Brioche Cable Cowl Completed

Finally completed!  It took no fewer than four complete “do-overs” to get onto this pattern, but once it clicked, I completed it without too much difficulty.

Things to learn –

  1.  Needle size matters – use a larger needle size than recommended – you really want a loose knit on this project, both because of the type of project (a cowl needs a lot of give) and because of the double-knitting-like feel of the project.  While you are only ever knitting with one color per row,  the style is double-sided.
  2. Pay attention to stich count and transition between rows.  Because you ar changing colors at each round, the transition needs to be smooth so it doesn’t look messy.
  3. This pattern could have been written more clearly.  Instead of referring to the sample colors, the author would have made it easier to read by referring to MC (main color) and CC (contrast color).  I never did get that straight, and – until I finally caught onto the pattern – it was confusing.
  4. Start with something simple.  While I did swatches in the brioche knitting to figure out the technique, a two-color, in the round project was maybe not the best project to start with.

I am pleased with the result, however.  The Caron Simply Soft yarn is very soft, and the project is lofty and generous.

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Celtic Scarf Complete

This project almost failed.  I started it about 8 months ago (and posted information about it here).  I really liked the yarn (Blackstone Tweed in color 2607) and thought that the pattern set it off, nicely.  Unfortunately, I came the the end of the second ball and the scarf was not long enough – it maybe could be an ascot.   I find that style awkward, but I finished it, anyway, including the black I-Cord edging.

I wasn’t happy with it, however, and very disappointed that I couldn’t get more yarn (I looked – not only discontinued, but no stray balls out in the world).

Digging through my workbasket for another project, I came across another ball!  YAY!  I thought I had purchased more – and apparently I mislaid one in my basket, where it languished for several months.

I had to unravel most of the binding and open the end and figure out where I left off, but after a few hours of back-tracking, I was able to resume happy knitting of this enjoyable project and complete it to a more acceptable length.


Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf

I’m in an easy-project mood.  My day job is getting busy (tax season), so I don’t want to have to think when I’m unwinding.  Easy-to-memorize, quick-to-complete  projects are on the docket for now.

Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf is the pattern.  The link is to a version posted on PearlSoho.

I don’t think this is the version I made.  I pulled the pattern either from Pinterest or Ravelry and kept it on my tablet, so I don’t have good history.  Once I memorized the pattern, I didn’t refer to it.

Yarn is Patons Chunky Shetland Tweed, in color Dark Forest Green.  This is technically a “stash-buster” project, because I’ve had the yarn for a long time.  I don’t think this color is available, though the product is still around.  I’m fairly sure I purchased this at JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts.

Modeled by my Washburn guitar. Another hobby I enjoy and never have enough time to pursue.

Something’s not right

So, I’ve started a project using the Brioche stitch I’ve been practicing.  The project is F729 Brioche Cable Cowl, by Vanessa Ewing.

From my previous post, I wrote that I was going to use smaller needles because the swatch seemed too sloppy with the recommended needle size 8 (5mm).

I switched to size 6 (4mm) for this project and started knitting.

The yarn is Caron Simply Soft Shadows in Mardi Grey.   I have two skeins leftover from a baby blanket from several years ago.  It’s a nice variegated color yarn with a solid color base twist.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the yarn is still being made.

The contrast color is a black skein in my stash that I’ve used for trim in other projects.

First, I have a suggestion to the designer – In the pattern text, she refers to the colors by their color name, rather than “MC” (main color) or “CC” (contrast color).  I rarely actually used the yarn noted in a pattern, and even if I did, I wouldn’t think of it as “Galway” or “Gina” – I would think of the yarn as “black” and “colored” or “MC” and “CC.”  It is very confusing to use the color names in a pattern!

Second, I used the Stretchy Slipknot (link to video) cast on, instead of the Longtail Cast on, for two reasons – one, the Longtail  Cast-on is a pain over a high stitch count and two, it’s not as stretchy as I think this project needs.

So, back to the project.  Below you see a fair number of rows knit up, and I think three rounds of cable stitches (which was not too bad, once I got the hang of it).  However, at this point, I’ve decided a few things –

  • Should have used the larger needle – it’s not too bad on the straight rows, but the cable row is too bunched up, and it was very tight to knit the cables.
  • I made a big mistake early on – I’m not sure what I did, but it resulted in “floats” in one row, all along on one side.  I thought that it would block out or obscure with use, but it’s still painfully obvious (to me, anyway).
  • There are a lot of other mistakes – like a few cables that go the wrong way and look odd, and it looks like I missed the count transitioning from row to row, in a few spots, which looks messy, and I think I dropped a bunch of stitches, at one point (I have no idea how that happened – I picked them up when they were found, but I can tell where it happened).  I am also fairly confident that I won’t have enough black yarn for the entire project, so I need to dive back into my stash for something else.

