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.

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.

 

Headband Doubles

I’ve been in a bit of a knitting stutter lately. I knit one and then I knit another. And sometimes I knit even more anothers.

This is Knitwise Design’s Triple Crowner Headband. Mine are knit in one skein of Berroco Artisan, an 80% merino wool, 20% silk worsted weight. At 123 yards per skein, my two orphan skeins hung out in my stash for quite awhile before I came up with the perfect project. Ninety yards is all it took to work up one of these beauties.

Here’s a closer look at this excellent unisex pattern:

There are two rows of the cabling that require using two cable hooks. But the pattern explains exactly how to manage it and it’s great fun!

The Heads were in a keen competition for who got to wear which headband. They were under the impression that the reference to “crown” in the pattern name suggested something about royalty and both wanted to wear the gold one. I explained that “Triple Crowners” are hikers who have thru-hiked all three of America’s long distance trails: the Appalachian, the Pacific Crest, and the Continental Divide. The heads were humbled at the thought of walking nearly 8000 miles and piped down.

My stashdown continued, this time with another fun Knitwise Design pattern: Earbuds. I knit these in Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky and am very pleased with the results:

You might say I got a bit carried away with these. But considering that I now have only one pair left, I guess it wasn’t too many pairs to knit.

Earbuds fit easily in a coat pocket and really come in handy on a chilly day. Just be prepared when the thin ones among us look at them in a puzzled way because only the thin would see them as bikini tops.

So, what more can I say about the great freebie pattern, Calorimetry, that I haven’t said before? More than 19,000 of these headbands have been knit and posted as projects on Ravelry. That puts it among the most-knit patterns on Rav.

This is the first time I’ve knit this headband in Noro Kureyon. I like the way the short rows make the color pool in such an interesting way.

Recently, a friend pointed out that in a pinch Calorimetry serves quite nicely as a cowl.  I’d not thought of that. This pair is my 22nd and 23rd Calorimetry, but I’ve not had time to experiment with one. My tradition is to let family and friends choose holiday gifts from my stash of accessories and Calorimetries always get picked. I believe I will keep one of these for me.

The stashdown continues!

Doubles

A major stash-down is underway. That means getting reintroduced to lots of fun wonderful yarn that’s been lolling about in my stash. It also means deleting all those wonderful yarnie emails I get–without even opening them. Ok, that’s a bit militant. But I’m going to attend a few knitting events in the next several months and my plan is to be sure there are major holes in my stash by the time I get to the marketplaces. So, I’m not feeling one bit deprived. Well, maybe one bit. Still, stash-downing is turning out to be fun.

I’m tending to knit small projects and patterns that I’ve knit before.

These first two hats are Jo Klim’s Totalee Slouchee, knit in Merino Extrafine Color 120 by Schlachenmayr. That’s a DK-weight superwash merino. Here’s a closer look:

I know. Not everyone’s cup ‘o tea. But what one set of eyeballs sees as garish another sees as daring and colorful. These are my 4th and 5th knits of this pattern, in this yarn. And my friends and family chose all three original knits as holiday gifts. In fact, the one with the orange highlights already walked out my door as a birthday present for a friend’s head.

I enjoy that the crowns of these hats, in this yarn, create that flower or bulls-eye. I suppose that what you see might depend on whether your head prefers shooting or gardening. I don’t like either. But I do like this hat.

I had three skeins of each colorway and used up the remaining yarn with a simple freebie pattern that showcased this yarn to good effect. These next hats are Janet D. Russell’s Child’s Self-Striping Hat. The pattern name throws you a bit of a curve on the sizing. Russell’s pattern includes from an extra small to an extra large. I knit the large, figuring it would work well even for the young ones and used just under 180 yards, DK-weight.

Here’s glass head looking all cheerful, as if it hadn’t just recently reached twenty-five below at our water’s-edge weather station. And that’s real degrees, none of that wimpy wind-chill stuff.

