Orange stuff

Maybe orange really is the new black.  At least of late I’m not knitting anything black (aging eyes). And orange is popping up repeatedly on my needles.  Not Halloween orange. Not hunter blaze orange. Warmer and rustier oranges.

This DK weight hat is Foliage by Irina Dmitrieva. It’s free on Ravelry. Gobs of knitters have knit it and raved about it. I figured it was time I gave it a try. I had one skein of HiKoo Sueno, 80% superwash merino, 20% rayon from bamboo. I’d never knit with Sueno before this. The yarn proved to have excellent stitch definition. It has a soft next-to-the-skin feel.

Foliage has an OK crown. It gets a bit disorganized at the very end. So if any drones photograph the top of my head maybe I’ll deny I knit it. Overall it’s a beautiful hat and a well-crafted pattern.

Knitting with Sueno set me to wondering about how they manage to get rayon from bamboo. Generally, rayon production of any kind isn’t a pretty picture. It’s all chemically reshaped cellulose. Bamboo will do as well as wood pulp to produce rayon. And since bamboo grows fast it’s likely a more ecologically sensitive choice if you want to end up with rayon. But both processes create carbon disulfide as a byproduct. That’s very nasty stuff. Especially if anyone inhales the fumes. I’m hoping that the workers who have to cook up this stuff are adequately protected.

This next orange hat is Jennifer Myrick’s Skywalk. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash.

Such a clever combination of knits and purls. There are no cables here. I love the reverse stockinette droops.

Gatlinburg Tennessee’s SkyBridge inspired the pattern. SkyBridge spans 680 feet and is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. In the center there are three glass panels that give a better view of what’s 140 feet below.

Oh dear. That figure in the middle is checking out SkyBridge’s glass panels. In June of 2020, some goofball did a baseball slide onto the panels and cracked the glass.

In addition to not wanting children to grow up to be rayon production workers, let’s add glass maintenance workers on pedestrian suspension bridges. That said, it is easy to see how the bridge inspired the hat. Nice crown decreases too.

In case you’ve had enough of hats, let’s move on to another knitting passion of mine.

Yep, dishcloths. This one is Amy Marie Vold’s Blooming Basket, complete with butterflies. These mosaic dishcloths are totally easy and totally addicting. I knit mine in DROPS Garnstudio Paris, a good workhouse kitchen cotton slightly less rustic than Lily Sugar ‘n Cream. It’s already been doing yeoman service in my kitchen.

This next cloth is Scattered Flowers, from Evelyn Clark’s Bathtime Blossoms collection. It’s the rarity in my cloth knitting because it’s knit in sportweight. Somewhere I picked up a skein of Classic Elite Allegoro. Allegoro is, well was, 70% cotton 30% linen/flax. It doesn’t make for a hearty dishcloth. Consider it a spa cloth. I just wanted to try Clark’s pattern again. I’d last knit it many years ago.


Even though I picked up my skein of Sueno from the sale bin, it was still fairly pricey yarn. I didn’t want any to go to waste. This next hat is Aimee Alexander’s cute Sleepy Sunday. It comes in a full range of sizes. But I had only enough yarn for the toddler size, modeled here by my Ravatar.

So sweet!

More doll clothes

Lambie loves this little dress. So does my 5-year old granddaughter. The dress is an old knitlist pattern by Elizabeth Baird: Sun Dress For Bean Bag Toy Animal. The pattern is available on the Wayback Machine internet archive site, via a link on Ravelry. And yes, I am old enough to recall the thrill of those early internet knitting connections forged via the Knitlist.

The first time I knit this dress I followed the pattern precisely. The seed stitch border curled some. So this time I substituted a picot border. I knit 2 together, yarn over, repeated across the turning row. Then I knit 5 rounds of stockinette. Finally, I bound off and hemmed the dress so that the hem folds along the yarn-over round. That worked out well. And, before reaching the hem I added the small amount of fair isle work. My version is knit in a sportweight yarn, which is what the pattern calls for.

Cute little dress. I wanted to accessorize it a bit.

I decided to knit Shoulder Bag for Teddy by Esther Kate even though it’s a tad oversized for the dress. My granddaughter like to mix ‘n match anyway. I modified the purse some. I knit the purse just as the pattern calls for except, instead of a garter stitch strap, I knit an I-cord and attached it at each top/side of the purse, under the flap. I also crocheted a loop (lordy how did this knitter manage that) and added a button. My purse was too floppy, so I gathered the top of each side and created a sort of folded satchel. And the perfect vintage button didn’t hurt.

