Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nightmare Yarn Hat

Nightmare Yarn Hat
Nightmare Yarn Hat
Pictured in Adult Large

Okay, first and foremost, let's get this straight: I'm not actually saying that this yarn (Lana Grossa Colorato Nodo) is a nightmare - I mean, heck, I picked it out, and was pretty darn excited when I saw it! However, as you can clearly see in every picture, this yarn has one peculiarity that makes it difficult to work with - the significant size changes of the fiber, which make roughly 1/10 of the stitches look like they gorged on cured ham until they become monstrously swollen. And because this is not a peculiarity that I noticed until I got the yarn home, my original plan for this yarn was a total disaster - this stuff doesn't take ribbing (who knew ribbing could look terrible!?!?), and looks even worse as a rolled brim (unless you want to look like an incompetent knitter). So, basically, I had to punt. Therefore, I went with the most fool-proof design I could think of, and one that you, too, can put to work for that almost-novelty yarn you accidentally bought and then realized swallows every pattern you put near it (or that you bought on purpose! hi there! no shame, we'll start a club!). (Of course, this pattern is perfectly good for non-nightmarish yarns too!)

Oh, and a quick word on sizing - usually, of course, when you're sizing your hat the biggest concern is head size. That doesn't work quite as well with the nightmare yarn conundrum. And in fact, if you're working with a fiber that isn't predominately wool, you may want to veer in the adult small direction just to accommodate the inevitable stretching.

Sizes: Adult Small (Adult Large)

Yarn: Lana Grossa Colorato Nodo (90% Virgin Wool, 10% Polyamide; 120 yards [110 meters]/50 grams); #109 - two skeins 

Nightmare Yarn Hat
A better look at the finish,
the cable, and those pesky big
stitches.
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 10, one set of double pointed needles, also in size US 10, one cable needle (cn) or dpn for cabling, and one needle in size US 11 for provisional cast-on

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker, scrap yarn for provisional cast-on

Gauge: 15 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a cute hat from some difficult yarn! Using your size US 11 needle, cast on 18 stitches provisionally. Then, transfer the stitches to either one of your dpns or your size US 10 circular (you can use either since we're starting by knitting flat). Then we'll work the cabled bottom edge of the hat as you'll find below. To do this, you'll need the following notation. And remember you can always cable without a cable needle!

back cross (bc): transfer next 2 stitches to your cn and hold in back; k2, k2 from cn

front cross (fc): transfer next 2 stitches to your cn and hold in front; k2, k2 from cn

Friday, December 9, 2016

Bump Up From Basics Beanie

Bump Up From Basics Beanie
Pictured in Child Size

Okay, I'm doing something a little bit different with this pattern, since I'm not offering it on my website, but through a video tutorial I created on Skillshare instead. Which means that, yes, I've had to face my fear of being on camera (don't worry, I deleted all the takes where I opened my eyes super-wide for no reason), and that this pattern is not technically "free" since it requires a membership on the website to access it. If you sign up through the link above, however, you can get 3 months on the website for $0.99, and access to tons of video content from all sorts of talented and amazing people (and I get some compensation as well!).

Oh, and as far as the actual pattern is concerned - I designed the Bump Up From Basics Beanie as a sort of next-level project for beginning knitters who've gotten comfortable with knitting and purling and are ready to move on to something more complicated. Or in other words, I demonstrate every technique you need to make this hat in the video except for knitting, purling, and tucking in your ends! :)

Anyway, here are the details:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gathered Rib Scarf

Gathered Rib Scarf
Gathered Rib Scarf

Okay, I wish I had a good story behind this scarf, but I don't. Basically, I've just been on kind of a variegated yarn kick lately, in part because I find it super difficult to find good patterns for but I love buying it, so... you do the math! Someone's gotta come up with some stuff, right? Anyway, I designed this particular scarf to be on the shorter side, since I only had 2 skeins of yarn. However, it would look very nice if you have a bit more yardage to work with, also, or even in a solid color yarn! 

