Where To Begin?

Time has a way of getting away from me. I cannot believe that so much time has passed since my last blog entry. And now I have so much to report that one entry simply won’t do. If I report everything that has happened since my last entry in just one post, you will quickly become bored with reading me yammering on about hockey, knitting, birthdays, etc., etc., etc. So I shall break it down into smaller parts in order to keep your interest, dear reader of mine.

In answer to the title question, I think I will begin with my nemesis, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Adult Surprise Jacket, or ASJ for short. The ASJ is back in time-out. It has been behaving very badly and doesn’t deserve my attention. I have tried to seam up the sleeves and shoulders using umpteen different methods, and everything I have tried comes out looking like hell. I hate this project more than any other knitting project I have ever done. I’d rather knit a 4ft x 7ft afghan with Red Heart yarn than make an ASJ with pure cashmere. As much as I love EZ, I have to say that this design is a big stinker.

Warning! Hockey Metaphor Ahead!

I consider the Adult Surpise Jacket to be the Alexander Ovechkin of knitting.

Ugly and obnoxious, it plays dirty. People talk like it’s the greatest player in the world of knitting projects, but when you shine the light of day on it, not only are you dumbstruck by how ugly it is, you realize that it is little more than an attention whore disguised as a knitting project.

I haven’t packed the ASJ away, yet, but I think I will do so soon because just looking at it lying on top of my knitting pile makes me queasy, kind of like seeing Alexander Ovechkin’s ugly mug.

End of hockey metaphor.

Sorry about that.☺

I bet you are asking yourself, Well, if Pinko Knitter isn’t working on her ASJ any more, just how is she spending her knitting time? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve worked some on my reworked Froot Loop Socks. Sock #1 is close to completion.

This is a fun pattern to work on, but it doesn’t go well with watching hockey on TV. Hockey takes a lot of concentration, so my hockey knitting must be totally mindless.

Mindless Knitting Project 1

Mindless Knitting Project 2

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I made two, count ’em, two hats in “Blaze Orange,” also known as hunter safety orange. I supposed it isn’t surprising that one can purchase hand knitting wool yarn in such a bright orange. After all, hunters need to keep their heads warm just like everyone else. My older sister hunts deer and she subtly hinted that she would like a hat in orange. I Googled to find a source for blaze orange yarn and, violá! Bartlett Yarns in Harmony, Maine, offers a nice worsted-weight, woolen-spun, 2-ply wool in “bright orange.” Bright orange? That’s something of an understatement. I swear this yarn glows in the dark☺.

The Bartlett yarn is similar to Briggs and Little Regal, with lots of VM (vegetable matter, that is, vegetation that got caught in the sheep’s wool as it was out grazing and doing whatever it is that sheep do) that I picked out as I knit. I don’t mind VM in yarn because it is an indication that the wool has not be over-processed. The yarn from Bartlett is pretty scratchy before it is washed, but it softens a lot after washing. It also blooms a lot when washed. The beanie I knitted on 3.5mm needles looks almost felted since it was washed. I’m glad I used 4.0mm needles for the ribbed hat.

Preview of upcoming features: another hat, another sweater, more hockey, and a very special birthday. Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss a single episode.

In The Pink

I had an urge to knit some girly-girl hats, and there’s nothing more girly-girl than pink. I had Knit Picks Wool of the Andes on hand in two shades of pink, Rouge and Blossom Heather, as well as some WotA in White, so I went to work.

The Candy Stripes Rolled Brim Hat is my own design, which you can download by clicking here or clicking the Patterns link. It’s worked in Blossom Heather and White.

Next came the Sixteen Hearts Hat. This hat was inspired by the Loving Hearts Hat , but I completely redesigned the hat, changing even the colorwork chart. While the Loving Hearts Hat is knitted from the top down, I knitted my hat from the bottom up. I changed the heart pattern from a 12-stitch repeat to a 14-stitch repeat. This gave the hearts a little more space so they don’t look so jammed together. I used K-P WotA in Rouge and White, and to great effect, if I do say so myself.

If you like this hat, the pattern can be found here, or click on the Patterns link.

While I was working on these two hats, I couldn’t help but think about making a hat that used both shades of pink. The design that kept calling to me was Winter’s Coming (http://kalmanac.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/winters-coming/), which I had knitted in red and white a while back. I thought it would look lovely in Rouge with Blossom Heather as the contrasting color. I have named it Double Pink Diamonds Hat and here’s a picture of it for your viewing pleasure so that you, dear reader, can judge the result for yourself.

Red Is The Color

Red is my favorite color. Red. Any shade of red. Crimson, scarlet, cardinal, maroon, burgundy, cerise, flame, auburn, garnet, ruby, vermillion, rose red, lipstick red, fire engine red, apple red, brick red… You get the idea. I love red. And it shows in my knitting. Here’s a sampling of some of my red hats.

Yes, it’s the Joe Cool pattern again, this time worked in Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted weight in Scarlet (which is a gorgeous deep crimson color) and Natural. There’s nothing quite like white to make red really pop.

While I was working with these lovely colors of Nature Spun, I couldn’t help but think how well they match Oklahoma University’s crimson and cream. Although I am by no means an Oklahoma fan–OU is among my least favorite college footbal teams– my brother-in-law is a rabid OU fan, so I decided to bite the bullet and knit him an OU hat. Hey, at least I was knitting with colors I loved. LOL Anyway, I designed a simple OU logo chart and cast on 120 stitches, knitted a fold-up 2 x 2 ribbing, did the stranded colorwork, and finished up with the crown increases. And, voilà! The Boomer Sooner Hat is born.

The pattern for the Boomer Sooner Hat can be downloaded for free from the Patterns section of All Kinds Of Knitting.

Red is definitely a superstar color, but it doesn’t always have to hog the limelight. Sometimes is it quite happy to take a supporting role. In the Red Hearts Hat, the lovely orangy-red Nature Spun (Husker Red) shares the stage with some adorable little red heart-shaped buttons on a backdrop of black. This is a button-tab hat with a little stranded colorwork added; simple to make, stunning to wear. 🙂

Years ago, I bought some Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted-weight wool in a dark red called Spice. I purchased the yarn specifically to knit a sweater that I gave to my younger sister. When the sweater was finished, I had nearly three balls of yarn left over. Well before my hat-knitting frenzy began, I saw a hat pattern that I thought would be perfect for the left-over yarn, and I planned to make my sister a hat to match her nice, warm, cozy sweater. But, meh! Hats? Who wants to knit hats? The yarn and pattern sat in my project cue for months and months. Then the Stanley Cup Playoffs Hat Trick began. I discovered the joy of knitting hats. So, finally, this hat got made.

The pattern is called Lock Gate, and I found it in the British knitting magazine Yarn Forward, No. 8, January 2009. Since that time, it has also become available on Ravelry under the name Redundancy by Sarah Wilson. The pattern is written for Brown Sheep Nature Spun, but because I was using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride, which is more of an Aran-weight than a worsted weight, so I cast on fewer stitches (101), but otherwise I followed the directions. The cable may look complicated, but it is actually a very simple 1/1 that can easily be done without using a cable needle. I apologize for the not-so-great quality of the picture. The hat is no longer in my possession, so I can make another stab at getting a decent picture.

Whew! That was a hat whirlwind! Thanks for sticking with me to the end. 🙂