What to Knit: Pacific Rest

© Janine Whale

We’ve reached that stage of Chicago winter where I am completely over it. Even though I know in my heart of hearts that it will not be nice and warm until well into May, I just want to pack up all the puffer coats and set them on fire. Which means, it is the perfect time to plan those summer knits.

Pacific Rest by Janine Whale

Pacific Rest is a seamless tee with a beautiful lace panel on the front, and an all-over lace pattern on the back.

© Janine Whale

There are options to knit a sleeveless, short sleeve, cropped or regular length version. I love the drape and lightness of the sample picture above. I am by no means a lace knitter, but I’d love to tackle this pattern. My only hesitation is that it is fingering weight knit on U.S. 2.5 needles. (yikes!). If I’m going to finish this while the weather is nice, I’d better get started! What are you planning for summer knits?

So many socks!

I finished up the first sock of the Candles and Coffee socks. These are designed by Julia Pehl of the Happy Knitting Podcast. I am knitting them out of Lichen and Lace 80/20 sock (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon) in the colorway Teal Tide.

And the lace is not scary!

The socks are knit cuff down with a lace panel all the way down. I used U.S. size 1 needles and put in a heel flap and gusset. I finished up two pairs – one for January and one for February. It’s March 17th, so I am only a tiny bit behind on finishing a third pair by the end of the month. If I cast on the second sock today, I just might make it!

I love how this pattern is knitting up. The lace panel is interesting but not too difficult. After struggling through my Magnolia sweater by Camilla Vad, I thought maybe I just wasn’t that great at lace. This still might be true, but at least I can knit these socks without too much trouble. The yarn is only 365 yards / 100g so the socks are pretty thick. It’s more like a boot sock than something I’d want to wear in my shoes. Let’s be honest, I haven’t been going much of anywhere lately, so they fit in my slippers just fine.

This pattern is part of a knit along – or a sock along – that Julia is hosting until the end of April. Any one of her sock patterns counts. She has some lovely patterns, so if you are up for it, come on over and join in on instagram (#happysockskal).

Since I seem to be cranking out socks this year, I picked up a skein of self-striping yarn from Nomadic Yarns, by Ashley Aguilar so that I am ready to cast on my pair for April. It’s in her trusty sock base, 74% superwash merino, 25% nylon, in the colorway Old Friend.

Nomadic Yarns in the colorway Old Friend

There’s some pumpkin, pink, green, and a lovely mustard yellow color in there. I can’t wait to see how this stripes up. I might pick up some basic sock yarn to do contrasting heels, toes and cuffs, since I don’t seem to have any leftover scraps that would work well for that.

I can’t wait to get started. Part of me just wants to cast on for these and finish up the Candles and Coffee socks next month. If I do a single sock in two weeks, I am still on track to have 12 finished pairs at the end of the year. They don’t actually have to match, right??

A Shiny New Podcast!

Welcome to Episode 1 of A Yarn Tail! Come on over and join me to talk about knitting, yarn, and all manner of crafty things. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on the menu:

Magnolia Pullover by Camilla Vad

Baa-ble Hat by Donna Smith

Candles and Coffee Socks by Julia Pehl of The Happy Knitting Podcast

Project bag: Laura Mooney, Paper or Threads on Etsy

Nomadic Yarns: self-striping yarn by Ashley Aguilar in the Old Friend colorway

HISHO Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Kinship and Friends KAL by Michael at Piece4Peace Crafting Podcast

No Frills Sweater by PetiteKnit

Family Cardigans 8225 by Sirdar

I would love to hear what you’re working on. Drop me a comment and let me know!

Dream Knitting: Hisho Shawl and an upcoming KAL

When I started knitting at the end of 2019, I couldn’t figure out why everyone kept making shawls. To me the whole thing sounded way too grandma for my taste. Sweaters? Yes. Blankets? Sure. Hats? Definitely. But shawls just seemed like something I would never wear. Haha. What did I know, right?

In the summer of 2020, I test knit a triangular shawlette, the Eckert Street Shawl, for Milly’s Knit Designs and completely changed my tune. I think I was too hung up on the name. A “shawl” doesn’t have to be out of grandma’s closet. It is basically a much prettier scarf. It’s a wrap. You can even wear it in the house! Ever since then, I have been stalking all kinds of shawls, and just haven’t been able to decide on which one to cast on next.

Then this week, Michael of the Piece4Peace Crafting Podcast, (an amazing Chicago-based podcast worth a listen) mentioned that he’s hosting a Knit along starting March 1st. He’s knitting the Kinship Shawl, a collaboration between Stephen West and Olga Buraya. The KAL will include shawl patterns from either designer. I wasn’t as familiar with Olga Buraya’s patterns, so I pulled it up on Ravelry, as you do, just to see what they looked like. You guys. Look at this:

© Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Hisho Shawl

The Hisho Shawl is a crescent shaped shawl that uses four different skeins of fingering weight yarn. It’s hard to tell from the picture above, but the pattern creates a beautiful texture. You can see it a little better here:

© Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Ever since I spotted it, I can’t stop dream knitting this shawl. I keep putting together color combinations in my head. I like the navy, yellow, and pink above even though it’s definitely a change from the grays and blacks I usually wear. Or maybe an orange, teal, and cream. There are so many good choices, I can’t wait to get started. This is made all the more difficult by the fact that Chicago got over a foot of snow last night, and we are well and truly stuck at home today. I have a gift certificate from Nina Chicago, my LYS, that is burning a hole in my pocket. It would be perfect for this project. I just need to wait for the roads to be a little more passable so I can see the options for myself. In the meantime, dream knitting it is.

