Favorite Pattern Friday: Dungarees Cowl

With my vacation coming up next week, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a pattern I knit while on vacation last year: the Dungarees Cowl.

2012-08-05_14.36.51_medium2I’d been looking for the perfect pattern for some sportweight cashmere yarn I had received in a swap, and this turned out to be it.

This pattern turned out to be a great vacation knit. While I was using cashmere yarn, it was sportweight and not too heavy to be working on in summer heat. The pattern was interesting, but it was simple enough that I could knit while sitting around talking to my family.

Dungarees Cowl

Protecting my face and looking like a bandit at the same time

I like that the top and bottom of the cowl are a simple ruffle, with the pattern focus being in the middle. It makes the cowl wearable right side up or upside down, so you don’t have to pay too much attention to which way you’re putting it on.

The airy pattern in the center is simple to follow, and the fact that it’s not a totally closed pattern allows the cowl to breathe a bit, so it’s not too hot even though I knit it in a very warm fiber.

The cowl is also just the right diameter to allow me to cover my face with it without the cowl falling down, which I love. It fits over my face slightly better if I’m wearing my hair in a ponytail, because I can “hang” the back of the cowl on the elastic.

Cowls are a favorite winter accessory of mine because I can use them to easily protect my face from the cold winds (granted, those cold winds might be welcome here since it’s been in the 90s and muggy every day this week!).

Overall, I give this pattern an A, and plan to knit more of them in the future, possibly experimenting with other yarn weights, or using a variegated or self-striping colorway.

Yarn of the Week: Cephalopod Yarns Traveller

I got this yarn a while ago after receiving some credit to the Cephalopod Yarns shop. I loved the color, and figured I’d take the chance to try a nice new yarn.

My Traveller beanie

My Traveller beanie

I’m very glad I went with this yarn. I feel like it’s not quite as well-known as the extremely popular Bugga! yarns from CY and the Verdant Gryphon, but it really deserves some recognition.

The colors remind me a bit of madelintosh’s colors in that they’re rich and tonal. The particular skeins I got were the colorway Goodnight, KY, and were a gorgeous, saturated blue.

I got two skeins, and so far have made a hat and a cowl using similar-but-different patterns. I’m planning to use the rest on a pair of matching mittens or fingerless gloves in an as-yet-undetermined pattern this fall or winter.

I like this yarn a lot, and feel like it’s a good value for the money.

So far, neither my hat nor my cowl is showing signs of pilling, which is fantastic because this is a nice, soft yarn, and soft yarns are often pilly. I can’t speak to how this yarn would hold up in a higher-wear object like a sweater, but at least for hats and scarves it seems to wear very nicely.

Overall, I give this yarn a 10 out of 10, and definitely recommend it!

Pros:

  1. The colors – As usual, one of my pros is the colors. I like the range of colors offered by CY, and I like that the names of each color are tailored to the base, with the colorways for Traveller being named after places.
  2. Lack of pilling – So far, I haven’t run into a lot of pilling yet. We’ll see once I make something more hard-wearing, but as of now I haven’t had any issues.
  3. Stitch definition – I’ve made two cabled projects with this yarn, and the stitch definition is great. My cables pop out of my projects, and the texture difference between knits and purls shows up beautifully.

Cons:

  1. None – Honestly, I can’t really think of any cons!

New to the Queue: Cute crochet this week

Owl Basket

Owl Basket

Photo courtesy of Deja Jetmir.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I not only added it to my queue but also purchased it. My sister loves owls, and I think this will be an adorable addition to her room. I like that the basket itself is a basic shape and the eyes are added on, so this could be customizable to be many other animals or designs. I have a lot of kitchen cotton around, I’m going to try doubling it up to make this.

Price: $2.99 USD

Craft: crochet

Designer: Deja Jetmir


Monty Moose

Monty Moose

Photo courtesy of Southern Gal’s Crochet

I just want to pick this moose up and give him a hug! His arms are even held out at the ready. I actually have a stuffed moose that my fiance gave me, and I may have to make Monty so my moose can have a friend.

