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!

Patterns revisited

This is Aimee Alexander’s Antonia’s Scarf. I knit it in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Song. Song is a DK weight mix of 50% cotton, 50% wool. I wish I’d have discovered Song before Classic Elite did its swan dive. It’s excellent yarn. The feel is more cotton than wool.

I’ve knit this scarf  twice before, both times in Noro Yuzen. Even if you don’t know Yuzen, you’ll assume it’s many-colored (and you’d be correct). My Noro versions shout “look at me.” Song, by contrast, produced a subdued, calm scarf that just nestles into your coat and keeps your neck cozy.

One of the fun things about Antonia’s Scarf is that it knits up super fast. That triple wrap stitch eats yarn like crazy and adds three-quarters of an inch in two shakes of lamb’s tail.

This next repeat performer is Cecelia Compochiaro’s Swirl Hat, from Mason-Dixon’s Field Guide No 5. I knit it in my last remaining bits of Classic Elite Fresco. Fresco is, well was, a wonderful 60% Wool, 30% Alpaca, 10% Angora sportweight. I even added a machine-made pom-pom this time. Somehow the halo of the angora inspired me on that.

Great hat. Again (head to the end of the post). Such an interesting sequence knitting design. You just keep knitting the same sequence of knits and purls, each round, adjusting the stitch count at the start of a round every once in awhile. Surprisingly, the purl bumps zig first one way and then the opposite way. I didn’t understand much about why or how it worked the first time I knit it. And the light bulb didn’t go on the second time either. But it does work.

I had only 80 yard of worsted weight Rhichard Devrieze Fynn left after completing a recent project. Fynn is expensive enough that I’d saved my two skeins for years until the pandemic came along and I started to wonder what I was saving it for. After knitting myself a pair of bedsocks (yes, bedsocks), I set to looking for a pattern that would make good use of my remaining 80 yards.

Seventy-eight yards is all it took to knit myself one of the headbands from Knitwise Design’s Rugged Trail Headbands.

I’ve already found reason to wear this during the chilliest of these recent sunny late winter days. Great yarn, if you can forgive short yardage (175) and a major price tag.

Someone asked if my helmet/facemask could do any coronavirus duty. No. Too porous. But come next winter this helmet, knit in easy-care Plymouth Encore, will keep someone very warm. Three of my helmets are already hard at work on that task.

The pattern is from Carol A. Anderson’s a/k/a Cottage Creations R18 booklet “More Projects for the Community and Family.” Here’s the BIG Cottage Creations news. Almost every booklet in the Cottage Creations catalog, even the discontinued ones, are now available for download and purchase on Ravelry. Such great news!

No post on repeat performers of mine would be complete without including my newest Fetchings. These three sets of mitts are knit in my favorite yarn for this pattern: Noro Silk Garden. Unless you can find it on sale, it’s a splurge for a quick knit. But oh the colors!

These are my 8th, 9th, and 10th Fetching. Yep, I have a major stutter going when it comes to this pattern. My ten Fetchings posted on Ravelry contribute to the 21,216 total finished projects. I typically knit them just as Cheryl Niameth’s 2007 pattern directs. Some knitters lengthen the mitts some before binding off. Some work the bind-off to tame the bit of ruffle. But I find all the features somehow endearing.

Even more doubles

A repeated theme on this blog is knitting doubles. I get a kick out of working up the same pattern in different yarns or by reversing colorways. This first doubles is Justyna Lorkowska’s freebie Scrappy Ski Hat. Lorkowska designed this hat to use up worsted weight oddments. And it is beautifully suited to that. But I knit mine in Mirasol Umina, a 50% merino 50% alpaca worsted that is wonderfully soft.

Check out how nicely the crown decreases work out.

If you like this next hat (I do), you’ll have to work a bit harder than merely clicking over to Ravelry to buy a copy of the pattern. This is Carol A. Anderson’s Anna Hat. You’ll find it in her company’s (Cottage Creations’) “Caps (and more) for the Gals” booklet, #R32, copyright 2010. The pattern is on page 16 and is labeled “A Very Warm Textured Cap and Mitten Set for Rialey and Anna.” The booklet can be ordered here. There are a number of excellent patterns included.

I’d purchased two deeply discounted skeins of Cascade Pacific, a 60% acrylic 40% merino blend, figuring I’d find a use for them. The variegated colorway was a little overwhelming but this pattern stitch worked really well to tame it.

Without those stitches slipped with the yarn in front, which creates that bar of yarn, this colorway would have been hard to take.

I’m now liking this wild colorway and cool hat quite a bit. Here’s the same Anna Hat in a quieter variegated in the same yarn.

