New yarn and leftovers

This is a Lux Adorna free pattern, Hillary Cowl, knit in 100% Lux Adorna cashmere goat. Lux Adorna takes care to say “cashmere goat” and since I don’t know much about cashmere, I’ll not edit that out. Some cashmere maybe isn’t from a goat? Ah, wrong. Wikipedia says that cashmere, the fabric, comes from “the neck region of cashmere goats and other goats.” So, some cashmere is from those kind of goats that you meet at petting zoos or my brother’s barn?

Well, Lux Adorna cashmere must have come from the very soft neck fibers of goats who never lived in petting zoos or my brother’s barns. Because this stuff is soft.

And the Hillary cowl is so super cozy and special that I decided I will be selfish. It will stay with me. Just to be sure I’m not tempted to be generous, I’ve already worn it and it is luxurious.

This is what my yarn string of Lux Adorna looked like before I unpacked it.

It’s not possible for a knitter, especially one on a knitting retreat in Door County Wisconsin, to pass up a string of yarn that looks this special.

Now, for leftovers. Every bit of this special stuff needed to be knit. So Evelyn’s dolls now have a new sweater, modeled here by my mother’s Tracey Gallup pottery lamb. (My mom loved that lamb when I gave it to her one mother’s day long ago.)

Lambie is modeling Julie Williams’s free Ballerina Wrap Cardigan. In the original, the cardigan is all pink and all ballerina. My version is more a ballerina who shops at Good Will. But I like it. And so does Evelyn. Her stuffed toys and dolls are doing a lot of “ahhh….” since they’ve not experienced cashmere before. Actually, so am I in my Hillary Cowl because I’ve never worn 100% cashmere either.

While we’re talking about irresistible yarn presentation, this one from ATHC Wools is right up there with my cashmere string,

I found AJHC at a booth at the 2018 Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool festival. I walked away. I came back. I walked away again. Then I walked back, gave in, and bought this sweet bundle. It was displayed knit into Caitlin Hunter’s Cardamom Coffee hat. That looked pretty good to me so I hightailed it home, bought the pattern on Ravelry, and cast on.

Wow.

Glass Head doesn’t want to take it off. It’s a 75% merino, 25% nylon fingering weight. This isn’t going to be a warm hat, but it will be warm enough. You don’t necessarily knit a hat like this for warmth. The pattern works up into a nicely behaved crown.

Here’s one more look and then we’ll get to the leftovers. Because Lambie is very excited to be modeling Evelyn’s new AJHC doll dress.

Here’s another freebie, this time from Debbie Minner: Stripey Doll Dress.

Ok. Evelyn’s version isn’t stripey. But it is everything else: cute, easyon-easyoff, pretty, stylish. Perfect. I had to speak sharply to Lambie to get her out of it. She was pretending to be stiff as a board when I know full well that her front legs bend at the shoulder.

This has been the fall of yarn bundles calling to me. This one is a Classic Elite hat bundle (Ashley) kitted up in Yuri, another 75% merino 25% nylon fingering weight. Here’s the kit unpacked from its stylish net bag.

Ashley, the pattern, is supposed to be knit in distinct stripes and is billed as a rainbow hat. Being kitted with six colors rather than the seven colors of the rainbow bothered me a tad. Plus I’ve been enjoying some fade knitting lately, where one color fades slowly into the next. I decided to do a fade Ashley and I’m very pleased with the result.

Soon my fingering weight Sunrise Side bear was moaning about having a chilly head so one thing led to another.

Evelyn, chapped lips and all, loves her new hat. She immediately rescued Strelka the Valiant from her bed. He was already wearing a pink handknit sweater and it turns out his Ashley hat is a perfect fit too.

Sometimes, just as with Thanksgiving dinners, the leftovers are definitely as good or better than the originals.

Non-scratchy hat yarns

Some folks, often but not exclusively the young ones, complain about “scratchy” hats and other articles made of wool. I knit these balaclavas in Berroco Vintage and the grandkids are all smiles. (You can tell by Evelyn’s eyes that she’s smiling.) No scratchiness. It’s possible some of the smiles are because the children decided these balaclavas are actually Lego helmets.

Vintage is an excellent workhorse acrylic (52%), wool (40%), nylon (10%) worsted weight blend. The wool adds warmth and wicking qualities. And the acrylic and nylon tame the perceived scratchiness.

