Tag Archives: Malabrigo

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

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Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

It’s time for a knitting post!  I don’t know what happened this winter, but I went crazy for knitting, and then I discovered how much fun stranded colorwork was.  What this mostly means is that I waste a lot of time looking at pictures of colorwork sweaters I will never knit on Ravelry.  I swore off sweaters after the mammoth beast I made for my husband (filed under “Craft Fails“), and never looked back…except that now I’m looking back.  😉

Anyway, after knitting my first Glacier Park Cowl last year and loving it, I decided to make the pattern one more time.  I  thought I could improve on my first version, and I just found the pattern so enjoyable to knit.  Things that don’t need precise sizing (and that are small) are really my sweet spot.  I had a cowl that I wasn’t very happy with (the white speckled one below) in some hand-dyed sock yarn plus a good amount of leftover black sock yarn from my last Glacier Park Cowl, so I could unravel the unsuccessful cowl and use the leftover black sock yarn.  Perfect!

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

The two most helpful things I learned before starting this second Glacier Park Cowl were the importance of color value and yarn dominance.  For colorwork designs to be really clear and easy to visually understand, you want your colors to be different in value.  An easy way to check is to take a picture with your phone and turn the color picture to black and white.  If the colors you have chosen are very different in value (say one shows up a light gray and the other is nearly black), your colorwork design will really pop.  Brooklyn Tweed has an in-depth explanation of how this all works on their blog.

Yarn dominance has to do with which part of your design you want to stand out the most.  I wanted the black elements of my cowl to stand out more than the white speckled parts.  Since I was knitting Continental, holding both yarns in my left hand, I always held my background color (the white, speckled yarn) in the back (or to the left) of the color I wanted to be dominant (the black).  You can find a really clear explanation of all of this (including how to hold your yarn) in Andrea Rangel’s book Alterknit Stitch Dictionary (in fact, here are some of her quick tips for colorwork–number 4 talks about yarn dominance).  For a more in-depth explanation of color dominance in a blog post, see this one from Paper Tiger.

OK, so on to the project!

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

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Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

The Glacier Park Cowl is a pattern by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks.  I bought it on Ravelry through my local shop (Pintuck & Purl).  This time around, I used Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Cheeky (also from Pintuck & Purl) and Malabrigo Sock in black.  I knit fairly loosely once I get going, and so I used a US 1, 24″ circular needle for the ribbing and a US 2, 24″ circular needle for the colorwork.  On my first version of this cowl, the colorwork section is smaller than the ribbing (it pulls in), and I was trying to prevent that this time around by going up a needle size for that part.  I knit the full recommended length of the middle section of the project, making my second cowl much longer than my first.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

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Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

I was determined to get this project done before everyone in my house finished their Christmas Break.  It’s hard to resist doing one more row when you can see the project taking shape and each row of the chart feels like progress.  I also love knitting with a speckled hand-dyed yarn because you never know when another little bit of color will show up.  This particular yarn is mostly white with little black and pink speckles throughout.  It does split a bit from time to time if you aren’t careful, but you get used to that.  I loved knitting this pattern.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

The surprise was in finding that as I went along, my knitting got looser!  After doing more reading, I found that I’m not the only one this happens to, but it was funny when I finished and the end was wider than the beginning!  A lot of it has evened out with blocking, so it’s not a big deal, but it’s very useful to know.  You can see it a little more clearly in the picture below.  The bottom was where I began and the top was where I finished.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

Interestingly, because my white yarn was so wavy from its former life in the unsuccessful cowl, I ended up blocking this twice before it started to relax.  The above picture is after blocking once (or before blocking?  I can’t remember.).  The other pictures are after blocking twice.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

I’m really happy with this knit, and I have been wearing it and my first Glacier Park Cowl all the time.  Even though I was initially horrified at the thought of knitting such skinny yarn on such tiny needles, I loved this project, and would totally make it again in other fun colors.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

If you are a knitter, do you have any favorite colorwork patterns to share?  I have some slightly scratchy bulky yarn in several colors I would love to use at some point, but I just can’t find the right pattern.  It’s listed as a worsted, but it knits up like a bulky (plus I’m a loose knitter).  I would love recommendations.

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Adventures in Colorwork: Glacier Park Cowl

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Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

This summer, I decided to knit the Glacier Park Cowl by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. 

