December is always a good time to try out new patterns for accessories – winter can be long in Canada and I’m always sick of last year’s accessories by the time the fall has ended. I found this neat looking hat on Ravelry and figured it might make a nice new style. The pattern is the Copy Cat C.C. Beanie by Emily Ingrid (a freebie)and we used one skein of Malabrigo Rios.
The hat is designed as a beanie, so if you want something slouchier I would knit an extra pattern repeat. Ours is a smidge shorter than normal, I think we also accidentally left off the last tier of 1×1 rib at the top – oops! It fits a 22″/size medium head, but if you want to make something larger it is an easy pattern to modify, you can just add 8 stitches to the pattern. To make it smaller omit 8 stitches (or knit it on 4mm/US8 needles).
The brim is turned over, but I don’t know if that is a necessary feature, I think you could just knit the ribbing on 3.75mm/US5 needles and do it as a single ply.
I haven’t made a Christmas stocking in a few years, but my fingers were itchy last weekend and I was feeling the store needed a bit more decorative cheer. The pattern is one of our older freebies (sorry about the formatting, I need to update that) but like many classics, it works. The stocking is constructed as a basic toe-up sock (with a short-row toe and heel), with really bulky yarn on really big circular needles.
I used Bernat Roving (2 strands held together) on 10mm/US15-16″ circular needles. The yarn was a “cheap ‘n cheerful” choice, and I’ll be honest, the yarnie in me was yearning for the merino Cascade Spuntaneous. Actually, what I’d love to use is an especially colourful skein of the hand dyed Fleece Artist Merino Stream (on 8mm needles and with a few extra stitches) …. it may still happen. You could also use the Drops Andes and 8mm/US13 needles (or 2 strands together on the larger needles) – they make a very canonical Christmas Red and their white is nice too.
I worked the foot section until it was 7″, but on my next stocking I’ll make it 6″.
The 10mm/US15 needles and 2 strands held together made a slightly dense fabric. Since my stocking is purely decorative, I would use 12mm/US17 needles if i used this particular yarn again (held double).
Bernat Roving: 1 skein (colour 100 Rice Paper) – hold 2 strands together
10mm/US15-16″ circular needles
10mm crochet hook (for provisional cast on)
bulky scrap yarn (for provisional cast on)
10mm/US15 double pointed needles (optional, for i-cord)
Check out my new Carbeth Cardigan – I just finished blocking it, and it’s definitely a win. It was relatively quick, and I only used two skeins of Cascade Eco Peruvian Tones, so the price tag isn’t precious. I would totally make this sweater again, and in fact, I was so impressed with the design that we’re offering it as a class this February!
The fit is great! I made the second size and it fits true to a size small (sometimes with sweaters with a lot of ease through the body it’s hard to tell which size will fit. I wasn’t sure the decorative detail in the shoulder would make me happy (diagonal lines in that area don’t always flatter petite shoulders) but I was very happy and surprised to find that they made my tiny shoulders look great! It’s hard to see on the mannequin because it has even less shoulder than I do, but the lines are very elegant. I think the sweater will look great with a high waisted pant like a trouser cut (unfortunately, another garment my mannequin doesn’t wear well).
A small note about the colour of my yarn – it is not supposed to stripe or knit in blocks of colour. There seems to have been a problem with the dye lot I used, which was actually from last year’s stock. It looks like the dye was more saturated in part of the skein. After I figured out what was happening I decided to go with it – I wasn’t in the mood to rip it all back, so I figured I’d take a leap of faith, thinking it might look interesting or add something aesthetically. I think it did.
Check Your Gauge
I swatched A LOT to make sure my tension was accurate. My tension may not be what yours is, so PLEASE swatch and measure your gauge before casting on! The needles I used may not be the right size for you. The pattern called for 6.5mm/US10.5 needles, but I ended up going down to a 5.5mm/US9 to get the right tension.
To measure your gauge, you want to knit a square approximately 6 inches x 6 inches in the stitch that the pattern suggests (if they say their tension is in stocking stitch, then do that). Wash your swatch in cold water with a delicate wash like Eucalan or Soak, and lay it flat to dry. Then, on a hard surface with a ruler, measure the number of stitches and rows inside 4 inches/10 cm in the centre of the piece. DO NOT cast on the number of stitches that are stated in the pattern gauge, this will make a swatch that is too small to measure your tension accurately. How many stitches should you cast on for a swatch? Take the number of stitches in the pattern’s recommended tension (ex. 14 sts = 4″/10cm) and multiply it by 1.5 … so if the tension is 14 stitches you should cast on about 21 stitches. Also, always swatch with the same needles you are going to knit with – people’s tension can change with their comfort level with different types of needles.
