The winners of my last giveaway, chosen by random number generator, are Chris D. Wareaglemom and Lucia. Congratulations! You have each won a ball of Daily DK from Willow Yarns---more than enough to knit the Faux Bow Baby Hat, featured in 101 One-Skein Wonders for Babies.
Lucia---I'm sorry, the way my blog comments are stored changed without warning and I no longer have your email address! Please send me a way to contact you by October 30.
One-Skein Wonders for Babies, edited by Judith Durant, photograph by Geneve Hoffman, pub. Storey Publishing, 2015.
This is charming book has 10 chapters: Little Ensembles, Little Tops, Little Bottoms, Little Dresses, Little Hats, Little Socks & Bootees, Little Accessories, Little Blankets, Little Toys, and Little Miscellany.
That last chapter includes "Mom's Stress Reducer", an eye mask to wear while Little One naps. The others cover practically anything you might want to knit for an infant or toddler. All 101 patterns are thoroughly tech edited by Edie Eckman, so you can knit them with confidence!
I love Cathy Campbell's Circus Rings Baby Hat shown in the top right corner of the cover. It uses a long-stripe variegated yarn to achieve stripes of horizontal ribbing.
The Elephant Blanket Buddy by Gwen Steege (also on the cover) is one of three adorable blanket toys included in the book. It might be my favorite, because of the trunk which is good for holding onto or sucking.
The Sail Away with Me top (at left) by Janice Bye has a delightful sailboat detail in purl stitches on the front. The water ripples are echoed in the sleeves. As is common in this book, the pattern is only given in one size. I imagine this is because of the one skein constraint.
Sidebars such as "Babies and Lace" and "Toy Safety" encourage crafting which is mindful of the intended user (and therefore more likely to be used!).
Vicki Byram's Vertical Lace Baby Cardigan (at right), Jenny Snedeker's Diamond Vest, Evelyn Uyemura's Greenleaf Baby Hat, Lindsay Lewchuk's Ruffle Bumpkin, Sarah Gomez's Friendly Lizard, and Andrea Wong's Easy Baby Booties were a few of the patterns that caught my eye. But it was extremely difficult to choose just a few! Nearly all the patterns attracted my interest---and that very seldom happens.
Another design of note is my own Faux Bow Baby Hat (below). The bow "loops" are double-knit, and the ties are I-cord.
And now for the giveaway: Leave a comment by October 20 saying to whom you would give a Faux Bow Baby Hat. This could be an existing or expected baby, a charity, or something else! I'll choose two random entries and send them each a ball of Willow Daily DK courtesy of the folks at Willow Yarns. That's enough for a hat plus some!
The pink hat is Willow Daily; the other hat is the buttery Green Sheep Sport in the Tide Pool colorway.
Lastly, a few more patterns from the book:
Ingenious rattles by Lynn Wilson, each featuring a different knitting technique; Debbie Haymark's take on Mary Jane shoes ("Lizzie Janes"), and Ann Faith's Montana Moccasins.
I recommend this book for anyone who's knitting for babies or toddlers, or just wanting a quick project. There's a wonderful mix of cute, clever, and sophisticated designs!
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a free copy of this book. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in Kangath's reviews are her own.
My Stars and Stares Eye Pillow appeared in this most recent Knitty. I promised a post about fillings and such, so here it is!
Eye pillows can be filled with various stuffings. Each has advantages.
Rice is inexpensive, odorless, and retains heat well. However, because of its shape, it may poke through the pillow. This isn't a problem with the Stars and Stares pillow, because of the thickness of the case.
Flax Seed is flat and won't poke through the pillow like rice might. When microwaved, it produces a mild scent which I find rather pleasant, though not everyone agrees.
Lentils are another smooth choice, smaller and lighter than other legumes.
Buckwheat hulls are widely used for full-sized pillows. They are very supportive and would be good stuffing for an ergonomic wrist rest to use with your computer keyboard. When settling into position they make a rustling sound similar to the ocean.
For ideas about scented pillows, Aromatherapy.com is an excellent resource. Visit "Mood Blends" for ideas for combinations that are said to produce certain results. Just be sure to cross-check any essential oils you plan to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a condition such as epilepsy or high blood pressure.
I have only used whole herbs and spices and tea blends, not essential oils. I have seen recommendations for anywhere from 3 - 4 to 15 - 20 drops essential oil in a pillow the size of Stars and Stares.
If you want to use your pillow in your yarn stash as a sachet, fill it with moth repellents such as lavender, cedar, peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and eucalyptus. Silverfish are said to keep away from citrus, bay leaves, sage, lavender oil, cedar shavings, and whole cloves (not ground!).
For use in an eye pillow, you may want to grind your herbs and spices or teas. Put small amounts in a resealable paper tea bag or two and insert into your pillow.
More pictures in the next post!
I have a new design in the works: Barn Door Pullover. This saddle-shoulder sweater will feature the large X seen on many barn doors emblazoned on its front in traveling rib. The saddles, cuffs, and collar are a combination of seed stitch and twisted rib.
