Vagaries (plus giveaway)

From time to time I have one of those days where I very much want to knit…maybe even need to knit…but I absolutely do not have the extra brain cycles to knit anything more complicated than plain stockinette in the round.  On those days, a pattern like Vagaries can be just the thing.

The vast majority of this really is just stockinette in the round.  But somehow those adorable little welts and the contrast color stripes provide just enough distraction to keep it interesting.  I’m pretty sure the secret is picking a yarn you really like (this is Kunlun by Miss Babs, and it is awfully easy to like) and just letting it carry you away!

And then there’s the fun of picking the color for your stripes.  Now…of course you could very easily make this all in one color.  But a tiny stripe of something special is oh so much more fun.  Work it in that color you dearly love but are afraid you can’t quite pull off (though really…if it makes you happy, you can pull it off…happy looks good on you).  Work it with the little bit of leftover yarn that was too fancy to part with (each stripe takes about a dozen yards, you almost certainly have enough).  Work it with that little ball of handspun you made in a class (it’s fine if it’s a little thicker or a little thinner than your background yarn…this pattern is seriously flexible).  Work it in your team colors or your house colors or make a set for the whole family and match the stripes to everyone’s winter coats.  There really are an awful lot of options (and you can even add in more welts and stripes if you’re having too much fun to stop).

And yes the pattern for the little wrist warmers is tucked in there too.  I wanted to take step-by-step photos to show you exactly how to make the welts (they’re easy, I promise), and it seemed like more fun to use wrist warmers for the photos than to show you on a swatch.  And yes…yes I do know exactly how cute these would be as boot toppers!

Now, like I said, the secret to really enjoying this pattern is being sure you’re working with a yarn that mellows you out.  For me, that was Kunlun in a lovely calm gray (it’s called Fieldmouse) with a little hit of green for the contrast (that one’s Hops).  The good folks at Miss Babs want to help one of you achieve a similar state of woolly bliss, so they’re going to send someone a skein of Kunlun in their choice of color (just pretty please pick one of the in stock colors…it’s show season, and sticking with the in stock colors keeps it all more streamlined for them).  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with the name of your favorite of their colorways.

And to spread the love around a little, they’ve also set up the code code KUNLUNHATS to take 10% off all their Kunlun online through November 20th (just remember, that’s online only).  I have a sneaking suspicion I may be taking advantage of that myself here shortly…I promise to leave at least some for you too though!

And in case you need something to do with all that awesome new yarn, the code STRIPES will let you take 10% off the Vagaries pattern on ravelry between now and Friday.  Just put Vagaries in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code STRIPES.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

There’s not too much in the way of fine print.  Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, October 27, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way (they’ll need to pick a colorway that’s in stock when they’re notified).  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.

Vestige (plus giveaway)

So I do this thing where I find a yarn base I really like, buy a bunch of it in different colors for various projects, and then end up with lots of little bits and pieces left over.  It’s happened with Madeline Tosh, and it’s happened with Quince & Company, and it’s happened with Malabrigo.  Vestige is the perfect set to make use of some of those leftover bits!

I had a whole skein of the purple floating around (the color is called Sabiduria), and some bits and pieces of pink (Archangel), and decided they should hang out together and make something fun.

Now I went ahead and just used two colors, and kept the same one as background in both pieces, but if you had more bits and pieces, this would lend itself perfectly to something a bit more adventurous.  You could swap contrast and main between the hat and the mitts.  Or it would look great if you used one contrast color for the rolled edges and another for the slip stitch bands.  And the hat would be just about too cute to be allowed if you did each stripe in a different shade (think rainbow or gradient).

All you’ll want to do is try to use contrast colors that are about the same weight/thickness as your main color (that’s where having lots of leftovers from the same base comes in handy).  And you really don’t need much of the contrast color (especially if you’re using more than one).  This is a perfect excuse to go raiding your leftover bin or to play with some of those mini skein packs that everyone loves so much.  And the textured bands are a perfect place to use some heavily variegated yarn (the slipped stitch breaks up any crazy pooling, and the small doses mean even the most exuberant yarns look great).

