Happy Halloween

My grandchildren have collected quite a few in-house nicknames for themselves. One of the sweet ones for my granddaughter is a fairly common one: Pumpkin. Maybe it derives from a toddler-era pumpkin Halloween costume that once came down to her to ankles. Many years later it’s still occasionally worn when only a silly shirt will do.

As relayed through her mom, my granddaughter wondered if I could knit her a pumpkin. Can do. Currently there are 30 knitted pumpkin patterns on Ravelry. Sixteen of them are free. I decided to knit the free pumpkin pattern with the most projects: 01-1170 The Patch. It’s, drum roll please, a DROPS pattern.

I’ve never knit a DROPS pattern. I’ve heard, and seen myself, that they are–let’s see–they are…succinct. Many of them are super interesting and thousands of them are free.

This pattern was very accessible, though personally I’ve never seen charted-out, knit-flat, short rows. Once you get the hang of the chart and the rhythm of the turning, it’s not a problem. In case you want to give this pumpkin a try, on Row 3, the row with the gobs of yarn-overs, you need 16 yarn-overs. So I interpreted the chart as directing a knitter to knit the first two stitches. And when the directions said to “twist” the yarn-over on the row following, I knit into the back of the yarn-over.

On the stem, once I got down to 6 stitches, knitting all the stitches “from the right side” wasn’t clicking with me until I realized I was supposed to knit an attached I-cord.  I switched to double-pointed needles and worked a 6-stitch I-Cord.

I used Knit Picks Dishie for my pumpkin. It’s a fun pattern, with almost no stitching up. It would make quite a Halloween centerpiece. I believe mine’s being used as an indoor football though.

Next up, a new shawl that reminds me of Halloween including because of the colors I chose: Lisa Mutch’s Coax.

Beyond the colors, my version has a bit of a bat-vibe going. Maybe even a spidey-web feel.

This was an easy soothing knit. I used Classic Elite Yuri. Yuri was discontinued even before Classic Elite died. And, for some reason, the 4 skeins I bought and knit into multiple projects before this one just refused to be used up. Coax about did it though.

Yuri must be a lighter weight fingering than the fingering weight Mutch used. I wasn’t able to get gauge. I decided to knit my shawl on the largest needles that produced a decent fabric. That turned out to be a size 7 US. I used 100 yards less than what the pattern called for. And still my shawl has a 59-inch wingspan measured across the top edge and it’s 27 inches deep. That’s after a fairly aggressive blocking. The pattern calls for a shawl that’s 66 inches in wingspan and 32 inches deep. I’m completely satisfied.

This will only make sense if you decide to knit Coax, but in section seven I changed to Color B for the first set of rows 3 and 4 even though the pattern doesn’t say to do that. I looked at the pattern photos closely and don’t see a divider of 4 rows of Color A at that point.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for: more dishcloths!

“Creepy, crawly, creepy, crawly, creepy creepy…”. This is Amy Marie Vold’s Along Came a Spider. Just the thing to send along to your local arachnophobe who’s decided they want to try exposure therapy. I shouldn’t joke. It’s a real thing afflicting 3-15% of the population and is more likely to occur in women than in men.

I knit my pair of spideys in Knit Picks Dishie, using the Conch and Mulberry colors.

I hope your Trick or Treaters, or in my rural area your Trunk or Treaters, come in droves this year. And I also hope that you haven’t had to make a special trip to the ATM to fund the kids’ treats in this inflationary year.

Humble house stuff

If you visit this blog more often than every few months chances are you’ll see that I frequently knit dishcloths. Yep. I like to knit one of the most often poke-funable knits out there: dishcloths. Maybe second only to toilet paper roll covers. But those are more often crocheted. For me dishcloths are a ton ‘o fun. Quick gratification. And I have people around me who love to receive these things. Plus we use them a lot in our kitchen.

You’re probably wondering about these humble houses. They’re a new pattern from Amy Marie Vold: Cape Cottage. This slip-stitch (mosaic) pattern is available as one pattern download. But it’s also included as one of the six patterns in her New England Village ebook.

I knit my Cape Cods in Knit Picks Dishie. Dishie isn’t as rustic a yarn as Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream, the dishcloth yarn that’s many knitters’ first choice. But I like its slightly more refined appearance.

And, just for the fun of it, I often knit these mosaic cloths in pairs, switching out the main and contrasting color.

Speaking of colors, I like to keep a good supply of Dishie colors in my stash.

I can admittedly go a tad overboard. I buy only the Dishie sales and make my yarn bucks stretch. It’s good stuff put up in 100 gram balls.

This Jalepeno/Creme Brulee Dishie creation is another in Vold’s New England Village Ebook: Cozy Saltbox. It’s a quick fun knit and you end up with something useful.

What New England village would be complete without an Old School?

Now, for a spelling rant. I know that extra e’s are often used for…for…for some reason. The name of this pattern is actually “Olde” with a superfluous Middle English “e.” I think it’s supposed to flag something that’s quaint. Comfortably old-fashioned as in Ye Olde Cheese Shoppe. It mostly makes my inner editor curdle though.

Olde School Dishcloth is a wonderful, rhythmic knit. I used Queensland Collection’s Coastal Cotton. My sense of it is it’s a tad beefier than Dishie but a tad less rustic as compared to Sugar ‘n Cream.

I’ve stocked a nice selection of Coastal Cotton too.

Here’s another fun set, knit in Coastal Cotton:

I can’t resist calling this pair my Knittany Lions because their muzzles make them look like a Nittany Lion. Yes, the Penn State team mascot. But also the mountain lion that apparently once lived on Pennsylvania’s Mount Nittany. Anyway, the pattern’s name is Tame the Dishes. That works.

Next up is a set of dishcloths, freebies, designed by Joan Janes. I knit her trio of cloths, Three Dishcloths, in Coastal Cotton.

Janes designed the patterns to use only one skein of Sugar ‘n Cream. I prefer less dainty sized cloths than a 30-stitch cast-on will produce, as in the Waffle pattern in the foreground. That pattern works with any multiple of 4, plus 2. So I cast on 42 and ended up with about a 7 inch square, using only 24 grams of yarn. The Garter Basketweave pattern in the middle works with a multiple of 4, plus 3. I cast on 43 and ended up with a cloth about 7.5 inches square. That one took 32 grams of yarn. The Ridge & Rib pattern in the back works with an odd number of stitches. I cast on 37 and 26 grams left me with a square of about 7 inches.

Sometimes a dishcloth knitter wants a basically mindless pattern. Janes’s trio of cloths is great for such times.

Louise Sarazzin’s Sunflower Basket is not challenging but it’s also not mindless. Goldilocks might say it’s “just right.”

That’s Dishie on the left in Creme Brulee and Coastal Cotton on the right in Goldenrod.

Until working this pattern I’d never worked the vertical wrap stitch that appears throughout the flower basket. It’s easy. On a wrong-side row you work a yarn over, slip one stitch purlwise with yarn in the back, knit one across the length of the basket. You’re creating an extra stitch with each yarn over. Then, in the next row, once you get to the basket, you knit 2 together through the back loops to return to the proper stitch count. Easy peasy.

If you’re bobble allergic this cloth could be the cure because there are quite a few bobbles. Rx: Knit 30 teeny 3-row bobbles and get plenty of rest.