cowl

New Knitting Pattern: Besotted

In all the Christmas / New Year’s / hospital / family-visiting-from-the-States kerfuffle, I haven’t yet posted about my new knitting pattern! I just managed to get it out a few weeks ago and it’s available on Ravelry, at the bottom of this post and via the sidebar to the right (you do not need a Ravelry account to purchase!).

The pattern is called Besotted, because really, what else could I call a colorwork cowl covered in big, squishy hearts?! I suppose I’m a little bit biased, but it would be a perfect project to cast on right away and wear in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day next month – am I right or am I right?

Besotted is a deliciously luxurious slouchy cowl; from the very beginning, I planned this project with Shilasdair Luxury DK in mind because it really is the most gorgeous yarn on earth. It’s wonderful for colorwork because it has a lovely rustic quality and makes knitting even colorwork easy-peasy – but the angora and cashmere content make it an incredibly soft, lofty and drapey yarn. The best of both worlds!

If you are unable to get some of Shilasdair’s DK yarn (which Ravelry said is now discontinued, but the website doesn’t? I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I desperately hope not), try to chose a DK yarn that has some combination of wool (for the colorwork) and a luxury fiber like cashmere, alpaca, or silk (for the deliciousness). Of course you can use a pure wool yarn as well, but if you choose well, your Besotted cowl will puddle around your neck in lovely soft folds and be a joy to snuggle.

Besotted

Yarn:
Shilasdair Luxury DK
100g / 300m (330 yd) per skein, one skein each of main color (MC) and contrast color (CC)
Example shown in Hawthorne (red – MC) and Fleece Cloud (natural – CC)

Needles:
US #4 / 3.5 mm circular needles, 24” / 60 cm in length

Gauge:
2 hearts (19 sts in stranded colorwork) = 3” / 7.5cm wide and 1.5” / 3.75 cm tall
26 sts / 30 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stranded colorwork, blocked.

Finished Size:
28” / 71 cm in circumference
10.5” / 27 cm in height

(Thank you to the ever-talented Carina of Carina’s Craftblog and Polka & Bloom embroidery patterns fame, who was kind enough to take these beautiful photos for me!)

Introducing: Hush! New knitting pattern out today!

Hush Cowl - new pattern!

Woohoo! It’s a week all about new patterns and self-promotion, apparently! Sorry about that if you’re not interested in new embroidery or knitting patterns, but these releases are the result of a lot of behind-the-scenes work that just kind of happened to come together at the same time.

Hush Cowl - new pattern!

This is Hush: available on Ravelry here! Hush is a relatively simple colorwork cowl, a yarny nod to the lovely way that snow drifts down to the ground, creating a magical hush wherever it lands. Happy sigh. I love snow so much – is it weird that I’m sad every day that it’s cold but not cold enough to snow? I always say I’d love to live somewhere warm all the time, but I would miss snow so very very much if I ever did that.

Hush Cowl - new pattern!

Like Flurries, Hush features tiny little cables in place of standard ribbing. Actually, Flurries and Hush started as one idea that ended up separating into two patterns, so I kind of think of them as companions, in a way.

The pattern is fully written, the cabled ribbing is written and charted, and the main colorwork pattern is provided as a full-page chart. It’s written for sportweight yarn, which is awesome (if I do say so myself) because it knits up just that little bit faster than fingering-weight colorwork (great for gift-knitting!) and creates the most delicious squishy fabric! I love the way stranded knitting makes that extra yummy layer of, well, strands, and it’s even better with sportweight. I gotta tell ya, sportweight is becoming my most favoritest weight – it’s just a bit squishy, but still creates a relatively light fabric. (My next pattern uses some really special sportweight too!)

Anyway, I hope you knit it, and I hope you love it – the pattern is now available to buy via Ravelry over here, or via the sidebar right over there to your right (no need for a Ravelry account). Let me know what you think!

Oh, but wait – the guts! Because all colorwork knitters like to admire the guts, right?!

Hush Cowl - new pattern!

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!)

FO: (Not really that) Giant Herringbone Cowl

Giant Herringbone Cowl

You might (or might not) have noticed that I’ve been quiet for about a week – to celebrate the last of the Brothers Grimm embroidery patterns going up in the etsy shop, we – wait for it – took A Whole Week Off. It was awesome. I mean, not like I don’t love the pattern designing, both knitting and stitching, and not like I didn’t spend the whole week knitting and stitching anyway, but it was so nice to not think about any of it, you know? Just kind of go with it and play with things I don’t normally have time for.

