September 24, 2013

7 Knit a Teeny Tiny Acorn!

Fall may have just started for the rest of you, but here in Montréal, if you blink it could turn to winter.  I must be quick and give you my Teeny Tiny Acorn pattern before a snowflake falls on my nose!

After finishing my lovely Oak Leaves and Acorns cardigan back in 2012, I really wanted a cute embellishment for the sleeves.  There are quite a few acorn patterns on Ravelry, but the ones I liked (with nice bulky caps) were far too large.  Here is a lady holding Susan Reese-Osbourne's excellent free pattern Acorn:

Here, I absolutely must acknowledge Susan and her pattern for the framework of Teeny Tiny Acorn, which is really just a miniaturized version.

Size:          1" x 3/4"
Tools:     US 0 (2mm) needles, for knitting in the round
    Nut:  Scrap amount smooth fingering or lace weight
  Cap:  Scrap amount fuzzy or bouclé fingering or lace weight
  Small amount fiber-fill stuffing or yarn ends

cast-on 3 sts with nut color, join in round (3 sts) 
kfb in each stitch (6 sts) 
kfb in each stitch (12 sts) 
knit 5 rows 

-change to cap color-
kfb in each stitch (24 sts) 
k1, p1 to end (setting up for moss stitch)
[(k1, p1) for 5 sts, p3tog] 3 times (18 sts) 
[(p1, k1, p1), k3tog] 3 times (12 sts) 
p2tog all around (6 sts) 
p2tog all around (3 sts) 
knit a 3 st i-cord until desired length for loop
(i-cord: k3, slide sts to right end of right needle, pull yarn tightly across back, repeat)

bind-off and sew i-cord down for a loop 

If you make an acorn, do show me!  You can link a Ravelry project or just contact me with a photo.  :)

You may be wondering about this stunning cardigan pattern.  It is designed by Amy Jansen and comes in two weights, sport and DK.

Aren't those leaves amazing?

I'd like to say that I did this cardigan in Rowan yarn, if only because I REALLY DID... for a moment.  I used an old free Rowan subscription gift with a lovely blue shade of Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply and got through the yoke... until I left the bag hanging in a bathroom stall at the Amsterdam airport.  No one ever returned it either, arghhh!  The bag had two extra balls of yarn, too, so I couldn't start over.  

I licked my wounds with a shopping spree at the Geneva grocery store (the other part of the binge is detailed here), and am so happy with the yarn.  It is soft, barely pills, the color is absolutely perfect for fall, and the stitch definition is incredible!  Too bad you can't order this stuff online.  I'll just have to go back to Switzerland.  What a terrible life!

September 21, 2013

0 Yeah! Only 77 Yards for a Pair of Socks -- Playing with Rowan Tumble

Lately I've been really challenging myself to come up with One-Skein Wonders.  You see, Rowan sends me samples of its new seasonal yarns to try out, but I refuse to knit something with no purpose.  This tends to be easier with thinner yarns, which have some yardage to work with.

Enter Rowan Tumble, a super-duper-über-bulky yarn with only *77 yards* per ball! 

/head scratch/

This is an extremely strange yarn, in my opinion.  It's like a rope of wool that was thrown to felt in the wash, run thorough a ringer, then dried under that mysterious "permanent press" setting for extra extra long.  I guess the word 'tumble' makes sense, then!

Compared to Rowan Big Wool (center) and Rowan Felted Tweed DK (bottom):

Honestly, there was no way I could guess the fiber content.  I even brought it to my knitting group (hi, Rogues!) and had them guess... acrylic was the number one choice, I must say, but the softness didn't match.  Guess what?  

90% alpaca. 10% cotton. totally. natural.

It's very soft and hairy, but with no obvious shedding, because the long alpaca hairs are matted inside... I imagine it's a bit like a Rasta alpaca might look (do they farm alpacas in jamaica?).  

(and here I was thinking I'd have to Photoshop something, but what don't you find on the internet?!)

The real plus of this yarn is it's warmth.  This stuff should be used for cold cold weather projects.  As I am one of those crazy must-wear-socks-to-bed people, AND I live in Montréal, I thought I'd try to make a pair of winter bed socks.

Imagine my delight at finding a free super-bulky socks pattern by Liat Gat of KNITfreedom that only needed 80-90 yards of yarn.

She uses Malabrigo Rasta (speak of the devil)... nice, huh?

I split the ball into two by weight.  But you can see that I reversed the direction of striping for one of the balls.  Oops!

Also, one sock is much longer than the other.  Double oops!

