Over on Ravelry, the Remrants group is hosting a Colour Your Winter Craft-A-Long challenge – to finish a colourwork pattern before 31 March. Works-in-progress are acceptable entries, but I decided to start my year off with the challenge of designing a new hat in four shades of DK-weight yarn: brown, tan, red, and light blue.
My first attempt at two-colour ribbing didn’t have a nice edge, so I started over. My second attempt curled up far too much, so I started over. For the third attempt, I changed tactics and tried a two-colour brioche rib, a technique that’s completely new to me. Unfortunately, the instructions I found had left out a bit of important information, which is that even on knit rows, stitches are slipped with the yarn in front. So I started over. Again.
The fourth try was the charm, and I have some two-colour brioche on the needles now. It’s reversible, so my plan is to knit enough to have a fold-up brim, which allows for the wearer to adjust the length of the hat…
…but my gauge for the width was totally off, and I think the finished hat might end up being two or three inches too large for my small head. That’s okay, because I’d wanted to write the pattern for two sizes, so I guess this one is going to be the larger. I’m also planning to design and knit a matching set of fingerless gloves and/or mittens!
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This is the official end of 2015 tallying-up post!
None. Zero, zip, zilch. That took a lot of willpower!
4 ounces Bonkers merino-tencel, spun into 250 yards of two-ply
4 ounces Bullens Wullens merino-silk-bamboo, spun into 105 squooshy yards of chain-ply
4 ounces Rambouillet, spun up forever ago, finally chain-plied into 268 yards
quite a lot of mystery wool, spun longdraw, 922 yards of two-ply
12 oz plus however much mystery wool there is; I didn’t weigh it.
1 ball Cascade 220 Superwash in gray (220)
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Serpentine (294)
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Peppercorn (294)
5 balls / 808 yards
1 ball Cascade 220 Superwash, Dave’s Hat (220)
.66 ball Lily Sugar & Cream in Pink Camo for a washcloth (100)
1 ball Knit Picks Andean Treasure for Stef’s Handwarmers (110)
1.5 balls Jo Sharp Classic DK wool for my own handwarmers (160)
2 balls Patons Kroy in Summer Moss Jacquard, sold (332)
2 balls “Starry Night” handspun given to Mom (256)
.33 ball Knit Picks Andean Treasure and half a ball each of gray and white Cascade 220 Superwash for Michael’s Bicolour Hat (37, 220)
2 balls Noro Silk Garden sock for the Rhinebeck Shawl (656)
1 skein handspun merino/silk for Mom to make a hat for Grandma (170)
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Peppercorn, Michael’s new Fleeps (294)
1 ball Berroco Sox for a pair of mindless stockinette socks (440)
1 ball Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192)
16.5 balls / 3187 yards
Plus, Dad gave me this awesome yarn bowl:
The Year in Crafting:
I feel really good about my projects this year! I got a lot done. They’re all together on a 2015 Projects page.
It was a tossup between the Bicolour Hat and this, but I gotta say… it’s the Schultertuch. I loved making it! I still don’t know when or how or where to wear it, but it’s gorgeous and I love just looking at it.
Only one this year, the Carved Lines Armwarmers – I’m really happy with the shape of these! I have a bunch of ideas for new patterns too, including a colourwork hat that I charted out a few weeks ago, lacy socks, cabled socks, mittens… it’s a long list!
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Michael had mentioned that his Fleeps were starting to get thin in places again, and after Thanksgiving I took them home with me for their third repair job… which was really just a sneaky excuse to take some measurements and observations so I could knit him new ones. I worked from my notes from his first gloves, combined with the constructive feedback that he’d provided and checking to see where the old ones had worn out.
The new ones have longer thumbs to prevent a gap, seed stitch flaps rather than ribbed so they won’t pull in quite as much over time, and duplicate stitch reinforcements at all the corners where the flaps attach to the body of the gloves. It looks as if the mitten-top is crooked, but they’re lined up with the hands rather than the wrists, so they fall straight when the gloves are actually on.
