Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Marsan watch cap, among other things

I have admired the Marsan watch cap for a long time, but I never made once since I could never figure out how only 72 stitches on size 7 needles would make a cap for an adult. I finally bit the bullet over the last couple of days and did a little math and a little research (the designer knits loosely! aha!), and I knit my own. This is a very clever pattern, and the twisted knit stitch really pops. I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in mist for mine, and it took just a little over one skein. I also cast on 80 stitches instead of 72 and used size 10 needles. The cap fits me snugly, but not uncomfortably so. However, I’ll put this one in the hat stash and give it away sometime.

Like many, many others, I have signed up for the Knitting Olympics. My project will be resurrecting the freshly frogged Hourglass sweater. I’ll be glad to get it back on the needles, and it will also be a great project for hours and hours of Olympics watching. I’m hoping that the fixed time for completion will help me eliminate some of those ugly lines that plagued the first version…this time it won’t sit for weeks at a time without being worked on.

Just this morning I found nonaKnit’s I-Cord Glove pattern, and I love it! Gloves are just about the only commonly knitted item that I have not yet attempted, mostly since I figured all that fiddling around with dpns in tight spaces and on small numbers of stitches would require more patience than I currently possess. However, I’m going to give this a shot…just one finger will be enough to let me know whether or not I’ll stick it out through ten! I have almost a whole skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in the lakeview colorway, but I’m also thinking about the Trekking XXL; there’s a lot of it left, too, and I love the colors in that. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Greene County watch cap

Over the weekend I wanted to knit a watch cap, but I wanted something just a little different, so I studied the Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns and decided on wheat ear rib for the ribbing portion. It’s pretty, and it made me think of a small wheat field I once saw that was surrounded on three sides by woods. And since one thought generally leads to another, I remembered the skein of natural mix Patons Classic Wool that was left over from my Must-Have cardigan and knew it would be the perfect choice.

So, here’s the Greene County Watch Cap. It’s soft and warm and very comfortable. It’d be good for country drives or walks in the woods while the weather is still cold, and once spring arrives, it would hold all the morels you might find while “mushroom huntin’.”

Fits a medium-sized adult head. Adjustments in size may be made by casting on any number of stitches that are a multiple of 5 +2, then increasing or decreasing a couple of stitches for the body of the hat so that the number of stitches is divisible by 6.

Gauge: 5 st=1”

Wheat ear rib (from Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns)

Row 1 (right side): *P3, insert needle from back to front between 1st and 2nd stitches on left-hand needle and knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st st and slip both stitches from the needle together; repeat from *, end p2.

Row 2: *K3, skip 1 stitch and purl the 2nd st, then purl the skipped st, then sl both stitches from needle together; rep from *, end K2.

Repeat these two rows.

Cast on 97 stitches using a circular needle. Work the wheat ear rib pattern back and forth for 3”. At the end of the last wrong-side row, join the knitting so that you will now be knitting in the round. Be sure the wrong side is facing out, so that when the brim is turned up, the right side will show.

Purl one round, decreasing one stitch in this round for a total of 96 stitches. Knit around until the whole hat is about 8 inches in length. You may adjust this for a tighter or more roomy cap. Though a watch cap is typically supposed to be close-fitting, I like a little more room up at the very top. A length of 7 ½” is probably enough for most people.

Begin decreasing.

*K14, K2tog around*

K around

*K13, K2tog around*

K around

Continue in this manner, switching to double points when needed, until there are 48 stitches. Then decrease every round until there are only 6 stitches left. Break yarn and thread through these stitches, pulling tightly and securing on the wrong side. Sew up seam on brim.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Finished objects

Finally, some finished objects! I haven’t been knitting much; I usually enter a slump after the holidays and use the time I don’t feel like knitting to organize the stash, plan some future projects, and update all my notes from the previous year’s projects. I don’t worry that the urge to actually knit will never return; it always does.

Here’s a little hat I made the other day. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting’s Caps & Hats Two. It’s very succinctly called “Striped Hat,” and it worked up very quickly. I chose not to add the bobbles at the corners since I had already spent way too much time trying to decipher the finishing instructions—it just wasn’t computing to me. Finally, I figured out how to achieve the look, though the instructions never did make sense to me.

I actually finished the Trekking XXL socks (though I haven’t yet renamed them something more catchy). These turned out very well; I like them better than anything else I’ve made from my own pattern. The yarn is so pretty, and it washes well, too, which is always something I’m nervous about.

In other knitting news, the other day I met a nice woman at the local craft store where I buy Woolease and Sugar ‘n Cream and whatnot. She had the front part of her cart full of Lion Brand Jiffy and various eyelash and other Elmo-like yarns, and she asked me a few questions about needle size and the suitability of her planned purchases for scarves. We had a nice conversation about the soothing effects of knitting, and she said, “Given how compulsive I am about knitting, I’m glad I don’t have a tendency to drink!” My sentiments exactly. However, I neglected to mention my unhealthy attachment to a certain brand of potato chips and comfort myself with the fact that I don’t have a huge stash of them within reach, like I do with yarn. Not yet, anyhow.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a nice holiday season and a good start to the new year. We are still hanging onto 2005 here, since the tree is still up in the living room, and I'm loathe to give up the lights strung around the ceiling in the study. I'm almost ready to welcome 2006, though. Maybe tomorrow?

I've done virtually no knitting during the holiday season, save for a few rounds on the Trekking sock and about one-third of a pretty purple dishcloth. I am mulling over whether or not to completely frog the Hourglass sweater, and begin it again when I have time to work on it exclusively, thus perhaps eliminating the pesky "lines." I want it to be as nice as possible, so that may be the answer. I'd rather do that than frog back just so far and pick up all those stitches again.

It's been unseasonably warm here for the past couple of weeks; I even walked yesterday in just a t-shirt and sweatpants--no sweatshirt, no Hayden hat, no convertible mittens! It is supposed to snow later, though the temp won't get down to freezing. I may eat my words soon, but I really wish winter would get here!