Green the Whole Year ‘Round

This yarn was pulled from my stash – one of the “on vacation” purchases.   I think I purchased it when in Palm Springs several years ago – we took an outing to a nearby historic (and touristy) district and found “The Wool Lady” store tucked in a corner.  I picked up a few hand-spun and hand-dyed hanks and never found the right project – until now.

The yarn is Teeswater/Wensleydale by Feathergrass Fiber.  Unfortunately, I could not find information about either the store or the fiber producer, so either may or may not still be in business.

The pattern is Green the Whole Year ‘Round by Anna Yamamoto, available as a free Ravelry download.  The yarn I used was a bit fuzzy, so tthe pattern in my finished project is not as distinct as the author’s pattern suggests, but I think it turned out nicely.

The pattern was fun but challenging – the author rates it as “advanced”  The pattern is both charted and written out, and the author provides clear directions, but one needs to be very comfortable with some of the more advanced stitches and the pattern requires attention.

Changes:  I did not include the “nubs” – I don’t particularly like that feature in most patterns, and I don’t miss it in the finished product.  The pattern also calls for short rows for shaping – I used my favorite German Short Row technique, instead.

Also note:  I think the term is “severe blocking” and is required to make sure that the shawl is shaped properly.

 

I was concerned about the yardage, but I had plenty, and wish I would have carried the pattern on for a bit more length.  But, that sometimes happens with hand-made and dyed yarn, and having yarn leftover is better than not having enough.

Note in the pictures that the yarn has more pink tones at the bottom (right side in the picture) of the shawl, and more evenly purple at the top – that is the difference in the two skeins used to make the shawl, and a cautionary tale in purchasing yarn by unknown fiber artists – even though clearly the same dye lot, purchase at the same time, and looked the same on the hanks, the dye process on the two hanks resulted in a clearly different product for each hank.  Fortunately, the shawl pattern lent itself to this and the color change looks like it an intended feature.  Had this been a sweater or some other more fitted project, it would have been a noticeable flaw in the construction.

 

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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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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.

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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.

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

Stash Buster -Moss Stitch Hat

It’s getting cool outside!  I enjoy walking in the early morning, and have noticed a certain nip in the air.  When I dug through my outer gear to find a hat, I realized that I did not have one.  Not being a person who likes hats, I tend to shun them, or use scarves, instead.  However, I’d like to continue my walks later into year (or farther into winter), so a hat seems like a good idea.

Found Charisma Marble in Color Granite in my stash.  This is a Loops & Threads product put out by Michael’s.  I don’t know whether I purchased it, or “inherited” it from someone else. There was only the one skein.

With only 60 yards of bulky yarn on the skein, and #10 circular needles, I wanted to go with something simple, so I developed a quick moss stitch design and knit until I nearly ran out of yarn.

Cast on:  44 stitches, Knit 1×1 rib for 2″ (I used K1tbl, P1 to make the knit stitches stand out a little better).  Then place marker, and Row 1: K1,P1 around, Row 2:P1,K1 around for 4″, then *K2tg, P1* alternate rows until 8 stitches are left, and thread tail through remaining stitches.  Very easy – took about 2 hours.  Fits snugly and comfortably, and will be warm for the morning walks.

 

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Mr. Bear’s head is much bigger than mine, so the fit is jaunty for him.

 

Gris de Lin Cowl

New project, “new” yarn, but it’s been in my stash for years; I don’t remember where I purchased it.

Yarn is Moonshine Chrystal Palace Yarn in color Deep Seas (511).  I think this particular type of yarn has been discontinued, but the manufacturer has other, similar yarn.  The yarn is variegated, with silver metallic threads running through the ply.

Pattern is Gris de Lin, by  Cailliau Berangere, and available for free on Ravelry, through the link.

As sometimes happens, I started and unraveled this project a few times.  Eventually, I used a larger needle than in the pattern, and enlarged the repeats by 2-3 additional repeats so that the finished cowl would drape a little more.

Once I got onto the pattern, it was easy to memorize, and fun and fast to work up.  I used up every bit of the yarn, and had to add a little neutral yarn to complete the bind off.