July 30, 2014

10 A Bit O' Honey -- Jerry Beret by Kim Hargreaves

I admire the people who buy paperbacks for their vacations and read them all by the end of two weeks.  So much accomplishment in so little time!  My version of this in knitting is what I coin the "Paperback Pattern".  The criteria required are (think Da Vinci Code, Stephanie Plum novels): Addictive, Fast and Absolutely Requiring No Brain Cells.

Introducing the cutest and easiest hat ever: Jerry by Kim Hargreaves.  It is designed for Rowan Softknit Cotton, which I reviewed here.  I simply love how it shines.

The design is from Kim's latest book Honey, which you simply must check out.  (Scroll down to the end of the post to see my favorite designs.)  Kim is the queen of simplicity and fit.  Actually, this means I almost never make her patterns (because I'm an overcomplicated idiot), but I should!

I loved how just a simple twisted rib and a small reverse stockinette band makes it just fancy enough.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the hat was.... KNITTED FLAT.  Knitted flat?  A hat?  I thought, why would you want a seam on your hat when we are all drowning in circulars and interchangeables these days?

But then I splashed some virtual water on my face.  I wanted a Paperback Pattern and I was going to stick with it.  I did have to pack 3 different needle sizes though, increasing my knitting baggage (which is always embarrassing, see my vacation last year).

Weeeeell, it's never that easy, is it:  it took about a day to make, and it was so cute... but only if I modeled -- just so -- for the photograph.

But in reality, it was so ginormous above the brim that it weighed the hat down over my eyes.  I needed to get rid of some excess, stat!

(Ooh, sneak peak of the next finished object I have to show you from Rowan Mag 55... I'm in love!)

Instead of decreasing every 4th row for the crown, I decreased every 3rd row twice and then every other row for the remainder.  Success, now it looked like it did on the model!

I've been wanting a cotton hat for awhile.  My building's air conditioning is absolutely unreasonable (think of the energy that could be saved!), but wearing a wool hat in the summer just seems wrong, you know?

So now you are asking... what about the seam?  Well, I used mattress stitch because that is the flattest of seams and it's not so bad.  Yes, you can see it... but no, it really doesn't matter at all.  You don't care if the spine is broken on your beach paperback, after all, it just shows you actually read it!

A LITTLE TIDBIT FOR YOU KIM HARGREAVES FANS:  There are two books coming soon! "North" in September, and another secretly named one in November.  In the meantime, pick up Honey because it uses a lot of cotton and we can't give into fall yet, can we?!

Anyone would look good in Angie; Rowan Cotton Glace.

So simple but it fits so well, right?  Pockets too in Candice; Rowan Panama.

I could see myself wearing Dylan daily; Rowan Handknit Cotton.

Classic Kim revisited in Farrah; Rowan Creative Linen.

A pretty cute crop in reverse stockinette, Faye; Rowan Wool Cotton.

Fluffy decadence in Goldie; Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace

A bit of gansey going on in Jodie; Rowan Softknit Cotton. 

So timeless; Madeline in Rowan Cotton Glace

Man, I never knit in a white but Raquel looks fab; Rowan All Seasons Cotton.

Rowan Panama looks so cool in Sherry, need to try this yarn.

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that I had a few meet and greets/interviews lately at the end of my 2-week vacation in Maine.  I received so many good wishes, thank you, they got me through it all!  I hope to have some good news for you soon, fingers crossed.  By the way, if you ever want to stay in Brooklin, Maine in a small uber-private cottage on a private beach, check out this property on Airbnb.  I have never been in a more zen moment that at the light of a little lamp, reading a New Yorker with the ocean breeze blowing through the safety (ha) of the lovely screened-in porch.  If I live in coastal Maine (as I most likely will), I want this in my life.

See my Bit O' Honey on Ravelry

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July 18, 2014

14 Mushroom Or Oyster? You Decide -- Booknits Ocean Breeze MKAL

As you may remember, I am just off the tail of another Mystery Knit-A-Long, but somehow I had this urge to continue the not-knowing-what-you're-knitting torture.  I have admired one shawl by Booknits for awhile:

stormyk9's version of Sweet Dreams, project page here.

But if you just check out her designer page on Ravelry, you'll keel over from all the beautiful dripping lace borders.

This MKAL had a generous starting time, a month or more it seemed, to choose your yarn.  The idea was to pick two different textured yarns of the same shade, such as silky and fuzzy.  I ran around in circles trying to make it work, but ended up falling for two different textured yarns that were rather different shades (thank you for your excellent color help Sylvie!).

Handmaiden Sea Silk in Crema, had no idea the Swiss made 'mountain silk'!

The King of mohair, Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Blustery.

The shawl uses about 800 beads, and I wanted to use my stash.  I had two differently sized beads that matched -- the plastic pearls would fit on any yarn, but the shiny mauve beads were very thin and irregular and would only fit on the mohair.

The mystery INCLUDED that I didn't know what yarn the beads would go on... it turned out to be both.  So what I did was use the pearls with the white and the mauve with the brown.

Booknits shawl patterns are usually crescent shawls which incorporate needle size changes in order to enlarge the borders.  I found that the increases for the beginning of the shawl ended up making an odd neck hump.  I tried hard to block it straight, but then that section would pucker, so I blocked it the way it wanted to go:

The top was done with flexible blocking wires, see more about them here.

Unfortunately, this means that the 'hump' often rolls, and OF COURSE, it rolls to the visible side because of the stockinette stitch.  I find myself often trying to tuck it in, but I really don't like having to adjust my shawls too much, I start feeling a bit OCD!

Carefully tucked in, but will it stay?!

(By the way, this flower dress was a total find in a Manchester, UK charity shop for 8 pounds, I love how it matches yet clashes with this shawl.)

Those of you who have made the shawl (or have been eyeing it) may notice that my border looks different.  Well, honestly, the end of the pattern was disappointing.  I had never made a Booknits shawl and expected some massively dripping overly-Victorian lace.  I was very surprised to see a squared off border in the pattern:

Copyright Booknits, 2014

Additionally, the last patterned row didn't have any beads... but every row similar to it did.  I had oodles of beads left, so I added them as so:

And then I blocked into tri-points.  Lovely!

I took all these shots in lovely Spruce Head, Maine, smack in the middle of lobster country.  You can see the lobster cage buoys in the background of many of the photos.  We have a quaint, extremely private rental for a couple, with an excellent lobster shack within walking distance, McLoons. Message me if you'd like any extra info.

I don't make shawls very often, but this only took 2 weeks and was totally worth the sweater/top/blanket break!  You'll be seeing a lot more of Spruce Head, Brooklin and Bar Harbor, Maine in the coming weeks as I close in on finishing quite a few pieces.  I've been alone for a couple of days, it's a rarity to be by yourself in a delicious vacation spot, and some lobstermen must have wondered what loony was taking pictures of herself on the rocks.  Now it's time to go play in the low tide... see you soon!

See my Where The Ocean Breeze Hits the Sand on Ravelry

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