Held Double

Flexes fingers…stretches arms…ok, this is all stuff I’ve said before, so totally feel free to skip right over this if you’ve been here a while.  But just in case you’re new, here’s the spiel on the cast on.

Yup, I totally cast on over two needles held together.

Before anyone screams or cries into their tea or sends me worried messages…don’t panic, I know that doesn’t make the cast on any looser or stretchier.  To make the cast on looser, you need more space *between* one stitch and its neighbor. But casting on this way does make each individual stitch a tiny bit *taller*.  And that makes my cast on a better match to the stitches I make on the rest of the project.

See, I’m a pretty loose knitter.  So the loops of yarn I make are a good bit bigger than the needles I make them with.  BUT…for some reason I’m a tight cast-er on-er (no, not a word, but you get what I mean).  So if I just use one needle to cast on, the loops of yarn I make in my cast on would be way smaller than the loops of yarn I make my regular stitches with, and that’s no good.

So, casting on over two needles helps balance them out.  I could get the same result by casting on over one much larger needle.  But that would require digging such a needle out of the needle cage (and runs the risk of inadvertently then using that big needle as I start knitting, which you wouldn’t think would happen, but I can say with certainty that it can).

So, this works for me, and I know how/why it works.  If you knit tightly when you cast on but loosely otherwise, it might work for you too.  But if all you need is for your cast on to be bigger around, then you have to leave more space between stitches instead!

That’s going to work out nicely…

Pretty sure we need more brioche.  And I’m pretty sure this is going to be the way to do it.

That orange is some seriously deep stash.  The company is, alas, apparently out of business…and normally that means I would not use the yarn, but it’s a common enough base that it won’t be hard to find an equivalent yarn.  And my goodness but it’s too pretty not to use.

All my suspicions are confirmed by the swatch (insert ‘yay swatch, swatch is important, swatch is useful’ peptalk right about here).  That is, indeed, going to be smashing.

Yarns are Punta Yarns’ Mericash in color HP66 and Malabrigo’s Rios in Sabiduria. ⠀

They grew

Turns out, if you keep making stitches at even a slightly faster rate than you rip them out, your project will eventually grow.  Even if you’re tired.  Even if it’s been raining for two weeks straight.  Even if you have a crew full of marvelous folks doing necessary but noisy (oh so noisy) repair work at your house.

And if your knitting grows for long enough, you get to make a thumb.

And if your brain works the way mine does, two things happen.  First, you absolutely adore the thumb.  Second, you think it looks just the tiniest bit like a cartoon circus tent.  But somehow you kinda don’t mind at all.

Not even a little bit sad about that.  Just wait till you see it all poufed out (being trapped on a needle makes it much flatter than it is in real life).  It’s unspeakably satisfying.

The matching hat is coming out early in May, and then these will follow along mid month so you can revel in them too if you’re as smitten as I am!



Show off

I have this little voice in the back of my head that says I should attempt to maintain some sort of semblance of self effacing modesty.  That I should not let on about how tickled pink I am about this whole thing.

But you know what?  That little voice is absolutely drowned out by the ever so much louder voice saying “Holy crap look what I made.  Isn’t it fabulous? Don’t you just love it to bits?!?”

And today?  Well today the louder voice is winning. Because this really is rather delightful.

It’s off with testers now (some day we’re going to talk about how much I love the part of the process where I get to watch other people make the thing that existed first only in my head, because it really is kind of trippy).  And I’ll be venturing out to take proper photos of it here shortly (I like to have the mitts and the hat get their photos at the same time so I don’t have to worry about the light being different on different days).  And then the pattern should be out in May (the magic linky thing at the bottom of this post will let you sign up to hear when it’s out if you want a heads up).

If you want to start tracking down yarn, I used a skein of Malabrigo’s Rios in Natural (that’s the white bit), and a skein of Freia’s Sport Gradient in Flare, and I had plenty of yarn to do the hat and mitts from one skein of each (standard disclaimer about how if you decide to make your mitts elbow length you may have a different experience, but I have a big head and big hands, and I was fine).


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Pretty much like that

So after that ‘let’s go straight for a nice long time…no…longer than you think’ part, then comes the ‘aaaaaaand three rows and you’re done’ bit.

