Archive for the “meta-knitting” Category

Meant to be worn either slouchy or as a beanie with the brim folded for double warmth over your ears, the Passing Days Hat is just perfect for crisp days! The colours of the yarn remind me of the woods in autumn, after most of the leaves have fallen and everything has turned to subtle dark shades.

Check out the Passing Days Hat in Ravelry's pattern library, or click the button to add it to your cart:

A profile picture of Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket which is unzipped and has a poppy tucked into the lapel.

I was reminded of the "Fall" section of John Denver's "Season Suite":

Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind
Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time
The falling leaves are whispering, winter's on its way
I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday

And so this became the Passing Days hat. I hope it keeps you warm as the days grow colder!

A 3/4 view from above: Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat.

YARN and GAUGE
The hat is knit in a variegated DK-weight yarn over 144 stitches, and fits a 21.5”/54.6 cm head with quite a bit of ease if worn with the brim unfolded, and more closely with the brim folded up. The size can be adjusted by changing yarn and/or needles, or by adding more repeats of the stitch pattern (just make sure to end with an even number of stitches in your final decrease round).

The sample hat was knit with one 100g skein of Shirsty Cat Just DK SW in the Alstroemeria colourway, with about 15g left over. If you make the hat bigger, you may need more than one skein of yarn. Gauge is 28 stitches/4 inches in stockinette, and one repeat of the eight-stitch pattern is about an inch, unstretched - the slipped stitches pull the work in a little.

A 3/4 view: Pirate wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket that's zipped all the way up.

YOU WILL NEED
16" circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of double-pointed needles, size US 3 (3.25 mm) or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, a stitch marker for the beginning of the round, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. You may want to use a split stitch marker as a cable "needle".

Pirate, wearing the Passing Days hat and a plaid jacket, poses with a red maple leaf and smiles at the camera.

The Passing Days Hat is available for purchase on Ravelry.


Important Copyright Information: The Passing Days Hat knitting pattern is © 2019 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make with appropriate credit given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact me on Ravelry.

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I have just one last skein of the Unicorn Spit fibre to spin!

Six completed skeins of yarn with a bundle of unspun fibre perched on top.

840 yards of finished (though unwashed) three-ply yarn and just over a hundred grams left to go. It's really neat to see how the big stripes of colour in the fibre get so blended into the yarn, which is exactly the heathery desaturated colour that I was hoping for when I chose the "ingredients" for the blend.

I really hope that I come up with enough for a sweater - and if not, I have more yarn (of course I do) that I can use as a supplement. I think a few navy stripes on the sleeves or around the hem might look really nice.

I finally figured out how to do the patterned crown decreases so that I could finish knitting my Passing Days hat, just in time for an unseasonable cold snap.

Pirate, wearing the new Passing Days hat, looking out the window of a moving train at autumn leaves.

It fits wonderfully and I'm so happy with the way it came out! Friend Stef came over earlier this week to take pictures of me wearing it, and we had a lot of fun doing the photoshoot. I'll be writing up the pattern for release in the next few days, so keep an eye out for it!

On the subject of cold snaps, I need a new pair of Fleeps (some people call them flip-top or convertible mittens). I'd like to use this Corriedale handspun for the outside, and line the wrists and mitten-top with this blue silk. I spun both yarns last summer with this project in mind, and I'm excited to get started. So far I've swatched the Corriedale:

A swatch of tweedy gray yarn

I like the drape of it on size 5 (3.75mm) needles, but I want my mittens to be a little more dense, so I tried again with size 4 (3.5mm). It's not much difference - 18 stitches/4 inches as opposed to 17 - but enough to be noticeable, and I think the finished fleeps will be better for it. Hopefully they won't be so thick that I can't move my fingers!

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Friends, I cannot thank you enough. Another six copies of the Sneaux Zone pattern were sold in October, bringing the total sales up to 18. I added some of my own money to the sum, and together we donated ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to the ALS Association.

The Sneaux Zone Hat, in burgundy and white stranded colourwork, is displayed on a hat form.

Here's a snip of the donation receipt:

A screenshot of a donation receipt for $150 to the ALS Association

Thank you, thank you, thank you - and I hope you enjoy knitting and wearing your Sneaux Zone hats! :)

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I sold twelve!! copies of the Sneaux Zone pattern in September, which is pretty awesome - that's just about $60 that I'm going to send to the ALS Association. I'm thrilled... but I would like to send more! So I'm going to keep the fundraiser going for another month. All sales of the Sneaux Zone pattern through the end of October will be donated! Tell your knitting friends that the Sneaux Zone Hat is available for purchase and still raising money to fight ALS!


A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

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A blizzard at the top of the mountain falls softly onto the existing base, leaving beautifully smooth mounds of snow for you to play in. The Sneaux Zone hat is perfect for keeping your head warm before you put your helmet on - and after a long day on the slopes, you can stylishly hide your messy hair while you walk to dinner or back to your car.

