Cowl for James

I’ve been on a colorwork kick, again. It really is fun to do. I love watching the pattern emerge, row by row.

I decided that my sweetie needed a new cowl. And, since it needed to be thick, I decided to make it a Fair Isle thing. I used Red Heart Super saver for the decorative portion of the cowl.

I used the colorwork chart from the A carreaux pattern. I re-wrote the chart to make it repeatable and made it 80-stitches wide. Using the Alba cowl as a guide, I made the charted portion of the cowl 31 stitches and did 5 rounds of 2×2 rib on the top and bottom.

a-carreaux-1

I wish that I would’ve put a couple of rows of garter stitch between the ribbing and the pattern. Because I didn’t, it looks like the ribbing is infiltrating the Fair Isle. Bah!

In order to make sure that the cowl was super-thick and warm, I decided to make a liner. For this, I used Red Heart Soft yarn. I made the liner 41 rows of gray. It was not tall enough. So, I added a few rounds of black Soft yarn to the top and bottom. I’m not sure what the bind off I did was, but I sewed the liner to the main cowl at the same time.

WordPress is being difficult and won’t let me upload a photo of the liner. That’s okay, it’s just plain stockinette in gray yarn with a little bit of black on the top and bottom. I’m sure your imagination can show you what it looks like.

I cast on a foundation chain of 80 stitches with a 6mm hook. I knit the body of the cowl with a 5mm knook. I also bound off with a 6mm hook.

Because I seem to very much enjoy color knitting, I decided to get a Norwegian Knitting Thimble. I have high hopes that this will make colorwork much easier.

 

Spirit Cat

I just realized that I never shared this project and it’s one that I’m very fond of!

I completed this wall-hanging last September.

I used a 5.5mm knook and Red Heart Super Saver in Macaw and black. I stranded the colors.

This is a chart that I’ve had for quite some time. I actually, initially, intended to do it in filet crochet. I never did that, but after getting started in colorwork, I decided to give this a try. You can get the chart here.

Spirit Cat 1

Spirit Cat 2

Entrelac Cowl

Followed this tutorial to make a swatch and then decided to make a cowl.

I couldn’t figure out how to make it in the round, so I made it flat and then sewed it together.

I followed the instruction from the tutorial, however, I started with 10 triangles. CO 80.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I didn’t expect this yarn to be so stripey. It is very nearly a self-striping yarn. It looks good in entrelac, I do believe. It reminds me of the Brach’s Neapolitan candy.

I used Red Heart Super Saver in Pink Camo and a 4.5mm knook.

My foundation chain is a bit tight. Next time I’ll cast on with a bigger hook.

It took me about 3 days to finish this, but I wasn’t working on it constantly.

Entrelac Cowl

Birthday Presents!

The Birthday Girl has now seen photos of her presents, so I can finally share them with you! She loves them, thankfully. I’m always a little worried when I make things for people…

I bought 4 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the Amor Intenso colorway, in a destash on ravelry. I got a great deal for some gorgeous yarn. Unfortunately, it is pure Merino wool and subject to felting. Since I’m not a hand wash, lay flat to dry kind of person, I knew this lovely yarn wouldn’t be used to make things for myself.

My sister is probably the most knitworthy person that I know. She takes such good care of things. She doesn’t mind hand washing stuff. And she’s also a yarn lover, herself. So, she appreciates the effort that goes into hand knitting or crocheting things. I knew that the yarn would be made into things for her.

Because she and I have differing tastes, I had to show her the yarn (to make sure she liked it). I also had to ask her what she wanted me to make and I asked for some pattern suggestions. I know, I know, it takes all the surprise out of the gifts… But, I wanted her to have things that she would like and enjoy using.

She suggested that I make her a hat, or some fingerless mitts, or a hooded scarf. She sent me two pattern suggestions: one for a crocheted hat and one for a crocheted hooded scarf. Unfortunately, both patterns were poorly written – so, I had to scratch those off the list. But, I did have a good idea of the style that she was looking for, which was helpful.