I’m so sorry you haven’t heard from me a few days, you guys have been keeping me very busy in the store! I did manage to get a quickie off the needles this week – check out my Mega Rib! I managed to knit up this beanie in a single night – does that make it a one night stand? It;s definitely last-minute-giftable! It was quick & easy, I used one skein of Fleece Artist Merino Stream and 8mm/US11 needles. This yarn was a bit thinner than the one specified in the pattern, but I think it still works. The hat would also look good made according to the pattern’s directions with Cascade Spuntaneous (a super soft, single ply merino wool). Oh, and I forgot, the pattern is a freebie!
I used 8mm/US11 needles and the tension was comfortable a bit loose for a Canadian winter. Use 7mm/US10.75 needles for a denser tension.
I cast on 48 stitches, it fits an Adult medium. For an adult large cast on 51 sts, for a small cast on 45 sts.
A client came in last night who wanted to make some granny slippers, and it occurred to me that I’ve NEVER made a pair, and maybe I should step outside my box and try a pair. I’m happy to report that they were SUPER EASY, beginner friendly (like after scarves), fast, and don’t use a ton of yarn, and are super cosy and warm! I whipped up a pair in one evening, so they’re definitely doable for holiday gifts. They aren’t fancy, but they are definitely cosy, warm, and fast!
A. I used 5mm/US8 needles, and it made the tension a bit tighter, 15 sts = 4″ (10cm). My feet are narrow, so this didn’t make a big difference in size, but if you are knitting for wider feet I would add a couple of stitches to the pattern.
B. The pattern, which was not originally written in english, has one phrase that novices might find confusing. It says “K sts tog 2 by 2”. What they want you to do is K2tog across the row (so knit 2 stitches together, and keep doing this to the end of the row. For beginners, the pattern website also has a how-to video on how to knit 2 stitches together.
C. For beginners who do not know how to seam (or for more experienced knitters who may not know how to do this particular seaming prettily), the pattern website offers some handy how-to videos to get you through the project. To make a tidy seam at the back of the foot (because it is a cast-on edge) this may be a helpful video.
D. Please see our Hack below for suggestions on making sure the colour distribution of hand painted, variegated yarns is the same for both your slippers! If you’re using a solid, heathered or semi-solid yarn you don’t need to worry about this, but you might find it interesting and useful information for the future.
And now for the hack! It’s a universal knitting truth that variegated yarns have a tendency for the colours to pool in ways we can’t anticipate. Sometimes it’s fun, funky, and enhances the project, and sometimes we don’t really care for it. It’s random, it happens, and we learn to accept it. You can usually play around with this effect by varying the needle size, the number of stitches you put on, and the stitch pattern you choose. But while knitting these slippers I found out something new – the place in the colourway that you cast on (where you place your slip knot or first stitch), can have an effect.
Option A) Asymmetrical Pooling Approximately half of the colourway in this particular skein is dark, and the other half was colourful (lets say it starts with the dark blue, the moves into a second part, the brighter warm colours). In the picture above, I made the slip knot around where the colour is changing between the two. The colours pooled kind of randomly, and I thought it worked with the skippers once they were seamed – they’re kinda funky.
Option B) Symmetrical Pooling In this picture, I made the slip knot around the centre of the dark part of the colourway (so about 1/4 of the way through the colour repeat). The colours ended up pooling completely symmetrically! All the Blues stacked up on the right and the reds lined up on the left. It was super cool. It also didn’t suit my sensibilities for this project, although I kind of want to make a neckwarmer this way.
Caveat Emptor: every skein of hand-dyed yarn is different, so this isn’t a rule. so much as a factor. Like I said at the start, the number of stitches, the tension and the stitch pattern also have an effect on the colour distribution. But if you are making your own slippers with hand-dyed, variegated yarn, be sure to cast on in the same place in the colourway to get a similar colour distribution.
So there you go, you learn something new every day! For more information on colour distribution in variegated yarns, I highly recommend the book Artful Color, Mindful Knits.
Sure, you’ve been knitting up a storm making gifts for your loved ones, but what about you?! We’ve got lots of gifts (big and small) to keep knitters, crocheters, and needle felters of all skill levels happy. All our stock is available through our website and is available in-store.