My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Friday, January 29, 2016

January Grey's- Making a Scarf & Hat to Reflect My Mood

     Every month & season to me has a pallette of colors to represent itself. I change my dressing habits to reflect this and re-arrange stuff in my house also. To me January is a month of serenity & clean, quiet beginnings, where you re-think your life, your priorities. It's a re-start button for me- so white is my first choice of "color" (or the absence of- perhaps almost like a blank canvas to re-start on). Greys are the next stroke of color- a wide range of differing hues. And this reflects the mood outside- grey skies when it snows and the bare trunks of trees against a blue Colorado sky. To me not a depressing array of greys, not even somber- perhaps serious & restful.  To me grey skies are a day to rest and reflect internally- to pause. An interesting fact about grey is it is often used on museum walls because it shows off the colors in paintings the most. Perhaps I am comfortable with grey because I grew up in New Jersey where grey skies are so pervasive. Now that I live in Colorado a state of perpetual blue skies (not that I'm complaining) I at times can really appreciate that grey  & wooly looking sky when it does come.


     So my expression of this month's pallette in my clothes are beautiful black drapey tunics I found at a second hand shop (my favorite place to find recycled clothes). Layered with grey or off white or cream drapey light sweaters over black or grey stretch pants (I need to make these lovely black slippers I knitted once- next on my to do list, maybe). I do wonder if anyone gets bored with my sameness of color choice, and yet it reflects me- and my mood.

And in keeping with this theme I am knitting a lovely scarf in a Mistake Stitch- Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf. A very easy and lovely stitch that involves making a rib 2 x 2 and then because it is in pattern of an odd number of stitches the "mistake" is made when you knit and purl back on the  other side- knitting one stitch off from the perfect rib. It's lovely, semi-quick- lots of back and forth between knit and purl, but relaxing in the rhythmic sort of way of knitting. No looking at the pattern after awhile because of it's simplicity. 

I love this Grey variegated "Scarfie" wool by Lion Brand Scarfie Yarn in Cream/Black and it shows off the contours of this lovely stitch.

I intentionally bought 2 of these skeins (carefully matching lot numbers for color with my husband David's help- he found the exact match and it really makes THE difference in this yarn). So each skein should make a whole scarf- but I know 1) I like my scarves really long and drapey and 2) I knew I might be doing a rib of some sort where a good bulk of the yarn is "eaten" up by the pattern itself. It uses more yarn to achieve the stitch, but it also gives more loft and depth and therefore more of a snuggly feeling and warmth. This is going to be one warm and soft scarf. So while I have plenty to finish a long scarf I began to realize (and dream & conceptualize) that I would have a lot of leftover yarn to me thinking. 

I think I have found a lovely hat to knit. I wanted one I could use a circular needle  and this is knit flat, but I like the design and I'm thinking I might be able to start on straight needles to make the brim and then switch to circular needles to do the rest of the hat and later sew up the brim side left open. I'll have to try it- the stitch is a repeat of a lace design of  "* P 2 tog, 1 YO *", so I'm thinking that on the every other row I must "* K 2 tog, 1 YO *" and I'd be all good. I've knitting almost 35 years on straight needles, but I will confess I am still somewhat a newbie to circular needles. I envied my daughter's ability to whip up things on circular needles and have been trying to forge ahead in that area, only to discover I much prefer the rhythm and ease of knitting that way. But I'm still working out the basic how to's of the process and if the pattern isn't written out for circular needles, I'm going to have to learn how to convert it- probably easier once done.

Here's the hat pattern and I'm REALLY tempted to get my hands into before I finish the scarf (I've been pushing all week to finish). So I'm about to start the new skein and if I want to I can continue to knit from the center core of the skein on my scarf and start the hat from the outside of the skein. Literally- tackling a project from both ends. Bohemian Rhapsody Hat

I'll blog on my progress & some update pictures later!

Of course it's a little late at night to start a pattern- but I can't resist! So I just found a size 10 circular needle  and I'm excited to start! It's meant to be knit flat on straight needles, but I'm going to plow ahead and see how I do! It's a 2 x 2 rib to start (and yes I know I'm suppose to do a swatch but I'm skipping and going ahead.) If I don't get a decent result I'll frog it! (Knit speak for rip it out!).

OK- so I did frog it! But for very good reasons- after two attempt I realized I just didn't like the flimsy feel of the knit or the lacey pattern (perhaps better done in a true wool) but it wasn't working for me.  So I actually started another pattern for a hat and the cat frogged it for me while I took a walk. I came back and my husband told me the cat had taken the ball of yarn and whatever I was working on for a spin!  I should've taken the hint from the cat. After another go- I REALLY looked at it and realized I didn't even like the yarn done in tiny little seed pearls for a large brimmed hat. Great design, wasn't working. So onto my third pattern and we will see!

And I'm about to take my daily walk and I've hidden my knitting- my scarf is looking gorgeous! Pictures when it's all done.

I'm very pleased with my results. I added 1 more inch to the first part of knitting the hat base (before decreases), so it was 10'' long when I started decreasing (instead of 9'').

2/21/2016- My hat is finished and I'm still working on the loooong scarf.

