from  5 mini-skeins of Frabjous Fibers’ March Hare, an Aran weight. March Hare is a 100% merino. It’s next-to-the-skin soft.

Here’s a closer look. It’s a sampler cowl, worked in simple knits and purls patterning. Especially in Aran weight, you’re finished so quickly there’s no time to be bored.

That’s a fake button band. The pattern gives the option of continuing the patterns over the stitches of that band. But when I saw this cowl knitted up at the shop closing I decided that the buttons worked well. I chose thin lightweight buttons so they don’t weigh the cowl down.

My experience with sets of mini-skeins is that my eyeballs fall in love easily. Then I get the set home and I have difficulty figuring out what to knit. If you’ve a set in your stash, consider these knits. Every one of these are worth a knitter’s time.

Even more doubles

A repeated theme on this blog is knitting doubles. I get a kick out of working up the same pattern in different yarns or by reversing colorways. This first doubles is Justyna Lorkowska’s freebie Scrappy Ski Hat. Lorkowska designed this hat to use up worsted weight oddments. And it is beautifully suited to that. But I knit mine in Mirasol Umina, a 50% merino 50% alpaca worsted that is wonderfully soft.

Check out how nicely the crown decreases work out.

If you like this next hat (I do), you’ll have to work a bit harder than merely clicking over to Ravelry to buy a copy of the pattern. This is Carol A. Anderson’s Anna Hat. You’ll find it in her company’s (Cottage Creations’) “Caps (and more) for the Gals” booklet, #R32, copyright 2010. The pattern is on page 16 and is labeled “A Very Warm Textured Cap and Mitten Set for Rialey and Anna.” The booklet can be ordered here. There are a number of excellent patterns included.

I’d purchased two deeply discounted skeins of Cascade Pacific, a 60% acrylic 40% merino blend, figuring I’d find a use for them. The variegated colorway was a little overwhelming but this pattern stitch worked really well to tame it.

Without those stitches slipped with the yarn in front, which creates that bar of yarn, this colorway would have been hard to take.

I’m now liking this wild colorway and cool hat quite a bit. Here’s the same Anna Hat in a quieter variegated in the same yarn.

Kelbourne Woolens released a free hat pattern every month in 2019. This is a pair of June Hats, designed by Meghan Kelly. I like many of Kelbourne’s Year of Hats and knit quite a few of them. In fact, I’ve knit June before. I think that easy slip stitch chain in the main color is just the cat’s meow.

And my pompoms aren’t too shabby either. These hats are knit in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted.

It’s yarn leftover from one of my favorite Rambling Rows ever.

“And now, for her next trick…” a triple. A triple Boon Island, by Aimee Alexander. First in Ella Rae Classic Solids, Heathers & Marls, but this is marl:

And the next two Boons are in Plymouth Yarns Encore, a 75% acrylic 25% wool workhorse.

 

Boon Island is very versatile. I much like the rough pebbly non-public side, which makes for a good brim for those who favor brim over slouch.

The crown decreases are handsome and well-behaved.

“Tha…tha…that’s all folks!” If you’d enjoy some more doubles, check out here and here and here.