Favorite Thing Friday: Leaving Cowls

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It’s halfway through September, so that means I’m all tangled up in knitting for Christmas. So far, I’ve got three gifts complete, two of which are the result of my new favorite knitting pattern.

Ravelry is a treasure trove of free patterns if you’re willing to do a little homework. Searching with the right key words and filters will reveal some pretty great patterns. For two of the people on my Christmas gift list, I knew I wanted to make a pretty cowl that would match the hats I made for them last year, so I searched for “knitting, free, cowl, leaves.”

Within seconds, I spotted a pattern called the Leaving Cowl. Beautiful interlocking leaves and simple edging convinced me straight away that this was “the one.” Within minutes I downloaded and printed it out.

Last year, I was smart and stashed some yarn that matched most of the hats I made for gifts last year. By sheer luck, the gauge on the Leaving Cowl matched two of the skeins I had saved. Let the cast on commence!

I made the first cowl using a gorgeous Harvest Yellow, (Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool). The golden tone really enhanced the leaves and made this piece feel extra cozy.

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Harvest Yellow Leaving Cowl

For the second cowl, I decided to make the edges a little more special. I pulled out another stashed skein, Grey Marble (Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool) and paired it with a skein of Plum Heather. The warm tone of the plum gave the leaves gorgeous definition, while the grey marble created a nice contrast.

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Plum Heather and Grey Marble Leaving Cowl

The pattern itself is very easy to read. It provides both a chart and written out stitch instructions. I’d recommend it for knitters who feel comfortable with stitches that go beyond the basics as there a couple of tricky stitches, including slip 1, knit 2 together and pass slipped stitch over. If you’re a beginner looking for a little challenge to build your skills, this is a great pattern to push yourself to the next level.

I love these cowls so much, it’s going to be tough to let them go. At the same time, I know those receiving them will be very happy! I’ll definitely be making one for myself once the Christmas knitting madness comes to an end.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Failing Without Giving Up

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Sometimes a project just doesn’t work out. No matter how beautiful the yarn or how much you’ve mastered a new skill, there are some projects that just refuse to come together!

This week, I finally had to give up on a project I’ve been working on since May. The Box Pleat Scoopneck captured my attention the moment I saw it in the Summer edition of Knit Wear magazine. Soon after, I bought some beautiful yarn at one of my favorite yarn shops. The heathered copper color of Filatura Di Crosa Potrofino seemed like the perfect match for the stylish pleated top I was so excited to make.

At the point of cast on, everything seemed to be going great. I loved how the yarn handled the rolled rib at the hem and the color variation was just gorgeous as the piece grew larger. I loved the weight of the yarn and it’s smooth texture.

However, it was at the halfway point that I started to have doubts. The very things I loved about the yarn turned out to be the biggest problems. The subtle satin finish caused some of the stitches to slip and even twist due to the weight of the finished fabric. I suspect my gauge calculations had something to do with it as well.

Yet, I kept going because I thought I was over thinking it. I have a tendency to let my perfectionism taint any craft project I’m working on, so I was determined to fight through the doubt. Besides, wet blocking would likely help those wayward stitches, right?

Then, came the day I reached the point of splitting the front and back to make sleeves. I held the garment up to my body to see if the sizing was correct and I just about died. That beautiful silky fabric highlights every imperfection – everything from the button of my jeans to the jiggle in my hips, (however, for the record, the sizing was correct!).

No amount of determination was going to save this one. It was all over and I was okay with that. Some things are meant to be, but my copper colored Box Pleat Scoopneck is not one of them.  As soon as I get a chance, I’ll be ripping out each stitch as I rewind the yarn back into a ball.

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Doomed from the start!

While this sounds like a total failure, I haven’t given up yet! Shortly after making the decision to shelf this project, I ordered new yarn, (a gorgeous medium weight, superwash wool). As soon as it gets here, I’ll have another go at this top!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Mistake Rib Scarf

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After I finished knitting the Veronica Slouch, I had a bunch of yarn left over. Instead of letting it slip into my growing collection of stash yarn, I decided to make a scarf to match my beautiful new hat, (See FTF: Chunky Cable Hat)

I opted for a mistake rib pattern as it gives the ordinary rib a little more personality. The texture of a mistake rib works so nicely with a thick yarn, so I knew it would be perfect for what was left of my Colinette Prism wool.

