Irresistable Colorways

I really like Blue Moon Socks That Rock. I love the way this fingering weight yarn knits up with a good sturdy twist. Hardly ever any narly bits to cut out and deal with. But, this skein?  Well, this skein was a challenge. Several years ago I ended up with it via my guild’s brown bag swap. Pick a bag. Open it. Keep it or steal from someone ahead of you. Apparently no one wanted to steal this from me.

I ended up with 800 yards of this Blue Moon Socks that Rock. That was an expensive and generous offering for a brown bag swap.  The aptly named colorway is Muddy Autumn Droplets. I just could not figure out what to do with it and it languished in my stash until the coronovirus started rearing its ugly in early March. It wasn’t just the colorway. It was 800 yards of it.

I thought I’d wind it to get a full view of its barfworthiness.

Hmmm. Looking so much better. Those droplet blobs in the skein started looking more tameable.

I could not be happier with how this turned out! It’s Justyna Lorkowska’s wonderful freebie Close to You. Thousands of Ravelers have knit this beauty. My Muddy Autumn Droplets version is my third. Check out my more sedate versions here. I once blocked the lace section and another time decided against it. This time I lightly steamed the shawlette and left the lace a bit closed up and bouncy.

The only problem with my new Close to You is that it only used up 420 of my 800 yards of Muddy Autumn Droplets.

Reading in one of the main Ravelry forum soon after finishing my new Close to You, someone mentioned a pattern specifically designed to soothe the savage variegated beast. It’s Bristol Ivy’s freebie, Sallah Cowl. Sallah was published in Knitty in 2012. Ivy’s write-up on the pattern says: “Every knitter has a skein of wonderfully hand-painted and variegated sock yarn in their stash that they don’t have any idea what to do with. The colors — beautiful, vivid tones that meld harmoniously in the skein — clash horribly in any project they try. So what’s a knitter to do?” I don’t think that Muddy Autumn Droplets even melded harmoniously in the skein. But the pattern sounded like just what I needed.

This pattern, which is knit flat, used a new-to-me easy technique that made it even more appealing. All wrong side rows are worked on a US size 10  needle. All right side rows are worked on a size 5 needle. Some folks put both needles on the same interchangeable cable. But I decided to break out my straights and just use one size 10 and one size 5. Sallah is knit on the bias, in a twisted rib, and is finished off with applied I-Cord.

I had a great time knitting Sallah. But I admit to being daunted by the finishing. Between the directions in the pattern and Ivy’s supplement on her blog, I was successful in blocking Sallah to the required parallelogram. It took some significant tugging and a serious dunking. The fabric is very stretchy. That made the task easier than I anticipated.

You fold the end you started with (where you see my yarn butterfly ) to the left point.You fold the end you finished with (where you see the ball of yarn) to the right point. The pattern directs that you use mattress stitch to seam the cowl closed. Quite a few Ravelers have been stumped by how to make that mattress seam look neat and to keep it from gathering up. Taking a look at many of the Ravelry projects shows that not too many negotiated that successfully.

I took the lead of a few of the Ravelers, endorsed by Ivy as she answers questions about the pattern on her blog, and joined the seam with I-Cord. I used two needles and picked up the same number of stitches on each side of the seam. Then I worked the applied I-Cord connecting the cord by working through the stitches, using one from the front needle and one from the back–as you would for a 3-needle bindoff. I think it worked remarkably well. It also echoes the top and bottom I-Cord detail.

Here’s Glass Head modeling the cowl. I’ve already worn and enjoyed this drapey colorful cowl.

Sallah used up 330 yards. I declare Muddy Autumn Droplets put to rest and to good uses. The remaining small yardage is now relegated to my fingering weight oddments bag. It may yet appear as a dress for one of Evelyn’s dolls or stuffed buddies.

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.

Yep…more hats

I do like knitting hats. A bit too much, some might say.

This is Scrappy Ski Cap by Justyna Lorkowska, a freebie on Ravelry. Instead of making it out of assorted oddments as Lorkowska suggests, I used leftovers from two colorways of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. So, mine is a somewhat more organized looking scrappy hat.

I’m very pleased with how it worked out. The last few years have been the years of the pompom, pom pom, pom-pom…however you want to spell it. Possibly that’s the star of this hat.

Everyone who looks at my Scrappy Ski Cap chortles on about liking the two-color pompom. There’s no trick to that, of course. I just wound a second color onto one section of my trusty Clover pompom maker. It comes in three sizes. I have them all. For this one I used the largest size. And, in case you’re wondering, Clover thinks pompom is spelled “pom pom.”

Also, in case you’re wondering, Webster’s apparently favors the hyphen and says that “Pom-pom is derived from the French word pompon, which refers to a small decorative ball made of fabric or feathers. It also means an ‘ornamental round tuft’ and originally refers to its use on a hat, or an ‘ornamental tuft; tuft-like flower head.'”  OK. I did not know that.

“And now for something completely different.”  A beret. Lordy. She’s knit a beret. She’s knit Natalie Larsen’s Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret. I used the Aran-weight Berroco Peruvia rather than the suggested Malabrigo worsted. It’s a different look.

Here’s Glasshead wearing it like a beanie because she doesn’t much like berets either. Why did I knit this beret? Mostly because I’m knitting hats for others and Ravelers have knit and posted projects on this hat 14,754 times (as of today) and the pattern is in 13,916 Ravelers queues of patterns they hope to knit. So, apparently, some people do like berets. And a lot of people definitely like this particular beret.

