Stay Put

This is the Staying Put Wrap, an Erica Kempf Broughton pattern available on Ravelry. It first caught my eye because, well, because it did. I thought it was pretty and I liked the idea of a small shawl that would stay put. It didn’t hurt that the color-changing yarn called for by the pattern is Noro Taiyo, an Aran weight. I’d had one skein of this in my stash for a few years and hadn’t found the right pattern for it. It was a single skein relegated to the sale bin. It sort of followed me home.

And the other yarn needed to be a worsted. But which worsted and what color was a difficult choice. I chose an old stand-by: Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid. And, as you see, I decided to tone this down a bit so I used an off white. I am very satisfied with the way the yarns played together.

Here’s a look at how nicely this wrap sits on shoulders.

You may notice, from comparing the size of the wrap to the size of the hanger, that this is quite a petite wrap. That’s OK. I am 5 foot 3. I used to be 5 foot 4, but that’s another story. It’s pretty. And it definitely stays on the shoulders. This shape is the reason for its good behavior:

Pretty cool, actually. Pretty thing. And it was also a fun, quick knit.

More warm hats during warm-weather knitting


This is Chameleon. A go-to hat knit for me. I’ve knit a zillion. Probably more like half a zillion. It’s a pattern by Nicky Epstein included in the original Vogue Knitting Caps & Hats book. It was one of the early books in Vogue’s very popular pint-sized hard-cover book series. According to Ravelry, it’s also included in Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Knitting and in Leisure Arts pamphlet 15914 and in Knitter’s Magazine #49, Winter 1997. I believe the first time I knit it was from Knitter’s Magazine.

I hope the reprintability of the pattern means that Epstein has raked in bucketloads of bucks from the pattern. But the way these things go, from what I’ve heard, I’m guessing that’s doubtful. The pattern is also available at Epstein’s website.

It is one good hat.


You can wear it lots of ways. You can fold the cuff up. You can roll the “cuff.” You can even fold the cuff unevenly and pretend you’re Robin Hood. It also has a well-behaved crown decrease. For me, that’s always the sign of a well designed hat. If you gift it to someone you don’t have to immediately start explaining: “I know it looks like it comes to a point, but when you put it on your head it won’t look that way.”

I knit this one in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash. Here’s one in Berroco Comfort.


Speaking of a good hat. This next one is the Easy Hombre Slouch Hat, a free pattern on Ravelry, by Paul S. Neary. It’s a great first Fair Isle project, if you haven’t tried that technique yet.

ombreIt’s crown is also nicely behaved.


This is true even though, off-head, it makes you wonder if you’ll look like you have ruffled brains (or a starfish hiding under your hat).


I knit my Hombre in wickedly great yarn: Shalimar Yarns Breathless in DK weight. 75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk.

Warm hats to celebrate the end of summer.

The Thinker


No. Not the Thinker you’re thinking of. The Thinker, by Susan Villas Lewis.


Susan designs under the name Stay Toasty and her patterns are available for download on Ravelry. Here’s another look at one of my new favorite hats. And then a view from the front and from the top because this hat is great any which way you look at it.



My Thinker is knit in that new favorite yarn of mine: Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash. Every stitch pops!

The Thinker pattern is clearly and intelligently written. I’ve found no errors and see none reported on Ravelry. It’s sized from newborn to adult large. Many knitters write that they found they couldn’t knit just one. And I couldn’t either. This is Isaac’s version, knit in the same yarn.


Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Shawl


I didn’t design this, so I think I can say without boasting that this shawl is amazing. Heck, even if I did design it–or especially if I had–I could boast that this is one amazing illusion knit.

This is Steve Plummer’s incredible “Harry Potter’s Deathly Hallows Illusion” shawl. He’s WoolhelminaToo on Ravelry. The pattern is downloadable on Ravelry. Plummer has a very helpful website that sets out lots of information on illusion knitting, which some prefer to call “shadow” knitting. Especially for Plummer’s work, illusion knitting is more apt. He’s a knitting magician!

Here’s a video Plummer and Pat Ashforth (Woolhelmina on Rav) prepared to show off the Harry Potter illusion.

Honestly, if this were the Middle Ages we all might be burned at the stake for such knitting! Is that about the coolest knitting effect ever?

I’ve done simple illusion knitting before, like Elizabeth Fallone’s Spider Scarf and Donna Druchunas’s Hidden Cat Scarf. My first introduction to illusion knitting was Shetha Nolke’s Alien Illusion Scarf from Debbie Stoller’s first Stitch ‘n Bitch book. Taking nothing away from those more simple illusions, Plummer’s work is definitely several cuts above.

This shawl will be a holiday gift for a particular Harry Potter fan I’m very fond of. Yep, that would be Isaac’s mom. Here’s Isaac, just a few weeks old, wearing the Sorting Hat Grandma Me knit and felted for him. (Isaac sorted into Gryffindor, by the way).


My shawl follows Plummer’s pattern exactly, except that I decided not to add a border or fringe. The edges were very tidy and, though initially the ends curled a tad, a bit of steam solved that. To keep your edges neat, when you start a new color just enforce a rule that the new color always is added by going under the old color. Or, for that matter by always going over the old color. The point is just to be consistent.

And be sure to use stitch markers across your row. Every ten stitches works really well because that’s how Plummer’s pattern separates the stitches as the rows progress.

My shawl is knit in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid, in gold and burgundy–the Gryffindor colors, of course. The yarn comes in many pure solids and has great stitch definition. For illusion knitting, solid colors work best and stitch definition is important.


Harry proved devilishly difficult to photograph. But you can see the illusion fairly well here even though it’s photographed almost straight on. In worsted weight, it’s a large-sized shawl. It could do double duty as a wall hanging. And it will make an interesting conversation piece just laying around on the back of a couch.


That’s the Deathly Hallows symbol on each end of the shawl.

Plummer’s directions on “how to” are excellent and very clear. Even if you’ve never worked this style of knitting before, if you know how to knit (every right side row is knit stitches only) and to purl you’ll be able to do this. The charts are small and you will need to enlarge them or work on a tablet with an App such as Goodreader or IAnnotate. In fact, the patterns have recently been updated to accommodate such Apps.

This was such a fun knit! I’m eager to try another. Possibly Mona Lisa. The Beatles would be a great wall hanging. But Plummer’s Hagrid’s shawl, that’s very special too. Albert Einstein is interesting for sure. Hmm.