She enjoys crocheting, but she really isn’t into knitting. She knows how to knit, but she really doesn’t enjoy it. So, I wanted to make her at least one thing that was hand knit. After much research and several false starts (going through patterns that weren’t well written – many that I paid for!), I finally settled on three patterns – one for a crocheted hat, one for knit fingerless mitts and one for a knit scarf.

The first thing I made was the Combination Summer Hat. It is mostly crocheted and free. I modified the pattern to make it a little bit longer than the pattern called for. My sister has dreadlocks and I wanted to be sure that this would cover them well. As you can see, it has a k1p1 rib band. The stretchy ribbing helps keep it securely on the head.

Combination Summer Hat 1 Combination Summer Hat 2

The body of this hat was crocheted with a 6.5mm (K) hook. I then knit 9 rounds of k1p1 rib with a 5.5mm knook. I intended to do 10+ rounds of rib. But, by the time I got to the 9th round, I had lost my will to live and decided to quit while I was ahead. This hat took less than a skein of yarn. The color in this photo is wrong. There really isn’t any purple in this yarn – it’s more of a burgundy. Very difficult yarn to photograph. This hat took me a few hours to make. I finished it in an evening.

The next thing I made was a pair of fingerless mitts. Again, I went through a few patterns before I found one that was both simple and well-written. I settled on the Doppelbock Mitts pattern. This pattern set me back 5 bucks, but it was totally worth it to me. The pattern is very easy to memorize and I think it would be easy to customize. I made them to pattern, but it’s so simple, if you want to make them larger (or smaller) that would be easily accomplished. As an aside, I absolutely LOVE the texture of this fabric. It is a slip-stitch pattern that reminds me of the eye-of-partridge. And I’m not sure if it’s just the yarn, or the pattern, or a combination of the two, but these mitts are very thick and squishy.

Dopplebock Mitts 1 Dopplebock Mitts 4

The color is a little better in these pictures, but not much… Still too purple. Anyhoo… These are made bottom-up, so you’re starting from the cuff. I used a 4.5mm knook for the cuff and body and the ribbing at the fingers was made with a 4mm knook. In hindsight, I wish that I had used the 4mm knook for the bottom cuff, too. Lesson learned. I used less than a skein of yarn for the pair. Again, these didn’t take long to make. It took me a day to make one, so two days for the pair. But it was a fun knit, not boring at all.

Again, much research went into the scarf pattern. The pattern that she sent me was pretty holey and I just didn’t think that would be very good. We get pretty cold here and I thought that a solid fabric would be best. I took away about half the mesh from her hat (the pattern she chose was pretty much all mesh) and figured I could probably get away with taking the mesh from her scarf, as well. I wanted a solid fabric, but it needed to have some texture… Plain stockinette, or garter, or ribbing, wasn’t going to do.

I finally settled on the Surco Scarf pattern. Here’s the pattern page on ravelry, if you’re interested. This pattern was free and with – essentially – only two rows, it’s super easy. I really like the texture and the fact that it lays completely flat.

Surco Scarf 2 Resized Surco Scarf 4 Resized

The color in these photos are the closest yet. Again, this was really easy to do. But, it’s more-or-less k2p1 rib. Which, after a while, becomes emotionally painful for me to make. After making the hat and the mitts, I had two full skeins and two partial skeins of yarn leftover. I had initially intended to use it all up on the scarf. After I got the first full skein knit up, I had some slight inklings of doubt. I then finished one of the partial skeins and realized that there was no way it was going to happen. I was so bored that I actually started crocheting a sweater. I decided that I would finish up the other partial skein of yarn and call it good. That’s what I did. It’s long enough to wrap twice around the neck. And I left the final yarn tail long, just in case she decides that she wants to make it a long cowl and sew the ends together. I made this using a 4.5mm knook. It took me a bit over 16 hours to make.

I decided that I would also gift to her the final full skein of yarn that I have left. I really have no use for it, myself, and I think she will enjoy using it to make herself something. I am going to go see her this weekend and give them to her then.

Lacy Hooded Scarf

Another dear friend of mine just celebrated her birthday. She is one of the kindest, sweetest, women I know. She has done so much for us.

