FO: Patrick’s Watch Cap

A couple of years ago, a young colleague of mine admired a cowl I was wearing and mused that he’d love to have one.  I don’t tend to knit for just anyone, but a cowl requires so little work so I told him that if he was prepared to buy the (good quality) yarn, I’d knit it for him.  He didn’t bat an eyelash at the $30 a skein price tag, so I knit him a Stonehenge Cowl.  Every time he wore it, he came by my desk gushing about how much he loved it.

This same young man came to me a few weeks back and asked if he could commission a hat.  He, like my husband, has a particularly large head and told me that every commercial hat he tried on was too small.  I normally would have knit him the same hat that I have knit multiple times for Chase but because he wanted it less slouchy, I decided on the Squared Away Ribbed Watch Cap.  It’s been in my Ravelry favourites for a while; I liked it because of the originality of the crown decreases.

Generally speaking, the males in my life ask for things in various shades of brown, black and grey…but not Patrick.  He told me he wanted bright and colourful.  I sent him to the Madeline Tosh website and told him to pick a few colours – he chose a red, a green, an orange and a blue and upon calling Romni Wool, discovered that the only skein in stock of the four he had chosen was Baltic.  Done!  (The fact that I adore that colour was a lovely bonus!)

It took me a grand total of about a week to knit.  He wanted it to be good and long to cover his ears when folded up, so I knit it for as long as I thought I feasibly could before starting the decreases.

It turned out beautifully.  Plenty long enough to be folded up once or even twice if he wants.

Madeline Tosh Vintage in "Baltic"

Madeline Tosh Vintage in “Baltic”

And I can’t say enough about how much I adore the decreases in this hat.  So clever and I am totally enamoured with the result!

Thanks, Patrick for lending me your head! :-)

Thanks, Patrick for lending me your head! 🙂

Pattern: Squared Away Ribbed Watch Cap

Yarn: Madeline Tosh Vintage in “Baltic”

Who Was It Made For?  Patrick

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  No

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  No

Would I Make Another?:  If I ever have the need to knit another worsted style hat, I will definitely use this pattern.  My only concern would the 96 stitch cast on, which might prove too large for some heads.

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FO: No Purl Monkeys

Sometimes, the mood takes me, and I knit. A lot. And I can finish a pair of socks in a very short amount of time. This was one of those times!

I started these socks for the indigodragonwedding…Kim and Ron of indigodragonfly got married last September and the wedding invite specifically said, “Knitting encouraged!”  So I located a long-stashed skein of MCN Sock (later rebranded as Mergoat Sock) and cast these on, two cuffs on two needles, and off I went.

I knit exactly one 11-row repeat and laid the project down…to this day,  I have no idea why.   And while winter and spring came and went, these barely-partly knit socks sat and sat.

A few weeks ago, the spirit moved me to haul them out of my WIP tote bag and start them up again.  I have said it before and I will say it again; I don’t know what it is about this pattern but it practically knits itself.  I completed the first leg on a Sunday afternoon, and the entire pair in under three weeks.  If that’s not a record for me, it’s darned close.

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The colourway is named for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character named Cordelia – the quote was one of many snarky ones for which Cordy was famous.  It’s wonderfully variegated with several different purples running through it.

"Don't You Have An Elsewhere To Be?"

“Don’t You Have An Elsewhere To Be?”

One more pair to add to the pile for when autumn starts in earnest in a few weeks!

Pattern: No Purl Monkeys

Yarn: indigodragonfly Mergoat Sock in “Don’t You Have An Elsewhere To Be?”

Who Was It Made For?  Me

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  I don’t think so, but I knit them from memory so it’s possible.

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  I am sure I will…what can I say?  I am a creature of habit.

FO: Hermione’s Everyday Socks

I think everybody has a “go-to” sock pattern…one they can knit with their eyes closed, or at least without ever having to pick up the pattern.  (If you read Knitting to Stay Sane, for example, you know that Glenna C.’s is Jaywalkers!)  Hermione’s is mine.  The texture keeps it from being as boring as plain sockinette (although as anyone who knows me can attest, I have no objections to knitting plain stockinette in the round!) while being simple enough to be my “knit in coffee shops and in front of the TV” knitting.

I almost feel funny blogging about them, as they are my fifth pair of socks (in 18 months) made with this pattern, but it is the first time I have ever used Fleece Artist Trail Socks.  I picked up a skein of November Sky from a Ravelry destash.  To this day, I am not sure why – completely not my colour set but I thought it might be nice to break out of my rut.

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Now, when I really began knitting less than four years ago, I was one of those that could not understand why anyone would pay so much money for sock yarn.  And worse, I liked the stuff with the cashmere…even though it was another $5-$8 a skein.  But “oh noes!! Expensive yarn and all that time…to put on your feet??  Are you insane?”  Turns out, I was!  I blame my friend Liz, and my great teacher, Kate Atherley for making me a sock knitter.