And as for the knitting itself, it’s about as mellow as it comes.  It’s mostly stockinette with just a few textured bands thrown in to show off the contrast yarn (it’s all slipped stitches, nothing hard…if you can work in the round, knit, purl, and decrease, you can make this set).   I’ve heard a rumor some of you are starting to think about holiday knitting (who said it’s allowed to be September?) and these might be just the thing to get a jump on that (I just know someone is going to do a whole family’s worth where everyone has the same background color and the contrast colors are everyone’s favorite colors)!

The good folks at Malabrigo are letting me send two skeins of Rios to one of you.  All you have to do is pick your two favorite colors and leave them in a comment over on this post on instagram (this is a little different than usual, only comments on that instagram post count as entries).

And, for everyone I can’t send yarn to, I’ve got a coupon for Vestige.  You can use the code PAIRING to get 10% off between now and Friday.  Just put Vestige in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code PAIRING.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Comments left on the instagram post between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, September 8, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them via DM on instagram to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  If I do message you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.

Compunction (plus giveaway)

Ok…moment of truth here…think about your stash.  Do you have a skein of sock yarn you just know isn’t going to become socks?  I suspect you do, and I have a feeling Compunction might be just the thing to do with it!

Now I want to be clear…just because a skein of sock yarn isn’t destined to be socks doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it.  In fact, quite the opposite.  It could be too lovely to hide away in shoes, or too delicate to be subjected to the rigors of life as a sock.  Or it could be something special you just want to see and touch and interact with in a way you don’t normally do with socks.

That’s sort of what happened here.  On one of our trips to Maine, The Boy spotted some yarn he really liked.  It was made by a local shop and named after one of our favorite places and just seemed too perfect to leave behind.  But it also wasn’t the sort of thing I wanted to make socks out of (I tend to favor chunky yarn for socks and this is skinny stuff).

But it would be perfect for a hat.  A hat, and just maybe some mitts too. Because really, sometimes you don’t need something huge and bulky, and something a bit lighter is just the ticket.

A simple little herringbone stitch let the yarn shine (and makes the knitting fly, you’re slipping about half the stitches which always feel super fast to me).  And I suspect you can get both pieces out of just about any full-sized skein of sock yarn (I got a large man’s hat and cuffs out of mine with yarn to spare).

And one more confession, I totally don’t have this exact yarn to give away (there was only one in the shop!), but I do have two other beautiful skeins of sockish-yarn-that-just-isn’t-destined-to-become-socks to send home to two lucky winners.  They’re both yarns I got on various adventures, and they’ll both look amazing in this pattern.  Just leave a comment telling me about a special skein of yarn in your stash to be entered to win.

And I am not quite cool enough to send yarn to everyone, but I can give everyone a discount.  You can use the code DESTINY to get 10% off the hat between now and Friday.  Just put Compunction in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code DESTINY.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, April 7, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick winners, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winners).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them. Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

Petiole (plus giveaway)

So confession time, there’s something about knitted leaves.  I’m not honestly sure what, and I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t be this satisfying.  But who am I to argue.  I like them, and I suspect you do too.  Especially the adorable ones in Petiole!

DSC_1461 copySo the hat’s great fun.  It’s tidy and orderly and totally worth working all that ribbing for the brim (you’ve know me long enough to know I go a bit cross eyed when asked to do more than three rows of ribbing).  And of course the crown is downright lovely (because no one has time for boring crowns).

DSC_1501 copyBut if we’re being honest, I suspect these little cuffs are the real star here.  Just look how adorable they are.  Nothing has any right to be that cheerful.

DSC_1495 copyThat little leaf at the top nestles in right at the space between your thumb and forefinger.  And no, it probably isn’t doing much to keep you warm.  But oh my goodness it’s doing its part to keep you happy.  And really, sometimes that’s what we want from a little bit of yarn, isn’t it?

DSC_1519 copyI actually think this whole set is doing more than its fair share to increase happiness through yarn.  I suspect it’s the leaves (maybe it’s because they’re so logical to knit, just nice orderly increases and decreases structured in a way that makes your knitting easy to read?), but I’m not going to argue with it!

