Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tis the season for hats!

With fall hopefully just around the corner, I've found myself knitting A LOT of hats these days. I really like knitting hats because not only are they are quick, but they allow for endless creativity. It's fun to play around with different colors and textures to come up with new designs. Here are some recently finished hats and a sneak peek of a hat design coming out soon.

FO - Bray Cap

Back when I was in Germany, I knit this gorgeous Bray Cap by Jared Flood using Cascade 220 in Doeskin Heather and Citron. I've been seeing this brown and lime green color combo a lot on instagram lately, so I'm glad to see that this hat will be in trend this fall! I followed the pattern completely as is, except I added a little color contrast for the tubular cast on, crown shaping, and pom pom. While Brooklyn Tweed patterns are a little pricey ($7 for this pattern), they are well worth the price. The patterns are very professional and they explain every technique. For instance, in the Bray Cap pattern, the tubular cast on for 2x2 ribbing is explained with great detail.

Pattern WIP - Micalet

These two cabled hats were made as I was swatching/testing my new hat design, Micalet. I thought about waiting until the pattern was out before introducing this pattern on the blog, but I'm too impatient. Plus I've shared a bunch of pictures on instagram and facebook already. I'm the worst secret/surprise keeper there is, but what can I say, I love the instant gratification... that's why I knit a lot of hats!

I won't say too much about these hats now because I don't want to spoil all of the fun, but here's one last spoiling detail to hold you over.... the pattern is made for this amazing yarn from Toil and Trouble, which is hand-dyed in Salem, MA by Ana Campos. Ana also owns Circle of Stitches in Salem, MA, which has become my go-to LYS since I've moved to the north shore. Her yarns are absolutely gorgeous, and I can't wait to see (and feel) this finished project!

A photo posted by Ana Campos (@toiltrouble) on

I casted on last night, so the pattern will be out before Labor Day. If you check back on the blog the day the pattern is released, not only will I divulge all of the details, but I'll add a coupon code to use on release day... so keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Samples for Lady Dye Yarns (and Overcoming My Fear of Variegated Yarn)

First, let me apologize for abandoning my blog while I was in Europe. I wish I could say that I was too busy exploring German countryside, hiking the Swiss Alps, knitting with the finest of Wollemeise and drinking wine, but alas, that was not true. Instead, I was hard at work and putting in a lot of hours at the lab. While that might sound lame, the truth is, I really enjoy working in the lab in Germany. It was really great to see some old friends again and make some new ones too!I did manage to do some knitting while I was abroad, but I'm going to fast forward for now -- I promise I'll come back to Europe in later posts.

These past few weeks I've doing a lot of knitting and I'm excited to show off some of my recent FO's!
A few weeks ago now, I saw on Facebook that Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Yarns was looking for knitters to make samples using her yarn to display at Stitches Midwest. And for payment, a few skeins of her yarn! Let's be honest, who wouldn't knit for more yarn?

Lady Dye Yarns

When I picked up the yarn from Diane, I asked what she wanted me to knit, assuming she had a pattern in mind. But then the deal got even sweeter..... she said it would be great if I could make a hat, but it was up to me to decide what to make. How awesome is that?? Not only did I get the fun of knitting with something with free funky yarn, but also I got an excuse to browse ravelry for a few hours with an actual purpose.

So here's a picture of the yarn she gave me for knitting the sample -- two skeins of her Worsted Superwash Merino. Now, I'll be honest, I rarely knit with variegated yarn. Initially, I didn't know what would be the best type of pattern for this yarn... simple, textured, lacy, cabled? Not to mention that "blue-orange" is a bold color combo. Luckily Diane did give me a little direction saying that something cabled would look better than something lacy.

Superwash Merino Worsted Yarn from Lady Dye Yarns

FO - Neon Ski Hat

With that in mind, I searched ravelry with terms like "cable", "hat",  and "variegated" and eventually spotted the pattern for the Neon Ski Hat. I remembered this pattern was used in a reddit KAL, and I just loved the projects that came out of it. Specifically, I liked that the hat was not a regular, old hat. It has a unique shape and a ton of texture, giving off a fun and jovial vibe to match that of the yarn. In the end, the hat actually turned out even better than I imagined!

Neon Ski Hat

So a few notes... You might have noticed that one skein was a bit lighter than the other. The simple solution to that was to alternate the skeins every round and every two rows when knitting flat. Also, the "body" of the hat is initially knit flat and then joined in the round, but the stitch pattern didn't line up when I went to join in the round. Fortunately, I found notes from MooBooBaby's project which described exactly how to avoid this problem for a large size hat.

Me modeling the Neon Ski Hat and Maine Morning Mitts.

FO - Maine Morning Mitts

I had some yarn leftover, so I also made some mittens to match! I wasn't sure exactly how much yarn I had left, so I opted for making some fingerless mitts. The Maine Morning Mitts pattern I used was quick and easy. I managed to finish them in one afternoon. No significant mods here, except that I made them a bit shorter than original pattern called for. 

Close up of the Maine Morning Mitts

Lesson Learned

From this experience I've learned that I need to be less hesitant my yarn choices. Me of the past would steer clear of variegated yarn, because I didn't know how to use it. Fortunately now I have a bit more confidence with choosing good patterns for variegated yarn, which is perfect since I have two more skeins of Lady Dye Yarns to play with!

Yarn from Lady Dye Yarns for more fun variegated projects!

Thanks again Diane for the awesome yarn and for changing my mind about variegated yarn! Have fun at Stitches Midwest this weekend!!

Lady Dye Yarns Team at Stitches Midwest