FOFri #34: Double Whammy

You know it’s been a good week when you get to Friday and realize you have crossed off everything on your to-do list. THAT NEVER HAPPENS, GUYS. I’ve even finished things that weren’t on the list! Which is why I have not one but two finished objects to show off today. Although I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos: mornings are dark, the lighting is terrible, and it’s crazy hard to focus a DSLR when it’s on a tripod and you’re a few feet away. (Still learning with my new toy, obviously.)

Wine-y Lucy Hat:

Woolen Diversions

Blurr-tastic! Click for project page.

This hat is my faaaaaaaaaaavorite. Seriously. I love the yarn, the shape, the style, the fit… everything. The pattern is Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer. I really admire Carina’s designs. Her aesthetic aligns perfectly with what I actually want to wear, and her patterns are well-written and usually fun to knit. I’ve made her Regina hat, Whippoorwhill Shawl (which was a bit of a slog because it involved so many stitches but the shape is perfect and I wear it constantly), and no fewer than three Zuzu’s Petals cowls (and I’ve been itching to make another recently).

Woolen Diversions

Pre-finished, but shows the colors well.

I am really happy with my yarn choice for this project, too. I used Verdant Gryphon’s Zaftig (worsted weight 70% superwash Merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon), which is a nice round yarn with a soft hand from the cashmere content. The main color is Russian Sage, a nearly-neutral pale lilac, and the contrast is Kiss of Cabernet, a perfect wine color that I’ve been really digging lately. I was imagining the main color as more of a khaki tan, but I think the lilac is light enough to still be worn with a brown-ish outfit without screaming HEY GUYS, LOOK AT MY CLASHING PURPLE HAT, and it coordinates perfectly with outfits on the grey end of the spectrum. (Yes, I really do debate this much over whether or not things match. It’s important! Or OCD.) I will likely knit another of these someday in a different combo, probably involving teal.

Sweet Codex Shawl:

Woolen Diversions

Fringe-tastic! Click for project page.

These perfect skeins of silver Sanguine Gryphon Codex have been waiting to become a shawl for a long time… since 2012!  I waited and waited, changing my mind about a million times, wanting to use it for an intricate lace masterpiece (but having no time to actually knit such a thing). Finally, the need for a grey accessory became overwhelming and I cast on for a simple shawl that I had made before and knew that I loved.

Woolen Diversions

Makes a nice couch cover, too!

The pattern is Sweet November Knit Shawl by Caryl Pierre and it is the ultimate in stylish simplicity. It’s really nothing more than YOs, k2tog, and ssk’s combined with a fun little fringe. It’s epically wearable and looks great in both solid and variegated colorways. It can be knit with basically any weight and amount of yarn. I knit mine on US 10 needles (a bit smaller than called for since Codex is sort of in between DK and worsted weight and is rather slinky from the silk) and continued until I had 223 stitches on the needle (instead of the 171 called for) using less than 460 yards. I bound off on the WS with the recommended stretchy bindoff and added 33 fringes of 4 strands each. The shawl measures 66″ across (I like ’em big!) and 26″ down the center spine, not counting fringe.

Here are some horrible photos of me wearing it. I promise, it looks way better IRL.

I think that taking a little break from my NaKniSweMo project to finish these two accessories was totally worth it, don’t you? Plus, I have a road trip ahead of me this weekend so there should be plenty of knitting time to make up for my non-monogamous transgression (this is why I suck at KALs, y’all). I hope your weeks have been productive, as well, and Happy Friday!

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IS #77: Seafoam Inspired

My sweet and wonderful FiascoHubs (do we like the new nickname? he will forever be a Fiasco… but now that he’s a husband rather than a fiance I’m wondering if it needs the ‘Hubs’ addition?) surprised me with ‘souvenir yarn’ over our wedding weekend.

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He apparently went into the local yarn store and said something along the lines of “she likes crazy fiber, wild stuff like ox and quiviut, and she loves blues and seafoam greens” and he left with three skeins of that gorgeousness above. The yarn is a laceweight 50/50 yak/silk blend and it is divine. My fella did very well, but now what to make?

Copyright LachesisandCo. Click for pattern page.

