Farm to Market Hat


This is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Hat. Her pattern, a Polka Dot Sheep publication, is available via Ravelry. I’d knit the Farm to Market mitts and was very pleased to be included in the test knit for a matching hat. Even in the test knit phase, the directions were clear and very sensibly presented. The minor corrections have all been incorporated in the final pattern.

The pattern includes directions for heads sized from 17 (basically newborn) to 23 inches. As with the fingerless mitts, the cables are the star, but the turned-under brim is a really nice touch. It’s very gentle on the ears!

My hat, actually, Isaac’s hat, is knit in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK–a yummy concoction of 75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk. No scratchiness here!

Isaac actually did wear the hat outdoors, under his hoodie. But the little guy is not fond of hats so I had to press another model into service for this one.


I have no idea what this yellow fellow is. But he’s quite heavy. Not at all cuddly. And kind of creeps me out. But I love the hat! It even sort of tames the toy and makes it easier to take.

Farm to Market Mitts times three


Ravelry Indie designers have been staging the second, hopefully annual, “Gift-A-Long” (GAL) since November. The event started off with zillions of patterns discounted. It’s meant to help knitters get their holiday knitting in high gear and, in the process, to learn about designs and designers we might miss in the highly competitive knitting pattern environment. It’s been lots of fun. And I’ve been especially productive, finishing 17 projects from ten different designers, including eight whose patterns I’ve not knit before.

These fingerless mitts are the Farm to Market Mitts by Aimee Alexander of Polka Dot Sheep. I’ve knit three pair during the GAL. The pattern is downloadable on Ravelry. These are worked up in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK, a superwash blend of merino, cashmere and silk. The tamarillo colorway is beautiful and the 15% cashmere (10% silk) makes for a wonderfully soft fabric.

The cable, which needs to be knit with two cable needles, is the star of this mitt, for sure.


I prefer mitts with a thumb gusset rather than just a hole, or even less attractive, a stovepipe thumb that juts out from the mitt with not a touch of grace.

Here another sample, this time in Classic Elite Chesapeake. Chesapeake is a lightweight worsted and I used the same size needle thoughout (a US 5) instead of the 5 and 6 I used on the DK weight ones. It’s 50% wool/ 50% cotton and has excellent stitch definition.


Yes, I know you see it. The beautiful chain cable is screwed up on the right mitt. I didn’t see it until I cast off and I was too lazy to rip back. They will not be less warm than if they were error-free. Hopefully a non-knitting recipient will not be as bothered by the botched cable and I am.

The next set was my first pair–before Aimee decided to increase the number of yards a typical knitter will need to 140. I had the bare minimum recommended in the original version of the pattern (130) and it was just barely…not enough.

So I decided to make this mismatched set, knit in wonderful Plymouth Yarns DK Merino Superwash Select DK. This yarn has amazingly great stitch definition.


It’s getting to be my new “go to” yarn. This is my first time using the DK, rather than the worsted. No knots. No slubs.

farm_mittsAlexander’s pattern is totally error free. It’s also very intelligently laid out, with both line-by-line and charted directions. The key abbreviations–for the cables–are repeated on the page with the chart. Such a good feature, because you don’t have to keep flipping pages. She even helps the knitter out by telling you exactly how many stitches you will have in the gusset increase rows and includes a table (on the same page as the chart) that shows the stitch count and what row of the chart you’re supposed to be for each of those rows. The gusset increases in alternate rows, and then changes to every third row, so she signals the increase rows with an asterisk. Much appreciated!

Good cover for the…


creature from the Long Lake Lagoon. Well, I don’t think we have a lagoon, even if we do have a creature. My dictionary says a lagoon is a stretch of salt water separated by a low sandbank or coral reef or a small freshwater lake near a larger lake or river. But can’t you just imagine something creepy emerging from this low-lying, moving bank of fog?

This is Tuesday, December 15, around 10:00 in the morning. The lake is frozen over with what seems to be a thin layer of mushy ice. It’s still so thin you can clearly see the color changes along the drop-offs.