After spending some time actually knitting socks, though, I realized that yes, while the socks with cashmere were yummier and more squooshy, the 80/20 (or 75/25) blends of merino nylon do wear an awful lot better.  So I set out to find some good, sturdy-yet-comfy sock yarns.  I have tried several but my two favourites so far have been indigodragonfly’s Merino Nylon Sock, and Tanis Fiber Arts’ Blue Label.  These two bases are completely different from one another and I like them both for totally separate reasons.  Trail Socks feels very much like Blue Label, both while knitting and after the fact.  In fact, so similar are they, in the tactile sense, that I’d think they were the same base.  However, the yardage stated on the label of each skein suggests otherwise.

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In any case, it was quite pleasant to knit with and the resultant fabric is nice and comfy.  And I am really in love with the colours.  I am looking forward to having these when the leaves start turning.

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Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Eric Lueder

Yarn: Fleece Artist Trail Socks in November Sky

Who Was It Made For?  Me

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  I don’t even remember what the pattern looks like anymore!

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  I am sure I’ll have another pair finished by Christmas.

(Photos courtesy of Shireen, over at the Blue Brick!)

FO: Vintage Lace Socks

Earlier this year, my friend Carla launched Georgian Bay Fibre Company, a hand-dyed yarn company that dyes exclusively BFL and BFL blends, and takes its inspiration from the beautiful scenery of Georgian Bay.

Her sister, Christina, also a long time friend, was designing some patterns for her (my favourite kind: socks!) and asked if I’d be so kind as to test knit for her.  The first one I tested was a knit and purl design called Squadron Socks; it was a lovely pattern but that pair never got completed as I made a very poor choice in yarn and it really didn’t suit.  I plan to knit them again in a semi solid, when I get a chance.

Her second design was a much bigger success for me, and (because?) this time I chose to knit it in Carla’s Kilcoursie Fingering yarn.  The colourway I chose was her 2014 Colour of the Year, called Wakefield Lilac, and I could not have been happier with how they turned out.

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Vintage Lace Socks have a lovely delicate lace panel down the outside of the foot, front and back, and the result is beautifully feminine.  It was a nice relaxing knit, once I was able to memorize the lace pattern.  (I don’t immediately see past the single YOs and SSKs to see what the pattern is doing and until then, I rely heavily on the chart!)  I did have a heck of a time with the YOs….at least a couple of times a repeat I found myself having to pick up a missed YO…a hazard when one knits lace in front of the TV, I guess 🙂  And the colour is totally reminiscent of the lilacs that grew every spring in my grandmother’s yard.

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I always like knitting socks in the summer because it means that come autumn, I have new socks to wear when the weather turns cool 🙂  I am really excited to have these ready to go for September.

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Pattern: Vintage Lace Socks by Christina Bossart

Yarn: Georgian Bay Fibre Company’s Kilcoursie Fingering (BFL/nylon blend) in Wakefield Lilac

Who Was It Made For?  Test knit/Me

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  I did make the toe a little wider (the pattern says to stop when there are 8 stitches on each needle, but the top of my foot is somewhat square so I stopped at 10)

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  Yes

(Photos courtesy of Shireen, over at the Blue Brick!)

FO: Sign of Four Socks

So, a while back I mentioned that I have this weird habit of getting super obsessed with a pattern and needing to knit it right. now. Anne Hanson’s Sign of Four was another one of those patterns.

Someone posted a finished object shot of a pair of these on a forum I am part of on Ravelry and it was love at first sight.  I had planned a pair of Anne’s Long John Socks for my dad, on her recommendation, but as soon as I saw these I was sunk.  I had given Dad a pair of Anne’s Waffle Creams in blue for Christmas and he loved them so much, Mom told me each time they got out of the laundry, he had them on again the minute he could get his hands on them.  Since he had requested brown socks (OMG, more brown socks!) I cast on.  After all…there is really no better compliment, is there?

As I was knitting I was struck by the fact that the texture was definitely more puffy and “popcorn-ish” than the photos, an effect I was less than pleased with, but I soldiered on, figuring that once they were on his feet, it would not matter.  It was an easily memorize-able pattern so it made for great travel knitting.

The first sock went off perfectly, so on the needles went the second, and everything went swimmingly…until I picked up my gusset stitches and went to knit the first stitch of the instep.  And it was not the right stitch.  The entire pattern had somehow gone one stitch off.  One of the stitches has to move at the end of the leg, before the heel flap, and I am guessing in retrospect that I somehow managed to move the wrong one.  I decided that, since I was on a bit of a deadline because they were coming to visit…I’d keep going.  After all, it’s just texture!  Plus, I knew I was the only person in the world who would ever notice (ok, maybe Anne herself might see the mistake!).  Far as I can tell, no one else noticed.

