How Knitters Pack For Trips

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

I’m packing for spring break.  It took me under 30 minutes to pack a week’s worth of clothes.  But the knitting, oh the knitting.  I’ve got two sweaters in progress that I’m taking (7 hours of flying each way, one is at a difficult stage for traveling, so I may not make a lot of progress on it).  The yellow yarn is to knit this cute little trivet for the cup of tea I keep next to my desk.  The gray/brown is for Paragon Socks.  I’m knitting them for the Elliebelly Adventurous April Knit Along (if you aren’t already knitting with us, browse around here to see all the patterns we are knitting this year and join us) and want to get my swatching done while we’re away.  My daughter was quick to point out she knew there was going to be a problem when my clothes went into the little daypack I use as a carry on and I pulled out a suitcase for my knitting.  Still waiting to be packed is yarn for a cowl I want to swatch for and possibly a hat as well.  This year, my approach to Adventurous April is going to be more “cast on all the things” than finish a project.  But I need to set a good example by swatching first, and spring break seems like just the right time.

In other exciting news, it really is spring in ‘Bama.  This means my herb garden is coming back and we’ll have more experiments with colors from my dyer’s garden starting in a few months.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is happy about spring.

Many of you know that after 7.5 fabulous years, I’ve left my job in public service.  I’m taking a few months off before I start my new job and having a wonderful time continuing my commitment to some causes in my community like mentoring youth, fighting domestic violence, and developing community resources to fight addiction.  And I’m enjoying my new found time to knit in longer stretches than 5 minutes here and ten minutes there.  It’s amazing what one can accomplish with an hour to knit and sip a cup of tea!  Although my community work has kept me from putting all the bells and whistles I want to include in place on the website, we have opened shop on Etsy.  I’ve been slowly adding skeins here and there, and there is now yarn in all weights, roving, even a few sweater quantities in the shop.  Please stop by for a look.  You can join us in the Elliebelly Adventurous April Knit Along using any yarn of your choice, but this year, for the first year in a long time, you can knit with Elliebelly yarn, so I hope you will drop by for a look.

FInally, I want to just note that despite our busy lives and all the stress that they can impose on us sometimes, it’s important to take time to enjoy life’s little moments.  I had one of those when I dropped by my local bakery for coffee this morning, and saw that the cookie bakers had made quite a morning of it.

I hope you’ll find something to bring joy and color to your day, too!


More Fairisle

Yesterday’s flight to Denver gave me the chance to knit without interruption.

The Oakleaf chart I’m currently working on is the third in a series of four charts on the body of the Sjølingstadkofta sweater, and it runs for 60 rows. I’m now halfway there.

You can see the oakleaves shaping up now.

Although it  looks complex, it’s not a difficult knit at this point. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.


Elliebelly’s Newest Yarn: Yak Silk DK

Sometimes a knitter needs a yarn with exquisite drape, but enough shape for lace to show beautiful and cables to twine in perfect relief from a field of stockinette or garter.  Enter Yak Silk DK.  65% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, and 15% Yak. Each skein has 231 yards of lovely, plump yarn.

This week, Yak Silk DK will has its premiere in the Elliebelly Etsy Shop.  Pictures here: Camden, Tin Roof, and Hula Girl. Knit a hat or some fingerless mitts in a single color or combine two or more for a shawl. This yarn will knit up at a true DK weight and it’s a pleasure to knit with.


Luxury Knitting: Cashmere Fingerless Mitts

I’ve been meaning to get started on this project for some time now, and finally picked up the yarn to cast on over the weekend.

This is Tin Can Knits Paddle Fingerless Mitts.  The yarn is Elliebelly Coventry Cashmere.  After going back and forth over what color to stripe it with, I decided to use some Melted Crayon, also in Coventry, but a lighter weight, that came out much more muted than this colorway typically does (it’s a cashmere thing).  This is the second time I’ve knit Paddle, and it’s a well-written, straightforward knit, perfect for the whiny knitter who is in bed with the flu.  It’s just right for knitting and napping.  So I did.

The ribbing looks a little bit wonky – I’m not sure what caused that, but I’m hopeful a nice, gentle steam block will do the trick.  Here’s a closer look at the pretty stripe.  I’ve been a fan of mixing my Paint Brush and other variegated colorways with solids ever since knitting this quirky little hat for one of my kids, almost a decade ago.  Admittedly, the look is a lot more elegant here, because, cashmere. As pretty as the solids are alone (and the multicolored yarns alone as well), there’s something lovely and fun about mixing them up.  I think the hat I knit last earlier this month inspired me to variegated stripe again with these mitts.  Hope you’ve got something in your stash to inspire you to try it!

P.S.: I’ve added a bit of this yarn on Etsy in case you’d like to knit your own pair.  I’ll even add in some yarn for stripes if you would like!


It’s All About The Sleeves


I’ve been devoting most of my knitting time to Two Track, a sweater with an unusual construction.  Although it looks like one piece up above, I’m actually knitting two separate pieces.  You start at the cuff edge of the sleeves and knit in.  And, you’re knitting both the front and back at the same time (there was a bit of excitement in the cast on).  I’ve got miles of stockinette to go, and then there is a bit of magic to put in a neckline before using a three needle bind off to connect the two fronts down the middle and then do the same for the backside.

I’m knitting with The Plucky Knitter’s Lodge Worsted: 60% Merino, 20% Cotton, 10% Silk, 10% Linen / Flax.  It’s a very lovely yarn, and the dye uptake with this particular fiber mix makes for soft, heathered colors.  Although this is my coffee shop knitting at the moment, because I can knit stockinette and talk, I am really looking forward to wearing the finished sweater.  It gets ribbing on the bottom and a nice full cowl on the top, so it will definitely be a while, but it’s so lovely!  I really love both the yarn and the pattern.



Knitting A Hat Without A Pattern

This week, I knit a hat without a pattern.  This isn’t something I’ve done before – I’m not crafty like that.  But, I’m in love with my newest Elliebelly colorway, Sorbonne (see this post), and, in the course of playing with it, I ended up with a hat.

Hat knit with Elliebelly Yarn

I started out with a tubular cast on, and since I knit with this yarn, Elliebelly’s Aran Blue Faced Leicester, a good bit, I knew enough about my gauge to feel comfortable going ahead without swatching.  Tubular cast ons always feel tight, and I was second guessing the stitch count I chose for the first few inches.  It looked small!  But sure enough, it looked better the further I knit, and now, with the hat finished, the size is perfect.  I love the tubular cast on – it has a professional looking rolled edge with no apparent beginning and it’s very stretchy.

Tubular Cast on

The tubular cast on starts with waste yarn.  I just happened to have a scrap of some farm yarn I had dyed in the “Little Girl in the Big City” colorway lying around that was long enough for a provisional cast on, so I used that. And, as I knitted the 2×2 ribbing for the band, I kept stopping to admire how nicely Sorbonne, the main colorway, set off the bit of Little Girl on the edge.  My original plan was to knit some arched cables all the way around the hat, and after sketching it out and knitting the hat about halfway, I realized I was still focused on how the two different colorways looked together.  There was nothing for it.  I wanted stripes.  So, I frogged back to the end of the ribbing and started back in stockinette, this time, with the addition of the stripes as I got about the halfway point.  No pattern, so I knit until I had just the pop of color I wanted from each of the stripes.

I did some decreasing at the top.   I started with 96 stitches, and used three decease rows, separated with 5 rows in between them, to get down to 50 stitches, with I threaded closed. With the addition of an oversized pom pom, my hat is complete.

Pom Pom