Of course, you don’t need to be anywhere near a ski area to rock this hat! Sneaux Zone has an optional facing or even a full lining, which is knit in a lighter-weight yarn on the same size needles. Three layers of wool make it a super-warm hat for any time you’re in need of extra protection from the elements.

**~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~**
In memory of friends, *all proceeds* from the sale of this pattern through the end of September 2019 will be donated to the ALS Association to support treatments and research towards a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). You can find out more about ALS here.
**~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**

A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

YARN and GAUGE
Sneaux Zone is knit with two contrasting colours of worsted weight yarn, plus sport weight yarn if you wish to include a lining or a facing. The sample hat was made in Cascade 220 in burgundy and white, using approximately half a skein (110 yd/201 m) of each colour, and the lining with almost an entire skein of Cascade 220 Sport Superwash (136 yd/124 m) in aqua, all on US 6 (4mm) needles at 23 stitches to 4”/10 cm (for the outer hat; the lining is a little looser), and fits a 21.5”/54.6 cm head with a little bit of ease. Omitting the facing will result in a looser-fitting hat.

The hat is charted for 120 stitches, but can be adjusted for size by changing yarn and/or needle size.

YOU WILL NEED
16" circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of five double-point needles, size US 6 (4mm) or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, a stitch marker for the beginning of the round, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. Stitch markers to indicate each section of the hat can be helpful.

The Sneaux Zone Hat is available for purchase on Ravelry.


Important Copyright Information: The Sneaux Zone Hat knitting pattern is © 2019 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make with appropriate credit given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact me on Ravelry.

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I'm super excited about this one! It's been a long time coming and some folks have been asking me when it will finally be released. How does tomorrow sound?

A collage showing the Sneaux Zone hat from a variety of angles.

That's right - the Sneaux Zone hat is in the final proofreading stage, and it should be going live tomorrow! You'll have plenty of time before the weather turns cold (see note below) to knit a few for winterholiday presents... or maybe just for yourself.

In memory of friends, *all proceeds* from the sale of this pattern through the end of September 2019 will be donated to the ALS Association to support treatments and research towards a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). You can find out more about ALS here.


Note: For those of us in the northern hemisphere, of course. If you're in the southern hemisphere, you'll *really* have plenty of time before the weather turns super cold again...

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It wasn't really my intent to ignore the blog for months, but (not for the first time) the summer got away from me!

I'm almost done writing up the pattern for the Sneaux Zone hat! A few people have messaged me on Ravelry to ask when it will be released, and the best answer I have is... SOON! Possibly even this weekend! I just need to look over the charts once more, make sure all the words are in the right order, and take some glamour shots. Here's the view from the top, which comes together into a star:

The top of a red and white hat. The stitches and colours form a star shape.

ALL proceeds from sales of the pattern for the first few weeks will be donated to the ALS Association.

The first of my slip-stitch Wild Tide socks are now past the heel turn and gusset. I had to switch from the Flexi-Flips to four DPNs once I picked up the gusset stitches, because the fabric was uncomfortably straining at the corners, and... I didn't go back. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with so many stitches on just two needles, even if they are flexible in the middle?

A half-finished sock with a half-finished ball of yarn on a wooden floor. The sock has spirals of pooling colour, pinks and purples over blue, sand, and green.

I'm really pleased with the way the slip-stitch pattern breaks up the pooling a little bit without obscuring it entirely, though I do wish that the spiraling had been more consistent all the way down the leg. (That's probably just my gauge changing a tiny bit, rather than anything to do with the yarn.) Now that football season is starting up again, I'm expecting to get some more time on the couch to knit and watch the games. Of course there are other projects to work on as well, but those can wait for another post :)

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I started the Wild Tide socks with the slip stitch pattern on the new Flexi-Flip needles, and I feel as if I've almost knit enough of the leg to form an opinion of them. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it's a very good opinion...

The start of a knitted sock leg on Flexi-Flip needles,with columns of slipped stitches on a stockinette background

I'm used to knitting my socks with five DPNs, so figuring out how to hold two needles that were basically folding in half was an interesting challenge. The first few changeovers from one needle to the next were really awkward, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. It's kind of like how I *can* knit socks with just four DPNs, but I find five more comfortable. Maybe after I've knit the rest of the sock, they'll feel more at home in my hands.

I like that the needles have one pointier side and one more blunt, but I definitely prefer the pointier side, and that means remembering to turn each one around as it comes free of the stitches and becomes the next working needle. It would be better if the two sides were two different colours, to make it easier to quickly tell which is which.

With my usual sock knitting method, I "rotate" the sock every few rounds by knitting a few extra stitches onto each needle, which helps to minimize any laddering. With the Flexi-Flips, there are only three needles, and the first and last few stitches of each one are so awkward that I can't imagine how one would easily do that.

At least the sock looks nice! There are some definite laddering issues at both sides where the needles don't meet well, but I think they should work their way out in the wash. I'm quite pleased with the stitch pattern and how it's breaking up the spiral pooling a little bit without hiding it completely.

