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.

Little things, big plans

Combining a House Cup off-month with summer heat equals not a ton of knitting happening right now, but a lot of planning given Christmas season is coming up.

I did manage to whip out a quick pair of basic fingerless mitts with some super soft, nice yarn I got a couple weeks ago, I think they turned out pretty cute:

The yarn’s interesting because it’s almost variegated, but not quite.

That’s my digital camera case for size reference at the top.

I also finished the Summer Flies shawl that I started while I was on vacation at the end of July, though I haven’t blocked it yet.

I used just under 2 balls of (about 300 yards) Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, which is a 60% Wool, 30% Alpaca, 10% Angora mix DK weight yarn, and lovely to work with. I loved the stitch definition I got with it too, I’m looking forward to seeing how it blocks out.

I don’t think I’m going to block it too aggressively, as it’s a pretty nice small scarf size now, so a light blocking should bring it to decent scarf size. It’s a little smaller than the pattern said because I used a DK weight instead of a worsted, but I think the size will work out in the end.

Still on the needles are the baby booties for my sister’s friend’s baby shower, which I hope to finish tonight since the baby shower is in two days! I also have my Spectacular Sightseeing Sunset Socks on the needles, but those are currently my in-the-purse-to-work-on-on-the-go project, so they don’t get a lot of love at home.

Speaking of purses, I got my Namaste Monroe bag last week, a birthday present from my parents! I love it, I’m using it as my regular purse plus knitting. It’s got 2 huge side pockets and one big center section, so I have plenty of room for all my purse things, plus a knitting project or two, and I don’t have to worry about my yarn snagging on my car keys, or falling out of my bag. Oh, and did I mention it’s purple?

Isn’t she beautiful?

Looking ahead, I’m working on my plans for the upcoming House Cup term. I was leaning toward doing an Arithmancy OWL (at least 8 of the same object) and doing 6 pairs of fingerless gloves, but then I discovered The Beekeeper’s Quilt, and may change my plans. I’m currently debating how I want to tackle the term, I might do the quilt as an OWL instead, and do the gloves for classes, or maybe do the gloves for the OWL and do groups of hexagons for the quilt for classes. I definitely have a lot of thinking to do, lol.

Image courtesy of tinyowlknits on Ravelry

A busy month, a big finish

I’m finally back to a “normal” knitting schedule after spending the vast majority of July racing to finish my Aeolian in time to wear it on the beach on my vacation at the end of the month.

Happily, I did finish it!

It’s finally finished!

I started the shawl as my Spring 2011 HPKCHC OWL, and while I didn’t finish enough in time to get the 50 mid-term points, I did finish in time to get the 100 completion points. Plus, I was just proud of finishing it in general. It’s the most intricate, complicated thing I’ve ever made!

I did have to give myself a break from the tiny yarn, tiny needles and tiny beads occasionally, though, so I did work a fairly quick test knit hat that turned out to be perfect for some llama yarn I had, and almost in Gryffindor colors too!

Now I just have to decide how crazy I am for next HPKCHC term, which starts Sept. 1. I’m thinking an OWL of 6 pairs of fingerless mitts as Christmas gifts, plus a small shawl for an Order of the Phoenix mission, and blanket squares for classes. But we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m just trying to clear my needles. 🙂

A new month, a new plan!

Happy Independence Day weekend to my fellow US people! And Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends! And happy weekend to everyone else! And happy any other holiday that I’m not aware of! (If you are celebrating another holiday this weekend/week, let me know in the comments, I love learning new things!)

With the new month come new HPKCHC classes, and new plans.

First, let me recap my June progress, which unfortunately wasn’t near what I’d hoped thanks to a combination of startitis, carpal tunnel, and overambitious goals, lol.

I did get my little CMYK made for my sister, which I think turned out cute, even if she didn’t get the joke immediately.

My favorite project I finished (not that there was a lot of choice, I only finished two!) was my Cotyledon Hat, which I did as a test knit. I was happy about it because it finally gave me a great project to use my madelinetosh tosh dk that I bought on an HPKCHC WEBS trip in March. I’d been looking for the perfect project, but I only had one skein. Let me just say, this yarn was awesome to work with, it was very soft and had great stitch definition, which worked well for the hat.