Pre-blocked socks

Pre-blocked socks

Once they were done, I soaked them and rolled them in a towel to squeeze the water out, before laying them out to dry.  As I placed them on the windowsill, I noticed something wonderful…the puffier texture I hadn’t loved was gone and the pattern I had loved in the FO shots had emerged.  I could not have been more thrilled!

 

Socks in the park in Lindsay!

Socks in the park in Lindsay!  (Thanks to Shireen for the photo!)

Dad loves these, too…and I will be knitting them again soon.  He’ll still get his Long John Socks…those are next!

Pattern: Sign of Four (A Sock For Sherlock) by Anne Hanson

Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Espresso

Who Was It Made For?  Dad

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  Only in the sense that I made a slew of mistakes that luckily no one will notice.

Did I Learn Anything New?  Yes…that I should check the pattern of the stitches on reserve for the instep before I start knitting the heel flap to make sure the configuration of the remaining stitches is correct.

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  I already have it queued, for me this time, with a second skein of Tough Love Sock in a gorgeous blue green colourway called Deep Cove.

FO: Winter Birch

Occasionally, I will be surfing Ravelry or Twitter and I will come across a photo of a new (or not-so-new) pattern and the strangest thing happens.  I become utterly and completely obsessed with the item in question and I have to knit it right. this. second.

So starts the story of how I ended up knitting a Winter Birch in a weekend.

Someone on my Twitter feed posted that they were having a KAL of the scarf and while I didn’t have the yarn required to participate, I did have a stunning silver-grey skein of Illimani Silky Baby Llama that I had picked up on a recent trip to a yarn shop in Kitchener.  It was the right weight and the right size skein, and I was completely in love with the pattern so I cast on on a Friday evening.

It was ridiculously simple to memorize; I think I had it totally committed to memory by the end of the first repeat.

~Photo by Shireen Nadir

~Photo by Shireen Nadir

I found the repeats to be like potato chips…”just one more”.  Within a couple of days, voila!  A gorgeous and soft creation, just the right length for tucking into the front of a coat.

It was already pretty enough, but then my friend Shireen came over, armed with her camera, and took some lovely pics for me.  Someday I am going to finish my Craftsy “Shoot It!” class, I swear!

~Photo by Shireen Nadir

~Photo by Shireen Nadir

I am extremely happy with how it turned out, and considering how quickly I was able to churn it out, the pattern is definitely going to stay at the top of my list for gifting possibilities.

Pattern:  Winter Birch by Debbie Stone

Yarn: Illimani Silky Baby Llama in the ever-so-descriptive colourway “1804”

Who Was It Made For?  Me?  Not entirely sure if it will get gifted elsewhere.

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  Only in the sense that I knit and knit until I was out of yarn and thus ended up with extra repeats.

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  I already have it queued for a skein of Handmaiden Great Big Sea.

FO: Reunion Cowl

Sometimes, a gal just needs mindless knitting.  There are knit nights, lunch hours with a friend, airports and parent visits.  These things all require knitting where I am not trying to remember where the cable crosses are, or how many knit stitches between the YOs and k2togs.

Enter, the Reunion Cowl.  Utterly brainless knitting that can be done just about anywhere.  And when it’s done with indigodragonfly MCN Lace (now known as MerGoat Lace), it’s pure pleasure to knit.

This is my second of these; the first was knit in a OOAK blue-green colourway in late 2012.  But I was always wishing for a red one and Kim and Ron created this lovely colouway a few years back that just cried out to be my newest cowl.

MCN/MerGoat Lace in "Only The Exact Word Word I Used Was 'Don't'"

MCN/MerGoat Lace in “Only The Exact Word Word I Used Was ‘Don’t'”

It took a while to knit up, mostly because it was my carry around knitting so I wasn’t entirely devoted to it.  I love the way it turned out.  Long enough to double up for extra warmth and wonderfully soft and squishy.

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I made a couple of alterations, including knitting the first set of garter rounds as flat rows and doubling up the number of eyelet rows to add both visual and knitting interest.

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I am sure this won’t be my last one of these.  They are a nice change from plain-ish socks when I am looking for easy knitting.

Pattern:  Reunion Cowl by Natalie Selles

Yarn:  indigodragonfly MCN/MerGoat Lace in “Only The Exact Word Word I Used Was ‘Don’t'”

Who Was It Made For?  Me

Were There Changes Made To The Pattern?  Added extra eyelet rows to alleviate boredom, and knit the first garter section and seamed it to help avoid twisting my cast on and to avoid purling.  I have an unnatural aversion to purling, especially when the rounds are some 300+ stitches long.

Did I Learn Anything New?  No

Anything Else?  Not that I recall.

Would I Make Another?:  Likely!