After much deliberation, I chose Malabrigo Mecha for this design. It's a little weightier than I originally conceived for Barn Door, but it meets my requirements of color (Malabrigo rocks!) and responsibility (I try to feature fair-trade and/or organic yarns in my designs).
For color choice, I narrowed it down to Archangel or Volcan. Archangel is a medley of eggplant and roasted carrot with all the intermediary shades plus occasional pale glimmers of cream and celery. Volcan is a melange of browns---chocolate, chestnut, caramel, and ginger. While both are beautiful, I've been longing to work with Archangel for a long time, so that's what I chose. Then came the choice of needle size.
I decided to start with the needles I already owned: US sizes 9, 10 1/2, and 13 (5.5, 6.5, and 9 mm). Although lovely, none achieved the result I was after. I had been warned that Mecha was not as thick as many chunky yarns, and this proved true. So I doubled the yarn to see what would happen.
Instantly the dimensionality improved. I bought some new needles and tried the motif in US sizes 15, 17, and 19 (10, 12, and 15 mm). As you can see, the smallest needles yield a rather firm result and the largest swatch is too loose. The middle size, while not quite Goldilocks-perfect, has potential.
Since this yarn is hard to match from skein to skein even within the same dye lot, I will be knitting in the round. My gauge tends to be a little tighter in the round, so I imagine the middle swatch, which seems a tiny bit loose to me, will be just right in the final version. The next step is to knit a swatch in the round with the middle size needles. I say middle size, but for someone used to working with US sizes 000 - 2, these suckers are huge.
I get the feeling that once these preliminaries are sorted out, the sweater will fly off my needles!
A ladder followed by a gate which leads to a mosaic tile floor, then another ladder, and finally a low tunnel---all united by a colorful border. My Secret Passage Scarf is modeled after the underground passage in George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.
Suitable for men or women, this luxuriously long scarf knits up very quickly, providing plenty of interest along the way.
The section of mosaic floor is done in garter stitch modules, while the other parts of the passage are worked in knits and purls. The edging can be either crocheted or knit. The scarf is knit from one end to the other and the border added afterward.
I enjoyed designing this scarf, and had a delightful time knitting it. I'm looking forward to seeing your version!
The Unique Sheep asked me to design another shawl for their Zodiac Club. Last year I designed Taurus (in the shape of the Taurus symbol), which is now for sale to non-club members. Pisces features fish done in picture lace and repeats of the constellation Pisces along the border.
This crescent shawl fits wonderfully. The shape ensures that it stays on during all but the most vigorous arm movements, and the Tinsel Toes yarn drapes beautifully.
The colorway is one of Unique Sheep's signature Gradiance dyes. The result looks like it's been knit in one color and dipped in another. I used leftovers from this Pisces gradience colorway for the Sarah Wolbert mitts.
The shawl pictured here is the prototype. In the actual pattern the fish are spaced differently and the border has the constellations swimming in some of the garter waves that cascade down the sides of the shawl. (Thanks to test knitter Kelly Eells for the idea!)
This design was a real struggle, but now that it's finished it's a quick knit. There are both written instructions and charts for the garter wave edging and top, and charts for everything else.
One club member finished it in less than a week. The tencel in the yarn makes it feel actually cool to the touch, and this would make excellent beachwear. I plan to write another version with more garter waves in place of the lace fish. It should be ready by the time pattern sales open to non-club members.
As I was knitting the Garden Windows cardigan I noticed the outer edge was starting to splay. Apparently the color changes I was doing, paired with the slipped stitches several stitches in, caused the selvedge to behave in a way that wasn't apparent on my swatch.
I wasn't worried, though---I knew how I was going to solve the problem.
After I finished knitting the cardigan, I took a crochet hook and a little of the main color yarn and crocheted up the side of the striped section only. It was not necessary to crochet up the entire band, since it's mostly normal, well-behaved garter stitch. Doesn't it look better? It was an incredibly easy fix.
My Garden Windows mother-daughter cardigan set is finally out! I really love this design. Worked in Daily DK from Willow Yarns, it features a circular yoke worked in garter stitch stripes, with window frames formed from slipped stitches.
These two sweaters practically flew off my needles---worked in one piece with the yoke pattern repeated at the cuff, it was great meditative knitting with always something to look forward to.
My daughter is wearing the size 4. She loves the cropped look and 3/4 sleeves. To replicate the look on a less diminutive body, simply start the cuff and waistband earlier! This pattern is really flexible that way---you could also knit it past the hips for an open tunic.
Universal Yarn Company published my Hagakiri Tee in February, but I've been so busy that I'm just now getting around to posting about it.
My husband loves the waist shaping and peek-a-boo underarms, and I am particularly pleased with the sleeve caps (after five attempts!).
"Hagakiri" means "twig pattern" in Estonian. The lace is an Estonian pattern which looks like a branch with twigs coming off it at angles. The twigs are done in decreases, so you need to see a close-up of the pattern to appreciate it. The lace wraps around the shoulders and provides a striking stripe down the back. This tee takes only a few skeins of Cotton Supreme. It works up quickly yet is full of interest!
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knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
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