Lambie is a little miffed about wearing this next item. She thinks the poncho is oversized and ugly. Could be. But it will suit some granddaughter “lovey” just fine.

It’s Brandi Miller’s Simple Doll Poncho, designed for an 18″ doll. The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn. This is the now-discontinued Classic Elite Chesapeake, a light worsted spun with 50% merino and 50% cotton.

This next pattern is Georgie Nicolson’s Poppy Cardigan, a freebie available on Ravelry. It’s an easy knit and is similar to a number of patterns available on Rav. The squared-off neck is a nice touch. It calls for DK weight yarn and I used some leftover bits of String Theory DK weight.

My Ravatar is modeling it here. She pleaded with me, and it’s a familiar whine, that she didn’t care that it doesn’t match anything she’s wearing. And she also didn’t care that it’s a bit small for her.

I had some extra bits of precious String Theory, cashmere content included. So I decided to knit an accessory that can do double duty as a cowl or a headband.

I wanted to add a skirt to Evelyn’s collection. This is Arne & Carlos “Skirt with Crocheted Edging.” The pattern is included in “Knitted Dolls, Handmade Dolls With a Designer Wardrobe,” which I recently acquired.

Here’s a view of the skirt laid flat.

I made some modifications. I knit it in a lightweight worsted instead of a sportweight. And you can look high and look low and you’ll not find any crocheted edging. I worked a picot edge instead. I started with 48 stitches, and then proceeded as the pattern directs, minus the round where you increase to 48 stitches. I also knit a purl ridge just before the last increase. My initial plan was to just let the hem curl forward…hopefully stopping at the purl ridge. That didn’t look right. So I knit 5 more rounds beyond the purl ridge. Next, I knit the turning round for the picot edge (k2 together, yarn over, across the round).  I finished up by knitting 5 rounds, casting-off, and hemming the skirt after turning the hem under at the yarn-over round.

Here’s Lambie modeling the skirt.

She insisted it could also be a poncho. In fact she told me she likes this poncho better than the yellow one that doesn’t fit right.

Maybe Lambie knows best. Doubtful.

A Bunny Named Quwi

Once upon a time, three balls of Adrialfil Knitcol, a DK weight yarn, were sitting in a yarn shop. They were in a bin, on a wall of bins, surrounded by their brother Knitcols. They were a diverse bunch of what their maker calls “user friendly jacquard.” There were rainbow balls, pastel balls, autumnal shaded balls. All sorts of balls that, once knit, would clearly be seriously wonderful.

To get to their bin, a visitor first enters at the bakery door. You read right. The bakery door. There are many many non-yarn distractions to be resisted. Breads. Doughnuts. Ice Cream. Cookies. Not just any old cookies either. Coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. Ginger cookies with raspberry filling. Dare I repeat? Ginger cookies with raspberry filling. Sigh.

After the bakery, comes the little restaurant. It will feed you great soup. Excellent sandwiches. Good coffee. They won’t even mind if you sit down and just eat a ginger cookie with raspberry filling. Or two.

Go to the end of the restaurant counter. One step up. Jog to the right. And the Dutch Oven Bakery turns into the Dutch Oven Yarn Shop. For more than 40 years this unlikely combo has worked well.

Oh. Here’s a sample of those Knitcols I was writing about before I got distracted with thoughts of ginger cookies with raspberry filling.

These three balls traveled home with me. There’s even a little raspberry color in the balls.

The balls probably pined for their brothers. Maybe they pined more for the wonderful non-sheepy smells that wafted into the yarn shop from the bakery and restaurant. Maybe they missed hearing June say “hello, can I help you?” Instead of a nice airy bin, they were confined in a moth-attack-proof blue plastic-covered bin. Instead of other friendly Knitcols, they rubbed elbows with other DK weight yarns, including a few snooty ones like Brooklyn Tweed Arbor and HiKoo Sueno. Especially the Arbor groused about having to share space with the ready-to-use Knitcol balls. I told the Arbor to pipe down and reminded them that I bought them from the sale basket and I’d paid full price for Knitcol. The Arbor and Sueno created enough of a racket that I knitted most of them into hats and doll clothes. I told the Knitcols they must be patient and I’d get to them when a project worthy of their specialness presented.

