I tried this pattern a few weeks ago, and I thought it would make a great post-holiday knit because it makes great use of bits ‘n bobs of stash yarn. It’s really nice to find a stash busting project that’s small and fast – so many are blankets! The pattern is Snap from Tin Can Knits, who are great designers (and are very reliable).
The colour variation and gradation are achieved by working with multiple strands of yarn held together and periodically changing them out. I used 4 strands of fingering weight yarn held together, although the pattern offers guidance for combinations with lace weight and sport/DK weight yarn. Working with multiple strands of yarn wasn’t hard, but if this is a new thing for you it’s just a good idea to take things slow and don’t rush your stitches.
All of the yarn I used was fingering weight from stash, and almost all of it was variegated. I worked the ribbing in a combination of 4 colours, and then I started changing out a single strand of yarn every 4 rounds, graduating from the darkest colours to the lightest. I think I used approximately 9 to 10 different colours/yarns in all. I started with the darkest greens and then transitioned up through the lighter or more yellowy greens, and then into the yellows.
I’ll be honest and tell you that while I was working on the hat I fussed in my head about which colour should go next, but I don’t think it was necessary. There was so much going on visually with 4 strands of variegated yarn, and I had so many colours that were somewhat close, that each individual change of yarn didn’t make a huge difference. The hat is knit on the knit side and then turned inside out after it is finished, and the colour changes are much more subtle on the purl side.
I made the size “adult S/M”, but after blocking it fits an adult M or 22″ head. If you are knitting for a smaller head (20.5 to 21″) I suggest going down a size. The fabric is heavy, a bit on the dense side (which makes sense, sock yarn doesn’t tend to be fluffy stuff).
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.
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.
I stumbled across this fun little stash-bustable blanket pattern and thought it was extremely shareable. It’s worked completely in garter stitch, which means it’s a great primer for anyone who’s up for learning short rows (intermediate beginner level) and knitting that’s easy on the grey matter. The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, which is great because it’s soft, easy to work with, washable, and it comes in a zillion different colours. yarn, you can also opt for Berroco Vintage. If you want a sturdier The pattern isn’t a freebie, but it’s very affordable and the proceeds of sales go to refugee relocation organizations (details are in the pattern notes, but there’s also some moving information on this subject in the comments).
Short Row Hack
Mark your short row turns by putting a Locking Stitch Marker or Calabash Pin in the turning stitch – it is SO MUCH EASIER to find that little stitch when there’s a plastic thingy hanging off it.
40″ x 40″, but the size is completely and easily adaptable.
Rowan Original Denim is suitable for all-year-round knits and showcases textured stitches and cabling brilliantly To keep your Rowan Original Denim garments looking sharp, try hand washing in a delicate wash and add a cup of white vinegar to the water before adding the garments.
Here’s a great one for the people who aren’t afraid of the hook – a gorgeous french market bag made with DENIM! I love Rowan denim, and I love small summer projects that are high on satisfaction and low on commitment. Plus, the yarn is on SALE all month – how can you go wrong?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I just finished a Stripe It Cowl, it just needed to be photographed properly. I used 4mm/US6 needles for the ribbing and 4.5mm/US7 needles for the body of the cowl. I’m super happy with it, and I think all of the colourways will look glorious!
Mini Knit Hack
One secret to a happy project: use the darker end of the colourway for the bottom of the project and the brighter colour for the top, darker colours look more balanced on lower parts. In my project, the pin & green is darker than the orange & blue, so it went on the bottom.
Sometimes a great way to browse for potential projects on Ravelry is to do it through actual projects. The main advanced pattern search on Ravelry is great, but it normally shows patterns based on their popularity, and because of that it often feels very redundant, and I don’t get to see project ideas that are not the most popular. One alternative way to browse for inspiration is to search PROJECTS, rather than patterns.
Then I click on the PROJECTS tab in the top left. This will show all the projects people have added to Ravelry.
You can change the order they are displayed based on various factors by clicking on the drop-down menu that is just to the right of the “search” box.
So far, you still have a lot of stuff to look at. The big column of menu items on the left side of the screen will let you limit the search parameters. For example, you might want only crochet projects, or a certain weight or yarn, or a specific type of project (like a shawl, or a sweater). Today, I am searching for a specific yarn, so I went to the bottom and chose YARN NAME and put in “Rowan Denim”.
I found a skirt that looked really interesting. To see more skirts made with this yarn, I put “skirt” into the search box and it pulled up all kinds of skirt projects made with Rowan Denim.
In my search today, I found something really cool, a simple straight skirt made with Rowan Original Denim – a great little summer knit that you can wear all year. Plus, the denim yarn is pretty sturdy so it will stand up much better than a regular cotton or a wool. Plus, Rowan Denim is ON SALE NOW!
Finished hip sizes (actual skirt hip measurement after seaming): 32 (34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52)inches or 81 (86, 91, 97, 102, 107, 112, 117, 122, 127, 132)cm.
Denim yarn is a lot like the denim your jeans are made of, and it is dyed with the same type of dye, indigo. All the things that happen with your jeans also affect denim yarn. You should definitely not avoid using denim, and knowing a few hacks in advance will make the experience fun.
Denim shrinks in length (like jeans), so I suggest you make your project a little longer than you normally would, maybe buy an extra ball. If you are using a pattern written by Rowan for their denim yarn, all of this will already have been taken into account, so you don’t have to worry about this.
Due to the nature of the indigo dye, it bleeds. The two darker colours come off on your hands quite a bit, and I’ll admit that that is a constraint unless you live in a world where everything you own is a dark colour. The lightest colour isn’t as bad, the colour transfers a little bit but not a ton.
I skein up the yarn and secure it in at least 4 points. If you’re making something big you can join the skeins and made a super-skein to save time down the road.
I fill a basin with cold water and white vinegar (maybe a cup? I just splash a bunch in). I use the Allen’s Cleaning Vinegar, it is double strength and seems to stabilize dye better than regular white vinegar.
I leave the yarn in the solution for at least 15 minutes – I like to give it a good soak for good measure.
I hang the yarn to dry.
With the two darker colours I will wash the yarn a second time in a fresh vinegar bath, to set any residual dye.
It’s a little bit of work, but in the summer it’s fun to do some experimentation and light chemistry experimentation. I do it in my bathroom and the indigo has never stained my white ceramic. It’s also a fun thing to do on the deck or balcony.