Loom Knit Hoxey Cowl

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Ever since the Winter issue of Interweave Knits came out I’ve been itching to make the Hoxey Cowl by Meghan Huber. I knew right away it would be a good candidate for converting to the loom. In fact, there really wasn’t anything to convert. The Hoxey Cowl is knit in the round so for us loom knitters that means we don’t have to do anything in order to make the pattern work. Hooray!

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I did, however, have to figure out which yarn and which loom I would use. The pattern recommends a bulky yarn and I happened to have the perfect specimens hoarded away in my stash.

The amazing multi-colored yarn is Misty Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in Pico. Some of you may remember my Loom Knit Infinity Scarf of Many Colors using the same yarn. I had a skein left over from that project and I paired it with a lovely (and much less expensive) skein of Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande in Natural. Both of these yarns are incredibly soft. The Plymouth yarn had the tendency to shed quite a bit while I was working with it but it seems to have stopped now and does not stick itself to my lip balm as I feared it would. Fuzzy lips aren’t nearly as appealing as a fuzzy cowl.

For the loom I chose the All-n-One by Authentic Knitting Board. I tried a few different looms and found that even though the yarn was Bulky it still worked well on the AIO and did not produce a fabric that was too tight. Alpaca is a much finer fiber than say, wool, so it was able to act like a skinnier yarn on the AIO, if that makes any sense.

Since my gauge wasn’t going to match the gauge in the pattern I had to make a few adjustments. I cast on ALL(106) the pegs of the AIO instead of what the pattern called for. I knew from previous experience that this would make the perfect sized cowl for me. I also ended up knitting more rows in order to reach the proper length. But all in all there were very few changes that needed to be made. Amazingly my finished measurements match the pattern’s exactly! Woohoo!!

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Isn’t that a wonderful stitch? A few people have pointed out that the white stitches look like little bunnies. Which is perfection, in my house-bunny estimation. (I have two)

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This is a great introduction pattern for color work. Once you figure out how to situate your yarn so they don’t constantly get tangled it is really very easy and nothing to be intimidated by. It also creates a very thick fabric which is perfect for a snugly cowl.

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If you want to check out the Hoxey Cowl on Ravelry you can find it HERE.

If you would like to see my Ravelry page on the Hoxey Cowl you can find it HERE.

I hope some of you decide to give it a try! Trust me, this is a fast, fun and rewarding piece to knit and you will want to wear it all the time. 🙂

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Linen stitching the day away

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I tend to have a bit of an obsessive personality. When I find something I like I like A LOT of it. This is true whether it’s shoes, food and yes, anything yarn related. The past few months I have been in love with the linen stitch. It’s a plucky little stitch which creates a wonderful dense, nubby fabric which is especially lovely when knit with a colorful yarn.

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A few months ago I made myself a linen knit cowl. I didn’t use a pattern. It’s just a tube knit in the round on the All in One loom. I used a heavy worsted weight yarn by Fleece Artist called Jana in the colorway Brew. I LOVE this yarn and tend to hoard it since I can only find it from a wonderful seller I visit at a few different craft shows.

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The linen stitch is knit in multiples of two which makes this a very versatile stitch. The only thing to remember is that the edges will curl unless you do a few rows of garter or seed at the beginning. As you can see in the photo above I did four rows of seed stitch which complimented the linen stitch nicely.

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There are several ways to knit the linen stitch on the loom and they are all very easy, it’s just a matter of preference. I did mine with a row of regular knit stitches in between each linen row. It seemed to define the stitch a little better with this particular yarn. However, there are a few ways to achieve essentially the same look. Just this morning Kimberly Carrigan posted a new video in the GoodKnitKisses Loom Knit & Craft Club on FaceBook that she made of her own technique for the linen stitch I think it’s quite brilliant. I will definitely be trying this version out on my next linen stitch project! See it here!

23018320815_6ec73fd00d_z This is my completed cowl. A few things that I would do differently the next time (and there WILL be a next time).

  1. I would use all the pegs on the All in One loom (with the five peg spacers in). I only cast on 96 stitches and it’s just a tiny, tiny bit too snug. It’s not uncomfortable but adding those few more stitches would make all the difference.
  2. I made this cowl too long. As you can see in the photos I have to fold it in to make it wearable. I just got in the zone, what can I say? I was on a knitting high and just kept going and going. I would stop at around 9″ or 10″ the next time.

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All in all I am very pleased with my cowl. I wear it a lot. It’s wind proof and super warm and makes me giddy when I look at it.

