Slip Stitch magic

Doesn’t it remind you of a creamsicle? That yummy vanilla ice cream-on-a-stitck dipped in something like orange sherbet?

This is Elena Nodel’s Polarity pattern.

Nodel was a very talented British Columbian Canadian designer who died in 2017, way too young. Jenny F of Sweaterfreak handles pattern support for Nodel’s considerable design portfolio now. Nodel was a good and gentle soul with a devoted husband and a young daughter. Tragically, cancer won.

I knit my Polarity in Gedifra Lani Mia Uni, a fingering weight in 80% merino 20% nylon. It’s the first time I’ve use a Gedifra yarn. I hadn’t seen it anywhere before. Apparently I’ve just been asleep at the switch because the company sells an extensive selection of yarns. It was an excellent yarn to work with.

Why Polarity? According to Nodel it’s because the shawl has “no right or wrong side, but rather two mood sides. Whichever side you favor today is the right way.” It’s a versatile and cheerful small shawl. And the slip stitch pattern is super easy. Fall into a rhythm knitting this one and set your needles on cruise control.

My grandson educated me recently about this next knit: Alina Appasova’s Prismarine scarf/wrap. Um. Let me see. You get prismarine, crystals I guess, by defeating elder guardians or guardians. Goodness that sounds rather personally threatening. But not really. This is the world of Minecraft–the incredible popular video game. Prismarine crystals are dropped by sea lanterns. I know. Enough of that. But Isaac was quite tickled that his old grandmother consulted him on the subject of Prismarine crystals. This is apparently what they look like in the real world. Well, the unreal world.

Here’s my Prismarine. I see the resemblance to the Minecraft original.

I’m not going to fib. This was a slog. Basically the same six rows (followed by a couple of garter stitch rows) over and over. But I love the results. I stopped at nine sets of the crystal pattern repeats, instead of 10. That got me to 64 inches, unblocked (as you see it here). My width, again unblocked, is 7.5 inches. I was after a scarf more than a wrap. Appasova envisions a fairly aggressive block to 9.5 in width. But I’m really liking the texture of mine and decided not to block it at all.

I used Urth Yarn’s Uneek Fingering and Uneek Harvest Fingering. Excellent yarns with wonderful consistency and zero knots. This project was also the first time I’ve used an Urth yarn. The price was always off-putting. But I found it at Fillory Yarn at 15% off awhile back and took the plunge. The solid fingering (Harvest) is the Fig colorway and the color-changing Uneek is the 3019 colorway.  So this

changed into this:

I’m liking my Minecraft-inspired knit. A lot.

More Doubles

Recently I’ve been fascinated with knitting doubles. I’m enjoying how the same pattern works up in different colorways or in different yarns. You’re looking at Alex Tinsley’s Fructose. I’ve knit both my Fructoses in Malabrigo Rios. These two colorways are big favorites of mine. The green one is lettuce. OK, you’d have figured out that’s the green one. And the purple/orange/red is Archangel. Beats me why. But it’s a wonderful colorway, especially for one-skein projects. That’s because there seem to be very big differences between skeins. But every skein I’ve seen is wonderful.

The strong vertical lines combine with strong horizontal ones to give the hat wonderful structure. And the sweet bonnet-like slit in the back leaves room for a pony tail or allows the hat to be worn low on the back of the neck to keep out winter’s chill.

Each Fructose took 52 grams. I should have had 48 grams left. But both my skeins were “light.” I’ve read that a skein with 10% more or 10% less is considered acceptable. I suppose I should be magnanimous and accept that if sometimes I get more I shouldn’t grouse about getting less. Maybe I would if I ever got more than a dollop of yarn beyond the ballband amount.   Both these skeins were shy about 8 grams.

With my mission of not wasting yarn or leaving it to languish in my oddments bags, I decided to knit up a pair of toddler-sized The Thinker hats.

Susan Villas Lewis has come up with such an excellent all-sized pattern. These are the 8th and 9th Thinkers I’ve knitted. In the toddler size, there are three lines of easy cable that ring this hat.

It’s a seriously excellent use of yarn.