Kelbourne Woolens released a free hat pattern every month in 2019. This is a pair of June Hats, designed by Meghan Kelly. I like many of Kelbourne’s Year of Hats and knit quite a few of them. In fact, I’ve knit June before. I think that easy slip stitch chain in the main color is just the cat’s meow.

And my pompoms aren’t too shabby either. These hats are knit in Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted.

It’s yarn leftover from one of my favorite Rambling Rows ever.

“And now, for her next trick…” a triple. A triple Boon Island, by Aimee Alexander. First in Ella Rae Classic Solids, Heathers & Marls, but this is marl:

And the next two Boons are in Plymouth Yarns Encore, a 75% acrylic 25% wool workhorse.

 

Boon Island is very versatile. I much like the rough pebbly non-public side, which makes for a good brim for those who favor brim over slouch.

The crown decreases are handsome and well-behaved.

“Tha…tha…that’s all folks!” If you’d enjoy some more doubles, check out here and here and here.

One yarn, two projects

Isn’t it a beauty? It’s Tonia Barry’s Underhill wrap. I knit mine in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Legend, an 80% merino, 20% silk Aran weight. To me it feels like a worsted weight. The gauge for the project is 18 stitches and 29 rows in garter stitch to 4 inches.

Barry has designed extensively for Classic Elite. She, joined by Susan Mills and Kim Barnette, now release patterns under the umbrella of the Knitting Union. The trio was Classic Elite’s main design team and released more than 1200 patterns for the  company before it shuttered its doors.

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”―Obi-Wan Kenobi, sensing the destruction of Alderaa.

Classic Elite collapsing was a very big deal. But Knitting Union is now a pretty big deal too. They are hosting a knit-along on Ravelry that started June 15th and won’t end until September 15th if you want to join us. Pick any of their many patterns and just set to knitting and chatting.

Underhill was a fun, quick knit. That very lush spine of cable through the garter stitch background is the best! Here’s another look at Underhill. It’s been such a chilly spring that I’ve already been able to wear it.

And next check out Lalibela from Kino Knits. It’s a cute hat knit in the same Legend chartreuse colorway. It even somewhat echoes Underhill in its cable and garter stitch sections.

It’s apparently meant to be worn cables-forward, But with that little dip in the ribbing caused by the tug of the cables, I rather like letting the garter stitch sections frame the ears.

It even has a cool crown decrease:

Lalibela. I figured the hat’s name was yet another in a series of oddly named patterns. Live and learn. Lalibela is actually a town in the highlands of Ethiopia. It’s a heritage pilgrimage site, primarily for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Some of the churches date to the 12th century and many of them feature small arched stone windows that inspired the design of this hat.

So, from the sublime to the mundane. Dishcloths. “Yes, she still knits them but worsted weight cotton kills her hands now.” Both of these next cloths are knit in Knitpicks Dishie, a kitchen cotton that’s a tad less rustic and less hard on the hands than Sugar ‘n Creme, the dishcloth workhorse. This one is Louise Sarrzin’s Sunflower Basket Dishcloth.

Ok. So you don’t like to knit dishcloths and you think they are a waste of yarn and a bacteria haven. (Hint, zap the dishcloth in the microwave while it’s wet to kill any beasties.) But admit it. This basket of sunflowers will put a smile on your face and help you whistle while you work.

This next Dishie cloth, also knit in the Creme Brulee colorway, is Aimee Alexander’s Himalayan Salt.

It’s a very fast knit. And your dishcloth gets to pretend it’s sophisticated because of the simple lace pattern.

Bankhead is Susie Gourlay’s free hat pattern that’s been knit and posted on 6773 (and still counting) Ravelry project pages. You don’t get those kind of numbers without being one good hat. You can knit and wear it slouchy.

Or you can go more traditional and just cuff it.

The top is ruly. That’s not a word but it should be. Think of it as the opposite of unruly.

I knit Bankhead in leftover Paton’s Decor. It was leftover from a scarf I wanted to knit: Classic Elite’s Lavish Rib Cable Scarf.  I needed about 400 yards, 405.2 to be exact, of worsted weight and I was just off my yarn diet and didn’t want to splurge yet. The local yarn shop I went to was very low on stock, waiting for news of how much the new landlord would be raising rent. I liked the shade of navy (“rich country blue”) and figured Decor would work fine. It 25% wool, 75% acrylic and will be easy care.

This scarf is an older Classic Elilte pattern, available for download on Patternfish–until they folded on June 16, 2019. As with Underhill, it was that central cable that intrigued me enough to buy the pattern while Patternfish was doing its last gasp thing.

Obviously, this scarf’s knit lengthwise and that cable is manipulated across the middle row. The only modifications I made were to make it longer by casting on 328 stitches rather than 250. That increased stitch count worked for another Raveler, but my mileage varied. To keep the rib pattern going, I needed to decrease 4 stitches (instead of two) as the pattern changed to 2 by 2 rib to work the cable. So, in the section after the cable, I also increased 4 rather than 2. And I  decided I wanted to try to emphasize the cable row more, so I added 2 rows of 2 by 2 cable, both before and after the cable row.

