I find this strangely satisfying, even though the basic idea had me stuck for a while—I wanted to use shapes that don’t tesselate as well (and I still might for a future design! Stay tuned!) and I wanted to avoid finishing seams, but ultimately my (attempted and discarded) solutions for that felt a lot more fiddly and potentially frustrating than the technique I ended up with. The handspun yarn really lends itself well to this. I’d like to be able to use superwash commercial yarn here, but I think it might not hold up as well; it’s best to use soft wool with a little bit of natural texture.
I have a Twitter account, but have never really felt comfortable there. (My niche isn’t one of the functional ones, so I got put off a bit by the rage-cycle-for-engagement technique I was seeing and that influenced my whole perception of the thing.) In the Year of our Lord 2022, Twitter is imploding somewhat, and this has a pretty dramatically different impact on your life depending on whether you were using it to organize a revolution or were avoiding it because you didn’t want to see manufactured drama about lace knitting (literally; this is an absolutely real example), and it is a little stunning to observe, but I do not have a lot of personal insight or pithy observation, although I am going to miss seeing that guy who does the really high-end animations of velociraptors squaring off while wielding anime weapons.
I’m wrapping up a cowl and a shawl design, but nothing is going to be up soon. (One’s been four years in the making; the other is on a more normal time scale, but it still doesn’t feel fast.)
I cannot actually find the original files for the current cowl’s schematic, so I can’t edit them and bring them up into line with my current style. If I could erase the handwritten text just by pulling off a layer or two, it would be so easy and simple to relabel the elements—but that’s not how it’s going to be, I guess. (UPDATE: I found them! Or rather, I figured it out, but the app is discontinued and I am a little disenchanted with the app creator, so I am not going to download the suggested new thing that would recover the files. Unless making a new schematic turns out to be really hard, I guess. Or inconvenient, or tedious.)
Shawl is done! It’s a bit of a mini-shawl situation, though. (I ran out of yarn. It takes about 550 yds.) I’ve been really enjoying the textures on it, but I’ve been feeling torn between sticking to my budget/yarn requirements (you’re throwing a substantial amount of your time and at least some of your entertainment budget into this. Do you want to knit a $40 shawl or a $60 shawl?) and just throwing all my ideas into this one. I think I want to work out a way to do both, but I want to make sure it’s fair to everyone; right now, the best way seems to be to go forward with the pattern as is (I have put it on the dress form, pre-blocking, and it’s a really nice-looking shawl), and then add a Surprise Update later if I can pull it off—but without promising anything, or even talking about it after this.
I HAVE TO KNIT A MONSTER by request. The monster keychains were really popular, but they weren’t super effective as tissue holders, at least not for the style of tissue and the way it’s packaged in my country. I’m planning to switch them into being a handkerchief pocket, which is ridiculous, a little,* but will make me feel better about the lacking function of these things as tissue holders. Anyway, I’m trying to make that a) request-fulfilling, and b) useful for me to do, in that I can write down clear instructions and have a pattern to offer up.
*Or is it???? Because I definitely own at least a lens-cloth that has a pretty similar keychain/pocket structure. So if you sewed the handkerchief into the monster, a little kid could use it and not lose the handkerchief, and wouldn’t necessarily be cramming a damp handkerchief back into the keychain after drying hands, etc.
The upcoming cowl pattern is now finished, but I’m going to have to push back publication so I can offer decent yardage estimates (cowl was finished, partially unraveled, and has now been reknit—but it’s still damp and weighs 3.5 oz. I am pretty sure a bit of that is water-weight, literally, and I’d also like to have a better grasp of the colorwork yardage, since it would be pretty cool if you could use this design with one of the manufacturer’s pre-chosen colorwork kits. (Which you could anyway, but it would be neat if you didn’t have to adjust anything, and if I knew that to be true.) That’s going to be a little rough, since I used up the rest of those skeins (again literally!) years ago, so I’m probably going to have to knit a pointless partial repeat of this—one I know I won’t finish! I do not have enough yarn!—just so I can unravel it and weigh things).
On the up side, it is all done, apart from that (and a spacing issue on some text on the schematic), so I may finally be catching up on November, just in time for the week when no one in the US will be on Ravelry. I am so great at timing.