The first thing that jumped to mind was The Mermaid’s Gift shawl designed by Tori Gurbisz. I’ve had this one queued for quite a while and I think the whole look and feel of this pattern would be perfect with the seafoam color of the yarn. My only reservation is that it would only use up a mere 400 yards while I have over 1200 yards of the yarn, but it would certainly be a great use of a single skein of luxurious laceweight you might have hanging around.

Copyright knitlab. Click for pattern page.

The next beauty that jumped to mind was the Seascape Stole designed by Kieran Foley. I’ve long admired the sinuous shifting lines of this stole, and it’s a free pattern on Knitty so that’s always a plus. My big reservation with this one is that the charts are rather large and unwieldy and I had hoped to take this project along on our honeymoon as travel knitting, so it might not be the best choice.

Copyright Kieran Foley. Click for pattern page.

Interestingly, the same designer has another sea-inspired stole that I greatly admire: High Seas. It sounds like this one has wrong side patterning and it on the trickier side, so it also might not make great travel knitting (though it is lovely).

Copyright joelle. Click for pattern page.

Moving on from the sea theme, we have the Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen which is based on the Laminaria shawl designed by Elizabeth Freeman. This shawl is chock full of complex Estonian stitches but it is really, truly gorgeous. I imagine in my silky seafoam yarn it would be pretty incredible.

Copyright stebo79. Click for pattern page.

Even though the sample for Morgain by Stefanie Bolf is all ‘dark and moody’ I can’t help but picture it in my yarn and think it would be glorious. I love the way the lace patterning grows in length and width as it cascades across the shawl.

Copyright Strokkur. Click for pattern page.

This is a gorgeous variation (drapier yarn, larger needles, beads instead of nupps) of the Shallow Waters shawl designed by Mia Rinde. I imagine my version would look much like this one. The more I look at photos of this shawl, the higher it is creeping up my list! It incorporates the undulating lines I like so much with the almost gothic, peaked edging that I find very pretty on triangular shawls.

What would you knit with up to 1200 yards of yak/silk lusciousness? Do you have a favorite sea-inspired pattern? Please share in the comments below!

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IS #75: Under the Sea

My apologies for missing my Inspiration Saturday posts over the last couple of weeks, I finally have a moment to breathe today! Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

I don’t know how it’s possible that I got to my 75th IS post without featuring Hunter Hammersen. I’ve mentioned her designs plenty of times on this blog but have apparently failed to write a comprehensive post about her work, which is ridiculous since I instantly purchase every book of patterns she publishes. I love her design sense and in particular I love the inspiration behind her Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series.

“Curiosity cabinets were collections of wonderful objects brought together to inspire, delight, and inform. I loved the idea of assembling a knitter’s curiosity cabinet—one full of fancy edgings and captivating stitch patterns and fabulous shapes instead of shells and fossils and seeds. These books are the result.” – H.H.

Curiosity cabinets (full of shells, bones, plant specimens, fossils, preserved animals, etc.) have always appealed to me… they encapsulate everything I love about museums, science, natural history, and the sense of wonder with which insightful people view their world. Marrying that idea with knitting patterns was a stroke of genius. Hunter has designed 2 patterns — one sock and one accessory — based on each vintage illustration in her books of either plants (volume I), butterflies (volume II), or marine life (volume III).

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My copy of volume III.

When I read that the third volume would be based on marine illustrations, I was particularly excited (my job involves researching marine organisms). I confess that after flipping through, I was a teensy bit disappointed with how some of the prints were interpreted into knitwear — but perhaps I had particularly high expectations. Some of the sock designs feel a little bit repetitive (many have a similar look) and there were a few designs for which I couldn’t really see the relationship to the print. I think some of the gorgeous prints could’ve been interpreted in different ways that might have made for more interesting designs. That said, the book is and admirable piece of work and is full of lovely things that I have already queued to knit someday. Here are some of my favorites.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

The cover sock, Zostera marina, is absolutely wonderful. I want it in my sock drawer right now. The color, the wavy lines, the BFL sock yarn it is knit from… sigh. I want it. The difficulty with a pattern like this (for me) is finding the right sock yarn. A vast majority of my stash consists of variegated colorways, which just won’t work well with all the vertical lines and stitch details in this sock. Looks like someone will need to enhance her semi-solid sock yarn stash! (Aw, shucks.)

