A New Hat For Winter

It’s still warm around here, but I know winter is coming. New red hat to the rescue! | withwool.com

Ever since figuring out that most of my hand knit hats are green, I decided to branch out. First I knit myself a marled Sockhead hat which turned out to be the perfect slouchy hat for snow. Next, I wanted something lacy, maybe with cables, and still slouchy. Slouchy hats are my favorite kind of hat after all. I went digging through my Ravelry queue and found just what I was looking for, the Regina Hat by Alex Tinsley. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. I kept digging through the green stash until I found a skein of Knit Picks Hawthorne in Picnic red. I don’t knit a lot of things for myself out of red so this was an added bonus.

It’s still warm around here, but I know winter is coming. New red hat to the rescue! | withwool.com

I decided to be a through knitter and work a swatch before I cast on for the real thing. I had to do down 2 needle sizes to get a nice fabric which meant a different gauge. Based on my swatches, I figured out I’d need to add 2 more repeats to get the right fit. The ribbing turned out way too big, like ‘could wear this hat at the same time as someone else’ too big. After a break, I ripped out the hat and started over with the original stitch count. But I still needed that slouch and to compensate for un-stretchy cables. After finishing the ribbing, I knit one round plain and increased all the stitches I’d need for the body. That little trick worked perfectly. I got the fit and fabric I wanted without losing what I loved about the pattern. 

The rest of the hat was smooth sailing since I didn’t have to make any other modifications. I don’t knit a lot of lace or cables and it was a nice change of pace.

Now that this hat is done and blocked, I’ve got a nice little pile of new knits ready for Winter. It’s holiday knitting time already, but I’m still thinking about starting another hat for myself just because. Maybe the Owl in the Thicket Hat? Or maybe I should make a pair of mitts just to round out the set?  Should probably just get started on the gift knitting though. We’ll see. :D  

It’s still warm around here, but I know winter is coming. New red hat to the rescue! | withwool.com

The Specs:

Pattern: Regina by Alex Tinsley

Yarn: 239 yds Knit Picks Hawthorne - Picnic 

Needles: 2.5 mm (for ribbing) and 3.25 mm (for lace) circular needles

Dates: May 8 - August 10, 2017

@Ravelry

Second Cast On's The Charm

It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. Usually works out on the second try though. | withwool.com

It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first time attempt is always too big. Even when I throw in the 10 - 20% amount of negative ease that I like in my hats, too big. I added an extra repeat to the Regina Hat and knit an inch of ribbing before trying it on. Here’s the ribbing with a copy of Yarnitecture for scale. Way too big.

It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. Usually works out on the second try though. | withwool.com

I put the hat out of sight until I felt like ripping out and starting all over again. That turned out to be a few days before I needed some simple knitting for a day trip. Casting on 100+ stitches at home sounded a lot better than frogging and casting on 100+ stitches on a bumpy road. So I grudgingly got to work. 

It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. Usually works out on the second try though. | withwool.com
It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. Usually works out on the second try though. | withwool.com
It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. Usually works out on the second try though. | withwool.com

Here’s a tip that’s saved me a lot of frustration over the years. Whenever I have to cast on a large number of stitches, say more than 80, I use stitch markers. It’s easy to count to 20, place a marker, and start another group of 20 stitches, than count more than 100+ stitches at once. The number of stitches in a repeat is a nice place to drop a marker too. Those markers mean that interruptions aren’t as big a deal. Also, you don’t have to question if that was the 82nd stitch or the 83rd before giving up and starting from 0 just to be sure. This trick is just one of the reasons I have so many markers.  

I got a few rounds on the needles and packed it into my purse with the pattern and my usual notions. Travel knitting ready and waiting to go. 

It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. | withwool.com

Ended up with a nice chunk of time in the car and another inch of 1x1 rib. The hat actually seems to fit this time! Thankfully, the second time is usually the charm. I didn’t spend the entire time looking at my hands which is why I keep my travel knitting simple. I want to enjoy the sights and the adventure, not be stuck looking at my knitting counting increases. Ended up seeing a lot of beautiful landscapes, incredible views, and chubby marmots at Rocky Mountain National Park.  

