I had to leave this Harvest cardigan at home during our trip to Colorado, but before we left I got a lot done! It’s going quickly – I’m almost to the bottom and then will just have the sleeves to finish.
I’m reading Murder on the Orient Express, my first Agatha Christie novel. As part of getting ready for our trip, I loaded a ton of library books onto my Kindle. That way no matter how long we’re stuck somewhere, I have enough to read without having to carry anything heavy. I’m sold! On our trip, I also read As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, Run by Ann Patchett, and Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West. And I finished The Prodigal You Love by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, which was sitting unfinished with just part of the last chapter to go. Lots of reading!
In December I decided I needed a big, bulky, cream-colored cowl and spent several hours perusing all of the cowls in my queue and favorites on Ravelry. I wanted something simple and preferably knitted in the round. I wound up choosing the Annie Cowl, which is knit flat, but still met all of my other criteria.
I knit it up in some Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Bare that’s been in my stash forever.
This VERY simple (maybe a little too simple) cowl knit up very quickly over the holidays, but it took me a few days to get around to blocking and finishing it.
I’m happy with the finished project. In a neutral it goes with just about everything and is very warm, which has been great the past few weeks as we’ve actually gotten some winter weather mixed in with a lovely spring.
When I ordered this Knit Picks Hawthorne during the Big Sale in 2014, I knew that it was destined for Gavin. Seeing this hat, the Blue Star Beanie, in the right weight, for the right variegation of yarn, just sitting in my ravelry library was all I needed to finish my planning.
Knitting it though, was a test of will. I asked Gavin if he would like a longer brim so he could fold it up, and of course he said yes. Plus it’s 3×3 rib, which I meant that it wasn’t as natural to me as 2×2 rib and required more focus during the most boring slog. I didn’t like the increase round to ready for the cable pattern and I missed the (fairly hidden) direction to shift the start of the round by one stitch so I wasn’t happy with the way the stitch pattern was lining up with the ribbing. And I always find knitting cables tedious even though the finished pieces are some of my favorites.
If I were to knit it again, there are a lot of changes I would make. I’d knit the ribbing as the full number of stitches for the hat, but on smaller needles, and keep my modification of knitting a longer brim for folding. Then I’d increase my needle size instead of increasing the number of stitches. And I’d make sure that I lined everything up.
BUT. The hat is nice.
It’s a nice change of pace from grey hats and I think the light weight will be nice for Gavin to wear this spring. When you fold up the brim, you can’t tell that the stitches don’t line up properly. Plus that’s a detail only I (or maybe another knitter) would notice.
So: the hat is nice. Knitting it wasn’t. It’s done, and I’m happy.
After making it a third of the way through the cable chart and realizing I had made a really visible mistake, this hat went into time-out for a little while. Gavin frogged it for me (isn’t he nice?) back to the ribbing and I started again. being more careful about which side of the hat my working yarn was on! The rest of the hat was completed without a hitch.
The decreases look a little funky when the hat is flat, but it looks fine on so all is well.
I have to say that Knitpicks line of Swish yarns is one of my favorites. All of my projects in it (like the mitts for my grandpa, my red and grey Winkel-Winken hat, and more!) seem so delightfully squishy and the fact that it’s machine washable and soft makes it great for gift knitting.
Here’s to many more grey hats in the future!
I can finally share all of my Christmas knitting with you! I had to keep things secret for so long.
First, I knit my granddad two pairs of fingerless mitts. You saw the first pair as a WIP. He was always wearing work gloves in the house, so I thought these might still help him keep warm but have more functionality. I went stash-diving for some neutral colors in a superwash yarn and found Knitpicks Swish DK in Persimmon Heather, Lemongrass Heather, and Grain Heather.
The orange and yellow ones are Paddle from tincanknits. They have a gloriously long cuff, which would make them great for wearing with a coat. No problems with the mitten-coat gap here! I knit these in a size large, but entirely on size 3 DPNs to get a sturdier fabric.
The green and yellow ones are Bird’s Eye Mittens from the book Knitting for Him. I accidentally knit two right mittens, but honestly couldn’t tell a difference so I didn’t frog. I knit them in the round because seaming is the worst.
Next, I knit my aunt (for her December birthday, technically) a hat and fingerless mitts set – the Kilkenny Tam and Kilkenny Mitts. We’re all about being Irish, so anything cabled is a good bet. My mom helped me pick the pattern and advised me to leave the pompom off the top. I used some Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight in Tidepool Heather.
While I am happy with the finished products, I wasn’t in love with the mechanics of either pattern, especially the mitts. I would not recommend that they be your first pair!
Finally, I knit my mom a Selbu Modern. I tricked her into picking the pattern by asking her for advice on what I should knit for my aunt. I’m not sure I actually fooled her (we’re both pretty Sherlock-y) but the finished product is so lovely I don’t think it matters. For this I used Knitpicks Palette in Tidepool Heather and Cream. I logged a lot of time watching Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix while knitting this since the stranded colorwork took a long time to get situated for perfect tension, meaning it wasn’t worth picking up in spare moments, only for marathons.
