Fingering weight cowls

This is Stella Ackroyd’s Seascale. I knit mine in the yarn the pattern calls for: Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. Peerie comes in 45 shades. I chose “Aurora,” which is basically teal. This 100% merino yarn is from Utah and Nevada sheep. And it’s spun and dyed in Maine. Pricey? Yep. But I only needed 1.4 skeins of the 50-gram skeins–295 yards. The yarn is wonderful and I very much like the pattern.

You probably have a version of this “Wearwithall” pattern that gives wrong directions for the seed stitch border. I’ve been in touch with the designer. She initially wrote correct though somewhat idiosyncratic directions for the borders. As the pattern photo clearly shows, and as the pattern stitch is labeled, it’s supposed to be seed stitch. But if you follow the directions you’ll be knitting one-by-one ribbing. It would only be a newbie knitter who’d go awry, but still the error is unfortunate. My pattern is a paper copy, not digital. Hopefully the error will be corrected soon in the digital copies. After the original round of each border section,  you’ll be knitting the purls and purling the knits for the remainder of the border and all will be well. This works:  Round 1, K1, P1, ending on a K1. Round 2, P1, K1, across the round. Repeat rounds 1 and 2 for a total of 10 rounds.

I’m not an expert at lace and it took me a few pattern repeats to be able to confidently read my knitting in the lace section. But a bit of concentration was so worth the effort.

Until fairly recently, I’ve not been much of a fan of fingering weight cowls. For me, cowls are about warmth and I thought DK or worsted would be best. This next cowl, Martina Behm’s Wolkig, is probably what first convinced me to consider revising my view.  Wolkig has more than 2000 Ravelry projects posted since it was released by Knitty in the fall of 2017. Ahem…this is my 6th Wolkig.

And it’s the first one I’ve not gifted!  Mine is knit in Hedgehog Fibers Sock. The colorway is “butter.” I am so pleased with it that I’ve been wearing it around the house this spring, and outside. It’s lightweight enough that I don’t look silly wearing it even though it’s finally (but just barely) not cold anymore.

Here’s a closer look:

Soon after knitting my yellow one, I needed some mindless knitting and decided to cast on for another. OK, whoever wears this is going to be making a bit of statement. But I still like it:

This one is knit in Baah Yarn’s LaJolla in the Blueberry Lemonade colorway.

I’m setting my LaJolla version aside to possibly include as an upcoming charity auction item. Or it may make it’s way into my holiday “pick your knit” gift baskets. Maybe you’ll want to check out some of my earlier versions?

 

The knitting community owes Behm a big “thank you” for this great free pattern. In fact, I may go to Ravelry right now and put the pattern in my queue again so I don’t forget about it.

Traveling Socks

Pretty cool, don’t you think? “You put your right foot in…” First off, I didn’t knit all these socks. (And we weren’t doing the hokey pokey.) I knit about two inches of each sock. To be more precise, that would be except for the one pair of socks that includes about four inches of my knitting.

These are “Traveling Socks.” We’re quite sure they’ll do plenty of traveling on our feet. But these socks got a head start on their travels by traveling around while being knitted.

We are eight members of the Canada Creek Ranch Yarn Therapists. Canada Creek Ranch is a 13,500 acre family-oriented private club in Michigan for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. And the Yarn Therapists are knitters and crocheters who share the club’s enthusiasm for outdoor activities. The Ranch says “we are quiet, peaceful, and serene.” True. Except maybe as we struggle with crochet provisional castons or buttonhole bands.

That foot on the far left in the bottom row is my right foot. I know that because I know my own sock and I particularly know my own bunion. Here’s a look at my pair and then I’ll explain more about traveling socks.

I knit the ribbing and the toe in that sweet copper color, along with the red section just before the toe decreases. These are Linda’s socks:

I knit the third section from the top. When you see that bright orange/gold (or the copper), that’s my knitting. Eventually, I had to break into some red though.

Ah, I promised I’d explain how we managed this and then I detoured into Linda’s socks. At one of our twice-monthly meetings, everyone who wanted to participate received a brown paper bag containing a drawing of a sock divided into 8 sections. Each section was labeled with the name of another yarn therapist. The bag included two strips of ribbon to be used as stitch holders. That’s because we are mostly paranoid about letting our personal favorite sock needles out of our sight.

We each knit the ribbing of our own socks. We decided to fudge some on the gauge and asked everyone to use US size 2 needles. When we finished our two inches, we put the stitches on the ribbon, tucked the unfinished socks in the bag and, at the next meeting we passed our bag to the next knitter slated to work on the socks. Nobody was allowed to see their own socks until they came back to them for the home stretch at the toe.