In her younger years, she collected goats. She moved a very large herd (at least 150 head) from San Clemente Island (off the coast of California) to Central Oregon. I didn’t know her then, but I know for a fact that she loved her goats very much.

Whenever something causes us to have to leave the farm for a few days, she always steps right up and offers to take care of our critters and our crops. Of course, she absolutely loves my goats. But, really, who doesn’t???

At any rate… She is getting older – I believe she is on the upside of 70 now. Years of hard work have taken its toll on her. She lives a mountain-woman lifestyle and it has been very physically demanding. It’s beginning to show. A stubborn woman (well, she is a Capricorn!) she refuses to let us help her with any of the things she needs to get done around her homestead.

I had to try to think of something for her birthday… Something that really showed how much I care for her. It had to be something that she couldn’t refuse and she couldn’t give back. Therefore, I knew it had to be handmade.

My friend has the most beautiful eyes. They are large, round, and a lovely, dove grey. I’ve never known anyone with grey eyes before. Time has given her lovely silver hair, which one can tell was once very dark.

I found some lovely grey yarn, at Knit Picks. It is part of their Swish line, which is 100% superwash Merino wool. The color I chose matches her eyes. It’s called Dove Heather. Once I decided on the yarn, I started hunting for a pattern.

Dove Heather

It took me a few months to find the right pattern for her. I knew that I wanted to make something for her to wear. It needed to be something to help her stay warm. I thought about hats and scarves and gloves and cowls. I just had a heck of a time settling on something!

Finally, while perusing Ravelry, I found it. The perfect pattern! The Lacy Hooded Scarf seemed like the perfect thing! It had enough solid parts to keep her hair dry and enough lace to keep it feminine. Despite her rough lifestyle, she is very much, 100% feminine.

I ordered the yarn and ordered the pattern.

Judy Scarf 3

I really thought that it would only take me about a week to make this scarf. The pattern was simple enough. I really thought it was going to be a breeze. I thought wrong! I gave myself one month of lead time, before her birthday. Working on this, day and night, it took me 24 days. There were a few days that I seriously didn’t think I would get it finished in time.

Judy Scarf 2

The pattern is a 16-row repeat. As such, it was too long for me to memorize. Also, it’s worked from the bottom up – so it gets wider, the further along you go. You work the two halves separately and then sew them together.

Judy Scarf 4

I knit this using a 4.5mm knook. The yarn is a DK weight yarn. It took a scant few yards shy of 5 balls of yarn for this project. I was terrified that I would run out of yarn. I didn’t have enough time to order, receive and knit another ball before the big day arrived.

Judy Scarf 1

In addition to this being the most complicated lace pattern that I’ve ever knit, I had another first with this pattern. I learned the Russian join, for joining yarn ends. I must say, I really like that join! It takes a bit more yarn than I care for; but it is a nice, secure join and there are no ends to weave in! In the future, when I am joining ends without changing colors, I am definitely going to use that join.

For the most part, I’m very happy with how this scarf turned out. There are a few things that I’m not entirely happy with though…

I wish that I had added a few more garter stitches on the sides than was called for in the pattern. There aren’t enough and because it’s stockinette, it curls. Though, in retrospect, if I had done that, I would have surely run out of yarn.

Also, I’ve never worked with superwash Merino before. When researching how to block it, I learned that it should be machine washed and dried. I did this and it pilled significantly. Thankfully, it didn’t felt.

The pattern calls for using a visible seam, on the outside of the scarf. So, I did a crochet slip stitch seam. It’s a heavier seam than I like.

Lastly, I hit a snag near the end of the pattern itself. Thankfully, I was able to wing it and finish up.

Even with all the (minor) things that I’m not happy with… The recipient cried when she received it.

And to me, that makes it all worth it.

DK Boot Socks

It’s not very often that my sweetheart requests that I make something for him. So, when he does, I jump to it.

A few years ago, I bought him a pair of snow boots. He wasn’t with me at the time, so he couldn’t try them on. As it turns out, they were a bit too big. But, he desperately needed the boots, so I didn’t exchange them. He has been wearing them, uncomfortably, with heavy socks. This has not been ideal.

