Fourth birthday for my granddaughter

This is a child’s size 4 Jones by tincanknits. Stop. Don’t say it. I know. You like the buttons. That’s exactly what the little sweetie, my granddaughter, said when she opened the wrapping. She gets a pass on that comment. You don’t. You need to say: “Great cables. Classic yet modern design. Wonderful stitch definition in that Wollmeise Merino DK, an easy-care superwash. Heirloom quality!”

I think this sweater is just the cat’s meow. It was a bit of slog. That was mostly because I was afraid of the knit-on button band and shawl collar. The button band worked out just fine. I knit the body on a size 6 and the pattern says to drop down 3 sizes for all the ribbing. My only modification was that I knit the band and collar on size 4 US needles. I consulted my section of the knitting universe (thank you, Dot especially) and decided the band might pucker too much with a 3-size disparity on the needle size. That was my choice even though I followed the pattern and knit the bottom ribbing on the body and sleeves on size 3s.

Here’s a look at the back and then I’ll have more to say about that shawl collar.

Bottom up construction is old-school, but it makes for such a nice fit in this sweater. As all the project photos show, Jones is a snug-fit sweater, without much ease. It comes in a huge array of sizes–from 0-6 months to 4XL!

Now, about that short-row shawl collar. Bottom line? It benefited greatly by a somewhat aggressive wet blocking. As you  look closely at many of the Ravelry project pages, you will see that the left side of the collar, as worn, has the unkempt side of the short rows and pick-up the wraps showing on the public side. That bothered me enough to knit the button band and collar twice to try to remedy it. But I wasn’t clever enough to figure out a proper fix. Maybe it’s time to really learn the German short row technique.

There is a right side and a wrong side to the short row work. The directions have you pick up one side of the collar’s wraps on the right side and the other on the wrong side. I think that’s the rub. And the short rows only shorten by one stitch so the wraps are all tightly packed. I am dissatisfied with the collar. And it’s such a prominent feature in the otherwise beautiful sweater. But after I soaked the sweater in Eucalan and laid it flat to try, the stitches relaxed and even the collar looked much better.

No 4-yr old should only get clothes for her birthday. So I added in a Doll’s Moses Basket. Well, a sort of amazing technicolor Moses Basket because my granddaughter is sort of a technicolor kid.

Michelle Williams’s Doll’s Moses Basket is a great Ravelry freebie that deserves more attention than it gets. I’m actually the only project on Revelry. Yep. The only.  If you or yours have a doll in need of a comfy bed, please seriously consider giving this pattern a try. Williams’s pattern photo shows a beautiful all-off-white version. Mine. Well you see it.

Mine is knit in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted. And all of the natural color is frogged from a shawl I hadn’t worn much, which made it an economical knit even though the total yardage used was a little over 800 yards.

Here’s a view of the bottom-side, showing the cabled handle and its construction. Williams’s pattern calls for knitting the sides in two pieces and sewing them together. I decided to knit the sides as one piece and just knit a few rounds of garter stitch to create a somewhat natural folding point for the top. I thought about the fact that the sides would be floppy. I even tried putting a flexible plastic layer between the inner and outer parts of the sides, but decided it looked too stiff. I decided to declare the floppy sides a design feature. And when I saw my granddaughter tuck some stuffed buddies in the basket and easily sling the basket over her shoulder like a purse, I decided that I’d made the right choice. The handle is a double cable folded in half and sewn up lengthwise.

My 20 inch Ravatar tried the basket on for size before the basket was gifted. She daintily crossed her legs and declared the basket a perfect fit. She loudly demanded I knit one for her if I wasn’t going to let her keep it.

One yarn, two projects

Isn’t it a beauty? It’s Tonia Barry’s Underhill wrap. I knit mine in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Legend, an 80% merino, 20% silk Aran weight. To me it feels like a worsted weight. The gauge for the project is 18 stitches and 29 rows in garter stitch to 4 inches.

Barry has designed extensively for Classic Elite. She, joined by Susan Mills and Kim Barnette, now release patterns under the umbrella of the Knitting Union. The trio was Classic Elite’s main design team and released more than 1200 patterns for the  company before it shuttered its doors.

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”―Obi-Wan Kenobi, sensing the destruction of Alderaa.

Classic Elite collapsing was a very big deal. But Knitting Union is now a pretty big deal too. They are hosting a knit-along on Ravelry that started June 15th and won’t end until September 15th if you want to join us. Pick any of their many patterns and just set to knitting and chatting.

Underhill was a fun, quick knit. That very lush spine of cable through the garter stitch background is the best! Here’s another look at Underhill. It’s been such a chilly spring that I’ve already been able to wear it.

And next check out Lalibela from Kino Knits. It’s a cute hat knit in the same Legend chartreuse colorway. It even somewhat echoes Underhill in its cable and garter stitch sections.

It’s apparently meant to be worn cables-forward, But with that little dip in the ribbing caused by the tug of the cables, I rather like letting the garter stitch sections frame the ears.