Yarn: Lana Grossa Cinque Multi (60% Virgin Wool, 40% Polyacrylic; 164 yards [150 meters]/50 grams); #013 - two to three skeins

Gathered Rib Scarf
A better look at the rib,
and the gathering. See how it
works with the variegation???
Needles: Straight needles in size US 6

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

And now that we've got all of that covered, let's make a scarf! To begin with, then cast on 50 stitches loosely. Then, we'll work as follows:

Rows 1, 3, 5, & 7 (wrong side): slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn in back (sl1 wyib), k1, (p6, k4) four times, p6, k2

Rows 2, 4, & 6: slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn in front (sl1 wyif), p1, (k6, p4) four times, k6, p2

Row 8: sl1 wyif, p1, (k2tog through back loops [k2tog-tbl], k2, k2tog, p4) four times, k2tog-tbl, k2, k2tog, p2

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Susan's Scarf

Susan's Scarf
Susan's Scarf

I doubt many of you realize this, but what this scarf represents is actually a tiny miracle; namely, it's the second piece of a hat/scarf set that I designed to go together for the first time, EVER!!! (if you're interested, you can find Susan's Slouch Hat here) But of course you don't have to be interested in the set to enjoy this pattern, partially because, while I made it with only 2 skeins of yarn (roughly 250 yards), as long as you cast on an odd number of stitches and have a rough idea of your gauge, you can make it any size you like! That also means that this pattern is easy to adapt for different gauges of yarn - and please, feel free to hit me up in the comments if you need any extra help!!!

Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha (100% Pure Merino Superwash Wool; 130 yards [120 meters]/100 grams); #063 Natural - two to three skeins 

Susan's Scarf
A closer look.
Needles: One 40" or longer circular needle in size US 10, one 40" or longer circular needle in size US 10.5, one 5 or 6 mm crochet hook, 2 lengths of scrap yarn measuring roughly 6' apiece

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 14 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 10.5 needles

So let's make a scarf, then! Using your size US 10 circular needle, cast on 189 stitches loosely. Then, we'll work some ribbing, as follows, for the edge of the scarf:

Ribbing Row 1 (wrong side): slip 1 stitch with yarn in front (sl1 wyif), * k1, p1; rep from * until end of round

Ribbing Row 2: sl1 with yarn in back (sl1 wyib), * k1, p1 *

Work ribbing until piece measures between roughly 2.25" and 2.5" and you've just finished a wrong side row (of course this part of the pattern is also adaptable - if you have the yarn and want to make it wider, go to town!). Then, we'll add a bunch of stitches that we'll later use to work the band that runs between the ribbing and the stockinette. Once we add them, we'll simply hold them all on a piece of scrap yarn on the right side of the scarf. So, to that end, work these two transition rows:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Susan's Slouch Hat

Susan's Slouch Hat
(even though Hedwig is wearing it)

As you can probably guess from the name in the title, this hat was designed with a specific person in mind. And in fact, I've been meaning to knit this person something for some time, but it wasn't until autumn descended and I saw her seasonal red jacket that I realized EXACTLY what she needed (to be fair, she also told me she wanted something in the white/natural color family and tried to get knitting tips before I stole the project right out from under her and told her I'd come up with something instead). What was I saying? Oh right, Susan's Slouch Hat will be your go-to head covering since it knits up quickly in chunky weight yarn and has a simple but elegant design. (Oh, and let's keep our fingers crossed that it becomes Susan's go-to head covering as well, or the whole thing is a monumental failure!)

Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha (100% Pure Merino Superwash Wool; 130 yards [120 meters]/100 grams); #063 Natural - one skein

A close-up of the detail that takes this hat from
blah to boo-yah (yeah, nobody says that)!
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 8, one 16" circular needle in size US 10.5, one 5 or 6 mm crochet hook, one set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 10.5, scrap yarn measuring roughly 24"

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 14 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 10.5 needles

So let's make a hat! Using your size US 8 circular needle, then, cast on 72 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then, we'll work some ribbing, as follows:

Ribbing Row: * k1, p1; rep from * until end of round

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Swiss Check Scarf

Swiss Check Scarf

If I had one inspiration for this scarf, it was the planned color pooling pictures that keep popping up in my Facebook feed (dude, I follow a lot of knitters). If I had two inspirations for this scarf, it was PCP (such a bad acronym!) and laziness; the idea of fiddling with a yarn and a design until I had nailed a certain color pattern seemed about as appealing to me as taking all three of my children to the dentist by myself for concurrent appointments. So I went with a more relaxed take on the same theme; namely, a slip stitch color pattern worked with two skeins of the same variegated yarn that still creates a fancy pattern but requires much less precision! :)

Yarn: Lang Yarns Viva (100% Merino Wool; 120 yards [110 meters]/50 grams); #0020 - four skeins

A closer look at the Swiss Check.
So Swiss, no?
Needles: One pair of straight needles in size US 8

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 19 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