You can see my Ravelry entry on this cowl HERE.

I’ve been using the linen stitch to make some fingerless mitts as well and will share them with you all soon. Until then, loom on!

Loom Knit Infinity Scarf of Many Colors

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Boy howdy, it’s been a long time since I last blogged! I really have no excuse other than… life. Ya know? That’s not to say that I haven’t been knitting up a storm. I have! Well, I suppose at the pace I knit it’s more like a light, steady rain. I’m currently working on this year’s batch of Christmas gifts (a zillion pairs of fingerless mitts), which I will blog about shortly, but first I wanted to talk about this crazy colorful infinity scarf that I made earlier in the year.

I saw a picture on Pinterest of a colorful knit done in a cross stitch kind of pattern and I knew I needed to do something similar. And this is what I came up with. Since then it’s been rather popular on Pinterest and a few months ago Folt Bolt featured it on FaceBook. At this time it has over 8,000 views on Ravelry, which is a ton in a my little world.

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The most often asked question is, “Is there a pattern?” Well, no. There isn’t. That’s because you really don’t need one. It’s just one stitch knit until the desired length is reached. Sew the ends together and call it done. That’s it! But I realize that some people like step by step instructions so here you go.

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What you will need:

Loom: I used the Tadpole loom by Authentic Knitting Board.

Yarn: This is the crucial part. This scarf would be very ho-hum without this yarn. Ready for it? I used 2 skeins of Misty Alpaca Hand Knit Chunky in Pico. Allow me to preach the virtues of this yarn for a moment…. THIS YARN IS HEAVEN ON THIS EARTH! It’s softer than any baby’s bottom. It’s more colorful than upstate NY in the Autumn. It is like knitting with butter coated angels dipped in sugar while singing Hallelujah. (The angels are singing. Not you).

The Stitch: This is a double knit stitch called the Figure 8. It creates a lovely, squishy, reversible double knit which is cross stitched on one side and stockinette on the other (see photo above). You can see how to do this stitch HERE. They call it a cast on but all you do is continue in the same manner for the entire piece.

  • Cast on all the pegs. This will give you the proper width for your scarf.
  • Knit until the length measures about 50.”
  • Bind off.
  • Join ends together.
  • Place around neck, twist and double it up.
  • Walk around like the goddess you are and try to act cool when total strangers stop you on the street to ask about your magical infinity scarf.

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And that’s it. Really.

Kind of anticlimactic, huh?

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To see my Ravelry page on this scarf go HERE.

Getting a Little Lacy

16697324268_dd469ae25c_bI know I’ve talked a bit about my undying love for Noro yarn but there is another yarn who also holds a key to my heart. (My heart has many locks and many keys, incidentally.) And that yarn is Malabrigo. Several holidays ago I made a bunch of my favorite people cowls which all used Malabrigo Rasta. It’s safe to say that I’ve been an addict ever since. The colors, the texture, the quality…it’s all good. I have since branched out from just Rasta but my favorite colorway remains the same: Arco Iris. Arco Iris means rainbow and that just so happens to be my favorite color!

A few months ago I was looking around on Ravelry and came across a scarf pattern called Cordate by Tori Gurbisz that uses Malabrigo Rasta. It’s freaking gorgeous and I wanted to immediately figure out how to make it on a loom. Turns out it was pretty darn easy to convert and a whole lot of fun to make.

16905128725_11d1441d87_bI grabbed my largest gauge circle loom and did a quick swatch and discovered that my gauge wasn’t quite the same as the pattern, but hey, it’s a scarf! Gauge doesn’t really matter that much! Yay! As you can see you start with a provisional cast on and begin the lace pattern. Lace patterns can look complicated but they are actually very simple to follow. Trust me. If I can do it, you can do it.

16879272436_d0bf5a45bf_bMy pattern looks a little different than the original partly due to the different gauge but also due to the fact that I was doing one entire row incorrectly. I figured that out about half way into the project and rather than frog it and start over I decided to carry on the mistake. I’m lazy like that.

16752134899_3f32d31334_bHere it is after I completed knitting and before blocking. Sorry for the washed out colors but the darn sun was shinning. (the nerve!) This scarf was a pretty fast knit which makes me think it’s a good candidate for Christmas gifts this year.

16944525672_242079de4e_bThis is a looooooooong scarf. Blocking it was a pleasure, however, because the lace pattern really opened up.

16793304128_6986f81af9_bOnce the blocking was complete I added the fringe. I added twice as much as the pattern called for because in the case of fringe I truly believe that more is better.

