A Few Green Things

I’m giving a nod to St. Patrick’s Day today by both wearing green and knitting with it (and that will be pretty much the extent of my celebrations). Also, I’m ready for spring, and surrounding myself with green makes me feel hopeful that it might arrive one of these days.

I’m plugging away on Little Buddha’s Deuce.

The Deuce #2

The Deuce #2

That’s a pretty small amount of progress I’ve made, but I haven’t had a lot of time – the weekend seemed to go by in a flash!

I also pulled out an old project over the weekend. I’m looking longingly at it but trying not to pick it up and work on it, since Little Buddha has asked me to be knit-monogamous while I work on his sweater.

Cloud Bolero

Cloud Bolero

Ravelry tells me I cast on for this in the spring of 2010. Though I never even took one shot of the work-in-progress back then, I finished the body and had only the sleeves left to go before I set it aside. What happened was I decided I wanted it a bit longer, and that was going to involve undoing the picot bind-off – not my favorite thing to do in any circumstance, but I knew it would be made all the more difficult because it was single-ply handspun. I really, really want this sweater for this spring though, so I WILL make this happen. I’m posting this here to try to keep myself accountable.

Meanwhile, I’m wearing this handknit today:

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

I love this sweater so much. I originally envisioned it for cool summer nights but didn’t finish it until September. It has turned out to be perfect for fall and winter – and a very welcome splash of bright color in the dark, cold months. I especially love it paired with black.

And because it is still ridiculously cold here (it was in the low teens when I got dressed), I’m also wearing a super-cozy cowl with my toasty winter coat. This is a new free design I hope to be releasing later this week. It’s so super-squishy that it makes me not resent the endless winter quite so much.

Handspun Sprout

Handspun Sprout

How about you? Working with or wearing any green today? What did you work on this weekend?

 

 

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Sneak Peek :: Spy vs. Spy, a reversible infinity loop

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Made with 8 ounces, 437 ounces handspun worsted chain-ply. Fully reversible (from stockinette to reverse stockinette). More details coming soon!

 

knitted, gifted :: The Fisherman’s Wife (Cowl) + Whitefish Point Armwarmers

20131226-112114.jpgThis is my stepson’s adorable girlfriend and she rocks so hard. In addition to many other things I love about her, she also has a true appreciation for things that are handmade (as a massage therapist, she understands the care and energy that go into working with your hands). So when my stepson showed me a picture of a cowl that she had indicated on Facebook that she liked, I knew what to do.

First, I got to work reverse engineering it – I thought perhaps it was a neck warmer from a store, rather than a handknit; the picture on Facebook didn’t indicate. But before long, I found a pattern for it – The Fisherman’s Wife on Ravelry.

The Fisherman's Wife

The Fisherman’s Wife

This knit is about as fast and easy as they come. I rarely knit with super-bulky yarn, but when I do, I am astonished all over again at how quickly it knits up. If you don’t mind the feeling of knitting with tree trunks, it’s pretty fun. I used Cascade Magnum, which I’d never used before, and I really liked it.

After that, I decided to create some armwarmers to go with it, so, as I’ve already mentioned, I designed these Whitefish Point Armwarmers.

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I think she likes them:

cuteness

cuteness

I also designed some boot toppers (pattern coming soon), but I only managed to get one of them knit before Christmas (so the gift is coming soon, too). This continues a long tradition of mine, of giving partially-knit gifts. Sad but true.

aren't they adorable?

aren’t they adorable?

It was very fun to give gifts so well-received. Her gift to me included a gift certificate for a massage, so as you can imagine, that was mighty well-received, too!

Knitting, the Internet, and Friendship

Last week, I went rummaging through my knitted accessory basket and found this cowl I made almost five years ago. I hadn’t worn it in awhile, and I was so happy to see it. I made it from yarn given to me by Heather, after a little contest she had run on her blog. I ended up making the same thing from the yarn as she had with the same yarn.

What fun to find this little green cowl, and be reminded of that little bit of blog fun from all those years ago. Heather’s my great pal now, and it all started because of knitting and the internet. It still amazes me that the combination of this ancient art and this relatively new technology can result in actual friendships across the miles.

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Anyway, I felt all warm and fuzzy when I found this cowl, and I felt like I was wearing the warmth of the knitting community with me on a cold, grey day.