Better Late than Never

I am a sucker for a good list: 10 things I’m going to do this week. 3 goals for today. 5 things I’m thankful for. You know the type. So when I see all these diligent knitting bloggers doing their make nines, and their goals for 2021, I feel like a bit of a slacker. I purposely didn’t make goals for knitting, because knitting is the one area in my life where I don’t have to have “goals.” It’s not about achievement. It’s just supposed to be fun and relaxing. But still, the lists call to me.

In particular, I was watching old episodes of the Hand Me My Knitting podcast. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Sam’s podcast, it’s worth a watch. In one of her earliest episodes from 2017, she was talking about how she kitted up 12 skeins of yarn and sock patterns, one for each month, so that at the end of the year she would have 12 pairs of hand knit socks.

I don’t have much of a stash, so I definitely couldn’t bag up 12 skeins, but I love the idea of knitting a pair of socks a month. Except it’s the end of February, and I am the slowest sock knitter ever! I was disappointed that this idea hadn’t occurred to me earlier. I know I could just start now, and do 12 months – or even 9 months, but it just doesn’t seem the same. It wasn’t as neat and tidy as a calendar year-long goal. Why does that matter? My brain works the way it works I suppose.

But then, I remembered that I had started a pair of socks in the summer: the Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherly. And actually, I had knit that pattern earlier and performed sock surgery to repair a huge hole in the foot. What happened to those two pairs of socks? After some digging in my closet, I came up with these:

You guys! These socks are basically done. If I hustle, I could finish both pairs by the end of February and be right on track to do a pair a month for 2021. Better late than never, right?

So, I am knitting the first pair in Less Traveled Yarn’s 757 sock in the colorway Gatsby. I am using hiya hiya US size 1 needles. The second pair is knit in Northern Bee Studio’s Yak Sock in the colorway Shaken. These are on Lykke US size 1.5 needles. The best part is, I could really use some socks, so these could not be finished soon enough.

And for those of you following along at home, I know I’m supposed to be finishing the sleeves on my No Frills pullover, and the cardigan for my daughter. So far I have one kid sleeve done, and I’m down to the cuff on my first No Frills sleeve, so I haven’t forgotten about them.

The only thing I need to worry about at this point, is what lovely socks am I going to cast on in March when I finish these up?

Sleeve Archipelago

I am on multiple sleeve islands – sleeve archipelago, if you will. I have reached the sleeves in both my No Frills pullover, and my kid cardigan from Sirdar. For all that knitters love to complain about sleeves, I don’t really mind them. After going round and round endlessly on the body of a sweater, a sleeve just zooms along.

Also, imagine my surprise when I took out my dpns to cast on the sleeve of my kid cardigan, only to find that it is knit flat and then seamed. What? I almost went ahead and joined in the round. But this whole project is supposed to be a learning experiment in the joys of seaming, so I figured I’d better stick to the pattern. (Someone please remind me how much I love learning new things when I am struggling with mattress stitch in a few weeks.)

I’m also on the look out for smaller lime green buttons. Do you have a place that you prefer to shop for buttons? This is my first time ever looking for such a thing, and I am completely overwhelmed by all the choices. I feel like Toad in the children’s story Frog and Toad: A Lost Button” by Arnold Lobel. He keeps finding all kinds of buttons except the one he is looking for. After getting more and more frustrated, he finally yells, “The whole world is covered with buttons, and not one of them is mine!”

Did you know there is an adorable pattern by Kristina Ingrid McGowan to knit Frog and Toad? Talk about dream knitting. One day, my hypothetical grandchildren will love these:

© Kristina Ingrid McGowan

Other than that, not much is new here. Still working on my mom’s scarf, still working on my Baa-ble hat, but I haven’t really made much progress on either one. Just hanging out knitting sleeve after sleeve. What are you working on these days?

Sorry Mom

Ok, so perhaps I am not as good at knitting as I thought. Many months ago, my mom requested that I knit her a scarf. We picked out Julie Hoover’s Tissé, a beautiful herringbone pattern in lace weight yarn. I have never knit herringbone, and I have never knit with lace weight before, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad. After several months of trying, I am here to tell you: it is impossible for me. My yarn slips off my needles. I can’t for the life of me read my knitting, so I can’t tell if I’ve made a mistake until several rows down the line. And perhaps worst of all, I can’t seem to reliably fix my mistakes. I don’t know if it’s the yarn, or the stitch pattern, but every row is a gamble to see if I am going to end up with the right number of stitches at the end.

