Big-box store yarns

The cowl is Tin Can Knits’ Oats, a unisex freebie from this most generous duo of designers, Alexa Ludeman  and Emily Wessel. It’s part of their Simple Collection. And the hat is Elena Nodel’s Cherry on Top. Elena lost her battle with cancer in June of 2017. She left behind her loving husband and a young daughter. She made her mark in the knitting universe.

Maybe neither Nodel nor the Tincans would think it’s cool that I knit their patterns in 100% acrylic, Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted Solid, by Premier Yarns. But my niece, an avid (and successful) young hunter needed blaze orange. When you need that color there aren’t too many Indie dyers who want to touch it. So, not carrot. Not apricot meringue. Blaze Orange. In Michigan, you can buy it at Meijer’s. And lots of other big box stores.

My niece is now visible in the woods from far off. That’s the important point. Visible to other hunters, that is. Deer are missing the long cones of the eye that allow eyeballs to see blaze orange. Basically, deer are red-green color blind.  So, blaze orange is a good color to hide yourself from them.

Cherry on Top has really  wonderful crown decreases. It is stunning in what the pattern calls for–Malabrigo Rios.

Here’s a closer look at Oats. It’s an easy, quick knit. This cowl is especially perfect for new knitters looking to knit their first cowl. It’s also perfect for mature (ahem) knitters looking for an easy knit.

Big Box acrylics are also great for preemie knits. Our guild donated half-a-bazillion of these little guys to a local hospital this year. Here’s mine, knit from an unidentified easy-care acrylic.

My Black Sheep Knitting Guild distributed the preemie hat cap pattern. If you search around on Ravelry you’ll find all sorts of easy caps like this one. Look for “preemie caps” or “fruit caps.”

And then there are the various Caron Cakes. I wasn’t especially drawn to the Caron Cakes in worsted. I thought the color changes a bit clunky. And I don’t like the feel of the yarn. But I fell for the DK weight Cupcakes:

Two cupcakes made their way into my basket at Michael’s.

The rainbow-like cupcake is still waiting to decide what it wants to be when it grows up. But the pink/gray cupcake turned into this:

It’s Victoria Myers’ “The Only Hat Your Teen Wants.”  I don’t know if it it will be the only hat your teen wants, but one of my 30-something stylish nieces liked this hat and chose it in an early “round” of my holiday pick-your-gift.

I was surprised by this yarn. I’ve knit with acrylic quite a bit. Knitting with this felt like knitting with yarn infused with sections of Brillo Pad. I found it shockingly rough. It also worked up ridiculously stiff. This was not initially a slouch. Initially, the hat was fully able to stand upright and at attention on its own–even with the weight of the pompom. After completing the hat, I threw it in the washing machine and then in the dryer. It softened up quite nicely with rough treatment! (I did have to rake the pills off the hat though.)

The second surprise was that, looking at the cupcake unknit, I didn’t notice that there were speckles of the red throughout the skein. I actually think that was a nice touch.

The hat pattern is a winner. An obviously simple knit, but a nice slouchy hat. I especially like the way the cupcake worked up with the bands of color.

So, though I don’t often knit with big box store yarns, to all yarns there is a season. All these projects worked out well. I still need to plan a project for my second cupcake.

Hats for all heads


All right. I could have started this with something that would catch your eye in a different way. This may not be your cup of tea.It may not be my cup of tea either, though it was quick and fun to knit. But consider that nearly 180 Ravelers have knit this BUN Hat designed by Andi OldTrout. Andi is from Harstine Island in the state of Washington. My guess is that Andi knows folks with cold ears and cold necks. I do too. Her BUN hat (bottom up neck-flap) is perfect for heads that need such attentions.

Here’s another view.


Nice crown. I knit my BUN in Lamb’s Pride Bulky on size US size 10 needles. I chose a nice manly brown shade, thinking I knew someone who would think this was just the ticket. I won’t name names, but I was right. I’m confident it’s been keeping one set of ears quite warm this winter.

This one suits a different head.


The head this will best suit needs to be walking in the woods before dawn hoping to bag a big buck. No one will mistake her for a deer, not when she’s wearing this hat. There’s no blaze orange as blazey as 100% acrylic. This is Deborah Norville’s Everyday Soft Worsted, by Premier Yarn.

Here’s a view of the great crown decreases. I am confident my niece will be wearing this one next deer season.


This excellent pattern is Elena Nodel’s Cherry on Top. OK. The original was red and meant for Nodel’s daughter for Valentine’s Day. I repurposed it some. The hat would have a very different drape in the Malabrigo Rios that Nodel designed it for. But I am quite satisfied by the Deborah Norville that I picked up discounted at Meijer’s.

I liked the pattern so much, and considering I paid $5 for it, that I quickly decided to knit another. This time I used WATERshed by Harrisville Design, in the mallard colorway. Harrisville Design describes the yarn as a “soft-spun, minimally processed, cushy super-heathered woolen yarn.” It is all those things, provided you don’t expect soft-spun to mean soft.


So far we have brave cold heads with no fashion sense that need hats. And we have heads with a need to be warm and not be mistaken for deer. This next one is for little children who need to put a chuckle on mom’s and dad’s face.


Yep, another DMC “Top This” hat. I’ve knit the monkey, the giraffe and the sunflower. Click here. An elephant now joins my menagerie. If these kits take you even two hours to knit you probably snuck a nap in mid-knit.