Instant Gratification: The Winter Dreamer Hat

Living in the house with three kids under the age of 10 is a little like living in a tornado. No matter how much my husband and I try to clean up, there are countless little hands waiting to mess things up again. And let’s be honest, I am a first-class mess maker myself. Sometimes when things are looking particularly grim, I clean out a tiny drawer, or a medicine cabinet, or one shelf of a closet just to have something pretty to look at amid the marathon task of keeping up with this house.

It’s the same with my knitting these days. I have a lot of long term projects on the needles: my mom’s Tissé scarf, my Magnolia sweater, my Milet mitts in all of their colorwork fiddlyness. So, in an effort to motivate myself to keep at it, I knocked out a bulky hat. Behold, the Winter Dreamer Hat by Kalurah Hudson:

Why are hat pictures so hard to get? And no, I didn’t weave in the ends. Oops!

It’s a lovely cabled pattern in squishy bulky yarn. I used Langyarns Wooladdicts Air yarn in a beautiful blue-green colorway. I love how it turned out. I was going to add a pom pom, but I think I like it just the way it is. The yarn is a little fuzzy 84% Merino, 16% Nylon blend. To be honest, I think a less fuzzy yarn would show off the cable pattern a little better, but it pops well enough. I knit the entire chart twice before starting the decreases. I think it is just the right amount of slouchy without looking ridiculous. The best part is, it only took a few days.

Now, when I’m slogging my way through the long-haul knitting, I can look over at my bulky hat and have a tiny moment of satisfaction. Do you ever just need to finish something?

How big is too big?

I cast on some Milet Mittens by Ysolda Teague, because how could I not? I used the Quince & Co, Finch yarn that I got on LYS day. I have just finished the cuff, and I have to say I am ridiculously proud of myself. The tension is a little messed up, but I think they look quite nice.

The only problem is that they are big. I mean, really big. And no, of course I didn’t swatch. I know! I should have, but who could wait? Who wants to do extra colorwork? The blue ribbing of at the top actually folds under the cuff as a lining, so I thought that would fix it. I even knit the ribbing on size 1 needles just to tighten it up. But there is just no way that these mittens are ever going to fit me.

So, it’s off to the frog pond to try again tomorrow. I like the fabric, so I am toying around with the idea of eliminating one of the pattern repeats instead of going down a few needle sizes. (Yes, they’re that big). Oops! Maybe on my second try my left hand will figure out how to hold yarn. I can only hope. What have you messed up recently?

Local Yarn Store Day

Today is LYS Day and I couldn’t let it pass by without a visit to Nina’s, one of my go-to yarn stores in Chicago. Even though I am working away on the Tissé scarf for my mom, my Magnolia sweater which is a hot mess (a post for another day), the Shift cowl and various pairs of half-finished socks, I figured I’d better cast on a few more things. You can never have too many WIPS, amIright?

Left: tissé, top right: shift cowl, bottom right: magnolia (pre-screwup. Lace is not my jam)

So, I picked up some bulky Wool Addicts Air yarn in this greenish-black colorway:

It’s 84% merino, 16% nylon, and I think it will grow up to be a hat for me. Hooray! I also decided to try to knit these amazing Milet colorwork mittens from Ysolda Teague:

©Ysolda Teague

They are a little out of my league because I’ve never made mittens before, and I don’t do a lot of colorwork. But I’ve got to give it a go. I picked out Finch from Quince & Co in the colorways Egret, Fjord, and Malbec.

It’s fingering weight 100% wool and if I can manage the colorwork it should be beautiful! Fingers crossed. What are you working on these days?

Flash Sale Today Only: or, why Erica Heusser is the bomb

I have been pattern stalking the fingerless mitts, hats and out-of-this-world color work of designer Erica Heusser. Seriously, check out these photos. They are bananas gorgeous:

© Erica Heusser

So you can imagine how excited I am to find out that she is having a pattern sale for 20% off all of her patterns in Ravelry with the code THULA20. The sale ends at the end of the day today (9/10)!! Sorry for the short notice, but I thought you all should know. And also, even if you miss the sale, her patterns are worth a look. Soooooo beautiful!

The Exception to the Rule

I knit hats and scarves for my kids, but otherwise, I generally don’t knit for other people. It is just an inordinate amount of time and effort. But, my mom casually mentioned that she’d love it if I made her a scarf. And with a lifetime of unconditional love and support from her, and a good sense of humor about what a pain I was in high school, I figured I’d better get started.

After a quick Zoom meeting to go through some options on Ravelry, she settled on Julie Hoover’s Tissé. It is a herringbone pattern in lace weight yarn. This is perfect because although my parents live in upstate NY, my mom is always hot and likely wouldn’t use a bulky scarf. This is lovely and light and will go with everything. After some texting while I was at my LYS, she picked Anzula Meridian yarn. It’s lace weight 55% Tencel, 35% Alpaca, 10% Nylon, in the Emerald colorway. Even though it’s called Emerald, it’s not green, but more of an aqua color (it’s the middle one below). I looooove it and it’s showing the stitch pattern beautifully.

