Red knits

Fichu Bleu, by Orlane Sucche, was a very pleasing, soothing knit. That means something even in the best of times. In trying times it means even more. Mine is worked up in Why Not Fibers Spunky, a 100% merino sportweight. Here’s a closer look at the stitch pattern.

This is a free pattern on Ravelry. I continue to be amazed by the generosity of the knitting universe. Fichu Bleu has been in my queue for many years. I don’t often knit in sportweight. I know I could have knit it in worsted weight and ended up with a shawl with more ample coverage. Awhile back, I was gifted 3 skeins of Spunky in the raspberry colorway.  I wanted to find the perfect pattern. I believe I found it!

Since I had enough yarn, I worked one extra section A before beginning the garter stitch final section. After studying the notes of other Ravelers, I decided to follow the lead of those who used an Icelandic bindoff to assure that the bindoff would be somewhat stretchy and a bit decorative. I worked the bindoff from the right (public) side. My shawl, after a light blocking, has 56 inches of wingspan and is 22 inches at the deepest section (in the middle).

This is an excellent, no-nonsense shawl! It been cool lately in northern Michigan and I’ve already gotten some good wear out of this shawl.

It’s probably a goofy way to organize blog posts, but lately I’ve been doing color posts. Orange, blue, brown, and now it’s red’s turn.

This weird thing with the very sweet cable, knit in sport weight yarn, is another Ravelry freebie: Bea John’s Helferlein. I’m guessing you know what it is…unfortunately.

Yep. It’s an Earsaver. The idea is that you put this on the back of your head somewhere and hook your facemask on the buttons. That way your mask bypasses your ears and saves you from ear chafing.

This sounded like an incredibly good idea to me. I wear glasses and bluetooth hearing aids so there’s not a lot of real estate left behind my ears. When I wear a mask, it can get tangled up in my aids when I take my mask off. More than once I’ve had my expensive uglies try to take a flying leap.

I am super impressed with the cable in Helferlein. Someday I’m going to use that cable in something else. But, for me, the earsaver just doesn’t work. If I put it on toward the back of my head, Helferlein falls off once the mask is attached. If I put it on toward the top of my head, my mask doesn’t fit right. Maybe I have an odd-shaped head or unusual masks, because these things are working for others. Very cute fast knit. I just wish it would have worked for me. (Edited to add that Bea John visited this blog and left a comment that “if you wear Helferlein on your neck and leave the elastic bands of your mask below your ears, it fits best.”)

This next is another impressive entry into the mosaic cloth category: Amy Marie Vold’s Cannery Rows. It’s part of her Pickling, Canning, Preserving ebook. I knit the towel sized item.

The pattern allows the knitter to choose from quart, pint, and half-pint motifs. I had a blast knitting it. I knit mine in Cotton Aran by Paintbox Yarns.

While we are on the subject of mosaic cloths and red, this next is Shore Lunch Cloth, from Vold’s Gone Fishing ebook. I enjoy knitting many, in fact almost all, of Vold’s designs. But Shore Lunch is a big favorite. I knit this set in DROPS Paris, another all-cotton Aran-weight.

Graham is next up. I knit this version in Shepherd’s Wool Worsted by Stonehedge Fiber Mill. Souched or cuffed, even worn inside out, this hat is a must-knit.

Graham is a Ravelry freebie that’s been knit 8,511 times as of September, 2020. This one is my 5th. It’s a good, solid, unisex hat that’s easy to knit but not boring.

Red knits is just about finished. But I’m pleased enough with how Fichu Bleu came out that I thought I’d give you another look. I’m planning to knit it sometime again soon. It’s one good knit.

Brown knits

This is my son and grandson. This summer they both have what I call “brush” cuts. Maybe the term in this century, sigh, is “buzz” cuts? One’s beard is natural. The other’s is Claire Slade’s Simple Beard, a Ravelry freebie.

I knit my grandson’s beard in Paintbox Yarn Simply Aran. I’d misunderstood the yardage needed for the pair of Betsy’s Goose that I made for my grandkids awhile back. The result? After finishing the geese, I had 600 extra yards of brown acrylic yarn. (Thank you for asking, Marty. It looks like the geese have finally departed our lake. Soon I will take down my goose defense system. That probably means that they’ll be back.)