So I want to tell you all about what I did on my Big Week Off – but first I just wanted to quickly show off my Big Herringbone Cowl. I’m sorry I don’t have a full or modeled photo – trust me when I say it looks exactly like all the others. Mine is slightly less big – it ended up being about 58″ long and 9.5″ wide. This was a stash project, using up three skeins (about 270m) of the now (sadly) discontinued Noro Cash Iroha. Perfect use for it, if I do say so myself, and this is a perfectly reasonable size even though I had much less yarn than the pattern calls for. It’s big enough to wrap around my neck three times, slouchily, and not suffocate me in the process. Just right.

Now, loads of people on Ravelry seemed terribly unhappy with this stitch pattern, so I just want to mention it quickly. If you look at the pattern carefully, you’ll see that the whole thing is basically made up of K2tog and K2tog TBL (through the back loop). Sure, you do a dropping-only-one-loop thing, but that’s just details. Assuming you have the basics down, this pattern should not be a problem. I suspect people were more bothered by the giant needles, which can be very tiring on your hands, than the stitch pattern itself. I only mention this because I’d hate to see newer knitters put off by the comments – just think of it as K2togs and K2tog TBLs and be prepared to give your hands a rest from time to time.

In fact, I’d totally make this one again with some big squishy yarn (especially a single-ply, it just looks so perfect in a single-ply yarn, dontcha think?) — but I would not do the bind off as suggested in the pattern. A lot of people also mentioned this problem in their notes on Ravelry, and on this one I should’ve listened. I stupidly went and did it anyway and, even though I went down a couple of needle sizes, it was still very floppy and doesn’t match the cast on edge that well. Blocking sorted out the floppy thing, which was the only part I really cared about, but I’d still try to find another bind off next time. But otherwise, a fast (took me exactly one week) and wonderfully squishy knit!

Taking control of the WIPs.

About 10 minutes after I sent off my last post, I started to feel completely overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of WIPs I had going. I didn’t even tell you about the lace stole at the bottom of my knitting basket (the one I only knit a few inches at a time every 6 months or so), or the socks I’m not sure I want to continue. Um, or the quilts and rag rug I’ve got started and not finished. Enough is enough. Every once in a while, I do this crazy thing to myself where I start a million projects for fun and then am almost immediately overwhelmed and bummed out by them. Fellow crafters, why do we do this to ourselves? Why?!

So I decided I better take back control of at least the knitting. I’ve started to work on new designs and the last thing I need is guilt from my knitting basket slowing me down. My usual method is to put aside the larger projects for the moment, and intensely focus on the things I can finish quickly and get out of the pile. So I haven’t knitted anything on Terra all week (though did luckily bump into someone destashing the exact yarn I’m using for that one, so now I should have plenty to make a nicely large shawl), or Umaro (which, unfortunately, hasn’t been so lucky – the long-since discontinued Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky is absolutely impossible to come by now, so it looks like I’m going to have to start over with fewer stitches to get a suitable lap blanket length), or my brother’s cardigan.

Instead, I focused my attention on my Primavera Socks, started back in my Christmas knitting binge. As is often the case, the second sock was less exciting than the first, and they’d been lingering too long. I took them to my knitting-at-the-pub group last night and announced that I wasn’t allowed to go to bed until the pair was finished. One repeat later, I really wanted to switch over to a new project. But The Knitters encouraged me to finish and so I did – before bedtime, even!

FO: Primavera socks

And so glad I can finally just wear them already. I’m totally madly in love with these socks – the pattern’s genius, easy to work but oh-so-pretty to look at, the yarn (Trekking XXL) is so warm and bright, and they fit absolutely perfectly. And even better, this was stash yarn, waiting for a use since 2007. Oy! I’m not officially stashbusting or anything, but I am trying to knit from it as much as I can right now. No particular reason, just trying to find the perfect uses for those yarns I loved enough to stash in the first place. It’s very satisfying when you finally find just the right project.

FO: Primavera socks

Also from the stash is the Big Herringbone Cowl I mentioned the other day. This Noro Cash Iroha was also stashed in 2007, bought during one of those awesome John Lewis yarn sales. I bought all they had, 3 skeins, which turned out to be a really odd amount. Not quite enough for most shawls, too much for most cowls. This project was finally the exact perfect one – it won’t be quite as huge as the original (I cast on 10 fewer stitches and I’m estimating it’ll be about 11″ wide in the end) but is a dreamy match for the pattern.

WIP: Big Herringbone Cowl

I’m concentrating on this one next, because I only started it Sunday and I’ve already started my last skein of yarn. I knitted the first two up in about one evening each, a little longer. It’s such a fun pattern, it just flies by once you get the hang of the herringbone stitch. So I’m not sure it’s totally possible, but I’m going to set a can’t-go-to-bed-until-it’s-done goal on this one today and see how far I get. Think I can do it?

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