Twofers

I bought these 6 skeins of worsted weight Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s Wool at a local yarn shop on October 6, 2012. How do I know? I record purchase dates in my Ravelry stash. I paid full price for the yarn, $10.40 for each 250 yard skein. If you’re keeping track of yarn inflation, more than nine years later Michigan shops sell the same yarn for $14.00 a skein.

I even remember what I planned to knit with those 1500 yards: Pamela Wynne’s February Lady’s sweater. The sweater is a Ravelry freebie that has 13,856 project pages. It’s modeled after Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic “Baby Sweater on Two Needles” from her “Knitter’s Almanac.” I don’t know why I never knitted it.1500 yards is enough yarn to complete the adult version of the sweater. And it’s a great pattern. But the yarn just sat. It was long beyond time to turn that pile of purple into something even prettier.

I decided to make Elizabeth Smith’s Brookdale Vest. Such an easy knit and such an unfussy look. Here’s me wearing my vest.

I reckon’ I’m a tad overly casual for a proper model. What’s with the way-too-long sleeves on that old black fleece?  It’s warm that way. Am I really wearing a t-shirt under that old black thing? Yes. It’s warm that way. And straighten the collar on it, woman! It will be even warmer if you stand that collar up properly on both sides. But if you can look beyond all that, isn’t it a comfy vest? Lately, I use a shawl pin to close it up. It’s extra warm that way.

Brookdale Vest even has a small back detail that’s kind of cute.

800 yards in the 4th-from-the-largest size and I had a vest, with 700 yards of Shepherd’s Wool left.

The twofer part of this post is that I decided I’d knit up the rest of the yarn ASAP. I selected Emily Bolduan’s freebie Honeycomb Scarf. It’s a simple slip-stitch pattern with a faux I-Cord edge.

Here’s a better look at that nicely behaved edge.

Honeycomb is a plump stitch that’s perfect for a very cozy scarf. 10 inches wide. 70 inches long. NIce and warm that way.

It’s been 8 below zero Fahrenheit here lately. All I can think about is keeping warm.

More doubles

My knitting’s been on a bit of a stutter. Building on my last post, today’s features a few more doubles. This no-nonsense accessory is Elizabeth Smith’s Low-Key Cowl. It’s just a simple combination of knits and purls, worked in the round. But what a nice “just” that turns out to be. Totally wearable. I knit mine in the Sunset colorway of worsted weight Malabrigo Rios.

The twist that make Low-Key so wearable? That two-sided split garter stitch edging. Instead of bunching up and crowding the chin like so many other one-skein cowls, this one sits neatly on the broader parts of you.

And, of course, you can situate that split wherever you decide it does the most good. Smith’s directions on the simple maneuver that creates the split are spot on. This cowl is totally doable even for a beginning knitter.

My apologies for the photo that looks like I slept in my shirt. Steve took a series of photos. This was the only one where I wore a sort-of-smile that didn’t look: (1) like a smirk, (2) like I was crooked, or (3) funereal. It’s true, though, that I’d just gotten up from a nice long nap exactly as the shirt suggests.

I’d no sooner finished my first Low-Key that I wanted to knit another.

I knit this second one in Cascade Wave, another worsted-weight superwash. I’ve enjoyed knitting with Wave before, just not in this kind of drab colorway, inaptly name “Camo.” Camo, to me, implies there would be some green in it. But this is all shades of brown.

In this view you can see the construction of the two overlapping side slits. A most serviceable unisex cowl.

If my requests are any indication, this might be dubbed the year of the headband. People are asking for headbands. I prefer to think good thoughts about headband popularity rather than that people aren’t liking my hat offerings. This next set of doubles is Lisa McFetridge’s Grindelwald Earband. You’ve seen it here before.

Felt Head is showing this one off, knit in Berroco Ultra Wool. And the second one is knit in Cascade 220 Elysian. Both are worsted weights.

If you have a spare 90 yards or so and are looking for a project, I definitely recommend this one. The cable is very fun to knit. The modifications I made were set up to make the ending graft easier to work.  I used a crochet provisional cast-on instead of the “open” one recommended in the pattern. Then I knit the first row (to avoid the mess that a mix of purls and knits makes when you try to unravel it). Instead of working a kitchener graft with a mix of knits and purls, I worked a 3-needle bind-off. Easy peasy. It’s slightly visible, but so would my kitchener effort have been. And teaching an old dog a new cast-on trick just wasn’t working for me.

Next up is one of my major stutters: Calorimetry.  This is my Number 26 Calorimetry, worked in Lamb’s Pride Worsted.

Such an excellent headband, earband, headwarmer, whatever’s your word for it. It’s totally ponytail friendly, though Glass Head has nothing but disdain for such a notion.

