WIP: What’s On My Needles? Pop Blanket Squares and Hand Knit Cotton Dish Cloths

Where ever I go, I always take my knitting with me. I wish I was more organized about it though.

Having packed snacks and a diaper bag/change of clothes for the kids, gotten everyone dressed (including myself – a miracle some days), hair brushed, etc, socks and shoes on, jackets, hats, wellies on, etc., my knitting is the very, very last thing I think about as I am ushering my wee ones out the door. Sometimes, they’re already outside in the cold, and I have to bolt back in the door to grab something…anything, to knit. It looks like this, e-v-e-r-y time. I tell myself, that if I just packed a small knitting bag the night before, with everything that I might need, I could avoid this shenanigan (yeah, right! Like that will ever happen?). I would also avoid carting around an over-sized knitting bag which contains an unrealistic amount of potential knitting in it. I am, after all, going somewhere with my little ones and I will be lucky if I can snag 15 minutes of free time to knit.

In a previous post, I mentioned “inbetweener” projects, which are smaller, easier projects that are great to just “grab-and-go”. Exactly the type of project I need, for the situation described above.

My current inbetweener projects include Hand Knit Cotton Dishcloths and squares for the Pop Blanket.

Since I first posted about the dish cloths, I have knitted several more. They are fantastic to use, and look much more attractive hanging up next to the sink than my old pajama rags! I have also been working on my iphone photography, and trying to capture my finished projects in a better light! Here are some updated pictures of my dish cloths:

Hand Knit Cotton Dish Cloths

Hand Knit Cotton Dish Cloths

Hand Knit Cotton Dish Cloths

Hand Knit Cotton Dish Cloths

As for the POP Blanket, I have knitted about 6 squares so far using Cascade Yarn Ecological Wool in 8010 Raw White, for the main color, and leftover Malabrigo Yarn Worsted, in various contrasting colors for the dots. These are so satisfying, fun, and easy to knit!

Here’s a tasty appetizer:

POP Blanket Knit Squares

POP Blanket Knit Squares

POP Blanket Knit Squares

POP Blanket Knit Squares

POP Blanket Knit Squares

POP Blanket Knit Squares

What are your favorite inbetweener projects and how do you keep your grab-and-go projects organized? I’d love to know! Please leave your comments below.

Until next time,

Be well, and happy knitting!

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Embracing Autumn and Honoring the Harvest Moon

Red Fall Trees

Today (Sept 22nd) is the autumnal equinox, which marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall (in the Northern Hemisphere).

Autumn is a transitional phase; a time for change. The rise of the Harvest Moon a few days ago and the shortening days that follow, signals that we (and other living beings) must prepare for the colder, darker winter months ahead.  Birds rely on the Harvest moon to begin their migration to warmer climates, and other animals prepare for hibernation. The Fall is a stunning time of year, as trees shed their leaves, surrounding us with the brilliant (and inspiring) colors of fall – rich and warm, earthy tones of red, orange, yellow, and brown.

Fall Trees

photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc

For me, the fall is a time of transition, a time to slow down and reflect. As the days grow shorter and colder, I feel a need and desire to prepare, both physically and emotionally, for spending more time indoors. Over the next few weeks, I will share more about how I like to prepare for the colder winter months (such as cooking vata-balancing soups and stews; developing a rejuvenating yoga and meditation practice; slowing down and reflecting on goals and dreams; and generally de-cluttering the home). But today, I want to talk about one of the most exciting things about preparing for the winter months… Autumn knitting!

