Archive for the “meta-knitting” Category

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.

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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! My family had a shakeup earlier in the year and we've been dealing with the aftermath. There's a house which took some long weekends of fixing-up, and then packing and moving my brother's family there, and... well, a lot of emotions to manage. It's been a heck of a year. I'm running a fundraiser over on Patreon if you want to know more about what's going on, check out the art I'm posting there, or even throw in a dollar or two. All the artwork is being shared publicly, so if you just want to follow without making a pledge, that's fine too!

In knitting news, 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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Not that stranded colourwork is particularly difficult, but I feel like I'm done with the "hard part": I finished the outside of my new hat yesterday, and now it's time to unzip the provisional cast-on and knit the "easy part" otherwise known as the stockinette lining. It's almost a shame to cover this up, isn't it? But if I don't, not only will the hat be too big but it will also be less warm than I want. I have a sportweight yarn in a beautiful blue-green that will make a striking contrast.

Red and white stranded colourwork as seen from the inside. Star/snowflake shapes are on the bottom, and a series of dashes and dots on the top.

My original thought had been to make an overstuffed pompom for the top of the hat, but now that I'm looking at this nifty star formed by the decreases, I'm not so sure. Maybe I'll sew a button to the inside so that it can be detachable. What do you think - pompom, or no?

(I think I might have to try it, just to see how it looks.)

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

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At this point I really don't need more hats, but I've been having so much fun knitting them that I started a new one anyway. This one will have a snowy theme, and Michael helped me chart it out so I'm doubly excited to knit it.

Burgundy and white balls of yarn, with a circular needle that has the beginnings of a new hat.

Like the other hats, I'm knitting this in Cascade 220 with a 220 Sport lining, but unlike the other hats I've started with a provisional cast-on. It's something I've never done before, but my mom (who, by the way, has test-knit both the Crossing Trails and Hollis Hills hats) suggested it as a way to avoid the annoyance of having the lining curl up into the work while you're trying to knit.

The funny thing about that is that the provisional cast-on is even more in the way, as the chain is fairly loose... oops? Have I done it wrong?

Closeup of the start of a hat, with the provisional cast-on curling around.

I looked up several variations and decided to try the one where you crochet directly onto the needle and go from there, rather than attempt to pick up the stitches from a long chain. Once I had all the stitches I needed on my needle, I chained a few more before cutting the yarn and pulling it through the last chain. That will make it easy to "unzip" when it's time to knit the lining.

My goal is to have this hat knit and the pattern written up for publication before it starts warming up too much. I'd love to wear it on one of our snowboarding trips this winter!

(On that note, I keep seeing these gorgeous - and expensive - Dale of Norway sweaters in the ski shops. I might just have to knit one for myself. And then there are the doubleknit hats, another technique I haven't yet tried... and the cowls... so many ideas, so little time!)

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One of my New Year's resolutions for 2019 was to release more knitting patterns, and I'm happy to share the first one of the year with you! Please extend a warm welcome to the Hollis Hills Hat.

For the past twenty years or so, my aunt and uncle have hosted Thanksgiving as an annual family reunion. Two dozen (or more) of us descend on their house from all over the country, starting our celebration on Wednesday evening and keeping it going straight through the weekend. Since New York can be cold in November, I wore one of my warmest hats to Thanksgiving dinner last year – and my aunt admired it to the point of putting it on her own head and running off to look at herself in the mirror. I asked her (not too subtly) what colour her winter coat was, and then sent her this hat as a surprise bit of thanksgiving.

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

Hollis Hills Hat, modeled

The hat is knit with two contrasting colours of worsted weight yarn, plus a small amount of sport weight yarn for the facing. I knit this purple hat with Cascade 220, using approximately half a skein of each colour, and approximately 70 yards of Cascade 220 Sport Superwash for the facing.

The pattern includes charts for two sizes and has an optional facing, which is knit in a lighter-weight yarn on the same size needles. Omitting the facing will result in a looser hat.

Hollis Hills Hat

The beet-red facing feels like a fun surprise, hiding away underneath the more subtle purples.

Hollis Hills Hat, with the brim turned up to show the lining

Half a skein of the 220 sport was enough for a lining that's more than three inches tall, so there's a triple-thickness of wool to keep the cold off one's ears.

Hollis Hills Hat, inside-out

I hope you enjoy knitting this hat as much as I did!

Important Copyright Information: The Hollis Hills 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.

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