Back to beards. This sweet, funny pattern of Slade’s gave the guys a good chuckle. It’s such an easy knit. Everyone needs a good laugh these days and this pattern delivers.

There was still a lot of Paintbox Simply Aran brown left. Excuse me, the color is not brown. The colorway is Coffee Bean. Like I said, brown. Fairfax, designed by Donna Yacino, looked promising.

All my favorite scarf patterns are reversible. Scarves that look good from both sides just make so much sense. Rare’s the person who can put a scarf on and manage to keep the right side out even once it’s tossed over a shoulder or wrapped at the neck. And none of those rare people are men, near as I can tell. Men like to use afghans with the wrong side out. They do that even when a knitter tells them that afghans aren’t as warm if they’re used wrong side out. This scarf will likely end up on a man’s neck so reversible was important.

Fairfax is a combination of simple ribbing and slipped stitch. Mine turned out 66 inches long and 8 inches wide. And still I wasn’t done with coffee bean.

This next knit is Ditto, Anne Gagnon’s very popular Ravelry freebie. What everyone loves about Ditto is the wonderful crown decrease section.

Ditto is one great hat, with great loping cables that end so elegantly at the crown.

Next up is a bit of a cheat in the brown department. Brown, with a bit of gold worked in. It’s Rowlock Cowl, a Ravelry freebie designed by Jennifer Burke.

Rowlock is a slip stitch (a/k/a mosaic) pattern. It’s designed for DK weight. I used the discontinued Ashton, by Bristol Yarn Gallery. Ashton is 50% alpaca, 40% merino, and 10% silk. It was pricey, in its day, but it’s a wonderful yarn with excellent drape.

Rowlock is sitting in my “to be gifted” stash at the moment. But the more I look at it and feel it I think it may end up staying close to home.

Blue knits

This is Heather Zoppetti’s Mirtillo. I used Anzula Squishy. Squishy is a wonderful fingering weight in 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon that’s, well, delightfully squishy. I purchased the kit at a deep discount during a shop closeout. The pattern is a mix of garter stitch, simple mosaic work, with that cute picot edge added at the end.

The kit even included a matching shawl pin.

With any kit, my major concern is whether they’ve included enough yarn of each color to handle minor discrepancies in gauge. Not a problem. There was more than enough yarn in each “skeinette.” The only problem was that the pattern included in the kit was printed at a font-size and color that had me scratching my head. It was printed in gray. And the font size was about 6 point! Even young eyes would have been foiled. We were able to scan the pattern and then enlarge it. Otherwise, Mirtillo would not have been.

Take another look at this pretty.

It’s an itty bitty thing, though. The designer puts the dimensions at 19 inches at the wide point by 49 inches from end to end. I blocked mine as sternly as I felt wise and ended up at 17 inches by 47 inches. Either way, this is a small thing. And although I’m short I am not small. As much as I love the colors and pattern, I haven’t made up my mind yet if this one’s for me. It feels like a neckerchief and I’m not sure that’s a good look for me.

Mirtillo is only partly blue, but this next knit gives a full out blue experience in my version. It’s Assia Brill’s Distitch Edge Scarf. Brill says “distitch” is a new knitting concept.

I was skeptical that there was really anything new in the knitting universe that would edge a garter stitch scarf. But after watching this video, I was convinced Brill’s actually on to something new. Not only is it new, it’s super-easy. Check out this closer look at the result.

I declare it simply beautiful. I knit mine in Aran weight Simplinatural by HiKoo. The edge stitch is apparently just the tip of the iceberg for this new technique. Brill released an entire book devoted to it.

Try it, I predict you’ll like it!

And now, for something quite predictable. Dishcloths!  This one is “Maryanne’s” Modified Feather and Fan cloth, available here:

I never met a feather and fan I didn’t think was very cool. So much bang for the buck. Well, the unbuck, actually, because the pattern is free. My cloth is knit in Knit Picks Dishie Multi.

Here’s another Amy Marie Vold set of slip stitch cloths.

They are Snow Two Alike, worked in Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran. The yarn is fairly new to me. It compares favorably to Drops Paris and is a tad less rustic than Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream. One of the things I often enjoy about Vold’s cloth is knitting them in sets, reversing the colors. The differences are sometimes striking. And they make a nice set for gifting.

