Last week I wrote about hats that were seemingly flying off my needles, one of which was the start of the Pathways hat, inspired by a hat worn on Once Upon a Time. Well, that hat certainly flew and I was able to cast off and even wove in the cast off tail. What a mistake. As soon as I was done weaving, I tried it on and it fit rather small. I’m a tight knitter, and other people on Ravelry found that the pattern as written ended up a little small. We all know how much I like frogging my projects *insert the largest eye roll here*
If this is a project you’re hoping to undertake (and I would ultimately recommend it because the finished hat is super cute and made with worsted weight makes it cozy), what worked for me was making the ribbed brim with 4.5mm needles, and the body was made with 5.5mm. The hat was simple, with sections of cables, stockinette and seed stitch, and once I adjusted the needles I used, it made a really cute hat.
It’s now going into the pile of finished gifts, put aside for the end of December.
Well, here we are, the last week of November, and the crunch for holiday knitting is ON! Do you feel the pressure yet? That tiny, ticking in the back of your brain that marks the time spent (or not spent) working on those items to be gifted? No, just me?
I’ve been working away at a few different items through the past weeks. Two gifts are done, more than that are in progress. I’m struggling on one pair of socks. I can write about them because they’ll be for my grandmother, and I don’t think she’s discovered this humble blog. Writing about my frustrations won’t spoil any surprises for her.
I’m working on a pair of socks for Grandma, but I’m fresh out of inspiration. I know what I want out of the project: a pattern I haven’t made before, with an interesting texture or pattern detail. I don’t want these to be simple vanilla socks.
The yarn is lovely. That was the easy part. I bought this yarn from a local indie dyer: Lake Knit Yarns. The colourway is called Storm Across the Valley. Isn’t that fabulous?
After trying a few different simple cable/twist stitch designs and after ripping back twice (the first time, it was salvageable; the second time was a full rip back) I’ve decided on an almost vanilla sock: lots of stockinette with a very simple cable which will run along the outside of the foot. At least, that’s the plan. It lets the yarn really shine but adds a touch of interest. I’ve knit much farther than the above photo, almost done the leg, in fact, and I haven’t had the urge to rip back a third time. I think this pattern’s a winner.
A number of years back, I was very intimidated by knitting charts. My first introduction to charts was when I downloaded the afghan pattern for my travel afghan. It was a pattern provided by Rowan yarns, and there are eight different squares which comprise the completed blanket. Half the patterns were available as written and charts, and half were charts only. At the time, I saved only the written patterns when they were given and begrudgingly saved the charts when there was no alternative provided. This afghan is a project I pick up every so often, and now that time has passed and I’ve learned how easy it is to follow a chart, I’ve gone back and added the charts to the patterns where they are missing.
The trick with charts is learning how to read them. When you’re first shown a chart with lots of little symbols and repeats, it can admittedly be intimidating. There is no need to be scared of charts! Your fear and hesitation is something all knitters go through, before they learn how to read them.
Let’s break charts down.
The above is a charted lace pattern that I have improvised.
Each square on the chart represents a stitch on your needle, and there is usually a key which explains what each symbol means. Many of these symbols are universal.
When reading a chart, it’s opposite to how we would read a page of written words. Charts are designed to be read from the bottom up, and you read them from right to left for the right side and left to right for the wrong side.
Charts make the most intricate lace pattern simpler, can add ease to a pattern with lots of cables, and for the visual person that I am, they are much simpler for working a row of any pattern because you can see what the stitches are going to be, rather than reading through them. A tip that I’ll pass along from the Yarn Harlot: Have sticky notes as a staple in your knitter’s bag. Having a sticky note marking your progress through a chart is a lifesaver for me.
These tips may be well known to seasoned knitters, but hopefully they will come in handy if you’re faced with your first charted pattern.
Saturday was a good day, knitting wise. I cast off the final stitches and seamed together THE sweater. I’ve been working on this sweater since mid-September, according to my Ravelry project page, and after four-and-a-half months, it feels great to be finished!
I knew I wanted to gift my father a sweater for Christmas. Dad has a large hand-knit sweater that was commissioned by my grandfather, and Dad acquired it after Grandpa passed away. Dad wears this sweater all the time as it helps fend off the cool Canadian weather. He loves this sweater, and I knew he would appreciate another hand knit sweater. In the past, I’ve made him two scarves and two hats, and all are well worn and well loved. Dad is definitely on the ‘knit worthy’ list, so in September, I bought the yarn, found the pattern, and cast on!
The pattern is Pub Crawler Men’s Sweater by Jennifer Hagan. This lovely pattern can be found in the book Son of a Stitch ‘n’ Bitch. I used just over 8 skeins of Cascade 220 in knitting the sweater, and I am so glad I bought an extra skein than what the pattern called for. The size I made calls for 8, and I needed that ninth skein. This was my go-to project for weeks, picking it up and knitting a few rows here and there whenever I could.
The cables on this project truly shine. Cables are such a simple technique but they look so complicated and intricate that they always grab my eye and I love them so.
I FINALLY gave my father the sweater yesterday afternoon, however, it was still a little damp and needed a few more hours of blocking to be properly finished, so I don’t yet have a photo of him wearing the sweater, but once I do, I’ll be sure to share.
And with that, my holiday gift-giving knits are wrapped up!*
*Please keep reading this blog even after that terrible gift/wrapped up pun.