Tag Archives: yarn

Three Knitted Cowls

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Three Knitted Cowls

It’s time for a little knitting…only a very little, because these days I’m primarily a garment sewer, but before I got serious about sewing, I was serious about knitting.  Lest that give you any false impression of my skillz, let me set you straight.  I’m no expert.  I thought I had progressed pretty far, but I took about a three-year break once I really got into sewing, and in that time, not only did my skills atrophy, I started to realize how much more there was to learn.  I discovered that if I really wanted to, I could become an excellent knitter…but that’s not my goal right now.  Yes.  I just told you I am choosing mediocrity.  😉

So what do I really want out of knitting?  I want fun, small, easy- to moderately-challenging projects that I can do while talking with friends or watching a movie.  I really enjoy knitting, but I don’t want to have to pay too much attention to it or fix mistakes.  I want projects that don’t require perfect sizing, because that’s an area where I struggle, and I’m not ready to give knitting enough attention to fix that.  I want my mental energy to go toward sewing, because right now, that’s where I want to be excellent.

So!  We come to the point where I keep seeing truly gorgeous skeins of yarn.  How can I use them in a project that fits with my requirements?  Looks like it’s time to knit cowls!  Cowls are the perfect project for someone like me.  A cowl, as I’m using the word here, refers to a scarf that is a loop rather than a rectangle.  I can choose a simple cowl and I immediately have a project that is portable, fun, and doesn’t require precise sizing.  Once I figured this out, I made three cowls!  Want to see?

Cowl #1:  The Very Gifted Cowl

This pattern is from Churchmouse Yarns and was free.  It’s very simple, with a cast on, an edging row, a body in basic stockinette stitch, and a bind off.  The pattern also comes with a nice calculator so you can figure out how deep you can make the cowl with one skein of yarn depending on the weight you choose.

The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn Cheeky

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The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Cheeky

I used sock yarn from Hedgehog Fibres held double in a color called Cheeky.  I just need to tell you that this yarn company is largely responsible for bringing me back to knitting again.  I used to follow the owner, Beata, on Instagram because I just loved her beautiful yarn, but  I had to stop because she was making me want to knit, and I wanted to focus on sewing!  In the end, though, my enabler friend Maggie at Pintuck & Purl, ordered some Hedgehog Fibres yarn for the shop, and that was it.  I had to give it a try.  I really enjoyed knitting with it, even though I normally shy away from such thin yarn.  I still have a tiny bit plus a mini skein left for some future project.

The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Cheeky

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The Very Gifted Cowl in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Cheeky

Cowl #2:  Portillo Cowl

This one is by Gale Zucker and is from the book Drop-Dead Easy Knits.  It ticked all the boxes for me because it’s a cowl, it uses big yarn (which means it’s fast), and it’s also easy but still kind of interesting.  You’re just using the garter stitch, but you change color a bit, which gives the cowl a cool look.

Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

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Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

I used yarn from Yates Farm in Windsor, Vermont.  This yarn dates back more than a decade to my initial yarn phase.  I love it and wanted to use some of my partial skeins up.  This was just the right project, but because it’s so chunky, it knits up pretty huge.  This cowl’s going to keep me nice and warm!  I still have a ton of needles from when I started knitting, but I didn’t have circular needles long enough for this project.  In case you find yourself in the same boat, check out this economical option from Amazon.  Score!

Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

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Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

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Portillo Cowl in Yates Farm Chunky Yarn

This cowl is not perfect.  It’s not hard to see where I wove the yarn in or ignored a mistake, but I was going for a pleasant experience over perfection, so it is what it is.  It bugs me a little, but not enough to go back and fix it.  My friend’s and my motto for knitting is:  “Don’t be a stressed-out knitter.”  In other words, feel free to ignore your mistakes if you want to.  So I did.