They’re also a grayer kind of gray; his first pair was a darker gray with red tweedy flecks, but I couldn’t find the darker colourway. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silk Road DK Tweed, which wasn’t available in the US for a while but now WEBS is carrying it again. I used Peppercorn for Michael’s Fleeps, and bought two balls of Serpentine for another future pair.
I used a combination of the Cigar and Gnomittens patterns, adjusted for the shape and size of his wrists and hands. Both patterns are free, but I found that they needed quite a bit of customization to make them fit perfectly. The cuffs would have been too large around as the patterns are written, so I took some stitches out of them, and then had to add width back in for the hands. I was very glad to have taken such careful notes on the first pair; it made it much easier to make the second set fit to perfection as well.
The gloves were done enough for me to wrap them up and give them to him on Christmas Eve, but I hadn’t had the chance to sew on the snap-magnets (which is the most annoying, fiddly part of the whole project). I’ll do that today, and then they’ll be the last project on the books for 2015!
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I started these socks back in January, and worked on them here and there without too much dedication. Although they came with me to many places, I neglected them in favour of other things. But then I had to attend a few long and boring meetings in an auditorium, and no one on the stage could see what I was doing, so I knit and knit and knit… and by late October I’d finished the first sock.
Then, I got a short-notice call that there would be a showing at my house, so I had to clear out for an hour. The yarn came with me, and I’d gotten halfway through the ribbing at the cuff before going home. A weekend of train rides followed, and with nothing else to do but knit, I charged through the leg of the second sock.
Several work-meetings and one long drive up to Vermont later, and I grafted the toe of the second sock just in time to get this project onto the 2015 list!
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Posted by Pirate in spinning
I seem to be turning into one of Mom’s “enablers”. First, I gave her the Starry Night yarn, which was some of my early handspun, from which she knit a beautiful hat for herself. She took my leftovers from the twins’ sweaters to make hats for them, and the remains of the yarn I used for her gloves to knit a replacement for the one she’d misplaced (which is sure to turn up, now).
After Thanksgiving, she asked me if I had any handspun yarn that would be good for knitting a hat for Grandma – something neutral but not gray, something that would go with any colour coat. I dug through the stash and came up with something good… and then I realized that I’d never taken a picture of the yarn! So, to rectify that mistake, here is the original merino-silk blend of fibre from Lovesticks, in the colourway “Beyond the Garden Gate,” that I bought from another Raveler’s destash back in 2009:
Here is the finished yarn, 170 yards of a three-ply that looks like a light worsted weight. It’s reasonably well-balanced, but almost certainly needs a bath before Mom can knit with it. I found a simple top-down hat pattern to be sure that she won’t run out of yarn before running out of hat, and I can’t wait to see the finished project! This is a win all around: I get yarn out of my stash, Mom gets to knit with my handspun, and Grandma gets a new hat that can be from both of us.
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Knitting the bicolour hat went quite a bit faster once I transferred it from the DPNs over to a 16″ circular, though my colourwork tension still leaves something to be desired. There’s a little bit of a difference where I switched needles, but blocking helped make it look less obvious. Something to note for next time: even if you’re not using the most ideal needles, stick with them for the rest of the project.
(Did anyone else hate having to change pens in the middle of an essay? I never liked to see half a page written in one shade of blue, and the other half written in another shade.)
This project’s trial and error has taught me a lot about designing colourwork hats, and I will definitely be putting the lessons learned to good effect the next time. The lined brim came out exactly how I had envisioned it, but the ‘seam’ where each round ends and the next begins is not something I’d expected. A solid colour at that junction would have hidden it better. It took me a few attempts to figure out how the crown of the hat should come together, and I’m happy with how it looks – although I think I might need a larger model head! I have my fingers crossed that it will fit Michael’s head perfectly, and I’ll find out in just a few days when I see him at Thanksgiving.
Since I only used about half of each ball of yarn to make this hat, I’m planning to make another in a slightly different pattern. I have lots of other partial balls of Cascade 220 left over from a number of previous hats, and I’m thinking about branching out into something with more than just two colours in the future!
