Kris quadrupled

I am a huge fan of Maria Socha’s hat patterns. She’s a major hat whisperer right up there with Wooly Wormhead. She’s Wooly without the tricky construction and picky gauge issues. Check out Socha’s portfolio here on Ravelry to see what I mean.

This is Kris, the hat. Simple. With Socha’s trademark special crown. The stylish crown forms by alternating s2kp and sk2p decreases. Such details can matter a lot for crowns.

Loads of knitters call their oddments “scraps” or “left-overs.” Maybe such homely terms demean these wonders. I’d been saving all my Malabrigo Rios oddments for a few years. I decided I’d knit a bunch, speaking of homely terms, a bunch of Krisses using up as much of my Rios scraps (oops) as possible.

Here’s Kris #2.

And its crown.

Kris #3 is a tad more dignified. I stuck to the darker shades. But those thin stripes of red, including for the cast-on, spunky it up a bit.

Steve’s been wearing this Kris around the house to keep his bald pate warm. Yes, his pate.

Gosh, a one-color top.

Here’s Kris #4.

I still had a water-logged golfball sized ball of that brown left, so I started dark. And then it was back to the brights. In oddment knitting you can get away with a lot when it comes to color.

The bulls-eye crown worked out. The hat’s recipient thought so, anyway.

Kris is distinctive even in its un-jogless stripes.

The jog is something this knitter accepts. It’s not a begrudging acceptance though it’s true I’ve tried various jogless stripes techniques. They just don’t look good to me. The jog reminds that hands knit these hats in an upward spiral building on each round below. A little jog? No big deal.

My Kris quadruplets were great fun to knit. And my Rios oddments are spent.

Noro knits

You’ve seen this scarf here before. If you search my blog for Jared Flood Noro Scarf you’ll find them all. All 12 others of them. Flood doesn’t take the credit for this design, but since he’s who wrote a pattern alternating between stripes from different skeins of Noro Silk Garden, I’m completely willing to give him full credit.

You just put your knitting on auto-pilot and let the beautiful Noro Silk Garden do it’s color-changing thing.

People sometimes like the look of the color combination enough to ask me what colorways I used. It’s these two: colorway 423

and colorway 373.

If you’re like me you look at these skeins and then you look at the resultant scarf and it’s hard to see how these skeins turned into this scarf. The magic of Noro. Just go with the flow, including sometimes the lack of flow when you encounter a knot and an abrupt color change. It works out…more or less.

If you’ve one skein of Silk Garden then Laura Aylor’s cute Dust Devils mitts might interest your needles. I actually used 1.15 skeins (57 grams) for mine because I lengthened the wrist and hand sections and widened the cuff. But they’re totally excellent if you decide to follow the pattern exactly.

Here’s another view of the same mitts, flipped over, knit in colorway 494.

This is SUCH a cleverly constructed pattern. They’re worked in the round so no seaming.

The pattern is exactly correct as written. If you think otherwise, respectfully, you’re mistaken. Maybe you miscounted in the short rows or missed or duplicated a row. (I did that a few times and had to rip back to start a section over.)

If you want your mitts to match mine, my modifications will lengthen (and widen) the cast-on and cuff. I cast on and knit the first 10 rounds of the cuff (section 1) in size 8 US needles. Then I moved down to a size 6 for the rest of the cuff and the body of the mitt. I knit 25 (not 18) rounds before working what appears as round 19 in the pattern.

I followed the pattern exactly after that except I also wanted to lengthen the body of the mitt and shape the top a bit more: I worked 11 garter stitch rounds in Section 6. In Round 4 of Section 6 I: K1, K2tog, K15, k2tog, K to the end. In round 10 I: K1, K2tog, K14, K2tog, K to the end. I know. None of that makes a bit of sense unless you’ve got stitches on your needles and are working the pattern.

I don’t want to offer so many tips that I make this pattern sound difficult. Because it isn’t. It’s just garter stitch and short rows. But. If you’re using doublepoints you’ll avoid holes by keeping the fabric from being stressed at the turns. That’s accomplished by redistributing the stitches more evenly on the needles. And in Section 4 at Round 16 the stitch count works by purling 15, then working the 14 bind-off stitches without disturbing the first 15 stitches. In other words, don’t use the 15th stitch as part of your bind-off.

All right. Too much hand holding. Here’s my second pair:

Now, flipped over to see more about how this colorway 213 worked out.

Some knitters’ Ravelry project pages are stressing about right side/wrong side. Honestly, I don’t get that. There’s so much going on with these colors and knitting switchbacks that I don’t see how that matters. They work well on hands. And each hand can wear either mitten.