As the days turn colder, I can’t help but get excited about my knitting. I look forward to wrapping myself (and my family) in warm and cozy hand-knit yumminess, such as leg warmers, chunky cardigans, mittens, beanies and blankets. I have several exciting knitting projects lined up, including these lace boot toppers; these Mason jar cozies, and a certain Norah Gaughan cardigan for my Mum (though I can’t reveal which pattern I’m using, since I want to keep it a surprise). I also plan to design and knit a “wee man” sweater for Caelan, my two-year-old son.
Since the Fall is a time for refinement – of getting rid of things that are not serving us – I also plan to do some serious stash-busting this fall. This POP blanket by Tin Can Knits, should do the job nicely! It’s the perfect project for the Fall. I have so many small balls of leftover yarn, in bright and vibrant colors, just craving to be knit up into this stunning and luxurious little blanket. Since each square is knit separately, it makes for a great “inbetweener” project, and it is perfectly small and transportable for on-the-go knitting!
How do you transition into the Fall and Winter months? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Finally, here’s some inspiring knitting to get you in the mood for the Fall.
Happy Autumn!
Fall Knitting Red Gloves

photo credit: cashmere dreams via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Red Beanie

photo credit: Sarah Cady via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Burnt Orange

photo credit: looseends via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Red Beanie Leaf

photo credit: *meaghan* via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Pumpkin Hat

photo credit: debcll via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Yellow

photo credit: splityarn via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Yellow Detail

photo credit: meg’s my name via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Beanie

photo credit: caruba via photopin cc

The Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands

hand knit cotton dish cloths

My last big project was the Sanctuary Beanie, and whenever I had a spare moment to knit, I was working on it. I knit so much in a matter of days that I think I got a little bit addicted to the feeling of having a project in my hands and being productive in those moments of the day when I would otherwise feel helplessly unproductive (like when I’m waiting at a bus stop or watching my kids play at the park).

See, this is why I love to knit. I like to be doing things, being creative and productive. Knitting allows me to do this wherever I am, and when I have a few (rare) moments to myself. People often say to me “Oh I couldn’t knit, I’m not a patient person”. This makes me laugh, because it is exactly because I am not a patient person, that knitting is a good for me. It keeps me occupied when I would otherwise feel restless and impatient. It helps me feel like I am doing something useful with my time.

So, when I finished the Sanctuary Beanies, I found myself empty handed all of a sudden, and didn’t have anything else to work on! I felt incredibly antsy. I needed to knit something! But as you may know, starting a new project can take time, because you need to choose a pattern/design a pattern, buy the right yarn, knit a swatch to ensure you have the correct gauge (a step that I’m sure nobody in their right might would knowingly skip), and if all is good, you can cast on.

So, from that day forward, I vowed that I would always have something to work on in between the bigger projects. These “in-between-er” projects need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Small – good for taking wherever I go.
  2. Easy – the kind of knitting that I can do while at the bus stop, at the park with the kids, or chatting with friends.
  3. Stash busting – something that allows me to use up left over yarn, or just use whatever I have available NOW!.
  4. Practical/Useful – It has to be something I actually want or would use. 
  5. Quick to cast-on and get started – for those times when I need to knit NOW!

Recently, I have been knitting cotton dish cloths and it is the perfect in-between-er project. I started with this one: Double Bump Dish Cloth. Then, I began to experiment with other stitch patterns, developing my own dishcloth pattern along the way.

Hand knit cotton dish cloths

hand knit cotton dish cloths

For months, we’ve been using old, ripped pajamas (cut into squares), as dishcloths, so I am actually pretty excited to start using these beautiful, and vibrant hand knit ones instead.

I picked up several balls of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton while shopping at Michaels, so I will continue to experiment with other stitch patterns and whip up a few more handy-dandy dishcloths, while also keeping the devil away from my idle hands.

hand knit cotton dish cloths

The Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanies

The Sanctuary Beanie

Over the last couple of weeks I have been busy designing and knitting a fair isle hat for Jan’s upcoming birthday.

Unfortunately, the first version was a poor fit, so I had to go back to the drawing board to tweak the pattern, alter the chart, and then knit a second version. I’ve been waiting to finish knitting the second beanie before sharing it with you here.

I’m happy to report that the Sanctuary Beanie was gratefully received by Jan and fits perfectly!!

