I’ve been looking for something quick-ish but also with some interest to make with Berroco Estivaand I was so happy to come across the FREE Midsommar Shawl! It’s knit on 6mm/US10 needles, so you’ll be able to finish it and wear it out by the time social distancing is a distant memory.
The pattern is pretty straightforward, and it is broken down line-by-line (I especially like this for newish knitters, it makes it easier to read and follow the pattern). For the more experienced, it can still be an asset, as it’s a lot less likely you’ll forget where you were if you’re ticking off each row on the pattern as you go.For those with dyslexia or ADHD, it’s a treasure!
BerrocoEstivais a soft, 100% cotton tape yarn that knits on a 6mm/US10 to 8mm/US11 needles. It’s already knitted, so it isn’t heavy or bulky and there’s no splitting when you work with it. It’s also machine washable, so no shrinkage. Last year we used it for several projects (including a forthcoming pattern I’ve yet to finish) and it’s a keeper. They came out with some brighter colours this year, which I think is really needed right now (although they still have the more muted colours too).
I’m sorry it’s been a week, I’ve been acclimatizing myself to the changes that have sort of swept into our lives. I know life has slowed down and gotten a little smaller for a lot of you and you’ve finally got time to MAKE things! I think this is an excellent time to take on a large project. Many people have been buying yarn to make throws and afghans. Plus spring is in the air and it’s time for colour! All of the patterns below are FREE and available online.
The store is open for shipping and curbside pick-up, and you can shop online, by email, facebook messenger, and phone. Pick-up is available Monday to Saturday 12 to 5 pm.
Colourful Crochet for Spring
I’ve always liked the free crochet blanket patterns by Attic24, she’s having a love affair with colour! The patterns. are usually straightforward and make use of lots of different colours. They are designed with a DK weight yarn like Berroco Vintage DK, but if you want to move into a broader colour selection you can easily upsize to Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Superwash. If you choose to use the latter two yarn options I recommend going up to a 4.5mm/7 hook. One note: Attic24 is British and therefore written in British crochet terms – here’s a glossary to convert them to the North American vernacular.
Blankets for Beginner Knitters
Purl Soho always comes up with stylish beginner friendly throws.
I’ve seen this blanket knitted up several times and I promise you, it’s STUNNING, you won’t regret it. Make it with Berroco Vintage Chunky (15 skeins) – I especially like the neutrals and heathered colours. (Because this pattern uses so much yarn in a single colour we may need to place a special order with our distributor to make sure you get the same dye-lot)
Finally a moment to myself … this project is LONG overdue for blogging, I apologize to you and to it! It’s an On the C Train that I made for my new beau … his first knitted gift. It didn’t really fit him, he turned out to have a surprisingly large head and required more slouch … this is why people date, you need to learn about each other (hat size being crucial for a knitter).
Fit notwithstanding, it came out beautifully! I used Fibre Company Road to China Light and held two strands together, so it is nice and dense and warm. The yarn is OMG WTF DROOL!!! It’s a blend of cashmere, silk, camel and baby alpaca, and it’s totally to die for. I made the hat, but I still hadn’t had enough of it for I made a cowl (below) and after that I cast on for a sweater (still in the works). I was also thinking about making a wrap with it, maybe a Night Shift.
Fibre Company Road to China Light is the sexiest yarn I’ve ever come across. Seriously, it’s ambrosia! Some clever person thought to combine cashmere, silk, camel and baby alpaca and it feels like … joy and gratitude and unconditional love. This yarn is seriously stashable, but even more knittable! Two skeins makes a Cowl (see above).
Please forgive me for falling behind, I’m still catching up on my blogging (and knitting, and other things) … why does December have to consume such a large part of January? Anyway, I wanted to show you another success story, the Barbara cowl.
It’s a simple knit, and a free pattern, and makes for a nice splash of colour mid-way through winter. We used 2 skeins of Malabrigo Rios in colour 96 Sunset (I thought it would nice and sunny looking forward to spring, like Pantone colour Saffron), but any worsted weight yarn will do.
Barbara is knit lengthwise like a scarf and then seamed, so it isn’t particularly technically advanced. You can seam it into a regular loop or a mobius loop, whatever tickles your fancy. If you wanted to turn it into a scarf I’d work about 1.5″ in K1P1 rib at each end to give it a nice finish.
Barbara would of course look great in other yarns … I can see a nice fluffy version made with Drops Air (3 skeins). Something classic in a heathered colour would be great made with Cascade 220 Superwash (2 skeins/5mm-US8 needles) – a great knit for anyone who likes things simple. Personally, I’m really into Fibre Co. Road to China Light right now, I can see it making a super sexy accessory I’d never want to take off (3 skeins/4mm-US6 needles) … oh god, please help me, I think I just fell down a rabbit hole …. I’ll tell you about my progress with Road to China Light in my next post!