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

In truth, the stitch pattern used in this Padina pavonia sock is nothing new (it’s a variation of the Old Shale or Feather-and-Fan stitch) but it still looks really great in this sock and I think it’s one of the few patterns in the book that would actually play really nicely with variegated or stripey yarn.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

I really dig the funky stitch used in these Planorbis corneus socks. This is one where I don’t quite see how the pattern was inspired by the print, perhaps because the stitch used reminds me so much of rotifers (microscopic aquatic organisms) and that’s all I see when I look at it, not shells. However, it’s still a fine-looking sock with a basically simple pattern and really fun detail, so I’m bound to make it someday. It’s also available free on Knitty.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

I have nothing really to say about this Fucus asparagoides socks except that I am a sucker for lacy socks, thus, I love them.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

Finally, I am a big fan of this Pelagia noctiluca hat. It’s lacy, slightly slouchy, does an excellent job of evoking its inspiration print, has great crown decreases, and is knit with DK weight yarn which is a perfect weight for stylish hats. This one is very likely to happen.

Do you have a favorite Hunter Hammersen pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Leave a comment and/or share your blog post with us below!

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IS #74: Handspun Dreams

Audry asked an excellent question in the comments of my last post about what my handspun yarn will grow up to be. It appears that I tend to spin like I knit: in fits and starts, with many, many works-in-progress, that take quite a while to come to fruition. I have been spinning since January 2012 and over the last 2.5 years I’ve completely finished spinning 17 full skeins of yarn (one skein = 2-6 oz, depending on project) and 14 little ‘test’ or sample skeins (10 from my spinner’s study and 4 from trying out new tools or experimenting).

handspun1

Some of my more recent finished skeins (since October 2013).

And then, of course, I have 12 spinning WIPs (eek). One on each of my spindles, two that are resting off of my spindles, and the remaining are wheel projects in various stages of completion (why yes, I am out of bobbins, how did you guess?). The things I could accomplish with just a little more follow-through would be pretty amazing, amIright?!

All of my handspun projects to date!

Of my 17 full-size finished skeins, I have (at least partially) knit up 10 of them, have a hibernating WIP with the 11th, and gave 2 of them away as gifts. That leaves me with 4 unaccounted-for skeins.

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Four skeins of handspun waiting to be knit…

In the top left, we have the lovely skein of alpaca/silk I carded on a rented drum carder and finished spinning in April. It will most likely grow up to become a Morning Surf Scarf, when I get a chance to knit more regularly (read: post-wedding).

Copyright Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer. Click for pattern page.

The two skeins in the top right were from a spin-along last quarter. They are a generous 550 yards of 2-ply BFL wool destined to become a shawl. I’ve been eyeing up Joji’s The Way From Brighton, what do you think?

Copyright Joji Locatelli. Click for pattern page.

The skein on the bottom left is some more BFL, this time around 170 yards of DK-weight chain-plied yarn. I was thinking of some sort of hat, perhaps a Jango designed by Svetlana Volkova. I’d use it for the main color and then alternate some scraps for the contrast colors. Not sure yet, though. I like the neutral used in the pattern photo and I might want to pair my skein with a calmer color and knit a two-color shawl or cowl instead.

Copyright tweedysheep. Click for pattern page.

The final skein pictured is the last skein that I knit into a finished object way back in October 2013 (siiiiigh). I knit that fluffy little 4-ply Merino skein into a pretty fabulous hat. What are your favorite handspun projects? I’d love to see what you’ve made with yours or what you’ve been dreaming of making. Share a link or leave a comment below!

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IS #72: Getting Graphic

I’m pretty sure stripes have always been popular in knitting, but I feel like I’ve noticed a whole flood of shawls lately featuring bold stripes used in creative ways… and I love it. I always have promising color combinations in the stash that need projects and I think a couple of these graphic pieces might just do the trick.

Copyright Audry Nicklin. Click for pattern page.

First up is Beyond the Pines, a shawl designed by the talented Audry Nicklin of the Bear Ears blog. I love the unique, 5-pointed shape of this shawl, the way the stripes highlight the points, and the way the wide, textured border grounds the edge.