It even has a cool crown decrease:

Lalibela. I figured the hat’s name was yet another in a series of oddly named patterns. Live and learn. Lalibela is actually a town in the highlands of Ethiopia. It’s a heritage pilgrimage site, primarily for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Some of the churches date to the 12th century and many of them feature small arched stone windows that inspired the design of this hat.

So, from the sublime to the mundane. Dishcloths. “Yes, she still knits them but worsted weight cotton kills her hands now.” Both of these next cloths are knit in Knitpicks Dishie, a kitchen cotton that’s a tag less rustic and less hard on the hands than Sugar ‘n Creme, the dishcloth workhorse. This one is Louise Sarrzin’s Sunflower Basket Dishcloth.

Ok. So you don’t like to knit dishcloths and you think they are a waste of yarn and a bacteria haven. (Hint, zap the dishcloth in the microwave while it’s wet to kill any beasties.) But admit it. This basket of sunflowers will put a smile on your face and help you whistle while you work.

This next Dishie cloth, also knit in the Creme Brulee colorway, is Aimee Alexander’s Himalayan Salt.

It’s a very fast knit. And your dishcloth gets to pretend it’s sophisticated because of the simple lace pattern.

Bankhead is Susie Gourlay’s free hat pattern that’s been knit and posted on 6773 (and still counting) Ravelry project pages. You don’t get those kind of numbers without being one good hat. You can knit and wear it slouchy.

Or you can go more traditional and just cuff it.

The top is ruly. That’s not a word but it should be. Think of it as the opposite of unruly.

I knit Bankhead in leftover Paton’s Decor. It was leftover from a scarf I wanted to knit: Classic Elite’s Lavish Rib Cable Scarf.  I needed about 400 yards, 405.2 to be exact, of worsted weight and I was just off my yarn diet and didn’t want to splurge yet. The local yarn shop I went to was very low on stock, waiting for news of how much the new landlord would be raising rent. I liked the shade of navy (“rich country blue”) and figured Decor would work fine. It 25% wool, 75% acrylic and will be easy care.

This scarf is an older Classic Elilte pattern, available for download on Patternfish–until they folded on June 16, 2019. As with Underhill, it was that central cable that intrigued me enough to buy the pattern while Patternfish was doing its last gasp thing.

Obviously, this scarf’s knit lengthwise and that cable is manipulated across the middle row. The only modifications I made were to make it longer by casting on 328 stitches rather than 250. That increased stitch count worked for another Raveler, but my mileage varied. To keep the rib pattern going, I needed to decrease 4 stitches (instead of two) as the pattern changed to 2 by 2 rib to work the cable. So, in the section after the cable, I also increased 4 rather than 2. And I  decided I wanted to try to emphasize the cable row more, so I added 2 rows of 2 by 2 cable, both before and after the cable row.

I like this scarf pattern, a lot, including because of this nifty trick it can do.

About the yarn shop? She lives! Spruce Shadow Farms in Alpena!

Fingering weight cowls

This is Stella Ackroyd’s Seascale. I knit mine in the yarn the pattern calls for: Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. Peerie comes in 45 shades. I chose “Aurora,” which is basically teal. This 100% merino yarn is from Utah and Nevada sheep. And it’s spun and dyed in Maine. Pricey? Yep. But I only needed 1.4 skeins of the 50-gram skeins–295 yards. The yarn is wonderful and I very much like the pattern.

You probably have a version of this “Wearwithall” pattern that gives wrong directions for the seed stitch border. I’ve been in touch with the designer. She initially wrote correct though somewhat idiosyncratic directions for the borders. As the pattern photo clearly shows, and as the pattern stitch is labeled, it’s supposed to be seed stitch. But if you follow the directions you’ll be knitting one-by-one ribbing. It would only be a newbie knitter who’d go awry, but still the error is unfortunate. My pattern is a paper copy, not digital. Hopefully the error will be corrected soon in the digital copies. After the original round of each border section,  you’ll be knitting the purls and purling the knits for the remainder of the border and all will be well. This works:  Round 1, K1, P1, ending on a K1. Round 2, P1, K1, across the round. Repeat rounds 1 and 2 for a total of 10 rounds.

I’m not an expert at lace and it took me a few pattern repeats to be able to confidently read my knitting in the lace section. But a bit of concentration was so worth the effort.

Until fairly recently, I’ve not been much of a fan of fingering weight cowls. For me, cowls are about warmth and I thought DK or worsted would be best. This next cowl, Martina Behm’s Wolkig, is probably what first convinced me to consider revising my view.  Wolkig has more than 2000 Ravelry projects posted since it was released by Knitty in the fall of 2017. Ahem…this is my 6th Wolkig.

And it’s the first one I’ve not gifted!  Mine is knit in Hedgehog Fibers Sock. The colorway is “butter.” I am so pleased with it that I’ve been wearing it around the house this spring, and outside. It’s lightweight enough that I don’t look silly wearing it even though it’s finally (but just barely) not cold anymore.