Here’s Viki’s:

Here’s Janet’s:

Life happens. So sometimes folks had to miss a meeting. We passed along brown paper bags in some weird places, including the parking lot by the airport at the corner of County Roads 459 and 624. Wouldn’t it have been a hoot if the sheriff’s department thought they’d sniffed out something fishy and searched our paper bags?  “Officer, where’s your probable cause…we’re two white-haired older women…we’re not doing anything suspicious…oh, heck, sure…go ahead and search.”

Because I’ve gotten confused about which are whose, here’s Lenore’s, Sandi’s, Cindy’s, and Susan’s (in no particular order):

We relaxed about gauge. We didn’t try to control yarn selection except to say “use sock yarn.”  We didn’t follow a set pattern. We are a mix of experienced and inexperienced sock knitters. And still we are each surprised and delighted with our socks. Our recent reveal was way cool!

Headbands

I have a habit of often measuring the success of a pattern by its crown decreases. No problem here!

65 yards of worsted weight is enough to crown even a pumpkin-head. I used Plymouth Encore. The knitting is quick and fun. This is Linda Kilgore’s Crown Ear Warmer. The pattern is an almost-freebie (one buck). It makes for cute headgear on the birthday kid and would also be a great party-favor. Plus, it is double thick over the ears and will keep ears warm and cozy.

A headband doesn’t get any easier than this next one. Garter stitch with knitted-on I-cord edging. This is Carol A. Anderson’s Child’s Garter Stitch Headband from her #R-19 booklet “More Projects for the Community & Family.” Leave it to Anderson to come up with a no-nonsense name for her booklet and pattern. I am 100% comfortable with that choice. I’d just laugh myself silly if this headband were named something goofy.

The pattern is ridiculously and soothingly easy.

This next headband is a tad more difficult but well within the skill level of any but a total beginner. This is one of two patterns included in Knitwise Design’s Rugged Trails Headbands. I knit mine in Berroco UltraWool. Actually, it’s “Ultra” with a trademark symbol tucked in between Ultra and Wool. Really Berroco? You’ve trademarked “Ultra?”  OK.

Headbands can be such useful teeny things. Keep one in a jacket or coat pocket and you’ll banish even the surprise cases of cold ears.

Just to come full circle, here’s my Ravatar wearing the Crown Ear Warmer. The thing is so stretchy that it fits tons of head sizes. Ravatar’s head is preemie sized and the headband still works well. Sort of silly though, because although I gave her eyes, nose, and a mouth, I forgot to give her ears.

 

Yep…more hats

I do like knitting hats. A bit too much, some might say.

This is Scrappy Ski Cap by Justyna Lorkowska, a freebie on Ravelry. Instead of making it out of assorted oddments as Lorkowska suggests, I used leftovers from two colorways of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. So, mine is a somewhat more organized looking scrappy hat.

I’m very pleased with how it worked out. The last few years have been the years of the pompom, pom pom, pom-pom…however you want to spell it. Possibly that’s the star of this hat.

Everyone who looks at my Scrappy Ski Cap chortles on about liking the two-color pompom. There’s no trick to that, of course. I just wound a second color onto one section of my trusty Clover pompom maker. It comes in three sizes. I have them all. For this one I used the largest size. And, in case you’re wondering, Clover thinks pompom is spelled “pom pom.”

Also, in case you’re wondering, Webster’s apparently favors the hyphen and says that “Pom-pom is derived from the French word pompon, which refers to a small decorative ball made of fabric or feathers. It also means an ‘ornamental round tuft’ and originally refers to its use on a hat, or an ‘ornamental tuft; tuft-like flower head.'”  OK. I did not know that.

“And now for something completely different.”  A beret. Lordy. She’s knit a beret. She’s knit Natalie Larsen’s Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret. I used the Aran-weight Berroco Peruvia rather than the suggested Malabrigo worsted. It’s a different look.

Here’s Glasshead wearing it like a beanie because she doesn’t much like berets either. Why did I knit this beret? Mostly because I’m knitting hats for others and Ravelers have knit and posted projects on this hat 14,754 times (as of today) and the pattern is in 13,916 Ravelers queues of patterns they hope to knit. So, apparently, some people do like berets. And a lot of people definitely like this particular beret.

After knitting my beret, I steamed it gently, placing the round of increases on the edge of an appropriately sized bowl. Speaking of the increases, at least in this yarn and knit at this gauge, they show up in a rather unpleasant ring as the hat broadens out to a beret. Knit 2, make one (along the whole round) by doing a backwood loop on the left hand needle and knitting into the back of the stitch seems a bit too prominent an increase for me. And I think that would be true whatever the yarn. So, if I knit this again, I’ld probably try a different increase. It is a pretty head-thing, though–as berets go.

