Sunny Socks

We’ve been having so much rain here that Mr. Math and I have been discussing the merit of building an ark. It’s a bit frustrating as far as the garden goes – the weeds keep growing, but the weather isn’t very conducive to getting out there and cleaning up the beds. I did a lot of work in April but have been kind of stalled since then, and the thistles are taking advantage of their moment.

Rain is good weather for writing, though, and it’s also good for knitting. I’ve been working away on my Wingspan shawl and am getting down to the feather tips. It’s all bunched up on the needles though so I can’t take a good picture. I’ve added some beads, which I really like, and currently am playing yarn chicken. Will I run out? (I think it likely.) What yarn will I use for the wingtips if I do run out of this yarn? That’s a really interesting question and I haven’t decided yet. I’ll take some pix when it’s finished and blocked.

In the meantime, I’ve knit myself a pair of socks. Wingspan isn’t TV knitting at all. Socks are. These socks are very bright, which is welcome this year.

Socks knit in Sugar Bush Itty-Bitty by Deborah Cooke

The pattern is my usual one, but the yarn is a new for me. It’s Sugar Bush Itty-Bitty, which I found in the mill ends bin at Spinrite. The colourway is Sailor’s Sky Delight. The yarn is a blend of merino and nylon with a bit of cashmere. It’s a lot thicker than I thought it was, and these socks are both thick and big. I should have used 64 sts instead of my usual 72. I used just over two balls.

Sock Twins socks knit toe-up by Deborah Cooke

I’ve cast on another pair of sunny socks for myself. I bought this yarn at Spinrite, too. It’s called Sock Twins and includes two balls of yarn that are gradient dyed. The idea is that you easily knit socks that match. I want to use it all so I’m knitting this pair toe-up, starting with the yellow. I like the colours but am not loving the yarn so much – it feels thin and splitty – but maybe it will full when it’s washed. They’re not showing all the colours on the website – you can see mine, which is called Sunset, on Ravelry right here.

I also found the loveliest magazine this week. It’s called By Hand Serial, and the issue I found is number nine. It features a region and the makers in that region, with lovely photographs, interview and projects. Number nine is about Nova Scotia. You can see a preview on their website, right here. As a bonus, I’m not really motivated to finish my Wingspan, because I need those 3.5mm needles to make the Lunenberg Cardigan!

Wild Grass Pullover

It’s Friday! Let’s talk about knitting.

Wild Grass pullover knit by Deborah Cooke in Swans Island washable wool sport

I’ve been working on a pullover with a beautiful yoke. The pattern is called Wild Grass and the yarn I’m using is Swans Island Washable Wool Collection Sport. For this pattern, you make a provisional cast-on, knit a few rows, then knit up, through the yoke and the neck. Then you pick up stitches from the provisional cast-on and knit down, dividing for the sleeves then to the hems. This means that the fun part is over early. 🙂

I may re-knit the neck on larger needles. Right now, it’s more of a turtle-neck, but the pattern shows it as a cowl, which is a big part of what I liked about the design.

I bought this yarn at Swans Island when we were in Maine last summer. They make the most beautiful blankets and dye their own yarn. The colours are amazing. This is a wonderful squishy and soft yarn which is spun from merino. Here’s a link to the yarn on the Swans Island website – I’m getting a security warning because of their certificate, but maybe that will be fixed by the time you click through. Here’s a Ravelry link, too. The colours I’m using are Mallard and Pesto. The Mallard is a little darker than it looks in this picture. The yarn is also incredibly soft, so I’m not worried about having this wool next to my skin.

What do you think?

 

Black VK Cardigan

A few weeks ago, I told you that I’d had a Eureka moment while knitting my Comfort Fade Cardigan and now knew how to fix another sweater. This post is about that other sweater.

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Winter 2018 and is a cardigan designed by Cathy Payson in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. Simple Cardigan is #9 in that issue. (That’s a Ravelry link.) I bought the issue when it came out, loved this sweater and bought the specified yarn – but in a tweedy black called Blackstone. (Here are some pix of the colourway on Ravelry.) I knit it up – it’s a quick knit with such thick yarn – tried it on and was disappointed in the fit. It was doing that thing of trying to fall off my shoulders. Hmm. It’s been sitting for almost a year, waiting on me to figure out how to get the fit right.

