Happy holidays to all

Best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season. I hope yours is filled with family, friends, yummy food, and lots of yarnie goodness!

If you’re interested in knitting a few of these baubles, check out Seven Chen’s freebie Spiral Tawashi on Ravelry. Chen has assigned this creation to the “cleaner/scrubber” category. That’s the perfect category if knit in the recommended Daruma “Cafe Kitchen” acrylic. The yarn “contains silver ions (Ag+)” that supposedly provides antibacterial and anti-smell properties. So says the manufacturer of the yarn, anyway. Seems a tall order given what a scrubber contends with. But, maybe. I knit mine in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted and stuffed the “scrubber” with polyfill. No kitchen duties for these scrubbers.

Such a festive touch on a holiday tree or even just sitting around in my Gram’s wooden bowl. The spirals on the tops and bottoms knit up perfectly and easily.

Goodness knows I have a LOT of oddments of Lamb’s Pride left over from my Gartergantuan.

Happy holidays to all!

P.S. So sorry for having to turn off the comments section. Because I really enjoy receiving your feedback. Something went haywire on my spam filter plug-in and…well…and. I’ll spare you the details. Having my son assist with a fix is definitely on my new year wish list.

Yet more same yarn, different knits

This is my third in a series of posts on how the same yarn works up in different patterns. Maybe it’s getting old? But I’ll press on anyway.

This is Jared Flood’s Quincy. It’s the fourth time I’ve knit this pattern and this Quincy’s for me. Actually, I kept one prior Quincy but somehow it managed to escape from my hat drawer. It’s a seriously excellent pattern. It feeds my insatiable appetite for cool things to knit in garter stitch. I really enjoy knitting applied I-cord onto garter stitch fabric. And the interesting Robin Hood fold is great fun to knit–with directions that need to be followed closely but are spot on.

I knit this Quincy in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky. In the past I’ve knit this hat mostly in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky. It looks great in the Brown Sheep. But the Berroco yarn is a better match in terms of yardage. It was close, but I was able to knit it with one 100 gram skein (131 yards). It would have been a knuckle-biter on yardage but I’d purchased two skeins just to be on the safe side.

The alpaca in the Berroco yarn makes this Quincy more drapey than in the more sturdy Brown Sheep. I like it anyway. And this version is super cozy and very warm.

Here’s a look at the beauty of a crown. A simple graceful pinwheel.

So with that extra skein of Ultra Alpaca begging to be knit, I looked for another bulky hat pattern. I’d been meaning to knit Fernhill again. It’s a freebie from Kate Gagnon Osborne included in Kelbourne Woolens Year of the Bulky Hat series. I knit my first version in a color-changing skein of Hayfield Spirit Chunky. It actually worked up quite nicely. (More on my first Fernhill later in this post.) But a more tame version called to me.

The Berroco Ultra Alpaca knit as this gauge doesn’t have great stitch definition. But I’m still pleased with the result. Since it’s already disappeared from my pick-your-gift stash, I declare it a success.

The crown decreases create almost a snowflake look, especially knit in this natural colorway.

Fernhill is a dainty yarn-eater. It used only 80 grams of yarn and left me with a small but still useful amount of Ultra Alpaca. I decided to knit some sheep.

I knit my sheep from the pattern in Bonnie Gosse’s and Jill Allerton’s A First Book of Knitting For Children. It’s a delightful one-piece knit that an experienced knitter can knit in an hour or two. It’s also a great first project for a new knitter. Such a sweet result.

Finally, as promised, here’s my first version of Fernhill knit in Hayfield Spirit Chunky. Somehow I managed to miss posting the project on my blog before this. It’s a completely different look with somewhat better stitch definition.

The crown snowflake still forms though here it’s obscured some by how the color change worked out.

I’ve had great fun knitting “stuff” out of the same yarn. But if you’ve grown tired of my fascination with the subject, I can say now:

More same yarn, different stuff

This hat was a pleasure to knit. I’d had a few not-great knits preceding it. The comfort and rhythm of a well-designed pattern was very welcome. It’s a Knitty freebie: Erica Jackofsky’s Minty. I’d seen Minty pop up on various Ravelry forums for years. Recently I finally knit it. I used Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. Great hat design with a lot of flexibility in how it can be worn.

Until I downloaded and read the pattern I was a tad put off by the I-cord side bow. But it’s actually an exceptionally good way to have this hat create its side gathers. You knit two yarn-over columns spaced equidistant in the body of the hat. Once you complete the crown, you knit a length of I-cord and thread it through the yarn overs. No welts to knit. Wearers can decide how extravagant they want the gathers to be.

The colorwork in the crown decreases is easy peasy. No longish expanses between colors mean no floats to catch. This was the first hat that my very stylish 30-something niece chose from my pick-your-hat stash. She was choosing for her two sisters as well. But this one she laid claim to immediately and wore around my house and eventually out the door.

Lately I’m trying hard to use up (basically) all the yarn I’m working with. After completing one accessory project I’ve been casting on for another in the same yarn. It’s a hoot to see the same yarn knit in different patterns. And I don’t end up with a bunch of oddments.

Next up is another pattern I’ll definitely be knitting again: Joji Locatelli’s Odd Stripes hat.

This hat is another easy knit. Two-row stripes. At one point in the round you change to reverse stockinette instead of stockinette. The effect is very pleasing. And the crown decreases retain the half /n half look. Sometimes simple things really are the best.

And if you weave the yarn tails in carefully you’ll have a completely reversible hat.

Next up is Melanie Berg’s Rainy Day set, both hat and fingerless mitts. I knit my set in yarn that’s been in my stash since 2017. It’s Lux Adorna’s 100% cashmere sport, now discontinued. I was saving the yarn for some special knit even though I’d purchased it during a shop closing and it was marked down very substantially. I finally decided now was the time and this was the pattern.

Obviously this is another very simple pattern. I wouldn’t have bothered with it but for what Berg calls the “starburst” detail. I see it as a rosette but, whatever, that detail was too hard to resist.

Here’s the starburst close up.

Here’s another look at the hat.

With its whirlwind crown.

Berg’s pattern is completely sweet. I’ve knit the mitts once before (see the second half of the post). It’s definitely a pattern worth a repeat knit. If I knit the mitts or the hat again I wouldn’t use such a limp version of cashmere. Even after a thorough soak the hat just doesn’t seem to have the oomph I’d expect.

I gave the same yarn another go in Classic Ribbed Hat, a Purl Soho freebie.

The one-by-one rib helped the yarn deliver a tad more body. A tad. I might have overdone it on the slouch though.

My plan was to knit a deep folded cuff to help keep ears cozy warm. Word to the wise (I wasn’t), figure out where that fold will end up before you knit wide stripes. Or maybe just follow the Purl Soho pattern for stripe placement and all will be well. My version sort of works even as a cuffed ribbed hat though. But if the brim is going to look right it will take more precision than most wearers will want to bother with.

Again, well-behaved crown decreases. All my fashionista fellow-knitter niece needed to hear was “cashmere” and she was “all in” on these hats. They show off her magenta-streaked dark hair quite nicely.

Same yarn. Different knits. Great fun.

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.

Handsome.

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.