Copyright leethal. Click for pattern page.

The sideways-knit Pigment shawl by Lee Meredith is another great example of a bold use of color. In typical Leethal style, this shawl can be knit in any weight and with nearly any amount of yarn. It’s really versatile and I imagine it would be a great way to use up leftovers and miniskeins.

Copyright Classic Elite Yarns. Click for pattern page.

The Geneva shawlette by Amy Loberg is really cool! The use of two contrast colors for the short row wedges is really flashy, and since there are only a handful of the stripey bits, they are not overwhelming. Using them sparingly was really effective, I think.

Copyright stebo79. Click for pattern page.

Similar to the last one, the Xandra shawl by Stefanie Bold makes great use of a small amount of accent color. In this case, lines radiate out from one corner to the jagged edge. It’s a really cool look and I’m even kind digging the charcoal/hot pink combo, which is normally outside of my color comfort zone.

Copyright Jeannie Kubricht. Click for pattern page.

I think this Nostalgia Shawl by Elena Nodel might be one of my favorites. I love the crescent shape, the swoopy asymmetrical stripes, and the unexpected mesh wedges. Can a shawl be punk? This one strikes me as kind of punk. I might need to cast on for it sooner than later.

Copyright Sivia Harding. Click for pattern page.

The Rainshadow scarf by Sivia Harding is quite outside her normal design style but is also really cool. This garter stitch piece is worked lengthwise in a triangular shape, with the stripes radiating from one corner out to the jagged edge. More short rows and eyelets and stripes. I think there are some beads in there, too. Love it!

Copyright MillyWipstash. Click for pattern page.

The Cameo shawl by Paulina Popiolek is another great example of how some simple stripes, eyelets, and edgings can make for a striking shawl. It’s one of those patterns that makes me simultaneously jealous (“Man, why didn’t I think of that?”) and covetous (“I want it!”).

Copyright Paulina Popiolek. CLick for pattern page.

No doubt recognizing that she had a good thing going with her Cameo shawl, Paulina designed the similar-but-still-so-different Axis shawl. It involves similar striping and jagged edging but employs a really bold and unexpected slipped stitch section in the middle there.

Copyright Emily Peters. Click for pattern page.

For a rainbow-chevron-ripple-tastic shawl, there’s the Berkely, CA pattern by Emily Peters. I’m a sucker for rainbow yarns paired with neutrals, and I think this pattern manages to look both psychadelic and wearable.

Copyright Lilofil. Click for pattern page.

Finally, we have the stripey-and-texture-ific Bryum shawl by Cailliau Berangere. I’m really digging the slipped stitch colorwork sections and I’m betting this sideways-knit shawl would work great in any weight of yarn.

See? Graphic, striped shawls are everywhere! Have you come across any others? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Share with us in the comments!

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IS #70: Gorgeous Ginkgo

I came across this collection of patterns by yellowcosmo (a.k.a. Connie) a couple of weeks ago and was so floored by its beauty and simplicity, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it!

Copyright yellowcosmo. Click for pattern page.

Isn’t that shawl just gorgeous?! I love how Connie took the single design element of the ginkgo leaf and carried it through her entire collection. In the two-color shawl, it’s a subtle but beautiful insert in the lace edging.

Copyright yellowcosmo. Click for pattern page.

Similarly in the lace scarf, the ginkgo accent flows gently from the surrounding lace stitches.

Copyright yellowcosmo. Click for pattern page.

In the textured cowl, the ginkgo leaf takes on a center-stage, three-dimensional life of its own. (I am almost certainly going to purchase this pattern, if only to figure out exactly how that 3D effect was accomplished!)

Copyright yellowcosmo. Click for pattern page.

And in the stole, the ginkgo motif takes on an a bolder, almost geometric feel against the simple eyelet and stockinette background.

The collection also includes a couple of sweaters, but it was the accessories that really grabbed my attention. I feel like I don’t often come across a collection of patterns that makes such a beautiful, elegant, and unified use of a single motif. I love it.

Photo source: ucmp at Berkeley. Click to visit page.