Here’s a closer look:

Soon after knitting my yellow one, I needed some mindless knitting and decided to cast on for another. OK, whoever wears this is going to be making a bit of statement. But I still like it:

This one is knit in Baah Yarn’s LaJolla in the Blueberry Lemonade colorway.

I’m setting my LaJolla version aside to possibly include as an upcoming charity auction item. Or it may make it’s way into my holiday “pick your knit” gift baskets. Maybe you’ll want to check out some of my earlier versions?

 

The knitting community owes Behm a big “thank you” for this great free pattern. In fact, I may go to Ravelry right now and put the pattern in my queue again so I don’t forget about it.

Traveling Socks

Pretty cool, don’t you think? “You put your right foot in…” First off, I didn’t knit all these socks. (And we weren’t doing the hokey pokey.) I knit about two inches of each sock. To be more precise, that would be except for the one pair of socks that includes about four inches of my knitting.

These are “Traveling Socks.” We’re quite sure they’ll do plenty of traveling on our feet. But these socks got a head start on their travels by traveling around while being knitted.

We are eight members of the Canada Creek Ranch Yarn Therapists. Canada Creek Ranch is a 13,500 acre family-oriented private club in Michigan for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. And the Yarn Therapists are knitters and crocheters who share the club’s enthusiasm for outdoor activities. The Ranch says “we are quiet, peaceful, and serene.” True. Except maybe as we struggle with crochet provisional castons or buttonhole bands.

That foot on the far left in the bottom row is my right foot. I know that because I know my own sock and I particularly know my own bunion. Here’s a look at my pair and then I’ll explain more about traveling socks.

I knit the ribbing and the toe in that sweet copper color, along with the red section just before the toe decreases. These are Linda’s socks:

I knit the third section from the top. When you see that bright orange/gold (or the copper), that’s my knitting. Eventually, I had to break into some red though.

Ah, I promised I’d explain how we managed this and then I detoured into Linda’s socks. At one of our twice-monthly meetings, everyone who wanted to participate received a brown paper bag containing a drawing of a sock divided into 8 sections. Each section was labeled with the name of another yarn therapist. The bag included two strips of ribbon to be used as stitch holders. That’s because we are mostly paranoid about letting our personal favorite sock needles out of our sight.

We each knit the ribbing of our own socks. We decided to fudge some on the gauge and asked everyone to use US size 2 needles. When we finished our two inches, we put the stitches on the ribbon, tucked the unfinished socks in the bag and, at the next meeting we passed our bag to the next knitter slated to work on the socks. Nobody was allowed to see their own socks until they came back to them for the home stretch at the toe.

Here’s Viki’s:

Here’s Janet’s:

Life happens. So sometimes folks had to miss a meeting. We passed along brown paper bags in some weird places, including the parking lot by the airport at the corner of County Roads 459 and 624. Wouldn’t it have been a hoot if the sheriff’s department thought they’d sniffed out something fishy and searched our paper bags?  “Officer, where’s your probable cause…we’re two white-haired older women…we’re not doing anything suspicious…oh, heck, sure…go ahead and search.”

Because I’ve gotten confused about which are whose, here’s Lenore’s, Sandi’s, Cindy’s, and Susan’s (in no particular order):

We relaxed about gauge. We didn’t try to control yarn selection except to say “use sock yarn.”  We didn’t follow a set pattern. We are a mix of experienced and inexperienced sock knitters. And still we are each surprised and delighted with our socks. Our recent reveal was way cool!

Headbands

I have a habit of often measuring the success of a pattern by its crown decreases. No problem here!

65 yards of worsted weight is enough to crown even a pumpkin-head. I used Plymouth Encore. The knitting is quick and fun. This is Linda Kilgore’s Crown Ear Warmer. The pattern is an almost-freebie (one buck). It makes for cute headgear on the birthday kid and would also be a great party-favor. Plus, it is double thick over the ears and will keep ears warm and cozy.

A headband doesn’t get any easier than this next one. Garter stitch with knitted-on I-cord edging. This is Carol A. Anderson’s Child’s Garter Stitch Headband from her #R-19 booklet “More Projects for the Community & Family.” Leave it to Anderson to come up with a no-nonsense name for her booklet and pattern. I am 100% comfortable with that choice. I’d just laugh myself silly if this headband were named something goofy.

The pattern is ridiculously and soothingly easy.

This next headband is a tad more difficult but well within the skill level of any but a total beginner. This is one of two patterns included in Knitwise Design’s Rugged Trails Headbands. I knit mine in Berroco UltraWool. Actually, it’s “Ultra” with a trademark symbol tucked in between Ultra and Wool. Really Berroco? You’ve trademarked “Ultra?”  OK.

Headbands can be such useful teeny things. Keep one in a jacket or coat pocket and you’ll banish even the surprise cases of cold ears.

Just to come full circle, here’s my Ravatar wearing the Crown Ear Warmer. The thing is so stretchy that it fits tons of head sizes. Ravatar’s head is preemie sized and the headband still works well. Sort of silly though, because although I gave her eyes, nose, and a mouth, I forgot to give her ears.