 

Again, this yarn rewards knitters with an excellent crown. Children are the likely recipients of these hats. I decided to add a pompom to both. Yep, I know that even grown-ups can stick pompoms on the top of their heads if they want to. The pompoms ended up ringed by that nice splash of color.

Such fun.

This week, what with February 14th coming up, is a good time to show off a pair of Knitwise Design’s Young at Heart Hats.

Rather than work with traditional heart motif colors, and consistent with the stash-down underway, I knit these in pastels of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. It works. Good yarn. Great pattern. Those slip stitch hearts are the best.

Well, maybe the little dangling heart toppers are the best.

How would we smile our way through the long cold winters without knitting?

Not quite Pantone 7406C and blue

When my grandson asked for a knitted hat in University of Michigan colors, maize and blue, I set out to find the exact right colors. Valley Yarns Valley Superwash looked perfect (to me). I didn’t have to research anything. I’ve lived in Michigan for 66 years. I know what’s what. Little did I know that somehow maize has brightened up a lot over the years.

You probably want to know about that hat you’re staring at. I will get to that. According to the official U of M site, these shades–based on none other than Pantone itself–are the school colors.

The official colors look like yellow and blue to me. Maybe we should just start calling the school colors 7406C and 282C. If questioned by Isaac I will explain that his hat colors are the vintage colors. When maize was still maize, as in CORN, the color of corn.

OK. Back to that cool hat that started me down the rant path. It’s Knitwise Design‘s Spiral Style Hat. The hat is a top down slipped stitch beanie, with a matching pair of mittens if you’re looking for a set. Top down hats can be a bit fiddly for the first few rounds. But here, depending on the size, you start with 9, 10 or 11 stitches. So, not bad at all. And the increases come quickly.

Here’s a look at the top.

The only modification I made was to use an Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off rather than to bind off with a needle-size larger than that stockinette roll on the bottom. That’s always a good choice when what’s needed is a well-behaved but very stretchy bind-off.

My grandson requested a hat with earflaps and dangling braids. His sister got one for her birthday, yes in the official Pantone colors, and he likes that hat a lot.

I am hoping that Cynthia Spencer’s Cabled Earflap Hat from the book 60 Quick Knits From America’s Yarnshops will fit the bill.

The Sixth & Spring Series of 60 thises and 60 thats have a proven track record of creating a boatload of errata. They didn’t do right by Spencer on this one.

From the Ravelry project page, heed this fairly important errata: “Note that the cable chart has been printed upside down.” Yup. Make a note of that. And then make a copy of the chart and turn it upside down to knit from it. Then you’ll work in the normal fashion, from right to left, beginning with what will be numbered round 23.

Other than the problem the publisher caused, this is an excellent pattern.

Oh. I caused that little trough of stockinette between the cable work and the garter stitch all on my own. So don’t hold it against Spencer. In my defense, it’s not as noticeable in person as it is in a photo. I wanted to create a 2-color hat out of what’s supposed to be a solid color. And I didn’t want any half ‘n half rows. My idea was a good one. It just went a bit awry.

The next entry in the Wolverine tournament is a classic Fiber Trends pattern first publlished in 2002 and still available for download on Ravelry: School Colors Hat AC-53.

The pattern includes three sizes, with instructions for sport, worsted and bulky yarn. Back near the turn of the century, I’m pretty sure that DK weight didn’t exist. At least not in the United States. And also back then designers gave their patterns sensible names like School Colors Hat AC-53 instead of names like Caffeine-Free Fizzledop or Sunshine in the Cow Shed.

Here’s glasshead modeling the side view.

The first time you knit this hat, you’ll be mystified about exactly what’s going to create that clever roll. Some knitters have emailed me to say that the pattern must be wrong. It isn’t wrong. Don’t “trust your feelings, Luke.” Trust this pattern. It will all work out. Here’s the deal: this hat is knit entirely in stockinette, from the bottom up. You cast on with Pantone 282C–the main color.

Oh. Just in case you think I’ve no feelings for that other university in Michigan with that other football team, the Sparty colors have been known to infest my needles.