And then came Annita Wilschutt’s Bunny Named Quwi. The lead photo on this post shows off his cute face, long ears, belly button, and how well Knitcol works in this pattern.

Quwi is about 20 inches from head to toe.

I just let the yarn do the work.

Here’s Quwi from the back, showing off his butt and bunny tail.

Here’s Quwi flopped over, resting, hiding under his ears. As with all bunnies, Quwi believes that if he can’t see you that means you can’t see him.

Here’s Quwi, knitted but unstuffed.

Quwi begged me not to post the photo of him skinned with no insides. I told him to buck up because you might like to see how he was constructed and how there was no sewing at all. Each piece of Quwi is knitted on as you work, from head to toe.

Quwi, apparently in a pensive mood.

Maybe I should have been more sensitive to Quwi’s feelings about that last photo. It’s been quite a journey from those balls in a bin to what he is today.

Dressing dolls and other lovies

My now-5-year-old granddaughter, a totally knitworthy child, loves to dress her dolls and stuffed animals in hand knits. She calls the lot of them her “lovies” and delights in changing their clothes.

I knit most of these, including Pixiepurls’  February Doll Sweater, for my granddaughter’s June birthday. COVID-19 kept us many states apart, but we FaceTimed while she unwrapped her present.  This Ravelry-available freebie is knit in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, a DK weight.  My Ravatar insisted on modeling it.

With some of the leftovers, I also knit the doll boots from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Doll Clothes.The pattern is part of Schoolhouse Press Pattern #26.

One cool thing about knitting for my granddaughter’s lovies is that she isn’t particular about what size clothes she wants. I’ve told her that if she decides she’d like me to make clothes that would fit a certain size lovie, I’ll happily knit to size. But she prefers assorted sizes and always finds something or someone who fits whatever I knit. That definitely takes the pressure off a knitter. Gauge doesn’t matter a bit!

This next sweater is Samantha, knit in Cascade 220 Superwash Effects, a worsted weight. This 1996 Terry Foust pattern is hard to locate.  Actually, it wasn’t hard for me to locate because I pulled the pages out of the magazine many years ago and kept it in a binder with other doll clothes patterns. It was published in the Holiday,1996 issue of Cast-On.

Once again, here’s my Ravatar modeling Samantha. I told her she looked quite coordinated and not garish at all. She told me to mind my own business and that she likes garish, thank you.

My Ravatar couldn’t squeeze into this next sundress and hat combo, not that she didn’t try. The dress is Elizabeth Baird’s freebie, Sun Dress for Bean Bag Toy Animal. I knit it in some sockweight oddments I had left over.

This is such a cute little sundress. A well thought out pattern. One thing? Cast on very loosely because 2 of the teeny sections divided in the first row become the neckline.

I just winged it on the roll edge hat. To make the flowers I cast on 13 stitches on a double pointed needle. I left a long tail when I cut the working yarn. I slid the stitches forward on the needle and threaded the working yarn through the stitches, from the first stitch cast on to the last one. Next, pull tight. Secure the ends. I added a bead onto one of the yarn tails and left it poking through the center of the flower.

Here’s my freebie Sunrise Side Bear looking quite jaunty in her ensemble.

Lambie looks quite nice in the sundress as well, but the hat. Well, the hat rests on her shoulders and sits like a bucket on her head. But Lambie always starts weeping if doll clothes are being modeled and she can’t get a piece of the action. So, here’s Lambie modeling another Dolly Milo. Such a sweet vest! I’ve knit this many times and have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of Georgie Nicolson’s pattern. This version is knit in Plymouth Yarns DK Merino Superwash.

My granddaughter really really got a kick out of the backpack I knit for her lovies. She promptly announced that now they’d be able to go camping. This freebie is Doll’s Day at School, by Rebecca Venton. It’s knit in worsted weight.

My slumping Ravatar’s day at school must have been grueling since she isn’t dressed like she went camping. She’s also wearing a pair of matching legwarmers included in Venton’s Day at School pattern.

With a teeny bit of yarn and a few hours of time a knitter can help unleash a child’s creative play. It feels like such a solid way to connect to a far-away grandchild. Or a nearby grandchild!

Einstein and leftover yarn

I know. It’s nearly 90 degrees and I’m posting super warm stuff. I’ve never been able to time my knitting to the seasons. I knit the warm stuff year round. I completed my Einstein Coat, designed by Sally Melville, a few months back. I’ve been planning on knitting this simple beauty for many years. It took a jumpstart from my Canada Creek Ranch knitting group to encourage me to cast on. A number of our knitters worked on Einstein over the winter and spring. The pattern is available in Melville’s classic book “The Knitting Experience, Book I, the Knit Stitch.”