It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. | withwool.com
It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. | withwool.com
It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. | withwool.com
It never fails. No matter how diligently or how much I swatch for a new hat, the first attempt is always too big. | withwool.com

And Now There's Swatching

Even when knitting swatch doesn’t work out the first time, there’s still plenty to learn from it. | withwool.com

I usually keep a knitting project in my bag for when I’m out and about, but not in the past few weeks. None of my other projects are suited for purse knitting. They’re too big, too complicated, or too bulky. So I’ve got to start something new so my bag doesn’t feel worryingly empty. 

I want to make a pair of mitts from my Sockhead leftovers but I can’t decide how just what I want the pair to look like. Plus it’s hard to design a pattern and write down the instructions standing in line at the grocery store. Socks, my usual travel project, aren’t all that exciting right now. What I really want to knit is another hat from fingering weight yarn. I even picked out a pattern, Regina by Alex Tinsley

Even when knitting swatch doesn’t work out the first time, there’s still plenty to learn from it. | withwool.com

Casting on willy-nilly for a fingering weight hat seemed like a bad idea so knit a small swatch last night. It went well until I started the pattern. I managed to muck up the lace on row 3. Not a good sign. And I definitely need a cable needle to work the cable twist. Plus, I’m not a fan of how firm the fabric is working up which means I need to go up a needle size or two. 

The swatch wasn’t a total waste though. The ribbing looks good and stretchy on the current needles which is a good start. I like how the yarn, Knit Picks Hawthorne Kettle Dye in Picnic, is working up too. It’s a good fit for the pattern and adds interest without overwhelming the lace and cables. 

After a bit more swatching with a larger needle or two, I’ll be able to cast on for real. The ribbing will be good purse knitting after all. Still not sure what I’m going to carry around in the mean time. 

Knit All The Things!

There was a terrible, no good, absolutely rotten time when I could not knit or spin because of stitches and doctor’s orders. Thankfully that time is now over! To make up the two weeks when all I do was longingly pet yarn and plan what to do with it, I’ve been finishing and casting on for all the things.

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

My almost finished Fructose Hat was the first thing I picked up after my stitches came out. I was working my way through the crown decreases when I had to put it down. Knowing that I was so close to a finished hat that I could’ve been wearing was incredibly annoying. All that was standing between me and a finished hat was a few rows of decreases. It was so tempting to finish the hat during my knitting hiatus - doctor’s orders be damned - but I didn’t. Thought about it though. 

Anyway, the hat and I went out to lunch Friday. I was 4 rows away from cutting the yarn and pulling it through the last stitches when my food arrived. Hunger and tasty Indian food won out so the hat had to wait until I got back home. Worth it. I still need to wash and block the hat but at least the knitting is done. 

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

With the hat off the needles, I pulled out a cone of cotton and cast on for the Garterlac Dishcloth that I’m modifying to make a kitchen towel. I’ve knit this pattern before and it does great things to variegated yarn. The last cloths were a gift and it’s past time to make some for my own kitchen. 

This is only the second or third time that I’ve knit entrelac and it’s still addicting to make square after square. I don’t even mind picking up stitches to do it. Shocking, I know. Plus, each square has been pretty good bribery. Whenever I cross something of my to-do list, I get to knit a square. Makes for slower knitting, but a completed list at the end of the day.  

This time around I cast on using the increasing base triangle method which starts with just one stitch. It’s not any easier than casting on all the stitches for the bottom edge in one go, but it is a lot more flexible. 

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

These socks have been hanging out in my purse for way too long. They’re still purse knitting for the time being because there’s still a few inches to put on the second cuff. If I can put in a few rows between garterlac squares, this pair should be on my feet soon enough. 

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

And the most recent cast on. I’m swatching for a secret project so this is all I can show you for a bit. I can say that it involves some fun cables.

I’m celebrating being able to knit again by finishing lingering WIP’s and casting on for a bunch of new projects.  Knit All The Things | withwool.com

I might be going overboard with the knitting to make up for the two week hiatus, but I regret nothing. I had a winding party Monday night and wound these three skeins of Malabrigo Chunky in Frank Ochre. The plan for them is to knit the Vertigo Cowl; I feel in love with the shop sample years ago but didn’t get the yarn until last week. Once I finish that green swatch, casting on for Vertigo will be my reward. Sounds like good bribery to swatch right?

Aspiring Teenage Mutant

Teenage-Mutant-Brim.jpg

Was in the mood for a little yarn shopping last week and ended up at the beautiful Twist Yarns in Manhattan Beach. After perusing and petting everything that caught my eye, I walked out with 2 skeins of Twist Fluff, hand dyed by the shop’s owner, Cathy Karen. There was some vague idea in my head about knitting them into a slouchy hat and a matching pair of mitts. Whether it would be a pattern of my own or someone else’s, I hadn’t gotten that far.