Happy New Year to you and your family and I hope you’re still enjoying the Christmas season!
I often joke with Gavin that he would be happy if I never knit him anything but grey hats. Well, here’s #5.
I’m knitting a Graffiti Hat for him, size large, using two shades of Knit Picks Swish Worsted: Cobblestone Heather and Dove Heather. The first hat I ever knit Gavin was in this darker shade of Swish. I had him go on a scavenger hunt for it in my apartment in Wisconsin. That hat was lost many years ago, and I never got a proper photo of it, but it’s part of my memories of our long-distance times.
I won this pattern as a knit-a-long (KAL) prize from the Designed in Canada group on ravelry. So far, I’m really enjoying knitting it. I think watching those cables stretch themselves over the stripes is going to be addicting. I’m going to post it in the new Colorwork KALs group, whose first KAL is anything with stripes. This certainly fits the bill!
I started Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie this week. I’m really enjoying it and find it to be very thought-provoking. It’s not quite as compelling a read as Me Before You by Jojo Moyes which I finished earlier this week (and hated the end of…) but is still definitely a book I can’t wait to read more of.
I got to the end of the heel increases on his socks and found that they were MUCH too large for his feet, so some frogging is in my future. Boo. At least they’re great TV knitting and easily read. Gavin requested a princess sole (reverse stockinette) on this pair and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the toe. I left it as normal, so they look a little funny when they’re not on his feet. Oh well.
I’m loving the twisted stitches without using a cable needle on my socks though, at least now that I’ve found my rhythm! They’re quite a fun knit, with enough action to be interesting and enough plain knit stitches to not make me throw them down in disgust: a rare combination indeed.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is quietly funny and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I recently finished The Elephant Keepers’ Children so I’m apparently on a kick of reading translated books with a teen narrator and bizarre parents.
After painting our living room and all of our house’s hallways on Saturday and Sunday, I found myself without any library books checked out. As part of getting the house back in shape, I rearranged our main bookshelf to be in color order, which is something I had done in my room in high school (before it was cool!) and enjoyed. Going through the books reminded me of some I hadn’t read in a long time, like Heidi.
As for knitting, it’s a new month and I’m participating in a couple of knitalongs that started today so I cast on a couple of new projects! Nothing is at a very exciting point yet, but here’s what I have on the needles.
For Sock Knitters Anonymous‘ October challenge and 52 in 52 Weeks‘ quarterly literary-inspired challenge, I’m knitting Porthos toe-up for Gavin using some self-striping Opal 6-Ply I’ve had for ages. He needs another pair of hand-knit socks and I am hoping this yarn will be super-sturdy.
I also cast on some Animal Crackers using a skein of red Opal Uni for myself. These will be for the same two groups as Porthos, plus SolidSocks‘ red challenge. I know the pattern is intended for men, but I’m just knitting the smallest size on size 0 needles and will likely make a couple more decreases in the gusset.
I’m so pleased that I finished my Christmas stocking last week and finally got it blocked!
I’ve been working on these for quite some time and even had to knit most of mine twice, so it’s very satisfying to have the pair finally completed.
I made a couple of modifications, namely:
- I didn’t knit the heels with a slip-stitch pattern like you would for a real sock heel.
- I did a normal gusset decrease instead of following their directions.
- On Gavin’s, I knit the toe more like a typical sock toe, where you decrease every other round and then once you reach a certain point, decrease every round. I prefer his to mine and will do that for any others I may knit in the future. (You can see that mine looks much pointier in the photo below.)
I also knit the leg portion on a 16″ circular before switching to DPNs for the heel and remainder of the stocking. I just prefer to work stranded colorwork on a single circular needle to help with the tension on my floats, but otherwise like to use DPNs.
Astute readers will notice that Gavin’s stocking has a hanging loop but mine doesn’t. I’m not thrilled with the crochet hanging loop on Gavin’s stocking because it doesn’t seem particularly sturdy where it attaches. I also am not sure where we’ll actually display the stockings at Christmas time, so they may not even need hanging loops. I’ll decide what to do about the loops closer to Christmas.
I took a picture of their insides, which are pretty crazy! I think if these were for kids, I would seriously consider lining them. As they are now, they should be fine for our use though.
The reverse stockinette stripes are my favorite (secret) part of the stockings. I love that particular proportion of stripes and will definitely keep that in mind for future knitting designs!
This is the first sock of a cabled design I’m working on. They’re inspired by the Mississippi river and I think they are a classic style with just a little whimsy for those in the know. I’ll probably also knit a pair for Gavin to model as the pattern would be great for men. Those will likely be brown, you know, like the actual river.
Right now I’m reading A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. So far it’s the classic tale of a working mom trying to juggle everything, with the added layer of her living in the literary world (enjoyably meta, but it will be dating as time passes). It’s written in a surprisingly lovely style for the genre, similar to Where’d You Go, Bernadette?. I’m looking forward to finishing it.