cables

Lispenard KAL (or: Finally, something new!)

Lispenard Cowl WIP

Where there was six, now there is one. Or two. Ok, three!* But really only this one counts! I finished or frogged six knitting WIPs in my mission to complete and simplify, and in exchange, have cast on for Lispenard (pattern by Kirsten Kapur). This project had been in my queue for ages before I realized one of my knitting group friends had the same pattern in mind. We decided to work on it as a knitalong together, and cast on the same evening last week.

The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed, which I got in the John Lewis post-Christmas sales last year, or maybe the year before. I snagged four balls half-price, and since the yardage on FT is madness, this will be plenty to make a lovely long loopy cowl. Which may or may not suit me at all, we’ll see. Anyway, I went down to 4.5mm needles since the FT is also a fairly slight DK – though I know from experience that it will plump up very nicely after the cowl is washed and blocked.

Lispenard Cowl WIP

So far, so good – oh, the cables and the lace. Dreamy!

(*The other WIPs are Umaro, which I don’t expect to be a finish-quickly kind of knit, and a pair of boring stockinette socks for pub-knitting time. Clearly those don’t count, and they existed already anyway. I swear!)

Announcing: Haworth

Haworth - hot water bottle cozy

Over the weekend, I set a new knitting pattern out into the wild: Haworth, the crazy cuddly and cabled cozy. No, that’s not its official name, I just got carried away with alliteration. Haworth is available for free via Ravelry and this here blog (download link below and on the sidebar to the right), just download away and start knittin’.

The story of Haworth is a little bit silly, kind of round-about, and totally dragged out. Sometime last summer, I decided I’d make my mother a hot water bottle cozy for Christmas. Mom is always chilly, always, but didn’t believe that a hot water bottle could really make that much of a difference to wintertime comfort. Even way back then, I had a pattern all picked out: the beautiful Winterberry cozy by Cecelia Brandner. I love that pattern. My plan was to knit it right away, to have one gift all done and ready to go before the summer was even over. But I knew it’d be a quick enough knit, so I kept putting it off. And then because I knew it would be a quick enough knit, it became a lower priority than the bigger, more labor-intensive gifts that weren’t finished. I figured I could still get it done even if I started it just a few days before Christmas.

But then – and here’s where it gets a little dumb – I started to worry that the only suitable stash yarn I had (some leftover Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran) wouldn’t be enough. Fearing that I’d run out with no time to spare, and refusing to use anything but stash yarn, I decided to … design one from scratch? With loads of cables and seed stitch and bobbles? Yeah, because that won’t stretch the yardage to its very limits. In retrospect, this was crazy people logic, but I can’t be held responsible for decisions made during Christmas crafting panic.

With literally days to go, I set to designing this hot water bottle cozy, sort out a buttonband across the back without having to knit in pieces and seam (a decision made purely because I didn’t have time for that crap) and out came Haworth. Except it wasn’t quite there yet – the one I made for my mother was lovely, and since I’d done all that work, I figured I might as well offer it up for everyone else. But by the time I went to write it up, I wasn’t sure what my notes meant and what I could make out didn’t quite knit properly. It took a lot of deciphering and re-designing to get a pattern other people could actually understand. And because I only tinkered with it here and there, it took months to get it all finished.

But, finally, it’s here! I’ve named it Haworth after the charming town the Brontë sisters were from, because its old-fashioned feel made me think of curling up with one of their novels on a cold, wintery day. The pattern uses an aran / worsted weight yarn, and will work best with a bouncy pure wool yarn. Drapey yarns with silk or whatever are lovely, but cables pop best with pure wool. I used Valley Yarns Amherst, 100g / 200yds. Cascade 220 would be awesome, too. You’ll also need three buttons for the back, and a crochet hook and scrap yarn to work a provisional cast on. The rest of the pattern details are available on the Haworth Ravelry page, or you can just go for it and download the pattern now!

As always, if you knit one, please stop by and let me know – I’d love to see it!

Prepping for Umaro

I’ve been all about the stitchy lately, so I thought it might be a good time to tell you about some knitting plans. I’m in the middle of some not-so-exciting projects and was trying to make some decent progress on those before I started anything new. But I’m a yarn addict and I’m weak. I’m sure you can sympathize.

Wanting something warm and cuddly to play with over this freezing weekend, I lost my last tiny bit of resolve and started prepping a new project: the Umaro blanket. Based on the Hemlock Ring I knitted for my mother, I want this one to be a pretty small lap blanket. For those evenings that are a bit cool, but a full blanket is just too much. Or for times when a full blanket draped all around just isn’t practical – sitting at my desk, surrounded by embroidery bits, etc. I have plenty of bed-sized blankets, this one can be a small one.

So I frogged a sweater I’d never worn, skeined it, and gave it a wash to get rid of the noodle kinks.

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I’ve never done this before, so I was surprised that I had the whole process done in a weekend. I was also kind of amazed by the way the kinks just softened right out of the yarn almost immediately on hitting the warm water, it was kind freaky. I have a few skeins hanging over my radiator, so maybe I can get started really quickly.

Of course, now I’m worried that I don’t have enough yarn. Typical.