Category Archives: cascade

PROJECT Colorfield Hand Towels (Freebie)

Photo: Purl Soho

Colorfield Hand Towels

I came across these sunny hand towels a few times and felt like they were full of YUP! They’re a good size, 22″ wide x 37″ long, but of course you are welcome to up or downscale them – they’re just rectangles, after all. They’re made with a simple linen stitch that creates a woven look on one side and a nubbly texture on the other. And the pattern’s free – sweet!

The Yarn

Cascade Ultra Pima is a silky soft, light cotton. It’s easy to work with on both knitting needles or crochet hook. I often recommend it for baby blankets or afghans because it’s so soft and machine washable, and it doesn’t have the hardness or lack of give that’s common in so many cotton yarns.

I was so eager to share this project with you that I rephotographed the Cascade Ultra Pima (it was time). All the new images have been colour corrected, so they’re as close to the original as was possible … not an easy task with cotton, the light reflected off the surface makes it really tricky! Any old photos left are colours that were out of stock and couldn’t be photographed.

Photo: Purl Soho

Materials

  • Cascade Ultra Pima: 4 skeins in main colour, 1 skein in contrast colour (makes 2 hand towels, recommend 3718 Cream for main colour and 3764 Sunshine for contrast colour)
  • 4.5mm/US7 – 32″ circular needles
  • FREE Pattern

Colour Suggestions

The following colours of Cascade Ultra Pima are all smashing combined with colour 3718 Cream:

  • 3755 Tomato
  • 3764 Sunshine
  • 3833 Antique Moss
  • 3845 Robin’s Egg Blue
  • 3772 Cornflower
  • 3759 Taupe
Photo: Purl Soho

FINISHED Felix Cardigan

Felix Cardigan

After we finished the Felix Pullover I wanted to try the cardigan version of the sweater for myself, as a store sweater (as opposed to my home sweaters, or commuting sweaters – those are completely different categories of sweater). I was kind of dawdling, so it took me a while to complete, but it’s actually a very quick knit and I don’t think others would have a hard time getting through it. I also learned a few news things along the way! I love learning new things!!!

Fit & Style

So the style is a bit oversized and is supposed to fit with positive ease, and I’d describe the style as demure. I made the smallest size and it’s plenty roomy – after blocking it is 42″ in circumference in the bust (buttoned). The neckline is designed wide, and if you do a sewn/tubular bind-off it will be even wider (I’ll talk more the bind-off below) – which might be good if you have narrow shoulders like me. The fit feels cozy, comfy, and casual, and I don’t feel like you can see much body underneath, partly because of the design and the yarn I used (Cascade Eco+ Merino). There isn’t any shaping through the body, but if some A-line shaping suited you it would be very easy to include.

Things I like: 1. It makes my shoulders look bigger. 2. It looks good over a t-shirt, with skinny jeans . 3. It isn’t too warm. 4. It’s roomy for puffy days.

Things I don’t like: 1. It’s oversized so my shape gets lost (I always feel a bit lost in oversized garments).

The Yarn

After seeing clients make a few gorgeous Carbeths we made the Felix Pullover with Cascade Eco+ Merino, and since I wanted some new colours in my wardrobe this winter so I gave this pretty periwinkle blue/purple a go. Cascade Eco+ Merino is a soft, springy 100% South American merino wool, made in Bolivia. Its spongy, springy and has a ton of body and memory. I think it would hold texrure beautifully and make a dynamite cabled scarf or cowl.

The yarn was soft and easy to work with, and a nice quality at a good price. It wet blocked well, but it really looked fantastic after a good steaming. It’s a neutral feeling yarn, and I think it’s great for the price (by ‘neutral’ I mean it doesn’t feel like it was made from sacred sheep and spun in a mill run by Disney princesses, employing a unionized workforce of well paid small animals and home accents with a background in musical theatre). If you want an “OMG, did vestal virgins knit this sweater?!” experience treat yourself to some Malabrigo Mecha or Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport, you won’t regret it.

Yarn Alternatives

MALABRIGO MECHA: This hand dyed, incredibly soft singly ply merino wool would hands-down make the MOST Stunning cardigan EVER! 6(7, 7, 8, 9) skeins would make a cardigan you’ll never want to take off. I’d opt for one of the semi-solid colourways, otherwise you’ll lose the pretty lace detail in the shoulders.