This is a Carol A. Anderson pattern from pages 6-7 of Cottage Creations booklet R18, “More Projects for the Community and Family.” It’s a super easy ribbed facemask that stretches to fit all the sizes heads come in. These are the youth size. Seventy grams of Vintage gets the job done.

And when your granddaughter is no longer wearing her balaclava, she can put it to all sorts of other uses. Like swaddling a wolf stuffed buddy.

Or as a peekaboo spot for her Snow White action figure.

Kids definitely know how to have fun with hats.

With the extra Vintage I knit a less-than-beautiful, but totally non-scratchy Wherever It Points. This hat is a freebie from Darn Knit Anyway.

Please don’t hold my gaudy rendering of this fine pattern against it. Some of the projects on Ravelry are stunning. In fact, here’s another I made, this time using Berroco Comfort. Comfort is a 50% acrylic 50% nylon worsted. So no pitiful little voices will accuse that their hat is scratchy.

Now that is a fine hat. With an excellent non-pointy crown.

Lego Mania

My favorite 5-year old, Isaac, is a Lego Maniac for sure. This late in the life of Legos, there is probably a Lego gene. Like father, like son. So Lego knitting sounded like good birthday-present knitting. This is Amber Allison’s free pattern, Some Assembly Required. It looked like it might be a stretch even for someone experienced in knitting toys. I didn’t want to invest a lot in yarn if the project proved a bust. Plus these Red Heart Super Saver colors were perfect!

Here’s what’s very special.

Yep. Some assembly, indeed.

This was a terrifically fiddly knit. But I still enjoyed making it because with these things you always keep your eye on the prize. The prize is that some little person will like what you knit. My Lego guy is just under 12 inches fully assembled. And Isaac likes him.


Not every Lego maniac is 5 years old. I can see this guy sitting on plenty of adult desks.

Isaac was also a big fan of this part of his Lego birthday package.

These Lego mitts might even turn up as part of Isaac’s Halloween costume. Mix ‘n match works on a chilly night. They are another freebie, this time by Carissa Browning, Lego Man Mitts.

The pattern includes 6 sizes, from baby to large adult.

And the package was all done up in very special wrapping. This is Celia’s Blankie, a wonderful Carol A. Anderson Cottage Creations pattern.

My Lego version of Celia’s blanket is knit in Plymouth Yarns Galway worsted and Paton’s Classic wool. You can read more about my modifications here. It will be a very warm very cozy blanket. I knit it in 2014 and packed it away until it was the right time for gifting.


My knitted Lego package was a big hit. But it is true that this grandmother decided to add to the allure of the gift by including a Lego City heavy cargo transport.

Yes, it’s true…more hats

This is a Woolly Wormhead’s DS Slouch. It’s one of Wooly’s freebies. She is a “hat architect” with more than 300 hat patterns available in her Ravelry store or on her website. Her hats are often stunning, colorful, shaped in unusual ways. You can join her Woolly Hat Society on her website and get special offers, including occasional special “pick a freebie” invitations. But DS Slouch is a free-for-all.

It was a good knit. I used my recycled Malabrigo Rios. Yep, the one from the frogged poncho that bore some resemblance to a lampshade. That frog just keeps on giving!  Here’s the top.

I left mine unblocked, but not unruly.

The next hat is one I’ve knit a number of times. Sort of the ultimate test of a good pattern. It’s Rikke, a free pattern by Sarah Young.  I enjoy knitting it. People around me must enjoy wearing it because I don’t yet have one in my personal hatbox. More than 10,700 Ravelers have knit Rikke and posted the hat on their project pages.

Mine is a Red-Winged Blackbird Rikke. That’s the colorway of Washtenaw Wool Company’s Huron that I used. Here’s a look at the beauty of a worsted all skeined up. You might say it called to the birdwatcher in me.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Yep, the hat’s cool too. Here it is laid flat.

I especially like the way the band swooshed. It reminds me of the red-winged blackbird’s wing-patches. And, as always, we’re not done looking at the hat until we see its crown.

Ok, it’s a bit over the top. But why not? Some people will put anything on their head. And when hats make enough of a statement, sometimes they don’t get claimed in my holiday pick-a-gift, which means I get to keep them. I will stand out in a crowd in this one.

