What I’m Working On: March 2021

Watercolor Cowl

FINISHED – I used some of the Rowan Felted Tweed I had leftover from my Cityscape Scarf to make a Watercolor Cowl (my Ravelry project). I had 13 colors, so I used one for the center squares and the edging, and the other 12 for the large squares. I didn’t follow a predetermined color ordering, but I made sure to use each of the 12 colors in every two pattern repeats. I also made sure to only use each pairing of colors once, so every square is unique.

The construction of this cowl is simple but effective. It is knit as a long rectangle, then the cast on edge is sewed onto the side. This results in a pretty point in front and not too much bulk in the back. It kind of looks like a bandanna. The edging is worked in applied I-cord around the top and bottom circumferences. It really ties the whole look together!

Novae Hat and Mittens

FINISHED – See my post about Quince Quarterly Winter 2021.

Daytripper Cardigan

IN PROGRESS – This one is so much fun! It is part of the Modern Daily Knitting Field Guide 17: Lopi, which is full of designs using the Icelandic yarn Lettlopi. I am late to the party and had never heard of this yarn, but I love it. It is very sturdy and it comes in lots of gorgeous colors. The Daytripper Cardigan uses 7 colors in a stranded colorwork circular yoke and a steek for the front opening. A big part of the fun is deciding what colors to use and in which order. MDK shared a coloring template that I used to try out several combinations. Here is the one I settled on (left half of the sketch).

And here is what it looks like so far! I’m done with the colorwork yoke and just divided the sleeves and body. You can see the steek stitches in the middle; these will be hidden by the button band.

Yarn Purchases

I have been letting myself buy any yarn I want lately. Part of me is planning ahead for all the things I want to make, and part of me doesn’t want to miss out on limited edition yarns. Plus, the sentiment on my new favorite shirt really says it all 😆.

In particular, I’ve decided that I want to try all the yarns Brooklyn Tweed has ever produced. I’ve been a fan since they came out with their first yarn, the worsted weight Shelter. Now they have something like six core yarns, and continue to produce special limited runs of new yarns every year or so. They just released their latest, Ranch 03, a sport weight merino from a ranch in Colorado, which comes in some amazing bright colors. I ordered two skeins each of three colors: Sorbet, Fathom, and Reef (left to right in picture below).

The first limited edition yarn Brooklyn Tweed made, a few years ago, was the lace weight Plains. It has been sold out for a while. I realized in order to meet my goal I would need to find it somewhere, so I found a yarn store online that still had a few skeins in stock and ordered them right away. I think I’ll use them for one of the patterns that was designed specifically for Plains when it was released.

Finally, I saw that Purl Soho had released a brand new baby camel yarn, Simply Camel. It looked interesting so I scooped up one skein. Good thing, since it’s out of stock now! This will just be enough to make a hat or some hand warmers. I love the natural warm caramel color, and it’s very soft.

Quince Quarterly Winter 2021

This quarter’s Quince Quarterly is a hat and mittens set made from the bulky Puffin yarn. The pattern is called Novae, by Sarah Pope, and features a Danish star motif and brioche stitch. Here’s my Ravelry project.

The Mittens

The mitten cuffs use brioche stitch instead of traditional ribbing. The star motif is pared down to just an hourglass shape around the wrist. The backs of the hands continue with more brioche, while the palms and thumbs are in stockinette. One interesting feature is the asymmetrical decrease for the fingers. It follows the natural hand shape more closely than mittens typically do.

The Hat

Like the mittens, the hat brim uses brioche stitch instead of ribbing. The Danish star emerges from the brim and finishes on a stockinette background. Both the hat and the mittens also use a tubular cast on, which looks really polished.

And for a fun touch, I added a giant pom pom on top! This was my first time making a pom pom. The QQ box included a pom pom maker, so it was a nice opportunity to try the technique. I found some great tutorials at Loome. Here is what the hat looks like with the pom pom:

Overall, this was a fun project with some new techniques, and it was nice that it was so fast to make with the bulky yarn.

What I’m Working On: February 2021

Wow, another month has passed already! This month I managed to finish three knitting projects, despite the short month and starting back to work last week.

Cityscape Scarf

FINISHED – This scarf (Ravelry, pattern) was so much fun! As a first intarsia project, it was very straightforward since all the shapes are squares and rectangles, nothing complicated. I got into a good rhythm of cutting new lengths of yarn every 12 rows to coincide with the color changes. I used the felted join method when a color spanned two 12-row sections. The felted join is surprisingly easy! All it takes is a little water and some friction, and the two pieces are magically connected. I definitely need to use this technique in future projects. My favorite part about the scarf was the fabulous colors of Rowan Felted Tweed, and fortunately I have plenty left for at least one more project! The only thing I changed from the pattern was the border: I used the Ultramarine colorway to knit a garter stitch border on all four sides.