DIAMOND LUXURY BABY ALPACA SPORT: For an extra soft and drapey version, try Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport: 6(7, 8, 9, 9) skeins. NOTE: alpaca is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down a size from what you would normally wear.

DROPS AIR: The pattern was originally written to be a looser knit on an aran weight yarn that blooms. If you want to try a lighter or airier version, try super soft Drops Air: 4(5, 6, 6, 7) balls. This would would make a sensational spring pullover which would look great over a tank top, or be a great sweater for warm climates and for people who run warm. This is also a super affordable option, running from $40 to $70 (depending on size).

BERROCO VINTAGE CHUNKY: For a machine washable sweater or something for someone who is extra itchy or allergic, I’d go with Berroco Vintage Chunky: 5(6, 7, 7, 8) skeins. Vintage Chunky is also a pocket-book friendly choice, running from $50 to $80 for the project (depending on size).

QUNICE & CO KESTREL: Do you winter down south or live in a warm climate? I don’t, but if I did I’d go for an aran/chunky weight, machine washable linen like Quince & Co Kestrel: 9(10, 12, 13, 14) skeins. NOTE: Linen is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down one or two sizes from what you would normally wear.

Size

Felix is supposed to fit a little bit oversized and casual. I made the first size, which is a small but fits oversized and loose.

  • S(M, L, XL, XL2)
  • Circumference at bust at underarm: 39 (43 ½, 48, 52 ½, 57)”
  • Length from right front cast on to right neck edge: 22 (24, 25, 27, 28)”

Materials

  • Cascade Eco+ Merino: 2(2, 2, 3, 3) skeins, colour 24
  • 5mm/US8-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 6mm/US10-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 5mm/US double pointed needles
  • 6mm/US10 double pointed needles
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle
  • Pattern: Felix Cardigan
  • My Ravelry Notes (for modifications for button-bands and neck ribbing)

Learnings

At the very start of this wall-o-text I mentioned that I learned things, so here are my learnings!

1. Sewn/Tubular Bind Off is STRETCHY

The pattern suggests using a tubular bind-off, but you can use any kind of bind off you like. I figured I would give the Tubular-Bind off a go to see how it worked out, what it’s benefits and deficits were. Just to make sure we are on the same page, I used THIS TUTORIAL for a Long Tail Tubular Bind-Off.

At first the sewn bind-off looked like it would pull-in a lot and I’d have problems maintaining the shape of the garment. I think if you did the bind-off too tight this could end up being a problem, but at a normal or loose tension it is definitely not a concern. I did not really understand how stretchy this bind off can be until I wet blocked the sweater, at which point it really went to town! The bind-off edge was most sensitive on the front button bands and the neck-line, the edge on the cuffs was the most resilient. To get them back into shape I gave them a good steam, but the neck-line might need reinforcing down the line.

Benefits of a Tubular Bind-Off: 1. It makes a nice edge. 2. It’s very stretchy.

Deficits of a Tubular Bind-Off: 1. It takes time and patience, since it’s basically grafting/Kitchener stitch. 2. It’s very stretchy.

Conclusions: Pick your poison. I would probably do it again for the sleeve cuffs and the bottom of the sweater, possibly for the button bands, but definitely not for the neck.

2. Steam is Good!

I bought a little hand-held garment steamer on Amazon and I really like it! The stitches all fell into place beautifully, the places where the fabric had stretched bounced back, and the fibre looks great. I am now pro-steamer garment blocking. (BTW, did you know that Amazon has a discount section called Warehouse Deals? I think it’s stuff people have returned, so mostly opened boxes and superficially blemished products.)

