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.
(Nothing came up when I searched for a knit design called Blocky. So I published Blocky. When I went to add my own projects to Blocky, there was another Blocky, but it was very different to mine.)
Here is mine:
You can knit this project at least two ways: as a shawl, or as a cowl. Finishing for either one is pretty easy, and although I went with the cowl option, I felt that wet blocking took away a lot of the bouncy wool-yarn vitality of the thing, if that’s not too strange a thing to say. Garter stitch grows, but it also felt like it went kind of flat on me and I preferred the unblocked version pretty strongly.
For my second project, I’m doing the shawl (or trying to get close; I am having to kind of play fast and loose with yarn requirements and will probably end up with something a little different to what I had in mind color-wise) in a two-ply non-superwash wool, in hopes it kind of keeps more of the loft and bounce. The yarn I used in the cowl sample is one of my all-time favorites (Malabrigo Sock), but it’s just not quite as satisfying here as it is usually.
The photo above doesn’t show much—just yarn—but it’s probably the best yarn photo I’ve taken all year. There’s about five minutes of really nice light in this little alcove in the afternoon in January, apparently.
Anyway, there’s also Revenge of Pup Patch Hat and Cowl in this series. Please check them out if you’re interested or like mitered squares (these aren’t mitered squares, but they’re kind of mitered-square adjacent in some ways).
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.
(Just between you and me, on this very private forum, I spent a small part of the morning putting together a yarn order wishlist, and this is directly related to that. My social media presence is pretty small, so I strongly doubt that this little weekend sale will fund the whole planned yarn purchase, but it’d be nice to offset it a little.
This is actually going to be the first yarn purchase I’ve made this year—right now, I’m still working through yarns from 2021—so the ideal Wishlist Palette feels and looks overwhelming. It’s hard to keep in mind that it’s almost a year’s worth of yarn purchasing (and would technically be less than the cumulative 2021, even if I were to make the whole purchase at once), and that it covers at least 6 formal project samples, plus whatever the scraps compel me to do.
Anyway! The concise version is that right now, most of your pattern purchase from now through this weekend goes straight into supporting the next ~6 patterns (or technically, the next ~6 patterns after the next ~3-4, since I try to work a little ahead), and you get a free pattern when you purchase 3. So if you’ve been thinking about putting together a mini-collection of mouse army patterns, this is a pretty good time to do it.)
Until next time, in about 8 weeks probably. Here’s the official “look, it’s reversible!” photo for the Auks Cowl.
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.)
So! I’ve only been on social media hiatus for about three days, but it seems, for now, to have been Enough.
(I’m not sure if you could tell there was a hiaturs; I’m not sure I’d expect you to be able to tell, even if you were following any of my media closely. My posting schedule overall is not the most consistent.)
Anyway, today we have Weird Fitted Cowl Thing, officially called Hex Key Cowl. It’s oddly shaped and, unusually for me, involves your choice of mattress seaming or a three-needle bindoff. (I went with the latter. I don’t love sewing knits, although I’m getting better at it, and it’s started to feel satisfying and pro; it doesn’t look like I couldn’t seam a potholder to save a life anymore. So that’s nice.)
I’m actually pretty well pleased with how it turned out! I’m working on a second sample, with hopes to explore some tentative ideas; I had a third finishing option that might be a nice potential addition to the pattern, and some things that are less directly related. (It’s anyone’s guess which are goin
Anyway, meanwhile, it’s spring! Holy crap! I’ve been dealing with subzero cold fronts for the past six weeks, up til recently. I am not used to this. These concepts. Sunlight. Plants growing. It’s weird.
I never actually made a Table Salt post, so here goes:
Table Salt is a cowl that uses a similar textured motif to the large one in the Salt Cowl & Hat. It takes the same idea, but makes it smaller, more fine-grained, for a different textured effect.
The pattern is meant to be done in light sockweight yarn, but I’ve also worked it up in sport/dk, partly to check my math and partly to see what happens. It’s all right at a bigger gauge, but this experiment did take every functional bit of an entire skein of Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo, and I haven’t blocked it yet, so I’m not sure if it’s just a roomier cowl or if it might be mini-cape material. It should open up at least a little bit, and it’s already considerably larger than the original.
By the end of the month, if all goes to plan, I’ll have published 10 indie patterns this year, so far—
but 6 of the 9 so far are hats;
two are shawls,
and two of the planned ten are cowls.
(One’s a connected triangle cowl. It could use some new photography. But that aside, it looks like I still classed it as a cowl, rather than as a bandanna or a headband. One is a balaclava, but you can wear a balaclava as a hat, so I counted it in the hat category.)
This seems unbalanced, with a considerable lean towards hats, and that bothers me a little—but it looks like I am/may still be in a hat phase for a little while. I’ve been playing with some structural ideas, which seem fairly compelling to me, and I guess on the up side, small projects like hats and socks are decent for spring and summer knitting—but I still feel a sort of low-level anxious desire to Get Ahead with those in a way that would free up some time to experiment with some spring and summer tops and light sweaters.
In other news, Igneous/Igneoramous is available now (link here or above), SALT cowl is coming soon (sneak preview in first photo—it’s really simple but still extremely satisfying), and everything that comes after that is too far out or too early in planning for me to talk about it without jinxing it.
Beach Bunny Yarns now offers a kit for Morpho! This is pretty exciting: I’m not super strong with variegated yarns, and the samples are gorgeous in a way that almost baffles me. The dyeways and the design work remarkably well with each other.
MEANWHILE, on the personal knitting/design front, I am having the entertaining experience of really really liking my current work, and kind of hating the fact that I do. The finished product is better than I’d hoped for—but that means I don’t get to go back to rip it back and redesign it, and in fact the part that I found kind of stressful and tediousmakes the design. It’s very possible that I found it stressful and tedious only because I had worked that part three times before I liked it and I was behind schedule because of it—it doesn’t seem as unpleasant now, on the second sample—but objective facts: it’s going to involve a moderate to long section of uninterrupted garter stitch. A moderate to long section of garter stitch is not everyone’s cup of tea.
I finally finished the .PDF pattern for the design that preceded the 14-square scarf! It’s called Window Greens, because the original used green yarn and I was thinking about arugula. But the final version had some substantial changes—it calls for soft DK yarn instead of fingering-weight, and the button configuration is less straightforward (but not too convoluted) and a lot more functional.