Fun fact from my evolotionary plant biology class (so many years ago now, sad): Ginkgo biloba is the only living species of an ancient group of gymnosperms (related to conifers like pine trees) dating back hundreds of millions of years to the Permian era. It’s essentially a living fossil (like the horseshoe crab!) and I apparently have a soft spot for such relic species. Plus, its seeds smell like vomit or rancid butter–definitely something rotting–which is a pretty cool trait in the plant world, and an interesting juxtaposition with its refined, classy appearance.

What’s been inspiring you, lately? Let us know in the comments!IS

IS #67: DK Cardigan Roundup

Following up on my DK weight pullover/tee/top roundup from last week, here are some of the DK weight cardigan patterns that have caught my eye lately. Which would you knit with 4 – 6 skeins of Cephalopod Yarns Traveller?

Copyright Jane Heller. Click for pattern page.

First up is Lanata designed by Amy Christoffers. I like the wavey lines of lace, the simple raglan shaping. This one is pretty classic in style and feel, with just a little bit of fun detail from the lace. I think I’d probably need closer to the full 6 skeins for this pattern, which is a slight problem since they are mismatched, so it might not be ideal right now but it is still lovely.

Copyright elinor. Click for pattern page.

The Bayview Street Cardigan designed by Elinor Brown is similar to the Lanata in that it is a classic shape in a lace stitch pattern but this one has set-in sleeves. Since I have yet to knit a sweater I’m not sure which sleeve method I would like more, but I do tend to like the look of store-bought raglans on me, even though I’d read that raglan shaping isn’t the most flattering for larger sizes or larger-busted ladies. So I could go either way, I suppose. Do you have a favorite sleeve method? Flippant by Nora Hinch is pretty much the same idea as the Bayview cardi, just with a different lace pattern.

Copyright Carrie Bostick Hoge. Click for pattern page.

The Estelle Cardigan designed by Melissa LaBarre was recommended to me when I asked for advice on the CY Ravelry board. I like the wavy lace details and the subtle ribbed waist shaping. I’m not sure I would love a cardi without closures on me but it does look really great here.

Copyright Bonne Marie Burns. Click for pattern page.

Exploring the no-closure idea further, I came across Vonica designed by Bonne Marie Burns. I love the mixing of solid panels of stockinette (which I had actually thought was garter stitch before until I just looked more closely at it… weird) with zig-zag lace. It creates a really nice visual interest and breaks up the body in a flattering way.

Copyright Jonathan Herzog. Click for pattern page.

Then I had a ‘DUH!’ moment and remembered Amy Herzog. I love almost everything that Amy designs and she has that cool CustomFit software that I could use with a pattern recipe to get a perfect fit without worrying about modifications. This lovely thing is Aislinn. I love the lace panels and the interesting waist tie detail. It’s very feminine and flirty.

Copyright splityarn 2011. Click for pattern page.

Another Amy Herzog pattern I’m digging right now is Petrea. It still has the lace detail but is not all-over so it serves as more of an accent. I love the lace on the sleeves, as well, and that this is a short-sleeved cardi. I have a few store-bought short-sleeved pullovers that are great to wear at work so even though it wouldn’t be the warmest thing year-round, it is probably perfect for spring through fall. The scoop neck is pretty, too, and I think I could make this in my size with just 4 skeins.

I think Petrea, Aislinn, Vonica, and Snowflake (from last week) are the front-runners right now, but I’m still so torn! What would you knit? Anything inspiring you, lately? Please share in the comments!

 

IS #66: DK Weight Top Roundup

A couple of months ago I did a DK Weight Sweater Roundup and, well — I’m still at it. I’m still trying to find the perfect thing to knit with either 4 or 6 skeins of Cephalopod Yarns Traveller.

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CY Traveller, colorway Kalamazoo.

I say 4 or 6 because sadly, as you can see, my skeins are quite mismatched. CY has generously offered to take them all back and send me 6 matching skeins, but I’m not quire sure I need all 6 skeins, it depends on the pattern, and I really kind of love the 4 on the left and would rather just use them. (Plus I’m being lazy about shipping things around.) So, I’ve been combing Ravelry for tops I can knit with only 1120 yards to fit a 42″ size. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve found some lovely patterns!

Photo copyright Interweave Knits. Click for pattern page.