2/25/16- Finally Finished!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Nether Garments"


     Looking through Elizabeth Zimmerman's patterns yesterday on Ravelry I was really taken with her pattern for tights (footless or not) named Nether Garments. Worth a look at all the different variations posted on the project site connected to-


     I'd love to make a pair and learn how to create patterns like this, Fair Isle Knitting (something I haven't learned). Perhaps I'll make it a birthday present to myself in July, that might give me enough time to finish them before cold Fall and wintery days. Fun to try! Here's a few how to sites on knitting with color-How to Knit in The Round With ColorVogue Knitting- Fair Isle Knitting, and Fair Isle or Stranded Knitting.

I'd need a soft wool and this looks fun, affordable and has many lovely colors- a Peruvian Wool- Wool of The Andes. Which is supposed to be soft and durable- made of a Peruvian wool that is " A sturdy yet soft yarn with excellent stitch definition and heirloom durability. Peruvian sheep are a cross between Corriedale (for the sturdiness) and Merino (for the softness), producing a strong fiber with an excellent softness quotient for a wide variety of uses. " Knit Picks                                                                                                                                   

Wool of The Andes (Knit Picks)

     Sometimes I just like to dream in color of all the possible knitting patterns I could do. It lifts my heart. Possibilities & Dreams are wonderfully beautiful, giving hope. Dreams worked out- even better.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Seed Stitch Cowl

I'm playing around with different cowl patterns in Seed Stitch and Moss Stitch to determine what pattern to create. I know I want to use Lion's Wool-Ease- Thick & Quick Yarn Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. It's easy to use, has a lovely selection of color, user friendly (you can wash it easily) and it's affordable. It also works up well with large needles- with lots of texture. The "Quick" part also is a boon- making it possible to make a garment within a day or two.

I already had Barley Wool-Ease and I'm quickly whipping up this cowl on the left- 2 Simple Snoods Pattern in the Seed Stitch pattern. So far it's lovely and going up fast, but I don't know if it's fast enough for a repeatable knittable to sell. I love the texture of the seed stitch, but I'm thinking I'd like a larger more defined stitch with #17 or #19 size needles (I'm using a #15 circular needle now). But this is still lovely in itself and I'm finishing it!

Pictures & Comments to follow.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Detangling Seed Stitch vs. Moss Stitch- Exploring Different Knitting Patterns

                                                               Seed Stitch- December Seed Stitch Infinity Circle Scarf

      I find myself de-tangling the different knitting patterns for what I had thought was called the Seed Stitch.  Now with further research I find there are several differing patterns from Seed Stitch to Moss Stitch and then to complicate things there is an American Moss Stitch, a British (which seems to me to be our Seed Stitch) and an Irish.  So as I'm trying to decide on my cowl-to-be's stitch, I find I'm getting a headache trying to get the names straight!  But I will plod on.......

                    The difference between British Moss Stitch and American Moss Stitch Moss Stitch    

     So basically the top one is what we know as a Seed Stitch in America- K1, P1 first row and then the reverse the second row creating lots of bumps or seeds.  It is also referred to as British Moss Stitch.
     The second picture is the Moss stitch- American Moss, Irish Moss or Double Row Seed.

Seed Stitch

                                                                             Here's the Seed Stitch done in a 2 + 1 pattern on a flat knit so when it's knit on the second row you knit the same pattern- Seed Stitch.

To knit the Seed Stitch on circular needles you have to change it a bit, here's instructions: Seed Stitch on circular needles 

Moss Stitch

Here's another explanation of the Moss stitch or as they call it a Double Row Seed Stitch or Double Moss Stitch  or American Moss Stitch, or Irish Moss Stitch:

I like this setup for American Moss stitch better:
American Moss Stitch
(Over an uneven number of stitches)
• Rows 1 and 4: K1, *p1, k1; rep from * across.
• Rows 2 and 3: P1, *k1, p1; rep from * across.
• Repeat Rows 1–4 for pattern.

Different Seed Stitches (this is a Moss Stitch)

And the Irish Moss Stitch I am still trying to figure how it's different from the American.  I suspect that from a European point of view there is the English Moss Stitch which is a single row of "bumps" vs. the Irish Moss Stitch which is the double row.  So essentially the Irish Moss Stitch is no different than the American Moss Stitch.

Irish Moss Stitch- St. Patrick's Day Knitting

To confuse the issue many patterns online refer to their pattern as being done in the "Seed" Stitch or "Moss" stitch interchangeably- not referring to any nationality and making the issue murky.  Of course who is to say what is the official name for which stitch?  For instance this lovely cowl is described as a "Cosy Moss Stitch Cowl", but technically it is seed stitch in a super bulky yarn.  Even if the definitions & technique is searched out on google the result will be an identical definition for both types of stitches.  For clarity sake I like to know the differences, especially when reading patterns.  Regardless of the term used in a pattern look closely at the picture to visually detect if there are 1 row of stitches, repeated; or two.  Then do that!

Cosy Moss Stitch Cowl CMS Cowl Pattern (really done in seed stitch)

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Knitting Epiphany

You know I was looking at my mitt/gloves I knit for my son Jonathan and I realized no one sees the strings that used to pop out everywhere that I so carefully and meticulously weaved back in (making sure they didn't create a bump or show). Hours of weaving in. Or the times the fingers were too short so I tore them out part way to re-knit the perfect length. Or the countless times I made a mistake and had to "frog" part of it and start again. And it dawned on me- a mini-revelation or epiphany - we see & know all the problems, the traumas, our mistakes, our weaknesses; but when it's all over God will hide them all away and we will look and be perfect! Isn't that a wonderful thought! I need a lot of tucking!