What I’m Working On: April 2021

Most of my knitting time this month was spent on projects in Lettlopi yarn from the Modern Daily Knitting Field Guide No. 17. I really went on a tear, completing 5 projects and starting one more. I find it easy to do a lot of knitting when I love the projects I’m working on! It helps to have a few things going at once so I can switch around what I’m working on, depending on my mood. I also learned that it’s good to have an easy project going – something in simple stockinette or garter stitch – to work on while waiting for things like daycare pickup. I get a lot more knitting done when I can squeeze it into small chunks of time. Let’s see what I got done this month.

Daytripper Cardigan

FINISHED – See my post here. This was a fun, fast, accessible project and I am thrilled with the result. The colors are great, and when I wear it I feel brighter.

Destination Scarf

FINISHED – See my post here. This is a gift for my husband. It turns out he didn’t have a scarf before! Blue is his favorite color, so this will be a good fit for him…next winter. It’s too warm for it right now!

Trinket Mittens

FINISHED – See my post here. I am going to love seeing these pink and black mittens on my hands.

Dalleray Cowl

FINISHED – See my post here. This cabled cowl uses the limited edition Ranch 03 yarn from Brooklyn Tweed.

Swirl Hat

FINISHED – I adapted the Swirl Hat pattern in Field Guide No. 5 for DK weight yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Dapple, a merino/cotton blend) and a smaller finished size so it would fit a preschooler. This meant I cast on only 90 stitches and did fewer pattern repeats. It looks pretty cute!

Far Hills Scarf

IN PROGRESS – This is the only project I started this month that I didn’t finish. I’m making this out of the limited edition Ranch 01 yarn from Brooklyn Tweed, which I managed to get last year before it sold out. It is dyed with natural indigo, so it stains skin, at least while knitting with it. I have to pick times to work on with this yarn when I know I’ll have time to wash my hands really well! I’m about 15% done with this scarf so far. It’s a gorgeous cable pattern that looks great in this yarn.

And that’s a wrap for April! I have a lot of great projects in the pipeline for May. We’ll see if I’m able to keep up this pace!

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?

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 ūüėÜ.

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: 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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