Galloway Hat #2

FINISHED – I finished this just in time to squeeze into February – I just blocked it today (Ravelry)! I used the same colors of Brooklyn Tweed Peerie as the first Galloway Hat, in a different order. As I mentioned last month, the yellow ended up being more prominent than I wanted. I also used smaller needles than last time (US0, 1, 2) so it ended up a little smaller.

Novae Hat

FINISHED – This hat is from Quince Quarterly Winter 2021, which also includes matching mittens (Ravelry, pattern). Knit in bulky Puffin yarn, it came together quickly. The hat features brioche stitch in place of the usual brim ribbing. I think I will add a pom pom, but I need to finish the mittens first to make sure I don’t run out of yarn!

Watercolor Cowl

IN PROGRESS – Just this afternoon, while holding a sleeping baby, I started my Watercolor Cowl (pattern). I’m using the same colors of Rowan Felted Tweed from my Cityscape Scarf. Instead of using the colors for the center squares and neutrals for the large areas, I’m using a neutral colorway (Boulder) for the central squares and the 12 other colors in the large areas. I’ll also do the edging in Boulder to tie it all together.

What I’m Working On: January 2021

It’s a new year! So far my craft productivity is way down compared to some of the fall months. Could it have anything to do with caring for a two month old baby? Seems likely. I also decided this year that I am not setting explicit goals. This is a big departure for me, as I typically like to have a lot of goals written down. But I want to explore another way this year, where I just do whatever I want. Of course there are a lot of things in life that must be done, and I’m good at doing the necessities. But aside from those, I want to get back in touch with my own inner voice and, as much as possible, only do things I want to do. There is no need to feel obligated to work on a project. I want to use my limited free time on things that make me happier. So here are the things I’ve been working on this month, which most of the time I did not feel obligated to do.

Quilty Love Cross Stitch

FINISHED – There were moments where I really avoided this one. But I got a burst of desire to finish it right at the end of the month, so I put on the finishing touches of ric rac and buttons just today. And now I can use it with my Valentine’s decorations!

Cityscape Scarf

IN PROGRESS – This scarf has been a lot of fun to make, and I adore the yarn colors. I’m about 3/4 done with the main knitting, then will finish with edging. It is my first experience with intarsia, and it is really not that hard! The squares in the design make for an easy introduction to the technique. The colors change every 12 rows, so I can get in the groove for a little while and then get the next set of colors ready before I get bored. I learned the felted join technique for connecting on new pieces of yarn, and it is a game changer. I am going to have plenty of yarn left over for another project, which I’m already plotting.

Galloway Hat #2

IN PROGRESS – This one is about 75% done. I think there is too much yellow… Maybe I should have chosen the order of colors differently. Oh well!

What I’m Working On: December 2020

I got a surprising amount of crafting done this month, considering we had Christmas and the baby takes lots of attention. I have learned how to knit while holding a sleeping baby, which is a pretty good talent to have!

Forbes Sweater

FINISHED – I finally finished this sweater! In case you haven’t followed my other monthly updates, this is the Forbes Sweater from Brooklyn Tweed, made from Ranch 02 yarn.

Baby Duck Booties

FINISHED – See my post about these booties here.

Burnaby Hat #2

FINISHED – This is another Burnaby Hat knit in bulky weight Brooklyn Tweed Quarry, this time in the Moonstone colorway. I went up a needle size from before, to US 8 and US 10.5, because the recipient has a slightly larger diameter head than the pattern specifies. I also made the ribbing a little longer than the first time. Here’s another picture of the first one, just to show off how good it looks on my sister!

Mitten Ornament

FINISHED – This is from a pattern that Brooklyn Tweed released for free this holiday season. There is no specific gauge or yarn suggestion, and the final size depends on the yarn selection. I made this out of some Quince and Co. Finch yarn (fingering weight) and size US 3 needles. It’s a fast knit that makes great use of small amounts of leftover yarn!

Quilty Love Cross Stitch

IN PROGRESS – I started this last January as part of a cross stitch along that concluded just in time for Valentine’s Day. I obviously didn’t finish in time! I’m hoping to finish by the end of January this year. I just have 1.5 red hearts and one more row of quilt motifs to go, then the finishing details of sewing on buttons and adding the ric rac borders. The pattern and thread kit are available from Fat Quarter Shop.

