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.

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.

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.
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