If you’re not a dishcloth fan, and let’s face it knitters fall into two groups in that regard, you’re tuning out by now. People either hate to knit dishcloths, consider them a waste of yarn, and unsanitary to boot. Or they passionately love knitting them, are constantly on the hunt for new patterns, and have a drawer full of them. I am of the latter group.

These three are each knit in Knit Picks Dishie Multie. The top is Jeanne Breckelman’s Easy Columns Washcloth. The one on the bottom right is Linda Smith’s Feather and Fan Dishcloth. And the bottom left is Deb Buckingham’s Marbles & Jacks. The first two are freebies.

Seeing how the variegated performs in different situations is interesting. The columns cloth on steroids would make for a great scarf or wrap. If you haven’t seen the technique before I won’t spill the beans. But the columns are just knits and purls, though you end up with a garter stitch feel to the pattern.

This next DK-weight blue beauty is Lina, by Johanna of Joko Knits. I’ve knit Lina twice before. And I will knit it again. More than 2000 Ravelers have had lively discussions about how this twisted cable NOT brioche pattern works. I knit it, as the pattern is written, except that I needed to work with a cable needle. I’ve written before about how to translate the directions to work with a cable needle. I didn’t invent those directions. They are all over project pages and at my blog entry with my earlier knits. Bottom line? Knitters need to simply trust that the pattern is correct and all will be well.


Some have tried to modify the top. I knit this one just as Johanna directed. I think it works best. It gets a bit disorganized at the very end. But it also retains the loping twisted cables almost to the very end. I’ve never learned brioche knitting. Barking and burping just never proved appetizing even though I’ve drooled over many a brioche design. To me, Lina is brioche-like. Without the extra calories of the original.

Orange stuff

Maybe orange really is the new black.  At least of late I’m not knitting anything black (aging eyes). And orange is popping up repeatedly on my needles.  Not Halloween orange. Not hunter blaze orange. Warmer and rustier oranges.

This DK weight hat is Foliage by Irina Dmitrieva. It’s free on Ravelry. Gobs of knitters have knit it and raved about it. I figured it was time I gave it a try. I had one skein of HiKoo Sueno, 80% superwash merino, 20% rayon from bamboo. I’d never knit with Sueno before this. The yarn proved to have excellent stitch definition. It has a soft next-to-the-skin feel.

Foliage has an OK crown. It gets a bit disorganized at the very end. So if any drones photograph the top of my head maybe I’ll deny I knit it. Overall it’s a beautiful hat and a well-crafted pattern.

Knitting with Sueno set me to wondering about how they manage to get rayon from bamboo. Generally, rayon production of any kind isn’t a pretty picture. It’s all chemically reshaped cellulose. Bamboo will do as well as wood pulp to produce rayon. And since bamboo grows fast it’s likely a more ecologically sensitive choice if you want to end up with rayon. But both processes create carbon disulfide as a byproduct. That’s very nasty stuff. Especially if anyone inhales the fumes. I’m hoping that the workers who have to cook up this stuff are adequately protected.

This next orange hat is Jennifer Myrick’s Skywalk. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash.

Such a clever combination of knits and purls. There are no cables here. I love the reverse stockinette droops.

Gatlinburg Tennessee’s SkyBridge inspired the pattern. SkyBridge spans 680 feet and is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. In the center there are three glass panels that give a better view of what’s 140 feet below.

Oh dear. That figure in the middle is checking out SkyBridge’s glass panels. In June of 2020, some goofball did a baseball slide onto the panels and cracked the glass.

In addition to not wanting children to grow up to be rayon production workers, let’s add glass maintenance workers on pedestrian suspension bridges. That said, it is easy to see how the bridge inspired the hat. Nice crown decreases too.

In case you’ve had enough of hats, let’s move on to another knitting passion of mine.

Yep, dishcloths. This one is Amy Marie Vold’s Blooming Basket, complete with butterflies. These mosaic dishcloths are totally easy and totally addicting. I knit mine in DROPS Garnstudio Paris, a good workhouse kitchen cotton slightly less rustic than Lily Sugar ‘n Cream. It’s already been doing yeoman service in my kitchen.