This next hat I’ve knit twice before. It’s Breck, by Susan Vilas Lewis. It’s a great sport-weight slouchy. I knit the body of the hat in Mrs. Crosby Hat Box. Hat Box is an unusual (but wonderful) merino (55%), cashmere (12%), acrylic (33%) mix. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the red of the mosaic work. Hat Box’s heathered quality, which I normally think is a plus, caused the mosaic work to be a bit subdued. But I still really like this hat.

Here’s the mosaic-work detail.

My only modifications were to: (1) knit the ribbing at the start on size 5 needles, down one size from the main body of the hat, and (2) add a knit round before and after round 10 on the crown decreases–just to pull the stitches a bit closer together as the crown closes.

Breck is one hat I believe deserves a LOT more attention than it’s gotten so far. There are only 6 projects posted on Ravelry and three of them are mine! Maybe the sport weight scares people off. But this hat could also work well in DK weight. It’s a cool hat and if you want it to be beanie style, you just stop knitting the body a tad sooner.

This next Ravelry freebie, Irma Hat by Anneta Gasiorowska, totally surprised me. I knit it because a hat-of-the-month group on Ravelry chose it as our group knit-along one month.  I decided to go along with the crowd even though I thought the zigzagging and a ton of make one lefts and make one rights would be a pain. I even dug out what I took to be an unpleasant colorway of Berroco Comfort, thinking I’d at least further my stash-down efforts.

It was a bit more work than most hats. That’s partly because my brain often gets confused by the combinations of left leaning and right leaning make 1s. But wow! I think it worked up great. I even now think that the colorway is pretty. And check out the crown:

That much cool detail on a free pattern makes me incredibly grateful for the generosity of the knitting universe.

For your neck

This is the Verna Glass Copycat Cowl. It’s a freebie on Ravelry that echoes a very popular mass-produced hat, the CC Beanie.  Probably, in the mass-produced hat, the “CC” didn’t refer to “copycat.” But who knows how far back these copies go? Anyway, the CC Beanie has  been copied and refined in a number of hand-knit hats, including Jaye and Central Ave. And now Glass has added an interesting cowl to the mix.

On the neck, the Copycat tumbles in well-behaved purl ridges. This one is knit in Malabrigo Rios, an excellent draping worsted. Here’s the cowl laying flat.

The colorway is a big favorite of mine: Frank Ochre.

Since copycatting was fully out in the open, I decided to borrow some of Aimee Alexander’s refinements from her Central Ave hat in my blue version, knit in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Superwash.

I worked twisted rib instead of plain K1, P1. So, that means I knitted in the back of each knit stitch in the ribbing sections. And I knit 1 round after each of the increase knit rounds in the pattern. And instead of 1 round knit after the purl rounds, I knit 2 rounds. I was trying to give more definition to the ribbing and to set off the purl ridges a bit. The purl rolls are still distorted some from the tug of the increases even though I added an extra round of knit, but I believe the extra round (and a light steaming) helped tame that.

Finally, my lightweight superwash worsted wasn’t holding up well to 7 rounds of purl, so I purled only 6. And, in the final set of purl rounds, I purled 7 rounds instead of 8.

Here’s the modified Copycat.

The twisted rib stiffened the fabric some and made the purl ridges more pronounced. I like the look. But I’d probably knit the Glass version if I knit this again. The fact that so many folks are working with versions of this motif made me feel more free to experiment.

When it comes to textured cowls, the DK weight Chinle Cowl by Stephannie Tallent is a huge favorite of mine. There are only 12 projects posted on Ravelry for this cowl. And five of the projects are mine. This will be the first one I’m keeping for me. I see it as a pattern that definitely deserves more attention than it seems to be getting. I made my first one in the fall of 2014. $6.00 for the pattern, amortized over my five knits, is $1.20 per knit. I think I should probably make the math even easier and knit another one.

I knit mine in Anzula Cricket, a next-to-the-skin soft DK in 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Cricket knits up with great stitch definition. The Chevron Welt  biases the fabric to encourage the seed stitch layers to ripple. Brilliant!

Jo-Ann Klim’s Araluen Cowl is another great textured cowl that I’m loving but, at least in terms of number of Ravelry projects, it isn’t being much supported yet by knitters. There are 10 projects on Ravelry and three of them are mine. This is my latest, in Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel colorway.

It’s a seriously excellent pattern that has what I see as a vintage, almost-crocheted look. And, including because I don’t know how to crochet, that’s appealing to me.

I’ve gotten a ton of use out of my cowls this winter and spring. It’s been rainy with temperatures in the mid-30’s lately so, sadly, I am still wearing my cowls (even indoors) where they feel so very cozy. Our kayaks are resting near the lakeshore and I hope that this weekend it will be warm enough to get out for a paddle. But yesterday? Yesterday I was indoors, knitting while wearing one of my cowls.