Friday, December 2, 2011

My Favorite

I know you're not supposed to have favorites but this hat and scarf are my favorites of all the ones I've made this year.  This started out as part of the attempt to knit my handspun stash.  The yarn is handspun from the cloud (a type of fiber preparation, for the unitiated) from a mix of alpace, silk and merino wool that I bought several years ago.  I love the gradations of the yarn and it's really, really soft.

Anyway, I started the scarf just using a little lozenge pattern I found in a book somewhere.  I don't even remember which pattern or where I found it because I started it QUITE a long time ago.  I got tired of knitting the scarf so I decided it was long enough and I was finished.  But I still had half a ball left.  What to do?

At the time, I was in the middle of the great hat fever of 2011 so it seemed logical to make a hat to match the scarf.  Nothing could go with that, right?  Actually, for once, that was right and I threw some stitches on the needles, and started knitting.  Like anything that you do by instinct without thinking too much about it, it ended up fitting perfectly.  I made it extra long so it would slouch a little and when I got to the end, I decreased over 3 rounds to make it bunch up at the top and there you have it:
I wasn't that excited about the scarf until I remembered that it was, indeed, a lace pattern that would not be harmed by a little blocking.  Classic duck to swan transformation followed and now I love it.  I suspect that I'm going to wear these every day.  No matter how many hats or scarves I may have now or in the future, none of them can hold the candle to these.  The standard is now set.

If you're interested in a quick and dirty pattern, here goes:

I think I used size 3 needles and my yarn is fingering weight (more or less) so you'll need to work that out for the yarn you use, especially for the hat.  Sorry, the needles had already gone back into the stash before I though to write this down.  I didn't really work out a gauge (which is why this is "quick and dirty") but the best I can tell is that the ribbing on the hat is about 6 stitches to the inch.

Cast on 50 stiches and knit in seed stich for 6-8 rows (or however many you want).
For every row, there's a border of 5 stitches knit in seed stitch.  I won't repeat that on the rows below but you'll know to just do it.  (Seed stitch is just knitting K1, P1 across the base row and then on each subsequent row, you purl the knit stitches and knit the purl stitches.)
(Pattern is a 6 stitch repeat)
Row 1: 5 border stitches in seed stitch, yarn over (YO), *SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K1, YO*  Repeat from * to * to last 5 stitches, do the 5 border stitches.
Row 2 and all even rows: Border, Purl to end, border
Row 3: Repeat row 1.
Row 5: Repeat row 1.  How many tmes you repeat row 1 will determine how long your lozenge is.
Row 7: Border, *YO, slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over, YO, K3*  Repeat from * to * to last 5 stitches, border (this is a transition row)
Row 9: Border, K2tog, *YO, K1, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog* Repeat * to * to last 7 stitches, K1, SSK, border.
Rows 11&13: Repeat Row 9.

And so forth until it's as long as you want.  Do remember that with this lace pattern, it will block significantly longer than it appears.  I would say mine extended about a third again longer.

I casted on about 108 stitches and knitted about 2 inches of K2/P1 ribbing before starting the pattern.

I worked the above pattern until the hat reached about 9 inches from the beginning and then I decreased this way.  The lace pattern is basically in sections of 3.  So on the first round of the decrease, I slipped 1 stitch, knit 2 together and passed the slipped stitch over.  Then I knit a round plain.  Then I knit 2 together all the way around.  Then I cut the end and used a darning needle to thread the tail through the remaining stitches, pulled them in and I was done.  Usually when I pull the yarn through the stitches like this, especially here where it's a pretty drastic decrease, I use the needle to thread the yarn through several times just to strengthen it.  After that, you just work in the ends as per usual and you're good. Here's a shot of how the top is gathered.

I blocked the scarf but not the hat.  I like the way the hat fits so I don't plan to block it.  You could do, though, if your hat seems too snug.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Better than expected

Just a short note to say that I've ended up with just about 800 yards from my 3 bobbin and mighty pleased I am at how it's come out.  It been washed and rinsed and is hanging to dry now.  I'll post pics of the finished stuff and the sample that comes from it once it's dry.  800 yards! I'll probably only need about 400 more.  No worries.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nothing like a bloom

There's nothing like coming home after a hard day of work and seeing this greeting you on the way in the door:
I brought in several of my plants when it started getting colder.  This one hadn't bloomed for quite a while but now it's got several new little growths and blooms ready to pop.  It was so cheery to be greeted by this little guy.

While I've not been accomplishing too much, I've managed to get a good little way on the main yarn for my bohus sweater.
This is a red Ashland Bay Merino wool that I've been spinning at a fingering weight.  Once it gets washed it should be just right for the cardigan.  I'm hoping this lot will get me at least 5-600 yards along the way.  I started swatching this weekend with the first skein I spun a while ago.  Maybe I'll be able to get it started this weekend.