Same yarn, different stuff

Each of these accessories are knit in Purl Soho Good Wool. The company lists its Good Wool as “sportweight to light worsted/DK weight” at “5.5-6.25 stitches per inch” on US needles sizes 4-6. My call is that it’s a sportweight. Anyway, recently I’ve been having fun knitting different patterns in the same yarn to see, well…just to see I guess.

First up is Purl Soho’s freebie hat and mitten pattern: All Roads.

Warm, for sure with that doubled brim. And just up my alley with miles of garter stitch. Thanks to well-placed short rows the “roads” narrow. And they intersect thanks to well-thought out crown decreases.

I couldn’t be more pleased with my new warm hat. Here’s the entire set.


Maybe you noticed the thumbs don’t seem to match exactly? These mittens are an odd (but clever) construction. On one mitt you create the thumb at the end of the knitting and on the other you create it at the start. My theory is that there’s something in that construction that rounds up one thumb a tad more than the other. Once your hands are in the mittens, the slight thumb disparity completely disappears.

All Roads mittens are left and right specific. Here’s a look at the palm sides and, again, those thumbs.

Same yarn. In a very different hat pattern. This one’s Traci Bunker’s Reversible Rotating Ridge Hat. Before the big reveal on how this hat looks on a head, here’s why a knitter wants to knit this hat.

Is that cool or what? How does it work out this way? Magic, I think. My only hint is that it’s knit from the top down. That’s not much of a hint.

Here’s Glasshead modeling Bunker’s creation.

I’ve knit this hat twice before and each time finishing the hat once the rotating stops hasn’t worked out well. The bind off is either way too loose or way too tight. This time I tried different endings. What worked best for me was following the pattern with one modification. Instead of leaving all 208 live stitches entering into the knit-on double I-cord bind off, I decreased the stitch count down to about 155. Then I worked the first I-cord band with a needle size 2 sizes smaller than the body of the hat (a US 2 instead of a US 4). Instead of decreasing every 8th stitch in the I-cord band by slipping 3 stitches instead of 2, I simply worked a knitted-on 5-stitch I-cord, without any decreases. I made that same modification for the second I-cord band. These modifications drew the stitches together enough to tighten up the bands. Phew! In my first two tries, while I played with a knit 2 purl 2 ribbing, my finished hat ended up looking like a snood. Now it’s more appropriately beanie-like.

I also decided I didn’t want a pointy itsy bitsy I-cord sticking out at the top. So I lengthened the I-cord at the outset and then just knotted it up.

I believe the real problem with this knit is that my gauge was off. Off by a lot is the only explanation. I will protest that I checked my gauge (I did, twice). But I must simply have read my stitches wrong. Once I’d checked my gauge at the recommended needle size, a US 2, I moved to a US 4 and thought I had gauge. Anyway, the ending I-cord modifications fixed the hat. Pretty much fixed it. Even after blocking you can see that there’s a puckering between the main body of the hat and the I-cords. Not the end of the world. What was almost a silly snood transformed to an entirely useful cute hat with a stunning somewhat slouchy beanie body.

I started out with the required number of skeins for my All Roads set in size large–2 skeins of Winter Grass and one of Roma Tomato. But I only needed about an inch of the second skein of Winter Grass and not many yards of that tomato. Some elf must have been sneaking in each night to spin more of this yarn. It just would not cooperate with my efforts to leave no major oddment unknitted.

For something completely different, I knit Houndstooth Headband by Karolina Adamczyk. Actually not completely different because it’s still a Purl Soho Good Wool project.

Such a cute pattern. A sweet 1940’s look.

Through no fault of the designer, so far this headband is an unfortunate epic failure. I knit it, ahem, beautifully. And the pattern is clearly written and error-free. But at the end you need to fold the work a certain way and sew through 8 layers of knitted fabric. My sewing skills, as in my lack of them, totally trumped my knitting skills. I goofed and initially missed a few inside layers. When I tried to recover from my mistake, it just got more messed up. I ended up catching all the layers but the sewing is way too bulky. I tried to unravel the seam but that only made matters worse since I couldn’t always distinguish between my sewing yarn and my knitting yarn. Because of my mistakes the lumpy seam will be uncomfortable for everyone except Felthead. Drat. Drat. (Felthead does look cute in it though.)

