A couple months ago I bought one lone skein of Artyarns supermerino because it was on the sale shelves at my Mom’s LYS. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I figured I’d think of something. After hearing that my four year old niece just had her room repainted pink at her request, I thought the yarn might make a good hat for her. She lives further south, so has slight need for warm hat at home. However, her grandparents live a little north of us, and so she should be able to get some use out of it.

I decided the pattern “Beth” from Hip Knit Hats would be fun for her. I had to adjust the pattern because my yarn was not as heavy as called for. However, the basic pattern is easy – a few rounds of garter, followed by 3 x 3 ribbing that shifts one to the left every other row. I had to guess at the right size. Based on the Knitters handy book of patterns, I went for the range age 4 to adult small, so that hat barely fits on me (and looks a bit goofy on me).

hat 5a

hat 5c

Pattern: “Beth” from Hip Knit Hats
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino (100% superwash merino) in color 109
Needles: number 7, double point
Began: October 2007. Completed: October 2007

Modifications: I cast on 66 stitches. I did 3 repeats of the pattern, which cam to about 5.25 inches up. I included two rows of pattern between each decrease round. I was left with 11 stitches at the end for the tail for the knot. I knit up about 6 inches, did a decrease and then used the kitchener stitch on the end. I have about 17 yards left over.


Review: Kaffe’s classics

Kaffe’s classics : 25 favorite knitting patterns for sweaters, jackets, vests, and more 9780316275033 by Kaffe Fassett is a great book if you like color. I have been familiar with Kaffe Fassett since college and have always been impressed with his use of color. I can’t say I like 100% of the color combinations, but he encourages knitters to try their own colors. I also like the book because I think of my father’s color sense and would have liked to talk about the designs with him.

Most of the patterns are quite complex and use many colors of yarn. Some garments use multiple yarns in multiple colors, as is done in cross stitch. As a spinner I see the tremendous possibilities in blending fibers and then spinning just the right amount needed for a design.

Most of his ideas come from “ethnic decorative arts.” He states “Classic structures such as tumbling blocks, zigzags and interlocking crosses will never date and should be part of your design vocabulary.” He identifies the sources for each pattern and it is instructive and inspirational to see how he modifies the designs for knitting.

Many of the designs are for very oversized sweaters. The shape of these garments does not appeal, but I still appreciate the color and design.

I typically don’t link reviews to commercial sites, but in this case, Amazon has more images available and they are worth viewing.

Rating: 3.8

Review: Knitting Cuff to Cuff

Knitting cuff to cuff : a dozen designs for sideways-knit garments 9781589232907 by Susan Guagliumi is another book I found on the new book shelf at the library. I have seen other patterns using the side to side method of construction, so it isn’t an earth shatteringly new concept, but it was useful to see several designs side by side.

I like vertical stripes, so this is a good technique to use for that effect. In general I am not excited by the designs in the book, but it is nice to see how various yarns (multicolored, thick and thin) and stitch patterns look when the knitting is turned 90 degrees. Each pattern adds another technique. These seem to be explained well and are not just relevant for cuff to cuff designs.

The vertical striping can be more subtle, with multi-colored yarn (“weekend woodsman”), or can be more pronounced, using different yarns to create the stripes (“boys club”).

The striping can also be done with novelty yarn. I thought “Jewels” was interesting in that it uses the “scribble lace’ technique of sliding the work to the other end of the circular needles and then starting from the other side to create both changes in yarns and garter ridges.

Some of the sweaters show a stitch pattern used sideways. I think this looks pretty nice on the “Fan dancer.” I like the asymmetry of it.

