Thursday, February 28, 2013

Zig-Zag Beer Cozy

Sometimes you need a simple little creation for a holiday gift.  I wanted to create something elegant yet functional, as elegant as a beer cozy could be.  I went to the Pick-a-Stitch knitting software (read my review at and the Zig Zag Lace pattern immediately caught my eye.  I knew that this would be something I could adapt into a beautiful beer cozy.

This beer cozy is knit from the top down in the round on double pointed needles.  


  • ~20 yards Remnants of Machine Washable Worsted Weight yarn, (15 g of unknown brand consumed in this project)
  • 4 - Size 3 (3.25 mm) double pointed needles (Or round needle long enough for magic loop.) 
  •  Gauge: ~ 6 sts/inch; 8 rows/inch over the lacy zig zag pattern
  • Finished Size: 3.5” wide x 5.25” high
  • A beer bottle to check the desired height

ZigZag Beer Cozy Knitting Pattern
  • Cast on 43 sts in the main color (this will be the top of the cozy).   Join to work in the round.  Place a marker or somehow designate the begging of the round. 
  • For two rounds, *K2, P1* across until the last stitch, P1. 
  • Knit 1 row across
  • ZigZag Row 1: *SSK, K2, YO, K2* repeat from * until last stitch, K1
  • ZigZag Row 2: K across
  • ZigZag Row 3: Repeat Row 1
  • ZigZag Row 4: K across
  • ZigZag Row 5: Repeat Row 1
  • ZigZag Row 6: K across
  • ZigZag Row 7: K3, *YO, K2, K2tog, K2* repeat from * until last 4 sts, YO, K2, K2tog.
  • ZigZag Row 8: K across
  • ZigZag Row 9: Repeat Row 7
  • ZigZag Row 10: K across
  • ZigZag Row 11: Repeat Row 7
  • ZigZag Row 12: K across
  • Repeat ZigZag Rows 1-12 twice more for a total of 36 pattern rounds worked. 
  • Begin shaping for the Cozy Bottom:  K13, K2tog, K12, K2tog, K12, K2tog (40 sts)
  • K1 round even
  • K1, *K1, K2tog* Repeat from * across (27 sts)
  • K1 round even
  • K2tog across until the last stitch, K1 (14 sts)
  • K2tog across (7 sts)
  • Cut yarn, pull through remaining stitches and weave in loose ends.

I now want to make more things out of the lacy zigzag pattern!  What would you make?

If you're making this cozy for someone as a gift, why not couple it with a beer of the month club membership?  You can write a little card and slip it inside the cozy! 

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
Kfb - increase by knitting into the front and back of a single stitch.
M1 (Make 1)- increase stitch by picking up yarn between two stitches, twisting and knitting.K - knit
P - purl
I-cord - knit stitches on dpn's without ever turning the needle (effectively knitting in the round with a small number of stitches.)
SSK - decrease by slipping two stitches then knitting them together. Alternatively, you could slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass slipped stitch over.
K2tog - decrease by knitting two stitches together.

This knitting pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. You are not to distribute or sell this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2012  Pattern originally published on Fall 2012 with permission of ChemKnits.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fiber Optic Handspun

This is another spinning project that I started within one week of owning the spinning wheel (started 12/18/12).  When I went to the fiber festival, I picked up the most stunning roving (top?)There are 4 oz, 114 g of fiber that is 85% Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) and 15% silk.  I am in love with this colorway (Vineyard Batik) and went to the Fiber Optic Yarns website but I was disappointed to see that almost everything was out of stock!  I remember the booth at the fiber fair and it was alive with so many deep, vibrant colors.  I was saving this yarn to spin in case I ended up with a spinning wheel.

I cannot wait to start spinning this.  I have a big urge to try to big something thicker t han I've been spinning ~fingering weight singles, but when I plyed my last yarn, I did not end up with enough yardage for a big project.  Therefore, I am going to try to spin this as thin and evenly as I can so maybe it could end up a shawl... (Not likely I'd have enough yardage, so it will more likely end up a cowl.)

Just in case I change my mind about plying, I did divide the fiber in half into two 58 g bundles.  I was able to estimate it and get it almost exactly right just from the start!  I can always decide half way through to just make it all a single ply, but this gives me the chance to change my mind later on.

