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.

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.

Headbands

I have a habit of often measuring the success of a pattern by its crown decreases. No problem here!

65 yards of worsted weight is enough to crown even a pumpkin-head. I used Plymouth Encore. The knitting is quick and fun. This is Linda Kilgore’s Crown Ear Warmer. The pattern is an almost-freebie (one buck). It makes for cute headgear on the birthday kid and would also be a great party-favor. Plus, it is double thick over the ears and will keep ears warm and cozy.

A headband doesn’t get any easier than this next one. Garter stitch with knitted-on I-cord edging. This is Carol A. Anderson’s Child’s Garter Stitch Headband from her #R-19 booklet “More Projects for the Community & Family.” Leave it to Anderson to come up with a no-nonsense name for her booklet and pattern. I am 100% comfortable with that choice. I’d just laugh myself silly if this headband were named something goofy.

The pattern is ridiculously and soothingly easy.

This next headband is a tad more difficult but well within the skill level of any but a total beginner. This is one of two patterns included in Knitwise Design’s Rugged Trails Headbands. I knit mine in Berroco UltraWool. Actually, it’s “Ultra” with a trademark symbol tucked in between Ultra and Wool. Really Berroco? You’ve trademarked “Ultra?”  OK.

Headbands can be such useful teeny things. Keep one in a jacket or coat pocket and you’ll banish even the surprise cases of cold ears.

Just to come full circle, here’s my Ravatar wearing the Crown Ear Warmer. The thing is so stretchy that it fits tons of head sizes. Ravatar’s head is preemie sized and the headband still works well. Sort of silly though, because although I gave her eyes, nose, and a mouth, I forgot to give her ears.

 

Non-scratchy hat yarns

Some folks, often but not exclusively the young ones, complain about “scratchy” hats and other articles made of wool. I knit these balaclavas in Berroco Vintage and the grandkids are all smiles. (You can tell by Evelyn’s eyes that she’s smiling.) No scratchiness. It’s possible some of the smiles are because the children decided these balaclavas are actually Lego helmets.

Vintage is an excellent workhorse acrylic (52%), wool (40%), nylon (10%) worsted weight blend. The wool adds warmth and wicking qualities. And the acrylic and nylon tame the perceived scratchiness.

This is a Carol A. Anderson pattern from pages 6-7 of Cottage Creations booklet R18, “More Projects for the Community and Family.” It’s a super easy ribbed facemask that stretches to fit all the sizes heads come in. These are the youth size. Seventy grams of Vintage gets the job done.

And when your granddaughter is no longer wearing her balaclava, she can put it to all sorts of other uses. Like swaddling a wolf stuffed buddy.

Or as a peekaboo spot for her Snow White action figure.

Kids definitely know how to have fun with hats.

With the extra Vintage I knit a less-than-beautiful, but totally non-scratchy Wherever It Points. This hat is a freebie from Darn Knit Anyway.

Please don’t hold my gaudy rendering of this fine pattern against it. Some of the projects on Ravelry are stunning, You can find Customized Wear – Richardson hat dealer. In fact, here’s another I made, this time using Berroco Comfort. Comfort is a 50% acrylic 50% nylon worsted. So no pitiful little voices will accuse that their hat is scratchy.

Now that is a fine hat. With an excellent non-pointy crown.