Every little bit counts

My 2019 resolution was to try hard to knit all usable quantities of a colorway before I proceed to a new yarn for a new project. Kind of “finish your peas before you eat dessert” thing. Well, except that Schoppel-Woole Zauberball and Cascade Yarns Superwash Sport are hardly the peas of the yarn world. Apologies, to you pea lovers, but peas taste terrible and I bet somewhere deep down you know that too.

So, first I used a smidge of the Daffodil colorway to knit my Annita Wilschut Vera bear a rain hat.

Perfect. That was in the summer of 2014.

My Daffodil languished. Next, in the fall of 2018 I knit Wolkig in my black/gray/white Zauberball.

I broke into the  Daffodil for the cuffs of my adult moc-o-socs.

Such a great pattern by Rebekah Berkompas.

Then, with most of the leftover Zauberball and a dainty amount of the Cascade 220 sport Daffodil, I knit Justyna Losorska’s freebie beanie, Fasolka. I followed her instructions exactly, except that I went my own way on the color combination.

I see this sportweight hat as a great success. It even has an excellent crown, with no hint of the dreaded pointy beanie syndrome.

The Zauberball colorway worked out so excellently, I will be indulgent and give you another view.

What next to knit. I’d been eager to give Cecelia Compochiaro’s “sequence” knitting a try. My first attempt was her Swirl Hat, using her spiral sequence method.

If case you haven’t heard about or tried sequence knitting yet, let me intrigue you. All the patterning on this hat repeats the same 10-stitch sequence. Yep, the diagonal slices, separated by a few rows of stockinette, are several rounds of the same sequence worked over and over again, ignoring the end-of-round marker. The shift in the direction of the slice happens magically (or so it seems to me) by a minor adjustment to the number of stitches in the round that happens in the stockinette section.

There was even enough Zauberball left for a right-sized pompom.

My Cascade 220 superwash sport hadn’t run out yet, so I couldn’t quit on it. This next hat is Susan Villas Lewis’s Vitruvian Man.

The Vitruvian Man, at least the one who isn’t a hat, is DaVinci’s drawing of a man stretched out in a circle, with his arms stuffed into the top of a square and his legs stuffed in the bottom of a circle. You know, this guy:

It’s a fun motif to knit. The entire hat is very cleverly designed.

Check out the great crown.

I have a big gumball sized ball of Zauberball left. And what’s left of my Cascade 220 sport isn’t quite a golf-ball sized ball. Every useful bit is used up.

More for your neck

This pretty is Betangled Cowl by Jennifer Weissman. It’s designed for an Aran weight yarn. But I decided to knit it in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s wool, a worsted. It was mid-December during a dreary stretch of days. I succumbed to the lemon yellow colorway. And that luxurious 24-stitch cable. Yep. 24-stitch. I was finally able to use a gigantic j-hook cable needle that I’ve never used before to hold those 12 stitches.

I obviously knew that I was under gauge. This wool, in these stitches, wasn’t happy until I moved down to a size 8 (and 7) US-sized needle. Since it was going to be lemon yellow come hell or high water, I decided I’d accept a narrower version and just add some pattern repeats. My gauge was 20 stitches to 4 inches (not the 17 the pattern calls for) and 34 rows to 4 inches (not 26).  I knit the medium size and ended up knitting 10 pattern repeats (rather than the 8 that the pattern called for). Mine is 9.5 inches tall and 36.5 inches edge-to-edge.

I like this one. A lot. The pattern is available for purchase here on Ravelry.

I thought I’d sworn off buttoned cowls. Generally, even lightweight buttons add more weight to a cowl than I prefer. And then the cowl sags along the button-band line. But Betangled bewitched me. If I make this again, I believe I’ll do a provisional cast-on, ditch the buttons, and graft the ends together. I’m not sure how I’d manage the ribbing sections though.

This looks and wears much better on my glass head than it does on me. It seems to take more precise wearing skills than I possess. But I’ve been advised “Just put it on and ignore it because it’s beautiful.”