I like this scarf pattern, a lot, including because of this nifty trick it can do.

About the yarn shop? She lives! Spruce Shadow Farms in Alpena!

Ribbed hats with pizzazz

It’s snowing like crazy this afternoon, April 11th. So that clearly means it’s time to write about …more hats. If this snow keeps up and foils our plan to not shovel again this season, since we assume that because it’s mid-April it will melt quickly, maybe we’ll still be wearing hats in May.

This is Rafa’s Hat, a freebie by Argentinian designer, Joji Locatelli. And, yes, if you’ve clicked on that link, maybe your man will end up looking like Locatelli’s model if you knit him this hat. Probably not, though. She sees it as a “manly” hat and it is. But it’s a perfectly proper womanly hat too. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, one of my favorite worsted weight hat yarns. This knit looks best knit in a yarn with excellent stitch definition.

Here’s the well-behaved, attractive crown decrease section. I decided to work fewer rounds (only four) after the last pattern repeat that ends with the line “divider” because I thought that the hat was tall enough. This is a hat I’ll be returning to again. In fact, maybe sooner rather than later because snow always energizes my hat knitting.

This next hat is an Aimee Alexander (Polka Dot Knits) design: Boon Island. I knit mine in Berroco’s Ultra Wool, another excellent newer superwash worsted. The “cracked rib” a/k/a “broken rib” stitch is an easy two-round pattern that makes for excellent social knitting. I couldn’t quite get the gauge of 22 stitches and 34 rows to 4 inches in Ultra Wool. My gauge on size 7 US needles was 23 stitches to 4 inches. But the hat is very stretchy and gives a knitter a Get-Out-of-Jail Free Card on minor gauge problems.

The hat can be worn slouchy.

Or it can be worn cuffed.

Either way, every head, all sizes, will find that Boon Island suits. And the hat really flies off your needles because every other round of broken rib is a knit round.

Boon Island is a close cousin to Jennifer Adams’s Graham, a Ravelry freebie. Adams’s hat uses a traditional ribbing at the outset. This time I knit my Graham in Berroco Peruvia. Peruvia is considered an Aran weight, but the hat worked out just fine. Graham’s pattern calls for Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which is labeled a worsted but knits up (for me) a tad beefier.

Here’s Graham’s slouch look.

The crown treatment on the two hats is different, with Boon Island’s creating a more pronounced “x” of decreases as compared to Graham’s more traditional simple shaping.

And here’s Graham cuffed.

Both Boon Island and Graham are completely reversible. That’s a nice touch in any simple hat because the knit-clueless among us often seem to wear their hats inside out. With these hats, it won’t matter.

A number of knitters, myself included, have altered the Graham crown decreases thinking to eliminate any hint of a pointy top. For me, at round 19 I knit 2 together across the round. I worked K1, P1 across round 20. And for round 21, I k1, k2tog across the round. That left 14 stitches remaining to close the top.

Here’s the Graham I knit a few years ago, in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I didn’t modify the crown and the off-head pointy crown totally disappears. My son prefers to wear his Graham cuffed.

Personally, I think “my” model rivals Locatelli’s. But I’m probably biased.

This next cracked/broken rib hat is Virginia Myers’s The Only Hat Your Teen Wants.

I knit mine in the lovely-to-look-at Brillo Pad competitor yarn, Caron Cupcakes. It’s a DK weight acrylic caked up in a really attractive run of five colors, complete with a pompom.

The look of this hat? Very, very nice in this yarn. The price point of this yarn? Excellent. The pattern? A really good one. It’s a DK take on mistake rib, with a twisted rib cuff. The feel of this yarn? Really, really rough with that unpleasant squeak-on-the-needles quality. That being said, after I washed the hat and put it in the dryer (before attaching the pompom), it softened nicely. There was no way this hat would do its slouch thing without a washing. First off the needles, the hat stood on its own.

If Cupcakes tempts, this pattern really shows off the yarn.

Haxann Evers’s Garter Rib Bliss is one last entry in the ribbed hat category. It’s another Ravelry freebie. I knit mine in Blue Sky Fibers Handspun Organic Cotton, a beefy worsted weight.

Check the other Ravelry projects for this hat to see its very different look knitted in soft acrylic or non-cotton natural yarn. The non-cottons bunch the yarn so that the ribbing looks more, well, ribbing-like. But I like the looks of mine.

I was prepared to not like the very abrupt K2 together all across the round crown decreases in this pattern. Instead, I’ve decided that I like the effect. Very nice ribbiness.

Often keeping it simple works really well.