I am still spinning on the biggest whorl I have (lowest ratio?  I'm still learning the terminology.  The color changes are so subtle that this is a LOVELY purple yarn. I am having so much fun!

I'm still having some issues with over twisting.  Going from spinning silk to spinning wool again takes a little getting used to.  (The silk can take so much twist and it was so thin.)  I think I am likely treadling too fast, and not drafting quickly enough.  Hopefully some of this over-twisting will relax when I set the twsti.

Ahoramente, necesito hacer un decision.  (Glory, I'm thinking in Spanish!  My upcoming trip to Chile is on my brain.)  To ply or not to ply...   Turns out, I could just wind this directly into a center pull ball and ply from the inside and outside.  This way I would get no loss (like I did in this previous case where I had 20 yards extra.)  I'm not going to go to a separate spindle now, and just continue spinning.

I finished spinning on 12/18/2012 (but still needed to wrap and set the twist.)  Wrapping and wetting happened the next day.  211 wraps = 281 yards, 115 g, 17/18 wpi (sport weight)  I am so in love with this yarn!  I wish that my photographs could do the amazing color justice.

Navajo plying (where you start with one single and create a mulit-ply yarn) is something else I will need to explore in the future.  I should make a list!  Here are the things I want to learn off the top of my head.  What else should I add to my list?
  • bulky yarn
  • navajo plying
  • pllying from a center pull ball
  • spinning art batts
  • Spinning Indy's fur (after blending it with something)
My dear friend Laura is running the Boston Marathon for Zoo New England.  Please consider donating to support her run and a cause which cares for and rehabilitates animals, offers opportunities for early scientific education, and enriches our communities.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Updated - Search for the Perfect Earflap Hat Knitting Pattern

In the winter of 2008, I wanted to knit an Earflap hat for Keith.  I started doing research about free Earflap Hat knitting patterns, keeping a list with links and my notes.  I realized that I was not the only one who would find this list useful, and decided to start a blog to share this list with the world.  This Earflap Hat Pattern Search remains one of my most popular post.  Since it is now 2013 and some of the links from the old post are now broken, I decided it was time to update this post with new patterns.