This Ruched Yoke Tee designed by AnneLena Mattison reminds me a lot of the wee baby sweater the Yarn Harlot just finished. It’s sweet, simple, and just the kind of thing I would wear to work in the spring/summer since it’s classier than a normal t-shirt but still relatively cool temperature-wise. The sample is knit in a cotton yarn, which makes me wonder if I would prefer it in cotton, rather than superwash wool.

Photo copyright Jiminez Joseph. Click for pattern page.

This fun little number is Boss. by Jiminez Joseph. I had a storebought sweater kind of like this one (lacey openwork t-shirt shape, drop shoulder) that I wore like crazy last year but I’ve since lost a bunch of weight and had to pack it away. It has a really simple construction, the front and back are just two panels that are seamed up the sides, which might be nice for a first garment. This is written for a wool/silk blend and one of the suggested yarns is actually Codex (a light worsted weight) so perhaps I should use that instead of the Traveller.

Photo copyright Knitscene/Harper Point Photgraphy. Click for pattern page.

This Balas Ruby Raglan by Vera Sanon is just a really cool-looking top. I love the lace and the accent color sleeves. The color values in mine would probably be reversed: using the purple for the main lace and a light grey for the sleeves. Or, I could always acquire enough grey to do the body and then use the 2 mismatched purple skeins for the sleeves! (More yarn, more sweaters, yay!)

Photo copyright Gudrun Georges. Click for pattern page.

This Layered Ruffle Sweater by Kristina McGowan is just gorgeous. I love, love, love the ruffle detail, and it’s knit in a DK weight Merino so my version would likely be similar in look. The ruffles sound a bit difficult to attach (crocheted elastic chord, what?!) but check out this amazing dress-length version.

Photo copyright Mary Annarella. Click for pattern page.

My love for this pattern might be a case of just really loving the name: Girl on Fire, by Mary Annarella. (Reminds me of Katniss!) I like the lace panel and the square neckline, too. I’d probably shorten the sleeves to 3/4 or elbow length to make the best use of yardage and because I like those lengths in pullovers.

Photo copyright tin can knits. Click for pattern page.

Snowflake by tin can knits is another pattern where I could grab a contrasting skein for the lace yoke and do the body in the purple yarn I already have. Plus it would involve finding fun buttons! I love fun buttons. This one might be nudging its way to the top of the list…

But then there are cardigans, too, which I haven’t even touched on today! We’ll leave those for another post. Have a favorite DK weight pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Please share in the comments below!

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IS #65: Lightweight Hats

Spring has officially sprung! The slight break in weather that makes it not quite warm yet but not freezing anymore, either, has arrived in the northeast and it makes me want to knit a veritable army of lightweight, slouchy, spring-appropriate, one-to-go-with-every-outift hats.

Photo copyright Kelly McClure. Click for pattern page.

I think the slouchiest of all slouchy, lightweight hats has to be this Sockhead Hat pattern by Kelly McClure. It’s free and utterly simple but really effective, too, knit with a great stripey skein of sock yarn. Quite frankly, 4500+ Ravelers can’t be wrong — this is a great hat. I’m planning to knit one in a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering in one of Tina’s nifty Tipsy Clan colorways.

Photo copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

Not surprisingly, one of my must-knit-someday hat patterns was designed by Hunter (I just love everything she does). I knit a couple of pairs of her Fracas Cuffs a while back (oh dear, a year ago already?!) and really like how the lace pattern translates to the brim of this Fracas Hat. It’s sweet, simple, and brimming (pun accidental but I like it) with springtime freshness.

Photo copyright Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood. Click for pattern page.

This hat — Norby designed by Gudrun Johnson — is so texture-iffic, I love it. The sample shown is knit with Brooklyn Tweed Loft, which we’ve talked about before. I bet it feels velvety, fuzzy, and cohesive and is probably plenty warm for those days when March might behave more like the lion than the lamb. I can absolutely picture this knit with handspun and check out this great striped version, too.

Photo copyright Coop Knits. Click for pattern page.

