Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Around We Go Headband

Around We Go Headband

The story behind this piece is simple: recently, I saw one of the other moms at my kids' preschool in a knitted headband similar to this one and I thought, "hey, that's cool." And yes, the story is boring, but the finished product is still striking, with lots of graphic appeal. It's also very easy to size to various lengths, which I'll talk about more in a bit, and is a great stashbuster. Yay, busting stashes!

Sizes: Child (Adult)

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 Heathers (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #2439 Gelato - one skein

The pattern.
Plus some of the fine make up airbrushing that went into
my lovely fake head.
Needles: One set of needles in size US 7

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started! To begin, cast on 18 (22) stitches. Then we'll move right to the main pattern, which I've written separately for each size. First, then, the terminology:

rt (right twist): knit two together, leaving stitches on left-hand needle; next, insert right-hand needle from the front between the two stitches just knitted together, and knit the first stitch again.  Finally, slip both stitches from left-hand needle together

lt (left twist): with right-hand needle behind left-hand needle, skip one stitch and knit the second stitch in back loop; then insert right-hand needle into the backs of both stitches and k2tog-b (knit two together through back loops, inserting right needle from the right)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Butterfly Stitch Cowl

Butterfly Stitch Cowl

Okay, I'll own it: a linen blend yarn isn't particularly winter-y, and I should probably stick to super cold-weather yarns now that the temperature has dropped. Luckily for me, though, this pattern makes such a robust and supple fabric that the yarn's fiber mix hardly seems to matter. And it's not just the Butterfly Stitch Cowl's yarn that's versatile, either, it's also the sizing. In fact, I've provided a version for everyone 2 and older. Hello mommy-daughter matching time!

Sizes: Toddler (Child; Adult)

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Linen Concerto (48% Rayon, 42% Linen, 10% Cotton; 101 yards [92 meters]/50 grams); #01 Cream - 2 skeins (2 - 3 skeins, depending on length; 3 skeins)

A better look at the pattern
Needles: 16" circular needle in size US 5

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started! First, cast on 100 (110; 120) stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll knit five set-up rows, as follows:

Set-up Rows 1 - 4: purl

Set-up Row 5: knit

And now let's move on to the main pattern, which is Butterfly Stitch from page 101 of Barbara G. Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, except adapted for the round. Before we get to that, however, let's define our butterfly stitch as follows:

bs (butterfly stitch) (yes this abbreviation makes me happy): slip 1 stitch purlwise (this stitch should be the middle stitch above your five slipped bars), then insert right-hand needle down behind 5 bars and pull them up, then insert left-hand needle up behind the 5 bars (which will orient them knitwise). Finally, slip middle stitch back to left-hand needle and knit all 5 bars and middle stitch together

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sailor's Rib Cowl

Sailor's Rib Cowl

I bought this yarn nearly a year ago, I believe, with the intention of making a nice scarf for my husband with it. But since he was never very enthusiastic about said scarf, it never got made. And then he renewed his determination to bike commute this winter and it dawned on both of us: he didn't need a scarf, he needed a cowl. A nice, snug, long cowl that he can pull up over his face when the temperatures dip into the teens and the winds are blowing. And, to be quite honest, I'm kind of amazed that the idea never occurred to me before. After all, while I doubt he'll start wearing this cowl as a new man fashion statement (not because it isn't pretty, but because I haven't seen many men in cowls), it tucks into a jacket with much less bulk than a scarf, and looks just as nice.

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #9458 Bainbridge Island Heather - 1 skein

A closer look at the pattern
Needles: 16" circular needle in size US 7

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches

So let's make this bad boy! First, cast on 100 stitches, place marker, and join in round. And then we'll move straight to the main pattern, which is Fisherman's Rib from page 4 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, except adapted for the round. Anyway, it goes as follows:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rib & Welt Baby Blanket

Rib & Welt Baby Blanket

It's embarrassing to admit, but I'll do it anyway; I started knitting this blanket very shortly after my six month old baby was born, and I only just finished it yesterday. Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't dig the pattern or anything - I do!!! It's reversible and everything!!! It is not, however, as quick of a knit as I'm used to, since it's basically a 26" wide x 29" high rectangle made out of sport weight yarn. That being said, if you're going to make a baby blanket, the Rib & Welt Baby Blanket is a pretty good option. It's strikingly graphic, and did I mention the whole reversible thing? Plus, the pattern is very easy to learn, and babies look super cute on it.