Updated Old List with Broken Links Removed (as of 2/6/2013)
  • Zig Zag ear flap hat - Tri-color with a zigzag like pattern separating two of the colors.
  • Lion Brand Ear Flap Hat - Textured, not color blocked (You will need to create a free account to access this pattern.)
  • Lion Brand Ear Flap Hat 2 - This is also textured, with a single color. It has a cuff that goes above the ear flaps.  (You will need to create a free account to access this pattern.)
  • Knitty's Vinter Lue - This is getting closer to what I've been looking for. Shown in two colors, with different patterns up and down the hat. The pattern uses a double strand, so it may work with chunky yarn. It could be fun to add more colors to the pattern.
  • ABC Ear Flap knit hat - this one is not a traditional chullo, but more reminiscent of a bonnet.
  • Knitty's Cross Country Chullo - The pattern has cute skiers around the hat, and snowflakes on the ears.
  • Basic Ear Flap Hat - One color, no texture. The ears are continuous, they do not get sewn on after.
  • Blue Whoville hat with ear-flaps - one color, textured.  There is a little point at the top
  • Ear flap hat - this is not of the chullo variety, but the ear flaps curl out in a cute way. Single color.
  • Roman ear flap hat - this hat has a single color with texture, but in a more structured "classical" way.
  • Peruvian Llama Hat - As the title suggests, the pattern creates little llamas on the hat.  There are some charts for classic designs that you could mix and match onto other hat templates.  
  • Ear flap hat - two colors, will calculate and update the number of stitches you need in each step based on the gauge you enter! I have not tested the calculator, but this is a neat idea for people who create patterns.  This way you can adapt the pattern directly to the yarn and needles that you want to use.  
  • Knitted toque with earflaps - recommended for knitters with some experience.
  • Alpaca Peru Hat and Mitts with Fur trim - just as the title implies, the hat and mittens have a fur trim. Without trim, solid color.
  • Chullo Hat pattern - contains both plain hat and hat with a llama pattern. The pattern is more guidelines, but there are some good color charts for traditional patterns and an American flag chullo.
  • Fair Isle Toddler Chullo Hat - In this list, I have mostly ignored children and baby hat patterns, but the vibrant colors in this hat are inspiring.
  • Hardcore Earflap Hat - Chunky and looks really warm. A simple charted pattern around the sides. There is also a matching sweater pattern.  
MORE Free Earflap Hat Knitting Patterns - I did say that I wanted to update the list, and that includes finding new free patterns to share with you.  I am focusing the search mostly on Adult Earflap Hat knitting patterns, but you should know that there are also many free patterns available for Child Sized hats.  Enjoy!  
  • Thorpe - This hat comes in two styles, one has a geometric colorwork pattern and the other is a single color textured version.   
  • Basic Earflap Hat - Knit from the bottom up, this basic stockinette earflap hat would be easy to add your own colorwork.  
  • Alpaca Earflaps - This stunning hat looks like a traditional Chullo with multiple colors are beautiful patterns.  Made with sport weight yarn.  There are even designs on the earflaps.  
  • Hear it for the Team Hat - A striped earflap hat that you can knit in the colors of your favorite sports team.  Stay warm at the game!
  • Rocky Mountain - A cabled earflap hat (bonnet?) with a eyelash "fur" trim.  Stunning!  There is also a matching mittens pattern.  
  • Adults-Only Devil Hat - This earflap hat has tiny little "horns" on the top.  Knit in a single color. 
  • Fair Isle Earflap Hat Knitting Pattern - Multiple colors in a stunning snowflake fair isle pattern where you change colors every couple of rows.  Made with fingering weight yarn.  
  • Snowflake Ear Flap Hat - Two colors with a diamond shaped snowflake pattern around the crown.  
  • River Fire - This is a STUNNING example of colorowork with every color of the rainbow involved in this Fair Isle geometric pattern.  You can mix and match the charts to create your very own earflap hat.  (They show three examples, but I think there is even more customization that you could do.)  
  • Hat in Stockinette Stitch with Eskimo - A simple garter stitch ear flap and a stockinette cap.  The ear flaps on this hat are elongated as a thick braid.  
  • 86-40 Hat in Eskimo - A simple, single color hat sort of like the above but with a point at the brim and smaller earflaps.  
  • Norwegian Pattern - A three color colorwork hat with a gathered crown.  
  • Sluggy Bonnet - A colorwork hat complete with pom-pom on top.  
  • Ear flap Hat - Created out of Super Bulky yarn.  This is a single color textured hat.  
  • Ear Flap Hat, South American Chullo - Some fun classic designs in multiple colors.
  • Bombshell Betty, Version 2 - A textured earflap hat.  The way the textured ridges incorporate the earflaps is absolutely beautiful.  
  • Ski Skulls - An earflap hat with skulls patterned on the sides.  Wicked!
  • Tasseled Earflap Hat - A chunky stockinette hat with a tassel on the top.  This is really cute and would be a really fast knit.  
  • Dutch Girl Unisex Cap - A stockinette hat with a contrasting stitch around the bottom edge.  Warm, simple and cute!  
  • Sweet Scarborough Hat - A sweet patterned hat with matching mittens, sweater and socks.  A very intricate design, too!  
  • Skating Hat with Crochet Rosettes - I would personally leave the rosettes on the earflaps off, but the single color hat base is really sweet looking.  There is an interesting curved line across the forehead that make the hat very sweet.  
  • Trapper Hat - Garter stitch earflaps and brim and cabled crown.  Single color.  
  • Cabled Hat with Chin Strap - A single color cabled all over earflap hat.  
  • DROPS Sweater in Alaska with Hat and Gloves - A textured hat with matching sweater and gloves.  The hat looks like it has moss stitch or some other simple texture all over it.  

Select Child Sized Earflap Hat Knitting Patterns - When doing this search, I decided it was worth pulling some of my favorite child sized free earflap hat knitting patterns in case that is what you are looking for.  Enjoy!  
  • Bucking Bronco Hat - Even if you aren't keen on the pattern, the sizing should work for a child better than some of the patterns above. The bucking broncos are cute.
  • s12-40 Jumper and hat in Karisma Superwash - A delightful colorwork hat with some kind of llama or alpaca around the crown.  There is also a coordinating sweater.
  • Free Pattern for child's earflap hat on the midgauge - A single color stockinette hat.  
  • Cabled And Fringed Hat - A mohawk hat on a cabled base.  Single color.  You could use some of the construction details to make a mohawk hat without the cables if you wish.  You will need to create a free Lion Brand account to access this pattern.
  • Teo Hat - A garter stitch brim and ears with a stockinette hat that ends in a point on top.  
  • Child's Earflap Hat - A simple hat with a seed stitch brim and ear flaps and stockinette crown.  Single color.
  • Longford Hat - A simple, single color earflap hat for a child with pompoms at the end of the ties.  You will need to create a free Lion Brand account to access this pattern.
  • Brainmonster - There are many delightful earflap hats for children, and most of them I did not include on this list (you can see some in my Baby Hats that Transform pattern search.)  This hat has the teeth and eyes of a little monster who is trying to gobble up your child's head!  
There are many more earflap hat knitting patterns out there that I did not include in this list, but the ones here are the free patterns that rank as my favorites.  I still hope to knit KnitPick's Andean Chullo sometime in the future, but this doesn't count as a free pattern.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daybreak Shawl (Scarf)