So, I’m calling this a “swatch” and starting over – lessons learned.

But, I think I’ll enjoy the project, and I’m looking forward to Round 2.

Weird float mistake is on the other side -not visible in this photo.

Lucienne Scarf

Again, the Christmas confusion and the quick-knit of this project contributed to a lack of WIP photos.

This is Lucienne Scarf, a paid pattern by Katinka Designs.  I was attracted to it enough to pay for the pattern, and I don’t regret that investment.  This is a lovely and easy to work pattern.  I will certainly use it, again. My complements to the designer.

Yarn is my third color of three – Shawl in a Ball, by Lion Brand, in color Feng Shui Grey.

After three skeins, I still enjoy the look and feel of this yarn.  While “Shawl in a Ball” is nicely poetic, I really think it should be “Scarf in a Ball,” as more accurate.  All three scarves knit up to a very nice size, but would be too small for a shawl.

Here is the completed project, both blocked and as finally finished.  I really like the drape of the finished fabric, and the two recipients of the previous two scarves seemed to really like the end result.

Note my Christmas gift to myself:  Knitted Love Interlocking Blocking Mats.  As you might have noticed in the previous scarf photos, I had to use two different media to block the scarves.  This system lets me build the size of mat that suits the project.  (That said, I would probably need another set for a larger or multi-piece project like a sweater).

(Click image for large-photo slide show)


Learning New Skills – Brioche

I’ve been intrigued by the recent jump in Brioche projects I’ve seen on Ravelry and Pinterest (Yes, I know that the more you look at a topic, the more it’s pushed into your feed.  That’s not entirely the cause, I think).

Here’s a helpful video from Staci at Very Pink, where she also posts written instructions. 

Here’s another helpful video – it is video only (no sound). I used this when I practiced because the demonstrator went very slowly, and I could keep up when I was first struggling through the technique.

You can click through to written instructions through the description section of this video too.  The instructions with this second video include brioche in the round (on circular needles), which is the nature of the project I have in mind for the application of this stitch (and that yarn below).

Though the technique and the stitches are identical, there is slightly different terminology, and Staci includes an extra slipped stitch on one end, so if you refer to both sites, don’t get them confused.

After several hours of knitting and ripping, knitting and ripping, I finally have the hang of it, I think.  [To be fair, I was binge-watching the last four episodes of Legends, so I was easily distracted.]

Current question:  I used a knitted cast on for this swatch.  The instructions recommend long-tail.  I’m not sure either is stretchy enough to accommodate the give in the stitch.  I’m going to try Jeny’s Slipknot cast on method, to see if that helps.

Here’s my most recent swatch.  This is such a loose and squishy fabric – I think I may need to go a needle smaller for the project.   I’m going to rip this back and try swatching in the round to see how I get along.  Theoretically, it should be easier, since the “back and forth” stitch is a 4-row stitch and the circular version is a 2-row stitch.  But for the pattern I have in mind, I also need to learn to cable in brioche.

Stay tuned.


WIP – Oops, Completed Project – Lucienne Scarf

One thing I like about Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Ball is that it is so quick to knit!

Partly because of last-minute Christmas craziness and partly because it knit up so quickly, I only have finished-project (blocked) pictures.  Because I immediately wrapped and gave away the finished project, I don’t have a modeled photo, either.

And… because I lost track of the yarn band, I’m not sure of the color.  It might be Calming Desert or Graceful Green.

Oddity – If you take a look at the color layout, you can see why I wonder whether there might be a flaw in this one.  The pale neutral color (see close up photo for both a look at the pattern and the color) suggests that that might be the color-start point that got off track in the processing.

Pattern:  Road Not Taken Scarf, published in The Art of Knitted Lace, available from Amazon, and your LYS.  The book link above shows a collection of the patterns available in the book.  I picked this book up at the one and only yarn show I’ve attended, in Southern Indiana in fall, 2015.  The patterns offered are varied in both style and skill level, and the book includes both written and charted patterns for many projects.

I modified the two-stitch border to a three-stitch border and added a YO/K2tg on the knit side to create the lace edge effect.  Not coincidentally, that feature made it easier to insert the wires for blocking.

I’m enjoying the Shawl in a Ball series.  The colors are nice, the yarn is soft, and it’s easy to work.