Cowl #3:  Spidey’s Spiral Cowl

I’ve made this cowl before and given this pattern + yarn to knitting friends as gifts.  You can find it on Ravelry for purchase or you can buy it through your local yarn store (I got mine at Pintuck & Purl).  I really like how interesting it is, and because it uses such nice, chunky yarn, I actually don’t mind going back and fixing mistakes (once in a while).  My attempt last year in Yates Farm chunky yarn didn’t turn out the way I hoped.  It was more like a stiff neck tube, and I think it eventually made its way to the thrift store.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl in Baah Yarn Sequoia Yearling

This time I made it in Baah Yarns Sequoia in a color called Yearling.  I had plans to use a different colorway, but this pink was like cotton candy or a fluffy cloud, and when I saw it at Pintuck & Purl, I knew it had to be mine (See?  Enablers!!!).  I do think the final shape looks a little funny, but I don’t care!  This is the softest, most luscious yarn ever, and I needed to make something with it.  I even saved my tiny scraps, so I could just touch them.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl in Baah Sequoia Yearning

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Spidey's Spiral Cowl in Baah Sequoia Yearning

One thing I will say about this yarn and the Hedgehog is that they smell sort of like a perm.  Have you ever smelled that smell at a salon before?  It’s sort of weird, but I think it’s because of the dyes they have to use.  You really don’t notice it unless you are keeping your project in a plastic bag, so maybe use a cloth bag (or just don’t be surprised)?

So that’s it!  I now have all the cowls!  What on earth am I going to knit now?  Maybe another try on last year’s hat?  I would love to have a version that’s a little longer.

All the cowls and scarves!!!

Thanks to my photographers for making me laugh so much.  Now back to sewing!

Recommendations

  • I updated my blog post on McCall’s 6751 (the cross-back top).  It felt too exposed and unrealistic for my daily life, so I switched out the back piece and it’s so much better now!  You can check out the new look by scrolling to the bottom of the post.
  • Can someone make me this Color Dipped Hat from Purl Soho in these colors so I don’t have to make it for myself?  It’s a free pattern!  If you want to make it for yourself instead, that’s cool too.  😉
  • If you’ve ever wanted to make a popover shirt (I know I do, even though I haven’t done it yet), Liesl has a free popover placket and tutorial on the Oliver + S blog.  Check it out here.
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Simplicity 1538 in Red and White Gingham, or… A New Shirt for Spring!

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Simplicity 1538 in Red and White Gingham, or… A New Shirt for Spring!

It can now be officially established (if it wasn’t before) that Simplicity 1538 is a Tried-N-True (TNT) pattern for me.  I think this is my fifth one (see previous versions here: wearable muslin, pink tiger quilting cotton, flannel, flannel with pearl snaps).  I love this pattern.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

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Simplicity 1538

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Simplicity 1538

Today’s iteration is made in a high-quality red and white gingham from Pintuck & Purl with quilting cotton accents (one of the Cotton & Steel Sprinkle fabrics) from the same store.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

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Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

Buttons are from Jo-ann Fabrics.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

I was inspired to add these fun blue accents after I saw a shirt by another sewing blogger (unfortunately, I can’t find my inspiration picture anywhere!).

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

I love those little details whether they are hidden and only something I know about or if they peek out and add to the look of the garment as a whole.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

This project in particular really brought home how much fun those little details can be and make me love shirt-making even more.  Shirts and jeans are great canvases for these kinds of creative touches.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

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Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

I didn’t do anything new to the pattern fitting-wise.  You may or may not remember from previous posts that this shirt is a 16 at the bust, graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.  I also lowered the dart and did a major broad back adjustment (more about that here).  Those things are pretty standard for me when making woven tops, and it’s great to have a pattern where all that stuff is already done.  I used French seams on the arm and side seams.  I’m pretty happy about those.  They aren’t perfect, but they’re good, and they make me happy when I look at them.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

Now let’s get to the fun details I built into this shirt.  For starters, I did not try to plaid match anything.  Once a gingham is this small (1/4″ squares), I officially let myself off the hook.  I just don’t care.  What I do care about is being able to contrast the straight horizontal and vertical lines of the gingham with some diagonal bias lines.  I put the outer back yoke, the front button placket, the cuff placket, and the outer cuffs on the bias.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

I debated doing the same on the collar stand and collar, but left them on the straight of grain this time so they would contrast with the yoke.  I added blue accents to the insides of the cuffs, the inner yoke, the inner collar stand and the underside of the collar.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

It took me awhile to find a blue that I liked with this gingham, but I’m really happy with this.  The buttons were also good finds–they have a subtle design, but when I saw them against the shirt, I knew they were right.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

This is the second gingham shirt I have made (the first is here), and while I sort of thought that cotton gingham was pretty similar across the board, I should have known better.  My first gingham was a great deal at Hancock’s (RIP, Hancock’s!), but the quality isn’t great.  As soon as I made it, I was wondering how long it would hold up.  No regrets or anything, but I doubt it will last 10 years.  The feel of this is much better.  Maybe it’s just the difference between actual quality shirting fabric and run-of-the-mill gingham.  Lesson learned.  I think this red and white one will be around for a while.

