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.

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.

Darn Good Yarn Subscription Box

I wrote recently about the Quince Quarterly box I just subscribed to. This was not my first yarn subscription box, though. In 2019 I received the Darn Good Yarn Yarn of the Month subscription box for about 6 months. For $20 a box, you get a skein of yarn, a pattern designed for the monthly yarn, and some kind of accessory or notion. The pattern always has a knit option and a crochet option, and sometimes there are even two patterns for each craft.

The yarns are different from what you would find at most yarn companies. Darn Good Yarn primarily sources its yarn from disadvantaged communities, and most products are recycled in some way. For example, some of their yarns are made from recycled saris from India. They also have yarns made from uncommon fibers like banana fiber. This company has a great mission that I’m happy to support!

Finished Project #1

So what have I received in my subscription boxes, and what have I made? This month, I finally finished the Kahawai Cowl that I started making sometime in 2019. This project used some really nice Lace Weight Silk Yarn in color Sparkle Sandy Beach. The yarn is lightweight and mixes dyed silk with a skinny strand of sparkly material. It was overall nice to work with, but sometimes the fiber got caught on itself. The yarn nicely self-stripes, and the blue/green stripes contrast well with the sandy brown stripes.

The cowl is knit in the round and consists of a large cable on a background of reverse stockinette, followed by regular stockinette. After knitting the full length of the tube, the ends are seamed together. I did kind of a hybrid join, something between mattress stitch and kitchener stitch. Since I did not bind off the final edge before seaming but did not do a provisional cast-on, I couldn’t quite do regular kitchener stitch. The join is hardly visible, though (see the middle of the photo below), so I’m happy with how it turned out! This box also included a set of safety pin stitch markers, which I find useful for all kinds of projects.

Finished Project #2

The other project I finished is a little crocheted bag with a drawstring (I can’t find the pattern, unfortunately). It is made from Fancy Twist Silk Yarn in color Pink Flamingo, a bulky recycled silk yarn. This bag is a nice size for a child’s treasures, or maybe it could be a dice bag for role playing games. If I’m remembering correctly, the accessory this month was a pair of straight needles and a crochet hook, in an appropriate size for the pattern (US8).

Unfinished Project #1

This box featured a nice colorful yarn: Darn Good Twist Worsted Weight Silk Yarn, which is made from recycled silk, in color Machu Picchu. I worked on the knit pattern a few months ago, but am only about halfway done. It is an I-cord necklace made with US8 double-pointed needles. The box also included a 3-pack of silver buttons, which could look nice as an accent on a cowl or headband.

Unfinished Project #2

This box includes Speckled Tweed Recycled Silk Yarn in color Begonia. The two pattern options are a bracelet and a cowl. I haven’t yet decided which project to make…maybe I’ll try something completely different! The accessory gift is a pom pom tassel, which would be a cute embellishment for a bag.

Unfinished Project #3

Although the tag on the yarn in this image says it’s super bulky, it is really a Worsted Weight in color Catskill Fireworks (there was a slight mix-up in the inventory). The pattern is a bottle coozie and looks pretty fast to knit. The accessory is some hand salve, which is really helpful in winter months to soften hands.

My Take

This is a nice subscription box for trying unique yarns and small projects. I found that several of the recommended patterns were things I was not so excited to make, so I think that is why they have languished on my shelf. My desire to knit was also in a lull while I was subscribing, so that also may have been a factor. I do really like the company and would consider subscribing again in the future. If you’d like to subscribe, you can sign up here.

What I’m Working On: September 2020

Cross-stitch Christmas Stocking

This stocking is for the new baby, and it comes from a Dimensions cross-stitch kit. I started working on it in July and I’m about 70% done. I’m hoping to finish before the baby comes in November (except for the name, since we haven’t chosen yet)! It would be fun to have everyone’s stockings up for Christmas this year.

Forbes Sweater

It’s been a while since I made a large item like a sweater, since I tend to prioritize accessories that fit well even if my gauge is a little off. I’m currently obsessed with Brooklyn Tweed yarns and patterns, and I thought the Forbes Sweater looked perfect for late fall, when I’m hoping to have it finished. It uses the limited-run Brooklyn Tweed yarn Ranch 02 in color Natural. I’m around 10% done so far.

Cowl

This cowl is from Darn Good Yarns subscription box earlier this year. The pattern is the Kahawai Cowl by Ellen Bergmann, and the yarn is Lace Weight Silk in color Sparkle Sandy Beach from DGY. I’ve been working on it off and on since around April. It is finally almost finished: the last step is to seam the two ends together. I just need to find a half hour or so to finish it up.

Planning

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been planning more projects and ordering all the supplies. Just last night, I ordered some fingering weight yarn and a pattern for a colorwork hat for my husband. I know it’s going to be hard to keep up with all these projects once the baby comes, but I’ll get to them all eventually.