And now that we've gotten the basics down, let's make a scarf! And let's begin by talking some shop: specifically, addressing the fact that this scarf is worked with two skeins of your variegated yarn at once, and that even though they're the SAME DARN COLOR (or combination of colors I suppose), I will be calling one skein A and one skein B. Of course, that's because they need to be worked alternately in order to produce the slip stitch color pattern (and for that reason I also recommend that you make sure to begin the slip stitch pattern with a portion of your skein B ball that does not match your skein A ball at whichever point in the dye you're in after the edging rows). So let's proceed as follows:

Using your skein A yarn (aka any whichever one of your skeins you pick up first), cast on 39 stitches loosely and work the edging rows as follows:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

True Blue Shawlette

True Blue Shawlette
True Blue Shawlette

On most occasions, I try to keep my knitting fairly seasonal (or representative of the months to come). I'm sure that's why I bought this yarn and started this shawlette months ago, only to get hung up by my uncooperative forearms. Now that I've finally finished the piece, though, we should all just pretend it's summer again, and that the cold breeze I felt this afternoon was actually as balmy as July's winds. Or not, in which case you can file this pattern away for next year, when you've got 300+ yards of a cotton-, silk-, linen-, or bamboo-based fiber and a hankering for a short shawl (or even a big one, if you want to keep working and you've got enough yarn!).

Yarn: Lana Grossa 365 Cotone (88% Cotton, 12% Polyamide; 153 yards [150 meters]/50 grams); #026 Türkisgrün - two skeins

True Blue Shawlette
A better look at the pattern.
Basically, just lace and garter stitch!
Needles: One 32" or longer circular needle in size US 7

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a little shawl thing! And in case I wasn't clear enough before, this pattern is good for those occasions when you're not sure if you've got enough yarn or not; since it's designed from the rounded bottom up, it's completely scalable in size - make it small if you've only got 300 yards, or bigger with more. No matter how much yarn you've got, however, you'll begin by casting on 3 stitches loosely, and then working 8 rows in garter stitch to create a tab of sorts. Then, without turning work, yarn over (yo) twice, pick up 1 stitch about 1/3rd of the way down along the edge of the tab, (yo) twice again, pick up 1 stitch roughly 2/3rds of the way down the edge of the tab, and (yo) twice again. Complete tab by picking up 3 stitches along cast-on edge; you should now have stitches coming from 3 sides of the tab - 3 along original working edge - 8 along the side (counting each double yo as 2 stitches), and 3 along the cast-on edge. Then, work a few set-up rows as follows:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ruched Mitts

Ruched Mitts
Ruched Mitts

I'm not exactly sure where to start with these guys, mostly because I don't actually want to start. After all, if I begin this post, I'm going to have to explain that my recent absence was due to repetitive stress issues with my forearms, that I'm doing much better now, thank you very much, and that I will probably be relaxing my regular posting schedule so that I can continue to do well.

And heck, since I don't want to go through all that, let's not - let's talk about these mitts instead! And the first thing I should mention in that realm is that I bought this yarn because I thought it would make an easy project - it's bulky weight, for goodness sake, and not even variegated! Unfortunately, I was wrong since it turns out that this particular fiber is one of those strong core/big halo types (you know what I mean, right? - there's a thick center and then lots of fuzz?). And those types of yarn are very pattern resistant, since lace knitting isn't well-defined in them and even cables look messy. Which is how I finally stumbled across the ruched design, which uses some well-placed eyelets and a scrap yarn i-cord to create some interest. So let's get started!

Sizes: small (medium; large) (the small will fit a hand roughly 7.5" - 8.5" in circumference at the base of the thumb, the medium up to 9.5", and the large goes up to about 10.5")

Yarn: Schachenmayr Fashion Nordic Dream (57% Viscose, 35% Wool, 8% Polyamide; 164 yards [150 meters]/50 grams); #00002 Natur Mélange - one skein (color A) & Malabrigo Worsted (100% Merino Wool; 210 yards [192 meters]/100 grams); #12 Very Berry – roughly 20 yards (color B)

Ruched Mitts
A better look at the ruching.
My five-year-old likes it.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 8

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 16 stitches = 4 inches

Which brings us to the mitts! To begin, then, using your color A yarn, cast on 28 (32; 36) stitches loosely and distribute between 3 dpns as follows: 8 stitches on first needle, 12 stitches second needle, 8 stitches on third needle [(10; 12; 10); (12; 12; 12)]. Join in round. Then we'll move straight to our main pattern, as follows:

Rows 1 - 6: knit

Row 7: knit across first needle; k2, [k2tog, (yo) twice, ssk] twice, k2 from second needle; knit across third

Row 8: knit, working a (k1, p1) into each double yo 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Magentalicious Cowl

Magentalicious Cowl
Magentalicious Cowl

First of all, I don't want to hear anything about my unimaginative name this week - I cycled through at least 847 other options that were significantly worse (including the "Better Than Barney" - named, of course, after the purple dinosaur. Really, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel). So since we're not going to talk about the name, let's just talk about the design, which is incredibly quick-knitting in a super bulky fiber, but still has a little bit of added pizazz with a single dropped stitch design. Oh, and it's also narrower at the back of the neck, so it tucks easily under a jacket.