I was worried at first that my hat was going to be too big, but it turned out perfect for use as a spring/fall hat. It’s not tight, so it won’t be windproof, but it looks cute and will work for those cool-not-cold days.

As far as plans for July go, I’m keeping it pretty simple: I’m planning to work exclusively on my Aeolian in an attempt to finish it before my vacation later in the month. I figure I can do some smaller projects for classes on vacation, but I can’t really finish and block a huge shawl in a motel room!

Sightseeing socks, lace addictions and the consequences of marathon knitting

What do you get when you cross marathon knitting with wrists that have personal vendettas against you?

You get almost a week of no knitting time, that’s what. 😦

I think the fact that I was knitting lace on tiny needles (My Aeolian and My Heaven, both lace on size 2s, and a sock also on size 2s) didn’t help either.

Let me just tell you, you know your hands need a long break right. now. when your thumb starts involuntarily shaking whenever you bend it, so much so that you can’t type on your phone with it. Ask me how I know.

As difficult as it was, I did make myself rest from knitting for several days. I was able to alleviate some of the restless hand-ness by spinning on my drop spindle, something I haven’t done in quite a while. I spun some gorgeous chocolate brown alpaca top that I had gotten at WEBS a few months ago, which proceeded to shed all over me. (Have you ever cleaned up after an alpaca? I have. It. Was. Awesome.)

Granted, I should have seen this coming. Let’s think about what I’ve been knitting over the past several weeks…

You can see where the sunset part comes in.

Spectacular Sightseeing Sunset Socks

Why yes, I am a fan of alliteration, how did you guess? 😉

These socks actually came about for exactly two reasons: 1) I wanted to try Michaels’ new Loops & Threads Luxury Sock yarn, and 2) I wanted something small and mindless to knit on a trip to New York City. I figured a pair of plan stockinette socks would be the perfect travel project, and would allow me to try this new yarn (which is very nice, I might add, I just wish it came in solid colors).

Over the course of two days, these socks were knit at:

  • Car ride from CT to NY train station
  • Train ride to New York City
  • NYC subway station while waiting for the train
  • Central Park bench
  • Yankee Stadium while waiting for the game to start
  • Train back from NYC
  • Car ride home from NY
  • Car ride to the beach
  • On the beach
  • At the outlet stores waiting for the rain to end
  • On the way home from the outlets

That’s a lot of tiny needle knitting.

That red is my lifeline, juuuust in case.

Aeolian

I’ve blogged about my Aeolian before, it’s my Ancient Runes OWL for the House Cup. In order to get “midterm credit” for it, I need to have it 50% done by the end of the month. My goal was to get out of the yucca pattern repeats (there were 12 repeats of 8 rows, and with each row getting longer, those yuccas seemed to go on forever).

On the morning of June 7, I had it at 15.10% (thank you handy Google spreadsheet). By the end of the day on June 11, I had it at 25.83%. That means I knit 7,332 teeny tiny stitches, complete with a whole lot of teeny tiny beads, in four days.

This is the edging as it’ll look on the shawl.

My Heaven

For some reason, I’ve become addicted to lace, and decided a couple weeks ago that I just HAD to find the perfect lace pattern for some gorgeous red baby alpaca yarn I have. I decided on a My Heaven (Ravelry link), as I had done a search for red lace shawls and saw a project page for a My Heaven done in red, and absolutely loved it. I haven’t been able to work on it much yet, because I want to get my Aeolian to 50%, but I’m trudging along on it.

The construction on this shawl is interesting because it’s unlike any shawls I’ve done before: you knit the entire edge sideways first, then pick up the stitches along the long edge to knit the body. The shawl as written has a garter stitch piece in the middle of the body, but I plan to just continue the lace pattern the entire way to make an airy, delicate shawl.

The colors are a little richer than this photo shows, but you can see the stitch definition.

