Wonderland Yarn cowls

A great knit shop in Petoskey, Michigan closed a few years back. It was a destination shop for me for many years, even when I lived 4 hours away. It was a very sad closing. But, of course, it was also an incredible stash enhancement opportunity. I was able to purchase these sets at a very deep discount.

Then came the search for appropriate patterns. Mad Hatter is sport weight yarn. I decided to knit a free pattern specifically designed for the yarn: Stephanie Shiman’s Accent on the Upbeat Cowl.

Hmmm. It doesn’t look like much, does it? It’s a very simple knit–great for social knitting, but as the knit unfolds it doesn’t send you into spasms of praise. And the color change jog, where the new yarn starts, is more noticeable than I’d like. If you give it to someone they’ll surely manage to wear the cowl with the jog smack dab under their chin.

Hmmm…for a second time.

This is quite a bit improved now, don’t you think?

This cowl looks so much better worn than it does while laying flat. The cowl has a beautiful drapey look. And the way the colors fold and flow. I like it!

This next sport weight cowl is another specifically designed for a Mad Hatter set: The Fab Five Cowl by Sarah Schira.

Again, it looks odd laying flat. But around the neck it’s a different story.

This final Wonderland Yarns cowl is Rainbow Road, by Jenna Krupar. Mine is knit from  5 mini-skeins of Frabjous Fibers’ March Hare, an Aran weight. March Hare is a 100% merino. It’s next-to-the-skin soft.

Here’s a closer look. It’s a sampler cowl, worked in simple knits and purls patterning. Especially in Aran weight, you’re finished so quickly there’s no time to be bored.

That’s a fake button band. The pattern gives the option of continuing the patterns over the stitches of that band. But when I saw this cowl knitted up at the shop closing I decided that the buttons worked well. I chose thin lightweight buttons so they don’t weigh the cowl down.

My experience with sets of mini-skeins is that my eyeballs fall in love easily. Then I get the set home and I have difficulty figuring out what to knit. If you’ve a set in your stash, consider these knits. Every one of these are worth a knitter’s time.

Even more doubles

A repeated theme on this blog is knitting doubles. I get a kick out of working up the same pattern in different yarns or by reversing colorways. This first doubles is Justyna Lorkowska’s freebie Scrappy Ski Hat. Lorkowska designed this hat to use up worsted weight oddments. And it is beautifully suited to that. But I knit mine in Mirasol Umina, a 50% merino 50% alpaca worsted that is wonderfully soft.

Check out how nicely the crown decreases work out.

If you like this next hat (I do), you’ll have to work a bit harder than merely clicking over to Ravelry to buy a copy of the pattern. This is Carol A. Anderson’s Anna Hat. You’ll find it in her company’s (Cottage Creations’) “Caps (and more) for the Gals” booklet, #R32, copyright 2010. The pattern is on page 16 and is labeled “A Very Warm Textured Cap and Mitten Set for Rialey and Anna.” The booklet can be ordered here. There are a number of excellent patterns included.

I’d purchased two deeply discounted skeins of Cascade Pacific, a 60% acrylic 40% merino blend, figuring I’d find a use for them. The variegated colorway was a little overwhelming but this pattern stitch worked really well to tame it.

Without those stitches slipped with the yarn in front, which creates that bar of yarn, this colorway would have been hard to take.

I’m now liking this wild colorway and cool hat quite a bit. Here’s the same Anna Hat in a quieter variegated in the same yarn.

Kelbourne Woolens released a free hat pattern every month in 2019. This is a pair of June Hats, designed by Meghan Kelly. I like many of Kelbourne’s Year of Hats and knit quite a few of them. In fact, I’ve knit June before. I think that easy slip stitch chain in the main color is just the cat’s meow.

And my pompoms aren’t too shabby either. These hats are knit in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted.

It’s yarn leftover from one of my favorite Rambling Rows ever.

“And now, for her next trick…” a triple. A triple Boon Island, by Aimee Alexander. First in Ella Rae Classic Solids, Heathers & Marls, but this is marl:

And the next two Boons are in Plymouth Yarns Encore, a 75% acrylic 25% wool workhorse.


Boon Island is very versatile. I much like the rough pebbly non-public side, which makes for a good brim for those who favor brim over slouch.

The crown decreases are handsome and well-behaved.

“Tha…tha…that’s all folks!” If you’d enjoy some more doubles, check out here and here and here.

Acorn Hill Pony (& Unicorn) Revisited

This is a Acorn Hill Pony, a Ravelry freebie offered by…by me. My favorite yarn for knitting the pony is Lamb’s Pride Brown Sheep worsted, as in this strong yellow version.

I only take partial credit for the design because I didn’t originally design it. Acorn Hill Pony is originally a pattern attributed to a knitter associated with the Acorn Hill school. It’s a Waldorf kindergarten and nursery in Silver Spring, Maryland. In May of 2017, the school’s administrator, Janet Johnson, gave written permission for me to publish my modified pattern on Ravelry. I modified the pony some and extensively re-wrote the original pattern to conform to the sensibilities of modern knitters.

The school’s generosity is greatly appreciated. Some good came to the school as well because Johnson told me they’d lost the pattern in the intervening years since it came into my hands around 1990.

My assorted Ravelry project pages on the pony show the 45 versions I’ve knit of this little guy in the past decade.  I knit many many more in the pre-Rav days. I’ve knit these for assorted school bazaars, birthdays, and baby births.

The pattern has now been downloaded 1388 times. And there are 30 Ravelers (not counting me) who’ve knit the pony. A few have knit baskets full of them! It’s been great fun to see how others interpret their ponies. They are finished with more realistic straight manes. They’ve been embroidered, and appliqued. They’ve been posed on logs, on antique china cabinets, in gardens, and with babies holding them. One German knitter changed the pony into a unicorn and, inspired by her, I recently decided to do the same.

I’ve been so pleased that other knitters find this pony fun to knit and fun to modify!

Acorn Hill Pony is approximately 7.5 inches/19 cm long from nose to tail and 6 inches/ 5 cm from hoof to head. It’s knit flat on needles 2-3 sizes smaller than typical for the yarn weight. This is because Acorn Hill Pony is shy about having his stuffing show through his hide.

Here’s a recent set of ponies that are headed to a local fundraising shop.

Deconstructing them will give you a sense of how easy they are to assemble. In fact, if you decide to braid the mane that takes about as long as the knitting and sewing up!

Here’s the pink herd looking a little naked and chilly.

Here’s the herd a tad deflated, in their pre-stuffed phase.

And here’s how the herd looked just after they’d trotted off the needles.

Here’s more on the ponies. And more. And more. And even more. Maybe you’ll want to give them a try the next time you need a quick-knit stuffed buddy for a little one.