He requested that I make him some boot socks. These were to be worn over the top of another pair of heavy socks (to help take up some of the slack inside the boots). He wanted them to be made from yarn that was a combination of wool and cotton (another reason they would be worn over other socks, is because he is sensitive to wool and can’t have it against his skin). He also said he wanted them to be made from “fluffier” yarn; he meant thick yarn, rather than sock yarn.

I had been looking for some yarn that met those characteristics and I found some. It was going to be rather expensive, but he’s worth it. Then, I was on Ravelry one day and I saw that a gal in one of my groups was destashing several balls of yarn that would be perfect (and for a great price). I swooped in, quickly!

The yarn is Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran. It is a DK weight yarn in the colorway Peacock (a lovely teal-ish color). The yarn is soft and squishy. It would be very comfy made into a sweater or something like that. If you can wear wool, I would suggest you get some of that yarn. The only bad thing about it is that it’s hand wash/lay flat to dry. I did a test to see how easily it felts… It felts very easily. But, these socks won’t really get dirty, so hand washing is fine.

The pattern that I used to make the socks is the Mash-Up Magic Toe-Up Socks (Recipe). You can download the pattern on Ravelry or click here to go to her personal website.

Before I had made this pair of socks, I had only ever made two other socks (not a pair). The first one was a baby sock and the second one was made using the above pattern/recipe. It made a perfectly-fitting sock and I decided that it would likely be my go-to pattern for sock making.

My knitting tool of choice is a knook, so that’s what I used to make these. The yarn calls for a size 7 needle, but I wanted it to be a bit firmer of a fabric, so I went with a size 6 (4mm). It did make a firmer fabric, as I’d hoped, but it’s still not terribly stiff or anything. The squishiness of this yarn makes it very forgiving.

Each sock took one-yard shy of one ball of yarn. The socks are a bit shorter than he wanted, but they do the job that they were intended to do. They keep his feet much warmer and they take up quite a bit of slack inside his boots.

I did a crochet cast on. Primary stitch count was 40. The heel flap is a columnar slip stitch heel. I did 19 rounds of a K2, P2 rib for the cuff. And I did a Russian bind off. They fit perfectly. He says that he’s never had, in his whole life, a pair of socks that fit so well.

It took me a day to make one sock, but I’m a slow knitter.

Boot Socks 1

Boot Socks 2

I’ve started a pair of regular socks (using sock yarn) for myself. I’ll write a post about those, once they’re finished.

Knooking Entrelac

I did a google search for knooking entrelac and I got no hits. So, I decided to try to figure it out for myself.

Essentially, knitting entrelac is just making a series of rectangles, one at a time. One row of rectangles leans to the left and the next row leans to the right. It looks like a diagonal basket weave. It’s quite simple and fun to do.

When making it with two needles, you make your rectangles and slide them over onto one of the needles to wait, while you make the next one. I couldn’t figure out how to do this with the knook, because one is left with live stitches that need to be held until the next row of rectangles is made. And since our second “needle” is already in use, I didn’t know how to get it to work while still being able to work back and forth.

What I decided to do was use little pieces of ribbon to hold the live stitches on the waiting rectangles. This frees up my knooking cord for making the next row of rectangles.

Following this wonderful entrelac tutorial I made this:

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Initial triangles:

23153103405_cf025a3471_z

First rectangle:

22785136959_d5206d7632_z

First row of rectangles done:

23189016231_a3d5813f6e_z

Working on the second row of rectangles:

22785153279_fae7b4d655_z

22857344860_2d84b63b60_z

I completed three rows of rectangles and then finished off.

This was an 8-stitch entrelac pattern, so it didn’t take very long cords to do. I found that I was cutting my small “holding” strips of ribbon (for the stitches that were waiting) a bit too short. As I was working those stitches, the ribbon would sometimes slip out of the stitches. Thankfully, this was Red Heart Super Saver yarn, so it was fairly grabby and I was able to get a locking stitch marker into them to keep them from laddering down.

When I finished a rectangle, I would take the little piece of ribbon out of the one below (that I just finished picking up the stitches on) and reuse the ribbon. So, it didn’t take very many pieces of ribbon.

