Fall at the lake is hat weather’s start

Long  Lake has been spectacular lately. This was the view one day this week about an hour after sunrise. The weather is crisp. OK, the weather’s pretty cold. It reminds that winter isn’t far away.

Time for hats. This purple one is Claudia Eisenkolb’s Not Cabled. I knit mine in Berrocco Ultra Wool, a worsted weight superwash that is a new favorite of mine. Not Cabled just looks like it uses cables. The illusion is achieved by merely working knit and purl stitches.

In this view you get a better sense that this isn’t cabling.

And, as always with hats I like to knit, the decreases successfully continue enough of the pattern to create an attractive crown.

This sunny hat is Lion Brand’s Seed Rib Hat. The pattern calls for  a DK weight. I used Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool DK. My sense is that this hat will be a hit in my holiday choose-your-gift basket.

OK. People will likely say “I like the pompom” and overlook that the crown decreases nicely continue (and properly dispose of) the pattern stitch. But as knitters we will be pleased by what’s under the pompom, a series of organized crown decreases.

Given the death of Classic Elite and its yarns, this next hat might be called “Ode to Classic Elite Fresco.” But it’s actually Susan Mills no-nonsense Fresco Simply Slouchy Hat available now, via Ravelry, as a freebie.

Such a sweet and simple thing. And knit up in sportweight Fresco, it’s kitten-soft.

Next up is Joji Locatelli’s free pattern Rafa’s Hat. I decided to knit mine in a skein of Worsted Merino Superwash Hand-dyed, a Plymouth yarn that I’ve had in my stash for a good long while. Speckled yarns don’t entice me much anymore. But I think this pattern works well in this yarn.

A very simple crown decrease. And it works!

And finally, an oldie-goodie, knit in Berroco Comfort to satisfy the wool-adverse.

It’s the delightfully named School Colors Hat AC-53. It’s a Fiber Trends pattern by Betsy Lee McCarthy, available direct from the Fiber Trends website and on Ravelry. This hat has a trick up its sleeve to create the double roll. The trick is all about the rolling and not much about the knitting. I’ve knit many of these and posted about them on my blog. I get questions about how to form the double roll. The answer is to finish knitting and then just do exactly what the pattern says. Exactly. Without any overthinking. The double roll will happen. This pattern was released back in 1492 and, no, you haven’t discovered that the roll doesn’t work.

The crown knits up neatly even though Comfort shows the decreases more than I think ideal.

More Rib Sampler Scarves

Recently I needed a mindless super easy knit that would keep my hands busy and my self soothed. I remembered how much I’d enjoyed knitting  Lion Brand’s Rib Sample Scarves during the summer heat. Knitting another one felt right.

Usually I don’t knit these in pricy yarns, but I’d been trying to find a home for my Fibre Company Cumbria for quite awhile. The yarn is 60% merino, 30% masham, and 10% mohair worsted weight. I’d already tried knitting it into two different shawls, one with some lacey bits and another loaded up with short rows. It just wasn’t playing nice with those patterns and I’d had to frog.

So, this would be a rib sampler scarf for me. I supersized it, casting on 54 stitches (rather than the 28 called for by the pattern) and elongating all the sections. I knit the 2 by 2 ribbing at each end for 15 inches instead of 8. The garter stitch sections are 5 inches instead of 4. The mistake rib and farrow rib sections are 10 inches instead of the 8 the pattern calls for. And, as I always do with this pattern, I extended the 1 by 1 ribbing in the neck section to 15 inches instead of 12. This version needed about 670 yards and turned out to be 80 inches long. At its widest point it’s 10.5 inches.

This is going to be a cozy winter piece and the “buttermere” colorway will look great with my black coat.

So, I’ve already let the cat out of the bag that I’m quite the fan-girl when it comes to this scarf. Ravelry lists 23 project pages for this scarf and (ahem) I’ve knit nine of them. In fact, in late July and early August, in the sweltering heat, I knit two other Rib Sampler scarves. This next one is knit in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s Wool Superwash. It’s a lightweight worsted.

I increased the width by casting on 44. On the first (and last) section of 2 by 2 ribbing, I knit 10 inches. I kept the garter stitch sections and the other ribbing sections (except for the midsection of 1 by 1) at 4 inches. And I knit the middle 1 by 1 ribbing for 15 inches. This version used about 415 yards and turned out to be 60 inches long and at its widest points (the garter stitch sections) it’s 9 inches wide.

This next one, my BSeen rib sampler, is headed to a local charity auction. I knit it in hunter orange intending it would scream “not a deer…not a deer.”

It’s knit in a very rustic wool: Briggs & Little Heritage. It’s a definite Aran weight. It won’t satisfy the itch-adverse. But it will be warm and protect the wearer from more than just the cold. I knit it to the same dimensions as the Shepherd’s Wool version.

This scarf is a wonderful rhythmic knit. It never fails to sooth whatever savage beast is trying to beast me at the moment.

Cowl weather is coming

Before I became a voracious knitter, decades ago now, I didn’t know what a cowl was. Now I sometimes even wear them in the summer or to take the bite out of an air-conditioned chill. This cowl is Purl Soho’s freebie: Floats Cowl. I knit mine out of Heritage Yarn’s Prime Alpaca. It’s a 100% alpaca sport weight.

