Monday, January 26, 2009

Free Pattern: King Street Beret

I knit up this cute floppy hat in the fall and it's been my winter go-to ever since. It's fast, easy, and keeps your ears warm. What's not to like?

hat

While the world maybe doesn't need more patterns for hats like this, I made my own. And now I'm sharing it with you.

hat

King Street Beret

Finished Size: to fit a woman; adjustable
Yarn: Bulky-weight wool or blend, 140 yards. I used Pingouin Guernesey, which I doubt is still available. Any bulky-weight yarn that knits to the appropriate gauge will work - pick something wooly and marled if you want to duplicate the look.
Needles: US #9 16" circular and set of US #9 DPs, or whatever size you need to get gauge. I only used dps, but there are a lot of stitches and they may fall off and drive you crazy!
Gauge: 18st/4" over double moss stitch pattern.
Notions: tapestry needle, 3 yds thread-covered elastic in color to match your yarn.

Double moss stitch (worked in the round):
Round 1: *K2, P2; rep from *
Round 2: as Round 1
Round 3: *P2, K2; rep from *
Round 4: as Round 3
These 4 rounds make up the pattern.

Directions:
Cast on 76 stitches. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist. Mark beginning of the round if you need to.
Work in K1, P1 ribbing for 1".
Next round: Switch to double moss stitch, and AT THE SAME TIME increase 36 stitches in pattern evenly around: 112 stitches total.
Continue to work in pattern until piece measures 5" from cast on edge.

Decreases:
Round 1: *work 12, k2tog, rep from * (replace k2tog with p2tog if that fits better with the double moss stitch; use your judgement)
Round 2: work even in pattern as best you can (the marl will help hide pattern irregularities due to decreasing).
Round 3: *work 11, k2tog, rep from *
Round 4: as Round 2.
Continue to decrease every other round until 30 sts remain, keeping double moss stitch pattern and switching to DPs as necessary.
When 30 sts remain, decrease every round until 4 sts remain.
On these 4 sts, work 3" of i-cord.
Bind off.

Finishing:
Weave in all ends.
Tie i-cord in an overhand knot.
Block.
With needle, thread elastic through ribbing on the WS, catching elastic under knit sts. Adjust length of elastic as desired and knot ends.
Enjoy!
(And if you make one, let me know!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Broadripple

I was going to write you a blog post earlier... but I went to Ikea instead. Assembling all that flat-packed furniture eats up crazy amounts of time, even though I love it, love it, love it.

But in the meantime, between wielding my screwdriver and knitting up samples, I've been cooking up another pair of socks.

Broadripple
[Broadripple, by Rob Matyska, from knitty a long time ago]

I'm trying to work through my seemingly never-ending stash of sock yarns, trying to get through some of the oldest ones first. I'm fairly certain this is Opal, in "Flamingo" - with all the socks I've knit I've never used Opal before! I'm enjoying it, it seems like it will wear well, even though the color is, um, a little intense.

Broadripple
[Now with second sock!]

I've modified these a little to work with a thinner yarn - just added a few stitches into each repeat and went down to #2 needles. They're not quite as interesting as the Spring Forward socks, so they aren't getting as much attention. But I want to finish them soon - so I can start something else!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Now with buttons

In between all the socks (is it crazy that I'm thinking of casting on two more pair, with two already on the needles?) I've still found time to work on my February Lady Sweater. I'm well into the lace part of the body, so the whole thing is growing fairly quickly.

Over the holidays I had the good fortune to find some cute buttons for this sweater. What is it with buttons? How are there so many ugly buttons out there, and so few interesting and good-quality ones? In any case I'm happy with these. They're wood and have some nice detail for interest.

FLS with Buttons
[Hooray, a close-up!]

FLS with Buttons
[And from further away - see, I've got some lace done.]

I found these at a cute little shop in Greenville, SC called The Needle Tree.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Luck of the Draw, part 2

I recently received my latest raffle prize for participating in Sockdown! on Ravelry.

This time, it was a lovely skein of hand-dyed sock yarn and stitch markers from Sheila Rovelstad Designs.

New Sock Yarn
[I am really loving tonal or nearly-solid hand-dyes! Yum.]

I don't frequently find a need for stitch markers, but these are gorgeous. They're one of those things I'd never spend the money on for myself, but they sure do dress up the knitting!
Stitch Markers
[And the stones are my favorite color green, too.]

You should check out her shop, not just for the great tonal colors, but for the colorway names. I was singing to myself the whole time I was trying to choose a color!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Third time's the charm

Sometimes there's a yarn that seems to hold so much potential, so much positive energy... and yet continually disappoints.

CTH
[Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck, in the "Watercolor" colorway - the "Potluck" part means every skein is different, and you just end up with a random selection.]

I've held on to this yarn for years now after receiving it as a gift.

I made a really disappointing sock with it.
Rib and Cable
[Rib and Cable socks, which didn't fit and pooled badly.]

I tried another pattern, hoping that would help.
Crusoe
[Crusoe might have been a good choice, but was still awfully ugly. This was as far as I ever got.]

I even tried to overdye the yarn with tea, but I think it only made the colors uglier.
Dye experiment
[The right swatch is black tea; the left is green tea, both set with vinegar. What a terrible orange!]

But I've taken inspiration from the original project photos of the Spring Forward socks from Knitty, and I'm hoping that the third time is the charm with this yarn and a new pattern.
Spring Forward
[On my new KnitPicks needles!]

If not... I may just have to give up entirely! But I am really enjoying knitting this pattern, the knitting is going pretty quickly, and the yarn hasn't pooled in too bad of a fashion. I think I'll tough it out.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mail Call!