Mina Shawl! Obvious reference, slightly questionable taste (I only knew Dracula from pop culture and memes before this year; I did not expect Mina to be so affecting as a character)!
The colors on this one were inspired directly from some speckled and solid Malabrigo Arroyo I was working with for a sweater pattern. There wasn’t really enough left from the skeins I had to get the effect I wanted, but I really liked how the speckled combined with the more traditional hand-dyed yarn. Lazy gradient, kind of.
Anyway this is the best shawl I’ve come up with in a long time. It might be the full-on best, but I’ve also been looking back through my photos, and now I think some of my other ideas were stronger than they felt at the time. (I took a screenshot for a joke about a video game—it’s very important that I find this and actually post the joke somewhere—but this was around the time of Conduit Cowl and Iteration, and those are a lot nicer than I remember.)
I have a lot to do this month: either I update the Sample Shop page here for the upcoming winter holidays, or I don’t; I have a lot of upcoming design projects I’m excited about; I want to knit little animals for the kids. (It’s a whole weird thing. I’m still excited when I can afford to buy a cool present; I want to buy Lego; and yet kids have started to specifically request knitted things. It’s perplexing but not all bad, and also not all good, since it is very hard to knit a 4-foot-long caterpillar and have it turn out well. I should’ve just learned to crochet and done a space millipede from Projectarian. Mine’s okay, but it’s not a space millipede, so it feels like a missed opportunity.)
The new yarn is already here! It is splendid. The reds are earthier than I expected, which makes them much more up my alley. (Relatedly, I’m now a couple of days behind in Dracula—I’d been a few ahead of the serialized version, and kept wanting to write about these little moments, so I stopped to keep myself from spoiling it, and now have the opposite issue—but this section is just intense for its turns of phrase. Got a bit heartbroken over Mina’s last few lines in the 2 October journal entry:
I hope I have not done wrong, for as sleep begins to flirt with me, a new fear comes: that I may have been foolish in thus depriving myself of the power of waking. I might want it.
I also like it a lot when Van Helsing says something on the lines of Quincy’s head being on a plane with the horizon. Yes, that is how you describe it in Texas. What a good, sensible guy. I wish my head seemed reliably on a plane with the horizon.
This seems like quite the departure, but it’s relevant! I needed the red colors to be spooky/deep/earthy for upcoming shawl purposes. It is very important for this yarn to tie in, at least obliquely. I am trying pretty hard to do a spooky season theme this year, and I had enough done and set up in advance of, well, now that there’s no excuse to just fail completely, per tradition.)
Anyhow, this yarn is directly the result of the late September sale. It’s going to immediately result in a more coherent shawl sample for a pattern that’ll be up this month. So: pretty exciting, immediate, tangible results! Goal achieved! Yarn purchased and acquired! Thanks very much to anyone and all who contributed, on purpose or coincidentally!
I usually get a little self-defeating regarding goals or advancement, and I really didn’t expect much from a last-minute sales pitch, so I’m genuinely pretty stoked about this. I’m hoping to be able to wind this and cast on this evening.
I think my actual goal for the Son of Dog Days project is to create designs that work as little summery kerchief projects—but are also easily expandable, so that you could knit a full-size shawl from the same set of instructions.
Working a bias-knit triangle with some tweaks results in a kerchief with a lot more volume, and the combination of garter stitch and stockinette is a nice effect. This one’s also designed with easy customization in mind—there’s extra text explaining how the repeats differ, so that once you know the strategy, you can add as many repeats as you like.
SON OF DOG DAYS III: ???
SON OF DOG DAYS III is closely related to II, with the same basic concept and bias-knit structure. I both wanted to see what this looked like in a garter stitch version, and wanted something extra so I could have a little more promotional flexibility with it. This one follows the same rule of flexibility (add repeats if you feel like a whole shawl project, or knit the small size shown) as the prior two—
but it also struck me that if you attached ties to the sides, you could make an impromptu asymmetric haltertop sort of thing. The ties are a mod—and i-cord might work better—but the size of the kerchief is from the pattern as written, and it’s on a 34” bust dress form. If I were to formally write up a halter pattern, I have a few ideas for addressing that neckline—but for now, I’m trying to resist the temptation to get distracted from all the other things I have on my plate.
