Archive | March, 2012

River Ripple Hat Pattern

20 Mar

I’m happy to announce that I’ve added a new free pattern to my site! The River Ripple Hat pattern (available by clicking on the image to the left or visiting the Patterns page) is finally complete!

The idea for this hat has been brewing for a long time. I knew I wanted something featuring garter stitch and cables with a brim worked flat then picked up along the edge.

This yarn was originally meant for a TARDIS hat, but after staring at it for months and using my successful Rose Red hat (knit in the same yarn) as an inspiration, I decided to knit a water-inspired hat for Spring.

This pattern is simple to work if you can knit cables, in-the-round, and take the initiative to find the length and fit that works best for your head. Because the pattern only includes instructions for a standard adult women’s size, a knitter looking to make a smaller or larger version will need to use their own judgement to adjust the gauge. That being said, any intermediate knitter should have not problem following the instructions and chart.

One of my favorite details of this hat, other than the way the simple four-stitch cable *pops* out of the garter-stitch background of the brim, is the fancy rhinestone buckle.

This buckle comes from a vintage sample card my mom bought me at an estate sale years ago. I’ve been looking for reasons to use it forever, and although my husband favored a simple button for the tab, I couldn’t resist adding some sparkle. Besides, this is a classy buckle. In 1951, this buckle cost $8. Calculate inflation into that and I put a shiny, $70 buckle on my hat, which is a testament to just how much I love this hat.

The pattern specifies that you can use any large buckle or button, but I’m so pleased that my hat features a classic detail that has some history. If I weren’t already married I could wear this as my something old and something blue!

I recommend using Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted Cotton in the Mediterranean colorway for this pattern, but any soft worsted-weight yarn with good stitch definition will work.

I hope you enjoy the pattern, and please visit the Ravelry pattern page to post any comments or questions.

I’m still here

19 Mar

I know I’ve been missing for awhile, but that’s because I’ve been knitting some socks and a shawl, and also designing this delightful blue hat. More posts and a pattern coming soon!

Cat Bordhi Syndrome

4 Mar

My new socks are quite plain, but they feature Cat Bordhi's sweet tomato heel technique.

As I made my way through the Spring 2012 issue of Sockupied, I was struck by an illness: Cat Bordhi Syndrome. This affliction – characterized by the immediate casting on of a new project to test one of Bordhi’s ingenious techniques – can derail even the most committed monogamous knitter from their project at hand. As was the case with my Gansey Clock Socks (not pictured because they’re not done.)

The technique that sent me digging through my stash for some unspoken-for sock yarn is the new Sweet Tomato Heel. This is a short-row technique that uses multiple gentle sloping wedges with no wraps – rather than the standard two steep wedges with wrapped stitches – to create a fat, round heel. I hate wrapping stitches, and I don’t care much for the way short-row heels don’t shape the gusset, but the Sweet Tomato Heels were a spark of inspiration. I had to try them. Immediately.

So, right before Parks and Recreation started on NBC Thursday night I found my Blue Moon Fiber Arts Hand Painted Sock Candy. This yarn was a gift from my mom about a year ago, and I used its mate to make her some socks this Christmas, but in a different colorway. This bout of Cat Bordhi Syndrome was also the motivation I needed to finally locate my US 1.5 Addi Turbo 32″ circulars that have been missing for months and holding up other, less innovative projects.

I cast on 58 stitches (I have small feet, the yarn is sport-weight, and the needles are fatter than usual) and started working a twisted rib cuff. I know the ktbl1, p1 cuff isn’t as snug as the k2, p2, but I’ve been holding off on using this yarn for a great pattern and I wanted them to be pretty, not just functional.

When it came to the leg, I just went with plain old stockinette. Did you know that I don’t have a single pair of plain stockinette socks? I was really charmed with the simplicity, ease and the way the color of the yarn really shined with the basic stitches.

I turned the first heel before the end of the evening, and after a 7″ leg I thought that was pretty good. I was highly motivated by my Cat Bordhi Syndrome. I had to watch the tutorial video in Sockupied again as I worked the first wedge of the Sweet Tomato Heel, but then I had it down pat. The way the color swirled to a point for each wedge is amazing. I’m so happy I used a hand-painted yarn for this pattern!

I finished my first sock the next day, and as Cat Bordhi Syndrome is stronger than Second Sock Syndrome, I immediately cast on for the other. Unprecedented!

As it went, I finished my second sock last night at about midnight, including weaving in ends from attaching a new ball of yarn and grafting the toe. I couldn’t even wait until morning to model them, and went downstairs in the horrible light to take some final shots.

Essentially, I love these socks. Like Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy, they have bewitched me. Okay, not nearly that romantic, but you get the point. They fit wonderfully, the yarn is soft and thick, and the colors only pooled in the best ways. Obviously Cat Bordhi Syndrome is accompanied by a great deal of luck.

I will definitely use this heel again when possible. It could easily be incorporated into any pattern where the heel doesn’t require some stitch pattern. I will continue to play with the number of wedges I use. I think these socks might have fit a teeny bit better if I’d added another half a wedge, but since they fit great now, I won’t dwell on it.

As I recover from my Cat Bordhi Syndrome (and cope with my real-life cold) I encourage you all to take a look at the Sweet Tomato Heel Socks e-book and explore this awesome new technique!

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Hand Painted Sock Candy is unavailable right now.

Project Details

Simple Sweet Tomato Heel Socks

Pattern: Improvised plain stockinette with Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Hand Painted Sock Candy, sport-weight, 400 yds (I have 120 yds left!), colorway: Autumn

Needles: US 1.2 Addi Turbo 32″ circular