If you’re still keeping track, here’s Number 25 knit in a riotous colorway of Noro Kureyon.

Speaking of keeping track of stuff. The current count of the number of Calorimetry Ravelry project pages is 19,484. It’s the 15th of the Top 15 Ravelry project pages. What’s Number 1? It’s another freebie, Erica Lueder’s Hermione’s Everyday Socks. That one is 35,526 project pages. No. 35,527. I guess I better close this post quickly.

Doubled

I think these are super cute and so do hundreds of others who’ve knitted Jelka since Isabell Kraemer released the pattern as a freebie in December of 2021. Jelka is a very easy slip stitch pattern, with a doubled brim that will keep ears warm and dry.

It starts with a provisional cast-on. Here’s my favorite crochet provisional cast-on, demonstrated by Lucy Neatby. Don’t groan. This one is easily worked. And it pulls out beautifully when you need it to, no unraveling or tangling. Just be sure that your first row after the cast-on is all knits or (I think) all purls. Jelka’s first round after the cast-on is all knit. Such an alert call by Kraemer. Other than working the provisional cast-on properly, another hint for the joining round is to pick up the cast-on stitches onto a needle 1 or 2 sizes smaller than your working needle.

Of course the pompom is optional. I think they usually look ratty after the hat is washed, so I often steer clear of pompoms. But this hat just seemed to want one. So I obliged.

I knit my first Jelka in Malabrigo Rios. The main color is Sunset and the contrast color is Teal Feather.

The hat benefited by a steam blocking to encourage the slipped stitches to relax into the fabric.

Why would anyone want to knit something more than once? I know that there are many knitters who ask that question out of sincere puzzlement. They want each knitting adventure to be, well, an adventure. Take it from someone who’s knit 50 Acorn Hill Ponies, 26 Calorimetry earwarmers, 16 Sunrise Side Bears, 15 Windschief hats, 13 Noro Striped Scarves, 11 Fetching fingerless mitts, 11 The Thinker hats, 11 Rambling Rows blankets, 10 Better Dorm Boots, and 9 Rib Sampler Scarves, that some knitters take solace in the familiar. Sometimes knitting adventures aren’t what I crave.

As soon as I knit my first Jelka, I wanted to knit another. I don’t think there’s a much higher compliment to a designer than to feel that way.

My second Jelka is knit in Plymouth Yarns Select Merino superwash.

I was curious how a much more tame color combination would work out. My sense is that it worked out quite nicely.

I even decided to add a two-color pompom.

I’ve already mentioned that I’ve knit The Thinker hat 11 times. Recently I realized it had been nearly 2 years since I’d returned to Susan Villas Lewis’ excellent pattern. Thinkers look especially nice in solid colors that show off the stitches. And I had recently purchased some solid skeins of Sugar Bush Bold worsted. First came one.

And immediately came another. The second is worked in a nice bright shade of Bold tailor-made for walks during hunting season.

The Thinker has an excellent pinwheel crown decrease. It looks a little odd laying flat. But just tell your recipients to stop laughing and put it on their heads because what first looks pointy behaves absolutely non-pointy.

One of my best knitting buddies, Dot, has knit multiples of this next hat. I figured that must mean it’s an excellent knit. Jesie Ostermiller’s Portsmouth Beanie did not disappoint. I knit my first one in Cascade Yarn’s Elysian. It’s a new yarn to me. It’s an easy-care worsted in 60% merino, 40% acrylic. I liked the yarn. I really like this unisex pattern.

The pattern also eats yarn very daintily. I knit the largest size and only used 127 yards.

I knit a second Portsmouth Beanie in Sugar Bush Bold. I apologize for that funny little purl hiccup in the middle of my ribbed brim. If I’d have seen it before the photograph, I’d have fixed it. But it’s still a very serviceable and attractive hat.

And the no-nonsense crown decreases work well.

I see no shame in knitting doubles. Maybe there’s a little bit of shame in knitting 50 of the same ponies or 11 of the same blankets. I’ve already confessed my guilt on that score. At a minimum it shows my knitting imagination is easily satisfied. I genuinely enjoy seeing the same pattern knit in different yarns. But likely the major motivation is that such knitting feels comfortable and familiar. Sort of chicken soup for my hands.

Gifted

Maybe you remember that I recently wrote about a report that llama toys have supplanted all other eccentric critters in popularity? Supposedly unicorns aren’t top dog anymore. It was a bit of a sore topic since I’d just completed knitting my granddaughter a winged unicorn, OK a pegasus, as a holiday present.