Yarn: Patons Beehive Baby Sport (70% Acrylic, 30% Nylon; 304 yards [278 meters]/85 grams); #11142 Little Boy - three skeins

The pattern
Needles: 24" or longer circular needle in size US 5

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started! First, then, cast on 174 stitches loosely. Then knit 1" in a * k1, p1 * ribbing. On your last row like this, place one stitch marker 10 stitches from the beginning of the row, another 82 stitches from the beginning, another 92 stitches from the beginning, and the final marker 10 stitches from the end of the row. And then let's proceed as follows in the main pattern, which incorporates two panels of Rib and Welt Diagonals from page 9 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Like so, then:

Row 1: * k1, p1 * until you reach first marker, slip marker, then; * k1, p1, k1, p5; rep from * until you reach second marker. Slip marker, * k1, p1 * until third marker, slip marker, and then; * k1, p1, k1, p5 * until you reach final marker; slip marker, * k1, p1 * to end

Row 2 and all even rows: knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches, slipping all markers when you come to them

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All in the Family Earflap Hat

All in the Family Earflap Hat
Child Size

Although I've made hats of many other silhouettes, a reader recently reminded me that I had yet to post an earflap. And this reminder instantly reminded me of yet another thing - namely, that the last time I made an earflap hat, I had far fewer knitting techniques in my toolbox, and ended up having to cobble together a hat, some flaps, and some weird cast-ons with a crocheted edging, to hide the mess. Now that I've progressed, however, I designed this All in the Family Earflap Hat with a basic but rather elegant design that uses a provisional cast on for a seamless, nicely finished look. Plus, it doesn't require any crocheted hoo-ha for the edging (although of course you're welcome to crochet as much hoo-ha as you like; no judgment here). Also, as a note, I should mention that, though I very much enjoyed this yarn, I found the gauge recommendations to be WAY off. Thusly (and especially with a basic stockinette hat such as this), I highly recommend that you check your gauge before accidentally knitting a hat that would fit the Jolly Green Giant better than your kid.

Sizes: Toddler (Child; Small Adult; Large Adult) (in measurements, and roughly, the toddler size should fit an 18" - 19" inch head, the child a 19.5" - 21" inch head, the small adult up to a 21" head, and the large adult up to a 23" head)

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca (50% Alpaca, 50% Wool; 215 yards [198 meters]/100 grams); #6288 Blueberry Mix - 1 skein

From the side.
Needles: 16" circular needle in size US 8, one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 8, and one 10 or 10 1/2 needle for the provisional cast on

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 16 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started! Using your largest needle and a provisional cast on, cast on 70 (77; 77; 84) stitches. Then, transfer stitches to your size 8 circular needle, place marker, and join in round. Knit until piece measures about 5.5" (6"; 7.5"; 8"), and then we'll begin the decreases, as follows. Remember to switch to your dpns once you're down to about 60 stitches.

Decrease Row 1: * k5, k2tog; rep from *

Decrease Row 2: knit

Decrease Row 3: * k4, k2tog *

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kids' Banana Beanie

Kids' Banana Beanie

The baby is 6 months old now, so I figured it was high time he made his debut. And what better way to do it than sporting a chunky weight baby hat that can be sized all the way up to 12 years (he's wearing the 9 month size, though - I just couldn't bring myself to knit something he would outgrow immediately)? Anyway, there's not really much else to say about this piece, except for the fact that it's a quick and easy knit, and that its subtle pattern is oh-so-cute.