After tinking back too many times to count, frogging and starting over for the second time yesterday, I realized that I think I just need to get a little better before I knit this one. It’s a heartbreak, because the pattern is lovely, and my mom would love it. But I would lose my mind if I had to fight with this for the next several months. So. I picked out an easier pattern and hopefully my mom can have a completed scarf before next year (I’m not even exaggerating at this point).

Oceana by Janina Kallio

I chose Oceana by Jannina Kallio. It is a laceweight scarf with a decent amount of garter and a simple eyelet lace panel interspersed throughout.

© Woolenberry

I have knit a complete lace panel and am well into a garter section, and this seems immensely more achievable. I have, however, realized that I might have to do a little shopping for some stitch markers.

I am decidedly low brow when it comes to my knitting. I usually use those plastic safety pin clippy stitch markers from Clover. One time, I got a few of those lightbulb stitch markers from the dry cleaner and you would’ve thought it was Christmas morning over here:

Cocoknits Opening Stitch Markers -  ()
fancy fancy lightbulb stitch markers from Cocoknits (image from Webs)

Knitting the lace repeat for this scarf requires five or six stitch markers to keep it all straight. Do I have that many? Of course not! So, not to be deterred, I borrowed several tiny elastic hair ties from my daughters. Is it pretty? No. Does it work? So far! I would show my scarf progress, but given that it’s lace, it is just going to look like a tangle until I block it.

Getting fancy over here

I would love to get some charming stitch markers so that I don’t look so down home over here. Do you have any that you love?

New Cast-On: Baa-ble Hat

Sometimes I just need a quick knit to remind me how nice it is to finish something. I have had the Baa-ble Hat on my list of things to knit for a while now. Donna Smith designed the Baa-ble Hat as the pattern for Shetland Wool Week 2015. It is knit in aran weight yarn and features the most adorable sheep in stranded colorwork:

© Donna Smith

The pattern is for an adult-sized hat, but it provides the link to instructions on how to modify the hat to make it smaller. I am knitting the larger of two child sizes in the hopes that it will fit one of my girls. I am using Jamieson’s Shetland Heather in the colorways Mantilla (the pink), Duck Egg (blue), and Mirrydancers (black), and Ivory (white).

It has been a while since I attempted any colorwork. I forgot how addictive following a chart can be. Also, this hat is knit in aran weight which is a big difference from the sport weight or fingering that I have been using as of late. It has only been a couple of days, and I am already just about at the crown decreases:

Look at those cute little sheep! I made such an effort to keep my floats loose, that I think I ended up knitting the whole thing at a looser gauge than I normally would. I don’t know for sure, because I didn’t do a gauge swatch – whoops! If it turns out to be too big, maybe I can wear it. We will just have to wait and see.

FO Friday: Shift Cowl

Well you guys, I finally did it. The Shift, by Andrea Mowry, has been languishing in a project bag since summer of 2020. There’s no good reason for this because it was a very enjoyable knit. I made it out of Primrose Yarn Co.’s Rose Sport in the colorways Emerald Midnight, Tabloid Gossip, and Where is My Mind.

I’m not sure why this one took me so long. I made good progress in the summer, but I didn’t have a sense of urgency because I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear it for months. The real trouble came when I needed my long cable to finish up another project. I transferred the whole cowl onto a tiny cable I had laying around, and held it there with stoppers. At that point it was basically impossible to work on. Well. It is 2021, and I figured it was time to clear out the cobwebs on my WIPs. As it turns out, I only had a couple of hours of knitting left! So, without further ado:

Done done done!

I can definitely see why people knit multiple Shifts. Just watching the yarns play with each other is addictive. And even though it took me six months because I got distracted and cast on way too many projects, I think this would be a quick knit on its own.

I love the way this cowl turned out. I don’t usually gravitate towards lots of color in my knitting. But it seemed like a shame to make this out of neutrals. I didn’t knit a gauge swatch because I knew I had enough yarn regardless, and who cares if my cowl is a little bigger or smaller? I made some mistakes in a few rows, but I didn’t bother going back, because I think they looked interesting in their own right. I can’t seem to get enough of this yarny goodness, and since I never go anywhere these days I have been wearing it around the house.

Maybe this will start a trend, and I can excavate some more old WIPs. What is hiding in your project bags?

What to Knit: Good Wishes for the New Year

I am an amazing colorwork knitter – in my mind. All of my dream knitting involves wooly Shetland wool painstakingly stranded into intricate traditional motifs. Nevermind that I usually choose vanilla socks and plain stockinette raglans for my actual makes. One day, I am going to be a colorwork master. To that end, I can’t get enough of this beautiful stranded hat:

© Tracey Doxey
Good Wishes for the New Year by Tracey Doxey

Good Wishes for the New Year is an all-over stranded colorwork hat knit in fingering-weight Shetland yarn. The pattern was released in November 2020 and is available on Ravelry. Look at that crown!

© Tracey Doxey

It uses EIGHT colors of yarn! You guys. In my mind I am making the most beautiful knits. What are you dream knitting these days?