Teenage-Mutant-Garter-Stitch.jpg

While catching up on  Dull Roar, I saw the I Was A Teenage Mutant Hat from Apocalypse Knits. The pattern was and still is one of my favorites from when I first looked through the book but I’d forgotten about it. Though I somehow managed to buy the perfect yarn for it. Cast on last night and it’s rather relaxing to just knit something that someone else has already put the work into designing.  Sometimes the thought gets into my head that I have to design and write up everything that I knit. As enjoyable as it is, the process gets tiring after awhile. Plus, let’s not forget that other designers are constantly coming up with amazing patterns that I want to make and wear. I’m not doing myself any favors my fencing myself in to my own patterns and thoughts. It’s important to get an idea of how other people think about yarn and fiber too. The only thing to do is give myself permission to work from other patterns and give myself the opportunity to be inspired and learn new tricks.

Speaking of inspired, the ‘Teenage Mutant Hat’ pretty simple, which makes it a relaxing knit, but has a great twist at the end. There’s no crown shaping because the hat to closed off with some strategic kitchener stitch. I can’t wait.

So far the yarn, Twist Fluff, is lovely and held up to frogging like a champ. The first attempt was too big. Whomp whomp. Anyway, the yarn soft and cushy but still seems durable and sturdy. The color, no idea what it’s called, reminds me of a rocky beach and is knitting up wonderfully in garter stitch. Should be equally lovely in stockinette. 

Still Spring

SlickWIP1.jpg

Spring continues unabated outside the windows. Only the weather has gone from warm and sunny to cold and windy with occasional rain. I’m sure the pollen will return any day now. In the mean time, I want nothing more than to snuggle up with my knitting and a cup of something hot to drink. Not much luck on snuggling part but I still get to knit. The top project right now is a black ribbed hat, Slick by Alexandra Tinsley. Much of that ribbing is twisted which isn’t as annoying as it sounds. Plus, I get to work a few cables every now and then so the knitting is actually fun. Feels good to be a process and a product knitter at the same time.  

Do you knit for the joy of knitting or do you knit for the final product? 

To balance out the  dark ribbing, here’s a bright spring flower. Maybe the color will help hold us over until the sun comes out again. 

SpringFlower.jpg

For Mom

Doublish2.jpg

Pattern: Doublish by Alexandra Tinsley

Yarn: Noro Taiyo Sock

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) circulars

Dates: April 4 - 24, 2012

@Ravelry

Wandering around my LYS back in September, this yarn was the only thing that caught my eye. I imagined it as a cute little shawl that would match most of my shirts and and upgrade my usual minimalist style. This idea lingered through Holiday Knitting 2011 and through a prolonged bit of finish-itis. Several projects fewer on the needles, I cast on for this shawl. After I got through the first few rows, I was a woman obsessed. The colors were gorgeous and the pattern was easy enough to knit around town; however, the more rows I knit, the more I knew this shawl wasn’t for me. It was for my Mom. I think I knit a little bit faster after that because my Mom is awesome and totally knit worthy.

Doublish1.jpg

I also made one other thing for her and it stole the show. I’m going to have a hard time topping this one.

BiteMe1.jpg

Howlcat

The versatility of a knitted tube and the creativity of the people designing them never fails to amaze me. Add heels and a toe and it’s a sock. Add in a few crown decreases and it’s a hat. Join one tube to two other tubes and it’s a sweater. Or just a tube. It can be a mug cosy, a pair of fingerless gloves, leg warmers, a pencil grip, or a pillow. I could go on but then I’d have to break out the bullet points. In this case, the humble tube of knitting is a Howlcat which is both a hat and a cowl by Alex Tinsley.

Howlcat1.jpg

Pattern: Howlcat by Alex Tinsley of Dull Roar

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish (Dark Navy) and Knit Picks Stroll (Pumpkin)

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)

Dates: February 6 - 20, 2012

@Ravelry

This bit of knitting is for the Bearded One who, when I asked if he wanted a scarf or a cowl, said both.  I fiddled around with designing a cowl pattern to match his favorite hat but no luck. I am having better luck with the scarf though. Anyway, at one fateful knit night, someone reminded me of this pattern and the cowl dilemma was solved. The knitting was simple, good for running about town, and great for when I wanted to knit without thinking. 