I decided to hunt for llama knitting patterns and came across Wee Sandy’s Llama Divine pattern. Llama joined unicorn in my granddaughter’s holiday gift package. Honestly, it was a fiddly knit. I much prefer knitting critters that require a minimum of sewing up after the knitting’s finished. But, for this result, I’ll consent to sewing. Happily, the boucle yarn covers up a multitude of sewing sins.

Now, about that boucle yarn.

It’s Classic Elite Mouton. This designated super bulky boucle is 73% wool, 21% mohair, and 6% nylon. It was skeined up with 51 yards. Maybe you can make out the price tag? $6.25. That is a good indicator of just how old this skein is. It’s not quite as old as my 35-year-old-son. My estimate is I bought it in approximately 1995. I bought 2 skeins to use as doll hair. My version of Kristen Nicolas’ Eclectic Ethnic Dolls came out all wild and wooly thanks to Mouton, which was exactly the look I hoped for.

And now llama. The boucle was perfect for this project. I’m satisfied that my llama has just the right level of wooly, with an excellent sassy expression. I think llama looks just about ready to spit. Mouton waited a long time to be knit up. Maybe it was worth the wait.

Next up is a Janice Anderson pattern. It’s a bit of a mystery. Until recently, it was freebie available on LoveCrafts site. I am certain it was a freebie originally called “Rowan PureLife Sheep Toys,” yes, as in Rowan the major yarn company. I am certain because I downloaded and retained a copy of the Rowan PDF. When I knit this very distinctive sheep, I found that it had disappeared from Ravelry and from LoveCrafts and from Rowan. (I know you’re not really tempted, but I do get inquiries from time to time, and must refuse providing anyone with a pattern copy.) I figure that someone’s in a tiff about the rights to distribute this pattern. For now, anyone without a copy will have to drool from afar or wade into the Wayback Machine. where this knitter dares not go. Hopefully this cool pattern will be released again and soon. Here’s how the Rowan cover-page shows the sheep:

And here’s my version, knit in Barrett Home Worsted Weight wool.

You can see that I didn’t quite capture the full oddball sheepiness of the originals. Somehow my ears turned out quite small. And though I tried those long vertical slit eyes, I couldn’t get them to look right. Plus the mouth turned into more of a muzzle. Bottom line, I winged it some.

Every single time I look at this character, I smile. It’s pretty much impossible to ID him as a sheep though. It kept bothering me about what my critter looked like and then a fellow knitting friend, Audrey, figured it out:

By golly I’ve knit a white Pink Panther. With a bobbed tail, poor thing.

More Maria Socha hats

I’ve already accused myself of being obsessed with Maria Socha’s hat designs in another blog post. Apparently I’m out to prove that I’m guilty as charged.

This is Estera. It’s been one of my favorite hats during this early cold Michigan winter. I knit mine in Malabrigo Rios in the lettuce colorway. Socha makes bobbles look amost elegant in this hat. And the strong architectural lines of the body of the hat flowing into those graceful crown decreases? Wow. Just wow.

Next up is Jelenka. It’s knit in a yarn that’s new to me: The Yarn Collective’s Pembroke Worsted. Excellent yarn. Great hat. Here’s a close look at the texture flowing back, and forth, and back again in this hat.

It’s an interesting, simple stitch that creates a dense but squishy fabric. Glasshead found it quite cozy. So does the head currently wearing it. The flow of the stitch pattern does a great job of taming variegated yarns,

Socha’s designs often have spectacular crown decreases. This one is more subtle than most but the pinwheel effect works great and looks great.

Klapsa is next. Here’s the pear, a favorite variety in Socha’s native Poland.

Here’s the hat. (I probably should have knitted it in green.)

Klapsa is a wonderful fun knit. Mine is knit in HiKoo by Skacel’s Sueno Worsted.

Socha’s patterns are both charted and provided line-by-line. I worked from the chart. The 22-stitch, 55 round chart is super easy to use because it prints at full-page size. It makes for a comfortable read for my old eyes. The chart is even easier to work than it seems at first glance because every other row is simply working the stitches as they appear from the prior round.

And, once again, a great crown decrease.

For the cold ears among us: Ulena. That’s a very wide doubled brim, with a picot edge. Starting with a provisional cast-on creates live stitches to join to the stitches on your needle. And then it’s off to the races with fun increases and decreases. Plus some well-placed bobbles.

Here’s a look at the interesting effect.

Ulena finishes off with a great crown.

Ulena calls for an Aran weight yarn. I used Novita’s 7 Veljesta Solid. I wasn’t sure how a yarn with 25% acrylic would work up with the tugs of the increases and decreases and bobbles on stockinette, but it did well.

By now, I must seem to be quite the fan girl of Socha’s hat patterns. To me, she’s a major talent in the knitting universe.