Also, because you are working back and forth (almost like short rows) the knook cord doesn’t have to be very long either.

And that’s it!

I know this post is brief, but I just wanted to let you know that, YES! Knooking entrelac really is possible! And hopefully this little bit of instruction will help you be able to do this fun stitch, too!

As always, if you have any questions or need some clarification, please feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help.

Hungry for Color…

It took me the entire month of July to knit an eyelet curtain panel for my kitchen window. I had intended to make two. However, once finished, it was discovered that the one panel stretched across the length of the window.

I had used Red Heart Super Saver in white and my size I knook.

The pattern used was this one and I used the five-eyelet chart. I cast on 170 stitches, did 10 rows of garter on the bottom and 5 garter stitches on each side. The rod pocket was created by making 5 rows garter, 5 rows stockinette and another 5 rows garter I then sewed the last garter row to the first.

After hanging the curtain, it doesn’t perfectly fit across the width of the window. But, it’s good enough. I might make another one someday, but probably not for a while. It was a lot of work and pretty boring stuff.

Eyelet Curtain 1

Eyelet Curtain 2

All that white yarn made me want to work with some color. I joined a couple of knit-alongs and crochet-alongs on ravelry.

The first challenge was to make something related to the TV show Outlander. This show is based on some of my favorite books, which were written by Diana Gabaldon.

I decided to modify my MacLean Clan Tartan found here. I made a cowl. This was my first try at knitting with color and my first try using the Intarsia technique (for the vertical stripes). I made yarn butterflies to contain the lengths of yarn. It worked pretty well! I figured that since this was a Scottish clan tartan, it would qualify for the -along.

I cast on 65 stitches and used my size I knook.

MacLean Tartan Cowl Knit 1

Handsome model is my son.

Handsome model is my son.

The next -along that I got into was the August challenge in the Cowls group on ravelry. This month’s challenge: color work. I found what looked like a cute and simple pattern called Alba, by Greta and the Fibers. I believe it would be considered a Fair Isle technique, as you are only doing a few stitches at a time in one color, with two colors per row. Just so you know, the website is in Spanish, it is an unsecured site and they require a LOT of personal information before you can download their free patterns.

It was a simple pattern and I really enjoyed the stranded technique (another first for me) – much more than the Intarsia. I made several mistakes (that I didn’t notice until I was finished). Despite the fact that it is terribly imperfect, I love this cowl. I absolutely adore the colors. I knew from crocheting another cowl that I liked these two colors together. But in this cowl, I like it even better.

The pattern is simple and charted. It’s a 10-stitch repeat. I cast on 80 stitches. I used Red Heart Super Saver in Black and Macaw. I did a seed stitch border, which I’m really not happy with. I think I much prefer the look of garter borders.

Alba Cowl

The next -along I was involved in was on the Red Heart Lovers group on ravelry. It was the August Square of the Month. I followed the crochet pattern. It made a 12-inch afghan block. I used a K hook and Red Heart Super Saver in Shocking Pink, Perfect Pink (I think), Gray Heather and Black. It is the pattern See How They Run, pattern found here.

See How They Run 1

The Alba cowl inspired me to work on another stranded knitting project. I downloaded the Spirit Cat chart a long time ago and had intended to work it up as a filet crochet project. I never got around to doing that. So, I decided to knit it in the same colorway as my Alba cowl. I’m about halfway done, at this point. To be continued…

Grandson Baptismal Blanket

Most of you know the story about my grandson; it’s pretty much all I’ve talked about on this blog for the last few months… He will be born and will die soon afterward (if he survives his own birth). My son and his fiance decided that they are going to have him Baptized as soon as he is born. I knew I had to make his Baptism blanket.

Christening Blanket 5

I used the Baby Counterpane Christening Blanket pattern written by Kay Meadors.

Christening Blanket 3

I’m not a proficient knitter; in fact, I haven’t actually knitted much… Two socks, a kerchief, a little decorative owl and a hat. The socks were actually done with needles. Everything else has been done using a knook.