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I was going on a road trip and I wanted something interesting (but not too hard) that I could take with me.  I had some black Malabrigo yarn left over from a hat I had made, and I knew I wanted to use it with a hand-dyed speckled yarn from Pintuck & Purl.  I found the perfect (irresistable!) yarn by Birch Dyeworks: a beautiful turquoise and white speckled yarn with surprising flecks of colors here and there.  This was going to be good.

I bought my pattern via Ravelry at Pintuck & Purl.  Then I freaked out.  The pattern had a chart.  I didn’t remember how to knit from a chart!  My colorwork experiences were too long ago!  What was I going to do?!  Before I could work myself up too much, Mary from Birch Dyeworks, who happened to be in the store, talked me down and explained how to use a color chart.  It was just a stitch for every square.  I could totally do this.  OK.  Deep breath.  Back to EXCITEMENT LEVEL 100.  😉

I cast on my project in July (I think) and worked on it a little bit here and there for about four months, finishing last month.  Sometimes I didn’t work on it for days.  Sometimes I only did one round.  I was practicing my Continental knitting skills and my color skills.  I learned to knit with two colors Continental style by watching this video from Voolenvine and this video from Garnstudio repeatedly until I got the idea.

Here are the details of this project:

Pattern:  Glacier Park Cowl by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks (purchased from the designer’s Ravelry page in-store at Pintuck & Purl, which benefits both the designer and the store–super cool!)

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

Yarn:  black Malabrigo fingering (or sock?) yarn (bought some time ago) and Birch Dyeworks Nymph on a Bender fingering/sock yarn (the latter purchased from Pintuck & Purl);  I didn’t use a full skein of either, but I also made my cowl smaller than it was meant to be according to the pattern.

Needles:  I used a US 1, 24″ circular needle from Pintuck & Purl.  I started off with a longer circular needle, since I that is what I had, but it was a pain to stretch my knitting around, so I finally broke down and bought a better size for the project.  No regrets.

My gauge after blocking:  31 stitches and 50 rows over 4″ in colorwork.  My ribbing sections are significantly looser.  The gauge for the pattern is supposed to be 28 stitches and 34 rows over 4″ in the colorwork pattern.  I bet you can guess if I made a test swatch or not.  Nope!  Part of why I like cowls is that they are easy-fitting and I can dive right in.  Looks like I need to go up in needle size for the colorwork section if I ever make this again.

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

Size after blocking: 8.5″ tall by 20″ in circumference.  The pattern was meant to have a height of 12″ with a circumference of 24″.  I noticed that my cowl was going to have a smaller circumference, so I decided to make it shorter as well to keep it proportional.

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

This project, though it took me awhile, was a joy to make.  I loved the simplicity of the easy ribbing and continual knit stitch with the complexity of following the color chart.  I REALLY loved seeing the pattern emerge and discovering what color would show up next in the hand-dyed yarn.  It was always an exciting surprise when a little fleck of pink or yellow made an appearance.  Looking for that next bit of color really helped me get excited to keep knitting.

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I was disappointed that my ribbing was looser than the rest of my knitting (and it tends to flip to the outside when I wear it, which is annoying), but I blocked it and then brought it in to Pintuck & Purl to show Maggie and Mary, and it turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s beautiful.  They looked at the inside and Mary turned to me and said, “You’re good at this!”  I was so surprised! And it was a huge compliment to see them admire it.  It isn’t perfect, but I’m good at this!

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

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Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

And you know, I have this crazy idea that I might want to make it again.  I have a simple white and pink cowl that I made a year or two ago that isn’t quite as great to wear as I want it to be, so I might just unravel it and try this pattern again with the leftover black yarn I have.  I could change the needle size for the colorwork section and see what happens.  I love this pattern and I now understand why people like to knit with fingering/sock yarn–it makes a drapey, comfortable fabric that is really nice to wear.  I wear this cowl all the time!