Anyway, that pretty much brings the blog up to date with the knitting pattern project for now! I missed updating in late May, but this gathers up most of the things outside the Summer Kitchen 2022 set. (It’s a set of one thing right now.)
We’re kicking off Summer Kitchen 2022 with a free/payment optional dishcloth pattern—because it’s a dishcloth and pretty straightforward, which feels like it should be free, and because it’s still a whole .PDF and in two formats, which means it’s a lot more subtle, behind-the-scenes work than it would be if I could just beam a project from my brain as I worked through it and knit the first sample, I guess.
Anyway, this is the free version for personal use! Enjoy it; knit as many as you like. If you like it a lot and prefer a .PDF, would like a .PDF in your Ravelry library, or simply want to support this project, you can purchase this as a .PDF through Ravelry.
This simple garter stitch dishcloth introduces (or helps you practice) a specialized increase that create a centered, crochet-look YO column at each corner! Getting used to the increase and a shifting start point makes this basic cloth more engag- ing to knit, while simple details make good kitchen tools.
I’m trying Knitpicks Cotolin for this, but it’s a new yarn for me, and I haven’t used the samples as kitchen cloths yet. You can substitute your preferred kitchen cotton or a combination of cotton or linen threads. This is written for dk-weight yarn, but adjusting the finished size is going to be pretty easy.
100-600 yds of handspun chain-plied 12-14 WPI merino wool; shown in Wool for the Dame Corriedale in unknown colorway. For a similar effect, substitute Noro Silk Garden Sock. For a tonal effect, kettle-dyed Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo would be a good commercial option.
1 24”+ circular needle in US5/3.75mm, or size needed for gauge.
Optional: two ⅝-¾” buttons
Optional: sewing needle & thread for buttons
Gauge is 10 sts and 18 rows over 2“/5cm in pattern as written, blocked. Please be sure to check your gauge.
k2tog—knit two together; a one-stitch right-leaning decrease
m1l/r—make 1 left; make 1 right. Left- or right-leaning one-stitch increase.
RS/WS—right side, wrongside. Public vs. non-public side of the work.
ssk—slip, slip, knit, a one-stitch left-leaning decrease.
sl1wf/sl1wyb—slip one with yarn forward/slip one with yarn back
This one is written with customization in mind! The sample is a kerchief-sized triangle. As shown, this specific sample measures 21“/53cm across the longest side and 10.25“/26cm deep.
Begin Work: Circular Cast-On. Using Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on method, CO 12 sts. Divide sts evenly between 4 DPNS (3 on each needle). Work in the round. Optional: place marker at the end of the round. You’ll need to shift the marker as you work, since the beginning of the round is always lined up with the chain link-look column.
Main Pattern. Round 1. [k1, p2] around.
Important Note—all knit stitches from Round 1 are marked sts (msts). You can use physical markers or just make a mental note to read your knitting—whichever’s most comfortable. When working a kYOk, the YO is in the middle, so marked stitch status transfers to it. This is the most (only?) challenging/interesting part of the project.
Round 2. [kYOk, k to next mst] around (8 sts inc) 20 sts total. Round 3. [k1, p to next mst] around. Round 4. [kYOk, k to next mst] around (8 sts inc) 28 sts total.
Repeat Rounds 3 & 4 until there are 15(18, 21) ridges of garter stitch, counting from the center out. Many cotton or cotton-linen blends are prone to a little shrinking, so if you’d like a larger cloth, it’s easy to simply add a few rounds.
Bind Off/Finishing. Bind off using the basic method—k1, k next st, pass previous stitch over, repeat ** until all sts have been bound off—or method of your choice. Weave in any remaining yarn ends, wash, block, and enjoy your finished project!
Agate Cowl! I love this thing; it’s probably my favorite hex cowl so far. The idea and its execution are both fairly simple: agate in cross-section, paired with a just-slightly-more angular knit shape. The angles show off the multicolor handspun yarn, which is just a basic plied (2 ply) dyed wool.
(It’s very like the fractal ply idea, but I am pretty sure I didn’t do that; I am pretty sure I just tried—in a very casual way—to match two evenly-divided vertically-split portions of the wool top. I may have done a fractal ply, though. You can really try either, or just spin singles—anything that results in yarn with long color transitions will work.)
Handspinning is good for this project, but not essential; you can re-create the same striping effect with some commercial yarns like Noro, or use scraps to exercise more control over the color flow.
