Knitting multiples, again

Sometimes a hat should just get down to basics. Galina Shemchuk’s freebie Just a Hat does just that. A nice simple 1 by 1 rib. The body of the hat is what Shemchuk calls False English Rib. It’s a form of what I know as Mistake Rib, but worked in the round. By whatever name it’s a very easy two-round stitch pattern.

The crown decreases are well behaved. Nothing fancy. But sometimes that’s perfect. I knit my hat in Malabrigo Rios. I couldn’t be more pleased about how nicely the Indicieta colorway shows off this simple but very satisfying knit.

I’ve been having fun knitting the same patterns in different yarns or different colorways. Here’s Just a Hat knit up in a yarn that’s new to me: Merino Mix by Schoeller + Stahl. It’s labeled an Aran weight. But I knit both my Just a Hats on the same size needle, US 7 for the body of the hat and US 5 for the rib. The size of the hat and the fit are the same. GlassHead declares these are both super cozy.

GlassHead especially likes that the deep brim keeps her ears extra warm. Glass skin, especially glass ears, allow for a lot of heat loss and warm hats are a must.

Switching now from heads to necks, this is a cowl that I’ve written about many times. It’s Stephen West’s Windschief. The pattern is a twofer. You can knit it as a cowl. Or you can continue on and work crown decreases for a great unisex beanie.

I knit this Windschief in Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool. 100% merino and super soft. It will pill, but my experience with it has been that it still wears well. Picking off some fuzzballs isn’t the end of the world. This close-fitting cowl only needs about 125 yards.

Often I’ve knit Windschief in Berroco Comfort. Comfort is, well, very comfortable. Perfect for this next-to-the-skin cowl. A great yarn for those who don’t tolerate wool well.  My lemon yellow cowl is the, ahem,15th time I’ve knit Windschief. These next two Comforts were numbers 14 and 13.

Maybe I’m too easily amused, but just a change of colorway or change of yarn livens up working a pattern I’ve knit so many times.

This next double is Aimee Alexander’s Hungry Horse Hat. I knit my pair in  Plymouth Yarns’ DK Merino Superwash. Three 130-yard-skeins yielded two excellent hats.

Never underestimate the yardage-saving power of a brimless hat. Well, Hungry Horse isn’t exactly brimless, its brim just doesn’t fold.

And such a nice pinwheel swirl of a crown decrease.

Some might accuse that if a knitter knits a pattern over and over and over that knitter’s in a rut. I might be. But I know these patterns work out well. I know that those in my giving circle appreciate receiving the final product. And I can just settle in and relax into a familiar conversation with my yarn and my needles. There are lots of days in a long life of knitting when that feels just exactly right.

Happy lots ‘o pink day

This is Fructose, by Alex Tinsley. I gave it a granddaughter twist and knit in a sweet heart on each side of the hat. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash in the Bubblegum colorway.

Fructose is a favorite hat of mine. Here‘s a few in Malabrigo Rios. Here‘s another pair in Rios, showing off the opening in the back of the hat that leaves room for long hair or a low-slung ponytail. It’s a quick knit that comes out right every time.

And I like my little modification. So does my granddaughter. I snitched the heart motif from these matching mitts I made.

These are Ewerlna Murach’s Heart Mitts. It proved a tad difficult to find fingerless mitts that would work for a small child in a style that I liked. This pattern includes adult sizes, but also includes a pair sized for 2-4 year olds and 5-8 year olds. The simple heart motif caught my eye. It’s set against an overall pattern of seed stitch.

This set made a sweet Valentine’s gift for my granddaughter.

This next bit of pink is Lisa McFetridge’s  Grindewald Earband. I knit mine in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted left over from my most recent Rambling Rows blanket.

It was a fun cable to knit. All it took was 77 yards. A very quick and very satisfying knit.

It doesn’t get any more pink than these featured knits.

Next comes a Brooklyn Tweed Arbor creation in the Azalea colorway. This is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. This is the 6th time I’ve knit these mitts. I’m claiming this pair for myself.

This cable is a hoot to knit. You need two cable needles to get that center cable to thread through the others. But still it’s an easy knit. The pattern is wonderfully clear. The directions anticipate you’ll use Magic Loop to knit in the round. I’m old school and work on doublepoints. But the pattern is very easily adaptable. Here’s another trio I knit. There’s another pair near the ends of this post and this one.