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I think I’m getting drawn in by colorwork.  I love, love, love color and if I can just find that sweet spot of simple + interesting, then maybe I’ll keep knitting.  I still love sewing more, but it is nice to have a knitting project in the background for when you want a little change or want something to work on while watching a movie or going on a road trip.  I dove into another colorwork project after this one, but got so frustrated I quit, so coming back to this and trying to do better on my second attempt sounds kind of nice right now…even if it takes me until next summer.  😉

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I Knit a Hat That Actually Fits! Meraki in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

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I Knit a Hat That Actually Fits!  Meraki in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

Ever since I discovered my love of sewing (and my proclivity to knit things that were WAY too big, even after making a gauge), knitting has really taken a backseat in my creative life.  However, you hang out at a shop that sells gorgeous yarn long enough and you just might get tempted.  So, thanks to Sip & Stitch and hanging around Pintuck & Purl, I started knitting again.  One thing I am learning is that, at this point in my creative life, I’m more interested in making a finished object than the textile the object is going to be made from.  This is interesting because in the time between knitting and sewing, I had dreams of being a fabric designer.  I’m not ruling that out, but I think that my love of making a finished object over making my creative materials holds a clue as to why I may do more sewing than knitting.  The truth is, though, that I’ve missed knitting.  While I want to put most of my mental energy into improving my sewing skills, I miss having a simple, small knitting project going that I can work on while talking to friends or watching TV.  So maybe for now I’ll knit hats and cowls.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

This project was yarn-led.  I had a mini skein of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn in Boombox.  Someone like me who isn’t great at sizing and wants results quickly, has little business buying sock yarn, but the colors were so great that I couldn’t resist!  The hand-dyed yarn these days is amazing!  I stumbled upon this free hat pattern on the Hedgehog Fibres site after rejecting my first few ideas of how to use the yarn.  This pattern was perfect for me.  It would allow me to try out the super-cool fade technique that’s popular right now, but on a really small scale.  You get to hold the yarn double for this hat, which makes things go faster (or at least seem like they are going faster), and it’s mostly stockinette, so it’s perfect to work on while you talk to people.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

So, let’s talk about the hat.  I took the time to make a gauge swatch (actually, several) because I tend to knit very loosely.  I used this helpful blog post for swatching in the round to make sure my knitting would be accurate.  In the end, I used size 1 (US) double-pointed needles for the main body of the hat, which meant using size 0 (US) double-pointed needles for the ribbing.

This was my first time trying a fade, and if I were to do it again, I would choose my colors differently.  This looks more like messy stripes rather than a hat that fades from one color to another, but thanks to this project, I feel like I understand the technique a lot better, and could choose colors that would fade better next time.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

For yarn, I used black Malabrigo sock yarn for the ribbing at the bottom of the hat (Color A).  Following the black yarn I used Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn from Pintuck & Purl in North Hampton, NH.  The purple (Color B) is called Spell, and then the white with flecks (Color C) is a combination of Cheeky (white with black and pink flecks, left over from the light colored cowl in this post) and Boombox (white with many bright colored flecks).  I ran out of the purple about a half-inch before I was supposed to change, so I just started the change earlier.  I did make some mistakes at the very bottom of the ribbing, but I decided I could live with it and I moved on. (I like to ignore my mistakes when possible.)  The Hedgehog yarn does like to split a little bit, but it wasn’t too hard to watch for that, and it didn’t become much of an issue.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

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Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

I’m really happy with my hat.  This is probably the best fitting hat that I have made to date, and I would both recommend it and make it again.  It’s a good way to use up odds and ends or mini skeins, and the fade is really fun.  I love the knit fabric the sock yarn creates.  It also doesn’t hurt that the pattern is free.  And finally, if you are a Hedgehog Fibres fan and plan to use that yarn, the pattern gives you suggested colorways to help you create successful gradients, which is a nice touch.  I’m so glad I tried this.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

Recommendations

  • I can’t remember where I saw this recommendation (maybe Sew News Magazine?), but I just checked out Closet Essentials by Amber McNaught from the library, and it’s really fun!  It’s a fashion book that shows different clothing items and gives you various ideas about how to wear and style them.  I find it very inspiring for sewing ideas, even if I do already have a mental sewing list a million miles long!
  • Have you looked at Making Magazine?  I have to say, I’m getting intrigued.  I had just started listening to the Woolful podcast so I could learn more about the knitting world when it merged with Making magazine and broadened its scope.  Then I managed to flip through a few issues, and found the magazine very beautiful and interesting.  It is quarterly and is priced and laid out more like a soft-cover book than a typical magazine.  It’s also not specific to only one type of craft, and each issue has a guiding theme.  I plan on keeping my eye on future issues in case there is one I can’t live without.  😉