Gramps and Hunter


I know you can tell which one is Gramps. The shawl-collared, elbow-patched cardigan. Hunter is a hat knit from the left-over Berroco Vintage. That mustard shade is “mellow” and the main color is “forest floor.” Easy care (40% wool, 50% acrylic, 10% nylon).

Here’s a few other views:



And a close-up of that great shawl collar:

gramps5Gramps is a pattern by tincanknits, available individually on Ravelry and on their website or as part of their Nine Months of Knitting Collection. This pattern’s been knit and posted more than 1000 times on Ravelry project pages. In its current release, the sizes included are from newborn to 4XL. That really is amazing.

Gramps is a seamless design, knit from the top down. After the body of the sweater and the arms are complete, you work the button band and collar and add the pockets. No sewing except to sew the sides of the pocket in place.

Here’s a closer look at Hunter, another pattern from the Nine Months of Knitting Collection:


Now for the best part of the post:


I heard (and enjoyed) that collective “awhhh…so cute” and will take that as encouragement. Check out the elbow patches:


As for the hat, it’s cute as a bug’s ear but the little guy has a somewhat low tolerance for hats.

Dishcloths are us


One thing led to another. I was interested in trying the new 65% cotton/ 35% rayon mix, Willow Yarns Ripples. Ravelry had a link to half-a-dozen free dishcloth patterns by Rae Blackledge that called for Ripples. Blackledge calls the bunch her “Color Study Dishcloths.” My knitted dishcloths have almost all seen better days. I was quite taken with the color combination of Milk, Jade Water and Peachy Keen. And so I was off to the races.

That’s “Crazy Chevron” with the colorful zig zag. And “Garter Blocks” is the shy one in the left front bottom row. Those patterns were spot on correct. The other two were not quite ready for prime time.

“Slip Stitches” is knit mostly in the milk colorway, with the rows of jade green near the start. It only works if you cast on 59, not 60. That will give you the multiple of 2 sts plus 7 that the pattern calls for. And rows 3 and 4 of the pattern need to end this way, not what’s written in the pattern: repeat from asterisk to last 4 stitches, slip 1 wyif, knit 3.

That jade green guy on the bottom right is Bubble Stripes. You need to work the tweed stitch on the right side rows. The even numbered rows are wrong side, not right side as the pattern directs. On the tweed stitch, the directions are to pull up a loop (lp) two rows below the next stitch to be worked and knit 1 stitch and pass the loop over the knit stitch. I understand that to mean you pull up a loop from the right side. As for me, I’m underwhelmed on that one.

There are two more cloths in the  Color Study set. I tried “Stair Steps” but it has errors and also turned into an unpleasant knit, with a zillion ends that would need to be woven in. That’s bad news for a dishcloth. It needs to live a hard life. This much I figured out before quitting: the 4th time you work with the “B” color I am pretty sure you need to pick up 5 stitches, not 3. The big problem I had was that after a few pickups, I ended up with mismatched garter stitch. You are told to pick up and knit. But when you get to the stitch holder stitches to do that, the stitches need to be purled to maintain garter stitch continuity. I tried to solve that by picking up in purl. Designing patterns is not my forte so I gave up.

There’s a “Triangles” cloth also. When I saw that an experienced knitter on Ravelry reported she must have made a mistake because it didn’t work out, I decided to take a pass on Triangles.

Instead, I used the rest of my yarn in my own color study. This trio is Andrea Springer’s wonderful free pattern: Bee-utiful Dishcloth.  You work the honeycomb pattern in two colorways. I was surprised by how much variation resulted. I even like the pooling of the colors. You have to stay alert in this pattern because it’s a bit difficult to rip back if need to. But I really like the result.


I had enough leftovers to try one more: Modified Feather and Fan Cloth, a freebie by Mary Ann, of MissWoolyKnits. Rather elegant–especially for a dishcloth.

fan_clothAfter all this maybe you’d like my take on Ripples as a dishcloth yarn? Let’s leave it at I think it would make a nice lightweight sweater. Or even something for a child because it’s soft, drapes wonderfully well, and feels good next to the skin. Those aren’t especially sought-after traits for sopping up gravy drips from the kitchen table or cleaning dirty dishes.