Meanwhile, since I didn't buy anything at MD Sheep and Wool, I felt very little guilt about making a post-festival purchase from Etsy.

Two skeins of sock yarn in rosy-purple and blue-violet with a skein of purple, pink, and blue speckled yarn between them.

I got these two skeins of Malabrigo Sock (top: 120 Lotus; bottom: 863 Zarzamora) at two separate shops about a year apart from each other, thinking (at the times) that sock yarn makes the best souvenirs... but never considering that they might go together.

Then, as knitters are wont to do, I started thinking that maybe they *should* go together. But when I pulled them out of the sock yarn tote and looked at them in the same light, I realized how close in value they were. So what they *really* needed, I concluded, was a skein of speckled yarn that pulled colours from both of them as a go-between. Then I found this Sheeps Clothing Yarn Co. Fable Fingering in Nebula Speckle, and knew that it was Just Right.

No idea *how* they're going to go together just yet (a shawl, perhaps?) but whooo! This is just the most perfect addition, isn't it?

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So... I got it into my head that I wanted a newer knitting machine - one of the standard gauge ones with bells, whistles, and electronic innards that can be connected to a computer. By "newer," I don't mean anything like "new," because the model I was looking for was made in the late 80s/early 90s. These nearly 30-year-old machines are still cranking right along. It's pretty amazing to see what some people have done with them: check out img2track and this awe-inspiring star tapestry!

After a good deal of research and looking on eBay and Etsy, I found a Brother KH-940 (well, a KnitKing Compuknit IV, which is exactly the same thing with a different label) for a good price and bought it. Of course, getting something for a good deal often means getting something that needs a little fixing up, and that's pretty much what happened.

When I got the machine, it was covered in fine brown fuzzy bits, and the case took a little damage in shipping, but the electronics tested out just fine. The needles were clean and the sponge bar new (whew) but the centre buttons on the carriage were immobile - which is a pretty common issue, as the grease hardens with age, and that was a fine excuse to go shopping and get some more appropriate cleaners and lubricants than what I had in my garage already. It took me about a week of evenings to get it all cleaned up and knitting smoothly.

A view of the control panel and needlebed of the KH940.

Then, of course, I had to make some swatches. First I tried fair isle, and it was like magic. The carriage holds both yarns at once and automatically knits colour A onto some needles, colour B onto others. There are a bunch of patterns pre-programmed into the machine, so I picked number 40 at semi-random and made up this small swatch using leftover sock yarn.

A navy and white fair isle swatch with a pattern of diagonal lines surrounding vertical bars.

Then I wanted to try two-colour tuck stitch, and quickly found that it's much more of a pain in the neck as the knitter has to manually swap yarns every other row to make this work. Some people invest in a second carriage to make it easier, and I can't say I blame them. Here's pattern 302 in the same sock yarn:

A 1960s mod looking tuck stitch swatch in navy and white.

So third, I decided to try a one-colour tuck lace with some of the coned cotton that I have, and when I accidentally dropped the whole piece off the needles I decided that I liked the pattern well enough to attempt a wrap/shawl sort of thing with it. Whooooboy, this was the cursed piece of knitting. Not that there was anything wrong with the yarn or with the machine; everything was entirely user error.

A pale pink swatch of tuck lace, with vertical "ribs" of dropped stitches surrounding wavy lace columns.

How do I mess thee up? Let me count the ways...

By forgetting a yarnover so that the drop-stitch columns don't unravel into the hem (as seen above, if you look closely)
By forgetting to push in the tuck buttons when beginning the pattern
By forgetting that I turned the machine off, and moving the carriage across the needles anyway
By unraveling the resulting badly-formed row... and then resetting the computer to the wrong row number
By the yarn snapping, when I finally get going again

There is a definite learning curve, here...

A pale pink piece of knitting hangs from the needlebed of a knitting machine... with the yarn snapped, and several needles empty as a result.

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My test swatch came out of the laundry looking just as nice as when it went in, so I applied the cable border to the whole blanket, wove in the ends, and did a small celebratory dance before arranging it on the couch for a photoshoot. It's squishy and warm and I couldn't be happier with it! I used 8.5 of the eleven balls of yarn that I bought, and I'm planning to return the last two to the store rather than make any coordinating accessories.

A red and teal blanket with a cabled edge is artfully arranged on a black leather couch.

On Wednesday I met up with friends for knit night at the bookstore, and someone was just *giving away* yarn and books. With some arm-twisting, she convinced me to take some. I came home with a German stitch dictionary, two balls of Supersocke, and one skein of Silkie Socks that Rock. Now, to decide what to make with them...

Two balls of self-striping pink and black sock yarn.

A skein of "Silkie Socks that Rock" yarn in the "Walking on the Wild Tide" colorway - handpainted, variegated tan, blue, green, brown and shocking pink.

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Comments Comments Off on In Which the Pirate Finishes a Blanket and Acquires Yarn.