It’s been a big hit too. Warm, cosy, and infinitely wearable. The following are Bearded One approved ways to wear the Howlcat.

Howlcat6.jpg

As a hat with a twist and the bottom layer folded over.

Howlcat2.jpg

As a cowl with one color folded over scrunched up.

Howlcat4.jpg

A hungry, hungry stocking cap.

Howlcat5.jpg
Howlcat3.jpg

When he annoys me.

Speedline

The first knit of 2012 has long been finished but never blogged. Let’s just say that it went through an extensive and rigorous testing period. Passed with flying colors too.

Speedline1.jpg

Pattern: Speedline by Alexandra Tinsley

Yarn: Madelinetosh Vintage: Silver Fox (~2 skeins) and Candlewick (~1 skein) 

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) circulars

Final Size: 66” x 23”

January 2 - 16, 2012

@Ravelry

Testing approved modes of wear include: wrapped up like a cowl under a jacket/hoodie, pulled up over your nose when the wind is biting, and worn like a giant bandana with the tips tucked under. That last one is my personal favorite since it keeps me cosy and shows off my handiwork at the same time.

Speedline2.jpg

Cast on 400 stitches using 2 different yarns and you’d want to show off your handiwork too. Plus, it does make a lovely edge detail. My main modification was to just keep knitting in pattern since I had a lot of yarn left when over when it came time to bind off. The widest grey stripe had 18 rows or 9 repeats. My detailed notes on the subject say I had 86 stitches on the last grey row. Then it was just repeating rows 2 and 3 until I had 4 stitches left. Bind off. 4 stitches are a lot more manageable than 400. 

There was other result of the testing which I should feel I should warn you about. People will want it. My very own mother said she would make off with it at her earliest opportunity. Gotta keep my guard up. 

In The Works

Today I was the strange neighbor. The one that you watch through a slit in the blinds and wonder just what the hell they’re doing on the back porch. The answer, my friends, if photographing knitting. Lots and lots of knitting. I’ve got stuff in the works after all. 

HowlcatWIP.jpg

This bit of the work in progress is a Howlcat (@Ravelry) for the Bearded One. Yes, that is orange and navy blue.* It’s been my travel knitting of late and I’m rather enjoying the process. First, it was a bunch of ribbing and now it’s a bunch of stockinette. Just stitch, after stitch, after stitch. Nothing mind blowing or extravagant but amazing and happy all the same. Isn’t it great how one stitch builds on another to make something larger than itself?

*War Eagle!

2012

It’s now 5 days into 2012 and I’ve managed to successfully write 2012 on everything requiring a date. Except for that last form but it did become a very exuberant ’12 afterward. I’m still easing into the whole idea of 2012 and trying to get myself running at full speed. Maybe it’s all this talk of resolutions or those to-do lists I write every day that are only half done but I feel like I should have already accomplished so much in the past 4.5 days. My goals should be reached. My to-do lists all done. Instead, I feel woefully unprepared. Feh.

Thankfully, my goal for this year doesn’t revolve around 24-hour productivity. It isn’t a manifesto and it isn’t even a list. It’s one sentence: 

Get out there. 

No more hiding. No more worrying. No more wussing out. Just get out there and do stuff. I think this is going to be a great year.

SpeedlineYarn.jpg

Besides from that whole ‘I should have 20 million things done by now’ feeling, 2012 was been pretty awesome. I spent New Year’s Day with the Bearded One and a few friends and had a good time doing as little as possible. January 2nd, I decided to kick off my knitting year with a bang and cast on for a brand new scarf/shawl thing: Speedline by Alexandra Tinsley of dull-roar.com.

SpeedlineWIP1.jpg

That’s 2 rows of about 400 sts each in Tosh DK (Silver Fox and Candlewick for the curious among you). I love how dramatic the two color long tail cast on comes out. I’m also kicking myself for not thinking of it before. Anyway, 400 stitches. One row takes a long time and it hardly seems like I have anything to show for it; however, one row builds on another and I’m making steady, if slow, progress. In the end, I’ll have a great shawl (scarf?) that I’ll enjoy wearing all the more because of how effort I put in to it. This is a lesson I need to work into the rest of endeavors.

Any New Year’s goals on your side? I’d love to hear about them. Manifestos and lists welcome.