For me, though, working on this and other handspun projects has meant I’ve been feeling interested in spinning my own yarn again for the first time in a long time. It’s early to be sure where that’s going—embrace it as a full-on hobby that supports my work? Spin the fleeces I have so that I can have yarn or sweaters instead of fleeces and guilt, then bail and sell on my spinning-related gear? I seriously cannot even predict at this point—but for now, it’s not a bad way to feel productive without the same pressures to actually produce.
MEANWHILE, I’m also trying to reclaim & recycle yarn from older projects, which is vaguely fulfilling (I often make multiple samples for even a small design, and I do not need to keep every sample I make. But I always need yarn) but also weirdly opposite: I think most yarn is meant to hold up to reuse, because if it’s not, it won’t hold up to wear, and I also believe that being able to change up the things you make into something that suits you better is one of the most appealing aspects to the skill of being able to knit a garment—but I’m worried about future samples or projects looking shopworn for photos.
All right! That’s it for now. Take care til next time! (There may actually be a next post; I am working on it.)
First business: there’s a new shawl in town, if by ”new shawl” you mean ”downloadable .PDF of the shawl design written as a pattern so you can make your own,” and by “town” you mean ”on my Ravelry page.”
It’s called Iteration. It ends up being a pretty rewarding project; I think the unique shape makes it very wearable. It can be folded in half to wear like a triangle-ish shawl, over the shoulders, but it expands into a hexagon.
Second order of business is increased cost of living and how it is starting to be felt, oh no!
What have I been doing all February? Well, I’ve been knitting a hat. One hat. It literally took me ten days to knit a hat that should’ve maybe taken four or five
I’m never knitting another one, but…you can, if you want.
(Yeah, this is effective marketing copy.)
(Really though, while it is a long hat, if you’re not ripping back the crown decreases to make them more coherent throughout the sizing options, and then pay attention to the changes you’ve made, it won’t be onerous. I hated this hat a little bit so you can enjoy it, basically, and that’s what a significant fraction of this kind of design work is sometimes.)
(And I guess I also knit about 40% of a cardigan, but nevermind that.)
This hat is almost three feet long from hem to tip in the adult medium size, which fits 21-22.5” head circumferences. The sizing is broad, but the pure length on these makes me wonder if a baby size is appropriate: it might be cute for closely-observed babies, as in those fancy baby photosets you do to commemorate a person being a baby, etc., but it’s not ideal for general baby-use unless your baby is old enough to sit up, walk, run, escape traps, make its own sandwiches, and solve simple logic puzzles. You just don’t want the long hat style to give a baby trouble.
And finally, here’s the link to the Ravelry .PDF. There’s a limited-time promo going on now, though that assumes you’re reading this the weekend of March 4th, 2022, and it probably won’t be the case a week or two in the future. Anyway, hat! It’s a good hat. I’m still not sure I want to knit another one, though.
It’s Octagon Time! It’s a blanket/basic shawl. Really, what it is depends on what you want to make, and what yarn you use.
I went a bit wild and self-indulgent on this one; it is probably the most hedonistic use of an expensive yarn I’ve ever committed. The soft blue gradient yarn making up most of the project is Cascade 220 Superwash Wave in Deep Sea; the bold near-neon-green stripe is Dream in Color City in Pickleball.
(The smaller stripes are Malabrigo Yarn Rios in Apple Green, and the subtle, thicker bands are Malabrigo Washted in Aguas and Cirrus Gray. It was meant as a scrap-friendly project, and technically it is that, but I kind of like the Cascade background and the contrasting stripes. The .PDF is written as a formula, and doesn’t really include instructions for stripes. If you’d like to knit something with a similar color pattern, I had about 16-18 garter ridges separating all the bright green bands, and stayed pretty consistent with that all through the blanket. The middle might be the smallest band of main color; it’s about 14 ridges.)
Weirdly, despite the hedonism and all my feelings about it, I really like the result, and want to keep it, and not allow the dog to steal it; something about the murky blue-greens and the shocking contrast stripes really appeals. (I will probably keep it. It’s a small throw and not really adult-sized, so something that’s a dog or a kid will probably end up with it eventually. Maybe not the dog though. She got the Garter Square blanket sample. Makes her tacky dog bed look slightly better.)