At least that’s how my hats tend to work.  I’m a tremendous fan of a quick decrease on hats.  It actually means you’re knitting a bit more fabric (because you have to make the straight part a bit taller before you start the decreases), but I feel like it fits better and it doesn’t give me hat hair.

Plus it lets you do all sorts of delightfully dramatic stuff on the top.  This one is going to be all starburst-y sparkle pony on the top (yes, that’s totally the technical term).  It’s going to be grand.

And, as you may have noticed, I’m nowhere near through the whole color progression on the gradient yarn.  Which could be a bummer if I were only planning to knit a hat.  But once again fingerless gloves will come to the rescue.  I used a long gradient on fingerless gloves once before and was a tiny bit worried I’d be bugged by the whole ‘ack, they aren’t technically exactly matching’ thing, but it turns out I’m actually ok with it.  Which is good, because this yarn is way to pretty to let it go to waste!


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Yeah, so somehow I’ve been distracted and not shown you as much of this as I should have.

Which is a shame, as it’s lovely.

But it does pretty much do that thing all hats do in the middle where you can just sort of assume ‘and then it got taller for a while with no particularly notable changes.’  Because well…that’s how hats work.

At least with this one you can distract yourself by wondering if the color is changing yet (hint, yes, yes it totally is).

Yarns are Malabrigo Rios in Natural and Friea Handpaint Sport in Flare.  If you want to see things in something slightly closer to real time, I tend to post a bit more on instagram than on the blog these days (sad, I know, but true).  This is absolutely totally going to be a pattern (likely in May).  And the way to hear about that is to make sure you’re on the mailing list (magic linky thing down below).


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And now we start actually knitting

So, after all those swatches, it’s time to actually knit the thing!

I’m doing a rolled brim (in part because I like how it looks and fits, but also in part because I want to get to the color change bit as quickly as I can, and plowing through a solid brim in the colorful yarn lets me get there quick).

And I generally cast on over two needles (not to make the cast on stretchier, it doesn’t do that, but it does make the loops of my first row of stitches a better match for the rest of my knitting…I’m a loose knitter but a tight cast-er on-er, and this balances things out).

And then it’s time to cruise along, clicking happily away, and wait for the color change!  You know, assuming I don’t get distracted by cupcakes and fall down that rabbit hole…

Colorful yarn is Freia Fine Handpaints’ Sport base in the color Flare. White yarn is Malabrigo’s Rios in Natural.  And the needles, alas, have no brand as they’re some random ones I found somewhere along the way.


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Field trip

Went on a yarn field trip last week…needed some stuff to play with my newly developed obsession with two color brioche.

The dark purple bit of lovely is Shibui Knits’ Silk Cloud in Velvet.  The fluff in plastic is two disks of Lopi’s Plötulopi, one in white and one in purple, but I don’t see color names.  And the other goodness is Malabrigo’s Lace in Natural (white), Polar Morn (gray), Archangel (pink), and Whale’s Road (blue).

And no, they’re not all getting used together!  The Shibui is probably going with the light purple stuff I got from Martin’s Lab a few weeks ago (there’s a swatch of it if you look back a few posts).  The Malabrigo stuff will probably get paired off (not sure which with which just yet…there will be swatching).  And the Lopi I want to try doing brioche with…not sure how it will come out, but I’m interested to see.

But…that’s probably the most yarn I’ve bought in a day in…oh…years. So I thought it deserved a bit of stash flash!

At least my feet will be warm…

I’m absolutely positively convinced that warm feet make all the difference on cold days.  And you all know I have a slew of wool socks (perks of the trade…).  But sometimes you want an extra layer, and that’s where the slippers come in.  I’ve been rocking the slippers over socks thing the last few mornings (what can I say, it’s chilly…) and found that I wanted some taller ones.  So these are going to come up all the way over my ankles.

And they’re out of seriously thick yarn (Malabrigo’s Twist in the color Zinc) knit just as tight as I can make it.

And yes, they will look like crumpled moth wings until I get them blocked.  But I’m quite confident they’ll be lovely when I’m done.  Just hang in there with me and we’ll get it sorted out.

Lovely and warm…we mustn’t forget warm…

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.