After knitting my beret, I steamed it gently, placing the round of increases on the edge of an appropriately sized bowl. Speaking of the increases, at least in this yarn and knit at this gauge, they show up in a rather unpleasant ring as the hat broadens out to a beret. Knit 2, make one (along the whole round) by doing a backwood loop on the left hand needle and knitting into the back of the stitch seems a bit too prominent an increase for me. And I think that would be true whatever the yarn. So, if I knit this again, I’ld probably try a different increase. It is a pretty head-thing, though–as berets go.

This next hat I’ve knit twice before. It’s Breck, by Susan Vilas Lewis. It’s a great sport-weight slouchy. I knit the body of the hat in Mrs. Crosby Hat Box. Hat Box is an unusual (but wonderful) merino (55%), cashmere (12%), acrylic (33%) mix. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the red of the mosaic work. Hat Box’s heathered quality, which I normally think is a plus, caused the mosaic work to be a bit subdued. But I still really like this hat.

Here’s the mosaic-work detail.

My only modifications were to: (1) knit the ribbing at the start on size 5 needles, down one size from the main body of the hat, and (2) add a knit round before and after round 10 on the crown decreases–just to pull the stitches a bit closer together as the crown closes.

Breck is one hat I believe deserves a LOT more attention than it’s gotten so far. There are only 6 projects posted on Ravelry and three of them are mine! Maybe the sport weight scares people off. But this hat could also work well in DK weight. It’s a cool hat and if you want it to be beanie style, you just stop knitting the body a tad sooner.

This next Ravelry freebie, Irma Hat by Anneta Gasiorowska, totally surprised me. I knit it because a hat-of-the-month group on Ravelry chose it as our group knit-along one month.  I decided to go along with the crowd even though I thought the zigzagging and a ton of make one lefts and make one rights would be a pain. I even dug out what I took to be an unpleasant colorway of Berroco Comfort, thinking I’d at least further my stash-down efforts.

It was a bit more work than most hats. That’s partly because my brain often gets confused by the combinations of left leaning and right leaning make 1s. But wow! I think it worked up great. I even now think that the colorway is pretty. And check out the crown:

That much cool detail on a free pattern makes me incredibly grateful for the generosity of the knitting universe.

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.

Hatty New Year!

This is a severely hacked “Scrappy Ski Hat.” It’s a great little free pattern by Justyna Lorkowska. If you’re just returning from that link you are probably scratching your head as you ponder how different my version is.

My Scrappy is knit in two partial skeins of Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, by Stonehedge Fiber Mills. The shades are Antique Rose and Spruce. The pattern calls for changing the colors after just one pattern repeat. The thought of weaving in all those ends felt daunting, so I decided on a two-color version.

And that pompom is made with the largest sized Clover Pom-Pom Maker. Such a clever little tool. If you have one and haven’t been able to make much sense of the rather compact directions on the packaging, this is Susan B. Anderson’s great video on its operation. I feel like the extravagant pom-pom really makes this hat.

This next hat is Joan Sheridan’s “Freedom Cap.” It’s also knit in Shepherd’s Wool Worsted.

I’ve knit this before. Recently, I was at Joan’s great shop, Heritage Spinning & Weaving in Lake Orion, Michigan. I just couldn’t pass up the chance to buy an additional kit and knit this one again.

I enjoy knitting warm wool hats in yarns that are bright and cheerful. This kit definitely fits that description. (But Joan also stocks these kits in other colorways–jewel tones and grays.)

This is easy Fair Isle work, even though there are a lot of ends to work in. There are very few longer floats. I often take the measure of a hat by the crown decreases. It can’t get much better than this one,

Not every knit a knitter tackles turns out wonderfully well. I’ll save what’s off about this next one to the “reveal” at the end. This is Hanna Maciejewska’s great free pattern: Snow Bunnies. Let’s start at the crown this time.

My Snow Bunnies is knit in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash. That pom-pom isn’t hiding an icky crown decrease. The crown is quite nice. It’s a slouch hat and the gathers are very appropriate.

So, here’s a view of the snow bunnies.

So cute. Really. I like this hat, a lot. But I made a rookie mistake and didn’t check my gauge before knitting. I knit hats for all sizes of heads, so gauge usually doesn’t really matter much. And when hats come out rather large, both Steve and I have gigantic heads. So big hats fit us well.

Every hat eventually gets its head. If you know an offensive tackle who wants to wear bunny butts and a fluffy pom-pom, let me know.

Sometimes your knitting can give you some challenges. I wasn’t quite up to this one. I couldn’t just get with the program for the crown. More on that in a bit. This is Black Brook Beanie, a new free pattern by Tammie Canavan-Soldaat. The hat is a glory of two-color linen-stitch. It’s slow going, but so so much worth the effort.

My Black Brook is knit in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash. The pattern had one teeny hiccup in it, which the designer corrected–so if you downloaded it in its earliest days, be sure to download it again or read the errata on the Ravely pattern page. Despite the crown decreases being correctly written, a knitter needs to be able to read the knitting to keep the linen stitch colors properly lined up through the crown.

I just wasn’t up to it.

After a few tries, I gave up and just knit the entire crown in a salt and pepper “fair isle” pattern. It worked. It’s cute. But I have to call it my Black Brook Beanie Hack. Do give this pattern a try. In the original, it’s a beauty!