This next cloth is Scattered Flowers, from Evelyn Clark’s Bathtime Blossoms collection. It’s the rarity in my cloth knitting because it’s knit in sportweight. Somewhere I picked up a skein of Classic Elite Allegoro. Allegoro is, well was, 70% cotton 30% linen/flax. It doesn’t make for a hearty dishcloth. Consider it a spa cloth. I just wanted to try Clark’s pattern again. I’d last knit it many years ago.


Even though I picked up my skein of Sueno from the sale bin, it was still fairly pricey yarn. I didn’t want any to go to waste. This next hat is Aimee Alexander’s cute Sleepy Sunday. It comes in a full range of sizes. But I had only enough yarn for the toddler size, modeled here by my Ravatar.

So sweet!

More doll clothes

Lambie loves this little dress. So does my 5-year old granddaughter. The dress is an old knitlist pattern by Elizabeth Baird: Sun Dress For Bean Bag Toy Animal. The pattern is available on the Wayback Machine internet archive site, via a link on Ravelry. And yes, I am old enough to recall the thrill of those early internet knitting connections forged via the Knitlist.

The first time I knit this dress I followed the pattern precisely. The seed stitch border curled some. So this time I substituted a picot border. I knit 2 together, yarn over, repeated across the turning row. Then I knit 5 rounds of stockinette. Finally, I bound off and hemmed the dress so that the hem folds along the yarn-over round. That worked out well. And, before reaching the hem I added the small amount of fair isle work. My version is knit in a sportweight yarn, which is what the pattern calls for.

Cute little dress. I wanted to accessorize it a bit.

I decided to knit Shoulder Bag for Teddy by Esther Kate even though it’s a tad oversized for the dress. My granddaughter like to mix ‘n match anyway. I modified the purse some. I knit the purse just as the pattern calls for except, instead of a garter stitch strap, I knit an I-cord and attached it at each top/side of the purse, under the flap. I also crocheted a loop (lordy how did this knitter manage that) and added a button. My purse was too floppy, so I gathered the top of each side and created a sort of folded satchel. And the perfect vintage button didn’t hurt.

Lambie is a little miffed about wearing this next item. She thinks the poncho is oversized and ugly. Could be. But it will suit some granddaughter “lovey” just fine.

It’s Brandi Miller’s Simple Doll Poncho, designed for an 18″ doll. The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn. This is the now-discontinued Classic Elite Chesapeake, a light worsted spun with 50% merino and 50% cotton.

This next pattern is Georgie Nicolson’s Poppy Cardigan, a freebie available on Ravelry. It’s an easy knit and is similar to a number of patterns available on Rav. The squared-off neck is a nice touch. It calls for DK weight yarn and I used some leftover bits of String Theory DK weight.

My Ravatar is modeling it here. She pleaded with me, and it’s a familiar whine, that she didn’t care that it doesn’t match anything she’s wearing. And she also didn’t care that it’s a bit small for her.

I had some extra bits of precious String Theory, cashmere content included. So I decided to knit an accessory that can do double duty as a cowl or a headband.

I wanted to add a skirt to Evelyn’s collection. This is Arne & Carlos “Skirt with Crocheted Edging.” The pattern is included in “Knitted Dolls, Handmade Dolls With a Designer Wardrobe,” which I recently acquired.

Here’s a view of the skirt laid flat.

I made some modifications. I knit it in a lightweight worsted instead of a sportweight. And you can look high and look low and you’ll not find any crocheted edging. I worked a picot edge instead. I started with 48 stitches, and then proceeded as the pattern directs, minus the round where you increase to 48 stitches. I also knit a purl ridge just before the last increase. My initial plan was to just let the hem curl forward…hopefully stopping at the purl ridge. That didn’t look right. So I knit 5 more rounds beyond the purl ridge. Next, I knit the turning round for the picot edge (k2 together, yarn over, across the round).  I finished up by knitting 5 rounds, casting-off, and hemming the skirt after turning the hem under at the yarn-over round.

Here’s Lambie modeling the skirt.

She insisted it could also be a poncho. In fact she told me she likes this poncho better than the yellow one that doesn’t fit right.

Maybe Lambie knows best. Doubtful.