16955049996_3ebf231a50_bThis is a pattern that I can definitely recommend to loom knitters. The pattern is very easy to follow (You have a choice between a written pattern and a chart. I preferred the chart and only had to remember to cross out the instructions for the wrong side and do the opposite. Everything else stays the same. Very simple.) Due to the difference in my gauge I repeated the pattern a few more times than the pattern called for in order to get the right length but that was really not a big deal.

So bottom line: this pattern is awesome!!!! Make it! You will be so happy you did.

See my Ravelry page about this scarf here.

See the original pattern here.

On My Loom

16705462393_e80d94836c_bLike many people, I tend to have more than one knitting project going at one time. I have tried to overcome this habit because it makes me CRAZY! I can’t stand having unfinished things laying about, taunting me, calling me names. A little while ago I thought I had won. I finished up about five different things all at once and vowed to never, ever do it again. The problem is focusing. I get bored easily. I get distracted by new yarn and new patterns. The weather changes and suddenly the warm and wooly sweater I just started begins to seem somehow….hot.

Which brings me to today’s topic: What’s on my loom? Well, I’ll tell you. Last month I started a new sweater. I love sweaters. They are the reason I knit, actually. Everything I have made and will make is in some way contributing to any and all future sweaters I may make. Every technique I learn, every new stitch, all of it is done with the thought, “I could do this on a sweater!” or “Dang, this would be amazing in sweater form!”

I have only completed two sweaters thus far in my knitting career and I can tell you with a straight face: sometimes I take them out and just look at them and marvel at the fact that I made them. I imagine this is what people with children do when their child is sleeping. This is what I do when my sweaters are sleeping, er, laying around being sweaters. Anyhoo, I started a new sweater last month when here in upstate NY it was still freezing and snowing. It felt right to get out the wool and start something new.

16613795013_b37e831321_bI was lucky to find some Noro Cyochin at a tremendous discount so I bought enough to cover the Statue of Liberty. And since I like stripes I decided to switch skeins every other row.

17157142225_3e3eed28be_bSee how mesmerizing that is?

I’m using a very basic needle pattern as a guide. This is the first time I am venturing out on my own and doing my own thing. I don’t think I can screw up too badly with nothing but stockinette stitch, but you never know. I’m done with the back piece and that seemed like a good place to stop. For now.

You see….it got warm. Spring finally decided to happen and having five pounds of wool on my lap was starting to lose its charm. And then I got the summer issues of Interweave Knits and Creative Knits and they were full of summery things made of cotton and linen. Not a sheep in sight. And so I started thinking…perhaps I need to be making something I can actually wear this summer. Perhaps I need to order more yarn in pretty colors and lighter fibers. Perhaps I need to put my wool aside for a little while and focus on something a little less sweaty.

17347083376_07ee69cb1d_bEnter Knit Picks Dishie. 100% cotton. It feels quite lovely. It’s been a while since I knit with cotton but it’s coming back to me and now I’m remembering that I actually like cotton. As long as the pattern I’m working on also likes cotton.

17202549508_711438c709_bSo far, Manitou seems to like cotton. This is a fun shawl comprised of wedges and I’m cruising right along. Of course, I had to start this scarf three times before I finally started paying attention and got the pattern right. But now it’s going swimmingly.

So that’s what’s on my loom(s) these days. I’ve already got my next pattern picked out and have already purchased the (cotton) yarn. It’s going to be a sweater. A summer sweater.

Do Drop in at the Dew Drop…..Shawl? Yes!

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Last week one of my loom knitting heroines, Kristen Mangus of GoodKnit Kisses, was kind enough to promote this fledgling little blog on her own blog. I thought I would thank her by way of a post  featuring one of her patterns that I absolutely LOVE – the Dew Drop Shawl.

I had this shawl on my to-do list for well over a year. I even bought the yarn over a year ago and then I let it sit for a while. I figured that the yarn must be exhausted from its journey from the yarn shop to my house so why push it? Let’s let that yarn get good and rested before I transform it into what was sure to be the most awesome shawl ever.  I’m very logical like that.

16348836723_217b7e6ac9_bI used Noro (surprise, surprise!) Taiyo Sport in colorway #11. This a nice lightweight cotton, silk, wool and polyamide blend that is really perfect for the warmer months coming up here in NY. And the best part is that one skein is more than enough to complete this shawl. I love that!