Anzula yarn in the seafoam, emerald, and herb colorways left to right

This is the picture I texted to my mom from the store. Which would you choose? I swatched mostly to make sure I understood how to knit herringbone stitch, and I cast on a few days ago. I think the stitch pattern is subtle, but it keeps things interesting.

I added an i-cord edging because I didn’t like how unfinished it looked. Otherwise I am sticking to the pattern. It is going to be slow going because I don’t usually knit with lace weight yarn, but I can’t wait to see how it knits up. What are you working these days? Do you knit for other people or do you keep all of the yarny goodness for yourself? With any luck I’ll finish this up by Christmas. I’m only a little bit joking, this is going to take forever 🙂

Test Knit: Dreamwalker Cowlkerchief

Dreamwalker Cowlkerchief

I just finished up a test knit for Joey Poh of Winter’s Weather Knits and I just love how it turned out. It is knit entirely in linen stitch with porthole eyelet increases at the edges. Then the whole thing is seamed together in the back to create a reversible piece.

I had only knit linen stitch in a swatch before this project so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It is a super dense stitch. I am a slow knitter to begin with, so finishing up a piece by the deadline was a little bit of a challenge, but I managed to knock it out. If I weren’t worried about time, it is really relaxing and repetitive stitch. The pattern was easy to memorize, and I didn’t need to keep the pattern in front of me, which makes good travel knitting.

The linen stitch creates a lovely woven fabric with a lot of drape before and after blocking. I guess my gauge was off a bit (swatches lie you guys) because I ended up having to skip the last two increases since the circumference was getting a little too big.

This test knit was lots of fun. It’s very motivating to see how everyone else’s projects are knitting up. Joey was so responsive and supportive during the test and was cheering everyone on. I think the pattern was very well-written and easy to follow. I would definitely knit one of her pieces in the future.

I can’t wait to wear this under a jacket this fall!

What to Knit: Gentle Cardigan

© Brandi Harper
Gentle Cardigan

Brandi Cheyenne Harper’s Gentle Cardigan is my current knit obsession. I realize that I may be a little late to the party here, since it was released in January of 2020 and I am just coming across it now. But now that I have seen it, I can’t get it out of my head.

Brandi Harper designed this cardigan for Purl Soho in – be still my heart – super bulky yarn. With stockinette stitch, and bottom-up seamless construction it seems like something I would be able to actually accomplish. I don’t even have to deal with a button band. Although there’s not a lot of fussy details, the shaping and simplicity read as high style. Check out those shoulder decreases- and that collar!

© Brandi Harper

I am in love. What is your knit inspiration these days?

Eckert Street Shawl test: or that time I swatched all the things

The test knit for Milly’s Knit Designs Eckert Street Shawl has officially begun. I am using Walcot Yarns Opus yarn in the plum colorway. It is 70% merino 30% alpaca and it is a dream to knit with. Soft and squishy and springy. I was initially worried because the shawl pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. I bought my yarn online and it was listed as fingering, but on Ravelry the same yarn is categorized as a sport weight yarn. In an abundance of caution I swatched in both garter and brioche (giant swatches! I am such a good knitter) and to my surprise I got pretty close to the pattern gauge for both.

There are seven sections to this lovely shawlette: alternating garter, brioche and an eyelet pattern. This is my first time knitting brioche. Thank goodness for the internet. I found some really helpful videos from Very Pink and I think I’ve got it down. I’m just starting in on the third section, and I think it’s coming along pretty well:

I probably should have found my nice stitch markers for the picture, but you get the idea

The plum colorway is really difficult to photograph – it’s a very deep plum color, not nearly as brown as it’s coming across in the picture. This is my first time knitting a shawl, and I am enjoying it more than I expected. At least I don’t have to silently stress about the fit! What are you working on? Do you knit a lot of shawls?

Fix it or Frog it: I’d like to use one of my lifelines

I finally finished knitting the stockinette portion of the body of my Magnolia Sweater earlier this week and was ready to begin the lace portion at the hem. I’ve never knit lace before, so I was a little worried that it was going to be a frog-fest. I figured that this was as good a time as any to use a lifeline. My ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles have a tiny hole that the internet says is for lifelines, but I couldn’t quite get it to work the way I think it’s supposed to, so I just put my lifeline in the old school way by threading waste yarn through my stitches with a tapestry needle. I think it turned out ok:

It’s a good thing I decided to try this, because seven or eight rows into the lace pattern I realized that I forgot to move the beginning of the round marker, and all of my lace was offset by 45 stitches or so. Whoops! But the lifeline made what would have been a disastrous situation into a minor inconvenience. I ripped back and reknit the lace where it was supposed to be. What do you think? Do you use lifelines?

What to Knit: Into the Echo

I first saw Cheryl Faust’s designs in MDK’s March Mayhem 2020 pattern bracket. She entered Destination Unknown, a beautiful top-down triangular shawl featuring mosaic knitting. When she released a new pattern in June of this year, I knew I would be interested.

© Cheryl Faust

Into the Echo

Into the Echo is a mosaic triangular shaped shawl, knit from tip to edge. The sample is knit in one color of sport weight with a contrasting color in fingering weight yarn. I love the geometric pattern and the crisp clean edge. I especially love the way the pattern shows up on this test knit by kmaize:

by kmaize

What are you planning to knit?