Here it is, the 12th - 12 shawls in 2012 post!  I thought it would be appropriate to share Keith's "Shawl (I suppose when making a shawl for a man it is more kind to call it a scarf) on his 29th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Keith!  I selected the Daybreak Shawl by Stephan West in size Small for Keith.

Palette (1 ball each) of Mongoose (A; 33g consumed) and Verdant Heather (B; 49 g consumed).  I love the way the mongoose plays off of the brown heather flecks in the green.  I checked the color combo with Keith before I started knitting and he approved of it, too.  Even though this was to be his Christmas present, I had shown him the pattern months before I decided to start knitting it for him to see if he thought it were appropriate for a man.  (The shawls was designed to be unisex BY a man, but I still needed to double check that Keith would approve of it!)

I have never successfully done a garter stitch tab before.  It was easier to do this time because I was using size 4 needles with palette yarn rather than size 7.  In the past I've just CO 7 sts and then knit a second row. You really cannot tell if you didn't know what you were looking for...  But in the spirit of trying new things, I decided to suck it up and give it a go this time.

Notes from the constructions:

  • Section 1 - for 133 sts, 66 sts-center-66 sts.
  • I decided to do 13 stripes rather than 12. I have plenty of yarn (50 g remain after 12 stripes completed) and I wanted the scarf to be a tad bit bigger.
  • I stopped counting stitches, I figured that if I missed a M1 it wouldn't be too big of a deal.  
  • 46 g remain after 13 stripes.
  • I used a stretchy bind off (K1, K2tog-tbl)

The unblocked shawl
This pattern is superbly written and clear to follow.  It was a huge pleasure to knit, I just couldn't put it down!  I know that I will make another one of these in the future.

How I might have blocked the shawl if I were making it for a woman.
Blocking a straight edge was pretty difficult for me.  I cannot wait to get my hands on some blocking wires, they would help me make a straighter edge.  
I wish I had done the Color Affection YO trick with the edge so I could have blocked it bigger.  The reason why I hadn't needed to do this in other sideways shawls is that they were either knit on larger needles to begin with or had a YO after the edge for the increase.  YO's add more yarn to the row when you are making a stitch, M1R/L reduce the width of the previous row a bit.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Hanks in the Hood Silk

Last year, I spun some stunning silk Hanks in the Hood (cascade Head Silk) hankies purchased from KnitPicks. Unfortunately, I did not have enough yardage to make much of anything.  I purchased two more sets of these hankies so I could spin some more.  (I also purchased more because I was unsuccessful at dyeing my own silk very dark to coordinate with what I've already spun.)

AND now I have a spinning wheel.  Guess where I am going to spin this silk?  Sorry good old drop spindle buddy, I have moved on.  Since the silk is hard to draft, I am still planning on doing a lot of pre drafting, but we'll see how well I do as I start spinning.

There is no dye lot... and there are very different amounts of color between the two different sets of hankies. I am not worried about this because it is a completely handmade project, and it will still look lovely.I could mix the two hankies together (alternating from either batch), but I am not going to bother.  I pulled each hankie apart in the pink section, always connecting pink to pink which each new hankie.

The quality of these hankies are MUCH nicer than the ones I purchased and dyed myself off of etsy.  They draft MUCH easier.  I am therefore doing much less predrafting than I originaly thought I would.

