About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's a Sickness . . .

BlueSand Cardigan by La Maison Rililie
Want, want, want.

But I really should not want striped sweaters.  I preach that horizontal stripes, especially wide horizontal stripes will make you look wider.  And I look plenty wide on my own.  But, I have a weakness.
Funky Grandpa by La Maison Rililie

Remember this sweater at right from my Top Ten of 2013 list?  See, I put it there explaining how noble I am to think of the 60% of American women who have the opposite of my body type.  But it was really a cover-up of my own lust for this figure-inappropriate sweater.

Darn you, Rililie!

I have already been through my stash three times and determined that I could do a BlueSand from Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool or Hempathy with perhaps the smallest purchase of only one or two skeins.  It could all be worked in low contrast blues in greens, my favorites.  And, I already know that my upper arm section would not be worked in a contrasting texture, because I really don't need anyone noticing the dimension of my genetically-fat arms.  All good, right?

No.  See, as a hand knitting designer, I should only actively marketing myself by only making and wearing my own designs.  We already know this woman has sick talent, so I don't need to sartorially sing her praises, too.  But, BlueSand features a construction that, while not my preferred, is the preferred of many sweater knitters, so that would be an educational knit.  Oh, the justification.  I am weak . . .

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Yarn Choice Can Be Everything

Just a quick post with some Nejiri glovelets I worked up before the holidays, but that didn't make it into gift bags - for two different reasons . . .

The purple heathered yarn was absolutely the wrong choice for this project, especially in comparison to the teal pair worked up in an unlabelled vintage stash yarn. The combination of dark color and heathered yarn obscure the cable, even as large as it is.  But, it really pops in the medium tone, solid yarn.

As a consequence, the purple ended up in the charity pile, while the teal pair was too beloved to give away.  Even with more years of knitting experience than I will admit to in a public forum, I can still get it wrong.

P.S.  The pattern is a freebie on Ravelry. Makes a great quick gift.  Or maybe for yourself.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Up-cycled Sweater Re-Do

See what I did on Friday?

Friday morning I was sucked down the rabbit hole known as Pinterest.  One of the photos I surfed upon was this:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I love the texture of the crochet on the smooth felted knit fabric, as well as the large buttons.  But, as we know, double-breasted is a good look only for skinny people.  I needed a more flattering look - the cardigan!

Thanks to my Etsy shop, I have a stash of cashmere sweaters to be cut and used for raw material.  A quick hunt, and I came up with a slightly felted grey pullover without moth holes.  I cut it into a v-neck cardi, taking the measurement of the depth of the v from a favorite sweater.

Then the crochet.  I happened to have a ball of Noro Takeuma (50% wool, 32% silk, 18% viscose; 50 g/135  m) which was gifted to me a couple weeks ago.  I am not a fan of purple, but the grey, brown, and tan colors were perfect, and who am I to turn down free yarn?  First, a swatch of the single crochet to get gauge.  I had to use a smaller crochet hook and press hard to pierce the felted cashmere fabric.  Next time I will have to refine that technique.  A few rows of single crochet, with buttonholes at the mid-way row.

For the buttons I dug into my vintage button stash.  I had a choice of matched darker buttons or the mis-matched tan tones, and I chose visual interest.

I am really happy with the results, and got lots of compliments when I wore it to teach at Knitche on Monday.  Since the project was a success, I plan to do another, perhaps with short sleeves for a spring look.  I promise to take more photos for a true tutorial.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The 'Gather No Moss' Cowl

This seamless moss stitch cowl works up fast in a super-bulky weight yarn.  The cast on and bound off edges provide a fun hit of bright contrasting color.  Use the crochet cast on technique to make the two edges look identical. 

Wear your cowl in one loop for style, double-wrapped for warmth, or even triple-wrapped for polar vortex!

Skills Needed to Successfully Complete This Pattern:  crochet cast on, work in the round, knit, purl, bind off, weave in ends.

Circumference:  52”/132 cm
Height: 10½”/26.5 cm

Super buky weight yarn, approx. 260 m/ 284 yds MC and 22 m/24 yds CC
[Shown in Debbie Bliss Paloma (60% alpaca, 40% wool; 65 m/71 yds/50 g), 4 skeins #42011 teal (MC) and 1 skein #42026 lime (CC)]

US #15/4.5 mm circular needles, 24”/ mm or 32”/ mm, or size to match gauge
Size N/ mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle


10½ sts and 18 rows = 4"/ 10 cm in moss stitch


·         For the sample cowl, I used every inch of four main color skeins of Paloma.  I left minimal tails, joined the skeins with a Russian join (easily done due to hollow tube construction of yarn), and worked until I had only a short tail left. 


With contrast color, cast on 143 sts using the crochet cast on method.  Cut contrast color, and with main color, work one row knitting all stitches.  At end of row, join stitches into a round, being careful not to twist, and place marker to indicate beginning/end of round.

With main color, begin Moss Stitch Pattern: 

Moss Stitch Pattern (multiple of two stitches)
Round 1:  *K1, p1; repeat from *, ending with a k1. 
Round 2:  *K1, p1; repeat from *, ending with a k1.  (Same as Round 1.)
Round 3:  *P1, k1; repeat from *, ending with a p1. 
Round 4:  *P1, k1; repeat from *, ending with a p1.  (Same as Round 3.)
Continue working four rounds of moss stitch pattern until the cowl measures 10½” from cast on edge or you run out of yarn.

            Note:  if you want to use up all your MC yarn, don’t worry about stopping at the beginning/end of a round.  Just work until you have just enough to weave in your end.  It will not be noticeable that the last round is only a partial round.

With contrast color, bind off all stitches working them as knit stitches. 

Weave in ends.  Block to shape.

CC: contrast color
k: knit
MC: main color
p: purl

st(s): stitch(es)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Mag Mile Hat

Today I listed a new hat pattern for sale on Ravelry:  The Mag Mile Hat.
Three strands of Brown Sheep's
Lamb's Pride Worsted

It's worked in super-bulky yarn to make it go fast.

If you have worsted weight in your stash, you can combine three strands to match the super-bulky gauge.
Cascade Magnum

The cable is much simpler than it looks - it's completed in one row.
Rowan Big Wool

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A New Use for the Unflattering Sweater

I was amused by this photo in Sunday's Chicago Tribune special home decorating magazine:
I love the idea of dressing up a cheap (possibly thrifted) chair with a wool sweater - although I am not sure that white wool would stay so snowy white in such close contact with the floor in a household with kids and dogs, or even dust bunnies.  This would be a great way to show off those hand knit sweaters which we love, but don't look so great on us, as chairs tend to be much less judgmental in their appearance.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lots of January Knitting

Thanks to the polar vortex, as well as above average snowfall, there was much indoor knitting time in January.

Here's what's in the pile:
2 Mag Mile hats (soon-to-be-released pattern)
Fiber Fest Hat in sock weight yarn variation
2 moss stitch cowls (soon-to-be-release free pattern)
2 garter stitch hats (soon-to-be-released pattern)
1 crocheted Divine Hat (I always do a charity hat in acrylic when I teach this as a class at Knitche.)
2 sets of plaid fingerless gloves (soon-to-be-released pattern)
A pile of crocheted octagons for my Moorish Mosiac Afghan.

Should I hope February is as cold and snowy?