DSC_1476 copyThough really, at least some of it could be the yarn!  I used Tosh Vintage, which is always fun to work with (their colors are just so pretty every time).  Mine is in Amber Trinket (though my skein seems to be much pinker than what they show on their website…almost closer to their Begonia Leaf or Sugar Plum colors).  And I’ve got a skein of the same base in a lovely deep blue to send home with one of you.  If you think it should be yours, just leave a comment telling me what’s the most cheerful bit of knitting you’ve ever done (finger puppets? baby hats? tea cozy?  There’s no right or wrong answer, I just like to hear what you guys are up to!)

And while I can’t quite manage to send yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  You can use the code CHEERY to get a dollar off the price between now and Friday.  Just put Petiole in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code CHEERY.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

DSC_1431 copyComments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, October 21, 2016 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

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Tacit (plus giveaway)

I know quite a few of you have been eagerly awaiting these.  So, for anyone in a tearing hurry, let me just go ahead and say Tacit are out.  You can grab them and cast on right now.  But do swing back by when you have a moment, as I’ve got yarn to give away down below!

DSC_6345 copySo I know lots of folks watched this one come together (someone linked to one of the early posts about them on pinterest and it sort of blew up, which is totally nifty).  And the thing I kept getting asked over and over was ‘wait, how do you do that?’  The answer is that it really is just cables.  Lovely, classic, 2-over-2 cables (plus a bit of ribbing on the underside to make sure they’re comfy).

DSC_6354 copyThe cables are arranged a little bit differently than you might expect (you keep individual cable columns going in long, straight lines rather than doing that over, under, over, under dance cables so often do).  But technique-wise?  It’s just basic cables.  Meaning it’s not at all hard (and as a bonus, once you see how it works, it’s very easy to remember, so you won’t be glued to the chart).  Though the end result is rather impressive looking!

DSC_6322 copyMitts like this are actually pretty much my favorite thing to do with fingering-weight yarn.  I have a hard time knitting socks out of it (it hurts my hands), and an equally hard time resisting its charms, so I end up with a fair amount of it in my stash.  And of course, even if you love knitting socks from fingering-weight yarn, you probably occasionally encounter a skein or two that’s just too pretty to hide in shoes.  My natural inclination is to make mitts!

DSC_6315 copyThese are made with lovely yarn from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts that I got way back at the second Sock Summit in 2011.  Any yarn that makes it through that many stash tosses is something special (I am pretty ruthless with the stash, only the good stuff sticks around long)!  The exact base and color I used are, sadly, no longer available.  But I talked with the good folks over at Ancient Arts, and we figured out that their BFL Sock yarn in Fog Warning will make a fabulous substitute.

They’ve got a skein of it to send off to one lucky knitter.  If you think it should be you, just leave a comment telling me how much of your stash is sock yarn.  More or less all of it?  Just one or two special skeins?  None any at all?  There’s no right or wrong answer, I just want to know if I’m the only one who can’t resist sock yarn’s charms!

And while I can’t quite manage to yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  You can use the code ZIG ZAG to get a dollar the price between now and Friday.  Just put Tacit in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code ZIG ZAG.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

DSC_6359 copyComments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, June 10, 2016 will be entered to win.  After the contest closes, I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.

Not Enough

So the cowl was apparently not enough.  I mean I had a whole extra skein of yarn sitting around, and I didn’t want it to languish.  (And who knows when this uncharacteristic tolerance of blue will wear off and I’ll go back to my accustomed grays and browns.)  So now we have the Blue Thing of Blue…Part Two.

DSC_4689Not even a little bit sorry.

Lifecycle

Once, long ago, I took a weekend trip.  It was cold, so I made a hat.  I had a tiny bit of yarn left, so I made some very very wee cuffs to go with it.  Then, as is the way with knitted things, I wore the heck out of them.  They’ve been used for four winters, and they are showing some serious signs of wear.

DSC_2270 But, this isn’t all bad.  I’ve been having great fun reworking and re-releasing old patterns.  I’ve always wanted the mitts to be a bit taller, and I’ve been feeling the need for a hat with a lovely folded up brim.  Throw in just the right yarn, and an upcoming car trip, and I feel a hat coming on.  Again.

DSC_2271How about you guys, do you ever go back and re-knit old favorites when they wear out?  Any patterns you knit over and over?  Or are you always ready to move on to the next thing?