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

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Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

So, now it’s just a matter of celebrating spring in my preppy new shirt!  Hooray!  I love the fit.  I love the fabric.  I love the pattern.  This is a great shirt.  Bonus:  it’s one of my 2017 Make Nine projects.  One more done!

Simplicity 1538 in Gingham

Recommendations

  • After the crazy outfit in this post, maybe you’d like to read about how to successfully pair prints in this excellent article by Kenneth D. King for Threads Magazine.  Thanks to this article, I now know why this combination works (well, at least why I like it).
  • Have you seen the yarn by Hedgehog Fibres?  That speckled and colorful awesomeness might just make me want to knit again.  Sewing has taken over my creative life, and I love that, but all those colors are mighty tempting…
  • I’m not a big nail polish person, but I’ve been wearing hot pink covered with a big glitter clear coat, and it has been really fun.  Both came from Claire’s.  If you are looking for fun nail polish, check them out.
  • And here’s a funny signs video to give you a few laughs. Have a great weekend!

The Chunky Cable Knit Hat by Lula Louise

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Hi, friends!  Today will be a little different, since I have a knitting project to share!  Like many sewing people, I also like to knit, although after a few sweater disasters (for the most disastrous, click here), I’ve slowed down considerably.  Before I really came to sewing, knitting was my passion, but for the past three years, I haven’t done much of anything in that arena.  I’ve been missing it, though, so the search has been on for a pattern that is fast and easy enough to do while watching TV or chatting with other people, but also interesting.  And I think I found it:  the Chunky Cable Knit Hat, a free pattern by Lula Louise.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

 I can’t remember exactly how I found this–it may have been through Google or Pinterest, but it was just right.  I still have some great chunky yarn left from this awesome yarn sale in Vermont, and I wanted a fun, super bulky, chunky hat.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

 I’m so thankful to my husband for taking these pictures.  (Thanks, Babe!)  We had just taken the pictures for my button-down shirt, when I realized we could get these done, too.  This explains the funny awesome hairstyle I’ve got going on, but then, once we had taken all our pictures and were ready to run back inside (it was getting cold, and we were hungry), we realized one of our daughters had photo-bombed all of our pictures, and we had to shoot them again.  That really endeared my husband to blog photography.  Now it is his favorite thing!  OK, no.  That’s a lie.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

This picture shall be titled I love taking blog pictures!

Now we’re just getting silly.  Let’s get back to the pattern at hand.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

 We should talk details.  Because I tend to knit all things that are elephant-sized, I made the small.  This was a good choice for me.  I used size 13 needles, and my chunky wool yarn from the Yates Farm Yarn sale (you can see a post from another blog on this sale here).  I have minor cabling skills, and these were just right for me, especially as my knitting skills are pretty rusty.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

The pattern is knit flat and then you sew it up at the end.  You may be able to see my seam in the back in the picture above.  This probably took me two shorter nights of knitting.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

After I was done I also remembered one reason I stopped knitting so much.  I’ve gotten into the bad habit of knitting with my shoulders hunched, so I had a huge tension headache the next day.  Time to redevelop good habits!

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

The pom-pom on top was really fun to make.  Now I’m on a bit of a pom-pom kick.  I made this one removable by tying it onto the hat with some string in case I ever need to clean the hat and want to protect the pom-pom.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

The only issue I had with the pattern was what I think is a typo in the small size directions on Row 9.  I think that after “p2tog*,” it should say “repeat to end”  rather than just “p2tog*, end”.  As far as fit, I do have to push it onto my head just a little bit.  I don’t know if this is because of the pattern or my knitting, but the ribbed section is a little looser than I would like, so maybe I will run a few rows of elastic thread through it at some point.  Once I push/pull it on, though, it’s nice and cozy.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

So, my final analysis is that I like the hat a lot and would knit it again.  This is a really fun free pattern because it knits up quickly and would be an easy first cabling project.