With the holidays coming up I’m going to try to focus on smaller projects that make great gifts (hats, cowls, scarves, slippers, sockies, mitts, leg-warmers, etc). What are you making for the holidays this year? I received a reprieve this year, only one hand knit required, so I’m developing my self-love and making myself some new leg-warmers and a new sweater made with the new Fibre Co. Cumbria. I’m looking forward to sharing that project with you, the results so far are great – I’ve gone off-book and am trying a new experiential experiment with it, fingers crossed!
I was originally thinking of using a sightly heavier yarn for this, some Cascade Eco+ Merino that was leftover from our Felix Pullover, but I kind of wanted to experiment and see what the hat would be like with Drops Air, a lighter, airier yarn. I think it made for a really nice fall hat or something for people who have a lot of hair. Now that I’m sitting down and giving it another thought, I’m having a “what were you thinking?!” moment and realize that it would look sensational made with the Malabrigo Mecha (smack forehead). Thankfully, there’s always another hat on the horizon! It would be interesting to make the same hat over & over in different yarns and see how they turn out …. maybe that will happen some day, when I’m no longer a person with a DaVinci-esque attention span (he was notorious for not finishing his work, once DaVinci solved a puzzle he lost interest and moved on).
If you mke a pompom for this hat, don’t kill yourself making it dense. I did, I got all perfectionisty and packed it tightly, which made it look smooth and dense. Unfortuantely, this made it smooth and dense. This hat looks great with a “hand-made” looking pompom, and light and airy is definitely better. If you like a tight pompom, go for a smaller size pompom maker, like the yellow one from clover.
Design Hack: Want a quick pick-me-up for a dull hat? Add a fur pom-pom or a hand made pompom in a contrasting colour!
Another experiment with Drops Air, Antler turned out super light and cozy. Like, super-duper light and cozy. I just tried it on, and it’s so cozy that I’d kinda like to crawl into a matching onesie made with the same yarn … that would be quite a sight, quite possibly the ultimate in ‘cocooning’ (something to think about for halloween next year). I’ve completely lost my train of thought … that’s how cozy it feels!!! Oh yeah, wear it with your Infinitude cowl, you’ll never want to take your outerwear off.
We made the brim of our hat short so it can be worn like a slouch, but it was designed with more ribbing and you can take it either way, depending on what looks nice on you.
This is a pattern I came up with YEARS ago, but I don’t seem to have ever published it to Ravelry. I came across this utterly DIVINE yarn, Phildar Pur Angora, and I had to buy it, and then of course had to make something with it … so the old Slouchy Angora Hat pattern came out. I’ve re-edited and made some updates to the pattern.
The hat is a basic, slouchy toque. You can wear it with the brim turned up and wear it as a watch-cap, down and slouchy, or turn the brim under and wear it as a beanie. It’s pure angora, it does all the work! It is knit with 2 strands held together, in our sample we used one strand of black and one of the lighter grey, Perle, to create a marled effect. If that feels a little busy for you try using two strands of the same colour and make it a dense and delicious colour.
The yarn is just so gorgeous and precious! I hold it and I’m like “Oh hello you beautiful thing!”, and then I start talking to it like it’s a baby with the fattest thighs I’ve ever seen. I like using different kinds of yarns, and once in a while using something and precious special REMINDS me that I’m special and precious (it seems like the further we get from that yummy baby fat the less we receive that kind of honour, so I undertake it myself).
Please note … I am currently wearing the hat (brim turned under) and I’m not sure if it is influencing my writing, but I think that if it *is* inspiring me to love myself and treat myself well then it qualifies as an EXTRA-successful project, regardlessof any of it’s other properties. Thanks to Erika for making the sample, it’s my new thinking cap!
Finished Circumference: 17(19, 20.5)”
To approximately fit head circumference: 21(22, 23)”
I’m definitely going to have to make a little beret and maybe a matching neck thing with this yarn!
I also have an open ended mindfullness question for those of you who practice such things …. if you work on a project, and the entire time you are making it you intentionally think of about how precious you are (or whatever you choose), will you feel those emotions every time you wear the finished garment? Has anyone ever tried this? What would you call the practice? How did it turn out? …. It’s pretty clear to me at this point that I’m going to have to try it and share. 🙂
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get this project out to you (it’s been in the store window for a couple of weeks already) – you know how it goes … Life! Anyway, I thought it would make a great little neck accessory as the temperature drops. I love little shoulderettes, they’re so cosy and are great for changing seasons.