These proved very interesting to my knitworthies who are younger than me and more hip. Gosh. Sort of everyone is younger and more hip than me.

More Mittens

Pretty sweet. It’s another pair of Becky Greene’s Granny Glitten’s Mittens. I enjoyed the knit, my 3rd pair, and the look. So I decided to knit a 4th pair almost immediately. For my purple pair I shortened the body of the mitten by a few rounds and lengthen the top a tad. A few more rounds of the last pattern improved the look of the tops of the mitts a bit. The pattern leaves room for knitter’s choice at a few points.

I knit both sets in Novita 7 Veljesta Solid. The yarn is 75% wool, 25% nylon. It’s described as an Aran but my sense is it’s a worsted weight.

Granny’s pattern is a Ravelry freebie. I very much enjoyed the knit. And I love the result. In fact, I’ve knit it twice before. It started life as a Mystery Knit-a-long (MKAL). And that’s how it’s ended its life too since it’s never been updated from the original multiple “clues” format. This very folksy home-style pattern has a few quirks (rather than mistakes). Plus a couple of minor errors that you’d figure out easily on your own. Here’s a link to my detailed Ravelry project notes in case you’re knitting the pattern and get stuck on something.

Greene was inspired to create this pattern because of a story in her mother’s childhood Christmas book. She recalls that the Granny Glitten story was about a grandmother who knit mittens to sell at Christmas to earn extra money. One year Granny’s yarn shop only had white yarn on offer so Granny needed to punt if her mittens would be as colorful as her customers expected. Her solution was to dye the white yarn with a series of ingredients from her pantry. Greene’s solution was to create a highly textured one-color mitten. It’s a pattern definitely worth a knitter’s time.

Next up was a special request knit. “Can you knit me a pair of those mittens where the tops pop off if you need to use your fingers?” A sincere kind ask from the knitworthy and I’ll give it a try.

These are Mary O’Keefe-Dockman’s Pop-Up Paws. The last time I knit a pair “Kelsey was a pup,” as Indiana-born Vivian used to say. I’ve decided not to link to this pattern on Ravelry because, although it’s attributed to Dockman, the pattern page links to a kit for sale that only includes a similar pattern by Nancy Lindberg. O-Keefe Dockman’s “Old Trail Yarns” shop appears to have closed circa 2010, so this pattern may be lost to the knitting universe except for those fortunate enough to own a copy of the booklet. Not to gloat, but being an old knitter does have its benefits!

I knit my Pop-Ups..well, Steve’s Pop-Ups, in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted.

Steve very much likes his new mitts. The fit is good and he’s been wearing them almost daily since receiving them on Christmas morning.

Next up is a new mitten for me: Laura Aylor’s Cole Mountain Mittens. I knit mine in…all together now…Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. Hard to imagine that my 66-skein Gartergantuan Blanket left me with any unknitted Lamb’s Pride skeins, but it did.

Cole Mountain Mittens have some excellent features that make it well worth forking over a few dollars to buy the pattern. In fact, I’m already planning a second knit since my neighbor selected this pair from my holiday pick-your-gift stash.

These mittens have what Aylor describes as “a tree bark textured back.” The bark stitch makes for a very warm dense mitten. The palms and thumbs are smooth. The pattern provides a small optional hole in the mitt so the index finger can wiggle out for texting and handling a phone. I decided not to include this feature in my pair.

Cole Mountain uses an unusual thumb technique. You use a smaller needle for the thumb (beyond the gusset) than for the rest of the mitt. I was skeptical but followed the pattern. The thumb fits well. The top is rather squared up. But with a bit of tugging it rounds out nicely. Plus, once on the hand, the shape of the top works out well.

Ok, stop laughing. These oddly shaped mittens are “Grandmother Vinson’s Little Red Mittens.” Except I made the adult size. And they’re clearly not red. Well, except for that one bit on the one top. The dabs of color weren’t my original plan, but I ran out of brown yarn.

The pattern is Theresa Vinson’s and her grandmother’s. Vinson recounts that, not long after she learned to knit, she came across a pair of little red mittens her grandmother knitted for her when she was a child. She studied the mittens and figured out how grandma worked the mitts. The “Accessories” edition of Cast-On’s 2002 magazine published the pattern. Cast-On is the quarterly publication of The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA). If you need this pattern, maybe TKGA can help you find a copy of the magazine.