Don’t be deterred from knitting this by my lack of sewing success. It was a failure of execution and not a design or pattern failure! My knitting buddy Cristie knit Houndstooth Headband and it came out perfectly.

I’ve a daring recovery plan. I plan to sew (or have someone with a sewing machine help me sew) a strong new seam through all the layers below where my messy seam is. Then I will cut the bulky sewn mess out. Sort of a steek. As it stands now, only Felthead can enjoy this headband. If all goes well maybe my 8-year-old granddaughter will benefit from my goof.

Warm hands

It’s time to bundle up your and yours’s (OK, I made that contraction up but it’s still kind of a good one)…it’s time to bundle all hands in good warm wool.

These mittens are Jane Richmond’s Woodstack Mittens. I knit this pair in Kelbourne Woolens’ Germantown in the Wild Rose colorway. Excellent pattern. Wonderful wool. But a long way price-wise from the “dime store” Germantown from decades past.

I made a few minor modifications. Instead of working a plain k1, p1 ribbing, I followed the lead of some Ravelers who worked the ribbing in knit one through the back, purl one. I think it makes for a more crisp ribbing.

And when I started the body of the mitt I could see clearly this was going to be a bit roomier than I wanted, so I didn’t change needle size. I knit the entire mitten on US size 6.

I also picked up 2 stitches at the base of the thumb as I was taking the stitches off the waste yarn. On the first round I immediately knit those 2 stitches together with the first and the last of the live stitches. It still left the typical hole to sew up at the base of the thumb. But it worked out well.

Both mittens are the same. So no fussing about which is left and which is right. I cast on for a second pair almost immediately after finishing my first pair. Again I used Kelbourne Woolens Germantown, this time in their Natural colorway.

I don’t begrudge the price (much) of Germantown. The yarn was evenly spun. In the 3 skeins I’ve worked with lately there were no knots at all. I understand we knitters need to be tolerant of a knot or two in a skein. But it’s a delight to not have to deal with any knots in a small project. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Woodstack Mittens have rather squared-off tops, ending with 18, 22, or 26 stitches to be kitchenered together (depending on the size you’re knitting). I like that. It’s a tad extra work compared to a gathered top. But the shape fits the hand well.

Next up is yet another pair of Cheryl Niamath’s Fetching mitts. This is the 13th time I’ve knit these. Most of them, as here, I’ve knit in Noro Silk Garden. While 13 times is nothing to sneeze at, my friend Dot has knit this pattern 61 times! And I think she’s gifted almost all of them. This is truly an epicly great pattern–and a free one to boot. There are currently 21,362 project pages on Ravelry. And, obviously, not everyone posts every finished project on the site.

Fetching is an easy peasy knit with just enough detail to keep it interesting. Notice that the cables move in opposite directions on the two hands. If what hands need is warmth without confining the fingertips, Fetching is a must-knit pattern.

I had a bright red skein of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in my stash just itching to be knit into mittens. I decided to give another very successful freebie pattern a try: Karen Hoyle’s Comfy Gusset Mittens.

I first saw the pattern knit by a member of the I Make Mittens Ravelry group. The knitter raved about them and I decided to give them a try. As you can tell from the photo, the thumb-gusset increases line up in an atypical way. The heavily-slanted gusset allows for tons of movement in the thumb. Big hands, and that includes mine, are especially comfy in these.

Mittens can be complex knits though within a simple template. They’re exceptionally beautiful in the hands of those skilled in fair isle and embroidery. But there’s an allure to the simple quick knits featured here. No one’s tempted to think they’re too good for snowball fights. If they felt it’s likely OK because you’ve probably knit them a tad roomy. And if you make them three mitts at a time, when you can lose one you’ll still have a pair to wear.