This is a Public Service Announcement. (Fabric! Yarn!)

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The day has finally come.  Pintuck & Purl, in Exeter, NH has opened its doors to the public.  You may remember that we’ve talked about them before.  When I heard a new fabric and yarn store was opening within driving distance of my house, I was pretty excited.  Thanks to the generosity of Maggie, the shop owner, I got to come in early, along with some other privileged people, and take a look around.  Now I get to show YOU some pictures.  That way you’ll know what you are looking for when you head there yourself.  Because you are going to want to.  (I’m already plotting my return.)

First impression:  Wow…and Yes!!!!

All the fabrics I always read about, but don’t really know how they feel are there, in the flesh fiber.  I’ve slowed down on my knitting in recent years, but they have some pretty tempting stuff in that department, too.  As anyone who knows me can tell you, I can go on at length about things I’m excited about, but maybe I should spare you the verbal gush and give you some visual gushing instead.  Let’s take a little tour of the shop:

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)Let’s start with this super-cute classroom space.  This is to your right as you enter.  Maggie also has this awesome calendar (I want one!) showing everything going on in the shop for the month.  (You can also view this on her website.)

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)To your left as you enter, and around a little wall, is a cozy space for hanging out, knitting, chatting.  We all know making things isn’t only about the things themselves.  It also has so much to do with sharing, whether that means talking to a friend as we knit or creating something for someone we love.  I think this space will really facilitate that.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Here’s a wider view of the shop (That’s Maggie cutting some AWESOME linen I bought.  I cannot WAIT to use that stuff.).  The door and classroom space are to my left, and you are looking at the front counter that you will see as you come in.  The hang-out space is beyond the wall in the back left.  I suppose the building is really a rectangle, but the way the shop is divided makes it feel spacious and cozy at the same time.

Let’s look at some of the lovely materials you might find at Pintuck & Purl, shall we?

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)Maggie is stocking some great indie sewing patterns as well as gorgeous fabric.  Check out that pink voile on the cutting table–that was my other purchase.  So soft!!!

I only had about an hour there, and I spent so much time examining fabric, that I didn’t even get a chance to look at all the patterns!  Darn.  I’ll have to go back.  😉

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

For those who like quilting or just the great prints you find on quilting cotton, she also has a really lovely selection of quilting fabric that can walk the line between quilting and apparel.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Need some notions?  Check!

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Cool vintage patterns?  Check!

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Vintage buttons?  Check!  Check!

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Because I am becoming frighteningly obsessed with sewing, this post is a little more sewing-focused, but that doesn’t mean the shop is.  There are plenty of goodies for knitters as well.  The yarn was really gorgeous.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Loved this stuff!!

Look at this wall of knitting needles below.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Despite the fact that I already have at least two stitch gauges, I was tempted by these.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

I still haven’t gotten over my hunger for colors after last winter, so I had fun looking in here, and…

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

…in here!

So, when you go to Pintuck & Purl, look for this red building.  This is where you are going.

Pintuck & Purl Open House (Pattern and Branch)

Then go right on in, say hi to Maggie, and equip yourself for your next project!

Pintuck & Purl

50 Lincoln Street

Exeter, NH

603-418-7175

http://pintuckandpurl.com/

 

Breaking News: New Fabric and Yarn Store!!!

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Hi, readers!  If you are local to southern New Hampshire or the North Shore of Massachusetts, you may be interested to hear that we’re going to have a new fabric and yarn store in the area soon.  I was so excited to hear from Laurel of Retromat Vintage that her friend Maggie is opening a brick and mortar store called Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, New Hampshire.  Maggie says she hopes to open by the end of May or beginning of June, but stay posted for updates!

Anyone who sews or knits knows that sourcing materials is one of the most exciting and frustrating parts of making.  There are so many great online shops, but there is no substitute for being able to feel and see the goods in person.  It looks like Maggie will also have classes, so plan a field trip!  You can keep an eye on her blog or facebook page for more information and, to tide you over until she opens, she also has an etsy store.  Hooray for more fabric, yarn, and knowledge!  Good luck, Maggie!

Pintuck & Purl

50 Lincoln Street

Exeter, NH 03833