This one is Getting Warmer, a FREE pattern, and we made it with a yarn that’s new for us, Illimani Llama II. Illimani is a little company located in Quebec that imports gorgeous yarns from South America, especially alpaca and other camelids, like llama.
The pattern is pretty straight forward and is fairly accessible for beginners (depending on your level of beginnerness, of course). The ‘special’ skills include knit & purl in the same row, working in the round on circular needles, decreasing, and reading a pattern. Basically, if you can make a hat, you can make a Getting Warmer. The project works up on 6mm/US10 needles, so I think it qualifies as a “small, achievable goal”.
BTW, many thanks to Adrienne for doing the heavy lifting on this project!
The yarn we used, Illimani Llama II, was a delight! It is super soft and is made from 100% de-haired llama, so it basically feels like baby alpaca (de-haired means that when the fibre is being processed the coarser parts of the coat are removed, leaving only the soft undercoat).
Berroco Vintage Chunky: three skeins of Berroco Vintage Chunky will get the job done with style and grace for people who are sensitive to wool or are really good at wrecking things by putting them in the washing machine.
Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk: if you want mega texture, go for a super soft mohair effect with Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk. For a loose, airy texture knit with a single strand (3 skeins), and for a denser, warmer fabric work with 2 strands held together (6 skeins). Both options are super affordable, from $18 to $36.
If you don’t already have these needles in your kit, you might be interested in some Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable needles: you just buy one set of 3.5″ tips and two cords, and it saves having to purchase two separate circular needles. But note, you MUST get shorter tips that are 3.5″ to 4″ long! Any longer and they won’t work with the 16″ cord:
These shorter needles are ideal for making hats, neck things, baby things, and will always work with the longer cords from their respective brand. If you’re feeling like why not dive in and buy a whole set with a bunch of sizes (its usually more affordable than buying them one size at a time), here are a few brands who make them in the right size:
ShortInterchangeable Needle Sets (with 3.5″ to 4″ tips)
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.
I really love how this project came out! It’s soft, airy, light, cozy, and with the pattern being free and the yarn only costing $20, it’s a pretty cost effective knit too! If you’re starting to think about holiday gift to knit, this is a great go-to project.
The pattern is called a scarf, but I don’t know why because it’s actually a cowl. We made the smaller size and in the yarn we used (Drops Air) it can be worn either once or twice around the neck. I also found that the “twice around” brings the ‘full goldilocks’ – it isn’t too big or too small, it’s just right (in my mind, that means it doesn’t gape, letting cold air in). If your finished project looks small just wet-block it, mine stretched from 20″ x 10″ to 24″ x 9″.
The pattern, Infinitude Scarf, is a simple little thing that combines knits and purls in the easiest way. The skills are pretty simple: casting on, working in the round, using a knit & purl stitch in the same row, and binding off. We made the smaller size, but had extra yarn so just kept going in the welt pattern by adding an extra 3 pattern repeats (so we did “Knit 4 rnds, purl 4 rnds” a total of 6 times).
We used two skeins of Drops Air, a new yarn for us this year. It’s a super light and airy alpaca that knits easily and looks great! It’s a ‘blown’ yarn, which means it consists of a loosely knit chain core made of polyamide and then the Alpaca is literally blown into and through this core, coating it in a delightful halo of the softest alpaca. The result is an extra depth of colour because you can see a bit of the core through the translucent outer layer. Drops Air comes in both heathered and solid colours, but I think the heathers are extra pretty, with that extra dimension of colour added. Did I mention that it’s also super soft? Yeah, it’s crazy soft, it totally passes the neck test. Drops Air comes in a bunch of colours, made in Peru and the European Union, and it only costs $9.97 a skein.
We finished up a new store project, our Beach Wrap pattern, but this time we did a little experiment and made it with a bulky cotton yarn, Berroco Estiva. Estiva is a new yarn this year, so we’re still playing around, putting it through it’s paces, but I think it’s definitely reorder-worthy for next spring. It’s soft, 100% cotton, bulky, and not heavy or ropy like most bulky weight cottons. That ticks a lot of boxes for me. It’s also made in Italy (ie. not made by slaves) and is machine washable on cold, which is are features I didn’t expect but please me.
The wrap came out significantly smaller than our original version in linen, so if you want to make a larger wrap you can cuddle into you should get an extra cakes of Berroco Estiva. I thought it was a teachable moment (at least I got teached), so I’m going into it in more detail in a follow-up post (I actually drafted that post first, so I PROMISE it will come).
Berroco Estiva: 1 cake for smaller version (in the pictures), 2 cakes if you want your wrap larger.