This January, I took it apart and ripped the fronts and back out to the underarms. When I reknit it, I made it narrower at the shoulders at the back. I also had found that it was bulky under the arms in the original version, so I added some short rows to make more of a sleeve cap.

Here’s the modified version – I photographed it with a long sleeve turtleneck inside it, to show the neckline and also the 3/4 sleeves. Mine are a little closer to bracelet length with that addition to the sleeve cap.

Black cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke

It fits so much better! And it’s so thick and warm that it’s perfect for these chilly winter days.

I love the mix of colours in the wool. Here’s a close up to show you that:

detail of Black cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke

Plus I finished another hat, just in time for the polar vortex. This is the same pattern (First Snow) that I used for my cupcake hats before Christmas. This time, though, I used a ball of tweedy wool that I found in the mill ends at Spinrite and added a purchased fake fur pompom.

First Snow hat knit by Deborah Cooke

These deep purple has a lot of great flicks of colour in it, in blue and red, which aren’t showing up very well. It’s pretty and I think I’ll keep this one. I have a second pompom and several more skeins of this mystery yarn in different colours, so I’ll make at least one more.

What do you think?

More Mitts

I’m still knitting mittens. 🙂

First, I wanted to show you those fair isle mitts in LopiLett, now that they’re finished. Here’s the previous picture of them:

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah CookeI knit the linings in the same yarn. The neat trick is that since the linings are knitted to the cuffs – you actually pick up the stitches at the top of the cuff and knit the lining from there – the wrong sides of both mitt and lining end up together. That means there are no ends or floats to catch your fingers inside. It also means the mittens are double-thickness and toasty-warm.

Here’s one turned so you can see the lining:

Lined mitten in LettLopi, knit by Deborah Cooke

I started a second pair in teal and have the first one done. I think I’ll line this pair with the taupe as I have more of that color left.

Frost mitten knitted in LettLopi by Deborah Cooke

I’ve also been knitting mitts for charity, although I have fewer completed this year because of the hats and these fair isle mitts. All year, I add odd balls and ends to a bag, stashing wool that I think will make good mittens. Every November, I dig out that bag (and sometimes add to it) then start knitting mittens for the food bank. I usually use an old Patons pattern for worsted yarn – it’s a single sheet that wool shops used to give out free. Mine looks about as worn as that one on Ravelry, but has scribbled notes on it, too. This year, though, I had some chunky yarn, some odd balls of Patons Alpaca Blend that I found in the sale bin at Spinrite. I found this wonderful pattern from Tin Can Knits called The World’s Simplest Mittens. It includes instructions for four weights of yarn, and five sizes of mittens, and it’s free!

Here are my first three pair, in that Patons Alpaca Blend. The two pair on the left are a children’s size and the one on the right is the medium adult size. Aren’t they cute?

Mittens knit in Patons Alpaca Blend by Deborah Cooke

I also am knitting some in ends of Rowan Colourscape Chunky. Since this is a self-striping yarn, I’ll knit as many as I can from the ends, then figure out which look the best together as pairs:
mittens knit in Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Deborah Cooke

I really like Colourscape Chunky and am sad it was discontinued. I love the colours and the way the variegation shifts so gradually. I also like that there are tweedy flicks of other colours throughout. Kaffe Fassett designed the colourways and it shows. These green ends are from this vest that I knit for Mr. Math. I have some more bits – left over from this vest for me (which isn’t as nearly as neon pink as it looks in these pix) and also this cardigan for me – plus one more sweater-lot for a cardigan for Mr. Math. I might cast that on in January.

What have you been knitting lately?

Stars!

This week, I knit some stars.

Twinkle Stars knit by Deborah Cooke

The pattern is called Twinkle Star and it’s a free Ravelry download.

I knit mine with some yarn in my stash. The gold is Patons Alpaca Blend and the purple is Louet Bonnie. I changed the needle size to get a nice tight fabric with each yarn. They’re stuffed with polyester fiberfill and I think they’re just cute.