Price: $4.60 USD

Craft: crochet

Designer: Southern Gal’s Crochet


Kawaii bee amigurumi

Kawaii bee amigurumi

Photo courtesy of mohu mohu.

I love this little bee. Apparently I was in the mood for adorable animal-themed items this week because this is the second of four on the list today. This little guy reminds me of the adorable Teeny-Tiny Mochimochis, and I think the size is part of the appeal. I’m not a fan of bees in real life, but I just want to cuddle this one.

Price: free

Craft: crochet

Designer: mohu mohu


Tiny Turtle

Tiny Turtle

Photo courtesy of Anna Hrachovec.

Speaking of mochimochis, Anna Hrachovec released four new tiny animal patterns, this little guy, a dog, a cat, and a parrot. You can buy the set of patterns here. I love her little patterns, and this little guy stands out from the other little pets. I don’t know if it’s his adorable little head or the lovely pattern on his shell, but I just fell in love with him.

Price: $6 USD for the pattern set

Craft: knitting

Designer: Anna Hrachovec


Tina-ease Cowl

Tina-ease Cowl

Photo courtesy of Tina Turner.

Last but not least, the only non-animal-related item I’m featuring this week: the Tina-ease Cowl. I queued this cowl for a few reasons. It looks simple but interesting, and it looks like a great pattern to knit in some of my madelinetosh tosh merino light. In fact, I think I may bring this with me as a vacation project this summer.

Price: free

Craft: knitting

Designer: Tina Turner

Favorite Pattern Friday: CanCans

My favorite pattern that I’m featuring this week is CanCans by Erica Lomax.

My first CanCans

My first pair of CanCans from 2009

These mitts were one of the first pairs of fingerless gloves I made, and to date this is the one pattern I have made the most FOs of.

I tend to sometimes have trouble making a pattern more than once (which leads to major Second Sock Syndrome) because I like to challenge myself, and get bored easily doing the same thing over and over.

The CanCans, for some reason, don’t bore me. And that’s definitely a good thing! I’ve made (so far) three pairs for myself, a pair for my sister, and a pair for a trade on Ravelry.

I think I like making this pattern over and over because it’s such a well-constructed pattern. The twisted stitch pattern on the backs of the hands is different enough to make it an interesting knit, but simple enough that it makes a good driving/watching TV/other mindless knitting project.

The CanCans I made for my sister

The CanCans I made for my sister a couple years ago

I also like the way the cuff/arm is tapered to make it fit well, without scrunching. I like longer wristwarmers, but I really don’t like when they scrunch up around your wrists. This pattern decreases the circumference around the wrists to prevent bagginess, and also makes the cuff long enough to hug your arm and not scrunch up.

This pattern is great for beginners too, as evidenced by the fact that this was only the second or third fingerless glove pattern I’d knit, and was the first time I’d used twisted stitches to make mini cables. In fact, this pattern inspired me to start designing my own patterns using twisted stitches.

Overall, I *love* this pattern, and it’s a great fall-back for gifts, or when I need a quick or portable project and don’t have anything specific in mind. It’s more interesting than stockinette, but easy enough I can knit without looking (especially since I’ve practically memorized the pattern at this point). I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun portable project or a great gift.

Yarn of the Week: madelinetosh tosh merino light

Sidenote: This is the third of three new weekly features on my blog. I will be featuring and reviewing a different yarn each week. Some will be established yarns, some new yarns. Tune in each week to see what I’ve picked!

tosh merino light in Venetian

TML in Venetian

I thought I’d start this new feature with one of my favorite yarns: madelinetosh tosh merino light. This was one of the first madelinetosh yarns I used, and I immediately fell in love with it.

I’m not normally a big fan of single-ply yarns, but this one is spun tightly enough that it doesn’t seem as fragile as some other single-ply yarns I’ve used.

One of my favorite TML projects has been my first-ever sweater, a lovely blue cardigan. The yarn was a pleasure to work with, and the pilling is reasonable, especially considering how soft the finished product is. I have to run a sweater shaver over the cardigan after every few wears, but there are fewer pills each time.