I sewed a button on both sides of the top buttonhole so that when the cowl flips forward, there will be a button.

This is Ann Budd’s Crimson Leaves Cowl. Mine is knit in Sun Valley Farms MCN fingering weight. The yarn is a great mix of 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon,

This cowl was a lot of work. 252 stitches and size 2 US needles. There are no resting rows in the 4-round, 18-stitch repeat lace pattern. But the pattern is not complicated. To the awake and alert, anyway. I am not a skilled lace knitter and I was able to manage it without lifelines, just using stitch markers to frame the pattern repeats.

I’ve not knit many fingering weight cowls. Glass head is able to keep it from flopping over at the neck and showing its reverse side. I’m not so successful with that because, well, because I move. Despite it’s floppiness I like this cowl and have already gotten a good deal of wear out of it.

I used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off, as the pattern suggests. It’s very elastic, which assures that the bind-off won’t bind. And it does leave the fabric somewhat wavy. But it’s not much of an echo of the waviness of the cast-on edge. Sort of the nature of the beast, I guess. This cowl needed a rather stern wet block to open up the pattern. I wasn’t successful, though, in matching the bind-off edge to the handsome cast-on edge.

This next pattern is Martina Behm’s great freebie, Wolkig. It’s another fingering-weight cowl. But this one-row pattern (that’s not a misprint) is incredibly easy to knit.

Behm explains: “The Wolkig cowl is twisted and has extra volume due to strategically worked decreases and increases, so it can be stretched a little to fit comfortably over your head when putting it on. Stretched in the other direction (lengthwise), it will fit snugly around your neck without leaving any gaps where the cold wind might sneak in.” Here’s a look at it off-neck.

Wolkig, which means “cloud” in German, is even interesting on its non-public side, as this next photo shows. That’s especially true worked in a variegated yarn like my Zauberball by Schoppel-Wolle. Zauberball is a sportweight, though maybe a lightweight sportweight. It still worked out well.

This is my fourth Wolkig. You might want to check out the rest. I measure the success of this pattern partly by the fact that every Wolkig I’ve knit is sprucing up somebody else’s neck. My knitworthy folks like this pattern a lot. I really should knit one for me.

For your neck

Felt Head is wearing Diamond in the Rough, a Baah Yarn scarf. Baah set the price at $6 and it’s available (for that price) on Ravelry. The local yarn shop where I bought my skein of La Jolla, a 100% merino fingering weight, said the pattern was free and gave me a copy. They are, excuse me were, a reputable shop that I assume had Baah’s permission to distribute the pattern for free with a purchase. I don’t whine about pattern prices on this blog or in the real world either. But I make an exception for $6 for a three-stitch repeat across every row of the scarf. C’mon–I’m definitely going to bleat to Baah about that!

This planned pooling pattern is supposed to work well with Baah Yarn’s “dipped and dappled” La Jolla. I used the Tequila Sunset colorway.

I’ve knit this pattern, twice, in Baah’s Savannah. The planned pooling worked out great.

The pattern says it’s designed for both Savannah and LaJolla. It’s also supposed to work itself into a plaid (sort of) in LaJolla. This time it didn’t work as well as I’d have liked. In the center part of the scarf the pooling worked perfectly. I have a rough but fairly distinct plaid. But on both ends? The patterning is dramatically off. I thought maybe the first part of the skein was dyed incorrectly. The end section is “off” in a similar way.

It’s still pretty. Well, except for the sections that look like long drips of blood. So, not what I expected or hoped for.

I have one more skein of LaJolla in my stash. I may give Diamond in the Rough one more try sometime soon.

LaJolla is fairly expensive yarn, in the $30 range for 400 yards. Noro Transitions is competitive with LaJolla price-wise per 130-yard skein. Actually, was competitive. It’s been discontinued. But I found a few skeins at a deep discount. Transitions is 51% Wool/ 14% Silk/ 7% Cashmere/ 7% Angora/ 7% Alpaca/ 7% Mohair/ 7%Camel. Yep. You can’t make that up!