Rowan Felted Tweed Swatch

FINISHED – I quickly knitted up this swatch of Rowan Felted Tweed in preparation to make the Cityscape Scarf from Modern Daily Knitting’s Field Guide 16. For Christmas, I received a kit of all the suggested yarn colors for this scarf. This yarn is awesome and I can’t wait to get started on the beautiful scarf. The colors!!!

Galloway Hat #2

IN PROGRESS – I have plenty of Peerie yarn left from my first Galloway Hat. This one uses white as the main color, and I went down one size for each needle to make it a little bit smaller. I’ve finished the ribbing and started the first few rounds of colorwork.

Baby Duck Booties

This adorable pattern is available at Quince and Co., where you can also buy a kit containing the required yarns plus the pattern printed on card stock. I decided to go with the kit because it contains smaller quantities of yarn rather than full skeins. Earlier this fall, there was a special holiday color set in addition to the original set, so of course that is what I bought. The yarns are Chickadee sport weight in the Camel and Rook colorways and Finch fingering weight in the Winesap colorway.

Over the course of about a week, I made these booties in the smallest size (0-6 months) for my little peanut. Here are some photos of the process. (My project is on Ravelry here.)

The bootie starts with the sole, worked flat in garter stitch with increases at the edges and middle, which will become the heel and toe, respectively.

Next, the top of the toe is shaped with short rows in reverse stockinette stitch.

The tongue continues up from the toe in reverse stockinette stitch.

The ankle is worked flat in reverse stockinette stitch with an accent panel of stockinette at the back. It connects the two sides of the bootie so only the heel and center sole are still disconnected.

The last steps are to sew up the bottom and heel, weave in the ends, wet block, and put in the laces!

I’m excited for these to fit my little one. They are a bit big right now, but I’m sure he will grow into them in no time!

Baby Cardigan

Update! I found some football-shaped buttons that I had bought for this project a couple years ago, so I decided to replace the plain white buttons.

Cardigan with football buttons

In November I made a cute little cardigan (Ravelry) for the new baby, using the Fuss Free Baby Cardigan pattern by Louise Tilbrook. I got 95% done with one of these for the first baby in 2018 and never quite finished…oops! I had quite a few other things on my mind that year, and knitting was not a big priority then. I also made one as a gift several years ago.

This time, I wanted to chronicle all the modifications I made to the original pattern. The pattern is great as written, and it includes a few suggestions for customization that are easy to expand upon.

Unfortunately, I can’t figure out what yarn I used. I bought it and wound it in 2018, when I originally intended to make this sweater, and lost track of the ball bands. I know it is a wool DK weight yarn, and I used a US 6 needle to get 5.5 stitches per inch gauge.

Cardigan with original buttons

Modifications

  1. Instead of starting with the garter stitch border, I started at the beginning of the stockinette section at the top. This allowed me to pick up and knit the garter stitch border after the body was done, making the top, bottom, and sides as one piece.
  2. For the raglan increases, I used M1 instead of KFB. Specifically, I did: knit to one stitch before marker, M1R, K1, sl marker, K1, M1L. This makes a double column of knit stitches in between the increases.
  3. I alternated colors as follows to create the stripes: *6 rows orange, 2 rows blue, 2 rows white, 2 rows blue, repeat from *.
  4. After completing the stockinette body, I picked up stitches on the left, right, and top (in addition to the bottom stitches that were still live). Then I joined in the round to work the garter stitch border as one piece. I did 8 rounds of garter stitch (knit one round, purl one round) and increased 2 stitches at each corner on every RS (knit) round to help the border lie flat.
  5. I wanted to make long sleeves in the stripe pattern without working in the round so I could avoid jogs in the stripes without any special techniques. For each sleeve, I did the following while maintaining the stripe pattern to match the body: Row 1: Starting from right edge of held stitches, pick up and knit 2, knit held stitches, pick up and knit 2. Row 2: sl1, purl to end. Row 3: sl1, knit to end. Row 4: repeat Row 2. Row 5 (decrease row): sl 1, k1, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, ssk, k2. Continue in stockinette st, working decrease row every 4th row (rows 9, 13, 17, 21) and slipping first stitch of each row. Rows 23-28: work even in stockinette, slipping the first st of each row. Switch to blue and knit one row. Seam together the two edges, then join in the round and continue to work garter stitch for 5 more rounds. BO all stitches.