A quick search on Ravelry’s pattern database pulled up a great pattern that is super easy to follow, (Mistake Rib Scarf by Joan Janes).  Not only is it free, but it also offers several gauges so it can be adapted to different weights of yarn. I absolutely love how my scarf turned out!

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Mistake rib scarf with a twist!

In addition, the simplicity of the pattern allowed for a modification I wanted to make based on a scarf style I spotted on Pinterest. I always wear my scarves tucked into my jacket, so sewing one corner to the edge to create a permanent wrap shape really appealed to me. All I have to do is slip it over my head and it’s a perfect fit every time.

To add a little more style to the wrap around, I added a button to the attached corner. As it turned out, I had an extra button left over from my hat!  With this little detail, I truly have a matching set of accessories!

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It’s a wrap! (And a button)

It’s amazing what you can do with a little leftover yarn and an extra button!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Chunky Cabled Hat

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It may be more than a hundred degrees outside, but I’m busy knitting as if it were snowing! After holding onto some beautiful Welsh wool for more than a year, I finally found the perfect project to do this yarn justice.

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Colinette Prism Yarn

The Veronica Slouch looks difficult at first glance, but if you can work a few basic cable stitches this hat is a snap. From cast on to weaving in ends, I knit this hat up in just one day!

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Veronica Slouch

 

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Veronica Slouch

It actually took longer to find the perfect buttons. I took a chance on mother of pearl and aluminum as they are a little outside my usual rustic aesthetic. They are a little modern, but the colors were such a nice match to the yarn, I decided to give them a try. After sewing them on, I couldn’t believe how perfect they were for the overall style of the hat. Love them!

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Mother of pearl and aluminum button.

One of the things I really liked about the pattern was that it had a chart that takes you from the beginning to the end of the cable “stripe.” There are no red repeat squares that are sometimes hard to understand. The cable itself is wide and doesn’t involved twisting that many stitches, making it relatively simple to knit.

Now, I just have to wait for it to be cold enough to wear my beautiful new hat!

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p.s. Wait until you see what I’m doing with the leftover yarn and extra button! Stay tuned. :-)

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Blanket and Booties

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Over the last few months, I found out two of my friends are expecting. Even though a I’m not a baby person (unless they have four legs and fur), the knitter in me was excited to dig into my baby gift patterns.

Initially, I thought about making little sweaters, but then it hit me that we live in a desert. It’s hot almost all of the time! Even it got a little cold, the kid would probably outgrow it before he got a chance to wear it. So, I decided to make much more practical gifts that could be used no matter how fast the baby grows.

It turns out I had a great pattern for a car seat sized baby blanket. I figured this was perfect for use as a quick snuggle and for when there’s a chill in the air (it’s been known to happen from time to time). Plus, it’s relatively small, so it isn’t a struggle for a new mom to stuff it in her diaper bag. I settled on a simple basket weave pattern with a garter stitch edge.

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Some turtle love for a Basket Weave Baby Blanket

The yarn is very soft and cuddly, but I honestly hated working with it. It constantly knotted up thanks to the fuzzies that made it soft. My working yarn was almost constantly entangled, which made it difficult to keep a steady pace. I will never buy Yarn Bee Effervesce, again!

At the last minute, I decided to make a pair of booties. I had some leftover sock yarn that I thought would make excellent lightweight, soft baby socks. I pulled out my trusty sock loom and whipped out a pair of tiny booties. These booties are for a baby boy and I think the colors couldn’t be more perfect!

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Teeny Tiny Baby Socks

I kept it simple, by constructing a tube sock instead of turning heel. This way, they’ll continue to fit as the baby grows. The yarn is a silky soft alpaca fiber, so no worries about itchy baby feet!

As for the January baby, I’m still pondering what to make for that bundle of joy.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014