Elliebelly’s Adventurous April KAL 2015 Begins

The Knit Along isn't actually beginning just yet, but I'm winding my yarn and gathering my notions so I will be all ready on April 1.  Looking for a KAL to join?  Our pattern, Antarktis, is a one skein project that is beginner appropriate and we are lots of fun to knit with!  You can use any yarn you want, and, if knitting a scarf/shawl isn't your thing, we also have a stuffed animal and a "learn a new technique" category.  Sign up for the Elliebelly group on Ravelry here, introduce yourself in the threads and feel free to join in with us!


I've selected my yarn after lots of back and forth.  It's Elliebelly's MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) High Twist in a fingering weight.  It's a pale robin's egg blue called Lady Mary (if you watch Downton Abbey, you'll remember the dress that inspired the colorway!)


My runner up choice is this Elliebelly Seasilk  in Jabot.  I went with the Cashmerino blend because the Seasilk doesn't grow as much when blocked, and pattern designer Janina Kallio stresses the importance of selecting a yarn that will block well.

I'm all set.  I've got my new Darn Pretty Needles all ready to go, along with my yarn in a pretty linen bag from Churchmouse.  See you on Wednesday for the start of knitting nirvana as we all cast on.




In Defense of Single Skein Projects — Why We Knit

We can't all be the girl who knits incredibly intricate Estonian lace in her spare time, producing immaculate shawls of haunting beauty.  And we shouldn't feel bad about it.


I love knitters who are accomplished and precise, and I enjoy celebrating their work.  But that doesn't, and shouldn't, in any sense take away from the accomplishments of new knitters, intermittent knitters, or knitters without time for larger projects.  There is virtue and integrity too in smaller, simpler, single skein projects.

My Redeux hat, pictured above, was a relentlessly simple knit that any beginner could finish in a day or two since it calls for a single skein of bulky yarn.  It has given me an enormous amount of pleasure, to say nothing of the warmth it leant my husband during our trip to Iceland.  It was easy, it was simple and it is red and beautiful.  I value this hat as much as any project I've ever knit.


Similarly, this Rainbow Twist Cowl is easy enough to be the perfect first attempt at cables for a knitter who has never done them before.  Plus, it has the advantage of color.  Anything knit with Malabrigo's beautiful Arco Iris colorway is guaranteed to become a cherished favorite.  Again, a quick simple knit that was infinitely satisfying and produced a remarkable result.  I know this to be true because my teenage daughter stole it away as soon as it came off of my needles and will not return it.  This must mean it is a thing of grace and beauty.

Ollie hat

This is a basic ribbed knit hat, Rib-a-Roni, knit from a single skein with the addition of a few leftover scraps to form the stripes.  This hat brought me such a feeling of accomplishment.  I googled and mastered jogless stripes so that the joins look even.  The ribbing was meditative.  The recipient was ecstatic.  He is still wearing it in summer.

We all know that as knitters, there is a tremedous amount of pressure to constantly innovate our craft. And I like that.  Last year I picked up lacework for the first time and enjoyed the results. But there is a special virtue, and no shame in working with these easier, baby-bite sized kind of one-skein projects.  They take skill too.  We sometimes forget that to non-knitters, we all look like rocket scientists. Don't be afraid to turn off the pressure and enjoy a simple knit.


Knitting A Scarf: Just Enough Ruffles

I started Just Enough Ruffles yesterday.  Laura Chau is a genius pattern writer, using short rows to curve the scarf inward and on toward the ruffled edge.


Having read the pattern carefully, though, I'm inclined to think that it was mis-named.  It probably needs to be called Too Many Ruffles.  I've just discovered that I'm going to be increasing three times in each stitch for a total of 600 stitches across the ruffled edge.  600.  Really?

Although I am not looking forward to that cast off, the cashmere is soft and dreamy and the robin's egg blue color is very nice.  Possibly my only real complaint about this one is that at least for now, I'm going to have to crank the air conditioning if I want to wear it.  This scarf is going to have to wait for much cooler weather!



Cabled Scarf: Finished, with a Surprise

I finished the Reversible Cable Scarf, that I started earlier this week, last night.  There was just a bit of the second skein left — enough to add a small pair of fingerless mitts.  The mitts are short and bulky, and altogether wonderful.

Rasta set

The yarn, which continues to be onf of my all time favorites, is Malabrigo's Rasta.  This is the Indecita colorway.  It is really, really soft.

The scarf is completely reversible, which is accomplished through the simple device of knitting through out, including the 12 stitch cable, in a 1×1 rib.  The yarn is lovely and bulky, and this makes for a very warm scarf, with a lot of visual interest.  The cable is simple enough that it doesn't compete with the colorway, but it does make the scarf fun to knit.

Pattern note on the mitts:  I cast on 16 stitches and knit 6 rows in a 2×2 rib.  Then I knit 10 rows in stockinette before doing a stretchy cast off.  I liked the rib so much I decided to use it up on the fingers.  Here's what you should probably do differently if you knit something like this:  The rib really does need to be at the wrists for a better fit (I will probably rip the seams and turn these around, although I do love how the poufy part looks on my fingers).  If I knit another pair of these, I think I will try either a 1×1 rib, or two knit stitches to one purl as the rib.  I'm tempted to do the entire mitt in 1×1 and do a total of 30 rows, which would put these just at my elbow.  Also, I think they would be greatly enhanced by a decrease of 2-4 stitches around row 13 where the hand begins to narrow into the wrist.  Finally, these would be lovely with a silk ribbon woven through the wrist as I did on Ellie's Victorian Gauntlets, so I think an eyelet row in that area would be a nice addition.