Christening Blanket 6

I had some problems with the edging portion of the original pattern. And since I don’t have much knitting experience, I didn’t know what changes I should make, to make it work. So, I frogged the edging and switched to crochet.

Christening Blanket 7

For the edging, I used the Lacy Vs and Picots Edging pattern written by Amy Solovay. Because I had done one row of SC all the way around, I skipped straight to round 2 in the pattern. I completed two rounds of round 2, one of round 3 and then the picot round.

Christening Blanket 1

Aside from the fact that this was a sad project, I really did enjoy the process of making this blanket. It was a fun knit, with lots of different things to do. But, because it was fairly repetitive, it was also easy enough. I put in a lifeline every 10 rows. I think it is a great beginner’s lace knitting project.

I used my favorite baby yarn – Red Heart Soft Baby Steps – in white.

Each of the four panes took less than a skein of yarn; I started a new skein for each pane. The edging took the better part of a skein. I started a new skein for the v stitches and then started another for the picot round. I would say that it took five skeins of yarn, even though I opened six.

Because I’m a slower knitter, I’d estimate that this took me close to 50 hours to make.

It is a little over 3-feet square.

Mom loves it, and really, that’s all that counts.

Knooking Tutorial

I have been crocheting for many years; but I’ve only learned to knit in the last few.

I’m beginning to get arthritis in my hands and knitting with two straight needles is pretty painful. I discovered circular needles and that was better – but still a bit painful.

Part of the problem is that I have some needle insecurity issues going on. I’m afraid that my knitting will slip off the needles and I will lose my work. In my experience, this is a valid concern, as it has happened to me several times. In order to compensate for this insecurity, I keep a death grip on the needles. This causes me pain and makes knitting a not-so-fun-and-relaxing experience.

Also, I have always found executing knit stitches and purl stitches on needles to be awkward and un-intuitive. I blame this on the fact that I’ve been crocheting for a long time.

A couple of years ago, I discovered knooking. This is actual knitting, but using one modified crochet hook rather than two needles. This is better for me, as the tool is familiar and it doesn’t cause me near as much pain. I’m not forcing my aging joints to learn new motions.

Unfortunately, when I was first learning to knook (using YouTube videos) the experience was still quite awkward. Forming the stitches took a lot of effort and it was very challenging. As a result, I ended up putting the knook away and just resigned myself to no more knitting.

I did acquire a couple of knitting machines and those are great, but not quite the same as working by hand.

Recently, I decided to give knooking another try. I found a Leisure Arts video on YouTube: click here for video. Evidently, this was a different method of making the stitches and (happily!) I have found it to be much easier than my earlier efforts. This method is called “western” and it is more akin to crochet and most crocheters find this to be the easiest method for them to learn.

Because I bounce back and forth between knooking and crochet, I found that I was forgetting how to form the knit and purl stitches; so I made myself a mini tutorial that I can refer to whenever I need a refresher.

Knooking for right-handed folks:

Getting started: cast on (crochet chain) desired number of stitches, then pick up stitches (working right to left, pull loop through each chain stitch, leaving each loop on the hook). Slide stitches off of hook and onto cord. Turn your work so that the hook is on the right and you’re working right to left, just like in crochet.

Knit Stitch:

Yarn held in back.

Insert hook from left to right.

Knook Knit Stitch 1

With hook above working yarn, grasp yarn and pull through stitch.

Knook Knit Stitch 2

Purl Stitch:

Yarn held in front.

Insert hook from right to left.

Knook Purl Stitch 1

Wrap yarn over top of hook, grasp and pull through.

Knook Purl Stitch 2

After all stitches have been worked, slide stitches off hook and onto the cord. Turn your work and continue as per pattern.

Binding Off:

Knit the first stitch (one loop on hook).

*Insert hook into next stitch (now there are two loops on hook), wrap yarn around hook and pull through both loops on hook (back to only one loop on hook).* This feels like a single crochet, but it is actually just doing a slip stitch two together.

Continue * to * until all stitches have been done.

Cut yarn, weave in ends.

I hope this helps all of you who are interested in learning. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need clarification on any of my instructions.

🙂