Sizes: 6 months (9 months; 12 months; up to 3 years; up to 12 years) (to be clearer on sizes: the 6 month will fit up to a 16" head, the 9 month a 17" head, the 12 month an 18" head, the 3 year a 19" head, and the 12 year up to a 21" head)

Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky (50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon; 130 yards [120 meters]/100 grams); #6122 Banana - 1 skein, plus roughly 10 yards of contrasting color, if desired for pompom

A better shot of the pattern,
And the pom pom.
Needles: 16" circular needle in size US 10, one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 10

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 14 stitches = 4 inches on size 10 needles

So let's get started! First, as a side note, I knit this entire hat with my size 10 needles. However, you could cast on and knit the first five-ish rows with a size 9, if you desired, for a bit of extra snugness at the bottom of the hat. And now that the note is out of the way - using the 16" circular needle of your desired gauge, cast on 52 (56; 60; 64; 68) stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll knit one set-up row, like so:

Set-up Row: * k3, p1; rep from *

And once that's done, let's move straight to our main pattern, which goes as follows:

Row 1: * k1, p1 *

Rows 2 & 4: * k1, slip 1 with yarn in back, k1, p1 *

Row 3: * k3, p1 *

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Super Slouch Hat

Super Slouch Hat

Some of you asked, and now I'm delivering! The Super Slouch Hat is not just an airy puff of head-topping goodness, it's also knit entirely (wait for it... wait for it...) BACK AND FORTH! So yes, that means that this is the perfect hat for the dpn-adverse among you. It also doesn't have to be nearly as slouchy as it's shown in the picture - with one less pattern repeat and a smaller needle, this would make a more fitted but equally delectable hat. And hey, if you do it that way - take pictures, I'd love to see it!

Yarn: Berroco Folio (65% Superfine Alpaca, 35% Rayon; 219 yards [200 meters]/50 grams); #4502 Orr - 1 skein

The finish.
Needles: Size US 4 needles, size US 7 needles (or US 5 or US 6 for a less relaxed fit)

Notions: Tapestry needle, 8 stitch markers

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size 5 needles

So let's get started! First, then, using your size 4 needles, cast on 114 stitches loosely (if you want to be extra clever, leave a tail long enough for seaming later). Then we'll knit the following ribbing rows, to create the bottom edge of the hat:

Ribbing Row 1 (wrong side): p2, * k2, p2; rep from *

Ribbing Row 2: k2, * p2, k2 *

Knit ribbing rows 1 & 2 until piece measures roughly 1 1/4" and you've just finished row 1 of the pattern. Now it's time to switch to our size 7 needles (size 5 or 6 needles if you'd like a more fitted hat) and knit one set-up row to place our extra markers, which goes as follows:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rose Briar Bag

Rose Briar Bag

I'll admit it; my reasons for designing this Rose Briar Bag are totally self-serving. Namely, I think it will make a nice holiday gift, when the time comes. Of course, it has other nice details as well, such as the triangular base (it's knit bottom-up) and the lace stripes. As pictured, it's also finished with a three needle bind off to attach the handles, although you're welcome to seam them instead.

Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream (100% Cotton; 120 yards [109 meters]/70.9 grams); #01322 Lilac - 3 skeins

A closer look
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 7, and one set of double pointed needles, also in size US 7, size 10 or larger needles for provisional cast on, and one 24" circular needle in size US 7 (recommended but not required)

Notions: Tapestry needle, four stitch markers

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size 7 needles

First and foremost, let's knit some handles! So, using your largest needles and a provisional cast on, cast on 11 stitches (if you plan to seam this bag rather than use the three needle bind off to attach the handles, you don't need to use a provisional cast on). Then switch to whichever set of size 7 needles you want to work back and forth on and knit the following set-up rows:

Set-up Rows 1 & 3 (wrong side): p11

Set-up Row 2: k11

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Horseshoe Cable Muffler

Horseshoe Cable Muffler

Where do I start with this one? How about at the very beginning, back when my sister and I were wee little girls and loved to play nothing more than "Old Days," where we dressed up in Little House on the Prairie-worthy thrift store clothes and pretended to be princesses-turned-scullery-maids, or occasionally scullery-maids-turned-princesses. And how is this relevant? Well, because the Horseshoe Cable Muffler is exactly the type of piece that we would have relished back then, with its rustic color and snuggly, old-timey aesthetic. Of course, this cowl/scarf isn't just relegated to the past, as you can dress it up three different ways for a very modern look. As a note, however, if you're planning to use it mainly as a scarf, you will need extra yardage of your yarn and you'll want to continue the piece longer than I made it for the best effect.