Fashion Friday :: cowls

“I like a church; I like a cowl / I love a prophet of the soul” – from “The Problem,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you try to find the history of cowls online, you will mostly find references to monk’s hoods or the cloaks that have the hoods on them. I’m finding very little about the history of what we knitters mean when we refer to cowls. What we mean by the term “cowl” is usually a knitted tube to be pulled over the head and worn around the neck – it can be quite small, and very close to the neck; it can be large enough to pull over the head like a hood; it can be long enough to wind more than once around the neck – or a small rectangle that can be buttoned at the neck. Other names for cowls include: neckwarmer, snood, infinity scarf, eternity scarf, circle scarf, and so on.

I much prefer knitting cowls to knitting scarves – they are usually done more quickly, and they are usually knit in the round. I also like wearing them more than I like wearing scarves (here I am only talking about the knitted version worn for warmth; anyone who knows me in person knows that I like wearing all manner of scarves as accessories). Unlike with a scarf, there is no worrying about how to tie a cowl, or about a cowl coming undone.

Over the years, I’ve moved from making primarily close-fitting cowls:

Awbrey Cowl (one of my free patterns)

Awbrey Cowl

(read more about this design – one of my free patterns – here)

To making much bigger versions:

Sweetgum Cowl

Sweetgum Cowl

(read more about the Sweetgum Cowl – my first published design, and also free – here)

I love upsized cowls. The first time I ever made one was three years ago, inspired by a bulked-up version I had seen on Ravelry. I’m still in love with this “New New Shale” design.

Rings of Fire Cowl

Rings of Fire Cowl

I always break this out at the beginning of fall; I just wore it a couple of days ago, and I still get nice comments on it. It is SO cozy and comfortable.

I often now wear these bulked-up cowls loose around my neck, like this:

Sweetgum, loose

Sweetgum, loose

I like long and slinky cowls, too:

Liquid Amber Cowl

Liquid Amber Cowl

(another one of my free designs)

I’m working on another handspun cowl design to be released soon, and I have others in my head that I hope to eventually get knitted up and written down. But I’m interested to know what others of you think of cowls, and what you perceive the current trends to be. Last winter, I saw a lot of University of Michigan students in big chunky cowls that sort of stood up (and out) around their necks; I’ve not seen many knitting designs like that. I know the long-ish infinity scarves (both knit and otherwise) are still pretty popular around here (and everywhere?). But what else? What are you noticing in terms of neckwear this season? What are your preferences, as a knitter and/or as a clothes-wearer?

knitted: a pair of cowls

Dolores Park Cowl, Malabrigo Chunky, Burgundy

Dolores Park Cowl, Malabrigo Chunky, Burgundy

I’m in the middle of a knitting nightmare. Perhaps it will make me feel better to show a couple of finished objects. Or perhaps I am merely procrastinating facing the difficulty of dealing with my current fiasco. Either way, here’s a little show-and-tell.

pattern: Dolores Park Cowl by Parikha Mehta
yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, in Burgundy, almost 1 skein
needles: size 13
cast on: November 9
finished: November 10
mods: none
notes: The pattern is a simple, quick way to show off a gorgeous yarn. This is a gift for someone else, but I love the color so much that I kind of wish I could keep it.

Never fear, I did make one for myself, too.

Dolores Park Cowl, Malabrigo Chunky, Forest

Dolores Park Cowl, Malabrigo Chunky, Forest


pattern: Dolores Park Cowl by Parikha Mehta
yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, in Forest, almost 1 skein
needles: size 13
cast on: November 8
finished: November 9
mods: none
notes: Um, what else can I say? I made this one because I so loved the one I made for a swap in August, in the same color. I thought this green would be a perfect color for me for fall, and I’ve been wishing for one for a few weeks now. Cowls are so much better suited to my style than scarves are. Not having grown up in cold climes, I’ve always felt a little funny wearing scarves. What to do with the dangly ends – just keep wrapping? let them flop about? stuff them down my coat so I can look super-bulky? But a cowl is just right. Nothing to worry about dangling, wrapping, flopping, or stuffing. This particular cowl is probably a little loose for real winter weather – a little too much air gets in around the neck (as opposed to the Natty Neckwarmer I made last winter, which I still love a lot) – but for fall it’s great. And I can sort of scrunch it up a bit at the back to make it closer to my neck.

Okay. Now I need to get back to my stole issues. Deep breath. Here I go.