Here’s a few more Rikkes I’ve knit. (You’ll have to scroll down to get to them). A Mountain Colors Twizzle Rikke in a Mardi Gras colorway. Another again in Twizzle. And a few were made so long ago that they’re lost to the antiquities. The pattern is designed for a DK weight. But it also works well in worsted. Garter stitch was perfect to tame the wild variegated Huron colorway.

One more. Linden Slouchy Hat by Jo-Anne Klim. Mine is knit in Anzula Cricket, a DK spun of 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat.

I really like this hat. I am of an age when the pure close-to-the-head beanie look doesn’t cut it anymore. But this beanie has so much texture to it that it tricks the eye a bit and looks good on my head.

Linden, like the Washtenaw Wool Company yarn, is also mimicking nature. Klim’s design interprets the leaf of the Linden tree.

And, as always with the best hats, the crown lays nicely and without a point.

The texture of this hat really makes it special.

Hat weather is almost here

This is Leslie Taylor’s Mayfly Hat, knit in Mountain Colors Perspectives RiverWash Sport. This was a Mountain Colors’ kit, purchased at a local yarn shop closing at a ridiculously wonderful discount. The pattern is also available for purchase on Ravelry.

With the gradient reds doing their thing, it’s a bit hard to see in my photo, but that’s three Estonian braids just above the ribbing. Honestly, I don’t much care for the effect of the braids in this yarn. But it does dress the hat up a bit.

I made a few modifications. I didn’t do a provisional cast-on–not with the first row planned as a 1 by 1 rib. A provisional cast-on might have worked well if the next row was knit plain. Otherwise my sense is it would have been difficult to pick up and knit that mix of knits and purls in sportweight yarn on size 3 US needles. Instead, I did my folded brim by knitting a turning round of purl. Then I knit ribbing for a few more inches. Next I knit the cast-on stitches together with the live stitches and I was off to the races to tackle the body of the hat.

My only other modification was to move up one needle size for the body of the hat. I think that’s a common convention that works well.

The colors are what make this hat shine. And, as always, well-behaved crown decreases (no pointy problem) are much appreciated.

This next hat is Herriot, a free pattern, by Nicole Montgomery. Let’s do this in reverse. Here’s the crown, knit in Malabrigo Rios.

The pattern calls for a bulky weight, and Rios is only a worsted. But I couldn’t get gauge (18 stitches and 25 rows to each 4 inches) in any bulky weight in my stash. Again, a totally not pointy crown. Perfect.

What makes Herriot special is the use of a stitch that I don’t think we see enough of anymore: smocking stitch.

I decided to use up some precious Rios leftovers for this hat, in two favorite colorways (Sunset and Lettuce). I also worked a bit of a fade between the two colors. This is a cool hat worked in a solid color as the designer intended. But I rather like my quirky stashbuster version.

This next hat is Windshield by Niina Talikka. The pattern calls for a DK weight and I knit mine in Anzula Cricket.

I’m unsure how the diamond motif of this hat became so indistinct on one side. Cricket has good stitch definition, so I didn’t expect the hat would have that problem. The designer says that “blocking is highly recommended to make the motif visible and for the hat to form its gentle slouch.” So, as directed I blocked. It helped make the motif come to life, but not as much as I hoped.

Still, I like this hat quite a bit. Cricket is 80% merino, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere goat. It feels wonderfully soft. No one will complain “…but it’s so itchy.” And I also don’t see anyone complaining “where’s the second side of my diamond motif.” If you decide to knit Windshield, take a look at the project pages for this hat on Ravelry. The patterning definitely pops better in a solid color. Windshield is a top-down hat. That can be a bit of a bear to pull off. But the bear only roars for a few rounds and then it’s tamed.

No bunch ‘o hats post would be complete without including another rendition of one of my favorite hats, Susan Villas Lewis’s “The Thinker.”

I’ve posted about it many times, here‘s two, and here’s another and here’s two more. My newest version is knit in Malabrigo Rios. It used to be something else, part of a (sort of) poncho. When a knitting buddy’s husband saw her working on hers he asked if she was knitting a lampshade. Every time I was tempted to wear it all I could think of was how nice a lampshade it might have made. Anyway, I frogged the thing and now I have a lot of extra Rios. Knitting The Thinker was a good save, I think. And now there’s much more Rios for me to knit with.