3. The Perfect Sweater

I’ve been mulling around ideas about my understanding of perfectionism, which seems to be something that comes into play when people are learning. I don’t know if I’ve nailed anything down yet, but I definitely see that I’ve been carrying around some perfectionist ideals, and they really hold me back and keep me from feeling satisfied. When I make a sweater for myself I usually have a subconscious fantasy desire, I want it to be perfect, which for me means it’s my favourite thing EVER. I made this sweater to explore a bit (and have a new sweater), and part of that exploration was how I feel about pursuing things that aren’t absolutely phantasmagorical. At no point was this sweater a “This is going to be my favourite sweater EVER” type of project, and that’s really forced me to put myself outside of the safe and familiar. Don’t get me wrong, its a good sweater, and a nice sweater, I’m wearing it right now and you’ll see me wearing it around the store on a regular basis, but it isn’t my fantasy sweater. But who knows, maybe I’ll come to love wearing it around the store, and it’ll be my favourite store sweater? Maybe I’ll make another? Or maybe it will help me to try something new, and then another thing that’s new, and then a whole bunch of new new things until “favourite” takes on a whole new meaning to me? Maybe this wasn’t so much a “Learning” as a “Growing”?

NEW PROJECT Felix Pullover

Felix Pullover

We recently finished this cozy sweater, and it’s definitely a WIN! It was a quick, simple knit with a timeless appeal and pretty, knitterly details. The pattern, Felix Pullover, is a beginner friendly top-down sweater that knits in one piece (no seaming). It works up on 6mm/US10 needles, so it makes a great project you can make AND wear THIS fall. We used two skeins of Cascade Eco+ Merino, which makes it an affordable project that comes in just over $75. It also makes a great gift to knit, should you happen to owe someone a sweater?

The Yarn

After seeing clients make a few gorgeous Carbeths with Cascade Eco+ Merino I wanted to give it a go! I’ve been feeling a need for colour lately, but I thought the neutral light grey would make for a pretty, simple sweater and show off the design details. Cascade Eco+ Merino is a soft, springy 100% South American merino wool, made in Bolivia. It’s spongy and has a ton of body and memory (seriously, it stands up majestically, like gigantic fake boobs). The only thing I’ve found about this yarn is that it’s very merino-ish, it creates great surface detail and would make gorgeous cables. The flip side is that it was slightly unforgiving when it came to weaving in the ends. I suggest splitting the strand when weaving in the tails, which will create less bulk.

Yarn Alternatives

DROPS AIR: The Felix Pullover was originally written to be a looser knit on an aran weight yarn that blooms. If you want to try a lighter or airier version, try super soft Drops Air: 4(5, 6, 6, 7) balls. This would would make a sensational spring pullover which would look great over a tank top, or be a great sweater for warm climates and for people who run warm. This is also a super affordable option, running from $40 to $70 (depending on size).

BERROCO VINTAGE CHUNKY: For a machine washable sweater or something for someone who is extra itchy or allergic, I’d go with Berroco Vintage Chunky: 5(6, 7, 7, 8) skeins. Vintage Chunky is also a pocket-book friendly choice, running from $40 to $80 for the project (depending on size).

DIAMOND LUXURY BABY ALPACA SPORT: For an extra soft and drapey version, try Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport: 6(7, 8, 9, 9) skeins. NOTE: alpaca is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down a size from what you would normally wear.

QUNICE & CO KESTREL: Do you winter down south or live in a warm climate? I don’t, but if I did I’d go for an aran/chunky weight, machine washable linen like Quince & Co Kestrel: 9(10, 12, 13, 14) skeins. NOTE: Linen is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down one or two sizes from what you would normally wear.

Size

Felix is supposed to fit a little bit oversized and casual. We made the second size, which is a medium.

  • S(M, L, XL, XL2)
  • Circumference at bust at underarm: 39 (43 ½, 48, 52 ½, 57)”
  • Length from right front cast on to right neck edge: 21 (23, 24, 26, 27)”

Materials

  • Cascade Eco+ Merino: 2(2, 2, 2, 3) skeins
  • 5mm/US8-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 6mm/US10-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 5mm/US double pointed needles
  • 6mm/US10 double pointed needles
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle
  • Pattern: Felix Pullover
I wish the mannequin had a booty – the sad, empty butt reminds me of my cousin’s sagging jeans.

Many thanks to Tessa for making this happen!

NEW PATTERN Handspun Art Yarn Cowl

Handspun Art Yarn Cowl

The first thing people say when they see Studioloo Handspun Art Yarn is “What do you make with it?” The quantities are generous and the yarn generally does all the work, but there is still room to play around. I like the idea of using an art yarn as a launch-pad and expanding on the aesthetic with a different texture, colour, or both. This is also a great way to make the most of handspun yarn if you only have a small amount, or you definitely don’t have enough for a full scarf or cowl.