Confession time: this is the hat that inspired this entire post. It’s the Bedale pattern from Rachel Coopey’s new book Toasty Knits Volume 1. I love the color choices and the classic yet geometric shapes created by the all-over colorwork. On the pattern page you’ll see it with a big ol’ pom pom on the top, which is kind of irresistible. The yarn used in the collection sounds really interesting, too: Titus by baa ram ewe. It’s a blend of wool from two British breeds (Wensleydale and BFL) with some UK-raised alpaca added for softness. It sounds delightful and I’m itching to get my hands on some…

Photo copyright Kelbourne Woolens. Click for pattern page.

I couldn’t resist showing you one more hat! This is another lovely little colorwork number, Selbu Modern designed by Kate Gagnon Osborn. This one is knit with an alpaca, merino, bamboo blend which is likely providing that great drape. It has such a gorgeous, romantic feel to it that I think is really enhanced by the light, neutral colors.All of the hats in this post were knit with fingering or light fingering yarns, so I’m definitely going to be inventorying my sock yarn stash to see what I can delegate to headwear instead of footwear! How about you? Have you a favorite springtime hat pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Let us know in the comments below!

IS #63: Wedding Shawls Not To Be

I had been waiting until I found my wedding dress to plan out my wedding shawl. I’ve had the yarn in stash pretty much since I got engaged and I knew, just knew, that I wanted to knit either a shawl or a veil for my “Big Day”. It makes sense, I’m a knitter, I love shawls, why wouldn’t I want to knit myself a luxurious, complicated, laceweight silk shawl to shoe off my mad knitting skillz and commemorate such an important occasion?

The yarn in question: BMFA Silk Thread, colorway Spinel

Well, here are a few reasons: 1) the wedding is a mere 4 months away, 2) I have kind of a lot to do between now and then (understatement), 3) I bought a veil when I went dress shopping that I actually really like and plan to wear most of the night, so the need for handknit decoration is essentially gone, 4) the wedding is in July, so the need for a shawl for warmth is moot, and 5) laceweight. silk. complex.

And yet, despite all these reasons, I still find myself dreaming of knitting a pretty shawl. I likely won’t make one, but I’m just going to wind the yarn and maybe swatch a little, no commitment, no hard deadline… we’ll see how it goes. Here are some top contendors.

Copyright knitspot. Click for pattern page.

I think Ann Hanson’s Twig & Leaf shawl would be the most achievable, if I were to knit myself a shawl by July (which I won’t, because we decided it was crazy, but if I did…). It begins along the bottom edge, getting the lace bit that requires concentration done first, then transitions to a short row garter stitch section for the rest of the shawl. It’s simple but elegant and has a flattering, semi-circular crescent shape.

Copyright Twist Collective, Aimee Gille, Kate Gilbert. Click for pattern page.

This Tendrils pattern by Susanna IC has a very similar look to the previous shawl, it’s just glammed up a bit with a larger gauge, a wide swath of smooth stockinette stitch, and added beads. I love the floaty, ethereal quality of the fabric. Honestly, almost any of Susanna’s shawls would make a suitable wedding shawl, she has such a graceful design sense.

Copyright Jane Heller. Click for pattern page.

The Trousseau shawl by Carol Feller is lovely, as well. It’s also very aptly named as ‘trousseau’ is defined as “the clothes, household linen, and other belongings collected by a bride for her marriage”. I love the way the different sections of lace swirl in opposing directions, the effect lends so much movement and life to the fabric. The pattern is written for thicker yarn than I have, so I might want to double it up… or just save the pattern for another day, another yarn.

Copyright nimruse. Click for pattern page.

While this pattern, Morticia by Boo Knits, is decidedly not aptly named for the theme of the day, I really love the unabashedly gothic, romantic drama of the design. The lace, the gratuitous beading, that irresistable ‘drippy’ edging! So interesting, so unlike any shawl I already own, so fancy. (I’m not sure why a gothic beaded shawl is equated with ‘fancy’ in my mind, but let’s roll with it.) There are actually a ton of Boo Knits designs that I’ve been wanting to knit for a while, Sweet Dreams and Premonition are near the top of the list.

I was hoping that writing my wedding shawl thoughts down would get the idea out of my system, but I’m afraid I’ve only convinced myself that I actually need to knit not one but several wedding shawls by July, because I love them all. Apparently, I am a highly covetous knitter and I want all the shawls, all at once.

What’s been inspiring you this week? Share a link in the comments below and/or let us know!