16942996706_fb1211c33d_bThis shawl was fun to make. Plain and simple. I had just finished a sweater that took me nearly two months to make and I was jonesing to make something simple yet different. I didn’t want to hear the words moss stitch ever again but I had my doubts that my hands knew how to do anything else after so much repetition. Turns out I’m a bit of a drama queen. My hands did just fine and may have even high-fived each other once they got the hang of the Dew Drop.

16348836973_30b40723f2_bThis looks pretty crazy, doesn’t it?

16968950625_5d696e36e4_bAnd it get’s even crazier looking.

16782667297_4c9da2f78c_bAt this point one may start to wonder what the heck they are making. It’s like a can of silly string threw a party and invited every other can of silly string on the planet. But fear not! It’s supposed to look this way. Kristen said so.

17020554272_9326566517_bAnd there we have it! See? Pure awesome. This was a fast piece to knit. Just a few evenings in front of the TV and you will find yourself with a lovely shawl. I immediately discovered that there are a bunch of different ways to wear this piece. It’s works great as a scarf as well as a shawl.

16399813004_951d4f7c94_bAnd then I had the brilliant idea of making several and using them as curtain panels. I didn’t do it. But I thought about it. And I might do it. Instead I gave this shawl to my gorgeous friend Diane. I really need to get a picture of her wearing it because her shawl wearing expertise makes Stevie Nicks look like a rookie.

A few things I learned while making this piece

  • How to make really long dropped stitches. It’s easy on a loom but looks very impressive and makes people say things like, “oooh girl, you’re so talented!”
  • That once again Noro is the color bomb of yarns.
  • Simple can be stunning.
  • Kristen Mangus writes fantastic patterns and makes the most helpful videos. If you don’t know this, LEARN (<—-click it).

To see Kristen’s Ravelry page on this shawl click HERE.

To see my Ravelry page on this shawl click HERE.

Noro Scarf or How I Sold My Soul to the Yarn Devil

IMG_7066Very early in the developmental stages of my yarn addiction I came across Noro yarn. I found a sweater pattern while looking around Ravelry which contained two of my favorite things: stripes and insane amounts of color. When I looked to see what kind of yarn was used I saw the word Noro. A quick Google search brought up zillions of photos of knit creations so colorful I thought I might have a seizure. I knew right away that Noro was created JUST FOR ME. Immediately I tried to find a pattern that would be simple enough for me to follow (especially given the fact that I had never followed a pattern before). I came across Jared Flood’s famous Noro Striped Scarf and thought, “Hey! How hard can that be?” Well as it turns out, when you have never read a pattern before and you don’t even understand what simple instructions are telling you, and you don’t take the time to actually figure anything out, it’s really not that simple. So I tossed that pattern aside and did my own thing like the stubborn, impatient fool that I am.

16865329392_d6291253f1_bWhat evolved was a long, uneven attempt at a simple seed stitch scarf. Knit 1 purl 1, knit 1 purl 1, knit 1 purl 1, and then reverse for the next row…..for days and days. And here’s what I learned: My brain had no idea how to remember to knit 1 purl 1 over and over without screwing up dozens of times. It sounds so easy! And yet, if I didn’t truly focus and pay attention I found myself three rows into pure knit stitch while my mind was thinking about what meat-centric, covered in garlic, dinner I was going to be having later in the day.

And I learned something else: Noro yarn might have a pretty face but she’s a feisty yarn to knit with. She breaks easily and with no warning. And she’s full of… stuff. Stuff like knots and tree branches and other things only found on nature walks. After reading reviews of various Noro yarns I discovered that these are normal complaints with some people choosing to overlook these minor flaws and others swearing upon their grandmother’s graves that they will never use it again. I fall into the first category. I don’t care if Noro wants to break or be scratchy or be the home to enough twigs to build a small lean-to. What she gives back in the way of a visual feast is enough for me. Her colors make me all kinds of stupid happy and thus far I have not found another yarn that compares visually. That’s not to say that I won’t keep buying every colorful yarn that crosses my path, but as of right now, Noro wins. And I love it. A lot.

IMG_7062It might not be prefect and I didn’t know much about blocking at the time so it’s pretty wonky, but I love this scarf and I wear it a lot in the winter. I get tons of compliments when I do. Which brings me to the next thing I learned while making this scarf: it’s all about the yarn. If you use beautiful yarn, even if your technical skills aren’t that fantastic, your finished product will be awesome and you will love it. And that’s really what it’s all about.

If you would like some more info on this scarf please see my Ravelry page.