But who cares.  :)  Well.  Actually, my husband does.  He hates that I wear socks to bed.  The first thing he said when he saw my modeled sock was,

"Nice cast."

So I had to find a fan elsewhere (random neighborhood cat who comes by).

And... ouch.

Hey, by the way, if you've never knit a sock before, go buy a ball of Tumble and try this pattern.  You'll get everything you need to understand basic sock construction, and you'll get a killer warm pair of cozy socks.

Here's something else I found for 1 ball of Tumble... cute!

If you feel like you want to own more than one ball, :p, you have some pattern support options.  My picks: this "coatigan" (my new favorite ridiculous word), Pitch, from the book Tumble.

The Crispin Snood from the book Warm and Toasty...

... and Enthral from the Kim Hargreaves book, Enchanted.


My Tumble Socks on Ravelry

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September 11, 2013

9 Dawn and Other Faves from the Rowan Free Pattern Database

Go ahead and credit me for perfect knitting timing:  I finished this 'summer sweater' just in time for the start of 15C/58F weather in Montréal.  Isn't that always how it goes?  My mittens are done in time for spring, my scarves and hats in time for a heat wave, and my wool colorwork ends always seem to be woven in at the beach.

What on earth is a 'summer sweater', anyway?  Yeah, the ideal summer project is small, but the truth is that I don't really enjoy knitting accessories.  I just don't think about them once they are made, and they end up in a pile, sad and unused.  But I wear my sweaters all the time!

As I don't let temperature mess with my knitting mojo, I needed a pattern I could knit in the sun.

I fell for Dawn, by Laura Long from Rowan Magazine 35.  I liked the big fishnet look (lets the air blow right through) and the tunic length.  Also, the design is totally timeless. It's originally made with Rowan All-Seasons Cotton.

Instead, I picked a very slinky yarn that oddly always seems cool to the touch.  It is made with 53% microfiber, 26% viscose and 21% nylon.  Accordingly, when you remove the ball band the whole damn thing unravels itself! 

I scored this stuff in a sale bin at the grocery store in Geneva.  The grocery store is where everyone buys their yarn!  That always makes me laugh.  That day at Manor, I bought a Red Bull, some Gruyere meringues (to die for), some Gruyere cheese, some mozzarella balls and some yarn balls.

If you've never had meringues from Gruyere (THE dairy region of Switzerland), they are traditionally eaten with double crème.  I've never been there, but when I am in Geneva visiting my husband's family, I cheat regularly with Mövenpick ice cream.

I've got to stop drooling, so back to Dawn!  This sweater is neat because it's not just boring stockinette stitch.  You knit one row with a big 12.5 mm needle, but purl the next with a 6 mm needle.  This makes a pretty cool texture.

However, while I thought it would be a good movie project, the clicking of the huge plastic needle against the metal Addi turbo needle was very loud (sorry, B.!)

I made the 34 (2nd size), but had to go up in needle size for the ribbing.  It was way too tight.  I also didn't do the fold down-collar and just stopped at the point you are supposed to change needle size.

A warning about slinky soft yarns.  First, this yarn is odd in that it's very elastic, but somehow drapes down like mad.  When I'm wearing the tunic, it is so long!  But the minute I move my arms upward, my sleeves spring up past my wrist.  

Second, it is so slippery that if the sweater catches on the slightest thing, it will pull the entire strand out of the row into a huge loop.  Ack!  I'm really not sure how long this lovely will last.

The photo shoot started at the bead store... I am thinking of making the free Rowan pattern Gatsby, which needs 4400 beads!

Then we went through the Montréal museum sculpture garden and ended in a lovely garden near my work.  

A story: I always love to smell herbs when I pass them, and I was intrigued by one big bush that looked like parsley.  But it was very different!  It tasted like celery, parsley and cumin all in one.  An older lady popped out of nowhere said, "My dear, do you know what that is?  It's lovage!  Go ahead take some... it's great in hamburgers and soups."  I find it is a fabulous herb, but do use it sparingly.

Our aperitif after our long walk?  Lovage Martinis!  Just bruise a few lovage leaves and put them in the shaker with gin and vermouth to your particular liking.  The lovage and the gin match excellently.  Garnish with a cocktail onion.

Now, imagine my surprise when I learned that Dawn was actually a free pattern available from the Rowan website!  In fact, there are many many patterns on the website that are worth checking out.

Here are just a few I picked out of the 400 patterns available:

Windsor Hat in Creative Focus Worsted  (rather sinister model, eh?)

I hope you find a pattern you love... if you do, please tell me which one!

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