I am spinning much tighter (thinner?) than I did last time.  Maybe from the picture it isn't as bad as I thought.  I always forget that the yarn can relax and plump up a bit as you are setting the twist.  My spinning isn't as even as I had hoped it to be... but this is ultimately a good thing.  Some of the imperfections are almost like nupps.  It means that the finished product will be more similar to what I created on the drop spindle.  I am using the faster (smaller, 8:1 I think) whorl since the predrafting makes the spinning go really fast.

Last time it felt like it took forever to spin the silk.  This time around, it only took me an afternoon to spin an entire 0.5 oz stack of hankies.  Wahoo for the speed of the wheel!  Two days and I was done spinning this project.  (Since my plan is to use this for a shawl, I want it light an airy, so no plying this time.)

I realized part way through that I got lazy and was drafting multiple hankie layers at one time.  The only problem with this is that the color repeats are going to be completely erratic and not consistent with the first hundred+ yards of this silk that I spun.  Whoops! (But it will still be LOVELY.)

One piece i measured was 27 wpi, but there is a fair amount of variation from really lace to fingering.  This will be pretty (and hopefully not too fragile.)

I jinxed myself!  I was explaining to Keith how i had some breaks in the yarn when I was winding from the drop spindle to niddy noddy and that this wasn't happening with my new Lazy Kate... and the yarn broke with a few yards left to wind.  At least this was because it was too thin and not because it was unwinding like with the spindle!

294 wraps = 1176 ft = 392 yards.  Wahoo!  With the other that I spun this is absolutely enough for a shawl!   34 g.

I love the way the yarn almost looks like it is one color but there are these wonderful flecks of pink, blue and green.   I cannot wait to make something out of this yarn!  (I am considering making another Annis Shawl.)

finished spinning 12/17/2012

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mom's Polaris

When I went to visit my Mom over Thanksgiving, she surprised me by taking me to a Local Yarn Store just around the corner from the house.  She wanted me to pick something out for myself, but instead I had HER pick something out so I could make a shawl for her!  She has loved my Polaris Shawl, and I had planned on making it for her for a long time.

Initially I was going to make Polaris in Lace weight and I planned to add 4 extra repeats of the chart.  This should also end up making the shawl deeper because there will be extra short rows.  However, now I have a worsted weight yarn (Blue Heron Rayon Metallic).  I have 233 g of yarn, more than the ball was supposed to have so I know I have 550 yards.  I decided to increase the number of repeats by 2 and to go up to a larger needle size.

To supplement the yarn with gold flecks, I will use Toho Round 6/0 crystal/gold lined beads.  This time, I will use tiny crochet hooks to add the beads to the yarn.

I cast on 409 (361 + 2*24)  for a total of 17 repeats onto size 11 needles with the backwards loop cast on method.  I will then P the next row with size 8 needles and knit the rest of the shawl on size 8 needles.  Beads are always added to the stitch before knitting it.

I love the colors and the sparkle of this yarn, but I do not love the texture.  When you hold the hank, it feels soft and cool, but it is a bit rough and scratchy to knit with.  

I regret using beads on this project, or at least using THESE beads.  Since the yarn has a gold shimmer throughout the gold beads do not add anything and are lost in the pattern (see above photo).  With a normal yarn, the beads would add hints of shimmer even if they did not stand out colorwise.  It is a shame you cannot really see them, but I will continue adding them.