The alternating garter stitch and “welt” stitch continue around the entire mitten. They’re as warm as can be. Especially knit in my huge fav Lamb’s Pride Worsted.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get anyone to pick these mittens from my gift stash. It was those stickin’ pointy tops, even though the points (pretty much) disappear once fingers are nested inside. So these mittens are still looking for a home. I like them and may keep them for myself. With the thermostat turned down to keep our bedrooms cool for sleeping, I have been known to slide my hands into mittens (and my feet into hand knit socks or slippers) for some extra warmth. My bed covers do not laugh at my hand knits.

Mitten time

These are Susan Mills Mitered Mittens. It’s the 4th time I’ve knit them and they are tons ‘o fun to work up. I used Bluefaced Leicester Aran Prints by West Yorkshire Spinners. I’ve worked with this yarn before though not in this colorway. The patterning is reliably consistent. But it’s a worsted weight, not an Aran, to my way of thinking. Which made it perfect for this pattern.

These may look complicated but they’re easy–with one challenge (more on that later). They are knit flat in garter stitch.There’s one long seam on the edge opposite the thumb. And there’s a thumb seam on the inside of the thumb. Have you figured out yet how the mitten is formed? You work bottom up, through the thumb gusset. When the gusset’s complete you put the mitten stitches on a holder and complete knitting the thumb. With all the stitches back on the needle, you cast on stitches at each edge. Those stitches get “pulled in” by the centered double decrease–with some extra shaping at the top of the fingers–until the mitten is completed.

It’s totally fun and very ingenious.

About that one challenge: it’s keeping the double decrease centered. The instructions are to use a removable marker to clue you in on when to start the decrease. I’ve probably not confessed this before. I don’t get along well with removable stitch markers. I like to have my markers on my needles where they belong.

Keeping track of the mitered decreases wasn’t working for me until I ditched the suggested removable stitch marker. Instead, I put a “regular” stitch marker in place. Then I slipped the stitch before the marker, removed the marker, slipped the next stitch, knit the next stitch, passed the two slipped stitches over—and replaced the marker before the stitch just knit. Admittedly it’s a super clunky maneuver. And there’s the pesky problem of what to do with that stitch marker for the moment it takes to get it out of the way. Mostly I put the rubbery o-ring marker–don’t be grossed out–in my mouth. But at least I got my decreases in the right place. And I did wash the mitts before I put them into my gift stash.

I had enough yarn left to work up a sort of matching cap. It’s tincanknits Barley, with a sweet pompom added. Check here and here for other versions of Mitered Mittens. My only modification to the mittens was to work a 4″ cuff, which is a tad longer than the pattern suggests.

In this frigid cold and windy November and December, I’ve had lots of mittens on my needles. These next two pair are Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Mittens From the Top. I’ve been wanting to knit them for a long time. As is obvious from the name of the pattern, they’re knit from the top down. They are also knit flat in garter stitch.

I knit both this gold pair and the gray one below in Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Worsted. They are super warm. Exactly how warm? My brother’s stepson is a rural postal carrier. He chose this pair from my gift stash just before Christmas. Mr. Postman Nate has already asked if I can make him another pair because he “loves these things!”

We owe a lot to rural postal carriers. Another pair of mittens and maybe a matching hat is definitely something I want to do. Cold hands shouldn’t have to be part of the job. Nate is a non-knitter and he doesn’t know that camo ones would be a challenge. Plus I suspect what he most likes about these mittens is the warmth of the Lamb’s Pride mix of 85% wool 15% mohair. I’ve located some camo Aran weight wool yarn that might be warm enough. But I’m also considering simply knitting him a spare pair in some green-gray Lamb’s Wool I have in my stash.

Here’s that second pair of Mittens From the Top, this time in a nice heathered dark gray.

My pattern for this mitten is in Knit One, Knit All. I am fairly certain that my book version of this pattern has errors on the stitch count for the increases. You don’t get to the required 40 stitches at the top of the mitten with a k2, m1 worked all round. (Another Raveler has found the same problem.) This won’t make sense unless you’re working on the pattern, but at the end of the 1st increase, you need 18 stitches. After the 2nd increase you need 27. And after the 3rd one you’ll only get to the 40 required stitches if–when you get to the last 2 stitches–you k1, m1, k1. And I’m also fairly sure that you need to do the same at the last 2 stitches when you increase at the cuff to end up with the required 45 stitches.

I was really on a garter stitch mitten kick. I’ve knot nit oops not knit Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Sideways Mystery Mittens in a month of Sundays. So I had another go at this pattern, using Noro Silk Garden.

