Published!

So, I meant to wait until Saturday to release my cowl pattern, but I couldn’t wait. You can find the Raindrops and Wildflowers Cowl pattern here! The pattern has been tech edited and test knit. It’s a little bit unreal (in a very good way) to see other people knitting up the pattern I wrote and loving it!

both cowls

cowl

cowl

smile

My husband was kind enough to be my photographer for this pattern. As you can see, we had a lot of fun at the photo shoot.

husband

If you would like to buy the pattern, enter the coupon code BEATRIX at checkout for 20% off your purchase until July 5. Happy Knitting!

The Beginning and the End

A few months ago I was lying in bed unable to sleep. I started thinking about yarn (as you do) and some beautiful silk hankies I had in my stash. As I lay there I came up with a plan to write a pattern and use my beautiful silk hankies. I consulted my stitch dictionary and selected my lace patterns, and then I cast on. The initial cowl turned out quite lovely, but I ran out of hankies before the cowl was done. So I pulled out another batch of hankies and knit a second cowl. It is done just in time to take pictures for the pattern.

1

Did I mention that I’m publishing the pattern on Ravelry (Not that I’m super proud and excited or anything)? It will be called Raindrops and Wildflowers and I am releasing the pattern on Saturday, July 1. Eeeeeeee!!!

Watch this space. There will be a discount code.

Simple Washcloths: A Recipe

A week or two ago my husband told me that some friends of ours are having a housewarming party. I immediately decided to knit them some washcloths. I had some Peaches and Creme worsted cotton in my stash, and some US 9/5.5 mm needles were free, so I cast on. Here is my washcloth recipe:

Using a cotton yarn and corresponding needles (I like Peaches and Creme or Sugar and Cream Worsted and US 7-9/4.5-5.5 mm needles) CO 4 sts. K 1 row.

Increase row: Sl 1, K1, YO, K to end of row. Continue increasing in this way until you have as many stitches as you want. I like big washcloths, so I usually increase up to 60 or 65 stitches.

When you have the desired number of stitches begin decreases: Sl 1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K to end of row. Repeat until you have 4 stitches remaining. BO and weave in ends.

washcloths

I think that washcloths make a great gift. They are useful in the kitchen, bathroom, and generally in life. And they are quick to make. Work up a set of 2-4, tie them up with ribbon, and give them with a smile. You will be the star of the party!

ribbon

If (like my husband) you don’t like the holes on the edges, simply use a different increase:

     Increase row: Sl 1, K1, KFB, K to end of row.

          Decrease row: Sl 1, K1, K2tog, K to end of row.

Do you use handmade washcloths? Do you have a favourite pattern or recipe?

Remake and Reuse

I live in the South. I didn’t grow up here, so the culture is not my own. That being said, I do appreciate some of the foods and customs here – like grits. For those of you not acquainted with grits, they are composed of coarsely ground corn that you cook in water and eat for breakfast like oatmeal. I like to eat them with butter and salt. My husband and I recently finished a bag of grits, and I was sad to see the muslin bag they came in go to waste, so I decided to re-purpose it.

mise en place

I sewed the top inch of the bag down and threaded two lengths of cord through to make a drawstring bag.

finished

Voila! Fastest project ever, and it is the perfect size for socks.

In Progress

In order from newest to oldest projects…

  • Washcloths: Some friends recently bought a house and are having a housewarming party. I am knitting them some washcloths because every home needs something hand knitted.

washcloth

  • Watermelon Socks: I’m past the gusset and well into the foot and starting to get a bit pink. I pulled a few yards of white out so the sock would turn pink more quickly.

watermelon

  • Raindrops and Wildflowers Cowl: this is my second time knitting this pattern. I don’t normally re-knit patterns, and I am having a hard time with this one. On the original I ran out of yarn before the final border, so I have to re-knit for pattern photos. I keep telling myself it is worth it…

cowl

What’s on your needles?

Fabric

I have been wanting to buy some nice fabric, and this week I finally made it happen. I was looking for some black silk to make a Wiksten Tank and a Henrietta Maria top (my favourite black top died a month or 2 ago, and I have missed it terribly). I went to Mary Jo’s cloth store in Gastonia, NC – a little over an hour’s drive from where I live. You walk into the store and realize it is more of a fabric warehouse, and where do you begin?

Unfortunately the store didn’t have any black silk (apparently they are recovering from prom season), so I resorted to Plan B. I bought a black wool crepe to make the Henrietta Maria in,

wool

And this orange beaded silk for the Wiksten tank.

silk

As soon as I saw the silk, my heart belonged to it. I tried to leave it behind, but it wouldn’t let me go.

both

I have now washed the wool crepe in preparation for cutting and sewing. Has anyone made the Henrietta Maria? The pattern calls for 8″ of positive ease, and that just seems too much to me. I think I’ll make the top a few sizes smaller for 3-4″ of positive ease.

Here you see my lovely cat assisting me in cutting an altered pattern piece for the Wiksten Tank. I love the pattern, but my shoulders are just a wee bit wider than most, so I’m adding a bit of width.

cat

Isn’t he sweet?

Spinning with Batts

It has been almost a year since I bought my spinning wheel. In that time I have spun many skeins and learned a lot. Last week I tried something new.

In my spinning so far I have only used Combed Top (This is where the fibers are combed so they lay parallel to each other). Top is very easy to find commercially and comes in many colours and fibers. When I bought my spinning wheel I bought the previous owner’s fiber with it – including 10 little tiny batts (A batt is where the fibers are carded on a drum carder where the fibers are not parallel. It is a very airy preparation).

batt

I set out to spin these tiny batts woolen (it’s a spinning term that means you don’t micromanage how your yarn comes out), but the fiber had a bit of the original grease still left in it, which made it a bit tacky and hard to draft. After fighting with it for a while I reverted back to my normal worsted draft (this is when you do micromanage your yarn), and from there it was smooth sailing.

singles

I ended up unintentionally spinning the singles Z (counterclockwise) and plying S (clockwise). Normally I do it the other way. I attenuated the batts from either end so they looked like large rolags to maximize the squishy airiness of my yarn.

attenuated

I think I succeeded.

yarn

Fiber: 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 20% Bamboo

Preparation: Batts, attenuated from either end

Spinning Style: Worsted (short backward draw)

Spun Z, Plied S

Number of Plies: 2

Yardage: 240 yds (480 yds singles)

Weight: Sport (ish)