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!

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.

Quince Quarterly Fall 2020

In the past few years, subscription boxes have become popular for all kinds of products. I regularly get a couple different food boxes, and in the past I’ve tried the Birchbox beauty supply box and personal styling from Stitch Fix. I recently learned about Quince and Co.’s subscription program Quince Quarterly, which provides a brand new knitting pattern and corresponding yarn, four times a year. I heard about Quince and Co. years ago, but somehow have never gotten around to trying any of their yarns. As soon as I learned about Quince Quarterly, I had to sign up — it’s the perfect way to experience new yarns. Plus it’s so fun to get a mystery box in the mail every few months!

Quince Quarterly has two options: Level 1 for $45 and Level 2 for $90. I got the Level 1 box this time, though I’m tempted to upgrade to Level 2 in the future. Look at all the fun stuff that came in this box! There are three skeins of Quince Owl yarn (50% wool, 50% alpaca) in yellow, blue, and oatmeal; a brand new pattern for mittens and a hat; and two rolls of washi tape. I have never used washi tape before, so I am open to any advice on what to do with it! The pattern is called Albizia, written by Pam Allen, and it is printed beautifully on high quality card stock and paper with full-color photos and charts. One cool thing about the Quince Quarterly program is the patterns are exclusive to subscribers for the first six months, so this one won’t be available for purchase until April 2021.

I was anxious to get knitting, so I got the yarns wound up right away. I could tell that it was going to be a delight to work with this Owl yarn; it is rustic and squishy, and the colors look great together. I started out by making a stockinette swatch in a single color. My gauge looked good, so I began the hat. After a few rounds of the stranded color pattern, I realized my mistake: stranded colorwork gauge is not the same as gauge for a single color! There was no way the hat was going to fit my head, so I ripped it out and started over with a swatch in the color pattern. I had to go up one needle size from the recommended US8 to US9.

Both the hat and the mittens start with a simple rolled edge. The colorwork starts after just a few rounds and continues throughout, aside from a few sections where just one color is worked for a few rounds. I haven’t done colorwork in years, so I am happy that this pattern pushed me to do it again.

The pattern emphasizes the rustic feel of the Owl yarn. It is primarily knit in stockinette, with enough color changes to keep the work interesting. One detail I love is the well-placed purl stitches occurring just after color changes; they really make the previous color pop.

The mittens have a different but complementary pattern. I knitted mine with a US8 needle, one size down from what I used for the hat. The thumb is constructed from a simple waste yarn section with no gusset. I typically prefer patterns with a thumb gusset, but in this case the waste yarn approach really works, especially as it doesn’t require increases to be worked in conjunction with the colorwork pattern.

As recommended by the designer, I minimized blocking to preserve the stitch texture. The only thing I did was apply a little bit of steam at the cast-on edges to flatten them out a bit. From start to finish, this project only took a little over a week. That is the nice thing about knitting accessories with worsted weight yarn! It helps to have such an engaging pattern, too.

Overall, I’m really happy with my first Quince Quarterly box. I can’t wait for the next one! Oh, and I was planning to give this project as a gift, but the more I look at it the more I think maybe I’ll keep it for myself…

Juris Mittens and Thoreau Hat

Today’s post features two accessories I made for my husband. The first one is an example of my bad habit of taking a long time to finish a project. In this case, I did all the knitting for the mittens pretty quickly, but didn’t quite have time to purchase and sew on buttons before Christmas, so I gave them to him with the promise “you can pick the buttons!” That turned into months and months of waiting, until we bought two different types of buttons 11 months later. So then he got them for Christmas that year…not! Since there were two choices for the buttons, neither of us could decide which ones to use. It took another ENTIRE year until I finally sewed on the dang buttons, which took all of 20 minutes. So two years later, he actually got to wear his mittens in December 2014. That is epic procrastination, and I’m not proud of it.

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A happy husband

Fortunately, the hat was finished much more quickly. I started it in December 2014 and finished it just a couple weeks later in January. This is probably more a function of hats being easier for me to finish than other items, but I’m hopeful that I’m turning the corner on finishing what I start.

The yarn I chose for these two items is Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran, a wool/angora blend, in a soft blue with bits of white and brown. One ball can easily make a hat, while it took about one and a half balls for the mittens. Both of the patterns come from the Interweave Knits Accessories 2011 magazine, which I’ve mentioned before.

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Juris Mittens

The Juris Mittens, by Alexis Winslow, combine fingerless gloves with a mitten flap in a classic tweed. They are constructed from the cuff up, knitting the fingerless gloves first. Then the mitten flap is made by picking up stitches along the back of the hand, then knitting in the round. The gauge is fairly tight to keep the hands nicely insulated. These mittens were my first project involving individual fingers, and I was pleased that it wasn’t much harder than making a thumb, it just took more time to make them all. I followed the pattern pretty much exactly, and I really liked the results.

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Juris Gloves!

I took a bit more liberty with the Thoreau Hat, by Terri Kruse. This hat begins with twisted 1×1 ribbing, then moves into stockinette with a single detail panel consisting of ribbing and a 3-stitch mock cable. I liked the overall look of the hat, but as I soon as I started working the 3-stitch mock cable, I realized I would prefer to do a real cable. So I made one up – I had never seen a 3-stitch cable before. My method was the following:  sl2 to cable needle and hold in front, K1, sl2 back to left needle from cable needle, sl1 to cable needle and hold in front, K1, K1 from cable needle. This basically resulted in knitting the 3 stitches in reverse order from left to right.

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Thoreau Hat with custom cable

Together, these two accessories are perfect to keep my husband warm throughout the winter. Although the hat wasn’t quite finished in time, he was able to wear the mittens during our trip to London and Paris in December. The combo gloves/mittens were just right to keep his hands warm while taking lots of photos of the cities!

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