I like to see how patterns knit up in various yarns, which is why I often link back to past blog posts. It’s also why Ravelry is such an amazing resource for the knitting universe. These mitts are designed for DK. A beefy DK like Brooklyn Tweed Arbor works up well. So does a lightweight worsted.

Here’s another look.

Maria Socha’s hats

I don’t get a kick out of this abused word, but I’ll use it anyway: I am obsessed with Maria Socha’s hat patterns. Obsessions are mostly over-discussed by HGTV people talking about patterned tile or brass cabinet pulls so maybe I can be forgiven. In the last few weeks I’ve been knitting Socha’s hats and having a wonderful time of it.

This is Dumka. I wanted the stitch pattern to show very clearly so I knit mine in Plymouth Yarns’ Worsted Merino Superwash. Socha lives in Poland and I was curious about the meaning of “dumka.” It sounds a bit like an insult-word, but I was sure I must be wrong. Indeed. Very wrong. A “dumka” is a piece of music in a melancholy style. In other words, a lament.

Dumka’s brim is double thickness one-by-one ribbing. So this hat will keep ears nice and warm. The wearer will not be lamenting any cold ears. And the topper is I-cord, knit from the last stitches of the crown decreases.

As the pattern directs, Dumka benefits by a good soak and a gentle flat blocking to open up the stitch pattern a bit.

Check out the beautiful crown decreases.

Such an excellent hat!

Socha lives in Szczecin, Poland. She says she’s “just an ordinary woman who loves to knit.” and hats are her “favourite” thing to knit. It shows. Her hat patterns are stunning. This next one is more simple than Dumka, but not simplistic. It’s Jey.

I used the same Plymouth yarn as in Dumka. Jey is an excellent, comfortable, unisex hat. The contrasting cast-on sets off the hat perfectly. And check out the wonderful pinwheeled crown decreases.

Jey is an easy-to-knit easy-to-wear beanie.

This next one is Natka. I decided to knit Natka in the Malabrigo Rios that many of Socha’s patterns suggest. Carrot Glaze is one of my favorite Rios colorways. It’s tonal but not overly busy. There’s a lot going on in Natka and I wanted to make sure my yarn didn’t obscure the patterning.

Those vertical columns are mock cable. Nice beefy bobbles are strategically placed at transition points in the fan motif. That’s an I-cord topper. The body of the hat grows organically out of the unusual twisted-rib spacing. Seriously cool.

The word “Natka” is also of Polish origin and is generally a girl’s name. It means “born on Christmas Day.” But apparently it’s not reserved only for Christmas baby births.

Natka’s crown decreases are…well, I don’t want to act like a goofy fan girl…so you can just check it out and form your own opinion. My opinion is kind of close to a gulp.

One more. Drumroll please. Edzia. Edzia is also a girl’s name, often considered to be a female version of Edward. This particular Edzia is one fine hat. The styling feels architectural in an Art Deco way.

For Edzia, I returned to Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash.

Socha is a new-to-me designer. But she wasn’t hatched just yesterday. I didn’t find her for a bit. She’s a real pro! Her patterns include clear charts that are rendered large enough even for old eyes to read. Line-by-line directions are provided as well in case you want to knit these hats the hard way instead of the easy way. Just kidding. I only became comfortable with charts in the last decade or so. Even I got there, given enough time.

These patterns are so excellent they’ll convince even even those who “don’t like to wear hats” that hats were a pretty good invention.

Rows are Rambling Again

There hasn’t been much to brighten our days lately. I thought I’d knit something to keep my eyeballs entertained during this long winter of our discontent. Did I maybe go overboard?

This is enough yarn to knit a full-sized Rambling Rows blanket by Carol A. Anderson of Cottage Creations. It’s, she clears her throat, my 10th. Does a knitted item count if you don’t have a photo to prove it? If so, then this is my 11th.

Just about everyone who sees this, or who saw my color choices before those 22 skeins turned into this, asked me if this goes with my decor. No. Not one bit. I believe that everyone breathes a sigh of relief upon hearing my answer. Maybe they feel reassured that I don’t live in a Crayola Crayon box. Why do this? Why knit 4,144 yards of not-inexpensive Rowan Pure Wool Superwash worsted only to be left with something that matches nothing. I am not sure. I think it has something to do with COVID stresses, with feeling gloomy, with sunrise happening too late and sunset happening too soon.