Yarn: Lang Yarns Malou (70% Alpaca, 20% Nylon, 10% Wool; 71 yards [65 meters]/50 grams); #0166 Magenta - two skeins

Magentalicious Cowl
I forgot to take a super close-up
but here's more detail of the
dropped stitch design.
Needles: Straight needles in size US 15

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 10 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's start by casting on 18 stitches provisionally (I didn't call for a larger needle size for the provisional cast-on because the gauge is already big enough that you may not have larger needles laying around. But remember that you're going to want your provisional stitches to be big enough to get your needle through them when you pick them back up!). Anyway, once that's done we'll knit some set-up rows, as follows. Remember that your 3 slipped stitches are creating a faux i-cord edging so you can pull 'em as tight as you like!

Set-up Row 1 (right side): slip 3 stitches with yarn in back (sl3 wyib), k12, sl3 wyib

Set-up Row 2: purl

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Friend of the Forest Hood

Friend of the Forest Hood
Size Medium

This particular design represents a perfect confluence of events; first, I got a request for a hooded cowl with a rounded crown, and then I found this rather spectacular alpaca yarn in the sale bin at my local yarn shop and knew that it would be perfect for the job. And if that isn't delightful enough, I also played a harrowing game of yarn chicken and managed to finish this medium size hood with just two skeins of the yarn. As you'll notice, however, I recommend a bit extra if you're making this size - unless, of course, you like to live as dangerously as I do. ;)

Sizes: Small (Medium; Large) (Small is perfect for toddlers & young children; medium for large children, teens, and small adults; large for large adults or simply a fuller-fitting hood)

Yarn: Lana Grossa Alta Moda Alpaca (90% Alpaca, 5% Virgin Wool, 5% Polyamide; 153 yards [140 meters]/50 grams); #035 Lime Sherbet - 2 skeins (3 skeins; 3 skeins)

A better look at the back finish.
Short rows give it a nice rounded seam.
Needles: one 16" circular needle in size US 9, one set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 9 for three needle bind off (you can also use regular straight needles and your circular needle for your third)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 18 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a hood thingy thing! And let's start by casting on 96 (108; 120) stitches loosely, placing marker, and joining it in the round. Next, purl four rows around as edging. And once that's done, knit until knit section measures roughly 4" (4.5"; 5"). Then we'll work a few transition rows, as follows:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ridge and Furrow Cowl

Ridge and Furrow Cowl
Ridge and Furrow Cowl

You know how you can walk by the same spot a million times and still not notice what's there? That's exactly what I realized had happened to me when I discovered another local yarn shop, this one just a four minute bus ride from my house. And if that discovery weren't great enough on its own, I discovered that said local yarn shop ALSO has a lovely sale section, which facilitated the pattern for this 100% silk cowl that's both basic and fun (not to say that sale yarn -- or even silk yarn -- is required for your own).

Yarn: Lana Grossa Linea Pura Soloseta (100% Silk; 109 yards [100 meters]/50 grams); #001 Light Gray Mix - 2 skeins

Ridge and Furrow Cowl
Another look at the pattern.
It reminds me of a field!
Needles: One 24" circular needle in size US 8

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 19 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 8 needles

And with that out of the way, let's make a cowl! First, then, cast on 110 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll move straight to the pattern, which is a basic combination of seed stitch and a yo/decrease combination, and goes like so:

Row 1: * p1, (k1, p1) three times, k3; rep from *

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Little Check Market Bag

Little Check Market Bag

If you follow me on Instagram then you probably know why this post has been so long in the making: we've been traveling, and anyone who's able to travel with small children and also knit is far more talented than I (it doesn't help that my little one is the Houdini of hotel rooms). Luckily, I left this little beauty blocking while I was gone, so I had at least one nice thing to come home to. Speaking of the bag, I should also mention that it follows my standard rules of knitted bags, since it's both functional (faux i-cords in the body and the handles help to prevent stretching) and fun (imagine it with even more colors!). And heck, maybe it's even functional and fun enough to use on my next trip... :)