What do you think?

Mitts!

As so often happens this time of year, I’ve been knitting mittens.

This first pair are knit of an Icelandic wool called Lett-Lopi. The pattern is Frost (that’s a Ravelry link). The designer’s company is called Kniterations and I was intrigued to see that she has a Patreon site. I know some authors who use Patreon.

Here they are!

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah Cooke The purple is a bit darker IRL than it appears here.

I did make a couple of changes. The pattern specifies that the star be on both the palm and the back of the hand of each mitt, but I only put it on the back of the hand. It was pretty easy to continue the lice across the other side. (Yes, that allover pattern of stitches is really called lice.) I got into the habit of catching the contrast colour on either side of the thumb gusset, too, as sometimes the floats were longer on the back than I thought ideal. I also changed the shaping at the top of the fingers.Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah Cooke

This was a project that I frogged again and again. First, I didn’t read the pattern correctly. I knit the smaller size, which meant starting on row 4 of the chart for the mitt. I didn’t realize that I was working row 1 of the thumb gusset chart and then row 5 of the mitt chart until I reached the star and things didn’t line up. I copied the charts then and pasted the thumb gusset chart beside the mitt chart, lining up the rows beside each other that needed to be knit together.

Second, I didn’t get gauge so had to frog and reknit on smaller needles. This happens when you don’t swatch and I often don’t. Third, I didn’t like the shaping of the tip of the mitt (possibly because I didn’t read the instructions correctly), so I frogged that and redid the shaping in the old familiar way. Fourth, I knit the lining for one mitt in a coordinating yarn, but it was too small and I didn’t think it actually coordinated that well once it was done. I frogged that, too. I had gone down another needle size for the lining, as the pattern instructs, but I’d already dropped a size for the mitten. Now I’m going to knit the lining in the same purple wool on the same size needles as the outside. I think there should be enough yarn since the lining doesn’t have ribbing. (You pick up stitches for it at the top of the cuff.)

The second one went much more quickly than the first. Once they’re lined, I’ll knit another pair in green.

I really like them. What do you think?

Cupcake Hats

I’ve been knitting hats!

These are knit from a self-striping acrylic yarn called Caron Chunky Cupcakes. It comes in six colourways: each ball has enough yarn to make a hat, and includes a matching pompom.

It was on sale one day when I was at Michaels and (of course), I bought all the colours.

I didn’t knit the pattern on the ball band, but went looking for another one on Ravelry. I found this free pattern called First Snow, which I followed for the first six hats.

Here they are:Cupcake Hats knit by Deborah CookeYes, it’s true: I still have more of the yarn to make more hats.

I’ll probably try a different pattern next, although I really like this one.

Cupcake Hats knit by Deborah CookeOne of the things I liked about this yarn – even though I’m not a fan of acrylic – is that there are dye flicks in each colour band of some of the other colours. That reminds me of hand-painted yarns. It also is a nice squishy yarn.

One irksome thing was that two of the balls had knots in them, and the striping didn’t continue properly after the break. (Can you guess which ones?) I understand that most yarn manufacturers say that one to two knots per skein or ball is acceptable, but finding one never makes me happy. When the yarn is dyed to stripe, a break often creates a challenge. We could suggest they discount balls with knots, but these were discounted and I was still annoyed to find the knots. :-/

What do you think of them?

Another Trip to the Koigu Tent Sale

It happened again! For the third time, we made the trek to the Koigu Tent Sale in August.

It was much busier this year, and it poured rain on the way there. I had a plan, though.

First, I wanted yarn for a pullover in the current issue of Pompom Quarterly. It’s called Ixchel – you can see it on the front cover of the issue preview on the PomPom site, or follow the pattern name link to the sweater on Ravelry. I chose these two colours of Koigu.

