Sea Smoke Hat

This is Sea Smoke Hat, a recent design by Linda of Knitwise Designs. The pattern is available on Ravelry, including via a link on the Knitwise website. It’s shown here knitted in Berroco Flicker, a worsted weight mix of nearly 90% alpaca and 10% assorted other fibers (mostly acrylic). This is the “giselle” colorway. When your eyeballs look at, at least when mine do, it figures to be one of those “best to look, not touch” yarns. Wrong. It’s super soft. Whatever the silver threads are, they aren’t going to scratch heads or make a wearer wish she wasn’t wearing it.

I knitted the medium and, though the pattern recommends two skeins, one was enough for me with .4 ounces left. Best to buy two skeins, just to be on the safe side. That one additional skein could be returned to the shop. But my guess is you’ll find another use for it.

Speaking of another use for Flicker, Knitwise Designs has a matching scarf pattern, with that same vintage-look lace fan at either end of the scarf. Check it out on my blog or on the designer’s site or Ravelry. Both patterns are error-free and fun to knit.

Where’s Waldoe?

November has been so mild that we’ve been able to continue our paddles into Ghost Bay. In fact, it was 60 degrees and sunny on Thanksgiving and we spent time on the water, including in Ghost Bay. It was mid-November when this doe reclined at the water’s edge in Ghost Bay. She was definitely aware of our presence. Those big ears of hers were twitching and she was watching us as we approached. But she seemed confident she was too camouflaged to be in danger.

We watched her for several minutes. Steve was busy snapping photos. At some point, we must have pushed just beyond her tolerance. She stood up and ran away. Just about all that could be clearly seen was her white tail bouncing up the embankment.

My “Mellie” in Briar Rose Sea Pearl

This is Rosemary (Romi) Hill‘s Melpomene, knitted here in Briar Rose Fibers’ Sea Pearl, a 50% merino 50% tencel hand-dyed fingering weight. This is the largest size and it used up all but a small amount of my 800 yard skein of Sea Pearl. The pattern is available for download on Ravelry, along with the rest of this talented designer’s many shawl patterns. The pattern directions were very clear and completely accurate. I’m not the best chart reader and I found the charted short rows and repeat sections difficult, so I used the line-by-line directions.

You may already know of my fascination with why patterns are named what they are.  Melpomene is the Greek muse of tragic theater, often depicted with a tragic mask in her hand and in the company of Thalia, her sister muse of comedy. Hill says that knitting Melpomene, with its repetitive charts and “calming textures” will “soothe frayed nerves in times of stress.” She writes that Mellie is “a perfect meditation for both the mindful knitter and the knitter in search of solace.” If I hadn’t been let in on a hint for how to easily do the one-stitch diagonal traveling stitches, I’d have been a knitter seriously needing something to soothe my frayed nerves in times of knitting stress. With that little hint from the Melpomene thread in Romi’s Rav group, I was ready to be mindful.

This is the hint on how to work “t2L” and “t2r:”

t2L: with right hand needle behind the left hand needle, skip the first stitch and knit the 2nd one through the back loop (don’t try to lift it off yet), then insert the right hand needle into the backs of both stitches and knit the 2 stitches together through the back loops.

t2r: knit 2 stitches together (don’t lift them off the left hand needle yet), then knit the first stitch again, then slip both stitches off to the right hand needle.

This substitute stitch doesn’t turn out absolutely identical to what Romi planned for us. But without the modification I would see this pattern as a bear to get through.

I was a bit afraid of this knit, not being sure if I’d be up to it. I had been saving my special 800 yard skein of Sea Pearl for quite awhile–not wanting to waste it on a pattern that wasn’t really beautiful. I also didn’t want to ruin it with the random acts of yarn overs that often pass for my lace work. I am so pleased with how this turned out. The drape of Sea Pearl is amazing. The variegated colorway is subtle. The yarn is luminous. And 800 yards of yarn with not a single knot or section needing to be cut away for any reason impressed the daylights out of me.

So, I’m a Romi fan now and plan to check out more of her patterns.

Winter Grace

This is Winter Grace, a new hat pattern by Suzanne Williams of LePetiteKrottCreations. She is “PetiteKrott” on Ravelry. Her designs are available on her website or via Rav. This pattern is sized for newborns to us big-heads.  I’ve knitted it here in Malibrigo worsted. But others have used Cascade 220 and even varigated worsteds. It looks great in them all.

I especially like the texture (and warmth) that this easy stitch pattern creates. Williams has been careful to plan out the crown decreases so that they work into the pattern very inconspicuously.  This hat is definitely worth your time. And it’s a bargain at $2.50.

9′ 8″ Scarf

This is a Jared Flood two-yarn scarf. He says he didn’t invent it, but he certainly popularized it. Choose two colorways of Noro. The striping effect is created by alternating the yarns every two rows. Flood recommends Noro Silk Garden, but this is Noro Kujaku. Kujaku is 85% wool, 15% acrylic. It feels a tad scratchy while you work with it. But soaking it in water with a bit of hair conditioner added in softened it up.

You may wonder why this scarf is of Dr. Who proportions. I did not plan to use it as a scarf. I planned to use it as a personal yarn bombing project for my new basement  workshop. That room has an air conditioning line running through a section of it with a chunky pipe covered over with black foam. In the workshop, it’s been spray-painted to match the wall and ceiling and it now blends in rather well. But as it winds through the servery area and into the workshop, it’s still the old black foam. My plan was to knit something very colorful and cover the piping. I think it would have looked nice and been quite the conversation piece (if anyone but us ever saw it).

It turned out to be one of those “best laid plans” gone awry. I didn’t realize, until I knitted up all six skeins of Kujaku, that the pipe is sometimes flush to the wall, sometimes not. Every few feet it is interrupted by a metal band that holds it in place, but I thought that would be manageable. I figured I would just wrap the pipe, length-wise, and sew my scarf into a tube. Once I looked more closely at the situation, I decided it wouldn’t work. It would just have looked kind of colorfully sloppy. Discouraged, I set it aside to ponder what to do with it.

I decided to donate my almost ten feet of knitted scarf to a United Way charity auction at work. Some of my co-workers got into a bit of a bidding war over it and it fetched a good price. Since then, I’ve been told it went to a Detroit Tigers World Series game. It didn’t bring our Tigers any luck, not one bit, but at least it kept one fan warm.