Rating: 2.9

Sleeping cap

I made a hat last spring for DJ out of cashmere and silk. Mr. DJ really liked it because it was so soft (the fuchsia color, not so much) and wanted a hat to sleep in to keep his head warm. When visiting DJ, we found a very soft yarn that we thought would meet with his approval. So, I made a basic watch cap for him. I tried to keep it somewhat loose to retain as much softness as possible. Because he would be lying on it, I had not wanted the rim to need to fold up. It fits me better with the rim folded up, so he’ll have to decide if it stays on without the folded edge or if it is comfy enough with the two layers on only part of the hat.

hat 4Pattern: Based on several watch cap patterns
Yarn: Skacel Adagio (70% Baby Llama and 30% Silk) in color 6
Needles: number 6, double point
Began: September 2007. Completed: September 2007

Notes: I cast on 96 (probably too many) and did 2-2 ribbing for about 2 inches, continuing in plain knitting for about 3.5 inches. If I had made it 1 round shorter, I would have used exactly 1 ball. As it was, I needed to use a small amount from the second ball to finish. I divided the total into 8 sections and then decreased (k2tog) at the beginning of every 1/8 section every other round. I probably should have ended with 8 stitches rather than making one last round of decreases to 4 because the top has a little point on it. Since it is just for wearing in bed, I think Mr. DJ will be OK with it.

hat 4bNote the strap from my tank top. It is far to warm for October 7!

Review: Knits from a painter’s palette

Knits from a painter’s palette : modular masterpieces in handpainted yarn 9781933027067 by Maie Landra is great book for fans of Koigu yarn. I have only used this yarn once, and then for a simple scarf. It is very nice yarn. If you like a lot of color and if you like modular knitting, you would like this book. If you don’t like either of these, the book would not be for you. If you don’t like knitting big projects, this book also wouldn’t be for you, but you may like looking at the pictures.

I really like the book for the ideas and inspiration it gives me. I don’t know how many of the designs I would ever be interested in making, but it is very pretty book to look at. That also bring up a problem with the book–it has artistic pictures that do not necessarily show the garments very well.

The patterns include 2 shawls (lace, not modular knitting) and a few drop stitch items. However, the bulk of the book is modular knits, using squares, diamonds, triangles and hexagons. Most of the patterns are for garments, and many of the styles are fairly blocky. The square shape of many of the garments does not appeal to me (really wide sleeves drive me nuts), although in such soft wool, they may drape better than I am imagining.

I like the jazz cardigan, the patchwork vest (but not the pants pictured with it), and the mosaic jacket. There are a few other things that I also like, but not quite as well

The hexagon skirt reminds me too much of something my parents would have made for my mother in 1970s. It would have been made of fabric pieced together, rather than knitted, but I can’t imagine ever making it (not even if you ask nicely),

Rating: 3.4

Catching up

I am way behind on posting. I say this because I have several new finished objects I haven’t blogged about. I also have checked out a bunch of books so I am way behind on book reviews. But instead of blogging, I have been spending my time actually knitting (and doing a little spinning) and starting to mess with ravelry. (I am on as WKate but I think there are only 2 people that ever read this blog that are also on ravelry (since the other 2-4 readers aren’t on ravelry) already have me marked as a friend, probably no one needs to know this little fact.)

I got close to having DJ’s purse done by her birthday, but it needs a handle and a bunch of finishing work. It looks like it might be an I-cord handle, but I have already fulled the bag, so this will be more fun in the basement. Conveniently, the tornado siren went off when I planned to full the bag so I didn’t mind hanging out in the basement. It was just what I had scheduled for the early evening. (TH was more bored and kept going back to the kitchen and to the grill to finish making dinner.)

Review: Scarves : a knitter’s dozen

Scarves : a knitter’s dozen 9781893762237 contains 24 different patterns, by a variety of people. I have seen several of the basic patterns in other places, including the Buttonhole scarf (i.e. slit in one half allowing other half to pass through to hold it), Pocket scarf (i.e. pocket in the end) and Wavy scarves (i.e. short rows). The book says “the novelty is more often an unfamiliar technique than a fancy yarn” so there is somewhat less reliance on novelty yarns than in some scarf books I have seen. There are some designs I had not seen elsewhere (including two by Rick Mondragon, Do-be-do and Carmen). The trouble is, that most of the unique things in the book just don’t appeal to me. There are a couple of techniques that are a bit interesting, but even those don’t say “make me”. If you like making scarves or want to make another scarf, it would be worth flipping through the book to see if anything looks appealing. Everyone’s tastes vary so I can’t say you wouldn’t find things of interest. However, this book is not for me.

Rating: 2