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’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.
Well, look at that – I’m done knitting my stocking! I started it on Wednesday and finished knitting it on Saturday, but there’s still a lot of finishing work to be done.
I need to Kitchener the toe, duplicate stitch my name and the green lines into the argyle, and weave in all of the ends.
I have a few tutorials I refer back to frequently, for knitting skills I don’t do often enough to know every step by heart. I like Purl Bee’s duplicate stitch tutorial and Knitty’s tutorial for Kitchener stitch. I really should know the Kitchener stitch by heart, but I always have to remind myself of the sequence one time before flying through the rest of the stitches.
I’m about to start reading this book, The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, after finishing We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh last night. This is the second Alice Hoffman book I’ve read; the first was The Museum of Extraordinary Things.
Keeping with the Christmas crafting theme, I finally cast on my Christmas stocking. I’m using Knitpicks Wool of the Andes from my stash in Red, Grass, and White, so it should look just like Gavin’s stocking that I finished last year.
Funny story: after knitting Gavin’s stocking, I waited a couple of months and then cast on mine. I made it almost all the way the heel before I decided to listen to my nagging thoughts that this seemed much larger than the one I had knit before and compare them. Which was stupid, because it was much larger. And I had to frog the whole thing, including the stranded colorwork, which is horrible to frog. So here I am, starting again with smaller needles. So far, so good.
As for reading, I’m in the middle of two books. I heard an idea on the The Art of Simple podcast that resonated with me: to only read fiction before bed, for an easier time falling asleep and a better night’s rest. I read some fairly intense nonfiction sometimes (both dark and dry) so I think this will help me get to sleep more quickly and get more out of every book.
These books are both from the library. The Skeleton Crew is pretty good so far (I’m not a fan of the choppiness so many other reviewers have commented on), but Infinite Home is awesome. I am loving the process of getting to know all of the residents of the building, even after recently reading another character-heavy book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
It’s pretty clear that everyone loves swatching as much as I do. That is to say, not very much.
Especially because this is my third try to get gauge with this Wool of the Andes Sport. I knit the first very diligently, washed it, measured it, and saw that it was too big. So I went down a needle size and knit a couple of inches before figuring out it was still too big and ripping out. So this is my third swatch with this yarn. Augh!
I have a sneaking suspicion this swatch (on size 2 needles!) is still going to be too big. If it is, I quit. At least for now.
I finally picked up Go Set a Watchman from the library last night. I just finished The Book of Speculation this morning, so I’m all set to start later this evening.
1. This Sweitzer’s Superwash Merino DK my mom bought for me. The color really reminds me of my grandmother. It’s burning a hole in my craft closet, but I of course want to save it for the “perfect” project, probably a long cowl.
2. A Color Affection. I’m basically the last shawl knitter on earth who hasn’t made one yet, but I can’t decide on a set of colors. I’m thinking grey, white, and neon pink…or navy and two shades of blue…or neon yellow-green, teal, and grey. Decisions, decisions.
3. My Stroll Brights. I bought these when they were a limited release (they are standard now) and have loved arranging and rearranging them, but it’s time to get knitting before neons are totally lame.
4. Prisma Loop – this striped cowl has been on my to-knit list for quite a while. I even want to knit it in the exact colors shown (already in my stash!) which I rarely do.
5. This Hawthorne in Concordia. It’s just one of the colors I bought during the big sale last year and I find it super lovely. Green is just a good color for red(dish) heads!
6. The Whale Watch hat. While this exact style of hat isn’t my thing, these fair isle whales are ADORABLE and I must knit myself a hat with whales on it.
7. And last, my Knitcircus gradient yarn. This was a birthday gift last year and I have a few patterns I think would look great in it. I just have to choose one of them!