Dalleray Cowl

This lovely cowl (pattern, my Ravelry project) was designed for the limited edition Brooklyn Tweed yarn Ranch 03: Campbell-Hansmire. The yarn was released in March and is already almost sold out. (I got the last skein of Reef when I thought I was going to run out for this project, though I ultimately didn’t need it.) It is a squishy, soft, sport weight merino that is dyed some really fun colors.

Ranch 03 in Sorbet, Fathom, and Reef

The pattern is pretty straightforward, and like all Brooklyn Tweed patterns it includes careful finishing details. It starts from an optional tubular cast on. Right after the cast on rounds, you rearrange the stitches from 1×1 into a 2×2 ribbing arrangement. I found this to be the most challenging part because there were so many stitches on my needle that it was hard to manipulate them.

Next there were a few decrease rounds to get to the number of stitches required for the main pattern. And then the the cables began! I made the smaller size cowl, which repeats the cable pattern 15 times per round. Most rounds of the pattern are pretty easy, but there is a set of rounds where 14 out of every 15 stitches are involved in cables, so it gets a little tight.

Ready for kitchener stitch grafting

You repeat the entire chart only 3 times, and then there are a few increase rounds and a tubular bind off, and you’re done! The tubular bind off is kind of cool; you separate the knit stitches from the purl stitches on two needles, then do kitchener stitch. It matches the look of the tubular cast on well. I had to look at the cable direction to tell the top from the bottom!

It looks great after blocking!

This is a great project if you want to practice cables that are a step up from the most basic. I recommend trying to cable without a cable needle, since all the cables are only 2-3 stitches. It doesn’t work for all cable patterns, but this is a good one for it. This technique speeds up the work since you don’t have to switch between the main needle and the cable needle.

The yarn is delightfully squishy, and this comes through in the finished fabric. I’m glad I chose the smaller size since I prefer to keep my cowl close to my neck. I’ll definitely be adding this to my wardrobe for chilly mornings/evenings. I highly recommend the Ranch 03 yarn – if you can get any!

Destination Scarf & Trinket Mittens

This post covers two projects I recently made from the Modern Daily Knitting Field Guide No. 17, which exclusively uses Lettlopi yarn. In addition to my beautiful Daytripper Cardigan, I completed both the Destination Scarf (Ravelry) and the Trinket Mittens (Ravelry) this month.

Destination Scarf

For this project, I used Lettlopi in the following colors: Air Blue, Fjord Blue, Stone Blue Heather, Ocean Blue, and Blue. This scarf is primarily a stockinette tube, which means it knits up very fast. It incorporates a colorwork stitch motif in the transitions between colors; the Field Guide includes five stitch motifs to choose from. I picked the Sparkle motif, which kind of softens the lines between the colors but isn’t as graphically pronounced as some of the other motifs.

This scarf is a great comfort knit: most of the time is spent doing knit stitches, and you only have to pay close attention at the color transitions. It is a nice way to explore different shades of a color, like I did in blue using a kit from MDK, or you could use contrasting colors for a bolder effect. The ends of the scarf are finished with kitchener stitch for a polished look.

Trinket Mittens

I have always loved the combination of black and pink, so I used Lettlopi in Black Heather, Royal Fuchsia, and Pink Heather for this project, leftover from my Daytripper Cardigan. These mittens are made in a Nordic style, with pointy tips and no thumb gusset.

The cuffs are cleverly constructed: after working the stranded colorwork portion, the mitten is turned inside out and knitting proceeds in the opposite direction for the rest of the mitten. Then the cuff is folded over to reveal its right side. It is cool that this hides the floats from the colorwork so they won’t get caught when pulling the mittens on and off.

The colorwork cuff is inside out on the left

Of course, I had to add extra colorwork to the hand (Sparkle motif) because I needed more pink, so I lost some of the benefit of hiding the floats in the cuff. I didn’t quite have enough black yarn to finish. No problem – I just made the thumb tips pink!

More pink = more fun!

I will definitely be making more of these mittens with my remaining Lettlopi, including some Tiny Trinkets for the kids! But for now, it is spring and I am moving on to some projects with yarns that are more suited to warmer weather – linen, anyone?

Daytripper Cardigan

I am very excited to share my latest completed project, the Daytripper Cardigan (pattern on Ravelry, my project on Ravelry). The pattern was released last month as part of the Modern Daily Knitting Field Guide No. 17: Lopi, which focuses on the Icelandic wool yarn Lettlopi. When I received my copy of the Field Guide, I thought all the patterns looked fun, but I was particularly taken with the beautiful yoke of the Daytripper. I quickly chose my Lettlopi colors: Dark Gray for the main color, Heaven Blue Heather for the ribbing, and Ash, Black Heather, Pink Heather, Royal Fuchsia, and Lapis Blue Heather for the remaining contrast colors.

Lettlopi yarn, waiting to be turned into a sweater

The cardigan came together quickly, as advertised. The yarn is worsted weight, but the pattern calls for US 10 needles, a couple sizes larger than would typically be used. This results in a fast knit and a lightweight fabric. My swatch taught me that I needed to use size US 10.5 needles to make gauge. I decided not to increase the needle size for the ribbing, sticking with the pattern-recommended US 9.

Daytripper is worked in the round from the top down. There is a burst of colorwork throughout the yoke, with simple M1 increases embedded in the pattern. There are two sections of short row shaping for the back using the German short row method. I had not used this technique before, but I found it easy to do and I liked the resulting look better than the wrap-and-turn method.

Colorwork yoke is done, ready to divide for sleeves and body

After the yoke is done, the sleeve stitches are held while the body is worked straight in stockinette. This part was really fast for me because it just consisted of knit stitches around until it was long enough. Then there is a short colorwork section to finish off the body. The sleeves are picked up and worked in the round, with simple decrease shaping every couple inches. The sleeves end with a colorwork border to match the body.

Blocking really evens out the stitches

I’ve left out the best detail until now. To turn this into a cardigan, you have to cut a steek! The steek consists of six extra knit stitches in the center front of each round. (See the stitches that look kind of funky in the photo above? That’s the steek section.) The steek stitches need to be secured, which you can do by hand stitching, machine stitching, or the method I used, slip stitch crochet. Then you cut between the two middle steek stitches. I used gray Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight wool to secure my steek.

Eek! It’s my first steek!

After cutting the steek, the button bands are picked up and worked in 2×2 ribbing. Since the length of the cardigan didn’t exactly match the pattern specification, I made a little 2×2 ribbing swatch to figure out how many stitches to pick up. It needed to be a multiple of 4, so I ended up with 92 stitches, picking up about 7 out of every 8 stitches. I applied 8 buttons, evenly spaced, and used a simple yo, k2tog method for the buttonholes (as specified in the pattern).

Picking up for the buttonhole band

After the button bands were done, all that was left was to sew on the buttons and sew down the steek edge. I used some rustic-looking buttons that I found at Michael’s.

It’s finished!

I’m really happy with how this turned out. I’ve worn it a couple times already, and it is cozy and hardy without being too heavy. I highly recommend this pattern for your first steek, first colorwork circular yoke, and first project with Lettlopi yarn. I love how easy it is to customize the colors of this pattern; I can imagine making several more as gifts!

I’m a happy Daytripper owner