With this pattern I’ve started with a skein of Studioloo Handspun Art Yarn, knitted it in a simple garter stitch, which really makes the different colours and textures in the yarn pop. Then I finished the project with a contrasting commercial yarn (Cascade Spuntaneous) with a slightly different tension and stitch pattern (K2P2 rib). I decided to keep the colour between the two yarns consistent (beige) for the sake of simplicity, but I normally like a little contrast (I was thinking or cream or even navy blue as alternate choices). Both yarns are a single ply, but the Cascade Spuntaneous is thicker and loftier, and knits on larger needles.

Skill Level: Beginner

Size: 33” long x 6” wide (lying flat)

Materials

FINISHED Carbeth Pullover

Carbeth (Pullover)

If you’re looking for a quick sweater to whip up before the fall weather really hits, this is IT! The Carbeth Pullover uses chunky weight yarn, 6mm/US10 needles, so it goes fast! The design is simple, elegant, and makes for a very easy to wear sweater with a little bit of interest in the details. It’s easy to change the measurements (make the body longer, make the neck longer or shorter, etc). We used the same yarn, Cascade Eco+ Peruvian Tones, but in a more interesting colour, 08 Rum Raisin (in the skein it looks brownish, but knitted up it looks more like an oxblood/dark red). We tried out the black/grey colourway last December when I made a Carbeth Cardigan, but I think it’s time to get some colour back into our lives!

Yarns

We used Cascade Eco+ Peruvian Tones, which gave it a contemporary look for a great price (the project used less than two skeins, and came in under $70). I’ve also seen it made a few times with Cascade Eco+ Merino, which is a softer merino wool, has more body and definition and still comes in under $76. If you need something machine washable you can’t go wrong with Berroco Vintage Chunky.

Mods

The pattern is a cropped style and we added one inch to the length of the body. I think if I was to make one for myself I’d like the neck longer – I like it all oversized and cozy.

P.S.

Many thanks to our sample knitter Tessa, without who I could not keep up with the hard work of inspiration.

Materials

FREEBIE & STORE HOURS August Long Weekend

August Long Weekend Store Hours

Friday August 2: 11 am to 6pm

Saturday August 3: 11 am to 6pm

Sunday August 4: CLOSED

Monday August 5: CLOSED

Farmhouse Towels

Make some towels that are so beautiful you’ll never want to use them! That’s ok, some things you use until they’re shredded, and some you keep out to please the eye. Both have their roles in our lives.

Materials

You can also use Cascade Ultra Pima and 4mm/US6 circular needles: MC: 2 skeins (3 skeins will make 2 towels), CC: 1 skein.

CLEARANCE 35% OFF Cascade 220 Superwash Sport

SALE Cascade 220 Superwash Sport (select colours)

ALL Cascade 220 Superwash Sport is 35% Off! This yarn is on clearance and we won’t be ordering any more, so this is a “While Quantities Last” opportunity.

Cascade 220 Superwash Sport is a super soft, 100% merino superwash yarn. It’s great for kids and babies (I frequently use it for my niece and nephew), and the 50g skeins make it a nice choice for colourwork. 1 skein is usually enough for a baby hat, 2 for an adult hat or mitts/gloves, 4 for a scarf or infinity cowl, 8 for a baby blanket (approx 30″ x 30″). It’s also perfect for blankets and afghans that require a lot of colours, like those by Attic 24.

  • 100% Merino Wool
  • 50g/125m (136yds)
  • Sport Weight
  • 3.75mm/US5 to 4mm/US6 needles
  • 22 to 24 sts = 4″ (10cm)
  • Machine wash cool, tumble dry low.
  • Made in Peru
  • Project ideas from Ravelry
Photos: Kazyuk

Dembow

I know everybody’s always looking for a yarn that “does stuff”, but sometimes there’s something to a clean, simple cable in a soft, smooth merino. It never goes out of style, it looks good with everything, anybody can wear it – ’nuff said, start your holiday knitting! Plus, the pattern is FREE.

Materials

COMPLETED The Ride for Heart

The Ride For Heart

I just wanted to thank all of the people who donated to my fundraising bike ride for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. You are both very kind and generous, and your support means the world to me!