Yarn: Lang Yarns Presto (50% Cotton, 50% Acrylic; 71 yards [65 meters]/50 grams); #911.0074 - 3 skeins (color A - the blueish one), 911.0001 - 1 skein (color B, the white), & #911.0002 - 1 skein (color C, the tan)

A closer look at the stitch pattern and the handle.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 7, one 16" or 24" circular needle, also in size US 7, one 16" or 24" circular needle in size US 6, and one needle in size US 8 for provisional cast on (optional)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 17 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette (20 stitches = 4 inches in pattern)

And now that that's covered, let's make a bag! We'll begin with the handles. I should tell you that you have two options at this point, as well: later on, when you finish the bag, you can either attach the handles by seaming normally, or with a three needle bind off. For both, you'll use your color A yarn. If you'd like to go the seaming route, then, using your size 7 needles, cast on 12 stitches loosely. If you'd like to use the three needle bind off at the end, using your size 8 needle, cast on 12 stitches provisionally, and then transfer work to your size 7 needles (this is also why the size US 8 needle is optional!). 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lollipop Beanie

Lollipop Beanie

The story behind this hat is mostly just a story about the yarn; I first spotted this perfect color in my local yarn store back in Madison, and, though I wanted to buy it about 1,000,000 times, I never did. Why? Well, because I have a tendency to psych myself out when trying to design with yarns I really love, and I never quite figured out exactly what I'd do with the skein. Then, of course, I moved to Switzerland, where I can no longer buy Malabrigo at my local yarn store, and I finally had to face the facts. I missed the brand, and wanted this exact skein. So I ordered the fiber online just a few weeks ago, and, this time, I knew exactly what I'd do with it as soon as I touched the stuff. Specifically, I decided to make a hat that looks good enough to eat, aka the Lollipop!

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (100% Merino Wool; 210 yards [192 meters]/100 grams); #12 Very Berry – one skein

A better look at the cables.
They're lollipop-esque, no?
Needles: one 16" circular needle in size US 8, one 16" circular needle in size US 9, one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size 9, and one cable needle (cn)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 16 stitches = 4 inches on size US 9 needles in stockinette

So let's make a hat then! Using your size US 8 needles, cast on 80 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll work the ribbing as follows:

Ribbing Row: * k1, p1; rep from * 

Knit this ribbing row until piece measures roughly 2". Transfer work to your size US 9 circular needle, and then we'll knit one transition row, as follows:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Rib & Braid Headband

Rib & Braid Headband

I wish I had a cool origin story for this headband, but the truth of the matter is that I was in the mood for a small project and I wanted to use my leftover yarn (the rest of this color went into the Zigazig Ah Scarf). Other than that, I went with a dainty cable to suit the light weight of the fiber, and a smaller needle so the ribbing would be nice and tight!

Yarn: Lang Yarns Merino 150 (100% Virgin Wool; 164 yards [150 meters]/50 grams); #197.0085 - one skein

A better look at the cute little pattern.
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 3, cable needle (cn)

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 27 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 4 needles

So let's make a headband! We'll start by casting on 144 stitches loosely, and then placing a stitch marker and joining in the round. Then we'll move straight to the main pattern, which is a variation on Rib and Braid Pattern from page 201 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and for which you'll need the following notation:

front cross (fc): slip 1 stitch to cn and hold in front; p1, k1 from cn

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Divine Drape Cowl

Divine Drape Cowl
Divine Drape Cowl

If this cowl is one thing, it's a summer-to-autumn wardrobe staple that would look great in any color, at virtually any length. And if it's two things, it's also yet another one of my attempts at the absolute perfect cowl design: not too bulky around the back of the neck, but with enough fun in the front to attract some attention. And heck, while we're at it - why not make it THREE things -- or in other words, your next project? ;)

Yarn: Premier Yarns Cotton Fair (52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic; 317 yards [290 meters]/100 grams); #27-09 Lavender - one skein

Divine Drape Cowl
The main stitch pattern. Airy
and pretty, no?
Needles: Straight needles in size US 3, straight needles in size US 4, straight needles in size US 8, and straight needles in size US 5 for provisional cast-on

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 23 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's make a cowl! Using your size 5 needles and a length of scrap yarn, then, cast on 35 stitches provisionally. Transfer work to your size 4 needles and knit two transition rows, as follows:

Transition Row 1 (wrong side): purl

Transition Row 2: knit

Knit these two transition rows, and then transfer work to your size 3 needles and we'll work a ribbing for a bit, like so:

Ribbing Row 1 (wrong side): p1, * k1, p1; rep from * until you reach the end of the row

Ribbing Row 2: k1, * p1, k1 *

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kids' Teensy Treasures Bag

Kids' Teensy Treasures Bag
Kids' Teensy Treasures Bag
pictured in size medium

I came up with the idea for this bag for a very simple reason: you can find this style EVERYWHERE in Switzerland. Seriously, what I remember (perhaps incorrectly) as a passing fad in the United States took deep roots in Swiss soil, much like the "Parental Advisory" branded clothing and hats that, while virtually extinct stateside, still roam the Swiss countryside like long-hunted wolves. Wait! What am I talking about? Oh yeah - the bag! They're everywhere here, and they're all the same size: adult. Which gave me the oh-so-clever idea to create a variety of kid sizes, since kids, without question, freakin' love bags. Oh, and if you love the look of this too, you're in luck, since the extra-large size is basically just adult. :)

Sizes: Small (Medium; Large; Extra-Large) (approximate finished dimensions: 6" wide by 7.5" tall [8" x 9.5"; 10" x 11.5", 12" x 13.5"])

Yarn: Patons Grace (100% Mercerized Cotton; 136 yards [125 meters]/50 grams); #62628 Fiesta - 2 skeins (2 skeins; 3 skeins; 3 - 4 skeins)

A closer view of the grommet
hole thingamabob. I know, I'm a poet.
Needles: Straight needles in size US 4, one 16" circular needle in size US 5, double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 5 for making i-cords, cable needle (cn)

Notions: Tapestry needle, 3 stitch markers

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

So let's get this started! To begin this bag, then, we'll start by knitting the two drawstring-holding portions at the top separately and back-and-forth before joining them in the round (so the purled strips at the top that your straps lace through). With that in mind, and using your size US 4 needles, cast on 36 (48; 60; 72) stitches loosely. Then work the following rows:

Row 1 (right side): slip 1 stitch, purl until end of row

Row 2: slip 1 stitch, knit until end of row

Knit rows 1 & 2 five times and then knit row 1 once more (all sizes). Then, clip yarn tail and transfer work to your size US 5 circular needle to resume later. Again, using your size US 4 needles, cast on 36 (48; 60; 72) stitches loosely and work rows 1 & 2 five times and row 1 once more, although this time, when you finish, don't clip the tail. Transfer the work you've just finished to your size 5 needle, next to your other piece, making sure that the right sides (purl sides) are both oriented correctly, and that the piece you've just finished, with the running yarn connected, is lined up on the right-hand needle of your circulars so that you can continue work in the round. At that point, join in round, place row marker, and then knit one row around. Then we'll knit one transition/marker placement row, as follows. Since it's different for the different sizes, I have listed each size's row separately for ease.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Carved Diamond Cowl

Carved Diamond Cowl
Carved Diamond Cowl

I would like to tell you something about this cowl, but the Pentatonix video blaring at 1,000 decibels to my right is distracting me slightly (what can I say, my children are obsessed!). So I'll just say, first of all, thank you to the dear friend who mailed me this yarn all the way from Alaska. And then I'll get right to the pattern part, so you can make one of your own!

Yarn: Premier Yarns Cotton Fair (52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic; 317 yards [290 meters]/100 grams); #27-04 Turquoise - one skein

Carved Diamond Cowl
Another view of the pattern.
Quite pretty, no?
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 4 (optional but recommended: one 16" circular needle in size US 3 for edging)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 23 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

Which brings us to the pattern! Using your size 4 needle, cast on 128 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round (if you're doing your edging in size 3, use that needle instead). Purl five rows around. Switch to your size 4 needle, if you didn't cast on with it, and then we'll continue in Carved Diamond Pattern from page 150 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. You will need the following notation to continue:

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Primavera Wrap

Primavera Wrap
Primavera Wrap

When I first bought this yarn, I definitely considered it a bit of a score; not only was it a fancy color gradient with size and texture fluctuations to boot, but it was also HALF OFF, price-wise. What can I say - I'm my mother's daughter, and can't pass up a good deal. But then, when I actually started trying to design a pattern for the stuff, it took everything I had not to give up and crawl into the bottom of a bottle. Why? Because, my friends, fancy yarns like these do not take many (probably most) stitch patterns well, and I was also hell-bent on making something with some interest value that wasn't a cowl or a scarf. And while I'll spare you the full details of my tribulations, I will say that I think I came out victorious in the end. This pattern, after all, is well-suited to a fancy fiber, and also grows in a triangle shape so that you will still make something interesting and style-able even if you're not working with a huge amount of yarn.