The end of the muffler.
Yarn: Skacel Alpaca Seta (75% Baby Alpaca, 18% Silk, 7% Nylon; 137 yards [125 meters]/50 grams); #11 Lemon Grass Twist - 2 skeins

Needles: One set of straight needles in size US 6, two double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 6, and a size US 8 or larger needle for your provisional cast on

Notions: Tapestry needle, cable needle (cn), stitch holder

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started!

Using a provisional cast on and your larger needles, cast on 38 stitches. Then switch to your size 6 needles and we'll move straight to our pattern. You'll need the following terminology to continue:

cable front (cf): transfer next 2 stitches to cn and hold in front, k2, k2 from cn

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ruched Shawlette

Ruched Shawlette
(According to my spellchecker,
I made up both of those words)

The story of this item is simple - I received a box full of beautiful homespun yarns as a gift, and this particular yarn told me exactly what it wanted me to do with it. Namely, it wanted to be made into a beautiful and simple triangle scarf (shawlette? I am still struggling with the vocabulary of this particular design). Whatever you call it, though, this is a perfect pattern for that gorgeous handspun you've had your eye on, one that's made especially nice by the column of ruching down the front of the piece. Blah blah blah, how about I stop talking now and start knitting instead?

Yarn: Homespun I received as a gift (100% Superfine Merino; 356 yards [326 meters]/?? grams); hand-dyed - 1 skein
The ruching. It's subtle in this yarn
but I promise it's there.

Needles: Size US 10 needles, 16" or longer size US 8 circular needle (for length, not for circular knitting), plus a size US 11 or larger needle for your provisional cast-on

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 15 stitches = 4 inches

Using your size 11 or larger needle and the provisional cast-on technique, cast on 54 stitches. Transfer to your size 10 needles and proceed as follows:

Row 1: knit until there are four stitches left in row, k2tog, k2

Rows 2 & 4: k2, purl until there are two stitches left in row, k2

Row 3: knit

Knit rows 1 though 4 until you have 38 stitches left on your needle and you've just completed row 4 (if you have yarn to spare, you could continue these four rows longer. As is, the piece measures 52" across. Each additional time you repeat these four rows before moving on to the next set will add about 1/2" to the finished length). Anyway, when you're ready, we'll proceed as follow:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gradated Rib Leg Warmers

Gradated Rib Leg Warmers

I had the idea for these leg warmers ages ago, and then got distracted by too many other projects to make them happen. Since I had already bought the yarn, however, I finally got to them this last week. And what sets these guys apart is that they actually use two different weights of yarn, as well as a number of different needle sizes, in order to create a small-to-large-to-small-again gradated look. Of course, you could just as easily knit them with a single weight of yarn, with or without the needle size changes (well, you'd definitely want to change needle sizes for the ribbing, but skip the changes for everything else). This pattern is also easy to size, as long as you add or subtract a multiple of four. As written, the pattern is sized to be about 12" around at the top and bottom, and each four stitches added or subtracted will change the size by about 3/4".

Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash (100% Superwash Wool; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #802 Green Apple - one skein (size A), Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Aran (100% Superwash Merino Wool; 150 yards [137.5 meters]/100 grams); #802 Green Apple - one skein (size B)

A close up. This pattern uses eyelets and twisted stitches
for a very deep ribbing.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size 5, one set of dpns in size 7, one set of dpns in size 8, and one set of dpns in size 10

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches on size 7 needles for size A yarn, 18 stitches = 4 inches on size 8 needles for size B yarn

So let's get started! First, using your size 5 needles and your size A yarn, cast on 60 stitches (or 56, or 64, or whatever multiple of four you need to get the size you want) and distribute evenly between 3 dpns (just make sure you have a multiple of four stitches on each needle). Join in round. Then, we'll work the following ribbing row:

Ribbing Row: * p1, k2, p1; rep from *