We just finished making our FREE Easy Garter Scarfy Wrap with one of the new multi-coloured Handmaiden Casbah 5ply Gradient Wrap Kits – I knew it would come out beautifully! Handmaiden always comes up with interesting colour combinations that I wouldn’t normally think of, and the pop of colour is just what’s needed on dreary winter days.
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’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.
We just finished this easy Classic Ribbed Hat, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The pattern was a freebie, so yay! We used a single skein of Diamond Baby Alpaca Sport, which is a BULKY weight, supremely soft 100% baby alpaca, and it feels marvellous! We used 5.5mm/US9 needles, so the tension is tight and the fabric will hopefully be a bit on the dense side, and more Canadian winter friendly. I kinda really like the colour, sometimes pinks and purples can be so surprising. And of course, we topped the whole thing off with a Raccoon Fur Pompom – I think they add a little polish and finish the look. I think it makes a beautiful, personal holiday gift (and it works up fairly quickly, so you can get it done in time).
I wasn’t sure about the sizing, so we cast on for the child side to fit an adult S/M, and then followed the instructions for the adult size. We also did an extra round of decreases at the end, to make the top more manageable to close. We always try to write out mods in the project notes on Ravelry.
My friend Rosie just finished a set of mitts made with Cascade 220 Superwash Wave and I think they’re really cool! She used one skein to make all three mitts with the World’s Simplest Mittens pattern (a freebie from the lovely ladies at Tin Can Knits, she made a size Women’s Medium). Why three? Why not?! There was more than enough yarn left to make a third, and you inevitably always misplace or lose one mitten. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool, having three mitts that match but aren’t exactly alike – it’s like having extra wardrobe options!
The pattern is excellent; a basic mitten knit in the round. It is very straightforward, well written, and the instructions (like all of the Tin Can Knits patterns) are easy to read and follow. It is written for sizes Toddler to Adult Large, and accommodates four different sizes of yarn (fingering, DK, worsted and chunky weight).
Alternatives to DPNs
If you don’t like making mitts because you don’t enjoy using double pointed needles, you might want to try using the new Addi Flexi-flip needles – they’re a great alternative to traditional double pointed needles (Rosie has been using hers since they first came out, and she’s become a convert, despite not having a huge issue with double points to begin with). You could also try using Chaigoo’s 9″ circular needles(you can get them as singles, or if you really like them invest in their interchangeable set) but you will still have to finish the thumb on double pointed needles.
Knit Hack: Matching the Thumbs
Sometimes matching the thumb to the rest of the mitten is tricky with yarns that change colours in stripes or as a gradient. This is because you knit the body of the mitten first, and then go back and do the thumb last – the colourway will have changed by the time you go back to do the thumb. You can see this in the centre mitten in the image above.
If you want your thumb to match the mitten better, wind off a little bit of yarn after you’ve put the thumb gusset on hold, and before proceeding with the body of the mitt. You won’t need a lot of yarn (maybe 5m of worsted weight yarn?), it doesn’t take much to knit a thumb. When you go back to finish the thumb you can use the yarn you wound off and your thumb will blend in beautifully.
As a run-up to the holidays, I’ll be sharing lots of smaller projects that make great handmade gifts. Liane whipped up this cute beanie (which is a free pattern) on 9mm/US13 needles in like a day, and I think it turned out great! We used Fleece Artist Merino Stream, a super soft, super bulky weight single ply merino wool that hails from Nova Scotia.
The pattern is the Amelia Slouch Beanie, and it’s a freebie, which is always sweet. We made some modifications because it just feels wrong to cut corners. If you aren’t already familiar with the ins & outs of ribbing, 2×2 ribbing (k2, p2) is looser than stocking stitch and is usually worked on a needle 1mm smaller than normal.
We cast on 44 sts on 8mm/US11 needles and worked ribbing according to the pattern.
We increased 1 stitch after the ribbing (for a total of45 sts) and went up to a 9mm/US13 needles.