halloween, knit, Knitting, socks

The joy of socks

Halloweensocks

A couple months ago I knit my first sock. It was difficult and I was not convinced I was really into it. A lot of patterns are cumbersome and don’t properly explain why or how one goes about making a sock. Then came the ‘Rose City Rollers’. A simple, well explained, addictive and FREE pattern by a lovely lady who inspires me on a regular basis, Mara, aka Orangeknits.

The rollers made me fall in love with sock knitting. I am told this happens quite often. Weird as it sounds, making socks to me is like making protein. When I am frustrated in the lab because new experiments won’t work, I make protein. I still remember my first prep, which took me forever and seemed extremely difficult. Now it’s one of those few things that bring me instant gratification. Socks have become the go to knit for when I’m feeling uninspired or simply too exhausted to take on a complicated pattern.

rosecityrollers

I’m a fan of simple patterns that highlight amazing yarns. One of my current favorite dyers is Havirland, aka, Carol. She’s another one of those wonderful people I’ve come to know through instagram (yay for good social media). Her yarns are fun, unique and often pretty nerdy. She is as much a fan of Halloween as myself and so she makes fantastic spooky color ways. When I saw her Halloween minis set, I knew I had to get it and make a pair of socks with it.

hallosocks

I consider these socks to be the best thing I’ve ever knit. Not just because I’m extremely happy with the final product (see first picture), but also because they made me realize I can actually combine colors/variegated yarn in a pleasant manner. – I have always told myself and my husband, I had no idea how to combine colors. I called it being ‘color impaired’. But no more. I am now ready to tackle a million more colorful projects and see where my instincts take me.

In the meantime I’ll dream of Halloween.

PS. My halloween socks are 56 stitch rollers with a longer leg (7 inches) and a 3×1 ribbed cuff that measures about 1.5 inches (20 rows).

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accessories, DIY, hat, knit, Knitting, Madelinetosh, Madtoshlove

Off the needles: Madtoshlove

photo 1

It is no secret that graduate students tend to be quite broke. It comes with the territory and there is no point in discussing the merits or faults of graduate stipends. We’ll leave it at, it’s not much. For that reason, buying nice yarn is a treat. Skeins are few and far between and thus, they are treasured.

One way to get good yarn for the right price are stash boxes. I bought a destash box from a designer a long time ago. 40$ for about 16 skeins of different brands and colors. Among them was a skein of Madelinetosh vintage. Then and there, I was in love. I have since bought a couple skeins of her yarn, been gifted 2 and enjoyed them all. The resulting pile of Madtosh knits is pictured above.

I must also mention that Madelinetosh yarn is purchased from fair sources in Peru and South Africa and hand dyed in Texas. Supporting Texas businesses is something I do because I married a Texan and I have had the chance to visit the state and meet lots of lovely people there. I am also a strong believer in buying Made in the USA and supporting small businesses. So this is a win win!

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting about all these finished objects. Including an improvised pattern for the cowl at the bottom of the pile. But for now, let’s get started with some hats!

photo

The hat on the left top corner was meant to be a Barley hat from Tin Can Knits , did I mention it’s a free pattern? It was one of my first knit hats and I didn’t do the best job at following the pattern. Oops! That does not stop my husband from wearing it very often. The yarn is the skein I got from the destash box and it’s Tosh Vintage in Earl grey color way.

The hat next to it is the Happy Happy Joy Joy hat from Heyladyhey. It is a soft and squishy hat. It embraces your head perfectly and it is truly a joy to wear. This one was knit in 80/10/10 Worsted in Tannenbaum. I got this yarn as a limited edition special for Black Friday. What a great purchase, don’t you think? The yarn is 80% merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. Unfortunately it is not usually in stock but you may be able to find it on rare occasions. Here’s another picture of the finished hat:

photo 4

The last two hats may look familiar to you if you follow the blog as I have posted about them previously. The one on the bottom left is the Close Cables Hat by Pickles. It is a free pattern and I knit it in Tosh Chunky in Jade color way. The one on the bottom right is Sand Bank by Justyna Lorkowska and it was also knit with 80/10/10 worsted in Tannenbaum.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll show you tons of pictures of the shawl at the top of the pile, perfect for spring. In the meantime, treat yourself to a skein of Madelinetosh, you’ll thank me later!

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accessories, hat, Knitting, Pattern, yarn

Off the needles: Two cabled hats

photo 1 copy 2

I have just recently discovered cables. I have to admit I was afraid of cables for whatever irrational reason you can think of. The fact is that cables require patience, but they are not really difficult. It takes some practice and you can check out some tutorials here and here.

photo 1 copy

In order to practice my cables, I made first a hat for the husband and then one for myself. His hat is made with bulky yarn and mine with worsted. They both rely on 6 stitch cables that are worked differently for a different pattern. I found it good practice to make both hats and thus try several ways of cabling 6 stitches. The result is quite different!

photo 2-3 photo 3-2

His hat has 6 stitch cables that are knit quite close together and make for a very squishy hat. By that I mean, your hat will appear to be too small to fit an adult head, but will fit your very large husband’s head perfectly well. The Close cables hat by Pickles is a treat to wear and a free pattern. I would recommend you knit very loosely on this one, as it uses size 5 mm needles and bulky yarn, plus cabling, so things are a bit tight. I found it rough on my hands. Some ravelry users complain it requires more yarn than Pickles recommends, but I used all of one skein of Madelinetosh chunky in Jade. I had a few yards to spare.

photo 2-3 copy photo 3-2 copy

Mine is the Sand Bank pattern from Justyna Lorkowska. I am in love with this hat. The yarn is Madelinetosh 80/10/10, which was her special for black Friday. Very few skeins of this yarn were dyed, so I had to put it to good use with a pattern that really enhances the tonality of the yarn. The hat is soft and squishy and it has just the perfect length. I love how well defined the offset cables are all throughout the hat, including at the decreases. It’s a very well thought out pattern and I really recommend it as extra practice for your cables!