So, without further ado, here it is…

Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanie (version 2)

THE MATERIALS:

Grignasco Knits Yarn

Grignasco Loden

Yarn:

Grignasco Knits Loden (1.76 oz/50g, 120 yd/110 m, 50% Virgin Wool/25% Alpaca/ 25% Rayon)

5 partial balls worsted weight yarn:

# 734, Dark Blue (MC)

# 601, Light Blue (A)

# 585, Cream (B)

# 818, Green (C)

# 590, Light Grey (Used as MC in version 1)

Needles:

US size 4 [3.5 mm], 16” circular needle

US size 7 [4.5 mm] 16″ circular needle

US size 7 [4.5 mm] double-pointed needles

Tools:

Stitch markers

Tapestry needle

THE PATTERN

Size:

To fit average adult

Finished Measurements: 

16” circumference; 8” (height from CO edge)

Gauge:

18.5 sts and 24 rows = 4″ instockinette stitch with 4.5 mm needles.

Begin:

Using smaller needles (3.5mm), cast on 88 st, place marker and join for knitting in the round.

*K2, P2, repeat from * to end of round.

Continue in 2×2 rib for 1.25 inches.

*Knit 22st, M1, repeat from * 2 more times, knit 22, M1 (4 st increased, 92 st total).

Switch to larger needles (4.5mm) and knit in stockinette stitch for 0.5 inches.

Fair Isle Section:

For the next 23 rounds, follow chart below:

Sanctuary Beanie Chart

Sanctuary Beanie Chart

In MC, knit 3 more rounds, or until piece measures 6 inches from CO edge.

Shaping:

Knit 23 st, place marker, repeat 2 more times, knit 23 st (Note: It helps to have the marker at the start of the round in a contrasting color).

You should have divided the round equally into 4 sections, with 23 stitches between each marker.

Decrease Round:

Round 1: Knit2tog, knit to 2 stitches before marker, ssk, slip marker, k2tog. Repeat around until 2 stitches remain on round, ssk (8 st decreased).

Round 2: Knit all stitches.

Repeat these last 2 rounds until 8 st remain between markers, switching to double pointed needles when necessary.

From now on, decrease on every round until 2 st remain between markers,

Finish:

Break yarn, leaving 6 in tail. Thread tail through remaining stitches on needle and pull to close the hole. Weave in loose ends.

Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanie (Version 1)

Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanie (Version 2)

Another Koolhaas Hat…

Koolhaas Hat Beanie

Another Koolhaas Beanie in Progress…

I am currently in the process of knitting my sixth Koolhaas hat. What can I say?? I’m in love with this pattern (and I’m not the only one)! The first version was knit for my Dad back in 2009 and it was a hit! It was knit in a lovely vibrant orange, using Malabrigo Worsted Yarn, and I was thrilled with the final product.

This yarn knits up beautifully and the finished hat feels soft, luxurious, and cozy. My dad loved his first hat so much, he asked me to knit another one…and another one! I have since knit several beanies, usually in Malabrigo (but I have also used Cascade 220, with excellent results).

I have to admit, when I first embarked on this pattern, I found it a bit complicated and labor intensive.  It’s made up with many 2-stitch cables (or crossed stitches) and on some rounds, you need to cross every pair of stitches on that round. As you can imagine, this can really slow down the process, and until you learn the pattern repeat it can feel a bit mentally taxing.

(As you get to know me, you’ll understand why I would be frustrated with the pace of this particular project. I like to knit quickly and efficiently. If there’s a method that will allow me to knit something more quickly, I need to know about it! I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this in future posts though). 

This current version is knit using Malabrigo yarn (of course!), in a luscious “Ravelry Red”. Honestly, it’s an excellent pattern and once you understand the chart and get into a rhythm, it’s actually a very easy and fun hat to knit. I absolutely recommend it!

Malabrigo Worsted Ravelry Red

malabrigo worsted ravelry red tag

I just can’t get enough of the Koolhaas Beanie! How about you?