Self-designed shawl using TML in Tart

Self-designed shawl using TML in Tart

The yarn also works very well in shawls. Being fingering weight, it’s heavy enough to make a warm shawl, but light enough that you won’t overheat while wearing one. I’ve made three so far, all different types of pattern, and all of them held up nicely with blocking, and the yarn shows off the stitch patterns beautifully.

Overall, I give this yarn a 9.5 out of 10.

I *highly* recommend this yarn (as long as you’re knitting socks, since the fiber content is 100% merino, so there is no nylon in it for strength) and I will definitely be purchasing more (to add to my already large stash of it).

Pros:

  1. Colors, colors, colors – This is by far one of the best things about all madelinetosh yarns. She dyes so many gorgeous colors, you’re almost guaranteed to find one that works for what you’re making. I also like that the colors are complex – she doesn’t just have, for example, “black.” There’s black with red undertones, black with green undertones, black with purple undertones, etc.
  2. Consistency – The spin is very consistent. Many single-ply yarns can be a bit thick-and-thin, but TML is pretty consistent throughout.
  3. Strength – While I wouldn’t knit hard-wear items like socks from it, the yarn is strong enough that I don’t feel like I’m going to break it by looking at it the wrong way or by blocking my finished piece.

Cons:

  1. Color matching – Since this yarn is hand-dyed in relatively small batches, it can be a bit difficult to get skeins that match each other exactly. I’d recommend shopping for the yarn in person if you need many matching skeins, as you can compare individual skeins for the best matches. I’d also recommend alternating skeins every other row when possible if your skeins don’t match perfectly.

New to the Queue: A little bit of everything

Sidenote: This is the second of three new weekly features I’m introducing. New to the Queue will appear each Monday and will feature patterns added to Ravelry during the previous week that I love enough to add to my queue. The third feature, Yarn of the Week, will appear Wednesday.

Mini Lovey Blankie Menagerie

Mini Lovey Blankie Menageri

Photo courtesy of Rainebo on Ravelry.

I cannot get over how adorable these little lovies are. I may still only be in the planning stages for my wedding, but I will definitely be making a few of these for my own kids when I have them in a few years. My fiance’s nephews have similar lovies and they love them, so that combined the handknit (and extreme cuteness) factor of this pattern makes it an instant queue for me.

Price:$6 USD

Craft: knitting

DesignerLorraine Pistorio


Flight Home Shawl

Flight Home Shawl

Photo courtesy of YuliaAV on Ravelry.

I love the way the lace patterns in this shawl work together. The diamonds bend with the semicircle shape of the shawl so nicely, and wherever the shaping is it blends in well enough that I can’t actually see it. I also love that the shape of this shawl wraps around, so it would have no trouble staying on my shoulders.

Price: $5 CAD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Yulia Vysochina


Country Cottage Pillow Cover

Country Cottage Pillow Cover

Photo courtesy of BibbityBobble on Ravelry.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I had to queue it. I’m currently in cool-things-for-the-house mode, having recently completed setting up wedding registries with my fiance. These pillow covers will be perfect for our future house, and I can make our pillows the exact colors we want!

Price: free

Craft: knitting

Designer: Beth Richardson


Stray Cat

Stray Cat Shawl

Photo courtesy of AnimaKnits on Ravelry.

This shawl caught my eye after I saw a finished project of it on the Ravelry forum radar. I love the use of stripes to keep the solid interior section interesting, and the transition to a lacy border for a bit of flair at the end.

Price: $6 USD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Kristina Vilimaite


Blairsden

Blairsden

Photo courtesy of SFAlpacas on Ravelry.

I have a thing for stripes this week, apparently. This sweater jumped out at me from the pattern search this weekend. I love that the stripes begin around the bust and end before the waist. There’s enough striping to make the sweater interesting, but they don’t overwhelm the design. I have a feeling this cardigan will find its way into my wardrobe soon.

Price: $5 USD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Maria Olson

More patterns available now!

I’m happy to say that, since my last pattern update in December, I’ve added four new patterns for sale on Ravelry!

Blizzard Winds Cowl

Blizzard Winds Cowl

The first two patterns were released a couple months ago and are a matching winter accessories set: Blizzard Winds Cowl and Blizzard Winds Hat.