FYI, we were supposed to do the 25km ride, but we just kept going and scored ourselves an extra 25km … I’m a little tender in the posterior, but I totally earned my donations this year! If you wanted to donate but didn’t get around to it it isn’t too late – my brother is only $12 ahead of me, I think that needs to be rectified …

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PROJECT Great Hera + The Ride for Heart

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Me & my father at the half-way point on a particularly wet & cold Ride for Heart.

Ride for Heart

Some of you already know that every year I do a charity bike ride with my father. This year I managed to drag my BROTHER along, so all three of us are riding 25km up, and then back down the Don Valley Parkway (a local highway).

Anyway, the purpose of the even, besides getting out of the house and getting some exercise, is to rise funds for the Canadian Heart and Stroke association, who does A LOT of important work helping EVERYONE improve their cardiac health (after all, scientific research has no borders). According to an article in the news yesterday women are TWICE as likely to die from a heart attack than men. This is NOT GOOD, because I know from computery data stuff that 95% of the people reading this are WOMEN! Sure, I’ve got a vested interested in keeping you alive, many of you reading this are my clients, but I also feel strongly that the world needs women, as many as it can get. And as women, we deserve to be strong, healthy, and happy.

So not only am I going to ask you to donate to my ride for heart, but I’m going to ask you to write to your own Heart Health organization and ask them to fund research into women’s cardiac health (if you are Canadian it is the Heart and Stroke Foundation, if you are in the United States I believe it is the American Heart Association). 

Thank You SO MUCH!  ~ Haley

P.S. They symptoms of heart attack in women are often different than those seen in men. Women can have chest symptoms (the ‘Hollywood’ clutching of the chest & sweating), or any of the following:

  • profound nausea and vomiting with palpitations
  • lightheadedness
  • extreme fatigue
  • discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back

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WW HAT COMBO

Great Hera!

Since I’ve been talking about women’s health, who better to invoke than the head amazon herself, Wonder Woman. I’ve actually seen this hat in the wild, on some dude in the subway, and it was AWESOME. Sure, you can still wear your Pussy Hat to protests, but sometimes you want something a bit dressier for your day-to-day lady needs. The pattern isn’t free, but it’s only $3, which I don’t begrudge to have someone else do the work of charting the symbol.

To make things easier, I’ve pulled all the suitable colours off the shelf and come up with colour combinations that work well together (you can never really tell online which shades are actually going to look good). I personally like a darker, more sombre colour combo with a dark red, gold and blue, but I know that everyone has different Wonder Woman Toque needs, so I chose colours that were both thematically on cue and look great together. By the way, if this project appeals to you, you might want to bookmark or Pinterest this post for future reference – you’ll want to revisit the colour numbers!

Since this is such a cool project, and it is in honour of a charitable fundraising endeavour, we’re offering a one time discount of 10% Off Online orders of the yarns we think will work best (discount is applicable to all colours, you can have your order shipped or choose to order online and pick-up your order in store): Use code WONDERHAT at checkout.

Needles & Notions

Yarn Options

I recommend the following yarns and colour combinations to make this project WONDERful!

1. Cascade 220 Superwash

Cascade 220 Superwash is a soft, machine washable, 100% Peruvian wool, it comes in a bunch of colours, and the price is very reasonable. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour plus optional 1 ball for pom-pom in colour 817 Aran:

2. Berrocco Vintage

Berrocco Vintage is a super soft, machine washable blend of wool and synthetic, and the price is right at $9.97/skein. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour, plus optional 1 skein for pom-pom in colour 5101 Mochi:

  • Clear Colours Combo: 5150 Berries, 5121 Sunny, 5143 Dark Denim
  • Medium Combo: 5181 Black Cherry Heather, 5127 Butternut, 5143 Dark Denim
  • Dark Combo: 5181 Black Cherry Heather, 5192 Chana Dal Heather, 51182 Indigo Heather

3. Malabrigo Rios

Malabrigo Rios is a hand dyed, SUPER soft, machine washable merino wool, and while the price point is higher at $23.97/skein, comparable hand dyed merino yarns tend to run north of $30/skein. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour, plus optional 1 skein of off-white for pom-pom in Manos Alegria Grande in AG2800:

  • Brighter Combo: 611 Ravelry Red, 96 Sunset, 415 Matisse Blue
  • Medium Combo: 611 Ravelry Red, 96 Sunset, 150 Azul Profundo
  • Dark Combo: 33 Cereza, 96 Sunset, 150 Azul Profundo (the dye lot of 33 is darker than the picture)

WW HAT COMBO

Yarnsperiments & A Hack

On our Last Date I promised to update you on my yarnsperiments, and I have lots to share! I originally played around with holding 2 strands of Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk together, and since then I moved on to see how it acted when I held it with a heavier yarn. The concept is to hold a light, airy yarn like a brushed alpaca or mohair with a heavier, more conventional yarn. The heavier yarn stabilizes the fabric, giving it body, and density. The airy yarn gives it a soft, all-over halo (please note: the fabric can only be as soft as the fibre. A downy alpaca will continue to be soft, and itchy mohair will still be scratchy).

And so, I offer up my experiments …. I’ve used the same 2 yarns throughout: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport and Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk. The Cascade is a sport-weight machine washable merino wool, it is super soft and comes in 50g/125m skeins (perfect for experimenting). The Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk is a worsted weight brushed alpaca that looks kind of like mohair but feels like happiness. It comes in 25g/140m skeins. Both yarns are 100% natural fibres.

On the C Train

My first foray into this combo was On the C Train, a pattern that was designed to be made with 2 strands of yarn held together. It’s made in a K1P1 rib (which I like to call ‘stupid stitch’, which while tedious to knit, makes for an elastic fabric that fits well. I ran short on my base yarn, the Cascade, so the size is a bit on the small side (slouchy on a 21″ head) – all of my modifications are in Our Ravelry Notes. 

The finished fabric almost looks felted, I think because of the colours:

  • The yarns were a dead-on colour match, there’s just about no distinction between the two when they were knitted up. Of course, dye lots can shift colours around, but this combo on this day for this project were twins.
  • Both yarns are solid colours. They are not heathered, so there isn’t any differentiation in the colour, it’s flat.
  • The colour is dark and doesn’t reflect much light. (Yes, yarn can reflect light, and it affects how you perceive the colour. The darker the colour is, the less depth and the flatter it’ll look). The halo of the alpaca also prevents light from being reflected off the merino.

Anyway, it looks really cool! It doesn’t feel remotely felted, it’s soft, extremely comfortable, and has an all-over lightly fuzzy texture. This hat could look really cool in a black on black combo.

Materials

Chunkeanie

Chunkeanie is a pattern we’ve made before, and I’ve always really liked the aesthetic. When I’m knitting it I feel really meh about it, but once it’s done it just looks amazing! It especially looks good on, which is important, since it’s a hat, not a tea cozy. One caveat, I feel like the pattern runs small, their size medium fits my 21″ head. The texture is still soft, and very comfortable. I like this particular yarn combo knitted on the 5mm/US8 needles, it blooms nicely, although I think the brim could be knitted on 4.5mm/US7 needles.

This colour combo with the light greys looks amazeballs! The light grey of the Cascade merino is a bit more of a cool colour, and the alpaca is warmer. They ended up working well together, with the fuzzy alpaca becoming the dominant colour. This is an interesting phenomenon that I hadn’t actually noticed until now. I’m glad I photographed the hats next to their constituent yarns, you can kind of see which colour is more dominant when they are neighbours. Cool! I just learned something new!

The fabric of this hat looks a lot less flat and more fuzzy than felted, probably for a few reasons:

  • Both of the yarns’ colours are heathered, which give it a bit more depth of colour.
  • In the purple alpaca yarn the silk and alpaca content are almost indistinguishable, the entire strand looks the same. In the light grey the silk (the carrier yarn or core) took the dye in a different way (silk does this, it’s fickle) and it is lighter than the alpaca (you can see the silk shining through in the picture below). This little hit of colour runs through the stitches, randomly creating little highlights. (One of the advantages of knitting holding 2 strands together is that the colour distribution is completely random. When the yarns are already pre-spun together you lose that added depth of colour.)
  • The value (the lightness or darkness of a colour) of the colours is much lighter than the purple hat. The dark value of the purple hat added to the flatness of the colour. With this hat, the lightness of the colour creates a greater depth of colour. I can still see details in the yarn, like the stitches and the plies. Even though our mind doesn’t tend to register those little lines, they create micro shadows which in turn creates contrast and adds more depth to the overall colour.