I knit mine in Cascade Yarn’s Ecological Wool. My reason for this choice was pure ease of knitting. Bulky weight yarn is almost always put up in very short yardage skeins. I do not like dealing with a zillion joins, particularly not when knitting miles of garter stitch where there’s basically no place to hide what often ends up (for me) to be a slightly discernible join. Ecological Wool is put up in huge 478 yard/250 gram skeins. That made the knitting so much easier. Well, except when it didn’t. As in, I tried every trick in the book to get gauge and failed. But having invested in the yarn, there was no way I wasn’t going to use it.

Here’s another view–thought I’m doubtful I’ll ever be buttoning that top button.

My swatches were undergauge even on size 11 US, where the fabric just didn’t feel beefy enough. I knit this on 10.5 US needles and knit the largest size–exactly as the pattern calls for it to be knit. It ended up smaller than the largest size, both in length and circumference but it (basically) still fits. It coulda shoulda been otherwise. But I lucked out.

I had trouble following the directions in the Melville book for seaming garter stitch with a slip stitch edge. Her photos weren’t doing it for me. And I just couldn’t–for the longest time—figure out her references to the “outside edge.” I eventually figured out that means the outermost edge of each of the fabrics being joined. In other words, it means you work what is really mattress stitch on the inner sides of the slipped stitches. Duh!

There are no slip stitch edges on the shoulders and I didn’t like the way my mattress stitch was working out. So I picked up stitches along the edge of both the front section and the back section–on 2 separate needles. To work the shoulder section of the seam, I worked a 3-needle bind-off, from the public side so the garter stitch-like ridge would form on the public side.

I heard that everyone is supposed to look nice or sort of OK in this coat, even rolly pollies. Hmm. ‘Nuf said. It would likely be more at home in a yurt on the Russian Steppes. But it is super cozy. And now I can join the rest of the knitting universe who’s knit this Einstein Coat as their garter stitch right of passage. I very much enjoyed the knit.

In my last post I whined about patterns that specify the yarn requirements only in terms of the number of skeins of a particular yarn. You may recall that my Kelbourne Wool Germantown was the gift that kept on giving for that reason. This time, it was my undergauge knitting that ended up leaving me with gobs of extra yarn. Also, from the outset, I knew I’d not be needing much of the yardage from the final humongous skein.

This bulky weight hat knits up super quickly. It’s Helen Rose’s freebie Cozy Ribbed Hat. All it took me to complete it was 85 yards of yarn, size 10 needles, and an hour or two of time.

I find the top interesting and rather organic, if a tad messy.

And still the yarn wasn’t used up. This is the Mermaid’s Purl’s Bulky Cabled Hat, another Ravelry freebie. My version used up about 130 yards of yarn. I knit on size 8 US needles for the ribbing and size 10 for the body of the hat.

The pattern suggests adding a pom-pom. That would have been nice. But I rather liked the way the decreases resolved and didn’t want to obscure that design. Plus, I figured it made the hat a bit more unisex to leave the pom-pom off.

I was very much drawn to this next hat. I do not know how to crochet. I can crochet a chain. And, with a lot of hand-holding, I once crocheted a market bag out of rough kitchen cotton. But, to my knit-trained eyeballs, this hat looked like crochet. It’s Anne Claiborne’s Tenure Track. The pattern calls for Aran weight. But since my bulky weight Ecological Wool had already proved itself a lightweight when it came to gauge, I figured I’d be safe giving this hat a try.What creates a bit of a crochet vibe is granite stitch through the main body of the hat. I’ve not worked this stitch before. And I’ve not even heard of it. I was hooked. Granite stitch is a super easy sequence of 4 rounds. You knit round 1, purl 2 together throughout round 2, knit in the front and back of each stitch in round 3, and knit round 4. Easy peasy. I love the effect.

I nominate these crown decreases for a crown decrease prize. Really. It’s ridiculously perfect!

Another feature that makes Tenure Track shine is that it uses very beefy bobbles. If a knitter is going to go to the trouble of bobbling, why end up with limp little dangles? Beefy bobbles are better.  Try to say that three times in a row quickly. I’m inordinately fond of this hat. This one’s for me.