I’m a bit concerned that the blue mix might have too much going on for fair isle work, but I’ll do a swatch and see. I bought enough of the blue that I could knit a pullover in just that colour, just in case. 🙂

My second mission was to get a single skein of Mori (a silk and wool blend) in a darker colour that coordinated with the Mori I bought two years ago at the sale. I’ve chosen a pattern called Tranquil Mist and have just about exactly the right yardage. That makes me nervous, so having this purpley-black skein is a kind of insurance: if I run out of the turquoise Mori on the right, I can finish with the darker colour.

The red I bought because, well, it’s red and beautiful. I have four skeins of it and love it to bits so it will be used for something.

What about the Koigu I’ve bought at the tent sale before? Well, last year, I bought a kit with ten skeins in ranges of purple and a pattern book. I’ve knit one shawl, which used half that yarn:

Charlotte's Web shawl, knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu

That’s the other five skeins in a row on the floor. You can read the blog post about the finished shawl right here – Charlotte’s Web.

I’m also working on a cardigan in one of the colourways I bought the first year. The pattern is called Juicy Gloss and there was a post about it here. I’ve made some progress on that one in the last month or so and will show it to you when I finish the body. I’m about halfway down the lace bit, but the rows are long so each one takes a while.

What have you been knitting lately?

And what do you think of my new Koigu?

Dragon Scale Mitts

There’s a video that people keep sharing with me on Facebook of an artist who makes the most amazing dragon gloves and tails for CosPlay. They’re knitted, with scales, and are just gorgeous. The artist’s site is Jaye Creations.

Seeing them over and over (and over! LOL) again inspired me to finally knit some (much smaller) dragon scale fingerless gloves. I ordered small scales from The Ring Lord, although it was hard to choose colours. These are the black ones that are black on both sides. My order came really quickly and the scales are really nice.

I bought a pattern but realized afterward that each glove was knitted flat and then seamed. I wanted to knit in the round. I also wanted a thumb gusset for a better fit. So, I used a free pattern that I’ve used before and modified it – it’s called Half Skein Worsted Mitts (that’s a Ravelry link). Essentially, I placed a 19 stitch reverse stockinette panel on the back of the hand, and covered it with scales. The scales go on every second stitch, and the placement alternates – 10 scales on the first scale row, 9 on the next. For this pair, the scales are on every third row, so there’s a Scale Row, then two rows of knitting, then the Alternate Scale Row, then two rows of knitting, for a six row repeat. I used some Patons Classic Merino in black tweed from my stash.

Here’s the right mitt in progress:

Dragon Scale Mitts knit by Deborah Cooke

Dragon Scale Mitts knit by Deborah Cooke

I haven’t knit the thumb yet or sewn in the ends in these pictures.

And here are the finished mitts!

Dragon scale mitts knit by Deborah Cooke

They took 291 scales and 49g of Patons Classic Wool, which is almost exactly one half of the 100g ball. I like the weight of them and how they feel, plus the sound the scales make.

I’ll definitely be making more!

What do you think?

New Socks

The mister has a new pair of socks, knit of Fleece Artist Trail Socks. This is a merino-nylon blend and quite a lovely firm yarn. The colourway is called Hercules. You can see the colours from Fleece Artist on this page of their site. They’re in alphabetical order so just scroll down to find Hercules.

Here are Mr. Math’s new socks.

Socks knit in Fleece Artist Trail Socks by Deborah Cooke

Socks knit in Fleece Artist Trail Socks by Deborah Cooke

I had originally bought this yarn to make myself knee socks. I bought two skeins and knit one sock from one skein then cast on the second. It striped differently from the first, possibly because I started in a different point on the repeat, but also was very different in colour.

knee socks knit in Fleece Artist Trail Socks by Deborah Cooke

This happens with handpainted yarns and I could have been cool with it. Instead, I decided to frog the knee socks and make two pairs of regular socks, one from each skein.

Mr. Math got his first.

I’m still trying to figure out if I can keep from frogging the entire knee sock knit of the other skein. Unfortunately, I knit it cuff-down, so I think I have to rip it back the whole way. I kind of like the spiral, but that only happens with more stitches for the calf. Maybe I can cut it off around the point of that needle (??) and save the work. I have to have another look at it and see.

What do you think of Mr. Math’s new socks?