Notes during Construction
  • After row 5 (7 rows knit total) 201 g remain.  32 g consumed.  This is just over 4 g per row.  There should absolutely be enough yardage to make the whole pattern, but the short rows may need to be cut a tad, well, short.  I may have made a huge mistake by adding two extra repeats.  We will have to see how things go.  
  • after row 6 - 197 g remain.  4 g per row is pretty accurate.  worst case scenario... it is a cool scarf.   
  • After Row 12 - 172 g.  14 rows knit, 4.35 g per row.  Well, consistency is good.  34 rows left, would require about 150 g of yarn.  This is good, since we know that the yardage will decrease as the rows increase.  I think I may add in a decrease a little bit sooner.  
  • After Row 16 - 155 g.  I am starting to feel worried, but looking back at my last polaris, the lace chart consumed ~75% of the yarn.  I keep reminding myself that the ABSOLUTE worst thing hat happens is that I have to frog this project.   
  • After Row 21 - 136 g remaining.  Half way through the lace (23 rows total, 46 rows total for lace) just under 100g consumed. I am much less concerned now! 
  • I decided to move the centered double decreases to Rows 31, 37 and 43 between repeats.  This gives one extra set of decreases, thus reducing the stitches for the short row section even further.  
  • When I hit row 33, I was confused by the number of stitches still remaining when I had a revelation.  The new YO is right above where the last YO was placed. I discovered this when my first center stitch was one st too far to the left.   I hope that I didn't mess things up too badly.  90g remaining. 
  • After row 46 - 55 g remain.   K 5 sts past the last SSK or K2tog before turning in the short rows.  (start by knitting 5 sts past center stitch, then knitting 5 past the other direction and turning again.  
  • 18 g remain before the last P short row.  After this row, 16 g remain (which means each row from her on out will take ~2 grams.)   201 stitches after the short rows, which is also consistent with needing 2 g per row since we started with 409 sts.  
  • I decided to skip the beaded rows 1 and 7, and do rows 3-6 of the top lace before binding of project.  The math works perfectly.  9 + 32* 6 = 201!  Since I have plenty of beads remaining, I decided to add beads to the center stitch on row 3, and on the first stitch of the row 5 repeat.    They may not show up, but at  least it will give a little hint of detail that can be seen up close.
  • Before Bindofff, 9 g left.  Darn, I would have had enough for 2 more round of the real lace pattern.  I decided to go ahead and knit rows 7 and 8 of the lace.  (With the beads)  5 g left before bindoff now.  
  • 3 g remain after binding off. 

I wet blocked the shawl for 30 min before pinning it out.  Surprisingly, the yarn bled a fair amount during the soaking.

I blocked the shawl aggressively, and even needed to place some books on the mats so they wouldn't curl up.  However, once the shawl was done drying, there was still a lot of stretch and it felt like I could block it even more aggressively.  I made a video of blocking this shawl, but still need to edit it and upload it to YouTube.  (Knowing me, this video will be released in 2-3 months.)

Even though I did not love knitting with this particular yarn, I loved creating this shawl for my mom.  I cannot wait to see her again so I can give it to her!  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

60 Quick Baby Knits

60 Quick Baby Knits: Blankets, Booties, Sweaters & More in Cascade 220 Superwash

This book sure does have a little bit of everything!  With 60 amazingly adorable projects, I cannot touch on them all.  I am going to point out what I consider to be the highlights of the collection:
  • #2: Sheep Hat - This is the pattern that got me to request the book from the library.  The wooliness of the sheep is created by a trinity stitch, and the sheep head and tail are knit separately and then attached.  This is amazingly cute, and something I know I'll need to knit in the future.  
  • #3: Sporty Cardigan - This is a a simple unisex striped cardigan, but it is so darling and classic that it deserves mention here.  
  • #5: Fan Stitch Blanket - A beautiful ginkgo leave shaped fan pattern over a baby blanket.
  • #13: Textured Stripes Hat - An earflap for your toddler is fun, but I never thought about mixing stripes and a checkerboard ribbing before.  This is still a really simple pattern, but it gives the finished garment some nice dimension. 
  • #17: Flowered Jumper - I happen to love little knit dresses.  This has some very simple colorwork to create little flowers and sripes at the top and bottom of the dress.  The vibrant colors are part of what really make it sing.
  • #26: Boatneck Pullover - What a darling little cabled sweater!  This would work for every day or as a dress up sweater for your little guy.  
  • #35: Porcupine Blanket - This is too cute to being describing.  The stripped baby blanket has little procupines walking on 3 of the stripes.  This almost deserves to be decoration!  The porcupines are set up with Intasia and the using french knots they are made "spiney"
  • #53: Tiny Tux - Who isn't a sucker for a baby in a little tuxido?  Well this faux cardigan has a white shirt, black vest and red bow tie!  To die for.  
  • #60: Bobble Beanie - I love colorwork baby hats.  This has some intersting cables, diagonal colowrok stripes, bobbles and checkerboard.  This would knit up so fast and would be great to use up any yarns you have laying around.  If the book weren't due back at the library right now, I would cast on immediately!  
I know that this is a book produced by a yarn company, but I happen to love the concept that all of the projects in the book can be knit out of the same yarn.  It would make a great gift for a knitter with an assortment of amazing worsted weight colors.  

This is not a great book for beginners because there are no "how to knit" instructions, but with the internet I'm not sure how many people go to books to learn nowadays anyway.  Many of the patterns are appropriate for beginners who know how to do the basic stitches.  I love the tabs to make it easy to open.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Arm Knit Cowl - Finished in Under 1 Hour!

