Favorite Pattern Friday: Cotyledon

Now that the weather’s getting cooler, I’ve been turning a lot of my focus toward projects to keep me warm, like scarves and hats. I used some lovely madelinetosh tosh DK to knit myself an autumn-themed scarf a couple weeks ago, and decided I needed a matching hat.

My Cotyledon

My Cotyledon

Looking at the amount of each color I had left, I decided that a Cotyledon in yellow with a brown trim would be the perfect complement to my scarf.

Of course, with Christmas gifts coming up and the crazy idea that maybe I can knit myself a sweater between now and Christmas on top of everything else, that hat’s fallen a bit by the wayside.

Anyway, I’ve decided to feature Cotyledon as my Favorite Pattern Friday this week, since my attention’s been brought back to it recently and because it’s such a nice pattern.

I was one of the original test knitters for this pattern in 2011, and loved it. The hat quickly became one of my go-to hats. The pattern gives two options: a slouchy version and a beanie version. I can only speak to the beanie version as that’s the one I’ve knit.

My Cotyledon

My Cotyledon

This pattern’s a little different than many hat patterns I’m used to because it is knit from the top down, instead of from the brim up. It’s a little fiddly getting started, just because there are so few stitches across 3 or 4 dpns, but once it’s cast on it’s an easy pattern.

I like the way the cables in the pattern are simple enough to be almost mindless knitting, but interesting enough that you don’t get bored. The contrasting border on the bottom adds a nice pop, too. The sizing of the pattern works very well for me, because I like hats that cover my ears well and this hat does the trick.

I would give this pattern an A and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting but not too complicated hat or portable project. The pattern is available for $6 on Ravelry here.

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.

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.

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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