Options

The more I knit, the more I find myself interested in options.  I almost never knit something without thinking ‘hmmm, I could do it this way, or I could do it this way, or maybe I could try this other thing’ and wanting to more or less do them all.

Now often, this is a bit impractical.  Eventually I just have to settle down and knit the thing.  And if I’m writing a pattern (which I do for almost everything I knit), I don’t feel good giving you options for variations I’m not showing you pictures of.  Doing that would mean extra yarn and extra knitting time and extra photos, and that’s not always a realistic way to go.

But this time, it is.  This set was so quick and so much fun to knit, that I almost couldn’t help myself.  There will be two versions of the hat (with and without the hole), two versions of the cuffs (with and without the hand part), and maybe possibly two versions of the cowl (it depends on if my yarn and enthusiasm hold out long enough).

scale And just to really show how versatile this is, I’m doing the two sets at totally different gauges (the first was done on 11s, this one is done on 8s).  Same yarn, same stitch, but changing the needle size gives a whole different character to the fabric.  I still can’t decide which I like best!

More Obliging Still

Sometimes you go to the sketchy parts of town to find the right atmosphere, and sometimes you find it closer to home.  Perhaps just around the corner, in the garage of an abandoned house.  You know, the garage with the hole in the roof and the tree growing out the middle of it and the distinct cant to the left.  Not the best thing ever when it comes to, say, property values, but very handy indeed when you need to grab a quick knitting pic after dinner.

That’s Space Cadet Creations’ Astrid yarn in a one of a kind color way.  This is another of the projects that will be in this fall’s mini book.  I’m putting the finishing touches on that project and can’t wait to have it done and off to the printer!

Warm Up

You remember the (ever so slightly crazy making) reign of painterly doom.  They did lovely work, but while they were here, I just could not pay attention to one thing for more than an hour or so at a time.  It just wasn’t happening.

So in celebration of a short attention span, I made this set of mitts.  At least that’s the excuse I’m using for the otherwise pitiful amount of stuff I got done while they were here.  The mitts are an excellent consolation though!

Each one takes only minimal mental effort (hey, we all have those days, I don’t judge).  Each is made a different way (I wouldn’t want you to get bored).  Best of all, they only take a bit of yarn (these are all made with 100 yards or less), come in a wide range of sizes, and work up quickly.  So basically they’re perfect for using up leftover sock yarn and ticking names off your Christmas list (it’s 12 weeks away people, you may all commence panicking now).

The red ones at the top there are called Smidgen.  They’re the laciest of the bunch and perhaps the most classic.  They tuck up under your shirt sleeves and provide just a tiny bit of color and frill to entertain you as you go about your day.  The shape leaves your hands free to type or knit.

The yellow ones over there on the right are called Sliver.  They’re the most unusual of the three.  I’ve never made a mitt in this shape before, but I’m sort of in love, and will be making more in the future.  They’re dead simple to make but look marvelously impressive once they’re done.  That, and you get to use a button (well, two buttons really).  I’m more or less hopelessly smitten with them.  I’ve seen a few done in some lovely multi-colored yarn and it seems to stand up to crazy colors just fine.

The blue ones down there on the left are Snippet.  These are unabashedly exuberant.  They are not serious.  They are not classic.  They’re just wicked good fun and super cute.  Now of course you could make them taller.  Making them taller might even be the reasonable thing to do.  But I had only a wee bit of yarn and I wanted to do something a bit dramatic.  These are the result.  They’re almost like bracelets at this length, though somewhat to my surprise, even tiny slips of wool like this do seem to keep me warmer.  However tall you make them, they’re sure to delight.

Each of the patterns is available individually for $3.00 (just click on the names), or you can get all three together here for $5.75.

This is the first time I’ve grouped a few patterns together as a collection.  I’ve often offered pairs of patterns together as a set (hat and mitts or cowl and mitts).  Those have all been things made of the same yarn, using the same or similar stitch patterns, and meant to be worn together.  Those felt perfectly natural to offer as a pair.  This I’m a little more hesitant about.  They all have a common thread, but it’s not like you’ll wear them at the same time.  What do you guys thing?  Good idea?  Unnecessary?  Something I’m overlooking?