Yarn: Lang Yarns Ella (38% Cotton, 30% Polyester, 26% Viscose, 6% Nylon; 174 yards [160 meters]/50 grams); #0048 Altrosa - two skeins

Primavera Wrap
A better look at the pattern.
Needles: Straight needles in size US 7

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 22 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette

Okay, so let's make a wrappy thing! And with that goal in mind, first cast on 3 stitches loosely. Then work 5 rows in garter stitch, which will make a little tab from which you'll continue. So, without turning your work, continue as follows:

Tab Row: yo, and then pick up 3 stitches along the edge of your garter stitch tab. At this point, you should have 7 stitches on your needle (3 from the end of the tab; one yo, and 3 that you've picked up along the edge of the tab) (oh and if I'm confusing you, just watch the video, below)


Complete the tab row and then we'll begin our set-up rows, as follows:

Set-up Row 1 (wrong side): p4, k3

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Something Special Gift Bags

Something Special Gift Bags
Something Special Gift Bags

Now that I live in Switzerland, much of my life revolves around chocolate. More specifically, where to buy it, how to distribute it, and whether or not I should ship it back to friends and loved ones or just lock myself in the bathroom and gobble it up while the children bang on the door (note: I have never actually done this. I have a much cleverer hidden chocolate-eating system that involves a cupboard door and pretending to look for the ingredients I need for dinner). What was I talking about? Oh yeah, gift bags! A friend of mine recently divulged her cost-saving practice of buying chocolate at the factory store and then rebagging it for Christmas gifts, and a light turned on in my head. What better summer knitting project than these little gift bag delights, after all, which are not just scrap-busters, but also earth-friendly and quick-knitting?

Sizes: Small (Medium; Large) (Finished dimensions roughly as follows, with a note that the closed hole pattern will be slightly narrower than the open hole pattern in all sizes. That being said, the small is roughly 3.5" wide x 4.75" tall, the medium 4.75" x 6.25", and the large 6" x 7.75")

Yarn: Maddison Bio Baby (100% Organic Cotton; 197 yards [180 meters]/50 grams); #06 Purple - one skein; #03 Tan - one skein, & #01 White - one skein

Something Special Gift Bags
A better look at the openwork pattern;
you can find a close-up of the
closed version below.
Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 4

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 26 stitches = 4 inches 

Which brings us to the pattern! Please note that I used the yarn I had leftover from the Crystal and Pearl Cowl for these gift bags, and, while I've identified the colors above, I haven't prescribed colors in the pattern since you can pick whichever color you dang want for each piece. Having said that, cast on 48 (64; 80) stitches in whichever color you'd like to use for the body of the bag and then divide between 3 or 4 dpns (whichever you prefer) as evenly as possible while still maintaining groups of 8 stitches. Join in round. Then we'll work the following edging rows, which are the same for all sizes:

Edging Rows 1 - 4: * k2, p2; rep from *

Edging Row 5: knit

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Twilight Rose Beanie

Twilight Rose Beanie
Twilight Rose Beanie

I have developed a weird fetish for the game of yarn chicken, and found the completion of this hat very exciting for exactly that reason; for a good hour or two, I was convinced I would have to run to the store for another skein of my fiber, and then for an hour or two after that I felt bold enough to continue without. At the end of the day, I finished this bad boy with about 2 yards of my first skein remaining, something I would brag about incessantly if anyone in my household actually cared (the boys are far more concerned about whether or not I'm going to feed them vegetables, and the husband makes an effort to nod politely, but I still know he doesn't know what I'm talking about, which ruins the fun). So what's my point? Oh yeah, this hat is lightweight, pretty, and a reasonably easy knit considering the look of the finished result, whether you require one skein or two.