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Well, I didn’t get to go to Rhinebeck after all – but the house is on the market, and the shawl is complete! I’m so pleased with how it came out. The border is just a simple repeat of (sc, ch1), with two sc/ch1 pairs in the gaps between scallops, to keep it from ruffling up too much. Stretching the shawl out dry seemed to flatten out the fabric reasonably well, but I think it would look even better after a bath and firm blocking.
It didn’t take long to memorize the pattern, though I do still have to pay more attention to crochet than to knitting. The shawl was done in just a month of crocheting in my spare time, of which I had less than usual thanks to working on the house. I’d say that’s a pretty quick project! Here’s a closeup of the stitch pattern:
Noro being Noro, I’d expected a few knots. I wasn’t disappointed; there was one in each of the two balls. That led to some interesting colour-swapping and lots of ends to weave in, but the rows were so long by the end that I don’t think it’s noticeable. On the last row, I measured out how much yarn it took to work one of the fan shapes, and then the rest of the yarn, because I wasn’t sure I was going to make it – but there was just enough.
The next question is, how and when do I even wear the thing? I really enjoyed making it, but will I actually wear it? We shall see!
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Although I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to go to Rhinebeck this year, I’m working on the shawl anyway! The rows are getting longer, but as I’m starting to memorize the pattern, I can put on a football game and crochet away. Well, sort of – crochet does seem to take more of my attention than knitting does, since the next stitch could literally go anywhere.
The pattern is easy to get the hang of, though obviously the finished shawl is going to need some firm blocking to really show it off. All lace is wrinkly, but the thick-and-thin Noro is exacerbating the rumpled look here. I love how the colours are playing out, though!
My to-do list for the upcoming three-day weekend is very long, mostly pertaining to getting the house ready for sale, but I’m hoping to get some solid crocheting time in as well. Part of what will determine if I can run off to New York for a weekend is getting through that to-do list…
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The two-colour hat is coming along; I’ve re-knit everything that I had to rip out and then some. This coming weekend I’m going to get my 16″ size 6/4mm circulars back from Mom, and transfer the project over. That should help make it go even faster. I still need to figure out how I’m going to do the decreases, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.
Meanwhile, there’s a possibility that I will make it up to Rhinebeck this year! It’s not that I plan to buy anything, or that I really need new yarn or fibre, but I love going anyway. Being around all the knitters, yarn, and beautiful projects helps replenish my motivation and inspiration!
At MSDW in 2013, I bought two skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock with the intention of crocheting a shawl that I could wear to events like these. After much deliberation, I settled on Schultertuch/Dreiekstuch, a free pattern from a German Raveler. Noro being Noro, the first colour off the ball was a rather icky shade of yellowish brown. Since this is the centre/top of the shawl and will be up by the nape of my neck, I decided to just work with it and see what happens, rather than lose any yardage by skipping ahead to the nicer black and teal.
It’s been a quick start, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get it all finished and blocked before heading northwards. I can’t imagine using this yarn for actual socks; even though it’s called “Silk Garden Sock” it’s a rough single with slubby spots, generally unsuitable for anything like socks. But for a shawl, I think it will be just perfect!
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You know what would be fun? Making up a colourwork hat pattern by the seat of my pants!
First, I tried a variety of cast-ons to figure out what works best with corrugated ribbing (i.e. doesn’t make it curl up like a pillbug) and discovered a nifty two-colour cast-on that totally works. Then, after the ribbing was done, I decided to line it with the softer KnitPicks Andean Treasure left over from Stef’s armwarmers. Hopefully that doesn’t make the hat too small. If I’d thought of lining it before I started, I would have cast on a few extra stitches to make up for the added thickness.
With the lining folded up and joined in, I got started on the body of the hat. At first I was trying to knit with one strand in each hand, but that was slow and awkward, so I switched to having both strands in my left hand. I even remembered the thing about dominance in stranded colourwork and was super-careful about consistently keeping one yarn to the left and the other to the right. Everything was going so well, and looking so good…
…until I fouled it up, and knit another four rounds before I noticed.
Don’t worry! I can fix this!
But maybe I should use lifelines when I’m knitting things that require me to pay attention?
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