That’s also true of Clara Parkes Hill Country Hat. Hill Country is a bulky-weight freebie available on Ravelry. It’s also included in Parkes’ excellent book The Knitter’s Book of Wool. Hill Country is another pattern I return to whenever I have about 110 yards of bulky asking to be knit up. This brown one is knit of Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky.

One of the strengths of the hat is that, depending on the yarn and sometimes the colorway, it’s a definite unisex design. This white one is knit in Valley Yarn’s Berkshire Bulky.

As ever, hats don’t get beyond first base with me if they don’t have well-behaved crowns. Plus they get extra points if, like Hill Country, they have something interesting going on in the crown section. I think this swirl works well.

I knit this next pair quite awhile ago and didn’t get around to showing them off. This is Elena Nodel’s bulky-weight freebie, Tega. An excellent pattern. It’s only available in one size, adult, but that’s easily adjustable by using a less beefy yarn weight and smaller needles.

My first Tega is knit in Reynold’s Lopi Bulky. I used size 6 for the ribbing (that was pushing it) and size 9 for the body of the hat. Those extravagant cables are wonderful. And the thoughtfully planned crown is a winner for sure.

As for what head will wear a bulky-weight Lopi hat, it needs to be a very cold one. And a head with a very high “but it’s scratchy” threshold. I washed it in Eucalan to try to tame the itch factor, but not with much success. It’s much softer but still scratchy as heck. And I actually have a high tolerance for such rustic yarn.

If you decide to knit Tega in a good superwash bulky, like this Valley Yarns Superwash, there won’t be any complaints about itchy heads. The yarn also has great stitch definition for a bulky, which is a big plus for this pattern.

At some point, I promise, I’ll stop concentrating so much on heads and will let your eyeballs feast on something else. Not today though. I recently hatched plans for how my knit hats can tempt teens to put something on their heads and, with that, my hat knitting went into high gear. Even Glasshead is beginning to voice boredom with all these hats.

This one is Agnes Kutas-Keresztes’s freebie, Christian. My gray Christian is knit in about 130 yards of Berroco UltraWool.

And this pink one is knit in Plymouth Encore.

Crowns can make or break a hat. Check out this wonderfully organic one. If you’re up for an easy, rewarding (and free) pattern, definitely consider Christian.

Just when you think I can’t possibly be assaulting you with any more hat twins, I’ve still got more. This set is Susan Mills Harriet. Quite uncharacteristically, I knit my Harriets in exactly the yarn the pattern calls for: Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool.

The multi-color Liberty Wool means that every Harriet will be unique. My 50 gram balls weighed closer to 40 grams, which was a disappointment. But two balls still ended up with two Harriets, just one large and one medium.

The hat is meant to be a beret. But I think most heads would want to wear it as a beanie.

I made some sizing modifications on this next pair of hats, but I am totally liking the look. It’s Benjamin Matthew’s On the Grid Beanie. I was lucky enough to secure a copy of the pattern during its few days when Matthew released it free. But this hat pattern is totally worth the 6 dollars he’s charging for it now. By the way, to keep an eye on designer short-term freebies, join the Free Stuff Rocks (f/k/a Lovin’ the Freebies) group on Ravelry. The group forum will also alert you to new forever free patterns and to discounts that are available from designers.

Back to On the Grid. Both mine are knit in Plymouth Encore. The pattern calls for a more lightweight worsted and 19 stitches to 4 inches using garter stitch as the gauge. Encore required some sizing mods.

I knit 10 rows of ribbing. In Encore, needle size 6, that was about 1.5 inches. I knit 4 repeats of the triangle pattern instead of 5, which gave me a bit over 6 inches of triangles. From the start of the decreases to the top added about 2.75 inches. So, even modified, this is quite a long beanie–9.25 inches. But I can already tell that this quick knit is a pattern I’ll return to regularly.

You know that means it’s got an interesting crown.

GlassHead is weeping. Maybe you can hear her? Both Fructose have already been given away and she wanted to hang on to the Lettuce one and keep wearing it for awhile. I’m consoling her at present with the Encore Sour Apple On the Grid, a similar colored hat.


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.