Yarn: Lang Fantomas Superwash (75% Virgin Wool, 25% Polyamide; 153 yards [140 meters]/50 grams); #0209 Rosa Dunkel - 1-2 skeins

Twilight Rose Beanie
A better view of the finish.
I'm pleased with how it turned out.
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 3; one 16" circular needle in size US 4; one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 4, cable needle (cn) or dpn for cabling

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 25 stitches = 4 inches on size US 4 needles 

So let's make a hat, shall we? Using your size US 3 needle, then, cast on 130 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. We'll need the following definitions to continue - and remember, you can always skip the cable needle if you're so inclined:

front cross (fc): slip next 3 stitches to cn and hold in front; k3, k3 from cn

back cross (bc): slip next 3 stitches to cn and hold in back; k3, k3 from cn

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Crystal and Pearl Cowl

Crystal and Pearl Cowl

Considering I'm quite pleased by the way this warm-weather cowl turned out, it feels like I should have more to say about it. Still, all I can think is: three colors! lightweight! lace! yay! So, you know, if you want to get excited about a lightweight cowl, try this one! Or not. You know, your choice. :)

Yarn: Maddison Bio Baby (100% Organic Cotton; 197 yards [180 meters]/50 grams); #06 Purple - one skein (color A); #03 Tan - one skein (color B), & #01 White - one skein (color C)

The pattern.
Plus a little corner of my outdoor table.
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 3

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 27 stitches = 4 inches on size US 3 needles

So let's make a cowl! First, then, using your color A yarn, cast on 152 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll move straight to the main pattern, which is a three color adaptation of Crystal and Pearl from page 266 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and goes as follows:

Row 1: using color A, purl

Row 2: using color A, * k1, (yo, ssk) 3 times, k1; rep from *

Row 3: using color A, knit

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's My Bag, Baby Market Bag

It's My Bag, Baby Market Bag
The name just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

First of all, let me apologize for the two-week hiatus: we took a lovely trip to Sardinia (you can find photos on my Instagram account, if you're interested), and three kids in a hotel room is enough to keep your hands full without an extra skein of yarn thrown in the mix! Luckily, while I was vacationing, I was also blocking this sweet little market bag back at home. Made with just about 350 yards of worsted weight yarn and a faux i-cord design, it's sturdy, functional, and attractive. In fact, it's so sturdy that I loaded it up with a bag of apples, seven oranges, three peppers, and my 4 year-old's favorite stuffed toy for the pictures. Long story short, if you'd like to knit a bag that won't lose its shape the first time you use it, this one is for you!

Yarn: Schachenmayr Catania Grande (100% Cotton; 68 yards [63 meters]/50 grams); #3281 Orange - 5 to 6 skeins (I squeaked by with 5, but just barely)

A better look at the handle
attachment.

Needles: One set of double pointed needles (dpns) in size US 7, one 16" or 24" circular needle, also in size US 7, one 16" or 24" circular needle in size US 6, one needle in size US 8 for provisional cast on (optional), and one cable needle (cn)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 17 stitches = 4 inches

And with that out of the way, let's make a bag! First, then, we'll start with the handles. And I should tell you that you have two options at this point, as well: later on, when you finish the bag, you can either attach the handles by seaming normally, or with a three needle bind off. If you'd like to go the seaming route, using your size 7 needles, cast on 12 stitches loosely. If you'd like to use the three needle bind off at the end, using your size 8 needle, cast on 12 stitches provisionally, and then transfer work to your size 7 needles (this is also why the size US 8 needle is optional!). 

Anyway, once you're done with your cast on for either method, we'll continue to work the handle as you'll find below. Remember that you can pull the yarn tight before your 4 slipped stitches both in the handle and when you work the bag later; that's your faux i-cord that provides the bag its nice, sturdy shape! So let's work like so:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pomp and Power Cowl

Pomp and Power Cowl

First off: yes, I know it's a weird name! But that's only because, in researching the particular color of yarn I chose, I realized that "pomp and power" is actually a color of purple, and, in my opinion at least, the closest name I could find for this particular shade (go ahead! Google it! I'll be here when you get back!). And, ultimately, it's also not a bad name for this super lightweight, drapey cowl either, especially since the cowl made by knitting sock weight yarn on larger needles and has a very sophisticated look.

Yarn: Maddison Bio Baby (100% Organic Cotton; 197 yards [180 meters]/50 grams); #06 Pomp and Power (I couldn't find an official name, so I'm sticking with the theme here) - one to two skeins, and scrap worsted weight yarn for i-cord (I used a bit of the Lang Yarns Riva (52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic; 115 yards [105 meters]/50 grams); # 0009 Rosa/Grau/Blau I had left over from the Building Bridges Cowl)

The lacing in the back, for reference
Needles: One set of needles in size US 9, two double pointed needles in size US 9 for i-cord

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 27 stitches = 4 inches on size US 3 needles (roughly 18 stitches = 4 inches on size US 9s)

And now that we've got the details out the way, let's move on to the pattern for this delightful lightweight cowl. And let's begin by casting on 19 stitches loosely, and then moving straight to some transition rows, as follows. To work them, we'll need the following notation: