More headbands

This is Ashley Moore’s Braided Headband. Well, you know what I mean. It’s actually totally my Braided Headband. As in, I like this one so much I wore it straight away and put it in my jacket pocket so I couldn’t change my mind and give it to someone who wanted it. You’ve seen this pattern knit here once before. This time I used a total splurge yarn: Lana Grossa’s Fusione. I used a bit of the skein in my Grogu puppet (where it made a great collar) and had about 100 yards left. The yarn is 30% cotton, 26% alpaca, 25% wool, and 19% nylon. It’s an incredibly soft Aran weight.

I modified the pattern only minimally. Moore suggests a US size 10 needle and worsted weight. I thought the cables looked less beefy at that gauge and bumped it up to an Aran weight and down to a US size 9 needle. I also added the 3-stitch applied I-cord edges by increasing the cast on by 6 stitches, to 26. Instead of kitchenering the provisional cast-on stitches to the final row of stitches, I used a 3-needle bind-off. To be more transparent about that, I first tried to work a proper graft from the mix of knit and purl stitches. When that looked horrible I knit one row of stockinette to try a regular stockinette-to-stockinette graft. That created an odd furrow of smooth across the headband. A 3-needle bind-off left a nice straight seam and I’m totally OK with that.

This is another Ravelry freebie, Kelly Klem’s Simply Soft Ear Warmers. I knit mine in a really nice gold brown shade of Berroco’s Ultra Wool, a worsted weight. I know. You’re looking at this dead shade in my photos and thinking I’m out-to-lunch. The yarn refuses to show its true colors in my photos.

The modification I made on this one was to add a 4th cable. I thought the width of the 3 cables wouldn’t give quite the amount of head and ear warming I was after. I cast on 27 stitches and, using a US size 8 needle, my headband is about 4 inches wide.

I’ll be. It must be the headband (or Glasshead) who’s shy and doesn’t want to show off its color. Here’s a photo of the skein that gives a better sense of how lively this shade really is.

Next is my zillionth Calorimetry. I’ve posted them all at some point in the 11-year history of this blog, so I’ll not link to the others. Kathryn Schoendorf’s free pattern is one of the most-knit patterns on Ravelry: 19,353 project pages with nearly 8000 Ravelers having the pattern waiting in their queues. If you haven’t knit it yet, think of the highest star rating you give a pattern and add one. This is the 24th time I’ve knit this.

I know that it looks like a pair of lips knit in this Noro Silk Garden. I like it like that! You’re sort of planting a kiss on someone’s head and they don’t even notice it.

I decided to close with a recent headband-knit of mine, featured in my Valentine’s Day post, in case you missed it. This next one is the Grindelwald Earband designed by Lisa McFetridge. The pattern deserves more love! There are currently only 10 Ravelry project pages. It’s an excellent pattern and a real buy at just $2.50. I knit mine in Malabrigo Rios.

Sometimes a headband is just what’s needed on a chilly or even downright cold day, especially if you have lots of hair that you don’t want to have beanie-blasted. It takes up almost no space in a pocket. When you take it off, your hair won’t look like you combed it with an eggbeater. And your ears will not be cold.

Knitting multiples, again

Sometimes a hat should just get down to basics. Galina Shemchuk’s freebie Just a Hat does just that. A nice simple 1 by 1 rib. The body of the hat is what Shemchuk calls False English Rib. It’s a form of what I know as Mistake Rib, but worked in the round. By whatever name it’s a very easy two-round stitch pattern.

The crown decreases are well behaved. Nothing fancy. But sometimes that’s perfect. I knit my hat in Malabrigo Rios. I couldn’t be more pleased about how nicely the Indicieta colorway shows off this simple but very satisfying knit.

I’ve been having fun knitting the same patterns in different yarns or different colorways. Here’s Just a Hat knit up in a yarn that’s new to me: Merino Mix by Schoeller + Stahl. It’s labeled an Aran weight. But I knit both my Just a Hats on the same size needle, US 7 for the body of the hat and US 5 for the rib. The size of the hat and the fit are the same. GlassHead declares these are both super cozy.

GlassHead especially likes that the deep brim keeps her ears extra warm. Glass skin, especially glass ears, allow for a lot of heat loss and warm hats are a must.

Switching now from heads to necks, this is a cowl that I’ve written about many times. It’s Stephen West’s Windschief. The pattern is a twofer. You can knit it as a cowl. Or you can continue on and work crown decreases for a great unisex beanie.

I knit this Windschief in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool. 100% merino and super soft. It will pill, but my experience with it has been that it still wears well. Picking off some fuzzballs isn’t the end of the world. This close-fitting cowl only needs about 125 yards.

Often I’ve knit Windschief in Berroco Comfort. Comfort is, well, very comfortable. Perfect for this next-to-the-skin cowl. A great yarn for those who don’t tolerate wool well.  My lemon yellow cowl is the, ahem,15th time I’ve knit Windschief. These next two Comforts were numbers 14 and 13.

Maybe I’m too easily amused, but just a change of colorway or change of yarn livens up working a pattern I’ve knit so many times.

This next double is Aimee Alexander’s Hungry Horse Hat. I knit my pair in  Plymouth Yarns’ DK Merino Superwash. Three 130-yard-skeins yielded two excellent hats.

Never underestimate the yardage-saving power of a brimless hat. Well, Hungry Horse isn’t exactly brimless, its brim just doesn’t fold.

And such a nice pinwheel swirl of a crown decrease.

Some might accuse that if a knitter knits a pattern over and over and over that knitter’s in a rut. I might be. But I know these patterns work out well. I know that those in my giving circle appreciate receiving the final product. And I can just settle in and relax into a familiar conversation with my yarn and my needles. There are lots of days in a long life of knitting when that feels just exactly right.

Happy lots ‘o pink day

This is Fructose, by Alex Tinsley. I gave it a granddaughter twist and knit in a sweet heart on each side of the hat. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash in the Bubblegum colorway.

Fructose is a favorite hat of mine. Here‘s a few in Malabrigo Rios. Here‘s another pair in Rios, showing off the opening in the back of the hat that leaves room for long hair or a low-slung ponytail. It’s a quick knit that comes out right every time.

And I like my little modification. So does my granddaughter. I snitched the heart motif from these matching mitts I made.

These are Ewerlna Murach’s Heart Mitts. It proved a tad difficult to find fingerless mitts that would work for a small child in a style that I liked. This pattern includes adult sizes, but also includes a pair sized for 2-4 year olds and 5-8 year olds. The simple heart motif caught my eye. It’s set against an overall pattern of seed stitch.

This set made a sweet Valentine’s gift for my granddaughter.

This next bit of pink is Lisa McFetridge’s  Grindewald Earband. I knit mine in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted left over from my most recent Rambling Rows blanket.

It was a fun cable to knit. All it took was 77 yards. A very quick and very satisfying knit.

It doesn’t get any more pink than these featured knits.

Next comes a Brooklyn Tweed Arbor creation in the Azalea colorway. This is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. This is the 6th time I’ve knit these mitts. I’m claiming this pair for myself.

This cable is a hoot to knit. You need two cable needles to get that center cable to thread through the others. But still it’s an easy knit. The pattern is wonderfully clear. The directions anticipate you’ll use Magic Loop to knit in the round. I’m old school and work on doublepoints. But the pattern is very easily adaptable. Here’s another trio I knit. There’s another pair near the ends of this post and this one.

I like to see how patterns knit up in various yarns, which is why I often link back to past blog posts. It’s also why Ravelry is such an amazing resource for the knitting universe. These mitts are designed for DK. A beefy DK like Brooklyn Tweed Arbor works up well. So does a lightweight worsted.

Here’s another look.

Maria Socha’s hats

I don’t get a kick out of this abused word, but I’ll use it anyway: I am obsessed with Maria Socha’s hat patterns. Obsessions are mostly over-discussed by HGTV people talking about patterned tile or brass cabinet pulls so maybe I can be forgiven. In the last few weeks I’ve been knitting Socha’s hats and having a wonderful time of it.

This is Dumka. I wanted the stitch pattern to show very clearly so I knit mine in Plymouth Yarns’ Worsted Merino Superwash. Socha lives in Poland and I was curious about the meaning of “dumka.” It sounds a bit like an insult-word, but I was sure I must be wrong. Indeed. Very wrong. A “dumka” is a piece of music in a melancholy style. In other words, a lament.

Dumka’s brim is double thickness one-by-one ribbing. So this hat will keep ears nice and warm. The wearer will not be lamenting any cold ears. And the topper is I-cord, knit from the last stitches of the crown decreases.

As the pattern directs, Dumka benefits by a good soak and a gentle flat blocking to open up the stitch pattern a bit.

Check out the beautiful crown decreases.

Such an excellent hat!

Socha lives in Szczecin, Poland. She says she’s “just an ordinary woman who loves to knit.” and hats are her “favourite” thing to knit. It shows. Her hat patterns are stunning. This next one is more simple than Dumka, but not simplistic. It’s Jey.

I used the same Plymouth yarn as in Dumka. Jey is an excellent, comfortable, unisex hat. The contrasting cast-on sets off the hat perfectly. And check out the wonderful pinwheeled crown decreases.

Jey is an easy-to-knit easy-to-wear beanie.

This next one is Natka. I decided to knit Natka in the Malabrigo Rios that many of Socha’s patterns suggest. Carrot Glaze is one of my favorite Rios colorways. It’s tonal but not overly busy. There’s a lot going on in Natka and I wanted to make sure my yarn didn’t obscure the patterning.

Those vertical columns are mock cable. Nice beefy bobbles are strategically placed at transition points in the fan motif. That’s an I-cord topper. The body of the hat grows organically out of the unusual twisted-rib spacing. Seriously cool.

The word “Natka” is also of Polish origin and is generally a girl’s name. It means “born on Christmas Day.” But apparently it’s not reserved only for Christmas baby births.

Natka’s crown decreases are…well, I don’t want to act like a goofy fan girl…so you can just check it out and form your own opinion. My opinion is kind of close to a gulp.

One more. Drumroll please. Edzia. Edzia is also a girl’s name, often considered to be a female version of Edward. This particular Edzia is one fine hat. The styling feels architectural in an Art Deco way.

For Edzia, I returned to Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash.

Socha is a new-to-me designer. But she wasn’t hatched just yesterday. I didn’t find her for a bit. She’s a real pro! Her patterns include clear charts that are rendered large enough even for old eyes to read. Line-by-line directions are provided as well in case you want to knit these hats the hard way instead of the easy way. Just kidding. I only became comfortable with charts in the last decade or so. Even I got there, given enough time.

These patterns are so excellent they’ll convince even even those who “don’t like to wear hats” that hats were a pretty good invention.

Rows are Rambling Again

There hasn’t been much to brighten our days lately. I thought I’d knit something to keep my eyeballs entertained during this long winter of our discontent. Did I maybe go overboard?

This is enough yarn to knit a full-sized Rambling Rows blanket by Carol A. Anderson of Cottage Creations. It’s, she clears her throat, my 10th. Does a knitted item count if you don’t have a photo to prove it? If so, then this is my 11th.

Just about everyone who sees this, or who saw my color choices before those 22 skeins turned into this, asked me if this goes with my decor. No. Not one bit. I believe that everyone breathes a sigh of relief upon hearing my answer. Maybe they feel reassured that I don’t live in a Crayola Crayon box. Why do this? Why knit 4,144 yards of not-inexpensive Rowan Pure Wool Superwash worsted only to be left with something that matches nothing. I am not sure. I think it has something to do with COVID stresses, with feeling gloomy, with sunrise happening too late and sunset happening too soon.

Knitting this happy blanket was a salve for how the world is too much with us yet. Here it is laid out on my queen-sized bed.

I’ve knit Rambling Rows and written about it a number of times during the nearly 11 years I’ve been writing this blog. Check here for another knit in this same Rowan yarn, and here for one in Plymouth Yarns Encore, and here for one in Berroco Comfort, and here for four more including one on steroids, and here for one knit in 1995.

Rambling Rows has obviously become a major knitting stutter for me. I repeat it at least every few years. It’s knitting comfort food. I know it always works out. Maybe not always colorwise because this knitter sometimes has the color sensibilities of a 5 year old. But knitting 2.34 miles of garter stitch soothes me like not much else.

Most of the Cottage Creation booklets have been digitized and they’re available for purchase on Ravelry, including Rambling Rows. If you don’t yet own this classic knit I highly recommend you check it out. The booklet includes 3 sizes of blankets and lots of hand-holding for those who need it. Anymore I just turn to the center fold chart and cast-on.