I really like how this turned out and can’t wait for my little one to start wearing it!

What I’m Working On: November 2020

I finished several projects this month. This was mostly because I took a week off of work before the baby was born, and spent most of that time knitting. I think it was my nesting instinct kicking into overdrive!

Easy Baby Hat

FINISHED – Last month I wrote about the Albizia Hat and Mittens from the Quince Quarterly Fall 2020 subscription box, and the modified version of the hat I made for my toddler. I still had a little bit of the wonderful Owl yarn left and wanted to find a way to use it up. I had just enough yarn to make a baby hat. Now both of my kids have hats to match mine! The pattern I improvised is below.

This is all that is left of my 3 skeins of Quince and Co. Owl yarn!

Baby Hat Pattern:
Gauge:  20 sts = 4 in with US 7 needles
Yarn:  Owl by Quince and Co. in Steppe (C1), Allagash (C2), and Abyssinian (C3)
Finished measurements:  About 14″ circumference, and 5″ tall
CO 70 with two-color long-tail cast on. (Here is a description of the cast on, although I only used a single needle.)
Round 1:  Knit with C1, which was on the thumb side for the cast on.
Round 2:  Knit with C2, which was on the finger side for the cast on.
Rounds 3-6:  Work K1, P1 ribbing, alternating C1 and C2 each round.
The remainder of the hat is worked in stockinette stitch (K all stitches).
Rounds 7-15:  *Knit 2 rounds with C1, Knit 1 round with C2, repeat from * 2 more times.
Rounds 16-18:  Knit 2 rounds with C1, Knit 1 round with C3.
Rounds 19-27:  *Knit 2 rounds with C1, Knit 1 round with C2, repeat from * 2 more times.
Round 28 (dec rnd):  With C1, *K3, K2tog, repeat from * (14 sts decreased, 56 sts remain)
Round 29:  With C1, knit
Round 30:  With C3, knit
Round 31 (dec rnd):  With C1, *K2, K2tog, repeat from * (14 sts decreased, 42 sts remain)
Round 32:  With C1, knit
Round 33 (dec rnd):  With C2, *K1, K2tog, repeat from * (14 sts decreased, 28 sts remain)
Round 34:  With C1, knit
Round 35 (dec rnd):  With C1, *K2tog, repeat from * (14 sts decreased, 14 sts remain)
Round 36 (dec rnd):  With C1, *K2tog, repeat from * (7 sts decreased, 7 sts remain)
Break yarn, thread through remaining 7 sts and cinch closed, weave in ends.

Galloway Hat

Galloway Hat, blocking on a balloon

FINISHED – I swatched twice for this! I had to go up a needle size from the pattern recommendation to make gauge. I love the pattern…it is a beautiful 4-color stranded colorwork hat in fingering yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Peerie). I suspect I will be making more than one of these, especially because there is plenty of yarn left!

Forbes Sweater

IN PROGRESS – I’m nearing the finish line on this pullover! Since last month, I joined the sleeves to the body and started working the circular yoke. I’m 70% done with the yoke pattern, which uses simple combinations of knit and purl stitches to create a textured design.

Burnaby Hat

FINISHED – This is a quick knit using chunky Brooklyn Tweed Quarry yarn. The pattern includes instructions for both chunky yarn and DK yarn, so it’s a nice one to have in my library.

Urtia Hat

IN PROGRESS – I already made one of these, but it ended up too big, likely since I didn’t do a real gauge swatch. I started over with smaller needles and so far it seems like a better fit. The pattern uses a simple half brioche rib stitch to make a cozy fabric. I’m using Brooklyn Tweed’s Dapple yarn, a blend of cotton and wool that they released this summer.

Baby Sweater

FINISHED – This is another item that I made pretty quickly. I started it 2 days before the baby was born and even worked on it a little bit in the hospital! It is worked top down with raglan sleeve shaping and a garter stitch border worked in the round. It is based on this pattern, with significant modifications.

Christmas Stocking

FINISHED – I stitched the name and did the finishing sewing during nap times. I’m so glad I got this done just in time to decorate for Christmas! (Note: I prefer to keep my kids anonymous online, so that’s why the name is blurred.)

Reading Materials

I read two books related to knitting: A Stash of One’s Own by Clara Parkes, and The Knit Vibe by Vickie Howell. I’ve also been keeping up with Modern Daily Knitting, and ordered myself a few gifts from their store!