Knitting this happy blanket was a salve for how the world is too much with us yet. Here it is laid out on my queen-sized bed.

I’ve knit Rambling Rows and written about it a number of times during the nearly 11 years I’ve been writing this blog. Check here for another knit in this same Rowan yarn, and here for one in Plymouth Yarns Encore, and here for one in Berroco Comfort, and here for four more including one on steroids, and here for one knit in 1995.

Rambling Rows has obviously become a major knitting stutter for me. I repeat it at least every few years. It’s knitting comfort food. I know it always works out. Maybe not always colorwise because this knitter sometimes has the color sensibilities of a 5 year old. But knitting 2.34 miles of garter stitch soothes me like not much else.

Most of the Cottage Creation booklets have been digitized and they’re available for purchase on Ravelry, including Rambling Rows. If you don’t yet own this classic knit I highly recommend you check it out. The booklet includes 3 sizes of blankets and lots of hand-holding for those who need it. Anymore I just turn to the center fold chart and cast-on.

Finishing your yarnie porridge

With a few modifications, this is the Ravelry freebie Braided Headband by Ashley Moore. I’d tried to knit something else to begin using up my 3 skeins of King Cole Timeless Chunky. It didn’t work out. Gauge would not happen.

Timeless Chunky is put up in 100 grams balls, 164 yards each. I purchased it on-line  at a hefty discount mostly because I liked the denim colorway and I was curious what 10% alpaca would do to acrylic. My curiosity is satisfied. Apparently it doesn’t do anything good. The yarn is very soft. That’s nice. But it’s splitty. It sheds like crazy. It made me sneeze. And it’s hard to work with every way you can imagine. Life is short and knitting with yarn I don’t love doesn’t seem what I owe myself.

But I decided not to waste this yarn. It’s quite nice once the yarn turns into an accessory.

And so it began. Moore’s headband calls for worsted and the recommended cast-on is 20 stitches. I cast on 26 and worked a 3-stitch I-cord at each each. I like the way the I-cord finishes off the edge. Here’s another look at the headband off-head.

Fifty-two grams (85 yards) of Timeless Chunky used up.

And so it continued. I’m a grown-up knitter. I can finish my yarnie equivalent of a detestable porridge. Maybe I could get some slippers out of this yarn. Mine is Faye Kennington’s very popular slipper pattern. The pattern calls for super bulky and a gauge of 12 stitches and 20 rows to 4 inches. I figured that if I doubled my Timeless Chunky I might be able to turn it into a Timeless Super Bulky. I tested the gauge and, to my surprise, it worked out on US size 10 needles.

Mine is a surprisingly fun and quick pattern. I chuckle some, though, at the fact that the cables reverse direction from foot to foot so supposedly they are left and right specific. I can’t tell which is which. But I dutifully knit a right and a left slipper. Then I quickly forgot which is which.

Here’s a look at them off-feet.

If knitting with Timeless Chunky was difficult, knitting with Timeless Chunky doubled was about thrice difficult. The double strands decided they needed to socially distance. It took extra care to be sure I was knitting the strands together. And just as often, they decided they wanted to infiltrate their neighbor’s bubble. It eventually worked out though. Cute slippers.

Knitting with this yarn doubled was very hard on my hands. Mine used up 126 grams, 207 yards.

Maybe the eating-your-porridge idea is getting old? How about eating liver and onions when you were a kid? You must sit at the table until you finish at least 2 bites more. I decided to Knit Pippi by Kelly Gubbles, another freebie offered on Ravelry.

This is such a nice hat. It would look even better knit in a different yarn. Check out the great crown decreases.

Pippi gobbled up 80 grams, 131 yards.  Lordy. Still 42 grams left. I turned extra stubborn at that point. What should I knit with my remaining 42 grams?

This is not a bikini. It’s Knitwise Design’s Earbuds. You put it over your ears.

Cute, right? Pop a pair in your coat pocket for times when a chill strikes unexpectedly. Earbuds used up 30 grams. That’s about 49 yards.

With only 12 grams of King Cole Timeless Chunky left I could rest comfortable in the knowledge that the debris littering my black fleece sweatshirt and all my sneezing and my sore hands had been worth it. I had four new accessories for my gift stash. And I tossed that last 12 grams.