The way that the rows of color line up are the biggest clue for how these mittens are knit. The most I can say is that when you follow the instructions exactly as they are written you end up with a mitten. Really. The design of these is so odd that you end up losing confidence that a mitten can result. They’re not any kind of mitten until right at the very end. And then they are. Here’s another pair I’ve knit. Great fun!

If you have the time, consider knitting some mittens. Warm hands, warm heart. And I forgot to mention that each of these mittens fit either hand. You might even want to consider knitting them in sets of three because, of course, a day will come when one mitten decides to go AWOL.

Recycled yarn

This story starts here, with Aimee Alexander’s design: Hungry Horse. Kind of anyway. I knit this hat in Alexander’s test knit of the pattern way back in June of 2017. That’s Anzula Cricket in the Bark colorway at the crown. Shalimar’s Breathless DK is the wine color. And Mountain Colors Mountain Goat is in the middle. Cricket is 10% cashmere. Breathless is 15% cashmere and 10% silk. Mountain Goat pretty obviously by its name is more than half (55%) goat mohair.

I gave my daughter-by-marriage this hat fairly soon after I finished it. It became her favorite favorite hat. A few years ago she told me that and asked me to make her another. I was thrilled to oblige. This time she even picked out the colors.

I knit the 2020 version in Plymouth Yarns Merino Superwash DK. We all thought it quite pretty. I think, over the long haul, it hasn’t rated the same cudos as the original.

My dear DILl let me know a bit ago that her original Hungry Horse was no more. Some thief came by dead of night and stole that hat. What a stinker. Well, maybe it was lost. No matter. She’d really like another one and could it be in the same yarn as the original? Her request and a bit of research on Ravelry to remind myself what yarn I used originally and it dawned on me what probably made that original hat so special: the feel of the cashmere. I recalled the first time I knit with yarn containing cashmere–and it wasn’t all that long ago in my 60 years plus of knitting–it was just the best.

I was too much of a skinflint to buy another skein of Cricket when I needed only about 80 yards to reproduce that Hungry Horse crown. What is a skinflint anyway, in addition to me? The term originated in the 1600’s. A skinflint is so miserly they’ll even “skin” a bit of flint to sell. Flint is a hard substance and skinning some off would take a ton of effort. Plus it’s super plentiful and clearly not worth the effort.

This skinflint had a really nice cowl among my personal wearables: Stephanie Tallent’s Chinle Cowl. It’s a great pattern and this one was the 5th I’d knit. “Had” and “was” are the operative words.

I decided to unravel Chinle and reuse the yarn. I didn’t wash or steam the unravelled yarn. Washing would come later.

Shalimar Breathless was discontinued quite a few years ago. And even if I could find some it’s another one of those mortgage-worthy yarns. But, again among my personal knits, was MeijuK-P’s Summa Stripes Shawl. Such a pretty small shawl. I did wear this one since finishing it in January of 2017. A bit. Small shawl/scarves that need to be pinned to hold them in place have mostly had their day with me. This one’s been languishing.

So.

One more yarn to go. I needed some Mountain Goat.

This scarf is Lion Brand’s old pattern Rib Sampler Scarf. It’s unfortunately no longer available on their website. And the Ravelry link leads only to a photo of the scarf (not the pattern) on the Wayback Machine. It’s a great little pattern and it looks very spiffy in Mountain Goat. But, again, I knit this version in 2009 and just wasn’t getting much use out of it.

I knit Hungry Horse and then gave it a good soak in Eucalan wool wash. Then I put it on GlassHead and made Glass Head sit near one of the heat registers overnight. This first version doesn’t use any Mountain Goat. I went with cashmere content for all 3 sections. When I knit it again, and I did, I decided that the Chinese Waitress cast-on I used resulted in too much of a flare. Still, though, it’s an excellent hat that closely echoes the original.

The second version duplicates the original. I used exactly the same yarns and even two of the same colorways.

A simple long tail cast-on eliminated that bit of flare at the outset. Success!

As for the rest of the Mountain Goat? Here’s its second life.

This is another Aimee Alexander pattern in the same series of horse-named patterns: Kicking Horse. The pattern calls for DK weight and Mountain Goat is a light worsted. The pattern also calls for three sections of the diagonal lace. I’d have been pushing it on the yardage, so I stopped after two repeats. I’m liking cowls more than scarves these days. This is a good one.

Unravelling yarn to knit something new out of old yarn proved a fun and frugal way to navigate through the knitting universe. I plan to do it again sometime soon.