I used Purl Soho’s free mistake rib scarf pattern. Mistake rib works with any multiple of 4, plus 3 stitches. I cast on 23 stitches, which turned out to be about six inches wide, using size 11 US needles. I knitted until both my skeins were exhausted. This kind of knitting goes so very, very quickly that there’s no chance the knitter will be exhausted by the effort. I ended up with a 60-inch scarf.

You’re wondering what Wool/Silk/Cashmere/Angora/Alpaca/Mohair/Camel yarn feels like? As the skein progresses, through (apparently) a series of blends of fiber, one fiber or the other dominates. I could distinguish the wool, the angora and definitely the silky sections. The other fibers are less familiar to me so I didn’t recognize the feel–except, different. It’s a fun super bulky and if you can find any skeins I recommend it for a quick knit.

For your feet

These are Rebekah Berkompas’s a/k/a/ Bekah Knits’ Adult Moc-a-soc. It’s such a clever design. You knit the slipper part flat. Yes. Flat. On straight needles (or circulars used as if they were straights).The pattern is available in a fold-out pamphlet in many yarn shops and by download on Ravelry.

The slipper part is knit in worsted weight and seamed on the bottom and mid-heel. I used Cascade’s 220 Superwash Wave, an almost-gradient. Then stitches are picked up, in the round, on the inside of the slippers. The ribbed sock part is knit in a sport weight on double-points or magic loop.  I used Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. I’ve knit the adult version of these 3 times now. Check here to see an earlier version, along with a baby-sized pair. My recent pair is my favorite. There’s something about looking down at feet and seeing all that sunny color that makes a person smile.

The Moc-a-soc is slipper and socks combined. Sort of. This next bit of footwear at first seems like just half a slipper.

Most knitters who visit yarn shops (always a good idea) will have seen Lorna Miser’s Suede Soled Slippers. Miser’s slipper kit is a slipper sole that ends up as a whole slipper.  I probably knit my first pair twenty years ago. The kit is a slippper-bottom, a small skein of yarn, and a pattern.

Follow the included pattern to knit this:

Yes. Where’s the rest of your slippers? All is as it should be.

I am completely crochet-impaired. If you’re not, you will probably use one of those amazing crochet stitches I know nothing about to attach your knitted slippers into the soles through the holes in the slipper bottoms. For my part, I just sewed them on. I’m also almost completely sewing-impaired, so I just stitched through the sole-holes and into the knitted fabric. Easy peasy.

Miser’s kit knits up in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Heck, there’s almost nothing to knit!

Next comes a holiday gift I knit for Steve, a man who loves hand knit socks. One of my knitting circle mates says she sees red reindeer running across these socks. I don’t think so. But these socks definitely look festive.

These are cobbled together from a number of patterns, so I’ll just call it my personal sock pattern. It started out life as a sock whose designed heel just didn’t look like it would hold up to feet. So I knit a traditional heel instead, in eye-of-partridge, and simply did a standard toe.

Steve’s socks are knit in Schachenmayr Regia’s, Design Line by Arne & Carlos, a 75% wool, 25% nylon fingering weight. Both the yarn and the heel will be able to stand up to almost anything feet can dish out.

Sticking to the theme of failsafe foot stuff here’s my recent knit of Nola Miller’s Nola’s Slippers. Mine are knit in Harrisville Design’s WATERshed, worsted and doubled (as the pattern calls for). They are knit flat and seamed at mid-bottom and mid-heel. I’ve knit gobs of these over the years. They never disappoint.

Happy holidays to all!

Best wishes for a great holiday season! And thanks so much for visiting my blog. 2019 will be the blog’s ten-year anniversary. Who knew what fun it would be to chronicle my knitting and lake adventures.

These beauties are Amy Marie Vold’s contribution to the holiday spirit. It’s her new pattern, Chameleon Snowflake Poinsettia –another classic from a talented mosaic designer who specializes in the homely art of dishcloths.