When I came across Simply Maggie's video and blog post on arm knitting, I loved her amazing idea for a fantastic chunky cowl.  (If you want to purchase one of these cowls, she has some for sale.)  The problem is that while there are tips to make your own infinity cowl (holding 2 yarns together, cast on 12 stitches) there is very little other pattern information.  I decided to write down what I did when I made my own arm knit cowl so that it can be easier for others to make their own.


The video is fantastic because it shows you how to cast on, and knit both forwards and backwards... With extra tips to orient things correctly and use your arms rather than knitting needles.

It is really good that this project takes under an hour to knit up, because it is hard to set aside your knitting while your arms are the needles.  What should you do if you really do need to step away?  Transfer the stitches onto a random needle and gently set aside.

  • 120 yards (60 yards held double) of Super Bulky Yarn.  The yarns in this sample were Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Denim (Blue) and Black.   (Each ball of yarn comes with 106 yards, so there is plenty for this project.)  My Cowl Weighs 185 g.  
  • Needles - You don't need needles, you're using your arms!  Depending on the size of your forearms
  • Notions - You may want a yarn needle for weaving the ends of the cowl together, but the holes are big enough that you can use your fingers. 
  • Finished Size - ~13" x 42" Flat (before sewing the ends together.)  
I arm knit a little differently from Maggie, but I think her video is really good so I provided links to the relevant parts of the video below.  Maggie knits by holding the working yarn in the hand belonging to the arm you are knitting off of.  I prefer to put my hand through the loop I am to knit and then pull the yarn through, much like using knitting needles.   Therefore, I put the terms for the stitch you are making in terms of knitting terms (i.e. knitting forwards and knitting backwards.)

Pattern Instructions
  • Cast On 12 stitches to you right arm holding two strands of the super bulky yarn together.  (0:16 of the video)
  • Row 1: Knit 12 stitches backwards (from Right arm to Left Arm.)  Take care to see the Knit Stitches facing towards you.  You may need to fiddle with the technique a bit to find what works best for you to create untwisted knit stitches.  (2:17 of the video)  
  • Row 2: Knit 12 stitches forwards (from left arm to right arm.) Again, take care to keep your knit stitches untwisted.   (4:05 of the video)
  • Repeat these two rows 10 more times (for 22 rounds total) ending on Row 2, or until the scarf wraps around your neck twice comfortably.  
  • Bind off loosely.  (6:27 in the video)  At the point the piece should measure (ROUGHLY - when laid out on wooden floor) 13" x 42"  (The gauge is so loose that you can easily pull it longer or wider, so these measurements are very rough.)
  • Because this is a stockinette fabric with a right side and a wrong side, we are not going to make a mobius (or infinity) cowl.  To sew it together, fold it so the RS fabric is on the inside without any twists.  Sew the Cast on edge to the bind off edge.
  • Weave in any remaining loose ends.  With a gauge this loose, weaving in ends securely may be hard.  I knotted them very well and then cut the ends.  
  • Wrap your new cowl around you neck twice and feel super cozy!  Marvel at the fact that this took you under an hour to put together.  

Oh, and it really did take about 30 minutes to knit this cowl.  Maybe I would be faster the second time around because I'm not taking notes while I'm knitting!  Time yourself and tell me how long it took you to create in the comments below.  

Thank you Maggie for this amazing inspiration!

This knitting instructions were written by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use.  Inspiration for this pattern came from the Simply Maggie's "How to Arm Knit" Video. You are not to distribute or sell this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2013  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wonderful Gift


A few weeks ago, I received the most wonderful gift.  I starting a thread on Ravelry asking spinners about their favorite fiber to work with.  Since I am purchasing most of my spinning fiber online, I wanted to get recommendations of reputable sources and not get stuck using the same fiber type over and over.   I met an amazing local spinner who put a bag of different fibers together so I could practice.  

I am completely blown away by this gift.  Not online is there unknown wool (the ? bag), but there is Merino, Rayon, Cotton, Alpaca, Dog (breed unknown but I'm guessing Samoyed), Llama and Montadale.  The spinner selected natural colors because she saw that I like to dye yarn.  I will never be able to thank her enough for her generosity!

I am so excited to expand my spinning skills.  I hope that I will be in a position someday where I can help other new spinners get started!