I’d been in a regular designing mood one night and came up with this swirling pattern one night, no specific goal for it in mind. I also had decided that I wanted to experiment with picot edging, with I thought went well with the colorwork.

Blizzard Winds Hat

Blizzard Winds Hat

I happened to be working on the cowl during the Blizzard of 2013 back in February, when we got a record 3 feet of snow (No exaggeration there, we literally got 3 feet) in Connecticut.

As I was knitting, I realized the black swirls on the grey background reminded me of the blowing snow and wind outside at the time, and the bumpy picot edging reminded me of the snow drifts piling up, so I named the cowl after the blizzard. The hat soon followed.

The next pattern was released last month, my Staggered Diamonds Cowl.

Staggered Diamonds Cowl

Staggered Diamonds Cowl

I’ve always liked playing with twisted stitch designs ever since I was introduced to the idea back in 2009 when I knit my first pair of CanCan wristwarmers.

Since then, I’ve played with  twisted stitches on a regular basis, first introducing them into one of my designs with my Twisted Diamond Mitts.

The tricky part with these types of designs is that it’s difficult to make the pattern continuous when you’re using it in the round. Because the twisted stitches are essentially two-stitch cables, continuing them across the beginning/ending of a round would require traveling stitch markers, and would increase the difficulty of the project quite a bit, especially for beginning knitters.

You can see the break in the pattern here

You can see the break in the pattern here

I’ve struggled with how to address the beginning/ending of rounds in my patterns with colorwork as well. Since knitting in the round means knitting a spiraling tube, the end of one round lines up with the beginning of the next round, creating a jog in many continuous patterns, whether they’re colorwork, regular cables, or twisted stitches.

To solve this issue with my diamond cowl, I decided to avoid the jog and the traveling stitch markers completely by making a definitive beginning and ending to the stitch pattern that coincided with the beginning and ending of each round.

My most recent pattern, Mad about Merino Mitts, was just released today.

Mad about Merino Mitts

Mad about Merino Mitts

This pattern was particularly exciting for me to design, because it incorporates several different techniques, including one I hadn’t used in a design before: the lateral braid.

The pattern was designed to use up leftover yarn I had after finishing my Fabergé shawl, and I wanted to experiment with patterns to really showcase the lighter grey against the darker grey.

I’d seen the lateral braid before in other patterns, and it seemed like the perfect way to really block out the diamond pattern in the light yarn.

The diamond pattern is similar to the one in my Staggered Diamonds Cowl, with a smaller version on the hand and a larger version on the cuff.

Favorite Pattern Friday: Aeolian

Sidenote: I’ve decided to start up a couple new weekly features here including Favorite Pattern Fridays. These will be recurring posts. Check in again Monday for another new feature, “Queued of the Week!”

One of my favorite patterns I’ve made is the Aeolian shawl. It’s a very popular pattern on Ravelry, and for good reason.

My handknit Aeolian shawl

Me modeling my finished Aeolian

My Aeolian was my first beaded shawl, and was quite an undertaking. Having only have completed two shawlettes prior to beginning this project, I wondered if I’d gotten myself in over my head. However, I had found a yarn I loved and the perfect beads to match it (both on Etsy! The yarn here and the beads here!)

The allure of the finished product was strong enough, though, that I ignored my reservations and cast on.

Modeling my handknit Aeolian shawl

Another photo to show off the prettiness

One of the reasons I love this pattern is because it’s pretty easy to understand, even for someone relatively new to lace knitting. I had to go back and forth in the directions a few times for things to click in my head, but other than that I had very few issues. The beading was even easier than I feared it would be.

The main issue I had with the pattern was that the difference between k2tog/ssk and k3tog/sssk wasn’t entirely clear to me on the charts at first. Looking back now, I can see clearly that the k3tog/sssk lines are much bolder, and reach from corner to corner in their boxes, while the k2tog/ssk lines as thinner, slightly off-center in the boxes, and don’t reach the top corners of the boxes. While I was knitting, though, I couldn’t figure it out, but found the answer on a Ravelry thread. I had no other problems.

Overall, I love this pattern, and I’d recommend it to any knitter who enjoys a little bit of a challenge.

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