Anyway, this hat-speriment was definitely a win. It looks really good on me, and I think I’m going to have to make myself a second – otherwise I’ll swipe the store sample.

Materials

Chunkeanie

The grey hat worked out so well that I decided to try a different colour and make one for my mom. My mother has a little mini head, so I opted to try a smaller needle size and went down to a 4mm/US6 for the ribbing and 4.5mm/US7 for the crown. The tension was fine, but I definitely feel like the 5mm/US8 was a prettier tension.

The first hat (purple) was a dark colour, the second (grey) was a light colour, and this one was in between. It looks like the fuzzy yarn (the alpaca) is still coming out as the dominant colour in the fabric. The alpaca also seems to look patchier in this hat, which is an optical illusion because it is exactly the same as the other two hats. This is because of the special things going on with this particular colour combo:

  • The Cascade merino is a heathered colour, so it isn’t as flat as the purple. But the heathering is only one colour, white, and it isn’t as complex or have the depth of colour that is in the light grey, which has black and white in it. (You’ll have to take my word on this, my camera skills haven’t made it this far.)
  • The Cascade merino is a bit lighter than the alpaca, while in the other combos this was reversed. The base is showing through a lot more than the other hats, which look more uniform. Light colours project and pop out to the eye, while dark colours recede.
  • Like with the grey hat, the silk hasn’t taken the dye exactly the same as the alpaca and is peeking through, creating some small highlights.

Materials

Knit Hack: Alternate Cable Cast-On

The Chunkeanie pattern calls for an Alternate Cable Cast On, which you do not have to do to make this hat, but I like trying new things, seeing how they work, why the designer chose to use it, etc. The Alternate Cable Cast On is a great way to cast on for a ribbed edge of K1P1 or K2P2 and is a much, much, much easier alternative to a Tubular Cast On. Like, SO MUCH.

So if it’s so much easier, why does it need a hack? Good question. When you do this cast on you’re basically alternating making a knit stitch, then a purl stitch, a simple enough concept – in theory. In theory, my brain should be able to pay attention to knits and purls and knits and purls. In THEORY. In reality, I found myself having a nice little rendez-vous with my learning disabilities. I was constantly screwing up the sequence of the knits and purls and having to rip it out.

How I Mastered this Cast On

Stitch Markers. Get them, use them, they’re your little plastic friends! I placed a stitch marker after every 10 stitches, and before proceeding more than a few stitches past that I went back and checked to make sure the last 10 stitches were correct. Once I confirmed that I was on track, I moved on to the next 10.

Read the Stitches. The other thing I had to do was learn to read what the knit and purl stitches looked like. You can’t check to see if your stitches are correct if you don’t know what they are. The best way is to just practice casting them on and looking closely to see how the knit looks compared to the purl. To my eye, the knit is a long bar that sticks out and the purl is bead or a bump that recedes. I tried taing a picture and labelling it for you, but I don’t know if it’s super helpful – people all conceptualize things in different ways, so it’s best just to study your stitches closely and get familiar with them in your own terms.

Pay Attention to Your Join. This is where reading your stitches again comes in handy. Because the sequence of the stitches is what this cast-on is all about, I joined my stitches by threading the yarn tail on a darning needle and pulling it through the other side. I don’t know why, but I found that once joined my stitches had gotten turned around to the other side, and my round was starting with a purl. At this point I didn’t really care why or how this was happening, I just wanted to get on with it and make a hat, so I adapted and started my ribbing on a purl.

Conclusion

OMG, that was SO. MANY. WORDS. I’m sorry if it’s too many words, too much explanation. Please feel free to take it or leave it, or take some and leave the rest. My conclusions are thus:

  • The hats look really good!
  • I like the yarn combination, it worked out well.
  • The grey hat made me the happiest, but the purple was cool.
  • I now know more than I did before, and this exploration was definitely a worthwhile use of time and resources.

I’ve already moved on to my next project, I’m knitting a Nuvem with the Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk as a straight-up single stand. I think it’ll make for a super cosy wrap for spring, and so far it looks great – but more to follow!