Cotyledon Hat

This hat I’m doing as a test knit for another Raveler. I’m using madelinetosh tosh dk, and it is sucha lovely yarn to work with. It’s super soft, but it has a fairly tight twist and great stitch definition for the knit-through-the-back-loop ridges and the cables in this pattern.

The pattern actually caught my eye because it looked pretty and complex, but it turned out to be very simple, consisting of a few cables strategically placed.
So yeah. I think I can understand why my hands decided to freak out. For now, I’m going to work on finishing my hat on size 6 needles before moving back to my teeny tiny projects.

Close encounters of the stitch dropping kind

My Aeolian is coming along quite well now that I’ve been able to devote my time to it. In the past week, I’ve been able to get about 15% of it done, which I know thanks to a wonderful spreadsheet a fellow House Cupper made.

I had a scary moment while knitting the other day, though. I’ve decided to put lifelines in every 4th yucca  chart repeat (there are 12 total) and every chart repeat after the yuccas. I was almost to the point where I could put in my second lifeline, when this happened:

Begin panic mode now.

I don’t know exactly how many stitches slipped off the needles. I just sat there staring in horror at it. Luckily, I was able to pick up the stitches and resume knitting with no major mishaps. Once I got my second lifeline in, and got 4 rows into the 9th yucca repeat (so that I could mark it as 15% on Ravelry), and put the project away for a few days so that I could breathe.

Wanting to give myself a break from the tiny yarn and tiny needles, I decided to start a pair of worsted weight fingerless gloves (I know, May isn’t exactly glove season).

I was debating what colors to use; I was originally thinking purple and black, but the purple was too dark to differentiate it from the black. I found some bright blue yarn I had, and decided to alternate it with the black instead.

I played around with a couple charts and settled on a pair of black mitts with blue dots placed throughout. I’m up to the thumb increases, and plan to make the pattern available on Ravelry once I finish one glove and get it test knitted.

The neverending shawl has ended!

Even though I thought it might never happen, the neverending shawl is finally finished!

Here it is right off the needles, with a water bottle for size reference. You can see why I needed to block it:

See the ruffly edges?

Here it is blocking. Let me tell you, pinning out a shawl with a rounded top edge is a huge pain in the rear:

It took forever to pin out.

In the end, it turned out very pretty, and my mom loved it. It barely even lost any size after I unpinned it, which surprised me because I tend to be pretty severe in my blocking:

It’s so pretty!

This is the shawl that never ends…

I’ve come up with a song to describe this shawl that I’m working on (this is not a reflection on the pattern, I love it, I’m just losing my attention span because I don’t have long stretches on any given day to work on this):

This is the shawl that never ends

And it goes on and on my friends

One day I started knitting it not knowing what it was

And I’ll continue knitting it forever just because

(repeat x infinity)

Since I tend to only have a couple hours per night to work on my shawl, I’m only getting a couple rows done at a time, which means it’s taking f o r e v e r. I want to get it off the needles and on the blocking mat already! Hopefully this will happen tonight, and I can have blocking photos for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I did take a break from the neverending shawl (how am I ever going to get through my Aeolian? XD) to do another quick test knit crochet (I always default to knit!) for the Eye of the World Stole.

Patterns like this work well for short-repeat variegated yarns, I think.


The test only called for a 3-repeat swatch, washed and blocked, which I was able to complete in just about an hour. I think I’m going to rip out the swatch, cut the repeats in half width-wise, and crochet it as a scarf, using the Cascade Heritage Paints I have in my stash, which I what I used for the swatch. I think it’ll make a pretty, lacy scarf, what do you think?

Gearing up for the Spring 2011 House Cup term!

It’s almost May, and as my House Cup friends know, that means it’s almost time for a new term! Only 2 days until the new term starts, which means Sorting is up and the new common rooms are open!

What that means, to those unfamiliar with the Cup, is that I am frantically trying to free my needles, while planning what I’ll be making in the next three months.

Currently, I have three projects on the needles/hook: a pair of Crocheted Felted Slippers, a shawl I’m test knitting, and a pair of Endpaper Mitts. The slippers and mitts are both about half done (one of the pair is done) and the shawl is about 25% done, I think (it’s so hard to gauge the halfway mark on triangular shawls!).