Sample knitting continues... this time with a 5-lb. box showing up on my doorstep!

What does five pounds of Cascade 220 look like, you might ask?
cascade 220
[Pretty excellent if you ask me!]

Happy Christmas, part II

While 'tis better to give than to receive... I did get some excellent knitting-related gifts for Christmas this year that I have to show off.

First, some new dp's for the never-ending parade of socks:
new needles
[I'm interested to see how the Knitpicks needles hold up.]

Then, a complete surprise from a friend, this lovely hand-made project bag:
Bag
[It's got pockets and everything, and is big enough to hold a whole sweater in progress!]

But the pièce de résistance was this gorgeous and carefully-engineered birch swift, made by my dad (and happily coupled with a ball-winder from my sister!) It also breaks down into all its component parts for easy storage - my mom made it a nifty carrying case.
swift
[That's a skein of Cascade 220 on there, with lots of room for more!]

I've already been giving it a workout.
swift in action
[Incidentally I've discovered this REALLY pushes the cat's buttons. Hysterical.]

At my age I feel a bit silly asking for things for gifts, but the amount of knitting I'm doing keeps going up and up. With a greater proportion of it being time-sensitive sample knitting, it's great to be able to wind balls efficiently! Some of you may remember that I've gone on the record before complaining about "cakes" ... I am happily relaxing my position!

I feel fortunate to be surrounded by so many carefully hand-made things.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy Christmas

Now that all the gifts have been given and I'm no longer in danger of giving away any surprises, I can show them to you!

What looked like quite a bit of yarn in that photo worked up very quickly, most of it into three hats.

First, a simple and warm Seaman's Cap for my dad:
Seaman's Cap
[Patons Classic Wool, #7 needles, and an afternoon]

Then, two wonderful Jared Flood designs, Koolhaas and Turn a Square, for someone very special:
Koolhaas Hat
[Patons Classic Wool again, although the color is a bit much and I may adopt it!]

Hat
[Cascade 220 and Noro Silk Garden, yum! Looks like I need to get a photo on the recipient, though....]

Finally, a lovely Lace Ribbon scarf in my sister's signature purple:
Lace Ribbon Scarf
[And yes, that's me at the edge of the frame with a silly toy!]

This was from a lovely ball of BMFA Socks That Rock in a club-only colorway. No, I'm not in the club, but it was another fortuitous raffle win! Look at those gorgeous colors.
STR

Yum! Thankfully the holiday knitting was pretty low-key and simple this year, just the way I like it. And I think everyone was pretty happy with what they'd received, which is of course the point. I also got some truly nifty things for Christmas this year, but I think they warrant their own post.

What was your favorite thing you gave this year?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Another month, another pair of socks

I feel like the only thing I really ended up finishing in 2008 (for myself, anyway) was socks. Lots and lots of socks. I now have over 20 pair in my little display box [scroll down], and now that I live someplace cold enough for them, they're actually getting some wear. It doesn't hurt that the socks also serve as a raffle ticket and I have yarn for another 15 pair or so before I have to buy more!

Here are the latest:

Brown Seaweed Socks

I call these my Brown Seaweed Socks... and here's the stats:
Pattern: Seaweed Socks [PDF] by Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits
Yarn: KPPPM, color 613 (I like to think of it as 'butter pecan')
Needles: #1 dps
Notes: This is one of the only toe-up sock patterns I've liked. I'm fortunate that Wendy and I have feet exactly the same size, so what works for her seems to work for me. I had to learn a new cast-on, and a new heel construction, which was kind of a treat. Unfortunately the pattern works better on 2 circular needles, which I'm not hip to, so I struggled along on dps anyway.
Ravelry page here.

Here they are again, blending into the floor.

Brown Seaweed Socks

The other plus about these is that they look cabled, but they aren't, and don't have the bulk of cables. And they fit perfectly!

Do I have another pair of socks going? You bet. Hopefully soon I can break out of the sock rut and into some sweaters.

Friday, January 02, 2009

It's that time again

...for a new year. As if you didn't already know that already! So it's time for my 2008 in review, slightly delayed because I've been sicker than sick with a cold that just won't quit.

My 2008 ended much like it began: I was sick and unemployed.

In between...
The very first thing that happened in 2008 was being laid off from my office job as a writer. I promptly got strep, and it took me a month to find another job, this time in retail. In February, my parents came to visit me in Virginia, and I began knitting samples.

I worked on my garden,escorted baby ducklings to the Potomac River, and dealt with some health issues. By the summer, I'd been promoted, but my personal life was going to hell.

In August, I went to visit Chicago. I finally got to meet Madam [who needs to post more] and Lynn in person (so wonderful) and discover some delightful things about having old friends.

Later in the fall, my parents came to visit again, I had another birthday, and participated in what will likely turn out to be one of the most important elections of my life. I decided to quit my job. And then suddenly, all my life got boxed up again and I had to say goodbye to lots of new friends before driving halfway across the country.

I got to spend the holidays with my family and I've been slowly getting to know my new neighborhood. I don't have a formal job as of yet, but at least this time it was my choice to make. I've found some more sample knitting to do, which will help fill in the gaps.

I now get to share my space with this predator - his name is Boots. Sometimes it's a bit of a challenge!
Boots

I miss lots of things about Virginia - I miss things about my house, things about the town I lived in, people. But at the same time I think I'm going to be very happy where I am now.

I've started 2009 thinking much the same things as when I started 2008: I hope this year will be better.

And oh yes, there's knitting - there was knitting, there will be knitting!

Here's to a happy (happier?) New Year.