Nobody paid me to say any of this, I didn’t receive a compensation or a free pattern. All of the opinions are mine and I really highly recommend you try the patterns if you are a beginner or even completely new to cables! Enjoy!

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accessories, cowl, Knitting, Pattern

Stripey hat and cowl set

knit green purple hat cowl combo

Hello hello and happy new year 2015!

We’re starting the year right with another free pattern! the knitting continues and I’m really excited to share the pattern for this knit hat and cowl set. The stripey inspiration came from the unique yarn, which is no other than Malabrigo merino worsted. The colors are green apple and purple mystery.

This yarn was my very first ‘fancy’ yarn, purchased at ‘The Quarter Stitch‘ in New Orleans. Be sure to pay them a visit if you find yourselves in the beautiful Nawlins. It’s truly a yarn wonderland and they’ll happily skein and wrap your yarn to go, using beautiful tissue paper. The cherry on the cake is the little tissue paper hearts inside your bag, tied with colorful ribbon.

As you can tell, this is a very simple cowl design, with 4 row purple stripes on a green background. The hat has single green stripes for contrast and a ribbed brim for comfort. While I didn’t do this, I recommend you use a size smaller needles for the brim, in order to make it more snug.

knit hat cowl combo2

 

And finally, here’s the pattern! add it to your ravelry queue 

Purple mystery with apples hat and apple cowl

Gauge for both: 18 st x 26 rows = 4 inches or 10 cm

Yarn: 1 skein each of Malabrigo merino worsted in Apple green and Mystery purple or about 440 yards of worsted weight yarn of your choice

Needles size 5 mm 16 inch (or longer if you want to use magic loop) + DPNs for decrease OR size needed to obtain gauge

HAT

Size: fits most adults, finished size is 17. 5 inches and it will stretch to fit a head up to 22 inches

Cast on 78 stitches

Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist your stitches

Work 1×1 rib (k1, p1) around for 1.5 inches

Then work the following

7 rows purple

1 row green

twice

8 rows purple

1 row green

twice

Work 2 rows in purple and in the last row, place a marker every 13 stitches (we’ll do a decrease in 6 portions)

Start decreases: (k2tog, knit til marker, slip marker) repeat around for 12 rows, until you have 6 stitches left. With a darning needle, pass the thread through remaining stitches and pull tightly to close. Weave in ends and block if desired.

COWL

Finished size is 26 inches

Cast on 120 stitches

Knit 5 rows in green then

4 rows blue

7 rows green

five times

knit 5 rows in green

Bind off and block if desired

Note: the plain knit edge of this cowl will curl. I actually like that in this design, but if you would rather it not curl, you can work a few rows in 1 x 1 rib.

 

Enjoy!

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Knitting, Pattern

Easy PEAsy knit hat

green hat

Two years ago, more or less, my husband talked me into taking up knitting. Although I have never posted any knitting patterns here, I did knit a scarf, a hat and a couple cowls back in the day. My knitting spree only lasted a couple months. I then picked up crocheting and I haven’t stopped ever since. Why did I quit knitting? I thought I sucked at it and I was really slow.

Fast forward almost two years and for whatever reason, I decided to pick it back up. Perhaps because while I love crocheted items like coozies, purses, clutches, storage bags and of course amigurumi, I still like the look of finished knitted accessories better. i feel like knitting gives me a larger array of possibilities when it comes to hats, cowls and certainly sweaters. So here I am, knitting again.

green hat top

This hat is a very simple one I made up, just to prove myself I could come up with a very simple pattern and obtain a well fitting garment. It has a thin ribbed brim, which you can make longer if you wish to. The body of the hat is stockinette stitch all the way and it is finished as a multiple of 6 stitches decrease. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced knitter, this hat works up in no time and it makes for a quick, last minute Christmas gift!

green hat front top

Easy PEAsy hat

Gauge 20 st and 30 rows = 4 inches (10 cm)

Yarn used: Berroco Vintage DK in Pea. Substitute for any other DK yarn. I used about 150 yards, which is less than one skein.

Needles: 4 mm (US 6) 16” circular and DPNs or 24′ or larger for magic loop method

Cast on 96 st

Work on 1 x 1 rib (k1, p1) for 1.25 inches or any length you desire

Switch to stockinette stitch (remember in the round stockinette is simply knitting around) and continue knitting for 6” (if you would like a slouchier hat, you can knit for 8” to have a final hat length of 10”)

Start decreases

(K2tog, k14 st, place marker) around (90 st)

(k2tog, k13 st) around (84 st)

(k2tog, k12 st) around (78 st)

(k2tog, k11 st) around (72 st)

(k2tog, k10 st) around (66 st)

continue to decrease in this fashion, k2tog then knit til marker until 6 stitches remain.

Insert your darning needle through the 6 remaining stitches and close the top up. Weave in ends.

Never knit a hat before? here are some useful tutorial links!

how to magic loop 

how to DPNs

how to knit two together

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