I had difficulty with what should have been an easy knit. It’s a 2 row pattern and you work it looking at the non-public side. In other words, the floats, formed from slipping two stitches, form on the inside. On the next round, you purl the slipped stitches. For me, it was very difficult to look at my knitting and know which round I was on. Even when I started counting rounds, “odd round are slip stitch rounds and even rounds are plain rib,” my brain would lapse into the wrong stitches. Plus, it’s a very hard stitch to fix when you goof–at least it was for me. And every mistake shows up very obviously. I tried stitching a repair in one spot. That worked…poorly,

I tried working the stitch facing the public side. It doesn’t look the same. Moving the yarn before and after you slip the stitches anchors the yarn (or something like that) and it gives a different look.

I am typically good with really boring knits. Miles of garter stitch bore many experienced knitters. But not me. Apparently knitting something that’s only a bit boring and I lose my concentration and screw up. Sigh. This cowl is very warm. I’ll get good use out of it.

I knit the full 11 inches that the pattern called for. I blocked the cowl after soaking it in Eucalan, toweling out the moisture, and laying the cowl flat (without using any pins). I had lots of yarn and didn’t worry about the gauge. Mine came out to be 42 inches in circumference and 11 inches deep. A worthwhile knit. And because there’s a few mistakes in it, I will keep it for me!

This next cowl is Jenny F’s No January Blues Cowl. The blue is Tosh DK by Madelinetosh, a beefy DK that matched Mirasol Yarns Umina, which is actually a rather light worsted. Jenny F says “This DK/light worsted weight cowl uses 2 colors to create a gorgeous melange accessory that will effortlessly fit into your wardrobe.”  I knit this awhile back, as part of a mystery knit-a-long (MKAL). Honestly, I have been following the bandana cowl craze with disinterest and I don’t think I’d have knit it if I knew what I would end up with.

This.

But it’s a pretty thing. I wore it, once, and people commented on it without mentioning that it’s a melange accessory. At least they didn’t ask if I was getting ready to rob a bank.

Here’s an easy peasy one, Boxing Clever, in bulky-weight Duo, by Jarbo-Garn. It’s an acrylic gradient-like yarn. Quite beautiful. This freebie cowl, designed by Susan Ashcroft of Stichnerd Designs, includes instructions for changing the size and yarn weight.

I cast on 108, despite this being a bulky-weight. This was me in stash-down mode, which continues apace. So I used up nearly all my remaining skein by working 5 rows of boxes, 60 rounds. It’s a wonderfully extravagant major cowl that you can easily knit in one night.

Wrapping me up

Isn’t this a pretty thing? It’s Michigan’s own Chris de Longpre’s Wrap Me Up. Instead of knitting it with worsted weight, as the original pattern calls for, many knitters (me too) knit this sampler wrap in fingering weight sock yarn. In sock weight, my version of the wrap turned out to be 14 inches wide and 55 inches long. So, still quite substantial.

I started out with these three somewhat mismatched skeins of Opal sockweight. I got each skein on sale and I suspect they are all discontinued colorways:

And, this one, my favorite of the trio:

For each new section of the sampler, I tried to use a different skein. Sometimes the colorways needed to be butted up against the same colorway for at least part of a section.

Here’s a closer look at a few of the sections:


I find that some of my favorite projects are those that let me do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. In this pattern, all the sections are knit onto others as you move along. Except for one. That long section of stacked garter stitch triangles is knit separately and then worked onto the main piece with picked up stitches and the magic of mattress stitch.

My only modifications are that I knit section 4 in all one colorway. And I added bobbles to section 21, a narrow ending strip.

If I make this again, especially if I’m working with colorways that share some of the same colors, I’d not thread so many sections with the yarn you’re working with, as the pattern directs. I’d use waste yarn instead. The stitches tighten up some and picking them up to work with again was difficult at times.

The two long-side edgings are worked after the body of the wrap is blocked. This needed a very aggressive blocking and a few of the sections refused to be completely tamed. But I still like it!

One I made several years ago is a wrap I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of. Here’s a link to some closeups of the first one I knit back in 2010:

Lonesome Dove

This is Susan Mills Knits Lonesome Dove, not to be confused with the awesome Larry McMurtry 1985 novel of the same name. I’m often curious why designers name patterns certain names and always welcome their explanations. But the pattern gives no explanation. I don’t see a dove, lonesome or otherwise in this wrap.

But I do see a wrap that drew me to it from the first time I saw it. In fact, I was so enamored of the pattern photos that I decided to work the wrap in exactly the yarn and colorways of the designer’s sample. I don’t do that often. Actually I often goof on colorway choices so maybe I should just be a blind follower more often.

The yarn is Plymouth Yarns’ Hearthstone, a marled sportweight in 80% merino and 20% alpaca.

I don’t work much in sportweight anymore. The yarn was a bit splitty, but that was sufficiently tamed by working with my sharp needles.

Here’s a closer look at a section of Lonesome Dove.

It was mostly a fun knit. A zillion bobbles will test a knitter’s stamina. But you get into a rhythm and then the work moves along quite nicely. With the knitting changing directions and yarns, Lonesome Dove is good for brushing up on your picking-up-stitches skills.

I’m confident that this wrap is going to work well with my wardrobe, which is deep but not wide. My four pairs of jeans are going to look great with it, as will my collection of black, gray and navy blue t-shirts!