Saturday, October 24, 2015

Greenleaf Baby Hat hits the big time!

My pattern for Greenleaf Baby Hat has been published in 101 One-Skein Wonders for Babies, and it was such a thrill to see the book on the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble, knowing that my work is in it!

The book has so many cute patterns for baby things--everything from booties and bibs to blankets. And of course, many cute hats, But may I say that I am pretty proud of my little hat. :-)

I still remember the moment the design for this hat came to me: I had the basic roll-brim hat mostly done, and I was driving home from the Farmer's Market on Carson Street, talking to my daughter about how I was going to end it off, and the idea for a little leaf just popped into my head! I went home and finished it off, and I loved how it turned out. And I guess other people like it too, because over 900 finished ones have been posted on Ravelry!

Now it lives on in book form, and I hope many more knitters enjoy making it and many more babies enjoy wearing it!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vested Interest

This was one of the worst, and best, knitting experiences ever.

It was the worst most of the way through. It was tedious, stopping after every 8 rows to change colors, many many ends to weave in, and no easy rhythm to it. Also, all the black sections required short rows and for the first half of it, I was definitely doing the short rows wrong. Then I started doing them right, I'm pretty sure, but they still looked awkward, at best. I used the Japanese method, attaching a pin and then pulling a stitch up into place. At first I was knitting the two together before the gap instead of after. I hoped that because it was all black, the bad short rows wouldn't show.

Also, all during the knitting, the whole thing looked short and wide, not a look I need to add to my body! The pattern assured me that they had taken this into account and that blocking would cure all. But I had doubts.

I started this in May 2014, set it aside more than once, and finally forced myself to finish it in April 2015. I just wanted it off my conscience. The yarn had been cut into short segments, so frogging it was not a possibility, and I wanted it out of my bag and if it was a failure, I could give it to Goodwill and move on.

So I finished it by sheer willpower. I crocheted the shoulders together and across the back neck.

And I soaked it in warm water and held it up and allowed the weight of the water to pull it down, just the way you're warned *not* to do, and suddenly--oh, the length looks right! The width is less!

I hung it to dry in the hot car, again letting gravity have its way.

And it is wonderful! One of the nicest things I have ever knit!  It is alpaca and silk, so warm and light. I got it finished in time to wear it in the cool spring weather we have been having. And to wear to Vogue Live, where I also saw the original version of it, and I like mine better (as a couple of other people also mentioned.) A woman stopped me at the mall to comment on it, and she wasn't even a knitter!

So the moral of this story is, what? Trust the pattern? Finish what you start? Sometimes, the goddess of knitting smiles on you? Yeah, all of that.
(PS: I was right--the blackness hides all the mistakes in the short rows. And the colors catch the eye, so that no one, not even me, notices the imperfections.)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Slippery Slope

Ok, I guess it's time to get back in the saddle here--it's been almost a year since I last posted. So let's jump in to what's new, and let bygones be bygones.

I created a new pattern and posted it on Ravelry today. I named it Slippery Elm Cowl and Cap, for a couple of reasons. I am crazy about how much bang for the buck you can get out of the simplest slipped-stitch pattern. It is ridiculously easy to do, faster than knitting or purling, and it gives a really nice textured look. I based it on a pattern called G'day, but I didn't like having to do knit 1, purl 1, so I changed it up and it looks just as good as if I had bothered with all that k1 p1 business.

I used Malabrigo Sock yarn. 

After I made the cowl, I had a sizeable chunk of yarn left and I wondered if I could get a hat out of it. I pulled the cowl onto my head to see if the size would work, and it was pretty much right on. So I tried that, and it worked: a cute little light-weight cap for spring and fall in cold climates.

But then I wondered, what if you live in a truly cold place (Chicago, Hartland, I mean you!) and you wanted a hat that would actually keep your ears warm. So I changed needle size, dug some Aran to chunky weight yarn out of my stash, and tried at that scale, and I came up with a workable hat on size 9s.

I decided that I would break with my tradition of $1 patterns, and charge $3 for this one, since it's 3 patterns in one.

I loved knitting this cowl so much I did it three times--once for Kristen, once for me, and once in a cashmere mix for my sister Karen in Maine. (the cashmere mix did not have enough yardage to get a cap out of it.) Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture of Karen's cowl before I gave it to her and left.

Sam gave me a gift certificate for Christmas to Twist, Yarns of Intrigue, and I used it to buy a complete set (US 5, 6, 7, and 8) of 16" needles in the Addi Sock Rocket format, and those needles do indeed rock! I enjoyed the combination of nice yarn, an easy stitch pattern, and great needles!