I’ll probably be putting the mitts and slippers aside for a while, but will definitely be finishing the shawl, since the deadline for the test knit is mid-May. Side note – check out the cool cobweb-like appearance my alpaca yarn is giving between stitches!

I’ve got some pretty big plans for this term, and I mean that quite literally. Not only am I going to attempt to get as many classes done as I can, plus detention, but now that I’ve completed one OWL, I can propose two in one term, and I am crazy enough to do it!

In fact, I think I’m extra crazy when you consider what my plans for my two OWLs are.

This beautifully tonaled yarn should make a really pretty shawl.

One of my proposals is to make a full-size beaded Aeolian shawl, which should use about 1100 yards of yarn (according to the pattern), and a couple thousand beads. I’ll be using size two needles, so it will probably be pretty slow going, but the end result should be great. I’ll be using a blue-green laceweight yarn with matching blue-green beads, both of which I found on Etsy. I have to admit, I was thrilled to discover that my beads perfectly matched my yarn.

Looking at other projects on Ravelry, I think I should be able to get the shawl done within the three month timespan.

One difficulty I do anticipate is figuring out where my halfway point is. It’s difficult because the shawl gets bigger with almost every row, so I can’t just measure halfway. I’m going to have to do some research on what others have considered their halfway point, since I know there have been several other OWL Aeolians.

My other OWL will be good for knitting on the go and on car trips, which is good because I’ll be doing a lot of riding in the car this summer: I’m planning to make a Bernat Sampler Afghan, with some minor changes. The pattern as written calls for 30 blocks measuring 7″ by 9″, with 15 each of two colors, making a blanket that’s about 4 feet long and just under 4 feet wide. There are five different texture patterns to the blocks, and they’re arranged in a specific order.

I’ll be using dark green, dark blue and black to make my blanket.

My blanket is also going to be 30 blocks, arranged in the same texture pattern, but they’re going to be 10″ by 12″ and I’m going to make 10 each of three colors. My blanket should be 50″ by 72″ before any edging, so it should be a full afghan size instead of a lap blanket.

I won’t be doing all 30 squares for the OWL, however, as I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to finish it in the three months, especially considering I’ll also be working on the classes and Aeolian. My proposal is going to be for 19 sqaures: 9 black and 10 blue. I already knit one black square to use as my gauge swatch, and that square took me about three hours to knit, so I’m estimating my OWL at around 55 crafting hours, averaging about a block and a half a week.

For right now, I’m working to get that Snowdrop Shawl done so I can properly focus on my new term. My main problem this weekend is going to be deciding whether to cast on and swatch my Aeolian, or work to finish the other shawl! 🙂

Swallowtail Shawl, finally!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on a Swallowtail Shawl (click here for PDF of pattern) on and off for the past several months, using Knit Picks Shadow Tonal yarn in the Deep Waters colorway. It kept getting put aside in favor of more pressing projects, or out of boredom with the repeating lace.

Finally, I’ve had the drive to finish it, and last night I did!I have to admit, despite my trepidation after reading accounts from people on Ravelry, I didn’t find the nupps difficult at all, and they came out very pretty.

I’m extra excited about this project because it’s the first full lace I’ve done, and my first large-scale blocking.

It took me about an hour to get the pinning done right, but part of that was probably because I’d never pinned anything out to block before. Oh, and my room smelled like wet sheep all night, because I forgot to put any sort of wool wash in the water. Oops. That was definitely a lesson learned.

One thing I did learn was that, when pinning out lace, you can’t just stick the pins in straight up and down, because the lace will pull up and bend the pin forward. I figured out that if I stuck the pins into the mat at an angle, so that the pin was almost flat and was stuck through the mat for most of the pin length, it held much better. I used a 48″ x 96″ x 0.5″ portable foam fitness floor as my blocking mat.

Unfortunately, I forgot to measure it pre-blocking, but while blocking it’s about 53 inches by about 31 inches. I used up just under a full 50-gram skein of the Shadow Tonal.

Without further ado, here she is – my Swallowtail!

Before blocking:

During blocking:

After blocking!

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