Neckwear Made From Brooklyn Tweed Vale

Today I want to highlight some neckwear accessories that I’ve made over the past few years. They are all made from the same yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Vale, and all the patterns are from Brooklyn Tweed as well. If you haven’t tried any of their patterns, I highly recommend them. They are all high quality and include details on all required techniques (cast on, blocking, stitch patterns, etc.).

The Yarn

My Vale shade card

Brooklyn Tweed Vale is a laceweight Rambouillet wool that premiered in 2017. When it was released, I immediately ordered a shade card to see what it was like. The yarn is soft and springy, and comes in several colors ranging from bold to pastel to neutral. As a laceweight yarn, the look really changes depending on the gauge of the project it is used in. I’ve completed three projects with Vale so far.

Gully Cowl

Gully cowl

I made Gully (pattern) in the summer of 2017, right after I received the shade card and decided I must knit with this yarn. This lightweight cowl took one skein of Vale in colorway Norway. This was the first time I had tried brioche knitting, which uses yarn overs and slipped stitches to create a squishy fabric. It is an interesting technique to use with laceweight yarn, resulting in a cozy but very lightweight feel. This cowl is knit flat, starting from the bottom, and gradually tapers to a narrower opening at the top. It is seamed together after blocking to create a tube. Unlike a lot of cowl designs, this one fits very closely to the neck. Mine ended up almost too tight, so if I make this pattern again I will swatch carefully and consider going up a needle size (I used the recommended US4 this time).

Brora Shawl

Brora shawl

I made the Brora Shawl (pattern) in 2017 and early 2018, using two skeins of Vale in colorway Heron and US3 needles. This triangular shawl was a delight to knit and I wear it frequently. The center triangle is knit first, starting at the center point, then the edges of this triangle are picked up and the outer lace motif is worked out toward the edges. The center triangle has a subtle garter triangle pattern, and the lace section includes both garter stitch and eyelets. I like that this shawl is light enough that it could go with a summer dress to lessen the chill of the evening, or it could be a layer underneath a warmer coat in the colder seasons.

Close-up view of the two Brora sections

Prism Cowl

Prism cowl

I started the Prism Cowl (pattern) in mid-2018, and didn’t finish it until mid-2020! This was during the height of my knitting rut so I really was not working on it for most of this time. I finally picked it back up and finished it once I started working from home due to the coronavirus in March 2020. Anyway, this cowl used two skeins of Vale in colorway Thaw and a US6 needle. It is knit flat and grafted together after blocking. The pattern is a satisfying combination of garter stitch and geometric lace. It was interesting to knit but also fairly easy to memorize each row. It can be styled as a long cowl or wrapped double for extra coziness.

What’s Next?

Vale yarn in Sashiko, Vernal, Barberry, and Morel (L-R)

I went a little crazy on ordering Vale yarn back in 2017, so I have a few skeins left – one each of colorways Sashiko, Vernal, Barberry, and Morel. Maybe I’ll make some more Gully Cowls as gifts, or track down some other one-skein patterns. These colors could also work nicely together if I find a nice large, multicolor project. It will be a treat to use this wonderful yarn again!

What I’m Working On: October 2020

Cross-stitch Christmas Stocking

IN PROGRESS – This is as done as it can be until the baby comes! By mid-October, I had finished everything except stitching the name and the final construction. It didn’t take as long as I expected – only about 3 months. It required really buckling down and focusing on it, though!

Albizia Hat and Mittens

FINISHED – This is the Quince Quarterly Fall 2020 project that I wrote about here.

After completing the Albizia hat and mittens, I had enough yarn leftover to make a toddler hat (left in above picture). I adapted the pattern to make it a little smaller than the original hat, and to account for having very little of the oatmeal-colored yarn left. I cast on 5 fewer stitches to shrink the diameter and worked about 8 fewer rounds. The pattern has 3 colorwork charts to make up the full pattern. I worked the first and last chart as written, and for the middle section I took inspiration from the second chart. I like how the toddler hat turned out, and I’m glad I made it right away while I still remembered my gauge for this pattern and yarn. I still have a little bit of the blue and yellow yarn, so maybe I’ll whip up a tiny baby hat, too!

Forbes Sweater

IN PROGRESS – I finished the main stockinette body and both sleeves. The next step is to join the sleeves with the body, then work the circular yoke, which has a charted pattern. I’m excited for this step, as I’ve never made a circular yoke sweater before.

Kahawai Cowl

FINISHED – This is the Kahawai Cowl from the Darn Good Yarn subscription box.